When it comes to bean bags, I’m a fan. Having reviewed Sumo’s Gigantor and the Sway over the years, I’ve also become moderately familiar with them. I’m not quite a connoisseur, but I have spent an unhealthy amount of time surrounded by that mysterious and magical material Sumo packs into each of their bean bags.
I haven’t been able to figure out what it’s made of, though I’m pretty sure its ingredients include ground up unicorns and the happiness of young children. Read on for my review of the newest addition to the Sumo line-up — the Sumo Emperor.
I’d like to get two things out of the way before we get this review rolling. The first is when my bean bag arrived, my friend mistook the Emperor for packing material and decided to ventilate the bean bag with a kitchen knife. Thanks for that.
Secondly, the plus-sized pug you see in these pictures is Samson. I’d like to get his modeling career going, so I figured this review would provide a fantastic kick-start to his career in the dog-eat-dog world of puppy modeling. You can email all your fan letters here.
Obviously, I tested the bean bag — rigorously and often, I might add — but I also had some other people try it out, too. My parents enjoyed it, even if they couldn’t quite grasp the idea of why someone would choose a bean bag over a chair. Blasphemous old fogies. My brother had kinder things to say when he tried it out, like Oooohhh yeeeessss, and Mmmmmmm. A man of few words. The one who enjoyed it the most is Samson, who always fell asleep thirty seconds after his paws touched the bag.
I’ve had the Sumo Emperor for a couple months now and like their other bean bags, the thing hasn’t lost any of its fluff. Even after months of stress tests — i.e. gaming/movie marathons and my occasional jumping up and down on it like a over-caffeinated child — the Emperor looks exactly as it did when it first arrived, stab wound included. The same went for the Gigantor and Sway, both of which retained their shape even after a year of enduring me as an owner.
Of the Sumo bean bags I’ve reviewed, the Emperor is bigger than the Sway, but smaller than the Gigantor. So if you’d like a big, cozy bean bag that can fit two people without having to sacrifice half your living room to accommodate it, the Emperor may be the perfect fit for you. It measures 55″ x 25″ of pure, heavenly comfort.
Unfortunately, because it’s a new product, you can only get the Emperor in Fiery Red — at least for now. This of course limits where you can put it, unless your home has a race car red theme to it. The other bean bags have multiple options to choose from, so I hope they’ll introduce a few more colors soon. I love red and all, but a gargantuan red bean bag is a difficult thing to bring into any household, unless it’s like my place, which I’ve given a roller coasters and deep sea diving theme, so as to guarantee that everything fits in there.
Size is always an issue when you’re talking about a giant, cushiony bag you use as furniture. If you’re thinking about purchasing one of these big beauties, you’ve probably already decided that it’s size isn’t big deal. What about the comfort?
I won’t bury the lead: the Sumo Emperor is an intensely comfortable bean bag. Even more so than the Sway — it’s more of a giant bean bag chair — and right in line with the Gigantor, which is a bulbous mass of a bean bag that grabs hold of your ass and refuses to let go. I only had one issue with it, and it’s a small one.
The way the Emperor is designed gives it a little bum-shaped crater in the center that’s surrounded by walls of hold-me-and-don’t-ever-let-me-go goodness. If it’s just you, then this makes the bag more comfortable. However, it also makes it more difficult to remove yourself from. I’ve already discovered there’s no elegant way to get off of a bean bag — it’s all grunts, sweating and a serious reliance on upper body strength — but it’s worth mentioning.
This divot also makes bringing two people onto it a little more difficult. You can’t lay on the walls and awkwardly stare at the center as you wait to see who’s going to plunge into it first, and unless you don’t mind getting real friendly with the person you’re sharing the Emperor with, the shape of it is going to send both of you toward the center.
The Emperor also makes for a fantastic trap. It’s a great tool for getting close to someone you’re fond of, because all you need to do is use its cozy disguise to lure in your prey with the promise of hours of comfort. Then, when the two of you are on it and its clever design sends both of you hurtling towards each other, they’ll realize they can’t escape because it’s a bean bag and those things are so goddamned hard to get off of.
The Final Word: Drop $249 and get one. Your butt will thank you.
Disclaimer: A Sumo Emperor bean bag was provided by Sumo for this review.