Can Life Merely Be Despair? ( 絶望だけが人生か / ぜつぼうだけ がじんせいか / zetsubou dake ga jinsei ka / Is Despair The Only Life? ) is the seventy-seventh chapter of the Elfen Lied manga series.
On the beachfront, Lucy taunts and prepares to finish Bando, only to have Nana strike her while distracted. Her offer to aid Bando, as best she can is rejected, his focus being solely on Lucy, against whom he has a secret weapon. To Nana's astonishment, he rushes to the mocking Lucy, and to her even greater surprise, he can avoid and dodge Lucy's vectors. Bando ends up firing upon her at close range, and when his pistol is taken apart, follows up with his secret weapon, the crossbow taken from the dead Unknown Man. Its spiked poisoned ball disables Lucy's vectors, and then its poison and barbed spikes continue to assault her without mercy.
As he prepares to kill her, Mayu emerges on the scene, and despite his harsh words, she remains steadfast that there is good and kindness in him. Sadly, this distraction is all Lucy needs to strike since the spiked ball's poison had lost some of its potency since the last time it was used against someone. When Bando's remaining arm is severed, Mayu's memories of Nana's dismemberment by Lucy come flooding back and makes her realize Nana's stories about the girl they knew as Nyu were all real. With a regretful, almost tender look on her face, Lucy surrounds Mayu with her vectors, prepared to kill her to keep Kouta from ever hearing anything that might trigger his lost memories. Nana cries for her to stop, and in a shadowed scene, Lucy slices a shadowed figure in two.
- The cliffhanger scene at the end of this chapter appears to reflect Kanae's ultimate fate.
- Lucy may be fully awake inside the chapter, but perhaps inside her mind, Nyu relaxes with Piyopiyo on this chapter's cover.