Lament of the Lamb Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 206
  • ISBN: 1-59182-814-7
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Lament of the Lamb Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     July 16, 2004
Release Date: May 01, 2004


Lament of the Lamb Vol.#01
© TOKYOPOP


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Toume Kei
Translated by:Ryan Flake
Adapted by:

What They Say
Kazuna Takashiro can't escape the pain of his past. Ever since his mother died, nightmares and visions have been eating away at him. When he finds his long-lost sister, Chizuna, the two discover they share more than just a family name. The siblings are cursed with a disease of the blood - a disease that will turn them into vampires! As they resist accepting their destiny, Kazuna and Chizuna struggle to contain the craving that is the very essence of what they will become..

The Review
Lament of the Lamb, another new title from TOKYOPOP, is a different take of a vampire story. Possibly a lesser known title that should get a bit of attention in the near future.

Packaging:
TOKYOPOP uses the original Birz Comics DX (Gentosha) cover art which features Kazuna and his sister Chizuna. The image is framed with the logo above the art and the spine. After seeing a different piece used on the TOKYOPOP website I was really happy to see them stick with what Toume originally used here, as it represents his art (at the start of the series) better.

Logo Check!! (2003 Megs).... just like the cover art TOKYOPOP has a slightly different logo than what is currently on their site. Basically all they did is change the font, but after reading the first volume I found this choice to be more 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 has the potential for so much variety).

The printing looks pretty good with no issues with screen tone and the inking looking really sharp. At the end of the GN TOKYOPOP has placed a few ads GTO, Rebirth, Battle Vixens, Eerie Queerie, Battle Royale, Priest, Model, and Kiss Me, Kill Me.

Artwork:
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 (he 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. And while the layout can be pretty fancy, it is purposely passive so it may slow the read a bit.

Orientation/SFX:
Presented in a tall B6 Lament of the Lambs is right to left.
SFX are not translated. Even though there are moments where one might not see an FX for pages those few that are present should be translated. I do not understand why TOKYOPOP continues to do this for a majority of their titles.

Text:
With this being my first experience with Hitsuji no Uta I cannot say how accurate the translation is but it sounds good. Honorifics are used a bit, but there are occasions where the dialouge between characters is a little wierd. As this is a high school drama, honorifics are not often used amongst male classmates, but that is not the always the case with females. When interacting with each other adults and teens tend to often use honorifics and things really sound awkward when Kazuna calls his relatives by their first name without an honorific attached to it.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Something is changing inside of Takashiro Kazuna. He does not know what is happening and why, but he knows something is different about him now. It may not have anything to do with his relationship with his guardians: his aunt and uncle. They want to adopt Kazuna, but are having issues sharing information they know about Kazuna's family is holding them back and causing a rift within the household. Could it be his friendship with classmate Yaegashi? There is obviously something growing between them and lately when they have been together he tends to feel this powerful sense of hate and desire.

This feeling is eating him alive. With every day his body seems to almost react on its own more and more. It gives him strange memories and nightmares. And for some reason, something wants him to search out his real family again.

Kazuna's mother died when he was a young child. His father sent him off to live with his uncle when he was very young. Kazuna may think his father abandoned him at times, but his aunt and uncle know otherwise. They remind Kazuna when he is down, but it is often not enough. Right now those words are not enough. So why not take a walk to the old home he shared with his mom, dad and a sick young lady who may have been a part of the family. Nothing wrong with checking, right. Besides, the place has been empty for years now.
The house was not empty when he got there. Inside was a young lady that was very familiar, yet a stranger at the same time. Takashiro Chizuna is Kazuna's older sister and she knows why he is here. She came back after her father's death and is trying to survive on her own. It is not easy, but she would not expect it to be. Chizuru like all Takashiro's have a disease. Man has been trying to eradicate for years but science cannot cure this with medicine. Instead, man kills the hosts before it gets killed. It's a disease of the blood that has been in the Takashiro family for generations; driving many to insanity and others to hiding. Chizuna has it and has accepted her fate. But will Kazuna?

Meeting a sister you did not know you had is one thing, but finding out your dad died and that you are sick with an "illness" that could drive you to your death (like the way your mother died years ago) too much to handle in a day! And what is this about being a vampire? Is that what this disease is? Is there any way to fight something like that? Why would someone lie about that? Why did his "family" (household) lie to him?

The easy way out is to accept it, but how do you do that? What do you do with your friends (he loves Yaegashi), your family (keep this a secret from those who keep other secrets from you) and this bizarre urge? Maybe, Chizuna can help. She seems to know a bit about him already.

Comments
It took me a little while but Toume-sensei has drawn me into this slow-moving dark, complex drama mainly on the backs of his characters. Kazuna may not be the best protagonist. He is quiet and a bit aloof. On the other hand he is genuinely a caring young man that is having trouble understanding the unique situation he is in. Chizuna and Yaegashi are two great supporting characters. They bring out opposite aspects of Kazuna and seem to be strong on own accords. The interactions between these characters may not be dialogue heavy but there is so much more happening there as they have to grow and change so much in a short amount of time.
The mood is not really gloomy or tense, but with the confusion and lack of communication their is a sense of anger and frustration throughout this volume. It really works well as it sets a tone for readers to expect as the story progresses. Fun!

I have not run into a title that has kept me so interested in its characters in ages. As a drama fan the relationships of these characters has got me wishing for more. The pacing is slow, but with dialogue kept at a minimum this was a fast read that had lots of nice twists leading to some important questions for these characters to resolve. There may not be much horror but the angst is thick and the mood dark. With very little action and most of the focus being on character development, the horror may not be strong enough for most vampire fans. There is some style in this story, but in contrast to titles like Vampire Princess Miyu the "romance" of a vampire story is not existent.

Coming into this title without any experience I was really surprised by how good this story is. The different take on a vampire story made a familiar concept fresh and entertaining. Toume's writing presents a cast of real characters, all of which are struggling with issues they all seem to share - how to communicate properly and how to survive with as little pain as possible. These are themes we see often in our lives but Toume characters have their own individual problems that they cannot share with most of his readers.

TOKYOPOP has done a great job with a wonderful title. Toume and TP bring out a title that could easily be the sleeper hit of the year.

Recommended

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