Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Hinako Ashihara
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shojo Beat Manga)
MSRP: $8.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
Can two soul mates find happiness elsewhere?
Usually it’s Kiki who writes the reviews for one of our favorite shoujo title, Sand Chronicles, but she’s too devastated to write. You see, she has been hoping that Ann and Daigo would work out their problems and find some kind of happiness but, like in real life, things don’t often turn out the way you would expect. What we can expect is another compelling volume that continues to keep us hooked.
The rollercoaster that is Ann and Daigo’s relationship has had a number of twists and turns along the way much like every relationship but after Volume 4, it has never gotten this bad to the point that Daigo tells her that they need some time apart. It has been three whole months since he hasn’t called and Ann finds herself moping in front of her friends back in Tokyo. It isn’t until her friend, Asa, forces Ann to call him that they agree eagerly to see each another again in Shimane.
Meanwhile, Shika – who has been pursing Daigo nonstop – is told by Daigo himself that he has no time for any other girl but Ann. Like Ann, he too has been moping around and hearing her voice again made him realize how much he missed her. Poor Shika finds her spirit crushed despite having tried so hard to win over her best friend’s boyfriend at a time when her life took a turn for the worst. It surprises even Fuji that his young sister found solace in a boy like Daigo.
Unfortunately, even after their emotional and cheery reunion together, Ann feels a bit different now about being with Daigo. Somehow, his bullheadedness as well as his quick temper just isn’t as endearing as it was when she was dating him. Ann also realizes that Shika isn’t acting like herself either and it begins to worry the young girl that her friend might be falling into a familiar pattern of depression that only Ann is familiar with since her mother’s suicide. Is Shika depressed enough to do something to herself after being rejected by Daigo who she fell madly in love with? It’s quite possible and Ann isn’t about to let anything happen to a friend even if said friend tries to take her boyfriend away from her.
As Ann reflects on how she sees Daigo and how he sees her, she comes to a heartbreaking decision that Daigo pleading for her to reconsider said decision. For reasons I won’t go into for risk of spoiling what is said, Ann does walk away leaving Daigo not accepting what happened. As Ann finds herself back in Tokyo looking for happiness elsewhere, it is Fuji who jumps at the chance to be the one that would finally bring some happiness in her life. Will he be able to convince her to move on and give love another chance? Only time will tell, really.
In the meantime, Daigo meets a girl we met before in Volume 1 a long while back. This girl – who I will not name here for risk of ruining the surprise – has changed a lot and Daigo could see this. Strangely enough, they strike up a friendship again as Daigo finds his thoughts concentrated in something other than Ann. He looks to his future and what he wants to be when he gets out of High school. While his choice of profession makes his friends crack up, it is this girl that sees the potential in that dream and that Daigo can pull it off.
Things, once again, look very bad for our favorite young couple in Volume 5 of Sand Chronicles. How this will play it is anyone’s guess and that’s another part of the reason we love this manga so much. Sure, it’s hard to see these two likeable characters in agony but in their story we learn a lot about the good and bad things a love like this can bring. Ashihara once again has us just as hooked on this series just as she had done in the very first volume.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
After not talking to each another for three months, Ann and Daigo rush to each another’s side only for Ann to discover that she might be causing Daigo more grief than happiness. As they part, however, new possibilities for love emerges for both of them. As Ann and Fuji hang out more frequently, Daigo meets up with a person from his past.
Ashihara’s art easily conveys all the emotions mere words aren’t able to convey and this is but one of the many things we love about this manga-ka. This volume’s cover art is also beautiful.
It seems that Ann and Daigo’s relationship has hit another wall and this time it’s Ann that severs the ties between them in yet another emotionally packed volume. We’ve seen the pair in some hard times before but things are definitely changing as the characters are getting older. You just have to love the well thought-out drama Sand Chronicles continues to display.