Kurumi: I won't have sex with you. Even if I do it with someone else... or as a casual fling... even if we were the last two people on Earth... I'd still never have sex with you. No matter how much you cried and begged for me... I'd never let you come. Are you... okay with that?
Aiba: ... yes.Sundome
(Stopping the Moment Before
) is a Seinen
manga by Kazuto Okada, who also authored Kyoukasho Ni Nai
The main character is Hideo Aiba, who believes that all humans
have specific turn-ons and, because of his specific demands, he has never "fallen in love with someone at first sight". Enter New Transfer Student
Kurumi Sahana. She is odd, yet "all of her" is Aiba's turn-on. She gets a seat next to him, and the other students note Aiba's lack of interest in 3D girls. After school, Aiba is a member of the "Roman Club", whose members search for UFOs, paranormal activities and the like. The Roman Club was funded by school alumni now involved in all facets of Japan's politics and economics. Also, every member has a specific fetish and losing your virginity means you get kicked out of the club. For those members who uphold the rule of remaining a virgin until graduation, the alumni supply numerous recommendations and backups for getting into colleges and high-paying careers. However, due to so-called assassins, women sent by Roman Club alumni to cater to the Club members' fetishes and rob them of their virginities
, six years have passed without a single member successfully graduating. As Aiba tries to get out of his membership, Kurumi shows up, showing an interest in the club. After the other members leave
, Kurumi starts reading "The Secret Book of Masturbation", which she found in the club, and asks Aiba, "Show me how you jerk off." This is the start of an unusual relationship.
Contains examples of:
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Part of Kurumi's control over Aiba involves policing when and how often he can do this.
- Am I Just a Toy to You?: Aiba goes through a lot of this, especially after noticing the shoes in Kurumi's apartment.
- Ass Shove: The ex-president has an anal fetish, is obsessed with sticking things up his and other people's asses, and never misses an opportunity to work "butt", "ass", or "anal" into his dialogue.
- Bland-Name Product: "Adides" shoes.
- Cassandra Truth: The Ex-President repeatedly declares that Kyouko and Kurumi are 'assassins'. He's only half right.
- Cerebus Syndrome: The story begins with typical high school comedy, but gradually shifts more towards the melancholy as Kurumi's sickness becomes more evident. Then comes Collar 72...
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Everyone in the Roman Club has their head firmly in the clouds.
- Contemptible Cover: The covers of the volumes and the individual collars frequently depict Kurumi in poses and dress implying themes of BDSM, sexual abuse, and violence that never show up in the actual manga.
- Creepy Doll: Tatsuya's doll that he carries around constantly; he says her hair actually grows.
- Dark-Skinned Blonde/The Ditz/Dumb Blonde: Kyouko is blonde, has a perpetual tan, and is generally dumb as a bag of rocks, although she can be quite canny about some things, especially emotional issues.
- Dirty Coward: Tatsuya. Played for Laughs.
- Dumbass Has a Point: She gets words mixed up all the time, but Kyouko isn't always wrong.
- Ecchi: Very much so; it pushes the boundary between ecchi and hentai about as far as it can be pushed without crossing over.
- First Girl Wins: Subverted, possibly double subverted. The woman that Aiba is with at the end of the manga does not seem to be Kurumi, but Aiba has some sort of sexual malfunction at the end, presumably a failure to get an erection. This implies that he never got over Kurumi.
- Flower Motifs: Aiba flips out when someone leaves a bouquet on Kurumi's desk, implying that she died. Additionally, in the final chapter, Aiba has sex with Kurumi as the 'sea flowers' form on the shore. Kurumi notes that the flowers are made of dead plankton.
- Gag Boobs: Kyouko.
- Gag Lips: Katsu has large, fish-like lips, and Kyouko frequently calls him "fish-mouth".
- Gonk: Katsu, Tatsuya, and the ex-president are generally drawn as quite ugly, and Aiba gets the same treatment when he's scared, sad, or shocked, which happens frequently.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Instead of chapters, we have collars, referring to the "collars" that Aiba sees Kurumi has put on him.
- Ill Girl: Kurumi. What's wrong with her is never explained, although it seems to be a gradual wasting illness of some sort, with nosebleeds and fatigue as recurring symptoms.
- Improbable Hairstyle: The ex-president's hair makes him look like he has an anvil wrapped around his head when seen face-on.
- It Makes Sense in Context: Read the part about the 'assassins' again.
- Jerkass: Kyouko's ex, who treats her pretty much as a disposable fuck-puppet.
- Jizzed in My Pants: Shows up frequently, due in large part to Kurumi's control over Aiba.
- Malaproper: Kyouko is constantly mangling her sentences, much to Katsu's exasperation.
- Male Gaze: Centered directly on Kurumi and Kyouko.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Kurumi.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Inverting this trope is the entire point of The Roman Club.
- Ms. Fanservice: Despite the constant barrage of fanservice provided by Kurumi, in-story it's Kyouko; she is constantly wearing revealing clothing, seems to have never heard of bras, and is much less modest than Kurumi. Kurumi also never wears a bra, but it's Kyouko that makes it obvious to everyone around her.
- Mistress and Servant Boy: Aiba and Kurumi have this dynamic, despite being roughly the same age.
- The Movie: Was adapted into four live-action movies.
- Nerd Glasses: Katsu, although the art only rarely makes this apparent; the googly blank eyes he's usually drawn with feed into his fish-like appearance.
- No Export for You: Averted, surprisingly.
- No Name Given: The ex-club president's name is never revealed.
- Not What It Looks Like: The older man that's occasionally seen with Kurumi. Many of his scenes give the impression that he's sleeping with Kurumi, especially to Aiba. Turns out he's one of her doctors making house calls on her, and is very pleased that Kurumi and Aiba have found each other. He's also one of the OB, along with the head of the hospital Kurumi is being treated at.
- Only Sane Man: Aiba and Katsu are very weird in ways, but they're bastions of sanity compared to the ex-president and Tatsuya.
- Panty Shot: Count on multiples of these per 'collar'.
- Petite Pride: Aiba isn't interested in busty girls...or any girl other than Kurumi.
- The Promise: Kurumi's declaration to Aiba at the top of the page. Aiba also promises to take Kurumi to see the sea flowers in the spring. Aiba keeps his promise; Kurumi does not.
- Really Gets Around: Kyouko, though since she started hanging around the Roman Club, she's toned it down somewhat.
- Scenery Censor: Katsu's fetish
- Single-Target Sexuality: Aiba, Aiba, Aiba.
- Snow Means Death: Collars 73-76 take place in the winter. Kurumi apparently dies the night that Aiba takes her to see the sea flowers.
- Wham Episode: The aforementioned Collar 72.
- Wham Line: "Little did I know, that was the last summer I would spend with Kurumi-kun." It marks the shift from Shōnen hijinks to the actual Seinen form that the manga ultimately takes.
- Will They or Won't They?:
- Played with. Aiba and Kurumi have a relationship that's fraught with sexual tension and all manner of unconventional expressions of love, but they do have an actual relationship. Additionally, Kurumi flat out says that she loves Aiba, and Aiba eventually does the same. Despite that, there's literal unresolved sexual tension, in that Kurumi controls when Aiba can orgasm.
- Katsu and Kyouko qualify as a straighter example. Their relationship slowly builds over the course of the manga, and the one time when it seems like they might, a distraction gets in the way. In the final 'collar', Aiba's wife reveals that they are getting married.