Fan Fic: Mean Time To Breakdown
"...Can I get a second chance?"Mean Time to Breakdown
is a Katawa Shoujo Divergence Fic
with a simple premise: What if Iwanako
was the one with arrhythmia? After suffering a heart attack from a botched confession, Iwanako Daidouji
is forced to come to terms with her new limitations, surroundings, and life expectancy... and hopefully find some friends in her new school, Yamaku Academy.Mean Time to Breakdown
takes a darker and (perhaps) more realistic look at the mindset of a recently-added member of Yamaku society, making this fic ideal for people who thought Hisao's personal issues were underplayed. Several Original Characters
are introduced to populate Katawa Shoujo's sparse roster without overshadowing the original cast, and many of the events of Act One play out in surprising and unexpected ways.
The series is still underway, updating approximately once every other month.
Tropes associated with Mean Time to Breakdown
- All for Nothing: After struggling to remain positive and adapt to her new life, Iwanako finds herself back in the hospital three days later even more depressed than when she left.
- Always Someone Better: Iwanako views Lilly as this in comparison to herself. She has aspired her whole life to seem graceful and well-mannered, but views Lilly as so far out of her league that it makes her feel self-conscious. The fact that Lilly is also staggeringly beautiful doesn't help matters. In an aversion to how this trope is usually played, Iwanako likes her regardless.
- Aloof Big Brother: How aloof is Iwanako's big brother, you may ask? Aloof enough that Iwanako hasn't heard from him since before her heart attack. Even now he doesn't answer her calls.
- Her parents aren't much better; Dad is too busy running his business interests, and mom is a Cloud Cuckoo Lander who barely takes any notice either. Once Iwa's out of hospital and back at school, she goes to Prague, just for the hell of it. She doesn't even seem to care that her daughter's back in the hospital. Even Hanako has Lilly to fall back on. Iwa doesn't even have that...
- Arc Words: "Smile, stupid. Smile. Don't look terrified." and "That's fine, I say."
- Armor-Piercing Question: Although she has no idea just how devastating the remark is, Iwanako delivers one to Emi: "How are you any different from some drunk driver who only feels bad after he finally spins out and murders half a family?"
- Ascended Extra: Several.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: After taking a moment to look at Hanako closely, Iwanako remarks that even though her scars are horrible, Hanako is far from unattractive, even if Hanako herself doesn't realize it.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Emi hits Iwanako's Bad End.
- Big Friendly Dog: Momomi Matsumoto's guide dog, Susano'o, is a perfectly well-behaved German Shepard. Which is to be expected from a trained guide dog.
- Breaking Speech: Iwanako to Emi, after her Crash into Hello gives Iwanako a mild concussion, triggers her tachycardia, and puts her back into the hospital.
- Broken Bird: Iwanako, in addition to the usual Katawa Shoujo cast. Hisao of course is no longer this.
- Catch Phrase: Aoi Sagawa is a pretty cool person.
- Covert Pervert: Aoi claims that under her sweet exterior, Keiko is "really a sicko".
- Crash into Hello: Emi's introduction. Unlike last time, it doesn't end well for anybody.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Iwanako learns about her disability the hard way.
- Deadpan Snarker: Iwanako, although she seldom voices her opinions out loud.
- Disappeared Dad: Iwanako's dad is a very busy man, and she hardly sees him in general.
- Divergence Fic
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Iwanako is familiar enough with sympathy visits to be thoroughly sick of them.
- Doting Parent: Iwanako's mother is very loving and supportive, and goes far to try to bring her daughter out of her funk. Unfortunately, she's also something of an airhead, which causes a few problems.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Momomi claims Susano'o is this to screw with people.
- Expy: Word of God says that Momomi is basically Joan Harris as a blind Japanese schoolgirl.
- For Want of a Nail: Many of Katawa Shoujo's events and interactions change, and the rest are seen through a very different lens.
- Genki Girl: Aoi Sagawa is very energetic.
- Get Out: Unlike Hanako, Iwanako says this after going nuclear.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Iwanako finds foul language vulgar and beneath her. Aside from some "Damn"s and "Hell"s scattered about, she'll resort to elegant variations of this trope.
- Heroic BSOD: Although once a cheerful and social high school girl, Iwanako's four-month-long stay in a hospital has robbed her of any hopes or ambitions she once had.
- Important Haircut: Iwanako gets one to help restart her life. With mixed results.
- In-Series Nickname: Momomi decides on 'Rocky', which Iwanako complains sounds nothing like her name.
- Inner Monologue: More prevalent here than in the original.
- It's All About Me: Emi unintentionally comes off this way when apologizing for hospitalizing Iwanako, due to how she talks more about the various consequences the school gave her than how sorry she is for what happened.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Mutou can see how Iwanako's bottling everything up isn't helping, and refuses to let her get away with it. Unfortunately, the fact he comes off as such a jerk in the process means she tends to dismiss his warnings.
- Large Ham: Meet Momomi.
- Multicolored Hair: Two-fold. Iwanako notices the stress of her situation has turned her temples prematurely gray so she has the front of her hair dyed blonde.
- "No. Just... No" Reaction: Molly suggests to Iwanako that since the school had no uniforms in her size currently, she could wear a boy's uniform instead. Iwanako's response is akin to this.
- No Social Skills: Mutou continues to be both very insightful and very out of touch. His talk with Iwanako was full of some very good points. However, perhaps giving her this talk the afternoon she almost died wasn't the best time.
- No Sympathy: Zig-Zagged in Scene Nine. While Mutou comes to check on Iwanako following her rehospitalization, he also decides that this is the best time to scold her about avoiding her problems. Calling somebody selfish for trying to avoid conflict doesn't go over too well when they're lying in a hospital bed after narrowly avoiding death.
- Not Helping Your Case:
- In Scene Nine, Mutou chooses to call Iwanako out on her bottling things up at a moment where she can't easily escape him... due to how she's been hospitalized. That doesn't exactly make her receptive to what he's got to say.
- Similarly, in Scene Ten, Emi doesn't do herself any favors when she admits to Iwanako that she'd had a close call with another student who had brittle bone disease and kept running through the halls afterward. Quite understandably, Iwanako's less than thrilled to hear she hadn't learned anything from the last time.
- Not So Different: Hanako's personality is a direct result of her disability, and Iwanako draws some uncomfortable parallels with her recent behavior. Could be the reason she's turning into her Only Friend.
- Not What She Looks Like: Shizune seems to see Iwanako's blond streaks, expensive jewelery and detached attitude and comes to the conclusion that she's a spoiled shallow kogal. When in reality she's a very depressed young lady hiding her prematurely graying temples and trying to look her best. This results in a notably poor first impression that has yet to be corrected.
- Out with a Bang: Iwanako is painfully aware of the fact that the sex act alone may over-strain her heart. Even if she survives that, pregnancy is basically a death sentence.
- Celibate Hero: Combined with The Talk below, Iwanako is pretty upset that she may have no choice but to become this.
- Poor Communication Kills:
- Iwanako's a Stepford Smiler who bottles up her emotions instead of sharing them, and strongly suspects nobody gives a damn anyway. Since she doesn't like drawing attention to how she really feels, those around her tend not to realize how much she's struggling.
- The rest of her family is no better about this. Dad's always busy with work, and her older brother hasn't talked to her in ages and made no obvious effort to change that even after her heart attack. As for her mother, she seems cheerfully oblivious to her daughter's feelings, to the point that she dismisses Iwanako getting a concussion and ending up in the hospital as "no big deal" and wondering what everyone was making a fuss about. Iwanako's too stunned by this to correct her, and is left wondering if the concern she showed before was even real.
- The apology Iwanako gets from Emi comes off as incredibly insincere due to this, courtesy of how Emi mentions she'd been warned before and how the consequences effect her specifically.
- Rage Breaking Point: After two days of slowly building anger at her awful situation, Iwanako finally snaps when she sees Emi's mother has come to support her, while her own ran off to Europe. The results are unpleasant.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Iwanako gets one from her cardiologist early in the story in response to her abysmal attitude. It, along with her parents' concern, kicks off her entire character arc.
- Iwanako herself later gives one to Emi when she visits her in hospital, given how Emi put her there in the first place.
- Retail Therapy:
- Iwanako's mother sees this as a reasonable solution to help her daughter's mood. Surprisingly, it works pretty well at the time.
- After Iwanako gets hospitalized again, this proves less effective.
- Secret Test of Character: As is usual for Shizune, she tries this on Iwanako. However, due to various factors Iwanako fails particularly badly. There seems to be a lasting grudge between them now.
- Signature Laugh: In keeping to her character, Momomi has one.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Kick it down a few notches.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Hisao.
- Spoiled Sweet: Iwanako's family is notably well-off so she's hardly wanted for anything. Despite that, at least on the outside she's a very demure soft-spoken girl who is reluctant to ever say a bad or negative thing about anyone. However, even she can only stay silent so long. And the fact that her parents aren't exactly shining examples, and her greater difficulty than Hisao in fitting in, leaves her feeling very alone.
- Sequential Artist: Keiko, thought what she draws comics of is anyone's guess, since she isn't sharing.
- The Stations of the Canon: Usually From Bad to Worse; much of the stuff that happens to Hisao in canon happens to Iwanako here, but whereas Hisao usually walks away pretty unscathed, Iwanako often gets the worst out of everything. This furthers her Broken Bird traits, which combined with her tendency to not voice her feelings makes her bitter and often quite angry; Emi finds this out the hard way.
- Stepford Smiler: Iwanako tends to keep her negative feelings all bottled up while putting on a brave smile.
- The Talk: Nurse gives Iwanako a variation of this when he makes sure she knows she can't take oral birth control with her condition. Iwanako manages to keep her composure, but just barely.
- Tempting Fate: At the end of Scene Nine, after finding out that her mom's off in Europe and apparently doesn't think her daughter being hospitalized again is such a big deal, Iwanako thinks to herself "I hope this is rock bottom." Unsurprisingly, things get worse.
- Transfer Student Uniforms: Iwanako has a very small frame, so Yamaku didn't have a uniform available in her size. The result is Iwanako being forced to wear her old one.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Aoi Sagawa and Keiko Kobayakawa.
- Troll: Momomi loves to do and say things seemingly just to knock Iwanako off balance.
- Weak-Willed: Iwanako sees herself as this for so easily falling into depression over her condition and struggling so badly with bouncing back. Momomi actually tells her during only their second meeting that she seems like the type of girl to be easily pushed around.
- What Have I Become?: Iwanako is shocked at how bitter and cynical her condition has made her...
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Iwanako is a proudly feminine, soft-spoken and very polite young lady who used to be a ranking member of the Tea/Ikebana Club at her old school. Momomi is so shocked by the latter that she goes so far as to call Iwanako a princess.
- You Are Not Alone: While stuck in hospital the second time and thinking she is all alone, Iwanako receives a suprise visit from Hanako, who she only worked with to get away from Shizune. More than that, she brings Lilly along too. Cue impromptu tea party.
- Yuri Genre: According to Word of God, anyway.