Lilo Pelekai (first name pronounced LEE-loh) is the lead human character of the Lilo & Stitch franchise in the films and Lilo & Stitch: The Series, being one of the franchise's titular protagonists alongside Stitch. She is a young orphaned Hawaiian girl who lives on the island of Kauai with her older sister, Nani, and her extended yet unconventional family of alien visitors marooned on Earth.
Lilo's spirited and highly-eccentric personality, especially in light of her parents' death, has alienated her from her fellow children, specifically her hula classmates Mertle, Elena, Teresa, and Yuki, who mistreat her and openly admit that they hate her and don't want her around. Despite their cruelty, Lilo still oddly considers them as friends. Nevertheless, Lilo makes the perfect best friend for Stitch, an alien experiment whom she adopts under the initial belief that he is a "dog". She is also extremely disobedient. Lilo is emotionally sensitive and usually cries whenever she's really hurt or if something bad happens to someone she loves and cares for (mainly Nani or Stitch), likely due to the trauma of having lost her parents at a young age. She attends hula classes at Kaiāulu Hale, and her hobbies include the photography of tourists and obese people, talking about creatures from horror and science fiction films, and capturing and rehabilitating Jumba's other genetic experiments. She also idolizes Elvis Presley and does not seem to understand that her eccentricities cause her to be an outcast from most of the other children.
In addition to her naughtiness, she enjoys being messy and having fun, though her recklessness sometimes causes her to make a mess of her surroundings, much to the disapproval of others around her. She does have a tendency to act selfish and irresponsible, however, especially when an experiment is around that she can use for her own personal benefit, which usually causes huge trouble and brings out the worst in her. Nani implied once in the original film that Lilo driven away other social workers until Cobra Bubbles became her case manager. She is very adventurous, brave, and clever, easily coming up with strategies to capture the experiments and never showing fear in the face of the many life-threatening dangers to her life that she faces while capturing the experiments. In fact, she views the experiments as part of her ʻohana, and as a result, devotes so much time to capturing them that it sometimes interferes with her life. However, she sometimes abandons them and leaves them free for Gantu to capture, particularly if they annoyed her; Nosy, who was among the experiments she gave to Gantu, calls her out for this in "Snafu", which helped motivate her to rescue the other experiments stored on Gantu's ship as a means of atonement.
Lilo can sometimes be a selfish hypocrite. In the first film, when Lilo attempted to push Nani out the door after calling out on a fallen star, Nani pretended gravity is increasing on her, prompting Lilo to call her weird. In "Fibber", while Lilo acknowledges about valuing honesty, there are instances in some episodes that Lilo lies in order to gain what she wants, usually out of good intentions but sometimes for herself. In "627", she lies to Pleakley that Thanksgiving happens monthly rather than yearly so she would get to eat more pumpkin pie. In "Tank", when Lilo wins tickets to the Elizabethan Fair and invites Elena, Teresa, and Yuki, she got so caught up with having human friends that she neglected Stitch and even outright called him "weird". In "Angel", Lilo acknowledges about believing in love, but when she saw Angel, she didn't trust her, and even prevented Stitch from hanging out with her out of jealousy despite his affection toward her. Lilo was right to assume when she discovered Angel was working for Dr. Hämsterviel but was proven wrong when Angel sided with Stitch out of love. In regards to this, Lilo can learn from her mistakes and admits when she is wrong about something.
Nonetheless, she is sweet and believes in the good of everyone as shown through her interactions with Gantu and the experiments, especially Stitch.
Lilo is a small, short, chubby, little, 6 year old (7 at the end of Lilo & Stitch) Hawaiian girl with long, straight black hair, large, dark and almond shaped brown eyes, a big nose and a round chubby face due to her age. She's most often seen wearing a red muumuu with white leaf patterns all over it and blue sandals. Throughout the franchise, she can be seen wearing several outfits as well as wearing traditional hula costumes. Getting ready for bedtime, she wears a light blue nightgown. Some episodes of the TV series had Lilo wearing a T-shirt and shorts, which vary in either light green and dark blue or light purple and green, respectively. When swimming, she wears a red and orange striped swimsuit. She also appears to be a little on the chubby side. In Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, her reflection in a mirror is compared to a picture of her young mother, suggesting that they look similar. In the episode "Skip", where an experiment is used to skip time 10 then another 10 years, it's mentioned that older Lilo looks a lot like her sister Nani.
Lilo's friends are Stitch, Victoria and Keoni. Lilo's ex-friends were Mertle Edmonds, Yuki, Elena, and Teresa. The reason why Lilo's friends became her ex-friends is because her parents died and they didn't seem to show sympathy when she was explaining it to them. Victoria and Lilo's ex-friends are all students in their hula class. Reuben and Gantu became friends with Lilo by the end of Leroy & Stitch.
Lilo's parents died in a car accident sometime before the first film, and therefore, they have not appeared in the franchise apart from three photographs: one of Lilo, Nani and their parents having a picnic on the beach; a photograph of Lilo's mother winning the hula contest at her school's May Day celebration and a photo of Nani with her parents when she graduated to intermediate hula.
Lilo's mother is depicted as beautiful, kind and loving (and perhaps eccentric like her younger daughter), as well as an excellent hula dancer. She would placate her children by holding a family night, singing lullabies and making up funny constellations. Lilo's father played the ukulele and was the one who coined the phrase, "ʻOhana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten." The phrase becomes a sort of family motto for his daughters and their intergalactic adopted clan.
Lilo loves and misses her parents very much, and so does Nani. She keeps a picture of them under her pillow and initially would not allow Stitch to touch it (rejecting him when his fight with Jumba caused her house and the picture to become damaged). In the episode "Remmy", which takes place on the anniversary of the accident, Lilo is depressed and takes a nap to help deal with her sadness. The picture is used to turn Lilo's nightmares into a dream of the day the photograph was taken, which manages to make her happy again.
The development of Lilo's ʻohana (extended family) begins with the adoption of Stitch in Lilo & Stitch. Though Lilo technically owns Stitch by Hawaiian state law, the relationship between the two is more like siblings and best friends. By the end of the series, Lilo's extended ʻohana includes Stitch, Nani, "Uncle" Jumba, "Aunt" Pleakley, David, Cobra Bubbles, the Grand Councilwoman, Reuben, Victoria, all 627 (627 and 628 were shown dehydrated in the episode "627", although it could be argued that they still count) of Stitch's "cousins" and Gantu.
- "Lilo" can mean "lost" or "the generous one" in Hawaiian, hence her generosity to others in the series, and possibly her loneliness.
- Her name may also be a reference to the character Leeloo from the 1997 movie The Fifth Element.
- It is quite possible that both Lilo and Nani were named after Queen Liliuokalani, the last ruling monarch of Hawaii. Lilo has the same first three letters of the monarch's name, while Nani has the last three letters of her name.
- Lilo & Nani
- If this truly is indeed the case, then that would make their connection to the song "Aloha ʻOe" that much more meaningful, as they, as a whole, represent the last Queen of Hawaii, who wrote the song.
- Despite not appearing in the show itself (as the show ran for about one year before the movie came out), Lilo was featured with Stitch in some online games for the television series House of Mouse.
- Lilo was 5 years old in the original story.
- In the monarch at the end of the movie, Lilo has 7 candles on her birthday cake, meaning she was 6 for the majority of the movie. (This could also mean that she is 7 years old for the Lilo & Stitch franchise.)
- Lilo is the fourth heroine to be seen praying, the first being Snow White, the second being Penny, and the third being Esmeralda. However, the movie has Lilo saying that she is "making a wish" instead of praying.
- A stuffed toy Dumbo can be seen on Lilo's easel.
- She likes to be messy, which causes problems for the adults around her when she makes such a big mess.
- At least twice in the television series, when an experiment is christened, Lilo gives a ridiculous reason for its name after someone else gives a logical one:
- For Shoe, who had a horseshoe-shaped growth that affects its luck ability, she said he needed shoes, despite the fact that none of the experiments wear shoes.
- For Link, who binds together arguing people with sticky blue gunk that only mud can remove, she said he was named after Linkenstein, a zombie president.
- She enjoys feeding peanut butter sandwiches to Pudge the fish and cleaning his grove for him. Since her parents died in a car accident, where rain made the road more treacherous, it is possible the reason she wants to appease Pudge is because she believes he controls the weather, and that if she continues to treat him in such a manner, a similar accident to the one that killed her parents won't happen again.