Love's in Sight! GN 1

Love’s in Sight! GN 1

“Society doesn’t treat you like a person if you don’t squeeze yourself into highly specific roles.”

Morio Kurokawa, the male protagonist, had these thoughts, which effectively summarize the plot of this book. Morio, an 18-year-old high school dropout with a frightening face and no work (the two are related), meets Yukiko Akaza, a 16-year-old second-year student at a high school who is legally blind. They first come into contact when she rams her cane into his butt when he’s blocking her path on the tactile paving. Because he’s such a huge mush, the fact that she isn’t scared of him touches his heart. Morio, on his side, believes that Yukiko is a perfectly capable human being and that there is nothing wrong with her other than the fact that most people only notice her disability and nothing more. An adorable little romance that sends a strong message that everyone deserves to be treated with respect begins in this way.

This series runs the obvious risk of utilizing Yukiko as inspiration for porn. “Inspiration porn” is a word used to describe a type of narrative that portrays a disabled person as in some way inspirational to an able-bodied person by demonstrating how they overcome challenges. It is often used interchangeably with the infamous manic pixie dream girl. It casts people who have disabilities as somehow less than, and to call it problematic is an understatement. Love in Sight clearly crosses the line on a few occasions, and it’s likely that this will be a “your mileage may vary” series. This volume doesn’t breach that barrier in my opinion (as someone with invisible impairments and a parent of a child with a visible disability), in part because it acknowledges that the line even exists in the first place. Izumi, Yukiko’s older sister, and Morio’s trip to the video rental shop are primarily to blame for this. Even while the later scene is framed more in terms of inclusivity and accessibility than anything else, it runs a larger risk of deviating into risky ground.

Yukiko is legally blind but has some vision, so Morio recently went to the movies with her and learned about adaptive technology like audio descriptions and the fact that reading white text on black is easier for the visually impaired. He is shocked to discover that the video store he wanders into on a whim only has a self-checkout. The clerk is promptly called out by him, but she dismisses him by saying that blind people don’t watch movies. When the store manager’s elderly grandmother shows out to also benefit from accommodations, he eventually succeeds in reaching the manager. It works rather well since it is presented as guaranteeing that everyone has access and dignity.

Izumi, Yukiko’s older sister, is the most individualized and personalized method of instruction. Yukiko lives with her sister because her apartment and college are closer to Yukiko’s high school, and she is growing weary of dealing with her sister’s anxieties. Izumi is frightened that her sister may get wounded or experience problems in life, in contrast to Morio who constantly listens to Yukiko and adjusts to her while treating her like a person. When Yukiko calls her out and says, “You just see a cloud of your fears,” it really affects Izumi. She stands in stark contrast to Morio, who makes every effort to make things easier for everyone because she is so preoccupied with doing what she feels she has to. She may have driven herself into some caregiver burnout, which is real and may have a serious impact on people.

Despite all of this serious material, Love’s in Sight! is mostly a lighthearted romantic comedy, and it excels at that aspect. Morio is known as “Mori the Black Panther” because to his exploits in delinquency, and he is only amused that Yukiko immediately recognizes the genuine, lonesome youngster underlying his act. Yukiko is a quintessential tsundere, and both are so ecstatic to have discovered someone who recognizes them for who they are that they are virtually giddy. The narrative also incorporates many lovely adaptive technology-related aspects, making it possible for plot elements like tactile pavement and step nosing to arrive without sounding didactic. I appreciate it when a couple has a positive effect on one another, and that’s what Morio and Yukiko have on one another.

According to the afterword, one of this manga’s objectives was to show readers that everyone is just a person. That is evident in everything from the video store’s neglect of the elderly as a significant segment of its clientele to Izumi’s worries holding back Yukiko to the straightforward romance plot. A key theme of the novel is also learning to respect different viewpoints. For example, an elderly woman informs Morio that his facial scar doesn’t even register for her because she grew up during World War II and knew many people who had scars. The translation also contains some humorous elements, such as the way that Morio’s “sparkle” sound effects are translated as “spar kill,” and it was a wise choice to localize the title rather than simply translate it (Yanki-kun to Hakujo Girl identifies Yukiko by her cane, which isn’t great). This novel is solid overall, and even though it occasionally steps too close to the edge, I believe that as it finds its footing more securely, it will make more right decisions than incorrect ones.

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