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Strobe Edge, Vol. 2 Paperback – January 1, 2013
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About the Author
Born on June 8, Io Sakisaka made her debut as a manga creator with Sakura, Chiru. Her works include Call My Name, Gate of Planet, and Blue. Her current series, Ao Haru Ride, is currently running in Bessatsu Margaret magazine. In her spare time, Sakisaka likes to paint things and sleep."
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You can't help but root for Ninako even though she (and the reader) knows that it's wrong for her to continue to pursue Ren. She claims that she just wants to be his friend, but it's easy to see that despite her good intentions, Ninako is deep down hoping that Ren will turn to her. I doubt that she herself really realizes this, but it's a decently ugly edge to her character that makes her more than just the cute innocent girl that she's otherwise portrayed to be.
What really pushes this series past the score of similarly themed manga would have to be that it tries really hard not to portray anyone as "bad" so far. Ren's girlfriend Mayuka would be so easily made into a bad guy, if not for her whole-hearted love for Ren and her somewhat tragic past. Granted, she's not the uber-tragic heroine, but her initial inability to move past the breakup of her family and her early interactions with Ren make for an appealing character. I like that she's the type of girl that we'd be rooting for if the focus of the series was on her rather than on Ninako.
Also good is that I really can't predict how the series will end. Will she end up with Ren? Someone else? I'm glad I gave the second volume a try because this really is a more promising series than I'd initially given it credit for.
I used to detest shoujo. I used to like romance anime when I was younger, but reading shoujo manga irked me to no end with its shallow, impulsive, tstl heroines. Had I realized sooner though that this was common to the genre, but most certainly not what this was about, I would have paid more attention to it. So when I read Kamisama Kiss I started to look for more shoujo to read, and while I haven't found a series that's captured my heart quite like that one has, I definitely have come to find little gems along the way, like Library Wars and Strobe Edge.
In this volume we get some development for the popular manwhore of the school, Ando.
EXCEPT, this guy is actually not unlikable!! *Mind=Blown*. I have NEVER liked the playboy characters in any kind of medium so to say that I have started to root for him has just made me reevaluate myself several times. He's started to see girls no longer as things to use. He's never experienced love and after seeing the adoration Ninako has for Ren, it stuns him. He becomes so attune to her feelings that he gets her out of close calls where her feelings might resurface and mess up the friendship she has with Ren.
Of course, being as "experienced" that he is, Ando can't keep his hands to himself. Sure, he's comforting her in times of need, but he leans in to kiss her forehead and naturally, freaks out Ninako. Seeing as Ando has so much experience with women, but can't seem to learn the ways of real romance is hilarious and heartwarming to watch. He's just like Ninako and seeing this is making me wonder what it would be like if he became the main love interest...though I doubt it.
Still, I am beyond pleased with his character.
And then we get some harsh life lessons. Jealousy, intimidation, feeling self-conscious, first love, bullying, friendship, friend zone, etc. all that is here. And handled so tastefully that I have to applaud the mangaka. The bullying isn't there to make the heroine seem like a saint. They're there to show that you can stand up to them, that you don't have to take their crap.
And Ren is stupid in this volume. Like srsly dude? However, because Ninako loves him, I gotta root for him to come around. And it better be handled well since he's got a girlfriend.