Genre: Shoujo, Drama
1996 Fuyumi Soryo, Kodansha, TOKYOPOP
Mars Live Action (Sometimes available)
Popular Rei and shy Kira are worlds apart, until one fateful day brings them together. Rei stumbles upon Kira in the harassing hands of her sleazy art teacher and saves the quiet girl from his clutches. And when the jock plants a kiss on a statue of Mars in the studio, Kira finds herself drawn in and even summons up the nerve to ask him to model for her but problems already lurk on the horizon. Vicious upperclassman Harumi has had her sights set on Rei for a long time, and is not about to let go now. One of the most popular teen girl manga series in Japan, Mars is a drama that will meet the demand of the growing female comic-reading market.
Heartwarming, despite the serious overtones. >>> by skysenshi
It's not often that I read shoujo manga these days, unless they're funny like Nodame Cantabile or intriguing...like Mars. If I went by the cover summary, I would not even pick this up. It was my sister's brief (and shocking) summary that captured my interest.
Despite the the high school setting and the young ages of the protagonists, Kira and Rei's histories are very dark. In fact, the artwork itself -- defined by airy and gentle strokes -- contrasted heavily with the theme. The manga starts out very light; the seriousness gets deeper with every volume. It's also quite fascinating to find that Rei isn't your typical bishounen. He's not very smart and his plans for the future are shaky at best. This is not to say that I actually approve of boys like this, but the situation made me curious enough to wonder how this comic book will turn out.
Kira isn't your regular bishoujo character, too. I understand her initial hatred of men. Like I mentioned earlier, her background is very dark. I'm also quite surprised to find myself thinking that she's a strong character, resilient in her unquestioning support of Rei. I don't usually like meek girls, especially one that's as helpless as Kira. Maybe that's one of Fuyumi Soryo's talents, making her characters likable in spite of their flaws.
In a nutshell, Mars could make for a good telenovela. Perhaps this is why the Taiwanese picked it up and made a live action version starring Vic Zhou and Barbie Hsu (both actors are of the Meteor Garden fame).
Individual Rating: Art 10; Story 10; Characters 10