Author: Kaori Yuki
Series: Godchild #1
Published: 7 March 2006 by Viz Media under Shojo Beat
Length: 208 pages
Warnings: graphic violence and gore
Other info: This is a sequel to another (incredibly hard to find) work, the Earl Cain saga. Other works by Kaori Yuki include Angel Sanctuary and Grand Guignol Orchestra (review here)
Summary : Deep in the heart of 19th century London, a young nobleman named Cain walks the shadowy cobblestone streets of the aristocratic society into which he was born. Forced to become an earl upon the untimely death of his father, Cain assumes the role of head of the Hargreaves, a noble family with a dark past. With Riff, his faithful manservant, and Mary Weather, his 10-year-old half sister, Cain investigates the mysterious crimes that seem to follow him wherever he goes.
Review: Cain Hargreaves is a seventeen year old earl in Victorian London. Murder and destruction seem to surround him. With his ten year old half sister Mary-Weather and his manservant Riff, who turns up more in later volumes, Cain goes and investigates.
For example, someone has been going around chopping off girl’s heads in the style of the Queen of Hearts. Cain investigates this White Rabbit Killer, which ends in the suicide of the murderer and the saving of a would-be murder victim. The other stories in this book fall along this line, such as a crooked house, with the girl living in it wanting to create a living doll out of Mary-Weather, a mystery involving a black sheep and a suit of armour, and another where girls take a potion to look beautiful, then die in pain later as a mysterious man removes and collects their eyeballs. These stories aren’t all random; the last introduces Cain’s half brother, who we’ll see later on in the series.
I like the clever little plots that you see. There’s always a slightly ironic twist to everything, which is hard to explain here but you’ll understand if you read it. I also like the way there’s always a little bit of backstory revealed in the chapter.
Cain is your typical young, tortured hero, with an extremely good reason (his father’s dead and his half-brother wants to kill him). My favourite character is Mary-Weather, who takes being put in a cage above what is basically poison and almost becoming a living doll quite well considering her age and the circumstances. Riff didn’t seem to do much, but I’m glad we’ll see a lot more of him later.
As with all of Kaori Yuki’s work, the art is very detailed, realistic, and atmospheric. There’s a lot of detail in things like costumes, even in the background. The art is also a little bit cleaner than other works such as Angel Sanctuary, so it flows a bit better. It’s also good that all the characters are easy to distinguish.
It’s very historically accurate. You get a very good idea of Victorian London, the darker side of the nobility, and everything. However my favourite Victorian-set manga will still be Black Butler, probably because I like the supernatural element. This is a very good realistic Victorian manga.
Overall: strength 5 tea to a manga with a great plot and excellent artwork.