A Kaori Yuki
manga set in a dark Victorianesque world, the series centers around a young earl, Cain Hargreaves. Cain is seventeen, apparently orphaned, rich and eccentric. Unfortunately, his family past will allow him no peace.
Everybody in Cain's family, we are told, has a habit of studying poisons, and Cain is no different. With the aid of his trusted manservant Riff, he uses his knowledge of poisons to seek justice for murder victims, usually by poisoning the murderer. Both halves of the series (see below) begin with murder mystery short stories that Cain investigates before launching in to longer storylines concerning issues close to Cain himself.
Like any good Crime and Punishment series
, Count Cain
brings up just about every kink under the sun. It has gothic sensibilities
, as well as bad steampunk science
. Abusive Parents
, and Magnificent Bastards
are a staple. Blood, death, tragedy, and madness also abound.
The series was originally split into two halves, as the creator took a break to work on another series, Angel Sanctuary.
The first part consists of four arcs collected in five volumes, entitled Count Cain
. The second, done some years later, is eight volumes long and entitled Godchild
Provides Examples Of:
- And I Must Scream: Rebecca's dolls
- Archnemesis Dad: Alexis to Cain.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Crehador certainly thinks so, but for the most part averted, with a few exceptions.
- Arranged Marriage
- Art Evolution: The art has changed a lot from the first volume to the fifth; then Kaori Yuki took a break from Cain to work on Angel Sanctuary, and when she took up Cain again, the art style was almost completely different from where she'd left off. The mangaka herself even makes note of this in one of the sidebars in Godchild.
- Artificial Human: Delillah specializes in Deadly Dolls, artificially created clones from dead people that survive with other peoeple's organs and blood. Their bodies are unstable and require constant care, but all deadly dolls gain supernatural powers...somehow.
- Author Appeal: Brother-Sister Incest, Ho Yay, Foe Yay...
- Ax-Crazy: Several characters.
- Babies Ever After: In the epilogue, Oscar and Mary Weather are expecting a child.
- Badass: Cain.
- Bastard Bastard: Jizabel, born out of wedlock, is a primary antagonist and indeed quite a bastard.
- Battle Butler: Riff, subverted when he has his Face-Heel Turn.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Subverted in "Scold's Bridle".
- Best Served Cold
- Bigger Bad: Augusta
- Big Brother Instinct: Cain towards Mary Weather.
- Dudley towards Eliza.
- Completely averted with Jizabel. He wants to kill both Cain and Mary Weather.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: Like you wouldn't believe. The only one who gets off lightly is Merryweather, and that's because she turns out to not really be Alexis' daughter after all.
- Bittersweet Ending
- Brainwashed and Crazy
- Break the Cutie: Jizabel's backstory.
- Broken Bird: Mikaela ...Well, when she's not in her Yandere mode.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Between Alexis and Augusta.
- Cain and Abel: Ironically enough, Cain is the Abel to his illegitimate and completely psychopathic half brother, Jizabel.
- Cartwright Curse: Every woman who loves or is loved by Cain suffers a horrible death. Mary Weather survives thanks to extreme security measures Cain takes before doing something that could involve or get her into danger.
- The Chessmaster: Alexis Or even more: Augusta
- Child by Rape: Cain was born from Alexis's rape of his own sister, Augusta. Later revealed that it was the other way around, and that Augusta seduced Alexis.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: While Cain may be aloof, he genuinely wants to help people and is very upset whenever he can't save someone.
- Cloning Blues: Mikaila is Suzette's clone, made with the only purpose of having Cain's child. She was made believe that Cain was destined to be with her and she based her whole existence on it. And when she's unable to made Cain make love with her, Alexis has no issues on disposing of her, despite he told her before that he loved her.
- Creepy Child: Emile and Rebecca. Mikaela formerly. Cain was pretty creepy when he was younger, too.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Many characters, although Cain and Jizabel in particular.
- Dark Chick: Mikaila
- Deadly Doctor: Jizabel.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Emmeline, to a certain extent.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Three times in the climax— Jizabel and Cassian, Alexis and Ida, and Cain and Riff.
- Disguised in Drag: Jizabel during his childhood, Cain in one chapter, and also Leroy.
- Disposable Woman
- Distressed Damsel: Most of the sympathetic female characters end up like this at one point.
- Doomed Appointment: Neil in "Zigeunerweisen".
- Driven to Suicide: Augusta throws herself out of a window when Cain comes to visit her, his resemblance to Alexis triggering memories of her rape at his hands. After Augusta is revealed as the villain, she admits she did this to further drive a wedge between father and son.
- Dysfunction Junction: Most of the cast.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Cain
- Elegant Gothic Lolita: Mary Weather, plus half the female characters Cain encounters.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Jizabel doesn't understand the relationship between Cain and Riff.
- Face-Heel Turn: Riff
- Fighting from the Inside: Riff, after his evil Split Personality takes over.
- Freudian Excuse: Averted. Cain would have some justification in invoking it, but he never does. Also averted with Jizabel; the excuse isn't so much "excuse" as it is the actual base of Jizabel's plot. His abuse isn't just a past event to spur revenge, but an actual plot point for the story and an ongoing point of development.
- Gender-Blender Name: Apparently, Kaori Yuki thinks the names Cassandra, Jizabel and Gloria are unisex.
- Coming from the other direction, Meriwether (or Merryweather) is traditionally a boy's name.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Cain's scars are easily hidden; the villain in "Scold's Bridle" has hers on her face and wears a mask to hide them.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Mary Weather.
- Heel-Face Turn: Riff, among others.
- Hollywood Science
- I Ate WHAT?: When Jizabel was a child, he owned a pet lamb that he spent a lot of time with. Alexis secretly had the lamb killed and served to Jizabel for dinner one day, promising him that he would be able to go see the lamb if he finished his meal. When Jizabel was nearly done, Alexis revealed what he had done with "I let you see him, didn't I? Did you enjoy Snark, Jizabel?"
- If I Can't Have You: Mikaela threatens Cain this way a few times, and Cain himself decides to kill Riff after his Split Personality-driven Face-Heel Turn because "you belong only to me".
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Cassandra to Leroy. And arguably, Jizabel.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Subverted with Cain and Riff.
- In the Blood: There's a lot of discussion (and Angst) about to what extent Cain is or is not "cursed" by his bloodline, as well as whether or not Merry will be able to escape it. The latter issue is sidestepped when she turns out not to be his sister by blood.
- Informed Deformity: Viola in "Scold's Bridle" wears a mask to hide her horrible scars, which turn out to be mild acid burns on an otherwise pretty face. But then, she is completely insane...
- Ironic Nursery Tune: Many of the earlier cases are themed around a Mother Goose rhyme, and the entire series closes with "bids you all adieu" from Simple Simon.
- The Jeeves: Riff, but subverted when it's revealed that he is even more mentally unstable than Cain.
- Jesus Taboo
- Kill 'em All: Nearly all the minor characters introduced end up dead.
- Kissing Cousins: Cain had a crush on his cousin Suzette when they were children, unknown for him she was his half sister by Augusta's side.
- Kiss of Death: In Forgotten Juliet, Suzette kills the man she loved and betrayed her, with a kiss filled with poison. Literally.
- Knife-Throwing Act: Cassian was sold to the circus and performed in one of these for some time. During the series, his main weapon remains throwing knives.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Maryweather is the Light to Mikaela's Dark.
- Living Doll Collector: Rebecca in "The Little Crooked House".
- Living Emotional Crutch: Riff for Cain, somewhat. After he is swallowed up by his Split Personality, Cain goes the rest of the way off the deep end and is significantly more reckless for the entire rest of the series. He also cries for the first time since he was a child.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Aside from the main cast, we have new characters introduced nearly every chapter. Though they don't stay long.
- London Town: Where The Streets Are Paved With Excrement version. It is Victoriana, after all.
- Lost Him in a Card Game: Jizabel bets HIMSELF over to Cassandra if Cassandra can manage to get rid of Cain. (Perhaps a moot bet as it's not like anyone would have stopped Cassandra from taking him anyway.)
- Lost in Translation: Merryweather =/= Mary Weather, primrose = prom rose, Baraba company =/= Barabba company named after the thief, Rukia =/= Lukia.
- Love Hurts
- Love Martyr: Mary Weather, in "The Little Crooked House".
- Mad Love: All over the place in a familial sense, but Mikaela's love for Cain takes the cake.
- Mad Scientist: Jizabel
- Man Child: Gilford
- Manchurian Agent
- Manipulative Bastard: Cain, along with others.
- Master Poisoner: Cain is very knowledgeable in, and collects, poisons.
- Meganekko: Marjorie
- Mercy Kill: Cain performs one on Madeleine Russell when she asks him to.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Cain does not approve of Oscar marrying Mary Weather.
- Na´ve Everygirl: Mary Weather.
- Not Brainwashed
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Cain, although as a subversion because he is not a villain. He is an anti-hero, but it's not Cain that innocent bystanders have to worry about, it's getting in the way of the people who are after Cain.
- Not Blood Siblings: Cain and Mary Weather
- Ojou Ringlets: Plenty.
- Older Than They Look: Cassian
- Only Six Faces: Particularly in run of Count Cain, most obviously when it came to young boys who all looked exactly the same. More or less avoided after the Art Evolution.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Invoked and then subverted, twice in Godchild. Cain doesn't seem to realize that he really should disguise himself more properly before walking into enemy base... Just what made him think it would be okay to just wear glasses after his blonde wig attempt had failed so much earlier?
- Pet the Dog: Jizabel loves animals. And Cassian.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Every single one.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Oscar. Oh Oscar...
- Pretty in Mink: At least in some of the art, Mary Weather wears a short cape with white fur.
- Psycho Serum
- Rags to Royalty: Mary Weather grew up on the streets before Cain took her in.
- Rape and Revenge: Quite a real possibility for Jizabel to Cassandra.
- Rape as Drama: Alexis on Augusta is the most prominent case. Turns out it wasn't really rape and the victim actually planned and provoked it herself for her own sick purposes.
- Rapunzel Hair: Almost all the female characters, and also Jizabel.
- Redemption Equals Death: Mikaila.
- Royally Screwed Up: Many characters.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: More like nobility. But Cain is not idle. He always solves the murders he comes across and has resolved to take down Delilah.
- Rule of Three: The finale features three instances of a character dying in another's arms— Jizabel held by Cassian, Alexis held by Ida/The Moon, and Cain held by Riff— the last being set apart by the fact that it was Riff who was dying, and Cain decided to stay with him.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Jizabel.
- Shown Their Work: Kaori Yuki likes to point out that she often has done the research...and jettisoned it in favor of a more interesting development which might otherwise be prevented.
- Something Completely Different: An early chapter called Double inexplicably takes place in modern America, and has nothing to do with any of the recurring characters or plotlines.
- "Double" is an early short story of Kaori Yuki. I don't know how it is in Japan, but at least in Germany it's rather normal to feature additional and unrelated shorts in single volumes of serial manga... so, no, it's really not "Count Cain". (granted, kaori Yuki manga get this treatment extremely often due to the ton of one-chapter stories she has written.)
- The Southpaw: Riff is left-handed. But only his good personality is; his right hand was put out of commission for long enough by his suicide attempt around the time of the switch that he had to learn to use his left.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Jizabel/Jezebel/Jezabel, Lukia/Rukia/Lucia, Merriweather/Merrywether/Mary Weather....
- Split Personality: Riff.
- Split Personality Takeover: Unusually, it's the "created" personality that's the good one, and eventually manages to take over entirely.
- Superpowered Evil Side: Riff is perfectly competent and pretty strong to begin with, but once the Split Personality takes over, people's heads start getting crushed.
- Stuffed into the Fridge
- Tarot Motifs: Delilah. Used incorrectly at some points, and correctly in others.
- The Unfavorite: Jizabel feels he is this and it is much of the reason why he hates Cain.
- There Are No Therapists: Justified: Because, literally, it's Victorian London. Do you have any idea what mental health "care" was like then?
- Together in Death: Riff and Cain.
- Tracking Device: Verging on Tracking Chip, Cain's earring, though the good Riff never needed to use it.
- True Companions: Cain and Oscar border on Vitrolic Best Buds, but they're still always there for each other.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Jizabel
- We Can Rule Together: Alexis to Cain.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Jizabel.
- Why Couldn't You Be Different?
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Cain in a chapter of Godchild, minus the accent. He doesn't speak since, well, despite being beautiful like a woman, he sounds very much like a man. His disguise is really convincing, and nobody suspects a thing. It's already too late when Mayor Gloria realizes who that woman truly was.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity
- Wife Husbandry: Oscar and Merryweather.
- Yaoi Guys: Riff and Cain. Played for Laughs when Oscar shows a picture of his former love, a woman who looks exactly as Cain.
- Yandere: Mikaela. Anyone who got between her and Cain would meet a horrible death.
- You Are Worth Hell: Frequently discussed by Cain and Riff, as Cain repeatedly claims he's damned and Riff promises to follow him to hell. The final nail in the coffin for Riff's Face-Heel Turn is when he tells Cain that he can go to hell alone.
- Youngest Child Wins: Mary Weather is the only one to survive and she becomes head of the Hargreaves family. She also has the least amount of horrible things happen to her.