Strobe Edge (ストロボ・エッジ)The Strobe Edge live action movie brings to life the quirky and refreshing relationship between Kinoshita Ninako and Ichinose Ren.Directed by: Ryuichi HirokiStarring:Sota FukushiKasumi Arimura
Just like most of the girls in their high school, Kinoshita Ninako (Arimura Kasumi) is content gazing at the popular Ichinose Ren (Fukushi Sota). One day, Ninako drops her phone while riding the subway, and Ren accidentally steps on it. The two forms a friendship from then, as they continue to cross paths in school. Ninako cannot help but fall in love with Ren, and when she confesses her feelings, Ren rejects her and admits that he’s already in a relationship. Despite that, the two continue being friends with each other.
Strobe Edge is one of the manga I thoroughly enjoyed, so I was excited when I heard that there’s going to be a live action movie. While this adaptation isn’t perfect, it’s one of the better ones in this side of the entertainment world. It tries to stay faithful to the original source from start to end. I guess the fact that the manga is already completed really helps.
However, I got weirded out by the way too fast transition in the first part of the movie. Instead of devoting time building up chemistry and history between Ninako and Ren, they showed the progress of their relationship in frames and fast forward narration. From how they become friends to the day Ninako is rejected is shown too quickly, with no buildup in emotion and suspense. The movie’s just starting but it felt like we’re nearing the end already.
The story jumps straight into the angst and conflict that follow the reaction. It’s all rather sad, because the middle part of the film dragged on with its melodramatic scenes and dialogue. Only when they give chance for the story to actually devote time in developing the relationship between our leads did the story finally make sense.
Though I don’t particularly dislike Ando Takumi (Yamada Yuki) who serves as the second lead in the movie, he spends more time with Ninako than Ren. They also talk about their feelings and love so much, when I’d rather see more action. I think this is where most live action movies fail, they can’t strike a good balance in the tone of the movie. I understand the need to be romantic and contemplative, but there are better ways than simply talking about it.
I am very forgiving for live action adaptations of shoujo manga, but I kind of wish they’ll at least write the script well. They usually get relatively new actors and actresses for the lead roles, thus, the awkward acting. But at least make a coherent story. I do like the directing of this movie, though.
Strobe Edge as a manga is light and fluffy, and I kind of miss that in this adaptation. There’s a lack of interaction between Ren and Ninako, which should have been the heart of this movie. I am craving their laid-back relationship, because their friendship is one of the few that felt the most natural in the shojo manga world. I’d love to see that translated on screen.
While Fukushi Sota perfectly portrays the quiet and humble Ren, Arimura Kasumi lacks in the delight and charm of the bright Ninako. Though her looks are perfect for the role, I wish someone brighter was casted.
The OST of the movie is the saving grace of the adaptation. Suffice to say, it also helps form the foundation of Ninako and Ren’s relationship. The way they incorporated it in the story is so nicely done.
I’m also incredibly in love with Fukushi Sota’s gorgeous face but that’s a different story.
Overall, the live action movie of Strobe Edge is a good attempt, but it can be improved a lot more. Is it a waste of time? Definitely not. Would I watch it again? Probably yes, but only because of Fukushi Sota. If they could have condensed the story and devoted more time between Ren and Ninako, I could give it a higher rating.