Lament of the Lamb Vol. 1
High school is a time where many of us start to define who we really are. Dating becomes more serious than the relationships we had in grade school; college, careers, and the rest of our lives are suddenly far closer than we ever knew they could be.
Kazuna Takashiro is in precisely that situation when he begins to realize his future is completely unexpected.
Of late, Kazuna hasn't been feeling too well. Prone to dizziness, disorientation, and sickness at the sight or even thought of blood, his friends are becoming increasingly worried about him. Particularly concerned is Yaegashi, a classmate of Kazuna's and fellow member of the art club. Kazuna doesn't appear too interested in art, and it doesn't take a detective to figure out that he attends club meetings to see the comely young lass.
Kazuna's father and sister, Chizuna, left him when he was only three years old for reasons he's still unsure of. At least, he was unsure of the reasons, until he happens to encounter his older sister.
We discover that the Takashiro bloodline is a cursed one, for through their veins runs the disease of vampirism. Kazuna's family's heritage of bloodlust is the root of his recent physical discomfort, though the true significance of his nature has not yet been revealed.
The story so far deals less with the potential gimmicky nature of vampirism and more with the characters and Kazuna's reaction to the news of his condition. In a way, his disease really could be any other life-changing situation, lending this series a greater chance at being relevant to reality in certain ways.
The visuals in Lament of the Lamb are stark, rough, sometimes fuzzy and dreamlike, and sometimes crafted with crystalline clarity. There are a lot of vampire stories out there, but this one manages to look unique. Even the cover is different from other comparable books, embracing a more realistic and dire look instead of the usual perky anime-style image most manga boasts.
Fans of vampire stories will get this no matter what I say, but those of you who are wary of another bloodsucking tale might be glad to hear that there's plenty of other interesting content here aside from the main character's newfound attraction to blood. The characters are interesting and the relationships they develop believable, and that's really what kept me wanting to know what happens next. In the end, that's all I really need - characters I care about. Lament of the Lamb has them, so I suppose I really can't complain!