Synopsis: Ninako Kinoshita (Kasumi Aimura) is a high school student who develops feelings for her schoolmate Ren Ichinose (Sota Fukushi), whom she silently observes on the train everyday. One day, she musters up the courage to confess her feelings to him, knowing that she will be rejected because he already has a girlfriend.
Strobe Edge is an adaptation of a shojo manga by Io Sakisaka, and it is one of the rare pieces that is more grounded on reality than most. The characters do not lash out and hurt each other for no reason and viewers really understand why Ninako fell in love with Ren in the first place. He was kind, loyal, respectful, and was sensitive to her feelings. It’s quite easy to fall for a guy like Ren but it was also sweet torture for Ninako, who understood her position and loved him unconditionally without expecting anything in return.
It’s quite easy to fall for a guy like Ren but it was also sweet torture for Ninako, who understood her position and continued to love him unconditionally without expecting anything in return.
But how could anyone not be won over by Ninako, a girl who watches over the person she loves in silence, and supports him every step of the way even without him asking? It’s natural that she would draw the attention of another with the depth of her feelings for Ren. And this was precisely what happened when another classmate Ando-kun (Yuki Yamada) declared that he has fallen for Ninoka.
The film took its sweet time to establish all the reasons why Ren and Ninoka could not be together from the beginning. As a matter of fact, the main obstacle for their love story — Ren’s girlfriend Mayuka, only exited the picture one hour into the movie, leaving Ren to figure out his blossoming feelings for Ninoka just as his former best friend declares that he is in love with her. Further complicating the problem was the arrival of Ando’s ex-girlfriend, who caused the rift between the best friends in the first place.
I loved the characters’ very mature approach to love, and unrequited love in particular. Instead of throwing a fit and trying to self-destruct like many young characters in manga, they endured their pain silently and really sacrificed a lot for the ones they loved.
I loved the charisma of Kasumi Arimura (who reminded me of a young Maki Horikita) , and her chemistry with Sota Fukushi. From the beginning, everyone would figure out why their characters were supposed to be end game.
Their interactions were so sweet and cute, and at the same time frustrating because they couldn’t find the right timing to be actually together. I loved their kindness and concern towards each other, their understanding of their limitations and the basic goodness of their characters that you just feel the need to root for them. I had a bit of trouble with how Mayuka ended the relationship with Ren. I understood that she was being selfless but I was a bit turned off by the fact that she seemed to shift the blame on him for changing when it was he who tried so hard to support her when she was down. Boo, Mayuka. Not cool.
I had a bit of trouble with how Mayuka ended the relationship with Ren. I understood that she was being selfless but I was a bit turned off by the fact that she seemed to shift the blame on him for changing when it was he who tried so hard to support her when she was down. Boo, Mayuka. Not cool.
There is a lot of pain to be felt with unrequited love and this film has plenty of it. It drags along the pain like a sadist but at the same time, it draws you in so completely that you want to feel what the characters are feeling every single minute of the almost two-hour film.
All in all, even though Strobe Edge took its sweet time to reach its final outcome, by its end you feel so invested in the characters that you feel the same joy that they feel. And you feel like you too worked so hard for that happy ending that you deserve to be there at ringside to witness it. This love story took a lot of detours but it reached its final destination right where it began and it was — beautiful.