The members of the Takashiro family share a terrible curse: only human blood can quench their thirst. Sent away after the death of his mother, Kuzuna Takashiro remained blissfully unaware of his 'condition.' When Kazuna's teenage hormones begin to rage, his uncontrollable bloodlust suddenly rears its head...
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this manga. I'm actually not that fond of horror or depressing series, but I picked it up because in a recc it mentioned vampires.
I'm not quite sure how to review this, to be honest. There's just something about the story that draws you in and doesn't let you go until the end. I think the story is fabulous; it keeps a nice steady pace throughout the volumes, never speeding up to the point where you find yourself at a loss as to what's going on, or lagging too much and causing disinterest.
The art is beautiful. Not
your typical shoujo or shounen styles; more like something out of an older horror book. It's absolutely lovely. Chizuna looks almost like a painted doll in some of the frames; like something that doesn't quite belong where she is.
The character development is also quite good for a seven volume manga. Granted, they start out as pretty interesting characters, but as you read further you end up pulling back even more layers and discovering how complex they really are.
As for enjoyment value, I was completely enthralled for the entire series. It was positively delightful, keeping you interested and wondering about what was going to happen next. I'll probably re-read the story several times within the next few months or so.
Overall, the story was a delightful ride. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I am probably going to go and purchase the books now, since I would enjoy having a hard copy of this. If you are a fan of psychological conditions and bittersweet endings, I would totally recommend it to you.
Some extra side notes:
When I mentioned vampires, it's not in the literal sense. The two main characters, Kazuna and Chizuna, have a type of disease that makes them crave blood to the point where they can become violent. Hence the label 'vampire'. So if you're looking for something that actually does have 'I-have-a-legion-of-bats, can't-go-out-in-the-day, let-me-suck-your-blood' vampires, this probably isn't for you.
There is some light incest in this manga. The only thing that physically happens is some kissing, but if that thing seriously squicks you out, then maybe you should avoid this. If it helps, you might also want to know that while they are related to eachother, they haven't been in contact since they were really young, so they are basically strangers.
If you have finished the 46th chapter, and you like the way that the story ended there, then DO NOT READ THE 47TH CHAPTER. I honestly wish I hadn't read the 47th chapter, because now it has me slightly miffed at the series. There's an author's note in the back of the Tokyopop versions that explains why the 47th chapter is like it is, but I honestly think that you should just stop with the 46th. It has a good ending.
Quite honestly, I was surprised by how much this manga drew me in. I find that it's usually only the very good, but little-known manga that have this kind of pull on people. Anything that I write probably won't do Hitsuji no Uta justice, but I'll try anyways.
The characters are extremly dynamic, and in a good way. Throughout the story, they change, mature, move forward, backwards, and forward once more. There is also nothing that is completely certain in this manga; it seems to lack the usual stereotypes and absolute courses of action that most manga are riddled with (not that
they're bad, but something completely without them is somewhat refreshing). I'm not really that much of a fan of happily ever after, but this mixes tragedy and the happy ending together in a way that is satisfying for fans of both types.
I just picked it on a whim because I had read Toume Kei's Kurogane twice through, but the art wowed me all the same. It keeps the same darkness, but adds an extra sophistication by using cleaner lines.
Everything about this manga just overwhelms me; I really have trouble describing it. It's like one of those great finds at the bottom of the junk pile. When you're sick of reading mainstream like Naruto or Bleach, and have a taste for darker, more sophisticated manga, this won't dissapoint.
Hitsuji no Uta is written by Toume Kei, who also wrote the wonderful little story that is Acony. Acony is good, and it deserved to have 47 chapters instead of this garbage pile. The mangaka is a solid artist, and can make good work - again, see Acony - but he can also make a very cliched, pretty godawful manga with horrible potholes and characters.
Setting that aside, let's review this manga -
The story sucks. It sucks very bad. Sure, there are certain subplots and elements that are decent - all related to character backstories mind you - but the main story itself blows
hot wad. The story is about vampirincest, and about the vampire part being psychological instead of real vampirism. Which could be interesting, but the whole "do I choose to bang my sister or this cute girl I like" plot really puts a damper on it. The fact there are gaping plotholes - which I've written down below underneath the characters section - makes this already bad story even worse. Psychologists do not exist in this universe, and the doctor boy ruins the life of two people because he's a goddamned idiot.
The ending is unspeakably bad, and I literally can't speak of it because spoilers aren't allowed here, I guess.
Art: The art is good. There's nothing wrong with the art.
The sister and the Aunt are interesting. Everyone else blows.
The sister is a complex figure, and you can understand her motivations and you actually become pretty invested in her personality, her troubles, and why she is doing what she does. I really liked the sister actually. Instead of making her dumbass brother the main character, they should've just focused on her throughout her life, which would've been a lot more interesting to me. I also enjoyed reading about the aunt, and her struggle to keep her family together. Those two characters are interesting.
Now, the main dude is incredibly infuriating and idiotic. He holes himself up with his sister, completely gives up on life for the most part, and does nothing to try to figure out how to counteract his psychological issue besides hole himself up in that house and weep about his problems. Dude, if it's a psychological issue, see a goddamned psychologist, and don't count on doctor creeper, who obviously had serious issues himself, and just see yourself as a lost cause. I can understand the sister not trying to get help, because she has physical issues and she's been brainwashed by her father and creeper doctor to not get help, and to be a lost cause, and she's suffering. I can see her not getting any help. But the dude has no excuse to reject creeper doctor and just get the two of them legit help.
His love interest is a mindless idiot, who would put herself in severe danger, and would do anything in the world to stay with a man who not only has a thing for his sister, but would be a huge danger to her and would make their children horribly deceased as well. That said, I rooted for her because I wanted the incest plot to end.
The doctor is a terrible, terrible person. Although it's said time and time again their disease is psychological, and if they had their memory erased (foreshadowing intensifies) that the problems would go away. Yet, he gives sister this weird medicine that supposedly depressed her desire which destroys her body, which is bad because she already has a weak heart and body in the first place. He does this all in secret, because if people found out, it would be bad. Okay dude. In the real world, it would surely peak the interest of people to learn that there was a family who had the urge to act like vampires, but overall it wouldn't be a huge deal, and they would just need some heavy psychological help, and then they would be on their way to being normal people. But no, in this world, psychology and therapists don't exist, and instead you need to give some awful, body-destroying medicine and make the girl you're in love with sick and dying. Hell, maybe he knew that the whole time and only gave her it because he knew if he made her sick, she would need him to take care of her, which is fucked to the highest degree.
Besides that whole plothole, the dude is in love with a seventeen year old girl, and fell in love with her when she was a little kid because he attacked her. No real person would ever have that happen. If a little girl attacked me and gave me a scar because in her head she needed to feed on blood, I would run to the other side of the planet and call child services. I wouldn't become a doctor then have the girl to take some shitty home-made medicine.
I enjoyed this story way more than it deserved to be enjoyed. I think I liked it so much because of the sister, and that's it. If they made her a worse character, I would've quit it relatively soon after reading it.
I give it a three. I give it points for the sister, and the good art. Everything else weighs it down, and makes it bad.