You may recall in my review of “Start With A Happy Ending” the experience I had when a lad assumed I was reading a hentai because of the title. Well, if he caught me reading this, I couldn’t blame him for thinking it as a hentai. I mean, it’s not even necessarily dirty, but it just sounds wrong. And, as my mother pointed out, she has a porno face. My mother, everyone.
Strobe Edge isn’t nearly as dirty. It actually focuses on the emotions of love, rather than the motions of love, like Love Roma. I think it aptly describes what it feels like to have a crush on someone for the first time.
Plot: Ninako and a cluster of girls have a crush on Ren, the school hottie. But he doesn’t display much emotion towards them. However, due to an incident involving a broken phone charm, Ninako develops a stronger crush on Ren, who seems to feel the same way as she does. However, something seems to be standing in the way of things working out…
That being other people with crushes. Ninako’s childhood friend Daiki also has a crush on her. In a *SPOILERS* twist of fate, it turns out that Ren already has a girlfriend: Daiki’s sister. I was genuinely surprised by this turn of events. Did not see it coming.
What I also didn’t see coming was the fact that even though a ton of girls also crush on Ren, they aren’t spiteful towards Ninako for being bold about it.
Let me tell you, you have no idea how relieved I was to discover this. So many times I have read a manga where this scenario devolves into bullying, or angry glares, or what have you. When I started this volume, I thought “Oh, here we go. She’ll fall in love with him, and they’ll begrudge her for it, saying ‘She’s not pretty enough!'” But no! They were mature about it! That alone makes me appreciate the manga.
I say “appreciate” but not necessarily “enjoy”. While there are some occasional deviations from typical character portrayal, I can’t say it’s enough to make me adore the series, or go past volume one. Ninako is just sort of bland, and even Ren, while he doesn’t fall into the Marty Stu category, still seems too far out of reach to be believable.
The other characters are just sort of there. Daiki and his sister simply serve as conflict for Ninako. They don’t really stand out much on their own. We don’t even get a good idea of why Ren wants to date the sister in the first place. Maybe in a later volume, but this wasn’t enough to get me excited for the second installment.
However, if I can say one reason to possibly get it, I’d say that the series knows what it feels like to have a crush. It really hits home when they say that “love is painful but not unpleasant”. The author recommends reading Strobe Edge with an open mind. Well, I needed an open mind to buy a series with this title, so I doubt it would be too hard to view it as such. If you want to explore your emotions, give it a try.