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Manga / Strobe Edge

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"'Love'... what kind of feeling is it? It makes your chest tighten, it tears at your heart, it makes you want to cry for no reason, and your chest hurts like something's been stabbed into it... but it's not a bad feeling at all."

Strobe Edge is a shoujo manga by Io Sakisaka and ran in the magazine Bessatsu Margaret from 2007 to 2010. Credited for boosting Sakisaka's fame, it was compiled in ten volumes. Throughout its run, it was met with widespread success, spawning a voice-over comic, two drama CDs, and four Light Novel adaptations. In 2014, a Live-Action Adaptation was announced (probably to cash in on Sakisaka's fame with her successor, Blue Spring Ride) and released in March 2015.

Ninako Kinoshita is a naive high school student who doesn't really know what love is. Her friends convince her that she must be in love with her childhood friend Daiki Korenaga, who has always held feelings for her. But Ninako gradually realizes what love is through her growing feelings for Ren Ichinose, the school's enigmatic heartthrob. More conflict arises when Ninako learns that Ren... has a girlfriend, Mayuka Korenaga - a famous model and Daiki's estranged older sister. Not only that, but Takumi Ando, Ren's middle school friend, develops feelings for Ninako too. For a girl who once didn't know what love was, what is Ninako to do?



  • A Day in the Limelight: Mayuka, Ando, Yuu, and Manabu each receive their own side stories in the printed volumes of the manga.
  • Accidental Hand Hold: When Ren takes away a glass that Ninako is holding, their hands bump and they nearly drop the glass. Ren and Ninako hold on it together to keep it from falling.
  • Accidental Kiss: Ren gives one to Ninako on the forehead after rescuing her from an oncoming ball flying in their direction.
  • Betty and Veronica: Daiki is the Betty and Ren is the Veronica to Ninako's Archie. Come the middle of the series, the roles switch to Ren being the Betty and Ando being the Veronica.
  • Big Man on Campus: Ren is the most popular boy in school.
  • Bookends: The quote about what love is appears in the beginning chapters. It ends with a similar quote.
  • Chick Magnet: Ren is the object of many a girl's affections.
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  • Compressed Adaptation: The film rearranged parts of the story, eliminated some of the side characters (notably Toda, Yuu, Manabu, Non-chan, and Tamaki), and also removed other plot points (such as Daiki and Sayuri's arcs). It also changed some minor details, such as the climax of the story taking place during the cultural festival instead of the sports festival.
  • Cool Big Sis: Mayuka tries to act like one, but Daiki turns out to be more mature than she is.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Ren comes off as stand-offish, but he's really shy, and he begins to smile more around Ninako.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Daiki and Ando for Ninako, who is a gender-flipped version for Ren.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first volume of the series dealt with the Daiki-Ninako-Ren Love Triangle, and by then the characters and plot hadn't completely settled. The story picks up by the time Ando is introduced in the story, and marketing seems to agree — the vomic and drama CDs begin after the events of volume 1 and are practically divorced from Daiki's subplot.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Mayuka breaks up with Ren because she knows that she is holding Ren back from accepting his feelings for Ninako. Next, Yuu gets Sayuri to make up with Daiki since he realizes that she's already moved on from him and he has no chance with her again. After, Mao tries to get Ando and Ninako together despite that she likes him. Finally, the clincher: Ando encourages Ninako to go after Ren.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: In vol. 7, Ninako makes an Incredibly Lame Pun to a harmless-looking chihuahua. Making bad puns happens to be the chihuahua's Berserk Button, and poor Ninako ends up getting chased by him.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Sayuri and Mao are in love with Daiki and Ando respectively, who are in love with Ninako, who is in love with Ren, who is dating Mayuka but is slowly developing feelings for Ninako that he is initially in denial of.
  • Love Triangle: The series starts off with Daiki liking Ninako, and Ninako liking Ren while simultaneously maintaining the Ninako-Ren-Mayuka triangle. After volume 2, Ando takes Daiki's spot, and by volume 5, the Ninako-Ren-Mayuka triangle is broken when Ren and Mayuka break up. The remainder of the series focuses on the Ando-Ninako-Ren triangle.
  • Maybe Ever After: It's really ambiguous as to whether Ando and Mao get together in the end, especially since it's not mentioned in the epilogue. The same thing applies to Manabu and Ritsuko.
  • One Degree of Separation: Ninako and Daiki were friends since childhood (although Ninako has never met Mayuka before, as his parents had been divorced by then). Ren and Ando were classmates and friends in middle school. Tsukasa and Manabu were classmates in middle school. Yuu went to the same supplementary courses as Sayuri and also dated her in middle school.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: There's never an instance where Noriko is not called "Non-chan." Similarly, everyone never refers to Yuu by his full name, Yuutarou, but as simply "Yuu" or "Tera." To a lesser extent, Manabu is also known by the nickname "Ga-chan" (since "Gaku" is an alternate pronunciation to "Manabu") but his family, Ren, and Yuu still refer to him by his real name. The English version by Viz Media does away with the nicknames and Last-Name Basis, so this trope is nearly nonexistent in the English translation.
  • Pair the Spares: Daiki, following Ninako's rejection, eventually starts dating and falls in love with Ninako's friend, Sayuri, becoming the Beta Couple in the series.
  • Sacred First Kiss: Ninako runs into problems with this in the post-finale chapter, as Ando had stolen her first kiss.
  • Second Love: Sayuri for Daiki, and Ninako for both Ren and Ando.
  • Shout-Out: Ando sings "Chocolate Disco" in one chapter.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Daiki and Mayuka.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Ninako is in love with Ren, the most popular boy in school.
  • Slice of Life
  • Solomon Divorce: Daiki lives with his dad and Mayuka with her mom after their parents divorced.
  • Those Two Guys: It's easy to recognize Manabu and Yuu as two guys Ren is always seen with. Fortunately, their Character Development circa volume 3 makes them more prominent and distinguishable.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Ren, Ando, and Ninako.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Daiki for Ninako.
  • Unwanted Harem: Ren rejects all of the love confessions he receives from the girls at school because he has a girlfriend.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Ren and Ando usually don't consider each other as friends unless they're in a good mood.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Ninako, never having experienced love before, is confused when her friends convince her that she is in love with her childhood friend Daiki. She agrees only because she thinks she developed feelings for Daiki. She gradually learns of what love really is through her growing feelings for Ren.
  • When He Smiles: Ren rarely smiles to the point that when he actually does, everyone stops dead in their tracks.