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Katawa Shoujo: Get Ready to Feel Again

Last posted Jan 25, 2013 at 05:20PM EST. Added Dec 20, 2012 at 04:13AM EST
92 conversations with 30 participants

I’ll just leave this here.

http://plassion.com/game/katawa-shoujo

(I suck at it. ._.)

Jan 09, 2013 at 10:39PM EST
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WELP, I just got finished with Shizune’s route. I didn’t hate it, I guess? There were some moments that I could identify very strongly with, but on the whole, I just didn’t get a whole lot out of it. It gave a few feels, but not a ton. I honestly get stronger feels listening to certain songs.

The ending I didn’t really like all that much. It just kind of…stopped. The story was definitely strongest about 2/3 of the way through; after that, all of the tension was dissolved and I didn’t feel like too much else was of much immediate consequence. Sure plans for the future carry weight, but nothing seemed to impact the characters. I dunno, it just felt stagnant after the plot twist was resolved.

I guess a little bit that took away from her route was what wasn’t in there. I was really waiting for a moment where her disability really made her vulnerable, and it never really came.

Allow me to explain. In Lilly’s route (I guess I should tell you that there are spoilers here [sorta] but you’re in a KS thread a year after it was released, so yeah) there’s a moment that I’m sure we’re all familiar with: the embrace in the field. Immediately leading up to this point was Lilly’s admission of her fear of losing Hisao, and her pleas for him to comfort her. Right after she finishes talking, however, we receive a description of Lilly essentially fumbling around towards where she thinks Hisao is, wanting so badly to touch him, and to know with her own senses that he’s still there. Her blindness had always been apparent, but it had never made her look or act so helpless, and had certainly never made her that vulnerable. It had never manifested itself against her so strongly as it did when she wanted to see whom she loved, but could only reach out in the dark, desperately hoping he’d be found. Now that was a very powerful moment for me when I first played the game. And I feel like Shizune’s route would have benefited from a similar situation. If we had seen her, for whatever reason, forced by circumstance to try and speak, even if only a syllable, it would have added a lot to her character. The closest we ever got was a semi-audible laugh that didn’t really carry much weight, other than being slightly out of the ordinary and mildly embarrassing for her.

On a much more minor note, I kind of wanted to see a little more of Shizune and Hisao just being a couple. It didn’t seem to me that their patterns changed after they started formally seeing one another. They just worked on stuff all the time. Granted, that’s very much what Shizune would want to do, but not always. It was implied (sort of) that they did things other than Student Council work, but we never really saw that aside from a few passing moments spent in breaks.

To be fair, it wasn’t all bad, though. Shizune’s motivations for being a leader and her resolve to find a goal to drive her were certainly inspiring, and useful to me personally, because I, too, am the leader of a student organization that really needs me to step up. I’m not a huge fan of Shizune’s belligerence or occasional callousness, but I would say that I’m fond enough of her. It really wasn’t a bad route, I just didn’t like how it played out all that much and I thought it missed some opportunities.

tl;dr: Shizune’s route was okay, but could have been better. Lilly’s gave way more feels.

Last edited Jan 10, 2013 at 08:08PM EST
Jan 10, 2013 at 08:07PM EST
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I really hope this is just a text mod and not in the actual game.

Last edited Jan 10, 2013 at 08:45PM EST
Jan 10, 2013 at 08:45PM EST
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Text mod, not actual.



I feel as though that goes without saying

Feels are for wusses.


You watch your whore mouth.
Last edited Jan 11, 2013 at 05:14AM EST
Jan 11, 2013 at 05:13AM EST
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I really wished they would add an extension file with more routes or something, I’d like a Miki route as well as a spoilers a Misha route where Hisao helps Misha let go of Shizune.

Jan 12, 2013 at 01:46AM EST
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I’m kinda curious to see what the could do. Katawa Shoujo was pretty off the wall and original, its going to be a tough act to follow.

Jan 14, 2013 at 10:02PM EST
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Well, you guys dragged me back into discussion with the magic words “Katawa Shoujo”. So, get ready for likely tl;dr material, but I’ll try not to overdo it.

I’m curious how many of you tried to get someone to play the game, like Rin Tezuka (KYM user, not KS girl) did, and what sort of reactions you got. I had one friend I got to try the game, and he told me he didn’t read any of it, but simply fast-forwarded through it to find sex scenes. I was very disappointed and told him so.

To Chris’ question, I don’t have a favorite KS song, but oddly enough, with the way Shizune’s route ended up giving me the most feels, the song “Three Stars” actually makes me tear up a little when I hear it:

Trivia note on sign language: assuming that a sign language is just a signed version of a spoken language is likely to be incorrect. As it happens, ASL is a linguistic descendant of French Sign Language, but the syntax structure of ASL is not like English or French. In fact, it doesn’t have the same parts of speech (noun, verb, conjunction, etc.) that English does. I don’t know anything about JSL, but something interesting I did learn a few months ago is that Japanese Braille is structured in a non-arbitrary fashion, and would probably be easier to learn than English (or more properly, Latin, I suppose) Braille. Anyway, since they’re all languages in their own right, I suspect that learning JSL would not have to be harder than learning ASL, excepting that if you needed to spell a name, you’d have to learn manual kana. My understanding is that BSL is not much like ASL at all.

I think Mack’s search for Shizune’s “moment where her disability really made her vulnerable” missed that it’s less of a single moment than an overarching theme related to the fact that her father refuses to learn sign language. (My full analysis here.) Besides that, for me the real emotional punch was the rooftop scene with Misha.

What else? Oh, yeah, about 10 months ago, I posted a list of unanswered questions that were mostly resolved, but I realized the answer to one of them on a recent replay: Miki’s bandaged arm may indeed be significant in understanding her character. It seems to me that while the five main girls have either had their disability from birth or at least an incident many years in the past, Miki’s hand was probably amputated fairly recently. I would bet she’s a new student as well.

Jan 15, 2013 at 12:34AM EST
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Brucker wrote:

Besides that, for me the real emotional punch was the rooftop scene with Misha.

For those dead-set against ever playing Shizune’s route, and therefore not concerned with major spoilers for that story, here’s a video of the scene that I have repeatedly called the saddest scene in the entire game:

After reading through that scene, the intro video I posted above takes on new depth of meaning. Shizune’s route is as much about Misha as Shizune, but there is no “good ending” for Misha.

Jan 15, 2013 at 04:28PM EST
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I’m mostly not interested in Shizune’s route because I’m not a fan of type a people.

Jan 15, 2013 at 05:06PM EST
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Crimson Avenger wrote:

I’m mostly not interested in Shizune’s route because I’m not a fan of type a people.

Neither am I. There’s about a 0% chance that I’d have dated a girl like Shizune in HS, and finishing her route didn’t endear her to me much in the end. I just felt that the writing on that route was the best of all. It’s not so much, “Oh, now that Hisao is dating her, I see Shizune’s good side,” as, “Ah, now that Hisao has spent this much time with her and met her family, I understand why her bad side is as bad as it is, and it’s really pretty tragic.”

Hisao only has to wonder until Act 3, in which Mr. Hakamichi makes this lovely statement:

Shizune’s father is even more of a manipulative control freak than she is, even to the point of trying to control his daughter’s disability. As a result, Shizune doesn’t have a relationship with her father, she only has an ongoing competition that both of them are losing.

Actually, it’s a theme throughout the game to some extent: every one of the girls has a dysfunctional relationship with their parents (admittedly in a few cases, it’s due to a chance accident rather than poor parenting, but it’s still there).

Jan 15, 2013 at 05:44PM EST
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Idk, I agree with what Mack’s Gone (For Now) said. I don’t enjoy listening to everything second hand. Ik she’s deaf but for game play it gets a bit tiring. She’s probably the last on my list of arcs to play :/

Last edited Jan 15, 2013 at 07:34PM EST
Jan 15, 2013 at 07:19PM EST
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I’m surprised that you don’t think Rin’s neutral is the saddest scene in the game, Brucker. To me it’s about as soul-rending as the game gets.

Last edited Jan 15, 2013 at 09:09PM EST
Jan 15, 2013 at 09:06PM EST
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Crimson Avenger wrote:

I don’t enjoy listening to everything second hand. Ik she’s deaf but for game play it gets a bit tiring. She’s probably the last on my list of arcs to play

Actually, that’s related to the stuff about her family I posted above. If you choose Shizune’s route, Hisao enrolls in a sign language class and gets some tutoring from Misha as well. Shizune is overwhelmed by the fact that (in contrast to her father not learning sign language for over twelve years) Hisao decides to learn sign language after knowing Shizune for less than a month. (This is also hinted at very strongly in the intro video.) Shizune is shocked that someone would do something for her simply out of kindness, and not because she manipulated them into it.

Pseudogenesis wrote:

I’m surprised that you don’t think Rin’s neutral is the saddest scene in the game, Brucker. To me it’s about as soul-rending as the game gets.

Yeah, Rin comes a very close second, if not actually first. Perdsonality-wise, I liked Rin the most, but game-wise, her path ended up being the hardest for me to figure out. I think on each girl’s path but Rin’s, I found the good ending first try; for Rin it took me three tries.

You know, I think Rin is the girl that I relate to the closest, because while I obviously have no problem writing voluminous amounts of words, there’s a big part of me that feels I somehow haven’t got just the right word to express what I really think. That seemed to be Rin’s tragic flaw, and Hisao’s problem in her route: both of them want some sort of connection to each other, but can’t seem to express it in any effective manner.

Perhaps this sort of thing is particularly “soul-rending” because just about anybody can relate, whereas each of the other girls’ personal issues are very personal.

Anyway, I’m still in the process of playing it through again, and haven’t done Rin’s story yet; maybe when I refresh my memory, I’ll find it much more tragic.

{Edit to add} You know, a lot of people complained that there weren’t enough choices in Shizune’s route, but what I found far more frustrating than a lack of choices was the avalanche of choices in Rin’s route that seemed to make no difference whatsoever. More than anything, I wanted Hisao to tell Rin and Nomiya that despite being artistically ready for a gallery show, it was clear that Rin wasn’t emotionally ready. Even in the good ending, it’s a decision that nearly destroys her.

Last edited Jan 16, 2013 at 12:43AM EST
Jan 16, 2013 at 12:35AM EST
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SHIZUNE/MISHA SPOILERS, although I get the impression that a lot of people know the plot twist from the rooftop scene, so perhaps nobody cares…

There’s an interesting dynamic that Misha’s confession sets up, making it clear that Hisao/Shizune/Misha was even more of a love triangle than anyone would have suspected up to that point. What I find odd about people’s reactions to it, though, is that almost everyone seemed to assume Misha was a lesbian. It’s not necessarily that simple, though. All through acts 1 & 2, Misha is very flirtatious towards Hisao. While it’s possible that this is an act on her part, it’s also possible that Misha is bisexual, and really did have a crush on Hisao. If so, Misha has to look at Shizune and Hisao together and be torn between, “It’s so nice to see my two best friends together,” and, “So I lost the two people I had crushes on to each other, and now I have to hang out in the friend zone squared. Who will love Misha?”

Jan 16, 2013 at 06:23PM EST
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I quite honestly nearly cried at Rin’s neutral ending…

Also, that’s what I thought, Brucker, I’m not sure why people are so quick to say that she’s a lesbian when there is clear enough evidence (if you notice/look for it) that she’s more likely to be bisexual.

Jan 16, 2013 at 06:39PM EST
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Yeah, Rin comes a very close second, if not actually first. Perdsonality-wise, I liked Rin the most, but game-wise, her path ended up being the hardest for me to figure out. I think on each girl’s path but Rin’s, I found the good ending first try; for Rin it took me three tries.



I’m actually rather proud that I managed to nail the good ending to every route on the first try. :3 Feels good knowing that even if I don’t have an innate social reflex I can always think it out.

And you thought Rin’s route was the most relatable? Interesting, I thought the opposite. With Hanako it’s the “shy girl” archetype, with Lilly it’s separation of two people in love due to circumstances, with Emi it’s pushing others away because I don’t want to be hurt, and with Shizune it’s the independent competitive and headstrong girl that won’t let anybody help her. But Rin’s… I suppose on some basic level everyone could relate, but to truly lack the means to build yourself in the minds of others is something that I think is much rarer, and it’s something that resonates deeply with me.

And yeah, while it would’ve been nice to have had choices that affected the overarching story – which is a common complaint in things like this and the Walking Dead game -, you have to remember that KS is first and foremost a story, and nearly every story must have some sort of conflict. It would’ve been too much to include a choice that completely sidesteps the conflict and diverts the story’s entire progression. (Unfortunately)

Jan 16, 2013 at 06:45PM EST
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For me it seems like Rin is getting past her harsh brash exterior to get too know her better. Mostly people can related because they feel that others are quick to judge when they barely know you. Same could be said for Hanako and Lilly but Rin’s is different because her personally is physically tiring.

Jan 16, 2013 at 09:16PM EST
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Pseudogenesis wrote:

I’m actually rather proud that I managed to nail the good ending to every route on the first try. :3 Feels good knowing that even if I don’t have an innate social reflex I can always think it out.

Actually, it was odd to me that there were choices in the game that were the opposite of what I would have done. In “Sip (Part 2)”, there is a choice to either go into town or go to the library. It’s obvious at that point that you’re locked into Hanako or Lilly, and this choice would determine which in particular would end up with Hisao. The first time I got to this scene I wanted to get Hanako’s route, and in such a situation IRL, I would go into town hoping to meet Lilly and ask her if she thought I had any chance with Hanako, since confronting Hanako directly seems to freak her out. However I guessed (correctly) that to get Hanako’s route, I’d have to go to the library and find her, subsequently sitting a comfortable distance away from her reading a book and not talking. How romantic.

And you thought Rin’s route was the most relatable?

Oh, no, her route was the least relatable to me, partially since I’m not an artist, but mostly because of all the strange choices Hisao had to make and Rin made herself. I felt that Rin’s communication problem was the most relatable. Not many people have extreme shyness due to a severe disfigurement, relationship issues due to losing a parent and part of their body at the same time, parents that live on the other side of the world that can’t decide whether to ignore you or micromanage your life, or a father who has always been in their life yet has never talked to them ever. Rin’s disability is tough to relate to, but she shows no sign of it having any effect on her other than needing help getting dressed.

…you have to remember that KS is first and foremost a story, and nearly every story must have some sort of conflict. It would’ve been too much to include a choice that completely sidesteps the conflict and diverts the story’s entire progression. (Unfortunately)

Well, it would have required a lot more work on the part of the writer of Rin’s story, and s/he clearly already put quite a bit into it, but it seems to me that if you talked Rin out of having the gallery show, Nomiya would make both of your lives miserable, even more than he already did in the existing story.

Jan 16, 2013 at 11:26PM EST
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Brucker, odds are not many people can directly relate to the physical disabilities, that wasn’t the point of this novel. The point was too see past those physical and see them as real people instead of just seeing them as tragic figures to be pitied. Also I think Rin’s disability is most unique that makes her more interesting. Lilly and Shizune’s maybe from birth but they can hide it somewhat and would probably attract less unwanted attention, Rin doesn’t have this privilege. A girl eating with her feet would draw attention ergo affect her life. Rin’s apathetic demure is probably formed from her learning not to care about other’s thoughts and ignore stares. So her disability would affect her behavior besides being simple inconvenience. This makes her really relatable to those who feel like people only pay attention to the wrong aspects of them.

Last edited Jan 17, 2013 at 07:08PM EST
Jan 17, 2013 at 07:04PM EST
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Welp, I suppose now’s a good a time as any to stop dragging my feet and download this supposed feelsbeast…

Jan 18, 2013 at 01:01AM EST
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Crimson Avenger wrote:

Brucker, odds are not many people can directly relate to the physical disabilities, that wasn’t the point of this novel. The point was too see past those physical and see them as real people instead of just seeing them as tragic figures to be pitied. Also I think Rin’s disability is most unique that makes her more interesting. Lilly and Shizune’s maybe from birth but they can hide it somewhat and would probably attract less unwanted attention, Rin doesn’t have this privilege. A girl eating with her feet would draw attention ergo affect her life. Rin’s apathetic demure is probably formed from her learning not to care about other’s thoughts and ignore stares. So her disability would affect her behavior besides being simple inconvenience. This makes her really relatable to those who feel like people only pay attention to the wrong aspects of them.

I don’t disagree with what you are saying, it’s just that Hanako and Emi have emotional problems that stem from traumatic incidents early in their lives (which happen to be when they acquired their “disabilities”, but that’s circumstantial) while Shizune and Lilly have extreme emotional detachment from their parents. Those things, which are all tangentially related to their disabilities but not vital to them, are what really set them apart from the average person. Everyone has traumatic experiences, and everyone has family issues, but few of us have them to the extent these girls do.

I suppose Rin could be said to have emotional detachment from her parents as well, but it doesn’t seem to bother her if she does. Her main relationship/socialization issue is difficulty in expressing her true feelings in a way people can understand, and I think just about everyone deals with that at one time or another.

My contention about KS has always been (although I don’t know if I put it in these exact words before) that in each story, Hisao has to learn to look past the girl’s physical disability and eventually see what is emotionally crippling her, which is far more important and vital to making the relationship work.

Jan 18, 2013 at 02:22AM EST
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More notes on sign languages

I was just getting sucked into Wikipedia, reading about sign languages and related linguistic concepts. There was talk about how signed languages may not have any direct relationship with the prominent spoken language in the same area where they are used. In addition to what I’d said above about ASL vs. BSL, “the sign languages of Spain and Mexico are very different, despite Spanish being the national language in each country, and the sign language used in Bolivia is based on ASL rather than any sign language that is used in a Spanish-speaking country.” WP:Sign Language

Something that might be of more interest to those who were interested in JSL is the mention that most sign languages have topic-prominent grammar, which as it happens is something they share with Japanese and numerous other Asian languages. Apparently this means that most sentences will have a sort of dual subject, the first being the “topic”:

(Japanese) Sono yashi-wa happa-ga ookii.
その ヤシは 葉っぱが 大きい。
“That palm tree (topic) leaves (subject) are big.”

That being said, it’s my guess that JSL is more grammatically similar to Japanese than ASL is similar to English.

This may also be part of the reason that I’ve found Google Translate’s handling of Japanese to be sorely wanting.

Jan 18, 2013 at 02:22PM EST
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ASL’s syntax isn’t too hard to get used to to be honest, especially now that I’ve got a few years of Spanish under my belt that have taught me how to handle alternate syntax. It’s got no “To Be” verbs, but that isn’t really a problem. Asking “Are you deaf?” is basically just signing “Deaf you” with an inquisitive expression. Might become much more complicated once I get into the more complex sentence structures though.

Jan 18, 2013 at 06:14PM EST
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One of the fascinating things about deaf culture in the U.S. (and apparently it’s catching on in Japan) is that the word “deaf” has ceased to mean “unable to hear”, and now means “able to communicate in sign language”. This also has the enjoyable effect of implying “hearing” people to be the ones with a disability; being “hearing” is like being mute and/or illiterate.

Jan 18, 2013 at 06:38PM EST
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Yeah, definitely. According to the site I use, most deaf people would prefer to remain deaf, which makes sense really. It’s an identity, culture and community that you’d be forced to take a step back from.

Jan 19, 2013 at 01:02AM EST
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Just learned my friend just played through the whole damn game. He liked everyone’s except Shizune’s apparently. Rin may be his favorite, Hanako is close second, seems a bit divided on which he liked best. I just feel a small victory I influenced him to play the game a bit, he did know about it but never really considered playing it that much…or so he tells me. I never know with him.

Jan 25, 2013 at 11:22AM EST
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You know, it would be interesting for me to hear what it was that people didn’t like about Shizune’s route in particular. Are people not liking Shizune herself? Is Shizune’s dad just too much to take? Were they disappointed that there weren’t enough choices?

Actually, I tried to ask some questions in my first post that didn’t get much (if any) response, so I might as well toss out a bunch of Q’s and see if I get any replies. Actually, not so much a bunch of questions as one question with several answers:

  • What was your favorite and least favorite aspect of each KS path that you played through (including the “Kenji path” if you wish)?

I’m going to give this some thought and answer myself later.

Jan 25, 2013 at 01:08PM EST
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Pretty much the reason why my friend didn’t like her was it wasn’t overly interesting, as well as that, Shizune just isn’t a person most people can relate to on a deeper level. As well as that, he felt like he just kinda slept through it, and as long as he didn’t really mess up he got the good ending.

Jan 25, 2013 at 02:16PM EST
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  1. Emi best: Probably more than any of the other girls, it felt like Hisao was really helping her deal with her emotional problems. Emi worst: The answer to the dark “secret” of what happened to Emi’s dad wasn’t much of a surprise, making for a boring plot twist.
  2. Rin best: Although the journey there was often confusing, each of the endings had a powerful emotional punch to them. Rin worst: Like I said, decision after decision after decision with no clear picture of how the decisions are effecting the story, if at all.
  3. Lilly best: The good ending was really amazing: drama, action, romance, plot twists, etc. Lilly worst: Hisao’s condition seemed to be the worst in Lilly’s path; was there any other path with as many arrhythmia incidents? I love you-HNNNGG! Let’s have sex-HNNNGG! Can I pour you some tea-HNNNGG? Very frustrating.
  4. Hanako best: Like Hisao says a couple times, every smile you get out of Hanako seems like a little treasure; it’s very easy to want strongly to make her happy. Hanako worst: Virtually no mystery; each of the other girls has an emotional problem that you have to dig into their past to understand, but Hanako’s emotional problem is as clear as the scars on her face, because that’s 90% of her issue.
  5. Shizune best: For me there was a feeling like what I described for Hanako: because Shizune is such a serious and overly-competitive person, a number of moments where she’s taken by surprise by Hisao’s selflessness end up being very tender moments. Shizune worst: I probably wouldn’t have minded the lack of choices in Shizune’s route so much if the one choice you got wasn’t a completely obvious one. It’s like if they gave you a single choice on Hanako’s route, and it was “Tell Hanako she’s beautiful/Make fun of her scars.”
  6. Kenji best: Oddly enough, once Kenji gets drunk, he seems more normal; you might wonder if you’re going to end up having a good time after all. Kenji worst: Finally finding out the #1 most shocking moment in Kenji’s life. Awkward…
Jan 25, 2013 at 05:20PM EST
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Skeletor-sm

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