For my last minute post of the night, dear readers, I have decided to tell you about a very little known manga called Aiyoku no Eustia, which translates to Eustia of the Tarnished Wings. The mention of wings becomes important since there is a unique disease in this world, which causes wings to sprout from the backs of those afflicted. It’s reminiscent of Haibane no Renmei, but I can’t determine a direct connection between the two. Apparently, this manga is based on a visual novel from the company that brought us Fortune Arterial. Perhaps the association is rather tenuous; but, having watched a few episodes of the Fortune Arterial anime, I can say that the Aiyoku no Eustia manga is leaps and bounds better, so don’t let the association dissuade you!
The plot concerns Caim, a young tough who’s willing to do any job for the right price. There is a monster running loose in the city which on one night kills some pimps and several prostitutes. (Yes, this manga’s pretty dark.) Only one is left alive, Eustia, who becomes assigned to Caim’s protection until he is able to obtain everything she knows about the monster. Because Eustia becomes violently ill at the mere memory of the monster, Caim showers affection on her in the hopes that she will anon become ready to talk. In the meantime, they must prevent the Wing Hunters, a police force which seeks out those with the Wing disease, from discovering that Eustia is afflicted.
What I appreciate most about this series is the very gritty atmosphere of Prison, the city inhabited by our heroes. Caim’s friends, besides Eris and the blonde innkeeper above, all seem to be prostitutes, and the story begins with Caim bringing back a runaway prostitute who had convinced a young man to carry her off. The young man, having also been captured, is given several smart blows, while the prostitute is punished in another way. Later on, Caim shows mercy to a pickpocket, guilty of stealing a brothel’s protection money, by giving him a solid beating instead of cutting off an arm. Caim seems to be a rather repressed individual with a compassionate heart which he conceals under a grim poker face.
I also absolutely love the character Eris Floralia. Caim purchases her before she is sold into a brothel, and she becomes a doctor in the red light district. Her devotion to Cain makes Mikasa’s devotion to Erin look weak, and she has one of the most intriguing introductions of any character:
How can any guy refuse the offer of a woman’s eyes? For shame! She only becomes more amusing as a love triangle of sorts forms between Eris, Eustia, and Caim.
So, I can’t recommend this manga enough. Some of you might find this manga too gritty and having too much fanservice. But, the rest of you will enjoy a dark, character driven manga.