|“||What to do? I feel a really great evil.||”|
–Nana, sensing Mariko's approach and intent
As with many a manga and anime series, a powerful lead character does not necessarily remain the most powerful throughout. For Elfen Lied, this was dramatically demonstrated by the introduction of Diclonius Silpelit #35, aka Mariko Kurama, the biological daughter of Doctor Kurama, brought in under lethal controls by Chief Kakuzawa with two goals: The recapture of Lucy and the execution of Nana. The resulting battle was the bloodiest depicted in either version of the series. Likewise, the differences between the two versions are among the most profound and have very different impacts on the two versions of the story in which they take place.
In The Manga
Since sending SAT squads and Nana wasn't enough to capture Lucy, the Diclonius Research Institute, under the order of Chief Kakuzawa, resorts to considerably drastic measures: using Kurama's own daughter as their next method of retrieval for Lucy. However, capturing Lucy is but one goal, as they also plan to kill Nana in order to tie up any loose ends the runaway Silpelit might cause.
Nana can immediately sense Mariko's arrival in Kamakura, and can also sense the young girl's malevolent intentions. She bids Kouta and the other residents of Maple House goodbye before making off for Enoshima with every intention of defeating Mariko so she can return home to her new family. However, she soon realizes she's heavily outclassed as she approaches Mariko and Isobe as they wait for her, as Mariko's vectors far exceed Nana's own range. Her vectors tear off Nana's clothes and prosthetic limbs, leaving the older Silpelit to cry in confused shock. Mariko continues to toy with her by lifting her up and smashing her against the ground or nearby stone walls over and over. As she's about to drop Nana to the ground again, Mariko overhears her calling for her "papa" and apologizing to him. She cheerfully tells Nana not to worry, as she'll kill her papa and thus not leave Nana alone in the afterlife. Unfortunately for Mariko, this enrages Nana, who breaks out of her hold and punches her in the face with one of her prosthetic arms. With her vectors inside Mariko's skull, Nana warns her not to move or else she'll kill her. Mariko attempts to attack her anyway, and Nana nullifies her vectors like she did to Lucy before. Kurama then arrives on the scene, revealing to both girls that he's the "papa" for both of them.
Kurama's attempts to explain his past, and how this situation with Mariko came to be, only serve to enrage Mariko, who Kurama has come to finally execute. Attacking, tricking and ultimately killing her handler Isobe, Mariko seizes the cell phone remote control to her internal bombs but is only able to disable the timer for a half an hour at a time. The combined efforts of Nana and Bando (present as a reluctant ally to Kurama) are only able to keep her off balance briefly. With Nana's prompting, Kurama tells Mariko of her mother's love for her, and for his own regret at her treatment. A missile attack renders Mariko childlike and happy. When Kurama sees this as a chance to peacefully execute Mariko, Nana prevents this. Following this, Shirakawa arrives, indicating that perhaps this entire struggle was staged for the benefit of the ultimate scheme of Chief Kakuzawa, the worldwide dissemination of the Diclonius birth virus.
Even though a police barricade was set up at the bridge between Kamakura and Enoshima, the childlike Nyu manages to get past it to find Nana. Kurama and Shirakawa make a desperate effort to use Nyu (who they recognize as Lucy) as a bargaining chip to stop the Chief's plans. When this fails, Kurama instead decides to kill Nyu, ending both the threat Lucy poses in and of herself and a major piece of the Chief's plans. Instead, this reawakens Lucy, who rapidly seizes control of the situation, which in turn shakes Mariko out of her own stupor. Lucy's threats to kill them all are turned back at first by Mariko's greater power. However, the final loss of the cell phone remote and Lucy's murder of Shirakawa puts Mariko's continued life at a matter of minutes, a time she vows to use to destroy Lucy, urging Nana to withdraw with their Papa. Mariko, who has already lost her legs to Lucy and can no longer use her vectors, seizes the Diclonius Queen by the legs, and even decapitation cannot put Lucy far enough away to prevent her horns being shredded by the blast.
Nana urges Kurama not to kill the once more helpless Nyu, yet seemingly, in his despondency, Kurama instead takes his own life while Kouta fetches back Nana and the now-hornless Nyu. Bando, who withdrew prior to Lucy's appearance here, would still have a role to play in future battles. Exultant in his island lair, Chief Kakuzawa would later show his abuse of Mariko had yet to end.
Mariko was held back in this version of the battle by several factors. The question of how it would have gone absent these is partly addressed below.
In The Anime
As in the manga, the Diclonius Research Institute sends Mariko to kill Nana and capture Lucy. Nana comes to the bridge to confront Mariko but is tossed around and tortured like a mere rag doll by Mariko's superior vectors. Kouta arrives just in time to see Nana's bloodied form, and Isobe, despite Shirakawa's protests, orders Mariko to kill Nana. She throws her vectors at her to do so, but Nana flings herself and Kouta out of harm's way. She only has enough time to push Kouta away again before Mariko advances on her, telling her she won't allow her to have friends since she's a Silpelit too. Despite her boasts, Nana pierces Mariko's pineal gland with her vectors, disabling her powers, before falling into the sea where she's rescued by Kurama.
Nyu soon catches up to Kouta, running onto the scene, where Isobe orders Mariko to capture her. Rather than obey him, Mariko says she can't, since she doesn't sense Lucy's sleeping presence within Nyu and thus doesn't believe her to be Lucy at all. She then realizes she cannot use her vectors at all and begins crying. The distraught Silpelit is wheeled away by SAT members, and as Kouta and Nyu try to run, Isobe orders the soldiers to open fire on them despite Shirakawa's protests. The gunfire awakens Lucy, who kills Shirakawa and all Special Assault Team members in short order. Isobe crawls away from the carnage as Lucy is then distracted by Kouta, who's recalled all his memories of her. Their reunion is cut short by Bando, who chases Lucy away. The two battle elsewhere, presumably on the shores of Enoshima, but this skirmish isn't seen. The audience only sees the aftermath long after the sun has set, where Lucy once more has the upper hand over Bando, who continues to threaten her despite bleeding heavily. Rather than finish him off for good, Lucy tells him it's the last time he'll ever see her before leaving him there on the sand. A far cry to how their second confrontation was portrayed on the Manga.
Mariko overhears her family name for the first time while Isobe oversees her recovery, using the start this gives her to regain her powers and pursue her father for answers. Nana, recovering in the arms of her 'Papa' Kurama, senses the approach of Lucy and Mariko, where an all-out battle takes place. Lucy is as unrelenting as ever, but in this version, her embedded bombs seem to be on a simple control, rather than an ever-declining timer needing resets on the half-hour. In any event, the remote seems one set to activate by need, rather than by set time, and is not a distraction to Mariko. Their isolated setting affords Mariko the opportunity to knock an already-tired Lucy about, to the point where she is rendered unconscious and perhaps comatose. Kurama and Nana arrive, witnessing this but also with Kurama's determination to end his child's threat once and for all. A heartbroken Mariko cries her eyes out, till Kurama decides he must hold his girl as she dies, ordering Nana back and Isobe to explode the bombs at a certain point. Before they die together, Kurama tells Mariko he indeed loves her, as did her mother. Whether for execution or recapture, Isobe holds Nana at gunpoint, only to be killed by an awakened Lucy, who tells Nana to return to Maple House and their family, while she sees Kouta perhaps one last time.
In this case, both Nana and Lucy are decisively defeated by Mariko, and the Chief's ultimate plan, if it were meant to be similar in future anime episodes, is not yet revealed, so this battle was not the distraction it was in the manga. Yet with Mariko, Kurama, Shirakawa and Isobe all dead, and Lucy at least forcefully removed from activity for a good while, whatever plans the Chief might have had could likely proceed unhindered. Since he is alive, in power and strengthened in overall position, he must again be called the ultimate victor of this bloody battle, which ended the first two-thirds of the manga and ended the anime (as of 2005) entirely.
He had drawn his plans well against his pawns and now stood at the head of things. Keeping that head, however, would prove challenging.
|“||There are so many splendid things...Mariko-chan died not knowing about||”|
–Nana, mourning her sister's departure and short life