The moment I saw the Sumo Grip eraser go up for sale at CW Pencils, I was intrigued. I mean who wouldn't want a giant eraser?! Aesthetics aside, I was intrigued by its description: "Reticulated open-cell foam works like ultra-fine sandpaper to get into the small grooves and pits of the paper surface. Combining our existing Sakura Foam W™ Eraser with a firmer hybrid-matrix formula, the SumoGrip Eraser requires minimal pressure to remove graphite lead from B to 2H degrees.: Wow. Could this eraser take the place of my beloved Hinodewashi? Let's find out:
The Sumo Grip block eraser comes in three different sizes-- I guess I'll call them small, medium, and large. CW Pencils only carries the large version, so that is the eraser that I am reviewing here. When I first held the Sumo Grip in my hand it was quite silly. I have pretty small hands to begin with, but this eraser was as wide as my palm. The eraser itself comes wrapped in plastic and is jet black with the standard cardboard sleeve that covers most of the eraser. When I unwrapped the Sumo, I immediately was able to smell it. It wasn't a bad smell, but it was pungent. The Sumo is a bit firmer than the Sakura Foam and the Hinodewashi and has a slight stickiness to it. I suspect the firmness has to do with it's "hybrid-matrix formula."
Performance wise, the Sumo shines. It had no problem erasing and performed as well as the Hinodewashi when it came to erasing shaded blocks. Where it overtook the Hinodewashi is when I tried erasing actual handwriting. The Hinodewashi left a bit of graphite on the paper while the Sumo completely lifted any traces of graphite. As you can see in the picture, the only thing left from the Sumo is the indentation on the actual paper. I would like to add that this is great for me since I am very heavy handed when I write and I often struggle to get all of my graphite marks off the paper.
My final thought is this: If you enjoy using block erasers, buy this. It outperforms the Hinodewashi and offers an experience that is more controllable since the eraser is so firm. What I will say is that the big size really is a hindrance when using for every day writing. I see this jumbo size as being good for artists that need to erase large areas, but for the standard text erasing, the smaller form factor will serve you better. I plan on cutting my Sumo into three pieces. It will be much more manageable then. Sakura also sells much smaller stick erasers with the same formulation that would be perfect to thrown in a pencil case and give you the precision you need. If you want to pick a giant Sumo Eraser up, CW Pencils has them for $6.00 a piece.