After my glowing review of the Lament of the Lamb manga, it should come as little surprise that in due course, I would turn my attention to the animated form of the franchise- a four episode OVA containing a compressed version of the story. Faced with the task of fitting a seven volume into a mere two hours of airtime, it was obvious that Hitsuji no Uta would not be quite the same as the manga that spawned it, but would it still be worthy viewing for a fan of the series? The answer, it turns out, is that it is something of a middle-of-the-road effort- not especially awful, but with nothing marking it out as particularly good either.
A bare-bones version of the story seen in the manga, Hitsuji no Uta cuts out as much extraneous material as it can, leaving only the core story of teenager Kazuna Takashiro succumbing to a vampiric disease and leaving his normal life behind in order to live with his similarly afflicted sister. Taken on its own, the OVA doesn’t feel incomplete, but it is somewhat disappointing to miss out on so much of the story. The remaining content can be said to be solid at best; it will keep you occupied, but unlike the manga, it does not really draw you into the story. Many of the scenes are presented via Kazuna or another character thinking about them in flashback, and whilst this method is interesting, the result is that the viewer ends up feeling a little divorced from what happening on screen.
Visually, Hitsuji no Uta’s artwork is a lot more standardised that the rough yet uniquely appealing style of the manga. Colouring is minimal, so much so that most scenes appear to be in black and white, with red blood offering the only vividness of colour. This is clearly meant to be in keeping with the tone of the series, but unfortunately here it is an effect that feels more cheesy than dramatic.
Whilst it makes for a reasonably interesting diversion, Hitsuji no Uta can offer little more than that. Compared to the manga that spawned it, it fails to have the same impact with regards to either content or presentation, and must instead settle for being a more average experience.