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blobbl

  • Joined Jul 20, 2010
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Lament of the Lamb

Jul 25, 2010

Story

Usually anime of this genre is more vapid than vampiric, but Hitsuji no Uta stands out.  Instead of recycling a crowd-pleasing, fan-service-filled storyline and slapping a load of fangs, pallour and blood into it, Hitsuji no Uta takes a gentler approach.

We are introduced to Kazuna as a schoolkid with vague ambitions and a gaggle of casual acquaintances: very timid and serious, but essentially normal.  There's a certain question mark laid on from the beginning about his natural parents as well.  The storyline, like the characters and the palette, plods grandly.  The basic plot line is that Kazuna begins to freak out more and more at the sight of blood, and is led to seek out his sister and find the reason for his affliction through uncovering secrets about his family.

Not a whole lot actually happens.  Kazuna basically learns to come to terms with his affliction, to exchange blood with his family for soothing purposes, and to take drugs to combat it.  He learns about the alternative life he could have had, and his family's reasoning for sending him away to live with his normal uncle.  Characters outside the bloodline are completely ancillary: the story is nothing more than a symbol of the family being over and above anything else, and the storyline, static in every way other than Kazuna's character development, is merely another reflection of that.

The story has value for its art and understatedness rather than how exciting it is.  Only one scene truly gripped me, and that was the final scene.  Had I not come to know the characters, I wouldn't have given a crap.

Animation

There was a low budget for this anime.  Every episode features a fat wad of recycled, retouched footage, and characters often don't move their mouths while speaking.  It is well pulled off though, and not off-putting at all.  The colour palette is limited to greys and muted browns, against which bloody redness is always jarring.  The characters are similarly samey, life representations of Japanese people with ubiquitously black hair and greyish skin.  However, strangely, this helps the viewer to empathise with the inner character.

Sound

There is no opening theme.  The ending theme is a non-descript, vaguely gothic classical track.  Aside from this there is an electronic dance beat used for the jarring dramatic scenes where Kazuna sees blood.  The sound is not what you will be watching this for, but then again, who does?

Characters

I can't really work out the role of characters in Hitsuji no Uta.  On the one hand, the characters are incredibly one-dimensional.  We barely see Kazuna's uncle.  His love interest, Yaegashi, seems friendless and distant, communicating through her art.  However, she does lend a frisson of moe to the ensemble and is much needed.  Chizuna is supposed to be a protagonist, but I couldn't tell you anything about her as a person.  All of the characters seem only to exist as counterpoints to Kazuna's changing moods or facilitators of his development.  Kazuna's development consists exclusively of his integration into his natural birth family.  As the plot continues he isolates himself from school, his girl, his surrogate parents and his apartment in favour of his sister and the large house they both rattle around in.  All his emotions become concentrated as much on bloodline as they do blood, to the point where he develops sexual feelings for his sister, and that they do a Romeo and Juliet in the end.

Overall

Hitsuji no Uta is so static it may as well have been expressed as a painting.  Everything from the cherry blossoms always being out to the demure household activities of Kazuna and his sister points to the view that everything in the background is incidental compared to Where You Come From.  I'm the first one to find things boring if nothing happens, but strangely I was glued to this anime from start to finish.  If you enjoy anime as artwork, or melodrama in any form, this should be part of your portfolio.

7/10 story
6/10 animation
6/10 sound
8/10 characters
7/10 overall

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