Disclaimer: Rather than putting up a usual content warning at the start, I’m just going to say that if you are sensitive to any strong content and will be negatively affected, then I would not advise reading this article. I briefly talked about the content of the game in my original review, but this article is about to go a lot further into detail. There will also be far more elaboration on the plot related and thematic concepts present, which really just makes everything ever more disturbing.

If you read further on and end up seriously scarred by the content, I will not be paying for your therapy bills, but I will feel very bad about it. Also, there will be spoilers for every major plot event in Euphoria.

Ever since I completed Euphoria, I have thought about it over and over. My review was over 5k words  but I still left a lot of stuff untouched. I have been considering writing more analytical pieces referring to more philosophical and abstract aspects of games rather than straight up reviews. I say this because I have the tendency to notice a lot of tiny details that most don’t. Furthermore, these types of analyses are typically reserved for more mainstream titles and not niche Japanese shit (especially in the eroge category).

I briefly mentioned in my review of Euphoria how well it portrayed a mentally ill protagonist in a way that most western games will never even attempt. The reason is likely because the Japanese are much more lax on sexuality than westerners are and are less likely to write off an entire game because it has sexual content. The truth is that Japanese eroge have significantly more attempts at being more than fap fuel than what most westerners are accustomed to. Allow me to talk for a second about why pornography has the reputation it does.

Most pornography has little to no artistic merit and cannot be enjoyed outside of serving as masturbation fuel. Additionally, it has been accused of furthering the objectification and exploitation of women. One of the most famous (or infamous depending on your perspective) anti porn activists was Andrea Dworkin, an influential 2nd wave radical feminist that, as far as I know, is well respected in radical feminist circles but is often criticized as sex negative by liberal feminists.

I have briefly touched on this in my response to hbomberguy, and it is now time to fully expand on it. Euphoria is a deep game, a VERY deep one. I did not even come close to scratching the surface of it in my review and I don’t even know if I will at the end of this article. Among many things, I have drawn a surprising number of comparison’s to Dworkin’s Woman Hating when I started reading it, and I kept thinking of Euphoria constantly. I have seen enough connections that I would not be surprised if one of the writers was familiar with her work. If one is interested in the full book it can be viewed and downloaded for free here.

In order to set things up, I believe I should take a brief moment to explain Woman Hating. The part of this book that many fail to take into account is precisely what is said on the first page. The very first words that Dworkin opens with are “This book is an action, a political action where revolution is the goal.” The intentions are stated right off the bat; this is a book that was intentionally made for the purposes of inciting a revolt against our current society. Dworkin is known for not supporting women’s “equality” but rather their liberation.

This book is an action, a political action where revolution is the goal. It has no other purpose. It is not cerebral wisdom, or academic horseshit, or ideas carved in granite or destined for immortality. It is part of a process and its context is change. It is part of a planetary movement to restructure community forms and human consciousness so that people have power over their own lives, participate fully in community, live in dignity and freedom.

This first paragraph is a straight up admission that this book is not intended for any other purpose than to incite anger towards the current system in order to motivate change. The sheer fact that she felt it was necessary to provide such a disclosure puts everything she says from that point on in a different light than what would otherwise be shown. The claim that it is NOT intended as “cerebral wisdom” or “academic horseshit” is something that seems to have been lost among a lot of feminists who proceeded to take everything 100% literally. One could even interpret these words to mean that it was never meant to be taught in academia, but it would be a difficult argument to make considering she approved of its use in women’s studies courses while she was still alive.

Reading Woman Hating is an experience that can be described as similar to one’s first experience with a religious text; it is made with the express purpose of changing the very way that one looks at the world around them. It is meant to make women feel unsafe about the world around them and men to feel deeply remorseful; and it succeeded. The reason it succeeds is precisely because it proceeds to deconstruct our very culture, history, and our entire way of life with the female perspective.

Due to the sheer magnitude of the implications present in the book, there is no way I could properly do it justice in a single article. What would do it justice is showing precisely the connections shared between it and Euphoria, and thus draw more attention to two things that are otherwise not widely known and assumed to be polar opposites.

I should note that it almost feels surreal that I’m even writing this article or that it’s even possible. It is one thing If I like a pornographic work being that I have been openly sex positive, but to suggest that such a depraved and violent title is actually a feminist deconstruction is a daring claim all on its own. There are some select few quotes that lead me to believe so though. It should be noted that despite being a prominent anti porn activist, Dworkin was hardly a prude more so than that she saw most pornography as ugly and horrifically written trash with no artistic value other than fap fuel. This is hardly a view unique to her as it is typically expected for porn to be of low artistic quality.

Woman Hating | literary pornagraphy

My opinion on porn is not very different from hers. That quote right there pretty much sums up my own opinion on the abhorrent Starless: Nymphomaniac’s Paradise as well as a lot of poorly written hentai works. I don’t exactly care much for porn, I just happen to be open minded enough to review pornographic works the same way as any other work of art as opposed to acting like it’s unreasonable to expect effort out of it. Contrary to popular belief, it takes sufficient writing talent to create something that is sexually arousing for anyone that isn’t a hormone driven 12 year old boy.

There was once a point where sex was seen as an intimate and strongly emotional act between two people who loved each other dearly, and I generally prefer for there to be a sense of emotional expression involved rather than just seeing a chick get plowed by 20 men and splattered in semen. That’s what I HATED about Starless so much to the point that it inflicted psychological wounds that still have not fully healed.

The eroge that I have positively reviewed such as Ruby Striker, Nekopara, and Critical Hit are technically not all that better from a feminist standpoint. Ruby Striker is about a girl being brutally raped and abused by a tentacle demon until she admits she likes it, Nekopara equates women to literal pets, and Critical Hit equates femininity to weakness and submissiveness while fetishizing it. Of course, the reason I still like them is because they possess other artistic elements that make up for this; Nekopara has the likable characters and the strong sense of care and intimacy that is usually missing from porn games, Critical Hit has some interesting and unique plot devices and motifs, and Ruby Striker has an oppressive and hopeless atmosphere and aesthetic despite the lack of any real plot, and thus the erotic elements are enhanced by the artistic flavor added.

Euphoria on the other hand, is something that would impress any of those who would view it with a critical eye rather than being disgusted by its content. There is layer after layer of symbolic depth in this game’s story and characters that I am concerned about the length of this piece going overboard. I have initially thought of re-reading both Euphoria and Woman Hating for the purposes of this article, but after going through the intro of Euphoria again, I realized that if I tried to tie together every last detail then I’d probably end up creating something that would take longer to read than Euphoria itself. As a result, I’m going to be making this all based on one read through of both Euphoria and Woman Hating.

Euphoria | Rules

So where else to start than with Euphoria’s very premise? The protagonist is Takeda Keisuke, a high school student who wakes up in the middle of a white lab with no memory of how he got there. He wakes up to find out that five of his female classmates and his teacher (also female) have also been brought there as part of a game. A mysterious mechanical voice tells them that they all need to participate in a game if they want to leave. The rules of the game are simple; individuals bearing XY chromosomes will be given the role of “key” and those bearing XX chromosomes are “keyholes.” In order to open the five doors to let them out of the facility, the key will need to insert a specified object into the requested opening of the keyhole in a specific fashion.

TLDR: Keisuke needs to choose which of his classmates and/or teacher to rape and he needs to do so five times for everyone to leave. This is undoubtedly a very disturbing and uncomfortable premise. Despite rape culture being a thing, men generally know that it is bad to rape women. No man with a sense of morality or empathy would ever want to hurt someone else willingly, especially not a woman because they are considered fragile and defenseless. Rape is seen as an especially insidious crime and for good reason; not only is the experience itself painful and unbearably discomforting, but the lasting effects that it leaves are arguably even worse.

But what does this have to do with our own society? After all, there is nothing forcing men to be rapists and women to be… see where I’m going yet? The “game” that our characters are being forced to play is an extended allegory of our society’s own sexual politics. Similarly to Keisuke and friends, all of us are expected to abide by a different set of social customs and roles that provide men the role of the dominant social class but are also restrictive and toxic. This is where the phrase “toxic masculinity” comes from; not because men are innately violent and sexist, but because we are MADE that way based on the fear of ostracizing. Women meanwhile, are given slightly more agency but only because they are seen as little more than objects for men’s pleasure.

The fact that no one could find out where the voice is coming from is representative of the fact that these rules do not come from a single source, but rather they occur as a result of our society being historically and arbitrarily patriarchal.

The identification of the feminine with Eros, or erotic energy (carnality by any other name), comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of human sexuality. The essential information which would lead to nonsexist, non repressive notions of sexuality is to be found in androgyny myths, myths which describe the creation of the first human being as male and female in one form. In other words, Jung chose the wrong model, the wrong myths, on which to construct a psychology of male and female. He used myths infused with patriarchal values, myths which gained currency in male-dominated cultures. The anthropological discoveries which fueled the formation of his theories all reveal relatively recent pieces of human history. With few exceptions, all of the anthropological information we have deals with the near past. But the myths which are the foundation of and legitimize our culture are gross perversions of original creation myths which molded the psyches of earlier, possibly less self-conscious and more conscious, peoples. The original myths all concern a primal androgyne —an androgynous godhead, an androgynous people. The corruptions of these myths of a primal androgyne without exception uphold patriarchal notions of sexual polarity, duality, male and female as opposite and antagonistic. The myth of a primal androgyne survives as part of a real cultural underground: though it is ignored, despised by a culture which posits other values, and though those who relate their lifestyles directly to it have been ostracized and persecuted. (Woman Hating, 161-162)

All of our notions about of how women are naturally weak and irrational and how men are strong and rational only exist because research into the psychology of men and women already holds the view of sexual duality. In short, gender roles are not even based on reality; they are merely “there” and are obeyed for no other reason than because you get punished if you don’t abide them. And because this standard has been set in place before we were all born and as we grew up, we all assume that it is “just the way it is.”It isn’t “sexist” to claim that women are naturally inferior, it’s just biology! Women just happen to be stupider, weaker, and more submissive than men, and it’s just in women’s nature to do nothing but cook, clean, and give head!

“But aren’t you a trans woman? If you don’t believe ‘gender’ is biologically based then why are you transitioning?” asks my conveniently placed straw man. I should note that gender identity IS a biologically based concept, and this has been proven based on the David Reimer incident and from the research done on trans people. However, gender dysphoria is a mental condition, and mental conditions have been known to occur as a result of socially constructed occurrences. Additionally, all of the data we have was carried out in a society that has already based around sexual polarity. If our society held more androgynous cultural standards, gender dysphoria would be either non existent or greatly reduced. Even if there are innate psychological differences between men and women, it is likely that they would have nothing to do with what society has decided they are.

Speaking of trans people, the fact that Euphoria specified XX and XY chromosomes as the dividing factor lends a lot more to its credibility as a deconstruction. This notably stuck out to me as a trans woman because it highlights precisely how relentless our standards are. It does not even matter if one goes out of their way to medically transition to the body of the female sex, if you have XY chromosomes, you have to be a man and fuck those girls. This is why transphobic and often sexist internet trolls will claim a trans woman is “mutilating their dick.” Even when we actively reject manhood, they still hold us to the standard of toxic masculinity, similarly to how if a trans woman were in Keisuke’s place, she’d have to rape those women to.

This mentality can also be seen in the frequent fetishism of trans women by having them portrayed as dominant and sexual in pornagraphy made by straight men, and the frequent fear mongering from the far right and even radical feminists that trans women are sexual predators solely due to having a penis or XY chromosomes. This is despite the fact that most trans women are submissive and docile because our very social structure associates any kind of power or confidence in one’s sexuality with masculinity, thus trans women internalize the view that it makes them less of a woman if they are not cute and feminine.

So what happens when someone doesn’t play by the rules of the game? What happens if one decides to be themselves and refuses to put up with it? Well, Euphoria answers that question pretty well; you get “removed from the game.” And exactly what happens when one is removed?

Euphoria demonstrates this principal through the character of Miyako Andou. She is listed as a main cast member, but she gets killed off less than an hour into the game. She is naturally horrified by the situation she is thrust into and gets notably angry

“Don’t get near me! You’re as much of a criminal as whoever thought up this game if you’re planning on participating.”

I had actually forgotten about this line until I reread the intro for the purpose of writing this article. This is the only time that anyone in this game condemns Keisuke’s actions, at least aside from Keisuke himself. Knowing what fate lies in store for anyone who disobeys, no one dares even imply it. As for what that fate is? Well, this is your last warning for graphic imagery.

Euphoria | Miyako electric chair

Miyako Andou is electrocuted in one of the most brutal and unnerving sequences I have ever witnessed. I have already talked about this at length in my impressions piece but there is just so much to unpack. It really lends itself to how surprising this scene was given that you only knew her for a short time. Miyako, despite only being part of the intro, is still featured in all of the game’s promotional material and is presented the same way as the rest of the main cast; as one of the objects of Keisuke’s lust.

Despite the horrifying setting and thematic material, Euphoria is not that much different from your typical harem series/dating sim in concept. The main premise behind these games amounts to picking the right answers in order to get with the women you like most out of the available choices, or all of them if you are using a guide that illustrates every step required.

At its core, this premise is meant to serve as a male escapist fantasy since the average “nice guy” could never hope to have so many girls interested in him. As a result, it presents the women as rewards that can be “earned” if one jumps through a bunch of hoops when that’s not how it works. This would not even be problematic if this were not a surprisingly common attitude in real life, but unfortunately it was before games were even a thing. The common term for these douchey pick up artist types is “player” and the common expression given by them is “don’t hate the player, hate the game,” the logic of which comes down to “this is just how it is; love isn’t real, men just want sex and will pretend otherwise so you fuck them (and also something something gold diggers so men’s rights activists won’t get mad)!”

But the truth is that there is no “game” and that you probably should hate the player who chooses to participate in it while using the excuse of a game to justify their actions. You getting the meaning behind calling this horrific underground experiment a game now? Miyako did not believe in “don’t hate the player, hate the game” and said straight up that Keisuke is just as bad as whoever trapped them there if he participates; that there is no game. Of course, since Miyako did not play by the rules of this game, she got a “game over.” It is said that “in the game of patriarchy, women aren’t the opposing team, they’re the ball” and balls are easily replaced (unless they are testicles, which aren’t easily replaced since they usually belong to men).

Also, we must, in order to protect ourselves, refuse to participate in the dating system which sets up every woman as a potential rape victim. In the dating system, women are defined as the passive pleasers of any and every man. The worth of any woman is measured by her ability to attract and please men. The object of the dating game for the man is “to score. ” In playing this game, as women we put ourselves and our wellbeing in the hands of virtual or actual strangers. As women, we must analyze this dating system to determine its explicit and implicit definitions and values. In analyzing it, we will see how we are coerced into becoming sex-commodities. (Our Blood, 43)

Yes, such a thing is undoubtedly nihilistic as fuck, and that is to be expected given how dark in subject matter both these works are. But we are not even close to being done. In  my review of Euphoria, I have expressed shock at the fact that this game has managed so well to make me relate to someone like Keisuke. I even said that I have never related to any fictional character more than Keisuke, and viewing this game with a feminist lens makes it even more apparent why. Like many dating sims, our protagonist is meant to be representative of the average man. The only difference is that Euphoria carries a far more cynical view of the average man.

Keisuke has some strongly abnormal sexual desires. He gets strongly aroused by hurting, abusing, and humiliating others. The degree to which this manifests is to the same extent that often exists in infamous serial killers. Needless to say, Keisuke is flat out fucked in the head. But the difference between Keisuke and most characters of this type is that Keisuke… still feels empathy and compassion for those around him. He knows fully well that his dark desires are fucked up and prior to being brought underground, he planned to take this dark secret of his to the grave. Unfortunately he just so happened to get locked up in an underground “game” where he has to either embrace his monstrous urges or everyone dies.

So yes, Keisuke’s entire character arc is a symbolic representation of toxic masculinity and the moral dilemma it puts on almost all men; that being whether to act on patriarchal expectations or on their conscience not to hurt the women they love. This sounds like an obvious choice for just about any man with a conscience, but when you have societal customs and standards that enable and justify predatory behavior under the guise of it being nature, it makes it easier for one to believe it’s okay. Women are inherently submissive and men inherently dominant. Don’t believe that some men are this cut and dry about it? Well, take for instance this New York Times piece saying exactly that. He even went as far as to quote Dworkin out of context to make his point that men are inherently brutal and beastly.

For most of history, we’ve taken for granted the implicit brutality of male sexuality. In 1976, the radical feminist and pornography opponent Andrea Dworkin said that the only sex between a man and a woman that could be undertaken without violence was sex with a flaccid penis: “I think that men will have to give up their precious erections,” she wrote. In the third century A.D., it is widely believed, the great Catholic theologian Origen, working on roughly the same principle, castrated himself.

I should re-iterate that I only read Woman Hating and some of Our Blood yet even I can see how full of shit Stephen Marche is. If he was actually familiar with Dworkin’s writing, he would have realized that this was literally THE EXACT OPPOSITE of what she was trying to say. She was saying that what many of us consider “nature” tends to conveniently excuse men being predatory fucks and give advantage to men in every single category.  IE: Dworkin is saying that this “male brutality” is created by patriarchy and passed off as “nature.” It’s as I’ve previously paraphrased in my response to Meghan Murphy, “gender differences are not emphasized, they are created, and perpetuated in the name of morality.”

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance | escapism
One should have expected Stephen Marche to be a scoundrel after he tried to destroy Ivalice because he didn’t like escapism.

To add to this, remember back when Trump admitted to sexually assaulting women in a leaked tape and people justified it as “locker room talk?” Perhaps the most damning thing about this exchange was that his defenders don’t even seem to realize that he admitted to sexual assault when he said “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” These people literally think the worst that Trump did was say the word “pussy” and talk about sex.

Let me explain precisely what the problem with what I quoted. He specifically said “I just start kissing them… I don’t even wait” as in “I don’t even wait to see if this woman is comfortable with me kissing her before I do it because I’m a star and can get away with it.” Seriously, did no one else notice anything wrong with the “when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything” part? Do Trump supporters not realize that “they let you do it” does not mean consent but rather that they are too nervous to say no because Trump is powerful and wealthy? Did Trump ever think of how his words could have been construed and try to clarify what he really meant before dismissing them as “locker room talk?” If I can give Trump credit for one thing it is that he managed to finally make “not all men” look appealing to feminists when all of these apologists fell out of the woodwork.

I would also like to bring to light the title of that NYT piece I linked, “The Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido.” There is a certain word in this sentence that stuck out to me, and it should also be worth noting that Dworkin has also used this exact word herself three times in Woman Hating. That being the word “brutality.”

Woman Hating | brutality
(Woman Hating,  23, 111, and 112 respectively)

Those who have seen my most disturbing video game songs countdown may have likely caught on at this point as to the significance of the word brutality; it is the title of the track that plays during Miyako’s “game over” sequence. It is also the track that plays where Keisuke needs to violently beat Nemu in order to save a friend from being crushed to death (it makes more sense in context). But most significantly of all, this plays during most of the game’s rape scenes whenever Keisuke starts to get fierce and aggressive. Also of note that an alternate translation of the Japanese title of this track is “oppression.”

I have already described the general sound of this track and what it represents in my countdown, but there is also the subject of its use. What should be noted is that this track is NOT used to signify rape; it is used to signify violence and aggression. It just so happens that Keisuke’s sexual preferences tend to overlap with violence and domination so the two are often one and the same. It’s also where that out of context Dworkin quote in that NYT article comes into play.

I’ll clarify that I am not 100% familiar with the exact context in which that quote was said, but I highly doubt that she seriously thinks that men are innately bestial and violent during sex, but rather that nearly every type of intercourse with an erect cock in our patriarchal society is violent because of, you guessed it, toxic masculinity.

It is at points like this that I need to expressed why I don’t like to take every word of Dworkin’s completely literally. I personally think it is stretching things a bit to say that ALL sex that involves a non flacid penis is inherently violent, but when taken as a general observation rather than an “absolute fact,” it still fits.

And it’s now time to start getting a little bit personal here. Some people who have followed me for a long time may have noticed that, while I’m hardly a prude or sex negative, that some of my sexual preferences have changed. I did not realize it at the time, but I recently realized that I had a much stronger fixation on hentai a few years back, and I mean a fixation bordering on addiction to the point where I would be thinking about this stuff at times where one really shouldn’t be. It just so happened that I was extremely depressed at the time and I happened to seek out increasingly depraved material despite the fact that I could not even masturbate even at that time.

Back then I always seemed to have this odd sensation where I can simultaneously find certain things disgusting and arousing at the same time. I found that I often embraced a lot of this darker material without even thinking about it, and there were plenty of times where I regretted it afterwards due to a horrifying mental image. If I think about it, I don’t think I was ever really attracted to that stuff but rather I unquestioningly embraced it without any serious thought as to what it was seeing as how it was all just 2D animated shit.

Euphoria | objects

I will say that HRT has likely played a role in cleaning up my mental state since less depression means less fucked up coping mechanisms, but I attribute this to embracing feminists principals more. What this has allowed me to realize is that there is a serious difference between finding someone attractive or pleasing to the eye and a desire to stick your dick inside them. This is something that sounds plainly obvious when spelt out, but in a patriarchal society where “beauty” is based around how fuckable a woman is, it becomes much easier to conflate the two. You end up having people who think that thinking anime moe girls are cute is equivalent to wanting to fuck them. Toxic fuckboys think that finding a girl cute appearance wise and wanting to fuck them are interchangeable thus assume that those who find young girls cute must want to fuck them, thus leading to accusations of pedophilia.

Given how puritanical and sex negative our society is, people are given little to no information on how to explore these thoughts of theirs and are thus stuck with whatever the hell they come up with. Some “lolicons” may even think it means that they really ARE pedophiles and either castrate themselves or worse; start joining actual pedophile rings or trying to have sex with an underage girl only to end up with Chris Hanson walking in on them and asking them to have a seat.

There is such an ugly and disgusting rabbit hole that comes with our society and the lack of proper sex education. People know that rape is bad, but many don’t know what does and does not qualify as rape. And yes, it happens to men to, hell I had an entire article about that subject, but you see men doing it a lot more often. The same traditional values that AIWs are desperate to defend from feminists are the same ones that say men are violent savage brutes who want to rape women. This obviously isn’t true of all or even most men, but the system is set up to make things easier for these men to do so.

At this point there is usually a sense of disconnect for feminists and non-feminists given that some of the former are nervous about walking down the street because they can be raped by men at any point, while others (both men and women) don’t see what the worry is. I don’t feel I can really speak given that I’m agoraphobic and thus don’t leave the house anyway, but the point is that if many women do feel unsafe and scared then maybe there IS something to it. Yes it usually is a good indication that one should see a therapist about their fear, but the truth is that this fear exists because it DOES happen.

The point is that Keisuke’s entire character arc represents every man’s struggle with toxic masculinity. Euphoria is a very harsh metaphor for how our society views and treats women. Men are always given priority and women are viewed as trophies or objects for men’s pleasure. The game itself is pretty blatant about this much given that Keisuke outright states he needs to struggle to avoid viewing the women as objects. Each of the women involved in this “game” are ones Keisuke knows in real life and thus he consciously does not want to harm them, but there is also the part of him that will use the game as an excuse to justify what he does and to absolve himself of guilt.

The obvious solution in a situation like this is to divide it up between the most stable of the group who can handle it. My own first playthrough was to pick each character once, but I noticed that I could not pick Kanae despite the fact that Nemu orders Keisuke to do so with the threat of revealing his secret. Similarly to most dating sims, you need to pick one specific girl five times or the game ends early. This is because the game is set up to get Keisuke fall prey to his monstrous urges. Similarly to the 2016 democratic primaries; the game is rigged.

Now that we have touched upon the rules of “the game,” there is the aspect of the character arcs. The character routes can be played in any order but I will talk about them in the often recommended order and the order that I played them in, starting with Rika.

Makabe Rika is the smallest and most vulnerable girl in the game’s cast. She often acts like a young child despite her being only slightly younger than the main cast. I touched upon her in my first impressions piece how she will either come across as endearing or annoying. She is easily the group’s weakest link and does not know how to stifle her fears in the same way the rest of the group does, and thus is the one that is easiest to abuse. This in turn brings out Keisuke’s worst habits and provokes some seriously disgusting actions.

The curious aspect of “the game” is where to draw the line regarding intent when the “key” picks his “keyhole.” Just about every route has some justification for Keisuke picking the same woman five times. Natsuki is the only adult in the group, Rinne is not effected by the rapes, Nemu is a slut and and enjoys them, and Kanae wants Keisuke to pick her based on her feelings for him. Rika however is picked only because she’s the easiest to abuse, and in the player’s case, to see what happens.

Those who played through Undertale’s genocide route might notice some familiar themes here. All that the player needs to play through to unlock the true ending is Nemu’s route then Kanae’s once it is unlocked. Similarly to how Frisk on a Genocide route will kill everyone just because they can, Keisuke will repeatedly violate his vulnerable classmate simply because he can and it arouses him.

Euphoria | internet comments

If there was not a situation present specifically to draw the worst behaviors out of Keisuke, he would never do this. It would be the moral equivalent of injecting heroine into the blood stream of a recovering addict. Keisuke also shows serious remorse for his own behaviors and shows some serious self loathing in how he repeatedly rapes Rika until she is afraid of him and outright hates him. Keisuke’s actions are despicable and abhorrent, but the fact that it is such a human portrayal paints an excellent picture of the ugly parts of the human conscience we are too scared to look at.

Of note is that the ways that Rika is violated are undoubtedly horrific to say the least. Not just in the physical and sexual ways but also the psychological. One of the unlocking procedures requires Rika to fucked by Keisuke on a live stream uncensored while pretending to be doing so consensually while also seeing realistic internet comments that deride her for being such a dumb slut. One of the “bonus rounds,” those being other sex scenes that Keisuke and the girl he’s pursuing choose for the privilege of gaining access to a VIP room with a delicious meal and a comfortable bed, involves him ejaculating all over the meal that Rika was looking forward to and her being forced to eat all of it while pretending she likes it. The twist is that this WAS the bonus game.

In concept it does not sound like much but considering all of the trauma Rika was going through and how much she was looking forward to her meal, enough that she agreed to another rape for it, this ends up being a very uncomfortable scene. After everything that happened, Rika finally begins to despise Keisuke but only does so because she thinks he hates her. This is symbolic of the power that men have historically held over women. That women were raised to prioritize the needs of men first and put their own second; even in the most extreme cases. After the white chamber segment, you have Keisuke finally realize the extent of his power over Rika. He realizes that Rika STILL forgave her after all that and realized he has complete control over her.

During the portion after the white chamber, you see it finally dawn on him how much his actions have endangered Rika. That she is so emotionally damaged that she’s still dependent on him despite the awful things he did. He then realizes that because of this, there is more responsibility on him than usual to never abuse her again and to instead care for her. This is representative of how men who have benefited from male privilege for generations are oblivious to how they have hurt women because of the society they were raised in.

Rika’s actions on other routes also reflect that of blind obedience and dependency. On Rinne’s route, she becomes so blindly devoted to Rinne that she kills herself when she thinks Keisuke is kidnapping her. On Nemu’s route, she gladly turns on her former friends and serves under Nemu and says she will do anything for her. She later comes to regret these words when she sells her out to Keisuke and hooks her up to a torture device that forces her to swallow Rinne’s excrement. There is an equally disturbing scene where Nemu coerces Keisuke into thoroughly convincing Rika that she’s literally a dog. Her personality is like that of a dog who is blindly dependent, and thus is brainwashed into thinking she is literally a dog in a scene where she is ordered not to use human words, has actual dog feces inserted into her anus that she needs to poop out like a dog, and when she’s too embarrassed to she’s left alone in a dark dog house for hours until she becomes excited when Keisuke returns.

Euphoria | Rika dog

For those that think this is simply a disgusting and horrifying scene… they are right, but it also is symbolic of how dependence on someone will leave you at their mercy and how one can delude themselves into thinking almost anything for the sake of their sanity. The idea that women are oppressed is a fairly recent one despite the fact that it is common knowledge that they had infinitely less rights than men did throughout history. The works of many influential feminist writers often come across as shocking and eye opening to those who read them. There is a reason why most anti feminists have never read any work of feminist writing or they have done so already deciding they are going to mock it. In a way, what happened to Rika is not that different to what happened to many women throughout history.

There is also a recurring animal motif among many of the characters. There are several instances where Keisuke is described as a “beast” or an “animal” by Nemu, in part to his violent urges. This reminds me often of whenever someone questions a woman about what she was wearing if she was raped and how these women are compared to someone diving into shark infested waters with meat wrapped around their legs. Note that it is not man hating feminazis that make these claims, but rather they are made by anti feminists or incels who think it’s just a natural part of being a man. Patriarchy’s perspective is that both men and women are mere animals, but the difference is that women are tamed and men are feral.

Natsuki Aoi is Keisuke’s teacher and her route represents the relationships between men and their female caregivers. There are a lot of Freudian themes present throughout Natsuki’s route given the rather motherly role she takes compared to the rest of the cast. In my initial impressions piece, I made note of how Natsuki had to prioritize order and togetherness and thus couldn’t antagonize Nemu when she tormented Rika due to the fact that infighting is not something they can afford when their lives are at stake. This reminds me of another Dworkin quote about the difference between a mother raising a son and raising a daughter.

The fact is that it is easier for a woman to raise a son than a daughter. First, she is rewarded for bearing a son—this is the pinnacle of possible accomplishment for her in her life, as viewed by male culture. We might say that in bearing a son, she has had a phallus inside her empty space for nine months, and that that assures her of approval which she could not earn in any other way. She is then expected to invest the rest of her life in maintaining, nourishing, nurturing, and hallowing that son. But the fact is that that son has a birthright to identity which she is denied. He has a right to embody actual qualities, to develop talents, to act, to become—to become who or what she could not become. It is impossible to imagine that this relationship is not saturated with ambivalence for the mother, with ambivalence and with downright bitterness. This ambivalence, this bitterness, is intrinsic to the mother-son relationship because the son will inevitably betray the mother by becoming a man —that is, by accepting his birthright to power over and against her and her kind. But for a mother the project of raising a boy is the most fulfilling project she can hope for. She can watch him, as a child, play the games she was not allowed to play; she can invest in him her ideas, aspirations, ambitions, and values—or whatever she has left of them; she can watch her son, who came from her flesh and whose life was sustained by her work and devotion, embody her in the world. So while the
project of raising a boy is fraught with ambivalence and leads inevitably to bitterness, it is the only project that allows a woman to be—to be through her son, to live through her son. The project of raising a girl, on the other hand, is torturous. The mother must succeed in teaching her daughter not to be\ she must force her daughter into developing the lack of qualities that will enable her to pass as female. The mother is the primary agent of male culture in the family, and she must force her daughter to acquiesce to the demands of that culture. She must do to her daughter what was done to her. The fact that we are all trained to be mothers from infancy on means that we are all trained to devote our lives to men, whether they are our sons or not; that we are all trained to force other women to exemplify the lack of qualities which characterizes the cultural construct of femininity.

Our Blood (57-58)

The connection is further supported by the second act where Keisuke and the girls escape from the white research facility and make their way back to their school campus, only to come across the horrific sight of the male students violently gang raping the female students and serving under Nemu’s rule. Oh and she’s also revealed to be behind the “game” that they played and anyone who tries to leave the campus gets killed by a mysterious woman wearing a gas mask and a black leather suit. This mysterious woman in black has different actions depending on whose route the player takes.

If the player is on Rika or Natsuki’s route, she merely gives a vague remark about Keisuke either passing a test or meeting the right qualifications (It’s been 9 months since I played the game and I don’t feel like reading through such a disturbing visual again just to get the exact wording). Things proceed a bit differently on the remaining routes however.

On Rinne’s route, you get to see Rinne lead a resistance movement against Nemu that is made up of other students who defected. This seems like a good thing until it reveals that the cult is just as depraved and disgusting as Nemu’s. There was a recurring theme among Rinne’s character that she actively sought out Keisuke’s harsh abuse during her own scenes in the white facility, but not out of any sexual desire. It instead stemmed from a sort of self hatred for who she is and thus a need to be punished.

Rinne’s route is representative of the role that women play in mainstream religion that promotes the views that they must be subservient to men. Many have used religions to excuse their own misogyny and abuse of women in a similar manner to how they excuse homophobia and transphobia, and many of these religious extremists are also women who will blindly follow their faith out of fear of judgement or harm. The way that new people are “converted” to Rinne’s cult is by “cleansing.” “Cleansing” is simply a nicer term for being gang raped and branded. Additionally, the conflict between Rinne’s cult and Nemu’s gang of brainwashed hooligans symbolizes how multiple sides can have different interests yet commit the same atrocities. Remember that quote I posted earlier “in the game of patriarchy, women aren’t the opposing team, they’re the ball.”

At this point in the story, both groups will clash in an assault on the main campus, but the result is different depending on whether the player is on Rinne’s route or Nemu/Kanae’s. In Rinne’s route, the mysterious black woman randomly decides not to show up and the cultists overpower Nemu’s goons. This results in a gruesome sequence where Nemu is “cleansed” by being branded three times and gang raped immediately afterwards. You also see that Rinne has become absolutely insane and keeps Keisuke as a slave in an attempt to become pregnant with his seed. This leaves another optional bad ending where Keisuke will be kept there and repeatedly raped with no other purpose than to procreate, even complete with an ending narration about if this is really all he is meant to be. According to toxic masculinity it is, that’s for sure.

Perhaps the most piercing bit of irony present is that in a game that features dozens of scenes of women being raped to the point of repetitiveness, the concept of female on male rape is portrayed with surprising dignity. Despite the fact that Keisuke struggles with violent sexual urges to the point of instability, it isn’t used as an excuse to say he can’t be raped nor is it a punchline. Given that this game is a morbid allegory of our society’s sexual politics, it naturally means that men are prioritized over women and this much is symbolized even in the story structure.

To get back on the subject of Natsuki, the woman in black instead decides to actually obey Nemu if the player follows Nemu’s route. The result is a literal nightmare. Nemu rules over the entire campus with an iron fist and nearly every woman is subjected to nightmarish rape and torture. This is shown first hand with the previously mentioned scene where Rinne and Rika are hooked up to a torture device that forces them to swallow each other’s feces, vomit it back up, and swallow said vomit back it.

Euphoria | tubes
The world’s most disgusting moebius loop. Heavily censored.

It is disgusting, horrifying, and it makes my stomach churn just thinking of watching that scene again. But yes, there is also a symbolic element to this scene. It is representative of the way that patriarchy turns women on each other. As previously stated, Rika says she will do anything for Nemu because Nemu was nice to her while they were in the white lab. This results in her selling out her friends and blindly obeying Nemu for her own benefit, similarly to how women have historically gone against the rights of women as a whole for their own individual benefits. I’m going to spare you an attempt to demonize anti feminist women and will just support this by pointing out that “women against suffrage” was a thing.

Obviously Rinne was set up to the machine for the plot relevant reason that Nemu wanted to punish her for going against her, but the fact that said torturing machine portrays a disgusting moebius loop of consuming each other’s shit and puking it back out only to swallow it again is a perfect metaphor for patriarchy as a whole in how our system of living causes us to unintentionally harm each other for the sake of our own survival; and there is often nothing we can do about it.

Also of note is that Nemu also demands that Keisuke start the machine. There is even more of Nemu’s attempts to bring out Keisuke’s violent sexual urges, and the rest of her route continuously attempts this in the most uncomfortable and depraved manner possible.

What is curious about Euphoria is how even the female characters tend to represent patriarchal values. This is exemplified in Nemu’s chapter. Nemu is representative of patriarchal society’s tendency demonize women as manipulative and deceitful. Nemu is essentially what men under patriarchy fear; a powerful and openly sexual woman that they cannot control. I am going to quote a portion of my review of Amber Breaker that I believe is relevant.

I have mentioned briefly in my review of Ruby Striker how the concept of men thinking it is sexy to degrade strong women into submissive sluts should have been horrifying. I actually do have a pretty strong distaste for that trope but for a different reason than one would expect. The key problem with “turning a pure maiden into a filthy slut” as a humiliation trope is that it inherently implies that being a slut is shameful and degrading.

This type of trope holds awareness of the fact that women DO in fact desire sex and are not all sexless prudes, but it still promotes the idea that it is wrong to not be a sexless prude. There is never any “female empowerment” message in any of these because if women realize they can be openly sexual AND empowered then they will no longer equate female sexuality to being submissive and complacent and their fetish will no longer exist. As a result, they get to have their cake and eat it by making women realize they are a slut but never letting them realize that it’s okay to be one.

While Rika, Natsuki, and Rinne are all submissive and complacent to Keisuke, Nemu is always one step ahead of him and gets pleasure out of all the “unlocking sequences.” In the 2nd act of the game on Nemu’s route, you see Nemu effectively creating the world that the darkest recesses of Keisuke’s mind desires; and it becomes harder and harder for him to resist fully embracing them when there’s little hope for any of them returning to a normal life. It is also mentioned that this whole sequence takes place during the apocalypse and that this school is no longer the only place in complete and utter disorder.

There is also a running theme of “emotional manipulation” going on throughout Euphoria. I mentioned previously the amount of gas lighting that Keisuke is subject to by Nemu in my impressions piece, but that is not all that there is. It is revealed the cast’s memories of past events were altered by the collars they were forced to wear so they forgot about the events leading up to the beginning of the game.

Nemu’s chapter can go a few different ways. You have the normal route where Keisuke will continue to resist until the very end and fend off at least some of his urges while he is forced to embrace others due to the sheer absurdity of the scenario. One that Keisuke thinks is safe to embrace is when Nemu offers him anything or anyone to abuse for his pleasure. Keisuke decides that requesting the mysterious figure in black that has aided Nemu’s reign of terror would be an excellent loophole to exploit. There’s only one problem though; the woman in black is actually Natsuki.

Euphoria | Natsuki woman in black
Also of note is that Natsuki is drugged with an aphrodisiac during this scene, an aphrodisiac that takes effect because her gas mask made her inhale it. More irony for ya all.

Even worse is that Keisuke does not realize this until AFTER he started raping her… and after he started he can’t stop. In what was a rather pathetic display, Keisuke fails once again to assert dominance over Nemu and he is one step behind her yet again. It also shows how uncontrolled attempts at violence and dominance can hurt those close to you, and how easily power can corrupt.

Keisuke makes for an especially tragic character in the first two thirds of the game. You see frequently that he’s pretty much his own worst enemy and has a case of cognitive dissonance that would put your most dedicated Trump supporter to shame. This whole game can be seen as a commentary in regards to how our patriarchal society only serves to worsen already debilitating mental illness. Just look at any incel community for instance.

When one looks into those communities, one can always notice that a lot of them clearly struggle with various mental illnesses. These are issues that can be overcome with the right help but many of these communities instead serve more as a type of death cult where they instead serve to claim that there is no way of fixing things. They indulge in this immensely harmful world view in a way that reminds me of pro anorexia forums. Incel forums are toxic masculinity taken to its logical conclusion, and the effect that it has on many who buy into these beliefs is devastating.

There is actually another game I have played that covers similar themes as Euphoria, and that game is My Name is Addiction. Unlike Euphoria, My Name is Addiction is not a porn game, but it is a game that is about porn. Specifically it is about the subject of pornography addiction and it was made by a recovering porn addict. While the game does not take a stance against the porn industry itself, it does provide a disturbing and eye opening look into the possible negative effects that result from over consumption.

I mention this because as far as I know, My Name is Addiction’s developer Cleril is not pro feminist, but the themes present in this game can largely be interpreted as pro feminist. Really I may need to take another look at that game some time since it’s been forever since I reviewed it and it deserves more attention, but I bring it up because it shows that the ideas of “patriarchy” and “toxic masculinity” hold much more universal value than saying that men are evil, violent, and oppressive perverts.

Patriarchy is a society that harms EVERYONE, not just women. It’s easy to point to a certain person and say they are fucked in the head, but instead more of us should be pointing at the system that enables and often incentivizes this shit. Granted one can be blamed for the active choice to support this system but without going after the system itself, pointing the finger at individuals will do little to help.

Keisuke, as well as every man, then has a choice to make. The choice is in regards to whether they should believe in the system that wronged them up to that point in hopes that they will one day reap their rewards, or to reject the system and instead strive to be a good person on your own terms without any regards to “gender.”

And yes I know that the idea of rejecting societal norms is hardly a feminist exclusive theme. It can be applied to many different custom beliefs and non conformity is often an element of many different ideologies but this essay is supposed to focus on said feminist themes so I will just stick with those for now.

If you choose to embrace Keisuke’s violent urges and use the state of disarray as an excuse to justify embracing them, it will lead to the game’s infamous “brute” ending. The brute ending occurs when the most violent and disturbing actions are picked during Kanae’s route, and the build up will show Keisuke’s struggles that foreshadow the impending result of fully embracing his fetish for violence and brutality.

Kanae is shown as the one person who Keisuke cares about the most, and this is represented best by the fact that the player cannot pick Kanae for the “unlocking” sequences until they have completed Nemu’s route. Of specific note is the fact that Nemu’s route ends with Nemu attempting to kill Kanae and with Keisuke in turn almost strangling her to death in rage. He then stops at the last minute which leads to his death, and the last thing he sees is Nemu with tears in her eyes saying “why didn’t you kill me?”

This is the first sign that something weird is up with Nemu and that things may not be as they appear. At this point, the only route left would be Kanae’s and there are a few interesting things to note in regards to her route. The first thing to note is that the unlocking scenes are all given certain conditions that Keisuke needs to follow. Said conditions are said to reflect the mental state of the participants, and thus most of the scenes are brutal and grotesque. However, the first unlocking scene with Kanae provides the condition “gentle” which is unlike any of the other sequences (including Kanae’s other four).

After the white lab portion, the story follows the same events as on Nemu’s route with a few exceptions. The first is that it becomes possible to access the aforementioned “brute ending.” Once again, the name of this route fits the earlier theme of violence and “brutality.” If the player makes the required set of choices, Keisuke’s dialogue will become much more ruthless and sadistic in his interaction with others. An example includes a scene where Nemu is shown torturing a few of her goons who earlier assaulted Keisuke while they beg him for forgiveness. On the normal route, Keisuke will respond with empathy and ask Nemu to stop torturing them, while on the Brute route he will torture them some more.

Keisuke will also be shown having nightmares about what his violent urges will lead to. One of them even includes Kanae saying that she will do anything for him, and that she can even kill her. Strangely enough, the letter “k” is censored in the word “kill.” This is likely because Japan’s perspective on violence and sex is the inverse of the west’s where they are more open to sexuality but violence is a no no. This does not make things any less disturbing when they start to converge. Predictably, this is exactly what the brute ending leads to.

Euphoria | Kanae dead

Keisuke cares for Kanae, so she gives her a gentle and painless death. This act of pure sadism and madness results in Keisuke getting contacted by the people who put the mysterious collars on the each of the main cast members. Earlier in the route it is revealed that Nemu set the entire white lab portion up to bring out Keisuke’s beastly urges, and that she was working with another mysterious behind the scenes organization to do so. As long as Keisuke has the collar around his neck, he is at Nemu’s mercy. The symbolism is quite obvious.

Once Keisuke kills Kanae, he crosses the line from a tamed animal to a feral one. The same group that put the collar on Keisuke to begin with has now uncollared him and put him in power over Nemu, and he proceeds to use it to his full extent. Despite the fact that it was Nemu who effectively created this nightmarish world where Keisuke can thrive, Keisuke is still royally pissed at her due to bass instinct. He is pissed less because of what Nemu did to his friends (he’s not exactly one to talk there) and more because she held power over him.

Despite everything that Nemu did up to this point, what Keisuke does will genuinely make you feel sorry for her. Nemu’s best qualities have been her looks and voice, so Keisuke decides to take that away. He has her vocal chords and her limbs surgically removed, and has her visage transformed into that of a sex doll. One can hardly say its unwarranted since she basically did the same thing to Rinne, but what is interesting is how this route is the one scene where Nemu shows genuine fear and grief; anyone would in this situation. It’s royally fucked up but is strangely satisfying to see. This is what perhaps impressed me most about Euphoria; it opened my mind to things that it should have never been opened to.

Then there is the final shot where you see Keisuke getting his coveted “harem ending.” I’ve said before that Euphoria is basically your typical dating sim with a very fucked up twist. Dating sims typically resent the women as “rewards” and thus some will have a “harem ending” where the player can get them all. While I am polyamorous myself, there is a rather problematic aspect to this trope in that most of these women don’t express openness to polyamory prior. If done right this trope can be used to properly portray a healthy polyamorous relationship but that would require treating your characters as more than just objects to claim; literal in Euphoria’s case.

Euphoria | Brute Ending

As you can see here, this is the result of Keisuke’s reign over the remainder of the school. He chooses to keep Nemu alive merely to torture here, has Kanae stuffed and turned into a doll, has Natsuki turned into”his cow” and made her body increase in sensitivity and added tits that are WAY too big, has Rinne as a literal decoration, and Rika as a literal pet since she’s still mind broken into believing she’s a dog.

There is another section in Woman Hating that reminds me a lot of this scenario. I have not read Dworkin’s books about the pornography industry, but there is a section where Dworkin decides to analyze some popular pornographic works at the time with a feminist lens. Much like myself, she has the tendency to give these works far more analysis than they likely ever intended to have. Of note is that she first decides to examine some of the fairy tales that young women are raised with, which leads disturbing correlation between said fairy tales and pornography.

These fairy-tale mothers are mythological female figures. They define for us the female character and delineate its existential possibilities. When she is good, she is soon dead. In fact, when she is good, she is so passive in life that death must be only more of the same. Here we discover the cardinal principle of sexist ontology—the only good woman is a dead woman. When she is bad she lives, or when she lives she is bad. She has one real function, motherhood. In that function, because it is active, she is characterized by overwhelming malice, devouring greed, uncontainable avarice. She is ruthless, brutal, ambitious, a danger to children and other living things. Whether called mother, queen, stepmother, or wicked witch, she is the wicked witch, the content of nightmare, the source of terror.

What can it do? It grows, It bleeds. It sleeps. It walks. It talks, Singing, “love’s got me, got me. ” Kathleen Norris

For a woman to be good, she must be dead, or as close to it as possible. Catatonia is the good woman’s most winning quality. Sleeping Beauty slept for 100 years, after pricking her finger on a spindle. The kiss of the heroic prince woke her. He fell in love with her while she was asleep, or was it because she was asleep? Snow-white was already dead when the heroic prince fell in love with her. “I beseech you, ” he pleaded with the 7 dwarfs, “to give it to me, for I cannot live without looking upon Snow-white. ” 17 It awake was not readily distinguishable from it asleep. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow-white, Rapunzel —all are characterized by passivity, beauty, innocence, and victimization. They are archetypal good women — victims by definition. They never think, act, initiate, confront, resist, challenge, feel, care, or question. Sometimes they are forced to do housework. They have one scenario of passage. They are moved, as if inert, from the house of the mother to the house of the prince. First they are objects of malice, then they are objects of romantic adoration. They do nothing to warrant either. That one other figure of female good, the good fairy, appears from time to time, dispensing clothes or virtue. Her power cannot match, only occasionally moderate, the power of the wicked witch. She does have one physical activity at which she excels —she waves her wand. She is beautiful, good, and unearthly. Mostly, she disappears. These figures of female good are the heroic models available to women. And the end of the story is, it would seem, the goal of any female life. To sleep, perchance to dream? – Woman Hating, 41-43

Thankfully this is not the true ending of Euphoria and is instead merely an optional ending that can be entirely avoided if the player chooses to follow it. The true ending of Euphoria occurs by following Kanae’s route up to the same point as Nemu’s route only instead of Nemu’s route where Keisuke relents, Keisuke is successful in strangling Nemu to death in an attempt to save Kanae’s life. Upon Keisuke’s success, he wakes up back in the white lab that started this entire game up and is greeted by Kanae.

Kanae however seems a bit different then the precious childhood friend he always knew. While the Kanae he knew was caring and warm, the Kanae that stands before him now is cold and uncaring. Keisuke is then told that, to put things bluntly, that all of the previous events of the game occurred within a virtual world. Everything about him has been altered including his memories and emotions. This can all be taken as an obvious stand in for gaslighting and emotional manipulation.

Many have criticized Euphoria for this twist in the final act seeming like it came out of nowhere, but there has always been subtext meant to foreshadow that something was not right with the world Keisuke lived in up to that point. It explains all the weird an unrealistic occurrences that occurred, why Natsuki did not step in to defend Nemu on Rinne’s path or what she meant on Rika’s path when Keisuke almost strangled Nemu to death in Rika’s defense, and just what all this shit that happened is.

It is basically revealed that Nemu and Kanae had their personality’s reversed during the simulation. Nemu was a sheltered child as part of scientific program called “Euphoria…”

she said it

To create an artificial utopia that simulates real life. Nemu is the source of this experiment and has lived separated from real life. Keisuke had met Nemu early on in their childhood and became close friends, but soon the people behind the program discovered it. They then decided that in order to keep anyone from finding out they needed to “deal with” Keisuke. Nemu and Kanae agree that Keisuke can go free if they put him through a simulation and Keisuke kills Nemu in said simulation.

This revelation makes sense of several things that did not before. It explains some of Nemu’s softer moments and why she was so insistent in drawing out Keisuke’s violent side. It also puts the brute ending into perspective even more where the single tear that Nemu drops may not even be due to her own fate, but rather due to the fact that Keisuke doesn’t kill her and thus forfeits the agreement… and his life.

What happens is that Keisuke, instead of settling for a romantic relationship with Nemu inside this virtual world, decides that he will try and free the real life Nemu from this virtual world and instead live with her. This leads to Keisuke spending 3 years building up his strength via survival training in the real world and culminates with the real life Natsuki helping  Keisuke to free Nemu. It then leads to the real Kanae having a change of heart and helping Nemu escape from this lab, which has fatal consequences for her. There is thankfully a happy ending where Keisuke and Nemu meet in person, which is really touching after an entire game’s worth of hardship.

If the last part of the game seems difficult to follow, that is because it is harder to describe since I have spent almost a year writing this piece, and it’s been even longer since I finished the game in question. A few exact details may be off but the theme is quite obvious; our own world is an illusion. Reality is what we make of it and if we don’t like the way our world currently is, we just need to keep fighting to change it. But it also means there will be loads and loads of hardship that we will often become convinced is too much for us.

Euphoria | Nemu and Keisuke
The true plot twist is that Keisuke actually had a face all along.

This ending lends itself to almost any story where the theme is about rebelling against societal norms and social customs, and I don’t feel it is strictly a feminist theme. Rather I believe that Euphoria is a game about how instead of clinging to our own established ways, we should look to the future and go about creating our own door to paradise.

This goes hand in hand with the feminist theme given that radical feminist theory suggests a rejection of all current society norms and instead revamp everything for a better. We shouldn’t strive for a future where men and women are “equal” but rather a future where men and women are not separate social classes to begin with; where there isn’t such a stark difference between us that a movement like “feminism” can even exist.

Also of note is how most of Keisuke’s problems seem to disappear once he exits the simulated world. This suggests that the vast majority of hardship experienced by our entire cast was manufactured by a system that was designed to be a paradise. It is tough to find a greater irony than that, but there may be in that Euphoria is a game in which characters are put under extreme and improbable circumstances, yet few games felt quite as real to me.

Well, this piece has been a long time coming now. I’m glad to finally be done with it given that I’ve been plugging away at finishing this piece up for about the last week or so while the rest was on a “whenever I felt like it” basis. I am no sure if I’m going to attempt another long form essay like this due to just how exhausting it was to make this, but I may try something else.

And before anyone says anything, I don’t have any reason to suspect that Euphoria was intended as a radical feminist deconstruction of toxic masculinity, and I don’t consider that to be important. What I have provided was one of many possible interpretations of this work but likely the only one you will see unless this game gets a serious boost in popularity. Euphoria is a deep game, perhaps the deepest that I have ever played.

Euphoria | Real Nemu

And while I did spoil pretty much every major plot point in this essay, I would still recommend it if you have a strong enough stomach and mind to withstand its gruesome content. Even with a piece this long I still have not covered everything that this game has to offer. I could probably write an entire book about this game if I really had that much patience and time but I kinda would like to write about other stuff.

Anyway see you all next time and thanks for reading.

If you are interested in playing this game for yourself, the trial version can be downloaded here, and the full version can be purchased here (download), here (physical) and here (physical with a wallScroll).

If you would like to support me or this site, then please support my Patreon if you would like to see higher quality content with more resources to put towards it. If you don’t want to spend any money on me, then you can also help out by simply sharing my blog on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, or anywhere else where others will see it. You can also follow this blog if you would like to be kept up to date on my stuff, or you could follow me on any of my social media pages (listed at the top of the page) and could stop by The Guardian Acorn Discord chat if you would like to talk to me and my homies.

3 thoughts on “Euphoria: A Feminist Analysis – Sadistic Torture Porn, Or Brutal Allegory? (NSFW)

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