Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tears of a Lamb, vol. 1

By Banri Hidaka
Published in the US by CMX Manga

Slugline: I wish they had chosen something other than Anorexia to be the mystery disease du jour

Banri Hidaka has also done I Hate You More Than Anyone, which has also been reviewed here on Prospero's Manga. TokyoPop is going to launch another title by Banri Hidaka, V.B. Rose, and the titles will be cross-promoted.

Kei is determined to get into the new boy at school, Kanzaki's apartment. She lost a ring belonging to the previous owner of the apartment and wants to search it to make sure she did leave it there. Kanzaki has moved away from his old school because of his shame over his growing disability and escape a truly epic choke in his old school's very last basketball game. Kanzaki doesn't want to let Kei into his apartment, because he took the apartment over from his sister and in his mind still looks very girly. Thus the situation is set up for the two to help each other with their problems.

One of the challenges of being a reviewer is knowing when to be offended. In this volume they describe and use anorexia incorrectly. In many science fiction manga, they get the science wrong also, so why should they getting a disease wrong ina drama manga raise any more concerns in me than it would otherwise. Could it be because anorexia is a real disease affecting mostly young women now, rather than some abstract scienctific principle, and young women are among this manga's intended audience? I don't know if it should affect people's decision to read this or not. I have not known anyone with anorexia (that I have been aware of), so I can afford to be intellectual about it, while someone who has may have had a more personal experience with it would not be as forgiving. I am going to just rate it as best as I can, with this disclaimer up front.

Kanzaki's disability is dealt up front rather quickly, which is good, and for once a female's lead problem is one that can't be just solved with a five minute conversation. The problem with the ring, on the other hand, is a lot more thorny. Forgetting where you hid something something you hid deliberately is a little hard to believe. One would think one would remember the act of hiding. I do it all the time, I tell someone for instance, that I am putting keys or something down in a specific place, and so I remember telling the person where I put it. So by spending the time to hide something, something with a high value such as the ring, one would think Kei would never forget where she hid it. Unless, of course, she forgot where she put it on purpose, which opens a whole different can of worms. Other than some basic problems of the underlying situation, the art and storytelling are fairly strong.

Tears of a Lamb, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.


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