Shika stumbles upon the Tsukishima family secret.
Writer/Artist: Hinako Ashihara
What They Say
Sweet 16-year-old Ann returns to rural Shimane from Tokyo for the summer, eager to reconnect with her boyfriend Daigo. But will the allure of their close friends - wealthy brother and sister Fuji and Shika - sunder the romantic ties that have bound Ann and Daigo since they were 12?
Having been through an LD relationship myself, I find Daigo and Ann's struggle to maintain emotional intimacy across the distance convincing as well as compelling. Ashihara-sensei does a wonderful job conveying the eagerness and awkwardness of the moments they do get together and the lengths they feel they must go to prove their commitment. And of course there is the tension that comes from others trying to get between them. Fuji is the main guilty party in this volume, but another looks like she's about to make her move.
Shika has been the most carefree of the four main characters until now. I find it implausible that her great-grandmother would blab such a sensitive secret without verifying whom she was talking to. Even more unbelievable is that great-grandma would know where Shika's mom's secret stuff is (considering how hard Fuji has been trying to find it). At any rate, it serves the purpose of turning Shika as morose and insecure as her brother and ultimately drives her in Daigo's direction. It wouldn't be shojo manga without a love quadrangle, but it's getting more soap opera-ish with Ann's best friend falling for her man.
This volume is rife with angst, not only the adolescent boyfriend-girlfriend type between Daigo and Ann but that of identity and purpose. As Shika's and Fuji's personal crises threaten to pull Daigo and Ann apart, it's getting to be a bit of a soap opera, but the characters are so compelling you can't help but get swept in.