December 7, 2011
Fuyumi Soryo – Tokyopop – 2002 – 15 volumes
Oh man, whenever Soryu draws a kissing scene, it makes me want to cry. The scenes between Rei and Kira are probably some of the best kisses in shoujo manga. In the early part of this volume, after a lengthy conversation about how Kira always wants them to be friends, no matter what, she slowly asks Rei for a kiss. Rei gives her one. It lasts four pages, and has a double-page spread to die for, depicting the kiss on a crowded street, as a moment frozen in time. It’s amazing.
This volume continues to analyze Rei and Sei’s relationship, this time with some in-depth personal analysis from Rei. The story about Sei is interesting because all of this takes place in the present. There’s no flashback to tell us the “real story.” We are just getting many different accounts of what those around Sei suspect the cause of his death are. Rei is blameless and completely at fault in various versions of this, and Kira’s interpretation of the stories lend yet another layer onto the problem. But I do like that the problem of Sei and his suicide is one that can never, ever be solved, and is handled as such.
I also still can’t get over how well facial expressions are utilized in this series. When talking about a difficult topic, always we will see the face of the character react first, then they will say their piece. It’s so important, and the faces say a lot that the text never could. It really feels like this is a worthwhile story to read in manga format for that reason. Without touches like that, I may as well be reading a romance novel.
The relationship issues go back and forth here as well. Shiori comes back to haunt Rei and Kira, and gives Kira reason to try and give up on her relationship with Rei, to “just be friends.” There’s another issue at the very end of the volume, when we find out that Kira is not comfortable having sex, and it’s beginning to make things difficult between she and Rei. Driving a wedge further between them is a new student that has a crush on Rei.
While it’s obvious to the reader that Rei and Kira will never split up because they trust each other completely (as opposed to the usual shoujo manga logic that they’re both the main characters), I like that these things still come up, and that Rei and Kira deal with them realistically, together, as opposed to one over-reacting, one acting like a jerk, and one apologizing for whatever reasons. It’s just one more reason that Mars is really, really a cut above.