October 26, 2011
Fuyumi Soryo – Tokyopop – 2002 – 15 volumes
In this volume, Mars started reminding me of a more subtle Let Dai, which is a very good thing indeed. I like that the main characters are moving very fast into a naturally-fitting relationship, since series about well-established couples are some of my favorites. And even with the two of them on good terms, Mars still finds plenty of drama to play out, which is another great thing about it.
The first item to come up in this volume is an issue with another artist in Kira’s studio. Rei takes issue with anyone who isn’t Kira drawing him, and he goes off on a male classmate when he catches him sketching during one of Kira’s modeling sessions. This situation escalates, and the male classmate winds up stealing Kira’s drawing of mother and child for Rei and painting it for a festival, which he then wins. The fallout leaves Kira beating up the student in the middle of school and getting suspended for it when he offers no explanation. Later, Rei is tied up and beaten in a storage shed on school grounds for beating up a senior.
Actually, a lot of the drama in this volume is about Rei’s violence. It’s not nearly as violent and sociopathic as what Dai does in Let Dai, and mostly it’s a catalyst for Kira to reach out and try to help him. Admittedly, Rei usually has a reason for beating up his victims, but he explains himself badly and tends to get in trouble for it anyway.
The second half of the volume focuses on the relationship between Kira and Rei, and develops it even further. Kira skips school to go hang out with Rei, the two go on dates, and there’s even a situation where Rei has a panic attack and nearly dies. Rei also reveals he has a twin brother, but the story only really seems to brush the surface of the trauma of the twin brother and other family issues Rei seems to be dealing with.
But even with the drama, the character interactions are handled so sensitively, the bad things are always a chance for the two to get closer. Their facial expressions are wonderful, as I said last volume, and properly convey more in all the situations than words ever could. I think that’s my favorite part of this series. There are also lots of cute parts during Rei and Kira’s date, like Kira laughing at Rei’s comments on gossiping ladies, a scene where they rush to embrace each other on an escalator, and a kissing scene. Regular couple stuff, but made so much better with Soryo’s wonderful character writing.