If you make the wrong choice in Emi's route near the end, of all people, Misha comes to save you and gives you a chance to apologize to Emi and make things right. It's a tender moment for you and Misha, and arguably a Crowning Moment Of Awesome for her - but more so when you realize that years ago Misha felt the pain of rejection from a loved one and doesn't want Hisao to go through the same thing.
Actually, Misha also shows interest in all of Hisao's romantic relationships, with Emi and Shizune's routes being the ones where she's more blatant. Misha's Love Hurts past is what puts this on perspective: she acted the most forceful when Hisao had more direct romantic trouble, to keep him from being hurt like she was — despite it potentially backfiring in Shizune's route.
Near the end of Emi's path, you find out why she tries so hard at keeping people at arm's length. After losing her father in an accident, she doesn't want to risk getting close enough to someone else she might just lose. If she can't get close to people who would otherwise have normal and happy lives, how much more difficult must it be for her to get close to Hisao, someone whose heart condition could quite literally kill him at any time, and who she runs a very high risk of actually losing? Specially considering that, to win favor points with her in Act 1, you have to make Hisao have physical problems? In the end, it makes the fact that their relationship succeeds all the sweeter.
As the route starts, the video includes a scene of Emi trying to get an apple on her own, but not quite managing it until she rides on Hisao's shoulders. More-or-less self-explanatory after a point in the route.
When you first meet her in the library, you discover that she's reading Life of Pi. Considering the plot of the book centers around a boy who lost both of his parents in a tragic accident and is stuck in the middle of the ocean (almost) alone with no other person to relate to, and you can see why Hanako seems to have taken such a liking to the book.
The final CG's in "Misstep", Hanako's explosive and traumatic bad end, is the one place in the game where her face isn't obscured by anything. Her physical form mirrors the fact that emotionally, she no longer hides anything.
Similarly, in her Good Ending, when Hanako kisses Hisao in public... Hanako's scars are facing away from the camera. Towards the people in the background. All of whom are staring. (Including her classmate Molly, who seems to be very happy about it.) And she doesn't care. She's finally starting to face the world without fear.
Furthermore, look at the expressions of the staring people. In addition to Molly, there is a surprised looking Takashi, and two other people who are looking on with smiles. The world may see Hanako as unusual, but it is opening up to her.
Hanako's Neutral Ending consists of her and Hisao playing chess and having dinner. It is not the different from her Act 1 Ending, Seems nice, until you get the Bad Ending Credits. Than you realize, after all you have done to try and help Hanako, your relationship has gone nowhere.
Hanako's path deconstructs White Knighting, and as a result, requires Hisao to open up to Hanako and bare his weaknesses to her as well. He can't help her as a superior; it has to be as a peer, and he has to be asking for help as well. The two need to develop a mutual trust. This is most evident in Hanako's H-scene, where they're both at their most vulnerable and consequently, requires the greatest level of trust: Hanako because the entirety of her scars are on display, and Hisao because the action places stress on his weakened heart.
Hanako's room being bare and devoid of decorations is interesting in two regards. Firstly, it strongly resembles Hisao's room, and as he points out, his view of his condition, including lingering depression and the belief that it defines him, is Not So Different from hers. She also most likely had a similar experience in moving around between rooms, going from her own room to the hospital, then the orphanage, and now to Yamaku. Secondly, her Only Friend at the start of the game and the only person besides Hisao to set foot in her room is blind.
In Lilly's route, Hisao passes off her sudden enjoyment of wine as a vice, similar to her tea addiction. Initially, this judgement this makes sense considering she got drunk the first time she tried it, but then Fridge Brilliance kicks in. Anyone who's ever tried to taste wine properly knows that there are a multitude of factors involved in judging a wine, most of which are not related to it's appearance. Things like smell, texture, body, acidity, variety of grape, aftertaste, flavours etc. To Hisao, or most people for that matter, these would be an afterthought since it's just booze to him. To Lilly, these things would immediately stick out to her since her other senses are so much more sensitive. Even the sound of the wine sloshing about in the glass would be something new and exciting to Lilly, so it's no surprise she takes such a fast liking to it.
Exactly why does Hisao's heart act up more on Lilly's route than on any other route? It's because he's been drinking both more tea and alcohol! There's no way that increased consumption of both a type of depressant and a type of stimulant can be good for his irregular heartbeat.
Both coffee and alcohol have an effect on heart rate. He's also far more active in short bursts but no has gradual exercise in that route.
He tells the nurse that he's been getting some exercise when seeing him after the incident at the Satou family summer house, although we rarely see much of his exercises in the routes besides Emi's.
Lilly's route is the most delicate of the five; it's quite possible to make a seemingly unimportant choice in Act 2 that leads inevitably to the Bad End hours later in act 4, with minimal changes to the scenes in between. Two of the other three choices appearing in her presence also send you to the bad ending if you do them wrong, regardless of what you do with the others, but, again, nothing seems to change until much later. This reflects her desire for a perfect fairytale-type romance, and her tendency to act calm and composed all the time, rarely talking about her own problems even when something is seriously wrong.
The three choices, and an Act 1 choice critical to unlocking her or Hanako's routes all have a common element; you have to let her know what's on your mind. Lilly says in her good ending that she loves Hisao for his honesty, among his other good qualities. This makes perfect sense for a blind girl, how can she know if something's wrong unless you tell her?
During their time off in the summer home, Hisao surprises Lilly while she's cutting food and causes her to accidentally cut her finger. He takes her upstairs to put a bandage on it and during the process, which causes her to flinch, he notes how low Lilly's pain threshold is. It took me some time to realize it's perfectly logical that Lilly's fingertips are extremely sensitive...she uses them to read and examine other people's faces after all.
Goes back to the first Brilliance about her love of wine. Being blind enhances the rest of the senses.
Not only that, but fingers have more nerves and sensitivity than the rest of the body as a whole. Considering that Lilly's other senses are more acute than average to try compensating for her blindness... if a cut on the finger is really panful for someone with a normal sight, imagine how it can be for a blind person. Meeeeep.
The drift between Lilly and Shizune. Lily relies heavily on speech for communication, while Shizune relies on sight. Even in the best of cases, it's not easy for them to communicate to each other directly. Throw in one or two cases of miscommunication (via the translator that is Misha), and you have a disaster waiting to happen.
Why is Lilly so eager to go live in Iverness? Why would a girl with a nice friend circle and a more or less developed like in Japan suddenly be willing to "throw" almost all of it away, despite knowing that she won't go back ever? It's actually quite easy to see why: The Satou parents left their daughters in Japan to go there, and eldest daughter Akira openly states that she believes they couldn't really handle having a disabled child. Lilly was fairly young when this took place, therefore she most likely blamed herself for it and thought that, if she "behaved" and was a "really good girl", Mom and Dad would take her back. This explains not only why she grew into a Yamato Nadeshiko (the "ideal woman" as seen in the place she was raised), but also why she was so determined to go to Scotland: the Satou parents are reconsidering their decision and asking her to live with them. Something that is likely a dream coming true for Lilly, who so needs her parents's love and approval after being away from them for so long — even when she has found friendship and love in Japan as well, which she feels that she needs to set aside no matter how it hurts her, if she wants to reconnect with the parents she misses. And in the Good Ending, Lilly has to finally put her own needs first instead of those of others and specially her parents's: yes, she does need the Satou's love, but she can't expect to lead a truly happy life if she won't take care of her needs to get their approval. Akira and her boyfriend are the ones who go there because they don't have Lilly's emotional baggage, and therefore they can handle themselves better in these regards.
During one of their first meetings, back in Act 1, Hisao apologizes to Lilly for being up so early in the morning and speaking to her, and she sagaciously replies that he shouldn't be, because waking up early is a good and desirable thing. If you play through her route, though, you learn Lilly herself is actually very much not a morning person... And yet she met Hisao very early and acted as polite and courteous as ever, even complimenting him. This subtly hints upon her main issue of being so careful to please others that she endures needless suffering to herself.
Perhaps somewhat amusingly, of all the characters, Lilly most clearly shows a sexually dominant streak - demanding sex frequently and on her terms, teasing Hisao, ordering him around (e.g. "close your eyes and don't peek") and eventually even tying him. This seems like a regular cases of Covert Pervert or the stereotypical "oppressed Catholic school girl running wild" until you realize that it might very well be a dark, unintentional manifestation of the same parts of her personality which lead to her caring so hard for people that they end up feeling useless and hating her. Subconsciously, she wants to have a feeling of power over others - maybe to compensate for the fact that, being a blind woman in a world of sighted people, she can't help but feel a little bit powerless herself, no matter how well she deals with her disability.
One of the key choices that players seem to get stuck on comes at the end of her route. Namely, the choice between "then explain" and "I need to understand". Although the two choices seem identical, they're actually quite different. One choice puts the onus on Rin: "You can't explain it, so you're at fault." The other places the ball in Hisao's court: "I don't understand it, so I need to learn to understand." This is the difference between Rin withdrawing deeper into her art and reaching out towards Hisao.
I had no drinks in my mouth to spit, but let it be known that if I had some, it'd be your fault. You just enlightened me.
The difference between the choices is also important in that "Then explain" demonstrates that Hisao is just like everyone else that fails to understand Rin, because he isn't even making the effort to understand. "I need to understand" shows the opposite, because it shows that while Hisao still doesn't understand Rin he is attempting to do so to a level that is practically desperate. The third choice, only available if Hiaso decides earlier that he wants to support Rin more than he wants to get close to her, is "It doesn't matter", and this also leads down the path to the good and neutral endings because Hisao is starting to accept that he and Rin may never be able to bridge the gap between them but might be able to be together regardless.
In short, you actually asked a girl who has been established as utterly unable to express her thoughts verbally to EXPLAIN to you her deepest emotions? Goes very close to What the Hell, Hero? territory.
Rin's route has probably the most But Thou Must in it, despite having the most choices. Not only does it have the infamous six choices that all basically say the same thing, but she and Hisao have the same fight whether or not you choose "Then explain," it just changes the outcome and the timing of the fight. However, Rin herself is feeling a lot of But Thou Must in her life when it comes to painting, like that it's the only thing she can do in her life whether she wants to or not, so in a way, it's rather fitting for her route to give the player some of that feeling as well, even if it's frustrating, to help them empathize with Rin.
It's hard to call such a... potentially squicky fact brilliant, but it's there nonetheless: Rin's route is the only one in which Hisao gives the heroine oral sex. Rin mentions a couple of times that her favorite fruit is the orange, and one scene actually has Hisao feeding her oranges, which is implied to be something he does rather often after she locks herself up in the atelier. Oranges are well known for improving the taste and smell of sex fluids, and are highly recommended to people who plan on being given oral sex in order to make the experience more pleasant to the other party.
It's also sort of symbolic in that Hisao states that Iwanako used to peel him apples in a similar manner while he was in the hospital. Y'know, apples and oranges - it plays in to the overall themes of the route and the aesop that you don't need to completely understand a person to love them.
One of Rin's famously funny lines is "Underpants are the soul of a girl. You shouldn't peek at someone else's soul." There are exactly two scenes where we see Rin's underpants, and they both happen around the time of Rin revealing something important, intentionally or not. She's showing Hisao her soul.
Rin doesn't title any of her works so that people aren't influenced by anything but the work itself, which makes a lot of sense when one considers that she is trying to communicate her feelings through art because words aren't enough. The message need to be as clear as possible.
In Act Two, Rin tells you that what she most fears is changing herself, because every time she does, she thinks she comes off worse, not to mention the difficulty she has with it in the first place. In her good ending, she tells you that All she was ever afraid of was Hisao's kindness. When you consider how Hisao acted in Acts One and Two, and the impression she got from that, and then how he gradually tries to get closer to her instead of acting indifferent as he would otherwise ( even though they do have two seperate fights), it becomes clear that all this time, the problems in their relationship stemmed not only from Hisao's inability to understand her or be at peace with himself, but also from Rin's total inability to deal with this kind of attention, as she's never recieved it before, and the fear of it changing herself into something she wasn't, as reflected in her confusion over the way she acted in her second H-scene, where she is much more forward and direct than anywhere else.
It's possible to take the entirety of Rin's route as a subtle sort of Take That to modern art - specifically, the notion that True Art Is Incomprehensible. Before the full game came out, the fans' collective opinion that all of Rin's various eccentricities and odd habits were merely indications of her free spirit or "genius" was so powerful that even the scant few who so much as suggested they might be indicative of mental illness were practically mocked out of the forums for their lack of intelligence or class. Just as the definition of good art has become so ephemeral that it is, at times, no longer possible to differentiate actual brilliance from random scribbling (especially in light of the existence of a self-deluded "Ivory Tower" class of purported experts who declare those who do not share their opinions clueless on the matter), so is Rin's personality and mental state.
Fridge Brilliance makes Shizune's route more enjoyable on subsequent playthroughs. Misha more or less forces Hisao to use sign language when speaking with Shizune because she knows they like each other and she doesn't want to mediate their nascent romantic relationship. Shizune doesn't let herself have many romantic moments with Hisao because she dislikes just going through the motions of a romantic relationship... and because she knows how painful it would be for Misha, the girl Shizune cares for yet can't fall for, to see the two of them flirt. Shizune focuses on student council work because it's the only thing she can do without excluding either Hisao or Misha. Shizune focuses on patching up her relationship with Misha because she feels incredibly guilty at having rejected and then driven away her only friend. And in the bad end, Shizune breaks up with Hisao because she feels that she's driving him away — like it happened with Misha.
Deaf-mute people have a tendency to be particularly blunt and direct when expressing emotions, stemming from the necessity of being understood in ways different from the talking. Suddenly, parts of Shizune's personality start having more sense - at some points, it's even stated outright that the communication problems stemming from her disability are a source of frustration for her. A22 (The main writer for Shizune's route) very much deserves credit for not simply making her a straight up Tsundere, which arguably would have made her less of a Base Breaker, in order to portray this as realistically as possible.
Still doesn't beat the Fridge Logic of her not having a cellphone, where she can just type what she feels for those who don't understand signing.
When playing through Shizune's route, it is mentioned that Shizune despises the 'detour' that pen and paper, and to that extent cell phones, are and she much prefers the direct way through sign language.
More Brilliance there. A major theme in Shizune's route is her stubborness, her awareness of it, and being unable to do much about it.
During the playthrough it may seem like her story is just an unfocused series of events, but then, near the end, Hisao comes to the realization that Shizune prefers to compartmentalize events rather than letting life just flow and while it may or may not make up for the seeming lack of a focused over-arcing plot, it's very much a reflection of her mindset.
Shizune's first H scene has an odd fixation with hands: after she ties you to the chair, there are several moments where she strokes your hands with hers. Shizune talks using her hands, not her mouth. She's kissing you.
Hands in general seem to be a very big thing for Shizune. She spends alot of time touching them in both H scenes and frequently intertwines her fingers with Hisao's. She also drops Kenji's box early in Act 2 because Hisao accidently touches her. Consider how important her hands are to her. It fits that they would be very intimate for her.
Truth in Television: Neurological studies of sign-language using deaf people have shown that larger areas of the cortex are devoted to their hands than hearing people. This is due to the magic of neural plasticity: since their speech, language, and auditory regions are going unused, they get recruited by the motor areas for the hands. A brain scan of a deaf person using sign language looks very similar to a brain scan of a hearing person talking aloud. Correspondingly, this renders their hands more sensitive and often increases manual dexterity. Neural plasticity is awesome.
Despite some claims of how poor Shizune's route supposedly is because there's only one direct player-made choice after Act 1, it actually fits startlingly well - Shizune's personality is basically about being in control of everything, so having her take over control of the game itself when you choose her is a genius bit of quite unexpected strategy from the Risk-mistress herself.
That one choice? A situation that involves you and Misha, with Shizune nowhere to be seen. That's why that choice is there, because there is no way for Shizune to take control.
I completed Shizune's ending once, then again for the Bad Ending, and still didn't realize the significance behind the "takeover" until reading the above explanation just now. Damn, that's brilliant indeed.
Let's just put it that once you get into Shizune's route, you have to be a near What an Idiot to reach her Bad Ending. Why?Bedding your lover's best friend. That will pretty much turn off any girl in Real Life as well.
Except that Shizune never finds out about it, instead blaming herself for failure to salvage the situation.
Not directly due to Shizune herself, but when Hisao reads Iwanako's letter, if he is following Shizune's path, he immediately spots the subtext and reads in between the lines to what she really means - just as he's been learning to do with Shizune.
All of the girls' routes have an important message on how have to healthy relationship. Shizune's is obvious: Don't cheat on your partner. In Lilly's route, it becomes clear that honesty is very important and you shouldn't keep secrets from your partner. With Rin, you have to take steps to understand your partner and their needs. Hanako makes it clear that it is important that you treat your partner as an equal. Help them if they need it, but... don't coddle them. But Emi's route also lets you know that as long as you don't overdo it, it's okay to lean on each other and let the other in.
The way in which you must make your choices to reach each character's route in part reflects their own personality. Shizune, being a highly competitive person, has the major choices that send you toward her route are set the earliest, requiring you to be aggressive from the start. As Lilly is very open about her blindness, a required choice for her route involves telling her about your own condition as well as pandering to Hanako in much the way that she does. Hanako and Lilly are extremely close, which is reflected in the way that their routes are flagged together with a single decision that splits them near the end. Emi, besides requiring that you push yourself to exercise up to your limits, has her flag removed in the narrative from the other choices, reflecting her desire to keep others at arm's length Rin, being a very neutral person, requires that you have a relatively neutral relationship toward the rest of the cast. And finally, to get the "Manly Picnic" with Kenji, you have to either ignore all the girls or deliberately antagonize at least one of them. Viewing a flowchart◊ of possible Act 1 choices make these relationships a bit more obvious.
Harem or Threesome ends are impossible. Even if there were a way to make it in character, Hisao's heart condition makes it so that even regular sex carries a risk. How's he going to survive the stress of trying to juggle multiple relationships, even if it weren't out of character for those involved?
Typical male fantasy sex is also out: no foot job in Rin's route (the closest we get is Rin using her foot to touch Hisao's chest scars and yet we don't get to see it on-screen, only read Hisao's narration), anal sex with Emi doesn't go well, there's only one lesbian (and getting anything sex-related in regards to her does not go well, most likely as a Take That to Cure Your Gays), and the only oral sex Hisao receives (from Lilly) is foreplay, which is described but not illustrated.
There is one exception: Hisao heavily implies Emi did something pretty incredible on the rooftop at one point. She also has far and away the most sex with Hisao, with 3 H-scenes and being the only heroine he gets intimate with off-camera. This is justifiable though, since he's actually exercising regularly in that route, and Hisao points out sex isn't too much more strenuous than he running.
For all the flak that Shizune's route gets for only having one choice after Act 1, how many of the choices in the other routes have any direct effect on which ending you get? Almost of the choices only have an indirect effect on the story by influencing Hisao's inner mentality. Any plot changes in the route is due to that change in mentality rather than as a direct result of the choice the player made. Only in Shizune's route does the choice directly and obviously affect the plot.
Additionally, the choice does not immediately lead to the Bad Ending despite also being the cause of it; you have to go through much of Act 4, including a few scenes from the good path, as it essentially puts Hisao and Misha on a downward spiral due to their guilt. This is a good way of showing that, some choices can, for lack of a better term, make a relationship Unwinnable.
The development team's imageboard is called the "Mishimmie" and all guests who post comments on the art there are listed under the name Shiina "Misha" Mikado. Having an entire imageboard filled with Misha's drooling over pics of the various females becomes particularly funny when you go through Shizune's route and learn that Misha is batting for the other team.
Even if the player has stumbled onto the path to the bad end in Emi's route, there's still a chance to recover, and get back on track to saving Hisao's relationship with her. Considering how easy it is for a beginner to accidentally stumble onto her route in the first place (like what happened to me on my own initial playthrough), one could say that Emi's route could be the VN's 'easy mode', as it were. Consider that, as the portraits of the characters in this game are mostly shown from the waist up, it's pretty easy to forget the fact that she wears prosthetic legs, and, so, seems the most (loathe as I am to use the term) 'normal' of the girls. A nice way to break in new players to the subject matter of the VN, I think.
According to this FAQ, you have a 14.29% chance of reaching Emi's path, and a 62.5% chance of getting the good ending. While Emi's route is the second most frequently reached besides the bad ending, it's arguably the easiest one in practice, since you only need to show an interest in exercise and pushing yourself farther.
Getting There: Bad Ending (52.27%) Rin(22.08%), Emi (14.29%), Lilly/Hanako(6.5% chance of getting to the point where you have to choose one) Shizune (4.87%).
Getting the good ending: Emi (62.5%), Shizune (50%), Rin (37.5%), Hanako (25%), Lilly (12.5%)
The entirety of act one became Fridge Brilliance for me when I realized how the game decides whose route you wind up on. Almost none of the choices you make have anything to do with intentionally being interested in any particular girl. But they each define the type of person that Hisao is in that particular playthrough. And the game hooks him up with the person that version of Hisao is best suited for. The one who's aggressive and outgoing is the one Shizune can love; the one who commits to a goal and pursues it beyond the minimum effort is the one Emi can love; the one who's detached and spacey is the one Rin can love. Hanako and Lilly couldn't love someone who didn't love the other, but still the one who sees the world ends up with Lilly, and the one who hides ends up with Hanako.
And God only knows how long it took for the fire department to come. Hanako could have been laying, burnt and traumatized, under the horribly burnt and mangled corpse of her mother, for... God, even fifteen minutes would seem like an eternity in that situation, and it could have been much longer than that, maybe even hours...
What probably causes her to act the most defensively around people is the fact that no matter how you look at her, you end up either put off by her body or compelled to protect her for the same reason. This is why Lilly is the only one she's able to interact with - since she's blind, she has no prejudices over Hanako's appearance and therefore treats her as an equal, a fact highlighted by the way the both of them need each other to complement the other's weaknesses - sight for Lilly, social interactions for Hanako. She's not scared because of her past as much as scared about the fact no one will consider her an actual person in the future.
Of course, Hisao has his own influence on them that, in some ways makes them worse (but to an extent, forces them to confront said issues).
Hanako's complexes become worse due to Hisao's White Knighting, whereas in Lilly's path, she opens up somewhat more easily and makes friends besides him and Lilly.
Rin is hesitant about the art exhibit, (and in Emi's path, is slightly annoyed by Nomiya's telling her to work harder), until Hisao convinces her to go for it.
Misha's pain over Shizune's rejection is exacerbated by Hisao getting closer to Shizune. Then again, their impending graduation also plays a part, and Shizune's route is the only one that goes past summer vacation.
Fridge Horror abounds in Rin's route. She spends weeks in a room, not sleeping, nearly starving herself, and smoking cigarettes. Think about how easy it would be for her to rationalize suicide in that mindset. Also consider the fact that she outright said she was trying to destroy herself. What would've happened if she had never regained her ability to paint?
A lot of what Rin says is very scary if you think of it as being completely serious and not just more random weirdness. Like this bit in Emi's route: Rin: "So artists can't find romance, their favorite TV shows are cancelled, or they die young because of an unspecified disease." Now imagine she thinks that way about herself. Yikes.
Also largely ignored is Misha's talk of suicide ("wouldn't it be better if I just died?") in Shizune's path... in a similar way as Rin's.
Another little bit of Fridge Horror for Rin's path. When Hisao finds her in the atelier, she asks if he's her friend, and he agrees but also lets her know what she wants from him is not something friends do. Her response is simply to ask if they can't be friends anymore. You find out on Emi's path that Rin does not feel the need to change the term friend to boyfriend or girlfriend. Hisao, in Rin's mind, pretty much said that if they had sex, they would have to break up. (It's not like that in his case, but she's no mind reader.)
Rin paints to express herself and to try and communicate her thoughts to others. If her paintings are meant to represent her thoughts and feelings, then why do so many of them fall into Surreal Horror? Especially the mural, which consists of contorted bodies and screaming faces. No wonder why her thoughts seem to startle her in her opening FMV. It makes you wonder exactly what is running through that head of hers when paintings like that represent her thoughts.
In Shizune's route, you learn that Misha frequently skips classes after overeating, an act that she keeps doing despite her knowing her limits. Given her hidden suicidal side, it becomes much clearer that it's an act of self destruction rather than her faux stubbornness.
During a dialogue with Hisao, Misha implies that she was a victim of bullying because she was gay, and came to the school as way to escape that, stating that even if everyone hated her they'd at least "leave her alone". Then she meets Shizune who has no problems with her being gay but rejects her regardless, and then unintentionally makes it worse by stating that they're friends. Being constantly around a person who's rejected you but depends on you to talk to a boy she's developed feelings for is probably incredibly painful.
In Emi's path, the following exchange takes place:
Meiko: Rin's art is one of those things that I don't think I'll ever understand.
Emi: That's not surprising. I don't think Rin expects to be understood.
Earlier, in "Mind Your Step", Lilly mentions that she doesn't understand Rin, so she keeps her distance. When you read this knowing of Rin's struggles with expressing herself in her own path, Harsher in Hindsight hits you like a sledgehammer. Gets bonus points for the fact that Lily relies heavily on speech for communication due to her blindness, and Rin's command of the spoken word is....not good. Even if she didn't keep her distance, it would still be horribly hard for them to interact and understand each other, simply because of practical reason.
How do you think a family feels when two girls of similar ages are born with disabilities? It might explain why the fathers hate each other.
Making the whole situation worse, their disabilities completely and perfectly lock them out from ever truly communicating. Even if they go through an interpreter, there's a chance that certain things will get lost in translation, whether due to a Tactful Translation or simple human error.
Well, not perfectly. Lilly could learn sign language, "seeing" it by touch (as people who are both blind and deaf do), among other options. Helen Keller managed to do it.
Lily's ending. Hisao has suffered a second major heart attack, and it might very well have shortened his life expectancy. And it still applies even if you got the good ending.
It can be even worse. During the sex scene in which Hisao gets a heart attack, he notes that Lilly is pitying him, and she obviously feels guilty for that heart attack of his. In the good ending, she comes back after he chases after her and gets yet another, much more severe heart attack, indirectly because of her. When she found out, she obviously felt guilty, and came back. If Hisao doesn't chase after her, and doesn't get a heart attack, she doesn't come back. Hisao basically guilt-tripped her into coming back, and she did it out of guilt and pity for him. How do you think their relationship is going to proceed from that point? Do you think she isn't going to blame him for the fact that she didn't move to Scotland, to where her whole family now lives, because of him?
I find the above point a little negative and maybe slightly skewed. Bear in mind that in her route, she doesn't know her parents all that well, and even though she had a good time during her stay in Scotland, she missed her two closest friends. When you find out later that her parents want her to come to Scotland, when her life and her friends are at Yamaku, she doesn't take the news well and, because she doesn't like to lean on others regarding her own problems, she waits until it's pretty much too late to influence her decision, one she feels is wrong. In the good ending, Lilly and Hisao are very well aware that his life might be cut short at any given time, but their relationship is something that they both want and are willing to pursue for as long as he's alive.
Given the increasing improvements of treatments for heart ailments and the fact that the Japanese tend to have higher life expectancies than other developed nations,Hisao has better chance for a longer life even with his condition.
So you're saying that Lilly stuck her finger in the hot food to see if it's ready?
Or, you know, held her hand seven or eight centimeters above the pot to feel the heat rising off a given pot (or opened the oven to do the same in the event of baked goods).
Of course, she could have had Akira check things like that, and still done most of the work herself.
Also, some of the more important requirements to be a good cook is to have a good sense of timing and taste.
However, Lilly does admit that some dishes are naturally harder to cook than others when blind.
Except it's heavily implied that Akira simply doesn't have the time to cook, since she has a fairly busy executive position.
Lilly makes a remark on her methods and the associated difficulties in her route.
Lilly: There are ways around it. Some meals are more difficult to cook than others because of being unable to see what I'm doing, but it usually only takes a little more time. Fingers can double as very useful measuring tools, for example.
Hisao Narrating: It makes sense, but she'd have to be pretty careful not to hurt herself note Like when she slices her finger with the knife. I wonder how many times that's happened, since she's cooked alone for possibly years while Akira worked and her parents were gone.
Rin wears the male uniform. And she wears a tie. Which shouldn't be possible because, you know, she doesn't has any arms! I know that she uses her feet to accomplish things other people use with their hands, but this is just ridiculous!
It could be a clip-on. And if you've seen any documentaries about real people who can't use either arm for various reasons, and the dexterity they develop in their legs/feet, it's not very far-fetched. A tie knot isn't that complex, and Rin could probably even crochet if she wanted to.
Also, she could use something like a bed leg to tie around in. Once the tie knot is done, it's a simple matter of pulling on one end to tighten and pulling it off while still maintaining its shape.
It's implied that Rin can dress by herself, although with some dificulties. It's even implied in one scene that she can put on a bra on her own - not a sports bra or anything, mind you, but a clasical bra, with a clip on the back. If she can do that, nothing else is really surprising.
Eh... it's stated in the game that Emi helps her get dressed every morning.
Related: she wears a male uniform because, as she needs to use her feet for tests of dexterity, wearing a skirt would mean nigh perpetual panty shots.
Which raises an entirely different question, given Rin's casual relationship with reality: Did she actually notice and/or care, or did someone else have to convince her that it'd be a better idea if she avoided skirts.
She does seem to care as she believes that "Underpants are a girl's soul. You shouldn't peek at someone else's soul. Even if you are not a girl."
She would run into the same problems with the girls' uniform, which also has a button-down shirt and a ribbon (virtually every time a male uniform includes a necktie, the female uniform has something for the neck, sometimes an actual necktie).
On that note, it's never quite explained why she doesn't wear the girls' blouse. Obviously, it'd be mismatched, but Rin probably wouldn't care, and it isn't as if Rin couldn't make it work. Miki does, if in the opposite way, wearing the boys' shirt and the skirt.
Misha and Shizune are the whole student council. There were fewer members last year, before Misha came in to help. So Shizune was running the student council alone.
Not quite. Lilly was originally part of the student council, before the Noodle Incident happened.
Lilly and Shizune were both in the Student Council for a while. Noodle Incident happened, Lilly left. Maybe Misha didn't start until a year after that. OP's reasoning is still sound.
From the photo shown by Akira (towards the end of the Lilly route), Misha was around and helping out Lilly and Shizune before the Noodle Incident, making it likely that the three were working together first. (Although that incident did involve noodles).
Lilly's recollection of earlier times (during Shizune's bad ending route) is that the student council used to consist of more people, not just Shizune, Lilly and Misha, but also other students. Those people all got tired of Shizune's extremely ambitious attitude and Lilly's attempts to slow things down just caused fights. Lilly was the last one to jump ship.
Here's an approximate timeline
People start leaving.
Lilly joins. There may have been people still on the council at this point.
Misha joins when only Shizune and Lilly are left; she says they were the only others when she tells about her past.
Shizune and Lilly have their falling out, and Lilly leaves.
Regarding the Satous' visit to the Hakamichis' house in Shizune's route, Hideaki mentions that their fathers are brothers. So why do they have different last names? Did one of them (presumably Shizune and Hideaki's father, since the Satous are only half-Japanese) take on their wife's name upon marriage?
Given the fact that Lilly and Shinzune's fathers hate each other, this is probably the case.
Actually, the devs clarified that Shizune and Lilly's fathers are brothers in law, not blood brothers. Lilly's aunt married Jigoro.
Hisao probably wouldn't make as much of a fuss about taking his pills if he realised that one of the common medications prescribed for cardiac arrhythmia and similar diseases is Sildenafil. More commonly known as Viagra. Explains a bit about his extracurricular activities.
Some of his other pills have erectile dysfunction as a side effect so it probably just balances out
Doesn't Lilly ever get pissed about nobody in Japan being able to pronounce her name? I believe people who's native tongue is Japanese would have a hard time making the "L" sound.
As stated by Kenji, there's much surprise when he realizes Hisao and her have been on first name terms. It's much probable that, be it due to social norms or practicality, she's only ever called by her surname.
Akira is actually a Scottish female name. In Japan it's a gender-neutral name, yet another reason Hisao is confused at first as to what gender she is.
Oddly enough, he calls her "Lilly" during one scene with her late in her route, and she once refers to him by his first name.
It would've make sense if Hisao just got a pacemaker installed, he could've just gone back to his old life instead of Yamaku, or gone to Yamaku and not worry about taking a cocktail of 17 pills a day. The medical staff would just make adjustments to the Pacemaker or check on it if the need were to arise.
My uneducated guess is that Arrhythmia causes the heart to fluctuate in its heartbeat rhythm. Because of the random nature of the electric cardiovascular impulses, adjustments would have been required constantly, which would have made the use of a peacemaker much more intrusive than it should have been. Either that, or they deemed him too young for that kind of treatment.
Pacemaker intrudes on every single heart beat; large fraction of them actually initiate heart beats. It's hard to get more intrusive than that. You're probably thinking of ICD, implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, which works only when needed and makes much more sense assuming Hisao has Long QT syndrome. But ICD is not a pacemaker, and natural fluctuations of the rhythm shouldn't trigger it.
Hisao's condition seems to be much more severe than a "simple" arrhythmia or something like the long QT syndrome. Ventricular escape rhythm (technically a form of arrhythmia, btw) shown during the intro, and an open heart surgery implied in Hanako's route make me think he had some kind of catastrophe in or around the heart, maybe an infarction, and his persisting "arrhythmia" is either a remote consequence, or just the way his doctor explained his state to him. This could explain the pills (well, kind of), a school for disabled and his lack of stamina, but probably not his attacks.
Also it could just be that Hisao's parents just didn't want to take the responsibility, and just dropped him off at the school so the staff there could do all the work.
In Lilly's good ending, Hisao gets a temporary pacemaker installed, but he's told that within days it will be removed.
Pacemakers are expensive: a little research shows the whole kit and caboodle of the device, doctor, surgery, ect. can run over $50,000 easily in the states. I won't pretend I know anything about the Japanese health care system, but since Hisao's family are on a tight enough budget for him to learn to be quite frugal (emergency money stash in his room, for instance) it's possible they simply can't afford one. The one he's fitted with in Lilly's good end probably belongs to the hospital and is only used while they make sure he won't keel over without it.
Hisao could've just called Lilly's cell to ask her to wait up for a minute.
You have to turn off your cell phone before a plane takes off, and he had no way of knowing where in the airport she was or whether she had turned it off in advance.
He probably just thought a phone call wouldn't have been enough to get her to stay, and didn't really think beyond that. Or she turned her phone off to keep him from calling to vent his angst. It's even possible he doesn't have her cell number; I don't recall him ever calling it (the long-distance calls were to a landline).
Also, in a crowded and noisy place like an airport, there's no guarantee that Lilly would even notice that her phone was ringing.
So, there's this bit in Emi's route where Hisao can't sleep, and he ends up wandering out to the track and falling asleep on the bleachers. Later, Emi wakes him up and they run around the track for a while. Is Hisao jogging...in his pajamas? His school uniform maybe? He doesn't seem to put his gym clothes on at any point, and no one mentions him looking like a doofus running around in pajamas.
Since Hisao has to set an alarm to go running with Emi, it's possible they're out at the track before most of the school wakes up.
He makes a brief comment about putting on something, and when he goes to sleep, he never mentions putting on pajamas. It's likely he sleeps in his underwear and a shirt and just put on pants to go to the track.
How does Rin open or lock/unlock doors? The twisting motion would most likely require more dexterity than she could manage with her feet.
A place built for disabled people usually has door handles instead of door knobs.
And, speaking from experience, even a non-disabled person can open doors with their feet.
It's possible that if all else failed, she could use her mouth. Not the best idea, for germ-related reason, but Rin doesn't seem like the kind of person that would occur to.
Or she could, y'know, use her chin?
On a related note, if Emi has prosthetic legs, why doesn't Rin have prosthetic arms?
Besides looking more complete, there does not seem to be much use for fake arms since everything below the artificial elbow would be mostly flailing needlessly during movement. Contrast with Emi's practised use of her momentum to walk with fake legs even though she cannot control her artificial ankles and toes as she does with her still-present knees. For Rin to say, paint with prosthetic arms would be rather difficult, since the centre of control isn't with her fingers, nor wrists, or even her elbows, but her shoulder joints. And that's also assuming the fingers are locked to hold the brush firmly.
Why does class 3-2, the class for blind students, have a chalkboard?
The class is for students with visual impairments; Lilly is completely blind, but Kenji has limited vision. There are likely some students who could see what's on the board. Another possibility is that it's standard for the room design, or that it's used for other purposes by students who could use the blackboard.
Lilly: ("Pseudo Tea Cosy") I'm in class 3-2, which is on the third floor, same as yours. It's taught by Miyagi, and is specifically for blind and partially blind students.
Lilly: ("Paint by Numbers") Our class doesn't have manynote This implies there are some students with even partial eyesight, so they're in high demand.
Since Mutou is both Hisao's homeroom and science teacher, and Hisao is implied to have a different teacher for English, it's perfectly plausible that Miyagi is Lilly's homeroom teacher, and teaches a specific subject for non-blind students as well (probably geography or history, judging by the world map in the background).
In Japan, most schools, teachers go between classrooms, not students like in America. So even if Miyagi teaches other classes, they would be taught in other classrooms.
Hisao seems to have his English class in the same room as Mutou's science class, although the teacher is never shown.
It also might not be the class for blind students every year.
The bottles of wine that Akira brings to Hanako's birthday party say "1991" on the label. Misha's "Bush/Cheney 2004" shirt means that the story takes place at the earliest in 2005 (since it's in the summer and the election would likely have been over by then). That means the bottles are - bare minimum - 14 years old. Since the Satou sisters have been established as a bit loose with money, and Akira professes to not know that much about wine, it fits her personality that she'd overspend a bit to get older, more expensive wine for a high schooler's birthday party. Maybe that's why Lilly took to it so well.
More Fridge Brilliance, if you can consider the game as taking place in 2009, when the first part was released. It would be Hanako's birth year.
Not really, Word of God states the game takes place in 2007, the year that pic that inspired it all was first posted on /a/.
Why hasn't anyone in-universe advise Rin to keep a diary? Not for her emotional issues, but simply to get her to practise articulating her thoughts using her pen, if spoken words failed her (as they so often do).
That sounds like a good advise coming from, I dunno, maybe a therapist... if she were to actually see one, which begs the next question already.