Today we review Mars, one of the most definitive manga of the Josei genre, by Fuyumi Soryu.
It would be a lie to say Mars isn’t one of the original culprits of the bad boy good girl cliche. Fortunately for all of you, this manga is not promoting the idea of complete self inversion for the sake of lurve. No, what makes Mars so special is the opposite. In Mars you have two characters damaged by well, life, and they don’t make a miraculous change in their personalities once they find each other. The point of Mars instead is that they find love together and achieve happiness through accepting themselves and each other.
That’s one of the reasons why to this day, Mars has remained a favorite of mine. Accidentally purchased by my mother for me when I wanted the shounen manga Mar (unknown to me, it was scanlated and my friends were all reading it offline, not buying it) I have not regretted the purchase since. The manga starts with extremely shy Kira Aso giving directions to Rei Kashino. This might have been a normal situation, but she just so happened to draw directions on a sketch of a mother and child. This prompted Rei to take an interest in Kira who remained shy. It takes literal hair pulling and threatening of a pervert teacher to eventually draw them together, and Rei becomes Kira’s model and eventually graduates to full time protector (and then boyfriend) status.
Rei is a pervert. As such he well…has slept with a lot of women. Many who are out either to warn Kira or seduce Rei, but thankfully that plot element is a back up to the actual story. The only actual jealous other girls we see are a soon to be ex of his and Harumi. Harumi is your token female friend, but she’s a little more twisted than most female friends. Harumi is actually in love with Rei in the beginning. The reason for this is that they slept together in freshman year… but well. Rei is a playboy. If he loved all the women he had sex with this manga would probably be a lot worse. Or about polygamy. He does not return her feelings but she wants Kira to screw off anyway, and even threatens to break her hands if she refuses. Kira then confesses that she’d even learn to draw with her feet or even her mouth if it meant she could still be with Rei. Their odd friendship begins when Harumi can’t bring herself to injure Kira. And the token male friend? Well he’s not that creative. Tatsuya is just in love with Kira and best friends with Rei. The other potential love interest is meant to show you that Rei is sincerely interested in Kira, as he explains he wants to be around Kira because they actually talk. So thankfully, that’s all we really see of that.
What makes this manga a definite recommendation from me is several things. First off, everything cliche is either done tastefully or with enough of a flavor to it to make it bearable. Luckily there’s not that much of it, but there are some pretty foreshadowed events of their lives that are kind of overplayed. Again, I give it a break because the manga is from a long time ago back when the cliche wasn’t used as much. Second off, and the biggest reason, is what I mentioned in the beginning. This is a real person romance. This, for the most part, involves two people who are dealing with their own issues and trying to figure life out. I can buy almost everything they throw at me. Hell, Rei is rich but he isn’t like all other delinquent children of rich people, his father flat out cut him off and he has to work to support himself. And well
THE ROMANCE IS BADASS.
What else can I say for a shoujo? I mean seriously. Several of the events between Kira and Rei seem believable and endearing too. They fight, they fail at things, they are forced to give things up to be together, they have to work their asses off to be together- and they’re still together in the end. It’s like a real relationship! They both have needs and deal breakers and have to clash based on them. Kira’s poor because she’s with Rei and can’t afford to go to art school. And when the magical power of money fixes this it’s because Rei had to give up motorcycles. My only real critique in the end is that everything does get solved in the story through means the real world might not offer, but there’s definitely issues in the relationship that need to be fixed and that can’t be changed. Kira’s shy and can’t stick up for herself against strangers- Rei is a pervert who can’t compromise on sex even if he can be monogamous and at the end of the day he takes on a dangerous career that could kill him.
It’s hard for me to scream at you about this manga because I’ve had it for so long that all my thoughts on it have become a well thought out recommendation. But despite that I can really tell you, read this MOTHER ^$%&ING MANGA. It’s magical. Also it’s HAWT. It’s so hawt man, volume ten I mean DAAAAAAAAAAMN. WHEN THEY GET IT ON THEY GET IT ON I MEAN YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH
…….Go read it.