Random Curiosity

Katawa Shoujo – An Overview

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「かたわ少女」 (Katawa Shoujo)
“Disability Girls”

Can you tell me what you think?

Can you see what I see?

Can you face your fears?

Can you stand up for yourself?

Can you seize the day?

These questions from the official website summarizes the themes of the game concisely. The player explores these key questions not just for their answer, but also for whom these questions are directed towards. Is it the girl the protagonist befriends? Is it the protagonist? You? Katawa Shoujo may be a visual novel about disabled teenagers, but that is merely the springboard to see the characters that live facing these questions every single day.

Note, if you are aware of the history and synopsis, you may skip the next three paragraphs.

—–

Before expanding on what that statement means, a brief history and overview should first be mentioned. Katawa Shoujo is a visual novel developed independently by Four Leaf Studios, a group of people whose origins hailed from the /a/ board of 4chan. In 2007, after anon posted concept art from RAITA’s doujin Zettai Shoujo, instant support exploded on the board. This “big bang” eventually consolidated itself into a group called Four Leaf Studios, who, over the course of five years of development, recruited and laid off members, created and completely scrapped art directions, completely rewrote storylines, and overall struggled to keep production for their ultimate goal, the visual novel Katawa Shoujo.

In the end they did manage to succeed and released the full version, free of charge, this January. Aura, one of the writers, does a wonderful job of describing Four Leaf Studio’s journey through development of the game and I would heartily encourage you read through his/her blog posts if you have the time. It’s a gem of insight onto how to proceed on developing a project, not just a visual novel.

As for plot, here is a quick synopsis. The setting is in Japan’s Yamaku High School, a school for disabled (and not disabled) high schoolers. The player plays Hisao Nakai, who enters Yamaku for the first time after having spent months in a hospital after a heart attack. Although at first apprehensive of his new environment, the faculty and students at Yamaku try their best to help him adjust both to school, his own condition, and how to approach the conditions of others.

—–

Now that background is done, time to comment on the logistics. Graphically, although the still CG scenes and movies may not be as brilliantly drawn as commercial VNs, it definitely is a commendable effort coming from a group like 4LS. Certain scenes like Rin’s or Lily’s are beautifully drawn, whilst some, such as some of Shizune’s CG or the infamous Emi scene, are drawn a tad awkward. The movies, although well paced and storyboarded, are a bit simplistic in drawing. However, considering how ALL the movies were all done by ONE person in a year (that staff member joined late in production), it’s a fine job.

The OST is done well. It gets a tad repetitive if you’re playing through all five arcs, but for their respective stories the placement of music is tasteful. Particular tracks I enjoyed were the main theme, Parity, and Air Guitar (yes I’m a sucker for instrumental music). Although collectively the OST isn’t memorable, there are certain tracks I find myself playing in my head as I go about my day, even now.

However, where Katawa truly shines is its story. What is in the story that causes this visual novel to stand out amongst others? For starters, the premise is unique. Although having a disabled protagonist is not anything new (H2O: Footprints in the Sand) nor is having disabled characters (Kanon), to my knowledge, this is the first visual novel that approaches the disability factor honestly and in-depth. Although such themes may act as a huge turn-off, or possibly even offensive, it is in my opinion that is not the goal, nor the main focus, of the visual novel. I’ll make this clear now. It’s not a visual novel for those with a fetish. Granted, the ‘scenes’ are all there, but they’re not essential to the plot and can be omitted via the options panel (you’ll still see the characters semi-naked still, but the actual scenes are replaced by images of animals and food).

However, here’s the thing: in the end, the disabilities fade into the background and instead leave the player to face the actual issues that are at hand. Whilst in some arcs the disability lingers in the speech more, eventually every arc focuses on the questions posted above, which do not need the disabilities to be answered. Rather, it is the disabilities that help guide us to that answer, something this visual novel does well.

Take for instance the character Tezuka Rin, who hasn’t any arms to slam with. Although this is how we are introduced to her character, via her inability to pour paint or pull down her pants, all that soon fades into the background as players get lost in her random and non sequitur dialogue. The way that she handles her daily life just fine with only her feet accents her unorthodox way of living and thinking, rather than being a standalone driving force of her story.

Rarely, if ever do any of the characters mope and groan about their disability (minus Hisao), which all the more allows us to focus on the real problems they face. That perhaps is a big reason why I enjoyed this visual novel: the developers didn’t take the disability factor and stuff it in our faces. It’s a plot device that allows us to see the characters in different lights, yet doesn’t highlight itself enough to distract from the dialogue of the “questions”. Now of course we can’t completely ignore their disabilities,

However, that is all I can truly say about the story without spoiling it for you guys. That kind of in-depth analysis would require details about the characters, something that’s reserved for the future ^^. This post is meant to be a test dip into writing about visual novels, something neither I, nor this site, has ever tried before. However, do expect following posts (along with my anime coverage) on certain (or maybe all) of the characters and a discussion of their routes.

For those of you who have not played yet, I shall leave you to discover which questions fit which characters. That perhaps, is a small part of the enjoyment of playing this game, and it would be a tragedy to spoil it here ^^

Before I close this post though, I would like to share a small shoutout to the in-development visual novel Missing Stars. If you liked or will like Katawa Shoujo’s premise, then perhaps this visual novel’s take on mental disorders may be up your alley as well. Let’s give them our support as they bring this challenging concept into fruition! ^___^

Please leave suggestions for future visual novels to cover, as well as any comments about me covering visual novels, in the comments below!

Full-size images: 9, 19

March 29, 2012 at 10:33 pm
122 comments »
  • March 29, 2012 at 10:37 pmXumbra

    PARITY JAM AAAAAAAAAAAW YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAH
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oqf36ReTrDU

  • March 29, 2012 at 10:41 pmDa5id

    CRAP I HAVEN’T FINISHED ALL OF THE ROUTES YET. (Currently at 57%)

    I’ve finished Emi’s, Shizune’s and Kenji’s route so far. Of them, I’d have to say I like Shizune’s route for the characters, and Emi’s route for the story. Kenji’s was funny as hell, and should have been longer.

    LET’S GO ON MANLY PICNIC. JUST WHISKY AND PRETZELS.

    • March 29, 2012 at 10:49 pmZanibas

      LAND PRICES IN JAPAN LINKED TO FEMINISTS.

    • March 30, 2012 at 7:28 am0927123

      At least you’re at 57% while I’m at 0.5%. :S

      *I’m at EP 11 of Eva though.

  • March 29, 2012 at 10:43 pmDa5id

    AND I think that “Ritsu Wannabe” is actually a male Haruhi Suzumiya according to the creators.

  • March 29, 2012 at 10:53 pmRakkyo

    I’ll just leave this here…

    • March 29, 2012 at 11:10 pmDa5id

      Just a second I have to get to the next window…Emi, there’s a cloud.

    • June 9, 2012 at 2:11 pmBio D

      I come from the future to tell you how much I love you for that link. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while.

  • March 29, 2012 at 10:55 pmPhnx

    “Granted, the ‘scenes’ are all there, but they’re not essential to the plot and can be omitted via the options panel (you’ll still see the characters semi-naked still, but the actual scenes are replaced by images of animals and food).”

    Up until now, I played the scenes as is, but now I’m tempted to play the rest with the adult off option just to see animals and food (TBH, most of the sex scenes felt very out of place).

    • March 29, 2012 at 10:57 pmZanibas

      Oh, it’s animals and food accompanied by heartbeat effects. It’s quite funny actually :)

    • March 30, 2012 at 2:05 amzeroyuki92

      Not really. The scenes in Katawa Shoujo actually never felt sexual at all for me, so it didn’t really disturb the flow of game for me.

      And to be honest, there must be at least some scenes that were essential to the story. The Hanako one (without reading the scene, the top scene wouldn’t come smooth) and Rin (the first, depressing scene is very essential to show Rin’s condition). The other scene such as Lilly, although a bit out of place (especially the former two), also good for enchanting the romance between Hisao and Lilly.

      I believe it’s the best to see Katawa Shoujo with turning on the scene if you’re old enough for that. It doesn’t made for any sexual objective, afterall. Changing it to fruit and food just chop the flow absurdly IMO.

      • March 30, 2012 at 2:12 amZanibas

        I believe the absurdity arose (as opposed to a more elegant omission) as a reaction to the clamor for an all-ages option. If I remember correctly, KS wasn’t originally supposed to have that option, but people were concerned that the adult content would limit the audience. Thus, the shenanigan was born last-minute.

    • March 30, 2012 at 5:40 amD-LaN

      LOL Animals and Foods.

    • March 30, 2012 at 6:02 amD-LaN

      Hmm… visual novels.. never tried one be4 but I don’t mind someone covering this. I suggest GC: Lost Chrismas (I am curious whether will it end up lk its parent series)

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:04 pmdarkkodiak

    Nice write up. I really enjoy this visual novel. As for suggestions for possible future write ups for visual novels, how about visual novels that have an anime? For instance, the Da Capo visual novel or Shuffle!. You can even do the really well known visual novels that had really good anime adaptations like Clannad and Fate/Night Stay.

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:04 pmEadwacer

    I was impressed with all of KS. The choice of character for the poll was hard because it was hard to separate the character from the story arc — each character/story is different, by being more fun, or romantic, or approachable than the others. I keep changing my mind.

    I’m not a big fan of VNs because I think they suffer too many constraints compared to other media. They are not as detailed as books, not as active as anime, not as artistic as graphic novels. With those kinds of boundaries, it’s a wonder you can tell any stories with a VN. Still, KS was better than pretty good. OK, it was awesome.

    • March 30, 2012 at 12:39 pmShageki

      Beware some of them is Eroge(Adult Visual Novel)

      like Shuffle, Fate/Stay Night, and D.C.III is an Eroge …

      i don’t think it’s a good idea to posting Eroge on RC …

      • March 30, 2012 at 4:12 pmxRichard

        RandomC did a full coverage on Yosuga no Sora. NSFW tag should do for most of the VNs that are worth our time.

    • March 30, 2012 at 4:24 pmSuppa Tenko

      Clearly you’ve never read G-Senjou no Maou “The Devil on G-string” And no it’s not underwear.

      The thing about VNs is unlike books they can provide a visual and bgm to set the mood. It’s easier to incorporate dialogue because of the visuals yet it doesn’t seem out of place for a monologue like those in animes. Words can be just as suspenseful and epic to describe a sword fight as an anime showing it. Imagination is very powerful. VNs are the middle ground in media because of its hybrid nature. Unlike animes, VNs don’t have time constraints. It can be as long as the budget or plot allows unlike animes that have a time slot to fill. The usage of BGM is also a plus that you can’t get from normal books. Many VN stories do not cover a heavy action genre so the stillness is usually very tolerable.

      Also in VNs you can do this
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMhpWi8Kv-M
      which cannot be pulled off in any other media.

      • March 30, 2012 at 4:58 pmxRichard

        Hey, it’s ok to love a game and share that feeling with to everybody. But I doubt that posting a video of the frigging FINALE of the game you are recommending makes any kind of sense. WTF.

    • March 30, 2012 at 5:25 pmxRichard

      So you were surprised by KS and you think it was awesome. Then you should play more VNs before stating a misinformed opinion like that because, actually, KS doesn’t even stand a chance against the most of the better visual novels out there. Just take a look at the upcoming game from Nitro+, Robotics;Notes (yes, this is a visual novel).

      I won’t try to convice you of anything, but you should take Suppa Tenko’s recommendation and play G-Senjou no Maou. It’s a very good entry-level VN. Try it and think again if VNs “suffer” from too many constraints.

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:06 pmPochiko

    Hmm… covering visual novels ehh?

    I approve :D!

    After playing Fate/Stay Night’s amazing visual novel (would you ever mind covering that?), I’ve been curious about trying out new 1′s. So long as the sex scenes (if there are any) are made for the story, not the other way around.

    Speaking of which, for all of you who have any apprehensions about trying out visual novels because they have sex involved in it, think of it this way. Movies, books, music all have sex related topics/scenes/lyrics as well. Lots of people tend to look at the stereotypes though which is why it’s looked down upon (IE tentacle rape etc).

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:11 pmSilentCid

    I liked Lilly’s route as it centers more on Hisao’s disability throughout that particular storyline. I did notice that there were a few drawing inconsistencies in which that could be due to new members over the course of 5 years touching with the art side of things. Storyline wise the routes are top-notch and elegantly done. There is a good amount of characterization, plot development, and sincerity for each of the routes. If you choose to have the CG eroge scenes turn on you will find the scenes are not of pure lust trying to calm eechi urges but a passion of love for one another.

    For someone like me who doesn’t really mess with VNs all that much I did found Katawa Shoujo was brilliantly done and with respect to anyone who does have a disability.

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:12 pmDa5id

    The biggest tragedy is that most people will just see it as “that dating sim game about raping cripple girls that was made by 4chan”.

    A shame, they’ll never see this game’s brilliance.

    Anyway, I hope they do an expanded version with the two other girls from the April Fool’s day page.

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:21 pmRakkyo

    Since RandomC has anime and manga reviews why not go for it and create a visual novel category too. Though considering the readers here, I think you should stick to reviewing translated visual novels.

    Still needs to finish Hanako route…

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:22 pmCarVac

    Why isn’t Kenji on the poll?

    • March 29, 2012 at 11:26 pmZanibas

      Added.

      • March 29, 2012 at 11:36 pmDa5id

        What about Shizune and Miki?!

      • March 29, 2012 at 11:36 pmDa5id

        FUCK I meant. Misha.

        Misha and Miki.

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:30 pmSaya

    Wow I never expected this. Looking forward to more VN reviews in the future. It’s a really nice addition to the site and I hope it continues. Also would encourage me to pick up more VNs.

    Oh I heard about the idea for the mental disorder VN but didn’t think they’d actually follow through with it. Hopefully it’s done as tastefully as Katawa Shoujo.

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:34 pmMrTerrorist

    What an amazing post. Now i’m off to download and play the game. Who’s with me?

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:38 pmDa5id

    I should also mention that, as a below the knee amputee, I naturally finished Emi’s route first.

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:50 pmKumakaori

    *sigh* I’ve finished Rin, Lilly, and Hanako. Sure the game has it’s flaws, but it gets ya thinking, and that’s what I’ve enjoyed, when I get lost in my thoughts because this game made me seriously consider something I never had before.

  • March 29, 2012 at 11:59 pmgcsasuke

    Everybody knows Lily is the best

  • March 30, 2012 at 12:17 amSinan Çevik

    Wow! This is the first Visual Novel I have tried (I haven’t finished it yet) and I see the review on my favorite blog. Thanks and hope to see more Visual Novel reviews.

    • March 30, 2012 at 12:23 amDa5id

      Me too!

  • March 30, 2012 at 12:23 amShionl

    :D I find it awesome to find a post on this on RC as I have just found this recently just finished the Hanako route and working on the others

  • March 30, 2012 at 12:31 amAnon

    You should do Hatoful Boyfriend!

    • March 30, 2012 at 2:06 amzeroyuki92

      Ho Ho Ho

  • March 30, 2012 at 12:45 amtotoum

    I’m just starting the Hanako route and I see from that pic above I have nice things to look forward to.

    I started with Shizune and was a bit disapointed with how few choices there were to make in that route,however that was soon forgoten when I went and did the Rin routes afterwards,lots more choices and lots of different ways to get to different endings.I’ve also done the Emi and Kenji routes.

    My only gripe is that I really have yet to really like any of these girls,for some reason Shizume’s “bossy” nature, Emi and Micha’s “genki” nature,Rin’s “ditzy” nature (not the word I’m looking for,I can’t find the words to describe rin,quite ironic really lol) all rub me in the wrong way.

    However I see Hanako and Lilly are the most popular so I’ll see how they turn out.

    One last thing:Kenji is BOSS,every scene with him never fails to entertain me.

  • March 30, 2012 at 1:04 amHagiri

    I gotta play this after I finish Eien no Aselia..

  • March 30, 2012 at 1:12 amc2710

    i’m still somehwat 40% thru the VN and i must say… somehow i went to the bad end with kenji and that totalley surprised me. anyway, back to the girls, thus far i’ve completred emi’s route

    i must say, initially i the spring legs caught my attention but along the way, i began to think more about how things’d turn out based on the choices that i make

    right now im on shizune’s arc… though i feel uneasy how it’ll turn out at the end. i just have this uneasy feeling with misha

  • March 30, 2012 at 1:27 amSirMuffin

    Just downloaded this actually. It’s quite encouraging to see how well received its been by the community.

    Now to the important question… Which girl should I go for first?

    • March 30, 2012 at 2:16 amDa5id

      No matter what you do, all routes lead to Kenji.

  • March 30, 2012 at 1:49 amJason

    I could never get past my second playthough because Hanako’s route/good ending was so good that trying to do any other route after it was rendered nearly impossible for me and I barely got into Shizune’s route.

  • March 30, 2012 at 1:54 amxRichard

    It would be great to have VN coverage. I love them, some of the are among the best experiences I had in my general cultural life.

    It can be done. It could work out as long as we are careful with the games we choose to do and the format of the coverage.

    An overall approach would work the best with most of the (translated) games out there. The idea in this case would be to simply hook readers into trying out the games. Pointing out issues like: What makes the VN special, how it came to be, what is it about, and why we should care to play it. Similar to the style taken in many Episode 1 post when the anime season starts.

    But there’s the need to have played the game before to know what it is about beforehand. This Katawa Shoujo post is a good example of this kind of coverage.

    Another way would be a “Let’s Play” approach, but “RandomC style”. You slice the game in episodes/chapters/days/routes and cover those sections as if it was any other airing show. The idea is to “play along” RandomC readers, have fun and talk about the game writing impressions and whatnot, enjoying the ride. For example: It would be very interesting to do this with Fate/Stay Night. I’m not talking about doing a Complete Let’s Play, but something much more segmented. F/SN has 3 linear routes with 15 Days each, covering 3 Days per post will take 5 post per route, quite a balanced number.

    With the second approach you don’t need to have played the game before. The format of the post should be something along the one you use for manga coverage.

    Some ideas:

    * Fate/Stay Night – I think this is the most adequate and safest start. Also quite a relevant game right now with the hype around Fate/Zero.

    * MuvLuv: Extra and Alternative – 2 games, 3 stories. Read the sypnosis. Alternative is currently ranked #1 in VNDB.org by a wide margin over extremely popular stuff like F/SN, Clannad and Steins;Gate, and there’s a reason for that: It’s a f**ing masterpiece superior to all those games in almost every way (IMO).

    And if RandomC is up to it:

    * Swan Song – Apocalyptic, Survival, “Tokyo Magnitude 8.0: The VN”. Warning, this game will make you hate humanity.

    * Saya no Uta – Gen Urobuchi being Gen Urobuchi. But this may be just too much.

    ______________

    There’s no way I can edit this post. So, desde yá, sepan disculpar mi Inglés.

    • March 30, 2012 at 6:54 amZreon

      MUV-LUV Alternative is indeed one of the best I’ve played yet. It’s pretty dark and gruesome at times, but quite powerful emotionally and with a very mature storyline and themes (and I don’t mean nudity or gore).

      Definately worth a look.

    • March 30, 2012 at 1:20 pmKusabi

      I second the recommendation of Saya no Uta. Attention to all of VN newbie. The story is short, about 5-7 hours to get all endings, but the story is dark, depressing, and very messed up.

  • March 30, 2012 at 2:10 amThe_Magus_Killer

    Of all the girls, I like Shizune (I’m a sucker for student council president types), and Hanako (shrinking violet types) the most. I want to see an anime about Katawa Shoujo (with the intimate scenes animated like those in Yosuga no Sora). Imagine if they pulled the Amagami cast of seiyuu into voicing the Katawa Shoujo characters. XD

    I want Kenji as my wingman and bro. FEMINISTS!!! XD

    *Assumes the Misha Pose* Wa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

  • March 30, 2012 at 2:14 amsuff

    pink drill hair… first time I’ve seen that.

  • March 30, 2012 at 2:16 amzeroyuki92

    What? a VN review in RC? Count me surprised :p

    Katawa Shoujo is a simple, realistic and good game, especially for those who just stepped into the Visual Novel world (boosted that it was done by non-Japanese and full-Indie). Actually, VN is a kind of underrated media of storytelling, and with a good care in Story and Characters, VN can be a very good media to tell a story, especially character-driven story with emotional force.

    http://vndb.org/v/all?q=;fil=tagspoil-1.lang-en;o=d;s=rating < VNDB should be a good start for those who are raving for more VN. I personally suggest G-Senjou no Maou and Sharin no Kuni as two of my favorites-already translated VN which didn't have any adaptations yet (and maybe never)…Or True Rememberance, Narcissu and Planetarian for those who only want short VN (KN).

    • March 31, 2012 at 10:15 amBoo

      Just finished Narcissu a few weeks ago, very good story line. The plot / story line has a mature constant, anyone with a personal loss that they are still dealing with should stay away from this for awhile. Has about zero sexual content so if your thinking eroge VN’s. The author has released this VN to be distributed as free and wanted others to translated it to other languages.

      If you want a idea of whats it about, here is a one word hint on what it is dealing with:
      Show Spoiler ▼

      http://narcissu.insani.org/

      You will have to google where to download it from because most of the sites handle unauthorized translations of licensed materials. Narcissu itself was authorized by the author to be freely distributed.

  • March 30, 2012 at 2:46 amDa5id

    Does this mean someone will review Guilty Crown: Lost Christmas when it comes out? It would certainly be a shame to not see this trainwreck make a legitimate attempt at redeeming itself.

  • March 30, 2012 at 2:58 amnasa

    Wow great post~!
    I definitely enjoyed it. I wonder how the anime fans will take this post…
    Thanks for spreading the word about Katawa shoujo and visual novels~! I now know who my favorite writer is from the new writers :P

  • March 30, 2012 at 3:45 amAscended1

    One of a few VN’s that I actually actively disliked a couple of the characters, rather than just tolerating them. I seriously couldn’t stand Rin and Shizune. I’m not sure what it was about them.

    • March 30, 2012 at 4:31 am♥Seven☆

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      • March 30, 2012 at 4:51 amAnon

        lol at the new heart and star in your name.

        I liked Rin and all her weirdness but not Shizune. I think she’s the most unpopular route as well excluding Kenji’s. They should of had Misha as the heroine instead WAHAHAHA.

      • March 30, 2012 at 5:19 am♥Seven☆

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      • March 30, 2012 at 5:49 amDa5id

        So…you’re basically doing this be a troll and piss people off by coming and posting negative and sarcastic comments in posts regarding things you’ve never touched or watched…just because?

        Yeah…that sounds like you. Well, enjoy your time until they ban you again and you have to move to the next proxy, which will likely be an endless cycle of pointlessness with no end in site.

    • March 30, 2012 at 11:43 amZanibas

      I can see why you wouldn’t like them…they have a different flavor to them that not everyone can digest. Hopefully vanilla Lily proved more to your liking? :P

  • March 30, 2012 at 4:21 amZen

    Preamble: This a reconciliation of the polarized opinions surrounding Katawa Shoujo. I followed the development of this game for about 2 years before it was actually released, and played it to 100% completion within 2 weeks afterwards.

    DISCLAIMER: My own opinion about Katawa Shoujo remains neutral; I recognize that this game has much merit (As should be evident by 100% completion), but at the same time I also recognize and agree with the criticisms of constructive detractors; this article serves to reconcile these two seemingly contradictory point of views.

    Actual article below in spoiler tags…

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • March 30, 2012 at 4:24 amSpace Jam

    who hasn’t any arms to slam with

    COME ON AND SLAM.

    • March 30, 2012 at 4:26 amDa5id

      AND WELCOME TO THE JAM

  • March 30, 2012 at 5:48 amYes!@

    I’m at 40% done with Shizune and Misha, finishing Emi. For a FREE game you can’t really make formal complains. Yes there are stuff that can be improved and worked on; but overall is a nice VN for what you paid. I’m a sucker for bromance so Kenji FTW !!!! He justcrack me up in his way of seeing how femela domination is going to take over the world. Remind me of Married with children and Al’s club NO MA’AM.
    As for VN coverage in RandomC it will be great as long as we steer away from walkthru and full detail game play, like some poster suggested already. Reviews are the heart of the site and this one stays within the feel of it.
    PD Still miss the light novels reviews we had way back. Great POST!

  • March 30, 2012 at 6:20 amKusabi

    Aw crap, I forgot to resume this game. Time to play otaku again.

  • March 30, 2012 at 6:57 amGhostalker

    Been playing this game since February, this is also my first visual novel. So far I’m less than 3hours total play time.

  • March 30, 2012 at 7:24 amjohn

    Is this a gal game? Maybe Kami-Ni-Sama should do a review of this…..:-P

    • March 30, 2012 at 7:40 amSilentCid

      It’s not at all a gal’s game it is a nicely done story for all sexes.

    • March 31, 2012 at 12:29 amjohn

      Ahh, sorry about my not too obvious references. I mean is this a kind of romancing gal type of game (shorten to gal game), that Katsuragi Keima is the game god of?

  • March 30, 2012 at 8:04 amgandalf8

    Glad to see my favorite anime blog spreading more love for this awesome game. I wouldn’t be averse to seeing VN reviews in the future too as I think that VNs and anime have a lot in common. I was torn between Hanako and Lilly for my favorite Katawa Shoujo character, but in the end I just had to go with Lilly just because of that lovely Good End.

    Katawa Shoujo isn’t the first visual novel I’ve read though. That honor goes to the equally amazing and equally free True Remembrance. Man, now I feel like playing it again.

  • March 30, 2012 at 8:50 ambillng

    The fact that the VN had no voice acted really affected my decision to play it, I couldnt bring myself to play it without voice acting too dry for my taste

  • March 30, 2012 at 9:23 amBeckett

    Love Katawa Shoujo, and love the idea of covering VN’s on this site. Lilly was my favorite girl by far but since you made Kenji an option, I had to vote for him!

    It was like, “Behold, optic blast!”

  • March 30, 2012 at 10:14 amZen

    Um, can someone moderate the thing I wrote please? Much appreciated…;)

    • March 30, 2012 at 12:15 pmZanibas

      Send me a PM on IRC~

      • March 30, 2012 at 4:47 pmZen

        Thanks :)

        (Sheepishly) Looks like I need to learn how to use IRC. (Yes, I’ve never actually learned how to use it; kind of embarrassing)…XP

  • March 30, 2012 at 10:23 amKosmos

    I just started thanks to this post and I’m really enjoying it!
    Thanks Zanibas! :)

  • March 30, 2012 at 11:14 amNaYa

    Those drills… those drills!!

  • March 30, 2012 at 11:52 amMetalsnakezero

    Very nice write up and I wouldn’t mind a post that is in-depth analysis of the characters.
    BTW Shizune and Hanako are my two favorite characters.

  • March 30, 2012 at 11:55 amJimhawk

    I FC’d Katawa Shoujo long ago and I must say that it was thoroughly enjoyable. The truly surprising thing about it is that the project was an international collaboration among people with relatively no experience with projects like it. The quality was far above my expectations, and I am especially pleased with the music (which is also free to download).

    While the polls currently show that most people like Hanako (damn all you white knights out there), my girl will always be Emi because of her passion for life and how shamelessly upbeat she is. People like that always make me feel better because I’m the total opposite. Also, this face is so precious!

  • March 30, 2012 at 12:13 pmShageki

    you know Mahōtsukai no Yoru? (TYPE MOON Visual Novel),

    it was my most expected VN this year…

    the DEMO is awesome!, even though it was just non voiced Visual Novel …

  • March 30, 2012 at 1:13 pmprotomanx13

    I like the idea of reviewing visual novel and I did played a few chapter of Katawa Shoujo though I did not finish it since I am not a fan of visual novel.

  • March 30, 2012 at 1:26 pmSome random guy

    I like Katawa shoujo, thanks for reviewing it. :)

  • March 30, 2012 at 2:01 pmAvalanche

    This game. All the feels.

  • March 30, 2012 at 2:25 pmAsa

    game sucks ass.

  • March 30, 2012 at 3:47 pmxephx

    Never expected this game to be reviewed. I’ve actually known about this game since the act 1 demo. Hanako is my favorite, and I love her.

  • March 30, 2012 at 4:53 pmSortedeVaras

    Damnit. . . after G-Senjou no Maou and Sharin no Kuni I thought I was over the shameful and dirty years of my life spent playing VNs til late into the night but then this has to drag me back in.

  • March 30, 2012 at 6:15 pmewok40k

    well, it is definitely a title on my “to do” list :)

  • March 30, 2012 at 6:29 pmAnomalous

    All route’s complete, all CG’s captured, all flag’s triggered, 100% complete.

    Katawa Shoujo has become one of my favorite Visual Novels, and is one of the best I have ever played in terms of plot and character development- And that’s saying a lot, seeing as… Well, let’s compare it to some of my other favorites:

    Fate/stay night: $110.00

    Steins;Gate: $60.00

    Katawa Shoujo: $0.00

    Loved it. 10/10.

    Also, Kenji is a Bishounen, not a Bishoujo.

    PS: Thank you for writing this ^^ It would be nice to see further reviews for Visual Novels and perhaps Light Novels in the future, and I look forward to seeing you flesh out the various routes in KS. Also, I thank you for the link to Missing Stars- Right when I heard of KS’s premise, I had thought “wouldn’t it be great if the same thing was done on a Psychological level?”. Thank you =w=

  • March 30, 2012 at 6:44 pmLink?

    Download link plz T_T someone?

    • March 30, 2012 at 6:48 pmkabayongtao

      Did you read this segment?:

      “Please DO NOT ask or give links to raws, subs, or PVs. Instead, please check the Community section on the sidebar for useful links.”

    • March 30, 2012 at 7:15 pmxRichard

      Google: “Katawa Shoujo”. 1st result. Download the game.

      Make the effort, you can do it.

      • March 30, 2012 at 7:51 pmDa5id

        Also it’s free. That’s a pretty good hook.

      • March 30, 2012 at 8:21 pmKusabi

        Btw, thanks for the link and recommendation for this VN, Da5id. Have you play ef? It has a superb art and story.

      • March 30, 2012 at 9:23 pmDa5id

        No problem! To be honest, I’d be surprised if the reception for this game was any different than it is on 4chan, which is pretty much a general consensus that is great from beginning to end.

        I’ve been meaning to watch ef’s anime, but maybe I’ll go for the VN first so I’m not spoiled.

  • March 30, 2012 at 6:47 pmkabayongtao

    • April 1, 2012 at 5:46 amzomglazerpewpewew

      Its probably the HAT. THAT HAT.

  • March 30, 2012 at 8:08 pmSilentCid

    More votes for Lilly as she is one hot kinky half Japanese and half Scottish hottie!

  • March 30, 2012 at 9:52 pmskyhack

    Explaining my vote (Rin).
    I love Hanako, but I’ve been married to Rin for 33 years.

  • March 30, 2012 at 11:52 pmChipp12

    Rin is the best! I’ve done only her route and still haven’t tried others.
    Also, you’ve posted the old arrange of her theme on youtube.

  • March 31, 2012 at 12:15 amDCLXVI

    Zanibas, you are my hero, thanks for this post. Katawa Shoujo needs some love, it’s being bashed a lot in Japan base on its title alone, which is supposedly a derogatory term, or a term that some find offensive. Irony aside, KS has been my gold standard for visual novels ever since I played it.

    Also, I saw that EXACT SAME POLL on Fakku. XD

    For newbies, I recommend this playing order to balance out the highs and lows of the game:
    Shizune -> Emi -> Hanako/Lilly -> Rin -> Lilly/Hanako.

    My list, from most favorite to least favorite:
    1. Lilly – Show Spoiler ▼

    2. Hanako – Show Spoiler ▼

    3. Rin – Show Spoiler ▼

    4. Emi – Show Spoiler ▼

    5. Shizune – Show Spoiler ▼

    • April 2, 2012 at 7:53 pmskyhack

      Shizune’s Bad End, however, breaks your heart.

  • March 31, 2012 at 1:53 amSnicket

    A VN on RC? *checks portal to hell* Nope it hasn’t froze over. So i guess this is legit.

    Anyway, kidding a side. I am a bit surprised to see a VN being reviewed on RC. Especially this one. Not saying this doesn’t deserve praise, just that it i wouldn’t have used this one to test the waters.

    Any who, KS. A game i had been following it’s development since 2009. Well technically i stopped following closely around the end of 2010/ beginning of 2011. Anyway, after a lot of hype it was finally released and…it had its good moments and not so good moments. Depending on who you ask, will determine what those were. Which will spoil the game for you in the process.

    -Not really a spoiler, just me rambling on-

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Also, for those who have been following the progressing on the forums. Yes, i am THAT Snicket. So yeah…that’s pretty much it.

  • March 31, 2012 at 10:50 amfoofiebeast

    Like a lot of posters, this is/was my first VN. I started playing it a month or so ago and have played through two of the arcs. A lot of love was clearly put into this project and it shows. I imagine the quality of a big studio VN would show, but aside from the backgrounds, nothing stood out to me as being a distraction in terms of quality.

    I’ve really enjoyed it so far and it is something I never really gave much thought to before. Hopefully when I have some time this summer I can finish the rest of it.

  • March 31, 2012 at 1:35 pmBeedle

    >:( No picture of Lily in her red dress! For shame!

    Anyways, here’s a question that’s been bugging me and was probably answered in some other site but why does Kenji look so much like Harry Potter? o.0 His scarf even follows the house color scheme!


    It’s not a visual novel for those with a fetish.

    Agreed!

    Loving the captions as usual.

    And, Kenji is right about the feminist movement!Show Spoiler ▼

  • March 31, 2012 at 6:48 pmLectro Volpi

    Funny, I started playing this 3 days ago. It´s been years since my last VN so I carefully manage my save slots. I have yet to complete a route, I am doing Lilly´s first then Hanako (I saved the moment I can choose her route). Where is my beaver rape scene!?

  • March 31, 2012 at 9:22 pmVexx

    All I can say is I enjoyed it. None of the stories were superficial or treated the girls like ‘freak show’ fetishes. I understand at least one or more of the writing team are medical professionals(?).

  • March 31, 2012 at 10:19 pmdisgradius

    Ooooh VN reviews. Second FSN and G Senjou no Maou. Try muv luv (unlimited and alternative, extra was meh) and sharin no kuni too. All of the above are amazing.

  • April 1, 2012 at 12:34 amDokupe

    Why no route for drill girl? :<

    Anyways, I seconded on G-Senjou no Maou being reviewed here on RC. Simply one of the best VNs I ever played.

    • April 1, 2012 at 1:08 amDa5id

      The reason you can’t go down her route is explained in Shizune’s:

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • April 1, 2012 at 2:08 amKusabi

    Err, why Hatoful Boyfriend post dissapeared?

    Anyway, Zanibas, looking from number of comments of this post, why don’t you try to blog VN periodically, i.e. once per month? It’ll be a good intermezzo between anime posts.

    • April 1, 2012 at 5:07 pmDa5id

      Yeah, why did they take it down?

  • April 1, 2012 at 5:08 pmDa5id

    Did anyone else notice the big string of dislikes?

  • April 1, 2012 at 11:47 pmLuzacullus

    Everybody loves Kenji. Only those damn feminists don’t!

  • April 3, 2012 at 10:36 amjustinas

    > Misha Mikado

    Shiina Mikado that is. “Misha” is a nickname.
    http://katawa-shoujo.com/characters.php

    • April 3, 2012 at 10:58 amZanibas

      I am quite aware of Misha’s real name, but her nick was put on the poll as it is her more recognized name (as well as her dialogue label in-game). Thanks for the concern though :3.

  • April 3, 2012 at 12:04 pmAshen

    I’d be interested in reading blogged reviews/walkthrough of some of the more story-driven BL otome games, like DRAMAtical Murder, Lamento, or Togainu no Chi.

  • April 5, 2012 at 6:19 amAjax

    wow… KS blog… just today…

  • June 20, 2012 at 5:17 amewok40k

    Got the game and working on 4th route right now – I felt something between amusement and depression when on first try using my intuitive choices I ended up Show Spoiler ▼

    :P In real life I’d probably end up spending the night in my own room reading books, though. I am THAT hopeless. I’d possibly get Shanghaied into student council only too work silently until the end of each meeting and having none of the small-talk. Shizune would freak out having someone who took the council work more seriously than her, but without all the emotional drive…