Creator: Kaori Yuki
Publisher: Viz
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Action
RRP: $8.99
Godchild v6
Reviewed by Michael Aronson

“Cain stumbles on a secret that will change his life forever. It’s not only the Hargreaves who harbor skeletons in their closet. To whom can you turn when the only person you ever trusted betrays you beyond your worst nightmares?”

Despite appearances, this is not part six of an eight-part series. It’s actually part eleven of a thirteen-part series, continuing from The Cain Saga which has oddly just finished publication (that is, it was released alongside Godchild). The point is, there’s a lot of continuity building to this volume, and it’s hard to appreciate the development of events and the critical betrayal in this volume with no knowledge of past events.

Cain is a British Earl who’s out for revenge against his conniving father, though it’s not readily clear why they’re such bitter enemies, even after the initial synopsis. While Godchild looks like shojo and hits many dramatic shojo beats, it’s unique in the genre in that it features hardly any female characters. Granted, the men all possess a feminine touch and seem a little too concerned with their wardrobes, but it’s still a very dark and serious entry for the genre. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the characters apart, especially when those who are supposed to have dark hair are occasionally illustrated with light hair for dramatic effect.

I will say one thing for Godchild: beautiful, detailed art. While many character designs do follow certain shojo conventions, it’s far more elaborate than the average series, comparable to the level of detail and emotive expressions in Death Note. The creator even conveys in a backup interview that readers in Japan criticize her for cramming too much into each page, but I think the amount of detail will sit just fine with western readers who typically expect more from comic art. Yuki renders every fold of cloth and shadow and even attempts to replicate genuine pieces of art through her pencils. The effort shines and adds layers to the story’s atmosphere.

Godchild is a series pretty enough to merit a look at the first volume. The sixth, however, isn’t an ideal place to start. It’s probably best to start with The Cain Saga to follow Cain’s adventures from the beginning.

13 October 2007
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