While Elfen Lied the anime (which I’ve only seen an episode and a half of because I couldn’t bring myself to watch it when there was any possibility that another person would enter the room) was eventually brought to the states and even given a proper dub, there has never been an officially licensed version of the Elfen Lied manga brought to the U.S. If you read the manga (and have a basic grasp of America’s sad past in regards to obscenity laws), you might understand why no publisher would want to take that sort of risk. I know I feel like I say this after every volume, but Elfen Lied keeps finding ways to up the “incredibly fucked up” factor and I’ve seriously determined that Lynn Okamoto is in serious need of psychological counseling because no emotionally sound mind could come up with this kind of shit. Yet, I still enjoy his depravity so I’m probably wrong in the head because I found this story of racism, xenophobia, and isolation to be endlessly compelling and one of the most deeply psychological anime/manga this side of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
A government SWAT team led by Dr. Nousou and her brainwashed squad of three clones of Lucy arrive at the Maple Inn completely busting down one of the doors. Despite being thrown up against the wall by one of the clones vectors, Nyu never transforms into Lucy and simply can’t understand what is going on. It isn’t until Kohta interferes and gets shot in the back that Lucy finally awakens, grows out her horns to be at bunny-esque proportions, and goes H.A.M. on every living bad guy in the room. She just cuts one of the Diclonius straight up in half which forces the remaining survivors of her initial attack to retreat. They think they can stay out of Lucy’s range and run away, but she knocks a motherfucking helicopter out of the sky and throws it at Dr. Nousou. The two remaining clones try to hold it up and Lucy just decapitates one of them. The last tricks Lucy by making it look like she’s sacrificed her own life to die with Nousou under the helicopter but she really forced a hole in the bottom for them to hide in til the fight was over. However, the clone that Lucy chopped in half was actually Mariko (Kurama’s daughter) and in her last breath she used her vectors to break one of Lucy’s mega-horns (and another government agent shot off the other one reducing her back to Nyu). Kurama shows up at the Maple Inn and drags off the lifeless corpse of Marika as his mind completely snaps. We learn a little more of Lucy’s backstory where after she went on the killing spree that ended with the murder of Kohta’s family, she kept killing random civilians around the town giving in to her evil side until a little girl she befriended nearly dragged her out of her funk. However, the little girl had an abuse father which the little girl murdered and as the girl and Lucy tried to hide, the government agency (which was tracking Lucy) showed up and shot (and killed) Lucy’s new friend permanently cementing her transition to the dark side.
While I forgot to mention that Kohta survived being shot, the incident (and seeing one of the clones cut in half) forced him to recall what Lucy did all those years ago and now he has sworn revenge on her. The inn is destroyed and everyone is living with Yuka’s family, except for Nana whose Yuka’s mother doesn’t trust because of her horns. Nana goes off to the beach to help feed a homeless man that Mayu had been taking care of. It turns out that man is Kurama, who completely rejects Nana in favor of his lifeless corpse of a daughter. Nana momentarily succumbs to the darkness inside her but then the scene fades away and we only see her later cradling the potentially still alive Kurama in the forest back to her regular kind self. Nyu is being held hostage (and naked) by Director Kakuzawa in his irradiated pond which is also the grave of a million deformed diclonius baby as his people attempted to breed their perfect savior. He is going to rape and impregnate Lucy so that he can be the new God of the new Diclonius race and overthrow humanity. However, Nyu finally snaps at the last moment and without becoming Lucy gains vector powers of her own which (with the possible, ambiguous help of Kakuzawa’s daughter Anna) are now stories tall. Also, Nousou took the brain control chip off of the remaining clone which immediately decapitated her and is now likely on a murderous rampage around Kurakama.
If you were to judge a volume of Elfen Lied by the number of times that I used the word “fuck” as some part of an exclamatory phrase or “jesus christ” in a similar manner, it would be pretty difficult to top this one. There is something brutal and absoluteyl disturbing happening every 10 pages or so (sometimes even more often). If this isn’t the most graphically violent volume of the series yet, I have no clue what would be. Yet, there is so much more going on than just a wee bit of the old ultra violence (to quote A Clockwork Orange). We got deep, deep insight into why Lucy hates Kurama so much (killed her last real friend). We know why any harm coming to Kohta instantly sends Nyu into full-blown crazy Lucy mode (she honestly wants to repent for what she did). We got some more look into Nana’s deep-seated rejection issues and the incident that may have finally sent her off the deep end. Kohta has finally remembered what happened when he was a child which means any possibility of a happy ending at the Maple Inn with the whole group together is completely impossible. Kakuzawa proved that he was one of the most sadistic and evil villains I’ve ever encountered as he tortured and taunted the innocent and defenseless Nyu, knowing full well that she wasn’t Lucy. This volume provided everything that makes Elfen Lied great and deeply unsettling.
I really want to play Mass Effect 3 a little bit tonight before I go to bed (even though I have tomorrow off, I have to spend the first part of it working because there was some serious miscommunication at work) so I’m going to draw this review to a close. There are only two volumes of Elfen Lied left. It’s 19 chapters I believe. I can’t believe I’m finally so close to being done with reading this entire series. The only other manga series I’ve read from beginning to end was Death Note (which was way before I started this blog though it is on my shortlist of things I want to review but more likely the anime which I’ve never watched all the way through despite owning it in the entirety). Considering that I’m basically only a fifth of the way through Bleach, it will be a long before I ever finish it (if I ever actually finish it). It’s cool to know that this is a franchise I’m actually going to get the all the way through. I’m actually thinking of replacing this once I’ve finished it with the Neil Gaiman’s Sandman books which I actually own physical copies of at home (and that I’ve been meaning to reread for a long time now). Actually, that’s totally what I’m going to do. Now, I’m very excited.
Final Score: A-