Katawa Shoujo (Japanese: かたわ少女, Hepburn: Katawa Shōjo, lit. Cripple Girls, translated Disability Girls) is a visual novel created by Four Leaf Studios. It was released on January 4, 2012.
The game tells the story of Hisao Nakai, a male high school student diagnosed with chronic cardiac arrhythmia and congenital heart muscle deficiency. Due to his condition, he is transfered to Yamaku High School, a school for people with disabilities. During the game, he meets five girls with different disabilities, which Hisao will develop a releationship with them in a different route.
Why It Rocks
- The concept is creative and original, which is a romantic visual novel involving disabled girls.
- The five girls you meet are likeable, and each one has a different disability and personality, which the player can identify with some of them:
- Emi Ibarazaki is a easygoing and energetic girl, who loves running. She doesn't have both of her legs below the knees.
- Hanako Ikezawa is a quiet and shy girl, who doesn't interact with other people. She has severe burn scars on the entire right half of her body.
- Lilly Satou is a blind girl, who is very polite and caring with everyone.
- Rin Tezuka is a emotionless girl, who rarely shows her emotions to someone and loves to paint. She doesn't have both of her arms before the elbows.
- Shizune Hakamichi is a deaf girl with a serious yet childish personality, who is very diligent when it comes to her work and doesn't like people who slacking off or shirking their duties.
- The choices will affect the story, and depending on the player's choices, Hisao can either end up in a relationship with one of the five main female characters or no one at all.
- Each route you choose, you know more about the female characters and their complicated past, and it is well written. For example, in Hanako Ikezawa's story it is revealed that she lost her parents in a fire in her house, which also explains the origin about her scars.
- It deals with serious issues, like depression, loneliness, fear, and acceptance, everything that every disabled person feels in real life.
- Hisao Nakai is a likeable and well developed protagonist, which also has to face and overcome his disability alongside the female characters.
- The secondary characters also are likeable, like Shiina "Misha" Mikado, who is Shizune's interpreter and best friend.
- It has a lot of twists and emotional moments, like when Misha reveals to Hisao that she fell in love with Shizune, but when Misha confessed her feelings to Shizune, she rejected her, and her funny and playful personality was a façade to hide her depression to being rejected, and jealousy to Hisao, since he begun to date Shizune.
- The game has great morals, which are "It doesn't matter if you have a disability, you can still have a happy life." and "Everyone is Equal."
- The anime art style of the characters, backgrounds and CG scenes are beautiful to look at.
- Speaking of the art style, the animation cutscenes are also top-notch, since it was made by Mike Inel, a well know Youtuber artist, who did excellent animations, like the famous anime versions of The Amazing World of Gumball and Gravity Falls.
- It has multiple endings, which can be good or bad, depending on your choices.
- While it has sex scenes, the game still handles very well the eroge moments and the story, unlike most of the adult visual novels. Furthermore, the sex scenes are skipabble, and will not affect the story at all.
- The soundtrack is beautiful and relaxing.
- It has a lot of loading screens, and its theme song can be very annoying over time.
- Some choices are very pointless and doesn't affect the story at all, like when Akio Mutou, the homeroom teacher, tells Hisao to introduce himself to the classroom, and the game gives the choice to introduce or not to the classroom.
- It has a very slow pacing, which can bore the player over time.
The game received generaly positive reviews, mostly praising the concept, the characters and the handling of the eroge elements. It received 4.36/5 rating from GameFAQs.