|“||These iron balls are two kilograms each.||”|
–The Unknown Man, almost bragging about the non-conventional nature of his cruel weapon
The Crossbow is a specialized weapon used by three characters in the later chapters of the Elfen Lied manga.
In the series
Rather than firing traditional crossbow bolts, called quarrels, it uses heavy-weight spiked balls coated with neurotoxins, and seems to be designed first and foremost for the disabling and torture of Diclonius. While it was first used by the sadistic operative of Chief Kakuzawa called the Unknown Man, no evidence exists as to whether he designed or built it, though its grim nature and total negation of target resistance is in keeping with his personality. It is not known how he practiced with it, or whether it was used directly against captive Diclonius, though it seems likely.
This weapon is first seen during Unknown Man's invasion of Maple House, and is first used against Nana, twice within a short amount of time, and a threat is made to disfigure a resistant defiant Mayu with it as well. It is used next against Bando after he rescues Mayu from being raped by Unknown Man. When Bando manages to continue his attack on Unknown Man, he flees and the weapon is taken by Bando and used against Lucy when Bando faces her down on the beachfront. When Bando was seemingly killed by Lucy, his body and that of Unknown Man had been removed by the next morning, along with all evidence of a battle.
It next turned up in the possession of the Agent as she faced down the uprising of Clone Diclonii during the destruction of the Diclonius Research Institute and tried to rescue Doctor Arakawa, the only person who knew about the Anti-Diclonius birth vaccine, though the sheer mass and crush of attackers left the weapon soon without ammo. Discarded, the crossbow was not seen again in the series and likely sank along with the island that contained the Institute.
Design & Questions
As stated above, the process and story behind this weapon's creation are wholly unknown, although again it seems that Unknown Man had a say in how its capabilities were realized. The construction of its frame and the materials used are also unknown, and raise questions about whether it could exist in real life. Traditional crossbows must be of a sturdy material, and even the smallest models can be of an appreciable weight. Traditional quarrels/bolts depend not on weight, but the power of impact, to see through to their targets, though the tip itself can be of a heavier material to maximize the power of the strike. In effect, the specialized crossbow in this series would have to be extraordinarily heavy, in both the bow itself and the ammo used, bringing its effectiveness into question, since Unknown Man was not shown to have strength greater than a man of his build should have had. In addition, the crossbow is sometimes shown being hidden and then used suddenly, surprising the targeted, as though it were a smaller lighter handgun. Given the super-science at play in many parts of Elfen Lied, the existence of a light-weight yet sturdy material used to build the crossbow itself is not out of the question. Yet no such material is mentioned, so this is only speculation, and again its real-life use as a mobile weapon capable of being carried and fired with one hand seems at least very doubtful. It seems more likely it could exist as a mobile tripod mount-based weapon.
Even if all its capabilities and design matters go wholly unquestioned, its effectiveness in-series is also in question. In Nana's case, her increased resistance to pain made her emerge from her wounds more quickly, though she was still largely disabled for most of that fight and the beach fight that follows. Bando was able to use his own resistance to pain along with his artificial hand to remove the toxin-spiked ball without poisoning himself further. In addition, these spiked balls, once used on one target, had their neurotoxin coating diluted as a result, making its use by Bando against Lucy one of several things that were rendered less effective than Bando planned in their final fight. Finally, while The Agent was not relying solely on it, the Crossbow proved largely worthless once its ammunition was depleted. Much like the Unknown Man himself, the Crossbow is most memorable for the terror of its few appearances and its rapidly being outdone as a threat.