Having no experience in romance, the vibrant Ninako curiously explores the meaning of what "love" really is, and is surprised to feel a colorful range of emotions as she grows closer to the school heartthrob, the quiet yet gentle Ren, who also happens to be involved in a longtime relationship. With every intention of keeping her head held high, Ninako prepares to face the mental pain of this one-sided love that she had allowed to take root, facing a series of trials that would either contribute to her growth as a headstrong woman, or break her as it did with other girls.
However, is this really a one-sided love? Or had something been silently sown in the most hidden part of Ren's heart?
Strobe Edge was published in English by VIZ Media under the Shojo Beat imprint from November 6, 2012 to May 6, 2014. The manga received two drama CD adaptations on August 25, 2010 and September 22, 2010. It also had a live-action film adaptation that was released on March 14, 2015. It was also published in Spanish by Ivrea from March 2012 to February 2014.
Strobe Edge is a story, which starts off as a seemingly normal story, a typical shoujo, but because of its superior story pacing and character development, it is able to become something special and unique.
The mangaka decides to start the story off with a very familiar situation. Ninako, a girl who is very naïve towards love, falls in love with one of the popular guys in school, Ren. At first, all seems good, but we soon find out Ren actually has a girlfriend. Then the manga introduces another boy called Andou, who loves Ninako, and thus the typical love triangle is formed.
Well, the plot itself isn’t exactly deep, but it’s developed extremely well. For example, the mangaka leads you to think that Ninako and Ren would make the perfect couple but then decides to throw in a flashback story of Ren and his girlfriend and how deep their relationship really is. Continuing this, she makes it seem like Andou might end up with Ninako, but manages to keep Ren in the triangle stil. I’ve never read a story that there wasn’t a couple that I supported, but I’m actually neutral towards this love triangle. The story makes you feel that, whatever couple happens, it won’t be a happy ending still.
This story is really good at showing unrequited love. It shows the true aspect of love, love is not always happy. Even if you give your lover to someone else, there won’t necessarily be another Prince Charming to come and pick you, because love is not easy to get rid of/change. It tackles the question, if I love someone, but that person doesn't return the love back, should I continue loving this person or should I give up? Also, the way it makes romantic situations is very praiseworthy. The manga especially reuses the “train love incident” a lot, where Ninako and Ren are alone in the train. Still, every single time this happens it’s still very interesting as Ninako has different feelings. The love in this story is realistic and it’s developed well.
I feel that the only really well developed characters in are Ren and Ninako for now but I’m sure the mangaka is going to focus a bit more on Andou later on.
Ren – At first, he seems like a grown up, your typical overprotective boy that most girls like. He doesn’t seem to talk much, so it seems like his character is very mysterious at first, but slowly we see that he is a very confused character. He knows he loves his girlfriend, as the history/bond he developed with her is very strong, but his overprotective character takes the best of him as he starts to care for Ninako, and realizes it too late, that he has feelings. While in the beginning, we see him as a strong character, he further develops into one of the weakest characters in the story.
Ninako – A typical shoujo main character, a girl with love problems, but isn’t able to really understand love yet. But don’t underestimate this, as Ninako gets smarter. Yes, she gets smarter, unlike so many other stories I’ve read, Ninako slowly, but surely, starts to become more experienced. Furthermore, Ninako only loves Ren, no matter how hopeless it seems to her, she still chases only after Ren. We may see that she’s very selfish, to be trying to steal a guy who already has a girlfriend, and Ninako knows she’s selfish. She finds herself questioning if its right for her to keep loving Ren so much, but she realizes, no matter how wrong it is, she still loves him too much. I love her determination, and with this trait, even if Ninako looks very weak, she's probably the strongest character in the story.
I’m probably thinking too much here, but since the art is very shoujoish, I always feel that the art greatly enhances the effect of a typical setting. As if, it wants us to realizes that she’s using a typical shoujo setting and turning it into something new.
I love this manga. Honestly, I think it’s probably my favorite shoujo manga. It’s enjoyable, well developed and each chapter is worth the waiting. This is one of the only mangas, where after I finish reading one chapter, I want a chapter right away, even if there is no cliffhanger. I’m happy to have touched such an amazing story, and it’s been worth every single second of my time.
I will end this review with this.
Love is not that simple and will always hurt someone.
And Strobe Edge has depicted this better then any other manga I've read.read more
I suppose that this is a usual technique for writing 'credible' reviews, but let me tell you now that I am, in fact, a considerably jaded romance shojo (I'll be talking about 'romance shojo' in particular for this review) reader. I read any shojo title with the initial thought: "I'll drop this once it gets boring." This is because I've read quite a lot from this genre and in fact, I started my love for anime and manga with shojo.
Why, then, out of all of those titles, have I decided to leave a review for this seemingly ordinary and cliche, been-there-done-that shojo?
This is because Strobe Edge managed to get that spark running again for me.
But before I go into that, here are the basics.
Strobe Edge’s story is nothing that deviates from the usual. Ditzy, clumsy, awkward girl falls in love for the first time for the most popular guy in school. A love triangle ensues with the girl, the popular, lead guy and the guy's bestf friend. Nothing new.
What I like about Strobe Edge (and what I’ve read from Sakisaka Io-sensei so far) would be the way she handles cliches. She handles them – for the lack of a better, more accurate term – sincerely. She puts nothing complicated out – no extreme characters, no denseness, no ridiculous plot twists, because first love is already complicated enough.
For one, Strobe Edge isn’t exactly a biased manga - although we have a clear set of leads, Sakisaka-sensei made the journey towards the obvious end worth it, like they aren’t just going to end up together JUST BECAUSE they’re the lead characters, but because of what they - the main characters and the involved parties - went through to get there.
Strobe Edge is a manga that'll make you want to have your first love all over again.
I love Strobe Edge’s characters. They follow cookie-cutter patterns, but at the same time, they break away from them.
Ninako can be like any other girl out there experiencing the haplessness of first love. What made her stand out for me among the hordes of shojo heroines is that she is straightforward, honest and she just wants her friends to be happy . Ninako has been consistent so far: she is as awkward as she is sincere, and although she falls in love for the first time, she doesn’t really go out of her way to find it and be dramatic about it.
Ren is your typical heartthrob. Quiet, mysterious, not able to express his real feelings, and, well, really good-looking and smart. But something’s different: he’s taken, and he isn’t really all that willing to throw all those memories away just for the lead shojo character. Despite his attraction to Ninako, he loves his girlfriend not only because he’s supposed to, but because of the memories they share. In the end, he's just a regular guy, who doesn't know how exactly what's right.
There is the clear third party: Andou. Andou is Ren’s ‘best friend’. He is a happy, outgoing playboy who knows just the right moves. He falls in love with Ninako and changes for the better: that is, he decides to ditch his old ways and take on the path of true love. Typical. Now, onto what’s different: he loves Ren, as well. They aren’t really close as best friends are supposed to be. In fact, they both share a trouble-filled relationship. But for some reason, Andou is attracted to Ren and he treasures their friendship. This, however, doesn’t get in the way of his love. He doesn’t throw away either of them. He fights head-on and he says that he won’t give up until he has a chance.
The side characters (especially on Daiki’s side) are given proper attention, and they really just don’t blend in the background and act as characters who can be thrown out of the scene when it’s not convenient for them to be there anymore. Faceless roles are rare (actually, I don't remember any).
ART: Again, nothing really special here. Typical shojo style - good-looking boys, cute girls. What I love, though, is the pastel-y feel to it, even if it’s black and white, reminding me a bit of Honey and Clover (anime).
DIALOGUES: Quick, easy to understand, and pretty sincere and honest with what it wants to play out.
I began with Strobe Edge reeling from the disappointment that I faced with Ouran. I stayed for a whole different reason.
Getting back to my first point: What spark did Strobe Edge fire up in me, and how did it do it?
Strobe Edge is enjoyable because it doesn't pull off its story with flashy plot twists. In fact, at its core, Strobe Edge is esentially a love story, and it doesn't try to become something that it's not. While in that process, it still manages to effortlessly tap into friendship and growing up (among other things) because those are inevitably connected to love in the first place.
Strobe Edge is a manga that'll make you want to have your first love all over again.
I adore this title, and will definitely have it up in my bookshelf once it gets licensed in English.read more
Strobe Edge tends to be a bit overrated, if you ask me. It will be a good read for those who are interested in following a high school girl experiencing her first crush. If you are expecting an established relationship between the two MCs within the manga, you will be disappointed. Despite my boredom with this manga, the high rating is because of the manga’s accomplishment in disproving the popular saying “Love don’t die” and being realistic towards a girl’s first crush.
Story (7) / Characters (7)
“I swear I will make you love me” is how to approach this manga. Will the characters succeed? The answer is not given until the final chapter. You will spend the entire 42 chapters watching characters trying to reach this goal. Under the circumstances, the pacing was really good. The relationship is not immediate, especially since Ren has a model girlfriend named Mayuka. Then comes a love triangle that later expands to a love square. Emotions were expressed well as one struggled with unrequited love, rejections, and jealousy. The love triangle is solved in the last two chapters, but the other part is left hanging. One disappointment of the manga is the inability to show any hope for a character’s desire to escape unrequited love.
The manga was right on point about a girl’s experience with her first crush. Ninako is more like a lovesick puppy, stalking Ren in earlier chapters. Her monologues are all thoughts of Ren and her contemplation of the meaning of love. Ninako was incredibly immature in the beginning, but she became wiser by the 5th volume. Discussions with experienced characters opened her eyes to her feelings for Ren. Her monologues in the last three volumes were more mature, considering the events that occur.
The high school girls were annoying, always trying to get Ren’s attention by either screaming his name or “accidentally” bumping into him in the hallway. Ren was a laidback heartthrob, who just treated it as a normal thing after growing used to it. All of the girls in the class, except for maybe two or three, are after Ren, but Ninako believes she has a pure chance to make him love her. I found unrealism within Ninako’s large group of friends consisting of 5-6 girls. All of them, except one, fascinated Ren before Ninako. When Ninako revealed her feelings for Ren, they suddenly backed away and cheered for Ninako’s success without any sense of jealousy whatsoever.
The manga got better when it focused on other couples, giving you different individuals to root for. One-shots revealed some characters’ past experiences with love, and each story gives wise lessons that impacted the characters. It reveals the reasons for their current relationships with certain characters. Those characters tended to be more mature than the others, and each one had their own personality.
The art was cute and expressed characters’ emotions excellently. You can laugh at their reactions or feel the characters’ pain. Background design was mostly outlined, but the settings were still unique. The downside comes from the character design. Sometimes characters lacked detail with blank faces. Nearly all of the characters look alike, and I spent the entire manga confusing Ninako with two or three other girls. The worst part is that Mayuka and Ninako look exactly the same, except Mayuka had tons of makeup. The main difference between some characters is the hair length. The only character that stuck out was Ren, and Mangaka Sakisaka Io did a good job of making him appear attractive. Uniqueness towards Ren was needed, since he is every girl’s dream guy.
Enjoyment (5) / Overall (7)
In my opinion, Strobe Edge was a sheer disappointment and a waste of time. It totally contrasts with Sakisaka’s other popular work, Ao Haru Ride. I planned to drop it after five chapters because of the naïve characters, but I continued reading to expect excitement in later chapters. Eventually, I got bored and couldn’t wait until I completed it. I wanted a love story of the MCs sooner than just in the final chapter. The characters were unbearably naïve, and it took forever for the manga to pick up.
This Shoujo may not be intriguing for some, so I highly recommend reading both negative and positive reviews. Sakisaka delivered her message well and depicted high school life on a realistic level. However, it can tend to be unenjoyable, depending on what type of manga you’re looking for.read more
Strobe Edge...isn't very good. I was randomly looking for a new manga to read and I came across this. It was ranked pretty high so I thought what the heck, might as well give it a shot. I'm not really into the shoujo genre but I was in the mood for romance and most people were recommending it. It turned out to be a pretty boring and lackluster read, if you ask me.
Story: (F) - Well the story is pretty simple. Ninako Kinoshita is your typical cutesy, ditzy shoujo heroine who likes this guy named Ren. She finds out that Ren has a girlfriend. So she quietly suffers with her unrequited love while vowing not to get inbetween Ren and his girlfriend. Now this could be a pretty interesting plot. I mean, it's simple, but if an author knows what they're doing they should be able to construct a somewhat engaging storyline even with a simple premise. Too bad that never happens with this manga. For about 20 or so chapters we have Ninako staring at Ren all day talking about how her heart hurts when she talks to him, or about how she wants to be his girlfriend but she doesn't want to break up his relationship with his current girlfriend blah blah blah. I'm serious, that's the only thing that happens in this manga. It's basically Ninako's diary with pictures showing her daily life. Maybe if she did something other than think about Ren all day we could have a story. Then the author randomly decides to throw some kind of pseudo-love triangle which doesn't really go anywhere because Ninako never likes the other guy in said "triangle." Most of the time she's annoyed by him, and there's never a time when she even considers liking him. She only likes Ren the whole time.....what an interesting triangle. The other guy (Takumi) starts liking Ninako a few chapters in, and his story is pretty much identical to hers. Whenever his character is shown he's either talking about how much he loves Ninako or about how much he wishes she didn't like Ren. So this manga is pretty much two diaries consisting of nothing but: "I like Ren....but we can never be together..." "Ren looks so pretty right now...." "Ren is so cool and myserious...." "Did I mention I like Ren?"/ "Ninako looks so cute right now....like a doll!" "Why can't Ninako just like me instead of Ren!" "Stupid Ren...Ninako should like me instead..." .........I don't know about anyone else, but after awhile that kind of story just doesn't interest me.
Other than that there's random slice of life/school elements thrown in there (as if we care) that try to make the story seem more "realistic." Trust me, none of that makes the manga anymore interesting. When Ren finally does break up with his girlfriend, Ninako is still conflicted about what she wants, and why is that do you ask? I wish I had an answer, but I really don't know. When Ren finally confesses to her (come on this isn't a spoiler. It's obvious) she rejects him because she doesn't want to hurt Takumi's feelings........even though she doesn't like Takumi that much anyway. kjsdajsdajs;djlksd. That idiocy plus the ever so annoying and infamous shoujo "misunderstandings" make this one lame, cliche, and boring story.
Art: (C+) - I admire all manga artists because it really is impressive to be able to draw the way they do. That being said, the art in Strobe Edge is good. Actually it's very good. But....compared to other mangas it just doesn't stand out. It's pretty to look at, but it just isn't something to get too excited over. Io Sakisaka (the author and artist) has a style that's very unique to her - as in you can always tell when it's her manga - but even though her style is nice, I just don't like it that much. The girls' eyes are really big...all the guys look the same...it's just not my cup of tea. I also think she should try and be a little more creative with her character models. I'm reading her newest manga, Ao Haru Ride (don't ask me why I'm reading it. maybe out of boredom? O_o), and the heroine of that story pretty much looks exactly like Ninako, and the the love interest looks exactly like Ren. The art is clean and simple, but that might actually be a downside. Sometimes it's too simple and too boring.
Characters: (F) - The characters in Strobe Edge might actually be worse than the story...and that's saying something. I found Ninako to be really annoying. I guess she was supposed to be energetic and bubbly, but I actually thought she was too childish and dimwitted. She had this same doe-eyed look on her face throughout the whole thing, like she was surprised all the time. To be honest she kind of reminded me of an infant the way she was constantly wailing, crying, tripping over things, dropping things, and not understanding simple concepts about relationships. There were like 10 million instances where she tripped and fell into Ren's arms. There was even one time when her hair got randomly stuck in a tree and he had to get it out for her.......it was the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. I didn't get why Ren and Takumi were so "in love" with such a childish girl. Speaking of Ren and Takumi, Ren is the typical tall, dark, mysterious type. He was actually pretty mature and serious most the of the time, but not in a good way. I found him to be really boring and stiff, and don't even try to explain how he was able to get a girlfriend in highschool who's also a model.....gimme a break. Takumi is the opposite of Ren. He's energetic and loud and annoying. Oh, and he has blonde hair, just so that we can know how completely opposite they are. Takumi has no point in this manga. The "love triangle," or lack of one, is probably one of the most poorly conceptualized storylines I've seen in a long time. All other side characters in this manga are boring, pointless, annoying, and forgettable.
Enjoyment: (F) - If you already couldn't tell I pretty much hated this manga. I only kept reading because I thought MAYBE the love triangle thing would actually be developed. I thought that MAYBE Ninako would start liking both of the guys and have to pick between the two. I know that's cliche, but then atleast SOMETHING would have happened other than 42 chapters of pretty much nothing. I don't know who's rating this manga highly, but my only guess is that it's girls between the ages of 9 and 12.
Overall: (F) - Strobe Edge makes me remember why I'm not a big fan of shoujo. For something that's rated so highly on this site I was expecting something with a little more substance. The story is one of the worst out there. Not because it's an extremely horrible story, but mostly because of the execution. It's SO boring and predictable, without any redeeming characters or plot development. If the most intense thing that happens during the whole manga is Ninako falling off a chair or missing a train, then we know that something about the story is seriously LACKING and for that I blame the author. If you like a semi-romantic manga with a pointless love triangle, boring characters, boring story, then this manga is for you. If you're like normal people out there then you'll definitely stay away from this one and spare yourself the tedium. read more
Ao Haru Ride is your standard shoujo series, featuring a gutsier-than-average heroine, a cold male lead and lots of unspoken words between them. It pulls at your heart strings and gives you a little window into the challenges of (Japanese) teenagers in their spring of youth.