November 2, 2011
Fuyumi Soryo – Tokyopop – 2003 – 15 volumes
This book. The second half is a really long race that Rei is in. Kira isn’t allowed to go, so she stays at home and paints a portrait of Rei instead. The story cuts between the really intense, life-threatening racing scenes and Kira worrying about Rei while putting all he feelings into her painting.
It’s beautiful. That’s all there is to it. Beautiful, powerful stuff. I lack the words to properly describe how great it is. You just have to read it to get the idea.
There’s other things in this volume, too. I love that Kira and Rei seem to have simply fallen together naturally as a couple, and that they dote on each other in ridiculous ways. Right before his big race, Rei calls Kira and has her kiss him over the phone lines. There are plenty of little moments, like Kira jumping into Rei’s arms from the top of playground equipment, or where Rei is staring intensely at the portrait Kira painted of him. And there’s still plenty of chapters about the two of them getting to know one another. They both take the effort to find out as much as they can about the other person, and I love that their relationship gets deeper the more they learn about each other. That’s really how it should be. It’s great stuff. One of the most ridiculously romantic comics I’ve ever read.
Of course, most of the “getting to know you” parts are Rei telling Kira about himself. He’s lived in the US, of course, and we got that bomb dropped in the last volume that he had a twin brother that died. We get all the details about that. Unfortunately, the primary source is not Rei, though he doesn’t seem to mind that Kira asked around about it. It seemed strange to me that she did, but Rei apparently understands this to mean that she didn’t want to hurt his feelings by making him talk about it, since it’s obviously still a painful memory for him.
Amazing! It’s just wonderful stuff. I feel like it’s overshadowed slightly, since I’m reading it so close to Please Save My Earth. PSME is a little more ambitious, and is probably better because of it. PSME is also one of the few very ambitious shoujo manga that has characters that are as good as the ones in Mars, and interaction that’s comparable. But PSME doesn’t have the frank relationships that make Mars a wonderful read, and just because it’s simply the story of a couple doesn’t make it worse than PSME. Mars is great the way it is, and I am beside myself with the desire to read more.