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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

The Mystic Marriage
Heather Rose Jones
Progress: 302/426 pages
Ichi-F: A Worker's Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant
Kazuto Tatsuta
Progress: 58/553 pages
The Naked Sun
Isaac Asimov
Progress: 20/187 pages
50 Girls 50 and Other Stories
Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, Gary Groth
Fluency
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 pages
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: A Novel
Becky Chambers
Progress: 148/441 pages
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas, Bill Homewood, Naxos AudioBooks
Progress: 667/3165 minutes
A Matter of Oaths
Helen S. Wright
Progress: 101/277 pages
Medical School for Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases
Professor Roy Benaroch, The Great Courses, The Great Courses
Progress: 34/725 minutes
Strobe Edge, Vol. 1 - Io Sakisaka I had problems getting into this manga. Ninako seemed nice, and I loved the bit where she told Ren “If somebody does something for me, I appreciate it, no matter what it is” when he thought he'd given her a cell phone charm that wasn't to her taste. However, she also seemed dumb as a rock, and way too easily manipulated. I get that Sakisaka was trying to show readers that she had no experience with love and had no idea what that emotion felt like, but it was like she didn't have a clue about any emotions, not just love. She interprets her reactions to Ren as the beginnings of a cold, rather than as emotional reactions. This was played more seriously than humorously, and all it did was lower my opinion of Ninako's intelligence even further.While I was glad Ninako figured things out within the first volume, I still thought it took her a touch too long to realize the meaning of her reactions to Daiki vs. Ren. This line prompted a huge eye roll on my part: “Why does my heart feel so heavy? Is this how it feels when the person you like does something nice for you?” In this case, “the person you like” is Daiki. Ninako hurt her ankle and was feeling a bit lonely on the sidelines while her classmates had fun. She was happy when Ren took the time to keep her company, but when Ren left and Daiki came and said he'd do the same, it made her heart feel heavy. And it still took her a couple scenes after that to figure out that Ren was the one she really loved.Ren confused me. I couldn't tell whether he was already beginning to develop feelings for Ninako, or if everything he was doing was just him being nice. On the one hand, when Daiki confronted him and told him to focus on the girl he's already got, he didn't deny that he had feelings for Ninako. He didn't confirm that he did, either, but I would have thought he'd at least say something like “You're misunderstanding the situation.” On the other hand, his girlfriend said the two of them call and text each other every day. Even in this first volume, it's made clear that good people don't lead other good people on. When Ninako learns that Ren already has a girlfriend and that her feelings might never be reciprocated, she doesn't turn to Daiki instead. She tells him the truth, because to do otherwise would potentially hurt Daiki worse. If this is what good people do, then what's going on with Ren? He's supposed to be a good guy, so he doesn't strike me as the type who'd continue to call and text his girlfriend while nursing budding feelings for Ninako.I liked that Ninako was honest about her feelings, once she finally figured out what they were. A lot of shoujo heroines would have remained conflicted, allowing the misunderstandings to grow to the point that finally telling the truth would hurt multiple people. Ninako doesn't let that happen. I also liked that Ninako's friends accepted her decision and didn't continue to pressure her into becoming Daiki's girlfriend. I had worried that Daiki would be the sort to blow up on Ninako when she finally made her feelings and her decision crystal clear. That didn't happen, and I appreciated that, too.So, there were definitely things to like about this volume. It just didn't grab me as much as it should have. Ninako actively turned me off for most of the volume, Ren is still too much of a mystery (and not really in a “I must know more!” kind of way), and many of the characters don't have much personality yet. Ninako's friend might as well have been an amorphous blob – I couldn't pick any individuals out, and didn't realize the one character late in the volume was one of her friends until I started checking names prior to writing this post. The artwork is okay, but something about the way Sakisaka draws the girls (and, to some extent, the boys) makes it hard for me to tell them apart.I'm on the fence about whether I'll read more of this series. Ren and Ninako's moments together were cute, but the same could be said about a lot of shoujo couples. If I do read more, it will be via ILL.(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)