My first review for a manga, it was just so great that I had to whip out a review for it. I stumbled onto this manga completely by accident and I never regretted it. The entire storyline was so addictive and captivating that I stayed up from 1 am to 3 am to finish the 43 chapters that were hosted on a site. Though I have not completed the manga, it has already left a very deep impression on me.
"Between the world of boys and men,
there lies holy land.
Where laws don't matter and the strongest rule
In that world, "he" roamed
Kamishiro Yuu, he was there"
Basically, the story is about a high school student who was bullied throughout his middle school life. The manga clearly depicts the suffering and pain that he went through and how he struggled to overcome it; which is by becoming stronger. His journey to find and protect a place where he could belong and grappling with his identity is realistic and not over the top. He eventually realizes that by getting stronger, he is able to belong in the night streets. But at the same time more people try to challenge him, threatening to take away his "holy land", the night streets.
Holy Land is somewhat like Kenichi, but has a much darker atmosphere and takes things more seriously. The main character Yuu is very well portrayed, and his growth throughout is remarkable. The manga also goes in depth about the inner demons in Yuu, that he actually feels a sense of euphoria when he knocks down anyone in his way though he tries to deny it.It is much more believable than Kenichi, where he just gets stronger and stronger because of just training. Holy land focuses on the psychological effects of bullying extremely well, allowing you to symphatize with the character.
The fighting scenes are also well drawn and fast paced, making shivers go down my spine each time I read them. I even went back and forth 2 or 3 pages sometimes to reread some particular parts over and over again. Yes, it's just that awesome. Sadly, this series is neglected, scans take forever to come out and it is also EXTREMELY underrated in my opinion.
Also, note that this series is NOT for everyone. It differs from people to people. Some people love it, while some hated it. It just depends on yourself.
Like many of you, I'd been searching for a good MA(martial arts) manga for years now. Only found one, Hajime no Ippo. Along the way, it's been a long road strewn with chi blasts, wire-fu and moves that would get you killed in a real fight(Kenichi I'm looking at you). That's not even going into the retarded story lines of so many MA series.
Finally found this little gem and it's just great. Blood, violence, realism and all the consequences that come with it. The characterizations are just so realistic, despite the massive
vein of nakama-ness that runs through. The story isn't all that complex, it's more of an exploration of the characters as they clash, not that there's anything wrong with it. The art might not be what many are used to, but please, give it a shot.
And yeah, the moves actually work, which makes the MAist in me real happy.
Ever wondered what it's like to have no place to belong? Having no place where one is recognized as a human being? Having no one who actually cares for you? That is what Holyland explores first and foremost. It is the story of Kamishiro Yuu who has no place in society and is forced to come out to the night streets. This is where he makes a place for himself. A place where he belongs. A world of violence and lenient law.
Kamishiro Yuu was bullied at school and taken to the brink. This resulted in him shutting himself from the outside world and simply
staying cooped up in his room. Even his family had given up on him and branded him as a failure. For what purpose was he to live then? For who's sake? He came to the conclusion that it's all worthless and just gave it all up. He wanted to end his life but, just as he was about to do so, he stopped. He did not have it in him to end his own life. He was too weak. He decided that it was an aimless struggle and came to terms with his worthlessness. He thought he would continue to live out his worthless life.
Then as fate would have it, circumstance leads him to pick up a book on boxing and he realizes that the reason that he was unable to stand up to the people who bullied him was due to his lack of strength. He starts to train and practice punches day in and day out. Strangely enough it gives him a sense of satisfaction. It gives him something to work at. Some semblance of purpose i.e. to become stronger. After he does this for over a year, he wanders into the streets at night and again due to circumstance, he defends himself from thugs who try to extort him. He builds a reputation for himself as the "Thug Hunter". As his reputation grows, he attracts bigger and stronger members of the street. They all want a piece of him.
This is where the story begins. It all starts here and things escalate. It's a battle against the world and more importantly, himself. Yuu strives to protect his precious place and those precious to him. His Holyland. A coming of age story where he is influenced and influences his Holyland. Where he becomes the fulcrum of attention. Where he fights the darkness welling up within him as he tries to discover the purpose and effects of his violent ways. As he meets more people who he respects, gains more people who he trusts, makes friends and enemies, he finds the meaning and value of strength. This is the basic gist of how the story sets itself up.
Having said all this, is that all the story is about? Not at all. This series' strength is without a shadow of doubt, its characters and how each and every one of them have a significant role to play. Judging by what I said earlier, it may seem like a one man story but thankfully, that isn't the case. Pretty much the entire core cast develops as a whole. It's not just Yuu. They all affect each other's growth. They act as foils to each other. They all have a common reason that has brought them out to the streets. It's because they have all been shunned by society and are battling for a reason to survive however twisted they may be.
I'll just briefly outline the main characters:-
Take Izawa Masaki for example. He literally mirrors Yuu. He is an expert fighter who used to be a boxing genius growing up and a character who Yuu looks upto. He's someone who acts as a guiding light to Yuu as he surges forth. Likewise, Yuu has as much of an impact on Masaki as the other way around.
Shougo Midorikawa is a Karate Fighter who duels Yuu multiple times. He goes on to become one of his very best friends and has incredible depth to his character. He is a multifaceted character however and throughout the story, we see many sides to him. By the end of it all, he is a changed man. One who is to be respected.
Shin is the best friend who anyone could ever have and it ain't an understatement. He is just a normal person with no fighting abilities whatsoever. He acts as a faithful friend to Yuu and he is his best friend. He knows all there is to know about Yuu. He accepts Yuu for who he is. He is always there for Yuu when Yuu needs a shoulder to lean on. They could go through brick walls together. It's not just Yuu either, he is there to support anyone close to him. He'll do everything in his power to act as a pillar of support to those close to him. I have nothing but respect for his character. Even when his life is in danger, he never shies away from making a stand. He is always there to offer advice to Yuu or Shougo or Mai. A true best friend character.
Finally the last of the Main Characters, Izawa Mai. She's Masaki's Sister, Yuu's love interest and friend to Shin. She sees her Older Brother in Yuu and cannot look away. She is inadvertently drawn to him. She initially meets him at school and does not know Yuu's other side. Her role lies in the fact that she comes to terms with who Yuu really is and thus acts as yet another important person to Yuu. She too grows significantly as the story goes on. As far as she's concerned, no stone is left unturned.
These are merely character outlines and I did not even get to mentioning a single character from the supporting cast. That being said, the supporting cast is excellent in their own right. Basically, it's a glorious character cast with diverse personalities, meaningful roles, development and growth as human beings.
A unique feature of this manga is how the mangaka, Mori Kouji has personal experience in martial arts and street fights to bank upon while inputting the same in his work. There are a variety of Martial Arts such as Karate, Judo, Kenpo, Kendo, Boxing, Kick-Boxing, Mixed Marital Arts, etc that are used in the series. There's ample amount of research that has gone into this and it can be seen and felt. Not a single action scene or sequence is just mindless. There's so much thought and subtlety to every single scene. The art is simply gorgeous when it come to action scenes and they all flow very very smoothly. Given that Martial Arts, Duels and Street Fights are the basic tools that the manga uses to tell its story, it is of utmost importance that it is well done. Every single fight is exciting, unpredictable, tactical, utilizes skill, technique and power. There are occasions where each and every move is analyzed as well. An explanation by the author is present to aid readers either in his own words or through the characters in the story. What impressed me the most is the unpredictability. One can't read what's going to happen the majority of the time and it keeps you on the edge to provide a thrilling experience. There's a diverse range of duels and characters which results in a different set of moves each time. The character designs are mature and realistic for the most part. There's nothing wrong with the backgrounds either. They are detailed and well drawn. The pacing is near perfect. Things are never too overblown. There's always adequate restraint shown, while presenting any action sequence or character moment. The ending also gives adequate closure and satisfaction. In fact, it comes full circle and I personally could not ask for much more.
Saying all this, does that mean that the story is without flaws? Nope. It has its fair share of misgivings too. Some of the explanations given by the author during the fight scenes may feel jarring at times and stop the flow of the action sequence. The way the fights are staged is repetitive at times (I say this but it's only nitpicking) and finally, it requires the reader to be interested in fights and action sequences if only a little. While there are numerous downtime moments as well, fundamentally the story revolves around duels and street fights. There's no going around this fact. It may actually affect the reader's enjoyment.
However, it's a superb work that deserves recognition and respect for the way it handles itself, grand execution, and characters that drive the story in brilliant fashion. It's more character-driven than it seems. It offers consistent enjoyment throughout its duration. It's a long manga but a very worthwhile investment provided you value anything that I described. It's mature in the way it handles itself as well. So it should strike a chord with the Seinen audience.
I'll end it there. It was a grand and fulfilling experience for me. I did not have high expectations going in but boy was I given something to savor.
~Like a whole lot of people who read Holyland, I too was looking for a different kind of MA (martial arts) manga to discover and read. Quite frankly when I first came across Holyland, I thought it was ordinary and probably like any MA manga to read. (e.g. The main character is weak and wants to get stronger OR the main character learns to fight in order to protect those he cares about. Then the main character gets stronger, meets rivals, and blah blah blah...) Still I was curious to see where it would go, which turned out to be something pulling ME to the
very end. It really is a great story.
Holyland offers something like all MA mangas do, the main character Yuu Kamishiro is bullied at school and doesn't have the strength to protect himself, until he gets the idea that as long as he can do a simple punch and get away, he'll be ok. However as he beats one thug after another things start to get out of hand. This leds to many rumors and more people go after him. Eventually he wanders the streets trying to find a way out of it, yet he quickly learns that maybe the streets is the only place he can be accepted. Fight after fight he searches for his answer.
That's just the start of the manga! With this particular one, I'm happy to know that it doesn't necessarily focus on a specific martial arts style, but elaborates on the broad term of street fighting. Anything goes when you're in the streets, including the type of fighting style you use and your weapons. It's dirty and you only win by the amount of damage you do to your enemy, not when the bell rings for the match to be over nor when the enemy admits defeat. (well, sometimes...)
And to me, the author does a terrific job of implementing various fighting styles and explaining their strengths and weaknesses in depth. It almost feels like he's teaching you. The explanations are very realistic and inspiring to any person who's interested in martial arts or in self-defense. The characters Yuu meets in the streets are very well made to fit their assigned role. His friends, his enemies, and even the ones who were his enemies before but became his friends afterward. Each person he fought taught Yuu something about himself. Talk about great character development. This drive is what brought the story forward and unfold a great lesson to all who want to fit in somewhere. Just like Yuu. (haha...Yuu or you!)
Story is a 10, being very outstanding and captivating. It's original and is great to anyone who likes MA mangas. A story like no other. Art is a 9, but when you first look at it, you'll think otherwise. The manga is indeed old, therefore I'd like to say the art style is its very own and the fighting scenes are very well made. There's blood and gore made very well to depict the fighting scenes. Characters I give a 10, reason being that they all have their flaws which make them seem more human and ones we can relate to. Like Yuu, who started out as an antisocial teenager who had nothing to do with no one, but he wasn't a cold character. Just lonely and wanted to be normal. I think some of us can relate to that loneliness. Enjoyment and overall view is a 10, because I utterly enjoyed getting into this manga. Like I said, I judged it too much at the beginning but as you go along you'll find it great too AND it's lesson in the end.
~Thanks for reading my reedited review!
***Fun fact to anyone who finished this manga, there's a drama made for it both in Japanese and Korean. Not sure how good it is, but if you're interested look them up. See if they did it right. :P
Holyland is the first real long manga that I have ever completed. I normally prefer anime to manga but I definitely enjoy reading manga even though I read very slowly. Well in simple terms Holyland completely blew me away from start to finish. The story is very relatable and the characters are memorable. The entire thing is just so fantastically put together that I can't help but love it.
Holyland is a 182 chapter martial arts psychological manga that is written by the mangaka Mori Kouji. This manga was published for 8 years. The running time was 2000-2008. The actual manga was serialized
in Young Animal.
At first glance the story of Holyland isn't really that special. So we have the kid with really low self esteem and he gets bullied a lot. He proceeds to learn martial arts so he can get stronger and to protect himself. Don't be fooled though, the execution of this story is the closest thing I've seen when it comes to perfection. One thing that sets the story apart is how the manga ka implements his own experiences into the heart of the manga.
Street fighting and martial arts are such a massive part of this story. The mangaka really helps with providing explanations and diagrams to try to make sense of the action that is actually happening in the story. The action is also quality with a great amount of realism and martial arts with street fight grit being implemented.
The story is also very relatable, Yuu's dilemmas are something we can probably all relate to in one way or another. And many of the situations in this story are real life issues such as bullying and drugs. The raw emotions that are projected are extremely well done. Another notable point is how this anime portrayed the streets. This is done in a raw and realistic fashion that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The characters in this are fantastic. All of them have their own flaws and strengths and they play off each other perfectly. The main hero is Kamishiro Yuu who isn't really a hero after all. He got bullied and kind of shut himself away from the world. He finds his home on the streets and meets many new people. Yuu's whole mind set of fitting in and finding a place to belong is something many people can resonate with including myself. He has a very steady rate of change throughout the story.
Shin is yuu's first friend and ends up becoming his best friend in high school. He isn't really a strong fighter but he is always there to remind yuu that he isn't alone through all of the hell he faces. Shougo is also a friend of kamishiro but he has a major psychological complex that damages his relationship with Yuu in the story.
Possibly the most interesting character is Masaki. He is the overseer of the streets and faced hell like yuu did. He managed to rise from the ashes to become a new person. There are also many interesting side characters in this story
All of the psychological attributes of this story are smartly implemented and something the reader can thoroughly understand. Many of the themes present are also great and something everyone can relate to. There was also a old dash of romance but I wish it could have been developed more.
The art in holyland is pretty well done. The grit really bulges through and is very noticeable and I appreciated the gritty realistic style.
So overall this manga was amazing. I lived nearly everything about it and this manga is something that everyone should experience especially if you love manga in the seinen demographic. So overall this manga is great and you should read it.
now this manga i've come across a few times and didn't read it. the cover really didn't draw me in and the Synopsis left much to be desired. I finally thought "why not? i'll give it a try and if i don't like it i can stop reading." there's not many manga like this: with the action you want and the realistic characters and actions. i have to say this is much better than kenichi any day. i have to warn you this is more gruesome than most fighting manga.
For those of you who are thinking of a passing over this because your not sure
what the plots about i'll leave you with this:
the story's about a boy who was bullied to the point where he stopped going to school. His classmates looked down on him, his teachers and family pitied him. his life was one big black whole. now his only safe haven is on the streets away from school and his house. plus he seems to have a talent for getting into fights. this is about a boy and his journey on the dark streets as he finds true friends and rivals along the way.
This is my first review and i'm not sure i've done this manga justice but i tried my best.
This manga made my heart beat really hard of excitement. Its realism, though sometimes appalling, makes this an outstanding piece of art. Not only does it convey the feel of a real streetfight but it also deals with the psychological aspects of what we'd call a thug. Before I knew, I found myself relating to the main-character, who gets pulled into this violent world and starts losing himself. The despair and horror as he realises that he can't stop fighting anymore and his continuous urge to polish his skills are conveyed completely as is the process of him struggling to find a place where he
Honestly, I don't usually enjoy nor read streetfighting Manga (though I like MA and boxing) and I was really hesitant to start Holyland. I did because I like seinen, MA and psychological stuff. I was surprised to immediately become enthralled with the main-character, Yuu, and the battles he fights; not only with the various opponents challenging him but also with the dark and cruel part of himself.
If you're into psychological and willing to deal with violence for the sake of it, then this is a must-read, believe me. If not and you're into MA instead, just give it a try, there might be a surprise awaiting you. Those moves are actually pictured realistically, for a change!
Holyland has multiple techniques that made it stand out among other Martial Arts mangas. It utilizes these skills to make a unbelievable tale.
As the Journey begins with a simple student life, it gets complex as each page unfolds itself. Kamishiro Yuu, the protagonist goes through many hardships and battles to find his "Holyland". Each move a character use is carefully analysis keeping the reader informed on the unknown moves of martial arts. Each battle creates a intensity in the atmosphere forcing the reader to continue reading the manga. As Kimishiro tries to defend his
holyland, he will be tested multiple times, if he got what it takes to stand above all. There is multiple story twists that keeps the readers on their feet at all times.
The author uses a dark atmosphere over the manga the entire time which help support the story as it goes. Each setting, battle, and character is created with the utmost concentration. Every wound is carefully shown in the drawings to show the pain of the characters and how weaken he/she is really. The art could have been a little better on certain places, but it was strong enough to create the world of Holyland
Every main character develops as the story continues, making them grow on the reader. Various characters goes through many hardships that changes them completely. The emotions that is shown through characters kept me attached to these people, almost making them real.
This realistic setting keeps me wondering if this could actually happen in real life.
Holyland is a martial arts manga about a first year high school student Kamishirou Yuu. When Kamishirou is introduced to the reader, he looks like an extremely beta and timid main character who is about to be beat up and robbed by some thug on the street. Interestingly enough, Kamishirou quickly beats the shit out of him using a one-two punch, all the while looking extremely scared and about to cry, while a suave man voices conveniently timed information about the one-two punch. Kamishirou is introduced to the man, whose name is Masaki Iwaya (known as the charisma of the streets), who makes an impression
on him. After that we start to be introudeced to the character of Kamishirou. He is a boy with a history of being bullied and recently pitied with his parents. Depressed and alone, Kamishirou stops going to school and almost kills himself. Returning to his drull lifestyle, Kamishirou happens to check out a book on boxing. Kamishirou practices a boxing jab to an incredulous degree, doing it in shadow boxing 5000 times a day for who knows how long, leading him to have the ridiculous, yet severely unconfident power he shows in the introduction. After that, Kamishirou gets involved in street fighting through a series of circumstances, and meets a bunch of characters along the way. Most people have seen this kind of scenario before in manga, but don't let that detract you from the story thinking its cliche, as the news will show this happens all the time in real life. Small details are ever present in this story, paying close attention to the atmosphere and attempting to understand the characters on a deeper level rewards readers with a fantastic and realistic story about youth, violence, and finding a place for yourself.
The first thing I will review in depth is the most important part about this manga, which is the story aspect. The plot is full of small mini-arcs revolving around a particular foe to face in the first half of the manga, all the while the overarching themes come into play mainly through the main character Kamishirou, but also through several important side characters. Characters are where this manga really shine. Character writing does not get better than this, all characters are realistic portrayals of different personalities which shine in multiple different ways. All the characters have their own problems, all have their own views on the world, all have their own motivations. They have a dyanamic philosphy on the events around them, but they are never preachy. Their is a healthy dose of angst in this manga, almost exclusively from Kamishirou. Angst has become a buzzword for stereotypical teenage character development, but don't dismiss it. It's a realistic portrayal of a teenager constantly being surrounded by pity, shame, and bloody violence. Howver, the manga is certainly not just about him. The deurtagonists really stand out and are argueably more in-depth than Kamishirou himself, particularly Masaki Iwaya and Shougo. But not all characters need to have a complicated past and personal issues to be great, Iwado and Tsuchiya particularlly are funny and give quirks to this manga to keep the energy. The charisma of the whole thing is perfect, it never feels out of place and the pacing runs true throughout. The ending left me surprised yet satisfied, thinking about the characters afterwards even more so. The bottom line is this story is a great introspect on violence, youth in society, and confronting realistic personal demons.
The martial arts in this manga is very COOL. I use the word cool on purpose, as its an accurate way to describe it all. These fights are not ridiculously over-the-top like the ones in Sun Ken Rock, and they aren't creative fantasy battles like the ones in Shin Angyo Onshi, this is a very down to earth martial arts manga. In fact, its so down to earth, that this manga constantly explains the mechanics of real martial arts and street fighting. Needless to say, the fights themselves are realistic because of that. Kamishirou is mainly a boxer, but throughout the manga you see details on not only boxing and street fighting as a whole, but also karate, judo, kenpo, kendo, and werestling, as well as their competitive aspects. The author frequently breaks the 4th wall in context by explaining these martial arts and their techniques in a personal way, sometimes with his own little anecdotes. While I am not an aspiring street fighter, if you happen to be, you might want to take some notes as its pretty interesting. Art is nice considering this manga's age of 10 years or so, there are really no particular issues with it that ruin the experience. It has a unique style and is able to convey the energy and expression of any situation, which is all thats needed to enjoy the story and the fights.Coming off of this, it is definitely one of my favorites. I'm sure this isn't too convincing as I tend to say that about all the things I review here, but don't let that discourage you. This is an amazingly well written martial arts drama, with a great atmosphere and significant tweest to make you want to read more. It under no circumstance, drags on or goes to slow. It's hard to label Holyland as anything besides underrated, it's truly fantastic and I'm sure you would think so too.
I'm writing a review for this manga because I feel the need to encourage manga readers to try this manga. It's a great, great manga that deserves the top list of every manga reader.
Great plot, very focused and does not venture too much on uninteresting side stories. The plot may be a bit unrealistic but you'll surely want to go out and prove your self like the main character, Kamishiro Yuu. The story develops on an engaging phase and you won't have to wait 50 or more chapters for a single arc to finish. There's also a bit of romance so you won't get
burned up with the too much action.
Great art! cleanly drawn and you can clearly follow the flow of every fight scene.. blow by blow.
I enjoyed this manga a lot because of the characters. They may not be too many of them like the mainstream manga but that's why this manga is so great. It focuses on its main characters and cleans up every single story about each of them. Does not introduce too much characters that will get you bored later on.
Very enjoyable! the fight scenes are so tight, very detailed and realistic and does not take 20 chapters for a single fight to finish. I read about 50 chapters on a single night because the thrilling phase was sustained all throughout the series. You'll feel like you're one of the crowd watching the fight.
Overall it's one of my favorite manga. It's engaging and relating. It helped me be myself more and it changed my outlook on certain things. Read it for yourself and enjoy..
Might contain light spoilers, I'll try to make it SFW.
The teenage years may be the hardest in the life of a person. The treatment you receive, the friends you have, the popularity in the high-school, mark you and define how you will be in the near future. As someone who had a hard time, I have to say that being a teenager is fucking hard, and trying your best to fit in a place, with some people you like or want to be part of, isn't easy. Bullying, humilliation and systematic denigration can leave a deep
wound in your personality and transform you into something you never thought. So, this manga tries so hard to explain what the 'holyland' is: a place to call ours.
First of all, 'Holyland' isn't only a great fucking name for a manga but the definition of a concept that doesn't have an entry in the dictionary. A 'holyland', as explained in the first page of every volume, is a 'place between the adult world and the children world, where a human being wants to belong in order to grow as a healthy person without being discriminated'. Explained the concept, let's go into matter.
The story is awesome, not because its complexity or constant plot-twists. It doesn't need those things to keep your attention. From beginning to end, we have Kamishiro Yuu, a 16yo guy that goes into the streets looking for the holyland he never had. At night, the streets become a kill or be killed scenario where teenagers fight for the territory. Among those teenagers, we have Izawa Masaki aka 'Charisma of the Streets', a retired boxer that got a name in street fighting because of his ferocity and hability. Kamishiro is constantly bullyied by some thugs, but thanks to a boxing movement he learned in a book (the basic One-Two, a left jab with a right straight), he somehow manages to defeat them. After that, and like if someone was 'hunting' the thugs in the streets, he is called the 'Thug Hunter'. Basically, the story is Kamishiro Yuu building his Holyland with friends, foes and the respect from those that are by his side, fighting and learning, and a desperate cry for help in order to manage his dysfunctional life.
For some people, the art in Holyland is mediocre, bad, and one of the weakest points in it, but I think Mori Kouji manages to create an awesome illusion of savagery, especially in Kamishiro. As time goes by, we see how Kamishiro goes crazy if someone threatens his holyland (friends), and can't control his inner violence. His facial expresions are scary, realistic and make me understand how Kamishiro is feeling in that moment.
The character building is really, really one of the strongest points in this work. Not every character is equally built up, but the main ones have a past, a present, a future, a reason to behave like they do, and memorable stories. Obviously, Kamishiro Yuu is the star as the main character. His evolution is wonderfully coddled, from a shy teenager to an indomitable beast that transforms when he's fighting. Kamishiro is always doubting, and his past wounds usually make him uncapable of going forward (for example, when Mai declares, he believes he's a dirty human being and that he does not deserve to be happy), but, with his fists, we always find the answer. Through the fighting, he knows Izawa Masaki and Midorikawa Shougo, a young karateca. What I think that Mori Kouji tries so hard to say with this manga is that everyone has a past, and you are not the only human in this world that has suffered, or is suffering. You have to keep going, find your place and fight for it. You are not alone, you are strong enough to keep going, to build your own holyland, and the characters are there to portray this reality.
I gave this manga a 10, and I can sincerely say this was a hell of a read in every sense. I felt happy at the ending, angry at the beginning, I wanted to cry because of the unfair moments every main character had, and it gained a place in my favourites as the great manga it is.
Puede contener ligeros spoilers. Intentaré evitarlos lo más posible.
La adolescencia puede ser una de las etapas más duras en la vida de una persona. El trato que recibes, los amigos que tienes, la popularidad en el instituto, te marcan como ser humano y dibujan cómo serás en un futuro. Como alguien que tuvo una mala experiencia en la adolescencia, tengo que decir que esa época es una mierda jodidamente dura, y esforzarte para encajar con gente que puede que te rechace no es nada fácil. Cosas como el Bullying, humillaciones y denigración sistemática pueden dejarte una marca profunda en tu personalidad y transformarte en algo que nunca pensaste que llegarías a ser. Por eso, este manga trata de explicar lo que es la 'Holyland': un lugar al que llamar nuestro.
Primero de todo, 'Holyland' no solo es un nombre increíble para un manga, sino que también es una definición para un concepto que no goza de una entrada en el diccionario. Una 'tierra santa (o holyland)', explicado literalmente como en la primera página de cada volumen, es un 'lugar entre el mundo de los niños y el de los adultos, donde un ser humano busca permanecer para crecer como una persona mentalmente saludable sin ser discriminado'. Explicado el concepto, entremos en materia.
La historia es increíble, no porque sea compleja o tenga muchos 'plot-twists', ya que no necesita de eso para mantener tu atención. De principio a fin, tenemos a Kamishiro Yuu, un joven de 16 años que va a las calles buscando esa 'tierra santa' que él nunca tuvo. Por las noches, las calles se convierten en una especie de matar o morir en el que los adolescentes, junto con sus bandas, luchan por el territorio. Entre esos adolescentes está Masaki Izawa, conocido como el 'Carisma de las Calles'. Izawa es un boxeador retirado que se hizo con un nombre en la pelea callejera gracias a su ferocidad y habilidad. A Kamishiro siempre lo amenazan, pero gracias a un movimiento de boxeo que aprendió en un libro (lo que viene siendo un 'Un-Dos', un jab de izquierda seguido de un directo de derecha), se las apaña para derrotarlos. Tras eso, y como si estuviese 'cazando' a las pandillas, se gana el apodo de 'Cazador de Pandillas'. Básicamente, la historia se centra en Yuu construyendo su 'tierra santa' con amigos, enemigos y el respeto de los que están a su lado en la calle, luchando y aprendiendo, y un grito de ayuda desesperado para ordenar su desastrosa vida.
Para algunos, el dibujo de Holyland es mediocre, malo, y el punto más débil del trabajo, pero yo creo que Mori Kouji consigue crear una increíble ilusión de salvajismo, especialmente en Kamishiro. Según va pasando el tiempo, podemos ver cómo Kamishiro se vuelve más y más loco cuando amenazan su tierra santa (amigos), y es incapaz de controlar la violencia que tenía guardada. Sus expresiones faciales dan miedo, son realistas y hacen que consiga entender cómo se siente Kamishiro en ese momento.
La construcción de personajes es, probablemente, lo mejor que tiene este manga. Obviamente, no todos destacan por igual, pero los principales tienen un pasado, un presente, un futuro, una razón para su comportamiento e historias memorables. Pero lógicamente, Kamishiro Yuu es la estrella. Su evolución está mimada con cariño, donde le vemos crecer de un tímido adolescente a una bestia indomable que se transforma cuando pelea. Kamishiro duda, y sus heridas hacen que sea incapaz de avanzar (por ejemplo, cuando Mai se le declara, él piensa que es un ser sucio y que no merece ser feliz), pero, con sus puños, siempre encuentra la respuesta. En las peleas callejeras, conoce a Masaki Izawa y a Shougo Midorikawa, un joven karateca. Lo que yo interpreto con estos personajes, es que Mori Kouji quiere transmitirnos que todos sufrimos en nuestra vida, y que no hay una sola persona que pueda decir que esta es perfecta en todo y que no lo ha pasado mal. Lo importante es dejar eso atrás, seguir adelante, encontrar tu lugar y luchar por él. No estás solo, tienes la fuerza suficiente para construir tu propia tierra santa, y estos personajes están ahí para retratar el mensaje.
Para mí, este manga es un 10, y puedo decir sin lugar a dudas que fue una increíble experiencia. Fui feliz con el final, me enfadé al principio y quise llorar por las injusticias que les ocurrían a los personajes. Así que Holyland se ha ganado un lugar en mis favoritos como el gran manga que es.
I just finished this manga and I had to write this review to say how much I loved it. It's without a doubt the best manga I’ve read so far with constant entertainment and is, I’m pretty sure, the only manga I’ve read where there have been no points where I’ve felt the urge to walk away and I had trouble doing so when I’ve tried.
I’d say the overall story of the weak victim finding the strength and drive to change is a theme that will have been used a lot in all forms of fiction but the way
it was done was brilliant so the following of Yuu’s story as he battles himself as well as his adversaries is something I will never regret as it was time well spent! The fact that during the story we are periodically given basic information, in the form of the author’s narration, on fighting in general and in specific forms of martial arts that have actual practical use is a bonus added to this already great read.
In terms of art I gave this a nine as though I found the art amazing and a great way to depict the changes in the characters throughout the story and during fights; I found it took a while to appreciate as I was unsure about it as I started. This will probably be due to the realism of the drawings that, though some people may find a positive, some people may think that it detracts slightly from the aesthetics of the work.
The characters have definitely been a major factor in my enjoyment of this manga. The characters are portrayed, not always positively, with weaknesses and problems and issues that add to the realism of the story showing they’re not just the perfect images some may view them as but have problems just like anyone else that they have to work passed. Watching these characters struggle with the their problems individually and together has only made them more endearing allowing the readers to empathise with them and feel more connected with them, especially if they’ve experienced some of the problems themselves which is highly likely.
The overall enjoyment of the story has been a definite ten out of ten. The moments when Yuu manages to overcome challenges and pass his limits really feel like you’ve achieved something too when you’re there right alongside him. In general, the fights of this series are brutally realistic showing you what can really happen on these streets but at the same time knowing that Yuu will always get back up despite everything because, that’s just the kind of guy he is, is just a great feeling. To be honest the series seems to have just gone by so quickly but I’ve been left feeling utterly satisfied with what I’ve read, from the epic fight scenes, to the heart-warming friendships and even some romance. This may be because I’ve just finished the manga and still feeling the aftereffects of its brilliance but to me, at this moment in time, this story is outstanding and definitely deserves its ten out of ten!
At some point in our lives we all experience the vertigo of change. Some easily slide through, only to hit a wall and midlife crisis. Some rebel immediately, and slowly realize stark realities of economics. In Holyland, for Kamishiro Yuu it is the darkness he awakens inside, and the Holyland he uses to control it.
Mr. Mori, creates an extremely entertaining psychological 'realistic' martial arts thriller, with character growth that fills you with hope. He expertly paces the narrative, with conjured dark violence punctuated by light hearted banter that gives you time to breathe, before taking another plunge into Yuu's malevolence.
But as with many mangas
appreciating the visual style is up to the reader. Personally I think that it works with the manga, but to each his own.
If you are tired of reading bleach, naruto, one piece, and have decided to grow up alittle, read Holyland by Mori Kouji.
The first thing that drew me into this manga was... this story could actually be happening somewhere on the street.
No super power, no over the top and impossible fighting techniques, and nothing particularly unnatural in the story.
Just pure strength and martial arts, street fight, friendship, and a little touch of romance.
The mangaka succesfully portrayed the feelings of a constantly bullied high schooler, Kamishiro. Kamishiro didn't have any friend, he was timid, and lacked in confidence, he was a misfit and struggle to find a place where he belonged. He needed to confirm his very own existence, that was why he started roaming on the street
Soon after, he was involved in street fighting. At first it was just to defend himself against bullies that picked on him, but even though he didn't want to admit it, the excitement of fighting, the fear, the anxiety, and the pain made the beast within him unable to resist the charm of street fighting.
With every battle he verified his existence, with every encounter with people on the street he gained friends and enemies, he gained experience and got stronger.
There, on the street together with his friends, he finally found a place he belonged. His holyland. And he would do anything to protect it.
The story went as Kamishiro fought people who wanted to destroy his holyland and how he got stronger with every battle.
The mangaka offered explanations about martial arts and even fighting techniques in a way the could easily be understood throughout the story. So you can pick one or two knowledges about how to become stronger by reading this manga. The story is really good, but it's a shame that the ending's not actually what i hoped for.
The art is good too, sometimes it's a little bit not proportional, but it's mainly realistic.
Overall this is a great manga and i really recommend this manga for you to read.
Sometimes a story just hits you hard. By some miracle, it came at that perfect, serendipitous time in your life when the narrative itself can resonate with your innermost thoughts. This manga did that for me. Not because I have anything particularly in common with any of the characters themselves, but because their stories touched me on a deep emotional level. I cried - for longer and harder than I care to admit - when I finished it. I think it filled a hole in me that I even didn't realize was there.
I feel like its a bit pointless to repeat what so many other
reviewers have praised about this manga, so I will keep this brief:
I don't know if it will affect you like it did me, but there's something really special about Holyland that you can't really appreciate until you experience this work of art for yourself. You won't regret it.
From the start to the end, this manga was thrilling, it was superb. Time flew in lightspeed as I dove more and more into the "Holyland" - the world in the night streets, the world of thugs, gangs and street fight. I read a quite a few good long mangas and in the most cases the mangaka had a hard time finishing the manga in style. But, this mangaka is different. He delivered till the end.
The story is the most attractive part of the manga. Its fictitous but it's totally realistic. Because the Mangaka (author) went through similar stages as the protagonist which he revealed
in the ending volume of the manga.
The story involves so much around street fighting that at some point I wondered why didn't the mangaka just titled it as "street fighting"? But, in the last volumes I understood that these fights were just part of a bigger picture, the "Holyland", the land where the protagonist discovered his meaning for life, found friends, rivals and found his path in life.
The mangaka is a martial artist himeslf and as it appears from his writings in the manga itself, he is a former street fighter himself. If not so, then at least he got to fight with different types of martial artist: Boxing, Karate, Kickboxing, Wrestling, Judo, Kenpo, Kendo. He gives so much detail about different moves and techniques which is in itself a great attraction point of manga.
Yes, the title "Holyland" and the cover picture given in the MAL made me thinking that this might be a mediocre manga at first. But hell was I wrong!
The art is just beautiful. This is a martial art manga and it is everything about good art. Otherwise you can't bring out the feeling in a fighting. The mangaka did an excellent job with the art.
The characters are the most interesting part. There are so many of them and each one has an intersting and thrilling part to play in the story. Specially the opponents in the street fights.
I enjoyed this manga so much and the more the manga advanced the more enjoyable it became. And the finishing was just great. Although I was getting gloomy for such a good manga to end but the end was satisfying and definitely unique. The mangaka made the manga unpredictable till the very last chapter. It was damn a happy ending, but not your cliche happy ending. It was the real deal. The last chapter really brings out the significance of the title "Holyland". Oh! It was just awsome.
I am a very picky reader. I dropped more mangas than I finished. So, for me to go on and on about this manga made myself realize how great the manga was!
Thank you, Mori Kouji sensei for this great work! It was a real honor to be part of the holyland. Although I was in my room staring at my laptop, but my conscience was definitely roaming the night streets. I was with Kamishiro Yuu! I, definitely, was there!
I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected myself too. I am once again in a rut and scrambling trying to find new things to dive into. I’ve re read several mangas and tried and dropped several mangas, but I finally came across this one. In the beginning I wasn’t sure how much I’d like this story but I really started to get a feel for the characters and I actually kind of got attached to them. I love strong protagonists who continue to improve. I love the shocked and surprised look of people around them after they improve. I liked the lack of
echi, but the hint of romance. Maybe some people will say a lot of this was predictable, but in that’s easy to say in hindsight. The ending was good too. There was closure. Maybe some holes regarding police and shougo or idk, but are they holes or just a possiblity for a sequel =D
This was awesome. The translation was good too. The explanations are thorough. I got really interested in all the fighting stances and moves.
This is without a doubt, a phenomenal manga. It's true to the core, your emotions will go along with the theme that plays out and for many, you will understand what it is that the main character is feeling and experiencing. From laughs to downright anger the mood carries on without fault. I highly recommend this manga to anyone that's experienced bullying, and to all those who love a great story. It takes a lot for a manga to make me laugh or cry, and I experienced both since in many ways I understood the protagonist, the story, the desire to keep a "holyland.".
ever felt the urge to become stronger?
Have you been lost with doubt?
Consumed by anger?
Are there times where you cannot decipher right from wrong?
Do you rely on yourself?
What do you stand up for, fight for, live for?
Are there those who you love and cherish?
Who love and cherish you?
We all have our Holyland, And I think getting the opportunity to find out about someones story, fictional or real, is what life is all about.
Step out from the darkness and into the light. Others are waiting.
Holyland is different from general sports manga in the way that it takes martial arts to the streets. This includes all kinds of fighting styles from karate to kick-boxing and from wrestling to kendo. The colorful range of styles gives an opportunity for all the characters to represent their own one and therefore be relevant to the story.
-Story and characters
As the story follows Yuu's journey to become a better fighter and that way find a place for himself among the streets he makes multiple acquaintances - usually through beating them first. These associates sometimes become important allies to him or even teachers in order
for him to master a new style. This might sound like a formulaic way of doing things and for the first part of the manga it kinda is but later it becomes much more natural and expansive.
The story fortunately manages to include other themes of the street life than fighting which makes the later parts much more realistic and ugly in a good way. As someone who has had experiences in that environment personally I was able to appreciate the way the manga portrays it as multi-dimensional and not inherently negative. This was done very well especially with the last arc and the amazing end conclusion.
The art style evolves noticeably through the run of the manga compared to it only being 182 chapters long. At the beginning I feel like it's going for a bit more psychological approach with the rough edges and inconsistent shapes. It's not necessarily bad but I find the later art far more fitting to the detailed fights and the manga is quite full of them.
The fights are probably the aspect the author wanted to polish most thoroughly and that certainly shows. Every exchange of fists and kicks has an explanation behind it that is based on actual information about the martial art techniques.
The series has a slightly generic start story-wise but the fights are very entertaining and detailed and are what carry the manga. Later parts even involve some well-written characters and drama so it's definitely an enjoyable experience as long as the excessive amount of violence is not a barrier.
I'm not great at writing long extended paragraphs so I'll keep it in simple bullet points!
- Great Story: bullied high school kid learning to fight is nothing new but I found the manga's focus psychological impact of fighting quite interesting. For its themes, the manga does a great job balancing the light-hearted moments to the darker ones.
- Relatable characters: aside from one or two "big bads" the manga does a great job of showing the goods and the bads of all characters, with their inner struggles that seems realistic and relatable.
- Realistic Martial Arts: my knowledge of martial arts and fighting forms are basic
but the manga seemed to show moves in an educational way, in a realistic setting (something that manga such as HSDK abandons completely)
- Average Art: Art style is completely subjective, however it was the only weak point of the manga for me. For instance body proportion of some characters seemed completely out of place, which was especially jarring for a realistic manga about fighting. However, it did seem to improve as the chapters progressed.
- Rushed ending: while I liked the ending I feel like it could have benefited greatly from 3~5 extra chapters, something that many manga suffer from unfortunately.
Overall: Focus on character is what makes most psychological mangas great as a genre and 'Holyland' managed also do so whilst avoiding the pitfalls of the genre by having the plot be entirely tragic and depressing. I read it reluctantly at my friends recommendation and ended up re-reading it around 3 times in the last few years. Highly recommended for all who wants to take a break from the trope-filled shounen battle manga.