Cover of the first manga volume
|Written by||Hinako Ashihara|
|Original run||2003 – 2006|
|Original run||March 12 – June 1, 2007|
|Directed by||Shinsuke Sato|
Sand Chronicles (砂時計 Sunadokei, lit. Hourglass) is a manga by Hinako Ashihara. It completed serialization in Japan in Betsucomi during 2005 and was licensed by Viz Media. It began serialization in English in Shojo Beat's August 2007 issue, replacing Yume Kira Dream Shoppe. Sand Chronicles has been released in Germany under the title Sunadokei - Die Sanduhr and is translated by Burkhard Höfler.
The series has also been adapted as a dorama series in Japan. In 2005, it was awarded the 50th Shogakukan Manga Award for shōjo manga. It was also adapted into a movie, starring Kaho and Nao Matsushita (2008).
Twelve-year-old Ann Uekusa and her mother move to the small town of Shimane, where Ann's grandparents live and everyone seems to be familiar with everyone else. Ann soon becomes friends with Daigo, a young boy who lives in Shimane, as well as Fuji and Shika, Fuji's younger sister and her best friend in Shimane.
When Ann's mother, Miwako, commits suicide, Daigo helps Ann cope with the sudden change in her life. They fall in love, but Ann's life can only become more complicated when her estranged father suddenly arrives from Tokyo. After greatly contemplating going to Tokyo to live with her father after he asks her, she decides to stay. Ann tells Daigo about her decision but makes her go anyway. Ann and Fuji both live in Tokyo but hardly ever talk because Fuji goes to an elite high school, K High. Ann met back up with her friends she had before moving to Shimane and they continue their friendships. In Tokyo, she ends up becoming closer to Fuji, which causes conflict between her and Daigo.
In Shimane, Shika learns the truth about her parentage and in her confusion, she begins to fall in love with Daigo. When Ann returns to Shimane, Shika upsets Ann's fragile emotional state so that Ann and Daigo will break up. In the end, Ann breaks up with Daigo for fear that her own sadness will weigh him down. Ann returns to Tokyo and starts a relationship with Fuji; however, because she does not love him, the relationship does not last. Daigo refuses Shika and rumors begin to circulate that he is interested in his middle school classmate Ayumu, who has been helping him studying to get into university and become a teacher.
Nearing graduation, Ann learns that her father and his friend Kaede Kuroki have been dating and she is pregnant with Ann's half-sister.
After attending her middle school reunion, Ann spends some time with Daigo, where he tells her to find her own happiness. Six years later, Ann meets a young businessman named Keiichiro Sakura and they become engaged shortly after. After Ann learns that he only uses people for his own gain, she confronts him about his insensitivity, but he is disappointed in her and breaks off the engagement. Almost a week afterward, she takes a train to Okayama, where Daigo teaches elementary school. Ann's grandmother, meanwhile, believes Ann will suffer the same fate as her mother. After a suicide attempt on the beach, Ann is taken to the hospital and later meets Daigo, who asks her to marry him. She says yes and at the very end the two are shown to be happily married with an infant son named Ryo. Meanwhile, Fuji decides to marry his cousin Mariko (against his family's wishes) and Shiika decides to work for her uncle in America.
- Ann Uekusa (植草 杏 Uekusa An) (Ann Minase (水瀬 杏 Minase An)
- The protagonist of the story. An affectionate, sensitive girl who likes to be silly sometimes, Ann cares deeply for all her friends. After her mother's death, she and Daigo become very close and she wishes that she will be able to stay with Daigo for the rest of her life. However, she chooses to return to Tokyo to take care of her estranged father when he comes to see her in Shimane.
Drama Actresses: Sato Megumi, Kobayashi Ryoko (middle school), and Miyama Karen (young girl)
- Daigo Kitamura (北村 大悟 Kitamura Daigo)
- Ann's first friend when she comes to Shimane, Daigo is very athletic and is not very articulate. He and Ann eventually fall in love and begin a long distance relationship when she leaves Shimane for Tokyo. They break up when Ann feels that she's too much of a burden to him. He and Ann are the same age. His mother is a down-to-earth woman who was best friends with Ann's mother.
Drama Actors: Takezai Terunosuke, Sano Kazuma (middle school), and Izumisawa Yuuki (young boy)
- Fuji Tsukishima (月島 藤 Tsukishima Fuji)
- Shiika's older brother, Fuji comes from a well-off family. He is the same age as Ann and Daigo and has a secret crush on Ann, which he eventually reveals to her. Fuji tends to keep to himself and eventually decides to attend high school in Tokyo shortly before Ann leaves Shimane. He has doubts concerning who he is because it is suspected that Fuji is not his father's biological son (though his father has accepted him as such), but the son of one of his mother's affairs. It is revealed eventually that he did not result from the affair, though it remains the reason why his mother does not treat him the same as his younger sister.
Drama Actors: Shibue Joji, Aoyagi Ruito (middle school), and Kawaguchi Shouhei (young boy)
- Shiika Tsukishima (月島 椎香 Tsukishima Shiika)
- Ann's best friend in Shimane and perhaps her only best friend growing up. Though her mother is kind and loyal to her children, Shiika does not get along with her well. She is one year younger than Ann. It is revealed through a letter written by her mother to a lover that she is the child of one of her mother's affairs rather than Fuji. The reason that her mother pays more attention to her and pushes her so hard it is out of guilt of the affair.
Drama Actresses: Kinouchi Akiko, Kakiuchi Ayami (middle school), and Yamauchi Nana (young girl)
- Misayo Uekusa (植草 美佐代)
- Ann's grandmother, the mother of Miwako (美和子). Though she is strict, she wants what's best for Ann and cares for her. When Miwako commits suicide and leaves Ann in the care of her parents, Ann's grandmother believes that she was too insensitive to Miwako, but was unable to bear seeing her daughter so depressed and blames herself for Miwako's weakness.
- Masahiro Minase (水瀬 正弘)
- Miwako partially married Ann's father to leave Shimane because she was too sensitive to bear how everyone in her town could gossip about one another so easily. They moved to Tokyo after marrying, but when Ann's father ended up deeply in debt during Ann's childhood, Miwako divorced him. A year after Miwako commits suicide, he comes to Shimane and offers to take care of Ann should she choose to return to Tokyo. He cares deeply for his family and had worked very hard to clear his debts before he approached them again. He calls upon Ann to live with him in Tokyo because he promises the debts are soon over. Ann now lives with him for high school.
- Ayumu Narasaki (長崎 歩)
- Ann's childhood rival, who had her sights set on Daigo and used dirty tricks to try to get him for herself which incidentally lead to them being a couple. Ayumu and her brother and family move back to Shiname and meets up with Daigo after Daigo played soccer with her little brother. She now tutors Daigo because he told her he wanted to be a grade school teacher and she is the only one who supports him. Everyone thinks Ayumu and Daigo have a thing but Daigo doesn't want that.
- Kaede Kuroki (黒木 楓)
- Masahiro's new wife and Ann's stepmother. She's stated that she's been in love with Ann's father since high school although he was completely unaware until many years later. In volume 7, she gives birth to Ann's half-sister, Chii (千衣).