The Let's Play Archive

Katawa Shoujo

by Falconier111

Part 140: Lilly, Assumptions, and Being the Protagonist

Update 127: Lilly, Assumptions, and Being the Protagonist

Who would’ve thought we get this far into this romantic visual novel before we found the romance novel? As several people in the thread have commented, Lilly’s route is very much a pastiche of classic 19th century romance novels (British ones especially), stealing themes, tropes, and even plot points from the genre. Note how I said pastiche, not parody; it embraces and makes use of those clichés quite elegantly. Really, every route is built on a visual novel stock character or genre: the traumatized wallflower, the manic pixie dream artist, the cheerful girl with a dark past, the assertive girl that probably wants to step on you. It’s just that here they draw on a much older genre that already informed visual novels directly.

Except, take a look at the Wikipedia pages of most classic romance novels, specifically the parts about their reception and themes. You’ll notice that, while many of them weren’t written to do this specifically, all the ones that stuck around took apart some aspect of the genre, whether it’s Jane Eyre’s examination of what abiding by gender roles actually does to a person or Pride and Prejudice bringing the bad boy archetype to heel. Something about forcing characters to come to grips with their assumptions in a genre full of assumptions gives these works real staying power, enough that centuries later imitators are popular enough to spawn some really nitpicky readers. And there’s something that Lilly’s route shares with those works: it embraces the conventions of its genre while inverting one of its key assumptions. It’s just that inversion happens with something that defines visual novels.

Update 6 posted:

I gingerly push on the center of the door with my fingertips, every muscle in my arm ready to pull back at a moment's notice. The feeling of being an outsider to this school can't be shaken from my mind, so much so that I instinctively fear doing something wrong by entering.

The door slowly creaks as if groaning from a deep sleep, though is much easier to open than I'd anticipated. Leaning over and poking my head ever further inside to gain sight of the room as fast as possible, the meek 'Hello...?' on my lips is quickly snatched away.

Katawa Shoujo OST - Concord (Lilly's Theme)

This is... not as I was expecting. I mindlessly let the door open to its full extent, taking in the sight of the solitary figure taking center stage in the otherwise abandoned room. The situation steals my voice, leaving me standing at the doorway staring at the beautiful girl. Evidently having taken her time to assess the situation, the girl gently puts down her teacup and opens her eyes, but doesn't look at me.

LILLY: "Hello there. May I help you?"

Staring directly in front of herself, the movements of her lips seem to break the silence rather than the words. However it's the soft, measured voice that reminds me she's a being separate from the room itself. Not only is she likely the tallest girl I've ever laid eyes on, but even among the foreigners I've met she's strikingly distinct.

HISAO: "Uh, hi. Sorry for intruding, I was just... kind of lost."

She takes a moment to formulate a response before speaking. Every action she takes feels as if it's carefully choreographed beforehand.

LILLY: "Care to take a seat?"

...unexpected, considering that I'm intruding upon her.

HISAO: "Ummm... thanks."

I slowly step towards another seat opposite her, the girl resting the teacup and saucer on the wooden table inbetween. The way she doesn't track my movements with her head is telling... that, and the slight cloudiness to her eyes means she must be at least partially blind, like Kenji. Come to think of it, her voice doesn't have any detectable accent either. I guess she must be half-Japanese. As I take my seat, her composure takes me slightly off-guard. Her air of relaxed confidence makes the silence entirely comfortable. The calming atmosphere is so very different from the student council office.

LILLY: "I take it you're a new student to Yamaku?"

HISAO: "Ah, yeah. I just transferred in yesterday."

I get the distinct feeling my speech patterns don't match the formality of hers, accentuated by her restrained bow of greeting. One which I hasten to match, before realizing the futility of the action.

LILLY: "I'm Lilly Satou. Pleased to meet you..."

HISAO: "Hisao. Hisao Nakai."

She gives a nod before gesturing roughly in the direction of her teacup.

LILLY: "Would you care for a drink?"

HISAO: "Sure."

As much as it pains me, I can't keep step with her formality in the proceedings. She gives a kind nod, taking the request in stride.

In practice, formality is usually used as a way to divide people into groups: emotionally close or emotionally distant, reputable or disreputable, respectable or worthy of respect, and any number of other dichotomies key off how formally to people act towards each other. But in theory, formality exists to give social situations form. When exercised with enough forbearance and openness instead of judgment and condescension, you can use formality to build a sense of the good kind of predictability in a social interaction, the kind where serenity permeates the room, where negative interactions are politely ignored while positive interactions are celebrated, where all participants are equals because the situation demands it. Lilly is a master of this kind of formality. To some extent, it’s the bedrock of her personality. She is both classy and humane, and those traits shape all of her behavior.

Update 38 posted:

HISAO: "Anything wrong, Lilly?"

I resist the urge to say “Aside from our traveling companion?” But only just. For a moment she seems to debate whether she should even bring it up, but goes for it anyway.

LILLY: "Is everything... all right?"

HISAO: "All right? How do you mean?"

The fact I can't interpret her incredibly vague question puts her off, for a second.

LILLY: "It's just... you seem unusually tired, I guess."

Now that she brings it up, I notice that my breathing is strangely heavy. The uphill walk has really done a job on me.

Lilly noticed it all too quickly...

>"Sorry, I'm not in very good condition."
>"I don't really want to talk about it."

:eng101: Opening up to Lilly (and, incidentally, Rin) here gives you a chance at Lily and Hanako’s routes if you spent time with Hanako and sided with Lily earlier, or Rin’s route if you didn’t do both of those things. Refusing to open up kills us stone dead, our last opportunity to get the Bad Ending on this playthrough. If we’d gone with Rin, we’d have had one last chance to screw ourselves over, but as it is we only have one choice left in Act 1 and neither option there takes us manly picnic-ward. :eng101:

=>"Sorry, I'm not in very good condition."

HISAO: "It's all right, I just need to catch my breath. My condition isn't the best, these days."

LILLY: "Oh. Is it something that... is related to you being transferred here? I mean..."

She cuts herself off rather abruptly, maybe realizing she was being a bit intrusive. Her instincts are sharp though, and while I don't like the subject it's not like I should lie about it. If it's Lilly, I don't think I mind.

HISAO: "I'm just a little weak for the time being."

LILLY: "Hanako said you look fairly... healthy, so I naturally thought..."

Lilly doesn't finish her sentence again, letting it trail off with a measure of concern. As she furrows her brow, Lilly's uncomfortable expression spurs me to say at least something to ease her feelings. It's surprising she's this flustered, considering her straightforward attitude with her own blindness. She must know that not all share her own comfort about such things.

HISAO: "No, it's okay. I have a pretty... I guess the best way to put it would be messed-up... heart. Arrhythmia. I had a bad heart attack a while ago because of it, and spent most of the spring in a hospital. Ended in Yamaku on doctor's orders."

She silently nods her head in acknowledgment. My answer, though, only seems to make Lilly furrow her brow even further. She doesn't seem to quite know how to react, given we don't really know each other that well. I can't really fault her for it, given I have the exact same reaction. To my surprise, in a moment's time her face shows that she comes to some sort of realization.

LILLY: "Wait... so the time when Emi and you collided in the hallway...?"

I grimace slightly. Her ability to connect the dots quite so fast is unexpected.

HISAO: "Yeah. I guess I'm a textbook example of why those rules about running in the corridors exist."


That was a lot more dry than I'd intended. Lilly visibly shies away from continuing the topic.

The trouble is, Lilly’s attitude isn’t universal. She can’t use her graciousness to navigate her way out of any problem. This sequence, from Lily heading into town with Hisao to the three parting ways for the night, serves a lot of purpose in the game, but importantly for us, it shows Lilly’s limits: she can’t always control the situation, she can’t always read others correctly, and when she does, she can’t always anticipate the effects her actions have on others. While, yeah, that goes for everybody, her standard approach to others requires her doing all three consistently. She can’t always pull it off.

Update 111 posted:

HISAO: "Hanako mentioned your birthday was earlier this year. Do anything special for it?"

She gives a long pause, lost in thought for a few seconds as she recalls the event.

LILLY: "Not really. It was just Hanako and I having a little party during the night after school."

HISAO: "Your birthday's supposed to be a big event, you know."

Sounds like a pretty lonely way to spend a birthday, just she and Hanako staying overnight. Birthdays always felt like a family occasion for me. They were a time when, in spite of their full-time jobs, both my parents would make an effort to be there for the day or at least for a party beforehand. It reminds me of how Lilly mentioned she hadn't seen her family in such a long time, and even ended up moving away from Akira's house afterwards. But I guess it's the same in situations as mundane as these. Considering her inability to read the packaging, just getting groceries would be a pain without somebody else around. In the end, she just has Hanako and I, and Akira when she's off from work. Be that as it may, she still seems to have many more distant friends among the students, not to mention people like Yuuko. It seems to be her own choice that there's such a separation between those who are close to her, and those who she only socializes with. It humbles me a little to see how much Lilly seems to have her life set up and going just as she wants. Yet Hanako is there for her to celebrate her birthday, and I'm here helping her with shopping.

It's a weird kind of symbiosis, I suppose.

She knows it, too. For someone everyone seems to like, she sure doesn’t have many actual friends. Until Hisao enters the picture, the only person she spends much time with is Hanako, who appreciates the environment she creates as it’s comfortable and predictable. She spends time with Akira and she used to spend time with Shizune, but she grew up with both of them and already knows what they’re about. The bulk of her social circle used to be the Student Council and now is her class, and in both cases she’s an authority figure with defined tasks. Before Hisao, she refused every romantic opportunity she had in favor of nursing a crush on a teacher she knew better than to pursue. At the start of the route, Lilly is a creature of expectations, most comfortable in defined situations.

Update 122 posted:

Raising an eyebrow, I do as she requests. I have no idea what she has in mind, and my questions only increase as I peek out from one eye. Taking the black ribbon she usually wears in her hair from the cabinet beside her bed, she advances towards me while running it through her fingers to remove any stray hairs remaining on the piece of cloth.

:eng101: The screen goes black from top to bottom, like something’s gradually blocking our vision. :eng101:

I suddenly click on to her intentions as I feel the black strip make contact with my face, wrapping around my head and over my eyes.

HISAO: "Um... what exactly is this for?"

LILLY: "It's a little test, Hisao. Since you seem to be wondering, I'll let you see things as I do for a time."

Huh, so that's what this is about. To be honest, this actually sounds kind of fun. Childish and rather silly to anyone who would be watching, but a bit of silly fun never hurt anyone. I stand up with a heave, my hands quickly moving out in front of me to warn me of any obstacles.

HISAO: "Okay, now what?"

LILLY: "Now, touch me."

HISAO: "If you say so. Now then..."

I slowly make my way forwards, towards the sound of Lilly's voice. My walking speed could barely even be called a shuffle, the entire experience feeling alien enough that I don't want to risk inadvertently tripping over anything, such as her table or her haphazard piles of books. Something soft, yet solid, brushes against my left leg. Further inspection reveals it to be Lilly's bed. I move onwards, finding myself thankful that Lilly's room is so neat and tidy. Even the piles of books she has are generally kept close to the wall, well out of harm's way. The hard wall pressing against my outstretched hands makes me furrow my brow in frustration.

HISAO: "Hey Lilly, where are you?"

LILLY: "What are you doing over there? I'm over here."

Lilly's voice comes from the other side of the room, far from where it was before, even to my untrained ears. If she's going out of her way to avoid me reaching her, then is this just a game to her? ...Of course it is. Compared to a life where even the concept of sight is an abstract one, a few minutes in a blindfold are nothing. I guess she's made her point; she's more than capable of navigating her room, and further, I've seen how independent she is even when compared to many of the others in Yamaku.

As Hisao and Lily get to know each other better, we learn there’s a lot more to “creature of expectations” then just the social aspect – and we begin to realize just how many Hisao’s bringing to the table. As a blind person, Lilly navigates her surroundings partly by memory; she needs things to stay in their places so she doesn’t collide with random objects or start using the caraway only to find somebody switched it around with the cinnamon. However, all of her expectations – social, personal, environmental – serve a purpose. She’s polite because it helps her deal with people. She sticks to familiar surroundings because they’re easier to walk around. She is quite aware of her limitations, but she’s embraced them so fully she uses them to her advantage.

Update 107 posted:

Katawa Shoujo OST - Ease (Crowd Sounds)

It seems the teacher's mission paid off: there are now over a dozen students helping, and much of the unpacking has been done. Despite most of them seeming quite relaxed as they work, Lilly still appears to be somewhat stressed.

(Silence, Crowd Sounds Continue)

…Right. I know what I'll do. Even if it's just one person, I'll make the festival more enjoyable for her. As I place the bowl on the counter, I call out to Lilly.

LILLY: "Ah, Hisao. You brought it back?"

HISAO: "Yeah, here."

I slide it into her hands, and she takes it over to someone who is apparently on cleaning duty. Considering that I didn't see them here before, it's probably a penalty for their tardiness.

HISAO: "Hey, Lilly?"

She perks up and returns to the counter as she hears my voice again, realizing that I'm still here.

HISAO: "Want to go see some more of the festival?"

Katawa Shoujo OST - Everyday Fantasy (Crowd Sounds Continue)

She puffs her cheeks disapprovingly. It looks kind of cute, and in complete contradiction to her usually reserved nature. It takes a few seconds for me to get what she's taking issue with. Whoops.

HISAO: "Ah... um, I didn't mean to..."

Lilly giggles at me, exposing her teasing for what it is.

LILLY: "You're still not used to the school, are you?"

She got me.

Like so. Hisao feels like he’s entering Yamaku in a state of pure flux, but he’s not; he’s watching his expectations of disabled life fall apart and get reassembled. That’s fair, it’s a major shock. Trouble is, he ends reassembling them a little too quickly and lets some real problems slip in.

Update 116 posted:

HISAO: "Feeling a bit better?"

She gives a small nod.

LILLY: "You are thoughtful, Hisao. That's why I like you."

HISAO: "I'm sorry I'm like this. As much as I didn't want to make you concerned for me, I couldn't do anything to prevent it."

LILLY: "Don't apologize for it. Please don't."

HISAO: "Lilly?"

LILLY: "Have I ever apologized for my blindness, even once? You can't help the way you were born, Hisao. There's no point in apologizing for who you are.

She says this with surprising conviction.

He accepts that he’s disabled plenty, but he doesn’t internalize his disability like Lily does until the end of the route. Instead of viewing his heart condition as a fact of life like Lily treats her blindness, he talks about it almost like it’s a moral failing, apologizing when it holds him back and trying to push past it for the sake of others as if that’s the kind of thing you do with a heart condition. Lily does gently try to break him of that habit, but she never makes any headway. On a fundamental level, Hisao doesn’t comprehend what his condition actually entails until he ends up in the hospital again. It’s why he has more heart flutters in this route than any two others combined.

Update 123 posted:

HISAO: "So... you're going. How long have you known? I already know you were asked when you first went to Scotland, about a month ago."

LILLY: "Some... time."

My frustration very nearly boils over. The fact that she's done this affects me more than it should. For her to not only be leaving but to have been actively hiding her own plans from me, and after seeming for so long to be the one solid pillar of support and reliability I could depend on... It feels as if the foundation underneath me is suddenly shifting drastically, much faster than I can adapt to. Perhaps this isn't so much frustration as sheer unease.

HISAO: "Lilly..."

LILLY: "I'm sorry, I just... I wanted to think this through completely. I wasn't trying to take advantage of you, please—"

HISAO: "I know, Lilly. I know. This is just really sudden. I guess this means that once you go, we'll be breaking up?"

For one of the few times I've seen since I met her, she's genuinely lost for words. She doesn't look surprised, no doubt because the fact had dawned on her once she became sure of her decision, but rather, she appears genuinely unsure of how to deal with the situation now that it's in front of her.

LILLY: "W-we could try pursuing a long-distance relationship. They're getting more and more common these days, after all..."

Even as she says it, the tone of her voice gives away that she doesn't truly believe what she's saying. Lilly is far too old-fashioned to be able to cope with a relationship without any kind of physical presence, and even I am, to an extent. All we would ever be to each other would be a voice from the other side of the world. In the end, trying to rationalize everything is futile. Any attempts to try and connect what's happening with the future or past just seem to get more difficult the more I concentrate. Those quiet moments when we just walked side by side, the precious time we spent with Hanako and Akira, the casual chatter we had during lunchtimes, the times we made love, the confessions of our feelings to each other... All pointless. All just a fleeting moment in our young lives.

HISAO: "We're just two children pretending to be adults, aren't we?"

A long, long silence hangs in the air between us. The noise of the other patrons drinking and talking only makes the situation feel more strange and disconnected. Lilly's face remains low, her dejected expression clouding it.

Thing is, while Lilly isn’t restricted by assumptions of about her disability, that doesn’t mean she’s in the clear. While she embraces the expectations brought to her character, she seems happiest when she’s playing with or defying them: pouting like a kid when she gets called on something, kissing a guy on the cheek when he wasn’t expecting it, being openly affectionate with Hanako, teasing people about her blindness, having sex with her crush on the floor within hearing distance of their friend before formally asking him out. When the call comes for her to move to Scotland, Lilly feels compelled to comply. It’s what’s expected of her. It’s what she has to do, so she complies and her and the people around her suffer.

Update 124 posted:


And then... they're gone. A strange stillness takes over as our hands return to our sides. I don't quite know what I should do or how I should feel. In the end, we just stand there silently staring down at where the car disappeared from sight.

HANAKO: "Goodbye... Lilly."

All I can do in response to her quiet, mournful goodbye is to place a hand on her shoulder. She looks at me for a few moments before looking back down the hill, secure in the knowledge that I'm still around for her. What we'll do from now doesn't seem all that uncertain. We all have our own ambitions now, just as Lilly said. But even so, it feels like there's a certain missing part in both of our lives now. Something that can never be replaced.

Getting the Good Ending for Lilly’s route requires defying propriety in subtle ways. Every choice that leads to the Good Ending has Hisao refusing to hide behind politeness: telling Lily what he thinks about her resilience, telling her what’s on his mind even when he doesn’t want her to know, opening up to her about his past. Unlike every other route in the game, Lilly’s does not have a clearly defined Bad or Neutral Ending. If you keep any of those things to yourself, all stuff that you’re well within your rights not to share if you aren’t comfortable with it, you just get a game over when Lilly leaves, ending the route early. If you open up about everything, be honest and forthright and not hide anything because you’re embarrassed or don’t want to burden her, you continue the route with a Hisao who’s had his expectations of his new life weakened enough to let him defy his fate.

So he gives himself a heart attack.

Update 126 posted:

HISAO: "I tried to not let anyone worry over me for the entire time since I left the hospital, but I can't even stop the one person I love most from crying over me. Even if I might finally be able to put my feelings into words, I feel pretty useless with a body like this. Every time I tried to reach towards something, it was just snatched away, and even now things only turned out for the better due to luck. I guess that's something else I should apologize for. All I can ever do is make you worry. Even now, there's very little chance I'll live anywhere near a full life."

The feeling of Lilly's warm, soft hand moving over my left cheek makes me lift my head up, her smile gentle and warm as she touches me.

LILLY: "I think that is something very natural for you to say. You were always so sincere and self-conscious. You were also reserved and mild-mannered, and patient to a fault with Hanako, yet curious about everything and everyone. When I said I missed you while I was with my family, I wasn't lying or exaggerating. The thought of you was never far from my mind, and helped me through that time. That's why I was so confused about what to do when my family summoned me. Even after I thought I had made my decision, you tried your hardest to challenge me about it.”

LILLY: "I didn't confess to you out of pity or believing you were somehow different from what you are. I confessed because I never want to lose you, and want you to always be a part of my life, no matter what might change.”

LILLY: "You are a very beautiful person, Hisao. Your heart changes none of that, so please, don't apologize for yourself any more.”

For a long time, silence reigns in the room. I'm not really sure what this newly born feeling inside of me is, but it pales into insignificance as I wordlessly gaze at Lilly's smiling face, warm and gentle as it has always been. It's only as her thumb crosses my cheek, wiping away a single drop of moisture, that I realize this is all I've ever wanted. For what feels like the first time, I give an earnest, wide smile. As Lilly feels it against her palm, she returns the gesture. More time passes before either of us says a word, neither of us needing speech to communicate our feelings to each other.

In most routes, for all that they stress the girls’ agency and responsibility in improving their lives, Hisao drives the plot. He enters their lives and causes them to react, setting the plot in motion and determining their fate (at least in the short term) by which questions he asks and which responses he gives. This isn’t a bad thing, even Shizune’s route handles Hisao’s position as most active part of the plot gracefully, it’s just a feature of how the game works. But Lilly’s route works differently. Go back and look at the choices we made: almost all of them, including all the ones that matter, cover ways Hisao can respond to Lilly’s questions or behavior rather than the other way around. She proposes the vacation, she initiates sex, she receives the summons and fails to break it to her friends. In this route, Lilly, not Hisao, is the protagonist, at least on a structural level.

So when Hisao runs off to claim the girl and earn his happy ending, he gives himself a heart attack and ends up hospital-bound while Lilly ties up the plot offscreen. We don’t see the action of the plot – Lily deciding to stay, what she said to her parents and her sister, what arrangements she made, anything – because that’s protagonist business. Hisao gets the girl not by seizing control of the narrative, but by facilitating Lilly’s character development. He is fundamentally a reactive force in this route, which is what makes it a good pastiche of a classic romance novel; it doesn’t just use the clichés right, it inverts some of the genre’s assumptions and forces its characters to accept those assumptions were wrong to get their happy ending.

And that’s where the route falls short, because getting into it means seeing someone triggering a life-threatening disability as romantic. That’s kind of a troublesome thing to ask, especially given the entire rest of the game (and the route). Like it or not, the narrative rewards Hisao for hurting himself. You really can’t get around that. There’s plenty of nuance there, but that fact kind of weakens the message.

Update 126 posted:

As we set off towards the school, that wonderful smile engraves itself onto my memory. That wonderful smile that we both share. Our pasts may be scattered and at times overshadowed by sadness, but they're also an irrevocable part of our lives and personalities. Even if I could change a single thing, I wouldn't, because my past was what led me here. That's why, even with all that's happened to us before, and all that may well befall us... together, we'll keep walking forwards. Forwards...

towards the future.

Our future.


For all that, this is still one of the most satisfying endings of the game. Stupid risk or not, Hisao symbolically finally comes to accept his disability by walking back towards Yamaku hand-in-hand with Lilly. Akira gets her hands on a visa for her boyfriend, Hanako strikes out on her own, Lilly and Shizune reconcile (a bit) – the plot threads the route lays out her all tied up as our protagonist and her boyfriend walk almost literally into the sunset. It all comes elegantly to a close, and with it, the game itself.

As usual, this analysis skipped over a few things, most blatantly much Lilly’s blindness played into the day-to-day of the route and how little it mattered on a thematic level. Like, I literally forgot to mention her blindness in the first draft of this thing because I was looking elsewhere. E: I also missed a brilliant element that Cobalt-60 pointed out:

Cobalt-60 posted:

If a video game ever came close to making me cry, this was it. I've been trying to think of exactly why this route hit me so much harder, and I have an idea. People have said that this is different from the other routes; Hisao doesn't really learn a lesson, or change, or or do anything to "earn" the ending. And I think that is the point. One of the lessons we've been learning has been acceptance; of people, of health, of disabilities, of change, of things going wrong. And now, we need to learn to accept when things go right. Which, honestly, is the hardest lesson to learn. It's hard to believe you deserve good thing when you've been told so many times why you don't. You're a screw-up; you're a sinner; you're weird; it's inconvenient; you're a burden; others are more important; you blew your chance; you're a creep; the time is past; you came up short; they can't be bothered; no one knows what you want; no one cares what you want. The list goes on and on... The idea that people are deserving of love seems obvious in theory, but so rarely practiced.

In the end, it's about grace. A strange thing to see, but appropriate.

More to the point, I could have also talked about what exactly Lily’s formality means and how Lilly came to be who she is in the game. Lily is (and forgive me for linking TVTropes but they have the best explanation of the concept out there) an interpretation of the Yamato Nadeshiko archetype, right down to the compulsive “my, my”. Whether she was like this when her parents left Japan or whether she consciously adopted it, how her biracial heritage played into embracing such a strongly Japanese concept (even if it has British equivalents), how it reflects on her found family in Hisao and Hanako, and what role it played in her both accepting her parents’ offer to leave Japan and ultimately defying it are all strong enough questions to support essays on their own. Likewise, you could talk about her and Shizune, how her relationship with Hanako develops differently in each of their routes, and whether I was hallucinating the CG of Lilly with woad and claymore striding across the moors I swear the game showed my first time playing this route when she said she was part Scottish. Or you could talk about how she seems to drive a lot of fanfiction, everything from heartfelt romantic crossovers with fucking Worm of all things to readable but baffling pieces about time loops.

But if we’re talking fanfiction and Lilly, I’d be remiss not to mention Sisterhood, the standout work of the KS fandom. While technically a follow-up to Hanako’s route instead of Lilly’s, it keys so heavily off the latter’s route I couldn’t recommend it in good conscience until we finished both of them. It bills itself as an epilogue to Hanako’s route, but it’s substantially longer than the route in question; it takes us from the moment the route ends through the next couple years, taking time to focus on Hanako’s gradual, halting progress and developing Lily’s family into characters in their own right. It’s heartwarming, engaging, and occasionally deeply uncomfortable in the way good literature can be when it tears apart something you thought was true. If you’re looking for more KS to read, Sisterhood is where you should start.

Until then, don’t leave the thread quite yet. We have one more update to go, a conclusion that will go up on Monday.