Review by: Kiki Van De Kamp
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Hinako Ashihara
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shojo Beat Manga)
MSRP: $8.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
Two is now officially the loneliest number.
It’s hard to escape the ghost of your one true love and most especially if it happens to be your first one true love like in the case of Ann and Daigo. Both have emotionally connected in ways that made their relationship something altogether difference than just a coming-of-age romance. They found comfort in each another but, like everything in life, nothing lasts forever as we can see in Volume 6 of Sand Chronicles.
Having called it quits with Daigo, Ann has spent the many months away from him with Fuji who continues to live in Tokyo. In the opening chapter of Volume 6, Ann has finally decided to start dating Fuji and taking comfort with the young man who genuinely loves him. Comically enough, Ann never really tells Fuji that she decided to date him but rather he hears it from Ann’s friend, Asada, who spoils Ann’s moment to tell him in her own way.
When Ann’s friends suggest a study trip to the beach, it’s Asada that sees this as a chance for both Ann and Fuji to hook up. While the others have a blast out in the beach resort town and Fuji helps Ann with her studies, the opportunity for Fuji and Ann to be alone comes thanks to Asada who leaves a day early with the rest of the group. Ann tells herself that Fuji is right for her but she’s not that convinced. Then she tosses out the hourglass that Daigo gave her and decides to give into Fuji’s love.
Oh but that darn ghost of the first true love comes back to haunt her on that very beach and Fuji realizes that he just can’t compete with Daigo or even come close to replacing him. He does the most sensible thing he can think of and that is walk away. He takes the opportunity to come back home to Shimane only to find out that his sister Shika has come to the decision to travel to Canada and study abroad. Still riddled with guilt over trying to steal Daigo away from Ann, she also can’t get over the fact that her life has been a lie and that she is the result of an adulterous affair.
Meanwhile, a friend from Shimane comes to Tokyo and visits Ann. She has always admitted having a massive crush on Fuji so when she hears that Ann is dating him the girl drops the news that Daigo is also dating somebody. In fact, she tells him that the girl Daigo is dating is none other than Ayumu Narasaki – the girl that nearly got her killed a long while back during summer camp. You can imagine that Ann does not take this news well.
The truth is that while all his friends think he is in a relationship with Ayumu, Daigo doesn’t see her in the same romantic light. Even when he hears that Fuji is dating Ann, all he could really think about is Ann. At one point, he does encounter Fuji in Shimane and the two talk but Daigo’s expression says it all even though he tells his rival that he is good for Ann.
When Fuji returns to Tokyo, he tells Ann that he is Ok with being second best but Ann sees right through the lie. They continue to see each another but Fuji makes no romantic gesture towards Ann and thus makes her feel all the more lonelier. Then it’s Ann’s father that drops a major bomb on her. I will not spoil the surprise but it involves Kaede, her father’s Doctor friend. In the same chapter, Kaede also reveals something meaningful about Ann’s mother. We catch a glimpse of how Kaede met Ann’s mother. It’s definitely one of the more moving chapters of this volume.
One of the more dramatic volumes to come along since the first volume, Sand Chronicles, Volume 6, is so juicy that you can’t help but savor every page. Watching the ups and downs of the relationships in this series is actually a joy and even more so in this volume as broken hearts break just a little more and Ann begins to feel even more lonely than before.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
After much hesitation and dancing around it, Ann has finally decided to start dating Fuji. While the blooming romance started out rather well, Ann just can’t shake the ghost that is Daigo that continues to haunt her. Meanwhile, news that Daigo is dating a girl she knows hurts her and Ann’s father drops one hell of a bomb.
I simply adore Hinako Ashihara’s art ever since I picked up this manga and continue to love it even in the series’ sixth installment.
The drama is so thick in this one that you can cut it with a knife but Volume 6 of Sand Chronicles knows how to do drama so right that you’re sucked into its intricate and thoroughly enjoyable story. As Ann and Daigo move on with their lives, their hearts tell them that they just can’t get over the love they share. Once again, Ashihara definitely has us impatiently awaiting the next volume.