These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
On a more serious note, was Iwanako's ceasing her visits to Hisao six weeks into his hospitalization callous abandonment, or was it the result of Hisao pushing her away? Hisao's differing degrees of sympathy in each route add to this.
A recent forum thread (specifically everything from the member ProfAllister ) has pointed out Jigoro might actually be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and just dislike Hisao because that he, in his viewpoint, is his daughter's Loser Boyfriend.
Base Breaker: Which girl has the best route? Was it worth the wait? Is it even worth playing? The Hype Backlashdoes not help, and there are three routes in particular that get this reaction:
Shizune's route is either a terribly written route lacking in romantic relations with an unlikable character, or a route with a more subdued, Slice of Life romance justified by the Hisao's and Shizune's characterization and trust in each other. Word Of God states that many parts of her route, including what happened to the characters in its Good Ending, were deliberately left vague so that they would be open to interpretation by the players. Apparently, more than a few players didn't appreciate this.
Better Than Canon: There is an entire category of fanfiction devoted to building upon Shizune's route in order to make the very subtle emotional element of their relationship more apparent to readers. Shizune's Epilogue and Weekend at Hisao's are the best known examples and are considered by many to be some of the best Katawa Shoujo fanfics out there.
Critical Research Failure: Hanako's birthday comes up during Lilly's route and in the following act, Hisao talks about spending the upcoming Tanabata festival with Lilly after they start dating. When is Hanako's birthday? July 10th. When is Tanabata? July 7th. When you realize that they messed up researching something that THEY created, this verges onto Epic Fail territory.
Unless you take into account they celebrate her birthday 2 weeks early because Lilly went to Scotland.
However, there is an event set on her actual birthday which occurs while Lilly is still overseas.
Sendai (where the game is supposedly set) celebrates Tanabata from August 6 to August 8.
Poor Shizune seems to have suffered the misfortune of being pratically set up of this. First, her route is very much an acquired taste, relying more on intellectual nuance, Foreshadowing and subtext than the "feels" that are common in other routes. Meaning that you need to play it a few times in order to truly get it. (The fact that it is the most linear route, with only one choice, doesn't help matters.) Second, she is a Spirited Competitor to a degree that one either finds charming and endearing or obnoxious and annoying; she can also can be rather blunt (justified in part because she is deaf-mute). Thirdly she is The Rival to Lilly who is by far one of the most adored characters in the game and whose route is seen as much smoother and sweeter except for the end, but that one also ends up well. Lastly, her best friend Misha is an Ensemble Dark Horse who doesn't have a route of her own and is, in fact, in unrequited love with Shizune herself - which is what triggers THE single choice in the Shizune route. Not to mention that readers prefer the other stories because they give them "the feels," and Misha, due to the sad nature of her emotional turmoil, is much more of a woobie than Shizune, causing the readers attention to be directed towards Misha and Shizune to be left in the dust.. You'd think people would not be able to pour so much hate at an eighteen year old deaf girl. Interestingly enough, in Lilly's route, Shizune reconciles with Lilly, and initiates the process. And instead of competing with the other girls over Hisao, Shizune, along with Misha, is a Shipper on Deck in others's routes.
Now that a few months have past since release, Lilly is also starting to get some of her share as well. Due in large part to her being so popular that fans of the other girls are starting to resent her a little bit.
Crossing the Line Twice: Averted. Since the original concept was quite possibly intended as edgy satire, one might expect the game to take this form. Instead, it's a reasonably nuanced and respectful take on the subject.
And another fanfic, Second Beats, shows how it can be twisted right around into a Good Ending. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Also a Fridge Brilliance if you go along that train of thought, considering what happened to her in the past.
Fan Dumb: There seems to be a fairly large proportion of the fanbase who feel the need to take a game about living life to the fullest and finding happiness despite your imperfections, and using it as an excuse to wallow in self-pity because they'll "never find a girl as perfect as X".
The large number of players unable to play another route after finishing one they particularly liked because they'd feel "like I'm cheating on X" edges between amusing and just sad.
Fan Haters: Every girl, save for Emi, seems to have some:
Saying that you like Shizune or Rin is a good way to get yourself branded as pretentious and elitist, with Shizune fans also getting the "pleasure" of being called spineless bottoms that get off on being dominated by bitchy women.
If you are a Lilly fan, than you are a bandwagonner that lets the Internet do his thinking for him, going after the Mary Sue because she appeals to the Lowest Common Denominator (although this is also missing the point that she is a deconstruction of the Mary Sue). The Lilly haters are an interesting case in themselves. Polls have shown that Lilly is actually the least disliked of all characters in the game... But you would definitely not know that if you enter certain discussion threads, where the Vocal Minority will shove you out of the thread at even the slightest mention of liking her.
If you like Misha, expect some smartass Captain Obvious to point that she doesn't have a route.
Fan Wank: Yuuko is speculated to have had a past relationship with Kenji. Implied in the game, but never outright stated; the two each talk of having a breakup in the past, and Kenji mentions that his girlfriend was older.
In Emi's route, she jokingly questions why Misha would hang out with someone as bossy as Shizune. In Shizune's route, you find out the real reason; Misha is in love with Shizune, but it is not requited and causes her a great deal of pain.
Lilly often teases Akira about her cooking skills. Later on, it's revealed that Akira had to raise Lilly by herself after their parents left, and believes that she didn't do a very good job. Her inability to cook likely comes off to her as more part of a personal failing than a minor shortcoming.
The girls you didn't choose's brief appearances on other routes can be this if you've played their routes before, especially when you consider their psychological problems, which are not likely to be addressed.
Lilly: "My, is that you, Hisao? I've not heard from you in some time. I was beginning to think you'd forgotten all about me." (During Emi's route.)
Kenji says at one point that if he were to kill someone he'd throw them off the roof and make it look like the accident. The Act 1 Bad Ending goes exactly like this, only with Hisao dying by falling off the roof by accident.
Let's just say that there are Visual Novel fans who bash this game for trying to be realistic and evoke empathy and insult the fans for falling for this "trick". Not to mention all the people who bash this on the sole basis that this is a "cripple porn game" and troll the people who play it. Then there's the backlash on video game sites claiming that Visual Novels are not "video games."
There's also people who, unwilling to admit their first impression was wrong, go on nitpicking or mirror-climbing to say the game is bad regardless of its respect for the theme.
Also, while not many people may care for Shizune's route, and while even her fans admit that her attitude can be abrasive at times, the refusal of some to even consider the idea that she might have any redeeming qualities, or that any of her actions could possibly be interpretated in a positive light, borders on Ron the Death Eater levels.
Some of the Shizubros/Shizusis fans can be pretty bad as well, attacking and screaming at whoever dares say Shizune is *gasp* a flawed person like all the other girls. Specially when several of them double as Lilly haters of the "she's a fucking perfect Mary Sue whore" kind. Yeah, it does suck that Shizune is a Base Breaker, but don't be hypocrites.
A common criticism of Lilly from haters is that she is an obvious Mary Sue and as such is a bad character due to it, when the whole point of her route is to show that she is not as perfect and infallible as she appears on the surface, and that she needs just as much help and support as the other girls, if not more. Even the other routes go out of their way to deconstruct the concept or avert it completely, with minimal presence in both Emi's and Rin's routes and secretly being criticized by her best friend Hanako for always being so protective of her.
Late in Lilly's route, as she is preparing to go to Scotland permanently, she tells Hanako about how they became friends. Lilly says she did not befriend Hanako out of pity, but out of a desire to know more about her, and she considers her a strong person at heart who will be able to take charge of her own life even after Lilly is gone. Lilly's statement becomes even more powerful when you consider that in Hanako's route, Hanako believes that Lilly and Hisao pity her.
Also on Lilly's route, Hisao openly refers to Shizune as his friend on two occasions, once to Lilly, no less. Once you play Shizune's route and see how desperately she has tried to make friends, you can see that this comment has more weight.
In Rin's route, Hisao remarks on how embarrasing it would be to have a heart attack in the middle of sex. In Lilly's route Hisao ends up having a bit of a fit when taking the lead, and ends up on the floor clutching his heart in pain.
The "Who's there? ... No answer, must be that deaf bitch." meme regarding Lilly's rivalry with Shizune. Toward the end of her route, there's a scene in which Lilly thanks Misha for retrieving a folder for her, only to realize Shizune did it instead when she gets no response, and the two reconcile.
Late in Lilly's route, Hisao stops by the Hakamichi residence in hope of catching Lilly before she leaves for the airport, and gets slightly bothered at the gruff, annoyed voice on the other end of the intercom. This serves as a bit of foreshadowing for when we actually get to meet the guy who the voice belongs to in Shizune's route, namely Jigoro Hakamichi.
Particularly during the Bad Ending with Kenji, where - as he gets closer and closer to Hisao - the love-theme To Become One plays.
Hype Backlash: Some fans were a bit disappointed that the game didn't live up to their expectations. However, this was probably unavoidable since the game had been continually building up hype for at least five years.
Inverted Trope: Rin gets a scholarship to attend an art school in Tokyo in her Bad Ending. It Makes Sense in Context, as she's going down a path in which she is not being true to herself, and in the worst case scenario, might kill herself like Sae's husband did.
On a cold night simply just mention the name "Shizune", watch as the militant Shizu-haters declare her to be Worse than Hitler while the equally militant Shizu-brosis declare anyone who didn't like her route to be dull witted simpletons who are too stupid to understand it, and enjoy the s'mores.
Bonus points if you mention the earlier version of her route that was included in the prototype version of the game that was leaked in July of 2012. Mentioning the prototype at all is a good way to get a good chunk of the fanbase howling for your blood, due to that fact that the former devs consider the leak to be a very sore subject (to the point where the topic is banned on the official forums.) But it is especially so as far as the subject of Shizune is concerned. And why is there so much wank about it? See the Trivia page.
And the latest anti-Shizune topic is... Did Shizune rape Hisao in their first sex scene? Or are the people who accuse her of rape either ignorant about bondage and boundaries, or adding slutshaming to their "arguments"?
Criticizing Hanako can be risky, because trolls often like to pick on her, and regardless of your intentions in posting or reasons for disliking her, people may assume you are one.
"So I had a theory on/problem with Hanako's path—OH DEAR LORD!" Bonus flame points if you dare to broach the subject of whether or not her only H-scene can be considered as dub-con/non-con/straight-up rape. Even though this IS brought up in-story... and not only she says that it wasn't, but her willingness to have sex with Hisao is a big point in regards to her ending.
cpl_crud posted a short story on a possible Distant Finale for Hanako's path, called "A Runner's Afternoon", in which the end of the first part implies that Hanako is cheating on her husband. (The truth is: Hanako was recently divorced from a therapist who had treated her when she was committed to an asylum after suffering a nervous breakdown when Hisao had a second heart attack. OUCH.). There were more flames than Hanako's house fire when her fans accused cpl_crud of derailing her into an adulterer.
And if you tell somebody they shouldn't make fun of a character, watch how quick they accuse you of being a "White Knight".
Les Yay: Of course, this is a game where the heroines come in pairs, so there's Les Yay in pretty much every route you take.
Lilly and Hanako: Their routes only split in the last choice of Act 1 and even then, in Lilly's ending you spend the festival, and the majority of later acts in both routes, with both of them. In Hanako's route, she says she "love(s)" Lilly in the scenes leading to her Good Ending. Lilly gives Hanako a hug in her early birthday party in both girls' routes, and in her own route, tells Hanako that she did not befriend her out of pity, but because of who she is, culminating in what appears to be a kiss on the forehead.
Emi and Rin: Emi, without any embarrassment, helps Rin get dressed, and helps her in the bathroom. Can't get much closer than that. In Rin's route, Emi also mentions that they used to sometimes sleep in the same bed. Also, Rin is amazingly unfazed by walking in on the aftermath of a sex scene with Emi. Then again, this is Rin.
Misha and Shizune: Given that Misha is also Shizune's sign language interpreter, they are pretty much inseparable. Also, later in Shizune's route, you find that there is no subtext in this case, albeit in a case of unrequited love. See Schoolgirl Lesbians.
Naomi and Natsume: It's right there in their concept picture.
Love It or Hate It: You either love the game to death, as this page and the /vg/ generals support, or absolutely hate it with a passion, like the majority of /v/.
Love to Hate: Jigoro gets this sometimes, due to his Jerk Ass nature being seen as over-the-top and comical.
Jigoro: Now you are insulting my book and, by extension, my entire life. What gives you the right to do that? Arrogant. I'm trying to think of how I could make you understand my struggle. Maybe by beating you. With my autobiography.
Mary Sue: There are certain people on the Internet who feel that one or more of the girls in this game fit in this category. The majority generally disagree with them, and instead argue that all of the girls are reasonably flawed human beings. And that is all we will say about that.
Give Lilly a Sword Cane and you getSatou-ichi. Lilly is said to be skilled with swords in general, in part because of her Japanese/Scottish heritage. She can wield most any sword, from the lightweight cane sword, to the medium-weight katana to the heavy-weight Scottish Claymore.
Moe: Hanako is probably the best candidate for this, but her route is a deconstruction of the concept.
Emi is a more straightforward example. Even lampshaded in-universe, with Hisao commenting on how her puppy-eyes are a deadly weapon.
Multiple Demographic Appeal: As a Bishoujo GenreEroge, Katawa Shoujo is directed towards straight men (and possibly lesbians), but has a lot of straight female fans, as well as readers who were interested to see its take on disability. The release of the full version brought in a lot of fans who wouldn't have normally played an eroge.
Oh, how sweet! His crush is about to admit her feelings for him! Then, suddenly, thud-bump. THUD-BUMP.
Hisao's heart flutters in general. Good lord.
The final CG in Hanako's Bad Ending, which isn't scary so much from the details as it is from the fact that it COMES OUT OF NOWHERE.
Periphery Demographic: This is yet another example of an eroge managing to attract a surprisingly large female fanbase. There is also a good portion of the fandom that is under the age of 18... technically making them too young to legally download the game in many jurisdictions.
Ship-to-Ship Combat: Pretty much comes with territory. While Lilly and Hanako have the largest camps, every girl has a strong following. Shizune fans in particular can be downright militant in their support, largely as a result of having to constantly battle the Hatedom the character has developed since release due to the Base Breaker nature of her route, and her rivalry with the much adored Lilly. This is somewhat interesting, considering In Lilly's route, she and Shizune reconcile.
If by the time of the festival, Hisao still hasn't picked a girl, you are forced to drink with Kenji on the roof. He vents his troubles with women, and you take a fatal header off the building. So either you pick a girl, or die lonely and depressed. Granted, part of the premise of Katawa Shoujo is that Hisao, who has personal issues comparable to the girls, can benefit as much from his relationship as his girlfriend can.
Detractors claim that the premise is weird for being a story about dating disabled girls. They might want to be careful on how they word that.
On the other end of the spectrum, detractors point out that the focus on sex in the game can undermine the point that the game is trying to make; they claim that the people with disabilities are shown as sex symbols before being shown as people.
On the other hand, Hanako haters tend to refer to her as a doormat, a lapdog or as a weakling that can't stand up for herself and was envisioned as some sort-of weak and submissive litttle girlfriend that the players can dominate to their wills. Which not only misses how Hanako actually wants to become stronger and not be seen as a little girl who needs White Knighting, but smacks of What Measure Is a Non-Badass?.
Only "lovers" can help people with physical and emotional difficulties to get better. Especially when you consider that while Hanako also got significantly better on Lily's route, it is implied that it was her crush on Hisao which spurred her on.
... Uhm, nope. The fact that Hisao did NOT pursue a relationship with Hanako is vital here, as it allowed her to develop a more normal and stress-free deal with him. Even if she did still have a crush on him, they did interact more naturally - compared with the Hanako of her own route, the one from Lilly's is somewhat more relaxed and self-assured, whereas in her own path she's shown to be VERY insecure, and if we take the Bad End, EXTREMELY frustrated with Hisao's White Knighting.
What the Hell, Player?: Both of Hanako's bad endings could be interpreted as a silent (but extremely poignant) blaming finger raised towards players with White Knight tendencies. That is to say, the vast majority of players who chose the Hanako route... Basically, they say "so you want to make yourself feel manlier and stronger by being the boyfriend of a weak, fragile girl you could care for and tend to, who'll depend on you for everything and be all sweet and meek and shy and bashful? Here, have your dream relationship."
Shizune's bad ending basically spits in the face of everyone who still wanted to pursue Misha after getting on Shizune's route. "Sure, go ahead, cheat on your girlfriend with her best friend. That won't cause any problems at all.