Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tezuka zooone! - Rin´s Route Review on Katawa Shoujo

 "Can you seize the moment?"

My first playthrough through Katawa Shoujo made me realize something that lately has been crossing my mind. I'm too polite sometimes, i always want everyone to have a good impression of me so i'm not prone to taking biased decisions. This ended my first playthrough in Kenji's route (the bad ending par excellence) being impossible to completely side with any of the girls.

Funny thing is that happened to me on the demo also, two years ago. And now, even though i didn't remember my answers from back then i ended in the same absolute path.

On my second gameplay though, i got to Rin's path. Most of the fans say it's the hardest... And men, did I suffer for this young lady's sake...

Enter madness
Tezuka Rin was one of the girls witch most attracted me in Act 1 despite his story developement was probably one of the slowest as to say so. Rin speaks almost nothing, and when it does usually you don't know what to think of her words. She is criptyc, independent and a daytime dreamer. Raita, the original concept creator of Katawa Shoujo, had outline that Rin would be the toughest girl to get, and the 4LS team sure have followed his statements.

Communicating with Rin is almost a titanic task, and every statement you throw at her is met but with the clashing thoughts in her mind in contradiction, that process your words for like two minutes two answer you with a) another question b) anything so absurd that fucks your mind badly.

"I'm hugging you, Hisao" ... Instant heart attack.

To make things worse, Rin's path has a complete detachment from secondary characters. Early on, Rin will move to to the nearby city in order to pursue her artistic interests, which will make the story setting to stray apart from Yamaku and will reduce the overall contact from Hisao with other students, which will leave no one to provide useful insight on how to handle things around the redhead paintress.

Only Emi and the art teacher will play a relevant part on the story, but Emi won't be providing much useful information once the story drifts from Yamaku to the atelier, and the art teacher is a douche that will be always pursuing his own interests over Rin, which will only worsen situations as the path progresses.

Artist selfdestruction
From the moment the story moves to the city, the sunny and cheerful imagery of Yamaku will fade to a dark and gray climate that will accompany Hisao and Rin for the rest of the stoy.

Most of the story is built of meaningful silences...
As Rin drifts into full artist mode, distance between her and Hisao will keep growing, and lack of communication will start to take his toll on the couple. Rin's main story will then becomeone of frustration: Both Rin and Hisao have to cope with it in their own ways: Rin frustrated at her artist block and with the pressure of the deadlines coming, and Hisao frustrated from her unability to transmit his feelings to the armless girl, and the few advances he gets on their relationship are often found with an oversized backlash thrown at him, so you will constantly feel each choice is a do or die situation that will lead to breakup. 

Lack of communication will be your biggest enemy...
I can only describe the last part of the story as a massive trainwreck of feelings, as things between Rin and Hisao start to spiral out of control and the distance gets always worse. The key moments of the story transmit real powerful images through both the art and narrative, being the epitome where you find a broken Rin atop of the atelier probably the most shocking scene you will be seeing in the whole game, perfectly fit with sorrowful music and illustrations.

I have chills just remembering this scene...
The ending thankfully is pretty beautiful and feels like a great reward for those who managed to endure all the hardship of this path. Rin's ending is surprisingly romantic for a girl who seems so detached from human emotions, and will provide a beautiful conclusion to a masterfully written story.

Overall i can say that the story was brilliantly played, but i can see that not many people will sympathize with Rin. I for myself ended getting more than i bargained for and felt it was so powerful a story that i'm afraid the other paths won't live to my expectations.


  1. I dont know who I am anymore... I finished this last night at like three. I felt all the emotions I think you outlined above. I think the scene with the cigarettes was the nices thing ever. Such a rollercoaster of emotions.

  2. Man I feel the same, my first play I ended up with Emi and it felt good but during the first play I felt more attracted for Rin. I somehow ended up with Rin's path very quickly in my second play and just like you said...after I finished I thought and still think that the other paths wont live to my much emotions...damn I wish i could read more of Rin...=(...Sure I loved her personality...

    1. My thoughts precisely. I really like Rin's personality and wish I could read more about Rin.