5.0 out of 5 stars Literary panty book
“Sundome” (which means to stop just short of finishing) is all about the tease. It is all about that overwhelming feeling of desire you get, and the frustration of having the object of your desire just out of reach. You can brush it with your fingertips, but you can never get your hands around it. Oh, and “Sundome” is also about panties.
The story is a bizarre twist on a typical set-up, the kind of things you see in all sorts of Japanese comics like Pastel. You have a shy, nerdy guy without a chance in the world of getting a girlfriend. Thrust into his life an incredibly sexy girl who seems to be interested in him for no particular reason. Hijinks ensue.
Only, in this case the nerdy boy, Hideo Aiba, has a pretty strong submissive streak and the hot girl, Kurumi Sahana, is ready to play. Aiba belongs to the “Roman Club” (Not Ancient Rome. “Roman” is a Japanese expression meaning “romance,” but not boy girl romance. Think more of “Romance of the High Seas” and you will get the picture.) All the guys in the Roman Club take a vow of virginity, and dedicate themselves to a life of adventure and boy’s spirit, in a way that is right out of a Mishima book.
However, their adventures mostly consist of looking up pictures of ghosts and monsters on the computer. Kurumi, the new transfer student (of course!) joins the Roman Club mainly to torment Aiba, who she decided will never achieve orgasm unless she gives him permission. Kurumi gives Aiba a series of challenges, and he gets a series of rewards when he succeeds. Most of these rewards involve Kurumi’s string panties, naturally.
Of course, there are more characters than Aiba and Kurumi, because you have to have a supporting cast. A chesty rival for Kurumi is the ditzy Kyoko, who also becomes attached to the Roman Club. Aside from Aiba, the club members all have their own sexual fetishes and obsessions, like the octopus-faced Kattsun (peeping tom), the shy Tatsuya (leg fetish and doll fetish) and the Ex-president who was kicked out for failing the “virginity clause.”
One of the things I loved the most about “Sundome” is how squarely it fits in Japanese literature. All the obsessions, the sexual perversions, the powerful and abusive women are straight out of a Tanizaki Junichiro novel, especially his classic Naomi where the title character rides her husband Joji around like a horse and he puts up any indignities just to be with her. I don’t know if the Mishima and Tanizaki references are intentional on series author Okada Kazuto’s part or not, but it is too similar to be coincidental. Props to Okada for bringing some of Japan’s literary roots to the soft-core manga scene.