A criticism/review of 1 month with Katawa Shoujo

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Loonie
Posts: 250
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:00 pm
Location: Somewhere between Europe and the Balkans.

A criticism/review of 1 month with Katawa Shoujo

Post by Loonie » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:57 pm

Hello.

This comes from a personal desire to not only replay, but to try and put into words my thoughts of Katawa Shoujo in a manner that will, hopefully, help 4LS with their future endeavors. Considering nothing has been stated of what those might be (other than their announcement), I am honestly not sure how much 1 month of me meticulously going through KS will be worth to them. This is doubly so, since in this time there have been no patches, that I am aware of, to resolve any of the already existing typo or grammar issues. And yet...here I am, posting this anyway.

Now to elaborate on what kind of criticism/review this will be. Considering I have 'professional' experience with translation, and have done some writing and editing on a less frequent basis as well, my thoughts will primarily be centered around the written word. That doesn't mean that I'll ignore anything that occurs to me when it comes to the art or directing, so there will be a few things I'll have noticed there too. Still, not nearly as many as those related to writing and editing. To simplify things, I've marked all artistic issues with the color red and all directing issues with the color blue, so as to save the time looking for them. Plot issues, being very few as well, have also been marked with the color green.

Otherwise, I will focus on this pattern. First I will list the specific issues I encountered during the arc in question, listing the specific scene in which I encountered them first and making a total of all writing and editing issues at the end, usually marking the trouble area with asterisks (**). I have specifically ignored punctuation issues, because I still don't feel good enough to give my opinion on those (english punctuation rules are vastly different from that of my native language), focusing my efforts onto plot, typographical and grammar issues instead. Next, I will list my top three favourite scenes within that particular arc and finally I will give a relatively short, but much more freeform, opinion that I hold of the arc, one which will oft times also include my thoughts on directing, writing or editing within it, but will be laced far more with my own moreso subjective take.

Also...I know that the forum limitations, coupled with my longer posts, might make this difficult so...I'll gladly re-edit my posts here if there are problems.

So without further ado, let's get started!

Act 1:
  • Misha's eyebrows being drawn >:) all the time on her 'standard' sprite expressions (the one where she's facing a bit to her left and where she has her arms crossed). Makes it hard to fight against the false feeling that Misha is also a clever schemer alongside Shizune as opposed to being a bubbly/ditzy friend who's there for the ride.
  • Smalltalk: Hanako has no sprite when she leaves the classroom the first time and on the 3rd day as well. Something like what was in the scene "Paint by Numbers" would be fine, if not even shorter than that.
  • Bizzare and Surreal: No significant reaction at all by Kenji to Hisao's different reply as to wether Hanako was cute or not.
  • It Builds Character: As Hisao explains his problem to Mutou: "...so it's not that *I'm* isolated or anything."
  • Waylay: As the Nurse leaves, Hisao thinks to himself after Rin's question: "...accidentally lashing out *at* her."
  • The Other Green: Hisao's thoughts as Rin is explaining at the mural: "I *don't* think her cotton sleeve could look any sadder than it does."
  • The Other Green: As they get to mixing the green: "*The* hint of *a* smile appears *at* the corners of her mouth."
  • The Other Green: And right afterwards: "With this exclamation I pour a *miniscule* amount of..."
  • Proof of Competency: As Misha addresses Hisao in class, probably thanks to the player choosing "Don't blame me, I've done my part!" earlier: "...despite the fact that she just blew any hope *I may have had* of being discreet."
  • Proof of Competency: And right as the exchange ends: "The rest of *the* day passes by uneventfully..."
  • Paint By Numbers: In this scene Kenji is working on one of the stalls and Hisao specifically mentions that they'll be up on Sunday, yet somehow Kenji's still surprised later when the festival happens on that day?
  • Exercise: As Hisao accepts the note from the Nurse it should be: '...as I can't think of anything else to say, nor *do I* even really want to.'
  • Foot and Mouth: As Rin stabs her juicebox with a straw Hisao thinks: "I'm once again impressed by how flexible she is, but this time I keep my comment to myself." Before this he never actually commented out loud on Rin's dexterity at all.
  • Mind Your Step: Just after Hisao asks Rin if he really looks like a mind reader he observes: "Rin shrugs her shoulders, which is *the only* answer I get."
  • Home Field Advantage: As The Student Council bursts into Hisao's room: "This is kinda intrusive, the feeling of being exposed crawls in my balls." Lolwut? I mean, it makes sense, but that's quite an interesting thought for someone that's on the straight-and-narrow as much as Hisao always is in Act 1.
  • An Aesthetics: Right after Emi fails at getting the paint cans on the top shelf, and Hisao says he's kidding about teasing her: "With a grudging "hmph," *she* turns her back to me."
  • Creative Pain: After Nomiya shows up, Hisao observes Rin: "Her face is so unassuming that it feels *like* she's just waiting for me to do something wrong."
  • Creative Pain: Just after Nomiya introduces himself: "How did you come to end up assisting my *protégé.*"
  • Don't Panic: Should Hisao be on Emi's path, his response to Kenji, as to what he's gonna do on the day, should be: "I wonder...I'm kinda hungry, but I made this deal that *I'll* try to take better care of myself."
  • Sip (Part 2): "I guess this means the end of my little sojourn though, in any case," might be better phrased as simply: "Though I guess this means the end of my little sojourn."
  • Quiet: Hisao says to Hanako in the library that he thought all the students must live in the dorms, even though earlier on in Sip (Part 1) Lilly described, in a very detailed manner, that she had moved to the dorms only last year.
  • Is Carnival!: A suggestion this time: Kinda missing the fireworks visually popping off, like at the end of every other pre-Act 2 scene, rather than Hisao just "reading through" them. Perhaps have Hisao's introspection about his place at the school and Emi while he takes a moment to look out of his window at the display?
  • Clouds in My Head: After Hisao's first examination of the mural he studies Rin's face: "...making her look detached from everything that's going *on* around her."
  • Clouds in My Head: After the fireworks end and as Rin is looking straight at Hisao: "...something *that* I feel has not occurred..."
  • Clouds in My Head: And finally, right after that: "But it wasn't...so why *is* blood rushing to my cheeks and my speech stammering?"
  • The Deep End: When Hisao reaches the top of the stairs "cyclone fence" is probably "chain-link fence."
18 word and grammar issues
5 plot issues
1 art issue
2 directing issues


Favourite scenes:
-Smalltalk
-Bizzare and Surreal
-Clouds in My Head

Thoughts: Overall I'd say it's pretty solid on all fronts, except when it comes to Rin. I wouldn't say that her character had to be that much more serious and less silly in Act 1. But what would probably work a bit better is that during every encounter with Rin in Act 1 she'd say one thing, buried underneath her usual pondering, that is somewhat pertinent to Hisao's interests.

A perfect example of this is the blind boy analogy during the 'Things You Can Do' scene, although that one only comes when you're already on her path so...A Private Lunch would need its own pertinent thing to stand out too. Also, the fact that, without the flowchart, getting onto her path involves you somehow guessing when exactly you *shouldn't* get on someone elses' path becomes annoying as hell. The amount of times one gets Kenji's path as opposed to Rin's is downright staggering; you never know if refusing another girl will wind up with a point towards Rin or if it'll railroad you to your death.


SHIZUNE

Act 2:
  • Advanced Game Theory: Hisao mulling over things in the cafeteria: "If I want Shizune to be able to treat me as an equal..." and "If I want to treat Shizune as an equal..." is rather unnecessary padding when a simple "And viceversa," would suffice.
  • Spring into Action: Right after: "I'll devour you," there's: "This is no time to celebrate, *though.*"
  • An opinion in regards to this act: There were quite a few opportunities to design player choices when Misha tells Hisao she'll have to make up on studying (Hisao's reaction to that announcement), right after she and Shizune get back in the cafeteria (Hisao suggesting a welcoming back celebration or simply shrugging or such) and when Misha tries leaving them at Tanabata (trying to make her stay so they could have fun together and not succeeding, or simply acknowledging her decision). Still...if there wasn't enough time or energy for such choices to make it in the novel, I understand.
  • When Stars Embrace: Right after the "Guess who!" part, Misha has hands still wrapped in the "fencing." It's just fence I think, as fencing would suggest a far different activity unrelated to a fence.
  • When Stars Embrace: Right before its conclusion there's a very good build-up to Hisao asking Shizune to be his GF, but the aftermath is really...lacking. Could've perhaps done more there and let Romance in Andante II play out at least a little longer.
Act 3:
  • The Anchor: At the very end there's a lovely picture of Misha sitting calmly. Hisao may be a bit inattentive, but still...another opportunity missed for something interesting or nice, maybe to give a few more hints about Misha's past with Shizune if the player makes a good choice of inquiry.
  • Acute Triangle: When Shizune bumps into Hisao's chest, Hisao in his internal monologue mentions both the time when Emi knocked into him and Shizune got mad and her seeing his pills. While the first is indeed necessary to even get on her path, the second is not in case the "Slow Recovery" scene unfolded and thus might have never even happened.
  • Dewey Decimated: Right as the grape juice gets spilled, Kenji says: "You're gonna get *canned.*"
  • I wish the encounters with Kenji would add more to the central story of Misha/Shizune. You see so much of him, but always as comedic relief. Might've been interesting for him to actually stumble onto something important by pure dumb paranoia. During Iwanako's letter he does, but it doesn't noticably tie into the main arc.
Act 4:
  • The Summit: Shizune claims she never got to enter Hisao's room in the good ending...even though she might have when she saw Hisao's pills in the "Home Field Advantage" scene.
  • Succession: "On top of that I feel more sensitive than I was before and push myself into Shizune even more to make up for it." Shouldn't it be "less sensitive" if he is "making up for it?" Would make more sense.
  • Sneaking Mission: "Teacher is yelling at the top of his lungs" is Hisao's description, whereas the drawing of him is just his moreso usual annoyed self. Also, it doesn't go together well because his lines do not contain any exclamation points whatsoever.
  • The biggest issue is in how little extra content there is leading up to the bad ending and in the end it just comes out of the blue and Hisao's mistake is never even mentioned again, other than indirectly right after it's made, let alone that it would contribute moreso visibly to the bad ending.
6 word and grammar issues
6 plot issues
1 art issue
1 directing issues



Favourite scenes:
-Spring into Action
-United Nations
-Look Ahead

Thoughts: Interestingly enough, I liked this path moreso on my 2nd playthrough than on my 1st. Probably because I could begin to appreciate the smaller touches too, such as Jigoro's last few lines during the final argument he has with Hisao being strikingly relevant to the arc, Kenji actually being given a slightly moreso prominent role and how Shizune's thinking in the end finally changes. Jigoro's irrational logic trains are also disturbingly similar to Kenji's. Would probably also explain why Kenji is so well-written in Shizune's arc.

The downsides were, however, all the listed criticisms (especially all of the noted plot issues), making me think that had this arc been handled with a bit more care, I'm quite certain it would be a lot less unambigously least popular. Then again, I never put that much stock on popularity anyway.
Last edited by Loonie on Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:12 am, edited 14 times in total.

Loonie
Posts: 250
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:00 pm
Location: Somewhere between Europe and the Balkans.

Re: A criticism/review of 1 month with Katawa Shoujo

Post by Loonie » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:58 pm

HANAKO

One question goes unanswered: Who does playing chess remind Hanako of? She specifically states that she only ever played chess with Lilly and...someone else. Who exactly that was remains completely unanswered but...perhaps this was intentional so as to promote speculation.

Act 2:
  • Rise and Shine: "*Not* treating people any differently," at the conversation with Lilly.
  • Mad Hatter: "Nor am I a psychologist..." at the tea party. It should be "Nor am I a psychiatrist..."
Act 3:
  • Invitation: "How...do the other representatives go?" at the teahouse. It should be "How...do the other representatives fare?" or "...manage?"
  • Shady Encounter: "We both look out to the field *where* the guys are playing," when Miki first arrives and sits down.
  • Antiques and Pie: Again, same as in the scene "Quiet", after they finish eating at the cafe Hisao assumes she'd just been living here since attending Yamaku, yet she had described it in a very detailed manner in Sip (Part 1) that she hadn't.
  • Antiques and Pie: As they begin browsing the antique shop, a much smoother phrase might've been: "...and the many things poking out of either the shelves or the pieces of furniture they're sitting on,..."
  • Stripes and Solids: Right after Hisao says "I'll protect you," his internal dialogue is: "It feels as if *she's* judging me."
Act 4:
  • Faraway Presence: If you didn't happen to go into town earlier, then the final choice isn't one at all as it is effectively railroaded into always disagreeing with Lilly. It might've been better to not even present it at all in that instance.
  • Whispered Touch: The picture in the scene with Hanako undressing doesn't quite match the textual description. The text says she has nothing but her stockings and underwear on, having undid her bra before, yet the picture clearly shows her still wearing a transparent shirt of some kind on top of that.
  • Whispered Touch: With the H-scene I have two small tips to the artist, that might help with some of the more common criticism. Hisao's smile in the first picture of the scene would work better if it was nervous. As it is, it gives him a bit too perverted a look, considering how inexperienced and scared he is. Also, including most of his body in the second scene before the climax would probably work a bit better, rather than just including his penis.


6 word and grammar issues
1 plot issue
2 art issues
1 directing issue



Favourite scenes:
-Falling
-One More Year: Specifically, the contrast between the gifts
-Adulthood

Thoughts: Again, on my 2nd playthrough I loved catching a few details I had missed out on before, like the contrasting meanings behind the doll and the chess gifts or Miki's relevance being made moreso obvious to me during her 2nd talk with Hisao, should you take the good ending arc path.

Otherwise, I can merely reaffirm what I'm sure many, who genuinely have had similar experiences to the story told within the arc, must've said already. It doesn't just ring true. Looking back on my memories and comparing them to Hanako's arc, it also feels true. Every bit of it.


LILLY

Act 2:
  • A Pound Sterling: Kenji and Hisao chatting outside their dorm: "...knows about such a trivial fact as *whom* I choose to befriend." Not certain, but I think it is "whom" instead of "who."
  • A Pound Sterling: Arriving to class: "With a quick stretch and a wave to a couple of classmates who give the same to me..." would be much smoother as: "...a couple of classmates who return the gesture..."
  • A Pound Sterling: In the library with Lilly: "...but I don't really want to go unduly prying into her situation," would be much smoother as: "...but I don't really want to pry anymore."
  • Presents and Presence: As Lilly and Hisao are returning from the city: "She tries to collect herself, a task that looks almost pitiable in how plain it is to see how distant her thoughts are," would be much smoother as: "...an almost pitiable task considering how obviously distant her thoughts are."
  • A Brief History of Thyme: As Lilly and Hisao exit the store: "Once Lilly retrieves her cane, we set out back to the dormitories the way we came,..." would be much smoother as: "Once Lilly retrieves her cane, we start going back to the dormitories along our usual path,..."
  • Little Wing: On the rooftop: "Lilly and Rin give a quick nod...and a deep nod..." it was probably intended for Lilly to give the deep nod and Rin to give the short one. In that case, retain the order delivered: "Lilly and Rin give a deep nod...and a quick nod..." to make it clearer which of them did what.
  • Bon Voyage: In Lilly's classroom as Hanako garners attention: "Lilly seems pleased, if somewhat guarded, about the attention Hanako's excited from those around her," is awkward. Much smoother would be: "...about the attention Hanako's drawing from those around her."
  • Bon Voyage: After Hideaki's snide remark at the airport: "The snide remark has his head roughly..." It wasn't the snide remark that grabbed his head, it was Akira. So a moreso accurate version would be: "His snide remark prompts Akira to roughly drag his head around..."
Act 3:
  • Minor Discord: The choice there is totally inconsequential and doesn't even evoke significantly different reactions from Kenji.
  • Northern Sojourn: When playing cards on the train: "...our carriage is almost as empty as the station platform we'd waited for the train itself on," would be much smoother as just: "...our carriage is almost as empty as the station platform we'd waited on."
  • Crescendo: After Lilly reminds Hisao of her family: "The event seems to leap ready to hand..." would be smoother as: "The event quickly leaps to mind..."
Act 4:
  • Blackout: After they sit down at the table, upon finishing the H-scene: "...a fact which helps *let* me feel..." no need for the word "let."
  • Farewell: As Shizune hands Lilly the papers she needs: "For a few moments, the room is *all but* still and silent," should be just: "And for a few moments, the room is still and silent."
  • Under a Bright Sky: A suggestion pops to mind. The text emphasises how hard it is to hear the faint musicbox, thanks to the EKG's pulse. Why not use the EKG pulse from the intro cinematic here then? Gradually lowering its volume while gardually raising the volume of the musicbox. Would be a lot smoother rather than immediately hearing the musicbox from the very start and thus right off the bat figuring out what that melody means. Simpler still, if it couldn't be pulled off, why not remove the EKG pulse detail from the text altogether? It's just somewhat jarring.
11 word and grammar issues
1 plot issue
0 art issues
1 directing issue



Favourite scenes:
-Out and About
-Blackout: Specifically, its beginning
-Context

Thoughts: Yet again, on my 2nd playthrough I loved catching the details I had missed before, such as the awkward silences and precise moments when Lilly's composure keeps breaking during the arc (on my 1st playthrough I already saw something like it coming; the "We'll always have Paris" moments and Lilly even outright using that phrase once really gave it away). Tiny things like Akira's trademark getting up from sitting with both of her hands on the knees and a grunt or Hisao's strangely cold extremities announcing the start of his heart attack during the walk to Hokkaido and the dash to the airport are also great.

And, of course, uncontrollable laughter at the mere sight of that truly finely-crafted chessboard (how evil of me).


EMI

Act 2:
  • Track Meeting: As Hisao watches Emi at Rin's behest: "Her mouth curls upwards in what could be both a grin and a growl," would probably be a little smoother and still just as resonant.
  • Down that Medicine Now: After Hisao makes his first excuse the Nurse says: "Hisao, I know it's difficult for you *to* get into a new routine,..."
  • Piracy on the High Seas: Not counting this as a slip-up, since I'm honestly unsure if it is one, but this is the first time I've heard the expression, when Kenji bursts out: "...in a flurry of papers." That is unless it's meant literally as in a flurry of papers flying through the air as he bursts out. In which case - could've been clearer.
  • Piracy on the High Seas: After Hisao reads Iwanako's name off the letter: "...and Iwanako is the last person I'd expect to want to write me a letter," would be much smoother simply as: "...and Iwanako is the last person I'd expect a letter from."
Act 3:
  • Eet, Ees...Scienca: Right after Mutou describes how he came to teach here, Hisao thinks to himself: "...as if waiting for me to confirm that, yes, here is *where* we are."
  • Invisible Rock: A suggestion - a small lost opportunity with the train of thought from Hisao at the track: "I wonder if the same thing kept us awake." *cue a grainy image of Emi crying next to Hisao from the Dropping By scene* "The image of her weeping face flashes through my head." *cut back to normal* "What kept you up?"
  • Detached: As Hisao is studying in the library: "Soon we'll be graduated," would be better just as: "Soon we'll graduate."
  • Guess Who's Coming... Never Mind: As Emi kicks Hisao and explains next: "I just was, er, inawheelchairforabit," probably should be: "I *was* just, er, inawheelchairforabit."
Act 4:
  • Instant Replay: I have a very weird feeling about the "Talk to Meiko" path. While it makes sense, my distaste for it also goes beyond just my personal tastes. The style of Hisao's approach to Emi in that path is incredibly wordy, so much so that it doesn't fit, in my opinion (it almost feels like the Hisao from Shizune's arc rather than Emi's). And it's not just the words. Very notably, it's also the presentation being far too slow-paced and meandering considering this is Emi's arc, especially when compared to the "Talk to Emi" path which shows the days rolling by, Hisao giving up and then picking up into that final scene at the track in a concise and powerful manner. But I suppose that, for variety's sake, it still works. One of the two could've been used for a neutral ending too, if either the will, time or energy were there for it.
6 word and grammar issues
1 plot issue
0 art issues
2 directing issues



Favourite scenes:
-Dropping By
-Debate Expresses Doubt
-Instant Replay (specifically, the "Talk to Misha" choice path)

Thoughts: I really loved how the details in this arc focus less on Hisao's preconceptions and moreso on his direct observations. The downside is that it sometimes makes for very dry reading, but it is also very refreshing. It lets the readers form their own opinions much, much better and is also very likely the main reason as to why I like Hisao's character the most within this arc.

And of all 5 paths this one feels the most realistic. Perhaps it has to do with the style of writing being dry and hence much more akin to how people actually think, as opposed to composing entire novels in their heads in the space of a couple of seconds. Perhaps it has to do with the way it actually treats sex from what is, in my opinion, a healthy perspective (I'm surprised people think it's not, because Emi actually putting a stop to it momentarily, to instead focus on grades, is much more mature than Lilly's healthy adolescent sex drive almost getting Hisao killed).

Or perhaps it's just that I can apply so much of Emi's personality to my brother and so much of Hisao's personality to his girlfriend and wind up with a similar story. Either way, I really loved this arc.
Last edited by Loonie on Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:28 pm, edited 12 times in total.

Loonie
Posts: 250
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:00 pm
Location: Somewhere between Europe and the Balkans.

Re: A criticism/review of 1 month with Katawa Shoujo

Post by Loonie » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:00 pm

RIN

Act 2:
  • A Wider Field of Vision: As Hisao lies down on the roof: "I bend my neck backwards *to look* where she is looking."
  • Self Study: When the line: "I push myself past the boys gathered in the doorway and flop into my seat," comes up, the picture should already switch to the classroom. Otherwise it gets confusing to have the picture telling the reader, that they're still outside, while the text is telling them that Hisao has sat down in class.
  • Target Audience: As Hisao watches Emi at Rin's behest: "Her mouth curls upwards in what could be both a grin and a growl." would probably be a little smoother and still just as lyrical. Not counting this, since I already did in Emi's arc.
  • Target Audience: After Emi's finished talking to Rin and Hisao, he thinks to himself: "...so we silently *slip* away and back to the quad."
  • Eternity In an Hour: After Nomiya poses his trick question: "It's something that exists merely to leave a mark *on* history."
  • Underwater and a Maple with a Name: After Hisao says to RIn that she's overpricing her thoughts she says: "That'd be fraud too, like stealing *a* candy from a baby." Normally I don't give awkward phrases, that are spoken by the characters, that much weight, but the phrase is in fact just: "...like stealing candy from a baby."
  • Underwater and a Maple with a Name: Right after you make the choice and time passes underneath the tree: "We stay that way in the clearing until the angle of *the* sun..."
  • In Her Own Image: After the choices get made Nomiya asks Hisao if he's become friends with Rin and then says: "I can't remember all the buzzwords they spew at *the* faculty and Yamaku Foundation meetings..."
  • In Her Own Image: And again right after that: "I'm too soft with her, even when I shouldn't *be.*"
  • Six Meters Closer to Heaven: Right after Rin sneezes: "...so deciding that would be too *unladylike*..."
  • Six Meters Closer to Heaven: And right after that when she says she might be coming down with something: "Rin doesn't seem to be *too* bothered by eating,..."
  • Signal Interference: After Hisao steps inside Rin's room: "I think I've *forgotten* how to put a bra on by myself."
  • Signal Interference: After Hisao tells Rin, he's not going to be so pathetic: "...but you look sad like *you're* actually sad."
  • Signal Interference: And finally the very last line, after he leaves her room: "...I try to calm down my heart, *which is* racing like a jackrabbit."
  • Dandelions: After some time passes up on the hilltop: "I check my watch, more out of habit more than anything else," should be just: "I check my watch, more out of habit than anything else."
Act 3:
  • Self-Destruction: Right at the start it would be far smoother simply as: "...as I walk down the street *towards it.*"
  • Self-Destruction: After Rin says "I have to destroy myself" comes Hisao's reply: "Just *be to be* clear -" Obviously it's: "Just to be clear -"
  • Reverse Escapism: Right before Hisao and Rin decide to move on from the bench: "...but *now* we at least seem to be back to normal."
  • Reverse Escapism: And right after that: "The wee hours of *the* night..."
  • Boundless: If you ask Nomiya about what happened to him exactly: "...goodness, how long *has* it really been?"
  • Boundless: If you ask Nomiya if that's why he supports Rin, towards the end of it Sae says: "...my husband was a person without those limits, *a* unique individual."
  • Boundless: At the end of this last path (asking about supporting Rin), Sae is stated to be looking sadly or seriously while her drawn expression is a polite smile, then as she says she's going out for a smoke it changes into her serious expression. Shouldn't the order of her drawn expressions be viceversa? As Hisao says something that hurts her, she looks serious, then, as she politely excuses herself, she smiles politely.
  • Delirium: Right before Rin notices Hisao: "The deadlock solves itself, before I get a chance to think *of* what to do next."
  • Things You Hate: The wording of the choices here really doesn't fit all that well with what happens as a result of them. The "So explain" choice might indeed do so, but both of the other two choices boil down to the same thing - Hisao not wanting to take part in what he percieves as Rin hurting herself through her art. The wording is, however, more or less the same in both of them, other than a short section at the start that is different. It'd probably work better if with the "I need to understand" choice Hisao would say he doesn't want to take part in this any longer, because he needs at least some kind of a reason for putting up with it, whereas with the "It doesn't matter" choice he doesn't want to take part in this, because no matter what the reason for any of this is, the bottom line is that Rin is hurting herself by doing this and that's not right.
  • Things You Hate: There is, also, a notable difference between the "It doesn't matter" and the "I need to understand" choices when it comes to the music. In the former the music plays 'Shadow of the Truth' during Hisao laying it on the line to Rin whereas in the latter there is no music. I think the latter choice, of no music, works better with how flatly Rin says that 'It's fine' amidst the complete silence.
Act 4:
  • Wavelength: After Hisao makes his rounds around the school and winds up back in his room: "I've started to wonder wether these feelings really *are* love, or *if* I was just fooling myself."
  • Blue Period: After Hisao can't remember which painting used to be at the art gallery, Nomiya says: "It was lucky that she was *alright* despite that dizzy spell."
  • Problems of Self-Referrential Logic: After Rin goes silly/serious with: "Your pants are on fire," a bit later Hisao says back to her: "I don't...have any way to reach to you..." which should be just: "I don't...have any way to reach you..."
  • Raison d'etre: I'm kinda missing another seperate picture of Rin in Hisao's clumsy embrace in the art classroom. Seems like it would go much better with Hisao's thoughts, especially considering they both stay still in that position for a long time. But if there wasn't enough time or will, I understand.
  • Without Breathing, Without a Sound: After Rin sits down on Hisao's desk, he asks her: "I have a towel somewhere. Do you want dry clothes? Is *a* uniform fine?"
  • Without Breathing, Without a Sound: After the camera pans back upwards to Rin's face, as Hisao is already sucking on her: "She *comes* closer and closer to the moment of release..."
  • Without Breathing, Without a Sound: It's funny, but the way Rin's face is drawn in the second picture during the H-scene reminds me a bit moreso of Shizune.
  • Proof of Existence: Right after Hisao adjusts Rin's bra: "With her bra and breasts eventually 'fine' as they should *be,*..."
26 word and grammar issues
1 plot issue
2 art issues
3 directing issues



Favourite scenes:
-Six Meters Closer to Heaven
-Reverse Escapism
-Without Breathing, Without a Sound

Thoughts: I have next to nothing I'd like to share about this arc. Not because I want to be polite, but because of the following fact: If an arc, that turned out to have the largest amount of word and grammar issues by far, still happens to contain a story that, without any doubt in my mind, I consider to be my most favourite if for nothing else, then for the fact that it truly needed to be told...well then...I think it's clear I'm not the most impartial person to talk to when it comes to my opinions on that story, am I?

Still, in spite of the futility of saying this in the hopes of being understood, I will only say that every seriously aspiring and existing artist should go through all the paths in this arc at least once. And I'll leave it at that.


OVERALL:

Funny observation: "Anachronistic" - the word that stands out the most throughout most of KS. Funnily enough, since it pops up in every arc except Rin's and Emi's, I'm almost willing to bet this was a word loved moreso by the editors than the path writers.

Criticism: Being moreso experienced in the written word, than in visual endeavors, I found only tiny problems with the visual part of KS. There are moments here and there, where a slip-up or lost opportunity of the artists does jump out at me, but if I am perfectly honest I have seen that same frequency with many 'professional' works as well and it is not significant in any way that it would bother me. The same could be said of the direction. On occasion there are lost opportunities or opinions of what might've been handled smoother, but again considering the scale of this project I'd say it too was done quite expertly.

No complaints whatsoever about the animations or the music (having musical talent myself, I feel comfortable on stating such with the last part, if not completely with the first one). Mike Inel, NicolArmarfi and Blue123 - I salute you.

So it is unsurprising that the biggest issues I find are with the written word. Before going onwards, I have to say the editors still did a good job of it considering there were only three for something of this magnitude. Still, I notice a distrubing trend with every arc. It seems as if Act 2 of every arc *always* contains the largest number of typos or grammar errors (with only Hanako's arc being the exception, for which I understand also underwent a rewrite by Suriko during its process). I am uncertain as to why this is, but I am almost certain that it is a result of something slightly off with the editorial procedure.

As for the writers themselves, I found Hanako's and Emi's arc to be the smoothest, though this was no doubt helped by their shorter lengths when compared to the other arcs. The messiest were Lilly's and Rin's arcs (Lilly's arc mostly has grammar problems and fewer typos), again unsurprisingly and probably because of their sheer length, though Rin's arc containing twice as many issues as that of Lilly hints at something else as well. Also, Shizune's arc is fairly long, yet has a startlingly low amount of word and grammar issues that I've caught. Either I had not yet warmed up and wasn't in form with my first playthrough, or it truly does show a higher standard when it comes to words, even if the arc as a whole has twice as many plot issues instead.

Praise: I honestly don't know what to say that would be of value to you here. I suppose the best I can do is relate my own experience of KS as honestly as I can.

When I first heard of it, it was through pure luck moreso than anything else. I had no expectations of what was going to happen, not even the knowledge that Hisao would have a heart attack at the beginning. I just went with the flow of it all for as long as it intrigued me.

And that it certainly did. Even in Act 1 I could recognize so many of the thoughts I had about life in general pop up on the screen before me. Even then my interest flickered left and right as I progressed faster and faster each day. It's a good thing I had time off at the time, it really is.

By the time I had finished the first arc (Emi's) I was blown away and by the time I had finished the last (Rin's) I was things I can't or won't describe, prompting me to make a serious offer out of sheer impulse more than anything else. After a couple of weeks I had sorted through my feelings well enough to enjoy the summer in its splendor. At the beginning of August I finally came across these forums and began thinking on how I could contribute to this if not with money.

And the result is this. A criticism/review born out of 1 full month of careful and methodical examination...mixed with feelings I thought I would not feel as strongly again, but did.

So thank you for your 5 years 4LS. And I hope that this post here can express my thanks as properly as words can ever hope to.

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