Ah yes, Katawa Shoujo. After 5 years of development, it has finally been completed. Some despise it, and some love it. Such a thing is inevitable. Before I get to why this is a high quality Visual Novel, I shall clarify on why some may not think so. If you're looking for a soul-wrenching romance with sympathetic characters on the level of Clannad or Kanon, you won't find it here. If you're looking for an epic plot with Badasses on par with classics like G Senjou No Maou or Fate Stay Night, you won't find it here. If you're looking for high-quality cripple porn, you will definitely not find it here. The music is good, the CGs are good, the sex scenes fit well in the narrative (for once), the writing is good, and so on. But what really makes this Visual Novel shine are the characters and how realistically they are characterized. In other words, it's not how likable or sympathetic these characters are, it's how empathetic these characters are. Clearly, the devs took great care in making these characters as real as possible. Most fictional works incite emotion in the audience by taking a character that's just developed enough for the audience to care about him and torture mercilessly him. Almost every fictional work that has drama is guilty of this, especially in the Visual Novel genre. Katawa Shoujo instead creates characters so real and makes them deal with problems so realistic that audience can't help but feel emotion. This is because the audience can see themselves, their friends, and their loved ones in similar situations and how they will react. In short, the audience cares what happens because it is happening to fellow humans. Not many works can inspire the sheer amount of empathy Katawa Shoujo can. Katawa Shoujo is definitely a must-play for anyone who can appreciate a good romance story. Even if you think you can't, give it a try. Who knows? Maybe you'll cry Manly Tears like the many others who have played this.
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