A single volume manga by Kaori Yuki first published in 1996, Kaine is the story of a rockstar's twin brother who is manipulated by the star's record company into 'playing' rockstar after his brother's death in a car crash. There's also a murder mystery, multiple personalities, unrequited love, child abuse, suicide attempts, and much more - all packed into just over 100 pages.

With regard to the characters, it helps to be a visual rock fan, for the rock band cast is likely modeled after real people. The guitarist and songwriter for the band Endorphins, Die, could be a comic version of Sugizo from Luna Sea. Kaine himself is a former beautician famous for his bright red hair. hide fans have to be amused.

Dreams play a large part in Kaine. Shinogu, Kaine's brother, is constantly having disturbing dreams, both while asleep and awake. The multiple personality subplot is often symbolised by dreaming and waking into another life, as well as by dying and being resurrected (the manga's full title is Kaine: the Endorphins of Life and Death).

Since there is so much material in such a small space, the manga can be difficult to follow. It took me three full read-throughs, with translations, to fully grasp everything that happens both literally and metaphorically. Sometimes it feels like you're reading in a whirlwind, and then you reach the final few scenes, and everything comes together in a perfect flood of explosions, memories, and love.

There are very few artistic endeavours as affecting as Kaine. It is, simply put, a mini-masterpiece, regardless of medium.

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