Friday, October 12, 2012
Manga Review: Strobe Edge Vol 1 by Io Sakisaka
Title: Strobe Edge Volume 1
Author: Io Sakisaka
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: 11/06/2012
There are some definite pros and cons to this manga. The pro is that quite obviously, the artwork is rather nice. One of the cons is that at times I felt that the lead character of Ninako was a little overly dippy. Luckily for you, the reader, the two sort of balance each other out and the promise of more character development kept me interested.
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?
Ninako is a huge trusting ditz in this book. She's far too trusting and while part of me wonders how she survived this far in life without being mugged or smacked around by irritated peers, Ninako also has sort of a cute charm to her that kept me from being truly irritated by her to the point where I'd stop reading. It's also part of the story line, so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt for the time being, but I'll warn potential readers that if you have a low tolerance for happy-go-lucky ditzes, you'll either want to approach this with caution or avoid it. It'd be a shame to completely dismiss it for this factor alone, as the artwork in this really is nicely done. The other big problem is that there are a lot of traditional manga tropes. I've peeked around on the internet for reviews of the later volumes and I've been reassured by them that the series will improve.
Although at the end of it all, there's still a charm to this manga that convinces me that many of the manga's initial faults won't really bother that many people and that this will more than likely get a nice following. There's a lot of potential here to grow and despite all of this, I can't help but get drawn into the cuteness of everything. This won't bring in people looking for series with more edge to it, at least not yet, but it's something that I'll keep my eyes on as far as future volumes go. The artwork is really what I love the most about this and I've bought entire series of manga just because the artwork hit some sort of quirk with me.
Overall, my recommendation is that this is something that die-hard fans of shoujo should absolutely get. The rest of us? Other than the groups that obviously wouldn't like it, this will be something that I'd recommend flipping through at the bookstore first, although don't be surprised if you end up getting it.
3.9 out of 5 stars
(Review copy provided by publisher)