Rating: 4/5 – The Grim Reaper Meets a Grinning Pervert
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow.
I’m not sure why, but it seems to be a common thread across all comics, regardless of country of origin, that the personification of death is often a beautiful woman of some sort. Marvel, of course, has Death herself, the object of Thanos’ affection. Over at DC, we have Neil Gaiman’s take on Death as a cute goth girl. Then there’s Lady Death from the indie crowd. Even Botan from Yu Yu Hakusho could be a version of Charon, the ferryman – pardon me, ferryperson – across the river Styx.
Now, with the manga adaption of the light novel series So I Can’t Play H, the Grim Reaper appears again in an attractive female form, this time as a gorgeous redhead – Lisara Lestorl – with a penchant for short skirts and a mission to find a particular human she can bond with. Don’t get too excited. It’s so she can draw on their life energy to keep herself in good stead to claim her title as head of her family. In this world, Grim Reapers are everywhere, and an accepted part of the world of the living. Lisara happens to belong to one of the most powerful families, and when word gets out of a Singular Person – someone with near unlimited life energy – she sets off in pursuit, entering the living realm.
What she finds, however, is Ryosuke Kaga, a young man who, to paraphrase Steve Martin, thinks all women should be put on pedestals…high enough so he can look up their dresses. Ryosuke is perhaps a master-level pervert, eternally obsessed with beautiful women, but for all the wrong reasons. His idolatry becomes his undoing when he runs into Lisara, wet and cold in a downpour and offers her his umbrella. One thing leads to another and the pair become inseparably linked, Ryosuke now forced to serve the Grim Reaper in finding this Singular Person…with his libido held captive until they do!
There’s a lot to enjoy with this book. Ryosuke is portrayed so comically pathetic, from his massive porn collection to his consistent wrong ideas about how to be around women, that his “evolution” of sorts must be a central theme to the series. His frankness about his licentious needs, and Lisara’s ability to keep them in check via their contract, make for some of the book’s more hilarious moments. Sho Okagiri does a great job drawing Lisara as a fanservice-y object of everyone’s affection, but with enough emotional grit and mood swings to drive the point home that she is also a harbinger of death.
So, I Can’t Play H shows a lot of potential that will likely keep me reading it in manga form rather than seek out the existing anime version. There’s a lot more plot twists and storylines to come, and while the fanservice elements are to be expected (the book is rated M for Mature, mainly for the numerous panty and upskirt shots of Lisara), there’s more going on than a cursory glance would suggest. It won’t be for everyone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t an audience out there for it.
Reviewed by: Al Sparrow
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