Kaine is book of 4 short stories written and illustrated by Kaori Yuki. The concept of the book was realized in one day. It contains many of the themes seen in Kaori Yuki’s works like love and relationships that can be taboo. Suicide and self destructive behavior is briefly explored which is somewhat appropriate considering the rocker nature of the story.
Many of these stories came from a period when Kaori Yuki was working on romance stories but she was really not happy creating them. It wasn’t until she decided to tackle more horror driven stories that gothic fiction was the best genre for her.
The most notable story is the self titled Kaine which focuses on the brother of a rock star of the same name who was killed in a car accident. Kaine’s music producer decided to come up with a get rich quick scheme by framing Shingou, Kaine’s twin, as his evil twin brother by making him responsible for the accident. Shingou has no choice but to assume Kaine’s identity after he woke up from his coma and must find a way to stop the producer from exploiting Kaine’s death. He also learns about the chaotic life his brother Kaine led.
The rock centric theme of the manga went well with the story. It has a certain flair of thriller but with punk rocker energy injected to help make the manga stand out from other romance manga at its time. There were many plot twists and turns especially in the endings but the endings lead to more questions than answers.
The art style is good but pretty cluttered and you can barely see what is happening due to the cramped spacing. There is also homage to the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show and other pop culture references like A Clock Work Orange, Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles and Tokyo Pop. The rocker looks of the characters designs were fine. There were so much characters added into such a short story that it felt cramped and disjointed.
Orange Time Bombs focuses on the band of the same name on their personal struggles due to rumors. Tokyo Pop that takesplace after the events focuses on a love triangle and the lead singer pursuing a solo career.
The story limitations are what affected it and some of the stories are not even that well written. Since its short, you can finish the book in just a single reading. Of the four stories in the book, Kaine had to be the most promising.
The characters aren’t really that memorable outside of the rocker design and they are stock type characters that can be seen in other manga. The plots for the later stories in the book feel more like petty personal problems then actual thriller mysteries. The pacing is all over the place and things can move by pretty fast and you need to pay close attention.
This is another dud in a talented Mangaka’s portfolio.
It gets 3 stars out of 5.
If you enjoy Kaori Yuki’s works you will find a certain degree of enjoyment from it but looking at it now, she admitted that some of the stories haven’t aged well.