Netsuzou Trap Series Review: Where Do You Even Begin?

Overview:

Yuma and Hotaru are childhood friends and how they both have boyfriends, however Yuma’s a little nervous. Hotaru decides to help her out by ‘practicing’. How will these relationships develop?

Review:

There’s nothing really new about stories with a focus on high school romance, or even stories that deal with couples, love and lies. As for the shoujo ai elements, well, they’d probably be easier to swallow if either of the girls came across as someone capable of actually being in a relationship. Instead mostly it feels like the scenes exist only to satisfy a visual fetish, rather than to forge some kind of emotional connection between either the characters or the audience and the show. Despite that, the show plays out more or less predictably and coming to a resolution of sorts, for the girls at least. Not bad for a short form anime that only had nine minutes an episode.

I personally didn’t get much from this show. Mostly that was because I really found each of the four characters pretty horrendous and didn’t really want any of them to get anything other than over themselves. It is interesting that they are all horrible in different ways but the combination of horrible traits actually made for a weird kind of chemistry. That didn’t make it any more enjoyable for me to watch but it kind of made me understand why some people did quite enjoy the story. Of course, I also understood fairly quickly while other people were quick to label this as ‘trash’ and move on – the show does not hide the direction it is going though it does actually soften its approach once it is done with the whole ‘shock’ factor of the first couple of episodes.

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Takeda is probably the least offensive of the group. Some reviews I’ve read actually have him as the one ‘nice’ character in the group. Still, he’s dating a girl that he realises early on isn’t in to him. Later on he listens to her and supports her as she rattles on about her difficulties with the relationship she’s clearly pursuing (which says a lot about her personality that she would use the guy she never properly rejected as a sound board for forging a relationship with her best friend) and that kind of makes him seem like a nice guy. But he’s only doing that because he’s still into her and he’s kind of hoping she’ll end up back with him. If we think about what is going to happen after this show ends and Yuma tells him who she is now with do you think he’s still going to pat her on the head and wish her well? Nothing I’ve seen of his character would suggest that. His actions were always about making sure she had a good opinion of him so that eventually he could get with her. Which is fine enough, and actually kind of believable, but I’d hardly describe him as nice.

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Then we have Fujiwara who is an ass no matter how you slice it. You could get over his using willing girls for sex even though he doesn’t actually like them, but you can’t really get over his physical abuse of his current partner just because she occasionally says no (and claiming they have a deal doesn’t make this okay). Add to that voyerism and emotional black-mail and this guy is an absolute jerk. The only thing that kind of makes his existence in the story palatable is that he is with Hotaru who is fully aware that he is a jerk and chose to date him because of that.

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And that brings us to Hotaru. The emotional manipulator of the entire story. She’s self-destructive, vindictive, overly possessive, a liar… I’d ask why the hell is Yuma even friends with her except that it is quite obvious why Yuma is friends with her.

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Yuma is the set up protagonist in the story so she exhibits whatever emotion is needed to keep this story going. She thinks she’s into Takeda but isn’t really willing to do anything with him. She resists Hotaru’s advances but then gets all bent out of shape when Hotaru pulls away. She acts horrified by Fujiwara’s actions but does nothing about them. Yuma is a horrible character because she stands for nothing and seems to have no discernible direction.

Which makes the plot basically the driver and the plot is as simple as two girls dating guys actually like each other so by end of story will have left the two guys high and dry so that they can be together. And again, that story could work if we had characters of depth or interest, or even characters who we could kind of like or consider feeling some sort of empathy for. But each of these characters puts themselves into the mess they end up in and does nothing to resolve it on their own. More importantly, what was ever stopping Hotaru from just telling Yuma how she felt way back in middle-school rather than going out with whichever guy asked? Okay, I know that realistically societal expectations and self-doubt were probably stopping her but neither of those ideas is ever really conveyed by the anime. What that means is, there is no actual conflict in the story outside of the occasional disagreement between the characters.

I didn’t actually dislike this, but I didn’t really get much out of watching it either. If I’d tried watching week to week I’d have probably dropped it but given you can binge watch it in under two hours it wasn’t that bad. Still, there are probably better stories out there you could spend your time on.


Thanks for reading.

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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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6 thoughts on “Netsuzou Trap Series Review: Where Do You Even Begin?

  1. I still stand by Takeda being an alright guy once the dust had settled. He had some questionable moments but he was definitely pushing Yuma to confess to the person she liked towards the end. Sure, he still liked Yuma (for some reason) but he wanted his crush to be happy even if that means she doesn’t stay with him. I think the last few episodes gave plenty of context as to how he’ll step aside, but maybe we’re seeing things differently here.

    The rest are not redeemable. There are people who like to twist the narrative and claiming that it showcases the cycle of abuse. Hotaru started this whole monkey business way before Fujiwara showed up out of jealousy. She’s a crazy, clingy, manipulative girl, plain and simple. There’s no deep message to be found in Netsuzou TRap.

    Liked by 1 person

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