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Are those her limbs? Let's Read Elfen Lied
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Are those her limbs? Let's Read Elfen Lied:

Chapter 100: Wish on a Star

Lucy's in a tricky spot, as Kurama flashes back through all the people he's loved that she's killed, while she's stuck having just made that promise to Kouta. And she decides to keep it, though she refuses to change how she feels about Kurama, and he kills her. Total Tearjerker as well as Crowning Moment Of Awesome, and things get even more emotional as we see Kouta and Nana reacting to it.

Lucy's signature disappears from the ship, which the leader has trouble believing. Can't say I blame him with how saturated with fakeouts this series is. And back at the lighthouse, this time Okamoto managed one of them while actually showing us what happened: the third personality finally took full control of Lucy's body and caused the bullet to graze her face, explaining the blood we saw, and then ripped Kurama's arm off. Then it gives control right back to Lucy, just in time for Kouta to arrive. Things are really getting good again now.

Given how much dark stuff there is in this series, I guess the best we could really hope for is the way things seem to be going right now, a Bittersweet Ending where the villains are defeated but the nice characters continue to suffer. Okamoto shows he's quite handy at this kind of tragic setup, and amazingly it doesn't feel like a cheat at all.

edited 11th Feb '10 5:52:46 PM by Eegah

 
Chapter 101: Light of Death

Yuka arrives at the hospital, where Mayu tells her Kouta's gone and left a note on his pillow. And Nana didn't find it, why?

Kouta and Lucy have a hell of a Tearjerker conversation that goes about as you'd expect, until Kouta tells her to never come to him again. This gets that third personality talking to her again, but Lucy gets another Crowning Moment Of Awesome as she rejects her murderous personality and actually chokes it, but we're quickly brought back to reality as Kurama takes another shot at Lucy, and Kouta jumps in front of it. After a heartwrenching flashback to the girl from her teen years, Lucy screams at Kouta to not die like this, giving her one more thing to regret, and sadly seems to surrender to her murderous side again. Why must it always end in tears?

Yuka and Mayu are out looking for Kouta when they spot gigantic vectors coming from the lighthouse. And then it explodes. This is starting to turn into Kill 'em All, though I still have hope that at least a couple of these people will get an Earn Your Happy Ending.

What it lacks in the spectacle I was expecting, this ending more than makes up for in emotional intensity. It's like watching a train wreck in the best way, where you get the sense that as much as you'd want something better, there was simply no other way that this story could have ended. And hey, there's still a few more chapters left where it can get even worse.

edited 11th Feb '10 6:46:30 PM by Eegah

 
Chapter 102: Center and Fringe

The vector scientists discuss the island's destruction, which has resulted in a huge mass of neutrinos as if it went through a nuclear meltdown. Then they get the news about the lighthouse. I still don't care.

Thank god, we're back at the lighthouse. Kurama is thrown clear of the explosion, and Nana catches him. Completely absurd, but I want a happy ending for these two so much that I'll take it. There's a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming as Nana again acts like a little kid proud to be helping before her jump takes them into the ocean.

On the ship, word comes in that the vector craft is useless against the kind of power being given off, with an unexpected Crowning Moment of Funny as Arakawa literally finds that knee-slappingly hilarious. Outside, they find the High Octane Nightmare Fuel image of Lucy hovering in midair surrounded by insanely long vectors and even drawing the ocean toward her. We might get that spectacular final battle yet.

Kurama and Nana make it to a rock near the cliff they went off, where Kurama quite impressively ties off his own arm stump. They also look up at Lucy, who now bears a distinct resemblance to some of Uzumaki's more memorable images. She's holding Kouta and wailing about how everything's pointless so she might as well destroy the whole world. This might be the first ever instance of a Villainous Breakdown via Break the Cutie. She starts tearing up the city like Godzilla as the military is sent out. Yeah, good luck with that.

Back on the ship, the leader has...fainted? I'm confused. The captain's pretty happy at this turn of events, but then we cut back to Lucy, who sees one of her hands melt due to all the power she's putting out, just as Kakuzawa said. Oh, I totally called it!

So after the emotional high of the last couple chapters, we go for more spectacle to close things out. But the scenes remain very emotionally charged, as even at her most A God Am I Lucy retains my sympathy. Hear that, Light Yagami? That's how you do it. I do hope we get some explanation for what happened to the leader at the end, though.
 
 129 Sabbo, Thu, 11th Feb '10 7:51:27 PM from Australia Relationship Status: Baby don't hurt me!
I'll just let you know that you've reached the actual climax now. (Unlike the previous two times you thought you had. :P)

I might read this bit of the manga again though, since there were a couple of things I didn't quite understand the first time. :/
Chapter 103: The Elf Sings

Lucy drops back to the ground, and sees that Kouta's in very bad shape. She realizes she can use her vectors to heal him (huh?) but at this rate it'll probably kill her. The third personality returns one last time but she refuses to listen, and the series once again hits the trifecta of Crowning Moment Of Awesome, Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, and Tearjerker as Lucy sacrifices her life in a final piece of redemption for what she did to Kouta. She sings the Elfen Lied song, which flies throughout space so that everyone can hear it: Kurama and Nana, Yuka and Mayu, Nozomi, and even the military guys. They launch their missiles but Lucy throws up a shield. That would be good enough for me, but then she takes it a bit too far by killing all the pilots, causing at least one plane to crash into the town. I really wish Okamoto hadn't gone there, as it really undermines her whole epiphany. It gets even worse as she then blows up the ships, possibly killing the leader and Arakawa. Finally Kouta wakes up to find Lucy has completely melted away.

Ugh. I truly can't express, after such a moving first few pages, how wrong this chapter is. Why did we have to see Lucy kill all those people who were no more guilty than the pilots at the end of King Kong? There's a reason Peter Jackson went back on his idea to have Jack fly interference for Kong, you know. On top of that, why hint at the death of Arakawa? If she doesn't appear again I'm going to be pissed, as she may have been a villain for a while but had definitely earned the right to a happy ending through her Heel-Face Turn during which she, you know, saved the entire human race. Just a few chapters to go, and I dearly hope Okamoto comes back to his senses for them.
 
Chapter 104: The End of a Dream

We meet Nozomi's father, as he finds that she's also run away from the hospital. Will we finally see a point to her character?

We see that the leader and Arakawa survived the attack on the ships. That's nice, though it doesn't make those attacks any less wrong. Back at military headquarters, they're officially out of ideas after discussing how even a nuke would be useless. Then there's the call that the attack has stopped.

Kurama tells Nana to go see if Kouta's okay, since he's the one who shot him and she can do things he can't. Yuka and Mayu are also still headed to the lighthouse, where various Crowning Moment Of Funnys involving Nyu are repackaged as Tearjerkers in the wake of her death along with Lucy. We even get a nasty look at her half-melted body, when Nana arrives and explains to Kouta what happened. That makes things even worse for him, and then Yuka, Mayu, and Nozomi arrive to beg him not to tax his injured body any further. Then the emotion gets pushed Beyond the Impossible as it turns out Lucy's still alive, and happy to see all the Nakama one last time. Mayu suggests they take her to the hospital; um, I don't think melting is something you can really recover from. But it doesn't matter, as the army arrives and demands Lucy be handed over.

Thankfully this chapter moves on nicely from the extremely ill-thought out previous one, and brings us back to emotional scenes with all our surviving heroes, letting us know they'l be able to move on from this in some way. Of course, there's still some time for things to get worse again so I'm not counting anyone as a definite survivor yet.
 
Chapter 105: Why

The leader is among the soldiers at the lighthouse, and has a bit of an important moment with Lucy. One more last minute revelation? Kouta tells the others to leave, as he wants to handle this without getting them hurt. Lucy tells him to stop being such an idiot, and finally lets out a "nyu" and says everything she's done would be pointless if Kouta died here. Then she has time for one last Crowning Moment Of Awesome, as she surrenders her body to the murderous personality so it gets to experience her incredibly painful final moments. Though it turns out not so much, as her vectors are still strong as ever and it uses them to kill the leader and the soldiers, then moves on to the town again. So, that important moment between Lucy and the leader was just another pointless moment then. Then the vectors head for Kouta, but Lucy and Nyu are able to project themselves to protect him. Bit of an Ass Pull, but quite emotionally satisfying. Lucy reminds him of his promise to kill her if she ever killed anyone again, so it looks like the series still isn't done with pouring on the tragedy.

And what do you know, it gets worse. Though thankfully Arakawa is probably still alive, so that whole thing wasn't entirely a Shoot the Shaggy Dog. And even though Kouta was never as involved in the main plot as much as I would have liked, his actions here definitely justify developing him so much as our de facto main character.
 
Chapter 106: If Someday

Lucy and Nyu explain that they can only stop the other personality on a subconcious level and can't kill it, so Kouta has to do the job. Then the conversation shifts to Kouta and Lucy as kids on the beach, where she tells him to go to the tree where she buried that letter. Yay, the last lingering plot thread is brought back. Things really move into Tearjerker as she says she'll always remember him even as he grows older and has grandchildren. Lucy and Nyu start to weaken, so Kouta picks up Kurama's gun but can't shoot. But Nyu takes charge one more time, putting the gun back into his hands with a vector, and with one last look at the people he's protecting, he pulls the trigger, conveyed through narration only. Somehow that just makes it even more poignant.

After one major Tearjerker of an ending for Lucy and Nyu, Kouta's also left permanently affected by what's just happened. And yet he also has a better understanding of himself and can one day possibly come to terms with what happened in the past because of it. That gives real meaning to the whole story and really does make him the main character in retrospect. Now all that's left to do is give some indication of where these characters I've grown so attached to will end up, and I'll actually be sorry to leave them. That's definitely the mark of a great writer.

edited 12th Feb '10 9:10:13 AM by Eegah

 
Chapter 107: Conclusion

It's spring again, and all the girls have just finished fixing the inn back up. This includes a pretty funny bit where Nana's arm falls off, and Mayu barely reacts. They pick Kouta up from the hospital, and he narrates that it's been four months since last chapter. Arakawa was able to mass produce the vaccine and save humanity, but she's still haunted by her involvement in the first place. He's brought back to the present by promising to never leave Yuka.

In the underground lake, Anna suddenly shoots out of the water, back to normal. What? Where? Who? The bodyguard's also there, still alive due to the diclonius falling off the sinking island before they attacked him. Anna tries to think of where the exit is, but has a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when she realizes her mind is normal again too. Followed by a Crowning Moment of Funny when the bodyguard asks if her former body is edible.

Wanta wanders outside, where it appears that Nana's visiting a memorial to Kurama in the garden. I'm not buying it, since Okamoto pulled a fakeout exactly like this in his excellent one shot Allumage (seriously, check it out, it's also up on onemanga). Sure enough, Kurama's right behind her, and the memorial is really for Mariko. They have more cute conversation, but Wanta wanders away before we hear the end.

Next Wanta goes past a poster of the mother of Lucy's friend, though the onemanga edition didn't translate the text so I don't know what it means. Little help, please? He goes to the beach, where Mayu is still cleaning up litter in honor of Bandou. But then Bandou reveals to her that he's still alive with mechanical legs, and she runs over and hugs him. He accepts it in another Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.

Everyone goes to the festival and seems to have moved on with their lives, while Kouta goes to the tree Lucy told him about. There's a strange little montage of him waiting there through all kinds of weather, then a two page spread of a photo-realistic landscape. Nice Scenery Porn, but what's the point?

Ah, but that was actually a Time Skip over ten years, and Kouta now has a daughter named Nyu. They adorably argue over her being allowed to play in this area like Kouta used to, and Nyu finally finds the letter that Lucy buried. You're not very bright, are you, Kouta? Also in the jar is the stone that Kouta gave Lucy, and the letter says she'll always cherish it. A couple pages are dedicated to the Tearjerker this moment deserves, then twin girls, one named Kaede, come and say they're waiting for an important friend. This gets Kouta smiling again.

A pretty decent wrapup, touching on almost all the characters I really cared about, though I remain puzzled by Nozomi. Despite giving the series its title, we spent so little time with her over the series and didn't even find out if she ever recovered her voice to pursue her lifelong dream. Also, Mayu's mother and stepfather getting Karma Houdinis really doesn't sit well with me, and what are we to make of Anna and the bodyguard being seemingly trapped forever beneath the ocean? Other than that, though, some very well done emotional moments that sends the series off well.

So, there were a few parts that could have been better and the climax was a bit of a cocktease, but I definitely don't regret reading this series. It features a truly masterful blend of different emotions and a wonderful variety of characters so that anyone can have a favorite as long as they can stomach some gorn along with it. The character development is also top notch, with every action being completely true to each character based on their current status. I'll definitely be following Okamoto's current series Nononono as onemanga gets their hands on it.

edited 12th Feb '10 10:00:14 AM by Eegah

 
 135 Sabbo, Fri, 12th Feb '10 4:29:45 PM from Australia Relationship Status: Baby don't hurt me!
Huh. I didn't pick up on that poster being a character we'd met before. Hang on a moment...

...I can't seem to translate most of it; the writing's too small.

Babelfish translates the big kanji as "Takeda love" though.
 136 Gojirob, Wed, 23rd Jun '10 6:17:59 PM from New Jersey Shore
I wouldn't say Mayu's Parents-In-Name-Only were Karma Houdini material—they are stuck with each other, presuming he didn't leave her the instant his preference ran away. She has to be among the thirty worst parents in animanga, and maybe among the top 100 for all lousy fictional parents. Disbelief? Denial? No—-JEALOUSY!!!
The Go-To For Accurate, Thorough Information about Elfen Lied : http://elfen-lied.wikia.com/wiki/Elfen_Lied_Wiki
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Man, I can't resist the urge to dig it up after reading. Though I think there may be something lost in translation in the version you read. But this really is one epic commentry(gotta use this movie industry word) on top of one epic manga!
If you see me I'm on an accidental Archive Binge.
Thanks for reading. This was a ton of fun, and now I'm really glad to have gotten it in before Onemanga shut down. I've since watched the anime too; it was a big letdown but did have its moments, plus it was very cool to recognize the voice of Madlax as a regular girl.
 
Nyuu!

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