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Live Blog The Exploration Of Katawa Shoujo The Visual Novel
romancechina882014-09-03 09:20:11

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"There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in." Graham Greene

I accidentally deleted my first chapter, so a small bit of the top of this page will be a shortened version of what I wrote before.

It starts, both the liveblog and the story.

As you can guess this liveblog is on the Visual Novel Katawa Shoujo, which is a game that was first thought up on 4Chan back in 2007, after five years of work between the created 4 Leaf Studio Team. The First Act prototype that was released in 2009. The full game came out in 2012 to a lot of anticipation from gamers.

This liveblog will give my thoughts on Katawa Shoujo, some observations of the characters and routes, as well as a few bits and bobs of info.

I won't be doing a guide, since there's plenty of those around the net already, plus if you pay attention, the choices are clear of where they will lead to.

Let me thank you for looking at this liveblog, and I hope you will enjoy my thoughts and feelings on this game, as well as comments people give below. I love to chat with people who have their own thoughts on this game and it's plot, characters and settings.

After the title loads up nicely and appears with the yellow background, it's time to play. (note the background starts to gain more on it as you go through the routes of each of the Girls).

First thing off the bat, i notice the background, which has the trees and the winter snow to go with it. Coinciding with it is some sweet music that is fitting for the moment in question. Track is called Lullbaby of Open Eyes, all the music of the game can be heard on the jukebox in the extra's section, and is available to download on the Katawa Shoujo website for free as well, all the people who did the music and worked on KS did it for free.

I will mention the music often in this liveblog, simply because i always like paying attention to the music in any work of fiction.

This sets things off nicely, good way I feel to start off the game.

Now we get to hear and see the perceptive and thoughts of our main character for this game. Hisao Nakai (the Bishonen looking guy below with the Idiot Hair), whom off the go dabbles a bit in First Person Smart Ass narration, a trope that's been cropping up in recent years in various forms of fiction. With notable examples being Kyon from Haruhi Suzumiya (though his is laden with Unreliable Narrator elements) then again all First-Person Smartass narratives have a bit of it i think. Henry from Good Fellas and Nicolas Cage's character in Lord of War (where his narration was i felt the best part of that film).

Personally, the trope can be good in the hands of the right writer and actor; in the wrong hands it can be annoying, here I think it serves Hisao's character well, though ymmv on that.

In the snow, Hisao waits for the person who gave him the note to meet there. When the person turns up it turns out to be the girl in the picture.

While the character CG aren't the greatest art you will see done, I felt they were drawn decently well enough, though if you’re looking for better quality, you are probably out of luck here.

True love about to blossom, what could possibly happen?

Iwanako is her name (no surname to go with it) not a real name as I can recall, but apparently means a type of fish, we never see her face, but going by Hisao’s words and the dialogue. It is clear to see that as she shyly asks Hisao out, she is a Shrinking Violet, and has been waiting a while to gather the courage to do so.

So far so good, all the writing in the textbox is done well, grammar and spelling correct as far as i can see (which isn’t far I can tell you that). There is some little details in the writing as well, like Hisao rubbing his hands together, and Iwanako twirling her hair in her little finger, adding to her shy demeanour.

The two say little, which shows how both feel nervous and struggling to find words to say, silence is golden at times. Of course we start to hear Hisao's heartbeats and the music ends, that sound gets to me every time I hear it, it's not pleasant to hear, get used to it. Plus the silence of it all leaves tension in the scene, which for me adds to the feel of it, along with showing two young kids in the moment, with one of them about to ask the big question.

"You see… I wanted to know...If you would go out with me?"

Just when Iwanako finally gets those words out after the two struggle to stare at each other in the eye, ah classic shy romance. Hard not to find the moment sweet and tender.

Hisao's heartbeat starts to play up as he is unable to say anything due to his throat and vocal cords tightening.

Plus the music starts again, this time with a sad sounding piano music, fittingly called Cold Iron. Iwanako calling Hisao out, unable to do anything, as the text explains how Hisao drops to his knee's holding his heart. Who would ever think that confessing and asking someone out would give them a heart attack, quite a way to start a Romance Visual Novel eh.

Then we get a nice background scene showing Hisao's visual swirling into blackness. Along with some nice words thrown in to get Hisao's thoughts across.

Thus ending the scene, Out in the Cold. You will notice quite a few scenes are named to refer the scene in question as you play through Katawa Shoujo, I thought the title for this scene was fitting enough.

Overall I thought the opening prologue of the game was quite good, it established Hisao's character a little bit with some of his smartass narration in places showing, also the first hints of why he has gotten the hilarious nickname Master of Romances from some fans. Iwanako was done nicely as well, even though we never saw her face and only have Hisao's thoughts and a few words from her.

The writers were able to show her character nicely, which is that she is a shy girl who has wanted to ask Hisao out for some time. Not original stuff, but it's done well here and it can most definitely want you to see if Hisao is going to accept.

This then hits tragedy thanks to the built up heartbeats we heard a few moments before, leaving the poor girl with dealing with her crush having a heart attack before her eyes.

Whoever expects that to happen to them? I feel for her greatly, and this event would not doubt have a great effect on both Hisao and Iwanako, as we find out after the intro FMV scene plays.

In addition, all the spelling and grammar was correct and good words were used to describe Hisao's thoughts and feelings, which the game will continue to excel in as you play it.

Opening Scene here.

Which the animation of it was done very well I thought as we see the heart monitor play, along with all equipment I assume that shows surgery being done on Hisao (wonder if Black Jack was the surgeon).

Mike Inel deserves full credit for doing these scenes, I imagine it took a while to do them, plus we see all the names as well of important people who worked on this project.

Well that's it for the first liveblog, I was going to do the next scene in this chapter, but I thought that deserves its own page, due to a few thoughts I have about it.

I hope you’re enjoying this liveblog so far, along with it being okay and not too long and boring for you. Don't worry there's plenty more to come.

What was good about the Prologue?

  • Dialogue was written well, with some good vocab words to describe Hisao's thoughts, along with establishing Hisao's character somewhat.

  • Background was done to decent quality, it's not Ghibli Hills quality, but it serves the scene well enough.

  • The music is excellently done, some real love and passion has been put into it.

  • Both characters I felt were likeable in their flushed states.

  • Little details in the text, that gives some depth and tension to the scene.

  • The heartbeat was quite cringe sounding and made Hisao's heart attack feel quite real.

  • Names for scene and music were fitting.

  • Great Quality opening FMV animation Scene.

What wasn't quite as good?

  • If you’re a sticker for fine art, then the background scenes and Character models might be Offmodel to you. This can annoy some people, though not me.

  • Some of the writing and character's in the scene aren't very original, though I felt that didn't matter, since they were done very well TropesAreNotBad and got across what the writer's wanted to get across.

  • Some of Hisao's narration might annoy those who don't like First-Person Smartass narrations in fiction.


Aug 13th 2014 at 6:12:18 PM
Iwanako is a bit of a throw-away character as Hisao's would-be girlfriend, one who could be expanded on quite a bit. But she does work well in one sense; you get the feeling that Hisao didn't really know her in spite of his attraction to her, and his connection with the other girls is significantly more meaningful than the one he had with her. It's also interesting to see how his letter affects him differently in each of the routes, depending on how connected he is to his old life.
Aug 14th 2014 at 7:17:49 AM
Ah that is true what you said about Iwanako above, she is mainly there to set off the whole plot. Through being a Smallrole Big Impact in her role in the game. Oh yes you can't compare this interaction to the other girls that happen later on.

Yeah i get the sense from the scene Hisao wasn't close to her. I get the sense as well from Hisao at time's he wasn't that close to anyone really, not even the friends he mentions. Ah yes the letter, that's something i will cover at their respective points in each route, as Hisao response to it as you said differs in each route.

Next chapter, i will bring up what it hink about the whole business between the two. Which i felt was something that is very open to analysis and different views.

Oh yeah how do you link a liveblog to the katawa shoujo tvtrope page, keep trying to, but nothing works, so help would be appericated.

Aug 16th 2014 at 2:36:24 PM

When you add or edit a new installment, you should see a gray button above and to the right of the text boxes, and below the link for editing help. Click the button and follow the prompts to link it to the Katawa Shoujo Visual Novel page. I hope this helps.