Elfen Lied

One thing I often see when looking up Gokukoku no Brynhildr, is the mention of the mangaka’s previous works, Elfen Lied. There are lots of comments like “Oh, same author as Elfen Lied eh?” and “I bet it will end the same way as Elfen Lied did”. So naturally, I got curious and decided to read the manga.

Elfen Lied Cover

Elfen Lied is the predecessor of GnB, so the plot is pretty similar. It’s about the Diclonii, a newly evolved human species that has horns and the ability to control “Vectors”, telekinetic “hands” that can either act as physical or transparent. The story revolves around Lucy – the only Diclonius who can reproduce, and thus their “Queen” – and her relationship with Kouta, a boy she met and fell in love with when they were young. She also suffers from having multiple personalities and the internal struggle inside herself between the killing-prone Lucy, the innocent Nyu and the “DNA voice”, whose only purpose is to eliminate humanity.

Diclonii are said to have an extreme instinct for killing and violence as they try to wipe out the human race. Similarly, human have been trying to protect their survival by violence as well. The story is a constant stream of death, with everyone having their own reasons to kill, be it survival or vengeance or just out of pure whim. It gets to the point where you don’t know who to side with anymore. But thanks to that, the readers can really treasure those few moments that the characters can stay together and eat, drink, hang out and do silly things together, just like the characters themselves would treasure those moments. And even those moments are short-lived, when they can be trampled on so quickly, like when they are at home casually discussing Nozomi attendance to a music school when suddenly a special force stormed in, and the rest of the event is pretty much predictable: a bloodbath. It’s the brutal brilliance of the series, where you could feel for yourself what the characters are going through.

The story’s premise is quite solid in my opinion. After all, we human have already killed enough in the name of all the little differences: skin color, nationalities, ideals and beliefs. So the emergence of a entire new race with immense power could easily triggers violence. However the question is: just because they have the power, does it mean they’re gonna use it and does it mean humanity has the right to snuff them out? We were told that Diclonii have been around for thousands of years, only weakened now because of inter-breeding with human. Considering how a single Diclonius girl can wander around killing hundreds and thousands of people, it’s safe to assume that if they wanted to eliminate mankind, they would have done it already. So what happened? Fear and hostility. People feared these Diclonii, and acted hostile towards them because of that fear, which only served to push them into realising that fear. Irony, isn’t it? The answer was nicely put at the end of the series, when Kouta stated that he would never forget that it was Lucy who murdered his family, but would welcome her back if she promise not to kill again, for the sake of saving the Nyu he knew inside her. Forgiveness and salvation. Peace.

The manga is quite an old one, published more than 10 years ago, so the drawing style seems a lot rougher than I am used to. It lacks the smoothness and cleanliness of modern ones like GnB, and I couldn’t tell the difference between many male characters at first xD. But when you get used to it and start to focus on the story, it doesn’t matter anymore. Also as I primarily read lighthearted mangas and only very recently read GnB and Mirai Nikki, the amount of gore and death came as quite a shock to me, but it does serves to establish the settings and flow of the story. It makes you really think about the characters and their actions in the midst of all those killing. Overall, a proper touch.

Well, as Gokukoku no Brynhildr is still ongoing, we won’t know if it will end the same way. But I already realised that GnB is so much lighter than EL, with its numerous harem situations and comic reliefs. Also it’s nice to see the male protagonist of GnB to be much more competent and having a proper job to support the 4 girls living with him, something that bugged me when reading EL. Can’t wait to read till the end of GnB!

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