Strobe Edge vol. 1-3 – Io Sakisaka

Strobe Edge is a coming of age teenage drama about love and relationships. Originally published in Betsuma magazine starting in 2007, Io Sakisaka’s work has been brought to North America by Viz’s ShojoBeat imprint. The first volume was released in November 2012, the second in January 2013, and the third was published on March 5, 2013.

The Gist: Ninako Kinoshita unexpectedly falls for the quiet but popular boy Ren Ichinose. While she gets to know Ren a little at a time, she discovers that he already has a long time girlfriend, and she’s a very nice person. Resigned to unrequited love, Ninako must endure her feelings while admiring Ren from afar. Is the situation really as hopeless as Ninako believes? Seems Ren has some torn feelings of his own to sort out as well.


Cover 1 with good example of coloring and expression.

The Review: It took me several months to let my thoughts stew on this series. I really enjoyed reading it, but at first I couldn’t put my finger on what makes it different from other high school shoujo. It is one of those first crush stories with a cute protagonist and a hunky male lead – not all that uncommon in the land of shoujo manga. However, Io Sakisaka does an excellent job of character exposition. Ninako’s interactions with Ren are quirky, cute and memorable. Not only do we see Ninako’s perspective on things, but we also get Ren’s as well. Ren’s character exposition is what has made this series stand out above some other high school shoujo manga I’ve read. Watching him struggle with his commitment to his current girlfriend while fighting his attraction to Ninako, makes Ren’s character unique. It’s not very often that the boy in a shoujo series already has a genuine sweetheart of a girlfriend.

That’s what I like about Strobe Edge – it’s a different emotional trip than say, Kimi ni Todoke or High School Debut, two series that I consider to be in the same vein of storytelling as Strobe Edge. Ren has someone he deeply cares about, but what happens when someone more compatible comes along? That’s what Strobe Edge’s focus is, and it is compelling to watch as well as easy to relate to for anyone who has had similar experiences.

Paneling, toning, and line art.

Paneling, toning, and line art.

The art in this series is fantastic. I really love Sakisaka’s style. The characters are so expressive, with detailed line work and huge eyes full of emotion. The paneling flows smoothly from scene to scene with dynamic use of space, and the toning is just right – enough effects for the emotional moments, but not overly done with unnecessary patterns. The colored pieces show good use of color schemes and detail.

The Audience: This series is perfect for a shoujo audience. It’s innocent enough for tweens and highly enjoyable even to an older audience.

The Media: Strobe Edge will run a full 10 volumes. Currently we have the first three available from Viz’s ShojoBeat imprint, with the fourth volume expected to be released on May 7, 2013.

Heart of Manga Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ Highly Recommend

Well developed characters with a complex storyline and fantastic art – Strobe Edge is not to be missed!

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Super mom and teacher until the kids go to bed, then romance manga addict and writer until the caffeine wears out! Specializes in the shoujo and josei genre of manga and anime.
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