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A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:37 am
by dewelar
Per Xanatos' suggestion, I am creating a new thread for this, a (somewhat) full accounting of my feelings on this game during my first playing of each character. Note: I have only played Good Endings, except where noted, and...yeah, I really don't care about 100% completion, and likely never will. So, taking my best shot at this. I've never written this kind of detailed review of anything before, because I've never been moved to do so until now.

I described Katawa Shoujo on another board as "near-pure win". I meant exactly that. I know these sentiments have probably been said a hundred or a thousand or more times before, but I have done my best not to read any of them so that I can bring you my unsullied..."feels", to use the community's chosen colloquialism. Below, I'm going to go through the Ladies of the Game in the order in which I discovered their arcs, and then...well, I haven't decided exactly what yet. Some of the details may be vague, but I'll be replaying each of these arcs over time, because every. single. one is worth experiencing again.

A few words. I don't consider myself a fan of anime, manga, or eroge as a rule. Or, perhaps, better to say WAS not. I've watched a few shows here and there. However, in the past few weeks, I've begun exploring visual novels and the intertwined bishoujo/ren'ai genres. I really don't know the language of the genres yet beyond general cultural osmosis of hanging out on the Internet. Thus, I qualify all of this by saying that, for the most part, it is ALL new to me. Mock me if you dare :) .

(Added after finishing the process of writing this: I originally thought I was going to write this over the course of days. I did it in less than two hours. Did I mention I was burning to write about this game? I think I did.)

=== IT BEGINS ===
I mentioned in another thread that when I first loaded the game, I determined to just go in and do what felt right. By that, I meant that I was going to go in backwards - rather than taking what I would do and mapping it onto the protagonist, I was going to do my best to figure out what I thought Hisao HIMSELF would do, based on what little information I had of him.

Of course, at what I felt was my first meaningful choice, I faltered at that strategy. I refer to the game of Risk. I have played Risk with friends and family many times, so I actually tried to picture the board and what I would do. I went with the defensive option, not realizing I was essentially washing myself out of an arc. Ah, well.

So, the next place that a choice seemed to matter, I was back in Hisao's head. I'm at the track, running with Emi, and thinking that this guy is wanting to test his limits. Exactly the opposite of what I'd probably do in the situation, I picked "Go for it", and wound up plunging straight into Emi's arc.

=== EMI ===
I enjoyed this arc SO MUCH. The fact that I pretty much knew which choices to make along the route without even having to think about it was a bonus. It meant I played through a full arc before having to worry about going back, which probably went a long way toward hooking me on the game. That, combined with what led me into the arc, means that I think this is the most NATURAL arc in the game. It all feels so organic to me. Every scene made SENSE. This will also be the first arc I replay, because I feel like I missed so much because of my approach. The ending just made me happy, period, but the details are a bit hazy now. I will say that I absolutely LOVED the scene in the track shed, and the aftermath. SO much fun, even if it was a bit longer than it might have been.

This was just damn good fun to experience, and fulfilling to boot. It will also be the one about which I have the least to say, for now. However, it also gave me good introductions to all the other girls, and a taste of what each of their arcs would be.

=== RIN ===
Having run through the game once, I then picked the girl I knew *I* wanted to get to know next. For me, it could only be Rin. I won't go too much into why, but I think mostly it was because I related to her most.

At first, the arc felt almost stagnant, with all of its long scenes of just...being. I am no longer used to that state of mind, so it was like having to put myself in the mind of my own past to be here. I LIVED this for a while (not going to get too personal yet), and at first it was difficult to put myself there again. It was difficult to the point that I biffed a couple of choices in the beginning and wound up on the roof with Kenji instead. As I went deeper, it became easier, more...for want of a better word, normal. I did find myself repeatedly being jarred by Hisao's inability to grasp where Rin's head was, because damn it, I KNEW. For those of you who know Heinlein, I GROKKED Rin.

When I reached the point where you're talking to the art teacher and, essentially, telling Rin to do the exhibition, I thought I'd biffed something again. I felt the darkness encroaching, and could do nothing to stop it. It was the first time I went to look at a walkthrough, just to see if I'd chosen poorly, but that wasn't it. I had to step away from the game for a while and consider how to approach it, and then a light bulb went on. Knowing what I knew of the character, the darkness WAS inevitable, at some point. It was just a question of getting to the other side in one piece, more or less.

Even so, this arc nearly broke me. The scene at the atelier where the two are sharing cigarettes was nearly too much, and then the later one where Rin's gone nearly past the point of no return...I kept having to get up and walk away and tell myself that I needed to get through this...not as a game, but FOR RIN. This game had officially crossed my own border into my reality here.

And then...damn, was the journey ever worth the prize at the end. The scene where Rin and the protagonist make love is just so...YES. For my (free) money, the best such scene in the whole game, as far as it feeling RIGHT. And the final scene on the hilltop was maybe even more perfect. After the darkness was the dawn, and the dawn was beautiful in more ways than I could count. THIS is what it's all about. Being at that point where you know you'll never quite know every single thing there is to know about another person, but at the same time realizing that this means that no matter how much time you'll have together, you'll always be on a journey of discovery. Like Rin, I feel like I need new words to describe this thing.

=== SHIZUNE ===
From the pinnacle to...well, not really the bottom of the trench, but at least several notches along the way down. I really expected to enjoy Shizune's arc a lot. I thought she was the prettiest girl in the game, and, honestly, her appearance pushes a lot of my buttons. After the emotional catharsis that I felt with Rin, I wanted to go completely orthogonal to that story anyway.

This route started off really, really well. I enjoyed the slow development of the relationship a lot, and I felt myself being drawn in. That said, even without knowing, I could tell something was off with Misha, and at times there were...needle scratches. Still, right through the second festival, things were going well. The character interplay was wondrous, and Shizune in her yutaka might be the most beautiful sight in the game. When she appeared, my heart melted. I'll admit it, I just sat there and stared for a few minutes before proceeding.

Then, things started to go awry. I know a lot of people are put off by the bondage sex scene. I was not, and am not. It was just so in-character, and who in their right mind could have resisted? Certainly not I. However, I absolutely HATE Jigoro with the fire of a thousand burning suns. By his second appearance, I could not tolerate his presence on the screen. It was ruining things for me. Liked Hideaki a lot, though, and this was also my introduction to Akira, who I think is a great character as well.

In the end, though, I think my biggest problem was that I felt like I was doing a bit of slogging. The lovemaking scene in the Student Council room, while beautiful in its own way, was a lot less enjoyable than I'd have liked, as was the general run of Misha's side story -- meaning the in-game side story, not her background story, which I thought was well done. And then...THAT ending. Despite Word of God, I really felt like that ending was a goodbye, maybe because, again, it reminded me of something in my own past.

All in all, very much a mixed bag. I loved Shizune herself, but felt like the arc could have been more satisfying.

=== HANAKO ===
This was the arc that filled me with both anticipation and dread. I was expecting another Arc of Darkness, but not the sheer depths (or depth) of Rin's arc. However, this arc turned that upside down. Next to Emi, this arc might have felt the most natural, and (blasphemy) the lightest, of the five. Oh, it's plenty dark, but it's not HARROWING like Rin's, but there's always a sense of optimism to it, which is missing from some others. THIS IS NOT A BAD THING.

I know this arc is kind of the favorite of the boards. I totally understand that, because it's very, very well written. The whole process of drawing Hanako out is lovely (although there's a caveat, which I'll get to later), and, as with Rin's arc, a few times I felt myself ready to box Hisao about the ears for being dense. The whole pool playing scene, particularly.

The mid-game, if you will, was surprisingly straightforward. I knew, as soon as Hisao (really having to resist saying "I", even though that's what I want to say) stepped into the antique shop, what the birthday present HAD to be, and I did a little dance when I was right, because damn it, I wanted Hanako to be happy! The subsequent picture of Hanako in her nightgown, holding her presents, with the look of sheer childlike joy on her face...if that doesn't move you, man, then you are made of 100% stone.

Then, there's the sex scene. I know it's intentionally uncomfortable, and thus bravo, but still...uncomfortable. It just didn't feel RIGHT at the time, but it SHOULDN'T. However, that's secondary to the sheer greatness that is the scene in the park where both characters just totally break down. The final scene, where the two finally are facing each other as equals, and Hanako kisses Hisao...that's what I consider the REAL beginning of their relationship. As presented, I think it's the one that has the best chance of actually turning into something permanent, and for me, that makes it the best ending scene in the game.

=== LILLY ===
Okay, I saved Lilly for last because, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I myself am legally blind. I have also been in a relationship with a girl who was totally blind, which lasted about a year. In other words, this was the one where I felt like I was going in with the lowest discovery potential. In fact, Lilly shares a number of qualities with my ex, and perhaps because of that the archetype is generally not a favorite of mine. And, from first-hand experience, the scenes that explore Lilly's blindness are very realistically presented, which was a very...pleasant feeling.

I would say that this character, and this arc, were in many ways what I expected, and thus feared, they would be. The fact that Hisao is so mind-numbingly passive in the arc until the very end was somewhat off-putting. The fact that I'd already gone through Hanako's arc, and it seems like she winds up better here than there (see earlier caveat) was similarly so. In fact, the same can be said of Shizune. It's maddening. And then the ending is such a cliche, which had been avoided so well throughout the rest of the game.

And yet, I still bought it, hook, line and sinker.

First of all, Lilly is a BEAUTIFUL girl. From the first sight of her in her pajamas in Hanako's route, I was a bit awestruck. The confession in the field is so touching, and the two lovemaking scenes at the country house that follow are great as well. But the best part is the blindfolded lovemaking scene. That just felt so real...and then they go and SPOIL IT with the heart issue. Without that bit, that scene might even outpoint Rin's as the best such scene in the game. Can't say for sure, because it never got there, but it had that potential. The build-up to the chase scene felt a little drawn out, as well. I think that's this arc in a nutshell: so many places where they almost got things right, only to fall just that little bit short. However, I did well up at the appearance of the music box at the end, and I did like the little epilogue, although that left me wondering why this arc got one and the others didn't.

Overall, Lilly's arc left me underwhelmed. It wasn't frustrating like Shizune's, but...well, I used the word "pleasant" above, and I think that describes it. It feels a bit like I was watching a classic movie rather than playing a game. There's nothing wrong with that, per se, but it just wasn't my cup of tea (pun entirely intended). But oh, what could have been...

As I said elsewhere, this is probably the best game of any genre I've ever played. No lie. I've seen some people who compare it to a favorite movie or novel that can be returned to again and again with no loss of emotional attachment, and I'd say that captures my feelings on it pretty well. In fact, my Emi replay has already begun, but this time I'm taking it much more slowly so that I can savor it. I will eventually return to each one. Rin will probably still be the hardest, and I'll have to have my head in a certain place to do it, but damn if I'm not already looking forward to it.

I'm not going to go into rating the individual arcs at this point, although you all can probably get an idea how it would fall anyway from what I've written above. I might do so later, but I might not. Right now, I just don't want to do that. It's still too...real. And maybe in the end that's the most important thing I can say about it.

Thanks for giving me a place to do this, and if any of the devs are reading...well, just thanks for adding to the beauty of the world.

Re: A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:19 pm
by EyesOfLilly
This was a good read, and I can understand some of things you mean in the routes Shizune's was frustrating for me but I'll go into that soon. Thanks for your input and it's good to hear peoples thoughts!

Now I think I'll do my own impressions since I never did this myself when I joined over a year ago.

I found this game through a video on youtube, an LPer I frequently watched at the time posted a video about this game and after watching it I was hooked on the story, I wanted to know more about Hisao and the presenting characters so I went and downloaded the game.

And from the second "Wiosna" started playing I knew it was going to be full of emotions and deep story telling, and thus I started the game and got to the part where the video I watched had ended.. and began to play the game myself and meeting all the unique characters and getting to know them along with Hisao and I was loving every second of it and my actions were based more on what I'd do and I ended up winding up with Emi a character who I wasn't really fond of at first but I stuck with my descision and continued onwards.

As I said I wasn't really a fan of Emi she seemed too cutesy and happy go lucky for my liking, however it turned out that Emi had her own problems as well as Hisao and the ongoing fight she had to keep this charade going made me think that not everyone is always as they seem the nicest, happiest person you know could very well be hurting on the inside..

And as I continued on with her arc, I started to feel more and more for Emi and when it got to the part where Emi reveals everything to Hisao, I began to respect Emi and I became attached to this girl. As she was the epitomy of "don't judge a book by the cover" although she seemed to be happy and that everything was swell she had some real issues and that moment where she let Hisao know everything really got to me, and she very quickly became one of my favourite girls in the game.

After the tidal wave of feels and tears that Emi's path brought on I decided to take on Lilly's path next, Lilly was my favourite the girl the moment I set my eyes on her, her long frilly blonde hair, her bright ocean blue eyes to her pale skin and her attitude was just heavenly I don't normally go for the posh upper class type I'm more of a tomboy kind of guy but Lilly was special she was just an awesome girl and I knew I would like her.

Now onto her path itself, Lilly's path very cliche'd but I absolutely loved it and the moment it introduced her elder sister Akira I knew it was going to be fun. For me Lilly's path was interesting infact I could quite easily say it was the sole reason I was addicted to Katawa Shoujo for a while afterall I managed to do Lilly's path in one sitting!! I really needed sleep afterwards haha, anyway back on topic! Lilly was an interesting character once it gets into it and I know nobody can fault the confession scene the feels that were to be had in that scene were too stronk ;~; I felt a very strong connection between myself, and Hisao and Lilly it felt as though I was there enjoying my time with them rather than playing from Hisao's point of view and the parts with Lilly and Hanako are just so damn heart wrenching haha..

However I really hated Lilly's troll good ending, because it doesn't really feel like a good ending at all the entire time I felt I had gotten the bad ending infact I was certain of it, but then in the second fade out and fade in you just hear the music box and I just died of feels right there it almost beat the confession scene but fell JUST short. then the Epilogue happened and I was surprised at first but it was a nice closure and I truly felt happy for both Lilly and Hisao and even Hanako.

After seeing her amazing development in Lilly's path I was eagre to see how Hanako would fair in her own, now originally I was gonna leave Hanako's for last because I wasn't a fan (HERESY :D)but Lilly's path really changed my views on her character which Idk why I hated her so much minus the obvious stuff Hanako actually reminds me alot of myself.

As for her path itself it had it's major ups and downs, for one thing I felt it was one of the slowest arcs in the game despite being the shortest time period and that really bugged me, however one part I really couldn't take seriously was the part where Hanako starts to tell Hisao her story the transitions to the badly drawn house and little Hanako killed me I couldn't stop laughing I hated myself for laughing so much but the little Hanako was just pure gold, it was supposed to be all tense and emotional but the pictures in crayon really ruined the mood for me. What did have me in real feels mode though was her good ending, the part where they both breakdown and Hisao just wraps his arms around her is probably the strongest moment in the whole arc and taught a good lesson. All in all I was really dissapointed how short it was and that it didn't go further.

Now here's one I was REALLY looking forward to, Shizune is one of my favourites and I couldn't wait to hear the backstory of Shizune and Misha too bad I wasn't at all prepared for what was in store for me.

Shizune's arc started really strong it had good, diverse events and conversation however not much character delevelopment and I was saddened by that. Then it got to where Hisao, Misha and Shizune go to her house which also started really well the scene where you go fishing with Shizune, Misha, Lilly, Akira and Hideaki was nice and very tranquil (plus I got to see Lilly and Akira again ^-^) but after that it really starts to go downhill, especially with the introduction of Jigoro the story started to go through somekind of downer there wasn't very much going on at all and when there was something going on it didn't last much, and not to mention still no character development ugh the closest thing to character development at this point is when Misha chops of her drills(R.I.P Shiina Mikado's drills 2012 - 2012)and even that end's up being moot after a while.

When the trio finally go back to Yamaku, things really start happening but the thing is at this point I was so bored that I just didn't care anymore even when things got interesting with the developments of Misha, the story had ruined itself by just being too dull and dragging too much. Eventually I got to the end and got Shizune's good ending while learning alot about their past (Misha with brown straight hair is actually pretty tasty, shame she likes Shizune :/) I didn't touch her arc much after that and I didn't get any sense of feels like the other three either.

Rin is an interesting one, she very weird and random maybe sometimes too random but that's why she's lovable, again like everyone else she has her dark/hidden side and feelings.

Rin's arc was as OP said very dark and touched on things not many people would think about or even go through themselves, Rin didn't seem like the kind of person to be the way she was inside which again goes back to the lesson that Emi's path teaches. This one didn't really give me feels per se, more of a knock to the head, a wake up call, because although I have never been in this kind of situation before it made me cautious of things like this happening in the future especially the part in the art gallery that was a real kick to the groin and the sections in the atelier.

I don't really have much to say, mostly because I can't really say anything this one left me kind of speechless, especially her bad ending, so I think I'll go onto the good ending. The good ending to this arc was awe inspiring, the way that Rin just stands on top of the hill is inspirational and adding that Rin is finally and truly happy is just icing on that very bittersweet chocolate cake and it may be a flavour I may dip into again in the near future.

Overall Katawa Shoujo really amazed me, it surprisingly good and no matter what it looks like on the outside will always be something of real value and importance, and I consider KS to be one of the most powerful stories I've ever had the pleasure of reading and thus will always have a dear place in my heart.

And no matter how long it's been as long as I continue to listen to the true masterpiece that is the soundtrack I will never lose the memory of this game or Lilly and all the other interesting, unique and powerful characters this game had.

Re: A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:01 pm
by dewelar
Thanks very much for sharing that, EyesOfLilly. I find it interesting we both started with Emi, and we both found our favorites on our second pass. I wonder how common that is. I left a fair bit out of my Rin section, too. God, how could I have left out the scene where he's peeling and feeding her the orange...really, the whole sequence of atelier scenes is just a series of kicks to the gut. I don't think I could handle actually viewing Rin's Bad Ending -- it's bad enough to know it exists, especially now after reading spoilers and KNOWING it exists rather than just lower-case knowing it exists...okay, rambling again.

I didn't want to say too much about Emi, but since posting a lot more detail has come back to me, even before getting too far on my replay. I'll just say that our experiences with her were similar, although I think I had a better impression of her going in than you did.

ETA: Regarding Jigoro...on further consideration I think the reason why I hate him so much is that, to me, he's the only character in the entire game that doesn't feel like a real person. Maybe there are people out there like that, I don't know, but he's just too far over the top for me to believe it. Sorry.

I never expected that, after playing a game and (for all intents and purposes) finishing it, I'd actually want to play it MORE a second time, but the more I talk about it and think about it, it's true (well, except maybe the Kenji ending -- I think I'll avoid revisiting that :) ).

Re: A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:15 pm
by Markus Ramikin
I'll just say that I laughed reading your reaction to Jigoro, because it's somewhat similar to mine. I only played Shizune's arc once because it was so unbelievably dull for me (I think the lack of any meaningful choices, or even any choices at all, for what I think was literally hours, really didn't help), but I remember like every time Jigoro was on the screen, I found myself thinking "OK, is he supposed to have mental problems?" Just couldn't take him seriously.

Re: A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:23 pm
by dewelar
Markus, we cross-posted there, and even about the same thing. See above for further thoughts on Jigoro. And yes, I agree that the second half of Shizune's arc is much too linear. Great character, terribly flawed arc.

Re: A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:32 pm
by metalangel
People like Jigoro exist. If you haven't met any yet, you're lucky, because they're usually drunk and scary.

Re: A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:45 pm
by dewelar
metalangel wrote:People like Jigoro exist. If you haven't met any yet, you're lucky, because they're usually drunk and scary.
*has epiphany*

Yes! I think my problem wasn't so much that he was like this, but more that there were no cues coming to me from the game that it wasn't just his normal, unaltered state. If I look at Jigoro as a raging alcoholic, that explains a lot. I have...experience with that, and yes, I could see...

Damn you, metalangel, for saving Shizune's arc for me. In hindsight, it really should have been blazingly obvious. It just makes too much sense not to be right. That was the missing piece of context I needed, and Shizune just slotted in behind Emi as my next replay, to see how it feels with that in place. I have a feeling my opinion will be much, much higher. Much love.

Re: A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:38 pm
by Markus Ramikin
You're grasping at straws, methinks. Hisao would have noticed if this were true.

Re: A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:54 pm
by dewelar
Markus Ramikin wrote:You're grasping at straws, methinks. Hisao would have noticed if this were true.
I don't deny the possibility. That's a big reason why I want to do a replay. It makes sense, but I have to know for myself if it's the right choice of lens.

Had I not lived with an alcoholic (my mother) for most of my life, I can't say I'd recognize it myself in someone I'd only met a handful of times. When she passed away, I talked with my friends about it, and most of them didn't see it either. IME, it can be very easy for that type of person to just be written off as "eccentric".

Re: A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:08 pm
by wazuzu
Well, I haven't posted that anywhere, so it's my turn I think.

I'll start from a beginning. It all began for me in form of ED article, which I wandered upon by hitting random page button.
It had everything you may think there could be, including butterflies and chocolate pictures of Rin and Hanako respectively. I was disgusted a bit, but nevertheless quite interested in that. Nowadays, that page is completely rewritten, but we do not forget etc.
Then, I read somewhere that Act 1 was released, and I went to the article to re-read it (Why? Don't ask, I don't know). I never actually was going to download it. And I never did.
But there was the day - January 4th 2012, when I stumbled upon KATAWA SHOUJO RELEASED thread. I was genuinely interested, but I was reading the thread without actually downloading the game. There weren't any spoilers, so it wasn't harmful for me - except that I continued to encounter "My feels after Katawa Shoujo" pics with manly tears and all them feels. Then I succumbed to it and downloaded the game. On my netbook, to take it to bedroom for comfy reads.

Act 1 confused me a lot, since I was doubting every choice I was going to make. I saved in every forking, I reloaded for no reason and I was reading and re-reading, and I WAS ALREADY GETTING FEELS. You know, them feels, looking at Hisao leaving hospital only to appear in another hospital that appears to have some school across the road.
My first excitement was when I encountered Misha. I totally fell for her annoyance and pinkness. Nevertheless, I made lots of choices that led me to my first walkthrough - the Emiest of them.

Emi's path was very confusing, because I felt that she looks like she's overreacting a bit. Yes, she looked cheery and bright, but it all felt like she was struggling. Maybe the way Emi was drawn influenced that feeling, but I started noticing I was actually right. I realised what happened to her right after it was stated by Emi's mom at the runs (Well, I guess almost everyone did, though I feel that I need to point that out anyway). It struck me down, because I lost my father at the age of 4. I was sympathizing Emi a lot, I even started to think that she gonna be my waifu, and then she went batshit insane. I made the wrong choice at Mutou's dialogue option, when he asks Hisao to have some of his time, and I totally messed up the scene at Emi's house. So, my first ending was Emi's bad one. And negative answer to Mutou (IIRC) erases the opportunity to fix anything at Ibarazaki's place.
After loading a game I finally understood that Emi's been getting through this every year for quite some time, and I gave her this time. I was deeply touched by her confession at the cemetery, you know, those little secrets that she kept to herself, this part of her soul, that was closed to everyone, even for her mother and her doctor. And conclusion was that Emi's route was the wifiest. She confessed to Hisao, she dated him, she kissed him, she slept with him, she shared a woe with him, she shared a secret with him, she shed a tear with him. You know, this amount of stuff going on in relationships indicates that it's quite serious. I was feeling very satisfied with Emi's path, though I was thinking she acted a bit stupid (well, she's a girl, they're from Venus, right?). And I went on. Emi's feels: very strong.

Next time I encountered Act 1 I was ready to face my choices. And I failed them all horribly. The only choice I got at the end, was Rin's. But I was thinking that hanging out with Rin shoudn't force me into Art club, and I refused Nomiya's invitation. My next ending, as you can already guess, was manly picnic. And I laughed out loud. Best bad ending ever. I never failed with so much gusto. And yes, I suspected Kenji in pushing me down. Asshole Kenji.

Next time I loaded, I faced Rin. That was the first time when I was thoroughly stunned. The Act 1 Rin's date. I cried. I actually sobbed a lot in Rin's route, but that was special. I never ever wished to be there with Rin like in that moment. Not only with Rin, but with any girl. This was the most empathic moment I faced there.
To think of it, I never associated myself with Hisao in Rin's route. It was difficult. He kept missing right words, hitting wrong instead. And when I face the choice between fail, fail and a fail - I am totally confused. I even started reloading again, and making other choices. I was almost physically touching her confusion, her spirits, her inspiration and her thoughts. I felt heavy grief 90% of the time I was reading Rin's path. And (not thinking bout poor Hisao) even my heart gave up and I raged on her in the studio (well, that was a misclick, but even after I clicked I accepted this path and decided to walk down it no matter where it will lead me. It led me to Game Over very quickly. Keep calm and carry on, Waz, keep calm and carry on). GG, bad ending.
I won't describe my feels when I faced her exhibition, her smoke, her masturbation and her confusion. I was just clicking down just to skip it, just to get to the ending, to the happy moment. And I faced her sex scene. It was most awkward sex scene I ever saw. Thanks to 4ls for making all sex scenes like this. And when I finally saw the dandelion scene, I thought I would just have a permanent feel trauma. It was so... so. It was so.
When I finally faced her true ending, I felt an urge to smoke. To start smoking (I do not). To smoke down a whole pack. I knew she gonna destroy herself, like Sayonji's husband. I knew that, and I could do nothing to fix it. I made my choice. I said my goodbye and it all went on.
It would be unnecessary to add that I had 10-minute walking pauses at every tense moment just to gather strength to move on. That was magic of Rin's path. Dark, vile, corrupting magic. Rin's path was the most enveloping story I ever read. I am very suppressed even now, and I might miss something or make a mistake, or anything. Epic feels.

My next route was Shizune's, since I liked Misha a lot, and I wanted to finally face her. And after excruciating Rin's route I needed a wahaha or two. Let Shizune's fans hate me for what I am going to say, but I wasn't impressed by Shizune at all, and I was going to click my way through just to see the ending. Well, I didn't.
Shizune's route didn't gave me excessive feels or anything. Instead, it showed me that Shizune is human too. She faces her disability as something heavily obstructive to her passion for doing things. She feels a need in Misha, yet she faces her feelings unable to turn her down properly, making her a silly pink-haired loudmouth girl everyone faced in Act 1. I was thoroughly confused by her relationships with Lilly. I completely ignored Jigoro, because he's just loudmouth. He isn't even threatening, more like annoying. And seeing her family totally ignoring her (how did she communicate with them before Misha? notebook? I'd go lemonshit insane just from this). But I wasn't impressed by her. It was more like compassion. Like patting her on her shoulder and saying "Bro".
Misha was other story. I never knew it was possible to seduce her, but I wasn't too stupid not to see where it gonna lead me when I faced the choice. Everything about that sex act was uncomfortable. I was thinking of some hot ass Hisao on Misha action and got girl spreading her legs for no reason and guy jamming it in for no reason either. Three worst sex scenes in the game include Emi's anal, Hanako's opening her heart and her pussy to Hisao, and Misha's COMFORTINGS.
Ending didn't make it any better, I faced stalemate in everything, and thinking "WTF, is that it?" I got the Yamaku Student Council picture. Weird? Totally.
Bad end was just downright awful. I was just feeling plain bad. Hisao fucked Misha, Misha went even more insane, Shizune skipped both of them just to sit there all alone with that silly fucking cat in the end. No bro.
No good feelings from her route. No Rinish misery either. Okay feels overall.

Thinking of leaving Lilly as my last route (my impression of her was like of a tastiest piece of cake, that one with the cherry on top), I picked Hanako as my next one. And here it comes again. Starting from overall awkwardness of Hanako's demeanor, going on with constant Lilly's motherly things, going even further when Hanako loses her cool about Hisao and Lilly treating her like a little baby, I can't even feel anything, but compassion. Because Hanako almost yells that she needs it, yet rejects it right away. I found her as more of a traumatized hikki. Since I don't really like hikkis, I wasn't impressed by her path at all - it was short, confusing, it ended abruptly and it left a bitter aftertaste of Hisao being a total retard.
Pressure-cooker with broken steam valve, filled with anger ending = kinda fine for me, if Hisao is this stupid, maybe he will understand his mistakes by being yelled at his face. And Hanako maybe feels little relieved once in a lifetime for speaking (crying) from her heart. Asshole Hisao. Fuck him. Best Hanako ending from Hanako endings.
Golden Dick Seducer Great Sexman Hisao Award good ending = it is the most abrupt one. Hanako finally shows her feelings to Hisao and they come to an agreement. That she won't go full bezerk mode, and Hisao in turn won't white-charge her. How is that a good ending? It should be an ending to Act 2 or 3, no more.
Well, anyway, screw that route, we got the scottish amazon route finally.

Lilly's route had multiple intersections with Shizune and Hanako routes. I found it as the most pleasing route to read, because almost no drama happens (We got forced drama in the end, though). But we got to get our feels from somewhere. And if Lilly's totally normal and self-conscious, Hanako's been recovering and everyone's okay, then everything is on Hisao, Le Grande Retarde. But first things first.
Lilly's route was very sophisticated. Moments when she tried to act casually and acted refined nevertheless are very charming. Her alcohol addiction and lightheadedness were disturbing, but there goes the first experience. Her Healthy Adolescent Sex Drive (1.5 Lillybyte in size) is adorable, her confession was really charming, but there goes Hisao, who forgets to take his medication.
Her doubt in talking to Hisao about her leaving and her final decision to go were kind of a stain on a snow-white bed sheet. I do not blame her for confusion, but she acted like an asshole (and Hisao acted like a lump of jelly, not that he could actually pull her hand, embrace her and say "Lilly, my Lilly, don't leave me! I love you and I won't be able to live without you!", which isn't a terribly hard thing to say IMO, but hevertheless, gawd, he was so inert).
The ending kinda sums it all, Lilly weighs down all times Hisao was honest and kind-hearted to her, thinks of Hisao and stumbles before exiting to the plane. Or she doesn't really think about him because of two small decisions, and boards the plane. Not very logical. Though, there werent any moments of choice in her route, which, as I remind you, was very calm and pleasant.
Many forumers wondered what if Hanako really liked Hisao before he was confessed by Lilly, and I think she actually thought of him as a boy, but never seriously faced the question, because she got no one to ask for advice, since both of her two friends Lilly and Hisao are involved. And after all Hanako wasn't an asshole (well, maybe a little well-hidden bit), and she gave them her blessings, stopping thinking of Hisao and putting an end to a disturbing question (which was more of a burden to her anyway).
So, thinking of Hanako's gains vs losses, Lilly's good ending is best ending Hanako could ever achieve.
Overall feels: equal to Emi's feels +1 for Hanako, -1 for Hisao, +1 for music box & epilogue, which makes it slightly higher than Emi's.

To sum it up, Katawa Shoujo was a very disturbing and diverse experience. It touched so many different strings of my soul, much more than any other piece of art. I want to thank 4ls for all their efforts and give them another +1 to their universal karma.
Thanks also goes to anyone who will for any reason read this.

Re: A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:52 pm
by dewelar
Wazuzu, thanks for that post. I got a little lost here and there where you slipped into what I now inwardly call "board speak", but I got the gist, and good it's good to meet a fellow-Rin-feeler, if you will.

ETA: Not sure how I feel about this getting moved to the Feedback forum. It was only tangentially meant as such. Its primary purpose was to share my thoughts with the community, and to me it kind of feels buried here. Maybe an explanation is in order?

Re: A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:13 pm
by wazuzu
Thanks, I enjoyed your post too. I was going to post about my impressions here, even if I knew no one cared about them, it was important just to let the excess steam out of pressure-cooker (I like this analogy). Your post inspired me to do it.
And sorry for the chan speak, but I've been learning English mainly through osmosis, and I've been hanging around chanspeakers a lot.

Re: A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:47 pm
by Oddball
I'm going to be honest, there were quite a few times I couldn't understand what you were trying to say.
wazuzu wrote: And sorry for the chan speak, but I've been learning English mainly through osmosis, and I've been hanging around chanspeakers a lot.
You poor thing.

Re: A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:55 pm
by wazuzu
Oddball wrote:I'm going to be honest, there were quite a few times I couldn't understand what you were trying to say.
That's totally okay. I do not always can express my thoughts as they are in my head. Limited expression methods in general and dictionary in particular. And it's little matter if someone doesn't read this. What matters is that I wrote it.
Oddball wrote:You poor thing.
Can't help it, they are everywhere. In my country at least.

Re: A newcomer's thoughts on Katawa Shoujo

Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:36 pm
by dewelar
wazuzu wrote:And it's little matter if someone doesn't read this. What matters is that I wrote it.
Truer words were never spoken.