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The Beginning ~ Beginn ( German: Start / Beginning ) is the eighth episode of the Elfen Lied anime series. Series directed by Mamoru Kanbe; created by Lynn Okamoto; produced by ARMS Corporation.

Plot

Nana reacts in shock as the other residents of the Maple House rush to the aid and defense of Nyu, who Nana only sees as the vicious Lucy. Believing that her innocent confusion is an act meant to fool her, Nana moved to renew her attack, only to be slapped by Kouta and warned not to attack Nyu again. As Mayu frets, blaming herself for bringing Nana home, Nana protests that Lucy is evil, and wonders why no one can see this but her. Amidst their continued concern for the now-unconscious Nyu, the tearful Nana leaves, with Mayu going after her.

Mayu and Wanta approach Nana while she again wonders why no one can see how she is the good one. Mayu tries to return her money bag, but Nana tells her to keep it, angry at how Mayu and the others at the Maple House treated her. Nana tries to run away, but Mayu holds onto her arm, which comes off in a panicked Mayu's hands. Arriving at a nearby shrine, they sit down to talk after this, she tells her that she was wrong to attack Nyu, but Nana again insists that she deserves much worse than that. Mayu then asks why Nana keeps calling Nyu, 'Lucy.'

At the Diclonius Research Institute, a copter descends to the helipad, bearing Arakawa, the assistant of the late Professor Kakuzawa, who is holding a bag in one hand while covering her mouth to prevent motion sickness with the other. Greeted by Shirakawa, Arakawa notes her host is silent as she guides her (also conscious of her not having bathed recently) to see Chief Kakuzawa in his office. Her questions about why her package could not have gone forward without her go unanswered. The package contains the head of Professor Kakuzawa, gruesomely displayed on his father's desk. A nervous Arakawa then tries to excuse herself, only to be told she had seen too much when the Professor's horns were exposed, and she is incredulous as Chief Kakuzawa shoots her as she tries to flee.

Mayu refuses to believe the tale Nana tells her of Lucy and her atrocities, including her bloody escape and savaging of Nana, so Nana removes her arm and then begins a demonstration of her vectors, telling Mayu that she and Lucy are not Human, and the horns are only part of what makes them different.

The Chief tells a disbelieving, bleeding Arakawa that if she does not wish to bleed to death, she must tell him of the second person to see his son's horns since a second set of footprints was at the scene. Arakawa says that a student was the other person, but given her panic at finding the Professor's body, she can barely recall his face, let alone his name as the Chief repeatedly demands. Blood loss and pain cause her to collapse and bemoan her fate, as the Chief mockingly laments that his son's positive assessment of Arakawa now seems misplaced. On the floor, Arakawa strains to recall that the student in question was looking for a girl he had left in the Professor's custody, but that this girl had left by the time they got to the lab. Directing Shirakawa to call for medical attention for Arakawa, the Chief also demands she take his son's place in the research wing of his hierarchy.

Nana demonstrates her power by slicing through a guardian 'Jizou' statue-post, calling it like having invisible hands, and reattaching her arm as a further demonstration, showing how she also uses the power to manipulate her artificial limbs. Mayu realizes that the horrific battle she witnessed between Nana and Lucy was no dream and that Bando was telling the truth. Nana insists that Lucy and her are nothing alike and that she never does anything bad and always tries to be good. Nana then has a moment of panic when she realizes that she has violated the instructions given to her by 'Papa' Kurama not to reveal anything about herself. Mayu insists anew that Nyu is nothing like the person Nana describes, is a joy to be around, always happy, and has never shown evidence of having the same power as Nana. Nana also comes to realize that despite Nyu obviously being Lucy, she never once sensed Lucy's presence. She begins to tear up, torn by the dilemma of being able to easily defeat Lucy when she is Nyu, but not wishing to fight someone who cannot fight back. Mayu pleads with her not to do such a thing, and Nana cries in confusion.

At Maple House, Kouta and Yuka attend to Nyu, who seems to be inexplicably running a fever. Yuka insists that they should take her to a hospital, but Kouta, recalling Arakawa's words about the fate of horned people, says it's too big a risk. Nyu opens her eyes, causing a distant Nana to start suddenly, concerning Mayu as she realizes that it is Lucy who has reawakened. Kouta hears her whisper his name, but neither he nor Yuka sense anything is wrong.

At the Institute, Kurama questions the wisdom of bringing in an outsider like Arakawa, but Kakuzawa insists that she is the only one familiar with the work done by his late son. Kurama says that many a classified lab can handle the search for a vaccine, but the Chief scoffs at this notion of a vaccine, saying he is interested in the virus itself. He views it and Lucy's presence as confirmation of his theory that Humanity is on an inevitable path to extinction, and that he is set to do God's work in remaking the world. Kurama questions his sanity, which prompts Chief Kakuzawa to remind Kurama of an enormous debt he owes. He also reveals that he knows Kurama let Nana live and is now set to send a figure he calls Number 35 out to terminate Nana and also recapture Lucy. He warns Kurama against further instances of disloyalty.

Kouta and Yuka continue to attend Nyu, not realizing Lucy has now awoken, although she is still ill and frail. To their shock, she arises from her futon and stumbles about, complaining about things she can't remember and vowing to teach Nana a lesson before collapsing and being taken back to her futon-bed by Kouta. Yuka departs to her mother's house, hoping to find some medicine for Nyu/Lucy's fever. Lucy is clearly resentful of her weakness, as well as Yuka's admonition to keep her hands to herself while Yuka is away. Kouta vows to stay by her side all night but is at a loss as to how to reduce her fever. Lucy begins to sink into memories of her childhood, as the similar words spoken by an orphanage attendant awakens them.

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Lucy finds a puppy. Will this cure her loneliness?

The attendant leaves the side of young Lucy and goes outside her room to talk with another attendant, both of whom speak dismissively of her many fevers. They also say how she is not like a 'normal' kid and speak rather loudly of how none of the other children care for her either. Deciding she would rather be outside than near such people, she collapses on the outside grounds, suddenly greeted by a puppy she sometimes cares for, telling it not to be concerned for her. Her assertion of getting used to being alone is in marked contrast to her tears as the puppy tries to cheer her.

Her next memory comes as the orphanage bully ringleader Tomoo shouts at her, calling her a freak and mocking her for the milk he and his gang have poured on her schoolbag. Tripping and pushing her repeatedly, he also mocks her outsider status and says her parents abandoned her because of her horns. The abuse is finally broken up by the timely arrival of a young girl who calls for a teacher, chasing Tomoo and his bunch off. She offers aid to young Lucy, who asserts that, since everyone in that place is unhappy and miserable, they all seek out anyone who is more miserable than they. The girl helps Lucy clean her schoolbag, and tells her she does not need to be alone, offering to be her friend and confidant. That night, Lucy feeds her puppy as best she can, but the food she can spare is just not enough. Lucy warns the pup against going too near to the orphanage, fearing what would happen if the other kids found it, and laments her lack of strength in being unable to protect the puppy. That night, she has dreams in which invisible arms come out of her and wakes up to hand-prints all over her room's walls and ceiling, the sight of which terrifies her.

Deciding to take a risk, Lucy tells the girl about the puppy and shows it to her as well, gaining a promise of the girl's leftover food to help feed him, and her solemn word not to tell anyone else about the puppy. Soon after, Lucy is taunted by Tomoo and his gang, who have found and are holding the puppy. Happy to see the otherwise-controlled Lucy upset, they demand she cry, or they will hurt the puppy. When Lucy kicks Tomoo instead, he has his gang member kick the dog across the room, and then start to beat it to death with a vase. The girl enters, asking them to stop, only for them to reveal it was she who told them about the dog, leaving Lucy devastated and broken inside. The girl protests that she didn't know they were going to hurt the dog, who at last stops yelping and then stops moving. The laughter of the bullies combines with Lucy possibly seeing a hidden smile on the girl's face and causes her to proclaim that it is they who are not Human, unleashing her power for the first time, staining the room with the blood of the others as she tears them apart.

Burying the small dog, Lucy apologizes to it and wonders why this has to happen, merely because she is a little different. Covering her horns as though to deny them, she hears some music play. A boy nearby picks up the music box this came from and stares at her, and she at him. It is young Kouta.

The gears never stop spinning, yet never mesh. Even a ray of light does nothing but emphasize the depth of her own darkness. Yet what good are memories without meaning? On the next Elfen Lied, Episode Nine : Reminiscence.

Trivia

  • A divide exists among fans as to whether or not the orphanage girl who revealed the puppy to the bullies did so deliberately, making her entire friendship with Lucy part of a trick and trap. Evidence exists both for these and for her merely being loose-lipped and easily duped.
  • This episode is the first not to follow the basic chapter/event flow of the manga, a trend which will be repeated and accelerated for the rest of the anime's run.
  • The use and existence of the music box take the place of several plot elements involving the character of Nozomi, who appears in the manga but not the anime. By one account, this was a sore point between Mamoru Kanbe (the anime's director) and Lynn Okamoto.

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