Question About Hanako's Route

A forum for general discussion of the game: Open to all punters
Post Reply
User avatar
Chatty Wheeler
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:56 pm
Location: Pacific Time Zone

Question About Hanako's Route

Post by Chatty Wheeler » Fri Sep 04, 2020 12:44 am

Good day to all who might be reading this post! I woke up today feeling like having some discussion about Katawa Shoujo, so I decided to make this post to ask if anybody could help explain something that has stumped me since my first read of Hanako's route. :?

I'd like to first make the point that Katawa Shoujo excels in its use of choices. If the choice is pivotal in determining whether you get the good or bad ending, you should be able to pick the correct option if you have been paying attention to the story beforehand. If the choice is not pivotal in determining whether you get the good or bad ending, the option you pick tends to instruct the reader on how to get the good ending when you do reach those pivotal choices later down the line. By taking this all into account, and by paying close attention, I was able to get the good ending on my first try of Emi's route, Lilly's Route, Shizune's Route, and Rin's route. That's leaving out one heroine: Hanako.

How many attempts did it take for me to get the good ending on Hanako's route?... Five. I cracked after my fourth bad ending, and looked up a guide online. Can you blame me? Hanako's bad ending is the most brutal ending in the game, in my opinion, and I didn't want to experience those feels any longer. After reading the guide, it didn't take long for me to spot the choice that was giving me trouble...

When asked what to do after Lilly leaves for Scotland, you can either...
1) Ask Hanako if she'd like to go into the city with you.
2) Call it a day.


On my first four attempts at getting Hanako's good ending, I chose to "call it a day." As the guide informed me, choosing that option will automatically give you the bad ending—regardless of what you say to Lilly during her phone call. And this is where my question lies... What is the meaning of the choice above? Why is it such a pivotal choice? I mean... choosing whether or not to go into the city of all places? It seems like such a trivial choice, but it's the most important choice in the whole route. I had thought that choosing whether or not to go to Hanako's room would be the pivotal choice, but that only decides whether or not you get the neutral or good ending.

Hanako's route is exceptionally well written, and as I've stated earlier, Katawa Shoujo's choices are all packed with meaning. Because of those two things, I refuse to believe that the above choice is as trivial as it may seem on a surface level—there must have a deeper meaning that I simply don't understand, yet. That's why I'm hoping that somebody might be able to step in and fill in some of the gaps for me.

——————————

With that all said... I do have a guess as to what the choice above means, but I don't feel entirely satisfied with it. I'm going to spend the rest of this post explaining my thoughts and theories about this whole situation.

First, I'm going to try to explain myself. I'm going to try and explain why I chose the "call it a day" option so many times...

By observing Hanako's behavior throughout her route—especially during the pool table scene—I figured out that Hanako wanted to be at equal footing with Hisao and Lilly. At the beginning of Hanako's route, she obviously struggles with anxiety and communication, but I noticed that Hanako was slowly overcoming those obstacles as the story progressed. In my mind, Hanako always had the capacity to "break out of her shell," and the way to do it was to let it happen naturally. I figured that a hands-off approach was the best option—to let Hanako dictate the process of her recovery on her own.

I may have come to this conclusion because I played Lilly's route before Hanako's route. In Lilly's route, Hanako reaches substantial milestones on her recovery process completely on her own. As Lilly and Hisao begin to focus more on each other and less on Hanako, Hanako's newfound independence allows her to grow. Hanako seems to be more willing to go out in public, she finds a new friendship with Naomi, and she joins the newspaper club. All of these milestones were reached by leaving Hanako alone—letting her naturally dictate the pace of her recovery. Hisao and Lilly didn't need to force Hanako to do anything.

With this hands-off approach of treating Hanako in mind, when I was faced with the choice of what to do after Lilly left Scotland in Hanako's route, I thought that "calling it a day" would be the better option. In my mind, taking Hanako to the city—a place where Hanako would likely be uncomfortable—seemed a little forceful for me. I decided to "call it a day" because I didn't want to force Hanako to do something. I felt like I should wait until Hanako wanted to go into the city.

This was my rationale for why I chose to "call it a day." Immediately afterwards, Hanako lets out a sigh of what I thought was relief, but... Well, I'll come back to that later.

Second, I'm going to make a guess as to why "calling it a day" was what led to the bad ending... This is the part that I'm really not so confident about...

Okay, so I made my case about why I chose to "call it a day," but clearly that was the wrong choice—it gives you that bad ending, after all. But why is it the wrong choice? If I had to make an unconfident guess, it would be that choosing to "call it a day" would be an act of patronizing or underestimating Hanako.

I stated earlier that during my first read of Hanako's route, that she wouldn't want to go to the city because it would make her uncomfortable... The thing is: I only assumed that. I assumed that Hanako didn't want to go to the city, I didn't even let Hisao ask her if that's what she wanted or didn't want, I just made the decision for her. In other words, I was babying Hanako. I didn't think she could do it, and even if I had good intentions, I unintentionally made Hisao look down on her, which was not what she wanted.

I also stated earlier that Hanako lets out a sigh when Hisao decides to "call it a day." I initially thought that this was a sigh of relief, which gave me confidence that I had made the correct choice. But what if it wasn't a sigh of relief?... What if it was a sigh of disappointment?

Perhaps taking Hanako to the city would have been a sign of faith—a sign of trust.

——————————

I don't know. I'm still just guessing, but I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this whole situation! Did anybody else have similar experiences that I did when playing Hanako's route for the first time? Did everyone get the good ending on their first try? And does that make me a jerk for being the one to get Hanako's bad ending not once, but four times?

Haha! I'm just rambling at this point, I had better end this post soon. Thanks for reading this far; I appreciate it! :D

User avatar
brythain
Posts: 3548
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:58 pm
Location: Eastasia
Contact:

Re: Question About Hanako's Route

Post by brythain » Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:10 am

To me, there are two possible, somewhat related, explanations which make sense:

1. Hanako wants a reliable relationship that treats her like an ordinary person, no kid gloves. This means just bumming around as equals, doing normal bumming around things like hanging out in town. 'Now that Lilly's not around, we can just be two ordinary people.' After all, Hanako doesn't have a sensory disability which might require unusual behaviour (e.g. with Lilly, you can't say, "Oh look at that pretty flower!").

2. Maybe the juxtaposition of 'Lilly goes to Scotland' and 'protagonist calls it a day' means, to her mind, that the protagonist is more interested in Lilly than in her—or worse, that it's confirmation of such a suspicion which she may already have been harbouring. If you were on the verge of having a relationship with X, and when friend-of-X goes away you disappear too, that might make X wonder a bit.

I got Hanako's good ending on the second try. First try I walked straight into the white-knight syndrome and got the traumatic outcome. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

User avatar
Chatty Wheeler
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:56 pm
Location: Pacific Time Zone

Re: Question About Hanako's Route

Post by Chatty Wheeler » Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:09 am

brythain wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:10 am
1. Hanako wants a reliable relationship that treats her like an ordinary person, no kid gloves. This means just bumming around as equals, doing normal bumming around things like hanging out in town. 'Now that Lilly's not around, we can just be two ordinary people...'
I'm with you on this point. I definitely agree that Hanako is searching for an ordinary relationship where both parties are treated equally. However, I must admit that my understanding still feels incomplete. I mean, Hanako and Hisao have already done ordinary things together. They've went to the Shanghai for tea, spent time playing chess together, and played pool at the jazz club. What's so special about choosing whether or not to go into the city, at this specific time?

Perhaps, you are making the point that all of those events that I mentioned previously were facilitated by Lilly, and choosing to go to the city without Lilly's presence would be something new for Hanako and Hisao... But it's still a bit perplexing to me that this is the choice that is what decides whether or not you get the bad ending. Hmmmm...
brythain wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:10 am
2. Maybe the juxtaposition of 'Lilly goes to Scotland' and 'protagonist calls it a day' means, to her mind, that the protagonist is more interested in Lilly than in her—or worse, that it's confirmation of such a suspicion which she may already have been harbouring...
Huh. I never picked up on that! That would make sense, though. If Hanako felt this way, it would give her even more reason to believe that her relationship with Hisao and Lilly wasn't on equal footing. It would make Hanako feel even more like she's stuck in Hisao and Lilly's shadow. I might just have to add this bit to my head canon. :D
brythain wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:10 am
I got Hanako's good ending on the second try. First try I walked straight into the white-knight syndrome and got the traumatic outcome. :)
I suppose it's relieving to hear that I'm not the only one who didn't get it first try! :lol:

User avatar
Oddball
Posts: 2919
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:05 pm

Re: Question About Hanako's Route

Post by Oddball » Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:37 pm

One of the interesting things about examining Hanako's route is that the character herself has a habit of over examining things. If you go in looking at the tiny details and over thinking them, odds are it's something she's over thought herself.
They've went to the Shanghai for tea, spent time playing chess together, and played pool at the jazz club. What's so special about choosing whether or not to go into the city, at this specific time?
The Shanghai is so close to school that it might as well still be part of the school. The fact that Yuuko works there only doubles down on this.

As for the other activities, they were either done alone or at night where nobody could see them.

This is the first time we see Hanako really stepping out into the world in broad daylight with nothing to hide her.

Also important is the fact that Hisao didn't say anything like "I know it's going to be tough on you, but do you really want to do this?" He just straight up asked her to go to the city with him like she was a normal person or something.

Once they get to the city, Hisao is asking her about learning. Not only is he showing an interest in her future, he making her think of her future as well. He's also mentions that not a lot of people at Yamaku can learn that. I highly doubt there's been many instances in her life where people have pointed out that she's actually better than other people in any way. They end up going to a bookstore and it's closed. Hisao is the one wondering why and Hanako is the one that has the answer. This might seem like a tiny little details, but it's something empowering for her.

She comes away from the experience having pointed out to her that she can do thinks others can't, she knows things others don't, and that the seed is planted in her not only to think about the future but that Hisao is interested in her future as well.

This is just from Hanako's point of view though. From Hisao's point, he shown that Hanako actually is able to handle herself in public. He's gets to see that she's not as bad as she was when they first met. She stronger than she was. Even be agreeing so quickly, she's surprised him.
Not Dead Yet

User avatar
Chatty Wheeler
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:56 pm
Location: Pacific Time Zone

Re: Question About Hanako's Route

Post by Chatty Wheeler » Sat Sep 05, 2020 4:35 pm

Oddball wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:37 pm
One of the interesting things about examining Hanako's route is that the character herself has a habit of over examining things. If you go in looking at the tiny details and over thinking them, odds are it's something she's over thought herself.
This is a good point! Even if asking to go into the city doesn't seem all that special to Hisao, it feels special to Hanako. She has probably takes a lot of time to think about the significance of what transpires in the city.
Oddball wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:37 pm
The Shanghai is so close to school that it might as well still be part of the school. The fact that Yuuko works there only doubles down on this.

As for the other activities, they were either done alone or at night where nobody could see them.

This is the first time we see Hanako really stepping out into the world in broad daylight with nothing to hide her.
Again, this is a very valid point. I didn't really stop to think that this is the first time that Hanako is showing herself during daytime. In addition, this is the first time Hanako is really putting herself out there without the presence of Lilly. This is probably a big deal to her, and the next few paragraphs in your post really bring that notion home. All of those little empowering moments that Hanako has throughout their trip were moments that both Hanako and (especially) Hisao needed to witness. And with that, we come to your last point...
Oddball wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:37 pm
This is just from Hanako's point of view though. From Hisao's point, he shown that Hanako actually is able to handle herself in public. He's gets to see that she's not as bad as she was when they first met. She stronger than she was. Even be agreeing so quickly, she's surprised him.
Ah ha! I think that this was the missing piece that I was looking for. Before, I was only looking at the significance of the choice of whether or not to go into the city, I didn't actually stop to think about the significance of what actually happens during their trip into the city. The trip to the city is the event where Hisao realizes that Hanako is strong, and that she can take care of herself. Hisao's perspective of Hanako changes during their trip to the city, and it's this changed perspective that leads Hisao into getting the good ending. On the flip side. if you never end up going into the city with Hanako, Hisao never gets to see how strong Hanako has become. He's stuck with his old perspective, and it's this perspective (where he views Hanako as a fragile person who needs protecting) that get him the bad ending.

——————————

brythain and Oddball, thank you both for your posts. I think my questions were sufficiently answered, and now I can be at peace. :lol:

ProfAllister
Posts: 497
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:49 pm

Re: Question About Hanako's Route

Post by ProfAllister » Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:02 pm

Another interesting point to note:

You are seeing Lilly off at the gates of Yamaku. Yet Hanako is wearing her casual outfit. Up to that point, the only other time you saw her in her casual outfit was the trip to the Jazz club. A small detail, to be sure, but it pretty strongly implies that she had no intention of ending the day once Lilly was gone.
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

Discord ID: ProfAllister#9754
Discord server

User avatar
Chatty Wheeler
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:56 pm
Location: Pacific Time Zone

Re: Question About Hanako's Route

Post by Chatty Wheeler » Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:54 am

ProfAllister wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:02 pm
You are seeing Lilly off at the gates of Yamaku. Yet Hanako is wearing her casual outfit. Up to that point, the only other time you saw her in her casual outfit was the trip to the Jazz club. A small detail, to be sure, but it pretty strongly implies that she had no intention of ending the day once Lilly was gone.
Wow. That's some great attention to detail! I would have never picked up on that, but it makes complete sense. This point all but confirms my suspicion that Hanako's sigh after choosing to "call it a day" was a sigh of disappointment rather than a sigh of relief as I had interpreted it to be on my first attempt of Hanako's route. Thanks for taking the time to point this out to me!

Post Reply