Welp…I’ve finished my first playthrough of Katawa Shoujo. It didn’t actually take that long at all; just a few days by my count.
Anyways, you probably don’t need 3 guesses to figure out which route I landed up on. I feel like I should also play through Lilly’s route before passing judgment, but…I don’t know. Playing through Hanako’s route was really resonant with me because of the way in which her condition and way of interacting with people was described so poignantly. For example:
“But that’s the way Hanako always is. On the verge of saying something, but never quite doing it. As I look intently into her eyes, I realize something.
Everyone has their own thoughts, things they want to say, their own worldview. But I can’t work out what Hanako wants to say, and I can’t work out what she’s thinking. I never have been able to.”
“Right now…we don’t need words. Everything we want to communicate to each other, we can share just fine without them.”
“I take a step back and let her take the next shot, but she doesn’t advance to the table. Rather, she looks down a little and rubs her arm.
By now I can identify this as one of her gestures that mean she wants to say something, but isn’t sure enough of herself to do it.”
“She has been slowly shutting down for the last half hour, and I had no clue. Her pen is still in her hand, but she doesn’t slowly spin it around like she usually does. There isn’t a single idle movement from Hanako.
Though on the outside she has shut down almost completely, I know that it’s a different story on the inside.
What kinds of things could she be thinking about as she tries harder and harder to shrink into herself, as if by willing it she could somehow disappear?”
But, the resolution, the forward motion…it kind of fell pretty flat for me. I didn’t really even “get” the ending, now that I think about it. And I never felt closure about the birthday problem. Maybe that’s also partly because some part of me was hoping that she would have a similar problem to me about birthdays, but it doesn’t seem like it.
Maybe that’s the center of the reason why the story fell so flat for me in the end; is because although the symptoms seemed to match very acutely, the actual problem/solution weren’t matched in the same way. I guess it’s…somewhat similar. I think a point that is tried to get across in the writing (perhaps not that well) is that Hanako is afraid that she is just someone who “needs to be taken care of”…in that, she isn’t her own person who is valued because of her own self. I guess that is -somewhat- reminiscent of me, but not quite.
In either case, I probably didn’t understand the resolution at all because for me…hm. Well, I mean for me, the shorter term resolution is having a caring Lilly figure there to draw out the painful things from behind my wall. And I guess I was disappointed not to really see that, at all. The longer term resolution is to learn how to speak out my own unhappiness.
Yes…I guess the reason it fell flat is because the fundamental problem and solution were different from mine. The solution in Katawa Shoujo is giving Hanako more space. I guess that’s why I didn’t understand the latter part of the route at all, because that’s neither the outcome that I want nor the one that I need when I “become” Hanako.
However, it is interesting to note that it did give me a sort of partial insight into what it’s like to actually deal with…me. From an external point of view, I mean. It’s a mixed bag, I guess you could say.
I still think it is very interesting, however, how Hanako and Lilly seem to both map to me. To make a rough overgeneralization, Hanako is what I’m like when I’m in my unhealthy state, whereas Lilly is what I’m like when I’m at my best.
In general, though, I have no qualms about saying that, for example, Makoto’s route in Kanon was more emotionally wrenching in terms of just sadness, and that Narcissu & Narcissu Side 2nd were more impactful.