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REAL Vol. #12 Manga Review

3 min read

REAL Volume 12
REAL Volume 12
Can Togawa overcome his anti-team mentality and function on a basketball team? Or would he be better suited to find another solo sport he can participate in with his handicap?

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Takehiko Inoue
Translation: John Werry

What They Say
Togawa’s pursuit of excellence takes him to a wheelchair basketball camp, where he discovers major deficiencies in his teamwork and leadership. While his fierce drive for individual competition has carried him this far, will it now be a hindrance?

Critically acclaimed, award-winning manga artist Takehiko Inoue doesn’t pull any punches in this stunning portrayal of people struggling with serious life issues. Masterfully combining rich character development with beautifully detailed line art, Inoue, the creator of the mega hit masterpieces Slam Dunk and Vagabond, lifts the manga medium to a completely new level of storytelling.

Drama, tragedy and fast breaks…on wheels. Life goes on…Get Real.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This volume focuses a lot on Togawa as he strives to become the best basketball player he can. Unfortunately, Togawa played individual sports for so long, that he is having a really difficult time adjusting to the team part of basketball. He wants to do everything himself, be the fastest and the best, and drag his team along with him. But that just leads to failure, both in the fact that team sports aren’t successful of one person is doing the most work and it builds frustration and resentment among the players. That just creates a group of guys playing a game, and not the desired cohesive unit that is a team.

While Togawa doesn’t see that one of his biggest problems is his cooperation level, he does acknowledge that he is weak on fundamental basketball basics. So he joins a basketball camp led by two wheelchair basketball players from the American team that won the gold. Lots of great skill to lead a basketball camp. But just like on his other teams, Togawa quickly alienates the players on his squad. Can he learn anything more than just skills from this camp? He better, or he’s never going to succeed in wheelchair basketball in the way he wants.

Takahashi is still struggling with his rehab, but he is making progress. This volume doesn’t spend much time with Takahashi, but it is great to see his dad and mom visiting him. His parents haven’t spoken in a long time, so it is nice to see them come together for Takashi’s sake. I really liked this part of the book, but what about Nomiya? Oh, he’s kind of fat (stress eating?) and just sitting around these days. Not much more than a brief appearance in this volume.

In Summary
There are a lot of slice-of-life manga out there, but not a lot of adult themed books make it to the US. Even less that are examining the trials and tribulations of living with physical handicaps. What I really enjoy about this series is how plausible the story reads. Any time a character has a break down during rehab, or gets frustrated with their new handicapped life, it all seems so believable. And I think the wheelchair basketball is a great vehicle to drive the story and keep it interesting. Another good volume in this series and beautiful production from VIZ with the larger size and color pages.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Age Rating: Older Teen
Released By: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 15th, 2013
MSRP: $12.99