Cain Saga Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 8.99
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 1591169755
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Cain Saga Vol. #01

By Danielle Van Gorder     April 05, 2007
Release Date: October 17, 2006

Cain Saga Vol.#01
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kaori Yuki
Translated by:Akira Watanabe
Adapted by:Joel Enos

What They Say
Born under an evil moon harboring dark secrets, Earl Cain C. Hargreves, the youthful heir of the aristocratic Hargreves family, is a man on a quest to find the truth about his family's past. Written in dark, harrowing episodes, The CAIN Saga chronicles how Cain solves the strange crimes that seem to plague his cursed existence, yet somehow bring him closer to deciphering the puzzling circumstances surrounding his father's tragic death.

Five gripping stories of love, friendship and betrayal--"Forgotten Juliet," "Branded Bibi," "The Youths Who Stopped Time," "Double," and "The Death of Cleo"--comprise this poignant first installment of Kaori Yuki's hit gothic manga series. Gothic fans will be left in awe long after this series has ended!

The Review
Tragedy, tragedy, tragedy.


The cover has a closeup shot of Cain's face, with a background that is very evocative of a forest at night. Inside there is a note from the editor detailing the five different series that make up the thirteen volumes total of Cain Saga (including the eight volumes released under the title Godchild). Print quality is for the most part acceptable, although there are sections of screentone that look muddy. There are several one-page ads at the back of the book for other Viz releases.


Kaori Yuki's art is very detailed, with a style that is unmistakably her own. Readers familiar with her other works such as Angel Sanctuary can expect more of the same here. Page layouts are definitely one of her strengths - they're both elborate and dynamic, and make each page more interesting than it might otherwise be.


The translation reads smoothly for the most part, although there are sections where the dialogue is rather clunky and hard to follow. This may just be because of the material, rather than a fault of the translation. Sound effects are all replaced with English translations, which for the most part look good.

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):

This first volume of the Cain Saga contains five different short stories - some connected via the presence of the titular character, Earl Cain C. Hargreaves, with the rest seemingly random at this point in the story. One characteristic they share is that they're all dark.

In Forgotten Juliet, Cain's cousin Suzette recently passed away. Ariel only knew her for the short time he helped out with the gardening, but he has trouble accepting that she's dead. In the mean time, his uncle Miles is nearing the end of a successful courtship, and is preparing for his wedding to a wealthy woman. When Ariel goes to leave flowers on Suzette's grave, he discovers her empty coffin and a dead man with a green handprint on his neck - but no other indication of how he died.

When Cain finally arrives, the mystery only deepens as more people turn up dead. When Ariel investigates Cain, he discovers something he wasn't expecting, and learns a bit more about Cain and his hobbies. This story ends on a tragic note that ties back into the title.

The next story is Branded Bibi. Cain is called to help his uncle Leyland Russell, who recently recieved a letter from a girl claiming to be his long-dead daughter. Cain arrives just in time to prevent the girl, who looks identical to the dead Madeline, from killing Leyland. When Cain follows the girl, he discovers that her final destination is a whorehouse.

When he investigates further, he discovers that Leyland's illegitimate daughter Bibi is working there - and she has a brand on her hand identical to the one on the girl who tried to kill Leyland. But she seems to know nothing about the night before. She and Cain reminisce about their shared childhood together, and an accident caused by Madeline that Bibi was blamed for. As more details come out, Cain pieces together the details - but not in time to prevent another tragedy.

The Boys Who Stopped Time has seemingly no connection to Cain. A young boy, Rupert Godfrey, is starting at a boarding school where a maid was recently killed. He's a commoner among aristocrats, and has some trouble fitting in and making friends - especially with the Head Boy, John Elliot. When the two boys discover a secret room by accident, and an intense new maid starts working at the school with secrets of her own, the story takes a somewhat suprising turn. And a tragic one, but you were expecting that by now, weren't you?

Double is another story seemingly unconnected to Cain or the Hargreaves family. Two boys, Emilio and Len, swear to be blood brothers before Len is scouted and goes off to the city to be an actor. Two years pass, but Emilio never hears from Len. He finally decides to go to the city to find him, but Len is very different from what Emilio remembers. It soon becomes clear that there's more going on than Emilio is aware of, although he eventually (and tragically) gets to the bottom of the mystery.

The final story in the book is also the shortest. The Death of Cleo Dreyfus brings the story back to Earl Cain, who is investigating the death of his friend. While it is short, it's also one of the more interesting stories because of how it's used to establish more of Cain's character. He's still a bit of an enigma as a character, but but this makes a few more aspects of his personality clear, and makes him more interesting to me as a reader.

After finishing this, I feel like I've been beaten over the head with the tragedy stick. As a standalone volume, there's nothing to really recommend it - the stories are all somewhat predictable once you realize that nothing is going to end happily. Tthe collection as a whole is somewhat disjointed, as two of the stories have no connection at this point to Cain. But as an introduction to a larger work, there's some hope that things will come together as the story progresses. Fans of mystery, horror, or gothic titles should find a lot to love here.


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