REAL Vol. #08 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, September 17, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Despite the portrayal of difficult lives for these handicapped men, I can’t help but feel inspired by their fortitude.
Writer/Artist: Takehiko Inoue
Translation: John Werry
Adaptation: John Werry
What They Say
rama, tragedy and fast breaks...on wheels. Life goes on... Get Real. Real men, real basketball, real manga. While Togawa and the Tigers are finally gelling and coming together as a team, Nomiya finds himself still without a job and without any real direction in life. His true path continues to elude him until an unlikely source gives him new perspective on it all. Meanwhile, Takahashi struggles with acceptance and rehabilitation, but he hasn't given up on himself just yet.
Things may not have gone they way the Tigers had hoped during the Tokyo Preliminaries, but its nothing a little beer and yakiniku can’t cure! Actually, it takes a little more than that, but eventually the Tigers find themselves even more fired up to beat their nemesis than they were last time.
Nomiya is still wandering through life with no direction. It’s too bad too, because he felt he had found a good place in his last job. But that company went under and he feels just as lost as he ever has. Nomiya himself creates an interesting dichotomy with the handicapped characters in this series. While his plight is nowhere near as difficult as the characters accepting their disabilities and learning to live with them, Nomiya reminds us of how difficult life can be when you don’t have a goal or direction. It takes an offhanded comment from a friend, but when she tells him to do what makes him happy it finally sinks in. Nomiya is meant to play basketball for a living. It will take a ton of hard work, but now he feels like he finally has the drive to push himself the extra mile in practice and cardio training.
Much of this volume centers on Takahashi and his rehabilitation. He would like to give up because his rehabilitation seems too hard, but his pride has just enough of a flame remaining to keep him going. The other gentleman rehabilitating with Takahashi seems like a pretty big weirdo. Despite that, he can do the rehabilitation exercises that Takahashi can’t. I think Takahashi’s disbelief that he can’t do the same exercises is just enough to spur him forward. I especially like the scene where Takahashi’s dad buys a cell phone so they can text each other. It is touching, especially since my dad is just as technologically inept as Takahshi’s.
Will Takahashi be able to catch up with that other guy? Will Nomiya find a job he’s truly happy with or will he be able to land a position on a professional basketball team? What about Togawa and the Tigers? Will they ever be able to beat the Dream?
Despite all the manga series I read, I can’t think of a more gripping, realistic series than ‘REAL’. The pain the characters feel is palpable, and the joy of their accomplishments really makes me feel better. There aren’t many series, realistic or fantastical, that can jerk my emotions around the way ‘REAL’ does. Granted, it can be raw and I don’t think I could read a ton of series like this, as it would take too much out of me emotionally. It’s just too easy to picture myself in the position of any of these handicapped characters.
If you haven’t tried this series, you should do yourself a favor and pick up the first volume. You’ll be surprised how much you enjoy it. I know I was. Highly recommended.
Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left