Saturday, January 5, 2013

Review: STROBE EDGE Volume 2


LETTERS: John Hunt
ISBN: 978-1-4215-5069-5; paperback; Rated “T” for “Teen”
200pp, B&W, $9.99 US, $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

Strobe Beat is a shojo manga from creator Io Sakisaka. Its premise asks, what if the guy that the heroine falls in love with is not available? That heroine is 16-year-old Ninako Kinoshita; the guy is Ren Ichinose. Just before summer vacation, Ninako tells Ren how she feels about him. But he turns her down...

As Strobe Beat, Vol. 2 begins, summer vacation is over and Ninako is ready to see Ren again. She hopes that she can still be friends with him. Will their first meeting since he rejected her at the train station be awkward? As if she didn’t have enough on her mind, there is a new boy, Takumi Ando, who keeps getting under her skin and in her way.

Ando isn’t the only new thing in Ninako’s school life. She meets the Rejected Alliance and also Ren’s girlfriend, Mayuka Korenaga! Plus, the bonus story, “Strobe Edge ~Another Light~” tells the story of how Mayuka and Ren met.

The Strobe Edge manga has some beautiful art, like so many Shojo Beat series. Graphically and visually, it reminds me of Miki Aihara’s shojo series, Honey Hunt. Like Honey Hunt, Strobe Edge has mean girls and impolite boys. This series is driven by the conflict within Ninako Kinoshita: how can she remain friends with Ren without bringing up the fact that she still loves him. Her obstacles are that she gets in her way and that the other students also make things difficult or awkward between Ninako and Ren.

Well, I’m a sucker for Shojo Beat teen romance, so perhaps, dear reader, you can take whatever I say with a grain of salt. I do think that this series must do something to stand out from the pack. Still, I look forward to the inevitable you-took-my-man confrontation between Ninako and Mayuka Korenaga.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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