Fuji's disappearance puts a strain on Daigo and Ann's relationship.
Writer/Artist: Hinako Ashihara
What They Say
Can the sands of time bury the pain of the past?
Ann and Daigo's LD (long-distance) relationship is put to the test as time goes by and they find themselves spending more and more time with their childhood friends--aristocratic brother and sister Fuji and Shika--than each other. Is it just due to proximity or are deeper feelings at play...?
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...?
In a bonus sketch of the Tsukishima family, Ashihara-sensei remarks that whenever Mrs. Tsukishima appears, 'the story begins to feel like a soap opera.' In my opinion, the story is feeling plenty like a soap opera even when she's not around. We've known since Chapter 1 that Daigo and Ann aren't going to last, and in this volume, things really start to unravel. Between Fuji's months-long disappearance and the fourth anniversary of Ann's mother's suicide, Ann crumbles fast. Though Daigo struggles to support her, it's not enough, and the scene in which the snow cave collapses abounds with symbolism.
Conveniently enough, Fuji shows up after Ann's pushed Daigo away but before she completely falls apart. At this point, Ashihara-sensei stretches things a bit by having a middle-aged divorcee with four kids as Fuji's savior from the streets. In addition, Ann (and Shika and Daigo) all know the truth about Mrs. Tsukishima's affair, which is ostensibly Fuji's reason for running away, yet the subject never arises between Ann and Fuji during his 'running away' arc. At any rate, Fuji's circumstances serve the dual purpose of bringing Ann closer to him and driving another wedge of doubt between her and Daigo.
The fourth anniversary of Ann's mother's death along with emotional strain from Fuji's disappearance causes a rift in Ann and Daigo's relationship. Ann's desperate to make up with Daigo, but between hurt feelings and the pull of other people in their lives, break up looks imminent.