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My first thought was, he lied in every word, That hoary cripple, with malicious eye, Askance to watch the working of his lie On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford Suppression of the glee, that purs’d and scor’d Its edge, at one more victim gain’d thereby.

Robert Browning, Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came

Chief (or Director) Kakuzawa is both a stereotypical villainous mastermind and yet at the same time, very atypical. His plans threaten the protagonists, and indeed the whole world, yet these plans are also easily picked apart for all their flaws and misjudgments. The one he, by his professed racial standards, he should hold in the greatest contempt is instead his most well-loved child, perhaps the only thing in the world he does love. Of the characters seen throughout the series' run, he directly interacts with only two of these. His downfall comes not from the cleverness of those who oppose him, but from simple facts, almost anyone could have told him, were he not who he was. His demeanor and the damage he causes mark him as a Palpatine; his failures almost mark him as a Doofenshmirtz. Never portrayed as anything other than an intelligent, ruthless opponent, how could a man grasp so much and yet miss so much, all at the same time? While we could allow that these seeming plot holes were the result of a first-time mangaka's efforts to keep a long series disparate elements flowing together, perhaps there is another explanation as to why a man so intelligent made so many incredibly foolish, and ultimately fatal, errors in judgment.

As mentioned elsewhere, the Chief engaged in frequent hubris, to the point of wishing to displace God himself. But the Chief was also raised in the pseudo-religious dogma of his family, and as brought up in the companion article, his views on what the title of God meant are unclear. Besides this, the Chief was a scientific genius (or at least a man well versed enough to transact with geniuses) on an island full of scientists and others also fairly well versed, and with a sharp strategic mind capable of outmaneuvering enemies all over the map, even turning their efforts to serve his cause. In each of these situations, he also made blunders that are a nonsequitur for how well he planned on all other fronts. His delusions may, in fact, explain all of this.

First and foremost among his delusions is a spoiler for much of the series: Neither the Chief nor members of his family were Diclonius (save one). Their heritage was all about a scalp deformity that somehow got passed on. Again, the Chief was a man of science surrounded by same, and at times seemingly possessed of technologies that can only be called super-science. So how could a man of wit and resources fail to tumble to so simple a fact?

One solution is a question never asked. Since the Kakuzawas' supposed Diclonius heritage was an article of faith (backed up by some historical records), it was never held up to scrutiny. The family members had horns, and these horns had a history, as muddled by fables these accounts had become.

Taken another step, since the Kakuzawas so firmly believed they were not Human, they took steps to see to it their DNA and blood samples never saw testing. If, as seems to be at least implied in the manga narrative, the family had built up power and wealth, this would like as not include medical doctors within the family, trained and kept within the family's beliefs. Perhaps, in turn, these quite literal family physicians found ways to overlook and discount the lack of differences between themselves and other Humans. After all, in that same false narrative was the relation of vast powers lost to them by intermarriage with non-horned Humans. Perfected by centuries of a fable never challenged, most trained in the sciences but raised in the family's beliefs would be able to compartmentalize whatever contradictory information they found safely.

Both further questions and some answers lie with the Chief's eldest son, Professor Kakuzawa, one of the most brilliant scientists in the series, and the original developer of the anti-Diclonius birth vaccine for which Doctor Arakawa took sole credit. For others, an explanation for blindness to the truth lies in the limits of their knowledge. When someone who transacts in the building blocks of life makes this same error, his similarities to his father show up in stark relief. Raised in the same beliefs, he is immersed enough in them that he dies spouting them to Lucy, whose murder of him foreshadows this plot point. His research was so bone-deep into the genetic nuts and bolts of his situation, it becomes harder to believe he found nothing to upset his world-view in all that.

So it becomes possible that some portion of father and son's minds did possess this knowledge, and formed their plans around it. Instead of discounting or shrugging off this certainty-shattering revelation, they went forward in a direction that seemed to originate in other corners of their world. Simply put, they chose to negotiate with this knowledge and its terrible burden, bargaining to make it not real. The Professor sought leverage over creatures some portion of his mind knew were not the natural allies his family held them to be, and even tried to forcibly impregnate Lucy to create children who would make their lie real. The Chief went further still, deciding that, if he were a being apart from the Diclonius, he would be the ultimate being apart - God himself, at the very least in their eyes.

This hubris takes the journey to the next significant flaw in his plans, being the fundamental inability of Silpelit Diclonii to take over the world as he envisioned. Humans, the vaccine aside, could and did take steps to halt further births. Also, since the Silpelits would like as not be sterile, even if they did take over, it would be for all of a generation before they died out as well, and more rapidly to boot from doubled aging.

Assuming again that some part of the Chief's psyche knew his lineage was a fabrication, the desire to become God of a new species that would barely outlast the one it replaced seems even odder. Using this increasingly twisted if not tortured viewpoint, if the new species faded rapidly, and saw him as its divine patron before their end, he would be the last God sentient life on Earth would ever know. A pyrrhic victory, but one a fragile ego which was hide-bound by family lore might be willing to accept in its more lucid moments.

It is possible to defend on a logic basis the Chief's behavior in his final meeting with Lucy. The larger world had shown her the back of its hand, even independent of her crimes. Her dream was in place, set to begin, at last, a world created just for her. She was a broken thing, by most lights unable to return to Maple House, now that her sins were known to her 'family' and Nyu herself. There was a reason, perhaps good reason, to believe that this was the perfect time to seal his destiny.

Then again, the weight of his logic seemed to have been rejected by Lucy. Like his son, he was not the being he thought and proclaimed himself to be. Also, Lucy had just found out that the mother she assumed never cared for or about her, in fact, cared more than she could have ever dreamed. Her dogged quest to find her daughter had, in fact, led to her death and destruction at the hands of the man than making a dreary offer to mate with a child, the product of that rape. Lucy's mind was known to be sharp and strategic at times; it even seems possible she spotted the flaws in the Chief's Adam and Eve arrangement. Whatever Lucy saw or realized or reacted to (or seemingly failed to, in the case of the revelations about her mother), the greater question remains as to why the Chief did not see the possibility that his approach was one that might put Lucy off, as well it did.

Adding to these mysteries or perhaps inconsistencies are statements that make it seem like the Chief does understand these gaps in his logic. He stops Anna before she can tell him his dream will not come true, saying he knows she will say this. He also tells her that she will learn he is not such a cruel father, despite Anna's direct statements to him showing only loyalty and love. While the transformed Anna does indeed learn this later on, the lack of an accusatory tone from Anna indicates that he must realize that on some level, she resents what she has become and misses what she was.

Oddly enough, it is in Lucy's words to her half-brother, the Chief's son, that we may find the answer to all of this. Lucy tells her brother's headless body that their line, and all the misery that has attended it, must end. Lucy realizes her limitations, and now seeking Kouta for their last reunion is all her world. Similarly, at some point, the logical mind of the Chief realized all he seemingly denied. All the flaws in his plans are not flaws, they are part of a plan that the Chief realizes can only fail, but that there is no choice except to fulfill. He must honor his ancestors and all their pain, but on some level knows the Diclonius takeover will never occur. He plans his best to have Lucy repopulate the world, knowing this is impossible with just one incestuous couple. He tries to get Lucy to come over to his side, this in a way set to send her away, so that the pointless plan can fail for reasons he could not affect. The Chief, even more than Lucy herself, is trapped by all he has done and all he has known and is his puppet, an automaton with no choice but to carry out a plan that cannot possibly work. Dead, he may tell his ancestors he did his best; he honored them, and at no time sabotaged his plan, merely allowing factors beyond his control to play out in ways that absolved him of the responsibility of ignoring his lineage. In the process, he commits horrendous crimes against Humanity that may yet end the species, but if that effort fails, its burden is not on him. He promulgated the best plan available, knowing its wants and lacks were not repairable. Even his attempt to take divine honors takes on a new light, for who among his persecuted ancestors can say that a man who tried to become God to a new species did not try his level best?

In this one instance, we can almost find it in us to pity the foolish Chief. He imprisoned Lucy, he raped and imprisoned Lucy's Mother, made a mind-slave of one of his children, an amoral monster of another, hurt and destroyed many Silpelits, and shattered lives beyond counting. Even the one thing he truly loved, his imperfect daughter Anna, he brought to a time of pain and suffering. The world circled the drain of oblivion for all he caused. Of all in Elfen Lied, he was the most trapped, and the least able to extricate himself. In Brecht's play Galileo, a young man urges Galileo to recant his then-heresy about the universe, ostensibly so his commoner parents can live their remaining lives in blissful ignorance. For the Chief, it is worse: He must be mindful of why he will and in fact must fail in his demonstrated strategic mind while making himself also ignorant of all that, as he tries one last time to make the stories a hunted people told themselves to see through another day into reality. If he believed in a God like that of Western Monotheistic tradition, Chief Kakuzawa had to be prepared for that God's condemnation while avoiding the scorn of his ancestors' spirits. 

For his crimes and his duty ably fulfilled, the Chief's soul will likely never know peace, and in Hell, there would be no delusions to comfort him.


Until now, you have all sustained fantasies in which you are the maltreated heroes of your own stories. Comforting daydreams in which, ultimately, you are shown to be in the right. No more. For all of you, the dream is over. I have taken it away. For this is my judgment on you : that you shall know, at all times and forever, exactly what you are. And you shall know just how LITTLE that means.

Morpheus, Dream Of The Endless, Sandman, Volume 2 Issue 14

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