Katawa Shoujo: First Impressions: Lilly’s Route

Warning: Major spoilers for Lilly’s route contained below.

Lilly’s character and route exceeded my expectations in every way. As she never particularly interested me, I had blithely assumed Lilly to be rather two-dimensional, fitting squarely into the maternal archetype and never to be hindered by any significant obstacles, aside from her blindness. Instead, she was portrayed as a patient young woman who also had a surprising penchant for mischief and a voracious curiosity. While she is mature and responsible in many ways, she also has as a fathomless sense of wonder for everything she experiences, finding delight in the smallest of details and always eager to discover something entirely new. However, she isn’t reckless, balancing her child-like exuberance with an adult’s rationality, proving that responsibility does not mean the burden of constant restraint, nor the denial of personal pleasure.

Unfortunately, her infallible composure eventually creates a distance in her relationship with Hisao, as she often uses her elegant persona to mask her troubles, keeping her problems bottled up in order to avoid burdening others. This simultaneously sets the stage for a brilliant climax, as Lilly is torn between loyalty to her estranged family, and happiness in her current situation. The major events in her route, namely confessions, the growth of their relationship, and the conflict, all carried a heavy weight of importance. Everything felt as if it had an impact on a grand scale, drawing in the reader and invoking genuine care for the two. The smaller moments were very heartwarming as well, addressing problems which had been ignored previously in other routes, and tying up every loose end for a very satisfying finish.

The character interactions truly make this route. Instead of coming across as pointless baggage, every sub-character had significant reason for their introduction, and served to further the flow of events. Furthermore, Hisao and Lilly are a very believable couple: there were no rushed developments or sudden, inexplicable epiphanies. Their dates were brimming with atmosphere, yet they had their rotten moments as well: they made mistakes, they had awkward conversations, they kept secrets from each other; it felt pleasantly realistic.

In short, there was absolutely nothing that could be considered inherently “bad” in Lilly’s route, nothing to be corrected or changed, only to be expanded upon for further improvement.

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