Emi is the first path most players end up on when playing Katawa Shoujo for the first time, so it’s fitting that we begin an in-depth exploration of the game with a look at her story.
Katawa Shoujo, lest you’re unfamiliar, is a Western-developed visual novel that was inspired by a Japanese doujinshi artist’s sketches of girls with a variety of disabilities. It attracted controversy due to its subject matter — plus the fact that its title translates from Japanese as “cripple girls”, which was understandably considered somewhat offensive — but those who took the time to play it discovered a game that was surprisingly sensitive with its subject matter, and which told some very moving stories.
The nature of the cast (and, for that matter, the protagonist’s personal journey) in Katawa Shoujo pushes the player into initially identifying characters by their disabilities, meaning that at the outset Emi’s distinguishing characteristic is that she doesn’t have any legs. Progress through the narrative, however, and certainly in Emi’s case, her disability becomes arguably the least important aspect of her whole.