Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

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Minister of Gloom
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Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by Minister of Gloom » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:06 pm

The troubling idea striked me last night, which I spent not sleeping a lot and lying on the floor inside the basement with a closed door, because my way out was blocked by an apparent army of huge spiders. I was besieged.
I am a pussy. I can't handle giant spiders very well. Sue me for that, okay?

Anyway, since I had nothing better to do I thought about all kinds of weird things("Rinnin' out"?) and one of them was basically this: I know that Katawa Shoujo is a realistic game, with realistic characters. It's one of the game's greatest strengths, that the characters often act like real people would instead of doing what is "dramatically appropriate" for a fictional character. Yet I have the feeling that some unrealistic, game-like "rules" are still in place. In order to make all path equally interesting, one of the things I sort of assumed was that all girls are going to be crippled to basically the same "degree". Four of them have disabilities that can be described very easily: one cannot hear, one cannot see, one has no arms, on has no legs. The disability is ultimate, at least in one aspect. You don't get a girl with glasses, you get a girl who is completely, utterly blind. As blind as another one is deaf, or armless.
The problem is with Hanako, our resident moe. I'd really like to say that her disability is "disfigured", but I don't think I can honestly do that. Just look at her for a moment! To call a person this beautiful "disfigured" is an insult to disfigured people anywhere :|
When I first met her, I was sure that under that long hair of her half her body looks like a hamburger and that she is at least partially blind in that eye. But then I see more and more pictures of her and read more and more information and it turns out that the extent of her disability is actually more like "mildly unattractive, barely noticeable scarring on about thirty percents of her face and most of her right arm.
I hope you understand what I mean when I say that, in a way, it sounds a bit "cheap". Like, I don't know, like she is "getting away" with a lot less then what all the other characters have to deal with(even the protagonist. Hisao could basically drop dead at any moment right now). This is offset, you can say, by the fact that she clearly has far more emotional issues then the other girls(At least on the surface. The other four seem to have basically overcome their "real" disabilities, and she is making such a big deal of what seems, for now, like a problem that is small even cosmetically). I am not saying that being burned like this is an easy experience nor that going around with a scarred face is a lot of fun, but come on, she is constantly surrounded by people missing half their limbs. Compared to most other Yamaku students she basically has no problem at all.

She is fragile. She is weak and vulnerable. She is a shrinking violet, and we have no idea what happened to her in life that made her so miserable(a fire was involved, but that's pretty much all we know). But I think her disability is less... Well, less of a disability then the other ones. To put it in Tabletop RPG terms, I would have given her far, far less "Bonus Character Points" or whatever for that drawback. You can't even say that she is "ugly", because let's face it, she is not. With or without the scars she is freaking beautiful.

A part of the theme of the game, in my mind, is a test of your shallowness(you, the player's): are you capable of feeling love for a theoretical, imaginary person despite them being disabled? What do you think you would have done in real life? But it's difficult to apply that theme to Hanako. What's exactly the difficulty in loving her? She has virtually no disability at all.

................

Hmmm. I have a feeling that I was awfully confusing there. I hope you managed to understand what I am trying to say.
I love the character, but this aspect of her is troubling me(Or at least that cruel, perverted part of my mind that demands that all of my cripple girls to be equally damaged O_O)

What do you think? Do I have a point or am I just mumbling at this point? Anyone had a similar thought in the past? Solutions to this so called "problem"?

Thank you very much for your time.
Last edited by Minister of Gloom on Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Caesius
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Re: Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by Caesius » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:09 pm

Hanako's disability is moe.
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Re: Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by Guest » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:13 pm

Minister of Gloom wrote:I'd really like to say that her disability is "disfigured", but I don't think I can honestly do that. Just look at her for a moment! To call a person this beautiful "disfigured" is an insult to disfigured people anywhere :|
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Re: Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by Captain Niggawatts » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:13 pm

Minister of Gloom wrote: When I first met her, I was sure that under that long hair of her half her body looks like a hamburger and that she is at least partially blind in that eye. But then I see more and more pictures of her and read more and more information and it turns out that the extent of her disability is actually more like "mildly unattractive, barely noticeable scarring on about thirty percents of her face and most of her right arm.
She is much more severely burned than that. Pimmy's Hanako dakimakura is the only fanart that uses the canon burn patterns. The rest is just
guessing.
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Re: Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by Bara » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:46 pm

Minister of Gloom wrote:...Hmmm. I have a feeling that I was awfully confusing there. I hope you managed to understand what I am trying to say.
I love the character, but this aspect of her is troubling me(Or at least that cruel, perverted part of my mind that demands that all of my cripple girls to be equally damaged O_O)

What do you think? Do I have a point or am I just mumbling at this point? Anyone had a similar thought in the past? Solutions to this so called "problem"?

Thank you very much for your time.
Some of my thoughts in response:

The Devs have in the past stated the fact that the canon girls and their circumstances are set by the original sketch done by RAITA.

Adding a non-canon character as an interpreter for Shizune is enough of a headache for their process of making KS. Trying to "tweak" the perceived "balance" by changing the severity of Hanako's injuries probably would be compounding it even worse. (Is there such a thing as "balance" outside of fictions created by people? I bet a disabled person would tell you they have better days and worse days; the same as everyone else.)

I'm sure the Devs went over this till they were sick of the subject years ago and reached a point where they decided they had it well enough in hand to actually start making KS instead of jawboning each other about "what if's".

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Re: Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by ElisaMasah » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:50 pm

Whell you know Hanako is indeed Ugly, the fact that the Inner Magic of Anime Art Power make her looking pretty moe is not something you can get in Real Life. I really doubt that a Girl whit her dregree of burning could get the same amount of Fan she has here, in a Real Life situations Lilly or Shizune would be the most fancied girls, because ther will not be any magic hair bangs to hide her Harvey Dent face. And from a point buy GURPS like perspective she is indead the cheapest (the scale is Hanako, Emy, Rin, Shizune, Lilly) but you know not all the cripple coul be built with 50 or more Disadvantege Points (what she don't get from Physical Disavantage she got from the Mental ones).
Last edited by ElisaMasah on Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by Member22 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:52 pm

I agree with you that Hanako, relative to the other girls, may seem a bit 'better off'... but I think that (as the full version will show) that her disability affects both the realms of physical health and mental health i.e she will probably have the greatest difficulty in the task of leaving Yamaku, entering university and living (actively) in society
"If Hisao took one thing away from his time at Yamaku it was the fact that people who have handicaps don't actually have handicaps. People like Lilly and Shizune are more able-bodied and well-adjusted than most of the kids at Hisao's old high school. He shook his head slightly. No, students at Yamaku weren't handicapped; everyone else was." - WetCrate

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Re: Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by Bara » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:04 pm

Member22 wrote:I agree with you that Hanako, relative to the other girls, may seem a bit 'better off'... but I think that (as the full version will show) that her disability affects both the realms of physical health and mental health i.e she will probably have the greatest difficulty in the task of leaving Yamaku, entering university and living (actively) in society
Very true; each individuals mental strength to deal with differing situations does vary. Some people rise above their situation and others are buried under their circumstances.

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Re: Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by Csihar » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:07 pm

Like Elisa was trying to say (I think ;) ), due to the fact that this is a bishoujo game, it seems like the concept of informed deformity comes into play here. In-universe she's probably perceived as a bit more hideous than she's actually drawn, similar to how Rin is described as being plain except for her eyes, despite being extremely cute compared to most real life girls. Consider also, for example, how Ritsu's forehead is often made fun of despite the fact that her hairline is actually extremely normal.

Of course, it's arguable (though maybe controversially) that extreme depression and social anxiety is just as much a disability as, say, missing legs; it's just not perceived like that by most people because it's not visible externally. The fact that Hanako's emotional problems are a direct result of physical trauma (like Emi's disability is) could probably be used to further support that idea.
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Re: Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by ElisaMasah » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:10 pm

Csihar wrote:Like Elisa was trying to say (I think ;) ), due to the fact that this is a bishoujo game, it seems like the concept of informed deformity comes into play here.
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Re: Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by Quidoo » Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:36 pm

A psychological problem can be just as crippling, if not more crippling, than any physical disability, no matter how irrational it is. Phobias are irrational fears, yet they can utterly destroy people.

We also know she lost her father in the fire, which you didn't mention (i'm not sure if you knew), so there could be some element of guilt that we don't know of (combined with the obvious psychological trauma).

EDIT: Another thought just occured to me; there is always a possibility that her social anxiety is accentuated by the fact that she is one of the few who does not have a typical physical visibility, and perhaps she feels imagined (or perhaps not-imagined) persecution from Yamaku students who share the same attitude as yourself. I'm not sure how relevant that is though. (And i'm not trying to say that you are an unpleasant character, it is an understanable attitute, after all.)
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Re: Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by Csihar » Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:05 pm

Quidoo wrote:EDIT: Another thought just occured to me; there is always a possibility that her social anxiety is accentuated by the fact that she is one of the few who does not have a typical physical visibility, and perhaps she feels imagined (or perhaps not-imagined) persecution from Yamaku students who share the same attitude as yourself. I'm not sure how relevant that is though. (And i'm not trying to say that you are an unpleasant character, it is an understanable attitute, after all.)
That's interesting, I'd never thought of that. She would probably have a lot of thoughts like "Compared to everyone else here, I should be able to function like a normal person perfectly well, why can't I? I must be a terrible/weak/pathetic person," which would just perpetuate the cycle of low self-esteem. I know from experience that that sort of thinking is very common with people who have depression or other emotional issues.
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Re: Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by Warwick » Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:48 pm

It's a topic that's been discussed before, so I'll link to this post by Aura and this thread to get you guys up to speed.
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Re: Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by Climatic » Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:44 pm

Life does not screw over everybody equally. Some of the characters in KS have it much worse than others and there isn't anything "cheap" about that.
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Re: Hanako's disability is "cheap"?

Post by G3n0c1de » Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:45 pm

Physically, Hanako can get along as well as a 'normal' person. Her primary disabilties are emotional and mental. The complex she has over her scars, and what caused them haunts her at all times. And she is still dealing with the traumatic experience of being burned and losing her father. Tack on guilt, as she may or may not be responsible, plus some survivor's guilt. Internally, she is a maelstrom of pain and sorrow. It's ironic, the other four heroines, who you say have the worst of the disabilities, have coped pretty well with them. They can not only function, but are carving out places for themselves reasonably well. Hanako has problems just functioning as a member of society. In this way, Hanako is perhaps more disabled than the other girls. She isn't making the most of her situation like the others, she struggles.
It's a good thing Shizune is deaf, she is the only one who can stand (not) hearing "Wahaha~!" over and over.

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