The Let's Play Archive

Katawa Shoujo

by Falconier111

Part 100: Eternity in an Hour

Update 90: Eternity in an Hour (Act 2, Scenes 6-8)

Katawa Shoujo OST ~ Passing of Time

Katawa Shoujo OST - Fripperies

Having exhausted the books Kenji lent me in just a few nights, I go back to the library, deeming it a safer alternative for getting my reading fix. I return the books he had stolen while I'm at it, to Yuuko's delight. I don't tell her where I got them, though.

YUUKO: "Wow, you sure read a lot, don't you?"

HISAO: "Yeah, I guess I do. I mean, I do. Even I think it's weird. I think I might have a reading problem. Maybe I'm a junkie."

YUUKO: "No no, I didn't mean it that way. It's not weird at all, and being addicted to reading is a lot better than being addicted to... to something else."

HISAO: "Yeah, I know. It was a joke."

I smile at her reassuringly and drop the books on the counter so Yuuko can check them out. I feel tired, so I sit down in the vacant chair in front of her desk. While Yuuko goes through the modest pile of reading material I found, I let my gaze wander around the library. At the tables, a pair of girls is chattering in hushed tones rather than working on their homework. The short-haired one notices me looking in their direction and waves at me. When I raise my hand back, they glance at each other and giggle in unison. I'm not sure how I should feel about that, so I decide it's a good thing. The one who waved at me has a horrible case of epilepsy. I saw her having an attack a few days ago. It was one of the most disturbing and scary things I've seen in a very long time. Yet, there she is, happily chirping away about whatever, as if she doesn't have a care in the world.

HISAO: “You know, this school is really something else.”

Yuuko raises her eyes from the books she was going through, slightly startled. She adjusts her glasses and puts on a nervous, confused smile.

YUUKO: "What do you mean?"

HISAO: "I don't really know how to explain it. It's just that everyone's so... active, or should I put it? It's not just the festival thing, I think, even though I haven't been here that long, but it's everything. People talk more, work harder and just... are... more than in any other school I've seen before."

I'm struggling for words, but it feels like I'm speaking honestly.

HISAO: "This school feels so alive."

>"It's refreshing."
>"It makes me feel like I'm stuck."

:eng101: We decided on going with stability, so we’re sticking to it here. :eng101:

>”It makes me feel like I’m stuck.”

HISAO: "I feel like I need to start moving in some direction, too. That's how this school makes me feel."

:eng101: The only difference this choice makes (in the short term) is which of a couple lines Hisao says before Yuuko butts in. We’re going with this one, but I think the other choice is worth mentioning before we go on: :eng101:

A hypothetical Update 90 posted:

HISAO: "Sure, there were some people like this in my old school, too, but not as many. And it feels more intense, somehow. I think, if I had to pin it down to one thing, that the students here really appreciate going to school."

YUUKO: "I don't think that's a bad thing."

HISAO: "Yeah, me neither."

Suddenly I realize that I've just been babbling my thoughts to Yuuko, out of the blue. She's a bit of a jumpy person, so I fear I might've made a bad impression. She's looking at me with what I hope is curiosity rather than horror, so I figure she's all right.

HISAO: "Sorry for suddenly talking about weird stuff like this. I didn't mean to trouble you."

YUUKO: "Oh no, it's not troubling. I'm happy to listen if you feel like talking. It makes me feel a little reliable, too."

Yuuko smiles sweetly and a little bit ironically at that. I respond with a thankful smile of my own. As she pushes the neat stack of books across the counter, I stand up and gather them in my arms.

YUUKO: "Here you are."

HISAO: "Thank you."

YUUKO: "I guess we'll be meeting each other again. Please come here anytime."

Yuuko's kindness is heartwarming.

HISAO: "You can count on it. See you later."

Katawa Shoujo OST ~ Passing of Time

:eng101: While each writer had control of their route, they also frequently pulled in other writers to help, whether borrowing text from each other’s scenes, calling them in the right scenes where their characters showed up, and, in Hanako’s case, finish the route itself when the guy in charge had to leave the project. Iwanako’s letter is an example of the former, as is this scene – for the most part. We saw a version of this scene back in Emi’s route, but keep an eye out for the differences. :eng101:

(Silence, Crowd Sounds)

The morning of the track meet greets me with a brilliant sunshine from a crystal blue sky. While I leisurely stroll towards the track, I decide this is a good sign. Of what, I'm not sure; this event isn't as exciting for me as it seems to be for a large portion of the student body. I'm even less interested in watching sports than I am in participating, but cheering for Emi is a good cause. I'm not expecting this to be any sort of amazing and spectacular experience, but it can't hurt. I'd probably be spending the time reading while cooped up in my room, otherwise.

When I approach the bleachers, I spot Rin emerging from the crowd right before she spots me.

RIN: "You came."

HISAO: "Of course. I said I would, didn't I?"

RIN: "That doesn't necessarily imply that you had to follow through. Lots of people say things and don't mean them."

HISAO: "Well, I don't."

Katawa Shoujo OST - Air Guitar

Rin shrugs. Seemingly bored with our conversation, she turns on her heel and heads back toward the stands.

HISAO: "So, are you excited about this?"

RIN: "Not really."

HISAO: "Me neither."

RIN: "Then why did you come?"

HISAO: "Why did you?"

She doesn't reply at all, so I decide not to, either. We enter the bleachers, and Rin nods upwards.

RIN: "Up there."

Rin leads the way, and soon we've settled down on an almost-empty bench.

There's an older woman sitting next to Rin - someone's mother, I assume. She's got rather long hair done up in a braid. On seeing Rin, she gives her an oddly familiar-seeming grin.

MEIKO: "Well, this is surprising. I thought you went to get a snack, not a boy."

HISAO: "Huh?"

RIN: "This is no good?"

The woman laughs at Rin and shakes her head, apparently unable to find a comeback for that. I know the feeling.

MEIKO: "Well, I suppose you've always been one to go out for one thing and bring back another. But I'm being rude! I haven't introduced myself. I'm Meiko Ibarazaki. I'm sure that if you know this girl, you've at least met my daughter, too. Pleased to meet you."

Well, that explains it. She's like a taller, older, more motherly Emi. Apart from her hair being somewhat darker than her daughter's, there's really no mistaking the resemblance.

HISAO: "Sorry, I'm Hisao. Hisao Nakai. Nice to meet you."

RIN: "I'm Rin Tezuka."

Mrs. Ibarazaki laughs again - she really does resemble her offspring - and then leans back a little on her seat and raises an eyebrow.

(Sudden Silence)

MEIKO: "So, now that we all know each other, how long have you and Rin been dating?"

My response consists of silence as my brain suddenly lurches into gear. But just before I can begin to utter a hastily babbled explanation, Emi's mother bursts into laughter again.

Katawa Shoujo OST - Air Guitar

MEIKO: "Ha! You're a blusher, aren't you?"

I don't know if there's any way to keep my dignity in this situation, so I settle for a mumbled response.

HISAO: "We're not—"

MEIKO: "I know, but it's funny to watch you squirm. I'm sorry. Forgive an old woman her amusements."

She chuckles again to herself. Old woman? She sure doesn't look that old to me.

HISAO: "I suppose I can let it go."

MEIKO: "How kind of you."

RIN: "It's starting."

(Silence, Crowd Sounds Stop)

I direct my attention to the track, where they're preparing for the first sprint. It looks like the 400 meter dash. My eyes scan the runners, before finding Emi. She's smiling, with an almost cocky look on her face. The starter raises his pistol.

(Pistol Shot, Emi Running Sound Effect)

Emi explodes off the block, disappearing from the starting line in a blur. It's amazing. Even as the other sprinters converge on the lanes closest to the inside line, Emi surges to the front of the pack. By the time she rounds the final turn, a few of the other runners have caught up with her. But she puts on a final burst of speed that leaves them at least a half second behind.

(Emi Running Effect Stops, Crowd Cheering)

Mrs. Ibarazaki whoops and shouts, applauding wildly, and generally looking like any other parent cheering on their child.

Katawa Shoujo OST - Daylight

Emi bounds off the track, looking pleased with herself. I cheer right along with the rest of them. The announcer (sounding suspiciously like Misha) gleefully gives the results.

MEIKO: "I think she's gotten faster since the last time."

HISAO: "That was incredible."

Mrs. Ibarazaki grins proudly.

MEIKO: "Emi's a heck of a runner."

We fall silent as the next event prepares to start. I'm surprised to see Emi striding out onto the track again.

HISAO: "Wait, didn't she just run?"

Emi's mother nods.

MEIKO: "Yes, but she runs multiple events for the team. Especially the sprints. It's a lot of running, but Emi can handle it."

From the looks of things, she's right. Emi doesn't appear to be tired, as if she hadn't run the previous event at all. If not for the sweat visible on her shirt, you'd never know.

HISAO: "Which event is this?"

MEIKO: "It's the 200 meter dash. She'll do this one, the 100-meter, and the relay."

HISAO: "I see."

(Pistol Shot, Emi Running Sound Effect)

Once again the pistol sounds, and once again Emi flies off the block. A thumping sound draws my attention away from the race. It's Rin's foot. She seems completely absorbed in the race.

(Cheers, Running Effect Stops)

Emi's mother cheers again, and I assume that the race is over. Sprints don't seem to me like they'd take very long to complete.

HISAO: "Your foot."

RIN: "Hmm?"

HISAO: "Your foot was bouncing on the bleachers."

RIN: "Oh."

HISAO: "You seem pretty into this stuff. I'm surprised; I thought you said this wouldn't be exciting."

RIN: "Hmm, I suppose you're right. It's not that interesting. But I'm watching Emi, not the sport."

HISAO: "I don't follow."

RIN: "Emi's the most Emi when she runs. You don't get to see Emi at her Emiest very often. But here, you can. See?"

She directs my attention toward the track again, where the 100-meter dash is about to start.


I watch Emi closely. As she gets onto the starter blocks, her whole body seems to relax, but it's a false relaxation. I can see that she's actually like a coiled spring.

As the starter tells everyone to get set, her head snaps up, and her eyes narrow slightly. Her mouth curls upward in what could be a grin and could be a growl.

(Pistol Shot, Emi Running Sound Effect)

When the pistol goes off, it's as if she's been unleashed from a cage, like she was always moving at this blinding speed, but we couldn't see it happening until the starter's pistol dispelled the illusion of motionlessness.

(Cheers, Running Effect Stops)

As soon as she crossed the finish line, the fierce look was replaced by her normal grin. The conquering general returning to his farm.

HISAO: "Amazing. She's really amazing. I've never seen someone move that fast."

MEIKO: "Well don't look at me, I'm far too relaxed to run that fast. No, I think Emi's prowess all came from her father's side."

At the mention of Emi's father, Mrs. Ibarazaki looks wistful, almost sad.

MEIKO: "He got her into running, you know."

HISAO: "Ah, really? I didn't know that."

I leave it at that, and don't say anything for a little while. I get the feeling this is something personal I shouldn't ask about. A beeping noise suddenly emanates from Mrs. Ibarazaki's pocket. Reaching into it, she pulls out a cell phone and looks at it.

MEIKO: "...Honestly, text messages? What is he, sixteen?"

HISAO: "Hmm?"

MEIKO: "Oh, nothing. I've got to go meet up with a friend of mine. Will you tell Emi I'm very proud of her and that I'll call her later tonight?"

HISAO: "Of course."

Katawa Shoujo OST - Afternoon

While waiting for the relay to start, I peer at Rin. She seems uninterested in her surroundings, myself included.

Katawa Shoujo OST - Afternoon (Muffled)

That remark she made before is still stuck in my head. “Emi's the most Emi when she runs.” It does make sense, now that I think about it. After seeing her run now, I can believe that Emi gives her all on the track. Sports are more than a hobby or even a competition, to her. They're a defining aspect of her life. What about Rin, then? Does she feel the same way about art? Considering the persistence she displayed before the festival, I could easily believe it. Did I see Rin at her “most Rin” when she was painting the mural?

Katawa Shoujo OST - Afternoon

The relay's about to begin, but I don't see Emi anywhere.

HISAO: "I thought Emi ran the relay."

RIN: "She runs anchor. So she won't be running for a while yet."

HISAO: "Ah."

RIN: "Did you see it?"

HISAO: "Huh?"

RIN: "Emi at her Emiest."

HISAO: "Maybe."

RIN: "Hmm. Maybe this time."

The race begins, and I cheer Emi's teammates along as they pass the baton. Finally, I see Emi sprinting onto the track to take the final handoff. Once again I'm taken aback by how graceful she looks when she runs. It really is beautiful. The look of determination and fearlessness on her face only adds to the picture. Emi at her Emiest, I suppose.

(Pistol Shot, Emi Running Sound Effect)

Finally, I see Emi sprinting onto the track to take the final handoff. Once again I'm taken aback by how graceful she looks when she runs. It really is beautiful. The look of determination and fearlessness on her face only adds to the picture. Emi at her Emiest, I suppose.

(Cheers, Running Effect Stops)

Emi flies across the finishing line with a great leap, just barely ahead of the next runners, but still in first.

RIN: "Well, let's go down. Gotta crown the victor. See if you can find a laurel branch."

HISAO: "That's not going to be easy."

Rin shrugs.

RIN: "At least we tried."

(Silence, Crowd Sounds)

Emi is surrounded by her teammates, all of them congratulating her on the run. Rin seems to be waiting for Emi to notice that she's arrived. It doesn't seem her style to draw attention to herself. Or to emote beyond shrugging. Being more impatient than Rin, I wave to Emi in her stead. She looks up and grins happily at us.

Katawa Shoujo OST - Standing Tall (Emi’s Theme) (Crowd Sounds Continue)

EMI: "Hey, you showed up!"

RIN: "We would have brought you a crown of laurels, but Hisao didn't find one."

HISAO: "Neither did you."

RIN: "It wasn't my job to look."

HISAO: "When did we assign jobs?"

RIN: "When I said “See if you can find a laurel branch.” Try to keep up."

I shrug. Guess Rin's rubbing off on me.

HISAO: "Seems it's my fault after all, Emi."

Emi laughs at Rin and me.

EMI: "It's okay, I'm sure you'll make it up to me somehow."

HISAO: "Uh, sure."

EMI: "Good! So, how'd I look?"

HISAO: "Very impressive."

Emi seems pleased with this assessment. I don't mention how much more impressive her performance is given her lack of legs. I figure she knows that already. Besides, it seems like it would take away from her efforts, somehow.

EMI: "Great to hear! I was worried that I looked a little slow on the relay, but I guess I did fine, huh?"

Emi giggles, and then seems to remember something.

EMI: "Oh, before I forget... Rin and I are going to do something next Sunday as a post-track meet celebration! You should come along! Normally we do it the day after, but since today is Sunday, I've got homework and class and all that stuff to take care of."

HISAO: "Oh sure, I'd love to."

EMI: "Great! It's a promise, then!"

HISAO: "Oh, right. Your mom wanted to say she's proud of you. She'll call you later tonight."

EMI: "I thought I saw her in the stands! I'm glad she made it!"

TEAMMATE: "Hey, Emi! You're going to miss the medal ceremony!"

EMI: "Oh yeah, thanks!"

She turns to Rin and myself.

EMI: "You don't have to stick around for this part. It takes forever. Besides, you should get cracking on your homework now if you don't want to be up late, Hisao."

(Silence, Crowd Sounds Continue)

Emi skips back to her teammates, leaving me and Rin by ourselves. Neither of us has the slightest interest in the post-competition ceremonies, so we silently get away and back to the quad. Rin yawns without even trying to restrain herself and shuffles her feet around restlessly. I feel awkward, but less so than if I was with someone else. Still, I'm left hanging, not knowing what I should say next.

HISAO: "Emi was great, wasn't she?"

RIN: "She was great. I am very jealous of her."

HISAO: "Why?"

RIN: "Like I said, don't you think it's great to be able to really be yourself?"

It sounds weird, coming from Rin.

HISAO: "I don't think you, of all people, should have trouble finding a way to express yourself. Don't you have your paintings?"

(Sudden Silence)

She turns to look at me. For the first time, I see in her eyes this strange, hollow expression that I think must be unique to her.

RIN: "No, you see, the problem is that I'm not really sure who I am."

Katawa Shoujo OST ~ Passing of Time


Today's art club meeting is currently on hold while everyone waits for Nomiya to show up. I take this time to try and explain my theory about Yamaku to Rin. I've tried to figure out what exactly about the school feels so special to me; that concept I unsuccessfully tried to explain to Yuuko the other day. It's still difficult, but the track meet and the time I've spent observing my fellow students have helped my ideas mature a little.

HISAO: "Have you noticed that people talk all the time? I can't really explain it, but..."

Once again, as I try to explain my observation, I'm struggling for words. The student body is heavily cliqued, and I'm only now beginning to make sense of the intricate grouping and popularity networks. And yet, the feeling of being a part of a group is stronger here than I remember it being in my old schools.

HISAO: "I'm trying to say that this school isn't like other schools. Or at least, the students aren't, even after discounting the obvious. ...Do you know what I mean?"

RIN: "I don't know what you mean."

HISAO: "Oh, well... whatever, then."

I want to pursue the issue, but at that point, Nomiya arrives.

Katawa Shoujo OST - Fripperies

The teacher is wiping sweat from his forehead with a handkerchief and breathing rather heavily. He quickly glances over the room, then settles down a bit.

NOMIYA: "Hello, hello; apologies for being late. Is everyone present? Good! I must confess, I haven't really planned anything for today as I have been extremely busy, lately. But I'm sure we can come up with something entertaining. Anyone have any suggestions? I was thinking we could have a discussion circle since we haven't had one in a while. I, at least, found the last one magnificently enjoyable."

There are some murmurs here and there, but nobody raises their voice in support of or against Nomiya.

NOMIYA: "We could delve into various movements of art. Or does someone have a good topic in mind? Come on, throw it out there. It doesn't matter if it's silly or odd, we can always cook up something interesting!"

Nobody seems to be brave enough to make such a suggestion. As the awkward silence refuses to be broken, I lift my hand in the air.

NOMIYA: "Oho? Our newest friend seems to have something on his mind. Speak up, my boy, speak up!"

HISAO: "Um, well... I don't know about anyone else, but I've always wondered why art exists in the first place."


My voice trails off. A silence sets in the room, and nobody makes a followup on my meek suggestion. Then, the teacher bursts in laughter.

NOMIYA: "Hohoho, excellent! Very good, very good indeed. Right out of the gate with the big one, huh? Fabulous!"

Chuckling, he shifts some papers around on his desk for a few moments. When he's done, he appears to have made some sort of decision.

NOMIYA: "Very well, then. Let us run with this and see where it gets us, shall we? Oh my, even an old fogey like me gets excited when such delicious enthusiasm is present. Oh my, indeed. Let me gather my thoughts a moment so I can figure out a good starting point for everyone."

For some reason the teacher seems to be almost literally bursting with excitement. He scribbles a few things down on a loose sheet of paper, then cleans his glasses with the handkerchief. He strikes a pose, then freezes for an overtly dramatic, artistic pause that spans what must be half a minute. It's so quiet I could hear a pin drop.

Katawa Shoujo OST - Everyday Fantasy

NOMIYA: "First, let's come up with a few questions that we want answered, such as “What is art?” and “Why does art exist?” Anyone have any questions that might be related?"

The boy with sunglasses pipes up almost immediately. His voice is soft and quiet, and I have a hard time making out what he says.

SUNGLASSES BOY: "What defines an artist?"

After him, another question comes up.

STUDENT: "If I fill a cardboard box with water and call it art, is it art?"

Everyone laughs at that, even the teacher.

NOMIYA: "Great! Wonderful, all of these! Let me start by saying that this is not a clear-cut issue by any means, and as such, I'm not going to give any answers to you. I'm only going to speak from my own perspective. Scholars have argued about these sorts of questions since time immemorial, and there has never really been a broadly applicable consensus reached. There are, however, some qualities that most tend to generally agree upon. Hopefully, you all should find these acceptable as well. In short, art defines itself. It simply cannot be contained to a definition from the outside, since the boundaries of art expand and contract from forces within. Every day, someone somewhere comes up with something completely outrageous that challenges any and all preconceptions. The core reason for this is that rather than the rational side of the mind, art appeals to the intuition, the instinct, the primal. You would find it very hard to explain why exactly it is that you enjoy some particular style or piece, no?"

He doesn't wait for a response before continuing.

NOMIYA: "This is exactly why. So, art is this sort of wild, uncontrollable thing that lurks somewhere deep in our subconscious. Now, why does it exist?"

Nomiya apparently expects someone to pipe up with a guess, but as nobody dares to interrupt his inspired speech, he continues.

NOMIYA: "It was a trick question! You see, art also validates itself. Generally speaking, you might say that art exists for no other purpose than itself. It's something that exists merely to leave a mark in history. It's the defiance of a mortal against the face of darkness, as was once said. Art is truly the proof of our existence. You all should know that human culture and civilization are tightly tied to the existence of art. Then, what about artists? What drives a man to dedicate his life to a thing so fickle and mysterious that it even defies definition? There are as many answers for this as there are artists, but if I had to put it into words... an artist doesn't make art because he can, but because he must."

Nomiya takes a pause, and his gaze sweeps over his audience, eyes flaring with passion.

NOMIYA: "It is obvious that art touches the very soul of each and every human being in one way or another. So, if you were given a chance to connect with your fellow man in such a fundamental way, how could you not? There is a poem I'm very much fond of, and I shall recite the most well-known part of it to you now. I feel that, for me personally, of all possible things it captures best the essence of what it means to be an artist."


Nomiya leans against the desk as he clears his throat in preparation. Looking at some distant place, he utters the words in the heavy afternoon air with his soft basso voice.

Katawa Shoujo OST - To Become One

NOMIYA: "To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.

There is a solemn and unbelievably awkward silence after he finishes reciting the short fragment. Nobody dares speak a word. Nomiya clears his throat again.

NOMIYA: "To be an artist is to see the world in a grain of sand. You see, dear children, without art, there would not be much to live for in this world. It is a most profound thing."

He is clearly touched by this notion. I almost expect to see a lone tear rolling down his rough cheek, but it never comes. I turn to Rin and whisper to her.

HISAO: "So how is this a discussion circle?"

She shrugs nonchalantly back at me.

RIN: "The previous ones were the same."

To his credit, Nomiya does try to get some debate going, but the club seems to be reluctant to comply. I feel a bit guilty about opening my mouth. Maybe we would've been spared from this.

Katawa Shoujo OST - School Days

As the meeting comes to a close, I realize we haven't once touched any paint or pens today, and I feel somewhat disappointed.

Nomiya suddenly appears next to us. He seems to be still fired up from the speech he delivered. His cologne smells musky and saccharine at the same time, giving me an instant headache, even though I'm not sensitive to perfumes. He is looking at Rin like a hungry wolf.

NOMIYA: "Tezuka, do you remember Mrs. Saionji, who visited us at the festival?"

RIN: "I think so."

NOMIYA: "I'm going to tell you something amazing. The thing is, she's a very well-known gallerist around here. It turns out I might be able to get her to consider having some of your work put on display."

He ends his sentence with a dramatic gesture. It seems he's expecting Rin to show some sort of joyous, shocked reaction at such grand news, but she just stares at him blankly.

NOMIYA: "Magnificent, isn't it? This could be a real chance for us to get ahead, girl."

RIN: "But..."

NOMIYA: "Now now, I know what you're about to say. Yes, it wouldn't be a simple affair, but I think this is an absolutely fantastic opportunity. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised at all if we even made it big! This could be the first step! And then, when the word is out, we strike while the iron is hot! Right, Nakai?"

HISAO: "Er, yeah, it does sound pretty great. If you're into that kind of thing."

NOMIYA: "See? We should definitely not let this one pass, am I right?"


RIN: "I don't... really."

Rin seems to be troubled for some reason. I can't figure out why. What Nomiya is saying does indeed sound like a possibly great thing. She looks pretty down though, and confused. I've never seen her like this.

NOMIYA: "So, what do you think?"

Rin looks up to her teacher's glowing face, then back down at her desk.

RIN: "I'll think about it."

Nomiya is at last taken slightly aback by Rin's lack of superlative delight. Then he smiles widely at her and gently pats her head.

NOMIYA: "Good girl."

The club meeting is finally over, and as I lazily collect my things and help clean up, I start feeling exhausted, for some reason. There isn't much to do, however, so it's over quickly.