This is one of those series that I forgot existed, until, at a loss for what to write, I went scrounging around my house for ideas, and lo and behold, there it was shoved into the back of my closet. I wouldn’t say Lament of the Lamb by Kei Toume is entirely forgettable, but it’s been nearly ten years since its debut and it’s not particularly memorable in terms of plot. What initially drew me to it is its art—which is probably the most notable part of the series. It has a very distinctive style, especially on the covers, and even after coming across my forgotten collection, while just one look at the cover wasn’t enough to make me remember the story and characters—except in the most basic sense—my thoughts were immediately flooded with the visuals before even turning the first page.
Of course, this might have also stuck out to me since I don’t normally engage in horror, but even then, I don’t often have this much trouble recalling a story. However, that may be because, from what I can remember, the plot tends to be buried under layers upon layers of angst and dark characters with dark pasts.
Lament of the Lamb is also one of those rare stories in which the anime actually manages to be darker than the manga. This is a little surprising to me, because usually anime has a habit of shortening down on stories by cutting out what could be considered more inappropriate subject material. In this case, the anime chose to omit the lighter passages. Or at least, according to Wikipedia, that’s what it did. I haven’t watched the anime. The manga didn’t leave me particularly inclined to do so. But it did leave me a reminder of the lesson “don’t judge a book by its cover”.
The story begins with Kazuna, our oh-so-average high school student who, in an oh-so-shocking turn of events discovers that he’s not that average after all. Kazuna’s tragic past is that his mother died, and his father ran off somewhere with his sister Chizuna, leaving Kazuna in the care of his father’s friends. As of late, nightmares of his mother have plagued Kazuna, and he begins losing control of himself at the sight of blood, or just anything red in general. It turns out that, like his long lost sister, Kazuna is a vampire.
As I said, I’m not a big fan of horror, and so while reading, it didn’t really bother me that Lament of the Lamb substituted “scary” with “dark and angsty”. However, “dark and angsty” can quickly become too much. The manga is also listed under drama, so I suppose it’s not much of a surprise. But even then, I do remember at least wanting to finish the series for the sake of closure. What really did me in was the relationship between Kazuna and Chizuna. Maybe Kei Toume thought that the story just wouldn’t be weird enough without adding in a romance between the siblings. The incest doesn’t stop there, unfortunately. It’s implied that Chizuna’s relationship with her father also wasn’t very traditional either.
The incest has always stuck out to me as the oddest choice in writing here. While I suppose I could get behind the relationship between the father and Chizuna as part of her tragic past, no matter how disturbing it is—because, let’s face it, horror should probably be disturbing on some level—it’s extending that relationship to include Kazuna that really gets to me. It’s not as though there weren’t other love interests for the characters to pursue, and it’s especially not as though the plot lacked enough substance to make the story interesting without it.
Lament of the Lamb is certainly an interesting read. Unfortunately, its story could be a lot better than what it currently is. At only seven volumes, it won’t take too long to finish if any of you want to check it out. But if you choose to sit this one out, you won’t be missing too much.