REAL Vol. #03 (Mania.com)

By:Matthew Alexander
Review Date: Friday, March 27, 2009
Release Date: Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nomiya wants to turn his life around, but will his confrontation with Takahashi prove beneficial for either?

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Takehiko Inoue
Translation: John Werry
Adaptation: John Werry

What They Say
Hisanobu Takahashi thought the world was his for the taking. Natural athletic ability, effortless academic prowess and popularity with the girls gave him a sense of entitlement that knew no bounds. But a devastating traffic accident robs Hisanobu of everything. In constant pain, Hisanobu is completely overwhelmed dealing with the reality of his paraplegia and his excruciating physical rehabilitation.

The Review!
Nomiya can’t come to grips with the fact that a girl is in a wheelchair for the rest of her life because he crashed the motorcycle they were riding.  I can’t blame him for feeling guilty since he escaped with nothing more than a scratch.  In some attempt to make things better he travels to the girls new hometown to see her, but in the end it only points out the fact that he wants to make himself feel better, not her.  But what can he do to make it up to her?  Nothing.  Nothing he does will make things better.  All he can do is figure out a direction for his life, which is hard enough to do after high school when your life is normal.

Much of this volume deals with Takahashi in his hospital room.  I can relate to his attitude about his condition.  I feel I would probably slip into a deep depression and quit communicating with the rest of the world.  Takahashi’s outcome is going to depend a lot on the support he receives from his family and friends.  Unfortunately, his friends are assholes and his parents have been divorced since he was in the fourth grade.  One ray of hope is the appearance of his girlfriend.  Despite the stigma of his paralysis, she still comes by to visit.  Even after he tells her to never come back, she still visits him on his eighteenth birthday and even brings a gift.

Takahashi’s visit from his father doesn’t go so well.  He has a vision of his dad being strong, tall, and handsome.  However, after all these years, his first visit from his dad proves his dream was a fantasy.  Takahashi’s dad is short, kind of ugly, and scruffy as hell.  Things only become worse when Nomiya shows up not knowing Takahashi is paralyzed.  They quickly break into a fight, revealing Takahashi’s condition.  This leaves Takahashi angry that he appears weak in front of Nomiya, and it leaves Nomiya feeling even worse than before.  Maybe there is a positive aspect.  Nomiya’s taunting may be just the thing Takahashi needed to quit feeling sorry for himself.

After three volumes, I am still really impressed with this series.  The author does a terrific job capturing the difficulty of living in a wheelchair.  From playing handicapped sports with its stigma of not being a real sport, to the mental anguish of accepting life as a handicapped person, to the difficulty of rehabilitation.

Highly recommended.



Mania Grade: A-
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translation Rating: B
Age Rating: 16 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 12.99
Pages: 216
ISBN: 978-1421519913
Size: A5
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: REAL