A Real Heartbreaker: Let's Play Katawa Shoujo

4Chan’s Finest Hour: Katawa Shoujo

Someone recently asked me, “Timrod, is there a single game you don’t hate?”, to which I answered “Of course there are. I just don’t talk about them nearly as much.” This is one of them, and this LP is kind of a passion project for me.

Katawa Shoujo is a visual novel developed by a group of random Anonymous from 4chan over a period stretching from 2007 to 2012 based on a single page in the back of an obscure hentai manga.

[Left: Original page from Schuppen Harnische. Right: Translation/Color done by fans. Blatantly stolen from the Katawa Shoujo wiki at http://katawashoujo.wikia.com/]

It’s also probably the best VN I’ve ever played and one of the only ones to hold my attention for any length of time. That is to say, it’s a really, really good VN.

The game itself is free to play, and you can find it right here: https://www.katawa-shoujo.com/

Some other notes: Even though no one ever posts in the thread anyway, choices in this game are locked to specific routes - so unfortunately, I’ll have to pick all the dialogue choices to ensure that we wind up staying on certain routes.

Also, this game does have some sexual content, including a sex scene with every female character. I am specifically not showing these as it would violate site rules (LET ME LP MONSTER GIRL QUEST YOU COWARDS) but you can probably find them somewhere if you look.

As for rules, I have but two: no spoilers… and one other thing: no discussion of the “beta script”. I’ll talk about the beta script when I get there.

















Welcome to Katawa Shoujo. Right now, all we’ve got is a thoroughly unremarkable title screen. That will change as time goes on.

Most of the backgrounds in this game are photos taken from unknown sources. Still, it’s not bad in the way that a lot of things that do this with anime characters are.

The one thing I don’t like about the prologue is that Hisao (our protagonist) does not have a portrait, despite the fact that he’s his own character and not just a blank slate.

Just a side note here: this game is a pain to take screenshots from. It was coded in Ren’py and doesn’t hook right with any of the major screenshot programs, so I wound up having to take screenshots from OBS. If anything looks a little weird resolution-wise, it’s because I had to boost the aspect ratio in order to not have ugly borders on every shot.

Hisao: “Just how long am I expected to wait out here, anyway? I’m sure the note said 4:00 P.M.”

Hisao: “As far as I’m concerned, I’m more a fan of the letter in the locker, but at least this way shows a bit of initiative.”

Hisao: “I feel my heart skip a beat. It’s a voice I’ve listened to hundreds of times, but never as more than an eavesdropper to a conversation.”

This is Iwanako, who also does not have a dialog portrait. She’s kind of the one weakness in the plot: later on, Hisao will act like they’d been a couple for years even though this is really the first time they’ve ever properly met.

Hisao: “Dammit. I spent all afternoon trying to come up with a good line, and that was the result. Pathetic.”

Iwanako: “Ahmm… yes. I asked a friend to give you that note… I’m so glad you got it.”

There’s a heartbeat sound effect that plays here, but obviously I can’t show that in screenshot form.

Hisao: “So, ahh… here we are. Out in the cold…”

And here we encounter Hisao’s disability: the fact that he loses both ears to frostbite. No wait, that’s not it.

Why is it that VN protagonists always have better luck with women than I do? The last one I tried to date told me I was a mistake. I tried to tell her that no, anime is a mistake (let’s dunk on Ni no Kuni 2) but no dice.

Iwanako: “You see…”

Iwanako: “I wanted to know if…”

Iwanako: “You’d go out with me.”

We are now in the midst of what is about to become a major plot point. You see, everyone in Katawa Shoujo (well… most people) has some kind of physical disability. Right now, we’re witnessing Hisao’s.

The game never confirms it by name, but the writers have confirmed that Hisao has what’s called Long QT Syndrome - it’s a real condition that causes an arrythmia in the heart and renders the afflicted person incredibly vulnerable to heart attacks.

Iwanako: “Hisao?”

He’s extremely lucky, by the way. My dad went into cardiac arrest due to an arrythmia last year (not caused by Long QT), and didn’t know anything until he was already technically dead. Thankfully, he was surrounded by people who immediately called 911 and performed CPR. The doctors at the hospital told us later that if anyone had hesitated, he’d be dead.

Iwanako: “Hisao?!”

I read years ago that the writers for this part supposedly looked up a bunch of medical literature on how heart attacks caused by Long QT work. My dad tells me you don’t hear anything, you don’t see anything. One minute you’re there, the next minute… you’re not.

This whole part is an FMV, and if my internet didn’t absolutely suck I’d have taken a video of it. According to the credits, the team had one person do all of this, and it looks absolutely fucking amazing for amateur CGI.

Apologies for the wall of text. That’s one thing I dislike about VNs is when they do screens like this. There will be a few more of these.

Hisao: “Today, the doctor comes in and gives me a smile. He seems excited, but not very. It’s like he is trying to make an effort to be happy on my behalf.”

Hisao: “My parents are here. It’s been a few days since I’ve last seen them. Both of them are even sort of dressed up. Is this supposed to be some kind of special occasion? It’s not a party.”

Doktor: “Hello, Hisao. How are you today?”

Doktor: “I believe that you can go home now. Your heart is stronger, and with some precautions you should be fine.”

Doktor: “We have all the medications sorted out. I’ll give the prescriptions to your father.”

There’s no really great stopping point here, but I feel like this update is getting a bit long. Next time, we’ll finish the prologue and move on to the less depressing parts of the game.

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Excited to experience this again. First time I played I flooded through it, I just couldn’t stop. Ended up feeling utterly depressed for a week or two. Some of those neutral/bad ends are pretty devastating.

Dad : “So many…”

So, one thing I’d like to talk about briefly while we still remember it is that this game had some… issues… when it was translated to Japanese.

The first, and most major, was the name Katawa Shoujo. None of the writers for this speak Japanese as far as I know, so none of them knew at the time that the word “Katawa” is considered highly offensive in Japan. You’ll notice in the first post that it was translated as “Disability” in the fan translation of the original doujin page. The word is actually their equivalent of “Cripple”. There was a surprising amount of outrage on 2ch about this, but even knowing what it meant, Four Leaf chose to keep the title the way it was.

There were some other issues though. Iwanako’s name is not actually a Japanese name - it was something the writers made up that sounded Japanese enough to an English-speaking audience. This actually became a bit of a problem when they had to translate it later: they kind of used a mishmash of kanji that makes the right sounds but doesn’t make any sense as a name.

Looking back, I’m not a big fan of this particular scene because of the white text on a white background. It actually kind of hurts my eyes a little.

In reality, it’d be strange for him to be taking a ton of medication - my dad was taking six or so pills a day up until the day they implanted the pacemaker, when they actually took him off a bunch of the meds to stop them interfering with it.

Doktor: “Also, I’ve spoken to your parents and we believe that it would be best if you don’t return to your old school.”

Hisao: “What?!”

Dad: “Please, calm down, Hisao. Listen to what the doctor has to say.”

Doktor: “We all understand that your education is paramount; however, I don’t think that it’s wise for you to be without supervision. At least, not until we’re sure that your medication is suitable.”

Doktor: “So, I’ve spoken to your parents about a transfer. It’s a school called Yamaku Academy that specializes in dealing with disabled students.”

Yamaku Academy’s name is one of the other issues 4LS had translating this into Japanese, in that it’s also just a made-up name that sounds Japanese enough.

Doktor: “It has a 24-hour nursing staff and it’s only a few minutes from a highly-regarded general hospital. The majority of the students live on campus.”

Doktor: “Think of it as a boarding school of sorts. It’s designed to give students a degree of independence, while keeping help nearby.”

Dad: “Of course, that’s only if you want to go. But… your mother and I aren’t really able to home school you. We went out there and had a look a couple of weeks back. I think you’d like it.”

Doktor: “Compared to other people with heart problems, people with your condition usually tend to live long lives. You’ll need a job one day, and this is a good opportunity to continue your education.”

Doktor: “Well, you should be excited at the chance to go back to school. I remember you wanted to return to school, and while it’s not the same one…”

Dad: “It’s not what you think. All of the students there are pretty active, in their own sort of way. It’s geared toward students that can still get around and learn, but just need a little help… in one way or another.”

I kind of feel like the writers for this game realized that Yamaku doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, since most public schools have staff trained specifically for students with disabilities, but they had to go along with it because it was implied in the original concept art. Even here I feel like they had a little trouble describing exactly what it should be.

Doktor: “Your father’s right. And many of the graduates of the school have gone on to do amazing things. A person doesn’t have to be held back by their disability. One of my colleagues in another hospital is a graduate.”

Finally, we’re done with the prologue and move on to Act 1. I should mention that this game absolutely does not fuck around with routes: pretty much from the minute we arrive at Yamaku Academy, we’re going to need to make very precise choices so we wind up on the route we want to be on. In fact, it’s possible to hit a bad ending in Act 1 if we’re not careful.

Oh, and if we were to load the game up here, this is what the title screen looks like at the end of the prologue. It’ll only get more full as we go on.

In case you’re curious, all of the photos of “Yamaku Academy” are actually a college in Sendai, Japan. One of the writers took a trip there specifically to take photos for this game. In real life, there’s nowhere near the college that Yamaku could exist, but the writers placed it on top of an old ruined castle that exists on a hill across from where these photos were taken.

Anyway, I changed my mind on one thing: after doing some more research, I found out that the time paradox issues with the plot aren’t actually as noticeable as I thought. We’re coming up on the first choice that determines what route we’ll take at the beginning of the next update.

I’ve put a poll here, but I’d prefer people post in the thread - votes in the thread will count as two votes. However, I’ve purposely removed Hanako and Lilly from the poll. Votes for either of them will not count, because they more or less need to be done together and I’d rather save them for either the middle or the end of the LP.

Which Route First?

  • Rin
  • Emi
  • Shizune

0 voters

Katawa Shoujo is the first visual novel I ever read, and that was only earlier this year. My impression had always been that visual novels were kind of a waste of time; especially the “dating sim” ones.

To be honest I still think that’s true of most visual novels (at least as far as my own tastes go), based on the couple of others I tried on the strength of my experience with Katawa Shoujo.

Katawa Shoujo itself though, wow. It really sounds like it shouldn’t work; a dating sim where you romance disabled anime girls, made by a bunch of random 4chan users? Like most people I’m sure, when I first heard of it I was expecting a creepy, fetishistic train-wreck. I was incredibly surprised when it turned out to actually be really good. Not offensive, or exploitative or whatever else along those lines that I’d expected. It felt… genuine, I suppose.

It probably helped that I have my own lifelong issues I’ve struggled with, so a lot of Katawa Shoujo resonated with me personally. One character in particular. I identify with her a lot. On my first time through there was no need to even think about it when a choice came up; everything naturally fell into place and I ended up on her route.

Beyond that, it seemed like (almost?) every route stirred up things from my own past, so while it was sometimes painful, it was always compelling.

Anyway. As far as voting goes, I voted for Emi. That seems like a good route to start on. I think all the routes surprised me in one way or another, but the thing that surprised me about Emi’s route is how funny it was in places. I’m not sure if one part I’m thinking of in particular will show up in the LP though, since it was part of the lead-up to a sex scene. I don’t know exactly where or how the sex scenes are cut if you disable them.

No real contest here for me (at least out of these three routes). I doubt I’m alone in considering Rin’s route the most difficult. It’s the only route I got a “bad end” on. And Shizune’s route… well, it just seemed kind of flat and rushed.

I was going to do an audio commentary on this, but since not everyone listens to those, I’m going to put it in the text instead. Emi did win the poll with 5 votes, so we’ll be doing her route first… sort of.

The way the routes in this game work is a little strange. Like most date-sim type VNs, it works by giving you a certain number of points for each answer you select toward a particular girl. However, at the start, we’re only going to be able to choose between Lilly and Shizune. In fact, the way the game determines which route you’re on is based off how many points you have between the two of them.

As a result, we have to go through most of Shizune’s first act before we can access Emi’s. Therefore, most of the updates after this one are going to be on Shizune’s route. Once we get to the point where we can switch, I’ll do so.

This also means we’ll probably be doing Shizune’s route second, because this game doesn’t have a true scene select menu the way a lot of VNs do today. The developers kind of expected that to switch routes, you’d start from the beginning again and work your way through… but that’d lead to a lot of repetition.

Looking back, I feel like this part is a little too wordy. Hisao is always kind of like this, but here it almost seems like the writers were trying too hard to do the Max Payne cutscene thing. It’s kind of ironic given that they’d likely seen all of the threads where people would take Tim Buckley’s garbage webcomic (before Loss was a thing) and strip out 80% of the words in an attempt to make it funny.

Hisao: “Nakai.”

Mutou: “So you are. Excellent. I’m your homeroom and science teacher. My name is Mutou. Welcome.”

We won’t see a whole lot of Mutou, so he doesn’t get a dialog portrait.

Mutou: “The head nurse asked for a brief check-in visit, but there’s no time for that now.”

Hisao: “Oh, should I go later?”

Mutou: “Yes. We should get going and introduce you to the rest of the class. They’re waiting already.”

This choice is something I’m going to refer to as “Point Zero”. This is the actual spot from which all of the routes originate. Starting with this update, you’ll find banners at the bottom of any update that has a choice that changes which route we’re on. If more than one girl is listed, it’s because we’ll need to do part of one route before going to the other one.

While this choice seems inocuous, it does matter which one we pick: the top option gets us no points, while the bottom one will start us on Shizune’s route. We’ll be picking the bottom one, but not in this update, as I want this one to remain route-neutral. My goal is to avoid repetition as much as possible, so ideally you can read through most of the routes with little to no repeated dialogue.


Welcome to the first update of Shizune’s route, and by extension, Emi’s.

As I mentioned in the past update, we’ll be picking the bottom option, since this path is for Shizune’s route.

Hisao: “Yeah, sure. I mean, isn’t that normal?”

Mutou: “Of course. But not everyone likes being at the center of attention.”

Hisao: “Right, but it’s no problem.”

Mutou: “Let’s go then.”

Interestingly, the framed drawing at the bottom of the ramps is an original piece of artwork done specifically for the game. Its name is “Rainbow Wizard”, and it is actually available on the game’s website as a wallpaper. There are a few more like this that we’ll see later on.

I’ll never be able to hear the words “get a grip” again without thinking of Hotline Miami 2 and how that part was the only good part of that entire game.

Most of the characters on this side of the screen are references or people’s OCs - the male student in the front row is a genderflipped Haruhi Suzumiya, and I’m pretty sure the girl next to him is supposed to be a Clannad reference. Remember when people thought Haruhi was good?

And there’s Shizune. Surely, that’s as far right as the image is going to go, and…

Oh god, what is that horrible drill-haired gremlin next to her? Also, what the hell are you doing here Miles Edgeworth don’t you have murders to solve?

God dammit no, that gremlin is not cute. That gremlin looks like the horrible anime girl I make in any game with a character creator.

Said gremlin (who we’ll meet in just a minute and then promptly wish we hadn’t) is also the only person at Yamaku to have a non-natural hair color - even though Shizune’s hair is blue, it’s not seen as being artificial.

Mutou: “…Please welcome our newest classmate.”

Hisao: “So… I’m Hisao Nakai.”

Hisao: “My hobbies are reading and soccer. I hope to get along well with everyone even though I’m a new student.”

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever heard an amusing introduction at school before. There was the time I told a club in college that my name was Spartacus (referencing the classic film by the same name) and no one realized it wasn’t my real name for the entire year.

I thought for a minute the clapping was a reference to a 4chan copypasta from a few years back, but as it turns out that happened four or five months after Katawa Shoujo released.

Hisao: “Yeah, that’s fine with me.”

Mutou: “That’s good, you can work with Hakamichi. She is the class representative. She can explain anything you might want to know. And who would be able to do that better, right?”

Admittedly, Mutou’s way of talking is a little robotic, but you have to remember that the writers were a bunch of kids on /a/.

Mutou: “Oh, right. Hakamichi is right there, Shizune Hakamichi.”

So yeah, meet Shizune. I’ve been totally clowning on you all this entire time.

Hisao: “Hey, I guess you’re Hakamichi, right? It’s nice to meet you.”

Her disability is that she’s afflicted by a terrible wasting disease that makes her more and more anime until she eventually becomes two-dimensional.

This is Misha, the school’s resident horrifying anime gremlin. She was actually probably the character 4chan made the biggest deal about before the game released. With most of the characters in this game, it’s immediately evident why they’re at Yamaku - but not Misha. In fact, it got taken so far that some people were convinced she’d be added as a sixth full route.

Not surprisingly, there are mods that exist that make her a sixth route… in fact, one just came out a few months before I started this LP.

Both Misha and Shizune’s portraits have a “signing” animation that lasts a fraction of a second and is very difficult to capture in screenshot form.

This is what happened when I tried. Truly, Shizune is the most powerful character in all of Dragon Ball because she moves so quickly that no one can see it.

Hisao: “It’s nice to meet you.”

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “I can see you’re a little confused. Right? Right? But I understand why you’d think I was Shicchan!”

Next time, we’ll attempt to fend off this horrible gremlin and continue making our way to Emi’s route.

The couple of mentions of a girl with a missing hand reminded me of something I haven’t thought about in ages.

When I was at Uni, there was a woman in my (Multimedia) course who was missing her left arm from the elbow on down. I remember that she had a lot of trouble using Photoshop, since it’s a program that relies heavily on modifier keys: one hand on the mouse, the other hand pressing ctrl, shift or alt - or a combination of the three at the same time.

She’d try to hit them with her stump, but it was pretty awkward (like trying to type while wearing mittens) - and more than one key at a time was basically impossible. I helped her with it a bit sometimes, but obviously she couldn’t really always have someone helping her.

I remember vaguely wondering if there was some kind of accessibility option that might help, but couldn’t come up with anything at the time. These days I suppose I’d try doing something with AutoHotKey maybe. Or maybe there are more accessibility features around generally now; I wouldn’t know.

Back on the LP though; I only just noticed that the images look squashed/stretched. I was wondering why, but then I remembered; Katawa Shoujo uses a 4:3 aspect ratio rather than 16:9, doesn’t it?

Yeah, so a note about the resolution: the game runs in a 4:3 window, I believe the default resolution is 640x480. While it’s not impossible for me to take screenshots in 4:3, it’d leave a really large black border around everything and cropping those is kind of a nightmare because you wind up with images that aren’t a consistent size.

The other problem is that FRAPS doesn’t interface with Katawa Shoujo at all, even when it’s fullscreen. That’s my go-to tool for screenshots. Yeah there’s other stuff out there, but I don’t think it’d do a much better job than FRAPS does.

Well speaking of Photoshop, you could probably set up a batch action for resizing/cropping/whatever the images. I imagine the GIMP or some other free alternative like that could do it too.

Then you just apply the batch action to a folder full of images and you’re set.


You know, I wish I had known that Photoshop can automate shit for you. Welcome back to Katawa Shoujo, now in its original format.

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “You’re the new student, aren’t you? Well, Shicchan, of course he is! If he wasn’t, he would have been standing up there for no reason, right? Right~!”

HorribleGremlin: “He seems like a very interesting person, doesn’t he~!”

I knew a girl like Misha when I was in college - no pink drill hair, but roughly the same personality. They’re even more annoying than Katawa Shoujo portrays.

HorribleGremlin: “We knew there was going to be a new student, but we didn’t know you would be here today. So soon! Hicchan, right?”


HorribleGremlin: “Yup~! It fits, doesn’t it?”


Hisao acts like he’s been called that before, but to be honest it seems like something only Misha would do. Then again, my personal theory is that Misha is actually an alien from a planet where the only race is “horrible anime gremlin” and they’re all part of a hivemind, so maybe it makes sense.

Hisao: “I don’t really see how.”


Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Hahahaha~! Yeah, you look just like a Hicchan!”

Hisao: “I wonder why everyone seems to think so.”

Shizune: “…”

I like to imagine that Shizune isn’t actually deaf, she’s just got Final Fantasy Protagonist Disease and can’t say anything other than an ellipsis. Everyone just assumes she is because she’s forced to use sign language to say anything other than “…whatever.”



HorribleGremlin: “Ahaha~! Er, sorry about that!”

The other problem is whenever I read Misha’s laughter I can only hear the Circus of Values vending machine. Fill all your anime cravings at the Circus of Values!

HorribleGremlin: “Shicchan wants you to know that she’s the class rep, so if there is anything you need to know, you can feel free to ask her.”

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Do you like the school so far? We can show you around a little if you haven’t had the time to walk around and… familiarize? yourself with it!”


Hisao: “Thanks, that would be pretty helpful. Yeah, I just kind of came straight to class today.”

Shizune: “…”


Shizune giving us the death glare.

HorribleGremlin: “Always! Even if it’s a trip to the convienience store! Really, Shicchan? Hahaha~!”

Even if it’s a trip to the Circus of Values machine to pick up more ammo for your shotgun because all of the other guns are trash.





HorribleGremlin: “You look down, are you okay?”

Shizune: “…”


This whole section seems a little strange in hindsight - I’m guessing it’s because the writers assumed that only people who really liked Shizune would go down this route. But for Hisao to get an emotional hit like that from two girls he has literally met minutes ago just seems weird to me.

HorribleGremlin: “Asking for help is perfectly normal, as much as needing help! Stop looking like you just failed a test! Wahahaha~!”

Hisao: “All right.”

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Ah, and another thing, you don’t have to call Shicchan something so formal like ‘Hakamichi’ or ‘class rep’ all the time. Just call her Shicchan~!”

Shizune: [Ellipses intensify]


Looking at it now, it seems like Shizune reacts to Misha telling Hisao (out loud) to call her Shicchan. Writing deaf characters must be a pain.

HorribleGremlin: “Yup yup~! ‘Shizune’ is fine!”

Hisao: “Heh. Okay, that would be a lot easier for me.”



Shizune: “…!”

HorribleGremlin: “Huh? Oh, right, we haven’t even touched the assignment! We should start work now, or Shicchan will get mad.”

Hisao: “The assignment is also kind of long, so we should start now if we want to finish it before the end of class.”

HorribleGremlin: “Wahaha~! That too!”

Shizune: “…”


Hisao: “Okay, okay, I get the message.”

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “After class, we can take a walk around the grounds together. It’s a nice day today! Okay~?”













A few days before I worked on this update, I wound up getting an email meant for someone else letting me know I was registered as a parent for an online portal belonging a private preschool in Illinois. I told the school that if they didn’t fix it, I was logging on and finding the kid they had given me access to, then marking him down as being allergic to everything but pizza. Truly, the best special diet there is.




Shizune: “…”



HorribleGremlin: “Do you want to know something?”

Hisao: “What?”

HorribleGremlin: “About anything! We’re your guides, so you should ask if there is something~!”


Oh, uh, I mean…


Here’s our second choice, and where I’m going to end the update for now. In case you’re curious, the top one is what we’re going with in the next update, as it gives us another point toward Shizune. The middle choice would put us on a different route. The bottom choice gives us no points to any route, and is specifically used for a certain route that requires we have zero points with both Shizune and Lilly up until the end of Act 1 that we’re already locked out of.

Next time, we’ll meet a nurse named nurse and continue progressing through Shizune’s route.

Well that looks much better. To be really pedantic though, the little portrait for The Drillah still looks squashed.

At least I think so; it’s kind of hard to tell, what with all the anime.


We’re going to pick the top choice, since this is Shizune’s route. Now, you might think that the “Ask about Shizune’s deafness” choice would make more sense - and you’re absolutely right, it would - but surprisingly, that choice is for Rin’s route.


Hisao: “Eeh… if you say so.”


I don’t know if I mentioned this, but when I played through this game the first time, I only did one of the five routes. I remember seeing this and being like “I wonder if Misha is actually a faithful interpreter, or if she’s purposely trying to get Hisao together with Shizune and he has no idea.” I honestly have no clue what happens.




Seriously though, I think that’d be a pretty neat plot idea for a love story, an interpreter trying to play matchmaker.




Meet Hanako. She’s the other half of Lilly’s route.





In retrospect, what I think is a little strange about Hanako being here (and not having this happen before the cafeteria scene) is that we’ve actually already passed the point where we could start her route - that’s what we’d get if we had asked Misha about the library. In fact, we’ve already passed the point of no return for every route that isn’t Shizune’s or Emi’s.








Shizune: “…”


Shizune: “…”

I think my favorite part of working on this LP is that I can just copy and paste Shizune’s dialog. I think ol’ whatshisface from Gemini Rue really could’ve learned a lot from her.

HorribleGremlin: “You’ll find your way around here, I’m sure of it.”

Hisao: “Ah! Wait! The teacher said I’d have to see the nurse. Where do I have to go?”

HorribleGremlin: “Is that so? We can at least show you that much~!”

HorribleGremlin: “Come on, the nurses have their own building, so we have to go outside.”


I think this is the first (and maybe only) point at which the game confirms that Hisao is in his senior year.




HorribleGremlin: “This is the auxiliary building here. There’s a lot of official and important stuff inside, like the Yamaku Foundation office and all the nurses’ offices. They even have a swimming pool!”

Hisao: “How is that official?”

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Don’t be silly, Hicchan! It’s for physical therapy of course.”

HorribleGremlin: “Anyway, all the nursing staff facilities are in there too. The head nurse’s office is on the first floor.”

HorribleGremlin: “You’ll be fine from here, right~? We’ll be going then! See you tomorrow!”





I find it kind of amusing that the head nurse doesn’t even get a name - Mutou does, and the nurse has about as much screen time as he does. I’m not sure if this is because the nurse was added late in development, or because they couldn’t agree on a name or what.







Hisao: “Erm, are you the nurse?”


While I’m on the subject of game design choices, I have to wonder why they gave the nurse a portrait - animated and everything, no less - but couldn’t do that for Hisao. I don’t see Katawa Shoujo as one of those games where you’re supposed to insert as the protagonist.

Nurse: “Why yes, I am. It says so on the door, no?”

Nurse: “You can call me by my name, or just ‘the nurse’ like everyone else.”


Hisao: "Right, err… my name is Hisao Nakai. I’m a new student and my homeroom teacher told me to come and meet you.


I swear, this facial expression makes the nurse look like he’s about two seconds away from partially unbuttoning his jacket and going “Hey Nisao, yaranaika?”

… I wonder if he’s got the same anime disease Misha has. Yaranaitis.

Nurse: “Some kind of chronic arrythmia and related congenital heart muscle deficiency, right?”


Hisao: “Eh, yes.”

Nurse: “Good. Well, you’ve probably been briefed about the school enough, so I’ll just go over this quickly.”

Nurse: “We have all kinds of facilities available, mostly physical therapy and such.”

Nurse: “There’s always someone from my staff around, even at night, so never hesitate to call us if there is a problem.”


Hisao: “Wow, this is like a hospital.”

Nurse: “Well, not exactly. For instance, we don’t do brain surgery here.”

Then explain Misha, you monster!


Hisao: “Yeah… it’s just really weird to have so many medical people at school.”

Nurse: “You’ll get used to it.”


Nurse: “Now, let me just find your file again…”




The sprays they have to use when Misha’s hair gets too long and she starts drilling through walls and floors, the brain surgery ward… you know. That stuff.



Nurse: “So… you already have medication for the arrythmia. Just remember to take your pills every morning and evening or they won’t be much help.”

Nurse: “Apart from that… do you do any sports? Rash stuff like… I don’t know, boxing?”

Hisao no Ippo, where Hisao puts his gloves on and wrestles a bear.


Hisao: “Eh, well… I played soccer occasionally with some classmates.”

Nurse: “All right. I’m afraid I’m going to have to recommend you refrain from doing that. At least, for the time being.”

Hisao: “Oh.”




Nurse: “Was the previous one caused by a sudden concussion to the chest area? There’s no mention of the cause in your papers.”

Hisao: “Err… not exactly.”



And that’s exactly what we’ll be doing… once we reach Emi’s route. I’d like to end this update with something I remembered existed just a few days ago: to this day, the title banners on 4chan contain at least five Katawa Shoujo themed ones - half of which are Shizune and/or Misha related. I’ll post a few of them.




Who could that mysterious third character be? We’ll find out in another update.


Welcome back to Katawa Shoujo. Today, we’ll be meeting probably the one character in this VN that did not age well at all.

Nurse: “Just get some light exercise regularly. Brisk walks, or even light jogging, jumping rope, that sort of thing. Swimming, maybe? There’s a pool here.”

Hisao: “So I was told.”

Nurse: “You were? Very good. At any rate, and I’m sure you’ve been told this before, you just need to take care not to overexert yourself.”


Nurse: “Absolutely no unnecessary risks. Take care of yourself.”

What’s kind of funny is that on every route that isn’t Emi’s, Hisao absolutely disregards all of this.


Nurse: “Good, that’s it then. Come meet me if you ever need something.”







Hisao: “…”






This screen here is actually (as far as I remember) the only dynamic background in the entire game. The mural on the wall there is extremely important to Rin’s route and changes based on how far you are with her. I don’t know if it changes on any of the other routes, but I don’t think it does.


Hisao: “Room one-one-nine…”







He’s not wrong. Apart from the staff and one other person, Hisao is the only male character in Katawa Shoujo.







Hisao: “Hello, is anyone home?”



Meet Kenji. Kenji is probably the only thing about Katawa Shoujo that really did not age well - he’s basically 4chan incarnate circa 2007-2008. Why he wears that scarf when it’s clearly summer/early fall, I have no idea.

Kenji: “Who is it?”


Kenji’s disability is that he’s nearly blind, though honestly it’s kind of a mystery why they wouldn’t just get him laser eye surgery (which was definitely a thing in 2007) and be done with it.


Hisao: “Hisao Nakai… I’m moving into the next room. I thought I should introduce myself.”


Kenji: “Oh, 'sup dude? The name’s Kenji.”

Hisao: “Ah, hi.”


Kenji: “There were some suspicious-looking people going in and out of your room earlier.”

Kenji is also a paranoid conspiracy theorist. If I had to guess, he’s one of those people who posts shit on /x/ (4chan’s paranormal/conspiracy board) about how the government is in league with companies that produce light bulbs and is sitting on the secret to making a light bulb that lasts forever.

Hisao: “It was probably my parents.”

Kenji: “Your parents? You sure? 'Cause they could have been some other people too. You can’t judge a book by its cover.”


Hisao: “I’d say the chances are high enough.”


Kenji: “You’re a brave man, Hisao. Me, I don’t think I could trust the chances. The only one I trust is myself.”

I would stick a photoshop here of Kenji’s head pasted on the Shadow the Hedgehog cover, but I’m pretty sure someone already did that a long time ago.

Hisao: “Does that mean I shouldn’t get to know you either?”


Kenji: “A wise decision. Damn, you are smarter than you look. Probably. What do you look like? I hope not smart.”

In reality, I think Kenji is heavily inspired by a parody VN called “OMGWTFOTL”. Released in 2006, it was the source of a ton of 4chan memes, mostly due to the fact that almost every dialog choice gave you the option to “genuflect”.


Kenji: “Never mind, it doesn’t matter.”










Next time, we’ll get a look at Hisao’s daily routine.

Oh, so that’s why Kenji’s writing is so annoying.

I’m not familiar with 4chan history or culture or whatever, so I had no idea about that side of things.





Welcome back to Katawa Shoujo.


Hisao kind of comes across as a brooding asshole here, and I do think the writers laid on just a bit too much angst. It’d be more understandable if he’d been a soccer star or something and had lost that forever… but I feel like it wouldn’t have been as well-received if he was.




This sentence feels really awkward to read, but at least it’s not Crunchyroll levels of bad.
















One thing I never really thought about when I played through this game the first time is that Hisao really doesn’t feel like he’s in the right state of mind to be dating anyone - but as soon as we’re done with this scene, he’s going to do just that.






And you might say to yourself: “This is not my beautiful house!” and you might say to yourself “This is not my beautiful wife!”




I feel like we’re slowly sliding into Tsukihime with no way out.



People die when they are killed.





I think Hisao has water confused with whisky again. Oh well.


So yeah, if you feel like this monologue goes on just a bit too long, you’re not alone.




I still feel like most of the writing outside this one particular segment is good, but I feel like the writers used a lot of words here to say very little.














Should’ve seen this coming about a mile away. No doubt the horrible anime gremlin will ask us to join her anime club where they watch bad VHS rips of Evangelion and talk about how deep it is.

HorribleGremlin: “Oh-… I see! Hmm… that’s a good question, Hicchan.”


Honestly, I spent my final two years of college at a school where there was so little to do that people drank heavily and fought over the rights to paint a rock in the center of campus. Compared to that, Yamaku is nothing.

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Oh, that’s right! Everyone is encouraged to join a club. A lot of people do so because there isn’t anything else to do.”

Side note: said college had a spring break week consisting of people going to the parking lots and drinking heavily. The school actually had to crack down on that because of the surprising number of deaths and incidences of people flipping over cars and lighting them on fire there were.

HorribleGremlin: “There are also school events, like the festival coming up in a few days. Almost every student in the school helps out with it, doing whatever.”

Ahh, the yearly traditional Anime Festival, where high school slice of life animes go once they’ve run out of any other content to show.

HorribleGremlin: “So~! You actually transferred in at a busy time… maybe you can help out!~”

Hisao: “Sure. What’s the festival about?”



Yeah, this festival’s going to go real well.


HorribleGremlin: “Huh? Oh. Who cares?”




Hisao: “Not so loud…”

Shizune: “…!”




Next time, we’ll get roped into joining a club by a certain horrible anime gremlin.

Oh man, has it been a while. Glad to finally be back LPing a game I don’t hate. And look, I’m even back to making update headers!


This was the first screenshot I had left over from the last time I started KS to do screenshots, and it kinda sums up my last LP in one image.


HorribleGremlin: “That’s right, Shicchan~!”

HorribleGremlin: “Wait, that’s right~! Hicchan, are you asking because you’re interested in joining a club?”


You can practically see the “menacing” hiragana in the air straight out of the Jojo anime.

Hisao: “Yeah, I was thinking about it.”







This is sort of another reminder that we can still change routes - in fact, the next point at which we could do so (moving onto the Lilly/Hanako route) is coming up very shortly.

HorribleGremlin: “Hicchan? Is something wrong?”



I don’t quite understand why Hisao finds this so strange. Maybe it’s just that Japanese schools have a very different culture than American ones do, but I remember seeing people duck out of classes in high school and college for all kinds of reasons.

Hisao: “No, nothing.”

Shizune: “…”



I don’t really know what’s up with that line, whether it’s supposed to be Hisao thinking it or if it’s from the part where you could divert to the other route and it wound up getting misplaced in the game’s script. Usually, Hisao’s thoughts don’t have quotation marks around them.

Hisao: “…Not really.”

HorribleGremlin: “Do you want to have lunch together then?”

Hisao: “Sure.”

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Yay~! Wahahaha~! Okay, Hicchan~! Perfect!”





HorribleGremlin: “Yes it is, Hicchan!”

For a minute, I thought I had somehow forgotten to take a screenshot or two, but it doesn’t look like I missed anything. There probably could’ve been a screen wipe or something to insinuate the passage of time.

Hisao: “Impossible.”

HorribleGremlin: “Really?”

Hisao: “Really.”




This is sort of alluding to the original concept art, in which you’d have to be able to “speak” sign language in order to get anywhere with the class rep character. As far as I know (I never did Shizune’s route) there’s never actually a scene where Hisao studies it.



An A press is an A press. You can’t say it’s only a half. Actually, there’s three states to any competition and…



Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Are you sure, Hicchan?”

Hisao: “Very sure.”

Shizune: “…”







Hisao: “The cafeteria?”

HorribleGremlin: “Hahaha~! That’s so plain… Okay~! Let’s go!”




Yamaku is clearly a mobius strip, so it has no back.




Shizune: “…”


HorribleGremlin: “Hicchan, do you have anything you’re really interested in?”

Hisao: “I used to play soccer, but I’m not really into it. I don’t follow the teams and players or anything like that. As of late, I usually just read a lot.”

HorribleGremlin: “Hm… there is a book club, right, Shicchan? Right! But~! It seems like they have all the members they can possibly have right now. Sorry, Hicchan… it’s a really popular club.”

Yes… very popular. Going to have to wait until Monika kills all the other club members. That’ll only be what, another five or six years?

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Ah, okay! But more to the point, Hicchan, does this mean you don’t have anything in mind?”

Hisao: “Not really.”

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Good! Great~! That’s great, Hicchan! Really great! Hahahaha~! Wahahaha~!”

Hisao: “Why’s it so great?”

HorribleGremlin: “No reason.”



Welcome to Misha and Shizune’s master plan to get Hisao to join the student council.




Shizune: “…”


Shizune’s arms are behind her back because if we say no, she’s going to pull out a gun and force us to join at gunpoint.

Hisao: “Why?”

“Well, for one, we could hang out every day, Hicchan~! Shicchan and I are both in the Student Council.”

Student council was one of those things where I never really understood why anyone did it. It’s kind of like being the UN, where you can talk about stuff all day but ultimately have no real power over anything.

HorribleGremlin: “Actually, Shicchan is the president.”




Hisao: “So, you’re admitting that-”

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Wahahaha~! No, we admit nothing! I mean, Hicchan, of course it would be nice if you could join the student council and we’d appreciate it.”

HorribleGremlin: “But even without all that, joining the student council shows a healthy interest in the workings of one’s school.”

Misha honestly reminds me a lot of Kuroki Tomoko from Watamote, a manga that was incredibly popular on 4chan to the point where one of the manga volumes actually mentioned 4chan on the front cover. I’d almost say that the writers were influenced by it, but this scene was in the 2009 demo and Watamote’s first chapters were published in Japanese in mid-2011.



Hisao: “Well…”

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “So it’s settled, then. Welcome to the student council, Hicchan!”

I’ll have to ask you to forgive me right here because I… kind of forgot what settings I was using to take screenshots for this LP given that I hadn’t touched it in six months. Things SHOULD look the same, but I had to re-make all of my batch processing options.

Hisao: “What? No. No!”

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Yup, that’s right, though it would be boring if it went that smoothly. Oh well~! Shicchan owes me candy now!”

Hisao: “You were betting on it? Hey, my life is not a game here!”

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Wahahaha~! That’s interesting, Hicchan. Let’s play a game!”

Hisao: “That’s not what I said.”

HorribleGremlin: “How about Rich Man, Poor Man, Hicchan? If you lose, you have to join the student council~!”

There’s a couple of really obvious signs that the people who made this game are not from Japan, and this is one of them. I had never even heard of this game up until I googled it - it’s apparently a card game that originated in Australia.

Hisao: “No, absolutely not.”

HorribleGremlin: “Aw~, Why not?”

Hisao: “Well, it’s because you two both have the same incentive, and therefore the same goal, which is to get me on the student council, right?”

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Yup!”

Hisao: “Yeah, that isn’t my goal. But what this means is that both of you can team up and I’ll be at a clear disadvantage. So, I’ll have to decline.”

Shizune: “…”

Hisao: “Sorry?”

In case you’re wondering, Misha isn’t doing one of those dramatic anime stutters, she actually doesn’t know the word Shizune is signing. They make this clear a bit later, but I realized that just looking at it you might think she’s doing one of those dumb tsundere “It-it’s not l-like I like you or anything, y-you baka!” lines.

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “In order to atone for hurting a young girl’s feelings, you should definitely join the student council!”

Hisao: “No!”

HorribleGremlin: “How about a game of paper football instead of Rich Man, Poor Man?”

Hisao: “Paper football?”

HorribleGremlin: “Yeah! It’s a game they play in America~! You make a paper triangle, then you try to shoot it past goalposts that the other player makes with their fingers!”

Now, that’s something I’ve heard of… though when I was still in school we mostly made them to flick at the teachers.

Yeah, I dunno about that one Misha. Something tells me that if Battle Royale games had existed in 2009, Misha would be all about that shit.

Shizune: “…”

Hisao: “More like the boys from the slightly older boys. Anyway, I’m not going to play that either. Just the fact that you know about it probably means you’re surprisingly good at it.”

Honestly, I’m surprised she hasn’t pulled out her competitive-level Yugioh deck by now.

HorribleGremlin: “Hahaha~! Yeah yeah~, that’s true! How did you know, Hicchan?”

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Okay, Hicchan, how about Risk? The game of world domination!”

Hisao: “I don’t know what that is.”

This part stood out to me as a little weird. I don’t know how big Risk really is over in Japan, and it seems really weird that they didn’t pick Shogi like pretty much any anime VN would for a character like Shizune. I actually did a bit of research on this to see if I could find a reason why - was it too cliche? Was it just that the writers didn’t understand shogi well enough?

I actually found out that there was an unused version of the script for Shizune’s route that was cut (for very good reasons) before the demo release in 2009, but the Risk part is still there. I’ll talk about that just a bit more… at the very end of this route.

HorribleGremlin: “If you want to play, we can after school.”’

Shizune: “…”

HorribleGremlin: “Ah, really, Shicchan? We can play just for fun, Hicchan. Shicchan hasn’t played in a long time, so if you want to, there are no strings attached.”

Hisao: “Well, okay…”

Next time, we’ll play Risk.