Netsuzou Trap

Alt title: Netsuzou Trap -NTR-

TV (12 eps x 9 min)
2.062 out of 5 from 2,178 votes
Rank #9,344
Netsuzou Trap

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”, both girls realize that they’re more interested in each other than they are in their own boyfriends. With boyfriends in the foreground but a secret, passionate tryst in the background, will Yuma and Hotaru try to forget what happened between them or have they fallen into a trap of true love and betrayal?

Source: Seven Seas

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A Secret Between Girls image

Episode 1

A Secret Between Girls

Are Those Two... image

Episode 2

Are Those Two...

Shall We Practice Again? image

Episode 3

Shall We Practice Again?

...I'm Cheating, Too? image

Episode 4

...I'm Cheating, Too?

I'm So Fed Up With Myself... image

Episode 5

I'm So Fed Up With Myself...

Did You Think I Was Going to Kiss You? image

Episode 6

Did You Think I Was Going to Kiss You?

We'll Always Be Best Friends, Right? image

Episode 7

We'll Always Be Best Friends, Right?

Uncontrollable Feelings image

Episode 8

Uncontrollable Feelings

Give Me Your Cold image

Episode 9

Give Me Your Cold

What Exactly Is Our Relationship? image

Episode 10

What Exactly Is Our Relationship?

Thanks, And I'm Sorry image

Episode 11

Thanks, And I'm Sorry

Why Did It Take Me This Long to Realize? image

Episode 12

Why Did It Take Me This Long to Realize?

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For as maligned as it is, Netsuzou Trap actually has potential on an nth level. A lot of its (unfortunately many) flaws lie more in the sometimes woeful execution. Made by Creators in Pack, the same studio who brought you 2016’s Bloodivores (one of the worst anime series I’ve ever seen), this short-form dark romance stars Yuma and Hotaru, two girls in heterosexual romantic relationships. When Hotaru starts to initiate a series of inappropriate sexual advances towards Yuma, it becomes apparent that neither her long-term relationship with Fujiwara, nor Yuma’s with her boyfriend, are infallible. As someone who watched and, for the most part, enjoyed Scum’s Wish, another 2017 series by Lerche, I can see what this one was going for. Though Hotaru’s behaviour is often strange, predatory and crosses the line into sexual assault, much of the series is steeped in an assumedly purposeful tone of uneasiness; as her feelings towards Yuma, and Yuma’s towards her, are increasingly muddied, the audience is forced to deal with issues such as sexual blackmail and a yearning for physical closeness that, though not to be condoned, are at least thought-provoking. Like Scum’s Wish, it is easy to dislike the main characters for their actions, but difficult to write them off- they are bad people in a bad romance, if it can even be called romance. On the other hand, Creators in Pack clearly don’t have the finesse or artistic talent at their disposal in order to pull this off. Yuma is one problem. Though her inability (or unwillingness) to process the motive between Hotaru’s actions, and her lack of a satisfactory rebuff, can be put down to surprise and denial, there are still many instances where her inner monologues fail to suspend disbelief. She’s not entirely unsympathetic, but it’s sometimes difficult to know whether her ‘MC-denseness’ (to paraphrase the prevalent anime trope) is supposed to be read as psychological depth, or just shaky writing. The same conditional sympathy is lacking from other characters; though Hotaru, guilty as she is of unwanted sexual advances, has at least some limited backstory and depth to her, her steely-haired boyfriend soon proves himself a thoroughly unlikeable antagonist character with no real redeeming features. Presumably, the audience is meant to hate him as an obstacle to a love predicated on molestation (bleurgh), but he’s rendered so loathsome by successive episodes that he comes across as the writers trying too hard. This sense is pervasive elsewhere, as, rather than allowing the ‘do I want to shag my best friend’ plot to take centre stage, extraneous sub-plots (including a bizarre part-time job scenario that screams “unnecessary”) are bundled in. The pacing is further waylaid by a sense of déjà vu, as almost every scene in which the female characters are alone consists of touching, moans and bras, and while I’m not opposed to any of these things in theory, the fact remains that there’s a literary touch that is conspicuously absent, though I’ll admit that no-one was expecting Tolstoy going in. The show also falls into a common pitfall of wanting to explore explicit sexual themes but getting really coy about showing them too explicitly, meaning we get a lot of strange lighting effects and camera angles that, in their desperate attempts NOT to have to show any nipples, ultimately break immersion. Visually, NTZ isn’t dreadful, though I really question the wisdom of having chibi-esque art-style changes to denote WACKY HUMOROUS SCENES within a hard-hitting anime about secretive sexual relationships. Sonically, however, it’s in need of criticism. The opening theme is laughably incompatible with the show itself and feels like it’d be more in place ahead of shounen, while the episodes proper feature the same tracks over and over again (though these are at least suitable for their contexts, usually). Voice acting is fine. I’ve little else to say about it. Much of the criticism that deserves levelling should be pointed at the writing. The dialogue, which I’ve said little of yet, can be passable, but it can also be clunky. Between characters getting angry about sexual advances one second and graciously accepting snacks the next, or Hotaru accusing her female friend of being overprotective AND unguarded in the exact same scene, there’s lots of sub-par speechcraft to take a red pen to. It also needs saying that a late-game case of anagnorisis revolves around one character not realising that you can love someone and not want to have sex with them all of the time, which is ... yeah. TL;DR Netsuzou Trap isn’t as bad as some might say, but just because a sandwich doesn’t kill you doesn’t mean it’s prime cuisine. Ultimately, with an ending that at least resolves the important plot points, and the ability to carry a story to fruition without going bat-shit (Bloodivores, School Days, etc.), this at least deserves the faint praise of ‘not the worst thing ever’, but it’s also far from a must-watch and you could easily skip this one and go for Scum’s Wish instead.

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