The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

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Out-All Knight
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The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by Out-All Knight » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:19 am

Whenever Katawa Shoujo is dicussed, there seems to be quite some negative comments about Shizune and her route.
Having not played the game for quite a while, divulge what they can know about her route, all of the good and bad points so that I may be enlightened to the truth?

Here's my take as I gather what memories remain of my play through of her route: With the other girl's routes completed, Shizune's is the last one I completed and my thoughts about her were lukewarm at best as I thought she was just a stubborn girl who only cared about about her duties as student council president though some of her actions in some of the routes shed some soft spots for her.

Then I played her route and I my impressions about her changed for the good, proving that all the girls in this game have their good points and bad, especially her true intentions for Hisao when she invited him for the student council.

Well, That's all I can remember. ^^;

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Re: The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by Kutagh » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:56 am

What a lot of people tend to forget or not take in account, is the fact that due to her deafness and having an interpreter, there is this barrier between her and others. People find it hard to spontaneously talk to her, because you have to keep waiting for the interpreter to interpret what you just said, which adds this delay as well, giving you the feeling that the conversation isn't going smoothly. That's one of the reasons the Deaf community tends to be a bit isolated, being mainly in contact with each other, because with sign language the conversations go smoothly and/or spontaneously.
So if it is hard for you and others to have a conversation but you still want to leave an impression on everyone, how should you do it? Make yourself an important person so people can't get around you. Unfortunately it tends to look like she only cares about her duties... Because you barely have contact with her. So the lesson is that you shouldn't judge people until you've really talked with them.

And I'm talking from experience, being a deaf guy in the hearing world (albeit with hearing aids) but persisting.

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Re: The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by Loonie » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:51 am

I'd say Shizune's route had great potential to make more out of its own niche, but unfortunately that potential was never quite realized. Or to be moreso specific, it had these great moments but they never quite worked together well...there was always a lost opportunity here or there or the narrative's pacing got held up a bit too much right before something important...and in the end all those little things got in the way of what, for my money, is actually a pretty good story. Not quite my cup of tea, but still like I said, it certainly has its moments.

It's just that those moments never quite worked together, as pieces of the whole story, as well as the moments within the other routes...and readers tend to pick up on this on a subconscious level. Then, of course, they try to explain it away with reasons that, to my mind, really don't make nearly as much sense because I imagine that, and if you really think about it, Shizune is perhaps *the* most relatable girl of them all as far as most people are concerned. I mean heck...it's why she's the first one to greet you in the VN, you know?

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Re: The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by OtakuNinja » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:22 am

I actually like Shizune quite a bit... But I like Lilly, Hanako and Rin more. ^^'
I played her route last, and got the bad end, and I honestly felt bad about it all. It's not like in Emi's route, where Emi is at fault.
I agree that communication problems is a reason why people tend to dislike her route, but I also think it's because Jigoro and Hideaki. They are two of the VN's most disliked characters, so it most certainly affects her route in a bad way (I don't dislike them).
But if you manage to overcome those problems, it's a very good route, albeit the lack of decision points. :)
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Re: The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by Sgt_Frog » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:17 am

I liked the route a lot, but a friend of mine thought it kinda fell flat on its face since the entire route had only one choice. And the Good Ending was more bittersweet than anything :-I

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Re: The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by Nyzer » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:29 pm

After Shizune's route being one of the more romantic ones in Act 1, the rest of the game had it being the least. After Hisao asks her to be his girlfriend, there's not much of a noticeable change in their relationship until near the very end. Kinda like they're still the same friends they were before, only with benefits - except that they only partake of those benefits a couple times in the entire school year. You really don't get the sense that they're in a relationship at all. I don't think they even do dating or anything.

The focus on Hideaki and Jigoro for a while doesn't help that, either. That set of scenes, besides Shizune tying up Hisao while everyone else argues outside, has very little interaction between Hisao and Shizune, and what little there is, again, doesn't really hint at them having a relationship at all. Shizune spends more time with Misha than she does with Hisao, and Hisao seems to spend more time with Hideaki...

There are other criticisms, but I think they're generally considered more minor. Most of what I saw pointed more towards how Shizune's route started out romantic but dropped that tone almost entirely after Hisao asked Shizune to go out with him. Even knowing that Shizune was trying to prevent Misha from being a third wheel because of Misha's unrequited feelings, it can still seem lacking to people.

Another factor is that a lot of people don't seem fond of Shizune's dominating personality in general, but that's her personality, not necessarily her route.
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Re: The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by Woody Alien » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:35 pm

Nyzer wrote:After Shizune's route being one of the more romantic ones in Act 1, the rest of the game had it being the least. After Hisao asks her to be his girlfriend, there's not much of a noticeable change in their relationship until near the very end. Kinda like they're still the same friends they were before, only with benefits - except that they only partake of those benefits a couple times in the entire school year. You really don't get the sense that they're in a relationship at all. I don't think they even do dating or anything. [...] Another factor is that a lot of people don't seem fond of Shizune's dominating personality in general, but that's her personality, not necessarily her route.
What he said, really...
I don't like both her personality and the route itself, too straightforward and predictable. Also, Hideaki is the character I like less in the entire VN, even less than Nomiya (he's a scumbag, but at least has a personality), and Misha grew up on me so I felt worse when I got "her" bad ending than with Shizune's proper bad end. And then there's the fact that, as Nyzer pointed out, you never feel that Hisao is involved in a relationship, he's just another pawn in Shizune's hands.
So, you can understand why for me the Hakamichi route is the worst one (while not bad in itself) in the game!
Last edited by Woody Alien on Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by Kutagh » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:13 pm

Nyzer wrote:After Shizune's route being one of the more romantic ones in Act 1, the rest of the game had it being the least. After Hisao asks her to be his girlfriend, there's not much of a noticeable change in their relationship until near the very end. Kinda like they're still the same friends they were before, only with benefits - except that they only partake of those benefits a couple times in the entire school year. You really don't get the sense that they're in a relationship at all. I don't think they even do dating or anything.

The focus on Hideaki and Jigoro for a while doesn't help that, either. That set of scenes, besides Shizune tying up Hisao while everyone else argues outside, has very little interaction between Hisao and Shizune, and what little there is, again, doesn't really hint at them having a relationship at all. Shizune spends more time with Misha than she does with Hisao, and Hisao seems to spend more time with Hideaki...

There are other criticisms, but I think they're generally considered more minor. Most of what I saw pointed more towards how Shizune's route started out romantic but dropped that tone almost entirely after Hisao asked Shizune to go out with him. Even knowing that Shizune was trying to prevent Misha from being a third wheel because of Misha's unrequited feelings, it can still seem lacking to people.

Another factor is that a lot of people don't seem fond of Shizune's dominating personality in general, but that's her personality, not necessarily her route.
Yeah, it doesn't seem like they're dating... But realistically, until Hisao shows that he has learned enough sign language to be able to reasonably converse with Shizune, there is no real way for them to go on a real date... Because they need an interpreter to facilitate the conversation which entirely removes that feeling of intimateness, of being on a date (both having to talk through a third person as well as even having a third person there, it just feels awkward). I think Shizune would've loved to have a real date with Hisao without Misha, but would've felt that it would be boring for both sides (keep in mind that she tends to look ahead and tries to make sure that everyone enjoys whatever she plans).

As for the holiday at the Hakamichi house, I agree that it was a bit weird that Shizune didn't get Hisao to participate in something, like shopping or a festival or whatever. To me, that seems out of character for her... While I can understand that she'd want to have some 'quality time' with Misha, to not let her feel like she's a third wheel, Shizune almost avoided Hisao the whole holiday.

It might also be due to Shizune being her, having had that barrier all the time around her, that she never really dated anyone and is totally clueless as to what and how... She also doesn't really use her cellphone and Yamaku doesn't seem to be that big on internet, so the only place she could've researched dating would be the library and I think she'd be too ashamed to grab a dating book and check it out, considering what she thinks everyone thinks of her (the perfect but annoying student in the council, which is a reputation she doesn't want to tarnish).

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Re: The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by ProfAllister » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:47 pm

Nyzer wrote:After Shizune's route being one of the more romantic ones in Act 1, the rest of the game had it being the least. After Hisao asks her to be his girlfriend, there's not much of a noticeable change in their relationship until near the very end. Kinda like they're still the same friends they were before, only with benefits - except that they only partake of those benefits a couple times in the entire school year. You really don't get the sense that they're in a relationship at all. I don't think they even do dating or anything.

The focus on Hideaki and Jigoro for a while doesn't help that, either. That set of scenes, besides Shizune tying up Hisao while everyone else argues outside, has very little interaction between Hisao and Shizune, and what little there is, again, doesn't really hint at them having a relationship at all. Shizune spends more time with Misha than she does with Hisao, and Hisao seems to spend more time with Hideaki...

There are other criticisms, but I think they're generally considered more minor. Most of what I saw pointed more towards how Shizune's route started out romantic but dropped that tone almost entirely after Hisao asked Shizune to go out with him. Even knowing that Shizune was trying to prevent Misha from being a third wheel because of Misha's unrequited feelings, it can still seem lacking to people.

Another factor is that a lot of people don't seem fond of Shizune's dominating personality in general, but that's her personality, not necessarily her route.
Uhm... actually...

I think that was the point.

First, let's look at Shizune. She talks big about having Hisao figured out, about how everything all goes according to her plans, but it never really plays out like that. Nine times out of ten, her plans don't work as intended. If she's lucky, she can make a quick adjustment and salvage the situation, but the initial plan failed. And, usually, it's because of people. They don't act the way she expects, and that frustrates her. She's also very traditionally-minded. She expects Hisao to take the lead. She desperately wants him to take the lead. But he almost never steps up, more content to follow.

Also, she doesn't know what to do, what's expected, especially with a boyfriend who's so listless. You're wondering what happened to the Shizune that takes Hisao up to the rooftop to see fireworks, the Shizune that makes the little extra effort here and there to let Hisao know he's appreciated. She's wondering what happened to the Hisao that boldly attacked from two fronts, the Hisao that will stand up for himself when presented with an unfair accusation.

And then there's the complications of their relationship. Their lives practically revolve around the Student Council. So, most of the time they spend together, it's in the Context of the Student Council, as well as the infamous love triangle. Contrary to the impression readers may have gotten from her casually skipping classes, Shizune isn't one to neglect obligations. Classes aren't a priority for her. She really has no plans for the future. But the Student Council is a priority. The "why" isn't really explored, but it's made very clear that she's been interested in running a High School Student Council for years. So there's no cutting out of Student Council for romantic liaisons.

But what about the time when there isn't student council work? A few possibilities. On one hand, it could be a lie, to give Hisao a break. It wouldn't have been the first time. On the other, assuming it's the truth, what's Hisao doing? I never got the impression he was seeking Shizune out, and it's a key plot point that Hisao wasn't really treating Misha like a person. He holes himself up and reads. He assumes Shizune's avoiding him, but he never even seems to try looking for her himself.

Finally, they're teenagers. They barely understand themselves, much less each other, and very few people know "how to date." Most couples just wing it based on what's expected and what's assumed. Hisaois so self-conscious and afraid of hurting Shizune that he never even make any attempt at romance, while Shizune expects that the man should take the lead and that the man should know enough to know he should take the lead. This comes to a peak in the first sex scene. Shizune seems to have come to the conclusion that Hisao's afraid to take the next step, so she takes away his ability to protest, because she know he'd be protesting for her sake. She's trying to tell him "It's okay. I want this. You won't break me." Unfortunately, the approach just ends up with Hisao thinking "Was I just raped?"

As for Jigoro and Hideaki, they're context for Shizune. Also serving as context is Mayoi (Shizune's mother) by her absence. You can learn a lot about a person by looking at his family. In fact, family's a key theme and focal point in all the routes but one (Rin). Shizune's the most obvious, with Jigoro, Hideaki, Akira, and Lilly. Then comes Emi, with Meiko, Nurse, and her father. Tied with Emi is Lilly, with Akira, Shizune, Hideaki, and her family in Scotland. Then coming is last is Hanako, with her surrogate family of Lilly, Akira, and (maybe) Hisao. Shizune just seems unusual because you need to leave the school to encounter her family. In every case, you learn much more about the girl from her family than you do from the girl herself. In quality if not in quantity.
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Re: The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by ravenlord » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:55 pm

I saw the family visit as two things:

1) Shizune essentially did what Hanako did to determine if Hisao really loved her. They both stripped naked and showed him their whole selves, and all of their scars. They needed to know if a really scarey thing about them would turn Hisao away. Shizune gave him time to interact one on one with her brother and her father. In Shizune's case, her family is indeed pretty messed up, but Hisao still accepts her for her, even after a first hand and unadulterated view of her family. And just like in Hanako's route, Hisao is rewarded for his acceptance with awkward sex :P

2) I think Shizune did not give to much public attention to Hisao for the reason mentioned above (to give him time to experience her family without a buffer) and also as protection for Hisao. I think Jigoro would have been even harder on Hisao if he had known the extent of their relationship. She was probably really nervous too; wonder if at some point Hisao was going to break things off with her after seeing the freak show. Again, I see a parallel with her and Hanako, that maybe their first time with sex was something Shizune initiated to keep Hisao's interest, in case he was thinking of bailing out.

I think the whole trip was very brave on her part. She totally gave up control and had to hope for the best as Hisao navigated on his own. She could have either not invited him, or invited him but tried to control the agend of the visit. That she did neither shows a lot of maturity and that she has very strong feelings for Hisao and wanted to be totally honest with him.
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Re: The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by Pseudogenesis » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:37 am

The longest route with the least amount of content. With the exception of the revelations about Misha towards the end, literally nothing of consequence happens.


Every potential arc it encounters, it toys with it, and then lets it go. Jigoro was good for some laughs, but ultimately pointless. Hideaki was good for no laughs, and again ultimately pointless. He wants to learn sign language? Wow, he must really care for his sister after all. Actually, no, that was just to take up a few more lines of dialogue. Let's never speak of it again.

The only memorable portions of the entire route were the conflicts towards the end, and the fishing trip. (The latter, incidentally, because it contained characters that were actually interesting, ie. Lilly and Akira. Lilly was probably my second least favourite route but holy hell was it better than Shizune's.)
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Re: The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by Nyzer » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:42 pm

I can agree with the points about Shizune's family and their importance, but the way it's done, it takes away from a lot of the story. As in... it fleshes out Shizune's family and home life, but at the expense of sidelining her relationship with Hisao for a while. And ultimately it really doesn't have a lot of bearing on the plot, especially considering the time the story spends on it. From a storyline perspective, the whole time spent with Shizune's family is almost filler, really.

As for the three of them being too busy with Council duties to consider the possibility of Shizune and Hisao going on dates or just spending some time together, or even for the three of them to spend some nights together with Shizune and Hisao staying up a little longer after Misha heads off to bed... I thought it'd been established that that first festival was supposed to be the busiest time for them, and even then they got to take the whole day off for the festival. I can see them being busy with their duties, but to not have any downtime for spotlighting their new relationship dynamic... eh, it seems somewhat farfetched.

I don't think her route is the worst (it's tied for my favorite), but I think it has the least focus.
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Re: The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by Guest Poster » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:58 pm

As for the three of them being too busy with Council duties to consider the possibility of Shizune and Hisao going on dates or just spending some time together, or even for the three of them to spend some nights together with Shizune and Hisao staying up a little longer after Misha heads off to bed... I thought it'd been established that that first festival was supposed to be the busiest time for them, and even then they got to take the whole day off for the festival. I can see them being busy with their duties, but to not have any downtime for spotlighting their new relationship dynamic... eh, it seems somewhat farfetched.
I kinda agree. Seeing that Shizune's arc takes place over nearly an entire school year, it's not very believable that Hisao, Shizune and Misha are loaded with council work every day from the beginning until the end. I always got the impression that outside of the festivals and the occasional work spike, they spend most of the time just playing games or hanging out in the student council room. Sure, Shizune WANTS to do a truckload of projects with the council, but we don't actually see any of those manifest after the festivals.
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Re: The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by Pseudogenesis » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:21 pm

Nyzer wrote:I can agree with the points about Shizune's family and their importance, but the way it's done, it takes away from a lot of the story. As in... it fleshes out Shizune's family and home life, but at the expense of sidelining her relationship with Hisao for a while. And ultimately it really doesn't have a lot of bearing on the plot, especially considering the time the story spends on it. From a storyline perspective, the whole time spent with Shizune's family is almost filler, really.

As for the three of them being too busy with Council duties to consider the possibility of Shizune and Hisao going on dates or just spending some time together, or even for the three of them to spend some nights together with Shizune and Hisao staying up a little longer after Misha heads off to bed... I thought it'd been established that that first festival was supposed to be the busiest time for them, and even then they got to take the whole day off for the festival. I can see them being busy with their duties, but to not have any downtime for spotlighting their new relationship dynamic... eh, it seems somewhat farfetched.

I don't think her route is the worst (it's tied for my favorite), but I think it has the least focus.

This might be strange praise to receive, but I actually think it's fantastic that you can criticize your (tied for) favourite route so unbiasedly. It's a skill I should probably work to acquire. I'd honestly be too biased to come up with any decent criticisms of Rin's route. (That's not an invitation to do it for me, mind.)
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Re: The Hakamichi route is the worst? (Spoilers)

Post by Xanatos » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:59 pm

Pseudogenesis wrote:
Nyzer wrote:I can agree with the points about Shizune's family and their importance, but the way it's done, it takes away from a lot of the story. As in... it fleshes out Shizune's family and home life, but at the expense of sidelining her relationship with Hisao for a while. And ultimately it really doesn't have a lot of bearing on the plot, especially considering the time the story spends on it. From a storyline perspective, the whole time spent with Shizune's family is almost filler, really.

As for the three of them being too busy with Council duties to consider the possibility of Shizune and Hisao going on dates or just spending some time together, or even for the three of them to spend some nights together with Shizune and Hisao staying up a little longer after Misha heads off to bed... I thought it'd been established that that first festival was supposed to be the busiest time for them, and even then they got to take the whole day off for the festival. I can see them being busy with their duties, but to not have any downtime for spotlighting their new relationship dynamic... eh, it seems somewhat farfetched.

I don't think her route is the worst (it's tied for my favorite), but I think it has the least focus.

This might be strange praise to receive, but I actually think it's fantastic that you can criticize your (tied for) favourite route so unbiasedly. It's a skill I should probably work to acquire. I'd honestly be too biased to come up with any decent criticisms of Rin's route. (That's not an invitation to do it for me, mind.)
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