SO, I CAN'T PLAY H! COMPLETE COLLECTION

PrintE-mail Written by Dominic Cuthbert

Ryōsuke Kaga strikes a lonely figure, left to tend the household while his mother works in Germany and his dad pushes up the proverbial daisies. Coming home from school, he meets Lisara Restall standing vacant in the rain, like a scene stolen from countless rom-coms. When he invites her home, his lewd motives barely veiled by schmaltzy sympathy, she reveals that she’s a top grim reaper with the knowledge that Ryōsuke has only months left to live. She needs the energy of a human volunteer, hence her presence in his world, and presuming that he would like to live at least a while longer, she’s chosen him as her personal charge point for both their benefits.

From this starting point, however, what you would expect to be the main plot dribbles away into a series of ecchi-enabling scenarios, driven by the fact that Ryōsuke’s main energy source is his perverted nature. Except what he means by this is that he, like most other high school boys, gets all hot and bothered at the slightest suggestion of boobs. So any form of conflict or character progression is marred by the main character’s justification in being a sex pest, and female characters scripted with as much depth and sensitivity as a blow-up doll.

Ryōsuke’s only moment of insight comes in the realisation that all girls are beautiful, no matter what their breast size (bless him), which brings him to the conclusion that he should protect them all as treasures. The young women are inexplicably drawn to him and left to moan and squabble over which one means the most, beset by self-loathing and jealousy. With the relentless instances of gravity-defying F-cups, and Lisara enduring petty bullying because of her smaller bust, it’s difficult to imagine any members of its marginalized female audience not coming away furious, or even self-conscious of their bodies themselves.

The series’ one redeeming feature, aside from the sumptuous, softly detailed and textured settings, is brushed off as a retrospective aside. Ryōsuke’s conversation with his mother about how she met his father, oddly overdue considering his age, nonetheless proves the warmth of their relationship, further mystifying his passive lack of respect for girls his own age. Apart from a couple of faux pas on her part, considering his aforementioned peers are also listening, which shade her as just as tactless as either of the characters gathered, it’s an authentic exchange that makes you want to go back and follow her love story instead. Considering the supernatural mystery shrouding his parents’ romance, their life together and abrupt separation, the trivial dramas in Ryōsuke’s life don’t match up to the complexity of the show you can imagine starring his mother.

Special Features: Textless Opening and Closing / Japanese promo / TV spots

SO, I CAN’T PLAY H! COLLECTION / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: TAKEO TAKAHASHI / SCREENPLAY: NARUHISA ARAKAWA / STARRING: AYA ENDO, ANRISA NISHIGUCHI, HIRO SHIMONO / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Starburst Rating:

 



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