Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Razoredge » Fri Mar 19, 2021 9:58 am

**Pretends to discover the chapter**

This is a good chapter, I have to say. I'll look your music mistakes for the next chapters :twisted: But this is a good chapter, as I told you, and I wonder what Hisao would give to the band with his current level, there is a good perspective of evolution for him here. And give Ritsu some love, she deserves it. I can't wait for the next chapters, there was a good scene, it can give a good perspective of evolution for Hisao, and I wonder if Mao will kill him soon or tolerate his presence for some time.

Go write your Secret Santa now :mrgreen:
Lilly = Akira > Miki = Hanako > Emi > Rin > Shizune

Stuff I'm currently writing : Beyond the haze : A Lilly Satou pseudo-route, Lullaby of an open heart : A Saki pseudo-route & Sakura Blossom : A way with Hisao

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Chatty Wheeler
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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Chatty Wheeler » Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:36 pm

Hello Talmar!

It would seem that I've been a bit quiet on the Katawa Shoujo forums lately. Much like you, I've been working on my own project that I'm trying to finish before posting anything else, but I think that Switching Dynamics is worth making an exception for. :wink:

With that said, let's dive into this new scene!


Scene 10: Revival


I just want to come right out and say that this scene knocked it out of the park. This is a gripping scene with so much to unpack and speculate about. It feels we've reached a milestone in Hisao's journey. All of the plot development and events from the past nine scenes came back in some fashion during this scene, and I think that the payoff, while subtle and modest in its execution, was very impactful.


The ‘inciting event’ of the scene comes in the form of Hisao approaching a sleeping Ritsu after class and contemplating on whether or not to wake her up. It’s a simple setup for dramatic tension. The stakes aren’t too high for Hisao, but Talmar still made good use of this time to throw in a little character development for Hisao, a little tension for the reader, and even a little foreshadowing for overzealous analysts like myself:
Talmar wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:33 pm
“Don’t mind her,” Mutou continues... “She needs [the sleep].”
She ‘needs’ it? Hmmm... Interesting. Perhaps Ritsu is struggling with insomnia as a result of her treatment... Wait a minute! That should sound familiar, shouldn’t it? Insomnia as a side effect of medications is something that Hisao struggles with as well. The more and more we find out about Ritsu, the more and more that her struggles and hardships seems to echo Hisao’s. I think that these two will find that they have a lot in common when they get to know each other a little better.

But most importantly...

I mentioned earlier that Hisao has to make choice on whether or not to wake up Ritsu, but that’s actually false. Hisao never actually makes the choice himself. Instead, Mutou steps in and makes the choice for him—telling Hisao to let her sleep. Hisao accepts this—seemingly relieved that someone stepped in to take the load of that choice off his shoulders. Now, Hisao doesn’t have to worry about the consequences of the choice...

Everything that transpired in the beginning of this scene is part of a larger pattern at play, and this pattern is what launches us into the next section.


After Hisao exits the classroom and heads into the hall, Hisao is presented with possibly the scariest choice for a someone of his age: “what do I do now?”

What follows for the next half of this scene is an introspective journey inside of Hisao’s mind. While I previously complained in scene seven that this kind of long introspective journey harms the pacing for the reader, I think that Talmar addressed all the complaints that I had then. For one thing, Hisao isn’t just thinking and thinking and thinking, he’s also performing actions, and there are natural interruptions to his thought process to give the reader a chance to breathe. Second of all, rather than solely recollecting on old information, we’re being given a lot of new information and new insights to what has happened. Also, the introspective monologue is much shorter, streamlined, and focused here than it was in scene seven. All in all, a major improvement.

So, what revelations actually come from this monologue? In two words: indecision and distrust.



When Hisao leaves the classroom, he can’t make up his mind as to what he wants to go do next. He aimlessly wanders around the school, subconsciously hoping that something or someone will call out to him and give him something to occupy him. After all, this is what always happens, isn’t it?

This is the ‘pattern’ that I was talking about earlier. Up until now in Switching Dynamics, whenever Hisao is faced with a choice, someone always steps in to make it for him.
  • Shizune and Misha nudge Hisao in the direction of joining a club, they invite him to have lunch with them, they encourage Hisao to help out with the festival, and as always, they try to get him to join the student council.
  • Saki gets Hisao to help out with the music club, and she draws a map to encourage Hisao to go explore the nearby city.
  • Shouhei nudges Hisao into eating lunch with him, and indirectly offers Hisao a place in his band.
  • Tsubaki encourages Hisao to join a club like the astronomy club.
  • Mutou trying to get Hisao into joining a club, among countless other smaller encouragements throughout the week.
  • Nurse encourages Hisao to keep an eye on his health and to stay in decent shape.
This is all to say that in this scene, for the first time since arriving at Yamaku, Hisao is left completely alone. Not in terms of being physically alone, but being without influence from others. Hisao has spent a week in the nest, but now his time’s up, and he has to leave the nest and fly on his own. He has to make a choice all on his own, but now that no one is there to help him do so, Hisao regretfully comes to realize how crushingly indecisive he is. Even after Hisao thinks that he’s made a decision, he’s constantly second-guessing himself—such as how he walks right up to the door of the astronomy club before deciding against the idea at the last possible moment.

Hisao’s battle against indecisiveness... is one that I can fully relate to. I’m quite similar in age to Hisao. I can remember that battles waged in my mind as I tried to decide which colleges to apply to; which classes to take; what future career to pursue. Even after I thought I had it all figured out, something that an online article, or a friend, or a teacher, or a family member said would tip the scale in another direction.

Being indecisive and knowing it... sucks. It’s absolutely demoralizing. I mean, how can you possibly hope to trust yourself when your opinions and mindset can change on a whim?

...Surprise, surprise... guess where that leads us...



Why is Hisao so indecisive? It’s because he is distrustful.

For the past few months, I have been theorizing that much of Hisao’s struggles stem from his distrustful feelings toward other people. However, this scene has started to make me doubt my previous assertion. Yes, I think it’s clear by now that Hisao struggles to trust other people, but is it possible that the source of his distrust runs even deeper than simply his hesitance around others?

Like I stated earlier, Hisao spends this scene bouncing all around the school looking for something to do, but right as he's about to make his decision, he backs out. He backs out because he's afraid of messing things up in front of other people:
  • He's afraid that he'll accidentally insult or offend someone disabled.
  • He's afraid that he won't know what to do or say even if he makes friends with some of the other students.
  • And most critically, he's afraid that he'll overexert himself and risk embarrassing himself by having a heart attack in front of his friends, repeating what happened with his old friends.
Notice how in these three examples that I just listed, Hisao isn't afraid of other people, he's afraid of himself, and that's where I will write my new thesis:

Hisao won't be able to trust others until he trusts himself.

Hisao doesn't trust himself. He hasn't trusted himself for this entire story. His lack of confidence is what truly disables him, not his heart. But don't get me wrong; his heart absolutely plays a role in Hisao's lack of confidence. In theory, Hisao could die at any moment of his heart decides to give way. No matter how much Hisao recovers, he'll have to somewhat live on edge. It just so happens that Hisao, still newly grappling with his disability, is much less willing to trust the cards that life has dealt him—as anyone would be—and I think that Hisao is starting to realize all of this on his own:
Talmar wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:33 pm
...I cannot trust myself to be responsible for the entire school.

I can’t even trust my own self sometimes.
See? Talmar sums it up nicely with these two sentences. I didn't even need to do all of that writing! :lol:


Finally, after all of this contemplating, Hisao makes the decision to go to the music club. It's important to note that Hisao isn't fully confident with his decision. It doesn't even really seem like he knows why he's going to the music club—motivated more by instinct than by any planning—but for once, Hisao is making a decision completely on his own. In terms of his character arc, that's pretty big. Is his character arc done? NO. Not even close. Hisao still has a long way to go, but the first steps are always the hardest, and even if Hisao's first steps were as disorganized and uncertain as a woozy drunkard making their way down the sidewalk, he did do it. You could say that this is a revival of sorts...

*Looks at title of the scene*

Oh, wait!


Next up, Hisao enters the music room and tries out the electric guitar. This entire section is about testing Hisao's choice to give the guitar another shot. He's made his choice, but is his resolve strong enough to stick to it? As it turns out, yes... barely.

The first obstacle in Hisao's way is actually asking Mrs. Sakamoto for the chance to play the guitar in the first place. When he does get his hands on a guitar, he has to play in front of everyone—meaning that he has to risk failing in front of them all. Not to mention he has to run through both songs while under constant scrutiny by the threatening stare of Mao. Speaking of which...

Mao is great. I really like Mao. She seems like the kind of person who wouldn't give you the time of day of you just plan on goofing off all day, but I get the feeling that she really respects people who try. She's also a perfect foil for the energetic and bouncy Shouhei. I expect lots of humorous scenes will come out of these two bickering.

Furthermore, in terms of story structure, this is the perfect time to introduce Mao. Now that Hisao has made his decision, Mao is there to put his decision to the test. Her no-nonsense attitude and her annoyance with indecisiveness puts Hisao on the spot more than once, forcing him to prove that he will stick with his decision.


With the introduction of Mao, I would like to mention something that has me slightly worried about Switching Dynamics as a whole: the cast is getting pretty large.

I'm not sure how many more characters Talmar plans to introduce, but right now, we've got...
  • Hisao
  • Ritsu
  • Hisao's Old Friends: Takumi, Shin, Mai
  • Shouhei And His Friends: Tsubaki, Taichi, Chihiro
  • Saki
  • Mao
  • Shizune
  • Misha
  • Emi
  • Mutou
  • Nurse
This is a large cast of characters. So far, Talmar has done a good job of juggling all of these characters, but if the cast gets much larger, I worry that it will be difficult to keep up. Some characters might end up getting sidelined, which is fine, but the point is that I don't really know which characters are going to be sidelined and which aren't.

I don't really know who our main characters and who our side characters are supposed to be. Obviously, Hisao is our main character protagonist, but Ritsu, who is supposed to be a main character... has had less than ten lines in ten scenes. If I hadn't been previously told that Ritsu was a main character by Talmar, I would have assumed that she was just a side character. She doesn't really give off the sense that she's a main character if one were to look at the text in a vacuum.

Outside of our main duo, we have Shouhei, who I'm pretty sure is going to be a main character. But then there's a character like Tsubaki... for a hot second I thought that she was going to be a main character, but now I'm not so sure. What about Chihiro and Taichi? Are they side characters? What about Shizune and Misha? Emi? Saki? Mao? I don't really know who I'm supposed to be focusing on.

What I'm trying to say is that we're now ten scenes in to this story, so establishing a focused cast of main characters should be coming soon... right? I feel like we're getting there, what with Hisao meeting Mao and joining the band (for now, at least...), but if Talmar keeps introducing new characters... I might start to get a little overwhelmed.

Again, this isn't a problem now, but I feel like we've hit a comfortable character limit. In the future... I just hope that Talmar doesn't plan to introduce, like, twenty more side characters. :wink:

We've got a good cast here, Talmar. Don't pop the balloon. :D


Prediction time! Hisao mentions that he will never again meet up with his old friends from Tokyo. As far as he's concerned, those relationships have been severed. Later on, when Hisao joins the band, Mao asks Hisao where he guitar is, and Hisao mentions that it is still in Tokyo. This is pretty smart. In order for Hisao to go back and get his guitar, he has to go back to Tokyo and confront his past. In order for Hisao to move on in the future, he has to return to his past and make amends.

With this in mind, I am predicting that at some point in this story—possibly dozens of scenes down the line—Hisao will have to go back to Tokyo and make amends with his friends.



Talmar wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:33 pm
Snapping awake from my distracted reverie with the shuffling of feet and chairs being pushed back under their tables I return to reality to find that school day is already over.
I think there needs to be a comma before "I return".

Talmar wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:33 pm
Alerted I drop my bag and rush over...
There needs to be a comma after “Alerted".

Talmar wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:33 pm
I look back at the girl, who’s standing there staring back at me with only her smile.While it looks friendly, she’s obviously forcing it.
I think there is a space missing before the word "While".


Wow. That was a long post. In truth, I've actually been working on this post for close to a week now. It took me a few days to sort out my thoughts and come up with my discussion topics, but I think I'm at a good place to stop now.

Again, this is an excellent scene. So good. Really freaking good. I'm really excited for the next one. Fun fact: I recently picked K-On! back up. I’m about halfway through the first season. Having a good experience. It's a nice show when I just want something to relax to and not have to analyze and overanalyze.

As always, take your time on writing the next scene, Talmar. I hope that university treats you well and that you stay happy and healthy.

Take care, everyone!

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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Talmar » Sat Aug 28, 2021 9:25 am

Okay, just to bump this up for the first time in months. I'd like to open with a massive apology.

I'm really, really sorry I haven't uploaded in a very long while. Especially you, Wheeler. I'll get to fixing the errors and typos, and I'd just mention that your deduction is as always on point with what I have in mind. But I'm really sorry I haven't been active at all for the last couple of months. There's been a lot of issues; hospitalizations, life shattering revelations about this thing in my head, semester finals and last but not least, the eventuality of the inevitably traumatizing visit from my parents. For those who aren't familiar, I am ... well, I had bad memories with them. And they appear to be caring about me but I know, I know they're using me to make themselves look good in front of others. Which makes the revelation even harder to tell them.

I was ... early in April, I went to the state hospital's psychiatric department to fulfill the appointment that was a year late thanks to pandemic lockdown, concerning my lack of ability to focus, amnesia, and the nonstop headaches. Psychiatrist determined there's nothing wrong in my mental faculties and the headaches are concerning so she transferred me to neurology. In my neurology appointment in May, they determined, based on my testimonies of symptoms and such, and for how long it had been with me, that there's something wrong with my brain. Initial hypothesis was autoimmune encephalitis, thanks to my and my father's histories of autoimmune conditions, but after I was put into the hospital ward for a tripartite check-up in June (CT scan, lumbar tap, EEG), followed by an MRI scan when I was released, they deduced that it's not that. CT scan didn't reveal anything big (crossing out possibilities of aneurysm or cancer or the likes), nor did the test on my cerebrospinal fluid from lumbar puncture (crossing out possibilities of autoimmune disorders). The EEG test however did show results; focal seizures, bilateral epileptic discharges in the temporal lobes.

That, explains a lot. The headaches, the uncontrollable amnesia, the lack of ability to focus. It even explains the little jerking movement I, for most of my life, thought it's nothing serious and just a habit (or so my mother said; she gets irritated whenever I do that and always told me to stop it because it makes me look weird, which brings up the question, how long has this thing been with me?) It all stems from my brain frying itself by putting neural activity on overdrive in the temporal lobes, occasionally spilling out into other parts of the brain. It's not the classical general seizures, commonly depicted in media; you know, collapsing and uncontrollable movements and eventual fall into unconsciousness. Me? I'm aware of the experience, throughout, and I'm slowly adapting to its presence and making routines whenever there's an episode (find my bed, lie down, don't get up).

This has explained a lot about my problems since the start of this year. My failing academics, inability to focus on assignments, forgetting crucial things, and most of all, I'm slowly, and all the while aware, forgetting how to write simply because I can't remember what's a good word to use. It gets even worse whenever my parents, or even just a simple notification from WhatsApp, pops up. Throughout the latter half of 2020, I was constantly and incessantly berated by my parents to study and move out of my aunt's house (which I've been living in since getting kicked out of university dorms thanks to insufficient extracurricular activities - no shit I have insufficient of that, there's a pandemic going on) and WhatsApp is the primary venue of communication my parents use. It's the primary venue of communication for literally everything to be honest; Malaysians are addicted to this app, and I hate it. It came to a point where a simple beep triggers my fight or flight response, and I sorely want to throw the phone out of my window at the 31st floor. But I need it; most off-lecture discussions are here, and so are assignments. But at the same time, it is eroding my sanity, and every time it beeps my headaches gets incrementally worse. Phonecalls are even more damaging, enough that I don't want to elaborate. It really doesn't help either that late June and early July was the semester finals, as well as the time I was tossed into frenzy as my lecturers, who had only been informed recently about my seizures due to the late diagnosis, gave me a chance to finish the assignments I've accidentally missed. At the same time as the exams. Needless to say, I did bad in the exams.

I am writing this in a bout of sanity; just got my vaccine and is in a short period of peace. My parents are coming though, to help with my little sister's admission to university, and I don't know how to deal with it. But I'll handle it when the time comes; in the meantime, I really, really want to apologize for the lack of new SD chapters for the last 5 months. I am slowly recovering my ability to write, while trying to juggle both the inevitable confession about my seizures to them, as well as trying to rebuild things. I am however slowly whittling through the next chapter of SD, and while I cannot promise it'll be done soon, just know that it is being written. Slowly.

Damned headaches. Feels like electricity coursing through the inside of my head. And damn this fever; I know it's probably from the vaccine, though, so it's necessary. But still.
"They say, the best way to improve yourself is to believe in who you are. You are but a blip in the lives of many you pass by, so why worry? Be yourself - life is too short to worry about the minor altercations here and there.

"So, get out there. Break the chains that holds you back - and embrace the freedom ahead of you." - me

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