3 Reasons To Skip: Euphoria

#1 Overhyped (sexual) violence

Euphoria has something of a reputation. Just like Bible Black, it’s an anime adaptation of a notoriously-grimdark eroge game that got “popular” online. As is often the case, its infamy is not entirely deserved.

PHOTO: Keisuke smirks intensely at a writhing girl.

The story centers around a death game. 6 students and a teacher all awaken in a strange facility, where a disembodied voice explains the rules. Lone male protagonist Keisuke is capable of unlocking the facility’s doors, but to do so he must select any of the 6 girls to become his “keyhole”. The duo must then move to a separate room, where Keisuke has to complete sexual challenges with the girls. Succeed and the door opens. Fail and everyone dies.

Keisuke is secretly a sadist struggling to be a decent person. He wants to save everyone, but a perverted part of him can’t help but be delighted that he gets to rape, torture, and humiliate them in the process. With each room they unlock—and based on how often he picks the same keyhole—the challenges get more extreme and potentially lethal.

PHOTO: Deep-fried student council protagonist.

Euphoria kicks off on a high note, then struggles recapture that initial shock. Most challenges are just variations on rape, which aren’t even really rape because the girls all support (or at least trust) Keisuke. The extremer scenes are rare and quite short, sometimes only about 30 seconds of a 3 hour ride. Even then, only a few scenes had me feeling actual discomfort.

The actual violence is also severely reduced. The challenges with actual life-or-death stakes aren’t adapted, outside of one post-credits shot. Other deaths throughout the series are kept just off-screen or cheap out tremendously. There’s one bit where a line-up of characters are “decapitated”, which literally just teleports their heads away while they stand frozen in place. I don’t think that scene was meant to be comedic, but that sure is the effect it had on me.

#2 Incoherent plot

As always, I watched the entirety of this anime without skipping the plot between sex scenes. Yet, somehow, I came out of Euphoria feeling as if I had done just that.

PHOTO: Nemu kisses a stunned Keisuke.

I was severely confused as to how the story was even formatted. Some episodes feel as if they are linear follow-ups of prior events, others roll the plot backward or retcon the previous episode. Sometimes it feels like Euphoria has a time loop going on, but it could also be separate, equally-canon endings? I rewatched parts of it a second time and still have no clue at all.

This is particularly bothersome in the last 2 episodes, which are basically repeats of each other with different characters in the villain role. How is the story so flexible that everyone’s roles can so effortlessly be swapped around? Why should I care about these characters if their personality can be radically different from episode to episode?

Not only is the storytelling confusing, it also feels repetitive. Euphoria clocks in at almost 3 hours, during which it feels like very little is actually happening. The death game doesn’t actually progress, story beats get repeated, and character development stagnates. Entire scenes get retold time and time again, which is further padded out by unnecessary flashbacks. I was bored of it by episode 3, not realizing that the worst was yet to come.

#3 Uninteresting characters

With the exception of poster girl Nemu, all the cast members of Euphoria look entirely unmemorable. They don’t look bad or anything, just not noteworthy in any way. That in itself could be forgivable, if it didn’t perfectly match their unremarkable personalities.

PHOTO: The voice introduces all the characters.

Each girls gets an episode mainly dedicated to them, but these are more centered around the death game challenges than developing their character much. Natsuki is a caring, beloved teacher, Rika is a clingy crybaby, and Rinne the stoic, serious type. There is also Kanae, but she is so plain that I forgot she was even around. Not helped by how much she resembles Rika visually and her lack of presence after her feature episode.

Nemu draws attention for her striking design and confident personality. This only lasted up until the story began rewinding and pulling alternate endings out of its ass, which shattered the intrigue that made Nemu so captivating.

This frustrated me, because I could imagine that these characters had a lot more going on beneath the surface. Depth that I can only assume was left out of this adaptation, for one reason or another. Maybe if I read the visual novel I’d be writing a positive review right now. Regrettably, I don’t quite feel like seeking out more Euphoria now that I’ve seen the anime.

More anime & manga like this

Discipline: Rape-centered hentai set in a school.

Dropout: Humiliation fetish.

Kyonyuu Fantasy: Plot-driven hentai by Studio Majin.

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