The story of a pop idol and her dear friend who doesn't care much about the crush of another young friend and always pays attention to the idol, who is harassed by her manager. One day, they are about to have sex in the dressing rooms when the manager founds out via the camera and gets in the room to stop them and take advantage of the girl.
First, let's get this out of the way. Episode 3 really has to be viewed separately from episodes 1 & 2. More on that later.
Episodes 1 & 2 are excellent. If you like NTR, mind break or stealth sex, you'll love this series. PoRO girls tend to look really similar but Miyu really stands out and you'll get plenty of action with her. The voice acting is good and compared to other hentai, so is the dialogue. Even if you don't like NTR, there's enough great stuff here you can over look it.
Episode 3 is really a prequel
and also an alternate history of sorts. It's not a perfect comparison, but think of episode 3 like all the different Oni Chichi incarnations. The characters and the setting are the same, but the stories don't quite mesh together. At any rate, episode 3 is all Reina and no Miyu. So if you were upset that Reina didn't get enough attention in the first two episodes, here's your big pay off. Reina looks great in it, but episode 3 is just lacking. I don't think one episode was enough to tell the story they are trying to. It just feels rushed. This story really needed the 2 episodes the first story got.
Like episodes 1 & 2, episode 3 contains NTR, mind break and stealth sex. However, the NTR is a different kind of NTR. For more on that you'll have to read the spoiler part of the review. Suffice to say, the style is enough of a departure from the first two episodes that some fans will be disappointed while others might actually enjoy it even more.
Bottom line, don't miss episodes 1 & 2 as they are some of PoRO's finest works. Episode 3 is rushed, but depending on your tastes concerning NTR, you might enjoy it the most.
Episode 1 & 2 is really great because of it's slow burn mind break. In Miyu's first scene, she really doesn't like it, but there's hints of her being curious and liking it a bit. Scene by scene she slowly starts to like it and by the last scene you finally get the pay off and she's totally broken and honest with her self. You hardly ever get anyone willing to take an entire 2 episodes to go through a full mind break arc for one character, but when they do it's excellent and I Can is no exception.
The difference between the NTR in episodes 1 & 2 compared to episode 3 is actually a pretty big deal. Ryouta is NTRed in both, as the boyfriend of both Miyu and then Reina, but in the first two episodes the NTR really focuses on Miyu. Yes, Ryouta is involved and he's upset about what he thinks or knows (it's not exactly clear) is happening between Miyu and Derada, but he's not the focal point. In episode 3, Ryouta is front and center once he discovers the affair. He's actually present in both the last two scenes of the episode. He even holds Reina's hand through a door while she's having sex with Derada in both the last two scenes. During the final scene she tells Ryouta to masturbate while he holds her hand through the door, which he does. So while episode 1 & 2 focus on Miyu slowly being mind broken and sneaking around Ryouta, episode 3 is about Ryouta catching them and him being devastated while watching Reina cheat on him. That's a huge difference. It really just depends on if you like NTR that focuses on the girl or the guy that's being cheated on. Personally, I don't like Ryouta finding out and being present during the sex, it totally ruined episode 3 for me. However, I know there are some people that like that sort of thing.
Episode 3 isn't a true prequel because it's story doesn't quite connect with the others. While it does explain Reina's relationship with Ryouta, why Reina is worried about Ryouta and why Miyu doesn't like Reina hanging around with Ryouta (who would want their boyfriend hanging out with their ex?), it doesn't explain why Ryouta is meeting Derada for the first time, again or why he wouldn't suspect Derada would be trying to seduce Miyu like he had done with Reina. That's why it's really more of an alternate history. It just doesn't add up as a true prequel.
Another quick note, this series really needs to be re translated. As of this review, there is only one translation out there and it has major mistakes in both the final scenes of episodes 1 & 2, which is a shame because they're probably the two best scenes in the whole series. In episode 1 the final scene has a subtitle that is repeated 3 times for about 4 different lines of speech, and the final scene of episode two has a fairly long section of dialogue that just doesn't quite make sense, it's just a bad translation. Obviously I'm happy we have any subs at all, but it would be great to have this fixed one day.
Finally, I was happy to see we got Reina's back story in episode 3 and I thought that was a decent choice to continue the series. However, I was more disappointed we didn't get a true sequel to episode 2 as I think there's a lot more there to continue with. I wanted to see more of Miyu after she was broken. They could have advanced Miyu's story side by side with flashbacks to Reina's. Then ultimately do what what the final scene of episode 2 teased, a threesome with Miyu and Reina.
Episodes 1 & 2 are two of my favorites of all time and maybe the best mind break hentai ever and while episode 3 was a disappointment in my eyes, it didn't effect my ratings too much because I really view them separately.
Let me preface this by saying that I've never never submitted a review before, because if I find something enjoyable enough to consider writing a review for it, I feel that I will be biased - and there's usually plenty of reviews that can cover that. To be fair, I am biased about this one too although in the opposite direction. However, I need to warn those who are more of the same mind as myself before they watch this.
Before moving onto the actual review, I also need to elaborate on what I meant with my previous statements. I☆Can is Netorare (NTR for short). Most
people watching hentai are already familiar with what that means, and if you aren't you should look it up as you'll be seeing a lot of it in all forms of hentai.
People have very different opinions about NTR - Personally I don't enjoy it and for the most part something containing NTR will make it worse. That said, I've always been able to stomach it. I have never been outright turned off or disturbed by NTR.. until now. This is important and a big factor that you should keep in mind as you decide if I☆Can is for you or not. On to the actual review;
Before anything else, I'll mention that episode 3 is seperate from episode 1-2 - The first two cover one story while the third covers a different story arc (or route, if you're familiar with VNs). This review focuses on the first two episodes.
I☆Can was essentially similar to any other NTR up until near the end of episode 2, up until then there wasn't anything that stood out much. The aesthetics were solid, while the story was similar to the more stereotypical NTRs out there - nothing that would've made an impression on me. However, that all changed as I watched the culmination of the story for the second episode. In just a few minutes I☆Can managed to change my mood from a mellow calm to utter anger and disgust. I can't remember the last time something managed to make my stomach turn from sheer disgust.
Then what was so different compared to any other NTR I have seen? Simply put - the execution. While I do not enjoy NTR by itself, I can find logical/psychological arguments that are acceptable or they present it in a way that allows me to accept them. This is key for someone that does not enjoy NTR but can deal with it.
I☆Can failed on both ends. This is far from the first time I've been unable to justify what happens, but in all previous cases it has been presented in a way that I can swallow. In this case it almost felt like they went out of their way to make sure it was as indigestible as possible for anyone but the key audience. I'll elaborate on my thoughts for those interested after wrapping up the body of this review.
The bottom line of all of this and the point of the entire review is to warn anyone that does not enjoy NTR. I cannot imagine anyone being able to stomach the conclusion of this story unless they're specifically into this kind of thing. I imagine that much like myself, you'll find yourself utterly disgusted. Those that truly enjoy NTR will likely find I☆Can very appealing for reasons similar to why I couldn't even stomach it.
In short; If you are into NTR then look no further, as this may be your next favorite. For anyone else - stay as far away as possible.
**Arguments and reasoning behind my review**
For this part, I'll try to shortly go over my reasoning as I try to digest just why I ended up feeling so disgusted. This will contain no direct spoilers, but will hint at what kind of story development there is. I'll also warn you that this is a lot less compact and concise and borders more on a rant, but will let you see most of the reasoning as to why I disliked it as much as I did.
The main point focuses on the main character. This point is especially important - this one, aswell as a lot of other NTR will have the MC lose his beloved to whatever alpha male is represented in it because he is both beta as fuck aswell as ignoring one of her needs (or ignoring her altogether). The most common combination I've seen is that the girl is sexually frustrated due to the MC refusing to (completely) satisfy her sexually after what she has experienced with Mr Alpha, aswell as either being insensitive or neglective to her. There are cases where the only factor is sexual frustration, but those are generally the cases where the girl has been thoroughly trained for an extended period of time specifically for that purpose. In that case her feelings for the MC tends to remain but she acknowledges that she cannot live without Mr Alpha anymore, while in the former she has simply lost interest in the MC in favor of Mr Alpha due to the neglect of her sexual needs in combination with the neglect of one of her other important needs. There are more examples I could make - the point is that I can find acceptable arguments for things turning out the way it did in both cases.
For I☆Can I simply cannot find any way to justify the turn of events. While the girl IS sexually frustrated and that is a contributing factor, the problem is her reasoning and explanation of why she made her choice. She tries to make it a point that MC acts as if he doesn't care about what happened to her on top of seeming unable to satisfy her sexually - which would be fine, I've seen plenty of NTR that developed that way. The problem is that it simply isn't true. I have a decent amount of both knowledge and experience as to how the human mind and reasoning works - both from first-hand knowledge of interacting and discussing with people of both genders aswell as second-hand knowledge found in literature and on the internet.
There is just no way that ANYONE would not realize that another person is worried and care about you when they're repeatedly asking you if you're fine in a situation where you're hiding something but trying your hardest for it to not show. On top of that due to how MC is going about asking her about it, most (but not all, unlike the previous point) people would also realize that he also knows about whatever you're trying to hide from him, but is not bringing it up because he's being considerate of you. The only way I could justify her train of thought would be if she had a serious mental derangement or some form of mental retardation - the problem is that she is presented as a (mostly) normal person. Because of that, the next logical step would be to assume that she's "a bad girl" - basically that her argument doesn't hold water because she's an asshole just trying to make excuses. Again, the problem is that she's not presented as such - I'd even argue for the opposite. Until the climax of the story she's essentially portrayed as more of a "good girl".
Essentially any logic and reasoning to explain why she did what she did is thrown out the window. As I already touched on, even in cases where her argument doesn't hold up it can normally be explained in some other way, most commonly by portraying her as an asshole. There are other examples too, but I won't cover them. The point is that it is acceptable, because you're given a reason or explanation (that holds) for what happens.
As if that wasn't bad enough already, I☆Can basically slaps it all in your face by having the climax of this whole NTR mess *actual spoiler warning* end with her blowing Mr Alpha under his desk while the MC convinces Mr Alpha to leave his girl alone, and her explanation as to why she continues doing so follows shortly after. It is worth noting that MC does convince Mr Alpha of this in a beta way that can be somewhat questionable (though surprisingly reasonable for a hentai), but it should be clear even to an idiot listening to the conversation that he deeply cares about the girl. As I already mentioned, he has already shown clear concern about her on multiple occassions on top of this, yet she's still making the argument that the MC doesn't care about her. Just after she went out of her way of saying this, she continues by talking about how MC can't satisfy her sexually. This by itself wouldn't have been strange, but the way she talks about it is as if the previous part of the conversation had never happened, and the sexual frustration is the biggest reason. The irony is that if they had excluded the first part of her argument it would've made a far more acceptable - even if still not satisfying - end to the story. While clearly not the case, it's almost as if the producers themselves realized the fallacies of the whole scene and wanted to change her argument.
They could've handled the finish in so many different ways, and most of them would've been far better. I've already mentioned it, but.. Sexual frustration the big reason? A-ok. Her being an asshole? Also fine. The problem is that's not what they're actually presenting. They're giving you the combo I mentioned far earlier in the review - sexual frustration+neglect, except the neglect they're talking about is just not true.
In the end, these are the reasons why it left such a bad taste in my mouth - not the ending by itself but rather the presentation and the way they tried to explain/justify it. Unless I run into something that handles their story just as bad or worse, this will likely be my lowest rated entry in not only my hentai entries, but the entirity of my MAL library despite being solid on other fronts.
It's a shame there's a fetish for hentai like this. I never understood the appeal of a girl cheating on her loving boyfriend with some rapist. The characters in this hentai are very annoying and unlikable. Nobody ever thinks of calling the police after Miyu gets raped. Her boyfriend just looks at Terada angrily as if that makes anything better. At first you feel sorry for Miyu after her rape but then hate her once she begins to enjoy it. Standard hentai cliche but still. None of the characters really stand out except Terada who looks like Gendo Ikari. The music is forgettable
and the art is only ok. Nobody is likable in any way so this hentai is just one big fail.
I am very, very upset and disturbed. Given that I☆Can is a netorare (NTR) hentai (netorare is when a girl is "stolen" from her lover by a third party), I'm not surprised about the former. The latter, though, is a bit unusual.
Quick summary: I did not enjoy I☆Can.
I☆Can is the story of a girl (Miyu) who is just starting out as an idol. Her manager (Ryouta) is also her high-school sweetheart. They are in a slowly progressing, supportive relationship, when Miyu's producer (Terada) decides he wants a piece of her. If you are familiar with NTR, then the rest is
obvious. If you aren't, here's a summary: Terada repeatedly rapes Miyu. Ryouta finds out but is powerless to stop it. Then finally, when Ryouta manages to confront Terada about it, Miyu decides she'd rather have Terada and abandons her former lover.
I do not consider that summary to be a spoiler. Someone I know made the point that, in order for a statement to be a spoiler, it must, by revealing information about the plot, make something less enjoyable than it would be were the viewer to go in without knowing that information. I think knowing what happens in an NTR hentai is the only chance for it to be at all satisfying. That's my disclaimer.
So, to begin with, I have to wonder why I put myself through I☆Can in the first place, since I don't even like NTR. The answer is that PoRo makes very, very hot hentai. I've also found that the sex in NTR works tends to be hotter than average. This is kind of disturbing under critical analysis, because NTR usually consists of pretty much nothing but rape. So, for starters, I☆Can is only going to float your boat if you can deal with (or are totally into) rape scenes. I can deal with rape scenes, but I am most certainly NOT a big fan of them.
Let's start the standard review with the art. The art is pretty good. Bright colors, sharp lines, everything you've come to expect from a recent production. The animation is pretty average for a recent hentai, which, in terms of non-hentai productions, would qualify as mediocre to decent at best. The female character designs are nothing special, really, although, because we're dealing with idols here, we get to see some pretty intricate clothing. Ryouta's design is average (not unattractive, but he's no ladykiller), and Terada, well, he's an older, not-so-incredibly-attractive fellow, typical of most of the NTR I've seen (surprisingly much). He does look the part of the rich, Hollywood director (money is sexy, right? RIGHT?), and he has some pretty cool shades. Not even remotely close to Kamina-level, but I'll take what I can get to make him less repulsive. The cinematography, overall, is nothing short of utterly mediocre.
Sex is where hentai gets a chance to shine. The sex in I☆Can is AVERAGE. It isn't particularly interesting. The positions are somewhat lacking in diversity; the sex is devoid of enthusiasm, energy, and passion; and the seximatography (cinematography during sex, for those who aren't familiar with my totally made-up lingo) ranges from uninteresting to downright boring for anyone who has seen any other recent hentai productions. Granted, as is the norm in recent productions, I☆Can is pretty darn explicit, with a lot of drippy detail, but, seriously, there's far more interesting stuff out there.
The sound is up next, and it is not anything exceptional. I don't remember anything about the BGM, which means that at best it merely did its job setting a mood (and the moods weren't particularly strong, I might add). The voice acting was decent; there's not much to criticize on that front. During sex, it was all the usual erotic vocals and noises for a recent hentai production, maybe a little light on the squelching sound effects or whatnot. There's a fair amount of talking during the sex, often involving something along the lines of not liking being raped. Go figure.
The story is next in line for my rant--I mean, review--and boy, do I have something to say here.
THE STORY SUCKS.
Now, I'm not even saying this from the perspective of someone who doesn't like NTR. Even if I liked NTR, I would have to admit that the story is utterly generic. I have additional firepower in declaring the story's suckitude for those of you who, like me, are not into NTR. However, if you like NTR specifically for the RAGE aspect (those of you who like NTR probably know what I'm talking about), then what I have to say next may actually be a positive.
I☆Can is more RAGE-inducing than most. Let me start out with a question:
Is it right to get angry at or blame someone for something they are not responsible for?
The answer is no. A second question:
Is a victim of rape responsible for being raped?
The answer, again, is no.
Why ask all this? So you can fully understand how disturbing the following is. The primary reason Miyu abandons Ryouta at the end of I☆Can:
He doesn't get angry at her for being raped.
You heard me right: Miyu abandons Ryouta because he doesn't blame her for something beyond her control. Not only that, but Ryouta did nothing but try to be supportive of Miyu. He never pressed her about it for fear of hurting her (it is painful to talk about stuff like that). However, he showed concern when she was troubled, and tried to get her to talk to him of her own accord, if she was ready for it. Then, in the end, it's like she said to him, "You shouldn't have been caring and concerned; you should have hated me instead!" That is just plain wrong, and it's the take-away message of I☆Can.
Oh, of course, there was also the standard NTR break-up reason: supposedly, post-repeated-rape, only Terada is able to satisfy Miyu sexually. If you think about it, this is also just plain wrong, but it's the usual in NTR. And, in fact, a lot of hentai.
Anyways, some interpret Ryouta's lack of forwardness (forwardness defined briefly as anger, possessiveness, murderous jealously, etc.) as him being an idiot, which thus justifies the overwhelming betrayal. This, I think, is due to the internalization of really bad standards about male behavior and ownership of females. After all, his behavior was not very manly, right? No, I see Ryouta as a sort of paragon who is hated for the very virtues that make him likable. He even goes straight to Terada and offers to sacrifice his own career to save Miyu. By hentai standards, no, even by real-life standards, he's a something of a saint...
...and yet he's still not a very interesting character. What a great transition to the characters! Someone give me a high-five.
No one in this show, except perhaps Leina, is at all interesting. Leina herself is something of an enigma, since it's hard to tell for sure exactly what motivates her. Is she Terada's pawn? Or is she after Ryouta? Or is she just a concerned friend, schoolmate, or coworker? Who knows, since she is not remotely the focus of the show. Miyu is unusually infuriating, but not INTERESTING. I've already said my piece on Ryouta. Terada is, well, just yet another creep in a position of power that he likes to abuse. I...I really don't have anything more to say about them; they're that uninteresting.
It should be fairly obvious now why I did not enjoy I☆Can. Are there any reasons, though, why I might have actually enjoyed it? After all, if I have nothing good to say, why not one-star it?
Well, the sex was okay (in the grand scheme of hentai), and I☆Can, overall, wasn't as horrible as I can imagine a hentai being. And, to an extent, it was, somehow, kind of gripping. And, after all, I'd rather save my one-star rating for something that REALLY, REALLY deserves it. There's a lot more hentai out there than what I've watched.
So, in summary, the only reason to watch I☆Can is if you love NTR especially for the RAGE. Otherwise, AVOID AT ALL COSTS. You have been warned.