Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5-4 (can up it to four very easily, but am still a bit on the edge)
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
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?
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When I heard that Shojo Beat was going to be publishing this, I was interested, but my online friends’ excitement got me curious, since I’d never heard of the series, nor do I think I’ve read anything by this author (even though the art looks a little familiar...). And, while this volume was shojo kind of like I thought it would be, I was still a bit surprised by it.
Strobe Edge stars Ninako, who is rather naïve. I was a bit surprised by her personality, but liked where it went, and only in one volume. At the beginning, she doesn’t really know much, and she believes what people tell her. Her friends are sure that she’s in love with her childhood friend, Daiki, and she’s never been in love before, so she believes that that must be what she feels, until she talks with Ren, a very popular guy at her school, and realizes that she’s actually falling for him instead. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed her musings on things, and really enjoyed her discovering how she really feels as opposed to what other people are telling her to feel. I was just generally surprised by how much I liked Ninako, given how I don’t usually have too strong of feelings toward the heroine.
And, with my surprise at all of that coming out in the first volume, Sakisaka didn’t take her time with the love confessions, either. It wasn’t rushed in the least, and yet I’m so surprised that so much happened, so much growth, in just one small volume.
‘Cause while it’s obvious to the reader that Daiki loves Ninako, he confesses to her in this volume, and they even work out their feelings for each other. And then one of Ninako’s friends confesses to Daiki, which I was not surprised by, but I didn’t really get to know that character very well, so I’m hoping I’ll get to know her better in the volumes to come. And before the confessions, there’s a really nice, well done rivalry between Ren and Daiki, and then we find out something a bit upsetting, uncool, about Ren. And then, the volume ends with Ninako starting to confess to Ren.
This series just doesn’t beat around the bush, that’s for sure. And I love it. It’s so refreshing compared to most manga, and how it takes forever for the characters to be honest with each other.
I’m not really sure what boy I like more at this point. I like Ren, even though I’m not very happy with his possible feelings toward Ninako when he… has that other thing going on, which I was really only surprised by who the person was. (I’m trying to be vague here.) But I do like his personality; I liked that he was actually rather sweet, and isn’t afraid to be, even while also being quiet and not saying much. But then there’s Daiki, who would normally be one of my favorite characters, but right now I just kind of like him. He’s sweet, and he’s fun, and I totally get his jealous feelings, and I feel a bit bad for him, but mostly I’m just hoping to grow to like him more, because my feelings for him are not at the level that I would like them to be. Although, really, Ren is also going to have to earn my love for him, as well.
Another thing I was surprised by: the overall message that this volume gave. I’m not going to ruin that, since it was a surprise to me, but it was another refreshing aspect to this book, in that I wasn’t expecting it, it’s a nice message, and not really something that I’ve seen very often. That, along with everything else that happened between the characters, some of the little things, just made this so sweet to read.
The artwork is really nice. The covers look pretty, but I wasn’t sure if inside the book would look as good, but it did. It took, I think, a tiny bit of time for me to get used to the art style, but it wasn’t hard, because it is really pretty.
So, it’s obvious to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this volume, and am really looking forward to the next one.