Lament of the Lamb Vol. #03 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Sunday, January 16, 2005
Release Date: Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Translated by:Ryan Flake
What They Say
After another attack of bloodlust, Kazuna's rage grows and he confesses to Chizuna the horror of his bloodthirsty dreams, which seem to be linked to his unconscious desires. With no cure for his vampirism in sight, Kazuna ponders ending it all. What is the point in living anyway -- will he ever be able to rest in peace? Or is sleep really the cousin of death?
TOKYOPOP uses the original Birz Comics DX (Gentosha) cover art which this time features Chizuna in her high school uniform. The image is framed with the logo above the art and the spine. The opposite cover has a framed portrait of Yaegashi painting. I know this sounds funny, but I kinda feel as if the cover art may be paintings done by Yaegashi.
Logo Check: After reading the first volume, I found this choice to be quite appropriate for the solemn tone of this title. I will say it is not as creative as the original but there really are only a few ways to spice up romaji letters (kanji/kana has the potential for so much variety). The printing looks good with no issues with screen tone and the inking looks really sharp.
Toume's art is a little rough here. It really looks nice on his chapter headers, as his weird faces tend to look better with better shading. Toume often shades characters with ink instead of tone and it can look awkward as it may have strange placement and directionality. Where Toume excels is his facial expressions. There is a lot of emotion there, especially in the eyes of his characters. This really helps with the slow pacing. The backgrounds are okay but they are not shown enough. Moreover, while the layout can be pretty fancy, it is purposely passive so it may slow the read a bit.
Most SFX are not translated. Even though there are moments where one might not see an FX for pages, all that are present should be translated. I do not understand why TOKYOPOP continues to do this for a majority of their titles.
Not having read Hitsuji no Uta in Japanese I cannot say how accurate the translation is but it sounds good. Honorifics are used a bit, but there are occasions where the dialogue between characters is a little weird. As this is a high school drama, honorifics are not often used amongst male classmates, but female characters use them quite a bit depending on the setting.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kazuna's disease has pushed him to the limits and now he is forced to finally make a choice on his future. He can stay with his family and attend school with his friends; or he can hide himself with this disease and hope that he will never be the monster that his blood wants him to be. Unfortunately, he has been forced into this predicament in front of one of his closest friends. He will have to do this despite the support he has received throughout the years. If he chooses to leave it all, he will have no one besides his sister to turn to and then his current life, all of it, will truly be lost.
To Kazuna there are no real choices available. He does not want to harm those around him, so he has to hide. There will be will be problems to handle and plenty of growing up to do in whatever time he has left with them, but he believes this is the best for all of them. In hindsight, it was inevitable as he would possibly leave them all in a few years anyway but the current circumstances have made this easier in a way as he knows he can no longer go back. The future looks hopeless and the pain is definitely unbearable, but he would rather suffer alone than face what he might become if he did not act.
If there is anything that scares him the most, it is his new relationship with his sister. There is a lot of time they have to catch up on, but neither sibling really appears to want to honestly open up to the other. This relationship is built on selfishness not trust. It benefits only the individual and not the group. In the end, these two might not survive this new partnership, but both agree they cannot turn anywhere else.
Love comes in many shapes and forms and love can drive people to do crazy things. Chizuna definitely loves her brother Kazuna, but she shows her love in a calculating and possibly manipulative way. She appears to be creating a sense of family to fill a void that she has in her life. It might all be an illusion to keep herself comfortable, while putting the burden on her sibling. This might seem destructive but as a character in this series says, "love and destruction are constantly at odds with each other." If this family will work there will likely be a little of both but how they handle each will determine the true nature of her suspicious actions.
Kazuna might be playing this game, as well. He knows he can no longer be a regular part of society. He has come to terms with becoming a monster. So to escape from the world he succumbs to his sister's plans. He might doubt what he believes her motives are, but with her, he can survive without letting his disease harm those he cares for.
Lament of the Lamb continues to be one of the better-written stories I have experienced in long time. It presents the struggles of family, friendship and love in way where so far only the pain of these concepts that society generalizes to be positive. Behind a friendship, there are always secrets. Family members often hurt each other. Love often brings pain and bliss to those involved. However, no one can live alone so these ideas are easy to relate to. I guess that is why Toume-sensei made vampirism a disease. Changing that fantastic idea into something more tangible, helps readers relate more to the suffering and brings down the romantic idea of bloodsuckers. Sure there is plenty of angst, tension and passion in this manga but the frustration is what really drives this story and it is what keeps me coming back.
Mania Grade: A+
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Right to Left