|“||Your head has horns. That is the proof that you're a superior Human.||”|
The Kakuzawa Family members are the leading antagonists of the Elfen Lied series in both the anime and manga versions.
In the series
There are five known family members, most of whom are covered in full articles of their own:
- Chief Kakuzawa: The series' true antagonist and father of three known children.
- Professor Kakuzawa: once referred to as Yu in the anime, and for the purposes of this article. He is the Chief's son, a scientific genius of low morals, and unsuccessfully attempted to scheme against his father with Lucy. He recruited Kurama, who succeeded him in his position as day-to-day operations manager at the Diclonius Research Institute.
- Anna Kakuzawa: The Chief's young daughter, born without the extraordinary intelligence most of her family seemed to have, but very loyal to her father and the child he seemed to genuinely love best of all. At her father's request, Anna undergoes an operation that compromises her humanity but makes her a living computer, able to calculate probabilities almost to the point of prophecy. Anna is a manga only character, and a rarity among characters, confirmed as possessing both a given and a family name.
- Anna's Grandmother: Nothing is known of this woman, and only a few words of dialogue confirm she is a firm advocate of the family's agenda. She is especially critical of Anna due to her poor grades. It is not known if her hair was merely a wig to hide any horns or if she was the Chief's mother or a mother-in-law, but due to Japanese family tradition, she was most likely his mother. She was only seen once in flashback, and is a manga-only character with no stated given name. Some fan translations have her mention Anna's older brothers, but it isn't known who these brothers are.
- Male Diclonius: A boy born of Chief Kakuzawa's rape of Lucy's captive mother, the only true Diclonius in the family's history according to the manga, as well as the only male Diclonius to be featured in the story. Fitted with a control device, he was intended to be a mate for his half-sister in order to keep the new Diclonius line pure. He was a manga-only character, with no stated given name.
While their backstory contains as many gaps as those of other families in this series, both the known and unknown facts of their existence reveal much and indicate even more.
The name 'Kakuzawa' literally translates as 'The Place/Valley Of Horns', and the family originated from the group known as Original Diclonii, though this comes into question as time goes on. It is not known what caused the first of this group to grown small vestigial flesh-mounds resembling horns atop their scalps, or exactly when the first of these births was seen in ancient Japan. One strong possibility is some manner of environmental factor, since more than one birth seems to have occurred. In any event, persecution by other tribes and villages caused these people to be hunted and killed. The manga and the anime differ in that the manga outright states these horned births to be unrelated to Lucy and the other modern Diclonius, while the anime may leave open the possibility the account of a connection was true. Whether true history or the myth of a hunted people, the family's stories told of vast powers once wielded by the horned clans, until intermarriage with non-horned Humans diluted the bloodline. Several questions about how this happened stand whether the account is truth or myth.
If persecuted, then intermarriage with normal Humans would only occur if spouses/mates were obtained through raids, or by taking in those also rejected by society for other reasons. This would by definition draw unwanted attention, even if the other scorned people were not actively searched for. Any place where people disappeared would eventually be searched, legends of demons or not. How the Kakuzawas overcame this is not known or hinted at, and more, accounts say that retreat to the island that eventually became home to the Diclonius Research Institute was eventually the group's only refuge. This does not make obtaining mates impossible, but it remains an open question of how this was accomplished. Their obsession with lineage would likely mean marrying within the family as often as possible, while not doing so to the point of birth defects and other limitations on such unions. It also seems likely that the Kakuzawas had some early knowledge of genetics from their time of deep persecution, at least to the point where they knew how often to marry within the family and when to diversify their line, even at the cost of their 'purity'.
The in-series' accounts also state that radioactivity in the underground grotto that became their home both furthered and sometimes radicalized their mutations, as well as eventually giving family members high resistance to radiation. By inference, the wilder mutations either stabilized or those afflicted with them were euthanized by their own clan. More difficult to ascertain is how the immunity to radiation was gained, since a widely-known side effect of radiation is sterility and another is life-threatening birth defects. Perhaps somehow these first Kakuzawas were shielded well enough to filter their exposure so that succeeding generations could live on just long enough to pass on genes now more used to radiation exposure, until the high resistance Chief Kakuzawa claimed.
Over the centuries, the underground grotto became kind of a hidden cemetery for the Kakuzawas, perhaps in part to keep any outsiders from examining their corpses. Their rise from the shadows to power and prominence is not inexplicable, but requires a look at what was said in-series and what is known of the area they called home in real life. If over time the wilder mutations stabilized or were excised, and if the family members became adept at keeping their secrets, then merchant and craft skills developed for survival would have enabled them to blend in among those they saw as another species, slowly but surely, till enough wealth came their way to make their place in the world ever more solid. Even more important is Kamakura itself, which played a role in the events before and during the Shogunate period in Japan. Walking with rulers and lords of the land, they achieved protection and a positive name for themselves. Likely, the family cohesion and history of pain and deprivation meant they met any goal their Human sponsors set out for them with an ease that would have astounded others. During Japan's period of Fascist rule and Imperial expansion, the Kakuzawas might have seen deployment in the infamous Unit 731 into China, where human experimentation was conducted. It is even possible, perhaps likely that Kakuzawas visited Japan's wartime ally, Nazi Germany, given that their own experiments towards a new Diclonius race was named Lebensborn, just as the Nazis named their own effort at eugenics by breeding children of a 'pure' racial background, according to their beliefs. Since a persecuted group, or one that sees itself as such, often seeks sponsors to protect it, this makes highly likely the Kakuzawas ingratiated themselves with the occupying American forces after the war. If Chief Kakuzawa was in his late 60's to early 70's at the time of his death in 2005 (Using the actual publication date as a 'real' year within the series) then he likely would have come of age just after World War Two, and been a young man as modern Japan came into its own as an economic power.
Another question comes as to whether the Chief's beliefs in the tales of Diclonius heritage were held more strongly by him than by other family members, or if this was the standard for their clan. We only ever see five actual members of the Chief's family, and one of these appears in a very few panels. One potential clue to this lies in the fact that no one in the Japanese government seems to know of Kakuzawa's beliefs, meaning the family managed to keep a tight lid on this, despite growing suspicion of the Chief's agenda. Given their accrual of wealth and status, it is likely that their children were home schooled in earlier generations and only sent to private schools where the family held overwhelming influence, so that health and medical issues would always be kept quiet. Possibly, Anna Kakuzawa was allowed to attend a less exclusive school, owing to her non-genius academic achievement and lack of vestigial horns. Another unknown is whether males of the clan had hair or shaved their heads and wore toupees, as proved to be the case with the Chief and his eldest son, Yu Kakuzawa. Also unanswered is whether the Kakuzawas possessed natural brilliance in the sciences and finance, or if their fear of being hunted once more drove them to push their heirs more harshly, even by the standards of a very competitive culture of academic excellence.
Only the fact that the Chief is the father of three known children is ever firmly established, and only in one of those cases is the mother of that child known. It is not even known if Yu and Anna have the same mother, or how much older Yu was than Anna. During their times of prominence in the story, neither sibling makes any reference to the other's existence, although in Yu's case this could simply be due to the fact that he died over forty chapters before Anna's introduction. In Anna's case, her backstory and dialogue does emphasize her loyalty to her father, perhaps in implied opposition to the schemes to undermine the Chief that Yu was known to have engaged in.
What family members knew of each other is also not fully addressed. For example, while Anna's abilities would seem to indicate that she would, it is not confirmed that she knows of the fate of her elder brother or immediately knew of the existence of her younger one. The Chief seemed to know that Yu was plotting against him, but he apparently did not know his son was developing the anti-Diclonius birth vaccine that was finally perfected by Arakawa. On the other hand, while treating her like a gopher, Yu thought enough of Arakawa's skills for the Chief to wish to recruit her after the Professor's death, though how this was discussed and realized is not shown. It is possible that the Chief simply inferred her skills from chatting with his son, since complimenting someone seems out of character for Yu. It is not clear that Yu knew of his Diclonius younger half-brother. While the Chief's penchant for secrecy would indicate against it, Yu's attempt to impregnate Lucy himself could indicate a desire to short-circuit the boy eventually mating with Lucy. Though it is also possible that Yu, like his colleague Kurama, was distracted by the Chief (deceptively, it seems) bragging of his own desire to mate with Lucy. Some manner of territorial sexism seems to have been in play with this idea, since logically Lucy could be mated with multiple times by multiple partners, and presumably have many children. The desire to produce that first heir with her seems to have been as paramount as anything else.
The Chief seems to have held his eldest son in disdain, regarding him as a spoiled brat despite his genius. It can be supposed that the Kakuzawa wealth and influence bought Yu past many an accusation by his young female students. The fact that Yu was teaching classes at a low-level, local 'safety school' university could indicate a kind of exile, or at least breathing space to keep fractious father and son apart.
It is in the Chief's third and final (known) child that we learn a bit more about the Chief, his family, and timeline structure problems within the series. The unnamed Male Diclonius is the only one seen in either version of the series, and though the existence of more is indicated, whether others would have been sterile Silpelits is in question and cannot be answered. The manner and method of his birth, as well as how he was presented to Lucy are perhaps indicative of prior questions about the Kakuzawas. At an unknown point after Lucy's existence was realized (by Kurama and Yu in the manga; by the Chief in the anime), the Chief sought out and captured Lucy's mother, who, contrary to what Lucy had been told as a child, had opposed abandoning her and began an extensive search for her after Lucy's father told her what he had done. Again, whether she was captured prior to Lucy's surrender or some time after is unclear. Also unclear is how long she took to conceive a child, how long after this she was able to end her life, or for how long efforts to harvest her body for reproductive materials went on. Anna for her part, does not seem surprised when the boy is revealed to Lucy, and nor does she comment on him in any way, shape or form, even to avenge him when Lucy is done. Her silence on this and other matters could indicate a distaste with some of her father's activities.
When the Chief presents the boy to Lucy, he proudly proclaims him to be her half-brother, and speaks of how this makes them all connected, almost on a familial level. While the Chief often showed strong sociopathic if not psychopathic tendencies, this attitude may also reveal a family-wide one. While medieval societies all over the world sometimes had regressive attitudes on how marital and other unions should proceed, it is possible that the outcast Kakuzawas, who did not see themselves as Human, saw the capture and rape of potential mates as perfectly acceptable, rather than see their line die out. In effect, the Chief in his arrogance never saw the potential downside to how he revealed the boy to Lucy. After telling her that her mother had been a loving figure who he had kidnapped and raped unto suicide, and that she was now to mate with her own younger sibling, a product of that rape, the Chief apparently never saw Lucy's violent rejection of the offer as even a possibility. While this could have been a purposeful deconstruction of 'mastermind' villains by the mangaka it could also show that such an approach was so inculcated into the Kakuzawas' method of upbringing, he really had no ability to foresee that Lucy, despite her alienation, was not as far removed from Humanity as he. But both his humanity and his ability to foresee things lead into the next question, in his relationship with Anna.
Another piece of evidence for the family's cultural view limiting the Chief's own view is how he failed to utilize the vast and deep pools of knowledge around him, for matters of ego and pride. Armed with wealth, government connections, an oracle for a daughter, a genius scientist for an eldest son plus many other able scientists at his beck and call, the Chief still managed to delude himself and said eldest son with the family's myths of their heritage. Despite subconsciously avoiding a truth that negated their beliefs, their desire to procreate would normally have them checking against sterility and other ailments. This willful ignorance even raises the question of whether the Chief's later attempts to create further children with Lucy's mother would have failed even without her suicide. The Chief and his son swam in an ocean of high-end information, and used very little of it, even to the detriment of their plans. Both seemed to be scientifically inclined, but the Professor was a scientist himself, capable of realizing the need for a potential leash on the new race in terms of the vaccine, yet as incapable as his father of realizing most of the new Diclonius would be sterile, at least as depicted in the manga.
Yet for all his professed contempt of Humans and Silpelits, the Chief obviously held a tender place for his daughter, Anna, and it is in his treatment of her that some of the biggest contradictions in his character are exposed.
There is no direct evidence that Anna was treated poorly or with contempt by her family for her lack of horns, her grandmother's words aside. Yet even without directed contempt such as Kaede/Lucy suffered at the orphanage, the simple fact of her other family members' horns and achievements would potentially leave her with some lack of confidence perhaps verging on self-loathing. Yet even her father, something of a high priest for Diclonius supremacy and certainly possessing hatred for Humans to the point of wishing to replace them, seemed to treasure Anna, perhaps owing to her loyalty and devotion. It can be speculated that, if the Chief and Professor were representatives of the family personality traits, true loyalty and devotion without an agenda was rare and refreshing. As much as he may have valued these traits in Anna, the Chief memorably made use of these and made a request of Anna she jumped to obey.
His exact motives in seemingly mutating Anna are unknown. Certainly, this provided him with insight into possible and likely futures, compromised though these were by Anna's desire not to dash her father's dreams. Another possibility was a form of twisted pity for his 'unremarkable' child, also seeing how her status made her think poorly of herself. Another motive could simply be his world-shaking ambitions making the sacrifice of even his most beloved child an acceptable move. Yet as the manga conclusion reveals, Anna was not truly sacrificed at all.
Seemingly killed by Lucy, a normal, very Human Anna (foreshadowed by Lucy herself) is shown to have been at the core of her monstrous body, and now lacking her super-computer mind as well. Delighted and astounded to be alive and as she once was, Anna is left to wonder why her father spared her humanity. It could be speculated that the Chief wanted no tool so powerful it could turn on him, and kept Anna with a controllable Human core. But using only in-series evidence, it seems instead that the monstrous, genocidal and at times psychopathic lead villain of the series possessed a genuine love for the one of his three known children who at her core, was nothing special. This one scene and its implications are the exception that proves the rule, though it certainly cannot excuse one bit the chaos and pain the Chief brought down upon the world, and personally to many other lives.
Unknown is exactly when and why the Japanese government became suspicious of the Chief's activities. Since Shirakawa, revealed later to be a spy for the group Saseba was firmly in place at the Diclonius Research Institute when the series begins, speculation for the start of these concerns falls on the raid that captured Lucy and led to the death of her friend, Aiko Takada. A vice-minister given a tour of the facility by Kurama on the day of Lucy's escape (in the manga version) seems to know nothing of her, and little of Diclonius in general. Perhaps no one event caused these suspicions, but rather an accumulation of unanswered questions, vague explanations and exposed lies drove the Japanese government to question its sponsorship of the Chief and his facility. Even with this, it seems to have taken quite a while for these concerns to be acted, and it also seems no one at all outside the facility knew how deep and wide the Chief's ambitions ran.
It is not known how many other family members there were when the series ended, if in fact there were any. Speculation runs the gamut from a large clan, well-placed and well-positioned to enact the family's beliefs into reality to a very small group, either worn down by centuries of being hunted or kept small deliberately so as not to draw unwanted attention. There is simply no evidence either way. It does seem likely that neither Anna nor any other Kakuzawa heirs were permitted to inherit their wealth and holdings. It rather seems likely that, given the at-minimum treasonous activities of the Chief, all the family's assets were seized, for reasons owing to both punishment and national security. Arrests also seem a possibility, given that Saseba's main job was to keep all knowledge of Japan's sponsorship of the Chief a secret. A hint about Anna's role in future events can be found in her final companion, the resourceful Saseba Agent who also survived the end of the series and her own seeming demise. Presuming the pair ever found their way out of the sunken island's underground grotto, the Agent could have talked Anna into telling what she knew once they were rescued.
The Kakuzawas are a terrifying bunch: Megalomaniacal, well-heeled father with blasphemous ambition; Lecherous, disloyal mad scientist elder son; A daughter so fanatically loyal that she permits herself to be turned into a monster that sees the future; and finally, a youngest child born of the rape of the parent the series' protagonist and anti-hero never knew stayed loyal to finding her, said boy being the pivot of a scheme to exterminate and replace billions of innocents. Worse, a being potentially with Lucy's power, raised as a Kakuzawa and either corrupted to it or kept under control. In both nature and nurture, likely to disregard Humans entirely.
Then again, despite monstrous actions taken (version depending) based on a lie about their heritage, the family can also be seen as a deconstruction of a villainous clan. The father's plans are doomed on several levels, even if Lucy had agreed to join him. The world would have been overrun by sterile Silpelits who would live perhaps fifty years. Even if Lucy had mated with her half-brother and had twins every time for the length and breadth of her reproductive years, these children would all be doomed by genetic disorders that would only multiply without a diverse gene-pool.
The elder son was little more than an extended plot and exposition device, and removed by Lucy without even considering his words. He brought Kurama into his father's employ, killed Number 3, arranged Lucy's escape and informed her and the readers of the Kakuzawas beliefs' about their heritage. His basic research formed the basis of Arakawa's vaccine. At many times is he important to the plot, but arguably at no time is he vital. All the things he was responisble for could easily have been assigned to someone or something else, and the story would be little different. Of course, at no time is Anna presented as a fanatic, merely a very devoted and loving child whose obedience is rewarded with a horrific mutation, albeit one she is glad to endure due to feelings of inadequacy. Worse still is her inability to tell her father that their family's central belief is a lie, owing in part to her own reluctance to hurt him as well as his own obstinate refusal to hear her. Worst of all is the implication of her ability to crunch probability simulations on a massive scale, that being the idea that she knows her father's fate when he meets Lucy, yet must feel as a loyal child that she has no choice but to deliver him to it. Whereas a complete loss of super-powers is the final bane of many a villain or minion, to Anna it is a joyful return, capped off by the knowledge that her father loved her enough to not make her mutation complete.
The Male Diclonius is as said a terrifying concept, but in practice is a little boy who never knew any of the pains or joys of life, and knew his elder sister and potential mate only long enough for her to kill him, ironically in this knowing some of the only tenderness of his whole short life. Lucy kills him not out of disgust, but out of the feeling that their bloodline has only inspired madmen and maniacs, and must end. Those shocked by his quick introduction and quicker death may look and realize the sum of his character was in the implications he presented; once those were so presented, he was now superfluous and was removed summarily.
The Chief's plans for Lucy and for the world failed on several levels, but in one sense he and his fractious family share one important trait with her, whether or not they were truly Diclonius in heritage. In their flaws, and in their foibles, in their reach and in their overreach, they, like Lucy, proved that horns or no, at their core, they were still Human, with all things good and bad carried somewhere within them. As Lucy herself put it, they chose to separate themselves and her breed of Diclonius from others, but a mere label and two horns cannot change certain fundamental behaviors and even more fundamental truths. In short, the ones who most strongly denied that they were Human were always very, very much so.
|“||Father was a Human even though he hated them so much. But I couldn't say it.||”|
–Anna, speaking truth over her father's dead body