I wasn't sure what to expect out of Sumo. I really liked Pham's work in [b:Level Up|9630403|Level Up|Gene Luen Yang|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327944177s/9630403.jpg|14517713], so I didn't let my complete and total lack of knowledge about sumo keep me from reading it. And yes, you are thrown into the deep end, with virtually nothing about the sport explained. But it isn't about sumo, not really. It's about Scott
Scott was a star football player. Perfect small town life, complete with girlfriend. And then nobody is interested in seeing him play anymore, and his girlfriend isn't interested in him. So he decides to make a drastic change, moving to Japan and joining a sumo stable. That's all backstory, really. The book itself is more about one important moment in Scott's life. Will he commit himself entirely to being a sumo, or go home?
There are tons of flashbacks, which Pham has been helpful enough to color code for us. At a glance, you know exactly when each scene (even each panel) takes place. There also isn't a conventional ending, something that would normally irritate me but which was really perfectly suited to this particular book. I also really like Pham's spare but expressive style, though it probably won't be to everyone's tastes.
Part of me really wishes this book was longer. Then I'd get more of it, more of the characters who come to life so easily in such a short span of time. But I get that the short length is just right here.