The manga, also called Earl Cain, focuses on the young Cain Hargreaves as he unravels the secrets and lies of his family’s tortured past while solving his own mysteries along the way. The manga is split into two series, the first being Count Cain, and the second (released after a 7 year hiatus), titled Godchild.
Cain Hargreaves grew up the victim of constant psychological and physical abuse from his father, Alexis Hargreaves, who blamed him for his mother’s mental illnesses. After poisoning his father, Cain discovers that his cruel father was the head of a secret organization called Delilah. Delilah’s mission is to perform experiments to revive the dead as “dolls” who sustain themselves on the fresh blood and organs of living mortals. These dolls not only feast on human flesh, but also possess supernatural abilities which pose a great threat to society. Cain vows to stop his Delilah’s experiments at any cost and soon he becomes entangled in a deep web of mysteries which emerge as he comes closer and closer to his goal.
Cain is a charismatic and talented young man who has a knack for solving mysteries. Along the way, he is accompanied by his butler, Riff, a stoic and gentle former medical student whose medical skills come in handy along the way. A variety of memorable characters present themselves in small story arcs which feed into the larger plot surrounding Cain and his quest to end Delilah. Many of the smaller story arcs feature stories or characters from children’s lullabies and fairy-tales, however these usually come with a shocking and gruesome twist as they unfold within the world of Count Cain.
Count Cain does not skimp on the gore, blood, horror, and violence.
Count Cain is not a rainbows and sunshine manga. While still maintaining shojo manga tropes, Count Cain does not skimp on the gore, blood, horror, and violence. The themes covered in Count Cain are equally as dark; the manga deals heavily in topics such as childhood abuse, incest, suicide, and betrayal. Placing the gruesome zombie-doll experiments of Delilah and Cain’s relentless quest for vengeance within fairytale settings, Count Cain delivers a psychological thriller for those interested in the macabre.
Count Cain is often appraised for its unique art style, with each page featuring an incredible amount of detail. Sometimes the details becoming overwhelming and the characters start to blend into each other, but this just adds to the dark world in which Cain is thrust. However I think where Count Cain really shines is in its mystery and storytelling. The manga has a slow build as Cain navigates the twisted world overrun by Delilah, with many sidetracking stories and dead ends, however these stories all feed into a larger mystery which keeps you enthralled. Whether you like horror, fantasy, mystery, or thrills, this manga is for you!
p.s. if you liked Black Butler or xxxHolic, you’ll probably like Count Cain