This is a love story that unfolds as the world appears to be coming to an end. Yuu Yoshizawa and Yukino Shirakawa originally met as socially inept middle-schoolers, awkward with others but comfortable in each other’s company. Then Yukino had to move away. Now Yuu is 24; he and his father make their living as fix-it men, repairing broken puppet-clocks and whatever else people bring them in need of mending.
Yuu wakes up one morning to find the sky filled with leaden clouds. In no time at all a deep chill comes into the air, and blue shafts breaking through the thick clouds cover everything in blue ice. Three weeks go by with more and more of the world becoming frozen; countless people and animals go quietly to their deaths.
Under these conditions, Yuu decides to make the 500-kilometer trip to see Yukino. Long ago, he had given her a handmade kaleidoscope as a present, and he wants to honor his promise of a "lifetime warranty" on the device. He shoulders a rucksack laden with a supply of food, a sleeping bag, and repair tools, and sets out on foot, circling about the territory that has become closed off by ice. He is rescued from drowning by another man on his way to join his sweetheart, and the two travel on together after that, helping each other out in the face of cold, hunger, and other hardships.
They encounter a couple who have fled their home with their children, and then an old man trying to take care of his wife, who is unable to flee. They help him haul firewood to his house, and he thanks them by heating a bath and putting them up for the night. When facing extreme adversity in close quarters with death, people show their kindness as they begin to see what’s really important. Yuu is finally reunited with Yukino, and together they cross the ocean.
Author Takuji Ichikawa’s work encompasses not only romantic love, but of parent and child, of husband and wife, and other kinds of connections between one person and another.