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Visual Novel / sweet pool

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Ordinary High School Students? You wish.
From left to right... 

"It's not romance, it's not even love. It's something much much deeper..."

The third Boys Love Game by Nitro+CHiRAL of Togainu no Chi fame, sweet pool begins with the return of Youji Sakiyama to a Catholic high school after being confined in hospital for a year. Suddenly, he finds his life changing in unbelievable ways as his fate becomes entangled with his classmate Tetsuo Shironuma, upperclassman Zenya Okinaga and friend Makoto Mita.

Sounds like your typical school boys' love setting right? Except that this is a nitro+ production, which means that the story is also infused with horror of the most potent kind. Filled to the brim with Primal Fear and Body Horror, all heightened with a brilliantly creepy soundtrack, this is definitely not a game for the faint-hearted.

The manga adaptation has been licensed in English by SuBLime. A series of drama CDs that act as a continuation or expansion of the game's endings was released in 2010. Additionally, it was announced in February 2018 that JAST USA will be localizing the remastered version. It was officially released in December 19th, 2018.

This game provides examples of:

  • Blessed with Suck:
    • The parasites give their hosts supernaturally fast regeneration, but... well, the cost is being infested with hideous parasites, and since the host can still die of blood loss, a fatal wound will still kill them for good.
    • The Pure Breeds are basically Blessed with Suck in human form. On the one hand, their pheromones are so powerful they can affect normal humans to the point of mind control, they have full control over all the same abilities that, being unchecked, are ruining the lives of the entire cast, and they're revered as gods by the cult that worships them. On the other hand, the most valuable thing about them is that their flesh can be (relatively) safely eaten by anyone. They'll eventually end up as a sacred meat loaf, but will remain fully conscious.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Implied with the parasites. They're disgusting, sure, but all they're really trying to do is breed like any other animal. Onnushi-sama's flesh should have made Zenya an Osu if he willed it, but Zenya was a baby and incompatible with the parasites, and his father knew it; Kunihito's prayers go unanswered because he's blaming the object of his worship for something he did himself.
  • Eye Scream: There's a reason why Zenya's right eye is always covered by an eyepatch.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Youji's fate in Zenya's ending, with him being Zenya's Sex Slave barely scratching the surface on why.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Youji's the Melancholic, Tetsuo's the Phlegmatic, Makoto's the Sanguine, and Zenya's the Choleric.
  • Homosexual Reproduction: The parasites only choose human males for reproduction, as a woman's womb is an obstacle for them since intestines are their habitat. The baby is "born" from both partners. Don't ask.
  • Lighter and Softer: While most of the tracks in the Everblue drama CD are plainly depressing, the last track is an exception, since it features the main cast as friends hanging out at karaoke.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Any animal that eats the "seed meat" born from the parasites explodes into this.
  • Meat Moss: In The Red Road ending, Youji's apartment becomes covered with the meat parasites from ceiling to floor.
  • Minimalist Cast: sweet pool has a total of ten named characters, and one of those ten is no more than a very minor character while another is an iguana.
  • Mood Whiplash: Not in the game but after finishing any one of the depressing and usually downright scary endings the website containing the development team's production notes is unlocked and amongst them, horrors of horrors, is a chibi picture of all the characters relaxing around a kotatsu, including Onnushi-sama note  in a Santa suit.. Finishing all the endings will grant the player a CG of the cast engaging in a pillow fight.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Tetsuo. He's got the biggest body and the toughest look. The player can even see his body shape through his uniform. If that's not enough, he overpowered Zenya.
  • Multiple Endings: sweet pool has a total of six, and it's notable that none of them are happy endings. Though none of the endings have an official name, they're referred to by the titles of their unique ending themes.
    • "VLG": Zenya's ending. Youji gets captured and raped by Zenya. Timeskip a few weeks or months and Youji is still imprisoned in a dark room, treated as a sex pet, vomiting up almost everything he eats and wondering when he will die. And when he's finally too tired? Zenya plans to stuff him so that he'll stay by his side forever.
    • "The Hunger": Makoto's ending. As a mesu, Youji’s body exhales a sweet, alluring scent in order to attract the osu around him. Even though Makoto is not an osu, he is sensitive to Youji’s scent, and it slowly drives him insane. In the end, he rapes and kills Youji, then begins eating his corpse. After running out of his friend’s meat, he starts to devour his own flesh.
    • "Diving Deep": Tetsuo's first ending. Youji is about to tell Tetsuo his choice whether to surrender to the Sodomites and let them consume him, or to deny them and live as a human. Suddenly Kitani comes up, blames them for Zenya's death, and shoots both Youji and Tetsuo, killing them. Later, Kitani speaks with Kamiya about Zenya and Tetsuo's past.
    • "The Red Road": Tetsuo's second ending. Youji decides to accept the Sodomites' will, and he and Tetsuo surrender themselves to them, where both die so the Pure Breed can be born. When Kitani arrives at Youji's house in order to avenge Zenya's death, he finds Youji and Tetsuo's child. The game files confirm that this is actually the true ending.
    • "Miracles May - Violin Ver": Tetsuo's third ending. Youji decides he won’t accept the Sodomites, since to "live" as a human didn’t seem like a choice that could possibly be made. Kitani arrives and shoots Tetsuo and Youji, and the two fall off the roof and plunge into the pool. While falling, Youji remembers the car crash and why he lived on: his father was a meat monster host as well and sacrificed himself to save him. Youji decides that he wants to save Tetsuo the way his father saved him. A couple of years after, Tetsuo is alive and well and living with Youji, whose condition has worsened. Youji knows that he doesn’t have long to live, but doesn’t care, as being with Tetsuo these past few years has been the happiest time of his life.
    • "Miracles May": Tetsuo's fourth ending. Same as the above, except that Tetsuo's memory was lost after the incident and he vaguely remembers Youji, and Youji's fate is unknown.
  • Multiple Route Mystery: Each ending reveals more (or gives hints) about the setting; for example, the "Diving Deep" ending reveals info about Kamiya and the organization he works for, "The Red Road" ending reveals how the Pure Breed is created, etc.
  • Parental Abandonment: Youji's parents were killed in a car accident when he was young.
  • The Punishment: The parasites, more or less. The souls of the damned are stripped of their right to be made in God's own image — that is, to have human forms — which gives them a host of exciting new abilities that are just awful.
  • Rape as Drama: If there is any scene where Youji is taken against his will, the visual novel makes his terror and agony clear to the player.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Pure Breeds, the parasites' equivalent to a hive queen, have red eyes. They're also exceedingly rare, being the only type of meat monster that can assume a human form. Onnushi-sama was apparently one of them, and the danger they signify is the fact that they can control their pheromones at will to affect even normal humans, and their flesh can seed in humans without exploding them into gobbets of meat if they will it. Tetsuo and Youji's offspring is one. Zenya's also got one under the tumorous growth he hides, due to being force-fed Onnushi-sama's flesh under his eyepatch.
  • Sadistic Choice: Since this game has no happy endings every single choice the player makes basically just decides how Youji will meet his end.
  • Scare Chord: The visual novel occasionally makes use of some tracks that will have the player feel a sudden sense of dread and tension.
  • Shown Their Work: At one point, the parasites are referred to as "myrmecoleon", ant-lions, referencing a mistranslated Hebrew word in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament. It's also something of an appropriately bizarre animal motif, as the mythical ant-lion is a creature that is half-lion and half-ant, doomed to starve to death because its opposing halves can't eat the same food. Youji's already well on his way to starving to death when the story starts because the parasites make him unable to eat.
  • Smells Sexy: Played completely straight since Youji, Tetsuo and Zenya all release pheromones.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Due to their circumstances, particularly with the Sodomites and what they are "destined" to do, Youji and Tetsuo's chances of finding happiness and contentment together is fleeting, with only death awaiting either one or both of them in the end.
  • Together in Death: Youji and Tetsuo in "The Red Road" ending.
  • Utsuge: Nitro+CHiRAL's visual novels are usually nakiges, which means the plot can have several emotionally heavy or heartbreaking moments, but there's always the chance for a good ending. sweet pool, on the other hand, doesn't follow such a formula, and is infamous among players for its dark-as-hell and sometimes downright depressing atmosphere, with no one in the main cast getting any permanent reprieve.
  • Womb Level: The whole game is basically one since the interface has conspicuous amounts of pulsating veins, along with distinctly organic sound effects.
  • Yakuza: Zenya's dad was a former yakuza boss, and his underling Kitani was one as well.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Every time Youji and Tetsuo's relationship takes a step forward, expect the plot to come in and kick everyone in the stomach.
  • Younger Than They Look: