“We aren’t wolves lurking among the lambs. We’re lambs with wolves’ fangs…with wolves’ hunger.”
Kazuna Takashiro always thought he was a normal high school student- until the day the sight of his friend’s blood red paint awakened strange urges in him. Bizarre as these cravings are, they also awaken memories of his father’s old house and the sister he never knew; memories so strong that he decides to find out just what happened to his long lost sibling.
Much to Kazuna’s surprise, his sister Chizuna is now living alone in their father’s house, and it seems that she knows just what has been happening to Kazuna. Both siblings suffer from a hereditary disease, a mysterious condition that causes the sufferer to experience an intense desire for human blood. Chizuna has lived with this disease for most of her life, and now that Kazuna has fallen prey to it as well, he may have no choice but to abandon his old life and entrust himself to his sister’s care…
Despite ostensibly sounding like a vampire story, Lament of the Lamb should not be considered alongside the likes of Hellsing and its brethren. If anything, this is a human drama that just happens to hinge upon a vampire-esque disease, and it is this distinction that makes Lament of the Lamb far worthier than any bloodsucking fest could hope to be. This is not the tale of an amoral pair of siblings preying on innocent humans, but that of two desperate people; one who has had the course of her life dictated by her condition, and another who is reluctantly forced to give up everything he knows when his symptoms awaken. The secrets of the Takashiros’ past, the struggles of the present, and the reactions of the people closest to them (not all of whom have been told the whole story) all come together to weave an intriguing and absorbing combination of drama, mystery and even romance.
Character-wise, Lament of the Lamb keeps a tight focus on the leads and their closest friends and relatives; a wise choice for a relatively short series since it allows all named characters to receive some development. As far as the cast goes, this is certainly a series that needs to be read at least twice; first time around, the reader’s perception of some characters will naturally be affected by not knowing the whole story, whereas on reread it is easier to judge their true nature and the sincerity of their actions, opening up a new perspective on events.
Visually, Lament of the Lamb’s artwork may seem rough on the surface, but proves to be little short of excellent on closer inspection. Despite a handful of technical weaknesses here and there, the mangaka’s powerful high contrast style is distinctive and always pleasing on the eye- so much so that I would love to see further examples of his work.
A compelling tale of human drama ignited by unusual circumstances, Lament of the Lamb is an addictive story from start to finish- drawing you into its world and making you long for the next instalment as soon as one is complete. If you want a more classical vampire series, then this isn’t the manga for you, but if you crave a darker slice of life, you won’t go far wrong with this.
Volumes: 7 [complete]
Creator: Kei Toume