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Literature / So, I Can't Play H!

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Back: Mina and Iria
Front: Quele and Lisara

High school student Ryousuke Kaga is an insatiable, but chivalrous, pervert. It's even earned him the name ErosukeTranslation  His mostly mundane life, accompanied by his best friend, Mina Okura, was interrupted one rainy afternoon when he encountered Lisara Restall standing in the rain. Doing his best to ignore her translucent, wet clothing, he gives her his umbrella and invites her to dry off back at his house.

It's soon revealed that Lisara is an elite shinigami from the magical parallel dimension of Grimwald, a whole world of Grim Reapers. Needing energy to maintain her presence and strength, she makes a temporary spirit contract with Ryousuke by stabbing him with a Soul-Cutting Blade. After a harrowing, sudden combat scene from a Grimwald monster who followed her, Lisara informs Ryousuke he doesn't have long to live. Promising to resurrect him if he serves as her energy source, Ryousuke agrees, but Lisara is blindsided by the source of his particular energy - eroticism!

Unwittingly powered by his libido, Lisara finds herself the constant object of the Male Gaze and Ryousuke's desires. Together, they embark to find The Chosen One and use that person's power to power Grimwald and save Ryousuke's life.

So, I Can't Play H!, known in Japan as Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai, is a series of Light Novels which were published from 2011 to 2013, with a total of five volumes. It received an anime adaptation in the summer of 2012.

Not to be confused with High School DD, which started airing an anime around the same time with a similar red-haired Magical Girlfriend.

This series contains examples of:

  • A-Cup Angst: Iria uses as illusion spell to make her breasts appear large, to hide the fact that hers are smaller than Lisara's.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: In Episode 6, when Ryousuke finds out that he possesses the sword of Gram. This is a downplayed version as he doesn't become a Jerkass. But he does let it get to his head and becomes convinced that he's an Invincible Hero. This quickly gets rectified in Episode 7 after his near-death experience.
  • Another Dimension: All three of the shinigami females are from Grimwald, which is a plane of existence that lies between the human world and the afterlife.
  • Art Shift: Episode 10's backgrounds have a much different tone than the previous ones. Largely because the gate between Earth has been severed, and reapers are killing off people that should have died a long time ago before the Restall family took pity on humans and allowed them to live longer.
  • Back from the Dead: The crux of episode 12 involves Lisara using Mina's power to separate her soul from her body, so she can go after Ryousuke's spirit and bring it back.
  • Bad Boss: Gardarbolg doesn't care if his own men get caught in his attacks.
  • Barely-There Swimwear: In the OVA, the school holds a swimsuit contest. Quele tries to convince Mina to enter to show her she has nothing to be ashamed of. But all the swimsuits Quele picks for her are so skimpy that Mina grows visibly uncomfortable. The last one causes her to shriek and cover her chest and pelvic region in embarrassment.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted for Lisara in episode 9, when an attack from Gardarbolg's cursed sword leaves her with numerous patches of discolored skin. Several weeks later, they still haven't healed, though the events of episode 12 cause her scars to magically heal.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Iria pulls one in episode 7 to save Lisara, Quele, and Ryousuke from a fight they were losing badly.
    • She does it again in episode 8.
    • Ryousuke does one in episode 9. Sort of...
  • Blatant Lies: Lisara tells Iria that her contract with Ryousuke is one of necessity and that she'd never fall in love with someone like him. Iria knows better and tells Lisara she was always a bad liar.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Iria, Quele and Lisara respectively.
  • Break the Haughty: By episode 7, Ryousuke starts to believe he's an Invincible Hero. But he quickly gets reality checked when he almost gets Quele and himself killed. The experience leaves him quite traumatized.
  • Bust-Contrast Duo: Lisara, who we are told is flat, is a scythe-wielding Fiery Redhead, but relatively even-tempered tsundere. Whereas Mina is a shy young busty brunette and eventual Unlucky Childhood Friend to Ryosuke.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: Mehshiyori and Iria both believe that large breasts are the key to a woman's sex appeal.
    • Shortly after her introduction in episode 3, Meshiyori pointedly explains why she has no interest in Lisara's breasts, and the reason she won't shake hands with her:
      Meshiyori: [at Lisara] The only we can become goddesses — is by having large, voluptuous melons!
      Meshiyori: [points at Lisara's chest] I can tell from here that yours are only seventy-
      Lisara: [gritting teeth] If you finish that number... I'll Kill You!
    • In Iria's case, it's because she's ashamed that her breasts are smaller than Lisara's. When her illusion spell gets disrupted at the end of episode 3, it exposes her real breasts. The moment Ryosuke sees them, it causes Iria to cover her chest and run away in tears.
  • Censor Box: Done pretty poorly, usually a solid black or white line stretching across and blocking much of the screen, to the point where it can be distracting on its own. Worst in the fight scenes, where copious Clothing Damage means most of the scene is covered by a giant black bar half the time. Doesn't apply to the uncensored versions.
  • Childhood Friend: Ryousuke has known Mina since they were children, having grown up together as neighbors. So he cares deeply about her, except not in the way she'd hope for.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Downplayed. Lisara isn't possessive of Ryosuke, because she stubbornly refuses to admit having feelings for him. Mainly because his lecherous behavior and buffoonery pisses her off. Yet, seeing him chase after other girls upsets her just as much.
  • Clothing Damage: Justified. The girls' battle attire is created by their powers and begins to dissolve as they run low on energy. Thus, restoring their energy mends their garments.
  • Corner of Woe: After Ilia and Quele try to one up each other while on a video chat with Ryousuke's mother, Lisara boasts that he's seen more than just her breasts, prompting a long, awkward silence and stare from all of the other characters. In the next scene, Lisara is sitting far away from the group covered by a blue aura of shame.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Lisara and Ryousuke usually dish these out once they learn how to work together, but they're on the receiving end of one in episode 7.
  • Date Peepers: Lisara, Ilia, and Quele do this in episode 11. To be fair, there was a lot riding on that date.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Quele and Ilia are much less hostile towards Lisara after she beats them. Of course, she doesn't like the two girls chasing after Ryousuke either.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After Dalnia shows Ryousuke what's happened in the week between episodes 9 and 10, he loses his will to live, citing that it's unfair that he should get his life extended while lots of other people who should have expired a while back are dying because of his actions.
  • Deus Sex Machina: Justified, because Ryosuke has to keep his thoughts focused on perverted fantasies and euphemisms to maintain his energy, in order to restore Lisara's when hers begins to run out.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?:
    • Ryousuke is prone to doing this when he probably meant to think those lines.
    • Mina herself does this at the end of episode 12, after seeing an explosion come from Ryousuke's house. She says if Lisara still treats him like dirt, she'll claim Ryou-chan for herself. To which Quele mentions that she's got a dark side, causing Mina to panic and invoke this trope.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Once Ryousuke learns he possess the legendary sword, Gram, he lets it go to his head and believes it makes him invincible. So he decides to storm Galdrblog's tower, despite having no combat experience and almost no understanding of magic, like a typical shonen hero. But he gets reality checked, hard, when he nearly gets Quele and himself killed, and only survives thanks to Lisara saving them. The next episode has him suffer an extreme bout of PTSD, as a result.
  • Disappeared Dad: Ryousuke's father is dead when the show starts. But then his mom reveals this was a lie. The father abandoned them, and she figured it was easier to tell him that he's dead rather than admit she had no idea where he was. It turns out Ryousuke's father was actually the shinigami who stole Gram's broken blade, and staying with Ryousuke's mother too long probably would have endangered her and Ryousuke.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Happens to Ryousuke a lot.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Ryousuke gets beat up by Lisara a lot, although that only seems to turn him on even more.
  • Elemental Powers
    • Playing with Fire: Lisara wields a flaming scythe and has the ability to use fire spells.
    • An Ice Person: Quele has a frost blade and specializes in ice magic.
    • Shock and Awe: Ilia uses a lightning powered short sword and equivalent magic.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The shinigami are so committed to their cause, that they'll continue to fight even if they have to do it stark naked.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Lisara, Quele, and Ilia respectively (as noted under Elemental Powers).
  • First Girl Wins - Subverted. Lisara is the second girl to get close to Ryousuke, as well as the second one shown, after Mina. Also, though episode 12 teases the possibility of a harem ending as a Sequel Hook, the final scene of the second ED reaffirms Ryosuke's relationship status with Lisara.
  • Generation Xerox: When Ryosuke first met Lisara, she was soaked from standing in the rain and seemed dazed. In episode 9, his mother tells him it was the same way she met his father.
  • Heroic BSoD: Ryousuke suffers one in episode 7 after failing to protect Quele during a fight with a large number of monsters.
  • Heroic Resolve: When Ryosuke learns that Lisara purposely left him behind to prevent Gardalbolg from taking Gram, it renews his determination to save her and Mina. Thereby, allowing him to draw Gram out again.
  • Heroic Second Wind: After suffering a powerful blow from Gardarblog, Ryousuke regains some of his composure/energy after touching Lisara's arm, and telling Gardarblog that women's upper arms are just as soft as their boobs. Cue confused look from Gardarblog.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Mina and Quele are in the same boat in regards to their affections for Ryosuke, whose heart is set on Lisara. Quele eventually accepts it and, initially, so does Mina. But during the OVA's final scene, Mina wonders if she might still have a chance.
  • Hot-Blooded: Deconstructed in episode 6. Despite Lisara insisting they needed a plan and allies, Ryousuke mistakenly believed they could storm Gardalbolg's tower and save Mina, through determination alone. It goes as well as you'd expect; resulting in Ryosuke nearly getting himself killed.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Gardarblog kidnaps Mina at the end of episode 6, and taunts Ryousuke and Lisara to come after him if they want her back.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Ryosuke's neighbor, Mina, has nursed a crush on him since they were children. When she learns that he's entered a provisional contract with Lisara, she takes it well, but wishes she could share the same experience, in order to feel closer to him. She gets her wish only days later when she enters a contract with Lisara's cousin, Quelle, and couldn't be happier. Even though it means her parents being under Quelle's mind control.
  • Imagine Spot:
    • In the first episode, Ryosuke tries to see Lisara's panties by shoving his face under her shirt, directly between her legs. Except she wasn't wearing any. So he ends up getting a faceful of her pubic hair, which causes him to envision himself standing in a field of tall red grass.
    • At one point during episode 6, Quele imagines Ryosuke and Lisara having sex, then says she has to win his heart before it actually happens.
    • Ryosuke has several fantasies about Lisara, to recharge his libido during his showdown with Gardalbolg. Including an explicit one about what his first time with Lisara might be like.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The climax of episode 9 concludes with Ryosuke using Gram to run Gardarblog through, dead center.
  • Intimate Healing:
    • Played for drama and fanservice during Lisara's battle with Ilia in episode 4. Ryosuke restores her power by thrusting his pelvis directly into her face, as though forcing her to give him fellatio. It causes Lisara to blush and submit to him, as his energy releases from his crotch, giving her a surge in power.
    • During episode 7, Hild and Ulus lick Ryosuke's wounds to heal them, but he stops them before they can complete the process.
    • Quele attempts to take care of the rest in the following episode, as a way of helping Lisara, only to have Ryosuke decline the offer again since he couldn't get it up, and because of his feelings for Lisara..
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: When Lisara takes Ryousuke's energy, he has to wait a while before he can get it up. Naturally, this is what upsets him the most.
  • Love at First Punch: Ryousuke tells Lisara at the end of episode 11 that despite her beating him up when they first meet, and being a Tsundere towards him, he gradually fell in love with her anyway due to how dedicated she seemed to be in her mission to find the person with the massive enerlgy readings they detected earlier.
  • Love Confession:
    • Mina gives one to Ryousuke in a flashback in episode 7, but because she worded it a bit weird ("I want you to protect only me now"), and because Ryousuke's probably Oblivious to Love, he took it to mean something entirely different.
    • She gives him one again in episode 11. It was in an attempt to save his life by absorbing some of the massive energy emanating from her. Then he blows it by not accepting her feelings.
    • Then after Lisara berates him for rejecting Mina's love, he gives her one, which only hurts her more as she knew he was dying and couldn't save him without Mina.
    • Lisara gives him one in episode 12 while saving him from entering the afterworld, which helps convince him to come back despite being resigned to his fate earlier.
  • Love Epiphany: Quele seems to undergo this in episode 5. Lisara seems to have one in episode 6, after Ryousuke reveals that despite the danger to his health, he's doing all he can to help protect her.
  • Love Hurts:
    • Although subtle, in episode 9, Mina seems unhappy when she sees Ryousuke coming to rescue her and Lisara, but seems much more focused on Lisara.
    • Lisara in episode 11 while watching him and Mina on a date. She doesn't seem very happy watching it, then leaves about halfway through the date.
  • Lured into a Trap: Lisara in episode 8, after Ilia is ordered to bring her to the tower and lure her into a room where they could capture her.
  • Magical Accessory: The crystal bracelets worn by the shinigami allow them to scan, absorb, and expel life energy. They also function as a Transformation Trinket by using the word "Disrad".
  • Magical Foreign Words: Grimwaldian magic is usually attached to Norse naming and pronunciation conventions. Examples include "Skirnir", "Skaði Käne", "Dicjake", and "Baldr". Also, considering most of the shinigami we see are attractive, warrior females, they're likely a homage to the Valkyries.
  • Magically-Binding Contract: The shinigami form contracts with humans that allow them to remain in their world, by periodically feeding off their contractee's energy. But it requires the shinigami to stab them through the chest with a ceremonial sword that's attached to a soul binding chain. So when Ryosuke tried hitting on Lisara in episode 1, she thought he was offering to form a contract with her. She accepted.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Used in episodes 7 and 8, while Ryosuke's recovering from his injuries. Also, utilized when one of Lisara's maid, Hild, begins to have sex with him.
  • Mood Dissonance: At the end of episode 11, Mina and Ryousuke's mother are both crying as he's laying in his bed, having died just moments earlier, with some sad music playing in the background. Then the closing credits kick in with its very cheerful music.
  • Mutual Disadvantage: Gardalblog explains this is the reason for his actions. The Restall family has allowed too many humans to live to longer than they should. This has both created a power shortage (energy famine) in Grimwald and overpopulation on Earth, causing wars, famine, and disease. The natural balance is much more beneficial to both worlds.
  • Naked Apron: Knowing he was responsible for the state of the world's collapsenote  leaves Ryosuke burdened with guilt. So Lisara and Quele try to cheer him up by wearing aprons and slippers around the house. Though Lisara shows him they're wearing thong panties underneath.
  • New Transfer Student: Lisara has reason to believe that the one she's looking for may be a student at Ryosuke's school. So she enrolls in his class the following day, to expedite her search. Quele and Ilia each follow suit, after coming to the human realm for the same reason.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: As a result of Ryousuke inadvertently pinning Gardalbolg to the device that maintains the barrier between their worlds, and Grimwald's sun, by piercing him straight through. The force of the stab renders it inoperable, destroying the barrier.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Dalnia in the later episodes. Everything she does is simply for the sake of business, although to the other characters she appears to be a heartless bastard in doing so, such as when she was attempting to collect Ryousuke's energy after he died at the beginning of episode 12. Despite the other character's pleas to wait, she tries to harvest it right away.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Usually, the thought of two beautiful women offering themselves to him would be Ryosuke's dream come true. Not so much after nearly getting himself killed.
  • Our Hero Is Dead: Ryousuke at the end of episode 11.
  • Our Souls Are Different
    • Every living thing has a soul. The strongest souls are found in humans. At a set point from birth, all Earth-origin souls have a time of "death", and while physical death occurs, the soul itself does not die and will go to another plane. Even the Grimwaldians don't know where, but they do know of the Afterlife Antechamber where the soul is purified before transcending.
    • Life Energy binds souls to their physical bodies. Life Energy is the will and state of one's emotions. On average, the active energy a person has readily available is around their baseline, and draining that (through contract) will usually require a wait time of a few days before fully replenished. During that recharge period, the person's body and mind is often reduced in capacity, especially for one's source emotional drive.
    • Over one's life, Life Energy is built up. If not used (via spirit contract), it becomes part of one's lifetime storage of energy. At the end of life, Grimwaldians "reap" this energy and the process also causes the soul to be released. This process can be prevented by having a Soul-Cutting Blade lodged between one's soul and energy.
    • It is possible to leave your soul and come back, but it requires massive amounts of energy, even more if you're bringing back someone else. If a soul is brought back from the Afterlife Antechamber, the person essentially gains a life extension. How long the new life lasts is not specified, but over time the soul will eventually fall away again, resulting in death. It is unknown if this process can be repeated as a Longevity Treatment, but what is certain is this is a Dangerous Forbidden Technique that risks the user's life.Spell Note 
  • P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: Ryosuke doesn't appear on the DVD's cover art, despite being the series' male lead. Instead, it's a solo picture of Lisara naked in bed. Whereas the Blu-ray covernote  is group shot of all the girls.
  • Power Levels: Humans possess quantifiable levels of spirit energy, which is why shinigami seek out those with especially high spirit levels to form contracts with. At only 15,000, Ryosuke's is considered below substandard, whereas Meshiyori's was estimated to be just shy of 1 million!
  • The Power of Love: Turns out that this causes humans to create even more energy, which Dalnia exploits at the end of episode 12 and called this "Life Jewel", so that the reapers can help humans obtain happiness, so that when their time does finally come, they'll be able to harvest more energy than if they did it the old way of just harvesting humans as they die. This also means that Ryousuke won't have to feel guilty about living longer anymore.
  • Scars are Forever: The cursed-scars Lisara obtains in episode 9 remain on her body until they're purified away, while in the antechamber between dimensions.
  • Scenery Censor:
    • Bedsheets are used in episode 7, to conceal when Hild beins to have sex with Ryosuke. The glow from beneath the sheets only allows you to see her silhouetted on top of him and the accompanying hip motion.
    • Also seen during episode 12, when he tries to convince Lisara to let him join her in the furo. Ryosuke's dog stands in front of him to block his "kingdom", though Lisara gets an eyeful.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Done twice.
    • The first being the aforementioned scene between Ryosuke and Hild in episode 7.
    • And in the final scene of the series' ED, Ryosuke kisses Lisara right before pinning her on his bed. The screen pans up to the ceiling, just as a single heart appears, soon followed by several more.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: In the OVA, the school holds a swimsuit contest. When it is Lisara's turn, she chickens out and won't take her shirt off, so Ryousuke sprays her with a water gun, making her swimsuit visible. The boys call him a genius.
  • Shinigami: Lisara and all the other natives of Grimwald.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Almeia seems pleased to learn Ryosuke has entered a contract with her daughter, Lisara.
    • Episode 11 has all three shinigami try to get Ryousuke to fall for Mina, to prolong his life by absorbing some of Mina's life energy.
  • "Silly Me" Gesture:
    • Mina does this after saying, "I can be pretty clumsy. Tee, hee!" This is after she said she accidentally washed Ryosoke's cell phone and computer.
    • Ryosuke himself does this, including the "tee, hee," line after he's caught cheating at strip poker.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Seems to be the routine for Ryousuke and Lisara.
  • Slippery Swimsuit: In the OVA, Quele magically tampers with Lisara's swimsuit. So after Ryosuke sprays her shirt with a super-soaker, it dissolves her bikini on contact. Her shirt becomes see-through; allowing the crowd to see she's stark naked underneath it.
  • Spoiler: The final scene of the second ED shows, Ryosuke alone with Lisara, in his bedroom. He gives her a flower and shyly scoots closer to her 'til they're holding hands, then he suddenly pins her on the bed. The camera pans up to a shot of the ceiling as a single heart appears, soon followed by several more, implying that they have sex.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Ilia does this in episode 6, showing up inside Ryousuke's house.
  • Strip Poker: They play this in episode 10, to prevent Ryosuke from finding out the truth about the situation. It ends with all girls in just their underwear, and Ryosuke gets a Royal Straight Flush. Then they find out he was cheating.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Lisara's mother (Almeia) looks almost exactly like her, except she has different colored hair and huge boobs.
  • Take a Third Option: In episode 12, Dalnia, having witnessed Ryousuke being brought back to life, and the immense amount of energy this "regular guy" was emanating upon being reunited with Lisara, decides to instead help humans to obtain happiness, as she sees that they can collect more energy this way rather than simply killing them off to absorb it during their death.
  • Taking the Bullet: Quele gets hurt by putting herself between Ryousuke and an attacking monster.
  • Thanks for the Mammaries: Ryousuke does this to break up a fight between Lisara and Quele in episode 2, by grabbing both women by their boobs.
  • That Sounds Familiar: In Episode 6, Ryosuke's mother tells him and the girls about how she met Ryosuke's father. The story is almost identical to how Ryosuke met Lisara in Episode 1. In fact, there were only a few key differences. Other than their genders, Ryosuke's parents were a bit older when they met, with his mother confirming that she was already in college when she met her future husband. The biggest difference however is that, unlike Ryosuke and Lisara, Ryosuke's parents shamelessly went all the way on the same night they met.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You:
    • Ilia gets upset that her company Merlot would send a creature on their own to try and defeat Lisara, when she vows to be the one who does it.
    • She saves Lisara again in episode 8, vowing that she would be the only one to defeat Lisara, and saving her from the trap set up by Gardarblog.
  • The Reveal: In episode 6, Ryousuke's mom tells him about his father, who left the other half of the sword in him, which is why he was able to reforge it in the previous episode. She also tells him that his father isn't really dead, but just left somewhere to fight. She just told him he died to make it more convenient. She also gave him the name "Ryousuke", as he couldn't remember what his was, and she needed something to call him by, hence why their son has the same name.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Lisara's physical abuse to Ryousuke only seems to turn him on more, which freaks her out when she's stepping on him in episode 1.
  • Transformation Sequence: Occurs after "Disrad" is cast. Lisara, Quele, Iria, and Dalnia are all shown transforming with Disrad this way.
  • Undead Tax Exemption: All three shinigami enroll at Ryosuke's school by claiming to be transfer students. Though, in Lisara's case, she also tells the class she's Ryosuke's relative and has him vouch for her.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Ryousuke refers to his genitals as, his "kingdom" and calls Lisara's pubic hair her "red threads". (Link contains NSFW material)
  • Vampiric Draining: All the shinigami use Life Energy as a power source for their magic and technology. Sometimes this is collective, but other times it's directly taken from a human contractee.
  • Villain Ball: Had Galdrblog bothered to explain what his actual intentions were, rather than simply storm Tusclecr with his army, the Restall Family might've been willing to negotiate with him for a more amicable solution.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Gardarblog's rationale for what he does. In episode 9, he tells Ryousuke about how they used to cull human lives at a regular interval, until the families such as Lisara's took pity on them, and allowed them to live much longer than they normally should be able to. He wanted to get Grimwald so that he could resume doing his job of culling humans to prevent them from overpopulating and causing even more destruction and mayhem through war for food/supply shortages.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Lisara tells Ryosuke that he would die in three months.

Alternative Title(s): So I Cant Play H, Dakara Boku Wa H Ga Dekinai