Manga-ka: Kazuto Okada
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: June 2008
Synopsis: “Kurumi makes Hideo quit her cold turkey for two weeks! Whatever is poor, horny Hideo to do? Well, for one thing, his club is visited by a masked OB for some hardcore “physical training.” Then, there’s a UFO-sighting field trip up to a mountain. But Hideo’s never quite over his obsession with the transfer student and he thinks he’s gotten just a little closer to the object of his affection when he helps her catch a panty-thief. His reward? A trip to the movies… in handcuffs!”
Kurumi’s sexual hold on Hideo continues here in volume two of Sundome. Not for the young in age or the faint of heart, Sundome follows the sadistic relationship of these two students, one which goes past friendship, but stops before lovers, and settles on slave and master. Warning: Review contains some content not suitable for minors!
Hideo and Kurumi remain members of the OB club: a group of fellow students who get together to do ‘guy stuff’, from watching anime to discussing their future at college to masturbation. Kurumi joined as she proves on numerous occasions to be a very sexually minded young girl, and Hideo finds himself longing for club get togethers, and school in general, so that he may be closer to Kurumi. To her, he is her favourite plaything and she’s a cruel mistress even denying him the right to masturbate and slapping on strict rules and challenges when she gives him permission. Hideo listens to her without complaint or question and even starts taking unrelated things she says as commands.
I found there was conflict between the two aspects of the story. On one hand there’s Hideo and Kurumi, and on the other hand there’s the other members of the OB club. The story’s main focus is no doubt Hideo and Kurumi, which leaves the rest of the cast feeling more like filler. Sometimes the switch between the two groups felt a little awkward, but on the upside, it made the secrecy of Hideo and Kurumi’s activities feel more potent when held up against a group of people they see everyday that don’t know about it.
Kazuto Okada’s artwork is interesting and works pretty well with the content without conflict. Kurumi’s eyes often bothered me, with inconsistent shapes and the classic soulless appearance at times. Hideo was also proportionately inconsistent on occasional but it’s a minor quip and doesn’t affect reading the book. You can tell that the artist is no new-comer to world of sexually explicit artwork and the scenes involving Hideo’s throbbing erections and the almost uncomfortably conforming looking panties on the female characters feel like the moments where they’re the most comfortable drawing-wise.
No complaints about Yen Press’s work with the English publication. I didn’t come across any problems while reading through the interior, the page gutters were fun and I liked their choice for the cover design (though a short synopsis on the back would’ve been nice).
By the time I was finished reading Sundome, volume two, I really didn’t know what to think. It both disgusted and intrigued me, which I’m assuming is the intended result. Despite being labelled by some as a comedy, I also didn’t find it very funny. Kurumi teasing Hideo was a painful sight at times though, in its defense, did manage to have enough glimpses of emotion that I’m curious about where this ‘relationship’ could lead, even if it seems anywhere but good and anything but healthy. It was a lot like reading Welcome to the NHK, reading as if only to bear witness to these people’s pain and perversion.
While Sundome is definitely not a title that will appeal to everyone, if you want something that teeters on the edge of being a hentai while also taking the time to delve into some psyche (albeit some more twisted ones), then you may want to find yourself a copy of volume one and see what you think. For the casual reader and those who don’t instantly want it after reading the opening sentence of this paragraph, I’ll have to recommend a pass.