Sundome is the story of an apathetic young man whose dull existence is forever changed when an assertive young woman wants to join the same after-school club in which he is a member. If only all after-school clubs were as hands on as this!
A local bookstore of mine was closing up due to the hard economic times we're going through, but that didn't mean I'd pass up their huge clearance sale. So I came across this title in the mature manga section, and it apparently seems that someone before me got adventurous and opened the seal. Whoever, did it I wish I could thank them for doing it.
Sundome is very unique in terms of story, I don't think I've come across anything like it in all the manga that i've read so far. Basically you have the main character Aiba-kun who is pretty much an otaku, and he has very particular tastes in what attracts him, cue in Kurumi-chan who is a transfer student and very unique personality to go with it. Aiba is what you would describe has a shy otaku, but when he has something he wants, he's determine to get it. Kurumi, on the other hand seemingly realizes this, and takes advantage of it. However, you can't tell what her intentions are for doing it.
The art at first is definitely different from most out there, but it's not to the point where it's not recognizable, the quality is consistent throughout the entire volume (1). The fanservice does seep in from time to time, but I believe they are all well placed because they are there to give the illusion of seduction. I wouldn't go as far to say it's "dirty" or "tasteless" like some in reviews would say, because I've seen much worse.
Character development is definitely there, you learn more about who the main characters are, but at the same time you also get a nice amount of view into the supporting cast. Each chapter you can tell that Aiba takes another step in becoming a better person, even if his goals for completing them may seem silly, but what can you expect for a teenager of his age.
The enjoyment is awesome, It's one of the rare few manga that has actually made me laugh out while reading, and constantly keep a smile on my face while reading. There is tons of hilarious moments, all which mostly involve the club members in this story.
One thing that some people will note about this manga is that it's somewhat filled with nihilism so it's not something for everybody. I'd go as first to say that you either like this or you don't. I'd go as far to say this is the most realistic story too, as I can easily see these things happening in the real world somewhere.
Where will the path that Aiba and Kurumi take is unknown, but one thing is apparent in their behavior that almost entirely contrast with each other, is that they need each other.read more
So on the Richter scale of humanity, if 1 is the antithesis of emotion and 10 is bawling my fucking eyes out, this is probably a 9.9 because it's physically impossible to bawl your fucking eyes out. I've never read a graphic novel that made me so sad. Like, come *on*, industry. This is only porn.
That brings me to my first warning - Sundome is for all you deviants out there. If you can't deal with piss, snot, saliva, and post-climactic messes, then don't read because that makes up at least half of all the sexual content in this manga. The other 49% of it involves self-stimulation of some kind. And yes, I left out 1% on purpose...
Story - 8
Sundome means "stopping the moment before" (according to Wikipedia). This is the main, and only, solid plot device. The rest of it revolves around an amalgam of school clubs, ghost hunting, virginity, and one-sided breast popularity contests. Yeah, it gets kind of bizarre. It's a bit confusing and scattered. Some of the sideplot is rather lighthearted, involving UFO summoning and voodoo doll catfights, some of it is very moralistic and dark. But the crankshaft in this whole story - Kurumi's relationship with Hideo Aiba - is beautifully executed. It's hilarious and depressing and wonderful and deliciously multi-layered like a chocolate cheesecake.
Art - 7
Maybe I'm being generous here. This is obviously the weakest point of Sundome. The art is very, very cartoonish, and sometimes it almost feels sloppy. It works for our Roman Club neo-maxi-zoom-dweebies, but it kind of makes the MCs less attractive than they should be. And it makes the sexy scenes... well, less sexy. But - before I sound any more elitist - I'd like to say that, for me personally, it worked. It's not commercialized-ecchi grade, but it gives a very edgy, underground feeling to the story. Kurumi isn't like your conventional purple-haired talking tits hentai girl. She's almost sickly-thin, long-legged, and blue-eyed. On the other end of the spectrum, there's Kyouko, a self-proclaimed "masturbation idol," whose nips are permahard. Corny, but it fits. She also sports a cheap fake tan and a limp, blonde mop for hair; none of that ridiculous Lady Oscar weave crap. One guy has lips twice the size of Lana del Rey's. It's actually great.
Characters - 10
So good. Soooo good. At first glance, Aiba seems to be your prototype horny loser. Kurumi is the A-cup goddess of thirst. Coming here from Onani Master Kurosawa and Watamote, you know I already love flat-chested MCs and loners, but these two flip the whole tired setup on its head. For me, the girls + Aiba rule the show, but the male Roman club members (who serve as comic relief throughout the whole emotional ordeal), have their own multi-dimensional charms. Every single member of our main cast is fleshed out and easy to sympathize with, possibly excepting that one candyass motherfucker with the doll waifu.
Enjoyment - 10
What else am I supposed to say? I love Sundome. It made me laugh and cry. Like, physically. The ending is ambiguous, and it kind of leaves you with an empty hole in your heart yearning to be filled by... something. Something beautiful. Something life-changing. Go outside for a run. Donate to charity. Fall in love. Have a baby. Invent the next LSD. I dunno, do something amazing. You owe it to this manga.read more
Having mostly dark gritty (depressing!) manga in my collection i'd thought i'd branch out and try something different and saw Sundome in my local bookstore. It wrapped up so couldn't preview it, mature series...has to be up my street!!
After reading the first volume (just finished the 3rd) the first word that came into my mind was - PAINFUL. Not in the sense it was a bad read, but due to the feeling i felt for the main character Hideo. His relationship with Kurumi is so fascinating to read, and to see how the guy started off in volume to what kind of guy he has become in just 3 volumes was entertaining to read. I keep questioning to why Kurumi behaves the way she does towards to Hideo, is it because she does like him, or is it because she is a sadist? And thats what keeps me hooked as you want to see how their relationship pans out and develops.
The book actually made me laugh out loud which is very rare. The supporting characters crease me up, but again its great to see their development too.
Is it perverted? yes! is it entertaining? hell yes! is it worth the read - if you dont mind the blatant fan service - altohugh not as bad say Battle Vixens, then give this a go, you'll either like it or hate from volume 1 alone. If you dont like masturbation (?!?) then avoid this manga like the plague!read more
When I first came across this manga, I didn't expect much. Even though the tags included "psychological", the ecchi elements of the first few chapters made me believe that it would just be a run-of-the-mill, borderline hentai manga with a few unique twists.
Oh, how wrong I was.
The story of a young, nerdy loser hooking up with a cute girl is pretty standard in ecchi manga. It has been recycled time and time again without fail, and for many people, reading one is like reading all of them. However, Sundome is different. Rather than using sexuality as a way to tantalize male (and female) readers, this manga explores sexuality in order to make a greater statement about the human condition. While there is plenty of fanservice throughout the story, much of it is used to heighten the raw emotions and carnal desire expressed throughout this manga. And rather than attempting to go for cheap panty shots and breast grabs, Sundome is not afraid to explore several darker sexual fetishes such as erotic asphyxiation. Much of the story plays on the dirty, gritty, and creepy side of sexual fetishes, but oddly it does this in a way that makes the romance between the two protagonists more believable.
The ending of Sundome can be seen as controversial for some, but I felt that it was the only "true" ending a story like this could have. Although the title, Sundome refers to stopping right before orgasm in a sexual act, the story itself becomes less about sex and more about love, and loss.
The art style for Sundome tends to fluctuate at certain intervals throughout the manga, which can be jarring for some. During the slice-of-life school scenes, the art is much simpler, without much shading or detail to body contours. But in the scenes depicting sexual acts and various perversions, the art is much more fluid and detailed. Obviously, due to the nature of this manga this change is to be expected, so I had no problem with it. Overall, the art conveys the story properly and I don't have too much to say about it.
This is where Sundome shines. Our protagonist, Hideo Aiba starts out as a shy, awkward, nerdy high school kid with no plans for the future besides the porn magazine he's planning on masturbating to tomorrow night. When he meets Sahana Kurumi, the "female love interest", it's love at first sight and his entire life is changed. Except...it's not actually that simple. Sahana turns out to be much darker than your average shounen romance female lead. She's not a tsundere, kuudere, or any type of dere, which was immensely refreshing. Although she's cute and upbeat at school, her darker side is only shown when she spends time with Aiba. Speaking of whom, Aiba also grows throughout the series, becoming much stronger and a better person. It was interesting to see his devolution into basically a sexual deviant, while at the same time becoming more assertive and responsible. The amount of character development seen in this manga is just amazing, as even two of the side characters grow into an interesting relationship. All in all, the characters in Sundome were portrayed very realistically, albeit with all the sexual tension. It's rare to see this amount of psychological character development in an ecchi series, and Love Hina this definitely is not.
I enjoyed Sundome immensely, despite being a girl and being bombarded with tons of fanservice. This manga is proof that a manga based on sexual themes can be very dark, thought-provoking, and almost tragic. Although the middle sections may have dragged a bit, Sundome was overall a very enjoyable and emotional read.
Sundome is a manga I would recommend to anyone who isn't too grossed out by sexual perversions. Obviously, readers need to be mature enough to handle certain themes for this manga, but as long as that's not a problem, Sundome is a great read. There's something for the ecchi lovers, but there's also plenty of character development and dark romance for fans of those.
Sundome definitely left an impression on me, and it will surely do the same for you.