Reviewed by: Priss
Released by: Yen Press
Publishing Country: USA
Author: Kazuto, Okada
Age Rating: 18+
Page Count: 208
The entrance of the transfer student is the high school harbinger of great change. There is, after all, nothing like setting a new cat amongst the pigeons, particularly when your current life reeks of sedentary stagnation. For Aiba Hideo, the hopelessly lacklustre existence he has been living is about to be lead down a dark and dirty path.
In the dank den of the school occult group, the sweet new student Sahana Kurumi has her eyes set on probing the mysteries inside the "Roman Club" and especially, within Hideo himself.
Her beauty is beguiling but behind the demure and fragile face of lurks something more unlikely and alarming than the even occult club members could envision. Still waters run deep and darker than can be imagined and Hideo is about to discover what happens as he plunges into the depths of Kurumi.
I had picked up this title once and rejected it. From a cursory browse I had established that it was extremely odd, murky and malicious. As it was remote from what I would look for in a recreational read, I cast it into the reject pile of obscure nasties.
Yet, my creeping curiosity got the better of me. I decided to wind myself up in its coils finding that before I knew it, the story had me, wrapping a noose of velvet rope around my neck to lead me about on its whims.
For better or worse titles with ecchi overtones are guaranteed a readership. This is, perversely, is the virtue of applying such attributes to a work that is really rather exceptional.
I’m a regular reader of chaotic cultural commentary as told in Welcome to NHK. I know the darker side of manga from both hentai and horror, yet I was amazed by how the most extreme experiential elements of two were blended so beautifully and brazenly without actually becoming either genre. Like the heroine, it emits treacherous pheromones that entice like of a venus flytrap ready to enclose its jaws around on the unwary.
On first impression, I was intrigued by the divergent design style of the manga and its characters. Aesthetically, Sundome borders on the grotesque and flaunts a female form that is both overtly eroticised yet somewhat emaciated. Kurumi’s sickly beauty is that of dead-eyed doll, one that extends a cold and bloodless hand to involve you in her own undead desires. The hentai heat is generated purely in the surging hormones of Hideo himself. Tangled up in lusts, he readily falls under her sweet sadistic spell for scraps of gratification that become nothing more than his own unending masturbation.
To know what drives Kurumi to play her games and what horrors lay just around the corner makes me clamour for another encounter with this ghastly vision.
Atrocious, erotic and completely hysterical in places, Sundome is a painfully good manga that you are most unlikely to forget. Highly recommended.