Kawana is 26 and a budding interior designer whose company just partnered with an architectural firm. At a company mixer with the two groups, Kawana runs into her high school crush, Ayukawa. It isn’t until the end of the meal that Kawana discovers Ayukawa was in a severe crash and is now wheelchair-bound. She’s not sure if she could be in a relationship with a disabled person, but after hanging out more and catching up, Kawana’s old feelings start to bubble up. She cares deeply when Ayukawa has to go to the hospital for one of the many complications spinal-cord-injury patients have, and she gets upset with his defeatist attitude that he won’t live long anyway. He continuously pushes her away and tells her not to fall in love with him because of his many complications and potentially shortened lifespan, but Kawana's heart explains away all of those difficulties and falls for him anyway.
There are quite a few depictions of life in Japan for disabled people that don’t paint the society as very accepting or accommodating. For one of the architecture projects Ayukawa works on, he suggests a ramp to help the elderly or disabled people be able to access the restaurant easily, but the owner shakes off the suggestion. While the state of affairs in the US aren’t perfect, we at least have building codes for public spaces that require ramps and enough space to navigate a space via a wheelchair. Overall though, the struggles Ayukawa faces are very similar to what someone in the US or other countries could also be facing. The constant worry of further injury, the complications and infections that can make quality of life suffer and shorten life spans - all of those are present for any paraplegic individual across the world. This first volume shed light on a subject I don't often think about, and really moved me. I want the two mains to find happiness together, but I know how hard the road is ahead for both of them.
The main characters are both young adults, but so far, there has been nothing serious or inappropriate enough that would make this title inappropriate for high school audiences. Mature middle schoolers with a developed sense of empathy could also enjoy this story.
The illustrations are typical of a shōjo manga as far as character design and panel lay out. There are a few very detailed and beautiful environment shots, especially when characters go to a new setting, but once the scene is established, the backgrounds are not as emphasized as the characters.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
Publication Date: March 24, 2020
ISBN: 9781632368119 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Romance, Disabilities, Kodansha
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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