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I was perplex...

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:23 am
by Zhein
.. Well, at least when I started this game.

I was playing Agarest (yeah, steam got me :/) and with the VN part of the game, I wanted to play a real VN -not that I've played many of them. And I found Katawa Shoujo, well, by pure luck, while reading /b/.
Reading the pitch of the game, i was perplex and doubtful, thinking that would be some creepy game for freaks (and with /b/ just throwing praises at it... well, let's just say I don't value very much the opinion of /b/)

I started the game with a little apprehension, not sure about it. I can't tell when I started to play, something around 21, but i know when i finished : It was 5 in the morning, and I've played it straight until I finished the first route I went in. I don't know how to express how I felt, a mixture of sadness and happiness at the same time, and I was really impressed by how you guys managed to create a story in a school for disabled, and not being weird or creepy or gross or whatever. So first of all, I want to congratulate the writing team for that. I'm sure your hear that a lot, but still.

Well, my first play through went with Emi. That's a wonderful story, and Emi puts me to shame for being so much out of form myself :D but what mostly impressed me about Emi or what I saw of the game at the moment is that the characters are not cliché. It felt like... I don't know. Like Emi isn't just a character in a game, like she's somehow real. Or at least, that she could be real. As if there is a real Emi somewhere, just the same. The girls are not some random traits put together that you can identify instantly like "the tsundere" or "the Moe", instead they feel like real persons. And more importantly, I didn't felt like Emi was defined by her disability. She has her own personality, and that's wonderfull.
Through Emi's story I was really getting attached to her, even if it's just a character. The story is extremely well written, funny at times, sad at other moments, but everything felt like... natural ? I went through the story and nothing ever felt out of place or forced to me. And the scene at the last scene, at the graveyard, that was probably the most perfect scene of her story.

Then, i went through Hanako's story. And well... I was moved by it. The words here are not enough for me, because it really touched me. On a personal level. So my comments on this story will be very personal.
I had a somewhat similar childhood; not exactly the same, and not to the same extent but still. I lost a parent (my mother) when I was 6, and when part of your family blames you for it (hell, even know I've grown more than 20 years older, I still don't get how you can blame a 6 years old child for his mother's cancer, but they still managed to do it) it's really hard to go on living without self loathing. Other children can't even possibly understand how you feel, and you're suddenly the black ship. Let me just say that your scars don't have to be visible for other to treat you like some freak. You're different, that's enough for hate and laughter. Even those you thought were your friends. "All the scars are on the inside", to quote Blue Oyster Cult. So I shut my self to the outsiders (well, at least I managed small talk, lies and improvisation, to be left alone without question). I read books and stories, I love chess. I grew to learn to love games that you play alone. Hell, when she just walks on the black tiles on the floor, I do exactly that, every time i'm alone, for more than 20 years now, and other stupid rules, like "don't walk on the lines". I guess in 30 years I'll keep doing it :D
It's not really hard to guess why I felt related to her.
I don't know. I wanted her to open up, to tell me her story. I wanted to lift this burden from her shoulders, to tell her that she's not alone. It took me years to manage to talk to someone about it. And I knew she had to talk about it, but when your life is like that, you trust no one. You can't talk to anyone. I had the same thoughts for years.
The look she had when she received her present was so heart-warming, I was so happy for her. And when she revealed her scars, I just knew how much courage she had to do that, to tell her story. And I wanted to smack Hisao on the face for not telling her he loved her.
In the end, I was happy they managed to find each other, so she could at least live. Not live normally, that's just plain impossible, but live and be happy. Just stopped from being that much shut from the outside world.
Her story felt so real, and fulfilling. My congratulations to the one who wrote this story. And my thanks. You managed to make Hanako so real, that as long as I kept reading, I didn't even considered as anything else than real. She was real, and she kind of still is. At least for me.

I've not played yet the other stories, but after finishing Hanako's... Well, I just had to say thank you.

Re: I was perplex...

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:12 pm
by sanduba
Almost everyone I know went Emi first... Her route is the easiest to get into.
Nurse says "go exercise or you'll die" so I guess it's natural.

Now, did you play the entire Hanako route? Her bad end is sort of... Heart breaker...

Re: I was perplex...

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:11 pm
by Zhein
Yep, I did the "bad end". That was predictable, trying to push her out of her limits is really a bad idea, and yes, it was heart breaking.

Re: I was perplex...

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:35 pm
by sanduba
You should totally do Rin route now.

Re: I was perplex...

Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:25 am
by Zhein
Ok i've finished all the routes.

My Feedback on the other 3 :

Rin. The story is awesome, and I felt like Hisao, not being able to get what was going on most of the time. The cycle of creation/destruction is wonderfully rendered, her difficulties for communication, well everything about this arc, is somehow right. Playing through it I was as confused as her I think. I loved how the story went.
I loved the scenes at the atelier, feeling the darkness coming in and not being able to stop it. How could I ? It told her to go for it, how can I know stop her now ? She can't even stop herself.
This arc confirms that the characters in this game are not cliché, Rin personality is well thought.

Lilly : This story is a little more classic than the others, in a sense. The 3 way relation with Hanako, it felt exactly like described in the country house : a family, but i felt it already for some time.
Every details about Lilly are awesomely described, how she lives her life without sight, but also how she lives her life alone, without a family, creating a new one with Hisao and Hanako.
The ending was a little cliché, but I don't mind. In fact, that was exactly what I was waiting for in the end. I even wanted to smack him for not running earlier after her :D I think the best part of the story is just at the end. When you hear the musicbox. And I loved the confession in the field, it was very touching.

Shizune : I don't know exactly why I kept this story for the last one. Maybe I was not really interested in her, I can't tell.
And now that I finished it, this is my least favorite arc. First, because it's the only arc where his heart condition doesn't seem to affect him. In every other arc it plays a role, it's the motive for him to run with Emi, it's his scar that prevents him to get to close to Hanako, it's his weakness that makes Lilly worry endlessly for him. Here, it's just something that exist, but that does't have any importance to the story, like it was just being placed for them to meet in this school. Starting act 2, it barely exist. It's just mentioned from time to time, so we remember it, but it's somehow out of place.
The rest of the story felt the same way, everything happens so fast, yet so slow at the same time but it's just there for the story to unwind, a little bit unnatural. Misha's depression, all of the sudden wanting to have sex with ? And how it's solved ? The girl is talking about killing herself, but a one hour talk in a tea shop and everything is back to normal. I know that Shizune's arc is supposed to be more like "Shizune and Misha's arc". Or maybe it's not supposed to be it and it's just some side stroy to the arc.
The story is not bad (I still played through it in one go) but it could have been better. Maybe I should not have played it last, I wouldn't have noticed how his heart condition plays so little. It's also the only arc that i felt like Shizune's personality was created through her disability.

If I should rate the stories, my favorite will be Hanako's for obvious reasons I've explained earlier, because it felt personal and everything. I still can't properly describe how it touched me, and that's a good thing ! Then, I place Emi and Rin, both stories are very emotional and natural, and they felt very real. Just a little bit behind, Lilly's story, because of the classicism of it, but it has nothing short in quality compared to the others. And Shizune and Misha would be my least favorite as I said.
But every story is good in its own way. I want to congratulate the team for this wonderfull game.
Now, I'll try to make others play it :D

Re: I was perplex...

Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:34 pm
by sanduba
Emi is ok, but I get mad at her because... DAMN EMI OPEN UP TO ME AAAAAAAAHHHH

Re: I was perplex...

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:50 pm
by pandaphil
sanduba wrote:Emi is ok, but I get mad at her because... DAMN EMI OPEN UP TO ME AAAAAAAAHHHH

Yeah, but thats the goal of her arc isn't it? Though when you think about it, getting them to open up is the main challenge with all the girls.

Re: I was perplex...

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:23 pm
by sanduba
pandaphil wrote:Yeah, but thats the goal of her arc isn't it? Though when you think about it, getting them to open up is the main challenge with all the girls.
If I were Hisao I'd just give up and not press the issue. I never try hard.