The Let's Play Archive

Katawa Shoujo

by Falconier111

Part 146: "Succubus-san is a Real Adult” (Pt. 1)

Interviews with Monster Girls, Episode 3: "Succubus-san is a Real Adult” (Pt. 1)

We open on an alarm clock going off at some deeply uncivilized hour.

It wakes up Satou, who’s about as chipper as you’d expect someone to be at four in the morning.

As she goes about her morning routine, cleaning up, preparing and eating breakfast, and getting ready to go, her voiceover informs us that she’s 24, has never been in a relationship, and, of course, is a succubus.

After a long journey from her house in the countryside, she finally reaches a train station…

… Only to have to awkwardly sidle her way past a confused looking-businessman.

As she waits at the platform, they announce the first train of the day to Shibasaki is on its way. I didn’t recognize that name, so I did some digging: turns out that’s the name of a train station in Chofu, one of several Tokyo suburbs best known as places city workers go to sleep. She’s about to board a train to Tokyo in a suburb large enough to count as a city in its own right and there’s only two other people on the platform. How early is this?

After getting into work unhealthily early, Satou’s busily cleaning up when the principal surprises her.

He compliments her on how dedicated she is to her job, coming in early and cleaning up like that.

… Fuck you too, buddy. I know there are people out there that feel differently, but to me… While we don’t know for sure yet she’s coming in early specifically because she’s a Demi, it’s pretty reasonable to infer that from everything we’ve seen about her life and her condition. She has to wake up at Oh God’o’clock and get to work crushingly early just to do her job and he compliments her on her work as if she’s going above and beyond of her own volition instead of having to do so just to keep up with the rest of her coworkers. Maybe one day I’ll have the emotional bandwidth to discuss the spoons metaphor and the strain of passing in a disability corner, and if I do, I’ll come back to the scene and use it to illustrate how frustrating it can be to deal with.

Satou tries to modestly deflect the compliment, usually the safest bet in this situation.

As the students start to arrive, Satou spots Hikari cheerfully bugging Takanashi on his way to class. During the conversation, Hikari and Takahashi think each other their good work getting Kyouko her backpack.

We see she feels kind of guilty for blowing his attempts to get to know her off and giving him the :stare: treatment earlier, now that she knows he actually practices what he preaches, but, well, she’s a succubus, and in her mind that means you can never get close to a man. Take that on however many levels you like.

A little bit later, a student of hers comes up for help on some math problem, which she gives in two seconds flat. At first, the student just seems impressed with her knowledge and is hanging onto her every word for that reason…

… Except nope, she actually just thinks her teacher is really cute and wonders why she doesn’t emphasize that more.

Satou shuts her student down as hard as she can without being rude or harsh.

As she walks down the hall to her next class, she starts narrating again, this time discussing how just her presence as a succubus can cause arousal in men. She can minimize the effect by deliberately dressing down and keeping to herself, which is why she goes around in a tracksuit and keeps herself. It isn’t perfect, though.

A couple of roughhousing douchebags wander over and one of them slams into Satou. She does not react.

When I was first watching this anime, I had to step away after pausing on this screen, as the guy says “I felt like I bumped into someone really sexy…” I remember thinking, and this is a direct quote, “what the hell kind of specific feeling is that?” And when I came back and started it back up, what was the very next line?

His friend saying “what overly specific feeling is that?” Marvelous :allears:.

But yeah, as she describes, if she does things right, that’s about as dramatic as succubus encounters get, at least in her case. It’s why she shied away from that guy back at the train station, and it’s why she took the first train of the day in – and also why she takes the last train out, because if anyone else is on the train when she passes out from exhaustion…

… The men in the train car have wet dreams. Succubi, the logically, have a reputation for approaching their victims in their dreams, and this here is the anime’s explanation: whenever she goes to sleep in the same area as other people, her conscious control over the effect slips and it starts affecting those around her.

Satou lives out in the country because she can’t live near other people – that kind of random arousal can’t be comfortable for your neighbors. It also makes it extremely hard for her to maintain any kind of romantic relationship because it’s impossible for her to tell whether someone’s into her as a person or as an object, forget what kind of chaos it throws into any attempts to be physically intimate.

As she explains to us over an only slightly gratuitous shower scene, she could go out and pick somebody up just by playing up everything she’s been playing down, but Satou is a romantic at heart. She’d love to have a relationship, even have kids and settle down, but Satou openly acknowledges she has so little romantic experience that she can barely process her own feelings well enough to tell how her feelings towards a person would differ from how that aphrodisiac effect would have them feel towards her. She is profoundly lonely, but she accepted long ago that the deck’s too stacked against her to do anything about it.

Smash cut to her drunk at dinner, getting fucking wasted on shit beer and yelling while a stray dog howls along in the background. The anime implies this is her primary form of recreation off the job. And that’s the life of Satou Sakie.

Satou wakes up the next morning and goes through the same ritual, except this time she’s pretty hung over. She’s taking it like a trooper, but eventually she loses her footing…

… And falls almost literally into the arms of Takahashi, who asks her if she’s all right.

Satou leaps back and starts frantically apologizing…

… For nothing, apparently, because he’s just sitting there like :geno:. Takahashi kindly reminds her to make sure she gets her rest and just walks away.

Apparently, this has never happened before. It’s so startling that Satou starts wondering if he has a strong sex drive at all.

That, more than anything else, gets her interest. She’d genuinely never considered a possible romantic partner who can just ignore the effect. And suddenly, she realizes she’s attracted to him.

Then we cut to the stairwell where Takahashi is hiding just out of sight. It turns out he was just as strongly affected as anyone else, but, vitally, he kept it under control while he was around her until he could safely recover. He pretty much just walks it off.

I’m willing to bet Satou’s life quietly resonates with a lot of people reading this thread. Her succubusness may be invisible, but it straitjackets her life dramatically: it puts dramatic limits on her living, professional, and social situations, and all of those limits boil down to her limiting and controlling interactions with others. I mean, I’m not aware of any real disability that like lets off pheromones or anything, but keep in mind that, if other people’s reactions weren’t in issue, she could live a completely ordinary life. It is all due to the reactions of other people, not her actions. She even puts extreme effort into making others comfortable. But that isn’t enough to make social pressures disappear. She’s given up on anyone being able to control themselves for the sake of common decency and just resolved to live her life best she can.

And that’s why Takahashi’s reaction stands out so much to her. He may not be the first person in her life to, you know, try to treat her like a human being, but she has literally never run into somebody who could keep himself in check. The rest of the episode moves the focus back to the rest of the cast, but we will revisit Satou and Takahashi’s relationships before it ends.