A Review: Strobe Edge (Japanese)

I found myself smiling while watching this movie. It felt like I was riding the train of love with Ren and Ninako. They made me want to stay inside their train, wishing it will never stop. Promise, it’s not just because I was thinking of Sota Fukushi. Though it’s undeniable that I kept on smiling, and giggling the more I see him.

If you haven’t watched this movie or read the manga, I hope you will give this a try. The love story is familiar, but the way it was executed will leave you wanting for more. Another good thing about this movie, cliché’s are broken and every character is wrapped up properly. Though the acting could use a teaspoon full of spice just to enhance the emotion. Other than that, I don’t have any major complaint. The cinematography and the writing are well done beautifully. And I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack!

This will be the first of two live-action film adaptation from a manga written and illustrated by Io Sakisaka that I will feature. Join and sit with me as we explore how light, painful and sweet young love is.

What are you going to do when the person you love is already taken? Are you going to willingly let go, become bitter for not having the love you want, or hold on to the thing called hope? It’s a very common question and Ninako Kinoshita (Kasumi Arimura) showed us her answer. Well, if someone like Ren Ichinose (Sota Fukushi) is the man of your dreams, waiting is not in vain. Or is it?

Ren is the most popular guy in school that every girl wants to have. Unfortunately, he’s already taken by the beautiful Mayuka Korenaga (Arisa Sato) that’s why every girl who confessed to him were all denied. Ninako knows about this but she’s not just like any ordinary girl. She’s the type who loves only one man and she doesn’t care about what other people think. She’s very clumsy and may seem weak, but she’s the strongest character next to Takumi Ando (Ena Koshino).

One day, she goes to school in her usual route while riding the train. She saw Ren seated from a far. Before they alight, Ninako moved closer to the door where Ren stood and looked unabashedly straight at him. He smiled in return and motioned to leave first. Ninako can’t let this opportunity slip by. So she gathered the courage to confess saying “You know what, I like you Ren!”. She wore a bright smile that illuminates just like the sunlight. Even if she was rejected, it was enough that she was able to say what her heart wanted for a long time. Unlike other girls who confessed and became bitter towards Ren, Ninako lead him to the road of friendship.

In my mind, this is not the best route. But in Ninako’s mind, this is better than nothing at all. She was content having him as a friend. She didn’t know that the closer she gets to him, the more dangerous it is for her heart. Actually, for both of them. Ninako experienced her first love, uncovering every layer of it that showed her love isn’t what she thought at first.

Ninako stumbles frequently and it seem that she never learns to be cautious. Although she gets hurt, she manage to stand up each time. This is very telling of her character.


This is one of my favourite scene. I won’t mind being left behind and wait for the next train to arrive if I will be given a time to sit beside Sato, I mean Ren. They are beginning to be more comfortable together at this point. We also saw another side of Ren, he likes to eat anything sweet. If that is any indication of a woman he prefers, then Ninako is just right for him.

We go back in time when Mayuka relied on Ren the most. He was the doting boyfriend who promised to be by her side. He was working hard to earn a living to support Mayuka. I’m assuming that this was the reason why he got a job and had no time to rest. Of course, the fatigue caught up with him. Dude, with your body its inevitable. During this time of weakness, isn’t it good to know you can rely on someone? He collapsed at the train station and Ninako came by at the clinic to take care of him while he was sick.

They went home together that day. I want to savour the train ride! I think Ren enjoyed it more than I did. He felt needed and reliable at that time as Ninako rests her head on his shoulder. His smile is so infectious! I wished the train won’t stop watching that scene.

Ninako insisted that she wants to send him home. But Ren was firm to say no because it is already late, traveling during that time will be dangerous for her. However Ninako is really stubborn, she follows her heart more than her mind. She hurriedly ran to caught up with Ren. She almost fell down the stairs but Ren was there to catch her.

They stood still like that for a moment. They realised how close they were but Ren just grabbed her even closer, and embraced her tightly. OMO!! He was grateful to her for taking good care of him, but I think she felt something more than that. However, when he left, Ninako was reminded of one painful fact – he has a girlfriend. Don’t assume anything. Ouch

When she arrived home, she ponders about letting her love go. But should she really do it?

While we wait for her answer, let’s get to know Ando more. He really likes Ninako. He has been observing her from a far. He knows what loving Ren meant so he wanted to protect her from him. Ando and Ninako are alike in so many ways. In fact, he understands her more than herself. They are both the type of person who hides the pain behind their smile. The only difference they have, Ando already knows how to mend his heart and protect it from harm.

Ren and his girlfriend eventually broke up not because love was gone but because they weren’t able to surpass the test of change. We know what this means! It’s time to enjoy the sweet stuff!

You know what’s the best thing about reversal? When Ren is the one staring at her already! And he’s smiling!! Fangirl alert. That moment in front of the locker where they were both sharing an earphone listening to one music, their music. Love never sounded so good! I thought I’d be content just seeing the stolen glances and hidden smile in the hallway. This scene is way better!

Here is where I’m going to end my recap. The following scene after this is something you have to watch yourself. I don’t want to spoil the rest of the story. Every character was able to handle each situation given to them well, no matter how painful it was.

If there is one lesson I learned from them it is this: Follow your heart, you’ll be happy.

Personal Thoughts:

The story is not arranged chronologically. So for someone like me who haven’t read the manga, it looks disorganised since we are jumping from one timeline back to another. Then again, the love story is woven in between all the scenes and it’s still enjoyable. I love the comic strip style of the split screen. That’s a good homage for the manga.

I love how realistic the story is. Unrequited love is a familiar plot and Strobe Edge’ interpretation clearly showed the emotions that is felt from it. Thanks to Ninako and Ando. Both of them served as an example for us to understand what unrequited love means. Ando was the voice that clearly resonated the emotion for this kind of love. I heard him and I felt the pain through him.

Ando: The me now would not be that easy to get, you know.

I personally love Andou’s character the most. For me, he has the depth that touched me in this movie. His love story is richer, his pain stronger and his love is the purest. He has a genuine heart of a man. He is the type of guy who is definitely for keeps. He was badly hurt too, so the next time he loves a woman he’d make it better than his last. Who wouldn’t want that?

Ninako: I will decide my own limit..

She is a greedy character! She didn’t realise how selfish her love was for Ren. It’s her flaw, and she allowed love to take over her life like that. She eventually learned how to handle it better in the end.

Love for Ninako was never a choice between Ren and Ando. She knows exactly who her heart belongs to but she would never hurt Ando by using his love for her either. Their angle is so good! IMO, they even have better emotional scenes. I was moved by their conversation in the end. They were able to transcend the right emotion that was rooted from what their character experienced. They showed respect for love even if it brought them pain. They understand what love can do, they don’t want to hurt each other because of it.

I think if you love the way Ninako and Ando did, you will never regret it. Moreover, I love how they handled the importance of friendship. I think that’s cherry on top of their story!

Ren: Your existence in me.. is occupying position and it keeps on growing.

Ren is a fragile character. He may seemed aloof and mysterious at first due to his loyalty for his girlfriend. His relationship with Mayuka is deeply rooted. He tried his best to maintain it but he failed. He is a reliable man but he’s actually weak. It is not advisable to carry a burden more than you can handle. A man is not defined by that. Good thing Ninako came into his life. It’s interesting how he allowed her to be his friend. He didn’t see the danger from that. Maybe part of it was because he found a genuine intention from Ninako. Eventually, he was consumed by her presence but he was still struggling from a break-up. When he finally revealed his feelings, Ninako responded differently. This changed everything!

Now it’s up to you to find out the rest of the story 🙂 Sorry for being such a tease.

I’m currently reading the manga and I’m loving it so far! The characters are interesting. I am enthralled reading every page. It is unfair to compare the movie and the manga. Each has a charm of its own. Don’t be discouraged and experience both differently.

Until next time!


  • kiyori says:

    I freaking love this live action of Strobe Edge! IMO it has a better storyline and less cringe-worthy scene than Ao haru Ride live action.
    My most favourite parts were the cinematography and the BGM. They’re cute, painful and beautiful at the same.
    My only complaint was the lighting in some parts, where the scene are just too dark I cannot see properly the actor’s face, especially the one that involving Ren. Dammit! Why is it sometimes Ren’s face couldn’t be seen clearly like it was actually taking 50% of the emotions away from the actor’s expression.
    But overall it was a good and beautiful adaptation. I found myself rewatching it from time to time <3

    • leila108 says:

      I know what you’re talking about. It’s the scene after he and Mayuka broke up, right? The light was dark at that time because he wasn’t really evoking the right emotion so the director just made a visual representation of how he felt in that moment. IMO, something is lacking in that scene. I didn’t feel the emotion of the break-up. Sato needs more time to hone his skills 🙂 The director did what he could to cover that.

      • kiyori says:

        It’s sota, not sato btw.
        hmmm…i think he is just fine as Ren because Ren is supposed to be subtle, but i wouldn’t call him great either.
        Nope, not talking about that scene. I was actually referring the one part where Ninako was rushing down the stairs to catch up with Ren, you know when Ren continued to hug Ninako, he was actually struggling with emotions but his already tanned face is just too dark, it was just so unclear. And also the flashback scene with Mayuka.
        A great director (not that this director sucks lol) knows how to make use of his skills without needing to cover up to the point you just can’t see the actor’s face at all imo.

  • Minaboom says:

    your review is beautifully written, i decided to watch it first then continue reading it
    can you tell me where to watch it with eng sub, my search had no success

    • leila108 says:

      I downloaded the video and used the subtitle provided by the fans in the Facebook page of Strobe Edge. I hope this helps 🙂

    • Minihaha says:

      Search with the title and there will be several drama sites that are fully subbed for you to watch. I dare not name these site just in case they are not legal streaming sites. hope this helps.

  • Anna says:

    Looks like live-actions are getting better. I love aoi haru ride and the the one with Yamashita tomohashi as sensai. Didn’t watch this but ur review makes me want to 😆

  • spazzy06 says:

    I read the manga many many years back and I loved it. I’m really looking forward to watching the live action movie.

  • Queen says:

    I saw this movie this weekend, and like u the smiles were infectious. The train seen was also my favorite, I wouldn’t have complained if the remainder of the flim consisted of them ridding that train. My limited understanding of Japanese didn’t hamper me from understanding the emotions that Naniko was feeling, the one part that I would like to understand is the bridge seen with Ando that seemed like the most emotional seen and it was one of the turning point in Naniko feelings/ expectations towards Ren. Any way thank you for the post and shedding a little light on this movie, I thoroughly enjoyed it 😉

  • Dani says:

    I love Fukushi Sota, and sad when he starred in a disaster series like his last one, I even forgot the title. He is best playing a high schooler. For now. Until he grow up a bit in his acting.

  • Minihaha says:

    Thanks for the recommendation Liela108, a truly heart tugging movie. I love these kind of films.
    I simply love Andos, his true understanding of the meaning of love, the pain of love, and the endurance of love, the perseverance of love, the commitment of love, the honesty of love, the selfishness of love, the compassion of love, etc he is wholesomely awesome and I would love a guy like that!
    (I already do, I am blissfully, happily, very lucky and blessed to be married to him, loved, treasured and care for by my wonderful other half 😉
    Just like Ren & Niaoko love will stand the test of time and change as they are honest and true to their feelings, and have great friends that support and wish that love all the very best.

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