Before it came out, Aiyoku no Eustia had a LOT of hype. Unlike quite a few people, however, I was not impressed. I thought that it was going to be a moege that just didn’t look like moege, like, say, Hello-goodbye. Thankfully, I was proven wrong three times: when I saw the opening video, when I played the trial, and when I played the game for real.
Premise (stolen from VNDB):
“After the surface of the world broke down, the city of Novus Aether floats in the sky, thanks to the prayers of the Holy Maiden. Years ago, when the Holy Maiden’s prayer was interrupted, an incident known as the “Gran Forte” occurred, causing a portion of the land to fall and split the lower city into two, separated by a cliff.
In time, the lowest layer became the dwelling of all kinds of low-lives, people who lost much of their former lives during the “Gran Forte”, becoming known as the “Prison”. However, a contagious disease which causes people to grow wings has spread throughout the city, and a unit has been formed to deal with these people swiftly.
In this “Prison” resides Caim Astraea, a freelance ex-assassin who does odd jobs for his friends for money, refusing jobs that require him to kill people. During one request, Caim finds a girl who contracts the wing-disease, enveloped in a light that reminds Caim of the “Gran Forte” years ago…”Characters:
As an ex-assasin, Caim Astrea is used to the chaos and danger that comes with living in the prison. However, he was fortunate, as his life has yet to strip him of hope. He buys Eustia from the gang, and while he sees this act as a strange act of kindness, many people around him see it as an example of his true, kind personality in contrast to his cold exterior.
He’s a pretty efficient and intelligent guy who’s occasionally quite funny, I like him as a protagonist.
Eris calls her “the little animal”, and Eustia is exactly that. Despite being an orphan/slave/almost prostitute/*********, Eustia remains cheerful, considerate, sweet, and always tries to make the best of her situation. However, she is neither innocent or naive, but instead chooses to see the best in others despite understanding the outcomes. For instance, she sincerely believes that Caim is a good person, despite the fact that he was acting kind on purpose to draw information out of her (turns out he actually is kind to her deep down though). A major problem for her is her small sense of self-worth, and constant need to do things for others, driven by visions that she receives through her dreams.
Her path is…it’s…GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fione Silvaria is a captain of the wing hunters, which is a special military force whose task it is to go and capture the winged people (who are people with wings on their back, proclaimed as a contagious disease by the government). Most people hate the wing hunters, because they forcefully take the winged people away into the healing center, from which they never return. Despite this bad reputation, Fione sincerely believes that if she just talked to people, everything would eventually work out and people would grow to trust the wing hunters. She is very serious about her work and respected by her peers.
In my opinion, her path was quite predictable, and I saw her as a bit of a stick in the mud and quite annoying at first. Eventually she gets some street smarts, so it’s all good.
Eris Floralia is the resident doctor, who provides cheap and efficient service and very popular with her patients (mostly prostitutes). She was sold to a brothel, but was bought by Caim before she had to do anything. This makes her fall head over heels for Caim, and she’s constantly trying to get him to love her, or even just let her stay by his side. However, Caim is adamant that she go and have her own, “free”, life. They reach a compromise and she takes care of his household chores (not the cooking though, she’s awful at cooking).
Yup, she’s the yandere of the story. Her dependence on Caim drives much of the story. I thought that her path was pretty good.
Saint Irene is the title of the maiden who is the face of the church. It is the duty of of the Saint to keep praying daily to keep the city afloat. The current Saint Irene is the 29th in line, and she’s very popular among the people. I would say that she is strident in her beliefs, and she is willing to defend her religion at any cost.
I thought that she would have some kind of quiet charisma to her, but she’s actually very stubborn and headstrong, not to mention good at manipulating and insulting people. I was spoiled to the ending of the chapter though, so I didn’t enjoy it as much.
Lavria is the aid of Saint Irene. Unlike the Saint, however, she is too gently and not good at dealing with people, and is often bullied by the head priest. She is also a quite naive, and keeps those views even after seeing what happens in the slums. She is technically a side character, but she has her own ending, which is just like the path of Saint Irene, but with a different epilogue.
Licia de Novus Yurii is the princess of the city and the next in line to the throne. She’s an energetic girl who’s very interested in “the prison”, despite having a very innocent/warped understanding of the reality due to her sheltered upbringing. However, she can be very charismatic and capable when she needs to be.
I like her path, and it is the only path to make be cry.
For the side characters, please refer to VNDB (I had no idea that it had the character pages until now…orz)
One of the first things that I was curious about was how the hell the paths came to. I mean, I saw a promotional image with the Saint and her aid gibing Caim a BJ, and I couldn’t figure out how on earth someone like Caim managed to have sex with them. Same thing with Licia. So I’ll tell you right now. 1) The Saint sees Eustia in a vision and summons her, and Caim accompanies her to the holy temple. 2) Because he has worked with the wing hunters, a nobleman named Lucius asks Caim to accompany him and do some espionage around the castle, where he meets Licia.
The story progresses in a fashion which is very similar to that of G-senjou no maou. There is a large, main story trunk, split into sections. After the prologue/intro, you get a chapter which is focused on Fione. There, depending on the choices you make, you either finish the chapter and progress to the next, or end the story at the chapter and get an epilogue with Frione instead. This continues on with Eris, then Saint Irene, then Licia, and finally, if you don’t choose the other heroines, you end up at the true, Eustia end. This way,
much all of the plot is in the main path, and there is very little in the epilogues other than h-scenes and happy lives. This set up makes the stories feel jarring, as Caim is shown in the stories to invest a lot of emotions with the girls, yet with one different choice(and very little difference in plot), he ends up either falling madly in love with them, or being simple acquaintances. What’s more, the heroines only play very small roles after their respective chapters are over. After endings are completed, extra short stories are unlocked. They are mainly about h-scenes, but contain some character development and comedy.
Many of the plot twists are quite predictable, but there is definitely enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. The comedy is well placed, and one of my favorite scenes is when Lucius sends a wave a charisma in Caim’s way and Caim basically gets an arrow to the heart. It’s even funnier in hindsight. The comedy does not get in the way of the drama, which is maintained by an air of mystery and oppression. I say oppression, because one of the main themes of this story is freedom and how everyone shackles themselves with what they see as their destiny. Funnily enough, this story has an interesting place between idealism and cynicism. For instance, Caim is supposedly living in some horrible place, but he has enough money to eat, dress, and relax without having to worry about too much. On the other hand, no matter what you do, the happiness of some main character needs to be sacrificed so that others can have a chance at happiness.
What’s more, the epilogues of the heroines are quite happy, showing them to be leading content, fulfilled lives, which kind of clash with the rest of the story. The epilogues and the appendix stories are pretty filled with h-scenes, which was a bit too much for me. The thing is, once you finish the true ending, all of the happiness just looks so superficial, which is pretty depressing.
*********************************OK, SPOILERS ARE OVER**********************
There are a lot of tracks in this game, and they have their own flavor. I don’t love the tracks so much, but I really like the vocal songs. A big problem I have is that while there are a lot of tracks, they tend to repeat just a couple of tracks over and over again. Oh the other hand, I like the voice acting.
In most cases, the CGs are fantastic, the best work that Bekkankou and August has ever produced. The backgrounds are detailed, the lighting is gorgeous. What’s more, the whole thing is absolutely loaded with various effects and animation, which is just awesome.
However, that doesn’t mean that there are no faults.
When I first downloaded the CG pack, I was very surprised at the amount h-cg, which greatly outnumber the event CGs. However, when taking variations out of the equation, the event CGs actually outnumber the hcgs slightly. The situation is further improved because of a lot of composite CGs, which are technically not event CGs, but a special BG or a tachie specially blended with a BG, like above. I like the blended CGs because they look nice, sometimes nicer than the actual event CGs, which are mainly dedicated to making the girls look good.
Now, I’m curious as to why is it that they had the money to make so many backgrounds for the opening movie and special effects and whatnot, but when they run around, there’s only, like, 2 allys in the prison, and the same room BGs are used for completely different places? There were so many absolutely gorgeous BGs in the opening, but only one or two were actually used in the game. Also, Eustia’s wings are either invisible or absolutely huge. Although they’re supposed to get progressively bigger throughout the story, the CGs don’t reflect that at all.
All in all though, the graphics are of a considerably higher quality than almost every game on the market today. Good stuff.
Awesome. As I mentioned before, there are a LOT of effects and animation. Plus, there are various functions for pretty much everything you would want to ask for. If you scroll back and click on a line, you’ll be transported back to that line, which is a neat function. There are other things like the continue from the last play function, which is quite convenient.
This is definitely a quality title which will tug at your heartstrings. Read at your own risk. It just might make you cry
************************SPOILERS FOR THE STORIES*************************
************************READ AT YOUR OWN RISK**************************
Now, at this point, an English version of the trial has already been released, so I won’t talk about the prologue.
Fione’s story is first up, and it’s pretty straightforward. Caim is sent by the gane as a representative, to work with the Wing hunters. There is a serial killer named the “Black wing” that’s stalking the streets, and so the two work together to solve the mystery. Turns out that one of Fione’s co-workers is actually an avid hater of the winged people due to his religious reasons.
Anyway, he’s not the real black wing though. The real wing is actually Fione’s brother, who was a wing hunter himself. He grew suspicious of what actually happened to the winged people in the treatment facilities, and was captured and experimented on instead (just like all the other people in the treatment facilities).
Years of medical experimentation doesn’t do much for one’s complexion. Anyway, the brother escapes, but has grown insane from the drugs that he was injected with, and with one final moment of clarity with Fione, he is defeated. Afterwards, Fione either decides to quit her job and instead help the people in the prison achieve a better life, or loses her resolve to life until Caim gets her mad enough for her to continue.
Next up is Eris.
When she was young, she was treated like a doll by her parents, a literal doll that was to be locked up underground with stuffed animals and never shown the light of day. After her parents were killed by Caim as an assasination job, Eris was about to be sold to a brothel when Caim rescued her. Afterwards, Caim spent a long time to get her to be human, and got her lessons in medicine. As the only person who’s shown any kindness to her, Eris absolutely worships Caim, and when their distance grows apart, so does Eris. She keeps making mistakes such as cutting herself in order to appear helpless so that Caim would pay attention to her and help her. It gets to the point where Eris is proclaiming that she wants to die with Caim.
All this occurs at the same time as when gang wars are happening in the prison, and Eris eventually betrays Caim and Seigfried (Caim’s best friend and the leader of a gang) by giving information to the others. But, with the help of the nobleman Lucius and the wing hunters, Seigfried defeats the other gang and (relative) peace is restored.
No matter what, Caim manages to get Eris back to normal, and she either goes back to being a normal doctor or the two of them hook up.
After this, Eustia recieves a summons from the Saint, because aparantely Eustia is the prophesied Miko of the Angel (which is the god that is worshiped as the center of the religion in the city).
There, you find out the religious tensions in the city. Turns out that the Saints, other than the very first one, has absolutely no power in their prayers. However, they are presented to have powers so that whenever something goes wrong, the Saint of that time is executed to appease the people as a sacrifice. However, despite this, the 29th Saint, whose real name is Colette, still has absolutely trust in her faith. As the earthquakes get worse and more frequent, people are more and more agitated, this causes more tension within the church.
Eventually, a large earthquake happens as the Saint is about to announce Eustia’s ability to purity and heal the winged people, and the people are stirred into a frenzy. Caim thinks that the situation is getting too dangerous, and he doesn’t want Eustia to be hurt by the mob, and is prepared to leave. However, The saint decides to pray to the Angel for days straight in order to receive a vision of what Eustia’s true destiny is.
During all this time, Lavria has been trying her hardest to protect the Saint as her aid. The two of them were orphans who were practically sisters, and after they’ve been adopted by the CHurch, Lavria was supposed to become the next saint. However, she turned down the offer and the current saint, Colette, was chosen. Lavria is actually a winged person, but in order to protect Colette, she kept cutting her wings before they were big enough to notice. Because of her guilt at pushing the role of the Saint onto Colette, Lavria pays Caim to smuggle Colette out of the Church when she hears that the next Public execution of the Saint has been announced. Lavria goes to die instead, but Collette rushes to her side at the last moment, and they are pushed down a cliff together (the cliff being the traditional method of execution). Caim set up a net underneath and saves the two of them, giving them a chance at a normal life.
The next-in-line to the throne definitely didn’t appear to be one the first time she met Caim. She loves to put on servant’s clothes and doing her own laundry and other chores. Caim starts out as just a person to tell her amusing stories about the outside, but eventually shows her the truth of what life is like inside the prison. This strengthens her resolve to take power, something that she had no interest in until now.
The thing is, the king is deathly ill, and a noble, Gilbert, controls all the power. Lucius and other young nobles, with the support of Licia, stages a military coup and takes power.
Anyway, this chapter also reveals the truth of the city. Legend goes that when humanity was about to be destroyed, the first Saint Irene prayed to God and lifted the city of people into the sky. This is actually true, except she is actually chained to a pillar in the city, and power is constantly and excessively siphoned out of her until she has the look of a brittle, hundred year old man. A few members in the upper levels of society know the truth, and perform scientific experiments on her. When Gilbert’s lover died (because of Lucius’ adopted father), he tried to revive her with the Angel’s power, but the experiment went awry and caused the grand forte.
Now, Gilbert extracted revenge on Lucius’ adopted father, who was driven from power. Growing insane, he picks up a young boy from the ruins and raises him to gain power and revenge. This young boy was to replace Gilbert’s dead son, and it is revealed that the son, Lucius, is actually Aim, Caim’s older brother. (it was really obvious though)
Eventually, her ability to purify wings was discovered, and despite it causing her great pain. As the purification goes on, her wings grow larger, and she begins to lose her memories, becoming less and less human. Because of her sense of duty. she continues to purify people under the close watch of Lucius and his team of scientists, who believe that her power can be harvested to replace the dying Angel, whose weaning power is dropping the city closer and closer to the ground.
Now, that’s a bad thing, since there’s nothing on the ground except for clouds and chaos, or a black goo that kills anything on contact. Eventually the city gets low enough that the black goo easily gets to the lower levels of the city, and Eustia ends up purifying the black goo too (btw, the black goo, purified into a powder, is what caused Fione’s brother to become the black wing). Things keep getting worse until the people in the lower levels stage an armed rebellion, and Lucius rushes to develop Eustia’s powers by getting her to purify more things (and be in more pain).
At this point, Lucius has the moral highground, as he is striving to save as many people as possible by sacrificing the few, but he does some pretty nasty stuff such dropping the residential areas where there were rebels down to the earth.
Man he reminds me of Suzaku. Anyway, he ends up stabbing Eustia over and over again to kill her and force her to regenerate, which further develops her powers. Caim steps in and stops him, finally leading to his death.
But it’s all too late. The Angel, which used to love humans but was eventually driven to loath them by betrayal after betrayal (having her power siphoned excessively, and then used to bring someone back to life), actually used the woman that Gilbert loved as a contained to give birth to Eustia, whose duty it was to grow up and have enough strength to drop the city and kill all the humans once and for all. There is no more power left for the city, and the vital functions that was keeping the water clear and the farmland fertile is all gone.
In the end, Eustia decides to sacrifice herself by dropping the city, but purifying the entire earth free of chaos. She disappears into the air, but says that the is a part of the earth now, and will always watch over her beloved Caim. The fighting in the city stops, as for the first time in their lives, the people who have survived gazes upon the earth, covered with greenery which was created by Eustia.
You know what’s cruel?
At one point, Caim imagines a future with Eustia, where they’ll have a little house in wheat fields and live a happy, simple life together. But it’s never going to happen. And they throw us THIS image at the end.
This is worsened by an appendix story, which is this exact scenario being played out. Except Caim knows that it’s a fantasy and that he will never be able to speak to or touch Eustia ever again.
…Seriously, when people first saw this they were like “DAMN WHAT THE HELL %&$*#*((@ THIS IS MADOKA ALL OVER AGAIN @#(#$*@#&^$” and I was like “WHAT THE HELL THAT MEANS THAT IN ALL THE OTHER ENDINGS EUSTIA WAS CHAINED UP JUST LIKE THE ANGEL AND SACRIFICED HERSELF SO THAT WE CAN HAVE A FEW MORE HSCENES?!?!?!????!”