Mars Official Review

  • English title: Mars
  • Genre: Romance / suspense / action
  • Episodes: 20
  • Broadcast network: CTS
  • Broadcast period: 2004
  • Opening theme song: Ling (零) Zero by Alan Kuo
  • Ending theme song: Rang Wo Ai Ni (讓我愛你) Let me love you by Vic Zhou and Barbie Xu
  • Insert songs: Shuo Ai Wo (說愛我) Say You Love Me by Liang Yi Zhen
Bai Se Lian Qu (白色戀曲) White Love Song by RaRa

Cast:

Based on: Japanese shoujo manga “Mars” by Fuyumi Soryo

Dramaworld rating: 5/5

Dramaworld Spoiler review

Mars is a darkly brooding, psychologically complex drama that takes the viewer on an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. It is also one of the best and most complex dramas I’ve ever seen, highlighted by incredible(and incredibly nuanced) performances from its main leads, Vic Zhou and Barbie Xu. Vic plays a carefree, daredevil playboy with a tortured soul, while Barbie is a shy, traumatized artist with a past. It is essentially a story of two broken people healing each other. What sets Mars apart from other dramas(besides its unusual, and very successful, take on the opposites-attracting formula) is its emotional depth and superb acting. Vic and Barbie not only totally inhabit their characters, but they also have incredible chemistry. It sags a bit in the middle, with too much repetitiveness/focus on a minor character, but the beginning and end, and much in between , are amazing beyond all reason. Highly recommended(only don’t watch if you’re looking for something light and frothy). As Lianne put it in her Sleep is for the Weak review of the manga it’s based on, “Mars has a very surreal, often dreamlike quality about it, and its major violence and darkness mostly come off feeling, appropriately, like a nightmare.”

Mars was what many fans were looking for after previous Taiwanese drama Meteor Garden – a re-pairing of actors Vic Zhou and Barbie Hsu, who had a secondary romance in that drama and won over many with their intense chemistry, but who were not ultimately the OTP, or main romance. Mars turned out to be far more, however, than an extension of Vic’s role as Huaze Lei in Meteor Garden or a reuniting of the two characters – in fact both play characters who are as opposite to their roles in Meteor Garden as possible(this time around, it is Barbie who is the shy, reserved one while Vic is the assertive, loud-mouthed one).  Ultimately, however, Mars is a completely differenet and in many ways better drama – it deals with much deeper themes and possessed a level of emotional and technical sophistication and nuance that Meteor Garden is completely lacking in. It is also the drama which really sparked Vic Zhou’s interest in acting; it became a turning point in his career and after it he turned to acting as his main focus rather than his musical career.

Synopsis:

Han Qi Luo(Barbie Hsu), an introverted art student, and Chen Ling, a popular playboy, attend the same college. One day, meeting by chance, Ling asks her for directions to the nearby hospital. Qi Luo draws him a map on the back of one of her sketches and gives it to him, then runs off. Finding the sketch later, Ling is unexpectedly drawn to it…and so begins one of drama’s great love stories. But can her overcome her shyness/apparent hatred of men, and can the two of them overcome their pasts?

Yesasia’s synopsis:
“Asia’s most popular group F4’s Vic Chou continues the ideal romantic pairing with Barbie Xu beyond Meteor Gardens II, in the extraordinary new Taiwanese drama, MARS!

An adaptation of popular Japanese manga MARS, the television series is directed by the acclaimed Cai Yue Xun. Vic plays two characters, a pair of identical twins with an exploding dark, tragic passion. Zero is reckless, brutal and passionate, losing himself in the speed thrill of motorcycles. Saint on the other hand is quiet and reserved, lives in satisfaction and peace, delivering his passion into drawing. They are a pair of loving brothers until the arrival of Saori, and when Saint cannot accept the fact that Saori loves Zero, he committed suicide. Zero is destroyed by the guilt of Saint’s death, and ended up in a mental institution for two years…until the arrival of Kira (Barbie Xu), who managed to find the deepest wound buried in Zero. Kira suffers from autism after a traumatic event from her childhood, can she discover the most beautiful thing in the world, love, again?”

Notes:
-The motorcycle racing was shot on location in Japan.

-Both Vic and Barbie received rave reviews for their performances, and Mars is generally considered to be one of the better/best dramas to come out of Taiwan since the drama craze started.

-Won the 40th Annual 2005 Golden Bell Awards Favorite Drama of the Year

Watch here