Even after running WinD for about 2 years, I still don’t know what we were in denial about. None of the original members remained after about Episode 12 of the first series of Higurashi, leaving the question eternally unanswered.
Higurashi’s influence on me, however, is still burning brightly. I’m currently listening to “Naraku no Hana” (Flower of Hell), one of the many great OP songs from the show. I have more Higurashi merch in my possession than I care to admit. Had I the time, I would happily sit down and re-watch all 52 episodes plus the 3 OVAs back-to back.
Higurashi did two things that led me to becoming part of 4LS.
Firstly, it re-kindled a flame inside of me that I had nearly snuffed out with overtime and beer. Higurashi moved me so much that I wanted to move others in similar degrees. I wanted people to compose great songs and draw great art to accompany my stories. I wanted people to feel how I felt, to experience the vicissitudes of life at my hand.
Secondly, it pulled me deeper and deeper into the “anime” subculture, until one day, this happened:
<meowshi> Hey Crud, have you checked out Katawa Shoujo? I think you’d be into it?
Well shit. The young QCer, Meowshi, who was almost constantly kick/banned from the staff channel, brought Katawa Shoujo to my attention. Originally, I thought of the project as a bit of a joke. My original thought was that the Rin “Good” end would result in her metamorphosing into a dolphin and swimming away into the sunset.
I originally put my hand up to be involved in the music side of things. I had this strange idea that I knew how to compose, and at the time I was working as an audio engineer and had access to the equipment that would have let us record the soundtrack live.
But in the interim, I started reading the “scraps” that people were posting. Most of them revolved around various sex scenes, but there were some good ideas in there. I put my (then) current writing project, Arctic Gale, on hold, and started posting scraps of my own.
The one that sealed the deal, however, was ~Bad End~. Still heavily influenced by Higurashi, I wrote a short piece in which Hanako, thinking that she was betrayed, strikes out at Rin and Hisao, murdering them both. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t so stable at the time. And then something awesome happened.
Kekekeke, upon reading the story (and probably at my request), made a quick sketch of the scene. Suddenly I felt that wave of emotion – someone had taken something that I had written and turned it into a great drawing.
That image super-charged my ambition, and within about 3 months of it being posted I had taken control of 4LS with TcDohl, and together with the rest of 4LS we started working on the game. That story is covered a million times over in blogs, so I will leave it there.
So that, my dear readers, is the 5-part story of how I came to be involved in Katawa Shoujo. From Les Mis, through Excel, Haruhi and Higurashi, I can now, for the first time, realise the chain of influence that led me to writing Hanako in the way I did.
Sure, there were personal events that happened during the writing, but that’s a topic for another post!
PS, for those that are interested: