Strobe Edge 1Posted: February 14, 2013
Io Sakisaka – Viz – 2012 – 10 volumes
I decided to try out a new series today in honor of the holiday, one that I’d heard a lot of good things about. I’ve been in a bit of a manga slump lately, but it’s still hard for me to say no to a really good shoujo manga.
Strobe Edge is great, actually. Ninako is a typical high school girl that crushes on the hunk of the school with all the other girls and has a boy that kinda has a crush on her, and she kinda has a crush on him. But it begins different than most, with a scenario where Ninako’s mother tells her she needs to think for herself more and stop letting people do that for her. Which lends itself to the story better than it would in most shoujo manga. Ninako realizes she crushes on Ren simply because everybody else does, and she believes it when her friends tell her that she should totally go out with Daiki, who does seem to favor her. They tell her she’s in love with him, and she believes it. But then she begins to ride the train home with Ren and have small, very kind interactions with him. When he becomes more of a person, she realizes that she really is falling in love with her. Unfortunately, Daiki notices.
It has the sort of shoujo manga twists in relationships that make reading this stuff so incredibly enjoyable to me, although I’d be lying if I said they were unprecedented. But despite my description, this series is fairly low key, and most of what I describe above is all exposition that happens in Ninako’s mind. She doesn’t say a whole lot out loud, or act on her thoughts since she’s still trying to sort them out herself. That it’s so introspective and doesn’t directly deal with relationships between others (at least, not in the first volume), made it a more unique flavor of shoujo manga. I also like that neither Ren nor Daiki is a monster in any way, shape, or form. Ren is a genuinely nice guy that likes to keep his distance from the hordes of ladies at school, and Daiki does really like Ninako, and seems to be watching out for her. He also admits that his crush doesn’t really have anything to do with her feelings, and not many manga characters can keep on after a revelation like that.
I also really like Sakisaka’s art. Her character designs and panel layouts are fun and very dynamic, and I love the way she designs the thought bubbles for Ninako, which you see a lot of.
Overall, a very fun series. Highly recommended! And happily, there’s a volume two already, which I plan on indulging in immediately.