Journey of a Non-otaku

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Mandalorian
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Journey of a Non-otaku

Post by Mandalorian » Thu May 15, 2014 1:57 am

I apologize in advance if weeaboo is considered an offensive term; I'm not too privy to this stuff. I don't mean to offend :?

EDIT: Replaced the title with the more fitting term, as many have helped me understand the distinction. Thanks!

Also, this is a long read. I don't know if anyone cares, but I felt I'd put this out anyways. Just wanted to maybe get some feedback on my thoughts.

And I mean a very long read. Abandon all hope here.

All right, so I'm not an anime-loving, Japanese sort of guy. Surprisingly. I've loved Godzilla since I can remember (a long time), and used to think Japan was cool. Then I grew older, and I still loved Godzilla, but I gradually noticed Japan was... weird. Or, in a more direct way, perverted. As an internet denizen, I see a lot of anime-related content indirectly on gaming forums and such, and so often it seems that girls are treated quite unfairly. Always in skimpy clothing, being preyed on by weird guys, et cetera. I just really don't like that stuff. And then I hear about there being women's underwear vending machines for weirdos, games like Rapelay, and some guy marrying a character in his DS game... I developed contempt for modern Japanese culture.

So I never got into anime. The only anime I ever fully watched was Umineko no naku Koro Ni, but even that got a bit needlessly risque at times. But other than that, I tend to look down upon all anime-ish things. Other items also counted, such as Metroid: Other M (what a travesty that abomination is) and other poor characterizations of women. And men. I'm not looking through tunnel vision; I also hate how men are so often portrayed as sex-hungry, braindead zombies. Not to say that this isn't prevalent in Western culture as well (just look at the latest Mortal Kombat... yikes), but it just seems inescapable in Japan.

A few months ago, I was reading the Two Best Friends Play wikia (if you don't know who they are, look it up, because they're awesome). I was reading Liam's page. He's the youngest of the group, and is a huge weeaboo. I don't mind it, because he's a nice guy. But it's been constantly brought up that he is/was under house arrest, and when discussing his Top 10 games of 2012, his number six spot goes to Katawa Shoujo, and when he tries to discuss it, he (possibly jokingly) says that his lawyers won't let him talk about it. It's implied that he tried to create a real life Katawa Shoujo, but I have no idea what that even means.

I looked up the game, and found its Wikipedia page. Reading it, it sounding interesting, albeit I was still disaffected by the fact that it was some Japanese-anime-dating-simulator-thing where the primary goal is to get a girl. Seemed as gross as ever to me, and I had little interest.

Months later, I'm perusing the Battlefield 4 forums, and for some reason, someone's Gravatar catches my eye. It's a cute anime girl with short hair and glasses. Don't know why this grabbed my attention so, but I clicked on his profile and found a bunch of links to other images, one of the same girl. I noticed it said it was from Katawa Shoujo, and, remembering the name, I for some reason grew interested.

Perhaps it's because I was at a different stage in my life just those few months later. I'm under plenty of anxiety from various sources, my close friends have been distant (more so than usual, it seems), and I was getting lonely. Looking into the game more, I felt I might as well give it a try, and I downloaded it. And I played it.

And here's where it begins.

The first thing I noticed was how incredibly well-written this game is. I mean damn, I've read over nine books over the past year, and this was somehow way more engaging. I don't like reading, though. At least, not anymore. I used to like it, but after years of school-required reading being heaped upon me, I grew to dislike the task. But reading this was the first time I was genuinely engaged with a novel in years. Perhaps it's also because I'm in the latter half of my high school education, so it was a bit more relatable.

Albeit, it's annoying that this is a "choose your adventure" game, but you're given so little autonomy. Is Hisao a representation of the player, or is the player just guiding Hisao? What's the goal of the experience? I'm new to this, so I wasn't sure. There are dozens of times in the game where Hisao responds to a situation where my response would be drastically different, so it felt a bit frustrating at times. Perhaps I'm just too used to my Fallout, Mass Effect, and Elder Scrolls.

Knowing full well what the goal of the game is (to form a relationship with one of the girls in the game), I wasn't sure whom to pick. I liked them all. Well, not Emi. She's a bit too energetic and athletic for my tastes. I'm in okay shape myself, but I just don't like sports and exercise and all that corn. Here's my assessment of the other four:

SHIZUNE: Well, as you might have guessed, it was her picture that allured me to the game on Battlelog. I really like short hair, so that's one thing. The glasses are also cute. I also liked her very assiduous nature, but she was quite... rude at times. Especially now as I go through her "route." Actually, she seems quite evil and manipulative when I look at it. But I'll find out the true story soon enough, I believe.

Well, that felt weird. I never thought I'd find myself evaluating an anime girl like that. What have I gotten into...

LILLY: I liked Lilly a lot. Her maturity, composure, and wisdom all remind me of myself, in a way. Added onto her already incredibly kind nature, I honestly felt happy when she was in the story. Weird for me to say, I guess. This is a digital game... is something wrong with me?

RIN: Now this was unexpected. Rin's incredibly dry humor and nonchalant attitude was just so hilarious. Her artistic nature was also very wonderful, and I always loved when she was in the game. Unfortunately, it wasn't very often for me.

HANAKO: And here we go. This is the girl I went for my first time. I wasn't expecting it, at all. I expected to take more a liking to Shizune or Rin, but gradually, I liked Hanako more. Despite the rough beginnings and everything, I just thought of her as the most important. Mainly because I can relate to her in a lot of ways. I moved away from my home state three years ago. I haven't made a friend since I moved; I have very bad social anxiety that I've been working hard to get over. My only friends, all three of them, live far away. I only converse with them digitally, so I'm pretty much alone by myself at lunch and break, trying not to be noticed. I get along better with girls, but I go to an all-boys school, so it's all the tougher. So knowing how it feels to be in her position, I wanted to help her as much as I could.

Spoilers follow.

And so I stuck with Hanako the entire game, and ended up making all the right decisions, surprisingly. I got the "good" ending. I put that in quotes because it wasn't so much an ending as much as a sudden stop. It ended just when things were finally getting good. Relatively speaking. And I know that you can make your own headcanon/fanfiction and stuff, but I don't really like that. I didn't like it when Mass Effect 3 ended so vaguely, with very little closure, just so people could speculate or make their own headcanon and whatnot.

But, I don't think that was as big a problem to me as what can be easily guessed was a problem for me... the sex scene. Now, I'm not asexual. I just have strong convictions. But if I felt this scene were handled properly, I wouldn't mind it much, if at all. The problem is that it feels so incredibly contrived, just put there for the sake of having that moment in her storyline. She's showing you her scars, just like Hisao showed his scars to her. (Did I just call Hisao 'you' as in 'player'? There I go making that mistake again). And suddenly Hisao is taking off his clothes. Like, that's a jump. Just because a girl takes her shirt off, it means sex? Even if someone were to argue that, this scene, in this context, with this character, didn't fit. It was too early. Far too early. I sat there thinking "Dafuq is happening? Why?" It took me out of the story.

It's an intimate moment. But intimacy is not synonymous with sexual activity. It's said that Emi helps Rin get dressed in the mornings. That's intimate, but not sexual. It's just out of place and misguided.

Oh, and Hisao has a magic condom that suddenly materializes. Where'd he get that? When? How? Why? Just... I don't even.

It actually doesn't bother me too much to sour the experience of the whole game, though. I still thoroughly enjoyed it. The interaction with Hanako was really nice and rewarding, and actually eye-opening for me. You see, as much as she reminds me of myself, she also reminds me of my closest friend. She lives far away, and has severe troubles she's been dealing with. I can barely be there for her, but I've tried to be there as often as I can, if only digitally. I offer advice, and constantly poke my head in to check on how she's doing. But going through the story with Hanako, I suppose I learned that it might be best for me to back off a little bit and let my friend come to me instead. Work out her own thoughts.


So other than just being a genuinely enthralling story, I also learned some important things. And to think this was made by a bunch of people from 4chan, a location I despise. It's very well done, and I congratulate the team for their very careful effort.

Where am I now? Well, after being disappointed with the abrupt ending, I took to the wikia page for Hanako's Route. I looked in the comments. I never look in the comments of wikia pages. This was new. I found out two things from one poster responding to someone else who had similar issues as myself:

1. The beta version of the game has fuller storyline for Hanako.
2. A fanfiction called Sisterhood has also been written, and is apparently a very good and fitting epilogue.

First off, beta version? What? Where? Is there a major difference other than just a continued story? Is it worth it? Hopefully someone can clarify that for me.

I'll read Sisterhood later, when I have the time. School ends a week from Friday, so things are tough right now, and I need to get in gear.

Looking back, I feel as though I may have misjudged the whole Japanese thing. Sure, there's still an abundance of ridiculous garbage like I mentioned earlier, and the sex scene with Hanako was rather out of character and tasteless, but maybe there's a few diamonds in the rough. Even if those diamonds have scratches, it still holds value.

Am I a weeaboo now? I don't know. Is that a bad thing? I don't know. But before I read this, I told myself one thing: I am never going to Japan. Afterwards, though, I'm a bit more openminded. Maybe one day I'll take a trip there. Just for a few days to a week. See what the culture is like for myself, beyond the internet disgustingness.

And now, I'm going through Shizune's route. I'm definitely more interested in her story than anyone else's, save Hanako's. Although I feel really guilty doing so. Hanako is the most vulnerable and dysfunctional of everyone, as far as I know. Not helping her feels like I'm cruelly neglecting her. If I don't do her route, does she ever recover? Does she ever gain confidence in herself again? These questions still bother me.

...what the hell, it's just a game. The top of the website is telling me that.

Well, I'm nuts. Maybe. Sorry for boring you, just wanted to vent my thoughts and feelings. Goodnight... or good morning, whatever the case may be. :D

Oh, and I forgot to add: Kenji is freaking hilarious. I wish there was more of him that didn't involve throwing the game.
Last edited by Mandalorian on Sun May 18, 2014 2:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Journey of a Non-weeaboo

Post by brythain » Thu May 15, 2014 2:25 am

Welcome to these forums!

There's a thread here where you'll find how other people made a similar journey to you, although not as long and interestingly-written in most cases.

Enjoy!
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.
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Re: Journey of a Non-weeaboo

Post by Velitation » Thu May 15, 2014 2:38 am

Hello and welcome to the forums. As brythain mentioned, try and find a existing forum thread next time. Just helps things.

What you're experiencing isn't unique, much to my surprise when I found out about this VN myself.

Note, you may want to put spoilers in

Code: Select all

[spoiler][/spoiler]
tags with labels for parts of the game you have mentioned. Just as a courtesy to new members like yourself.

@Liam's KS attempt - ...well let's just say that isn't kosher.

@VN vs Novels/Novellas - I've noticed the same things that you have mentioned. What I think helps is that VN's don't rely heavily on exposition and description (due to scenes being visible), so it is more laid out for the reader in addition to having only supplemental exposition when needed. Makes it much more dialogue focused, and the art becomes paramount, which in KS's case works to its advantage. That being said I'm still reading novels though. They offer a different experience that has its own pros and cons.

@"But, I don't think that was as big a problem" - Well, that's up to interpretation.

@"...what the hell, it's just a game" - Heh, that's what you would think, right? Well, that being said, don't obsess over it. Or do, whatever feels more comfortable.

@Fan Fiction - There's a lot of good, but bear in mind that there's a lot of other... well stuff.

@"Well, I'm nuts. Maybe." - You're not. Not from what you've written, anyway.

As a final note, keep in mind of the fact that this project was a heck of an undertaking for the people involved in this project, considering the circumstances. That's the most important thing out of the whole lot. It's a great example of what can happen when people decide to work on something new and different, though I don't speak for them.

EDIT: Forgot to mention the music is awesome. That is all.
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Re: Journey of a Non-weeaboo

Post by Steinherz » Thu May 15, 2014 2:50 am

Mandalorian wrote:I apologize in advance if weeaboo is considered an offensive term; I'm not too privy to this stuff. I don't mean to offend :?
Well you're using the term incorrectly, which annoys me more than if you were trying to be offensive :lol:
I write take a look, would you kindly?
I also draw, kind of.
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Re: Journey of a Non-weeaboo

Post by Munchenhausen » Thu May 15, 2014 2:57 am

Wait wait, weeaboo isn't an offensive term, is it?
I thought it was just a general term for someone who watches anime?
Like stupid, silly doodles with no point? You've come to the right place, friend :^)
I also occasionally write oneshots. Why not have a skimread?
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Re: Journey of a Non-weeaboo

Post by Velitation » Thu May 15, 2014 3:00 am

[fahsign]Velitation[/fahsign] Remember, it's just a game.

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Re: Journey of a Non-weeaboo

Post by Mandalorian » Thu May 15, 2014 3:06 am

brythain wrote:Welcome to these forums!

There's a thread here where you'll find how other people made a similar journey to you, although not as long and interestingly-written in most cases.

Enjoy!
Yeah, I saw that, but I looked and felt it'd be odd to plop my big monologue in there. Other than volume, I wasn't sure if the tone would fit in. Or if I would fit in. I just felt this was the best course of action... sorry.
Velitation wrote:Hello and welcome to the forums. As brythain mentioned, try and find a existing forum thread next time. Just helps things.

What you're experiencing isn't unique, much to my surprise when I found out about this VN myself.

Note, you may want to put spoilers in

Code: Select all

[spoiler][/spoiler]
tags with labels for parts of the game you have mentioned. Just as a courtesy to new members like yourself.

@Liam's KS attempt - ...well let's just say that isn't kosher.

@VN vs Novels/Novellas - I've noticed the same things that you have mentioned. What I think helps is that VN's don't rely heavily on exposition and description (due to scenes being visible), so it is more laid out for the reader in addition to having only supplemental exposition when needed. Makes it much more dialogue focused, and the art becomes paramount, which in KS's case works to its advantage. That being said I'm still reading novels though. They offer a different experience that has its own pros and cons.

@"But, I don't think that was as big a problem" - Well, that's up to interpretation.

@"...what the hell, it's just a game" - Heh, that's what you would think, right? Well, that being said, don't obsess over it. Or do, whatever feels more comfortable.

@Fan Fiction - There's a lot of good, but bear in mind that there's a lot of other... well stuff.

@"Well, I'm nuts. Maybe." - You're not. Not from what you've written, anyway.

As a final note, keep in mind of the fact that this project was a heck of an undertaking for the people involved in this project, considering the circumstances. That's the most important thing out of the whole lot. It's a great example of what can happen when people decide to work on something new and different, though I don't speak for them.
Ah, yeah, should have considered that. Took care of that, and now things are blacked out like some secret government document. Not used to that kind of thing; normally it creates a clickable box that expands. I'll go back and revise that more tomorrow morning.

Yeah, I've felt like getting back into reading for leisure after this. Maybe it's reading the VN itself. Or maybe it's because of Hanako's storyline. Mostly the latter, with a bit of the former. But I'm definitely interested in seeing what other visual novels exist. Although I find it hard to both read the text and look at the expressions of the characters. This is particularly evident in Hanako's route, as her mannerisms are so subtle and easy to miss.

Interpretation is always a big thing in storytelling. As an aspiring writer myself, I just found the whole scene to be out of character for both of them.

I've obsessed over games and other media before, so it's not new. I just am trying to hold myself back a little in this context. I don't want to end up on the news and be an example of society falling apart...

I've never had a taste for fanfiction, mainly because, like I said, I prefer more official closure. I don't want to imagine what happened afterwards, I want to know for certain. Although, the biggest reason I stay away from it is because there's a lot of "stuff," as you say. It also poses more situations where the story and characters will be warped and act out of character, which makes it that much more upsetting.

Well, I guess it's my judgment of others that leads to my self judgment. I judge others who obsess over anime characters as nuts (to varying degrees from minimal to maximal). Again, I just don't want to become crazy. I wrote this particularly to help gauge that; to see if my reactions are normal or abnormal, relatively speaking.

I definitely was awestruck when going through this. As I said, this writing is really, really good. Way better than anything I've seen made by a ragtag internet group, or probably ever will see. It was quite subdued, too. It wasn't the overly sexual fetish novel I would have expected. It's very, very well-done. Although I did laugh when I first saw stock images being used for the scenery at the Yamako exterior, as it was a sharp contrast between the illustrated scenery prior. I appreciate it now, though, and am really loving this. More so than I could imagine I would.
Steinherz wrote:
Mandalorian wrote:I apologize in advance if weeaboo is considered an offensive term; I'm not too privy to this stuff. I don't mean to offend :?
Well you're using the term incorrectly, which annoys me more than if you were trying to be offensive :lol:
I said I wasn't trying to be offensive, and I meant it :lol: Just wasn't sure what other term to use.
Munchenhausen wrote:Wait wait, weeaboo isn't an offensive term, is it?
I thought it was just a general term for someone who watches anime?
It means someone who's obsessed with Japanese culture and everything. Like, not someone who watches anime, but obsesses over it and other Japanese media. I'm not one of those people, but this game was made for that demographic. I just wanted to share my experience as someone outside the normal audience.
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Re: Journey of a Non-weeaboo

Post by Silentcook » Thu May 15, 2014 4:36 am

Mandalorian wrote:Although I did laugh when I first saw stock images being used for the scenery at the Yamako exterior, as it was a sharp contrast between the illustrated scenery prior.
I'm not gonna touch on everything else, but I'd like to point out that we have NO "illustrated scenery" unless in a CG, and those should be easily identifiable thanks to the characters integral to them. :mrgreen:
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Re: Journey of a Non-weeaboo

Post by gekiganwing » Thu May 15, 2014 6:57 am

Mandalorian wrote:I see a lot of anime-related content indirectly on gaming forums and such, and so often it seems that girls are treated quite unfairly. Always in skimpy clothing, being preyed on by weird guys, et cetera. I just really don't like that stuff. And then I hear about there being women's underwear vending machines for weirdos, games like Rapelay, and some guy marrying a character in his DS game... I developed contempt for modern Japanese culture.
There's always problems with fans who manage to embarass other fans by taking their interests too far. There's plenty of fan and professional-made content that's disgusting and even illegal. However, I say this having read some tasteless stories and freeware games written in English, and having met English-speaking fans who are range from polite to antisocial. And I say this having played LovePlus through its fan translation, enjoying it, and then moving on with my life.

In 1998, I considered myself a proud anime-manga fan. I had discovered authentic translated girls' comics that didn't pander to my fanboyish interests. I had read translations of genuine worksafe stories with no ridiculous violence. I understood that untranslated comics included everything from stories parents would read to kids, all the way to stories for senior citizens. These days, I consider myself an aging weeaboo. I'm still a fan... mostly through attending a club with other adults.

This reply is a bit unstructured. I think the only way I can wrap it up is to say "browse Lemma Soft for a while, and talk with other fans about what they enjoy."

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Re: Journey of a Non-weeaboo

Post by Atario » Thu May 15, 2014 7:17 am

Welcome! Don't worry, we're harmless. Mostly.

Coupla things.
  • I'd dispute that this game was made for weeaboos. Spend any time here and you'll find out the devs are about as anti-weeaboo (many even outright anti-anime) as anyone gets.
  • Yes, Hanako's sex scene was awkward and uncomfortable. It was intended to be. But you can't blame Hisao for doing exactly what he was being prompted to do. Pro tip: if a girl gets naked in front of you, it ain't innocent, you bes' believe. Also, I'm not sure where you're getting that the condom magically materializes; Hisao pulls it from his pants pocket. Did you want a whole boring telegraphing set-up scene where he goes condom-shopping?
  • Regarding guilt over playing other routes, and wondering how Hanako (or any of the girls) fares without being your girlfriend: I'd strongly advise you to go through all the routes (and all the endings to those routes). Questions are answered, and you may be pleasantly surprised at both the answers and the journey. Oh, and Kenji is sprinkled liberally through all of them, so if you're hankering for more of him, get to it!
NB: none of the above is a request

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Re: Journey of a Non-weeaboo

Post by CoffeeDrive » Thu May 15, 2014 7:32 am

http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/new ... 489116.jpg

The majority of the demographic are not at all weeaboos.

I liked your post though, well thought out, although it would be interesting to see how you react to the other routes, personally, I dislike Hanakos route, I enjoy her character, but I find her route rather boring.

And as for "What happens to the girls if Hisao dosen't romance them?"
You're going to feel real bad each time you start a new route, all of them have issues that Hisao helps with.
(Except maybe Shizune, who seems pretty content with her life through most of her own route.)
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Re: Journey of a Non-weeaboo

Post by gekiganwing » Thu May 15, 2014 7:56 am

To follow up on the somewhat rushed post I made earlier...

Another way to talk with other fans, and find out what they like, is a few communities on Reddit. I say this because I've read and posted on r/animesuggest, r/manga, r/visualnovels, and other related sub-Reddits. This is what I do in order to help other people find enjoyable stories and games. Take some time to look at what's been written, and then post politely. Be willing to talk and listen. I can't guarantee that things which other people suggest will be enjoyable. Sure, I have a lot of positive things to say about Space Brothers, and Hikaru no Go, and Summer Wars, and so on, and so on... However, I know that a man convinced against his will is of the same mind still. I can't make people like the things that I like.

There have been times in the recent past when I've been ashamed of my culture, and ashamed of people that I know in real life. There have been times when it's difficult for me to be positive about my fanboysh interests and the pop culture media that I enjoy. Consider reminding yourself that not every fan is a solipsistic or obsessed person. Consider reminding yourself that negativity and sensationalism gets a lot of press, and attention from fans. Meanwhile, it's easy to ignore genuinely good stories and games. Content that doesn't try to shock and offend the audience is all too easy to ignore.

Yeah, this has been my "Dear Princess Celestia..." moment. Sorry.

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Re: Journey of a Non-weeaboo

Post by Oddball » Thu May 15, 2014 10:33 am

Just to let you know, the beta script was unfortunatley leaked. The devs didn't want it out at all, so we don't talk about it here.

I will mention one thing Hanako's path writer said about it though. Originally, her route was longer, but after the ending you say, it just kinda went on without any real direction or conflict and became some un-katwa shoujo like.

The route you played ended when the conflict was resolved. After that, there's no real story anymore.
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Re: Journey of a Non-weeaboo

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu May 15, 2014 1:35 pm

I gradually noticed Japan was... weird. Or, in a more direct way, perverted. As an internet denizen, I see a lot of anime-related content indirectly on gaming forums and such, and so often it seems that girls are treated quite unfairly. Always in skimpy clothing, being preyed on by weird guys, et cetera. I just really don't like that stuff. And then I hear about there being women's underwear vending machines for weirdos, games like Rapelay, and some guy marrying a character in his DS game... I developed contempt for modern Japanese culture.
Well, if all this was typical for "modern Japanese culture" you would be justified in holding it in contempt.
Yes, all those things exist (or at least existed at some point in time) but they are hardly typical for Japan just like all Germans don't walk around in Lederhosen and Brits in bowlerhats.
As for the underwear vending machines according to snopes a few of them used to be around in the early nineties, and the few oddballs (no offense) who marry their playstations are not representative for Japanese culture either.
And I don't want to persuade you to look into anime, but Umineko might not be the best show to base your opinion on...
Even if someone were to argue that, this scene, in this context, with this character, didn't fit. It was too early. Far too early.
Yes. That was the point. As far as sex-scenes within Katawa Shoujo are concerned, I think Hanako's was the one that was the most important to the storyline among all of them. (I just noticed I'm starting to use Japanese sentence structures in English^^°)
And to think this was made by a bunch of people from 4chan,
Rather: "Some of the people who made this also frequent 4chan."
I said I wasn't trying to be offensive, and I meant it :lol: Just wasn't sure what other term to use.
I think "otaku" is more widely used. It's considered derogatory in Japan, but international usage is usually neutral.
I never even heard the term weeaboo before...
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Re: Journey of a Non-weeaboo

Post by Oddball » Thu May 15, 2014 2:27 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote: Yes, all those things exist (or at least existed at some point in time) but they are hardly typical for Japan just like all Germans don't walk around in Lederhosen and Brits in bowlerhats.
... It's like everything I've even been taught was a lie!
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