Sundome Books 6-8

Review by Ed Sizemore

***Warning: This Review Contains Spoilers****

In these volumes, the Roman Club is given new challenges from the mysterious alumni. Katsun causes problems for the club; first, when he falls sick and has to stay in the hospital for a few days. Then upon his return, Katsun contemplates leaving the club because he has fallen in love with someone. Finally, Kurumi’s unnamed illness takes a turn for the worst, and she is hospitalized.

Sundome Book 6 cover
Sundome Book 6
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As far as Kurumi’s and Hideo’s relationship go, volumes 6 and 7 offer more of the same from the first five volumes. What is captivating in these two volumes is watching the relationship between Katsun and Kyouko blossom.

It’s refreshing to take a break from Kurumi’s and Hideo’s chaste S&M play, to watch Katsun and Kyouko cautiously, awkwardly drawing closer to each other; by comparison, it almost seems sweet and innocent. Seeing these two side characters mature separately and then develop feelings for each other has been one of the delights of volumes five through seven. Okada did a wonderful job with this unexpected, but very welcome, subplot.

Sundome Book 7 cover
Sundome Book 7
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I really didn’t know what to expect for the final volume. I was shocked by its tenderness. The physical familiarity that Kurumi and Hideo have developed now becomes a source of comfort and honest affection. The book’s opening chapter, where they spend the night together (still sexless), is very touching. Mind you, this is still Sundome, so it’s not without its disturbing moments, too, but you sense a real and positive change in their relationship. Unfortunately, this emotional intimacy comes too late. Kurumi’s illness is in its final stages, and she is confined to the isolation ward in the hospital.

The Roman Club’s finest hour comes when they help Hideo kidnap Kurumi from the hospital. Hideo wants to fulfill his promise to take Kurumi to the ocean to see the wave flowers. (A phenomena that happens when the plankton-rich waves crash again the rocks.) It was thrilling and touching to see them all band together. It demonstrates how the Roman Club has become a true community, twisted as it may be. It’s the only time in Sundome you feel proud for them all.

Sundome Book 8 cover
Sundome Book 8
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There isn’t anything new to say about the artwork. I will warn readers that the fanservice escalates in these final three volumes. There is more than one scene of Kyouko and Hurumi topless. In volume 8, there is full nudity. However, if you made it this far into the series, it’s safe to say that you’re beyond such concerns.

I applaud Okada for not taking the easy way out and finding some excuse to keep Kurumi alive at the end of the series. From the first volume, he has foreshadowed her death, and he sticks to his guns on this. Because of this, you can’t say that Sundome has a happy ending. Yet it ends well and is immensely satisfying. My main worry since the beginning has been the emotional and physical well-being of Hideo. Thankfully, I can say he ends up doing fine. I can’t express how impressed I am with the way Okada wraps Sundome up.

I still can’t and won’t recommend the series. The art and subject matter are simply too risque. On one level, I got to sample something outside the manga mainstream. On another level, I’m not sure I’m happy about that. So I leave Sundome the way I start, conflicted.

Similar Posts: Sundome Book 5 § Sundome Books 3 and 4 § Sundome Book 2 § Sundome Book 1 § Shocking Sundome Is Discussed on Manga Out Loud Podcast

6 Comments

  1. Glad to see you stuck with it till the end Ed. Sundome is honestly one of my favorite series and not because I love S&M or fanservice. The reason I love it so much is because of the character growth and how it’s presented. When we first meet Hideo he’s a coward and not in the best physical condition but as the series goes on he matures and starts to become more confident in himself and his abilities. By the end of the series he’s a completely different, and I believe, better person then he was in the beginning. And this is only speaking of Hideo, I could go on about Kurumi, Katsu, and Kyouku but I digress.

    I would honestly recommend Sundome to any manga fan as long as they can stomach the light-core porn and S&M aspects of it.

  2. The fact that you read the series end to end is a recommendation of sorts.

    The term “fanservice” makes me laugh when applied to material like this though. Labeling boobs, ass shots, and seductive posturing, etc., etc., etc., in a comic like this “fanservice” is like calling the sex in a porn vid “fanservice”. Does the whole premise of the book hinge on the naughty bits? If so, then we can call it content and leave it at that.

  3. The way you feel about Sundome is the exact way I feel about Zettai Karen Children. I really like that series but I have a hard time recommending that series to anyone. When the humor is working the series is hysetical and when the action is on the psychic battles can be cool. But there is a reason Viz has not brought this over. While it is not Kodomo no Jikan it is about as close as something generally clean like Weekly Sh�nen Sunday will allow. So I read it but I am hardly proud. Hide your shame Kaoru Akashi!

    So with a series like this even more than most reviews you just have to lay the cards on the table and let people choose to do what they will with the information you give them. The story could have easily given everyone a magical happy ending but it chose to avoided flinching from the premise it set up. That is very admirable but you have to get through a ton of material that many people would find repulsive to get to that bold ending.

    Those who enjoy or can tolerate that material will be happy. Everyone else will wisely take your advice. As long as you are honest there is no better review you can do.

  4. I’m still on the fence on this series…I’m curious but…I’m still not sure. But I’ve ended a series with similar feelings before “So I leave Sundome the way I start, conflicted” the most recent example of this is probably After School Nightmare for me.

  5. Good thing they did not kill the ending with some cliché. It was beautiful.

  6. I loved the way they all worked together for the escape. She wave flower scene nearly made me cry. The last pages in his residency though, I just didn’t like. There could have been a different way to end it. There was too much shame tied to his sexual past. I know it was left kinda open, but there had to be a different way. Oh well. I loved this manga. True, not for everybody, but dammit it stuck to its convictions of an eventual death, and sexual power play.

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