Kathryn is the last playable character to join protagonist Aster’s family, and she is, for sure, an interesting one — both from a narrative and a mechanical perspective.
Let’s just say that you should probably approach with a certain degree of caution.
We first learn of Kathryn earlier in the game. She’s a Zero Knight — the highest rank of Knight there is in the World of Eve — and yet she appears to shirk what we understand to be a Knight’s duties at this point in the narrative in favour of locking herself away in her house in the mountains, inventing things.
Kathryn establishes herself firmly quite early on as someone who needs to feel like she understands the people she is interacting with, otherwise she is inclined to flee from the interaction altogether. She devises a “test” of sorts for Aster, making use of a fake “Fountain of Truth” near her house to trick him into proving he is a decent person who genuinely cares for his wives. Unfortunately, she gets to see a little more than she intended, causing her to spend much of the rest of the game referring to Aster as “dick boy”.
We get to know Kathryn a little better in the game’s third chapter — including the circumstances that apparently led her to become the hermit she is today. It seems that a terrible defeat befell the squad she was in charge of, and she blames herself for the deaths of her comrades. Moreover, as we dig deeper into the issues, we learn that she was convinced her squad hated her, and that she is wracked with survivor’s guilt, believing herself unworthy of happiness.
Of course, things are not at all that simple, and it’s not until Kathryn gets to actually confront the literal ghosts of her past thanks to the real Fountain of Truth — an artifact in the kalar forest that is so infused with magical energy it is able to manifest thoughts, be they “good” or “bad” — that she is able to understand what really happened, and how she should look at starting to move forward with her life.
Aster plays a key role in Kathryn learning to re-integrate herself into society after the revelations she confronts in the kalar forest. His earnest expressions of affection (and lust) for her initially fall on deaf ears, since Kathryn’s lack of self-confidence leads her to assume that no-one would ever want to make her happy — let alone find her attractive. But Aster persists, making use of an established (and somewhat discredited) rumour about the Fountain of Truth to prove he means all the things he says, and this is the beginning of Kathryn taking a somewhat different view of the world.
Old habits die hard, of course, and even once Kathryn has allowed Aster into her life — and ultimately joined his family — she remains somewhat abrasive and very defensive about certain things. She wants to remain true to the person she is on the one hand — a massive nerd who enjoys experimenting and inventing things — but at the same time she is ashamed of herself. She believes that her unconventional interests will drive people away, and thus is extremely hesitant to allow anyone to know or see what she is up to.
Aster, as we’ve come to understand by this point, is incredibly accepting and tolerant of people, regardless of how they choose to live their life. It takes Kathryn a little while to understand this fact, as even having confronted her past trauma, she remains hesitant to believe that she “deserves” any sort of happiness or acceptance from others.
Oddly, later in the game, we discover that Kathryn does have some friends who aren’t from what becomes her family — and, unexpectedly, they turn out to be two hannies, the wide-mouthed ceramic monsters that appear in all AliceSoft games as unofficial mascots.
Kathryn relates to the hannies because they are actually ostracised from society while she believes herself to be in a similar position, and thus she strikes up a friendship with them, even going so far as to regularly play card games with them. It’s a somewhat tumultuous relationship, mind; after Aster witnesses her shattering her two “friends” and apparently killing them after a rules disagreement, he is somewhat shocked to hear from them after he glues them back together that this is far from the first time this has happened, and that they certainly don’t hold any grudges about it. A healthy friendship? Hmm, a little of both the “yes” and “no” columns there, I think.
Mechanically, Kathryn is an interesting character to have in the party because she takes on a supporting role. She’s not a healer, mind, though she does have the opportunity to acquire a First Aid skill. Rather, her skills mostly focus on buffing the party’s attack and defense in various ways; she even has some passive skills that allow the whole party or individual characters to start battle with buffs already in place.
Aside from buffing, Kathryn also takes on another useful supporting role: cancelling enemy attacks and buffs. Like in AliceSoft’s Rance series, many of the more powerful attacks in the game are signified by an enemy taking a turn to “charge”, with “charging” counting as a positive status. Kathryn’s “Cancel” skills allow her to remove any and all positive statuses from either one or all enemies at once, making her a great character to interrupt some of the most potentially devastating attacks in the game — or at least to ensure enemies don’t remain buffed for long!
She may initially seem to be one of the most challenging members of the cast to get along with… but beneath that spiky outer surface, there really is a lot to like about Kathryn, and seeing her gradually open up to Aster over the course of Evenicle’s story is a real delight.
A worthy waifu indeed, and one I’ll remember long after beating the game.
More about Evenicle
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