5.0 out of 5 stars Down into the depths
“Sundome Vol. 3” continues Okada Kazuto’s story of sexual obsession and redemption. What seems at first like a middle-core fan service book, the story and characters of “Sundome” continue to deepen, while still maintaining the tantalizing frustration that defines the series.
The first two volumes of “Sundome” were all about establishing the plot. Aiba Hideo is a repressed, shy, unpopular geek in a club full of geeks. Into his life comes Sahana Kurumi, a mysterious, seductive girl who seems to know exactly what Aiba needs, and is willing to give it to him so long as Aiba agrees to her terms. There is no question who is the master and who is the puppet in their relationship. Kyouko is Kurumi’s opposite, a big-chested bimbo who gives it up on demand if the guy is hot enough. She is the plaything, not the player, even though she doesn’t quite see it that way. Toshiitsuku Kattsun is the octopus-faced boy who secretly loves Kyouko, even though he is so far below her level she only acknowledges him to insult him.
All of these relationships are played out again in “Sundome Vol. 3,” but each going down a darker path. Kurumi is being openly insulted in school as someone who will pay for play, which drives Aiba insane with jealousy. He doesn’t mind being used by her, so long as he is the only one she is using. It doesn’t help that when Aiba goes to Kurumi’s house, he sees a pair of black men’s shoes on her doorstep, and Kurumi seems to be throwing up in the mornings. Kyouko, on the other hand, is seeing her façade crumble as she has to come to terms that the object of her affection sees her as little more than a toilet.
It all seems pretty dark, but interposed with all this angst are moments of light-hearted fun and bizarre infatuation that keeps “Sundome” from being a depressing look into the psychology of obsession. Somehow, one can’t really feel bad for Aiba no matter what Kurumi does to him, as it slowly becomes apparent that she is shaping him into something stronger. Alternately, sympathy for Kyouko comes when least expected, and the character you love to hate gains a heart behind the giant breasts.
“Sundome” is really a fantastic series, dripping with the kind of sexuality usually found only in “Savage Love” columns, yet handled with enough skill to keep it from becoming dirty. I am looking forward to volume four, and will definitely keep up with the series as they are released.