Real 5Posted: July 24, 2009
Takehiko Inoue – Viz – 2009 – 8+ volumes
We recently did a Midterm Report Card at Manga Recon, where we talked about our favorite series so far this year. I had a hard time paring my list down since several were “apples and oranges” situations. Real was the hardest to shave off my list, because Real and We Were There are my two favorites from this year that took me by complete surprise. On the other hand, I am shallow and Detroit Metal City is very funny. Real is the better series, though.
This book was a little less intense than the other ones have been, but only because everyone seems to be getting better in it. The focus is mostly on Nomiya in this volume, with some peeks into Hisanobu’s therapy to see how that’s going. Nomiya is a great character, and it’s easy to like him and sympathize with everything that’s happening to him right now. He has a hard time living with himself because the girl in his accident was paralyzed and nothing at all happened to him, so in this volume we see him doing absolutely everything he can so that he no longer has to have that accident sitting between the two of them. Of course, the girl doesn’t want to see him, but that doesn’t stop him from showing up and talking to her anyway. They get into several arguments where both bring up excellent points. Their conversations are good ones, and I think the girl finally relents a bit on her hatred for him since he doesn’t try to give her silent sympathy or pity, but rather gets into shouting matches with her (over rather serious topics) and just simply admits that he can’t since he can walk and he doesn’t know what it’s like to not be able to. Despite his horrible situation, Nomiya has a really amazing way of looking at life and trying to do everything he can to fix it. Going to see that girl and putting everything right is a good example, and hopefully his fortunes will be turned around after this. He also just has a really great way of dealing with people, and it always seems like Nomiya acts as kind of inspiration for the others in the series. In his way. He’s an excellent piece of the puzzle among all the characters.
I can’t bring myself to like Hisanobu, since he’s still an arrogant jerk, but it’s good to see that arrogance being applied to his therapy, saying things like this are easy for “people like him.” His high school teacher visits and starts campaigning to have his high school converted for accessibility (there are lots of nice details I wouldn’t have thought of, like the fact the bathrooms would lack a “western-style” toilet that Hisanobu could use). Hisanobu doesn’t really want to go back to his old high school, and I can’t say that I blame him. For being an arrogant jerk, it would be hard to return to the place he’d been so popular and be literally at the bottom of the social ladder and have to deal with the stares of people who knew what happened for a year.
These thoughts sort of sour his drive to finish his physical therapy, and he has given up by the end of the volume. It’s sad, but it’s also good and more real that the typical character who would just excel and blow through it all with a happy outlook on life. As much as I do not like Hisanobu, I can see and understand exactly how hard all that he’s going through really is, and I appreciate that he has more downs than ups. It would be too hard to realistically expect someone to go through all that with a smile on his face. I do hope that he pulls through in the end. And although I do hate him, I also hope that he comes out on the other side with at least some of his arrogance intact.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.