My parents brought me some presents from their holidays in France, namely some manga. >D Therefore, it's review time now!! >3<
First up is Strobe Edge by Sakisaka Io. It's completed in 10 volumes and was serialised in Bessatsu Margaret magazine starting from 2007. The French version is published by Kana and is currently at 2 volumes.
I originally wanted to read Strobe Edge, because I saw one very pretty picture. So I started without much expectation. It's shoujo after all. Can't expect too much from it. But then I was quickly hooked. And I realised that I had already read some short stories by the same author with the same few expectations and ended up thinking "Wow, these were rather good!"
Yes. So Strobe Edge centers around Kinoshita Ninako, a cute and upbeat normal high school girl, and school idol Ichinose Ren, who seems a bit aloof and mysterious. While in the beginning Ninako is only hyping Ren because her friends do too, when she gets the chance to get to know him better, she realises that there's another side to him and she falls in love with him. And without making much off a fuss (in contrary to many other shoujo titles) she confesses pretty fast, but unfortunately Ren already has a girlfriend. Hmpf. But this is only the beginning. Of course, there's also a rival showing up and relations from the past bring trouble as they surface again as well as daily troubles of high school life.
Storywise it's not the most original story, but it has some twists and it's full of fun and heartwarming moments. The art is super pretty. And the characters are so nice and lively. And there's a lot of them and everyone, the minor characters too, has his or her own story. Ninako definitely grows stronger in the story's progress. Andou, the rival, is a playboy, but he's such a lovable character! Ren is quite a complicated character, because he has a hard time in bringing his real personality across. He's not the typical case of a "school's hottest guy" I think (which is good). His and Ninakos friends are memorable as well (Gacchan!).
And luckily, the usual party of girls, who gets pissed because the heroine is making moves on the school's idol comes veery short. XD
All in all it's been a while since I last had so much fun reading a shoujo manga. (Good Morning Call and Charming Junkie are those others that come to my mind when I think about series with similar theme and fun.)
So I'd definitely recommend to give it a try if you get the chance. :)
(Btw, there are two drama CDs, too, in which Ren is voiced by Nakamura Yuuichi (Ikuto in 'Shugo Chara', Gray in 'Fairy Tail') and Ninako by Toyosaki Aya (Yui from 'K-On' and Nako from 'Hanasaku Iroha'). So ... it must be good, doesn't is?! >3< (No, I'm not fangirl to certain voice actors, totally not. Ahem. =3=))