Okay pardon me for sounding like a huge perv in this article but bear with me, this is an ambitious project that has been going on for five years and it’s nearing completion within a very short timeframe. For those of you who don’t follow this project, I wrote up the details below.
Katawa Shoujo, literally meaning Crippled Girls, is a dating sim slice of life visual novel set in a school for disabled children or those with special physical or psychological needs. The main protagonist Hisao Nakai suffers from a severe heart problem that hospitalized him for a month and ruined his health. He attends the school, and quickly meets a very wide range of characters, each of which have their own reasons for being there.
From the top image starting from the left, Lilly Satou, though very caring and friendly, and a good student, is completely blind and has been since she was born, and is one of the class representitives in sheer defiance of her disability.
Hanako Ikezawa suffers from trauma, and serious burns that badly disfigured her face following a house fire. She hides most of it with her face and is extremely reclusive as well as avoiding social contact with everyone but her friend Lilly.
The third of the girls is Rin Tezuka, who suffers from a birth defect that rendered her arms completely useless. Because of this, she uses her feet and mouth to do absolutely everything, including painting. She is a bit ditzy and philosophical.
Even though blindness doesn’t badly affect your charisma, deafness does. Shizune Hakamichi, a lovely bespectacled deaf-mute lass. A severe barrier to communication, but she is also a class representitive, and is definitely a leader. Her friend Shiina Mikado (not pictured, she doesn’t have a route) is her interpreter for those who don’t understand sign language, but her disability or issue, if she even has one in the first place, is not known. It is speculated she may be obbessive compulsive.
Emi Ibarazaki is the first, a brown-haired girl with twintails who had to get both of her legs amputated following an accident, but despite this, her artificial limbs have put her at the top of the school track team. A very cheery person and cute too. Yes, this game is a dating sim about girls who suffer from severe disabilities. From the demo I’ve played of the game, they’re portrayed tastefully and accurately, and the characters have adapted so well you wouldn’t be able to tell they had a problem at first glance.
Katawa Shoujo’s overall idea was inspired by an omake page from a doujin named Schuppen Harnische by RAITA, who is a member of Zettai Shoujo. The image portrayed a series of girls each with a disability and the image was a mockup of an eroge advertisement. Though a very fetishtic and bizarre idea, various 4chan anons saw great potential in the idea, and between the usual perverseness expected of weeaboos and ideas of love stories, the idea of creating an original game based on the image took hold. The project properly took off along with Four Leaf Studios in mid-2007.
The game will feature erotic content, but those who don’t care for it can easily disable it in the options menu at any time. The game is also completely unvoiced, mostly due to the large amount of dialog, inability to change the scripts after it has been voiced, having to find quality voice actors, and the issue of filesize. The game will be released for free at the turn of the new year to coincide with the stickied thread on /a/’s 5th anniversary.