The Rin arc is so frustrating

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axlryder

The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by axlryder » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:04 pm

I don't really do visual novels, but the novelty of this game caught my interesting though. The writing is decent and surprisingly captures the anime tone well (Even if it occasionally parsed with the awkward bit of dialogue embodying or blatantly referencing the young, jaded American writers of this game). They also managed to avoid succumbing to some of the more pathetic staples of the genre (though some couldn't be avoided, as they're inherent within the genre themselves).

More to the point though, Rin's character. Rin's character hit me very hard. hard enough that I felt the need to talk about it on the internet. My feelings are actually very similar to those of the protagonist but for entirely different reasons. For one, it's because whoever wrote the character of Rin seemed to really understand her character. I know, because I'm a lot like Rin. Almost scarily similar. I know, obviously the tone and composition of this very post seems to belie any sort of similarities I might share with the character. Sadly, like Rin expressed, I was forced to change and lost part of myself, my old self, in that transition I had to get better with words, but I lost a good chunk of my creativity in the process. Eventually I just felt kind of empty. I'm trying to get that back, but it's hard, I'm scared I never will. Anyway, Rin reflects a younger me. Even though the character is only 18 or so (myself being not much older than that) everything about her reminds me of a me before 15. I didn't know how to express myself with words. I was (am) an artist. I had so many feelings, all swirling around, feelings I could never speak. I'd desperately try to convey them through art, because that's all I could do, and even that never felt perfect. Still though, I'd just sit in silence most of the time, I'd walk and walk for hours. I'd just sit and feel so many things, I didn't care about normal stuff. As a child and teen I'd sit and cry for no reason. Never when it was "appropriate". I didn't know how to connect to people. I just didn't understand their words, their conversations. I was egotistical and selfish simply because I saw the world in a way only I could see (or so I thought). I know, it sound like a teenager going through puberty, but some of the details in Rin's character, really obscure details, matched up with me beat for beat. of course, I have both my arms, so there's that, but that never really played into her character very much, which I found interesting. She just didn't have arms. Her real disability was in her heart. Or, I shouldn't say disability, more like barrier.

Anyway, I guess what frustrated me most was that I felt like I understood her. Her feelings. Which is what throws me. The writers of Rin clearly understood Rin. The things she said made an odd amount of sense at times. It's like I could follow her character and everything she said. Not just cognitively understand, but really feel what she was feeling. But the protagonist so obviously wasn't most of the time. The game itself blatantly pointed this out and the key differences in his character. It was so damn frustrating. I was supposed to be inserting myself into this character's shoes (I guess) but the writer kept making him say the completely wrong things. The dialogue options almost seemed arbitrarily placed and there were so few. A million times I wanted to interject and say "no you idiot, that's not what she meant that's not how she's feels that's not why she's doing that". Sometimes that would even be reflected in her words soon after. Occasionally the protagonist did something that really did seem to reflect an understanding or resonated my own sentiment, but not often. I can totally understand this writing choice and it makes for some interesting dialogue, but when I'm supposed to be the one making dialogue choices it's just infuriating to sit through. Maybe this is par for the course for this genre, I dunno, but the protagonist obviously had a strong personality that almost felt like an author self insert and player input (what little there was of it) had very little influence on that. The ending was the worst part.

Sorry to dwell on Rin so much, but I could see this in other characters too.

Did anyone else feel this way? I dunno, I just feel really angry at this game right now. I know i shouldn't, it's just a visual novel. It's just, that character resonated with me on such a deep level, it's weird. Pffft, whatever, I'm just rambling now. My own disturbingly tangible attraction to an imaginary character (an attraction potentially driven by narcissism no less) is also off-putting. Although, half of me thinks it's just a desire to reach out to someone like me. That there is such a person in the world and someone that I can help. Not because they need fixing, but because I can provide a true sense of companionship. The protagonist didn't really seem to fill that role at all. Merely a shoulder to rest on and a warm body to lie with. I guess that's what bothered me most.

axlryder

Re: The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by axlryder » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:32 pm

Also "parsed" should be "interspersed" I don't know how I got those two words mixed up. Also, if you're one of those weird people who reads the first reply before the OP, potentially light spoilers. I didn't think to mark them at first, sorry.

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Mirrormn
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Re: The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by Mirrormn » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:39 pm

I think you're misunderstanding Hisao's character. The expectation for the genre is for the main character to a "blank slate" upon which the reader can project their own emotions and decisions, but Katawa Shoujo really doesn't work that way at all. That becomes clear even as early as Act 1. The best you can do is attempt to prod Hisao in a certain direction, but whether he responds to that prodding in the way you expect is another matter entirely.

I find it especially strange that you say "It's like I could follow her character and everything she said. Not just cognitively understand, but really feel what she was feeling. But the protagonist so obviously wasn't most of the time" and "the protagonist obviously had a strong personality that almost felt like an author self insert", when you earlier admitted "The writers of Rin clearly understood Rin". These three statements, taken together, are just logically incompatible! Of course, the reality of the situation is that Aura (Rin's route author) had a strong understanding and empathy towards Rin as a character when writing her, and then intentionally wrote Hisao as a counterpoint to her personality, to create drama.

What's interesting is that one of the most important thematic elements of Rin's route is lack of understanding, and although I think the route is written with the intention that the reader will identify more with Hisao's thought processes than Rin's, it seems like you're on the other side of the divide. It seems like you identified with Rin so strongly that you were unable, or unwilling, to consider Hisao's point of view.
Katawa Shoujo OST Transcriptions and Arrangements: Consolidated list

Katawa Shoujo Music Index and Table of Contents

Game completion: 100% several times over
Favorite route: Rin
Insights on Rin | Insights on Shizune

Axlryder

Re: The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by Axlryder » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:11 pm

@mirromn

The three statements aren't necessarily logically incompatible if either different people wrote the key elements of the protagonist and Rin (or potentially the majority of their dialogue), or if the same person wrote them both, but was forced to base Hisao's actions and thoughts on an already established template that was a self insert of whoever created said template. I'm not entirely sure that isn't the case, too. The reason I pegged Hisao as a self insert (or at least partial) is that his character occasionally says and does things that remind me of a typical /b/ poster that really broke the atmosphere at times. However, maybe that's not the case, as I can see myself writing both characters if I had to. I imagine, though, that not just one person crafted both characters from scratch.

Regardless, if this game really does break the typical mold of a VN, then fine. It's still entirely frustrating, as the illusion of choice throughout the dialogue only gives a false sense of influence beyond merely generally directing the story. It just feels like the whole dialogue system is poorly implemented if that's the case. Not knocking the writing, just the interactive portion of the game. Also, I can completely understand the protags perspective. I just don't care for it (or the character very much) and it's certainly not something I can relate directly to. If anything, I just wanted to vent.

Renkinjutsushi
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Re: The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by Renkinjutsushi » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:35 am

You know... in most of the other Arcs, I ended up thinking Hisao was rather wise and compasionate for his age. But when he blocked Rin's kiss with his hand I really wanted to smack him upside the head. Hard. How dense can a person be? His anger seemed totally unwarranted and unreasonable. Rin's just... Rin. She's just built how she is, and she is a beautiful person inside and out. Why not just enjoy being as close to her as possible, whenever possible, and respecting her space when she needs it? I was so brain-dead obvious that she was madly in love with him by that point (at least to me).

Until the falling rain scene where he finally got the balls to let down the barriers he built and enjoy intimacy, I was starting to think that there was no hope for Hisao and he would just continue to poison their love in every way possible. I feel like I should sympathize with the protagonist, but I was constantly on Rin's side, every time. I agree with OP, her emotions and feelings weren't really that hard to grasp after paying attention to who she is and how she responds to various situations... in short, getting to know her a little bit. Until the very end, I felt like I knew Rin way better than Hisao did.

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Mirrormn
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Re: The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by Mirrormn » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:01 am

Eh... I don't think Rin is "madly in love with [Hisao]" early in the route at all. She's more comfortable with him than she is with Emi and... that's about it. I doubt she even contemplates seeing him as more than a friend until after Hisao confesses to her. I know the codeine kiss occurs before that time, but I think it's more likely that Rin was simply in search of a purely physical experience in that moment than expressing any inhibited desire for Hisao specifically. Hisao himself reflects that you shouldn't read too much into actions taken under the influence of drugs.

More importantly, Hisao doesn't just "poison their love in every way possible" for no reason, or out of stupidity. Hisao takes Rin's rejection of his confession pretty hard, and after that time, comes to believe that Rin doesn't actually care about him at all as a person, but is instead using him for physical pleasure and/or artistic inspiration. That belief drives his actions throughout the latter half of Rin's route. You can believe it was stupid of Hisao to take Rin's rejection so poorly, and not to realize it was only because she needed to focus entirely on painting, but I think in a similar real life situation, you might feel the same way as him. Rin's singular focus on her artwork, and the extremely brusque manner in which she turns Hisao down, only seem reasonable from the perspective of a reader who is predisposed to see the protagonist's love interest as a pure and infallible reward.
Katawa Shoujo OST Transcriptions and Arrangements: Consolidated list

Katawa Shoujo Music Index and Table of Contents

Game completion: 100% several times over
Favorite route: Rin
Insights on Rin | Insights on Shizune

Guest

Re: The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by Guest » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:11 am

Renkinjutsushi wrote:You know... in most of the other Arcs, I ended up thinking Hisao was rather wise and compasionate for his age. But when he blocked Rin's kiss with his hand I really wanted to smack him upside the head. Hard. How dense can a person be? His anger seemed totally unwarranted and unreasonable. Rin's just... Rin. She's just built how she is, and she is a beautiful person inside and out. Why not just enjoy being as close to her as possible, whenever possible, and respecting her space when she needs it? I was so brain-dead obvious that she was madly in love with him by that point (at least to me).

Until the falling rain scene where he finally got the balls to let down the barriers he built and enjoy intimacy, I was starting to think that there was no hope for Hisao and he would just continue to poison their love in every way possible. I feel like I should sympathize with the protagonist, but I was constantly on Rin's side, every time. I agree with OP, her emotions and feelings weren't really that hard to grasp after paying attention to who she is and how she responds to various situations... in short, getting to know her a little bit. Until the very end, I felt like I knew Rin way better than Hisao did.
To be fair, when he did that, I actually found it to be understandable. Rin's character is not infallible. She does things sometimes because she thinks they're the right things to do, but usually they show the least emotional insight. Earlier she felt a need to satiate Hisao's physical urges through letting him touch her so at that later point when she tries to kiss him it wouldn't have been entirely clear if she was doing what she was doing out of actual feelings or out of a desire to do what she thought Hisao wanted. That said, Hisao was an idiot for complying with her before because it showed his selfishness and an idiot for blocking the kiss for the reasons that he had. I might have done the same, but for entirely different reasons depending on the events the preceded. Rin's character IS self centered. She has to be. But to me that's okay, because it's not out of some twisted narcissism or egotism (not mostly anyway). It's because of how she views the world. To me, the most beautiful thing about Rin is not her "art" but Rin herself. Her art is merely a reflection of her very special psyche. In forcing herself to become an "artist" she's forcing herself into a role, thus warping her psyche and losing part of herself. However, not fitting any definable role is frustrating, because it's expected of her and everyone. Hisao does a horrible job in actually complimenting her emotions or even seeing them, ultimately becoming part of the problem and eventually just trying to accept her. He never really sees her though. That's the problem. Everything he does is out of some kind of self-interest, even if it's a sense of altruistic narcissism. Relationships are a give and take. There's nothing wrong with taking, but he clearly never actually tries to give Rin what she NEEDS. Even if he can't understand her feelings, anyone who spent as much time as he did with her could piece some things together. However, the way the character is written, it seem ridiculous that he would even pursue her in the first place outside of the obvious self-interest he had. It's entirely bittersweet and even when they end up together because I feel like I did Rin a disservice. In the neutral ending, Hisao's behavior was just as infuriating, but I was more content with the results. It honestly felt unfair, because with the other two girls I played through, it actually felt okay, like they belonged together. I honestly don't know how the writer wrote this scenario. I'd be throwing my laptop across the desk if I had to. Sorry if this came out choppy, I just played the game but details are already escaping me. It's a little weird, feeling this strongly about a video game. Venting feels good though.

axlryder

Re: The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by axlryder » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:14 am

btw, guest is OP

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Mirrormn
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Re: The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by Mirrormn » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:22 am

I'll agree with that, roughly (I think Hisao is driven to Rin more by circumstance, confusion, and implicit societal pressure than by selfishness or altruistic narcissism). But yes, the good ending is bittersweet, and the neutral ending is a more realistic outcome. Aura even says that the neutral ending is his favorite ending for Rin's route. It was a little painful for me to realize this, and I expect the pain would be amplified if you see your own self as a mirror of Rin's character.
Katawa Shoujo OST Transcriptions and Arrangements: Consolidated list

Katawa Shoujo Music Index and Table of Contents

Game completion: 100% several times over
Favorite route: Rin
Insights on Rin | Insights on Shizune

axlryder

Re: The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by axlryder » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:46 am

Yeah, it hurt a lot, tbh (the whole thing). It's like watching some guy date a girl you care about and know he's not right for. That said, I really don't dislike Hisao or think he's a douche. In the other two arcs I played through I really felt like he was a strong character. Flawed, but he made fairly intelligent choices and good intentions. Even in the beginning of this arc I felt that way, but as it went on I realized he was never really going to come around. I can still appreciate this as a piece of writing though. Rin's character was so well crafted (though I'm sure personal bias is partially driving that statement), that much I can appreciate and applaud the author for. The drama, however, I could do without. I've had enough personal relationships to know the pain of this particular scenario all to well. Thanks for the feedback, btw. I'm glad I got this off my chest.

Dawnstorm
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Re: The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by Dawnstorm » Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:31 am

I, too, identified way more with Rin than with Hisao. I remember nodding my head a lot, when Rin had some of her reveals (such as the talk about changing and the sky). When I was her age, I'd even refuse to protect myself from rain. If it rained on my way to school, I'd sit soaked in the classroom and dry there (it's true). I'm not Rin. There are definite differences (I have no visual talent; instead I'm drawn to writing fiction - yeah, words, heh - don't ask me to explain.)

For me, however, making Hisao's choices was less frustrating than... surreal. I basically retro-engineered a good ending by having Hisao's internal thoughts match the person I'd like to be with, and have him say to Rin/me exactly what I didn't want to hear (not hard, considering most choices fell into that category anyway ;) ). Only two choices seemed to ultimately matter, and I made them accordingly. That sort of fit, though: Hisao overthought things a lot; he was at his best when he reacted instinctively (and made no choice at all).

Rin's path is my favourite, and - I think - the one that wrote characters the best. It's basically point-of-view tennis. There are those little misunderstandings that come straight from the world the characters live in. Not only Rin and Hisao. An example would be Soinji Sae, the gallerist. Go over the talk between her and Hisao, right before the neutral ending, and see how everything she says comes straight from her past, and how she misjudges Hisao - probably because seeing him and Rin together triggered something. See also, how differently she talks to him when Nomiya isn't around. It's subtle, but there. Aura is incredibly confident with all his characters' points of view.

Note, also, that - often - what ties Rin and Hisao together is not so much understanding, as a sense of setting. The way they both get set off on their own tangents, while staring at the world around them. One thing Hisao does get right is that he realises how stifling the atelier has become. He's getting Rin out, breaking her patterns, and thus invigorates her. Rin doesn't seem to realise that, but she certainly feels the effect. Rin's arc makes the best use of weather, and of movement (whether it's the swirling tree tops, the smoke in the atelier, or the dandelion seeds...). I also loved the inversion of a common trope in the "neutral" ending - the rain ends, the sun comes out --> the end of "connectedness". (And in the good ending they connect indirectly over the rain [in that Rin drys up, while Hisao takes a bit of her rain-induced moisture... [hard to phrase this without making an innuendo].) The important thing for them is to form a unit against a world moving around them, or at least that's what I get out of the way the graphics are used. The picture with both of them under the umbrella Hisao is holding is very interesting in that respect (considering that Rin wouldn't protect herself from the Rain, and Hisao might have waited the downpour out).

Personally, I'd guess that - after the good ending - they'll stay together until graduation, when setting-changes will pull them apart (and none of them will have the strength to overcome that). And, yes, I, too, think the neutral ending is the more natural (but I had to do good ending after doing the neutral ending, or I think I might have imploded; that's not a good place to be in when you identify with Rin.)

CrimsonMoonMist
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Re: The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by CrimsonMoonMist » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:07 am

Felt similar, and it made me reconsider my standpoint regarding my emotional state due to my mental disorder a lot.
But people are different, and I'm grateful two such different people like Hisao and Rin weren't just like magically soul mates somehow,
and I appreciate the writer really facing the issue that people simply don't understand each other, not completely,
Hisao and Rin's case is just more of an extreme. But you know what? he still stuck with her despite their mental gap.

They've already overcome so much, and they've come to accept that they will never understand one another,
but they still stayed with each other because it brought them happiness, just taking everything in day by day
instead of wasting away the present worrying about the future. And I'd like to think they can make it if they can appreciate the happy moments.
... But I'd lie if I didn't say I'm more than a little biased here.


Unlike people who try and put mental disability labels on Rin's character,
I personally think that Rin is somewhat of a generalization of mentally or emotionally estranged people,
which is why so many can relate to her.

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megiddo
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Re: The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by megiddo » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:40 pm

So to sum up this thread:
The people autism somehow completely understood and related with Rin, and the normal people thought Rin was annoying.

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Mirrormn
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Re: The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by Mirrormn » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:37 pm

megiddo wrote:So to sum up this thread:
The people autism somehow completely understood and related with Rin, and the normal people thought Rin was annoying.
As I said in another thread: she's not autistic. And you don't need to be autistic to understand her, you just need to be very patient.
Katawa Shoujo OST Transcriptions and Arrangements: Consolidated list

Katawa Shoujo Music Index and Table of Contents

Game completion: 100% several times over
Favorite route: Rin
Insights on Rin | Insights on Shizune

Joeshmoelb
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Re: The Rin arc is so frustrating

Post by Joeshmoelb » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:41 pm

I didn't read any of the posts here, but I just wanted to say, the ending I disliked the most out of all of them(even including Hanako's bad) was Rin's Neutral ending.

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