THE CAIN SAGA by Kaori Yuki
Shojo Beat, 5-volume manga series
Having read Kaori Yuki’s Godchild last fall, I felt it only natural that I track down the first half of the Cain Saga. This took a little longer than I anticipated since the five books in this series are no longer available in stores, and I didn’t have the money to simply order them all at once. But I eventually acquired them and gleefully began to read.
What I got wasn’t quite what I had expected. I had imagined that the Cain Saga would expound more on Cain’s childhood. In retrospect, that doesn’t make much sense–Cain could hardly be a Count as a child–but I had convinced myself that it was true. It turns out that you don’t learn any more about that than you learn in Godchild. In fact, the first part of the series isn’t much different from the second at all except for two major points:
- You’re able to read about the death of Cain’s cousin Suzette and the introduction of Jizabel Disraeli
- Kaori Yuki’s drawing style is noticeably different
When I began reading volume one, I wondered if I had the right manga after all. The artwork was so different from the art in Godchild that I was shocked it belonged to the Kaoru Yuki I’ve become familiar with over the years. Over the course of the five books, you see her drawings change and evolve, eventually becoming the art style recognizable from her other major works. I did get used to it gradually (and it made me understand just how long ago she began working on the Cain Saga), and by the final volume it no longer mattered since the characters looked more like their versions from Godchild.
As for the stories themselves, they were interesting and pretty much what I’ve come to expect from this series. But again, since I had read Godchild first, I already knew all of the core character and plot information. If anything, I had more fun with the dramatic irony, particularly where it concerned Riff. His role in the second half of the series takes an unexpected turn, and reading about him during the earlier portion of the story before those events occur was equal parts sad and amusing.
Overall, I still like this series very much. If you haven’t read any of it so far, I would recommend that you start with the Cain Saga before reading Godchild (though you don’t have to). And, if you’ve already read Godchild and you want to know whether or not you should bother with the Cain Saga, I’ll say that you should certainly read it if you’re a completionist, like me, but it doesn’t really add much to your knowledge of the story.