Well. Here we are, about to discuss one of the most controversial anime/series in all the Yuri Nation. A show so divisive that detractors called it cancer. While I would certainly not go that far (at all), this show is definitely not for everyone. Let me put it this way. People who dislike seeing male characters anywhere near their yuri are advised to stay far away from this one. It is not for…let us be blunt here, “pure yuri” watchers. With that out of the way let us take a look at Netsuzou Trap -NTR-, or Netsuzou TRap -NTR-.
Genres: Drama, Romance, Yuri
Themes: Ecchi, School Life, Infidelity
Number of Episodes: 12 (9 minutes each. Take away the OP and ED… then about 7 minutes, give or take.)
Plot Summary: Yuma and Hotaru have been friends since childhood. It is only natural that when Yuma is nervous about her new boyfriend, she asks Hotaru and her boyfriend along for a double date. But when Hotaru offers herself to Yuma as “practice”, strange thoughts begin to form inside Yuma. Thoughts she initially considers disturbing slowly become “not-so disturbing after all”…
Let us get the simplest to explain part of the review out of the way first, the presentation. Like the show it is divisive but not in a complicated sense. The viewer is either cool with the animation quality or irritated by it not living up to expectations or something like that. Personally it gets the job done. The leading ladies are sexy and that was what mattered most to me, the ladies being well drawn. Are the kissing scenes also done well? That depends on the viewer’s tolerance of anime kisses. The soundtrack is nothing to write home about. The main theme is decent though. The next part is connected to the show’s pacing. It has what I like to call “fast forward pacing”, similar to the Sailor Moon Crystal series. What this means is the show focuses solely on the important parts of the show. It rarely slows down to show what is considered “filler”. In this show’s case however, there were a few times it went by a little too fast. Not often but a few times.
Now for the main topic of the review. While covering the show weekly I described it as a “twisted hot mess of a romantic drama with telenovela/soap opera elements (Except evil relatives, twins or clones) normally found in Latin regions or the Lifetime and Hallmark Channels” and it most certainly was. I also brought up the infidelity mentioned in the plot summary and theme is more of a plot device than the central focus of the show. What the show is REALLY about is one girl coming to terms with her long dormant feelings and another having difficulty conveying the truth due to intrapersonal reasons and the messy situation they are both in. Basically a show about sexual discovery and self-acceptance. More on that in a bit.
Let us quickly go over the guys. They are very easy to describe at first glance:
- Takeda: aka Sad Panda, is the token nice guy viewers are meant to feel sorry for.
- Fujiwara, aka Re-Todd, is…something else.
Now while they are easy to describe on the surface, there is one more interesting tidbit about the two. See, one of the most basic plot setups in live-action romance media is the following: Lesbian gets a crush on a woman. The woman is either interested in/dating/married to a guy. The guy is either revealed to be a douche from the start or, as the woman slowly becomes infatuated with the lesbian “turns heel”. The commonly used number in basic romances starring a lesbian is the number 3. In NTR it is the number 4. See where I am going with this? Instead of one obstacle there are two, each one representing both sides of the coin…with a twist in regards to the Yin. The Yang is what it is and that is “blech”.
Back to the leading ladies. As I said above this is primarily a story about sexual discovery and self-acceptance but in a very messy situation. We have Yuma, aka Sheepy Sheepdog, who had struggled hard trying to understand what it was she really wanted deep down. On the surface she seemed content with where she was before Hotaru made the life changing move but as the story progressed and more was revealed about the two maybe Yuma did not know herself as well as she thought, much less Hotaru. As for Hotaru…
I will not mince words. Hotaru, aka Sexy Devil, was the main reason I eagerly anticipated this show despite my prior knowledge of the hot mess that is the manga. She certainly lived up to my expectations as the main attraction with her sexiness, seductiveness and “practice” sessions with Yuma. However, like Yuma, as the story progressed there was more to her “practicing” and actions. Complicated is the best word I could use. She started off being “best girl” in the unconventional sense but as story went on…wellllll…again it is not that simple.
Both ladies are very pleasant to look at but as far as characters, personality and actions go…I described Hotaru initially being “best girl” in the unconventional sense. The same can be said for Yuma’s evolution. It too is unconventional so I highly suggest the curious to expect the unexpected. Let us just say the four leads are interesting psychological character case study subjects….
Lastly the show aired before the manga could end, meaning the show’s conclusion is a different one from the manga. However, perhaps it could be similar to the Akuma no Riddle anime and manga where the anime conclusion was not far off from the manga’s. Viewers who plan on watching the show before the manga ends may want to keep this in mind. Also as some peeps have pointed out in the comments, similar to AnR the anime left out a few important details that are better explained in the manga. No worries though as the show does its job of convincing the interested to check out the manga and also give them a pretty good idea of what to expect from it.
Overall Netsuzou Trap -NTR- is an…interesting case. It is a “twisted hot mess of a romance drama” but an interesting one nonetheless. Again the show is definitely not for everyone, especially “purists” (If calling some viewers “purists” is insulting, sorry but I have to be blunt when describing certain viewers’ preferences. It is kinda justified after the hullabaloo in this post). The leading ladies are interesting but not in the conventional sense. The guys serve their purpose and little else. The presentation, while I consider it solid, is “take it or leave it”. The sexiness and yuri goodness definitely deliver but it is not the pure kind. In the end while the show definitely warrants its controversial status, it, again, is not cancerous to the Yuri Nation. It is more like…a hardcore animated lesbian telenovela with guys in it. Tread carefully if curious…