playing, video games

Heart’s aflutter: Commentary on Katawa Shoujo – Part 4

[Be sure to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. tl;dr: >3K]

Previously on Katawa Shoujo

Hisao has a new life, a new school and a new teacher, Mutou. Hisao follows this new teacher to his new classroom and, after an awkward introduction to the other students, gets assigned to a group for an assignment.

Hour 4

Shizune: “Hahaha~!”

What? I’m caught off guard by her laughter.

Shizune: “It’s nice to meet you, too! But~!, I’m not Hakamichi, I’m Misha. This is Hakamichi. Shicchan~”

What is that tilde doing there? Hmm. *Looks up a Japanese punctuation guide.* I see. Okay. It means a drawn out vowel sound.

Giggling, Misha points to the girl next to her, the one I saw using sign language before. It looks like she has been staring at me this whole time. She nods once nonchalantly to show she acknowledge my presence.. but only barely.

She has short, yet carefully, neatly brushed hair, a pair of oval-shaped glasses balanced on the tip of a dainty nose, and dark blue eyes that seem to alternate every few seconds between analytical and slightly bored.

Does the protagonist actually see this or is this exposition?

Hisao: “it’s nice to meet you.”

Shizune: “…”

This works. Only this one character can do it though.

Look, an arm movement to indicate the use of sign language! Neat.

She immediately looks at Misha, who smiles and makes a few quick gestures with her hands.

And sign again! Nice!

Hakamichi nods and makes a few gestures of her own.

I start to wonder if the teacher was messing with me, saying things like “you’ll be able to talk to people” and “who better to explain things to you.”

Misha: “I can see you’re a little confused, right?, right? But, I understand why you would think I was Shicchan!”

Either interrupt using em dash or make those two separate sentences.

Misha: “Shicchan is deaf, so I’m the person who translates things back and forth for her.”

Misha: “I’m like an interpreter~! She says it’s nice to meet you too!”

Should have used single quotes for quoting withing quotes. Otherwise, it’s a bit confusing as to who is quoting whom.

Shizune: “…”

Misha: “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~!”

I really don’t like the use of tilde for this. I understand it, but I don’t like it.

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

No, use quesiton marks instead here. This is bad. Don’t do that.

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

Hicchan?

Misha: “Yup~! It fits, doesn’t it?”

Did I say it out loud? It’s just a surprise. I’ve never liked that nickname.

Interesting exposition here with the knowledge problem exposed in such a manner. You are hanging… a candle. I’ll give you that much.

Hisao: “I don’t really see how.”

Misha: “It fits~! You look just like I imagined!”

Shizune: “…”

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

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

Shizune: “…”

Hahamichi taps her fingers ont he desk to get Misha’s attention.

They gesture back and forth to each other excitedly, their hands a blur.

Nice moment here.

Misha seems a little overwhelmed.

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

Misha: “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: “…”

Misha: “Do you like 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!”

Nope. Use em dash’s instead here.

Misha stumbles with the hard word a bit, making it stick out in her otherwise fluid translation.

Hanging a… candle. Okay.

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

Shizune: “…”

I’m tired of typing this. There should be a better way to do this. I’m just going to copy-and-paste the above. Then, every time it comes up, I’ll just have to press two keys.

Misha: “Hahaha~!”

Misha: “That’s no good! You should always try to learn as much as you can about where you’re going before you go there. Not just with school, either~!”

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

Learn about where you’re going? I guess I didn’t bother to do that, or just didn’t care enough to do so.

Disconnection between spectacle nature and the reading experience.

I didn’t look forward to this, even if I committed myself to go along with it half-assedly, but anyway.

Very Western expressions here.

I don’t say anything, and Misha signs something that ends in a shrug. What was that? It seems like it was about me.

I feel like slumping over in my seat. Both of them are smiling, but that shrug hit me unexpectedly deeply.

Adverbs!

Misha: “You look down, are you okay?”

Shizune: “…”

Misha: “Don’t take it the wrong way, please~! I hate it when people are afraid to ask questions! That’s how people learn things, by asking~!”

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

Who just said that?

Misha: “Wahahaha~!”

Hisao: “All right.”

Shizune: “…”

Misha: “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~!”

Hmm. So, everytime I see the “…” from Shizune means that a translation is incoming and will be spoken from Misha. I see. Okay.

Shizune: “…”

I’ve now just copy-and-pasted the text from an eariler part. I get the feeling I am going to be using quite a lot in this scene.

Misha: “Ahaha~! Okay, maybe that’s too casual. Maybe ‘Shizune’ would be more appropriate?”

Shizune: “…”

Copy-and-paste to the rescue!

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

Shizune responded there?

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

Peripheral role playing. An interesting idea.

I feel a lot more at ease. Both of them seem so friendly, so I feel like an idiot for being so appregensive easiler. Especially about Shizune, who I assumed would be all business.

Well, she stills seems like that. Just less so, I guess.

Shizune: “…!”

What? No, no. Don’t do that either.

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

Ugh. Really? I don’t think you meant to say that. I think you meant to say “haven’t even started the assignment!”

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

How does he know how long the assignment is?

Misha: “Wahaha~! That too!”

Shizune: “…”

Shizune glares at the two of us impatiently. I don’t need to know sign language to understand that.

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

More comma errors.

Shizune: “…”

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

The assignment is actually very challenging to get through, combining aspects of being both difficult and unnecessarily long.

Not unlike, now that I mention it, that last sentence.

Still, we finish it a few minutes eariler than anyone else in the class, despite out late start. Shizune and Misha are really capable.

They’re quite different, though. The class rep is as calm and professional as she looks, while Misha is a lot more playful and girlish. Not to mention a little more easily distracted.

Exposition, I guess.

To be honest, the two of them did msot of the work. I feel guilty aboiut that.

The clock tower bells ring, signaling the end of the period. Time for lunch.

Hmm. You’d think, for a school that purposly tries to have deaf people, that they’d use flashing lights or a combinaiton of visual and auditory alerts.

Without knowing what else to do, I follow Misha, who is beckoning me into the hallway and down the stairs.

No, she isn’t. You followed her both into the hallway and down the stairs. Unless you walk really slow, she only beckoned you into the hallway.

We descend even below the lobby where I met Mutuo, down to the bottom floor.

He entered the building on the ground floor, yet there is another bottom floor? I’m confused about the layout of this school.

Just like everything in this school, the cafeteria seems too spacious and oddly modern in contrast to the classic exterior.

Where does their funding come from?

Its big windows open to the courtyard, towards the main gate.

That is not a sentence. Strunk and White just told me they hate you. It’s true.

Misha: “It’s the cafeteria~!”

Yes. It is. I see that.

Her enthusiastic statement of the obvious makes people around us stare, but Misha doesn’t seem to care so we proceed to the line.

Note: In the picture used as the backdrop there are no other people.

There is a rather long list of menu options, which seems great until I realize that many of them are to accommodate students who need speical diets.

How nice. It almost feels like I’m back at the hospital, eating portion measured with scientific precision to meet the needs of the patients.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m so annoyed with his statements. I think it’s becuase I often complain within my own mind and he is doing it here. Hmm. Maybe that is too personal to say. I’ll just remove it later.

I pick something at random and follow Shizune to a table, sitting opposite of her.

As I nibble indifferently at the food I’d rather not eat, Misha pokes me in the side to get my attention and points to Shizune.

Shizune: “…”

Is the character learning this sign language?

I don’t understand sign, so the point escapes me.

No, I guess not.

Maybe looking at the person who “talks” to you is proper and polite?

Misha: “Do you want to know something?”

Hisao: “What?”

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

Something… that I want to know?

I’ve been writing this so much that I Hisao’s voice. Want me to prove it? Here: “I don’t know what to ask them. This is all new to me, this new school. Everyone seems nice, but it’s all different”

Hisaoo: “Hmm, I wonder…”

===Choice===
I think I got everything I need to know

Hisao: “I can’t think of anything, really.”

Misha: “Ooh! That means we’ve been good guides, doesn’t it, doesn’t it~?”

Hisao: “Eeh… if you say so.”

Misha positively beams, and so does Shizune after a quick translation.

I shake my head at their somewhat exaggerated enthusiasm, and shift my focus on the food.

Misha and Shizune sign back anf forth very animatedly, throwing sideway glances at me but Misha refrains from translating.

That’s because they are talking about you. They are planning to kill you. Or ask you out. Honestly, it might be both. The last girl you liked invited you into the deep winter woods after all. Then you had a heart attack. You might want to remember that for the future.

Maybe they are talking about secret girl stuff or something.

Sure, I bet that’s it.

I quickly notice a conversation in sign is not enough to fill a silence.

We arrive in the classroom early, but we’re not the first.

…ones to arrive.

That dark haired girl I noticed before is slumped over her desk at the last row.

She jumps a little when Misha crashes into the room with the elegance of a rhino.

This is good. I like this moment.

She shrinks deeper into her seat. I can feel her tension all the way from here, as if she were slowly turning into stone from just our presence.

Misha and Shizune either don’t notice or don’t mind it, as they walk directly past her to their seats and begin to converse.

Huh. So it’s normal for her to react like that?

I’m left wondering about her, even when the classroom slowly fills with other students and finnaly, the teacher.

Getting into the rhythm of school feels strange; it’s as if my brain remembers how this is done, but ny body doesn’t.

Oh, I like that. He basically explained the frustration many feel in a single sentence. Very good.

Towards the end of the class I start yawning and counting the minutes left.

I shouldn’t be this tired on my first day of school.

I was. I was extremely tired my first day. For some damn reason, I stayed up late transcribing a visual novel.

Maybe it’s the long time spent in the hospital that made me like this. I’m even feeling plhysicallty weak and lifeless.

Before long, the final bell rings.

School is finally over for the day.

Beside me, Misha and Shizune are having a short conversation.

After a bit of deliberation, Misha turns to me.

Shizune: “…”

Misha: “Unfortunately we can’t stay and show you around today, Hicchan. We’ve got to hurry already, since there is a lot for us to do.”

Ugh. “We can’t show you around, we’re already late for our next class.”

Shizune: “…”

Misha: “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 do?”

Wasn’t that, like, hours and hours ago?

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

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

We join the flow of students making their way down the stairwell and outside, with the girls pointing out other senior classrooms in the same hallway as ours.

When we get outside, the girls make their way to the smaller building right next to the school.

It’s built in the same style, so it looks like it’s actually a part of the main building.

Shizune: “…”

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

Hisao: “How is that offcial?”

Yes, good point.

Shizune: “…”

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

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

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

Hisao: “Yeah, thanks. Bye.”

A whole building for stuff that has nothing to do with actual education?

I guess it’s necessary for a place like this.

I walk in, hoping that this really will be only a quick visit like th eteacher said.

On a white door on the left is a green cross with the text “Head Nurse” and a nameplate.

A voice from the inside responds to my knock almost immediately, but I can’t quite make it out.

It sounded a bit like an invitation to open the door, so I invite myself further in.

Prepositions strike again!

The room is not large and it smells strange. A friendly-looking man turns around on his office chair to face as I enter.

His desk is neat and tidy, but the bin under the table is overflowing with used medical utensils and there are at least a dozen coffee-cup rings lingering on the desk.

So… not then.

Smiling man: “Hello there. What can I do for you today?”

He is young-looking and sort of rugged, but the dimples in his cheeks wash that impression away when he smiles.

Again, problem between character and player knowledge.

Hisao: “Erm, are you the nurse?”

Note: He is wearing a white lab coat. He’s the probably either a nurse or a doctor.

He smiles like a person who has heard this very same question hundreds of times.

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

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

Of course. I shake off my confusion, realizing I probably should grab his extended hand. His handshake is rather firm and friendly.

Again, the handshake comparing.

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

His eyes light up with revelation and he snaps his fingers.

Instantly, a dreamsape opens and you find yourself in a strange world where unicorns exist and walruses talk. You suddenly hear a crunching behind you, as if someone was slowly breaking very large bones one at a time. You start to turn your head to look…

Nurse: “Oh you’re THAT Nakai. I was just reading your file in the morning.”

I was just correcting your grammar this night. “I was just reading your file this morning.”

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

He gestures me to sit down in a vacant armchair in front of his desk.

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 aviable, mostly physcial therapy and such.”

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

The famous twenty-four-hour nursing staff.

Yes, famed for their golfing and sexual prowess. Because, you know, they are called twenty-four-hour for a reason. Just saying.

Hisao: “Wow, this is like a hosital.”

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

Ha. Ha. Ha. Hmm. Not proper brain surgery anyway, right?. But if you are in need of a brain, I might know a guy who knows a guy. Ha. Ha. Just kidding, son.

No, but seriously. I have access to lots of brains here. You need one?

Actually, no. I’m kidding.

Am I?

Yeah.

His joke feels so out of place that I’m left thinking why he even said it.

Yes, me too.

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

Nurse: “You’ll get used to it.”

I’m not sure of that myself but I don’t let the nurse know it.

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

While he searches for someting from his computer and shuffles stacks of papers around, I let my gaze wander around the room.

It’s the epitome of generic, I’d like to say.

Interesting word choice. Most people don’t use the word epitome.