Katawa Shoujo was a first for me in a few fields, which I might have discussed briefly in an earlier post. It was my first visual novel, and while I'm not exactly a font of knowledge of experience in the medium, it opened me up to a wonderful (if expensive and sometimes questionable) form of storytelling. It was the first exposure I had to a Japanese-style thing, and while not being actually Japanese itself, got me on that road too.
It was also the first internet forum I got properly involved with, back in February 2014. I managed to rack up over 1,000 posts of mostly (if I'm honest) trying to figure out whether Emi or Rin is bestgirl, mooning over artwork, and just general mindless shitposting. Really, I look back on the time and it's a strange mixture of trying to figure out why I spent so much time there, and being sincerely glad I did. Just distracting myself on there and discussing essentially irrelevant bumph helped me out vastly during a crappy stage of my life, and for that I'm forever grateful towards it.
However, being a forum based around a singular VN there's only so much somebody can contribute (at least, without being excellent at art or a damn good creative writer). The amount of times a lemon joke can be made, or a Rinfidel can be declared eventually dries up, and so after spending roughly a year on it, I basically stopped going on there. Every now and then I would pop my head back in to see if I was missing anything interesting, but then even those occasions started to disappear, and about 9-10 months went by.
I figured that, today, I might just see how this little community was doing. I was never what I would call a major part of the community, but as I've already alluded to I was fond of it - I just had nothing left to offer. Yet, I opened it up and what greeted me was a sad state of inactivity. It was, I admit, never the fastest moving forum in the world, but typically things would move at a fair-t'-middling pace most of the time - a good 10 or so topics a day with at least one comment, perhaps one or two with a decent conversation on. But this time, there were 8 topics explored in the 'Public Discussion' field since the start of April. I found one or two conversations - short, but conversations nevertheless - that had taken place, largely among people who were regulars when I used to frequent, but very few new faces.
To be fair, for what it is it's had a bloody good run (the forums themselves opened in 2007 in their current guise) and to call it dead would be unfair - it's not like nothing's happening - but it seems to be approaching a moribund, final state. Whether it happens next year, or the year after, who knows, but for myself it brings a very real feeling of sadness. I understand this is how forums work. People come and go, some stay for longer than others; this is just a fact of life in these places, and for more 'limited' forums one only expects a natural lifespan, obviously culminating in death. But to see a community start to fade, particularly one I held dear during my time there... Yeah, it does bring me down a little.
And that got me thinking. I regularly partake in two internet communities, and it made me appreciate how much I actually feel towards these people; people who I've never met and am never likely to meet. Most will likely phase out as time goes by - be it days, months, years - and I fully expect it will be the same for me. I'll likely only think about them once in a while, a thought like "Oh, I wonder how such-and-such is getting on nowadays". The two I am part of are both far more expansive in their scope than the KS forums - Fuwanovel for... well, obviously visual novels, and the other for music - and I suppose that they will probably last longer than I give them my attention as a consequence. But the fact that these communities leave such an indelible mark on my being, however small I may think they are, means that one day I am likely to feel this feeling of sadness once again, whether I come back to find it nearly gone, or whether I stick around long enough to see it fall.
Sorry for being a bit of a bummer, but this hit me a little harder than I suppose it might/should and wished to vent a little. Here's Renge singing