Sand Chronicles 7Posted: June 5, 2010
Hinako Ashihara – Viz – 2009 – 10 volumes
You know, I was kind of sick of Ann’s back and forth between the boys and the way she was just never happy, then someone in the comments pointed out that that was the whole point, and everything clicked.
It helps that this volume leaves that mess behind and advances the storyline to where volume one began things. Ann resolves to be happy, and sets about her adult life working as hard as she can and hoping Mr. Right will come along. He does. It’s not quite the storybook romance you’d expect from a shoujo manga, but he certainly seems like Mr. Right.
Meanwhile, all her friends are getting married, and time is marching on. She feels it keenly, and seems very lonely, but with her upcoming marriage, her thoughts keep drifting back to Daigo and Fuji. Fuji tells her that she was never as happy as she was with Daigo, so she resolves to go back and see him again, after all these years, to test that.
Maybe it’s just been too long since I was a teenager (I haven’t been out of my teens for very long at all, so I hope that’s not the case), but I had trouble relating to Ann’s back and forth. I’ve never really been one for doubts or “grass is greener” situations, though, so Ann’s my complete opposite in every way. That’s a shame, since I love the small town setting, and can relate to the whole friend-swapping romance thing. The fact that the series moves on and shines the appropriate light on all that, making it sound crazily desperate and just such a teen thing, is pretty amazing, and erases all my doubts about it. Ashihara really has captured something here, the perfect view of both teen life and young adult life, and while I’m not very sure where things are going after the end of this volume (a bad place indeed), I think this volume cements Sand Chronicle’s place as a classic.
I often compare it to We Were There. I liked We Were There better, but I think they’ve just switched places. We Were There has also advanced the storyline to adulthood, but hasn’t quite gotten around to shining the nostalgic light back on its teens, going for maximum drama instead. I do like where it’s going, but now that I see Sand Chronicle’s aim, I have a much higher opinion of it.
I enjoy reading it again, basically. It’s showing me viewpoints that I rarely see in shoujo manga, and is a much more mature flavor that what I’m used to. It’s got a lot to say, and while Ann isn’t easy for me to identify with, I can still appreciate everything it’s trying to say. I’m very curious to see where it goes from here.