Sand Chronicles vol. 6 - Hinaki Asihara
Twelve-year-old Ann and her divorced mother move from big city Tokyo to her mother's rural hometown. How will Ann survive her exile from civilization? Then, when her mother commits suicide, Ann has to grow up fast. As the years pass, Ann learns to trust and depend on her new friends--Daigo and aristocratic siblings Fuji and Shika. But when Ann moves back to Tokyo to be with her father, will she be able to maintain a long-distance relationship with Daigo? And do Fuji and Shika harbor romantic feelings of their own that might rip their childhood friendships apart...?
Ann and Daigo begin dating other people. But can anyone take the place of her first love in Ann's heart? Then, Ann learns a surprising secret about her father's romantic life! (courtesy of Goodreads)
*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.
Ann and Daigo are both trying to move on in this volume, with varying degrees of success. Actually, it's more like varying degrees of failure.
Ann and Fuji are formally dating now. They're so cute together but it doesn't feel right. Perhaps because they're each haunted in their own way. You'd think Fuji would be happier now that he knows that he isn't a product of his mother's affair - that Shika is instead - but he doesn't seem much happier. He's such a serious person that he can't ever seem truly happy. Or may be his underlying melancholy has more to do with the fact that he knows that Ann still loves Daigo and he can't change that. Fuji and Ann finally give up trying to be together when they both realize that Daigo will always stand between them - that he will always be more important to Ann.
Meanwhile, Daigo and Ayumu, the mean girl who stole Ann's hourglass in volume 1, are spending loads of time together. Ayumu is helping Daigo study for his university entrance exams. I like Ayumu. I like that's she's serious and straight-forward. I also like that she's the only one who takes Daigo seriously when he says he wants to go to college. Everyone else thinks Daigo's too much of a goofball and too stupid to get into university. As nice as a romance between them would be, it never quite gets there.
Meanwhile there are two big subplots. Shika can't stand living with her family, with the knowledge of her past and her mistakes, and wants a fresh start. She moves to Canada to study abroad. And it does get her past her past. She apologizes to Ann for her attempts to steal Daigo and overall seems much happier.
On a more successful romantic front, Ann's father and his longtime friend Kaede are secretly dating. When Kaede gets pregnant, she ironically wants to end things and live on her own with the baby. Ann finds out and insists that they get married. Soon, Ann's family of two becomes a family of four.
To further show the coolness of the glossary in Sand Chronicles, on pg. 129, Kaede says "'Cause I never told you." Ann's father seems shocked that Kaede uses the word "'Cause." This makes no sense to the English speaker. We use words like "'cause" all the time. The glossary explains that in the original Japanese, Kaede ended "her sentence with 'mon,' a childish sounding ending that is meaningless but adds a querulous tone to her speech...Ann's father is surprised that she is talking so childishly and vulnerably, which is out of character for her." It's so great to understand the context of words that would normally be lost in translation.