Real (リアル, Riaru) (sometimes stylized as REAL all uppercase) is a manga series, by Takehiko Inoue, which deals with wheelchair basketball. It has been serialized in Shueisha's Young Jump and to date, 11 volumes have been published in Japan. The first 7 volumes have sold over 9 million copies in Japan alone.
Although not as popular overseas as Slam Dunk has been, Real is a more serious take on basketball, with much character development in a realistic setting. It is also aimed at more mature audiences, being a seinen series serialized in Young Jump.
The story revolves around three teenagers: Nomiya Tomomi, a high school dropout, Togawa Kiyoharu, an ex-sprinter who now plays wheelchair basketball and Takahashi Hisanobu, a popular leader of the high school's basketball team who now finds himself a paraplegic after an accident.
Real features a cast of characters who find themselves being marginalized by society, but are all united by one common feature: a desire to play basketball, with no place to play it in. Nomiya, being a high school dropout, has no future in his life. Togawa, being a difficult personality, finds himself constantly feuding with his own teammates. Takahashi, once a popular team leader, now finds himself being unable to move from the chest down.
Real also deals with the reality of physical disabilities, and the psychological inferiority that the characters struggle against. The characters break through their own psychological barriers bit by bit.
While basketball is a large part of Real, a larger emphasis is placed on character development-- Takehiko Inoue is just as interested in exploring the past of the characters, their inner world, and their attempts to achieve something in life as he is in looking at the sport of wheelchair basketball.