I’m starting to conclude that Lynn Okamoto is like the Japanese George R. R. Martin. He’s just the kind of person that can take an almost sadistic pleasure in torturing the hell out of the characters in his works. It makes for an expertly crafted story because at any given moment, you don’t know what could possibly go wrong for the heroes. No catastrophe is off the table (as the manga certainly proved this volume). However, much like Martin, it almost makes me want to not get attached to any of the characters because even if they aren’t killed off in brutal ways, he’s liable to make them do something so reprehensible that you could never feel anything positive for them ever again. This particular volume finds us hurtling into the home stretch of the series (only 37 chapters left) and a major cataclysm has struck the universe of the franchise. I have no clue what Okamoto can do now to up the dramatic tension of the series other than instigate a full blown apocalypse (which he laid the seeds for this volume). Still, Elfen Lied continues to prove to me once again that it is is the most disturbing and almost inherently “wrong” series I’ve ever read. And that’s why I love it.

The last volume ended with Kurama revealing to Nana that he was Mariko’s father and the cruel twist of fate that led to Mariko’s birth as a Diclonius as well as the inhumane things Kurama had allowed to be done to her since she was born. We discover that Kurama tried to kill Mariko as soon as she was born but his dying wife in her last moments begged him to let her live. So he sent her off to the institution. I’m guessing the wife would have preferred Mariko to die if she had known the fate she’d have for the next five years. While Kurama and Nana face off against a truly genocidal Mariko (who is deflecting artillery shells like they’re flies), Director Kakuzawa reveals his plans to Shirakawa to release the vector virus over all of Tokyo to slowly begin infecting the entire world. Shirakawa had tried to stop him but much like with Ozymandias in Watchmen, the plan has already been implemented before he reveals his grand scheme. During the fight against Mariko, you see the rocket carrying the virus explode over Tokyo. Eventually Lucy shows up as Nyu. Kurama and Mariko put aside their differences momentarily to stop Lucy. Kurama shoots Nyu which awakens Lucy. She begins to destroy Mariko. However, Mariko uses the bombs inside her body to take out Lucy. Lucy decapitates Mariko but the bombs explode and Lucy’s horns are destroyed which is supposed to permanently leave her in the state as Nyu.

Despite Kurama having the original run as the series’ Big Bad, that most assuredly goes to Director Kakuzawa now (who believes that he has the god-like power to control whatever birthed the lebensborn in the first place). We learned a lot more about Kurama this volume from what led him down the villainous path he’s currently on (along side things we learned last volume), and just why he was able to form such a tight bond with Nana but he could never love his own daughter. The scenes where Kurama kept trying to kill his own daughter (kind of/sort of for her own good) even while he was trying to reconcile with her were just heartbreaking. Even at the end though, having seen what a monster he can occasionally be, Nana has gone from having daughterly affection for Kurama to wanting to be his wife. I’m kind of hoping that was a mistranslation of the manga because otherwise this series managed to top itself yet again in the fucked up department (since she’s like 12). I don’t think Kurama really reciprocates though. I was honestly shocked that he let Nana take care of the de-horned Lucy. He wanted to kill Nyu but Nana convinced him not to so maybe even Kurama is beginning to soften. The scene where Director Kakuzawa molested Shirakawa was always incredibly disturbing. This series doesn’t hold back whatsoever.

I’ll keep this one short because I didn’t get to do the three movies last night that I wanted to (only one, Cyrano de Bergerac) because my French roommate has family in this weekend. They’re sleeping in his room and he’s sleeping in the living room. My TV is in the living room and I wasn’t able to watch any TV. I just wound up watching Bonnaroo videos from last year on Youtube the rest of the evening after my roommate came back home and took control of the living room. So my next film which I’ll start as soon as I’m done with this is The Butcher Boy. Plus, I’ll still be doing my Song of the Day post. Plus, I only have one episode left of the second disc of the second season of Mad Men as well as one episode left of the first season of Community. So, possibly I could end up doing four more posts for the blog today. I’m perfectly okay with that scenario. I just wish I could watch Game of Thrones tonight. I won’t get to watch it tomorrow because I’m seeing the Shins at Terminal 5! Tomorrow is going to be awesome. So, forget that last complaint about Game of Thrones.

Final Score: B+

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