From the back cover:
Freshman Kei has one thing on her mind: getting into fellow classmate Kanzaki’s apartment. She won’t tell him why at first, but she’s searching for something that she lost in there two tenants ago. Starting with this strange connection, a friendship grows between two students who have each suffered their own separate trauma. Can Kei and Kanzaki help each other get over the secrets that are tearing them apart?
At first, I was pretty bored by Tears of a Lamb. There wasn’t anything obviously wrong with it, but neither was there anything really special. Additionally, the main characters reminded me of some in Fruits Basket: Kei was kind of like Tohru, with a never-give-up attitude and an ability to understand others’ problems; Kanzaki was kind of like Kyo, gruff on the outside but caring within; and Takama-sensei (who’s also Kei’s cousin) was kind of like Shigure, with a silly/playful side as well as a more serious one. I have no idea which series came first, but these similarities made the setup here seem awfully familiar.
In one of her columns, Hidaka-sensei mentioned that, when she conceived of the tale, she was eager to introduce a character from Kei’s past and wasn’t dwelling a lot on the introductory bits with Kei and Kanzaki at school. The difference showed, as when the story delved into the more serious territory of Kei’s past, my enjoyment of it markedly increased. The personalities of Kei and Kanzaki were fleshed out more and there were some really nice scenes between them as they very slowly started to become friends and to confide in each other about their problems. The progression of the relationship was well done, especially in comparison to some shoujo I’ve recently read, where love declarations came after only a few pages.
I was less enamored of the “funny” parts of the story, since I didn’t find them particularly humorous. I guess some folks might enjoy spazzing older brothers who hurl forks at boys who criticize their sisters, but not me. Honorifics were maintained, which I appreciated, but there were a couple of other problems in the translation. At one point, Kanzaki was referred to with an incorrect first name, and there were other small things like weird symbols where apostrophes should be and odd placement of overlays. Hidaka’s art is clean and cute; in fact, that’s what initially attracted me to her works.
After a slow start, Tears of a Lamb wound up finding an original story after all. I’ll be continuing with the series.