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Benjamin Diffring
Diffring infobox
Diffring approaches Jessica with a murderous intent.

Japanese Name

ベンジャミン・ディフリングか

Romanized Name

Benjamin Difuringu

Nickname(s)/Alias(es)

Bald (ハゲ Hage)

Debut

Chapter 1 (light novel 4);
Chapter 4 (manga)

Voice actor

N/A

Status

Alive

Benjamin Diffring is a serial killer who used the Book of Gap to escape prison and hide himself in Jessica’s school. He is present in the Book of Gap story.

BackgroundEdit

When his trial ended two weeks before the events of the Book of Gap, Benjamin Diffring broke from prison and hid himself in the library of the nearby school attended by Jessica Elphinstone and managed by Miss Roedean. He had been arrested and sentenced to death two years prior. His escape was largely reported in the newspapers, although his method remained a mystery. It’s know that he took a book from the prison with him. Later, Hugh and Dalian discovered that the criminal used the power granted by the Book of Gap, a Phantom Book that allows him to reduce the thickness of his and other people’s body.

The curious students of the school Diffring chose as hideaway made a comprehensive report about his life. No one knows his real name, family and exact age. He was born in the slumps of London. It’s estimated that he’s in his late twenties. He first killed eight years before the events of the Book of Gap. The serial killer was caught six years later, when eleven people, all young women, had already been confirmed as his victims.[1] While in the original the reason for his silence is never mentioned, the manga explains that he has a mental disorder that prevents him from talking. The adaptation also reveals his past in the Great War, being pursued by enemy soldiers. The terrors of the war made him see a womb as a safe place for the first time.[2]

Diffring is responsible for the disappearance of Matilda, a schoolgirl, and Nicola, a teacher and dorm supervisor. Both were deemed missing a few days before Hugh and Dalian’s arrival in the school. Jessica was studying in the library at midnight when she witnessed the criminal approaching Matilda outside the dormitory. The latter was practicing the trumpet when the serial killer attacked her, reduced the thickness of her body and pushed her inside a book. Since then, Jessica has been trying to catch him by herself.[1]

Benjamin's past

Diffring's past during the Great War.

PersonalityEdit

The man has high intelligence and no concern for ethics, typical characteristics of serial killers. His victims are killed and torn apart in a brutal way, indicating that he has no sympathy. At the school, he uses a slender military knife, but he also has a shotgun hidden between the pages of the Book of Gap. Diffring explores the power granted by the Phantom Book to wait for the best moment to attack or to escape when he finds himself in disadvantage.

Matilda's wound

Matilda's wound, illustrating Diffring's modus operandi.

As if part of a sacred ceremony, he carefully uses his sharp weapon with precision to open a vertical wound on his targets’ abdomen down to the crotch, also removing some of their internal organs, while they’re still alive. Diffring hopes to go back inside a womb to be reborn. That’s why he looks for a large, tall woman who can become a mother.[1] The manga describes that he removes the womb of women, resulting in their death by blood loss. The adaptation also explains that, while in prison, he read about many advanced subjects, including mathematical thesis, medical books and foreign works.[2]

AppearanceEdit

He’s a short man with a shaved head and oddly long arms. He’s seen walking barefoot, still wearing a bland, gray prison uniform with no pockets.[1] In the manga, his wrists and ankles are bound by shackles. He has pointed teeth, disturbing eyes and a large, veiny forehead.[2]

PlotEdit

Jessica asks if Hugh and Dalian were visiting her school in order to find Benjamin Diffring, a serial killer and prison escapee rumored to be hiding around there. Soon after, they find a student covered in blood next to a leather bag filled with books and the body of Nicola, a teacher and dorm supervisor who had disappeared last weekend. The corpse was half-naked and had a gruesome vertical cut on the abdomen down to the crotch, made carefully and methodically with a sharp blade. Hugh and Dalian realize that the murderer left no traces behind, something only possible with the power of a Phantom Book.

Benjamin Attacks

Diffring is stopped by Hugh.

That night, at the school library, Hugh and Dalian examine a report about Diffring made by the students. After vaguely learning about his past, they discuss about his methods and purpose until they hear footsteps. Jessica was looking for them, but instead ends up finding Matilda, who is in bad shape. The former means to call for help, so she rushes to the exit. However, the serial killer gets in her way. He uses a military knife to knock the lacrosse stick from her hands. The man seems agitated when she notices the old book under his left arm.

Matilda Folded

Jessica witnesses Diffring folding Matilda like a paper.

Before he can thrust the blade into Jessica’s eye, Hugh tells him not to move. Hugh shoots the stone wall next to him. Diffring, in turn, jumps away from the student. They study each other for a moment, then the criminal shows incredible power, reaching for Hugh’s head. The latter receives Diffring’s knife with the barrel of his revolver. He pushes the murderer off balance and aims at him. He has no time to pull the trigger, since his opponent sprang into a dark corridor. Diffring runs towards a dead end while opening the book he was carrying. When Hugh bent the corner, the serial killer had already disappeared leaving no traces behind.

Benjamin Folded

Diffring emerges from the Book of Gap in a two-dimensional form.

Later, Hugh and Dalian explain that Diffring is aiming for large, tall women. He is looking for a womb where he can enter and be reborn. It’s strange how he’s trying to kill Jessica, a small and thin young girl. The student, however, tells them that she witnessed Diffring attacking Matilda, making her flat like a paper and pushing her inside a book. Dalian affirms she would use Jessica to catch the murderer.

Diffring's shotgun

Diffring removes a shotgun from the Book of Gap.

A teacher was only following a note supposedly written by Miss Roedean when she approached Jessica to give her a book. A blade emerges from between the pages, slashing the woman’s arm. The book falls on the ground and Diffring reveals himself, becoming three-dimensional once again. He’s been using the Book of Gap to assume a flat form that allows him to hide inside the books of the school library. That's why he headed to that school after escaping prison. The man only released Matilda to avoid keeping an evidence that could prove Jessica’s testimony.

The serial killer twists the teacher’s arm, using her as a shield to keep Hugh from shooting. He continues by pushing her away, picking up the Book of Gap and removing a shotgun from inside it. He shoots at Jessica, then at Dalian, to no avail. Hugh was using the Book of Styx to create an invisible barrier. Diffring runs away, finding himself in disadvantage. Jessica urges Hugh and Dalian to follow him, but they remain calm. After all, they already knew where he was going. Dalian had sealed over 100,000 books, the entire collection of the school library, inside The Mystic Archives of Dantalian. Looking frightened at the empty bookshelves, Diffring drops the Book of Gap, now useless to him. Armed police officers show up from behind the bookshelves to catch him.[1]

Empty Library

Diffring discovers the school library empty.

In the manga, Jessica has a bad dream where Diffring attacks Matilda in the library. She soon realizes that her schoolmate became a victim in real life. She tries to warn the others, but fails to convince anyone. After he finds himself in the empty school library, Hugh knocks him out with the butt of his revolver.[2]

Trivia Edit

  • Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud describes the death drive, also known as Thanatos instinct, as the desire to return to the womb. It's also seen as the impulse to return to a state of nonexistence, to escape all the stresses and pressures of the daily life.[3]
    • Freud and Austrian psychoanalyst Otto Rank discussed the death drive associated with the Oedipus complex. Although the concept is widely known as a child's unconscious desire for the opposite-sex parent, it can also be seen as an impulse to return to the womb to live a blissful life once again.[4][5]
    • Freud observed the phenomenon of death trauma in soldiers that returned from the Great War. They tended to repeat or re-enact traumatic experiences.[6] In the manga, the terrors of the war made Diffring see a womb as a safe place.[2]
  • Jack the Ripper is the best-known name for an unidentified serial killer generally believed to have been active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. Some of the victims associated with the killer had their abdomens slashed open and their wombs removed.[7]
    • In the manga, Diffring is associated with the return of Jack the Ripper.[2]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, Chapter 1, volume 4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian manga, Chapter 4.
  3. Adam Sinicki. The Thanatos Instinct. In HealthGuidance. Retrieved 02:17, September 28, 2017, from http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/17120/1/The-Thanatos-Instinct.html
  4. Oedipus complex. (2017, September 19). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:35, September 28, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Oedipus_complex&oldid=801466428
  5. Lowell Edmunds. Approaches to Greek Myth. Second Edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2014.
  6. Death drive. (2017, July 5). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:42, September 28, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Death_drive&oldid=789086576
  7. Jack the Ripper. (2017, September 27). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:55, September 28, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jack_the_Ripper&oldid=802669252