Title: Mars No Kiss
Alternate Titles: マルスのキス, Kiss of Mars, Kissing Mars, Marusu no Kisu
Author & Artist: Kishi Torajirou
Genre: Drama, Josei, Mature, School Life
Volumes: 01 (Completed)
Yukari is a “bad girl”. She rebels against her controlling mother by dyeing her hair, polishing her nails and having an older boyfriend, with whom she has an intimate relationship. In fact, as she notes, that’s kind of all they have right now. He never takes her anywhere; they just go to a karaoke box, sing a bit, and have sex.
Miki is a “good girl”. She’s tall, and has classic Japanese beauty. She’s quiet and bookish and smart. And a bit aloof.
The two are forced to share a double desk at the beginning of the term which annoys Yukari to no end. Like most bad girls, her initial reaction is disdain and derision for the good girl’s behavior. But, one day, after school, she sees Miki in the Art Room, gently kissing a statue of Mars and her heart starts to race. When someone comes up from behind, both Miki and Yukari know that they’ve been seen, and everything changes between them. All information come from Manga Updates. This blog post will contain spoilers please read after the cut if you’ve already read the manga.
This manga is only four chapters long and only one volume long. It’s actually really bittersweet.
The main character, Yukari, has a very strained relationship with her mother. Her mother had been trying to control her in the guise of care for a while but it’s not too over dramatic as some manga make a mother-daughter relationship to be. There are good points to be made about the points her mother would try to make sure Yukari is doing the “right thing” and become the “ideal person” her mother desperately wished she would be. Sadly, in the end, the mother just uses her as a punching bag; as a way to get through her own day and to overcome her own insecurities, the mother projects them onto Yukari. Yukari rebels only to make her mother push her harder – which pushes Yukari further to rebel.
Yukari’s relationship with her boyfriend just isn’t as good either. All he ever wants to do is to have sex or have some kind of intercourse. At one point, he demands Yukari to get double eye surgery even though she’s not happy with the idea at all! Yukari tries to give her boyfriend a chance to sort of redeem himself by asking him to do other things other than sex or listen to her problems. Ultimately, and thankfully, she ended up just dumping him…at least I hope so. There was a part when Yukari told Miki that they had made up so it was just a little unclear (it’s possible she could be lying about it since Yukari really didn’t want to burden her with her problems).
Then Yukari has a blog. She has a blog where she just updates on her life, based on what was shown on the manga, and it shows some of the comments she gets. I can’t really comment on that as it’s just something as a reprieve for Yukari even when she’s becoming friends with Miki.
As for the relationship between Yukari & Miki itself, it seemed like a typical relationship among teenaged girls – one girl who would be sexually active would probably look down on the smart, nerdy, quiet type. And yet, Yukari was still somehow attracted to Miki.
She kept wondering if it’s because Miki was a virgin – in Yukari’s eyes, Miki is pure. She was the classic Japanese teenaged girl – studious, quiet, she never dyed her hair, & her skin is white and pure. Other than catching her kissing the statue in the Art room, Miki had never kissed anyone up until Yukari offered herself as practice. Yukari would look down on Miki at first but while Yukari claims to be completely different than her mother, in truth, she’s acting just like her. She was projecting her insecurities about her rebellion, her sexuality/sexual activities, the mere fact she has a boyfriend, on a teenaged girl who honestly was just lonely and wanted a friend.
As it turns out, though, it was Yukari who was just as equally lonely.
After Miki told Yukari about what she had to face, Yukari seemed to really connect with her more and see herself in Miki’s shoes. Maybe Yukari realized that she was just as lonely as Miki – maybe she realized that Yukari isn’t as free from her loneliness as she thought (with her relationship with her boyfriend).
When Yukari kissed Miki, she thought she was jealous and was possibly in love with her. She even said it in the narrative!
Personally, I think Yukari loves Miki maybe a bit more as a friend – as it was clear in the beginning that Yukari actually hated her so-called friends and it was clear that Miki was a genuine friend. Maybe Yukari is in love with the idea of her: the fact that Miki is pure and has gotten a boyfriend – not because of a rebellion or a need to undermine a strict upbringing but because she is just pure. Miki had stated that she was brought up strictly by her mother as well – to the point her mother chased all her friends away.
Yukari saw some strength in her that she thought she didn’t have in herself – instead of just saying, “Fuck it, I’m going to do what I want,” Miki just did what she was told and did some studying behind her mother’s back in a way. When Miki told Yukari about her getting a boyfriend, she got jealous. I honestly think it’s because of the aforementioned reasons. Miki didn’t have to do anything. She didn’t have to rebel to get her way.
Miki wanted a boyfriend and she got one whereas Yukari had to force her mom to accept it, that is, if she even knows. It seemed that Yukari’s more jealous of Miki’s perceived freedom but at the same time, Yukari was also sorting out her feelings for Miki as well.
I think overall that Yukari does love Miki and does acknowledge the fact that she’s probably in love with the idea of Miki. It’s a very bittersweet ending of a short yet beautiful manga. The art is gorgeous and it’s actually really different than most manga I’ve read, especially one shots.
Most likely, I’ve totally over thought this four chaptered, one volume manga but at the same time it really made me think about why the events happened and why it made me feel extremely sad for Yukari. I’m glad that she was able to stay friends with Miki and snuck in a kiss on her lips to at least get a chance to do it before she starts a relationship with someone else.
For that, I would recommend this manga for those who enjoy the short, simple, & bittersweet shoujo ai manga. I had only started to recently read those myself so I’m not sure what to expect. My only gripe is that I wish it was longer but, for what it was, it was really good and I’m glad that I’ve taken the time to read it.