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...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.
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.
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.