So, I Can’t Play H Volume 1
So, I Can’t Play H is a manga that feels familiar from the start. It began as a series of light novels (11 in all) written by Pan Tachibana and illustrated by Yoshiaki Katsurai that then were adapted into five manga volumes, drawn by Sho Okagiri, before becoming an anime series.
This volume opens with a bunch of confusing mythology about a realm of Grim Reapers and their training and contracts and rules, but it’s really about a regular guy, Ryosuke, whose only virtue is kindness, who has an extensive porn collection, and who is obsessed with girls being treasures full of body parts to dream about. Typical of an M-rated series, there’s plenty of fan service, like a full-nude shower scene.
The subject of the scene is Lisara, a cute girl from this other realm who exists just so he can look up at her when she’s wearing nothing but his shirt or get his head stuck in her crotch. She needs him to live, but her use of his spirit energy reduces his libido, which means he leers at her a lot but doesn’t attack her. (All this is explained during one of the talking scenes that are there just to space out the sexy images.) Typical of this kind of manga, it’s all a tease, putting Ryosuke in the place of the reader, while Lisara screams and yells and threatens him violently.
In the second half of the book, she joins him at school, where she meets his well-built childhood friend and the local popular boy. I wish the series had more humor, more cheekiness about its premise, so I could find something to entertain me, but this is clearly aimed at those who want a flimsy excuse to fantasize about naked girls.
I’m a bit worried that the message of this manga, like some others I’ve seen recently, appears to be “your fantasy women will be mean in real life”. That seems to reassure the male reader that it’s ok to stick with his manga girls instead of trying to meet a real female, because she’ll likely turn out to abuse or berate him. Yes, dealing with another live human can be a struggle sometimes, and she may not like everything about you, but retreating to this kind of softcore porn isn’t the answer, even if it is understandable for a teen male. (The publisher provided a review copy.)