Let’s start with the cover. This is the second volume cover featuring Ren. In one of Io Sakisaka’s mini insert notes between the chapters, she tells us that she slightly altered the look of Ren’s hair to make him easier to draw. Apparently he’s the hardest character to draw properly but due to her amazing art skills, Ren looks flawless on the cover of volume 6. I feel like he could model on the cover of a fashion magazine…
The story in volume 6 starts off with all the characters, major, minor and background ones, in a sort of standstill. All the girls in Ninako’s grade (and maybe even other grades) are going crazy because Ren’s just broken up with his girlfriend. That’s right ladies. Ren Ichinose is officially single. Everyone’s probably thinking the same thing – better confess your feelings soon before another girl nabs him!
Aside from what’s happening in the world of school gossip, it breaks my heart to see Ren so torn up and sad. He usually looks cool, composed and easygoing but right now he always seems depressed. Ninako’s definitely noticed it and she’s trying to do everything she can to cheer him up, but what do you do when you hear you crush has broken up with his girlfriend? Are you happy or sad? Probably caught between a rock and a hard spot like Ninako.
On Ando’s end, he’s been relentless pursuing Ninako since volume 2 and it seems like he’s going nowhere. I admire his efforts though… but Ren’s just really the ultimate good looking nice guy. A large chunk of the middle of the story is devoted to Ando and Ren’s rocky friendship. At the end of the section, Ando’s reconciled with his jealousy of Ren and they seem to have made up (sort of). I’ll never understand guys.
The last chapter introduces us to Ninako’s second year in high school where she’s lucky enough to find herself in the same class as Ren, Ando and all her friends. I feel bad for Daiki however, seems like he’s been listed in the class next door. There’s also a short snippet of Yu speaking to another girl who apparently transferred to the school because of him. I’m pretty surprised that Yu might get a story. Perhaps Yu and Sayuri have some sort of back story?
What I’ve noticed from Strobe Edge, that’s completely different from other shojo manga series I’ve seen is that it doesn’t seem like everything is focused on one couple and that’s usually hard to do in books. If you focus too much on the development of the main couple, all the other characters lose out on spotlight time and in the end you have a pair of really three-dimensional personalities interacting with other immensely two-dimensional characters which make the story unrealistic. However, if you craft an entire back story for each of your characters, the main plot wavers and the whole story loses focus. It takes a really delicate balance to keep track of all your different characters.
My overall thoughts of Strobe Edge so far…
In the world of Strobe Edge, not everything is entirely driven by Ren and Ninako. A lot of things happen while their individual stories are taking place but somehow everything spirals back to the two making it certain to us that they are our main couple. At the same time, we swap quite a bit between third person and first person. The only inner thoughts we get are of Ninako and Ando. We always view Ren from a third person perspective and I believe that’s to keep the secrets of our gorgeous hero under wraps. The only tell-tale signs of what Ren’s thinking of feeling are the expressions on his face, which go back to Sakisaka’s art style. Stories that are heavily centered on romance and drama require a lot of finesse in the way the characters are drawn. You need to get the right expressions or the wrong emotions and messages will come across, especially when you have a quite character like Ren. What’s brilliant about Sakisaka’s storytelling is how much all the characters are related to one another and because her art style makes the characters so easily distinguishable, easing into the story’s main plot plus its multiple sub plots isn’t difficult at all.
A real treat at the end of this volume is the bonus story called “Colorless Dreamer” which is a stand-alone one-shot that Sakisaka created before Strobe Edge. It’s about a poor couple who are trying to get by in the real world. The main character is Rena Kowaki, a clumsy but kind-hearted girl who’s constantly getting fired from her jobs. She lives with her boyfriend Haruka, an up-and-coming musician. Though it’s quite short, it leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling s it’s really worth reading through. Don’t skip out on it!
I hope you guys liked this review. It went on longer than I expected because once I start ranting… well, you know the rest. It’s always a pleasure to review Strobe Edge and writing manga reviews is my favourite kind of blogging. Thank you guys so much for reading and if you’re new here, don’t forget to follow me for more new stuff coming every day!
What are you pondering today?