Sunday, March 3, 2013

Manga Review: Strobe Edge, Volume 2, by Io Sakisaka

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 10
Spoilers?: Yes.
Buy it here: Amazon.

Goodreads Synopsis:

What is love, anyway? Ninako Kinoshita’s friends tell her it’s one thing, but Ninako wonders what this mysterious feeling really is. When she meets Ren Ichinose, the handsome, enigmatic guy that all the girls worship, her life takes an unexpected turn. With just a few words and a smile, he changes her world... Once Ninako realizes that she’s fallen for Ren, she confesses her feelings to him even though she knows he has a girlfriend! Meanwhile, a new semester brings an outgoing guy called Ando into Ninako’s life—is Ando just an outrageous flirt or will he turn out to be Ninako’s savior?

Reads R to L (Japanese Style) for teen audiences.


Once again, I am rather surprised by this series. It just keeps taking me in places that I’m not expecting. And I am really enjoying it.
So Ninako confesses to Ren and he turns her down, like she knew he would. She wanted to just get it out in the open, but then she’s nervous about it being awkward, because they said they would still be friends, but she doesn’t know how that’s going to work. They’re a little awkward at first, but they try.
Then Ninako runs into this new boy in school, Ando, who knew Ren in middle school. Almost as soon as he meets her, he starts teasing her about Ren and she gets angry at him. And that dynamic continues throughout most of the volume, until she gets upset at seeing Ren and his girlfriend together, and Ando pulls her away and then later she cries and he tries to comfort her. And, you guys, I totally wasn’t expecting this, but I kind of love Ando. Usually when you meet a new guy somewhat through the series, i.e. when he isn't the first guy, he just ends up in the background and obviously not the one for her, but this guy... This is different. He’s so sweet and so much fun and it was so surprising, but I really like him. Right now, I’m all for AndoandNinako.
I don’t think it helps that I’m a little wary of Ren. He turned Ninako down, but it looks like he’s kind of stringing her along anyway. He has a really sweet girlfriend, who we officially met in this volume. There was also a short story at the end of the volume showing us how those two got together. I didn't really like the short story, but only because I didn't want to see a sweet story of how he got together with someone else, who is actually very sweet, when he might end up with the main character. It makes it seem like some actual hearts might get broken, including mine, and I don't like it.The whole thing is just making me uneasy, honestly. Something about him is untrustworthy and making me upset, and I don’t like it.
When Ren tells Ando that he needs to back off because of his player ways (which, uh!, the nerve of him!), Ando tells Ren that he needs to back off of her because of how he's stringing her along, and Ren actually backs off. Only, it makes Ninako think he hates her. Which is when she cries, and Ando tries to comfort her, but she freaks out and runs away, directly into Ren. When Ando chases after her, Ren hides her and holds her close, confusing Ninako profusely, and the volume ends. Ugh, what?
Aside from the Ninako love-drama, we got to see more of her friends, and actually got to know them better, which was nice. I didn’t get a good sense of them in the first volume, and thought more that they were pushing her toward something that was expected and would be upset when they found out differently, but it turns out they’re actually very nice and supportive, which is nice. The other Ren rejects aren’t so nice, and when they find out that Ninako still has hope and doesn’t hate Ren, they start bullying her.
Sayuri, who in the previous volume confessed to Daiki, is acting pretty normal around him, despite his rejection. He’s acting very flustered around her, though, and jealous when he finds out Ando asked for her number. She’s very indignant and harsh (which is fantastic), while it’s obvious that Daiki is starting to form feelings for her but is having a hard time of letting go of Ninako. I’m really looking forward to seeing the development in their relationship in future volumes.
I am really starting to fall for this series. I’m surprised, as I’ve said, but it’s going in some directions that I wasn’t expecting, and I’m really liking it. Now, I just really want the next one.

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