Image Copyright: ©コダマナオコ/一迅社・捏造トラップ製作委員会

This past weekend, we were on hand to watch the first two episodes of upcoming anime NTR: Netsuzou Trap at its Tokyo premiere. And it is every bit the emotional train wreck you’d expect.

[Note: This article is NSFW.]

Image source: TVアニメ「捏造トラップ-NTR-」公式‏ on Twitter

Outwardly, NTR is the story of two couples. The first is the pair of Yuma and Takeda. Yuma is an innocent girl, enjoying the rush and confusion that comes with a first relationship. Takeda likewise seems like a good guy and is trying to be as considerate of Yuma and her feelings as possible.

Image Copyright: ©コダマナオコ/一迅社・捏造トラップ製作委員会

The second pair—that of Hotaru and Fujiwara—is far less pure. After all, while Hotaru has a boyfriend, it’s obvious from the start that the true target of her desire is Yuma, her best friend. Of course, likely out of fear of total rejection, Hotaru plays off her romantic overtures as simply a part of her capricious nature. Yet, every time Yuma and Takeda hit a new romantic milestone—like, say, a first kiss—Hotaru gets jealous and forcibly one-ups the boyfriend, leaving Yuma confused on many levels.

Image Copyright: ©コダマナオコ/一迅社・捏造トラップ製作委員会

At the same time, there is also the issue of Hotaru’s own boyfriend. If Hotaru dating Fujiwara was simply an attempt to make Yuma jealous, it certainly backfired—leaving the innocent girl feeling abandoned and ripe for the taking. Yet, now, Hotaru is even more locked into her relationship than before. If she has a boyfriend, she can go on double dates with Yuma—basically dating Yuma herself. Without a boyfriend, she has no chance to spend time with Yuma and win her heart.

Unfortunately, while the innocent Takeda may be clueless to what’s going on, Fujiwara is less in the dark. He is far from oblivious to the fact that Hotaru won’t do anything sexual with him and can clearly see that her focus is on Yuma. And while he’s quite calm and cool on the outside, it’s obvious that the situation is getting to him.

Image source: TVアニメ「捏造トラップ-NTR-」公式‏ on Twitter

What’s most interesting about the first two episodes of NTR is that, because our viewpoint character is Yuma, we never actually hear Hotaru’s thoughts. While she’s in nearly every scene —and we even see her alone with Fujiwara at times—we are still left to judge her and her motivations solely upon her actions. But while Yuma is confused by the whole situation, Hotaru is easy to understand and sympathize with: She’s in love with her best friend.

Image Copyright: ©コダマナオコ/一迅社・捏造トラップ製作委員会

That can be a stumbling block in any relationship, to say nothing of a homosexual one in a socially conservative country like Japan. Then add to this that Yuma has clearly never even considered her own sexual orientation—much less the idea that Hotaru could be in love with her—and it’s obvious that Hotaru has entered a minefield where a single misstep could lead to not only rejection but social exile as well.

Image Copyright: ©コダマナオコ/一迅社・捏造トラップ製作委員会

In light of all this, Hotaru has opted to play the long game—keeping her true feelings secret while using their close friendship as a tool to get what she wants. Hotaru is trying to get Yuma to realize she is in love with her by making Yuma equate romance and sexual experience to Hotaru even more than to Takeda.

This in turn means that NTR takes many classic romantic anime clichés and twists them into something much darker and taboo—be that a night of Karaoke or trip to the amusement park—as soon as Hotaru gets Yuma alone. Add both of the boyfriends into the mix and you have an emotional powder keg primed to go off when you’d least expect it.

Image source: TVアニメ「捏造トラップ-NTR-」公式‏ on Twitter

Even two short, ten-minute episodes in, NTR: Netsuzou Trap is captivating. While Hotaru is clearly doing something immoral—attempting to steal Yuma from her boyfriend by twisting her feelings and taking advantage of her naivety—it’s impossible not to sympathize with Hotaru. After all, everyone wants to be loved by the one they love in turn. But in the world of NTR: Netsuzou Trap, as in reality, only one thing is for sure: happy endings are far from guaranteed.

NTR: Netsuzou Trap is set to air in Japan on AT-X from July 5, 2017. No western simulcast has yet to be announced.

Comments (1)
  1. Yuma is very confuse she take a time out figure what she wants

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