The Let's Play Archive

Katawa Shoujo

by Falconier111

Part 17: Proper Exercise

Update 15: Proper Exercise


A few of the students jump at the sound of the door, rapidly trying to pretend that they are working on the questions on the board. Some don't even bother, their heads slumped on the desk as they nap. Thankfully, it would appear that Mutou does not even notice them. He returns to his desk and retrieves a scientific journal from one of the drawers. I guess I got to him there. The class returns to the near-silence that Mutou and I left it in before our chat. Mixed feelings of tiredness and anticipation buzz around the room. Everyone here is either waiting for a chance to rest or the chance to get their last-minute preparations underway. The clock on the wall slowly ticks the remaining class time away, until finally the bells cry out, ending the torment.

Katawa Shoujo OST – Daylight

MUTO: "Before you all leave, I expect the answers for those problems by Monday."

The class sighs as one, instantly regretting slacking off, but still acutely aware of the more pressing issues at hand. The classroom empties in a blink as everyone rushes to their last-minute festival preparations. I stay behind and try to quickly finish the questions so I don't have to bother with it over the rest of the weekend, with the festival and all tomorrow. Apart from me, Hanako is the only one left, obviously waiting for Lilly. It's weird that Lilly comes all the way to our classroom to pick her up. I expect that moving around is at least nominally harder for her than it is for Hanako. But it's none of my business, and I naturally don't ask about it from Hanako.

Despite the relative proximity of our seats, neither tries to strike up a conversation about that or anything else either, so an oppressive silence falls upon the classroom. Time passes in silence. It's probably just fifteen minutes or so but it feels longer. I turn pages of my notebook. Hanako turns pages of the novel she's reading. My pencil lead splinters against the paper just when I was about to finish a paragraph. The sounds of my irritated sigh and subsequent fumbling around for a sharpener feel like they're breaking the mood in the classroom. Hanako keeps her eyes firmly away from my direction. Before long, Lilly's tall figure appears in the doorway.

LILLY: "Hanako?"

Her name is all it takes to make Hanako jump up from her desk and run to Lilly. They talk quietly for a moment, but it isn't long before Lilly leaves down the hall and Hanako idles back into the classroom, taking her seat once again. I watch Hanako out of the corner of my eye out of sheer curiosity at the idea that the two would be separated. For a couple of minutes, she does nothing but sit with her chin in her hand, staring at the desk dejectedly. The boredom evidently becomes too much for her though, her slender frame reaching into her bag and pulling out a small book. Come to think of it, that isn't the one I saw her reading at the library. She must be quite a fast reader to get through them at this rate.

:eng101: This scene, Support, is the last one a majority of routes pass through; the only way around it is by locking into Shizune’s route. Between the last line and the next one, the game runs a series of flag checks and sorts the player into one of five paths, each of which lead to either a route or the Bad Ending. No more choices left to make until the end of the act. Emi’s flag overwrites all but one of those paths, so the rest of the process doesn’t really matter now. :eng101:


After about ten minutes of restlessly shuffling in her seat and trying to read, Hanako closes her book and leaves too. As should I, since the assignment is all but finished and there is nothing else to do in the classroom. Not that I have anything to do anywhere else either.

Katawa Shoujo OST – Afternoon

(Crowd Chattering)

The school is a beehive of activity but nobody pays me any heed. I saunter past classrooms filled with students frantically doing this and that, buzzing around like little worker bees. You wouldn't guess the school day is over.

It's a bit quieter outside, but not by much. People zip by, left and right, hurrying as quick as they can; busy and energetic. I feel the opposite. The midday sun seems to be draining all the spirit out of my body, making it feel limp all over. Warm, soft air flows inside my shirt, feeling like a cushion. I yawn lazily, thinking about what I'd do. I'll drop off my books at the dorms first, and then... something I haven't decided yet. Maybe Kenji is in his room. On the way to dorms, I spot Emi coming my way, running despite not having those weird running prosthetics on. I wave at her and she skids to a stop.

EMI: "Yo, Hisao!"

Spatters of white and green paint adorn her nose and chin respectively, but her smile is wide, as it seems it always is. She leans closer to me, amplifying the feeling she is examining me.

EMI: "Whatchadoin'?"

HISAO: "Nothing, really. I don't have anything to do for the festival and everyone else seems to be doing something important."

EMI: "That's perfect! Then you can help me and Rin!"

HISAO: "With the festival preparations? Eeeh, I'm not sure if I would be of much help."

EMI: "That's fine! I'm not much help either!"


Emi grabs my wrist and starts dragging me back inside the school quite forcefully. Even her walking speed is more like jogging, making me stumble over myself simply trying to keep up. The stairs slow Emi down a little bit. Maybe it's hard to climb with her legs, or maybe she's finally run out of breath. We go all the way back to the third floor and to the seniors' hallway, ending up where I left five minutes ago. I could just as well have stayed here waiting for Emi, had I known.

HISAO: "So are you... is Rin working on that mural, still?"

EMI: "That's right! She needs all kinds of paints and brushes and stuff, so I went to get them from the art classroom."

HISAO: "And you need me to help with that."

EMI: "Well... Rin told me you had already helped her so I thought you wouldn't mind."

HISAO: "I see."

So thanks to Emi's flaky logic, here I am again, collecting stuff from the art classroom for other people. The room is empty apart from ourselves and the lonely specks of dust floating in the air. Emi skips straight away to the back wall, digging out a tiny, crumpled piece of paper from her pocket. While she tries to make sense of the scrawled handwriting, I take a closer look at the materials lying around here. Dozens of paint cans and bottles are arranged on the shelves in a most unorganized fashion. Some look like they have been left there for several decades; relics of previous art club generations. Next to the heavy stacks of neatly piled drawing paper are boxes full of different-sized brushes and unsorted crayons. The smells of paint, turpentine and fresh paper float in the stale air, mixing in my nostrils to form that unmistakable scent of art.

Emi studies her notes, comparing them to markings on the various paint cans, and passes them to me as she finds the correct matches. She stretches her neck to look on the topmost shelf, but it's not quite enough. Her eye level stays below the shelf no matter what she does. Emi gives up and just looks up to the shelf longingly, like a child at a toy store, huffing in annoyance.

After a moment of building anger, she starts jumping up and down, apparently trying to speed-read the labels during the fraction of a second she can see them, and catch what she can.

:eng101:Yes, her sprite is jumping here. No, you can’t see it very well. The perils of a visual medium. :eng101:

It's no surprise that she fails miserably, and almost manages to bring the entire shelf crashing down. Now I see why me lending a hand here would be useful.

HISAO: "Come on, let me do that. You can't jump high enough, and I don't want you to hurt yourself trying. Also, I'm like twice your height."

EMI: "You are not!"

She turns around, flaring scorn, flushed cheeks and all.

HISAO: "Just kidding, just kidding. Anyway, I'll look up there, okay?"

She glares at me one more time, but can't come up with a retort. With a grudging “hmph,” turns her back to me. So I begin scrounging around the top shelf for paint while below, Emi crouches to scavenge what she can from the cupboards. I shake my head a little, after double-checking to ensure she can't see me do so. Emi having a complex about her height was a surprise; I wouldn't have joked about it otherwise. She seems easygoing, but I guess everyone has their weak spots. Only after we have almost all the items collected and spread out on a desk like a treasure hunter's spoils do I realize that it wasn't necessarily the height jab that got her riled up. She might not like to be told that she can't do something. Like jump. But Emi herself seems to have forgotten all about it already. Quick to anger, quick to forgive... she is that type of a person? At least she doesn't seem to have taken anything to heart, as she chatters away happily while we pick up the rest of the items and then make our way back to Rin. I chivalrously carry the bulk of the materials as we make our way towards the dormitories.

EMI: "Rin is really stressed about getting her painting done. It's her own fault though; she should've started earlier."

HISAO: "Is she going to make it?"

EMI: "No idea. It looks good to me, but with Rin, you never know what's going on. I found her this morning lying in front of the dorm in fetal position. She hadn't slept all night. I can't believe that the night nurses hadn't found her. And now she's painting again like crazy."

HISAO: "Yeah, I've... noticed that she comes off as kinda... unhinged. So to speak."

Emi giggles at that, as well as at my likely too-obvious awkwardness.

EMI: "I don't mind it. She's just a little weird sometimes."

On that I can agree with her. Unlike me, Emi seems to be cool with Rin's... whatever it is that feels so off about her. Still, they don't feel close like Misha and Shizune do. With them working as a single entity sometimes, it's hard to say where one ends and the other begins. Even though they're so different, just like Emi and Rin are. And Rin is the most different of them all, different from anyone else I've met.

HISAO: "Yeah, I guess she's a very... unique person."

I return to that word again, as if it encompasses Rin's personality by itself, but really it's just a substitute for a lengthy description of her oddities. Emi giggles as I grasp about for a properly descriptive word.

EMI: "She's just weird. You know, earlier, she just spent half an hour sitting on her box. And stared at her toes."

She giggles again in a way that makes me think she doesn't know what's funny about it, it just is.

EMI: "All that time."

Katawa Shoujo OST – Fripperies

The working area is a mess, but the mural itself has taken over even more of the wall since I last saw it. The disfigured human figures have been mostly colored in tones of red, pink, and orange; weird, imaginary... things populating the spaces between. It looks... nice. I can't think of any word that would describe the work concisely and comprehensively so I settle myself on a nondescript “nice.” But honestly, it seems that the area around the wall becomes untidier at the same rate as the mural progresses. The ground is littered with dozens of paint cans, various art supplies and empty soda bottles. Rin herself is in the center of this chaos, standing there looking very cozy as if she was a natural part of the scene. Her pant legs have been rolled up to her knees, exposing her thin legs which sport a drying spectrum of war paintings, similar to those on Emi's face. Emi sprints to Rin ahead of me and gleefully jumps in front of her.

EMI: "I'm back!"

RIN: "That was fast. Did you run in the corridors again?"

EMI: "Hisao helped me."

Emi points victoriously at me. Rin turns around following Emi's finger with her eyes, looking at my general direction. She nods absentmindedly at me. She looks like she hasn't slept since last night: a vacant, glazed stare that's focused slightly off me, and movements like in a slow-motion movie.

RIN: "Hello, Hisao. Thank you for the help."

HISAO: "Don't mention it."

RIN: "I just did."

HISAO: "Never mind. Looks like you've made progress. Looking good, as far as I can tell."

RIN: "But now you get more bad luck."

HISAO: "I know, but I'm willing to take the risk."

RIN: "That's a very nice thing to say. For me, of course. Not for you. This is why artists are always unlucky. They have to constantly look at their unfinished paintings. So artists can't find romance, their favorite TV shows are canceled, or they die young because of an unspecified disease. It's a deep and mysterious law of the universe. Unless they are blind."

She considers this for a while, looking like she's going to fall asleep.

RIN: "There is a boy. At the art club, you see. Blind boy. So he doesn't. See."

HISAO: "You already told me."

I glance sideways at Emi and she glances back in a way that tells she has heard this one before too. Neither of us says anything to Rin, though, so she continues her monotone soliloquy like an unfunny stand-up comedian.

RIN: "He should become an artist. No bad luck, guaranteed. Don't you think that would be a good idea?"

HISAO: "That only blind people should become artists? No, not as such."

RIN: "You might have a point."

Abandoning this train of thought, she turns again to consider her work and starts humming a tune that I think I recognize, but can't remember the name of. Emi arranges the supplies we brought and moves a few paint cans around, trying to bring some organization to the scene.

RIN: "Emi, I need the Prussian blue paint."

EMI: "Which one's Prussian blue..."

She is staring helplessly at seven or eight cans, each with a different tone of blue.

RIN: "It's the one with Prussian blue paint in it."

EMI: "Geez, Rin! You're not helping at all!"

I look around as well, even though I don't know what Prussian blue looks like, either. I wonder what blue has to do with Prussia. ...Or what Prussia even is. The name sounds vaguely familiar, but I can't place it. While none of the blues looks more Prussian than the others, the small print on the labels is legible enough to determine that none say anything about the contents being Prussian.

HISAO: "There is no Prussian blue here."

:eng101:Emi and Rin’s routes share the last scene, but this next scene is all Emi. :eng101:

EMI: "We need to go get more, then."

I open my mouth to say that actually, we're not both needed for such a simple task like finding another pot of Prussian Blue, but Emi's already grabbed my arm and started dragging me off. I wave to Rin, who doesn't seem to have noticed that the two of us are even leaving. Well, she'll notice when she goes for her Prussian Blue and finds out it's still not there. Maybe.

(Silence, Crowd Chattering)

Probably not, actually. While I'm busy thinking of how weird Rin is, Emi's been dragging me back to the art classroom. I feel myself starting to run out of breath.

HISAO: "What's the rush?"

Katawa Shoujo OST - Standing Tall (Emi's Theme)

EMI: "Huh?"

Emi's giving me an appraising look, as if she's trying to figure something out.

HISAO: "It's just that you seem to be in a hurry. I'm not sure I can keep up."

Comprehension dawns on her face.

EMI: "You're not out of breath, are you?"

There's almost an accusing playfulness to her tone. I'm tempted to deny it, but then I realize that I've been breathing heavy since we stopped. Guess it's kind of obvious.

HISAO: "A little. Not everybody can be in shape, you know. Takes all kinds, right?"

Emi frowns. It's not a particularly good frown.

HISAO: "Er, that is... I should... get in shape?"

Not that I hadn't already decided to try for that. After that flutter on the track I figure there's a real need to get in some sort of running habit. I was, after all, feeling pretty good until I had my false alarm. Well, actually I wasn't. But it was... fun? Meanwhile, my comment seems to have helped Emi come to some sort of a decision.

(Sudden Silence)

EMI: "Well, that's it, then."

She gives me a serious look.

EMI: "You're joining me."

HISAO: "I beg your pardon?"

EMI: "In the mornings. You and I are now running partners. I've got a routine all planned out. In fact..."

She produces a crumpled sheet of paper.

EMI: "I've got it right here with me."

Katawa Shoujo OST – Hokabi

I take the sheet of paper and give it a once-over. Times, dates, and laps, all laid out. A slow increase from just a few laps a day to... My God, does she expect to have me running marathons? And where did she find the time to get this all together? And how long has she been planning this, anyway?

HISAO: "You've been planning this?"

EMI: "A little. But it's really the nurse's idea! He told me to keep an eye on you to make sure you exercised like he told you to!"

A vast conspiracy? Maybe Kenji's on to something here...


HISAO: "This seems a bit much for just “keeping an eye on me.”

EMI: "Well, to be honest I've been trying to find a running partner in the mornings for a while now."

My God, Kenji! If you could only see the scheme unfolding!


HISAO: "What do you need a partner for, anyway?"

EMI: "It's easier to keep up a workout if you're not the only one doing it. Isn't that obvious? You're less likely to quit if someone else is counting on you to be there, right?"

HISAO: "I see. And this won't only keep you running, but it'll make sure that I keep running as well. Meaning that I'll be obeying the nurse..."

EMI: "...and I'll be keeping an eye on you just like he asked! You caught on quick, Hisao."

HISAO: "And if I refuse?"

I have no intention of refusing, of course. But I've got to at least put up a token resistance to such a masterfully executed plan.

EMI: "Well, if you refused I'd have to pout. And you'd have to live with being the guy who made Emi Ibarazaki pout. You don't want that on your conscience, do you?"

As if to demonstrate, Emi begins pouting.

It is the most adorable, heart-wrenching thing I've ever seen.

HISAO: "Okay! I'll do it! Just... don't do that! I feel like I just hit a puppy!"

EMI: "So it's settled, right? You're going to be my running partner? Follow the workout? And the dietary plan?"

HISAO: "Dietary plan?"

EMI: "Yeah, the dietary plan! You've got to eat healthy if you're going to get in shape, you know!"

I examine the workout routine closely.

HISAO: "I don't see a dietary plan on here."

EMI: "Oh right! I forgot to give that to you!"

Another crumpled sheet of paper is produced and handed over. It's somewhat less detailed.

EMI: "I had the nurse help me come up with it."

The amount of dedication that the nurse has to keeping me in good health is pretty overwhelming. I don't know many school nurses who would get one of their students to spy on me, much less help come up with a dietary plan. Then again, I guess I'm not in a normal school.

And maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Then again, this dietary plan seems to cut out just about everything that'll be offered at the festival tomorrow. Hmm.

HISAO: "So when does our running start?"

EMI: "After the festival."

HISAO: "Right after? What if I've had something to eat there? I could get a stomach ache, you know."

EMI: "I meant the day after the festival."

HISAO: "I knew that."

Wasn't there something we were supposed to be doing?

HISAO: "Oh! I guess we should get that paint for Rin, huh?"

EMI: "Oh no! It slipped my mind!"


By the time we get the paint and get back to the mural, Rin's already wandered off. Oh well. Emi and I both decide to part ways there, leaving the paint on the ground. Rin'll find it. Whenever she comes back, anyway. Festival's tomorrow. I'm actually a little excited for it. At the same time, the week's left me feeling pretty tired, so I read a little and then go to bed.