This set of 3 books concludes one story arc and begins another. After losing the family home in a surprise attack by the treachorous Koganei clan (instigated by sexy blonde bombshell Tenten Koganei, pictured above with Panda) long-suffering Koushi and his would be bride Momoko must move into a block of nearby apartments next to their new comrades-in-arms. The real battle begins in earnest when Koushi is poisoned and only a series of one-on-one matches will provide the antidote - can the strongest bride on Earth save her man?
God, how I love this series. You have to realise that's not an easy statement to make given the content, but Sumomomo is the guiltiest of guilty pleasures. God knows I wouldn't want anyone reading it over my shoulder on a train, but in the context of its own twisted world, it's a total gem. Where else can you find throwaway gags where Koushi's father yells "kill it with your eyes!"?
The women in these books are depicted as lovelorn schoolgirls, jailbait, positive female role-models and determined warriors. It's a contradictary mess of epic proportions, but somehow the series has the brass neck to not only create such a massive paradox, but also pull it off.
The artwork flips between comedic nonsense (where Momoko in particular looks about five years old) to Bleach-esque fights of epic epicness. Forget Scott Pilgrim, if you want ridiculous parody fighting, this is the way to go. It looks gorgeous too, by the way. Whilst I could do without the constant panty shots and sexual frustration, the clash of a manly man's world of manliness with the everyday is just utterly hilarious.
There's an underlying set of ethics in Sumomo which help to ground it too. It's not always about killing an opponent, it's about respect forged through battle and reaching someone with a well reasoned argument, whilst pummeling the crap out of them.
In the end, this is a series that revels in contradictions. It's exploitative, degenrate filth with a heart of gold and a healthy dose of self-awareness. It won't appeal to the easily offended and it certainly isn't for children, but it's a stupid, macho, lecherous, brawling gem of a book that I look forward to more and more with every book.
Maybe that just says something about me and my sense of humour. Now, KILL IT WITH YOUR EYES!