Shojo Beat Quick Takes – Sakura Hime and Sand Chronicles

Sakura Hime: The Legend of Princess Sakura Volume 2

I found it very amusing that in one of the author notes for this volume, Tanemura wrote that she’d been holding herself back from using very much screentone in this volume and thus was worried that it looked unfinished. To my eyes it doesn’t look like Tanemura’s trademark excess of screentone has been curbed very much, but I should probably dig up some of her other series and compare. This volume continues with the antagonistic relationship between Sakura and Aoba, her fiance who sometimes likes her and sometimes wants to kill her. Now there are a couple of additional men vying for Sakura’s attention, as Aoba’s older brother Fujimurasaki seems more than willing to step in to help her out. There’s also the handsome Lord Enju who seems determined to send assassins to kill Aoba because he doesn’t want Sakura to be touched by “dirty humans”. Sakura decides to save Aoba despite his professed hatred of her in a gesture of senseless self-sacrifice that is fairly typical of Tanemura’s heroines, and the reader sees that Aoba’s feelings are wavering. The plotting is a tad incoherent, and I’m having trouble keeping some of the supporting cast straight. I still enjoy Tanemura’s illustrations and I’m looking forward to seeing Sakura grow stronger and confront her fate.

Sand Chronicles Volume 10

Sand Chronicles
is one of my favorite dramatic shoujo series, and this volume provides a nice coda for the series. I really wish the concluding volumes had contained more Fuji. There’s just a couple glimpses of him here, and I would have liked a chapter or two just devoted to him. This volume is extremely Daigo-centric, as it shows him all grown up, married to Ann, and fully engaged in teaching Elementary school. Daigo’s relationship with an influential teacher from his past is explored, as his class gathers together to dig up a time capsule they buried 20 years ago. Ann and Daigo face a difficult issue with strength, and it is nice to see their marriage functioning so well as a support system for them both. Daigo is wrestling with becoming the type of teacher he wants for his students, and the idea that he may have an indelible effect on such young minds. He deals with the personalities in his class with compassion, spending extra time with the students of his that need more attention. After spending so much of the series seeing things from Ann’s point of view, it was nice to read a volume focused on Daigo. I felt like at last the characters were all going to be ok, and after so many turbulent twists and turns earlier on it was nice to see them fully engaged in daily life without much drama.

Review copy of Sakura Hime provided by the publisher.

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