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Quagmire ~ Taumeln

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Quagmire ~ Taumeln ( German: To Tumble / Stagger ) is the twelfth episode of the Elfen Lied anime series. Series directed by Mamoru Kanbe; created by Lynn Okamoto; produced by ARMS Corporation.

Plot

Nana, now like a broken stripped doll in the hands of the childishly vicious Mariko, is dropped on the ground from a great height, bleeding from the mouth upon impact. The entire support team is disgusted by this display, with Isobe insisting that she end her misery and just kill her. Mariko refuses, citing that Nana is the only one she's allowed to kill on this mission and that she doesn't want to end the 'fun' of playing with her before she dies.

Nana tries to reassemble her body, but only manages to re-attach her two arms before she is hoisted up by Mariko's vectors again, and cast down once more. As she is dragged over and again raised up, Shirakawa realizes that to Mariko, this is no different than tearing the wings off of an insect. Mariko taunts the suspended Nana, held upside down, who whispers a plea to her papa.

In the distance, Bando and Kurama begin to approach the battleground/bridge via speedboat, while Kouta and Nyu approach the primary police blockade, only to find that the soldiers and police present are all unconscious.

Shirakawa declares the game at an end, to which the now-bored Mariko agrees, much to the continued disgust of those assembled. As Nana again hits the ground, Kouta comes running up to aid her, a factor that shocks the whole group, both for his apparent relationship with her and the mystery of how he got past the blockade. As Nana pulls her leg back on, she begs him to leave and also pleads her attackers to leave him alone. Mariko asks permission to kill the boy as well. Isobe learns that the Kamakura blockade is down, and Shirakawa decides to have a talk with him since it's unheard of for a human and a Diclonius to have bonded outside the lab. Isobe considers this insane, and orders Mariko to kill Nana immediately. Mariko's vectors sweep past Shirakawa, knocking Nana and Kouta about. Nana pushes Kouta aside, getting slammed once again against the railing of the bridge by Mariko, who wheels herself over to further batter Nana.

Mariko expresses her anger that Nana has friends, something she does not and can probably never have, as she begins to strangle Nana. But now, Mariko is close enough so that Nana, no stranger to even intense pain, can lash out with her ability to disable Mariko's vectors. To Kouta's horror, Nana falls through the damaged bridge railing while Nyu comes running up. Isobe calls for a swim team to recover Nana while the assault team stares at Nyu, who they only see as Lucy. Shirakawa tries to restrain Kouta, while Isobe urges Mariko to attack Lucy. Mariko responds that Nyu is not Lucy, and then tearfully announces that her 'arms' will no longer come out, at which point Isobe withdraws her from the battle scene. Kouta breaks away from Shirakawa and tries to make a run for it with Nyu. Despite Shirakawa's pleas, Isobe orders an all-out assault on Nyu and Kouta, and a massive hail of bullets flies towards them.

At the Maple House, Yuka bemoans Kouta's connections to and determination to help Nana and Nyu, two girls that he barely even knows. Mayu counters that she is the same way and that Kouta feels the need to help those like herself, Nana, and Nyu who have nowhere else to go, while viewers see a picture of Kanae. Yuka begins to tell of a tragedy that may have shaped Kouta in this way but stops before telling Mayu anything more. Mayu says that Maple House is the only home she's ever known, with Nana and Nyu as her sisters, Kouta as the father, and Yuka as the mother. Yuka blushes and starts at this while Mayu optimistically asserts that this situation will be resolved and see everyone they love safe at home again.

On the bridge/battleground between Kamakura and Enoshima, every bullet fired at Kouta and Nyu's position falls harmlessly to the ground. Kouta is as stunned as anyone else by this, and turns around and looks at Nyu—or rather who he sees as Nyu. Lucy has returned, causing Shirakawa to realize why Lucy has been able to lay low for so long, owing to the personality switch. She approaches the confused Kouta, warning him that the girl before him is not who he thinks she is, only to have Lucy split her in two at the waist, with Shirakawa's last thoughts being an apology to Kurama, for whom she had feelings. Kouta observes this in horror and begins to break down. He screams, as memories of young Lucy calling him a liar amidst streams of blood take over.

Lucy hurls herself into the fight with the soldiers, changing from what seems a suicide charge to a powered leap over to the next bridge. She pauses only to look at the panicked and pained Kouta while casually deflecting another hail of automatic gunfire, then again jumping the bridges till she is right in the center of her attackers, who she takes apart with chilling ease and obvious pleasure. Kouta fully realizes that Lucy/Nyu is the girl he met when he came to Kamakura eight years ago. His memories of that time return, at last, playing out in a tragic and bloody conclusion.

His mind flashes back to the Kamakura festival eight years ago, watching Yuka vainly attempt to match or beat his record at a carving game. His light teasing of her shifts into her tears about his imminent departure and how they won't be able to see each other for a long time. As he comforts and teases her to stop, Kouta realizes he thinks he saw the young Lucy around but turns to walk with Yuka as they wonder where Kanae is. A group of panic-stricken people pushes past them in a frenzy, confusing the children until Kouta's Father finds them. He tells them that he's heard that people died when a bomb went off. Angered that they lost track of Kanae, they find her quickly, crying and sprayed with blood she says came from people she saw killed. Kouta's father decides to take his family and leave Kamakura for their home in Hokkaido.

At Gokurakuji Train Station, Yuka asks Kouta to come back next year and has him promise not to forget her. Kouta says that he'll come back and that he won't forget her because he likes her, while she promises to wait as long as she has to for him, and again warns him against not forgetting her. For her trouble, Yuka gets kicked in the leg by a jealous Kanae, who is bratty towards both Kouta's chastisement and Yuka's strained attempt to be gracious about it. As his family leaves, Kouta looks around one last time for the girl he befriended, before joining his father and sister aboard the train.

As the train pulls away, Yuka waves goodbye to Kouta and he to her before they lose sight of each other. Closing the window, he asks Kanae why she seems so down, to which Kanae angrily calls him a dummy, deserving of death at the hands of the 'horned girl' she insists killed people at the festival. The two break into an argument, with Kanae insisting on her story, while Kouta is disbelieving and even calling her a liar. Despite their father's admonition to calm down, they continue fighting as Kanae crosses the train car to get away from Kouta, yelling that Kouta is a "big dummy," and that she is not a liar. Behind the divide in the train car seats, young Lucy emerges and walks up behind Kanae. As Kanae sees her, she begins to panic and backs away from Lucy, until Kouta sees her and tells her he is glad to see her, not knowing she was on the train as well. Kanae again warns him of what she saw Lucy do at the festival, and again he is dismissive. Lucy glares coldly at Kouta and calls him a liar.

A secondary flashback begins of how the two met and played together and became close friends, ending in the present day as Lucy brutally finishes off every last soldier sent against her. Kouta recalls the request she made in childhood, for him to kill her if she ever were to go out of control, killing a lot of people. As Kouta watches the last soldier fall, he is still attempting to deny the harsh realities he is confronted with concerning Nyu, his childhood friend, and the killer before his eyes. As Lucy begins to hum Lilium, Kouta recalls buying his treasured music box at a Kamakura gift shop, liking the song despite the fact that Yuka and Kanae think it's too sad. Kouta again sees the pivotal role it played in his meeting Lucy as his mind switches between past and brutal present.

Kouta then recalls sitting on the beach the day he met Lucy, talking with Yuka and receiving a gift of seashells from Kanae. Kouta remembers giving Lucy her cap, and then his memories switch to the train car, with Lucy calling him a liar.

As her vectors reach out to strike, Kanae moves and pushes Lucy over, telling Kouta that they need to run away and get out of here. Kouta reacts to this by angrily slapping Kanae in the face, calling her crazy and a liar, and vowing that, if she doesn't apologize to his friend, he will hate her forever. Kanae tearfully begs him not to hate her. Lucy is unfazed by this and coldly attacks Kanae by slicing her in half at the waist. Kanae dies instantly, her blood splattering all over her big brother's face and body. Kouta is completely startled by this and stares at his now dead little sister's body in shock and horror. A close-up look on her face reveals her last tears. He realizes that he can now never take back what he said. He begins to scream, drawing his father's attention. Lucy beheads Kouta's father, his head falling at his son's feet. It happens so quickly; he barely has time to see his daughter's dead body.

Kouta at first disbelieving, questions whether or not the girl killed his family, then tearfully asks her why she did this to him since he thought they were friends. She responds that she didn't kill him because they were friends. She then says that she will go and kill another girl who Kouta realizes is Yuka. With the threat to his only remaining loved one in the air, Kouta pounces on Lucy, holding her down and shaking her, demanding that she stop. At some point, Lucy's face changes from shock to realization of the irrevocable harm she has done.

In the present, Isobe crawls away from the fiasco and slaughter. Kouta asserts that he now remembers everything from his past, and angrily denounces Lucy as the one who destroyed and ruined his life eight years ago. He further demands to know who and what she is, in hopes that this can help him make sense of the chaotic events surrounding them. Lucy says that none of that can help him and that it has nothing to do with him. Kouta angrily counters that the murder of his family at her hands makes it his concern and business. Despite his apparent anger, Kouta does not hesitate to push Lucy down when someone fires a gun at her.

It is Bando, who arrived too late to engage Mariko, Kurama's likely intended target, but more than happy to use this opportunity to seek revenge on Lucy for his defeat and maiming. As he keeps firing, Lucy kicks Kouta away from her, fleeing to the other bridge section as she had before. Bando fires at her nonstop as he gives chase. Lucy tells Kouta as they pass one another to wait for and meet her at the stone steps overlooking the sea.

The prayer was never heard. The penitence has lost all meaning. Will a newly remembered sin shatter the longing, compassion and love that sprung from the absence of memory? Like the tragic fragile song that the elfen sing. On the next Elfen Lied, The Last Episode : No Return.

Trivia

  • The episode offers no explanation as to how or why the police and soldiers at the Kamakura end of the blockade were knocked out, or whether they were still alive. It seems possible they were rendered so by Nana on her way to confront Mariko, but nothing is shown to confirm, deny, or support any supposition. Using what is shown on-screen, it is an unresolvable plot-hole. However, if Nana did attack the soldiers and police on the bridge, then it's possible that she merely used her vectors to knock them all unconscious, instead of killing them, due to her good nature. This scenario is just speculation, however, since Nana was not explicitly shown to have such an ability.
  • In Manga Chapter 105, Nana says to Mayu at the lighthouse incident that it is easy for her to knock the attacking soldiers over. (And Mayu stops it.) So assuming that the anime Nana and the manga Nana has something in common, it seems to be a rational inference that Nana knocked out the policemen in the anime episode 12. It is, however, to be noted the Japanese word used in that manga situation is "yattsukeru", a colloquial expression, which in most cases means, "to beat, knock somebody over, or make an attack," but with less probability, it could also mean "to kill." Again, though, in the anime, this ability is not raised.
  • This controversy could raise another dispute about Nana's nature and diclonii characteristics as a whole. It could be that Nana, too has the destructive instinct but she somehow acquired the ability to control it. It could be "nurture placed above nature."

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