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Friendship binds 2 struggling high school students together

The cover of the first part of “Kimi to Uchu o Aruku tameni” (“Walking to Space Together”) by Inuhiko Doronoda, published by Kodansha

Kimi to Uchu o Aruku tameni (Walking to space together)
by Inuhiko Doronoda (Kodansha)

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A book titled “Keki no kirenai hikoshonen-tachi” (Delinquent Boys Who Can’t Cut the Cake) became a hot topic of conversation a few years ago.

The book’s author, Koji Miyaguchi, is a child psychiatrist who has worked in a mental health facility for juvenile delinquents. Miyaguchi said most juvenile delinquents have weaknesses in areas of the brain that help with cognitive functions.

Such young people, even when they try their best, are unable to perform tasks that other people might consider ordinary, because of the difficulties they face in using their powers to perceive, listen and imagine. to propose. Because their attempts are often unsuccessful, they are treated as incompetent at school and in society, making them feel excluded.

It is believed that people with borderline intellectual functioning make up more than 10% of the population. With statistics like that, it’s clearly not something that only occurs in youth detention centers. The seemingly unmotivated underachiever sitting next to you may not be the lazy person you think he is.

The main character of the manga “Kimi to Uchu o Aruku tameni” (“Walking to Space Together”) is Kobayashi, a high school troublemaker with bleached hair. He never takes notes during class because he doesn’t understand what the teacher is saying, and he can’t seem to hold down a part-time job. He always makes a mistake when he does something that others seem to be able to do quite easily. His bad attitude doesn’t help either, causing him to be quickly fired. The problems he has faced have caused him to give up on himself and say he is an idiot.

Then, one day, Kobayashi meets Uno, a transfer student. Uno is a bit eccentric and writes down everything he has to do that day in detail in a notebook. He has a good memory, but cannot perform multiple tasks at the same time. He also panics when he hears loud voices.

“When I don’t understand something, I feel like I’m floating alone in space,” Uno tells Kobayashi. “But I want to do a spacewalk!”

Some of Kobayashi’s friends make fun of Uno, but Kobayashi cannot make fun of him. After seeing Uno’s notebook, Kobayashi realizes how much effort Uno puts into doing “ordinary things in an ordinary way.”

Following suit, Kobayashi begins taking notes on how to perform certain tasks in his part-time job.

Kobayashi and Uno become good friends and the world around them gradually begins to change.

A manga about people with developmental disabilities is no longer something new. Even “Delinquent boys who can’t cut the cake” was recently adapted into a manga series.

However, ‘Kimi to Uchu o Aruku tameni’ does not use any medical terminology, but instead brilliantly connects the various struggles of two high school students with an image of a feeling of weightlessness in space and no sense of above or below. If they are together, instead of alone and isolated, they might be able to walk around the room while holding each other tied up.

According to Miyaguchi, it doesn’t help to tell people with weak cognitive functions to simply work harder or do better. It is more important to motivate them to want to change.

It is not my job to analyze this work too strictly, but I think the mangaka, Inuhiko Doronoda, did a good job of portraying this casually in the form of a friendship.

“Kimi to Uchu o Aruku tameni” is Doronoda’s debut, and the first chapter was apparently written as a one-shot. I think the editors of Afternoon magazine made a good decision to serialize the work after only seeing a storyboard concept.



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