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Review: So I Can’t Play H

Ryōsuke Kaga, a lonely figure as his single mother’s career requires her to live in Germany, is on his way home in the rain when he meets Lisara Restall. When he invites her in, his lewd motives barely veiled by soppy kindness, she reveals that she is a reaper of the highest class, with the knowledge that Ryōsuke has 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 chargepoint for both their benefits.

From this starting point, however, what you would expect to be the main plot dribbles away into a series of nudey-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 flustered at the slightest suggestion of boobs. So any form of conflict or potentially endearing 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 3D mouse mat.

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 inexplicably drawn to him, meanwhile, are left to moon and squabble over which one means the most to him, beset by self-loathing and jealousy. With the relentless instances of gravity-defying F-cups, and Lisara enduring petty bullying because of her smaller measurements, it’s difficult to imagine any members of its disregarded female audience not coming away furious, or even self-conscious of their bodies themselves.

The series’ one redeeming feature, apart from the sumptuous, softly detailed textures of the art afforded to the settings, is brushed off as a retrospective aside. Ryōsuke’s first 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.

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