So I Can’t Play H! (Cert 15)
2 Discs (Distributor: MVM) Running time: 283 minutes approx.
Before we get to the review of this supernatural harem comedy a quick explanation of the title is in order, should anyone think this is about an actor not getting the role of Ian Watkins in the movie biopic of cheesy 90’s popsters Steps! “H” is the Japanese reduction for the word “hentai” which seasoned anime fans will know means “pervert”.
This is relevant to the plot as our male protagonist Ryosuke Kaga is a colossal pervert, obsessed with breasts. He has the unfortunate habit of saying as much out loud, hence his popularity with the girls being non-existent. There is an exception in sweet and shy next door neighbour Mina Okura, who holds a secret crush on Kaga, while he is in awe of her hefty chest.
One rainy night Kaga returns home to find a girl standing outside his home, soaked through to the skin and ready to drop so he takes her in. She introduces herself as Lisara Restall, a Grim Reaper from the land of Grimwald visiting the human world to seek “The Singular Man”. In the interim Lisara makes a temporary pact with Kaga to absorb his energy so she can exist in the human world, preferring to use his more powerful perverted energy.
If you haven’t run off yet then you’ll be pleased/surprised/utterly gobsmacked to learn that there is actually a story present in this ribald harem comedy. Admittedly the packaging is typically tawdry but does involve Lisara’s search, the mystery of the missing half sword the fabled Gram, and the deluded tyrant wreaking havoc back in Grimwald. And boobs.
Because of the supernatural element comparisons will be made between So I Can’t Play H! and the equally ecchi series High School DxD but aside from Lisara and Rias Gremory both sporting red hair and the lascivious lead males with latent mystical powers, similarities are largely superficial. And boobs of course.
One difference is that Kaga, despite his overt mammary obsession, does value women and sees them as treasures that need protecting. It is ironic that in the early stages Kaga is the one who needs protecting from strange invading creatures and the other female Grim Reapers who eventually make up the harem.
First up is Quele Zeria, Lisara’s cousin who makes a contract with Mina and discovers she has incredible energy within her (presumably because of her bountiful bosom). Quele is a feisty one whose fighting form sees her develop a strange phallic like protrusion from her forehead! Then there is Iria Fukumune who poses as a busty teen idol in the human world (so naturally Kaga is a fan).
Aside from the usual introductions of the cast – and yes the girls become transfer students at Kaga’s school because harem – the early going is based around the search for suitable power for Lisara to make a full contract with, which leads her to Kaga’s school to seek out The Special Eight, an octet of students with supposed special abilities.
Little do they know that the answer is literally under her nose. A Skype call from Kaga’s mother Satomi reveals the truth about his paternal side, and frankly it is no wonder her son turned out to be a complete pervert after meeting Satomi. The location then switches to Grimwald and a showdown with Galdarblog, a hurriedly introduced and thinly fleshed out antagonist with a poorly explained motive which we can only surmise is down to the fact that boobs are more important.
It is this tendency to forego plot and character development in favour of titillation and prurience which makes a series such as this too easy to scorn and dismiss without a thought. Whether this was deliberate by the creator of the original light novels Pan Tachibana or a change instigated by the anime director Takeo Takahashi (who helmed the non-pervy Spice & Wolf), this approach engenders feelings of frustration when one considers what could have been.
That isn’t to suggest this could have stood shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Ghost In The Shell, Death Note, Bleach, etc. but might have been a serviceable enough fantasy show as the action sequences demonstrate. Galdarblarg could have been an interesting villain even if he is a cookie cutter “destroy the world for personal benefit” masked sociopath, but his three episode appearance just isn’t enough to establish him or indeed care about why he is such a dangerous threat.
Unfortunately this extends to Lisara and the other girls too since we are asked to be invested in their battles against Galdarblag but the build up and background information supplied to explain this plight is largely insufficient for such interest to be nurtured. A brief trip into Grimwald and a meeting of Lisara’s mother shows the potential for some much needed world building but again, having the ladies use their best sexual techniques to get Kaga’s perverted energy levels back up is the order of the day.
Amazingly these scenes are the apex of the sexual content, with the emphasis being on the nudity, something the end credits gleefully give away. Lisara tends to lose her clothing the most during battles (a’la Ikki Tousen) so viewers will soon tire of that novelty, while the bustier girls are largely on hand for the good old exploitative jiggle factor.
The animation by Feel is competent enough while the character designs are as unremarkable as the tacky clichés which riddle this show. The fact there is a story which runs through the entire twelve episodes, albeit haphazardly executed, works in its favour in offering the demanding fan a little more to bite on although it’s unlikely they’d avoid this show anyway.
As boob fests go, there are probably better ones out there and certainly, there have been far worse, making So I Can’t Play H! hard to recommend but equally hard to suggest than it should be avoided. Not for everyone but nectar for the fan service aficionados.
Japanese Language w/ English Subtitles
Disc 2 Only:
Rating – **
Man In Black