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YMMV / Katawa Shoujo

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Kenji: While on the surface he looks like a Straw Misogynist He-Man Woman Hater, there is a fairly good case for his being Armored Closet Gay and hiding behind his hatred of women and belief in conspiracies involving them to avoid acknowledging that he's attracted to men. More than a few Real Life Armored Closet Gay men have ostensibly had such views. It helps that he was originally supposed to be the game's Gay Option.
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    • Another one for Kenji: is he the Conspiracy Theorist simply as a joke or a facade for his homosexuality, or is he a true believer in his hateful theories about women, which would imply either paranoid schizophrenia or the use of certain paranoia-inducing drugs?
    • Fan art frequently casts Hanako as a Yandere.
    • Hanako as a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl. Occasionally parodied in fanart.
      • It helps that there's a Japanese urban legend about a bathroom haunted by "a ghost named Hanako-san": This is referenced in-game when Rin accidentally calls Hanako "that toilet girl".
    • Non-canon art casts Akira as being in The Mafia or the Yakuza. It helps that she appears to be a Badass in a Nice Suit. Perhaps as a Fandom Nod, Lilly's route involves Kenji's suspicion that she has ties to the The Mafia.
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    • On a more serious note, was Iwanako's ceasing her visits to Hisao six weeks into his hospitalization her callously abandoning him, her feeling guilty about his heart condition and thinking he'd be better off without her, or the result of him pushing her away? Hisao's differing degrees of sympathy towards Iwanako in each route add to this.
    • Rin having autism or a learning disorder, as well as the precise nature of her mental health issues.
    • A 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.
      • This has been brought up again in another thread on the forums. It's headcanon yes, but it makes a lot of sense once you stop to think about it.
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  • Anvilicious: It's a dating sim. And you're a boy with a heart problem!
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: It's a cripple porn Visual Novel from 4chan! Despite this (or because of it), it has become a Gateway Series for the Visual Novel genre.
  • Awesome Music: Has its own page here.
  • Awesomeness Withdrawal: It did coin the term "Katawa dick", for not being able to get into things after reading... watching... playing... uh...
  • Broken Base: Which girl has the best route? Was it worth the wait? Is it even worth playing? The Hype Backlash does 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.
    • Rin's route can be seen as overly pretentious, forced and melodramatic to the point of emotionally manipulating the viewer into feeling guilty for even questioning anything related to Super Woobie Baby Rin, as well as hard to understand due to Walls of Text and Purple Prose. Or as an awe-inspiring piece of literature that reaches huge Character Development for both of them, plays the Darker and Edgier trope right and realistically, and can be played easily if you pay a little more attention.
    • Lilly's route is a sweet and adorable romance between two persons who are Wise Beyond Their Years and manage to support and understand each other faster than many teens in love, or a super boring piece of unrealistic and diabetes-inducing Glurge with a self-righteous Purity Sue that belongs more in a Harlequin Romance Novel than a somewhat realistic Visual Novel.
  • 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.
    • Shizune's alpha route is often considered superior to the final product, though it has been critized for trying to hard to be a tearjerker (this is due to the same alpha containing the infamous Hanako arc full of nothing but Bad End's).
  • Crazy Awesome: Kenji, a paranoid, misogynistic, overly hyper, manly, loud jerk? Yeah, this is pretty much the reason he became so popular.
  • 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.
  • Cult Classic: Odd, off-putting premise? Check. Enthusiastic (if small) fanbase? Check. Ignored or panned by mainstream reviewers? Check. Though it was a better example of this trope before the full version came out.
  • Die for Our Ship:
    • 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.
    • Lilly also gets 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.
  • Ear Worm: A good portion, if not all, of the music from the soundtrack.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Misha. A common question to the developers was (and still is) if she'll have her own route. She won't.
    • Hideaki. Even before he actually appeared in the game, he sure had a lot of fanart.
    • All the extras from Hisao's class that are not cameos, especially Miki.
    • Rika and Saki, the girls of the non-existent expansions from the 2011 April's Fool post.
    • The heroines themselves are more or less the Ensemble Darkhorses of the doujinshi that spawned the idea, considering they were features in an extra in the book.
    • Yuuko's got a sizable fanbase, with many people finding her Cute Clumsy Girl personality rather endearing.
  • Epileptic Trees: Misha's lack of disability and the reason for her not having her own route is the source of much Wild Mass Guessing among fans (though in the game it's stated that she doesn't have any physical disabilities). Observe.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Has a bit of this with Hatoful Boyfriend.
  • 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.
    • Hanako fans are often accused of wanting a "dream girl" who is totally dependent on them (which is Comically Missing the Point of her route, but when has that ever stopped anyone).
    • 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 (or that she is a lesbian).
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Miki and Suzu. Suriko (writer of Lilly's route and co-writer of Hanako's) went as far as to write an unofficial pseudo-route for Miki wherein she gets the choice of Hisao or Suzu, partly in response to them being the most popular of the characters of no importance to the plot and fan art pairing the two up for years previously.
  • Follow the Leader: Visual novels featuring protagonists with disabilities like Missing Stars and Love Despite rose in the wake of this visual novel through the efforts of this VN's fans.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • 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.
    • On several instances in Emi's route, light-hearted remarks are made as to how incomprehensible Rin and her art are, including the comment that not even Rin expects her art to be understood. Viewed in the light of Rin's route, where it turns out that Rin tries to use her art to express herself, the casual dismissal becomes devastating.
    • 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.
  • Gateway Series:
    • Naturally, since it is a well-made English language Freeware Visual Novel. Let's just say that before this, significantly less people were aware that the Visual Novel genre existed.
    • About a week after its creation, the reddit group /r/katawashoujo had more readers than /r/visualnovels.
  • Genius Bonus: "Akira"; for a Scottish name, it means "anchor". No doubt, the Satous hoped that their firstborn would have such an effect on the family and their marriage.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Rin's "I've got no arms to hug you with."
    • 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.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • 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.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In Rin's route, Hisao remarks on how embarrassing 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.
    • Early in the game, Misha tells Hisao about the book club, only to inform him that they're currently full and not taking any new members. That's probably not a bad thing.
  • Ho Yay: Kenji. See Alternative Character Interpretation above. Particularly during the Downer Ending with Kenji, where - as he gets closer and closer to Hisao - the love-theme To Become One plays.
    • For the female version:
      • 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.
  • 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.
  • It Was His Sled/All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game":
    • From Emi's route: Anal.
    • Misha is a lesbian. This stopped being a spoiler very soon after release.
  • Love to Hate: Jigoro gets this sometimes, due to his Jerkass 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.
  • Memetic Badass:
  • Memetic Molester:
  • Memetic Mutation: Has its own page here.
  • Moe:
    • Hanako is probably the best candidate for this, but her route is a deconstruction of the concept. Hanako becomes well aware that Hisao feels sorry for her and sees her as The Woobie, and she greatly resents it. In her Bad End, she calls Hisao out on this, yelling that she hates him for this behaviour. With the way she's facing the screen, however, it doesn't seem that she's yelling at Hisao so much as she's yelling at the player. In her H-scene, the reason she has sex with Hisao in the first place is so that he'll stop seeing her as someone to be pitied and protected.
    • 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 Genre Eroge, 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.
  • Narm:
    • The crayon drawings as Hanako explains her house fire. Your mileage will vary.
    • Emi has the same devilish grin she has in all the sex scenes when she walks in on Hisao talking to her mother and angrily forces him out of the house.
    • Jigoro's Jerkassery gets so cranked Up to Eleven that you simply cannot take him seriously. A little more subtlety, please.
    • A lot of the Off-Model moments can be like this, such as the first CG with Lilly's eyes being far too low, or in Rin's route in the atelier, with the smoke when the eyes are way too big and they both look like 10 year olds.
  • 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.
    • Also unsurprisingly, there's a small but devoted fanbase from of blind and visually impaired players; as one of the few works to portray blindness with realism and respect. The fact that it's one of only a handful of visual novels said fans can play and that the CGI isn't strictly important to the plot certainly justifies it.
  • 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 divisive 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, while in Shizune's route, Shizune admits to Hisao that she herself was the unreasonable one in her disputes with Lilly.
  • Signature Scene: "Storage Space", or more specifically Emi and Hisao's ill-fated experiment with anal sex is generally considered the most memorable part of her route, and one for the game in general.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Any of the routes if you do the one for your favorite character first can be this.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Despite the game being freeware, many of the game CGs are downright beautiful. Add to that the gorgeous animated sequences introducing each girl's route, all of which single-handedly made by one artist, Mike Inel.
  • The Woobie: Has its own page.


Example of: