March 16, 2013
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Title: Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai
Genre: Slice-of-life, Comedy, Ecchi, Magical Girl and Romance
Rating: 6.8/10

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Summary:  Ryosuke Kaga is the main protagonist of Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai. He is a typical high school student in Momozomo Academy with an atypical interest in all things Ecchi. This has earned him the nick name ‘Ero-Suke’ by the time he entered his second year of high school. He meets Lisara Restall on a rainy day. Seeing that she is drenched, he offers her his house to rest and dry up. At his home, Lisara revealed that she is a Shinigami who is on a mission to find a special specimen human. However, traveling from the Shinigami world has drained her powers. Thus, Lisara forms a temporal contract with Ryosuke binding their spirits together using the broken sword Gram. Through the Gram, Ryosuke becomes a ‘human battery’ for Lisara, and a much needed power supply to sustain her existence on Earth. Ryosuke agrees to help Lisara because of his belief in protecting women (who are treasure chests of Ecchi-ness for him), and in turn Lisara promises to extend Ryosuke’s life span as he only has 3 months left to live. During their first battle with a monster from the Shinigami world, Ryosuke and Lisara discovers that Ryosuke’s energy is sustained by his Ecchi-ness. This leads many comical situations in their interactions. As the story unfolds, the duo become embroiled in an apocalyptic struggle between the Shinigami world and the Human realm.

Review: Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai follows a rather lineal and predictable plot, where Ryosuke and Lisara’s encounter turns out to be a destined meeting between soul mates set in an epic battle that engulfs the rest of the world. However, the interesting take on Freudian themes in this Anime gives this series a touch of brilliance above the rest.

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Although the plot is familiar and simple, it is intelligent in its infusion of Freudian themes integrating the Ecchi neatly into the storyline. This makes the Ecchi enjoyable and funny rather than an excuse for fan service. The central Freudian imagery is in the Gram sword, which is a not too subtle representation of the phallic symbol. However, Gram is not presented as being overtly Male, but rather a combination of Masculine and Feminine powers.

Similarly, we see this theme when the Shinigami enact their powers in their creation of a magical womb that envelops a space, allowing for battle and healing without real destruction. This creates a dynamic space that harnesses Masculine and Feminine powers,created by Lisara’s powers and sustained by Ryosuke’s eroticism. The plot, therefore, integrates sexual imageries into a thoughtful discussion of the role of male and female eroticism as a driving force to protect, create and also destroy.

In doing so, the series re-imagines the tarot archetype of the Woman and the Lion, as the Shinigami and the Human.  The story’s premise is an interesting interpretation of the tarot symbolism of the ‘Strength’ card. The ‘Strength’ card is an archetype depicting a woman restraining the raw power of the unbridled lion, turning it into strength. This is paralleled through representing the source of Ryosuke’s energy as his Eroticism, thereby allowing Lisara to replenish her strength in the fight against monsters. Like the Woman and the Lion, Lisara and Ryosuke are bound together by a deep relationship of trust and respect, which gradually develops into romance.

 

Ryosuke is a stereotypical Ecchi-baka stock anime type and the hero in this coming-of-age story. His heroics lies in his honest embracing of his own eroticism, which makes him a strangely apt role model of positive self image and sexual identity. Thus, his love for Ecchi is not perverted by a desire to possess members of the opposite sex, rather, it is driven by a desire to protect the women in his life.

Women are therefore attracted to Ryosuke due to his mature attitude towards eroticism. While the harem genre is often an excuse for the portrayal of male sexual fantasies, the harem in Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai, differs considerably. It is, in my opinion, not a ‘true harem’ in that the women do not wish to share Ryosuke nor possess him for themselves. Instead, they love him for their own reasons and hope that their love will be reciprocated. Thus,there is little competition between women over Ryosuke, and instead, all of them support each other in their love for the same man. In doing so, women are not presented as objects that long for male ownership, but as being independent subjects that are able to choose who they love and how they love.

The women in this series are strong and determined, who are not afraid of personal sacrifice, suffering or pain. I particularly enjoyed the persona of Lisara, who is an interesting mix of a Tsundere and a magical girl. Because of this blend, Lisara’s character is complex allowing us to peer into the many layers of her Tsun. This is a refreshing take on an overused anime type, which usually focus on the bashfulness (Tsun) of a young girl, rather than give any complexity to that.

The experience of watching this series

The story is truly light hearted and funny. Ryosuke’s candidness to sex and Ecchi is familiar (and nostalgic) to male teens everywhere, while his blatant honesty allows us to laugh both at him and at ourselves. The humor is intelligent and layered, such as Mina Okura and Cule Zeria’s imagination of Ryosuke’s recharging of eroticism in the persona of a centaur, which plays on the Greek imagination on the virility of such mythical creatures, and simultaneously as, an angel of Ecchi, which is a chaste celestial being. This is layered with Freudian humor as it imply a male variation of the Madonna and Whore archetype.

Visually, the anime is slightly above average. I found it strange that while there are beautiful graphics in some parts, such as the Shinigami’s creation of a ‘battle circle,’ the battles appear rather boring and lackluster. This is perhaps due to the lack of any exploration of the fighting system of the Shinigami, leading to a cacophony of visual display without content. This made the battle sequences boring despite significant variations in the artwork. On the other hand, the background art and the characters are far from disappointing; although I must add that they are not as impressive as recent animes that I watched such as Chuunibyou demo koi ga Shitai!

Recommended for:

I recommend this anime for a lazy Wednesday evening, where you can enjoy the ecchi humor over a glass of wine without having to be too engrossed in the storyline. The characters in this Anime are easily lovable and there are enough complexities to engage the critical viewer without overloading them with too much abstraction.

 

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