Daydream Sanctuary Features

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Manga Review: Holy Glory

Holy Glory
Author: Sichol=bell
Genre(s): fantasy, shounen
Volumes: 1 volume
Synopsis: 19th century England. Christmas Day.
A young thief, Salt, and his partner-in-crime Pierre come across a strange-looking traveller with a penchant for sweets. The only thing of value Salt finds in the traveller’s bag is an odd compass, so he steals it – only for monsters to come after him a few hours later! Why are they after Salt? And what does the traveller want with him?? It’s a fantastic winter tale of magic!
~ Plot source: Baka-Updates

I actually already had my eye on this ever since I saw . . . the title. (It has the word "Holy" and anything religion related will always attract me) And that was many many weeks ago. The synopsis had easily captured my interest so I have included it in my list of manga-to-check-out-and-finish. However, it hadn't been a priority, since many other manga are yelling at me to be read. But when I've read the mangaka's oneshot very recently, it pushed me to check out that mangaka's other work already! So well, now I have~ It's just one volume so finishing it didn't take too much time.

I was surprised that despite of the recent oneshot being incredibly remarkable, this one didn't get much high ratings. It's actually to the extremes, either too low or too high. I assumed that those who rated it too low are disappointed with it for being crappy while those who rated too high are those who are just biased to it.

In my opinion, this manga had been just average; not that bad but not that great either. Unlike the oneshot, which had been really terrific~

I believe some of the biggest problems of this manga involve the use of too many clichés, and it also has really bad story flow/pacing. Clichés are actually okay, as long as you put some creative twist to it (like I believe the 07-Ghost manga had) . . . but in this one's are just terrible. Like the contract thing. It only happened at the very last moment, just right after Salt went self-sacrifice mode. Since his younger brother doesn't approve, that's the only time Rudolph brought up the contract thing again (he had been insisting on it in every chapter, but during that critical moment, he really should've said it much earlier. It's like the drama was forced to go in between the contract thing for the sake of making Salt have a dramatic martyr scene.). And about how the contract occurred, Rudolph just knelt, then said his script, then the compass turned into a staff, then Salt had a costume change, then Salt already knew how to use his power and its name???!!!! THAT IS MY USUAL COMPLAIN TO TYPICAL MAHOU SHOUJO!!! WHY DO I SEE THAT CRAP IN THIS KIND OF FANTASY SERIES??? The hell . . .

Some things also don't make sense. For example, Salt is being targeted because he has silver eyes . . . what's so special about it? I mean, yes, they're rare, but why are the monsters after it? Are they the types who eat body parts and find rare eyes more delicious? No mention of any explanation. Also, how come it only went after Salt after he came into contact with the compass? Did the monsters just know about his eyes when he had touched it? That just doesn't make any sense. It's more acceptable if the monsters went after him just because he's a Santa Claus candidate.

Some things don't connect as well. Like for instance, Rudolph has mentioned that the compass made Salt's eyes silver . . . but they were silver from the very beginning! Another thing is, from the first chapter, a monster was defeated by just throwing the compass between the monster and Rudolph. But in later chapters, it's been shown that the monster can't be defeated until Santa and Reindeer make a contract. What??!!! So the first part is just a miracle, or perhaps the first monster was just weaker? But there was no mention of that. They were of the same group. . .

Even more complains: I hate . . . the wait. I mean, when Rudolph was held captive, Salt took the time to go away then go back, and the monster was still squishing Rudolph. Oh come on, if the monster really had killing intent, Rudolph almost can't breathe by the time Salt came back! There's also the wait when the contract was taking place. The enemy didn't interrupt at all?!The enemy obviously knows that his opponents will be much stronger if the contract took place but it actually just watched their drama, speeches, and magical rituals first before proceeding???!! What the heck . . . I also hate the wait on Charles' death. Before he died, he was able to make a speech to the ones around him . . . with no interruptions. It's like "It's dying person's drama moment so all of you keep silent". I think it would be better if Salt had been telling him not to say such things and not speak anymore or else his condition might get worse. You know! But . . . uuuuggghhh . . .

Most important of all: WHY "SALT"? That's one of the dumbest names I've ever heard. Is there anyone in England who's named like that? Is there also a Powder or a Hot Sauce? *facepalm* Speaking of this being set in England, why the heck was there a pinky swear??? I think it's more common to Japanese peeps. Oh the inappropriate cultures . . . (unless I'm wrong, and that pinky swear is actually common in that place during that time)

Haha, yeah, I agree that it actually sucks. At least the story is. It was indeed a disappointment because the story idea/concept was actually pretty cool. But I have to admit that it wasn't that bad. I like the idea of the "trickster being tricked". I also like the twist about the medicine. I find it good that for a cliché-rich manga, it didn't exactly have a happy ending.

Even though I have so many complains about this, I found it very very enjoyable and I liked it a lot! Bias aside, even if the story had not been done well, the characters had been fun and interesting! Salt is pretty emo though, but he's very entertaining when he's pissed. Rudolph had been absolute crack! CANDIES FTW! Bwahahaha! Charles is very sweet. Pierre is so nice, too bad he didn't have much role.

The art is also pretty, though not all panels look that great. I've seen most of the weirdly or not-so-nicely illustrated ones on Salt actually. Fighting scenes don't look that amazing either. Some looked pretty dumb actually. But this isn't exactly an action manga so I guess it's forgivable. It did good on some of the fantasy-related scenes though (like with the castle scene, etc.)

This manga had also been fanservice for me. Hehe~ Aside from the crack, there was also best friend love (not romantic love) and brotherly love (of course not incest). Salt and Pierre are so close~ I find it cute that even though Salt tricks people, he never lied to his best friend~ Also, Salt and Charles are so caring to each other . . . they're so sweet~ Lastly, I had a glimpse for my twin boys fanservice when there were TWO Pierres . . . hehehehe~

And when I've finished it, it turned out that it's actually the prequel of the oneshot I've read recently. I think there had been some changes (like having more than 9 Santa Clauses, Santas giving presents to kids, monsters go after kids in despair, Rudolph actually has a reindeer form, etc.) and I am very happy for those changes because it had totally improved this manga. In other words, the sequel is hell better than the prequel in . . . everything! I hope Noel la niege is the new work that's being referred to at the end of the volume of this manga.


Story idea was actually interesting and creative, but everything else that is story-related had been terrible. However, this had also been an enjoyable read; characters had been fun and the art is pretty pleasing to the eyes.
It's actually the prequel of the recent oneshot of the mangaka (which you will still be able to udnestand even if you hadn't read this first). If I have to compare it to its sequel, the sequel was a lot better and made improvements on all the things that this one had lacked. But this one is still recommendable to those who don't have high expectations and jsut want a fun read, and also those who want more background on Noel la niege~


Nayami said...

It would be cool if Noel La Neige got continued!! Unfortunately, I think it was actually written before Holy Glory ^^;; But wow, what a detailed review! I’m probably one of those biased ones because I actually really liked this manga ahaha (^_^);; I totally feel the same way on some things, though … like, how the heck did Salt know all those spells straightaway, and the bad guy just waiting for them to make the contract OTZ

However, there’s a few things I think I can help clear up~ the monsters weren’t after Salt’s eyes just cos they’re silver. The previous Santa sent out his powers in the form of a ‘snowflake’ broken into nine pieces – one for each of his successors. It’s the piece of snowflake within Salt, not the compass, that turned his eyes silver (so I’m both guessing that the ‘snowflake’ piece is in his eyes and that it happened before Salt was born). Also, it’s this ‘snowflake’ fragment in Salt – a.k.a the power of Santa Claus - that the monsters are after. So, technically, they are after Salt just cos he is a Santa Claus candidate.

I think his powers only awoke properly when he came across the compass, hence why the monsters only started chasing him from then on. The compass itself is designed to react with the ‘snowflake’s power, which is why it worked for Salt at a basic level when he threw it. However, without the contract, he can’t activate its true power which he needs to fight the second, higher-level monster.

Sorry this ended up being such a long explanation orz Looking forward to the next work by Sichol=Bell sensei, though~ :D

Sapphire Pyro said...

Eh??? It was written before Holy Glory? I . . .can't . . see . . it . . .possible. Art and story quality can't . . . degrade, right? x_x

Thank you! xD This series isn't really good, imho, but it's lovable. I'm not surprised on the bias xD haha~

Thanks for the explanation. Things became clearer finally~ But still, the monsters have been mentioning that they want the "eyes", not particularly mentioning the "snowlfake in the eyes". It's really misleading. Or perhaps the mangaka just wants to make it sound morbid ('coz of the eye-taking thing) =_=

But oh I still look forward to sichol=bell's next work *_*

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