|“||Your friend. Her name is Lucy. She's my younger brother's daughter.||”|
–Professor Kakuzawa, telling a lie so big even he doesn't fully realize its depths.
There's little stability to be had in the world of Elfen Lied. If the residents of Maple House found joy in aiding Mayu, their newest resident, it was short-lived as another of their residents vanished from their lives and left everyone worrying. For fifteen chapters early in the series, yet taking only a day or two in story-time, the main character effectively leaves the stage, but her world is seen in savage relief from the shadow she casts.
Forced to bring the infantile Nyu with them to their college classes, Yuka and Kouta find that she cannot help but draw attention to herself (even drawing the attention of Bando in the manga), a trait made ten times worse when she is recognized by the class's acerbic instructor, Professor Kakuzawa. Besides his prior association with his father's secretive Diclonius Research Institute, he himself is the one who created the holes in security that permitted Lucy's bloody escape, and he soon corners the cousins on the subject of Nyu's custody. The unworldly couple are no match for the crafty, fast-talking schemer, who claims to be Nyu's uncle, and gets them to agree to leave her with him, despite pain and tears from all three. It is only back at home, when the younger but more streetwise Mayu questions these claims, that the young couple realize they may have made a mistake.
Professor Kakuzawa's poor reputation seems to be all too true as he prepares to rape and impregnate the helpless Nyu for the sake of undermining his father's plans (at least his stated ones) in favor of pursuing his own glory. When his efforts once again awaken Lucy, he attempts to treat with her, speaking of his own family as a hidden race of Diclonius. Whether Lucy believes his claims quickly becomes moot as she kills him, leaving his dead body to be found by a returning Kouta and the Professor's overworked assistant, Doctor Arakawa, who urges Kouta's silence on the whole matter.Mayu, however much less naive she is than her guardians, shows for the first time her own special form of denial as she once more encounters Bando, shrugging off his recovery. His suspicions are aroused concerning Nyu, but Mayu is able to engage the hard man the way few others could. Yet for her, keeping quiet about Nyu is only in the same league as keeping watch for Wanta's former owner as she walks him. The latter never comes to be a concern, the former will haunt her in time.
While Lucy varies between her murderous self and reverting to Nyu, Kouta and Yuka undertake a search for her that places them in close proximity, where feelings tender and sexual erupt between them. As this occurs (in the manga), Lucy reflects on the grim childhood events that made her who and what she is, culminating in her brutal and misguided murder of Kouta's father and sister. In both versions, as she attempts to leave Kouta once and for all, Lucy finds both her guilt and need to be near him overwhelming. She collapses entirely amid an attempt at confession, and Nyu returns to dominance for a short time in the anime, a much longer one in the manga.
This seeming extended journey to and from the series' status quo carries much within it. Once more, we see the straightforward, civil world within Maple House is no match for the world of secrets, lies and dark agendas that lurks all around them. Their steadfastness is their strength, but dealing with Lucy and the Kakuzawas can easily make it a weakness. Mayu, while wiser about certain things, still operates with a worldview similar to how she thought her pattern of life while homeless could be sustained. Kouta's mind has begun its journey back, but that path will still be long. Yuka gains part of her answer about Kouta's feelings, but her own feelings about propriety make those difficult to act on. Lucy is for the first time definitively revealed to have regrets while still engaging in the same murderous patterns she has fallen into. She finds she cannot be free of Kouta nor can she free him by confessing her crimes against him. Even Arakawa, only briefly seen in these sequences, will soon learn a hard lesson in assumptions.
Every last one of these patterns would only escalate as the series continued.
|“||What are you saying? Kaede House is your home, right?!||”|
–Kouta, telling a truth so big none present can realize its depths.