Katawa Shoujo: Lilly’s Route Review: My Final KS Adventure
Yesterday night I managed to complete my final route of Katawa Shoujo, and with one scene after that 100% completion of the entire game. Now Katawa Shoujo was definitely quite the experience and there’s a lot I could say about it, but before I go on to post about my final thoughts on the game, I think it’s better to focus on the girl of my last route: Lilly Satou.
Lilly is a calm, sophisticated individual who exhibits a bit of a motherly air. Lilly is a very close friend of Hanako, being essentially the only person Hanako trusts in the beginning of the game. Lilly is the class representative of class 3-2, although this position often proves to be problematic for her because of her scuffles with Shizune, the student council president. Lilly is blind, but she does not sit well with being pitied and has grown to be independent and strong-willed.
I have heard some people say that Lilly’s route is the best, and though I would ultimately disagree I can certainly see why. Lilly’s story, while not as dark or tragic as some of the others overall, is well-written on the whole and certainly feels the most complete. Lilly’s route is probably the only route that I can say has what I deem to be a “proper” ending in the sense that there is a feeling of closure and not so abrupt an end as many of the others. In this way I can certainly say that Lilly’s route did its job well.
Unlike some of the other routes, it’s difficult for me to point at a certain “theme” that Lilly’s route carries. There isn’t necessarily one particular ordeal for Hisao to address over the course of the route as is the case with much of the other stories. Instead, Lilly’s route feels more like a progressive development of life itself. Hisao and Lilly are on good terms to begin with, but as they spend more time with each other they both genuinely begin to treasure the other and also grow as a result of the bond that they share. One interesting thing to note is that there are no internal relationship problems in their relationship as is the case with some of the other routes. While Hisao making bad choices that ultimately make tensions explode is the common trend with the other girls, this is not the case with Lilly as the relationship feels much more stable and strong. Though it does not develop romantically immediately, the two ultimately feel closer as a couple than most of the others.
I found that Lilly’s route was balanced in most aspects. While some of the other stories had uneven elements (in particular Shizune’s feeling too much like a slice of life with no aim or conflict until late Act 3), Lilly’s route seemed to fit a bit of everything into its story: happiness, relaxation, nervous tensions, dangerous moments, heartbreak, and sheer determination. The developments in each area play off each other well and contribute to the story’s ending as well as the events leading up to it. Lilly’s route wasn’t quite as strong emotionally as, say, Rin’s or Hanako’s, but the relationship between Hisao and Lilly was much stronger by comparison and the last stretch of Lilly’s route is pretty close to some of those Rin and Hanako moments.
The interesting thing about the two endings is that Lilly’s neutral end (apparently there’s no “bad” end) is essentially the same as the good end except cut off. I suppose that was better for me, since I was unlucky enough to end up with the neutral end in my playthrough. Of course, after going back and realizing what I had misunderstood about a choice a while back, I went on to see the good ending and it was certainly the most fulfilling of the five routes. All of the good moments and bad moments all culminated into one touching conclusion and seeing how things played out with this ending was probably the best possible way to have done so. There’s something truly fulfilling about seeing the strongest ending of the visual novel as my very last one, and it really did send KS off in the best way possible.
Lilly’s route was probably the ideal one to conclude with and I’m glad that I ultimately decided to go for her’s last. Lilly’s story has an appeal to it that few others do and everything comes together in a great way. Lilly’s is probably the only other route anywhere near the level of time stretching that Shizune’s has, and it’s interesting how there are close parallels to the events of Hanako’s route yet it manages to go even further along than that, if I recall correctly about an act beyond that so Lilly’s does offer a lot of content. Lilly’s route, just like the others, is an 8/10 for me, but I’d say it’s higher than most of the others. I’ll elaborate more on my overall thoughts of KS but this will have to do for the time being.