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Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E



Sometime in January 2007, somebody posted this image on 4Chan’s /a/ board:



Taken from the last page of a porn manga and translated into English, it laid out a hypothetical dating sim about girls with physical disabilities, complete with a title containing a rather nasty (if somewhat outdated) slur. It caught fire, sparking immense interest and discussion before a group of writers, programmers, and artists formed Four Leaf Studios to produce the visual novel. In 2009, they released the first act of a projected five as a demo before retreating back to their basements to pull the rest of the game together.

In January 4, 2012, a group of 4Channers released a visual novel where the main character romances his pick of five disabled girls, complete with sex scenes.

Oh. Oh God.

Makes your junk just shrivel up and pull back into your abdominal cavity, doesn’t it? It sounds like a complete nightmare. But it wasn’t. It got to the point where mainstream gaming media started reviewing it because the buzz around it was so positive. The writing is intelligent, sensitive, sharp, and often incisive. The main character isn’t just a blank slate or audience surrogate, but a person with agency, opinions, and deep flaws that shape the narrative, flaws the other characters don’t hesitate to call out. The cast is rich and vibrant, full with characters with their own desires, beliefs, and insecurities and who have real chemistry with each other; as over-the-top as they can be, every single character has hidden depths. And the way it represents disability? It portrays it as a part of someone – not their defining characteristic, not a little quirk in the background, but something that is at once always present and only one part of their life. And that’s what activists have been pushing for for many, many years. Katawa Shoujo may be the single best piece of disability representation to reach any kind of mass-market.

And I say that as someone who does that professionally.

… What?

I’m Falconier111, and while I do a bunch of things, in my day job I work in strengthening and expanding the diversity program of a major corporation, specifically the People With Disabilities workstream. In fairness, I work on the Neurodiversity side of the program, so my experiences are (while comparable) ultimately pretty different. But I also have a physical disability and I’m working with the other side of the program as it gets on its feet, so I’m at least somewhat qualified to speak on the subject.

So… What does that mean for the LP?

This will be a relatively conventional screenshot LP, but with a twist: every few updates, I’ll upload a short essay on some aspect of disability advocacy or just what it’s like to be us, usually connected to the previous update in some way. These essays won’t be required reading and you can enjoy the LP without touching them, but I fancy myself a good writer and I guarantee I have things to say you’ve never heard before.

Wait, you mentioned sex scenes.

This game does have sex scenes. Out of curiosity, I’ve played through them. They show the same amount of sensitivity and skill the rest of the game does. They are, however, optional and not essential to the plot, so I’ll be turning them off.

Any formatting notes?

Standard screenshot LP procedure for the most part. All dialogue will come after the character’s portrait (or their bolded name if they don’t have one); spoken dialogue will be written in plaintext and thoughts will be written in italics. Any plaintext not attached to a portrait is copied straight out of the game; any italics not attached to a portrait is my commentary.

Oh, remember how I mentioned I have a physical disability? A few years ago I badly damaged the tendons in my arms. While I can still type as fast as I always have, typing for extended periods leaves me in debilitating pain. I get around this with dictation software and equipment, and while I now write faster than I ever have, that software does occasionally pick up the wrong word. If you see any ambiguities or misplaced words, those probably shouldn’t be there. I’d appreciate it if you let me know when you spot them.

How about thread rules?

Aside from general forum rules, I’ve got two:

No spoilers. I know this game is almost a decade old and free to download, but watching the plot and characters develop is the whole point of. Telling people what’s going to happen next, even hinting at it, lessens the impact and detracts from the experience. Normally I’m not too uptight about spoilers, but I’m going to be pretty emphatic about this. I won’t report your post if you say something that might vaguely be construed as a spoiler, but please do keep it in line. Discussing stuff we’ve already seen on-screen and disability in general, though, is encouraged.

Don’t be a dick. This will be the fourth LP I’ve had a hand in running, and I have yet to see anybody show up to spoil other people’s fun. I’m not seriously anticipating somebody breaking that pattern. But disability is a topic both rife with landmines and which desperately needs talking about. In general, just don’t make an rear end of yourself, but here are a few simple guidelines you might want to look over:
  • Not everybody has the same life experiences or outlook. Different people take different approaches to different topics, and just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean they’re out to get you. On the flipside, not all opinions are equally true, and sometimes you don’t realize just how many flawed assumptions your opinion is based on. If someone tells you you’re wrong, that doesn’t mean it’s an insult – sure, it’s possible they could’ve phrased it more diplomatically, but being more polite doesn’t make someone more right. Keep an open mind.
  • Assume the best of intentions, but remember the road to hell is paved with those things. I constantly run into people in my job who genuinely want to do everything they can to help us – and they have no idea how much damage they’re doing. Try not to assume people are out to attack you, because retaliating is just gonna piss them off, but push back if you see something or . We fold way too much already.
  • If everyone is telling you to stop, stop, even if you’re right. Dying on hills won’t do anyone any favors, and being wrong isn’t a moral judgment. Stay flexible.
Do I think any of this will be necessary? Nah. As far as I can tell goons are actually pretty good at this. But these discussions can and do suddenly spiral out of control, often is not due to some minor misunderstanding or miscommunication. I’d rather avoid that.

And speaking of communication, a word on language. I’m going to be talking about “disabled people” instead of, say, “people with disabilities”. The world is crawling with different ways to refer to disability, some better than others, and all of them have diehard supporters, but I’ll probably spend more time on this in the first discussion update. Just keep that in mind.

Why do you just restate the text in every screenshot like that?

Accessibility. People use screenreaders and those can’t read the text in images, after all! Making an LP about disability acceptance without accomodation measures would be the height of hypocrisy which is why it’s so embarrassing it took me a couple updates to implement it .

This OP is colossal.

I know! And it’s about to get a little longer, because I need some votes! first of all, I need some advice on pacing. If you followed any of my other screenshot LPs, you know I post like lightning, like, I can pump out 1500 words plus images and editing a day sometimes. Since I have access to a full transcript, I’ll be able to write even faster, as most of the text is going to be copy pasted anyway. But that’s a shitload of text to dump on people, and I’ve noticed it can suppress conversation sometimes. So I need your advice:
  • Once every 1-2 days. It’ll come fast and furious. Disability corner posts will probably be less frequent, maybe one every four or five regular updates.
  • Once every 2-4 days. A little easier to digest and much easier to discuss. Disability corner posts will probably come more often, maybe one every three regular updates. Depending on how things go, I may also start up an extremely lightweight LP or Fatal and Friends review or something to soak up extra time.
The first few updates will go up quickly, mostly because I have the time right now.

I also need to know whose route I should do first; take a look at the second post to get a handle on the characters in question. Vote for either Lilly, Shizune, or Emi; I’m reserving Rin and Hanako (Misha doesn’t have a route) for future votes for thematic reasons that I’ll get into later. While I’ll probably take a break after the second route we cover to gather my wits and do something else, I plan on getting the true ending for all five but not the neutral or bad endings; I encourage you to play the game for yourself if you want to see those.

Remember to bold your votes. Vote closes in 48 hours!


Emi's up first! Also, I update every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.


Emi's Route

Act 1
Update 1: Out Cold
Update 2: Gateway Effect
Update 3: In the Nursery
Update 4: Nobody's Room
Disability Corner: Naming
Update 5: Risk vs. Reward
Update 6: Pseudo Tea Cosy
Update 7: Shared Library
Update 8: Short Sharp Shock
Update 9: Private Lunch
Update 10: The Other Green
Disability Corner: Euphemisms
Update 11: The Running Girl

Falconier111 fucked around with this message at 22:25 on Jun 7, 2021

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Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E

CAST LIST

Main Characters:



HISAO NAKAI: “Troubled over his months-long stay at the hospital after his heart almost gave out and trying to adjust to his new surroundings, he is trying hard to find his place in the world. After being thrown into a new beginning, the chaotic circumstances have forced Hisao to rethink his apathetic disposition, especially regarding things like life, friendship, and his own future.” — Official Description



EMI IBARAZAKI: "Despite being left with legs amputated below the knee, Emi is perhaps one of the most cheery, happy-go-lucky girls on the entire globe, let alone the school. Not one to be left in despair even after the accident that claimed her legs, Emi views her disability more as a blessing, her prosthetic legs having brought her to the heights of her ability on the track team rather than becoming a permanent obstacle." — Official Description



HANAKO IZEKAWA: "At a young age, Hanako Ikezawa had a traumatic experience that left her life in shambles. Her parents died when their home burned down in an accident, which also disfigured Hanako permanently and leaving her in an orphanage. She is extremely shy, shunning from most other people to the point of actually panicking from any social contact. Her only trusted schoolmate is Lilly Satou, who has taken Hanako under her wing ever since the two were introduced to each other." — Official Description



LILLY SATOU: "Blind since birth, Lilly is caring, responsible and friendly - the perfect foil to Hanako, her best friend, whom she shares an almost mother-daughter relationship with, in addition to their free time often being spent drinking tea. In class she is a diligent student, with her sense of confidence serving her well in her role as class representative of class 3-2." — Official Description



RIN TEZUKA: "Since Rin’s arms are tiny stumps due to a severe birth defect and subsequent surgery, she uses her feet and occasionally her mouth to do everything, which includes painting. Because of her disability, using skirts is tough, so Rin is wearing a boy's uniform at school. Her creativity is matched by her philosophical streak: Rin is fond of occasionally getting lost in thought and giving voice to abstract ideas about man, the universe, and other things that thoroughly confuse people" — Official Description



SHIZUNE HAKAMICHI: "Strong willed and forceful, Shizune is definitely the leader type. She’s been the class rep, despite being deaf and mute, for as long as her class has had one, and generally takes charge in just about any situation she’s placed in. Shizune is known around the school as a fearsome taskmaster, and skilled manipulator, but also as a fair and just leader." — Official Description



SHIINA “MISHA” MIKADO: "Misha is the interpreter for Shizune and a fellow member of the student council. Cheery, playful, and never one to pull a punch, she happily joins in Shizune's attempts to get Hisao onto the student council." — Official Description



Other Characters:



KENJI SETOU: "Borderline hikkikomori, Kenji likes to spend a lot of time in his room, planning for whatever the radical feminist movement's next move may be. He is leery of the instant attraction that Hisao seems to have brought upon himself, but nonetheless very pleased to finally have a hallmate. " — Official Description



AKIO MUTOU: "Both homeroom and science teacher of 3-3, and just as much out of touch with his class as he is out of touch with reality. Probably born to be a teacher (no matter how much his students disagree), his greatest skill is the ability to ignore irrelevant things completely (no matter how much anyone who wishes he'd remember their names disagrees)." — Official Description



NURSE: "The chief of the nurse staff of Yamaku, and a surprisingly young person for someone in his position. He is a funny and jovial guy, always good for a laugh and well liked by students. Nonetheless, he has a heart of pure gold and he is very passionate and serious about his job." — Official Description



YUUKO SHIRAKAWA: "Yuuko has serious problems with managing her life, which makes her the perfect person to ask for help to manage one's own. She funds her university studies by working part time at a popular cafe. The lengths she goes to avoid being fired for her natural clumsiness bewilder other people, along with her neurotic attention to detail and frequent streaks of depression." — Official Description



OUR STORIES

Those of us who have disabilities are used to being talked over and ignored, even by those trying to help us. That sucks. I can’t hope to fix that on my own, but I can give a voice to goons with something valuable to say; I won't guarantee everything in this thread will show up here, but I do want to commemorate personal experiences that would otherwise be lost. That’s what this section is for. And yes, even if you think your story isn't interesting or somebody's already said everything you want to say, you ought to have your voice heard. Us thinking we don't have anything to contribute is kind of the problem

Quick note for context: Neurodiverse or Neurodivergent/ND describes people whose minds work differently from what society considers normal (autism, ADHD, PTSD, bipolar, etc.) and Neurotypical/NT refers to people with “typical” thought processes as defined by society. It’s a big deal in disability activism.


ACROSS CULTURES

Ghost Car briefly discusses how the American and Japanese school systems place disabled students differently, with pros and cons.
Ghost Car describes how and why students get transferred into special-needs schools.


BLINDNESS

BurningBeard talks about blind culture, touching on everything from employment to group identity to getting smashed while having lovely texmex.
BurningBeard discusses the National Federation of the Blind, their views on flexibility, and how they compare to Dark Souls players.


DEAFNESS

Sketchie briefs us on who you look at when talking to a deaf person through an interpreter – look at them, but keep the interpreter in your field of vision.
Marluxia gives us a brief rundown on how Deaf people refer to themselves.
Marluxia talks about Deaf culture, American Sign Language, and the nature of the Deaf community.


GAME COMMENTARY

Psycho Lawnmower describes how on-the-ball Nurse’s behavior in Update 10 was when it comes to balancing offering support and preserving agency.
Psycho Lawnmower critiques the Nurse losing his temper and the potential ramifications…
… And how Mutou handled it better.


SCHOOL LIFE

EclecticTastes talks about their experience with special education, especially with other students thought of them.
Chicken Thumbs discusses their experience with an ad-hoc special ed program.
Violet_Sky remembers the year she spent in a special school.
DelilahFlowers talks about their (at least mostly) positive experiences in a special education class.


ORDINARY LIFE

clockwork chaos shows what life's like for someone with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Narcolepsy with Cataplexy.


SOCIAL INTERACTION
Nidoking shows just how bizarre and exhausting neurotypical social behaviors are from an autistic perspective, plus reflections on where they struggle on their end.
Haifisch builds on that by discussing the paradox of clarity being seen as insulting.
clockwork chaos discusses how strangers harrassing them for using a wheelchair while not meeting the stereotype of what wheelchair-bound people look like forces them to walk around in constant pain.
Nidoking examines what it's like when non-autistic people lie to them to spare their feelings, how that invariably fails to do so, the impact that tendency has on the workplace in general, how people just don't seem to care, and what it does to their psyche.

Falconier111 fucked around with this message at 20:25 on Jun 14, 2021

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E

Update 1: Out Cold

Katawa Shoujo OST – Wiosna

This game’s soundtrack is really, really good; it’s entirely original, composed just for the game. Expect to see music links every time the current track changes.



Like many visual novels, KS packs all kinds of stuff into the Extras; any art, cinematics, and music tracks you see in game can be revisited here, plus concept art and other bonuses. We won’t be spending much time there, though; we have a game to play.


Katawa Shoujo OST - Lullaby of Open Eyes

A light breeze causes the naked branches overhead to rattle like wooden windchimes. This is a popular retreat for couples in the summer. The deciduous trees provide a beautiful green canopy, far out of sight of teachers and fellow students. But now, in late winter, it feels like I'm standing under a pile of kindling. I breathe into my cupped hands and rub them together furiously to prevent them from numbing in this cold.



: "Just how long am I expected to wait out here, anyway? I'm sure the note said 4:00 PM."

Ah yes... the note... slipped between the pages of my math book while I wasn't looking. As far as clichés go, I'm more a fan of the letter-in-the-locker, but at least this way shows a bit of initiative. As I ponder the meaning of the note, the snowfall gradually thickens. The snowflakes silently falling from the white-painted sky are the only sign of time passing in this stagnant world. Their slow descent upon the frozen forest makes it seem like time has slowed to a crawl. The rustling of dry snow underfoot startles me, interrupting the quiet mood. Someone is approaching me from behind.



Iwanako: "Hi... Hisao? You came?"

A hesitating, barely audible question. However, I recognize the owner of that dainty voice instantly. I feel my heart skip a beat. It's a voice I've listened to hundreds of times, but never as more than an eavesdropper to a conversation. I turn to face this voice, the voice of my dreams, and my heart begins to race...



"Iwanako? I got a note telling me to wait here... it was yours?"

Dammit. I spent all afternoon trying to come up with a good line and that was the result. Pathetic.

Iwanako: Ahmm... yes. I asked a friend to give you that note... I'm so glad you got it.

A shy, joyous smile that makes me so tense I couldn't move a single muscle even if I tried.



My heart is pounding now, as if it were trying to burst out from my chest and claim this girl for itself.

So... ah... here we are. Out in the cold...

Once again, the wind stirs up the branches. The cacophonous noise is music to my ears. Iwanako flinches ever so softly against the gust of wind. As it passes, she rights herself, as if supported by some new confidence. Her eyes lock with mine and she lazily twirls her long, dark hair around her finger. All the while, the anxious beating of my heart grows louder. My throat is tight; I doubt I could even force a word out if I tried.

Iwanako: You see... ...I wanted to know... ...if you'd go out with me...

I stand there, motionless, save for my pounding heart. I want to say something in reply, but my vocal cords feel like they've been stretched beyond the breaking point.

Katawa Shoujo OST - Cold Iron

Iwanako: ... Hisao?



I reach up to try to massage my throat, but this only sends spikes of blinding pain along my arms

Iwanako: ... Hisao?!

My whole body freezes, save for my eyes, which shoot open in terror.

Silence



Iwanako: HISAO!

The beating in my chest suddenly stops, and I go weak at the knees.



The world around me - the canopy of bare branches, the dull winter sky, Iwanako running towards me - all these fade to black. The last things I remember before slipping away are the sounds of Iwanako screaming for help and the incessant clatter of the branches above...

Katawa Shoujo OST - Damage – Extended







Four Leaf Studios included 24 people at its peak, all divided into teams that worked collaboratively on different areas; for instance, each of the five writers handled a different route but three of them cowrote the first part and all of them proofread, while lots of the art saw multiple passes by multiple artists. This was not a small, casual project.





Katawa Shoujo OST - Caged Heart



It's been four months since my heart attack. Four months is a pretty long time when you're left alone with your thoughts. So, I've had plenty of time to come to terms with my situation.

Arrhythmia. A strange word. A foreign, alien one. One that you don't want to be in the same room with. A rare condition. It causes the heart to act erratically and occasionally beat way too fast. It can be fatal. Apparently, I've had it for a long time. They said it was a miracle that I was able to go on so long without anything happening. Is that really a miracle? I guess it was supposed to make me feel better, more appreciative of my life. It really didn't do anything to cheer me up. My parents, I think, were hit harder by the news than I was. They practically had two hemorrhages apiece. I had already had a full day by then to digest everything. To them, it was all fresh. They were even willing to sell our house in order to pay for a cure.

Of course there isn't a cure.

Because of the late discovery of this... condition, I've had to stay at the hospital, to recuperate from the treatments. When I was first admitted, it felt as if I was missed... For about a week, my room in the ward was full of flowers, balloons and cards. But, the visitors soon dwindled and all the get-well gifts began trickling down to nothing shortly after. I realized that the only reason I had gotten so many cards and flowers was because sending me their sympathy had been turned into a class project. Maybe some people were genuinely concerned, but I doubt it. Even in the beginning, I barely had visitors. By the end of the first month, only my parents came by on a regular basis. Iwanako was the last to stop visiting. After six weeks, I never saw her again. We never had that much to talk about when she visited, anyway. We didn't touch the subject that was between us on that snowy day ever again.

The hospital? It's not really a place I'd like to live in. The doctors and nurses feel so impersonal and faceless. I guess it's because they are in a hurry and they have a million other patients waiting for them, but it makes me feel uncomfortable. For the first month or so, I asked the head cardiologist every time I saw him for a rough estimate of when I'd be able to leave. He never answered anything in a straightforward way, but told me to wait and see if the treatment and surgeries worked. So, I idly observed the scar that those surgeries had left on my chest slowly change its appearance over time, thinking of it as some kind of an omen. I still ask the head cardiologist about leaving, but my expectations are low enough now that I'm not disappointed any more when I don't get a reply. The way he shuffles around the answer shows that there is at least some hope.

At some point I stopped watching TV. I don't know why, I just did. Maybe it was the wrong kind of escapism for my situation. I started reading instead. There was a small "library" at the hospital, although it was more like a storeroom for books. I began working my way through it, one small stack at a time. After consuming them, I would go back for more. I found that I liked reading and I think I even became a bit addicted. I started feeling naked without a book in my hands. But I loved the stories.



That was what my life was like. The days became increasingly harder to distinguish from each other, differing only by the book I was reading and the weather outside. It felt like time blurred into some kind of gooey mess I was trapped inside, instead of moving within. A week could go by without me really noticing it. Sometimes, I'd pause in realization that I didn't know what day of the week it was. But other times, all the things that surrounded me would painfully crash into my consciousness, through the barrier of nonchalance I had set up for myself. The pages of my book would start to feel sharp and burning hot and the heaviness in my chest would become so hard to bear that I had to put the book aside and just lay down for a while, looking at the ceiling as if I was going to cry.

But that happened only rarely. And I couldn't even cry.

Today, the doctor comes in and gives me a smile. He seems excited, but not very. It's like he is trying to make an effort to be happy on my behalf. My parents are here. It's been a few days since I've last seen them. Both of them are even sort of dressed up. Is this supposed to be some kind of special occasion? It's not a party.

There is this ritual the head cardiologist has. He takes his time, sorting his papers, then setting them aside as if to make a point of the pointlessness of what he just did. There he casually sits down on the edge of the bed next to mine. He looks me in the eyes for a moment.

Doctor: Hello, Hisao. How are you today?

I don't answer him but I smile a little, back at him.



Doctor: I believe that you can go home; your heart is stronger now, and with some precautions, you should be fine. We have all your medication sorted out. I'll give your father the prescription.

The doctor hands a sheet of paper to my dad, whose expression turns wooden as he reads it quickly.

Dad: So many…

I take it from his hand and take a look myself, feeling numb. How am I supposed to react to this?



The absurdly long list of medications staring back at me from the paper seems insurmountable. They all blend together in a sea of letters. This is insane. Side effects, adverse effects, contraindications and dosages are listed line after line with cold precision. I try to read them, but it's so futile. I can't understand any of it. Attempting to only makes me feel sicker. All this... for the rest of my life, every day?

Doctor: I'm afraid that is the best we can do at this point. However, new medications are always being developed, so I wouldn't be surprised to see that list fade over the years.

Years... What kind of confidence booster is that? I'd have felt better if he hadn't said anything at all...



Doctor: "Also, I've spoken with your parents and we believe that it would be best if you don't return to your old school."

What?!

Dad: Please, calm down, Hisao. Listen to what the doctor has to say...

Calm down? The way he says it tells me he knew full well that I wouldn't like it. Am I going to be home schooled? Whatever of my concern shows, it's ignored.

Doctor: We all understand that your education is paramount; however, I don't think that it's wise for you to be without supervision. At least not until we're sure that your medication is suitable. So, I've spoken to your parents about a transfer.



Doctor: "It's a school called Yamaku Academy that specializes in dealing with disabled students."

Disabled? What? Am I...

Okay, fair warning for those understandably prickly about this sort of thing. While the game beats it out of him, our protagonist has a lot of ableism to unlearn. It never gets outrageous and it fades over time, but the first several updates might be rough.

Doctor: It has a 24-hour nursing staff and it's only a few minutes from a highly regarded general hospital. The majority of students live on the campus. Think of it as a boarding school of sorts. It's designed to give students a degree of independence, while keeping help nearby.

Independence? It's a school for disabled kids. Don't try to disguise that fact. If it was really that "free," there wouldn't be a 24-hour nursing staff, and you wouldn't make a hospital being nearby a selling point.

Dad: Of course, that's only if you want to go. But... your mother and I aren't really able to home school you. We went out there and had a look a couple of weeks back; I think you'd like it.

It looks like I really don't have a choice.

Doctor: Compared to other heart problems, people with your condition usually tend to live long lives. You'll need a job one day and this is a good opportunity to continue your education.

This isn't an opportunity, don't call it an opportunity. Don't call it a goddamned opportunity."

Doctor: Well, you should be excited at the chance to go back to school. I remember you wanted to return to school, and while it's not the same one...

A special school. That's... An insult. That is what I want to say. It's a step down.

Told you.

Dad: It's not what you think. All of the students there are pretty active, in their own sort of way. It's geared towards students that can still get around and learn, but just need a little help... in one way or another.

Doctor: Your father's right. And many of the graduates of the school have gone on to do amazing things. A person doesn't have to be held back by their disability. One of my colleagues in another hospital is a graduate.

I don't care. A person doesn't have to be held back by their disability? That's what a disability is. I really hate that something so important was decided for me. But what can I do about it? A "normal" life is out of the question now. It's funny, I had always thought my life was actually kind of boring, but now I miss it. I want to protest. I want to blame this lack of reaction on shock, or fatigue. I could easily yell out something now - something about how I can go back to school anyway. But, no. I don't say anything. The fact is that I know now it's futile.



I look around the room, feeling very tired of all this. The hospital, doctors, my condition, everything. I don't see anything that would make me feel any different. There really isn't a choice. I know this, but the thought of going to a disabled school... what are those even like? As much as I try to put a positive spin on this, it's very difficult. But let me try.

A clean slate isn't a bad thing. That is all I can think of to get me through this. At least I still have something; even if it's a "special school," it's something. It's a fresh start, and my life isn't over. It would be a mistake to just resign myself to thinking that.



At the very least, I'll try to see what my new life will look like.

Falconier111 fucked around with this message at 21:22 on May 21, 2021

Carpator Diei
Feb 26, 2011


Well, this is going to be interesting. Nice to see that 4chan did bring forth at least some positive things.

Falconier111 posted:


KENJI SETOU: "Borderline hikkikomori, Kenji likes to spend a lot of time in his room, planning for whatever the radical feminist movement's next move may be. He is leery of the instant attraction that Hisao seems to have brought upon himself, but nonetheless very pleased to finally have a hallmate. " — Official Description
Oh. Oh dear. This guy's going to be a fun roommate, huh?

As for updates, I'm more in favour of once every 2-4 days; while a rapid update schedule is nice, it can also get overwhelming, especially with text-only games, and I could imagine that there's a lot of food for discussion in this game. And two to three updates a week is still plenty rapid.

BraveLittleToaster
May 5, 2019


Ahhh, this game. This had the somewhat awkward distinction of being my very first visual novel. It was a very strange experience. But a real positive one at the same time, never regretted it. I thought it was great enough to replay it to full again years after. I don't remember this game all that well now though, so this LP should be a nice refresher course

As for votes, I think once every 2-4 days is appropriately fast enough. I'm gonna vote Shizune for the first route as well.

Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.


Carpator Diei posted:

Nice to see that 4chan did bring forth at least some positive things.

Does this mean that Something Awful can claim credit?

DelilahFlowers
Jan 10, 2020



Oh man I remember this game. Think this was my first visual novel I read, heard some chat about it on an old forum when I was younger. Did two routes and didn't continue with the rest.

I think 2-4 days would be fine enough as an update schedule.

And I must vote out first route to be Hanako, as that was my first route.

Edit: well I didn't see the restriction. A shame but Im sure your reasoning are good. Just say that I'm gonna vote for her first when the option comes up.

For my proper vote, I say emi

DelilahFlowers fucked around with this message at 01:25 on May 14, 2021

Marluxia
May 8, 2008


I was not expecting this to ever be LPed. I wasn't expecting much out of it but mainly had to give it a try because of the Deaf character here. I'll probably chime in when her route is ongoing.

EclecticTastes
Sep 17, 2012

"Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped."


Oh, man, this takes me way back. I remember first learning about KS shortly after it released its Chapter 1 demo, and to be honest, I checked it out mostly because it sounded like such a bad idea that I just had to see what happened, and was very surprised by how charming it was, and then totally blindsided by the writing quality when the final version was released. I actually wound up playing all night, marathoning all five routes because it was that good.

Anyway, I vote for every 2-4 days, this is the kind of work that deserves a slower, more in-depth examination.

Breadmaster
Jun 14, 2010


BraveLittleToaster posted:

Ahhh, this game. This had the somewhat awkward distinction of being my very first visual novel. It was a very strange experience. But a real positive one at the same time, never regretted it. I thought it was great enough to replay it to full again years after. I don't remember this game all that well now though, so this LP should be a nice refresher course

As for votes, I think once every 2-4 days is appropriately fast enough. I'm gonna vote Shizune for the first route as well.

This was also my first visual novel, and I think, in retrospect, it was probably better to play this before the second VN I played, which was Analogue. I vote for 2-4 days and the Emi route.

braybray
Feb 28, 2021


2-4 Days is plenty, thank you! I got Emi on my first playthrough, so I'll vote for her as well. This game was a pleasant experience overall, with a few bits of good drama to raise the steaks. I'm hoping you show off the uh, alternative scenes that play out when the adult content is switched off.

braybray fucked around with this message at 21:52 on May 13, 2021

Ibblebibble
Nov 12, 2013




Funnily enough I knew someone who worked on KS and she said that 4chan didn't actually play as big a role as everyone thought it did. It did start on 4chan thus the name of the studio, but most of the 4channiest people dropped out quick and those who were left only checked in on 4chan once in a while or they were people who were brought in from outside. They just never bothered to change the name of the studio.

Remalle
Feb 12, 2020


Oh wow, it's been a minute since I've seen this title. I'll go along with the 2-4 days crowd and throw in my vote for Emi.

Antistar01
Oct 20, 2013


This was my first visual novel too! I'd always dismissed them as being a waste of time, but after hearing about the concept behind Katawa Shoujo only a few years ago, I had to try it out. It coming out of 4chan really does make it sound like it should be an absolute train-wreck, but somehow it's amazing instead. (Though if you've read any of the very different earlier drafts, it seems like there were... some narrow misses along the way.)


Ibblebibble posted:

Funnily enough I knew someone who worked on KS and she said that 4chan didn't actually play as big a role as everyone thought it did. It did start on 4chan thus the name of the studio, but most of the 4channiest people dropped out quick and those who were left only checked in on 4chan once in a while or they were people who were brought in from outside. They just never bothered to change the name of the studio.

Well I guess that explains it.


On the strength of Katawa Shoujo I tried out some other visual novels, and... to be honest I still think they're mostly a waste of time. The only other one I can think of that I liked was Butterfly Soup, which is very sweet and also goddamn hilarious.

Anyway; Katawa Shoujo. I agree with what everyone's saying about the quality of the writing. Every route was surprising and compelling in different ways (with the possible exception of Shizune's, which I found kind of flat), though I did find it heavy going. I've got my own lifelong struggles, and high-school in particular was a very rough time for me (the "my hair started going grey when I was seventeen" kind of rough), so every route in Katawa Shoujo stirred up some difficult memories. Not sure I'll be able to read along with the LP too much.

My first time through kind of naturally fell into the Hanako route - and the last route was Lilly's - which felt like the perfect way to book-end the whole thing considering the relationship between those two, but you said you wanted to leave Hanako until later, so...

Emi does seem like a good intro. Her route also has what I think is the funniest scene in the whole thing, but it is a sex scene so maybe it won't come up here.

EclecticTastes
Sep 17, 2012

"Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped."


Antistar01 posted:

On the strength of Katawa Shoujo I tried out some other visual novels, and... to be honest I still think they're mostly a waste of time. The only other one I can think of that I liked was Butterfly Soup, which is very sweet and also goddamn hilarious.

This kind of depends on how one defines a visual novel, as a lot of games that you might not immediately think of are, in fact, at least partly visual novels, such as the Ace Attorney franchise, Dangan Ronpa, Hotel Dusk, The Silver Case, and the Zero Escape trilogy (Kotaro Uchikoshi's previous temporal mechanics-based works, such as Ever17, were all fully VNs, in fact). There's also been some great visual novels made by western developers, such as Analog: A Hate Story and Hate Plus, We Know the Devil, etc.



Ibblebibble posted:

Funnily enough I knew someone who worked on KS and she said that 4chan didn't actually play as big a role as everyone thought it did. It did start on 4chan thus the name of the studio, but most of the 4channiest people dropped out quick and those who were left only checked in on 4chan once in a while or they were people who were brought in from outside. They just never bothered to change the name of the studio.

I believe I'd heard this, myself, which makes a lot of sense, given how good the results were. I think some people might be familiar with some of the folks who did work on KS, such as Mike Inel, who did some animated bits. I remember one of his other works, Draw With Me, making the rounds online back when I was in high school.

Funktor
May 17, 2009

Burnin' down the disco floor...
Fear the wrath of the mighty FUNKTOR!


Well, let's get in on this. I'll vote 2-4 Days and Rin (but I won't say why because spoilers).

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E

Sure are a lot of people voting for options I specifically declared off-limits

Ibblebibble posted:

Funnily enough I knew someone who worked on KS and she said that 4chan didn't actually play as big a role as everyone thought it did. It did start on 4chan thus the name of the studio, but most of the 4channiest people dropped out quick and those who were left only checked in on 4chan once in a while or they were people who were brought in from outside. They just never bothered to change the name of the studio.

I was gonna get into this later, but yes, this is absolutely correct. By chance, is there any way we could get her to swing by the thread? At some point along the line I’m going to start talking about representation and I could definitely use a little insight into how they made decisions about presentation.

Namtab
Feb 22, 2010




Ah this game. I kickstarted this so somewhere i have a bunch of merch (badges and iirc a virtual artbook). Since this game came out I qualified as a registered learning disability nurse and have been in practice for 7 years now so its interesting to view it from that perspective.

What jumped out at me from the first update is the choice of Hisao's disability. They've gone with arrhythmia, which the game doesn't explain very well but it's basically the medical term for an irregular heart rhythm. It's not really that rare (approx 2 million people a year in the uk experience the condition in some form) but it can be medically significant based on the cause (reading this the authors are basically saying he's got a previously undiagnosed congenital heart condition) and usually needs management and review.

"Why is this interesting?" you may be asking as i slowly meander towards a point. Its because by accident or design by the writers Hisao has been diagnosed with what can be referred to as a hidden disability, something which has a significant biopsychosocial impact on his life and functioning but is not externally apparent to the observer (and therefore as he has to come to terms with his own historic ableism, he is likely to find himself the subject of ableism). This is in contrast to the majority of the girls whose disabilities are physical and visible (I could make a reasonable argument that Shizune also has a hidden disability in some circumstances).


To explore this further and to allow for later contast, i recommend the OP begin with the Shizune route. Do the update schedule you prefer. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this thread.

Namtab fucked around with this message at 16:25 on May 13, 2021

Ibblebibble
Nov 12, 2013




Falconier111 posted:

I was gonna get into this later, but yes, this is absolutely correct. By chance, is there any way we could get her to swing by the thread? At some point along the line I’m going to start talking about representation and I could definitely use a little insight into how they made decisions about presentation.

Unfortunately I haven't talked to her in a while, this was me remembering stuff from a conversation a long time ago when KS came up. I'll try and see, but no promises.

renessia
Mar 25, 2020

everybody's big sister


Falconier111 posted:

By chance, is there any way we could get her to swing by the thread? At some point along the line I’m going to start talking about representation and I could definitely use a little insight into how they made decisions about presentation.

Hello! This is me. I'll be watching this LP with great interest.

EclecticTastes
Sep 17, 2012

"Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped."


By the way, one thing to note is that the title itself is easily the least sensitive part of the game. The word "Katawa" in Japanese is roughly equivalent to "cripple" (specifically, in its use as a derogatory term for people with disabilities) in English, and the literal translation is "one wheel" (as in, a cart with only one wheel). The translation of the image that inspired the game is rather imprecise in that regard. The word one should use to describe disability if one should ever find themselves in Japan is "Shougai". Here's a helpful link with a list of ways to say most common forms of disability or other special medical needs.

Tombot
Oct 21, 2008


As weird as it sounds, this is one of the only dating games that makes sense to me. Your character moves to a new school because he has a disability, he want's to meet new people because he doesn't know how long he has to live, The people you meet are not defined by an expected checklist of cliches but by the fact they have had very different lifestyles and experiences (as well as other things we'll likely discover). And above all else they act like people.

This game on it's own justifies the existence of a dating sim style game, more than anything else I can think of.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me



Throwing my vote in for Hanako, as my wife is also a burn victim.

renessia
Mar 25, 2020

everybody's big sister


Throwing my vote in for Lilly, though I'm biased.

renessia fucked around with this message at 13:31 on May 14, 2021

Funktor
May 17, 2009

Burnin' down the disco floor...
Fear the wrath of the mighty FUNKTOR!


My apologies for the disallowed vote, I didn't see those rules. In that case, please put me down for Emi.

Jadecore
Mar 10, 2018

They say money can't buy happiness, but it sure does help.

Emi seems like a pretty good choice to see things through the first time. I've heard about KS for a long time, but never got around to actually reading it.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me



Funktor posted:

My apologies for the disallowed vote, I didn't see those rules. In that case, please put me down for Emi.

Oh, neither did I. So, same.

wokow6
Oct 19, 2013


I'm going to vote for Lilly due to her route being the one I first played when I got the game years ago.

Cobalt-60
Oct 11, 2016

Over time, random factors add up. What is chaos in the moment becomes systemic over time and space. As data accumulates, a pattern emerges.



Katawa Shoujo, my favorite thing that I can't recommend to anyone. (It's not cripple porn, I swear!)

I don't like visual novels, but I played through this twice. No idea why this one hooked me. (Well, some idea). I don't like love stories, and the WALLS OF TEXT that most VNs hit you with just tire me out.

And yeah, the soundtrack is awesome.

I don't care about posting frequency; voting for Emi cause she was the first route I got.

Well, after I got the manly picnic twice. Guess that was the first lesson I learned.

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E

Update 2: Gateway Effect

I think Emi managed to pull in more votes than everyone else combined. Looks like the thread is just really into jocks.





Katawa Shoujo OST – Fripperies



The gate looked far too pompous for what it was. In fact, gates in general seem to do that, but this one especially so. Red bricks, black wrought iron and gray plaster, assembled into a whole that didn't feel welcoming at all. I wondered if it looked like what a gate for a school should look like, but couldn't really decide. Probably no. Of course I didn't want to get stuck on thinking about the gate for too long, so I entered through it with a brisk pace that felt surprisingly good. Moving forward feels good. So I walk towards the main building of Yamaku Academy with this brisk pace. I'm alone, as my parents are taking my stuff to the dorms, and there's supposed to be someone waiting for me. The grounds are incredibly lush, filled with green. It doesn't feel like the kind of grounds a school would have, more like a park, with a clean walkway going past trees and the smell of fresh-cut grass and all other park-like things.



Words like "clean" and "hygienic" pop into my mind. It makes me shudder. I shake them off. Stay open-minded now. It's your new life. You have to take it as it comes. That's what I tell myself.

A few big buildings loom behind the leafy canopies, too big and too many for just a school. Everything seems off; it's different from what I thought I knew about schools. It's an uncanny valley. Even though I was told this is my new school, in the back of my head it doesn't feel like one. I wonder if the feeling is real or caused by my expectations of a school for the disabled. Speaking of that, I don't see anyone else here. It's kinda eerie. It makes me wish there was somebody here so I could anchor myself to something tangible instead of having this feeling that I stepped into another dimension. The trees hum with the wind and the green hues flashing all around me catch my attention. It makes me think about hospitals again, how they say the operating rooms are painted green because green is a calming color. So why am I feeling so anxious, despite all this greenery?

Only after I stand in front of the haughty main building, I surprise myself by realizing why the gate bothered me:



It was the last chance I had to turn back, even if I had no life I could return to. But still, after entering, there was absolutely no way I could go back any more. Feeling nervous and with this realization set in my head, I open the front door. A tall man with bad posture notices me as I enter. We're the only people in the lobby, so it's only logical.



"You must be... Ni... Na... Niki?"

“Nakai.”

“So you are. Excellent. I'm your homeroom and science teacher. My name is Mutou. Welcome.”

We exchange a handshake that is neither firm nor sloppy, and he looks at his watch.

“The head nurse asked you for a brief check-in visit, but there's no time for that now.”

“Oh. Should I go later?”

“Yes, afternoon is probably fine. We should get going and introduce you to the rest of the class. They're waiting already.”

Waiting for me? I don't really like being the center of attention, but I guess it's inevitable in a situation like this. Somehow, not knowing what is waiting for me makes me feel really nervous. Thinking of this, I almost miss what the teacher is saying.



"Do you want to introduce yourself to the class?"
>Yeah, of course.
>Why?

You’re looking at the heart of player interaction in Katawa Shoujo. Dialogue choices like this are usually rare and important; this one just shifts around dialogue in the next few scenes, but sometimes one wrong choice can completely change your ending.



Fortunately, this game lets you save at any point, without restrictions. Plus, the menu offers everything from the image behind the text to text you might’ve missed to the name of the current music track and scene (KS is divided into separate, concrete scenes that form a branching narrative, it’s how they divide up routes).


=>Yeah, of course.

“Yeah, sure. I mean, isn't that normal?”

“Of course. But not everyone likes to be at the center of attention.”

I'm probably one of those people, but I guess I should be the one to give the first impression of myself.

“Right, but it's no problem.”

“Let's go then.”

My heart is pounding in my chest and it keeps me thinking about my condition as I follow the teacher up the stairs. The third door down the third floor corridor is marked as the classroom for class 3-3. Mutou opens the door and enters.

“Good morning everyone, sorry I'm late again.”

I hesitate for a split second at the door, freezing on the spot. Ah, get a grip! This is a big step, I know that... But there isn't any point to worrying so much about it, at least not this soon.

Katawa Shoujo OST - School Days



I follow the teacher into the classroom and look around, partially so I won't have to meet the curious gazes of my new classmates. It's pretty spacious; the ceiling is unusually high and there's lots of space left over around and in between the desks. An entire wall taken up by blackboards and the high, old fashioned windows only make it seem larger. The students' desks are just standard wooden desks with a shelf underneath for books and wooden chairs with metal frames. Simple and efficient. I stop walking in front of the classroom and face the other students. They all look normal, like students in any other school. But then, why would they be here? They're probably like me and have something wrong with them, only it's just not immediately obvious. Then, I notice one of the girls seems to be missing the thumb of her right hand. It's a little jarring.



Despite the natural tendency to listen when someone's talking about you, I tune out the teacher's speech halfway through while he introduces me to the class. I notice a flash of dark hair and see that someone is looking at me. A girl with really long, straight hair that is pretty eye-catching. As she sees me looking back at her, she covers her face with her hands as if it will make her invisible. There is one boy with a cane leaning against the lockers at the rear of the class. It's weird seeing someone so young with a cane. Another girl seems to be making some weird hand motions. Sign language? She peers at me over the rims of her glasses, then goes back to whatever she's doing. She's kind of cute. So is the cheery-looking girl with pink hair sitting next to her. She's really hard to miss; I don't know how I didn't notice her the moment I walked in...

"...please welcome our newest classmate."

He claps his hands and so does everyone else, except one girl in the first row who has only one hand. I cringe a little, but hide it by bowing in thanks for this applause I did not deserve.



A collective silence tells me that I should open my mouth now.

And point of divergence one.

"So... I'm Hisao Nakai."

And after that?

"My hobbies are reading and soccer. I hope to get along well with everyone even though I'm a new student.

And after that? I'm being so boring. This is exactly like every self-introduction ever. I should say something more. Something more exciting. I end up saying nothing, and the teacher picks up from there. Everyone seems to be satisfied even with what little I said, though. A few girls are whispering to each other, throwing glances at me. It could've gone worse. ...

If you picked “why” earlier, you just stare gormlessly at the class and they collectively dismiss you.

I listen to the teacher as he drones about getting along while letting my gaze sweep across the classroom. Everyone seems to be listening to him intently and when he's done, they clap their hands again which feels like a weird thing to do. The first row girl claps on this round, with her one hand against her other wrist that ends in a bandaged stump. It makes me feel a little bad.

"We're going to be doing some group work today, so that'll give you a chance to talk with everyone. Is that okay with you?"

"Yeah, it's fine with me."

"That's good, you can work with Hakamichi. She is the class representative. She can explain anything you might want to know. And who else would be able to do that better, right?"

How could I know? The teacher passes out the day's assignments and announces that we will be working in groups of three. It hits me that I don't know who Hakamichi is. Slow. The teacher seems to catch my helpless expression.

"Oh, right. Hakamichi is right there, Shizune Hakamichi."

As he calls out her name, the cute, bubbly looking girl with bright pink hair and gold eyes waves her hand at me. I take a seat next to her, by the window.

"Hey, I guess you're Hakamichi, right? It's nice to meet you."



"Hahaha~!"

What? I'm caught off guard by her laughter.

Katawa Shoujo OST - The Student Council (Shizune's Theme)



"It's nice to meet you, too! But~! I'm not Hakamichi, I'm Misha! This is Hakamichi. Shicchan~!"



Giggling, Misha points to the girl next to her, the one I saw using sign language before. It looks like she has been staring at me this whole time. She nods once nonchalantly to show that she acknowledges my presence... but only barely. She has short, yet carefully, neatly brushed hair, a pair of oval-shaped glasses balanced on the tip of a dainty nose, and dark blue eyes that seem to alternate every few seconds between analytical and slightly bored.

"It's nice to meet you."

"..."



She immediately looks at Misha, who smiles and makes a few quick gestures with her hands.



The game represents emphatic sign language by rapidly flipping between sprites. There is a blur effect I could THEORETICALLY catch, but I’m just not quick enough on trigger; KS does have a screenshot function, but it seems to be broken, so I have to use a complicated workaround. It won’t get in the way of the LP, but it does mean I’ll have to stick to describing rapid action in italics. For less emphatic sign language, it just has Shizune say “…” and Misha translate.

I start to wonder if the teacher was messing with me, saying things like "you'll be able to talk to people" and "who better to explain things to you.”

"I can see you're a little confused, right?, right? But, I understand why you would think I was Shicchan! Shicchan is deaf, so I'm the person who translates things back and forth for her. I'm like an interpreter~! She says it's nice to meet you, too!

"..."

"You're the new student, aren't you? Well, Shicchan, of course he is! If he wasn't, he would have been standing up there for no reason, right? Right~! He seems like a very interesting person, doesn’t he~!”

That last sentence is another one that flips depending on which choice you made earlier. If you didn’t speak up in front of the class, she kinda goes “I don’t know who he is” and the narration tells us directly we made the wrong choice. It wants us to socialize!

"We knew there was going to be a new student, but we didn't know you would be here today. So soon! Hicchan, right?"

Hicchan...?

"Yup~! It fits, doesn't it?"

Did I say it out loud? It's just a surprise. I've never liked that nickname.

"I don't really see how."

"It fits~! You look just like I imagined!"

"..."

"Hahahaha~! Yeah, you look just like a Hicchan!"

"I wonder why everyone seems to think so..."

Hakamichi taps her fingers on the desk to get Misha's attention. They gesture back and forth to each other excitedly, their hands a blur.



"..."



Misha seems a little overwhelmed.

"Ahaha~! Er, sorry about that! Shicchan wants you to know that she's the class rep, so if there is anything you need to know, you can feel free to ask her."

"..."

"Do you like the school so far? We can show you around a little if you haven't had the time to walk around and... familiarize? yourself with it!"

Misha stumbles with the hard word a bit, making it stick out in her otherwise fluid translation.

"Thanks, that would be pretty helpful. Yeah, I just kind of came straight to class today."

"..."

"Hahaha~! That's no good! You should always try to learn as much as you can about where you're going before you go there. Not just with school, either~! Always! Even if it's a trip to the convenience store! Really, Shicchan? Hahaha~!"

Learn about where you're going? I guess I didn't bother to do that, or just didn't care enough to do so. I didn't look forward to this, even if I committed myself to go along with it half-assedly, but anyway. I don't say anything, and Misha signs something that ends in a shrug. What was that? It seems like it was about me.



I feel like slumping over in my seat. Both of them are smiling, but that shrug hit me unexpectedly deeply.

"You look down, are you okay?"

"..."

"Don't take it the wrong way, please~! I hate it when people are afraid to ask questions! That's how people learn things, by asking~!”



Asking for help is perfectly normal, as much as needing help! Stop looking like you just failed a test! Wahahaha~!"

"All right."

"..."

"Ah, and another thing, you don't have to call Shicchan something so formal like 'Hakamichi' or 'class rep' all the time! Just call her Shicchan~!"

"..."

"Ahaha~! Okay, maybe that's too casual. Maybe 'Shizune' would be more appropriate?"

"..."

"Yup, yup~! 'Shizune' is fine!"

"Heh. Okay, that would be a lot easier for me."



I feel a lot more at ease. Both of them seem so friendly, so I feel like an idiot for being so apprehensive earlier. Especially about Shizune, who I assumed would be all business. Well, she still seems like that. Just less so, I guess.

"..."

"Huh? Oh, right, we haven't even touched the assignment! We should start work now, or Shicchan will get mad."

"The assignment is also kind of long, so we should start now if we want to finish it before the end of class."

"Wahaha~! That too!"

"..."



Shizune glares at the two of us impatiently. I don't need to know sign language to understand that.

"Okay, okay, I get the message."

"..."

"After class, we can take a walk around the grounds together. It's a nice day today! Okay~?"

The assignment is actually very challenging to get through, combining aspects of being both difficult and unnecessarily long.



Still, we finish it a few minutes earlier than anyone else in the class, despite our late start. Shizune and Misha are really capable. They're quite different, though. The class rep is as calm and professional as she looks, while Misha is a lot more playful and girlish. Not to mention a little more easily distracted. To be honest, the two of them did most of the work. I feel guilty about that.

The clock tower bells ring, signaling the end of the period. Time for lunch.

Falconier111 fucked around with this message at 21:21 on May 21, 2021

EclecticTastes
Sep 17, 2012

"Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped."


Oh hey I know some trivia about that big classroom image. In the original demo, one of the students was just literally Lelouch from Code Geass, and he was removed to avoid a possible C&D. I don't recall offhand which one replaced him, though I also recall reading that some of the other students in that wide shot were based on people on the dev team or community members.

Zurai
Feb 13, 2012


I suspect it's less about Emi being a jock and more about her being super upbeat and easygoing. She's an easy person to like, and to want to spend time with.

I'm definitely looking forward to this LP; I did play the game way back when and enjoyed it a bunch, but I've forgotten enough of it that it's going to be mostly new to me. The best of both worlds!

Carpator Diei
Feb 26, 2011


renessia posted:

Hello! This is me. I'll be watching this LP with great interest.
Oh cool, it's always interesting to have a developer in these threads

One question, probably a somewhat silly one: I assume none of the devs were Japanese? Not meant as a criticism, I'm just always kind of amused by how anime aesthetics and Japanese names/settings tended to come as a package back in the day, even in works not created for a Japanese audience.

EclecticTastes
Sep 17, 2012

"Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped."


Carpator Diei posted:

Oh cool, it's always interesting to have a developer in these threads

One question, probably a somewhat silly one: I assume none of the devs were Japanese? Not meant as a criticism, I'm just always kind of amused by how anime aesthetics and Japanese names/settings tended to come as a package back in the day, even in works not created for a Japanese audience.

Given, as I mentioned, that the title contains a Japanese ableist slur, it's safe to assume that none of the dev team were from Japan.

Sketchie
Nov 14, 2012



EclecticTastes posted:

Oh hey I know some trivia about that big classroom image. In the original demo, one of the students was just literally Lelouch from Code Geass, and he was removed to avoid a possible C&D. I don't recall offhand which one replaced him, though I also recall reading that some of the other students in that wide shot were based on people on the dev team or community members.
You can actually see the difference between the class scenes in the Katawa Shoujo wikipedia under the Class 3-3 article here.

Simply put, the pale gray haired student to the left of the student with a bandage over his ear was the replacement.

Antistar01
Oct 20, 2013


Antistar01 posted:

On the strength of Katawa Shoujo I tried out some other visual novels, and... to be honest I still think they're mostly a waste of time. The only other one I can think of that I liked was Butterfly Soup, which is very sweet and also goddamn hilarious.

EclecticTastes posted:

This kind of depends on how one defines a visual novel, as a lot of games that you might not immediately think of are, in fact, at least partly visual novels, such as the Ace Attorney franchise, Dangan Ronpa, Hotel Dusk, The Silver Case, and the Zero Escape trilogy (Kotaro Uchikoshi's previous temporal mechanics-based works, such as Ever17, were all fully VNs, in fact). There's also been some great visual novels made by western developers, such as Analog: A Hate Story and Hate Plus, We Know the Devil, etc.

Yeah, I should be more careful with what I consider to be a visual novel. It's probably fair to say that the spectre of the "dating sim" style of visual novel was hanging over my opinion. The kind that often depict romantic relationships as accruing "basic human kindness" points until *ding!* - sex pops out.

Katawa Shoujo does kind of fit into that style of dating sim, but fortunately it's not too bad on that front, and has a lot of other things going for it.

I wasn't really including games like Dangan Ronpa in there since (personally) I do consider those games since they have relatively complex game mechanics - while I think of more classic visual novels like Katawa Shoujo as being basically novels - just closer to the choose-your-own-adventure style, plus with added sound/music and obviously visuals.


Falconier111 posted:

I think Emi managed to pull in more votes than everyone else combined. Looks like the thread is just really into jocks.

Well I voted for Emi since Hanako was off the table, and beyond that Emi's route just seems like a good intro to Katawa Shoujo as a whole. It was also the second route I came across, myself. From memory I was a bit more intentional after that, next going for Rin (oof), then Shizune and finally Lilly since I wanted to leave her route until last, as a counterpart to Hanako's.

renessia
Mar 25, 2020

everybody's big sister


EclecticTastes posted:

Oh hey I know some trivia about that big classroom image. In the original demo, one of the students was just literally Lelouch from Code Geass, and he was removed to avoid a possible C&D. I don't recall offhand which one replaced him, though I also recall reading that some of the other students in that wide shot were based on people on the dev team or community members.

Yup! A bunch of our OCs are in there. You can find the Lelouch version if you google it.

Carpator Diei posted:

Oh cool, it's always interesting to have a developer in these threads

One question, probably a somewhat silly one: I assume none of the devs were Japanese? Not meant as a criticism, I'm just always kind of amused by how anime aesthetics and Japanese names/settings tended to come as a package back in the day, even in works not created for a Japanese audience.

None of us were Japanese, though a few of us visited during development. Not the best perspective to be writing a Japanese high school VN from, but most of us were very young and weren't really equipped to think through things more than "hehe just like our favorite VNs and animes". That being said, we made a genuine effort to portray things as accurately as possible, though parts of it drifted over time due to Writing a Game.

Re: the ableist slur: Yeahhh a lot of us hated that from day 1. Relic of its origins and whatnot. I said my piece on it throughout development, but in the end it was decided to keep it for recognition's sake. I still hate it.

Pharohman777
Jan 14, 2012



I wonder how the reception from the Japanese disabled community was. Aside from cringing at the slur in the title.

Also I find it funny how that the characters from the translated porn doujin page were lifted and put into the game almost exactly as depicted.


Misha clearly has some sort of hidden disability like the MC if she also attends this school.

Carpator Diei
Feb 26, 2011


Pharohman777 posted:

Also I find it funny how that the characters from the translated porn doujin page were lifted and put into the game almost exactly as depicted.
I'll bet the dev team took that page as a challenge

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EclecticTastes
Sep 17, 2012

"Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped."


Carpator Diei posted:

I'll bet the dev team took that page as a challenge

This is also, I assume, why the original title was kept. It seems clear to me that one of the design goals (though not necessarily explicit) was including as much as they could from the original image in some way. Also I just looked it up and apparently the team actually got in touch with Raita and he was apparently pleased with the result.

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