To get a good idea of what to expect from MARS you can check out my review of the complete series on my blog Reading Robyn It's spoiler free, has images from the manga for those interested in a preview of the art, and gives a good overview of the roller coaster that is this series. SERIES OVERALL RATING: 4 STARSWhen I first started MARS it was way back in 2010, now that I've finally finished (January 2012) I feel it's only right to write some sort of review. I'll be honest, there's a really good reason for the huge time period it took for me to complete this series. The reason being that I completely stopped reading and told myself that I would never continue with MARS ever again. You see, my first time around I got to about Volume 8 when I checked out. My initial reasoning was simple, gradually as the story evolved and we got to know the characters better, the story went from a sweet (if not slightly strange) romance to what I can only call a tragedy. The levels of tension were forever rising and like that pressure gauge on the soon to explode pressure cooker I just couldn't stand to continue on the roller-coaster that was Kira and Rei's relationship. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading the first 8 Volumes of MARS, they were addicting, but with every twist and turn I just couldn't continue.But MARS has staying power. With the strength of its plot it's not a manga easily forgotten. So, much to my surprise MARS managed to pull me back in and in a single night I picked up where I left off and finished the series. It brought me back in with its astounding overall story-telling, romance, and characters. I was worried I would regret it, but in the end, I'm glad I finished it. This turned out to be a truly remarkable series, even with my reluctance to go on reading.To make things clear, Kira and Rei is a recipe for disaster. They are perfect for each other, but it's like the universe has decided to give them the toughest time possible.Right after finishing Volume 9 I wrote in my Goodreads Review: "This is the most emotastic manga I have ever read. It's like wow, Rei and Kira are messed up people individually and when you put them together all you want is their relationship to work out for the both of them... And then the next volume happens and things somehow manage to only get worse and more messed up!" ... "Can someone give me a hug?"I feel like that sums up the series for me on an emotional level. But despite all the negativity, MARS really is a beautiful romance about finding courage and love in the last place you would expect. The story itself is pretty basic at its core. After good, introverted girl meets troubled bad boy, the two manage to find what they were missing in themselves in each other.My thoughts after Volume 10:"It's depressing as hell, but the moments that Rei and Kira share make the whole thing worth it in spades. I'm getting pulled along by their romance. It's like gravity."All the elements that this story has come together perfectly, the characters are well rounded and feel like real living people. They have interests and dreams but are unfortunately always in a battle with themselves to overcome their own history.The art is a perfect reflection of each character, from the overall design to the details. Something I found particularly impressive with the art was through Rei and his passion of professional motorcycle racing. The way that the scenes of him riding his bike are drawn, as well as the racing the track, are just so amazing that I felt like I got it. I understood what it looked like, the motions, and how he felt while he was riding. I think that takes a lot of skill to create motion and feeling in a vehicle.What makes it all work is that Fuyumi Soryo's writing is top-notch. Even with all these different things going on, all those heartbreaking moments, her story never jumps the shark.My thoughts after Volume 11:"I don't know why I love this story so much. It's a weird roller-coaster of happy relief and crushing sympathy. Waiting for the next heartbreaking moment to happen, then smiling when it all comes to past."I think the reason her writing is so fantastic is that every event that happens has a lasting effect on the characters. So often, in manga especially, events will come and go without any real consequences or call-backs. In MARS every little moment plays a part in Kira and Rei's fates.I enjoyed every heart pounding second of my return to MARS. The way that this story takes you on such a personal and unforgettable journey is incredible. From Kira and Rei's first meeting to the very last page, I fell in love with MARS.Highly recommended for anyone looking for a manga with a love story that takes itself seriously, while still making you smile.