Mars v.1 by Fuyumi Soryo – 200 pages
The beginning of an odd-couple romance, bad-boy motorcycle racer Rei starts talking to a quiet artistic girl, Kira, when he sees one of her beautiful drawings. Rei promises to protect Kira, and as they start to learn about each other, Kira realizes she judged him harshly by his appearance at first, and she starts to experience new feelings, including courage. Despite Rei pushing a friend with a long-standing crush on Kira her way and the jealous bullying of Kira by other girls who want Rei’s attention, they slowly start to fall for each other without realizing what’s happening. This manga hooked me quickly with its excellent characters and plot, and made me want to know the stories behind these two damaged people. The artwork is mostly linear, with slight use of black and tone, and the faces of the characters are drawn to be very beautiful. There are 15 volumes in the series, and I’m hoping each one is as good as the first.