Part 79: Force FeedbackUpdate 71: Force Feedback (Act 3, Scenes 1-2)
Katawa Shoujo OST - School Days
The following days pass uneventfully and with surprising quickness. I find renewed motivation to learn sign language. It seems that I have a knack for learning sign, so it would be a waste to not do it, and falling behind would be even more unacceptable. Summer break is coming up. Even though I figured that student council work would see a drop-off proportional to how lethargic my classes are becoming, it doesn't happen that way. Every day, I get swamped under increasingly meaningless work. Despite how much I want to, I don't have even a free second to talk to Shizune nowadays. Every time I look at her, her face is buried in some book of records or some stack of papers that need to be checked over in triplicate.
Today, I woke up early to come to school before everyone else, hoping to catch Shizune. She has a habit of coming in first thing in the morning, to be more punctual than all the other students. Unfortunately, I think I am earlier than her. Hearing the student council room door click closed to my right tells me that isn't the case. I guess I got here just behind her.
I enter the room and tap Shizune on the shoulder to get her attention. Maybe she expects a conversation, which is why she puts down the carton of orange juice in her hand.
SHIZUNE: [Good morning.]"
HISAO: [Where's your better half?]"
SHIZUNE: [We are separate individuals.]"
Thinking about it, they must get that quite a bit. I can think of no other way to explain how ready she was with that answer.
SHIZUNE: [You're here early. That's good, you can help me look over some handouts. They're going out later today.]"
HISAO: [I came here early specifically so I could see you without having to do work.]"
SHIZUNE: [According to Misha, being early isn't new for you.]"
HISAO: [It's not new for you either.]"
SHIZUNE: [Are you saying you want to race?]"
Shizune adjusts her glasses nonchalantly, a gesture that belies how giddy she is inside about the thought of having something very petty to take competitively and seriously. I think the smaller the matter is, the more it excites her.
HISAO: [It's not a race. Do you want to make it a contest? I don't.]"
I almost forget to add the last part, the most important part.
SHIZUNE: [...Well, that's fine. There are too many days left in the school year, I'd get tired of it anyway.]"
With that, Shizune picks up her juice and finishes it off. I wonder if she's going to try and shoot the empty container into the trash, but she doesn't. In fact, she seems puzzled as to why I seem so disappointed. I'd better get to the point.
HISAO: [I just wanted to talk. Our break is practically here, you know. And we should spend more time together, anyway. I was thinking that we could do that over the summer.]"
Shizune's face turns as red as mine must be, and she starts adjusting her glasses, flustered. What an all-purpose gesture. She taps her fingers together in thought, considering her next words carefully.
SHIZUNE: [You mean like a date?]"
HISAO: [Just because we're going out somewhere, that instantly makes it a date?]"
SHIZUNE: [It's not? I want it to be a date.]"
HISAO: [Then it is one.]"
Shizune approvingly claps her hands once, before adding on to my statement:
SHIZUNE: [But not today.]
SHIZUNE: [I'm going away for a week to visit my family.]
That is an oddly formal way of putting it, and for that reason, my interest is piqued. Maybe her family is the prim and proper, traditional kind, living in a giant old-timey mansion with a little stream and koi pond, where everyone wears kimonos all the time. It's a wild assumption, but it's fun to speculate sometimes. I wonder if Shizune puts on the appearance of being a calm and mature good daughter like Lilly when she is with her family. I can't imagine it, but if there's even a possibility that it's true, then I must see it.
HISAO: [Only a week? It must not be that far of a trip, then.]"
SHIZUNE: [Of course not, they're still in Japan, after all.]"
SHIZUNE: [It isn't like you can come with me. Is that what you're trying to say?]"
HISAO: [Why can't I?]"
SHIZUNE: [It isn't like you would enjoy it.]"
HISAO: [You don't know that. It could be fun. Ah, I almost forgot: you didn't answer my question. Are you going alone, or is Misha going with you? Does your family know sign?]"
SHIZUNE: [Misha is coming along.]"
The part of the question left unanswered is the most telling. If Shizune's family can't communicate with her, I have to wonder what her childhood was like. She probably wrote everything on that pad she carries around and still produces out of nowhere sometimes. Usually, it's when neither Misha nor I are around. I can notice her from far away when she pulls it out like a last resort, grimacing the whole time.
HISAO: [If Misha is going, then I'm going to go, too.]"
SHIZUNE: [Do you like Misha?]"
HISAO: [It's the principle of the thing.]"
I entertain the notion that Shizune might actually be jealous, but I doubt it. She usually wears her emotions pretty plainly on her face, and I don't see anything that would support my theory right now.
SHIZUNE: [I think you're just bored. That's okay, though. All right, we'll all go together. It's what I hoped for in the first place. You can't skip out on Student Council today to pack your bags, just because you're coming with us on such short notice, it's no excuse!]"
HISAO: [It's okay, I hardly have anything to pack anyway.]"
Shizune pauses, tenting her fingers thoughtfully."
SHIZUNE: [You must have come to this school on very short notice.]"
If she and Misha had barged into our room in Act 1, wed get a paragraph referring to it here.
HISAO: [I did. It was kind of an on-the-spot decision. It worked out better than I expected, though.]"
I hope Shizune won't pursue the matter, and to my relief, she doesn't.
SHIZUNE: [My home is in a particularly beautiful part of Saitama. We'll be leaving early in the morning, so be ready. Let's talk about it more later, okay? For now, those handouts won't look over themselves, and you're going to help me.]"
As Shizune dives into her work, pulling me along with her, I think that she seems almost, but not quite, excited to go.
Katawa Shoujo OST ~ Passing of Time
Katawa Shoujo OST - Daylight
When Shizune and Misha arrive early the next morning to pick me up, they are dressed in something other than the school uniform I've grown used to seeing them in.
It makes sense, since we're on holiday, but it's still jarring. Shizune's dress is sharp and fashionable, almost too much for a quiet place like Yamaku. Thinking back to what she wore at the Tanabata festival, I'm starting to notice a trend with her. All of her clothes are very tasteful and mature; very well thought out. So, then, I wonder why she herself is so immature.
Well, at least Misha's clothes reflect her inner self on the outside.
Shes wearing a Bush-Cheney 04 campaign shirt. How?
SHIZUNE: [You're bringing so little.]"
HISAO: "[I said I would. I said there wasn't much to pack.]"
Shizune pouts and rocks her own, rather large collection of luggage with her foot as if embarrassed. Misha only has one suitcase with her, but it's almost larger than she is. She looks self-conscious about it as well. God, that suitcase is as big as a compact car. The pea green color is unsettling, too. It's like something used to transport bodies. The way they look right now makes me want to tease them a little.
HISAO: "Aw, that's bad luck for you and Misha, isn't it? Having to carry those huge bags. Gotta pack light next time, like me. Everything fits into one little suitcase."
MISHA: "Like James Bond~!"
HISAO: "Yes, exactly like James Bond."
Shizune gently tugs at her glasses in concentration.
SHIZUNE: [We should split the amount we carry equally.]"
MISHA: "Wow~! That's a great idea, Shicchan~!"
HISAO: "What? No."
SHIZUNE: [It would benefit us all.]"
MISHA: "Yup~! Wahaha~!"
HISAO: "I'm going to have to say no."
SHIZUNE: [You're outvoted!]"
She almost lunges forth as she signs it. Terrifying.
HISAO: "Ah, well. I was just kidding. I don't mind carrying a few extra. I just thought it would be fun to mess with you both. But, if you were going to try and make me carry it all, I was going to ride that giant green case down the mountain like a sled."
That seems to make Shizune laugh, and she holds a hand up to her mouth to hold it back. It's like she is hiding it. I wonder if she can laugh. If not, that might be why she does that. That kind of makes me feel sad.
With that taken care of, we head for the train station, and a very uneventful ride follows. Shizune and Misha manage to fall asleep almost instantly, but I find myself unable to. That's never happened before. Maybe it's my medication.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Air Guitar
When we arrive at Shizune's house, it's quite a bit larger than I'd envisioned it would be. I don't think huge would be much of an overstatement.
HISAO: "You live in a mansion?"
Shizune indignantly stands up on her tiptoes so that we're at eye level, and frowns deeply, having had my comment translated to her by Misha. It's as if she's saying, how can you even suggest such a thing?
SHIZUNE: [This is just a normal house. Nothing as ostentatious as a mansion.]"
I believe our definitions of those terms are quite different, then.
MISHA: "Wahaha~. Hicchan, are you surprised? Do you want me to point out where you'll be staying?"
SHIZUNE: [I think we have a guest room, but I'm not sure if we have two. I'll check.]"
MISHA: "Hm~, it's no problem, though, Hicchan~! Shicchan and I can share a room if have to. Well~, unless hers is being used for something else now."
Not sure? I'm starting to think Shizune doesn't spend a lot of time at home. Before I can make a joke of it at her expense, Shizune vanishes into the house, and Misha goes with her, leaving me alone on the grounds. I don't want to follow them inside just yet. I put my bag down by the front door, and take the opportunity to look around the grounds, just making a quick lap around the house
Even though it takes just a few minutes, when I get back the first thing I notice is that my bag is gone, and a tiny girl is in its place. She looks a lot like Shizune, although Shizune wouldn't wear red shorts and star-and-moon stockings.
HISAO: "Hi! Are you Shizune's little sister or something?"
HIDEAKI: "No. I'm her little brother. My name is Hideaki. It's nice to meet you."
Okay, quick interjection, because I know Id be on guard here: yes, he is crossdressing in the kind of game that includes Kenji, but I dont recall it ever being played for transphobia. Its mostly treated as an unusual (but not negative) character trait for an unusual (but not negative) person, on par with Misha talking in tildes or having gigantic pink hair drills. Im not an expert in this, though, and Ill both point out anything bad I notice and work in any relevant commentary from people who spot things I dont.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Fripperies
The voice that responds is straightforward, monotone, and also definitely male. I feel embarrassed to the point where I could almost turn around and leave right now, if I could remember my way back to the train.
HIDEAKI: "Are you the second person that my sister brought with her?"
HISAO: "Brought with her? I'm not luggage. Anyway, I'm Hisao. Did you take my bag?"
HIDEAKI: "Yes, it is my right to keep anything I find on my property."
HISAO: "No, it's not. That's not how it works at all."
I guess even particularly well-spoken little kids believe in the law of finders keepers. Even though I call him little, he doesn't seem that much younger, now that I think about it. Maybe two or three years younger, at most.
HIDEAKI: "I gave it to Shizune. It's inside. Are you on the Student Council?"
HISAO: "Yeah, how did you know? Does she bring it up often?"
I almost said does she talk about it often? That could have been bad.
HIDEAKI: "Yes, all the time. Do you get along with her?"
HISAO: "Get along? That's a weird question. I wouldn't be on the Student Council if I couldn't get along with her. What about you, do you two get along well?"
Even though he has a monotone voice, his face is as expressive as Shizune's, and belies how he really feels. It must run in the family. Looks like he isn't happy about my question, for whatever reason.
HIDEAKI: "I'm sorry. I was only asking because you both act so much alike."
I don't know why, but it feels like he's teasing me. Unfortunately, it works. I don't like being compared to Shizune.
HISAO: "You're a lot more like Shizune, but that's to be expected. I mistook you for her little sister, even. If you don't want people to make that mistake, you should dress more appropriately."
HIDEAKI: "I don't understand, my clothes are perfectly seasonal."
HISAO: "What's with the stockings?"
HIDEAKI: "They are cool.
HIDEAKI: "You act like my sister. Eventually people will start mistaking you for her."
I guess my comment hit him harder than I thought. That would explain this attempt at turning it around.
HISAO: "I hate being compared to other people."
HIDEAKI: "Shizune doesn't like it when she is compared to others either."
I'd thought that Hideaki was a little more mature than Shizune, but they have the same competitive streak and inclination to provoke people. I wonder if he's like this because of Shizune, or if it's the other way around.
HISAO: "And neither do you, right? Okay, I get it. I shouldn't be so petty."
Especially to little kids.
Hideaki seems to accept this as an acknowledgment of defeat, which is something that I feel like I can't let go. Nevertheless, I'll just have to let it go while I have the chance.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Everyday Fantasy
I can hear Misha's laughter bouncing through the halls the moment I step through the door to the house, and follow it into what I would guess is the living room. It holds more people than I'd expected.
For those who cant see it, left to right: Misha, Shizune, Lilly, Akira, Hideaki.
Among them I spot a distinctive and familiar blonde ponytail. I'm more confused by why Lilly is here than surprised. Shizune seems just as surprised. Lilly doesn't look ecstatic about this chance meeting either. Sitting next to Lilly is a tall, androgynous looking woman in a sharp suit. I'd like to assume that it's her older sister, but I don't want to risk it.
LILLY: "I didn't expect that you would arrive so early."
At first I think she's talking to me, but it turns out that she's referring to Shizune. I don't think Lilly even notices my presence. I've clearly walked in on them mid-conversation, and it looks like with her focus on Shizune, she couldn't hear me.
SHIZUNE: [I should have rearranged my entire schedule for you.]"
MISHA: "Shicchan says: I should have rearranged my schedule just for you~!"
LILLY: "That would have been nice, but I would not expect you to do such a thing."
MISHA: "Oh, hi, Hicchan~! You're finally here."
HISAO: "Yeah. Hello, Lilly."
LILLY: "Oh, Hisao? This is quite a surprise. Akira, this is Hisao, a schoolmate. Hisao, this is Akira, my sister."
She holds up her hand in a brief and quite casual gesture of greeting. So she is the older sister after all.
AKIRA: "I hope we're not messing up any of your plans. Since we're only going to be here for one more day, Lilly and I thought she may as well come with me."
Akira turns to me, like she feels compelled to explain. I'm grateful for that.
AKIRA: "I suppose my position here would be best described as a babysitter."
Akira ruffles Hideaki's hair as he carries on with his pastime of looking displeased.
HIDEAKI: "That is demeaning."
AKIRA: "Really? Maybe I'll change my title once you get a few more years on you. Or at least a few centimeters."
They make an interesting pair, although Akira looks more like a lawyer than a babysitter. I'm still not really sure why both she and Lilly are here, though. Taking a glance around the room, there are tennis rackets, golf clubs, and even a stack of fishing poles and tackle boxes secreted here and there. Behind every chair, in every corner, and under every table there is some piece of outdoor hobbyist equipment. I pick up one of the fishing rods and play with it.
HISAO: "This is a nice house. Shizune, it looks like your dad has a lot of hobbies."
For a moment I forget to sign what I say, but Misha's already in the process of interpreting what I said for her. I'm still a little impressed at how automatic interpreting is for Misha.
HIDEAKI: "Do you fish?"
HISAO: "No, I don't know how. I kind of want to learn, as I heard it's relaxing."
SHIZUNE: [There is a river only a short drive away, my whole family knows how to fish. If you want, we could go there sometime."
AKIRA: "You and Hideaki can fish? I didn't expect people your age to know, considering it's always seemed like a hobby for old men. Y'know, Lilly is great at cooking. If we had some fresh fish..."
It's not hard to follow Akira's train of thought.
LILLY: "If you want to eat fish, we could go to the store."
Lilly's voice sounds slightly more authoritative than usual. She really doesn't seem to share her sister's enthusiasm for the idea.
MISHA: "It's more fun to go fishing; we could even make it like a game and try to see who catches the biggest one~! That would be exciting, right? Yeah~! Hicchan, what do you think? It sounds fun, doesn't it?"
HISAO: "Yeah, it definitely could be."
AKIRA: "Sounds like a plan. I don't know how to fish either, so now's as good a time as any to learn."
Her eyes shift towards Lilly, who remains unmoved. This sours Akira's smile a bit, and makes me wonder why Lilly's being so obstinate about this.
HIDEAKI: "I don't think we have enough fishing equipment for everyone."
SHIZUNE: [We can take turns. It'll be a team battle."
HIDEAKI: "What is she saying?"
HISAO: "We can take turns. She also wants to make it a contest."
AKIRA: "Come on Lilly, we may as well make the most of it. So is this going to be a competition to see who can catch the biggest fish, or the most?"
SHIZUNE: [It looks like the older sister understands better, as always.] ..."
MISHA: "Shicchan says that she supposes Lilly would prefer to go to the store, right~? It's much less work, so it's natural that she would! Going fishing would be more fun, though, and save money. Akira, you have the right idea~!"
Akira gives a gracious, if slightly stilted, smile. Shizune's praise wasn't her goal, after all.
LILLY: "... Isn't the river quite far away?"
AKIRA: "I don't think it's that far, and I can drive if we have to. I'm okay with it, as long as you catch something."
HISAO: "Can your car fit this many people, and a whole lot of fishing gear on top of that?"
She purses her lips as her fingers subtly move, counting up the amount of passengers and the required cargo. If we're going to be taking me, Shizune, Misha, Lilly, Akira, and Hideaki...
AKIRA: "Six people. Damn, my car can only take five. Actually, if Hideaki sat on my lap, we could"
HIDEAKI: "I'm not sitting on your lap."
MISHA: "Shicchan says that her father's car would be big enough."
AKIRA: "What, the Fuga? If he doesn't mind us using it, then I guess we have no other choice. Feels kinda bad forsaking my car, considering I won't have it for much longer."
Despite Lilly's obstinacy, and Hideaki's questions of whether or not we'd prefer to eat first than bet on a fish dinner that might fail to ever materialize, there is no way to dissuade Akira and Shizune as they agree on the transport plan.
(Silence, Road Noises)
My expectations of a somewhat relaxing drive through the countryside are fulfilled. Akira's driving is as smooth and peaceful as the surroundings, to the point where Misha falls asleep during the trip. I thought this trip would have been rather too slow-paced for Shizune's liking, but she seems to genuinely enjoy it. Even with Hideaki awkwardly sandwiched between her and the door, she just keeps looking out of the window and smiling.
(Road Noises Stop, Nature Noises)
The area surrounding the river is quite beautiful. Akira and Shizune head off for the river so quickly that we have no choice but to chase them. We would be left in the dust, otherwise.
I can see Hideaki and Lilly are just humoring their siblings, Lilly being the more unenthusiastic of the two. Misha seems as happy as ever, though. Looks like she managed to latch onto some of Shizune and Akira's excitement. As for myself, I'd rather eat now, but the thought of fresh fish prepared by Lilly is appealing.
The river is larger than I'd imagined, although very scenic and peaceful. Other than a small pier apparently built just to fish off of, this place looks untouched by civilization, and it makes me realize how much greenery I've seen lately.
Shizune pulls Misha away so that they can explain how to fish to Akira. Lilly and Hideaki are talking between themselves, so I decide to join the enthusiastic trio.
AKIRA: "Hmm... so which one of these lures should I use then? Can I use this cute little one?"
MISHA: "Wait, wait~! This is a contest, we need to pick teams first! Shicchan and I will be on one team, of course. Hicchan, you're going to be on our team too, won't you? We can be the Student Council team~!"
AKIRA: "All right, then. That makes me, Hideaki, and Lilly on the other team. Lilly, what should we call ourselves?"
LILLY: "I don't see why it matters." HIDEAKI: "I don't think it matters."
AKIRA: "Team No-Enthusiasm it is..."
Katawa Shoujo OST - Katawa Shoujo OST - Generic Happy Music
Yet again, Akira's best efforts are rebuffed. Shizune and Misha, on the other hand, have no lack of enthusiasm whatsoever.
SHIZUNE: [Hisao! You can be our point man, please try hard to catch as many, or the biggest, fish possible.]"
HISAO: "Why me? No one's even taught me how to fish yet."
MISHA: "We can do that now~."
After a quick tutorial, Shizune immediately tries to draw us into a discussion about the strategy in a tag team fishing competition. Somehow, competition doesn't seem particularly applicable to a sport where you spend hours sitting down and hoping a fish bites a worm.
SHIZUNE: [It looks like Hideaki got stuck with the spare rod. You know it's just a string tied to a bamboo pole, right? That means when deciding the order, you should go against him.]"
HISAO: "What, why me?"
MISHA: "You have the least experience here, Hicchan~."
HISAO: "Yeah? So who's the best here? Shizune? Hideaki is your brother, he's probably just as good. He probably fishes all the time, since he lives closer to a lake. He might even be better."
AKIRA: "Watching you three makes my head hurt. You know I'm only hearing two thirds of a conversation, right? What's this about?"
HISAO: "Picking our lineup."
Akira makes a troubled face. She's getting impatient, which probably isn't too unreasonable.
SHIZUNE: [If you're impatient, that only makes me more excited. Now I want to play for higher stakes.]"
AKIRA: "What's she saying?"
HISAO: "She wants to play for higher stakes."
AKIRA: "I wouldn't be too hasty; we have beginner's luck twice over on our side, after all. The only way you'll be able to beat that is by catching a whole ocean."
MISHA: "This is a freshwater body of water, you marine biologist~."
A weird insult, delivered with unblinking and innocent good cheer. Akira doesn't seem bothered. She laughs it off, and Shizune looks like her usual mischievous self again. I'm glad they get along.
AKIRA: "So are we going to pick teams, or what? I'm getting kinda hungry..."
SHIZUNE: [Hisao, Misha, and I are on one team, and Lilly, Hideaki, and you are on the other, aren't you?]"
AKIRA: "I suppose that's the most obvious arrangement. Wouldn't mixing it up a little be more fun, though? Eh?"
MISHA: "Hmm~, you don't want to fish with your own sister?"
AKIRA: "Well, neither of us know how to fish, so putting both of us on the same team is kinda..."
Well, it sounds like I've heard something kind of dangerous. I try to change the subject before Shizune can turn that incredulous look on her face into anything more.
HISAO: "So, I guess you and Shizune know each other?"
AKIRA: "Sure do. We go way back."
Akira throws a knowing grin at Shizune. It's not until Misha's finished translating what she's said that Shizune gains a troubled face. Akira sure is different from Lilly. Aside from how they look, she's much more informal and laid back. I expected Lilly's family to all be proper and formal like her, so this is a surprise. But, I feel like she's easy to talk to.
AKIRA: "As much as I like talking about catching fish, we should probably actually do it sometime."
SHIZUNE: [Would you suggest that there should there be a lineup, like in baseball? Or should it be everyone-at-once, or a tag battle style? Can everyone sit wherever they want, or do teams have to stick together? Do we call where we fish? What fish sizes will we be counting?]"
Seeing Akira groan after Misha dutifully translates for her, Shizune rubs her glasses, laughing silently.
SHIZUNE: [Never mind. Let's just fish, then. It can be an individual contest.]"