TEARS OF A LAMB • Banri Hidaka • CMX • 13+
Kei, a schoolgirl who is plucky and cheerful despite life’s setbacks, is obsessed with finding a ring which used to belong to a guy she liked. The ring may be lost in the apartment of her standoffish classmate Kanzaki, but Kanzaki is reluctant to let Kei into his room, for the unconvincing reason that he inherited it from his sister, and it still looks “girly” so it embarrasses him. Meanwhile, Kei’s older twin brothers try to support their sister, and we also learn the reason why Kanzaki lives alone and the injury that has interfered with his basketball playing. Banri Hidaka’s shojo manga are basically romantic character sketches, connecting the dots between some girl and some guy over the course of a few volumes. The one notable point about Tears of a Lamb, a manga less angsty than the title suggests, is that it starts disorientingly in the middle of things (i.e., “who is this girl and why does she want to get into this guy’s apartment?”). Unfortunately, as we find out more about the characters, the piling up of health problems and emotional back-story seems merely gimmicky, and the connection between the characters seems forced. Hidaka’s plain art adds little to the text. (Review by Jason Thompson; originally printed in Otaku USA magazine.)
** (two stars)
Today’s winner (okay, yesterday’s, I am playing catch-up) is William H. of Massachusetts! Congratulations, William! It’s always cool when a comments-poster wins some manga.