“On the Fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Four Friends in Winter,”
Ann Uekusa and her mother move back to her mother’s home town Shimane from Tokyo. Her parents have divorced, and they have returned to live with Ann’s grandparents. They arrive in the winter, before Christmas. Ann becomes close friends with 3 kids; Daigo, Fuji, and Shiika. Not long after returning, Ann’s mother commits suicide, leaving Ann with her grandparents. Ann makes a life for herself in Shimane, and she and Daigo become a couple. Then her father comes back from Tokyo offering to take Ann back to Tokyo.
Sand Chronicles is another series I started reading through Shojo Beat. I don’t think I was hooked instantly, but it certainly didn’t take long for it grow on me. Sand Chronicles also holds the special honor for making me cry not once, not twice, but three times over the same scene! It’s rare that a title can do that to me. Once maybe, but hardly ever twice. So much care is put into the characters that the dramatic scenes with them hit that much harder. Most of the story so far has been following Ann’s teen years, when things are the most melodramatic, but it isn’t annoying, which is what I find most teen shojo manga to be. Sand Chronicles seems to avoid it by being more rooted in reality. The difficulty of long distance relationships, holding on the first love, balancing family with friends, these are all things anyone can relate to. And that just makes it easier to get to you emotionally. This is definitely a “chick” manga, but I love it!