Kira, a shy high school student, lives only for her art. Rei, An arrogant, rebellious and violent playboy, wears his delinquency like a badge of honor. They are exact opposites in every way, but when Kira sees Rei kissing a statue of Mars, she overcomes her fears and asks him to model for her. And, to everyone's surprise, Rei agrees.
I wouldn’t call myself a fan of the shoujo genre, so for me to give Mars a score of 10, must mean that it transcended the trappings of the genre and connected with me on a universal level. And it did.
This story of a boy on the wrong side of the tracks, and a shy artist girl both falling for each other, captivated me. Its not some innovative blast of originality, there's no genre deconstruction, no super twist that tips the world upside down. It’s just a love story told really well.
Fuyumi Soryo is an intelligent writer. Her use of all the tropes of high school based manga feels refreshing, and her focus on mental, emotional instability and psychological scars is fascinating and compelling. It’s assisted through the use of contemplative dialogue and characters interacting to move the plot forward, rather than the plot conspiring in convoluted or clichéd ways to move the characters.
I think maybe that Mars is so accomplished; feels so fresh and realistic, despite mild helpings of melodrama along the way, because Fuyumi Soryo was in her thirties when she wrote it. This may be a tenuous assumption because a lot of manga authors are in their thirties anyway, but the fact that as a female she'd racked up a decent amount of life experience before putting some of it down on page, must have had some substantial affect on this manga's final form and popularity. You feel that like unlike other authors, especially males, Fuyumi is writing about what she knows, not what she dreams or masturbates about. This isn’t delusional wish-fulfilment like so many romance manga out there focusing on a harem setup, with dozens of girls chasing a nerdy guy to get into his pants.
As for the melodrama aspect, it has to rear its head eventually, because the longer you make your shoujo romance tale the sooner it will appear. At 15 volumes, Mars has to have some melodrama to sustain the story, but it doesn’t bring the manga down, because Fuyumi is a skilled writer with characters you genuinely feel for. You get lost in the story so much you have no idea you're wading through melodrama, and by the time you've waded out, you don’t even care it was there in the first place. The characters never suffer as a result, they are never compromised, they are always the author's top priority.
Mars feels authentic. When we watch lovers meet, when we watch them spar; make love, it all feels sweet and romantic. I don’t think its even josei manga, yet it treats sex in a way that most shoujo probably wouldn’t. Sex isn’t something discussed in a round-about way, or never seen directly, or just hinted at, it’s not something laughed at or demonised. Sex is not a prize. Sex is just sex. Some characters have it all the time, some have never had it; some have hang-ups, some don’t. Sexuality is as much a focus of Fuyumi's pen just as much as psychological issues, an area that she excels at, and explores more with a later manga: Eternal Sabbath.
Despite the cute character of Kira, and the fact that she cries every five minutes which admittedly grates, it doesn’t feel saccharine at all. The character conflicts, the world the story is set in, the way everything pans out, it feels authentic, and when it doesn’t it’s at least in service of the story. Because its 15 volumes, stuff just has to keep happening to our main characters, it wouldn’t be much of a story if only a handful of things happened, but Fuyumi has the skill to make it engaging and flow from one story arc to another seamlessly.
You're willing Kira and Rei to pull through it all, like lovers on the run from the world. The biggest criticism of the manga would be that the last major threat; the last antagonist; that last hurdle that every story must have, in this case began to feel too generic for my liking, but it never becomes boring at least and resolves itself swiftly.
Mars has gorgeous art. It’s clean, soft, and beautiful to look at. Fuyumi makes it look so easy. The beauty is in the simplicity. There's no unnecessary detail, just what is essential. Essential for characters, essential for the story. The scene composition is masterful, and so is the design of the panels. It just flows so well. The best way I can describe it is that it all makes sense. The panels are arranged in a way to make the reading not just efficient, but to lead you along the narrative. Rather than have a page with one image or too many, Fuyumi will make use of all that extra space with smaller consequential panels for key character reactions, but the skill is in her juxtoposition.
It’s hard for me to explain, but hopefully you'll understand what I'm talking about. It’s not something pushed into your face, it’s subtle and affective. Basically I wish more artists utilised page space as efficiently and skillfully as Fuyumi. Mars definitely has the most romantic art I've ever seen in manga. At one point I was actually shocked by what I was reading: Mars has better race scenes than anything I've read in over 400 chapters of racing manga Initial D.
One of the things I love about this manga and Fuyumi Soryo, is that even though she inserts humour here and there, it never feels forced, but more importantly it never feels like she's using it as a crutch like so many other manga do. There are manga out there that have more humour than romance in their love stories; more super deformed faces than normal art. They drown out the narrative and characters with jokes, but Fuyumi doesn’t torture us this way.
When she uses humour, it comes naturally from the story. It provides a break from the angst of the characters and it’s never used as a crutch. It’s used sparingly, so when it comes we don’t expect it and it works all the more better for it. The story doesn’t need humour at all, but she provides it for our benefit, not because she needs it to pad out a chapter.
Mars, the red planet, the warrior of war, the fiery passion in us that love ignites; drives us out of our minds; pushes us forward whether we like it or not, and makes us sacrifice anything and everything to sustain it. You see it all in this manga, and that’s why I gave it 10.read more
I'm saddened to see that this manga is not so known around fans of the genre.
I found out about this manga in this site while I was browsing around.I read one of the reviews here and thought to myself,why not try it?It has gotten a really high rating and must be good.Alright,sometimes high rating can be in fact misleading so I wasn't so excited at first and wasn't expecting a lot from this one.How wrong I was...
And here comes my review on this manga.
I didn't give this a 10 cause the story is really common,you know....girl turns bad boy into a sweet boy.We've heard it.Why didn't I give it a lower score then?Honestly,while this doesn't impress you,the story manages to catch your attention from the very start.Even the way the characters meet and so on.The mangaka really manages to not drag the story and in fact it's very creative later on.
At first you'll doubt me but as you continue reading the manga the art improves.The style is quite unique and it has become one of my favorites among shoujo mangas.My favorite part of the art is how the mangaka draws the faces,I don't know why but for some reason I love it.I also appreciate it that she didn't make the boys look like girls.
The characters are really deep.In my opinion it's the characters that attract you so much as to continue reading the rest of it.For me at least no matter how good the story of a manga can be,if the characters are just uninteresting,it'll discourage me from reading the rest.While it's not really hard to find good character development and good interaction between characters in shoujo manga(I think that's where shoujo wins shounen) this one presents another persepcrive of the characters.Here we're also shown the very dark side of both protagonists.And when I say dark I mean with the whole meaning of the world.That of course is one of the things that makes the characters even more realistic.
I admit that at first I was like..."Another high rated manga,I hope it worths".But to be honest it drew me to it from the start.I enjoyed every moment throughout the manga.The only thing that discouraged me from wanting to read it all in one day was that it had many chapters and I thought that I'd get bored with so much to read.I was again wrong.You don't even realize it because you're so focused on it that you don't notice how many chapters you've read(at least me).When I finished it,all I could think was how much of a great manga this was and I wanted more.Even the next day that I had nothing of this to read I felt like something was missing from my day and I was pretty sad.I still am when I remind myself this manga and that I've finished it.
I give it a ten from all aspects.It has become one of my favorites of all the time.If someone where to ask me to recommend him a manga this would be the first I'd recomment.But be aware,if you're a romantic fan with all the lovey dovey stuff going on and the cutesy then stay away from this,this is a heavy manga and some events in it can be pretty shocking for certain types of people.read more
Too bad I cant give it more than a 10. Its the all time greatest shojo there is. I could keep reading it forever. The main character Rei has problems with his past that make him slightly unstable but Kira, the other main character, falls in love with him after a little teasing >.> hehe. It progresses from there and we find out that Rei isnt the only one thats a little messed up in the head. Drama ensues and im sure you'll cry while reading it. I did. The first 4 volumes are a little slow but that's not saying much considering how much this series ROCKS. Volume 5+ is just nonstop awesome and jawdropping drama. Every manga fan should read this.read more
Mars is a story about the schools ‘tough boy’ who one day, was asked by the teacher of the classroom to change seats so that he now sits next to the artsy silent girl that people have a tendency to forget about. Guess what happens? Suddenly, they fall in love and then! She gets bullied from keeping the schools ‘hotty’ to herself. I honestly don’t want to go on.
The story is just a seating change, make-out sessions and ultimately sex with a virginal girl by a player. Yes, the author tries to add depth to the story but it’s so obvious where the story was heading that the author might as well not have bothered because it doesn’t make a noticeable difference. And the thing is, it’s not like they TALKED before getting serious (because the lead girl is apparently too shy for coherent speech), it’s just ‘oh! He talked to me today about the directions I gave him!’ and then ‘I think I love him!’.
And to Blackbird fans, I know you will be disappointed because Harada, Misao isn’t the only girl on the block who’s clingy beyond reason and worse for the fans, Misao unfortunately isn’t the only one who holds the honorary Boo-Hoo-Cryin-For-No-Reason Award. Aso, Kira has this disgusting habit of trying to water the neighbourhood’s plants with her tears; for free ofcourse (seriously, man, the crying was too much). I started wondering if she had to take medication to stop fungus and bacteria from growing near her eyes because her crying would most definitely create a breeding ground for mould. However, the author tries to give reasons for some of the crying, you know like ‘he made me feel courage’ which is obviously a very reasonable reason to cry buckets of tears all the time.
Now that that’s over, let’s look at Kashino, Rei, other than his ‘looks’, he plays ‘cool’ like he’s a macho macho man: his ambitions are to party, have sex with as many of the opposite gender until he dies of AIDs and be popular (this was actually based on his answer to a teacher). Wow, he must have won the Mr. Universe award with that speech. Other than his suicidal tendencies, which naturally Kira reforms, there isn’t much to him except his obsession for motorcycles which would have been cool… If it weren’t for the nauseating plot.
The art was the saving grace for the plot, yes, I agree with you that the characters looked like white coloured bed sheets with black pen drawings for eyes and facial features however, the eyes were VERY detailed. I think the illustrator had to put ice on their knuckled after drawing some close-ups of a character’s eyes. On the other hand, although I said the eyes were detailed I never supposed they were realistic, in fact they don’t even have pupils (yes, very scary).
In conclusion, what were you THINKING when you thought that you MIGHT want to read this. Please, readers, I know you want to entertain yourselves but don’t waste your time: there’s a big difference between time wasting and enjoying yourself. If you care for sanity, logical sense and just sense, don’t read this. Read a Manga with a plot that gives an actual realistic cause for a relationship not just a seating change (it even sounds sad) and check if the author had remembered to draw pupils for their characters before starting to read.read more