Synonyms: Strobe Edge,Unfinished Map, Another Light, Colorless Dreamer
Published: Jul 2007 to Aug 13, 2010
Genres: Drama, Romance, Shoujo
Authors: Sakisaka, Io (Story & Art)
First, off, I don’t really understand why this manga is called “Strobe Edge”. It’s a nice, heartwarming shoujo manga, but the title makes it sound like more of an action series. When I hear “Strobe Edge”, I somehow end up imagining Air Gear in my head…
Anyway. I was actually pleasantly surprised by this manga. With a title like Strobe Edge, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this, but it ended up being surprisingly readable. Mind you, it’s no masterpiece, but that doesn’t stop it from being a decent read, and I ended up being pretty emotionally invested in the characters by the end, hehe. It actually became one of my favourites!
The mangaka decides to start the story off with a very familiar situation. Ninako, a girl who is very naïve towards love, falls in love with one of the popular guys in school, Ren. At first, all seems good, but we soon find out Ren actually has a girlfriend. Then the manga introduces another boy called Andou, who loves Ninako, and thus the typical love triangle is formed.
Ninako, the heroine, starts out as a pretty bad airhead by the start. I don’t know WHY shoujo mangaka always LOVE airheads so much, but this aspect of her seems a bit forced. Really, there’s a better way to create good character than by resorting to normal tropes…SIGH. However, Ninako’s innocence seems anything BUT forced. Although I was suspending disbelief by how clueless Ninako was about romance at the start of the manga, I had to remind myself that this was her first time supposedly “falling in love”. And yes, this is a VERY common theme in shoujo manga, but it seems really genuine here. By the second half of the series, Ninako’s airhead personality is almost gone. Yes, she’s still a bit clumsy and not booksmart, but she’s a lot more emotionally aware, which I appreciated.
The male characters start out in the normal pre-established shoujo roles, but they end up transcending them as they start building (and breaking) their relationships over the course of the series, which was great.
Well, the plot itself isn’t exactly deep, but it’s developed extremely well. For example, the mangaka leads you to think that Ninako and Ren would make the perfect couple but then decides to throw in a flashback story of Ren and his girlfriend and how deep their relationship really is.
Continuing this, she makes it seem like Andou might end up with Ninako, but manages to keep Ren in the triangle stil. I’ve never read a story that there wasn’t a couple that I supported, but I’m actually neutral towards this love triangle. The story makes you feel that, whatever couple happens, it won’t be a happy ending still.
Also, I LOVE how the author chose to let Ninako and Ren’s relationship develop slowly, rather than the opposite. In a lot of shoujo series, the equivalents of these two characters will end up together a lot more quickly. But by delaying the start of Ninako and Ren’s relationship, it allows the author to show how Ninako learns what love really is, and for Ren to learn how to become a better boyfriend. So by the time both of them are ready to date, they are ready for a stable relationship with EACH OTHER, therby avoiding the majority of the angst that plagues less developed relationships. YAY!
I’m probably thinking too much here, but since the art is very shoujoish, I always feel that the art greatly enhances the effect of a typical setting. As if, it wants us to realizes that she’s using a typical shoujo setting and turning it into something new.
As a reader there is very few thing that are worse than not knowing the characters you want to understand. Luckily for us, that isn’t the case here making it a really sweet ride.
All information comes thoroughly and systematically for our pleasure. We get to know the characters and judge for ourselves their choices based on their story. As the pages pass not only does the story flow beautifully but we see how the characters we have grown to love, change and grow up.
Ninako is never frustrating or plain. She is sweet, caring and funny and warms her way into the coldest of hearts while still being klutzy and a crier. She surprised me as I mentioned above, she is as Ren calls her, “weird.” She doesn’t do what you’d expect, most of the time I think she even surprises herself (so to speak).
I will end this review with this.
Love is not that simple and will always hurt someone.
And Strobe Edge has depicted this better then any other manga I've read.
I love this manga. Honestly, I think it’s probably my favorite shoujo manga. It’s enjoyable, well developed and each chapter is worth the waiting. This is one of the only mangas, where after I finish reading one chapter, I want a chapter right away, even if there is no cliffhanger. I’m happy to have touched such an amazing story, and it’s been worth every single second of my time.