Hinase Momoyama’s The Holy Grail of Eris is a fantasy manga with plenty of drama, mystery and a supernatural twist. Based on the novels by Kujira Tokiwa, this manga adaptation stars a good-hearted noble woman who is unsuited for navigating treacherous high society, but who finds an unlikely ally in a supposedly wicked woman.
Constance Grail has been raised to be sincere and honorable and she tries to uphold the dignity of her family name in all that she does. When her father’s kind nature lands the family in dire financial straights, she agrees to marry the son of a wealthy baronet to salvage her family’s finances. This arrangement seems to please everyone. Her family’s debts will be paid and her fiancé’s family will gain access to the social circles of the nobility. Constance does her best to be satisfied with the engagement, despite not being in love with her intended.
Then Constance’s entire world comes crashing down around her in the course of a single evening. While attending a party, she discovers that her fiancé is having an affair with a gorgeous woman of higher status. To make matters worse, Constance is then falsely accused of stealing in a public shaming orchestrated by Pamela, the very woman that her fiancé is cheating on her with!
About to loose her honor, social standing and future, Constance is shocked when a beautiful woman offers to help her. This woman bears a striking resemblance to Scarlett Castiel, a wicked woman who was put to death ten years ago! This crafty apparition offers to rescue Constance from her predicament, but she wants something in exchange!
The Holy Grail of Eris opens on the shocking scene of an execution. A young Constance witnesses the beheading of Scarlett Castiel for crimes that are, at this point, not clear to the reader. So, it seems undeniable that Scarlett is very much dead when Constance encounters her again years later at the party.
Apparently unable to rest peacefully after her violent demise, the wrathful ghost of Scarlett seems to only be visible to Constance. Whether this is because of some innate ability that Constance possesses or because the two share some kind of unique connection as a result of Constance witnessing her death, Constance awareness of her presents Scarlett’s ghost with a precious opportunity.
In order to help Constance out of her sticky predicament, Scarlett possesses her body! Suddenly, the kind and considerate young lady is transformed into a fearless woman capable of delivering pointed barbs and manipulating her foes into revealing their hand.
The way Scarlett is able to turn the tables on Pamela, despite all of her conniving, was nothing short of masterful. It’s clear that Scarlett is experienced with handling the cutthroat politics of high society, and I took no small amount of glee in seeing Pamela’s shock and dismay when the tide turned on her.
So, Constance is rescued and her reputation is in tact, but what is she supposed to do about the ghost that’s attached itself to her? Well, it turns out that Scarlett’s aid didn’t come free of charge. Scarlett wants Constance’s help with something as payment for her services – and it isn’t likely to be something simple.
I’m very interested to see how sweet and steady Constance and clever and merciless Scarlett are going to get along. The stories Constance has heard of Scarlett paint her as a villainess who attempted to poison her rival in love, but it’s likely that everything is not as it appears. Constance has first hand experience with how facts can be twisted to serve a particular narrative and that even people who know the truth can be frightened into keeping silent. It should be interesting to see if she’ll be able to look past the rumors and get to know the real Scarlett. Maybe, she’ll even be able to discover the truth of what happened all those years ago.
This first volume of The Holy Grail of Eris delivered a strong introduction to our very different, but complimentary, leading ladies. I instantly sympathized with Constance’s unfortunate situation and was fascinated with the regal and sly Scarlett. The mystery of what really happened in Scarlett’s past promises to be filled with juicy drama, and I’m greatly anticipating learning all the gory details of her fall from grace. I anticipate that this will be a manga series that leaves me eagerly anticipating the next installment with each subsequent release. I’m already excited to get me hands on volume 2.
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Yen Press’ website.
What did you think of this manga? Is anyone else getting yuri vibes from Scarlett and Constance? I don’t think this is listed as being a yuri series (plus one of the lady’s being dead could possibly put a damper on any potential romance), but I totally ship it!
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