Ashihara, Hinako. Sand Chronicles. Vol. 1. Trans. Kinami Watabe and John Werry. San Francisco: VIZ Media, 2008. Summary
: After her parents' divorce, Uekusa Ann and her mother return to her mother's hometown in the rural Shimane Perfecture. Though Ann's mother proves unable to take defeat and commits suicide, Ann is eventually able to make friends with the locals--especially two boys her age. Comments
: Well, well, well. More of that early 21st century Shougakukan shoujo style a la
Aihara Miki's Hot Gimmick
. But at least the heroine of this
manga isn't an embarrassment to young women everywhere; from the very beginning, Ann demonstrates the will to overcome hardship--and she throws a mean right hook to boot. (^__^) Anyway, this tale of two boys competing for one girl is pretty standard genre fare from both plot and stylistic points of view...but a very well-executed one, nonetheless. Ashihara is a veteran mangaka who has been drawing for about a decade, and it shows: the pacing is skillful and professional, and the sentiment is both elegant and poignant. Quite appropriately, then, nostalgia for the simple life and the inevitable passage of time are key themes. I found myself enthralled, almost in spite of myself. Notes
: paperback, 1st American edition; first published in Japan by Shougakukan in 2003 Rating
- A pleasant, unobtrusive read that should appeal those who like a measure of grace in their reading material.