REVIEW: ‘Elfen Lied,’ Omnibus Volume 2

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Elfen Lied Omnibus Volume 2

Dark Horse presents Elfen Lied Omnibus Volume 2 written and illustrated by Lynn Okamoto. The omnibus edition collects three of the four original volumes in one. Volume 2 follows the merciless soldier Bando as he continues to pursue Nyu’s alter ego, Lucy, after he’s received bionic prosthetic replacements. Set on getting revenge for the pain she caused him in their last bloody battle. Meanwhile, Nyu, now with her alter ego, Lucy in control, can resurface her long since buried, traumatic memories as a Diclonius child. To make matters worse, Chief Kakuzawa sends another Diclonius child named Mariko to kill Nana and return Lucy to the research facility.

One thing I liked about this volume was getting more insight into Lucy/Nyu’s past. In this volume, we learned that before she was captured and tortured by the Diclonius Research Institute, she was presumably abandoned by her parents and was eventually taken in by an orphanage. However, while living at the orphanage, she was neglected by the caretakers. She was also frequently physically and verbally bullied by the other children because of her horns.

Surrounded by such cruelty leads to her having a mental breakdown at a very young age, and resulted in her murdering everyone in the orphanage. She thought she would never receive love and acceptance from anyone. So she ran away and continued to murder other people because she saw it as the only way to survive and stay safe. And while none of this justifies or absolves her for killing innocent people who did nothing wrong to her,  it does explain why she started doing it.

The traumatic upbringing and abuse she faced as a child caused her to think that most if not all, humans would reject her and or cause harm to her. And that’s why Lucy is so defensive and violent. Nearly every interaction she has had with humans throughout her life has caused her some form of pain. So instead of risking being hurt again, she would rather destroy them first.

One thing I did not care for throughout this Elfen Lied Omnibus Volume 2 was the flat, one-dimensional main characters, specifically Yuka. Yuka is Kouta’s cousin, who has had romantic feelings for him since they were young. Even in the present day she had hoped that there might be a chance that he might have the same feelings for her too.

However, when Nyu/Lucy comes into their lives, she begins to feel jealous and insecure, especially whenever Kouta shows any attention towards Nyu/Lucy. And that just about summarizes her character throughout the series so far. Most if not all of Yuka’s time and energy seems to be solely focused on Kouta. She’s constantly worried about whether or not he has feelings for her and if he cares Nyu/Luy more than her. I find it incredibly frustrating that she is written this way because it just limits her to being a plot device for a love triangle.

Lastly, while I was initially interested in the central premise of the series, this volume felt like the plot was all over the place. I think that may be due to the multiple storylines that are introduced and then ultimately don’t go anywhere by the end of the volume. For example, Bando’s storyline is one of the first that was presented at the beginning of the volume.

We see that he’s decided to go against the research facilities’ orders to recapture Lucy/Nyu and instead swears to get revenge for the pain and suffering that she caused him. However, besides making some appearances here and there, his plot doesn’t go anywhere by the end of this volume. I imagine that some might come back into play eventually but after several chapters, but with the influx of unrelated storylines being introduced, it feels like it will take some time before then.

Overall while this volume gave some great insight into some main characters and the plot as it relates to them, it also just feels overrun with so many other side plots that it distracts from the primary premise. I remain hopeful for the series main premise to move forward and would like to see more character growth from the one-dimensional characters. I strongly recommend that this manga is read by mature audiences as it includes issues of nudity, sexual, and highly graphic physical abuse.

Elfen Lied Omnibus Volume 2 TPB is available now.

Elfen Lied Omnibus Volume 2
2.5

TL;DR

This volume gave some great insight into some main characters and the plot as it relates to them, it also just feels overrun with so many other side plots that it distracts from the primary premise. I remain hopeful for the series main premise to move forward and would like to see more character growth from the one-dimensional characters. I strongly recommend that this manga is read by mature audiences as it includes issues of nudity, sexual, and highly graphic physical abuse.