Katawa Shoujo(demo)

A little AMV of this game.

    Name: かたわ少女(Katawa Shoujo, "Disability Girls")
    Producers: Four Leaf Studios
    Genre: English(!) Visual Novel
    Platform: PC(free)
    Release Date: 29-4-2009(demo)

Oh never mind. I’ll review the demo too, since it’s fast to do, even though I said I wouldn’t do it. It’s such an interesting concept and game, I just have to say what I think of it now. Even though it’s incomplete because I lack the background information of the different characters, I’ll just keep it generally to how this game is played, and written.

Fan-art, but the origin is unknown…

I’ll have to talk about the script before I tell how this game is actually made. You will be playing as the main protagonist Nakai Hisao, and he has cardiac arrhythmia(Heart Rhythm Disorder). Because of this, you will be send to a school for disabled patients. He, as usual in such stories, gets to know tons of cute girls, but this time they all have a different disability. From missing arms and legs to being blind or deaf-mute. You’ll notice that the story can’t be written in a normal way in order to cross that border between normal and abnormal. The variation of characters is very nice…

Beside the fact that they’re not thought of by the producers themselves. Once upon a time at the infamous 4chan anime board, there was a sketch posted by an anonymous guy. The sketch was an omake(extra) from the doujin Schuppen Harnische. It was its circle’s fantasy for a dating sim, to be called ‘Katawa Shoujo’. 4chan made that fantasy reality, by just making anonymous people on the Internet serious enough to form a community, now known as Four Leaf Studios. After 1-2 years of developing, a demo of the VN was released not too long ago.

The moment before he collapses, you’ll never get a glimpse of that Iwanako after though.

The demo only includes Act I, more or less the prologue of the story, in English and also Italian for the heck of it. Don’t sweat it, there are also other translation projects going on. Even I am in a Dutch translation project as proofreader, in hope that we’ll get a Dutch visual novel…maybe for the first time in history. That aside, the script for this game is very good. Here and there are some references to fads and the like, but that’s because it’s originating from 4chan. For people who are interested to play, or at least try this game, you can just download it from their site(Or just click here(160MB))

I’ve also counted the amount of background music in this demo, which is already a large amount. 27 songs, with some being nice to listen to, and some that will make you go insane if you listen to it for too long. For example: Good: The main menu screen, and every character’s theme. Bad: The ‘High Tension‘-theme. I’m not going to talk about the obscene materials that will be there in the full version in this article, however. The demo is fully SFW(Safe for Work), but there will be H-scenes in the full version release. There’s the option to skip it though, think of it as an extra for the people who have those fetishes…

Blind versus deaf-mute…the eternal struggle.

But of course, this game wasn’t made if there weren’t people with interest in it. Basically, it plays just like any other visual novel. Selecting an option, causes you to go to a certain arc, or the bad ends. The gameplay is standard, so to say. Another thing pointed out is the realistic photograph backgrounds. Apparently the creators wanted a to give the game a realistic feeling by using real photos, instead of drawn graphics. This only counts for the normal background, not for the characters or the CG. Those are really nice drawn, in my opinion. One character was redrawn though, and that was the blind girl Lilly.

The main heroines. It’s pretty skillfully drawn.

Even if they’re updated in the way of graphics, the general personalities are still the same though, but they’re still weird sometimes. Tezuka Rin(armless) is the weirdest girl you’ll be talking to, with her very indifferent personality. Doing everything with her feet, even sketching. Ibarazaki Emi(legless) is the standard happy little girl, and while you expect she’d be bad at running, she’s the fastest of them all. You’ll also get spammed down by signing language by Misha(interpreter) and Shizune(deaf-mute). There’s also a shy girl, Hanako(burnt), who talks only to 1 person, Lilly(blind), who is unexpectedly sophisticated. Of course, you’ll be able to change that personality of Hanako. Their dark pasts are not yet revealed, but I expect very deep storylines:

Imagine that’s the art teacher…Oh, and you can’t edit your name, I was just being an ass.

My opinion? This is unexpectedly well written by a number of random posters on the boards that I personally dislike myself, 4chan. The VN will mostly entertain the people with fetishes for such disabled girls, but I don’t know what the general reader will think of it. It can be gross/interesting/lovable, take your pick. Even though I think the Act is too short before the character specialized route is chosen, but I’ll assume the length wouldn’t care too much. The game is about quality, not quantity. Think about the small community as well. The variation of music adds up nice, and the realistic backgrounds do have an effect on how you look at this game.

I’ll say this: You can always try this game as it’s free. If it’s really not your kind of genre, then don’t. As simple as that, I take my leave as well, so have a nice time on my blog. Oh, and even though this game might look realistic, don’t expect conversations like these:

Seriously, a masterful script.

For 2 weeks, my wallpaper was also Katawa Shoujo related. This was long ago, but it’s quite the wallpaper…In some sort of creepy way. I’ll just link it here in case you’re interested. It’s horrible now I think about it, but it’s Misha…

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May 2009



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