Sand Chronicles, Volumes 1-8

Sand Chronicles
by Hinako Ashihara
Published 2008-2010 by VIZ Media
Approx. 200 pages each. Paperback.
Rating: 5/5

Sand Chronicles opens with a memory of Ann’s childhood. She and her mother move to Shimane, her mother’s home town, after her mother and father divorce. At first, Ann hates Shimane and wants to go back home to Tokyo. Soon, she makes friends and begins to settle in there. When her mother disappears, she’s devastated but her friends are there for her, especially Daigo. Eventually, her father shows up and asks Ann to come live with him in Tokyo. Ann hesitates, worried to leave Daigo, but decides her place is with her father. Fuji, another Shimane friend will be going to school in Tokyo too and he has always had a place for Ann in his heart. Fuji and Ann head to Tokyo, leaving behind Daigo and Shika, Fuji’s sister who has a thing for Daigo. The series chronicles the lives of the four friends from childhood to adulthood, moving through the ups-and-downs of Ann’s relationships with Daigo and Fuji, as well as the dark past of Fuji and Shika’s family.

When I began reading manga (which was only two months ago), I never expected to read something that was truly touching. I thought it would all be fun and cute. This series changes my mind completely about the type of manga I like. Sure, I enjoy reading funny manga like Special A or cute manga like Fruits Basket, but I enjoy reading manga with a realistic story line and deeper meaning much more. It’s just better that way. That’s what this series was for me and I can only hope I’ll find more like it.

The artwork is a little muddier than I like. I’m more partial to defined drawing, rather than the scratchy drawing so often found in shoujo manga. I think it’s meant to give a more dreamy quality, but I just find it a bit on the annoying side. Since I liked this series so much, I’m willing to put that complaint aside.

The character development in this series is just unreal. I didn’t think manga was capable of that kind of thing. I couldn’t have been more wrong in that assumption. Ann’s development throughout the series is heartbreaking and incredibly realistic, considering her age. She goes through so many of the screw-ups and indecision that comes with being a girl in her teens or early twenties. I felt that I could relate to her throughout most of the series because I have gone through a lot of the same things. Daigo has a tendency to be a little more hard-headed, but it definitely the more mature of the two. He makes no secret of his complete devotion to Ann, even when she’s too messed up to realize what’s in front of her. He’s unwavering and therefore a more static character. However, this doesn’t hurt the series, as it is about Ann growing up, not Daigo. The situation Fuji and Shika find themselves in is a little more dramatic. They too are developing characters and both do a lot of growing up. Their search for their true identities is one that gives the series a bit more intrigue. They both learn a lot they didn’t know about themselves along the way.

This is certainly the best written manga I’ve come across. If you’re into manga, or are thinking of trying it out I highly recommend this series. It’s definitely girly shoujo manga, but it’s got a great story.

Source: Homewood Public Library. Homewood, AL
Purchase these books: Book Depository | IndieBound

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1 Comment

  1. This is one of the few series that made me cry – EVERY volume! I loved it! I agree with you; it's a wonderful series.Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe)


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