Anime Vice News

Time to Get Real!

Takehiko Inoue laces up and takes his game back to the courts

Real 
Takehiko Inoue
Published by VIZ
224 pages B&W illustration, 16 pages color 


 
 If you've ever seen Murderball, the 2005 documentary about wheelchair rugby players during the run-up to the 2004 Paralympic Games, then you'll understand the inherent folly of looking down on chair-bound atheletes—don't mess with these guys if you're not prepared for a pair of skid marks down your back. Indeed, in the face of such apparent danger and naked violence non-handicapped meat puppets stand little chance against these chariot-riding demons. It's the thrill of this type of environment that Takehiko Inoue builds on and draws readers into with his newest manga series about high school wheelchair basketball players in Real.

The plot of Real revolves around the converging stories of Tomomi Nomiya and Kiyoharu Togawa, two high school-aged basketball lovers with very different histories. Our first glimpse of Nomiya is as the stereotypical school delinquent; recently expelled from school, this afro-sporting goliath only returns to say his farewells to classmates and take a defiant dump on the campus gate. Nomiya, on the other hand, is a former up-and-coming track star whose leg had to be amputated after a bout with bone cancer and takes on wheelchair basketball as a way to vent. They join forces after a chance meeting on the court and, after realizing each other's dedication, start their partnership from there. 
 
  
Inoue's art style is and has always been a feast for the eyes, but what I really enjoy in this story is the initial characterization. Nomiya and Togawa have much more depth than their cookie-cutter “bad boy meets overachiever” pairing might imply. Both teens have serious issues to deal with, particularly Nomiya, who we discover early on has the death of a girl he accidentally killed while she rode passenger on his motorcycle sitting heavy on his shoulders. These monsters from their respective pasts pop up frequently and directly affect the narrative flow, taking it in some compelling directions.

Inoue's previous manga, Vagabond and Slam Dunk, were genuine mega-hits and it's difficult to examine Real in a vacuum without  comparing this title to those and wondering if he'll hit it out of the ballpark both critically and financially once more. Honestly, considering the subject material, the primary cast of characters' heartwrenching back stories, and Inoue's soulful art style that captures emotion so well, this story has all the elements of a hit regardless of the artist's history. Even linking it with Inoue's previous titles, Real is a culmination of techniques mastered: the depiction of frenetic wheelchair-on-human and wheelchair-on-wheelchair violence is pure Vagabond, while the basketball action is the logical extension of Slam Dunk. In the end, Real can stand on its own (no pun intended, really) without any extra promotional push it gets from Inoue's star power, and I'll be following its saga unfold over the coming years. Until the next volume, see you on the court. 
          
giaon Feb. 5, 2010 at 12:14 p.m.
Oh, man, I've been terrible about getting around to reading more of this, but volume one blew me away. Takehiko Inoue is amazing.
lanaswifton Feb. 5, 2010 at 1:14 p.m.

This manga is phenomenal and everyone should read it.
FoxxFireArt moderator on Feb. 5, 2010 at 4:17 p.m.
Wow, a jump shot in a wheelchair. That defines impressive.
Kurohigeon Feb. 5, 2010 at 4:28 p.m.

I must see this!
lanaswifton Feb. 6, 2010 at 11:28 a.m.
@Kurohige:
You should go buy it immediately.

Dig Deeper into Real

A manga revolving around a group of wheelchair basketball players.

Edit/View the Wiki
Hit the Forums (1 Post)
Add/View Images
Watch Some Videos
Pokemon Black and White Looks Delicious in Motion

First video of a Pokemon battle in Black and White.

Comment & Win: One Piece Vol. 52, 53

Time for a giveaway folks! Now, act civil, we don't want anyone to get hurt in the mad rush to win.

Beginner's Guide to FLCL

Gainax's madcap, surrealist anime, broken down for new viewers.

Ballz Deep

Steve gets intimately close to Dragon Ball Z, for science!

Top 3 Awful Anime Dubs

Grit your teeth and get your ear plugs ready cause this week we're taking on the three most amazingly bad dubs of all time!

NARUTO Ch. 692 Review

Um,...can I have Obito back now, please?

OVERLOOKED ANIME :: HAL Features Robots and Romance in a New Light

Would YOU sign up a loved one for robot therapy?

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Seriously Tries to Sell You "Mecha Naruto?"

Episode #376+377. A two-part infomercial?

The Lamest JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE Episode

STARDUST CRUSADERS #24 -- Watch & Learn. Fiiiiiiiiller!

ONE PIECE #661 -- Special Review

Wow... how much money did they add to the animation budget?

HUNTER X HUNTER #147 -- Special Review

Don't cry now, Killua. I'm sure you'll see Gon again soon.

Community Spotlight 9/19/2014

Come see some of the best edits from our brightest users.

DRAGON BALL #19 + 20 -- Retro Review

This really seemed more like SOUTH PARK back then...

NARUTO Ch. 692 Review

Um,...can I have Obito back now, please?

Anime Caption Contest! -- 9/16/14

To celebrate Sailor Moon Crystal, get a dose of Magical Girl Madness!

ONE PIECE #661 -- Special Review

Wow... how much money did they add to the animation budget?

OVERLOOKED ANIME :: HAL Features Robots and Romance in a New Light

Would YOU sign up a loved one for robot therapy?

The Lamest JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE Episode

STARDUST CRUSADERS #24 -- Watch & Learn. Fiiiiiiiiller!

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY... the Anime?

DISC WARS is like... "POKEMON versus Marvel."

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Seriously Tries to Sell You "Mecha Naruto?"

Episode #376+377. A two-part infomercial?

HUNTER X HUNTER #147 -- Special Review

Don't cry now, Killua. I'm sure you'll see Gon again soon.

Mandatory Network

Submissions can take several hours to be approved.

Save ChangesCancel