Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume Six

Strobe Edge Volume Six is a manga by Io Sakisaka, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2013. The series is rated “T” for teens; from the six volumes that I’ve read of this series, I would agree with this rating.

Strobe Edge Volume 6
Written by: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 3, 2013

Ninako Kinoshita is a high school freshman who is in the middle of a love triangle. She is in love with a guy named Ren, while Ninako’s friend Daiki has confessed that he likes Ninako. Unfortunately for Ninako, it turns out that Ren already has a girlfriend: Daiki’s older sister, Mayuka. Ninako’s friend, Sayuri, has confessed to Daiki that she likes him, and two start going out. Another potential love interest for Ninako was introduced in Volume Two: Ren’s classmate, Ando. Daiki ends up coming out of the love triangle getting into a relationship with Ninako’s friend, Sayuri.

At the end of volume five, Daiki’s older sister breaks up with Ren. When Ninako learns about the breakup in this volume, she finds herself feeling rather conflicted. On the one hand, Ren is free and she wouldn’t have to hold back her feelings. However, she also realizes that Ren must be having a hard time with the breakup, so she doesn’t want to do anything that would make him uncomfortable. Of course, the other girls at school who have had their eye on Ren since Volume One are trying to pursue him, which only complicates Ninako’s feelings.

Ando is still pursuing Ninako, and hearing that Ren and his girlfriend have broken up makes him want to try to win Ninako even more. Even when they’re having to compete against each other in sports, Ando wants to beat Ren in order to impress Ninako. The new school year starts up at the end of the volume, and both Ren and Ando end up being in the same class as Ninako, which is already causing some tension.

Now that Mayuka and Ren are no longer together, the dynamics of the story have really started to change. Personally, I believe this change of dynamics is a good thing, because the story could have become stale if this shakeup didn’t happen.

With Ren potentially becoming a real threat to Ando when it comes to Ninsko, Ando is definitely starting to become more tense and his character has really started to change. As a writer, I could see several different ways that his character could go in future volumes, so I’m very interested in seeing how Sakisaka is going to progress Ando’s character, as well as the story as a whole.

In addition to Strobe Edge, a one-shot that Sakisaka did is included in this volume. The one-shot is called Colorless Dreamer, and it focuses on characters who are slightly older than the characters in Strobe Edge. In Colorless Dreamer, a young woman named Rena Kowaki lives with her musician boyfriend, Haruka. Rena is the one trying to earn money in order for them to eat and keep a roof over their heads, but she keeps getting fired from her jobs. One day, she overhears some of the female fans at Haruka’s band’s shows that Rena doesn’t deserve Haruka and that he looks like he’s worn out and has lost weight. Rena starts doubting herself and thinking she doesn’t deserve to be with him.

In Colorless Dreamer, you can definitely tell that this is Sakisaka’s art style, since some of the characters in this one-shot look somewhat similar to characters that appear in Strobe Edge. While this one-shot may feature a shojo love story, it does feature slightly older characters than you normally associate with shojo. The story says that Rena is 19, so I assume Haruka is 19 as well, or perhaps in his early 20s. This particular story definitely works as a one-shot; there’s no way this story could have worked for an entire manga series. It’s a decent one-shot, and should be enjoyable to readers who have already come to like the Strobe Edge series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Strobe Edge Volume Six that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional posts about Strobe Edge:

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