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 and September 22, 2010, respectively, and a live-action film adaptation that was screened on March 14, 2015. It was also published in Spanish by Ivrea from March 2012 to February 2014.
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.
I'm about to finish reading this manga, so I thought I'd write a short review to let people know how overrated this manga is.
Basically this manga tells the story of a very clumsy girl who falls in love with a guy who already has a girlfriend. Instead of trying to steal the guy away or just repressing her feelings, she decides to treasure the love she feels for him. So, yeah a pretty average plot.
Regarding the characters, the male lead is someone you can relate to since he is someone who is constantly struggling to be honest with her girlfriend, while feeling attracted to Ninako
(the female lead). What I really dislike about this manga is Ninako, she gets really annoying throughout the story, especially because she is the typical shojo girl with a really "kind" heart that compels her to cry for every little detail. I think that there is no chapter in which you can't see her shed some tears. What I mean is that if you like crybabies this is your manga.
This manga is far away from being a master piece. I don't even know why I bothered to read the whole thing. Well I do know, I kept on reading because of the supporting characters which have a really interesting back-story.
Ao Haru Ride is becoming pretty big but the story sounded like any typical shoujo so I was reluctant to start it. Yet at the same time, I wanted to give the author a chance to pull me into her storytelling, so I started with her completed work Strobe Edge.
How should I describe this manga?
There are plenty of clichés to point out, but ultimately, Strobe Edge covers what it feels like to fall in love and the heartache you’re bound to feel when it happens.
It’s shoujo, but the eyes are especially big in this one. Other than that, everything’s decent.
I’m not going
to say something stupid like I couldn’t connect with them because to me, characters don’t need to be relatable in order for me to like them. However, the characters in this manga are likeable. The protagonists aren’t annoying and the side characters have their reasons for doing whatever they’re doing.
But in all honesty, everybody was sort of bland. I didn’t really fall in love with any of them and neither did I cheer them on. Considering the fact that most shoujos have annoying heroines and “I’m too cool and cocky for you” love interests, these characters were more chill, so I give them a 6.
Okay, so far, it may sound like I didn’t really enjoy the manga. That’s…sort of true? I guess?
Look, this isn’t a bad manga. By no means is it a bad manga! It’s decent! Believe me, it is! But this is MY review of Strobe Edge, and ultimately, what I feel about it. So here’s MY issue with this manga:
It’s the emotions. When I read this manga, I felt like the author was trying too hard. That may sound harsh, but that’s what I felt when I read it. The emotions just felt stiff. When something sad happened, I felt as if the author was nudging you with her elbow and saying, “And THIS is what you’re supposed to feel! Do you feel it? It hurts, right? Right? Do you feel that? It’s the heartache. Right?”
The appropriate thing to say is “show, don’t tell,” which is really ironic since this is a manga. I guess one of the issues is the constant internal dialogue. The characters repeat their feelings over and over again internally that it becomes annoying.
And the author has her characters—especially the main character—say every single detail they're feeling about their love-life (internally of course). To some, that may not be an issue, but to me, it’s as if the author’s treating me like a fool. It’s as if she’s assuming I won’t be able to understand the emotions she’s so heavily trying to draw out of her characters and their situations unless she literally draws them out for me to read.
But the thing is that the author’s milked the emotions so much that now I have no use for them. I get it, their actions bring up consequences and those consequences affect their emotions that they don’t know what to do with. I get it! Do you really have to repeat the process over and over again, as if I didn’t get it the first few times with the first few characters?
Strobe Edge is on the border between bad and good for me, leaning more towards good, but unfortunately, not there.
Now, will you enjoy this manga? If you enjoy shoujo tropes, then it’s VERY likely you will. Did I enjoy it? Not really, but I do acknowledge that it’s definitely a decent manga. There are deeper emotions to experience besides girl falls in love with boy, boy already has a girlfriend, yada, yada, yada, other teenage angst.
I actually went and reread the manga to see if my feelings about it had changed over the few months that passed since I finished it. I couldn’t handle it and skipped some (many) chapters, but I still shrugged most of the time and pursed my lips as the author spelled out every emotion possible. (Maybe this is why many people enjoyed it. Everything’s spelled out in front of you so you’re not confused as to what’s going on. But that just wastes time in my opinion. If this were a novel, I’d say there were too many unnecessary details). As you can see, my view of Strobe Edge remains unchanged from then ‘til now.
Again, if you’re into shoujo, give it a chance. You’ll most likely enjoy it. If you’re not into shoujo, the choice is up to you. A warning though: Strobe Edge is 10 volumes long, so you’ll be using up a good amount of time to finish it as a whole.
Another gem of a shoujo manga and that is Strobe Edge. Sakisaka-sensei did something so enlightening here. Something that explains why some works while others don't.
Again, typical story - girl meets boy, fell in love first, confession and rejection. Or maybe not typical as it seems to be. Strobe Edge have much more to offer and things to ponder.
Admittedly, the characters were not the reason I was drawn to it. Protagonist Kinoshita Ninako is not a strong character to be begin with. Innocent and bubbly. Easy to get along with and a good friend. She fell in love with the silent Ichinose Ren, a popular
boy in their school when they happen to rode the same train going home, at least it started there. There's Daiki, best friend of Ninako who confessed to her and rejected at once and being confessed to by another friend of Ninako, Uehara Sayuri. While the boy in question has a girlfriend Mayuka who happened to be Daiki's onee-chan! To make things more complicated, Ren's best friend Andou Takumi fell in love with Ninako. It's tangled! Teehee. xD
Basically, it's a love war. Clashing of emotions, holding on to a promise, unspoken feelings, accepting changes, letting go and starting anew. That's where you'll find Strobe Edge's strength. The story is so compelling because it's so real I can feel the agony of working so hard and yet in the end you have no choice but to accept the fact that there are things that will change no matter how you try to stay the same. It's inevitable.
This is actually the first time I couldn't wholeheartedly support the main couple. Probably because it meant accepting that there are feelings that really do fade in time. It must be fate but who knows. Although one thing I really do like about Strobe Edge is that in the end they have no regrets because they gave it all. Each have done their part. Good job.
I cried, I laughed, I fell in love, got hurt and fall in love again. It's almost magical. Oh, love. xD
Lesson? It's good while it lasts. Have the courage to move forward. Embrace change and fall in love because it will be worth it.
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.