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:

Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume Five

Article first published as Manga Review: ‘Strobe Edge’ Volume Five by Io Sakisaka on Blogcritics.

Strobe Edge Volume Five 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 five volumes that I’ve read of this series, I would agree with this rating.

Strobe Edge Volume 5
Written by: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 2, 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. 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.

In this volume, while Ando and Ninako are out shopping for supplies for a Christmas party, they run into Ando’s old girlfriend from middle school. This is the girl that used Ando back in middle school to get closer to one of his friends, and Ando wants nothing to do with her. After an awkward exchange, Ando leads Ninako away. Later, while talking during a shift at work, Ando grabs Ninako in a hug to comfort her, and Ren suddenly walks in. As you read these panels for this, you can actually sense the awkwardness.

After this, Ando tries to convince Ninako to go out with him, but Ninako comes to the conclusion that she still loves Ren and would simply be using Ando to get over him. In fact, she decides she’s going to work on pretending she doesn’t feel anything for Ren.

Meanwhile, Mayuka and Daiki are spending some time with their father before he leaves. Over the course of this volume, Mayuka finds herself doing some soul searching, and a major change takes place at the end of Volume Five because of her.

There’s an additional short story called “Unfinished Map.” It’s a supplemental story about Ren and Ando back in middle school. In fact, this story covers the incident that happened with Ando’s ex-girlfriend who appeared earlier in the volume. In the actual story, Ando has always been a bit on the vague side when he talked about what happened between him and his ex-girlfriend, so this story was a nice additional piece for the reader to have a better understanding of this part of Ando’s history. This was a very well-done supplemental short story, and it adds a new layer to what has already been presented in the series.

When it comes to the main story, a major theme that runs through this volume is confusion. Ninako finds herself feeling confused about her feelings for Ren, and Mayuka also starts having confusion and doubts about her relationship with Ren. The confusion for both of them permeates much of the story that appears in Volume Five, and right at the end of the volume, one character loses their confusion while another characters gains a sense of confusion.

The love triangle also really goes through some very interesting changes in dynamics over the course of Volume Five. And with what happens at the end of this volume, it’s going to be very interesting to see where Sakisaka takes the story for Volume Six. I’m actually looking forward to getting a chance to read the next volume, and hopefully I’ll be able to read it sooner rather than later.

After reading Volume Five, I believe that readers who have read and enjoyed the first four volumes of Strobe Edge will really enjoy reading this volume as well.

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

Additional posts about Strobe Edge:

Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume Four

Article first published as Manga Review: ‘Strobe Edge’ Volume Four by Io Sakisaka on Blogcritics.

Strobe Edge Volume Four 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 four volumes that I’ve read of this series, I would agree with this rating.

Strobe Edge Volume 4
Written by: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 7, 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. 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.

Right at the end of Volume Three, Ando told Ninako that he likes her. Ninako is still in love with Ren, even though she knows he already has a girlfriend. But Ninako finds herself feeling confused and conflicted for a lot of this volume after receiving this confession of love from Ando. And between an awkward situation that happens with Ren and Ando giving her his scarf, Ninako’s confusion only grows.

Daiki also learns that his father is getting remarried and will be moving. He needs to decide if he’s going to move with his dad and break up with Sayuri. Mayuka, Daiki’s sister, has a hard time accepting her dad’s remarriage and asks Ren to stay with her.

Right near the end of the volume, Ren begins acting differently. Also, there’s some conflicting information given between Mayuri and Ren at this point as well, so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens in Volume Five.

To me, the strongest part of Volume Four was actually the storyline with Daiki and Sayuri. While the love triangle between Ninako, Ren, and Ando makes some major progressions in this volume, I felt that the Daiki and Sayuri storyline was a little more interesting and a little more riveting.

But when it comes to the love triangle, I still find it hard to root for Ando. While he begins to seem like he’s being a little more sincere compared to Volume Three, I’m just not convinced that he’s the right guy for Ninako. I guess Sakisaka wants the reader to root for Ren, but I have hard with that, too, since he’s currently in a relationship with Mayuri. However, between a couple of scenes near the end of Volume Four, I’m wondering if Ren and Mayuri’s relationship could be headed for trouble.

At this point, Strobe Edge has evolved into a shojo manga series that I have come to enjoy and look forward to reading each volume. And I think that if readers who have already read the first three volumes of Strobe Edge and enjoyed them should also be able to enjoy reading Volume Four.

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

Additional posts about Strobe Edge:

Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume Three

Article first published as Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume Three by Io Sakisaka on Blogcritics.

Strobe Edge Volume Three 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 three volumes that I’ve read of this series, I would agree with this rating.

Strobe Edge Volume 3
Written by: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 5, 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. Ninako’s friend, Sayuri, has confessed to Daiki that she likes him. Another potential love interest for Ninako was introduced in Volume Two: Ren’s classmate, Ando.

Several major developments take place for the characters over the course of Volume Three. The biggest is that Daiki and Sayuri become a couple, so he is taken out of Ninako’s tangled love web. Ando also gets a better idea about how he feels for Ninako, and we also get a little bit of backstory for him that explains why he was acting like such a player back in Volume Two.

Another big development is that Ren’s friend, Manabu, gets jobs for some of the characters at a café that his cousin is opening up. Manabu ends up bringing in Ninako, Ren, and Ando to help fill those part-time jobs, which provides for some interesting character interactions later in Volume Three. This volume ends on a cliffhanger, and it will be interesting to see how the story progresses in Volume Four.

I have to admit that Daiki and Sayuri becoming a couple completely caught me by surprise. For the short term, at least, I think this is a good plot development; it allows the character web around Ninako become a little less tangled than it was at the end of Volume Two. It will be interesting to see if Daiki and Sayuri can make this work in the long run, or if Daiki will end up back in the line of potential suitors for Ninako. Personally, while I like Daiki’s character, I think it’s probably best for him to be out of the situation that he had been in during the first two volumes of the series.

I also liked getting the backstory for Ando, because it helped me to better appreciate him as a character. Unfortunately, I can’t really root for him and Ninako to end up together at this point, because I question his motivations at this point in the story.

When I finished Volume Three, both the character development that took place in this volume, as well as the cliffhanger ending, made me want to read the next volume of the series. If you’ve read the first two volumes of Strobe Edge and enjoyed what you read, I think you’ll be pleased with how Volume Three progresses the story.

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

Additional posts about Strobe Edge:

Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume Two

Article first published as Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume Two by Io Sakisaka on Blogcritics.

Strobe Edge Volume Two 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 what I’ve read so far, I would agree with this rating.

Strobe Edge Volume 2
Written by: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: January 1, 2013

Ninako Kinoshita is a high school freshman who is in the middle of a love triangle. Ninako is in love with a guy named Ren, and Ninako’s friend Daiki is in love with her. To make things worse, it turns out that Ren already has a girlfriend, and that his girlfriend is Daiki’s older sister, Mayuka. Ninako’s friend, Sayuri, is in love with Daiki.

And if that isn’t complicated enough, another potential love interest for Ninako enters into this already tangled web. Ando is a classmate of Ren’s, and he’s shown as being a bit of a player. During Volume Two, Ninako, Ren, and Ando all end up being on the planning committee for the culture festival. Ando appears to be interested in Ninako, but she doesn’t appear to reciprocate his feelings because she’s still in love with Ren. Unfortunately, the situation isn’t helped when Ninako ends up in a situation where she has to be around Ren and Mayuka. In addition to all of that, Ninako has encounters with the group of girls who came together after being rejected by Ren.

By the end of Volume Two, it’s become rather clear that Strobe Edge is a story that will be more than just a “typical” shojo manga series. I have really enjoyed the drama and tension that is created through the tangled love web with some of the interrelationships that exist between the characters, such as Daiki and his sister.

Volume Two also includes a bonus story called, “Another Light.” This story takes place two years before the start of the story in Strobe Edge, and it shows how Ren and Mayuka became a couple in the first place. I thought this was a really good backstory, and I can see why this was done as a bonus chapter rather than being incorporated into the main story as a flashback. There’s enough going on in “Another Light” that it wouldn’t have been as strong if it had been distilled down to a flashback sequence.

The one thing I find interesting is the fact that Sakisaka designed Ninako and Mayuka to have a similar look, especially in the face. As a reader, it makes me wonder if Ren initially started becoming friends with Ninako because of this resemblance to Mayuka.

By the time I finished Volume Two, I found myself interested enough in the characters and story of Strobe Edge that I really want to read the next volume after it comes out.

If you’ve read the first volume of Strobe Edge and enjoyed it, I would recommend reading Volume Two.

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

Additional posts about Strobe Edge:

Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume One

Article first published as Manga Review: Strobe Edge Volume One by Io Sakisaka on Blogcritics.

Strobe Edge Volume One is a manga by Io Sakisaka, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2012. The series is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read so far, I would agree with this rating.

Strobe Edge Volume 1
Written by: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 6, 2012

The main character of Strobe Edge is a high school freshman named Ninako Kinoshita. She’s been friends with a boy named Daiki for several years, and it’s obvious that Daiki has feelings for Ninako. Ninako’s friends try to convince her that she’s in love with him.

Ninako soon meets the aloof Ren Ichinose, one of the most popular boys in the freshman class. As she starts spending time around Ren, she comes to realize that she’s in love with him and not with Daiki. By the end of this volume, confessions of love are made by various characters and Ninako learns some information about Ren

When the story of Strobe Edge begins, it comes across as a typical shojo love triangle of a female protagonist and two potential male love interests. However, as the story progresses and the reader learns more about Ren, it becomes clear that there’s going to be additional elements that have the potential to incorporate some very interesting emotional conflicts to the series.

I also thought that Ninako was a little annoying at first, because she came across as being a bit of an airhead. As the story progresses, though, Ninako can be confused about what she’s feeling, but doesn’t come across as much of an airhead. I wonder if Sakisaka had originally intended for Ninako to be an airhead, but found that that depiction didn’t work well in the long run for the story she was wanting to tell.

When it comes to the art, I have to admit that early on in the first volume, some of the drawings look a little on the rough side. As the volume progressed, the art started to look better. Fortunately, the story becomes interesting enough by the end of the first volume that the reader can start overlooking the art and become immersed in what is going on between the various characters.

Strobe Edge isn’t bad for a shojo manga series. While there are some respects in which it can come across as another “typical” shojo story, there are other ways in which Sakisaka was able to incorporate interesting character dynamics to make Strobe Edge an enjoyable experience for readers who may not typically fall into the shojo manga reader demographic.

If you’re a fan of shojo manga, I would recommend giving Strobe Edge a try.

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

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