I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
Ren finally realized he likes Ninako, which was great. Honestly, I'm amazed it took him this long. There were several nice moments of him noticing her as a girl he has feelings for, rather than just as a girl he is friends with. He couldn't really say much about what he was thinking and feeling, not without feeling even worse. Part of me is hoping that he'll reach a point when he won't be able to keep it in anymore and will finally have to vocalize it all. Part of me is dreading that moment, because it'll be upsetting for everyone involved.
Daiki and Sayuri had some nice moments in this volume, as they came to a crossroads in their relationship. At first, Daiki did the stereotypical thing, basically making a decision for the both of them while telling himself that he was thinking of her and what would be best for her. I liked that Ninako told him off for this and that Daiki and Sayuri got another opportunity to sit down and talk.
But here's the thing. Daiki and Sayuri aren't the couple I read this series for, and most of the stuff that was going on in the Mayuka/Ren/Ninako/Ando love polygon was pretty predictable. I mean, I predicted some of the things that happened in this volume in my review of volume 3, and there's still room for the rest of what I predicted to come true.
The one thing that caught me by surprise was Ando and his behavior. I had expected him to try to spend as much time with Ninako as possible and do his best to win her over. Instead, he forced himself to behave the same as usual around her. His primary strategy involved pushing Ren away by convincing Ren than he and Ninako were becoming closer than they really were. I wasn't entirely happy with this, because it seemed to emphasize his worst aspects. He's not as nice as Ren, and he doesn't mind playing dirty. As a character, I still prefer him over Ren, but the things that make him interesting also give Ninako reasons to eventually choose Ren over him. Poor Ando.
All in all, this volume was okay, and I plan to continue reading the series. However, I hope that Sakisaka shakes things up soon. Yes, the ending of a romantic manga series is often predictable, Character A will end up with Character B, but the journey to get there shouldn't be, and so far that's not the case with Strobe Edge.
A few notes from the author about random things, like some of the fan mail she's received and the fact that she doesn't listen to music when she's trying to plot a story.
(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)