A Bitter-Sweet Hustle: Katawa Shoujo
2017 marked the 5th anniversary of the Western visual novel “Katawa Shoujo”, produced by 4 Leaf Studios (4LS). The game (set in a boarding school for disabled students) touched countless lives and inspired many to better themselves. Except me; I’m still on some asshole shit even after finishing the game years back, but whatever. In the summer of 2012, 4LS ran a Kickstarter for their official Katawa Shoujo artbook titled Tomorrow Today: A Katawa Shoujo Illustration Book for the Anime Convention “Anime Expo”. 4LS requested backers for the book with rewards such as receiving a copy of the artbook and button set from the game.
As both fan and future hustler, I saw the chance to support the project. I love the work 4LS put into Katawa Shoujo. Plus, I never owned a video game artbook before. I went ahead and donated a dub for an ero video game artbook where you have sexual relations with physically and mentally fucked up girls (Hanako, Rin, and Emi got some fucking issues). 23 year-old me was like “Bruh, this gonna be worth some money one day. Buy that shit and save it.” So I did. Back the Kickstarter and a few weeks later, the artbook arrived. I was impressed by the quality of the production (and the beautiful art) – and I was seeking the money.
After consuming the art in the book a few times, I put it aside in my closet in a box and let it sit for five years. 2017 came along. I decided that I should start to work on my dreams of increasing my income and use the extra income towards my goal of producing infinite cash flow. Around this time, Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) came out on Steam. Weeaboos were once again celebrating a feels-like Western visual novel masterpiece. Some bold stated that DDLC was the second coming of Katawa Shoujo and many agreed. WIth Wester Visual novels making a come back an idea popped in my head.
“I should take advantage of the success of another popular Western visual novel like DDLC and flip that Katawa Shoujo artbook.”
‘While we out here, say the Hustler’s Prayer
If the game shakes me or breaks me
I hope it makes me a better man, take a better stand.’
-Sky’s the Limit by Biggie Small
With Doki Doki Literature Club’s release and people comparing it to Katawa Shoujo, I saw my chance. I made a listing for the book and put in on the market. Within seconds, my friend hit me up asking if she could buy it off me. Within seconds, we made a deal for the book: $40 – twice as much as I back the Kickstarter (yeah there’s that five years’ worth of price inflation and all that fun shit but whatever I don’t feel like doing inflation math). That was about a week ago. Today, as I’m waiting for my friend to come through and pick up the book, I started to reflect on Katawa Shoujo, the art book, and how bittersweet this sale is.
From my own estimation, there are only maybe 1,000 of Tomorrow Today in existence. I am doubtful that the other owners of this book are willing to part with it (that or they’re smarter than me and waiting for the value to increase as the years pass by). The chances of me encountering the book on eBay are rare (a copy was on auction on eBay last weekend and I almost won it…but I was signed out of my ebay account five seconds before I was going to snipe it for $48) 4LS stated that they will never touch Katawa Shoujo again, nor will they expand on the game. The story of KS began and ended in 2012 – never to be retold again.
Katawa Shoujo changed me. No, fictional crippled animu girls didn’t make me a better person. I cracked jokes at Hanako’s pain (because she’s not a real person). I made fun of people who cried over this game. I sneered at anyone who got overly emotional about Rin. I told fans who called Emi a slut for having a boyfriend and sex drive that “They’re just mad because no woman will ever fuck them in their lifetime.” I got myself banned from the Katawa Shoujo forums for trolling, shitposting and overall keeping it real. Yea, Katawa Shoujo didn’t make me a better person within the fanbase, online, or in real life.
What Katawa Shoujo changed within me however was my creativity. From playing Katawa Shoujo, it hit me: If these random dudes online can get together and make their own shit for the world to see, then so can I. In fact, I can do it better than them because there’s nobody better than me. Like I’m on some Vegeta from Dragon Ball or Lute from Fire Emblem 8 type shit. Egocenteric pride aside, KS fuel some sort of creative fire in me and got me focusing on my craft. I want to create something that has the same emotional appeal as it. I long to create a visual novel that was consider a milestone of Wetern visual novels. That or just write about otaku culture in a crude, spiteful matter.
Have my name in Western otaku history, you know? No, global Otaku history.
Katawa Shoujo touched many people. Katawa Shoujo inspired those who played it. I was inspired to sell my Tommorrow Today book for $40 to fund my hustle. But, it’s bitter-sweet. One part of me wishes that there was a follow up to Katawa Shoujo, but I understand why there will never be one. And that’s okay. Parting with the artbook feels like I’ve finally parted away from Katawa Shoujo for good. It’s been five years, it’s time for me to move on. I best use the $40 to wipe the tears away.
Money makes great tears wipers.