euphoric dream

‘Trapped group of people’.

It seems I’ve been seeing that line pop up in VN synopses more often.

Earlier on there was 999: Nine Persons; Nine Hours; Nine Doors, and recently I have started to read Killer Queen. It’s not as if I’m purposely searching for these VNs with closed room scenarios and a suffocating sense of danger, where paranoia is fueled as to try to figure out who culprit X is. Although I feel like I’m going through all these a bit quickly, there’s something about them which never quite gets old. At the core of them, it appeals to our very nature. What would I do if I were thrust into such a situation? Would I be the first to crack? Would I be the one who’d do something shocking and drastic? Would I be the one who’d betray the people around me? Or would I even betray myself, or my own beliefs? I imagine that we’ve all had those thoughts at some point reading through this particular genre, and series like Battle Royale have made me think of what would I do. It’s an almost frightening thought, and to be honest, I hope that I never am in one. Perhaps it’s games like 999, Killer Queen, and CLOCKUP’s newest title euphoria which give us a taste of what it would be like to be in such a situation.

While CLOCKUP already have a plethora of eroge out (mostly having covers featuring blushing, scantily clad women with pleading faces), euphoria seems to be their first serious title. As I mentioned, the scenario revolves around a trapped group of people from the same school, seven to be exact. Dubbing itself an ‘immoral and hardcore ADV’, the characters being subjected to the entrapment having to go through various, rather painful and squicky looking torture methods to escape, all the while a mysterious voice from a speaker directs them. Failure to take part in their respective ‘games’ means exclusion. So, the character really do not have a choice but to give themselves to the twisted whims of their overseer. One such example of a game is a shot of four preview CGs on the site, which show Miyako in stages sitting in an electric chair, with the next few CGs showing steam rising off of her as well as her ultimately defecating herself. Like 999 and Killer Queen, there is an added element of danger, with collars being firmly planted on the necks of the captives which, unsurprisingly, will explode if provoked.

If it depended on my life, could I force myself to clutch my fists, and dive right into the lion’s mouth? I honestly don’t know, and as I mentioned earlier… how can I know when I haven’t been in such a situation? It’s far too easy for someone to bravely say, ‘of course I’d do it!’ while sneering at those whose brows are sweating. It reminds me of all of those people who say that Evangelion‘s Shinji, or even that Madoka Magica‘s Madoka are far too wimpy and should just summon their inner Kamina. It’s not as easy as that, and if you ask me, Shinji and Madoka are fairly realistic characters considering their environments. Could you truly sell your soul, and essentially your body to a creature through what is essentially a Faustian pact for your one burning wish to be turned into reality? Could you honestly put your life on the life at fourteen years old and pilot a gigantic robot, fending off otherworldly monsters?

While I like brightly coloured clothes on a character and cartoonishly styled hairstyles as much as anyone, seeing such sombre colours gets a thumbs up from me. It’s almost like CLOCKWORK are trying to break free from silly nukige and are trying their hand at something more serious and deadly. To give an odd comparison, it’s like comparing the colours and character designs of Higurashi‘s characters to the humans of Umineko. Umineko‘s darker hues on the adults and servants were a total contrast to the anime hues of Higurashi‘s club mates. Not that Higurashi was lighthearted or anything, but it just makes for an interesting comparison. Speaking of Umineko, Nemu’s all knowing smirk and braided hairstyle is reminiscent of Beatrice. The PV was unsurprisingly unsettling, with the screen covered in dialogue and frenzied, frantic screams melding together conveying a true sense of absolute panic.

Will I read through euphoria, or even check out the trial? I’m undecided. I may give the trial a go. The release date is at this stage unknown, but is at least slated for sometime this year.

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