March 18, 2008
By Amber Stanley, Newport News, VA

“In that city shrouded in fog…there is no mercy. Innocent soul inside your prison that spew s forth smoke and cries out…Dye your Holy book crimson! And go forth into oblivion…smiling at death’s hollow kiss.”

That is a direct quote from the manga, Godchild. Written and drawn by Kaori Yuki, also the creator of Angel Sanctuary and The Cain Saga, Godchild has a dark and mysterious atmosphere that keeps the reader dying to get their hands on the next book. As a manga fan and a young art critic, Godchild is honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read.

In London, England during the late nineteenth century, a seventeen-year-old nobleman named Cain becomes the head of the Hargreaves family after the untimely death of his father. He is very quiet and seems to always be the odd one out, so he thinks of himself as a “black sheep,” and to quote Yuki, “Baa Baa, Black Sheep, have you any wool?...One for the master…one for the dame…and one for the little boy who was crying all alone…it was I who was captured.” As a hobby, Cain collects dangerous toxins for his loneliness, giving him the reputation of the “Earl of Poisons.” His only loving company is his ten-year-old half sister, Mary Weather, and his butler since childhood, Riffael Riffet.

Each chapter revolves around a different story plot that holds mystery, murder, suspense, and dark horror that always seems to find Cain in the “Capital of the Fog.” In most of the chapters, people that we least expect are killers or completely psycho, which makes it all the better. Though many people die in the end, at least one, it makes the story interesting and the chapters are strange in their own way.

Godchild is a manga strictly for fans of gothic-style comics, the occult, and scary situations that might not ever happen to anybody, unless that person is completely crazed. However, as a book published by Shoujo Beat, Godchild is quite unusual, as Shoujo Beat more often publishes teenage girl romance manga, which could come as a disappointment to Shoujo fans around the world.

A few issues that come with reading Godchild may cause the reader to develop a deep fear of axe murderers in rabbit masks who attend mad tea parties, young women with friendship problems and an obsession over dolls, suits of armor with pointed objects, and doctors that claim that they can make you beautiful. Yuki has a way of drawing gore that could make small children terrified.

The perfect plot has many unexpected twists and turns that make readers keep reading in anticipation to learn what happens next. Throughout the process of Cain solving mysteries, bits of the past are given in inconspicuous ways so you get an understanding of the characters.

The characters are completely developed, each with their own realistic qualities that make them seem more human. Being quite enigmatic, none of the characters give their own life story, but their histories are given in their natural behavior and their physical appearance, such as the scars on Cain’s back from his father’s nightly abuse, as he was believed to be an evil child based on the Bible name he was given.

As to be expected from Yuki, the artwork of Godchild is virtually flawless. Every character looks truly unique with a fitting background to go with it. Yuki adds so much detail that you have no choice but to continue reading.

Often, if someone were to hand me a horrifying book with an eerie-looking main character, I would immediately turn it down, but with Godchild, it’s almost impossible. I recommend this manga to fans of the occult and a gothic-style atmosphere with cliff-hanging resolutions. On a scale of one to ten, Godchild is a definite ten.

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