Mars 9

February 11, 2012

Fuyumi Soryo – Tokyopop – 2003 – 15 volumes

The House of 1,000 Manga column this week covers Mars, courtesy of Shaenon Garrity. It’s an awesome series, and that article pretty much sums up why better than I ever could. It reminded me I hadn’t written it up here in awhile. I finished it some time ago, but was having trouble tackling the volumes after the fact (one of the reasons I tend to write things up as I read them… but Mars was so good). I figured now was as good a time as any to try and finish it up here.

So, this volume. Parent issues. Kira’s issues figure largely in this volume, though Rei’s stepmother shows up at the end of the volume, promising us his time will come. Which is fairly obvious, considering he lives in a run-down apartment and supports himself. But Kira’s are enough to occupy us for the time being.

Again, I strenuously disagree with the decision made by Kira’s parents last volume. For me, this series is fairly realistic, and does a good job of portraying Rei and Kira’s feelings extremely vividly through well-written, well-considered conversation, facial expressions, actions, and the sensitive artwork in general. It blew my mind when the secondary characters seemed okay with an extraordinary violation of Kira’s well-being. It’s annoying that, by this volume, Kira is trying to be okay with it too, because she really shouldn’t be. It was even more annoying that the justification was that her mother was too sick, and needed the support. She really shouldn’t have to self-sacrifice in that situation. She should be able to get the hell out.

That’s not even really the main issue in this volume, though. The main issue is that Rei can’t deal with not having a physical relationship with Kira. From his perspective, if their relationship can’t progress any further, why bother? As callous as this sounds, the story actually treats it with quite a bit of respect. Rei is genuinely hurt by the fact he can’t get close to Kira, and he goes through quite a bit trying to separate himself from her. Kira is worse off, however, since she has put herself in a bad situation that she was relying on emotional support from Rei to get through. Plus, she doesn’t want to break up with Rei. You know.

This volume is actually painful to read, since it goes through quite a bit from Rei’s perspective without offering his thoughts. He goes through the motions of being with women, trying to find a date, et cetera, all without telling anyone how he really feels. Again, while it seems rather harsh to sympathize with Rei in this situation, the volume does a good job of showing his side, and the fact that I did speaks a lot towards the writing. And again, it’s not really belittling Kira at all. Rei’s just doing more while she’s playing a waiting and regretting game.

Basically, this series is still an amazing read, and I’m glad we’re slowly getting through the rather distasteful section of story. That the plot will inevitably shift back to Rei’s family after this is something I’m not really looking forward to, but all the same, it will still be an amazing drama that will be worth the read.

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