Kouji Mori, 2004 via GGpX, Molokidan, Infinity, Nitouryu, TaskMaster, Zenquibo, 2009. Illuminati-Manga.
(READ RIGHT TO LEFT)
The most interesting parts of Holyland are those in which the author steps away from the narrative to address the reader directly. While he typically uses this technique to elaborate on the intricacies of the martial arts he’s depicting, there are times where Mr. Mori reflects on his work—times where his work seems to be resonating with him.
Above, Yuu Kamishiro has recovered his fighting form through rigorous practice with his friends. Had Mr. Mori’s autobiographic aside not been present here, the scene would be something that’s been done a hundred times before in other shōnen manga: the three friends head off into a sunset, their bond strengthened by the labor they have just undertaken for the sake of one of their own. While it would work in the context of this manga, the author’s introspection elevates the scene by ultimately underlining Yuu’s martial arts and his friendships as extensions of him. That both are important to Yuu has previously been depicted on separate occasions, but it’s by linking the two as he did here that Mr. Mori makes clear the magnitude of that importance.
In addition to understanding what defines Yuu, the reader is compelled to ask themselves what qualities, interests and relationships define themselves. Mr. Mori has indeed accomplished much in these two pages, and all it took was a moment of vulnerability and candidness.