For being as big a manga reader as I am, I'm surprised this is the first time I'm bringing up a manga title for this column. Well, Sundome is a great one to fix that with. The title, published by Yen Press, is something that certainly isn't for everyone. It's heavy into S&M, focusing mostly on the "total power exchange" idea, where Hideo is at Kurumi's every whim.
You'll have to read about this title after the jump. It certainly deserves to be on your shelf, but it's definitely something that falls into the "after dark" category.
Pornography, especially ero-manga, tend to go from erotic to explicit much too easily. The pages quickly become saturated with semen and other bodily fluids, as they pour from the human bodies on the pages -- much more than any real person ever could. But that's not what Sundome focuses on.
I need you. I want you. I love you. But, I can't touch you! I say hello...you say goodbye. That's sundome.
A gentle caress here. A whisper there. Seeing just a tantalizing part of the girl. These are the things that Sundome is made of. Hideo is part of The Roman Club, a group of high school guys who promise to remain virgins until they graduate. The club supposedly has very influential members, and so they'll be guaranteed some success later on in life.
And it's not like Kurumi is there to stop him. Her relationship with Hideo is summed up in her defining line in the first volume: "I'll never have sex with you." And Hideo is fine with this. The attention Kurumi gives, the things that she makes Hideo do, are extremely erotic. They're not exactly normal, but to anyone who's fairly deviant in bed, the stories quickly become more erotic than anything else.
Sure, it involves fetish play, and even a bit of watersports, but for the most part, the teasing is left up to Kurumi's words and the imagination. The art always leaves something to be desired, making your mind wander and create images more fantastical than anything that could possibly be drawn.
Kurumi herself is very slender and doesn't have features that are naturally sexual, but Okada's art style highlights her features in strong details and dark shadows. As much as Dale might be willing to read manga wherever, this is one title that I prefer to just keep to reading in my basement.
The manga is not filled with scene after scene of eroticism -- there is a story involved here, too. The real transformation that you see on the pages is Hideo's breakdown of character, and slowly rebuilding himself into a new man. You see him evolve and change in ways that you wouldn't expect out of something like S&M. And that's because it requires a lot of trust and faith in someone in order to do these things, and that allows for a lot of change -- oftentimes unexpected change.
You watch not only Hideo evolve, but the other members of the Roman Club, each with their own fetishes, start to change into adults. The secondary characters, of course, don't make as large arcs as Hideo does, but that's because we learn so much about Hideo through his relationship with Kurumi. The series is currently at four volumes from Yen Press, with more on the way.
Don't stop at the last moment (Sundome in Japanese) from picking this up.
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