Run on Your New Legs, vol 1 | Review
Run on Your New Legs, vol. 1
By Wataru Midori
Age rating: Teen
In honor of Disability Pride Month, I would like to highlight a new manga that showcases a lead character with a disability. In Run on Your New Legs by Wataru Midori, Shouta Kikuzato finds his dreams of starting on his school’s soccer team derailed by an accident that costs him his leg. Starting over in this new reality, and with a new artificial limb, Kikuzato has resigned himself to give up on his dreams. When he tries to run with his leg, Kikuzato is noticed by Chidori, a prosthetist, who wants to start a partnership with him for his new start-up business. This start-up is to create prosthetics for athletes, and Chidori sees an opportunity for Kikuzato to not only help him with this venture, but to achieve the dreams Kikuzato thought were long gone.
Now, before I continue with this review, I would like to mention that not all disabilities are visual. These impairments may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory, or a combination of multiple factors. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities defines disability as:
long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder [a person’s] full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
That being said, I think this story is very important and should be read. While Kikuzato is frustrated with the limitations that have fallen on him, he does try to get himself back on track, so to speak. He tries to run with a prosthetic that is clearly not designed for running. So when Chidori presents him with a chance to run with an appropriate prosthetic, Kikuzato is skeptical (along with the reader) and justifiably so. This is clearly a stranger giving him a chance to compete and be athletic again, but what’s the price? The business is being run out of Chidori’s apartment, not at a medical facility. Um, what? When Chidori begs/manipulates Kikuzato to test the limb against a current client, Tsuchiya, in a race featuring disabled runners, Kikuzato feels his competitive edge again, and possibly gains a rival in Tsuchiya. It’s very compelling storytelling.
Another part of the story is the people in Kikuzato’s life before and after his accident, Takekawa, or “Take,” and Usami. Take was on the same soccer team as Kikuzato, but along the way they have become estranged with no explanation. Maybe because of the accident or something else? Who knows? Usami becomes a new friend that stays by Kikuzato’s side despite Kikuzato’s annoyance towards him. What part do these two play in the story is never really fully established in the first volume. With the cliffhanger at the end of volume one, maybe we’ll get more of an explanation, but it is a good way to get the reader invested. Overall, it’s a fascinating read that is not offensive to its audience, and I look forward to what volume two brings.
About Renee Scott
Renee Scott is a young adult librarian based in NYC, as well as a dedicated otaku and gamer. She is a lifelong fan of comics, anime, and manga. She can be found on Twitter at @libraryladynyc, and on her review blog, The Library Lady of NYC Reviews.
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