Netsuzou TRap -NTR- – Mid Season Anime Review
Synopsis: Yuma, a high school second-year, is enjoying every day now that she has her first boyfriend. After she asks for relationship advice from Hotaru, her beautiful long-time friend who has had many boyfriends, Hotaru teases her for her inexperience and playfully does things to her that even her boyfriend doesn’t do. Yuma and Hotaru’s secret relationship continues to escalate, and Yuma finds herself unable to deny how it makes her feel. This school drama tells the story of the interwoven lives of these two girls with boyfriends. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Netsuzou TRap is of two minds: at times it gears itself as an exploration of burgeoning sexuality for its lead, Okazaki Yuma, a generally prim and proper school girl, as she finds herself under the sexual advances of her best friend, Mizushina Hotaru. Okazaki Yuma has a boyfriend already, making her physical affair with Hotaru feel adulterous, giving the series an air of kink and taboo. It’s not unexpected from the NTR genre, a genre known for exploring the kinkier, adulterer side of sexuality. It’s referenced subtly in the title and is easy to miss if you’re unaware NTR as a genre exists.
At times it delves heavily into Yuma’s mindset, exploring her feelings for Hotaru that she doesn’t entirely understand yet. While Hotaru’s sexual advances can often be unwanted by Yuma in the moment, the show works to justify them as anything but sexual assault due to Yuma’s latent desire for her best friend, desire she herself is only just coming to understand. This feels like the series attempts to give its sexual assault laden story a pass, to justify Hotaru’s advancements as if not healthy at least understandable.
Yuma and Hotaru’s secret affair comes at the cost of poor Takeda, Yuma’s all too unaware boyfriend, who begins to sense Yuma’s distance. In some ways this part of the show can feel incredibly honest as Yuma discovers she isn’t so much attracted to men, but rather attracted to girls. It’s this discussion of Yuma’s true feelings, and her sexuality, that makes Netsuzou TRap feel worthwhile. The show spends little time exploring Takeda’s feelings but rather Yuma’s own reaction to the way she’s wronging her would-be boyfriend. But this is only part of the time, and when the show chooses to take up such an explorative mindset.
Otherwise Netsuzou frequently turns its attention to its other draw: Eroticism. Frequently the show feels more and more like an exploitative visual feast for those looking for lesbian love affairs. The way the show lingers on Yuma and Hotaru’s physical encounters feels all too leery and driven by a perverse male gaze. It would be one thing if this was Valkyrie Drive, a show completely honest about its offerings, where as Netsuzou TRap wants to be taken seriously, when its direction and focus seems otherwise near as smutty as an honest and pure ecchi.
As Yuma becomes more honest with herself we’re treated to more frequent sex scenes. While still feeling vaguely like sexual assault, the series keeps an air of kink about its production. It’s these scenes that the series feels far more guided to offering its audience erotic encounters and less about exploring its characters and their feelings.
This becomes especially true in the last two episodes approaching the mid season, episodes five and six, as Fujiwara, Hotaru’s kinky and easy going boyfriend, frequently asks to join the girls in their sexual encounters. The show often ends on a cliff hanger, as if to tease its audience with the possibility of even kinkier on-goings, although nothing seems to truly come of it.
It’s during these sequences I no longer feel like Netsuzou is doing what it set out to do. For something tagged as a Shoujo Ai it feels far more like a low-key ecchi than a series aimed at exploring lesbian romance. Your mileage is going to vary depending upon how uncomfortable Netsuzou’s overt sexuality makes you feel. If you were looking for something more innocent, more honest and character driven, Netsuzou isn’t the right pick. But if you wanted an exploration of lesbian sexuality, with some kink thrown in then Netsuzou passes the bar.
Netsuzou Trap -NTR- is available for streaming via Crunchyroll