Manga Review: Netsuzou Trap by Kodama Naoko [1st Volume]

I thought the day would never come when a manga would receive the same – or at least almost the same – kind of reactions as Citrus. Just by that, we already know that this is going to be one of the more popular, or let’s say, talked about manga of the year.

Story: 8.5/10 and Characters: 5/10
The story is very simple, yet it leaves a lot of room for possible drama: Yuma is in her high school years, enjoying her time with her best friend Hotaru, as well as Takeda, her love interest and later boyfriend. Things start our slowly with him, and knowing that this is her first time being in such a relationship, there are many things that she is uncertain about. And that’s exactly where Hotaru, her best friend since childhood, comes in and tries to “help” her, which unfortunately makes things even harder for Yuma.

Putting it like that, the story actually appears to be quite tame, innocent even. Yet this manga does not just very much earn it’s ecchi tag, it’s also classified as something called NTR. Before stumbling upon this very manga, I didn’t know about this genre, so let me just explain it in a few words. NTR, or Netorare, is a term often used in adult stories in which the love interest of the male protagonist gets taken away, or more likely seduced by another character, evoking feelings of jealousy within the reader.

Many people don’t like this genre for good reasons, but I believe that this kind of setting might bring forth some very interesting events, and since I’m a fan of excessive drama, I immediately liked this piece. Well, I do believe thatβ€”even if the author put NTR in the titleβ€”the manga still can’t really be categorized as Netorare, but we’ll get to that later.

One big reason why this manga is getting so much hate right now is the fact that many people actually don’t like the yuri that is happening. You heard that right, yuri fans don’t actually like the yuri that is taking place in a yuri manga. That is definitely a first, and a phenomenon worthy of our attention.

So what is the big problem with Netsuzou Trap? The thing is, Hotaru is a bitch. Her ways of “teaching” Yuma and helping her take her first steps in her relationship with Takeda are what many people see as sly, bitchy, and selfish. She might seem as if she doesn’t really care about Yuma’s feelings on that matter and manipulates her into going along with her will. Though, and that is the one thing about this manga that I love so much, you might also say that’s she’s seriously trying to help – simply in her own way. Her true intentions are revealed in later chapters, but you might still say that she only wants Yuma to be happy.

She is giving Yuma some serious advice, and she does give them their alone time when she feels it is needed. It is simply apparent that she has romantic feelings for Yuma as well and probably doesn’t know how to deal with it without destroying her best friend’s relationship. Well, she does try to get Yuma “on the right track”, but she’s never too forceful about it.

netsuzou trap yuri manga

I know. I’m taking sides here. But I really do believe that she is not as selfish and bitchy as many people describe her to be. We just need more background story, which we will hopefully get in the next volume(s).

We should also not forget that Yuma goes along with most of what Hotaru does to her. Hell, she even seems to enjoy it, sometimes mostly even more so then with Takeda. So yeah, that’s called cheating, even if she’s not the one initiating it. And that’s what most people seem to overlook.

Takeda on the other hand, the person that we should probably emphathize with way more, is definitely a nice guy, no doubt about that. In that sense, he’s also a way better choice for a serious relationship than someone like Hotaru, but it’s quite apparent that their chemistry just doesn’t work.

Their relationship appears to be superficial, and the author seemingly doesn’t try to portray him or this relationship in any better or believable way, which is exactly why I don’t believe this is really a NTR manga. It doesn’t feel like we’re supposed to feel sorry for him, and it surely doesn’t feel as if Hotaru really is doing such a bad thing. In fact, this series is done by a yuri artist, and it runs in the Yuri Hime magazine, so I’m almost 100% sure it will end in a yuri way. Netorare simply isn’t what I would describe this to be. You can add the “cheating” tag, but that’s about it.

netsuzou trap yuri manga
Yeah…. We all know what this means.

So, yeah. Story-wise, this scores very high, because it just delivers what I want to see and read about. It got me excited from the very first chapter and even managed to leave me, a die-hard yuri fan, in doubt of whether this yuri relationship would really be for the best. That’s a big achievement! However, even if this score is only that high thanks to the characters and their interactions, I still don’t think any of them actually deserve any better rating than the one I’ve given.

Without the background story that is so very needed, Hotaru’s actions come off as bitchy, Yuma seems like a spineless piece of meat, and Takeda, he’s a nice guy, but he’s boring and generic.

Art: 8.5/10
I am, and I always have been, a big fan of Kodama’s art. It’s something that just sticks out and is easily recognizable from other works. I actually believe that, just like in the case of Citrus, the art is a very big factor for the sudden “fame” of this manga. Something that looks that nice is simply more likely to get picked up than another work. Well, the fact that it has quite a few steamy yuri scenes probably helps a lot as well.

Yuri: 8/10
Right here, some of you might disagree with me. After all, this manga has the “het” tag, and it definitely deserves it. Yuma, the main protagonist, is in a relationship with a guy, and she undoubtedly likes him in one way or another. However, I do believe that no matter how much Yuma x Takeda this will eventually have, the manga will end with yuri. It’s inevitable really.

This manga runs in an all-yuri magazine, and knowing the author, it just can’t end any other way. Also, compared to these two little kisses between Yuma and Takeda, what we’ve seen between Hotaru and Yuma is – how to put it – a very direct hint into what direction this manga is heading.

netsuzou trap yuri
Please continue….

Total Enjoyment: 8.5/10
Despite the many good reasons that other people name why one should not enjoy this manga, I still enjoyed it quite excessively. I might come off as cruel, but I like this kind of setting in which a girl wins the heart of another girl against a guy. Yeah, I know. It might make me seem a little unappealing to guys, but when really, I just enjoy whenever yuri wins over anything else. Well, I don’t know the outcome of this one yet, but it just feels like I’m gonna enjoy it and everything that comes with it, especially all the drama.

30 thoughts on “Manga Review: Netsuzou Trap by Kodama Naoko [1st Volume]

  1. when i first read it, somehow i already got hooked within the first few pages of the first chapter heck i didnt even know it has the same rep as citrus already with the love and hate until i read your review lena k. i definitely do like the drama aspect of it and i can put aside hotaru being what she is currently but i do hope she can gradually change over the course of the manga because not much of her past is revealed yet and i definitely want to see more about her past after how the last chapter ended off which she could be hiding from yuma even if they have been childhood friends there are things she doesnt want yuma to know, who knows. oh and hotaru definitely has feelings for yuma. also the art is amazing as always from kodama-sensei. for me i definitely enjoy it and im excited to see more and how kodama-sensei will play this story out also i do agree with you that this will most likely end with a yuri ending since its very obvious at this point.

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  2. wouldve love if characters had more depth to them.. i mean they are so cliche… girl who is not sure about her sexuality …guy who is nice but doesnt get anything …mean dude who acts nice ..and girl who has crush on her friend who has a boyfriend
    ..i swear to god i at least seen those kinds of characters more than 10 times already (hotaru type is kinda rare tho)

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  3. I'm a drama fan too! (and that's why I like Citrus and Netsuzou Trap as well :3) I agree that the art is really good πŸ™‚ Kodama sensei FTW (Y) Even though some might not be happy because of Hotaru's character, I think that's what makes the story so interesting and unique ^_^ Hopefully there will be more plot twists πŸ˜„

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  4. i finally got some time to read the manga the past weekend. it drags my attention because of the really nice art since i am always a fan of well drawn manga. i would say its on nearly a same lv as saburo utas work. about hotaru my guess is that she has feelings for yuma and somehow she dont want to destroy their friendship because of the feelings but on the other hand she cant keep her feelings all the time. it reminds me of girlfriends where mari-chan also got a boyfriend and akko wasnt happy with that but still tryed to help her somehow. i think hotaru just playing the though and hard girl but behind her mask she is really fragil. Anyway somehow i dont like this depressing feeling the manga gives me sometimes specially for the next chapter i have a bad feeling that somthing will happen that makes you sobbing in the corner

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  5. It's nice to see someone agreeing with me.
    What I read in the comment section on the Dynasty Reader as well as on other readers was… oh well, not so nice πŸ˜›

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  6. Judging from some of the scenes between the two girls, I think there is no doubt that Hotaru is really in love with Yuma.
    I don't think she's just a cheating partner as she claimed in the latest chapter. She might really be the one for her, which makes things even more intense.

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  7. I really love this manga. I agree that Hotaru is genuinely in love with Yuma and probably vice-versa; it's just Hotaru can't properly express it and Yuma is too dense to realize her own feelings for her. As for Hotaru's actions throughout volume 1, they are almost down right atrocious, but understandable since, again, she can't seem to properly express her feelings and probably due to her relationships thus far. Takeda is definitely a kind person, but as what a lot of people have said before; he can't differentiate between lust and love, and Hotaru's boyfriend is just plain awful, way worse than she is. Hopefully the next volume has a decent amount of character development, especially for Hotaru.

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  8. thats what i think too, this practice stuff is just a excuse to steal her first kiss and stuff. and if forgot to mention i liked the yuri scenes in the manga. dunno why other ppl didnt like it.

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  9. Agree, and I sure hope Hotaru will break up with her boyfriend. Though, since this is is the source for some great drama, I bet she will keep him for a little longer πŸ˜›

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  10. I really hope that it won't turn out that bad. The comments are mostly “okay” with some hate every now and then. I think it would be nice if it stayed that way.

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  11. Why you didin't say anything about Hotaru's boyfriend (Fujiwara)? And NTR doesn't mean netorare. In Japan NTR is read as netoru (to steal or take away someone's lover) and covers netorare (to be taken away from), netori (to take away someone), netorase (to want to be taken away from).

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  12. Talking about Fujiwara was more or less unnecessary. He's obviously the bad guy here, and I didn't feel the need to point out the obvious.
    Though, if he becomes more important in the next volume, we'll talk about him a little more.

    Also, I only found this definition online: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/NTR
    Didn't know it was only part of it.

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  13. I got a real Citrus feeling while reading but I still think Citrus is way better, but that's not a fair comparison.

    I actually like Hotaru (I'm a sucker for cute loli's with big boobs), but I do agree that she seems a bit manipulative. But it's clear that Yuma does like her, if not then she would have pushed her away as Hotaru said. Which pains me a lot after reading chapter 4. My pure yuri romance gone D:

    The ecchi scene were great, I kind of wished there were more since they seem to be the best thing about this manga. The characters just seem very one dimensional and I want to punch Hotaru's boyfriend in the face. I don't mind Takeda but he is just boring, Yuma is kind of boring her self too.

    I don't really see this series lasting another volume though after looking at chapter 5. I really feel like this could have been better.

    EDIT: Why can't I reply with my Livejournal Account? “ineedmanga”

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  14. Oh yes, this one is all about the ecchi scenes, and I loved them.
    That's also part of the reason why I think we can sort of compare it to Citrus. Each and every chapter we want more, and in this case, we mostly got what we wanted. Even though, it was mixed with het and tons of drama πŸ˜›

    We had similar issues in which people tried to comment on posts with their accounts but their comments never showed up.
    I really don't know what might be causing this. Maybe you can try it with another browser?

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  15. I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who loves this manga. I read a lot of bad comments about it in Dynasty Reader :/ I really love the art, story, and characters. And I really love how Yuma and Hotaru having fun together behind their boyfriends and I love how Hotaru's teasing Yuma. It'stoo ecchi :p Now, don't hate me! lol. But I really hate that white-hair guy. He is the worse boyfriend ever, punched Hotaru's eye and raped her. I hope that Yuma will beat the shit of him in the next volume -.-

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  16. Wow, I just realized I was mixing this one up with Yuri na Watashi to Akuma na Kanojo. xD I was reading this review and I'm like wait… I thought this had a trap in it…. Guess I mixed it up cause of the title? Well, it sounds interesting. It kind of reminds me of Kannazuki no Miko with that whole love triangle thing but without the mechas and stuff. I'll haveta give it a read definitely glad this wasn't the one I thought it was. I totally skipped it like I did Maria Holic. I was like oh there's a trap in this…. I'm good. It also didn't help the fact that I had no idea what NTR meant until after I read this.

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  17. I think I haven't read that one too, no surprise I guess.

    This one kind of has that Kannazuki no Miko feel, but in a different way, considering that the way they handled romantic feelings in KnM was pure, while this one… oh well πŸ˜›

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  18. i love this manga!!!! i didn't want to read it at first because it has the “cheating” tag on it, but then i was like “whatever, it has yuri too so…”, and when i started reading it i just loved it. and it's kind of confusing to me 'cause even though i started reading it because of it's yuri content, i began to actually like that Takeda dude. and i think it's a little bit sad that Yuma cheats on him, even if it's not on purpose. but then again, when i see Yuma and Hotaru in those yuri scenes…. i don't know.
    honestly i don't really know with who i would like to see Yuma to end up with. it's annoying…. it makes me want to yell at someone “WHAT THE F*** IS GOING ON!!!!!”and then i just get that “i don't care anymore…” kind of feeling.
    i don't like the way this manga makes me feel…….
    but….. i am going to keep reading it. obviously.

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  19. It was really a hard decision, but your comment just proves that it's really not the male lead we should feel sorry for.
    It's obvious that the yuri part is in the spotlight, which is a good thing πŸ˜›

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  20. Thanks for the recommendation! It feels odd to visit your site over others, but you have the most interesting and usually something of interest to read about. Also this none the less probably with that more than understood tag.

    However after reading everything that's been out, I don't feel that it's really NTR in that sense anymore. It's more like it's just a girl that wants the attention/love of a girl that maybe is slowing going bi? I don't really understand the science behind whether a person is either born or can eventually become say hetero —> homo or any other variation but that's just my spin on it.

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  21. Thanks, it's nice to hear that our content is interesting~
    Well, I can't really say anything on how people realize their sexuality, but I think it's a really intriguing topic, especially in this manga.

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  22. i’m really surprised that this is getting localized. I guess citrus was really successful because they’re also localizing bloom into you (which i plan on getting). i’m pretty happy either way, more yuri is always a good thing. hahaa more manga to add to my yuri collection.

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    • In Germany alone Citrus was one of the most successful romance manga around, and more yuri manga are getting localized as well. I sure hope this will continue, because it’s a pretty nice development.

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