Lament of the Lamb Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 188
  • ISBN: 1-59182-815-5
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Lament of the Lamb Vol. #02

By Eduardo M. Chavez     September 08, 2004
Release Date: July 01, 2004


Lament of the Lamb Vol.#02
© TOKYOPOP


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

What They Say
As Kazuna continues to be tormented by a violent and irrepressible craving for blood, his long-lost sister Chizuna reveals the secrets of his past. With their destinies intertwined, the siblings grow increasingly alienated from the world... and the only cure for their terrifying disease just might destroy the ones who love them.

The Review
Packaging:
TOKYOPOP uses the original Birz Comics DX (Gentosha) cover art which this time features Kazuna's classmate Yaegashi. The image is framed with the logo above the art and the spine. The opposite cover has a framed portrait of Chizuna in her school uniform. 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 pretty good with no issues with screen tone and the inking looking really sharp.

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.

Text/SFX:
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. 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)
After years of not knowing he was infected, Kazuna is finally feeling the affect of his rare disease and the symptoms have become critical. Recently as he became more aware of its presence, he was determined to fight it and keep it contained. He could not believe his blood was turning him into a monster. Actually, he has been a monster all along, but the hunger just recently awoke inside of him. As his sister explained, in a rare reunion, he is suffering from something that modern medicine cannot cure. The disease will eat away at him until he can feed his bodies urges or it kills him. Today, Kazuna feel he is fighting for his life, but he does not want to give in. Unfortunately, as his sister knows he really does any other choice.

Essentially with no one else to turn to Kazuna accepts his sister's aide and blood to feed his disease. In Kazuna's oldest memories of his sister she had already succumb to her blood. Chizuna would feed off of animals before she understood what was happening to her. Eventually her father's blood would keep her unique thirst under control. Together these two need each other to survive. Kazuna needs Chizuna's experience and Chizuna equally needs her brother's companionship. Most importantly in each other they have something that neither friends or medicine can provide or replace... the bonds of blood and family.

Now that Kazuna acknowledges that he is no longer alone in his struggle, he has begun to separate himself from the eyes of society. He has respected and appreciated all that his aunt and uncle have provided for him throughout the years. However, he has also felt he has been a burden to his family. This disease could be too much for others to handle (if it is overwhelming Kazuna, it could hurt his relatives to be helpless and have to live in fear). If his family is out of his life then his school life must also be gone as well, right. With a disease like this there is little hope for the future. School is meaningless if one is trying to live in isolation. Tests, books, homework will not help him cure his problem and school itself can be stressful enough without having to worry about attacks. There may be something at school that Kazuna might regret ignoring, though. It will pain his soul much like his blood hurts him if he gives in and leaves her behind.

Comments
The bond of family is a very powerful force. In this volume Toume-sensei takes readers into the solitude and desperation of the lead siblings. Despite only reuniting very recently, these two have realized that they already need each for survival. Individually their motives may be extremely selfish, but Toume has created a mood of urgency and confusion that is hastening Kazuna's decision making. This disease has begun to turn him into a monster; when it overcomes him he could threaten everyone around him. Laws of society do not apply to beasts, so removing himself from their world to seek refuge from his sister appears to be the only logical solution. As Kazuna begins to assume his role as Chizuna's companion, his fears of being alone weigh on him, as he fears for his friends and relatives. Kazuna's honesty and his fear compliment the love and courage of those who care for him. It also fascinates me as he struggles with what he is becoming. Chizuna's experience and loneliness are so alluring it calls to him and keeps me wishing for more as I wonder who is really using who.

You may not read about this title much in these or hear talk of it in manga circles, but Lament of the Lamb is definitely one of the better dramas out there. Unlike most vampire stories where the fantasy and romance of being immortal is often overdone, this story focuses on the mortality and the pain of being a vampire. To Toume it is a disease that overpowers its host into submission. The only options available to those suffering from this disease is to turn into a monster or slowly die. There has been little blood sucking, not much posturing, actually very little of what most would consider standard for vampires at all, yet these two vampires do have one basic aspect - loneliness. Toume's character interplay is wonderful. These characters are fearful, courageous, manipulative and more, they are human even if their blood says otherwise. Most importantly their need for self-preservation is almost alluring and keeping me on my toes wondering how far they will go to survive.

Lament of the Lamb does not have action or bishonen/bishojo found in other vampire manga, but what it does have is the pain and confusion that other titles often fail to ever present well. This one is going into the top ten list.

Highly Recommended

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