, known in the English editions as Godchild, is a gothic shōjo manga by Kaori Yuki.
Count/Earl Cain was originally serialized in Hana to Yume and became popular through online scanlation in the United States. The series is divided into two parts. The original manga was completed up to volume 5 where Kaori Yuki placed it on hiatus in order to complete her other manga Angel Sanctuary. After the completion of Angel Sanctuary, Count Cain was resumed and published under the new title, Godchild, which concluded in 8 volumes, making the Cain Series 13 volumes in total. Godchild is currently licensed in English by Viz Media and made its first appearance in Viz's magazine Shojo Beat, where it ran monthly until its last appearance in the June 2006 issue. The arc is also serialized in volume format by Viz. The first five volumes, titled as The Cain Saga, are being released by Viz as a prequel to Godchild.
Although generally known as a gothic series, Godchild gathers elements from many genres including mystery and suspense, horror, psychological and historical. The series is praised for its twisted plot, morbid humor, dark yet flamboyant style, and excellent artwork and an examination of depravity of human nature. The manga, being set in the Victorian Age, has Gothic Lolita fashion.
Earl Cain is the story of a nobleman
with an interest in poison from 19th century England. Cain inherited the title of Earl of Hargreaves when his father (supposedly) died falling into the sea when Cain tried to poison him. As he fell, he cursed Cain to a life of solitude. The story follows him through many mysteries involving poison. Most of the stories focus on human nature and emotional/social conflict. Some parts of the story develop out from the actual events taking place in London, like the Jack the Ripper
case and Queen Victoria's 60th coronation. Some of the chapters revolve around Cain's past and Riff, his servant whom Cain is very intimate to and sees as one of his family. Later in the manga, the plot becomes more connected and details his struggle against a secret society established by his father named Delilah
(in which the name overshadows the secret revealed by the end).
There are 8 volumes in total. All 8 have been released as of January 2008. There are 13 volumes in the Earl Cain Series.
Cain Christopher Hargreaves
- Cain is a young, slightly frail English nobleman who is also known as the Earl/Count of Poison or The Earl Who Courts Death for his fondness in collecting and storing different kinds of poisons which he calls his "children". Cain's childhood was filled with both physical and mental abuse inflicted by his father, Alexis. He was whipped on the back daily because Alexis claimed that Cain was a cursed child, and the abuse was the only way he could be forgiven by God. Cain's stepmother, Lenora, tried to kill him because she thought that he was getting in the the way of the love Alexis never had for her. Cain became Count at the age of twelve after killing his father. He has green-gold eyes, which indicate that he is a child born of the incestuous relationship. To outsiders he seems like a wealthy, incorrigible playboy. The only people he trusts are his head butler Riff and Mary Weather. The manga based his physical appearance on British actor Rupert Graves. Cain is so beautiful that he can pass for a woman at need.Riffael "Riff" Raffit
- Riff is Head Butler for the Hargreaves. Riff is Cain's personal servant and does everything for him (including tying his shoelaces and making his tea). Riff was the first person Cain has ever trusted and the only one who's allowed to see and touch his scars on the back. (Quote: "If you ever betray me, I'll kill myself" - Cain to Riff; from "Kafka") Riff was a medical student originally, but his house burned down and his entire family died. It was through Alexis, a friend of his father, that he received the job of being a servant. It is revealed that he is the Tower card in Delilah and that he was placed with Cain to cause him more suffering. He had been placed under hypnosis by Delilah, where his original ruthless personality and memories are suppressed. He had in fact killed his family and died in the ensuing fire he intentionally set.Mary Weather Hargreaves
- Cain's adopted little half-sister; her name is also romanized as "Merryweather". First she was believed to be the daughter of Cain's father and a maid. Her mother committed suicide by swallowing poison, and Mary lived as a street fortune teller before Cain found her. After that, Mary is often threatened to be killed by "Delilah." Near the end of the story, Cain reveals secretly to his Uncle Neil that she doesn't share the same bloodline as him. She was fathered by the head of servants in Cain's house who died before she was born. Nevertheless, Cain loves her as his true sister despite knowing the fact. Mary is very outgoing and strong-willed, and often annoyed by Cain's relationships with women. Cain hands the title of Earl/Count to Mary Weather toward the end, making her the head of the Hargreaves family, and Mary is determined to live up to his expectations.Jizabel Disraeli
- Also known as Jezebel, depending on the translation.
- Cain's brother by adoption. Jizabel is a sadistic doctor and works for Cain's father in the secret society Delilah. He loves to collect human organs and always keeps the organs of his deceased mother and sisters at hand. It is revealed later that Jizabel is actually Cain's half brother: his mother was Alexis' mistress. As a child, Jizabel was a vegetarian who genuinely cared for life, but was forced to eat his pet sheep by Alexis. He craves for his father's love and thus hates Cain because Alexis spends all of his attention on Cain. He is unofficially "Death" in Delilah's Major Arcana until later in the series (he had no desire to undergo the bothersome regeneration necessary to join Major Arcana officially). Although his schemes to destroy Cain seem ingrained to his life, he helps Riff with a drug to keep him 'alive'; although he does threaten that he will die if he doesn't betray Cain, because if he doesn't, he won't give him the drug. Later Riff 'dies' (read Riff), and then comes to tell Cain Jizabel's true intentions. Jizabel was actually trying to slow down the process of his 'death'. Reasons to this is yet unknown, and not 100% accurate of whether he was trying to help Riff and Cain, or gather more information. However, in the final Godchild manga, he dies while giving the last of his 'life blood' to Riff. The mangaka, Kaori Yuki, claims that Jizabel is her favorite character. Alexis Hargreaves
- Cain's father. The only person he ever loved was his sister, Augusta, despite his marriage to a woman named Lenora. He resolves to make life impossible for Cain, because he blames his son for the insanity and death of Augusta. As the leader of Delilah, he is the "Card Master" and assigns members within the group their ranks. By the end of the story, he appears to be suffering because of the plot set down by his sister. He was killed and afterward possessed by the spirit of Augusta. Alexis creates the 'deadly dolls' throughout the manga to attempt to create a new body for his deceased sister Augusta.Augusta Hargreaves
- Cain's aunt and real mother. She lost her mind after giving birth to Cain, and later jumped out of the window of her institution when Cain went to visit her for the second time; she had mistaken him for Alexis. However, when Cain came to her side as she lay dying, she apologized and warned him to watch out for his father. By the end of the story, her spirit appears to be the real wicked one who has plotted and been responsible for Cain's suffering. The name of Alexis' secret society Delilah refers to her. In the final volume of Godchild, her motive for causing Cain's suffering was that she wanted to create strife between Cain and Alexis. Even in death she orchestrated the events from the beginning and used Alexis' love for her to hurt both Cain and Alexis. Augusta killed herself to create a further rift between the two so it may sprial into the downfall and chaos of London.
as having a "dark and mysterious atmosphere", "characters that are completely developed with realistic qualities", and artwork that is "virtually flawless". The review ended by giving the series a "definite 10" on a scale from 1-10.
Manga:The Complete Guide's review of The Cain Saga said that "[a]t its best, The Cain Saga captures the geunuine ghoulishness of the Victorian era, or at least of its stereotypes", and that "[t]he fun here is in Yuki's classical plots, and in the pleasure of seeing good-looking shojo characters commit evil deeds."
Its review of Godchild commented that "the art overcompensates in detail for what it lacks in clairity" and that "the heroes are as seductive and destructive as the villians." Both The Cain Saga and Godchild received the same rating: two and a half stars out of four.
Mania.com's review of the fifth Godchild volumes said that "developments aside this story isn't bad but it felt like it distracted from the main body of the story" and that "at this time her [Kaori Yuki's] art is as polished and skilled as her fans have come to expect". The review ended with giving the fifth Godchild volume a grade of "B+".