This one is out there. Honestly, when it comes to the way mangaka, Kei Toume, delivers this rendition of the old faithful genre, it is so in there, that it is out there. Vampire stories have been so consistently produced for such a long time that it would seem there are few things that could be added to them. And honestly, it seems that as long as authors maintain a romantic component to their stories, there is no great need for them to change very much of the basic vampire story paradigm. The only story that has really done anything great with the vampire paradigm in recent memory is the Marvel, Blade Trilogy. Interview with the Vampire was awesome as well but somehow Twilight seems to have caused people to forget about it. And I am no Twilight hater, but…Come on…Really… Interview with the Vampire is on a completely different artistic plane from Twilight. No comparison whatsoever. And why would you compare? There is no need to because they were made with entirely different goals in mind. The point I am trying to make really is that vampire stories are relatively consistent with a few fantastic gems here and there. Lament of the Lamb or Song of the Sheep as it is literally translated, is one of those narratives.
Lament of the Lamb adds to the classic Vampire story by stripping it down. It strips it of all of its super natural trappings and lore. It strips away the majority of the romantic element as wel. Although there are a number of romantic undertones in the manga. In Lament of the Lamb, vampirism is treated as a disease like in the Blade Trilogy. However this concept is furthered in this narrative. Toume treats it as purely a genetic disorder that has been passed down through the descendants of Takeshiro clan. Unlike Blade, or any other Vampire narrative, there are absolutely no benefits to this form of vampirism. The Takeshiros, especially the females who develop the disorder, suffer difficult lives and eventually die either from madness or other complications associated with the disease. In most other vampire stories, good vampires end up protecting humans who are at their mercy but in Toume’s manga, those with vampirism require ordinary humans to help them deal with the debilitating condition. It’s an entirely different vampirism from anything you likely have ever read.
Like I said, this story strips everything down and to some degree it discards much of itself. Although the manga will keep you glued to it, you will at some point come to realize that not very much has happened at all. Revelations of the past and understanding for the main character are the driving mechanisms in the story. Characters, gaining and seeking information will dictate relationships and plot developments.
I can’t even place the genre. I generally consider that a good thing. Genres can be limiting to artists but in order to convey what the story is like I need to give you some kind of reference. So consequentially, I have to say vampire genre and whatever else. Many have classified it as a horror or thriller. It is very dark. The suspense is kept in part because of this. But it’s neither a horror not a thriller. It has certain elements of the two and you will definitely find yourself ripping the edges of pages in anticipation. Or if you choose to read it online then you will probably over-tap the arrow keys in anticipation or something. But it’s not really a thriller or a horror. It’s hardly even a vampire story although that is the basis of the story. Lament of the Lamb is “slice-of-life” combined with horror, thriller and vampiritic elements. That’s the best I can do to describe it.
I have never done this on this site before but I am not going to mention any of the characters or any actual plot points. I don’t feel that I can. This manga is amazing and I want everyone who reads this post to read the manga. I am sure that you will enjoy it but the plot is given away rather easily because the narrative is so singularly focused. So, if I give you even small bits of character or plot information then you might start to unravel things prematurely. Just know that Lament of the Lamb is an incredible manga that you should read regardless of whatever genres you prefer. It is a genre-buster and a great read.