Synonyms: Earl Cain, Count Cain, Wasurerareta Juliet, Forgotten Juliet, Shounen no Fukasuru Oto, The Sound of a Boy Hatching, Kafka, Akai Hitsuji no Kokuin, The Seal of the Red Ram, The Boys Who Stopped Time, Double, Ellie in Summer Clothes
Delve into the tortured past of Earl Cain C. Hargreaves, charismatic heir to a wealthy family full of secrets, lies and unthinkable crimes. The prequel to the Godchild series, The Cain Saga follows the young Cain as he attempts to unravel the secrets of his birth, all the while solving each new mystery that comes his way.
First published in Japan in the early 1990s, this prequel to Kaori Yuki’s Godchild is meant to establish a bit of Earl Cain Hargreaves’ early life. It is clear how much this Victorian gothic tale must have influenced mangaka like Jun Mochizuki and Yana Toboso.
The Cain Saga series features the blasé heir to a noble family (the main character Cain, with his tragic past and hobby of collecting poisons), his faithful butler Riff, plenty of lovely ladies and bishonen, and a bunch of mysteries to solve.
There are five volumes in the series. The first two are full of short one-off stories. Most of
the third volume is one story. And the last two volumes (called volumes 4, part 1 and 2) comprise one longer story featuring a Jack the Ripper theme (sound familiar, Black Butler fans?). That longer story is full of all flavors of awesome.
As always, I enjoy Kaori Yuki’s artwork a great deal, but it is the way she tells her stories that really sets her apart, in my view. If I ever take to writing mysteries, or even just heavily plot-based stories, I would turn to her work as an example of how to construct such stories.
So, to put it simply, Cain is a troubled boy who solves weird mysteries. The two first volumes of the manga contain some stories which are pretty dull and it's pretty easy for the reader to guess the endings. The second and third stories are better but lack intrigue or something else to keep the reader interested. I ended up reading the pages mechanichally, waiting to reach the end. The mangaka doesn't seem to have put much thought in it, considering she used the -girl taking the place of another dead girl- plot three times(!). If this isn't lack of imagination then what
Before I start my review, I must warn you all that this is one of the harder reviews I have to do. Because of this, there may be a few more spoilers then other reviews even if I try to keep away from them. Also, this manga is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of blood, gore, torture, and stories that will see the evil in humanity. I have seen a lot of torture style anime and manga but almost every single one of those was with a demon or evil spirit doing the act. This manga on the other hand
is one where those doing the torture and murder are actually human. So many of the stories made me feel bad about the characters, and almost made me stop reading it as I was getting that emotional about the stories. This is my disclaimer for this review; it is your choice weather you feel like you can read it or the manga it is about.
The manga is written much like many of the others I seem to like, small stories within the chapters and an over arching plot that seems to hang over our main character, Cain. You could say it’s similar to xxxHOLiC or Petshop of horrors (more like the later I believe for how dark it gets) and though I rather loved those stories, this one was a bit hard for me. It also did not help me that the ending was so anti climatic. I will not fully get into spoilers here but the rise in climax seems to end a chapter too early, and then ends up not having an ending to that conflict. Now I was reading this off a website as I could not find it anywhere else so if the chapters were placed in the wrong order, I am rather sorry for this idea. If they were in the wrong order, then what should have probably been the last chapter would have been a great ending to go into the sequel manga, God Child.
When talking about the characters, it is seriously hard to do as most of them are spoilers to other stories or, much like the main characters, have so many complicated backstories that have spoilers within them. I will try my best to talk about them but I cannot promise it is spoiler free. The first character we should probably talk about is the character Cain Hargreaves. He is… well a very odd sort of upper class gentlemen. He is a very kind hearted man to those who are suffering and yet can be much like the devil to those who are the ones causing the pain. I believe it is because of his past that he is much like this, and it is a past that seems to haunt him and those around him even to when the manga ends sadly. I do feel sorry for him as most of the suffering is not because of something he did. He does however have a very strange hobby of collecting various poisons and learning all he can of them.
The other character that I feel comfortable in talking about is his butler, Riffael Raffit. The problem with this though is that there really is not much about him I can talk about. He is very loyal to Cain and it does not feel like he is only there because he was asked to. It is never talked about but I do believe there is a little bit implying that the two of them have deep feelings for one another that may go even deeper then their friendship. I have nothing to prove this and it could be based off of the yoai fan girl in me, but Cain does seem to dress up as a women every once in a while to trap people in a lie and Riffael always seems to be a bit more loving to him in those situations. Again, this is only me and my speculations.
The art style is extremely detailed but sometimes makes it really hard to figure out what is going on. It’s great for the hair and those really beautiful scenes but almost every single scene is so high detailed that sometimes you cannot figure out what is part of the background and what is in the foreground. The lines are so thin and dainty for both the characters and the background that I would think a slightly deeper line would have been great to outline a character and make them stand out. The screen tones do help at times but those are sparingly placed in points where the art is sort of trying to show an angelic looking scene. There seem to be two types of scenes in this manga, dark black scenes which make it really hard to see the dark haired characters, and bright white scenes that make it hard to see the light haired characters.
This manga is rather good in terms of the story and the art that was easy to see, but sadly there are times that it became a little to confusing to follow. Some of the stories were easy to figure out just what was going on, but then they made the story rather complicated until the very end. I would consider this a bit of a thriller style manga and has a good feeling of mystery so it does get good points for that.