|“||After I lost my first friend, I felt it was best to be detached.||”|
–Lucy, trying in vain to explain grim past actions.
The massacre at the end-of-summer festival in Kamakura comes after Lucy kills the other children in the orphanage, and directly precedes the grisly double murder of Kouta's father and sister. This event would throw aside young Lucy's remaining hopes at living together with humans, at least until she met another, unfortunately, doomed friend. It is also the second instance of Lucy killing other people in a fit of emotion-fueled passion (the first being her lashing out at the bullies of the orphanage), and notable for her slaying an innocent person in the spur of the moment for no other reason than because of their being in the way. Even the murders of individuals inside their homes before this massacre was a mean to an end, something she gave little thought to and could justify with her need for a warm place to stay (and possibly her envy of ordinary human families), and served a purpose, however, wrong and misguided it was.
Festivals are a time for celebration, but this festival would not end so brightly. After witnessing Kouta and Yuka standing close together, with Kouta comforting his distraught cousin, young Lucy suffered a mental breakdown that was no doubt helped along by the passers-by of the festival pushing her down to the ground and subsequently ignoring a child lying still on the ground. Lucy jumped to the conclusion that if Kouta lied to her about his cousin being a boy instead of a girl, he surely must have been lying to her about other things as well. To the fragile mind of a neglected and bullied orphan, a white lie meant to spare her feelings was no better than the lie of the girl who cost her the life of her puppy. He could have been lying about liking her horns. What if he was lying about wanting to be her friend? Was he just laughing at her behind her back, getting his form of amusement watching her believe he cared for her? Was he no better than the others who tormented her in the past, but with a seeming mask of kindness?
As she pondered, Lucy came face-to-face, so to speak, with the embodiment of her basic instincts. If she did as it asked and gave in to her desire to kill others, she would for sure have a place for herself in this cruel world. This voice could make it happen. It would "liberate" her from the feelings holding her back, and as she gave in, it became apparent to her what that "liberation" meant: the death of Kouta's family. With this mental epiphany, Lucy agreed to kill other people with no thought. Even those who wished to help her were unspared, as was the case for one woman who was more concerned with the blood-spattered girl in front of her than her safety from the "bomb" people about which people were screaming. This poor woman, like the rest of the festival-goers, was an obstacle in the way of Lucy's actual target. As people ran away or gawked at the bloodshed she'd caused, Lucy picked up her hat and made her way to Gokurakuji Station where Kouta, Yuka, and their relatives would say their goodbyes, not knowing those family members were closer than she thought.
The massacre at the festival paints a bleak picture of Elfen Lied's world, and shows us, in lurid detail, Lucy's degrading mental state.
Firstly, the coldness of the people around Lucy as she's suffering from hallucinations and her mind breaking down in despair. Several people watch her as she lies on the ground, shoved there by a man who berates her for being in the way. Some even wonder if she's on drugs, which a child her age should have no access to since she's talking to herself. No one stops to help her up or ask if she's alright but merely stands around to stare at her before she bisects those closest to where she lay. In Japanese culture, there is a heavy emphasis on how to conduct oneself in public, how to stay low-key and not draw attention to yourself, and many onlookers will often not intervene or only look on in disapproval when someone is making a spectacle of themselves. However, the bystander effect of doing nothing is not an exclusive trait of Japanese culture. In both the anime and manga, onlookers watch the main characters with disapproval several times before this flashback even begins.
Secondly, this event showcases how fragile Lucy's mental state was and how strong the DNA Voice's influence was becoming that Lucy's faith in humanity could be shattered by the revelation of a lie, no matter how it was intended to spare her feelings. Before this, there are glimpses of her being jealous of someone taking Kouta away from her and of the Voice trying to persuade her to prevent such a thing from happening, such as her trying to strangle him on the bus ride back from the zoo. The lie itself was the final straw in a list of betrayals; it wasn't meant to hurt her, but it did all the same, and the full weight of it and the rest of the mistreatment has piled on into a burden no child is meant to bear.
Finally, the massacre, along with the murders that will follow it on the train, shows how far Lucy has fallen. After finding a bright spot in life, something to help her through each day, she felt it taken from her. Young Lucy gives in to the Voice's instructions and cuts a path of blood through the festival on her hunt for Kouta to pay him back for his betrayal and to rid herself of her last human ties in the world. So blinded is she by hatred, rage, and pain that she lashes out at a woman who wishes to help her, cutting her head off. Not only does she kill an innocent who was genuinely concerned about a bloodied child, but she also insults the woman as well in her head, calling her "another ape." As mentioned before, this isn't the first time she's killed an innocent person nor is it the most brutal of her murders, but it's certainly the first time she's killed a person without her survival in question. There was no home or warm bed or food to take to prolong her existence; Lucy murdered this woman just because she was in the way.
By this point, Lucy is into her hatred, beyond thinking rationally and wishing not for comfort or friendship, but revenge. Only later will her wrath subside so she might begin to see the harm.
|“||They say a bomb exploded down the street.||”|
–Kouta and Kanae's father, speaking euphemism while his young daughter's truth is sadly ignored