Otome Game Review – Hatoful Boyfriend


So I know I said I would have the S Class post next, but then I was distracted by the prospect of dating pigeons. Yes, you read that correctly. Welcome to Hatoful Boyfriend, the otome game where you live in a cave and all of your love interests are of the feathered variety. For a brief history about this, it actually started out as a doujin game but become extremely popular for reasons I don’t think I’ll ever completely understand. It’s even popular (the word popular here is interchangeable with ‘weird’) enough to get a drama CD with most of the suggested seiyuu. I think there’s a version that costs money too, but I played the free one. The game is pretty short and (unfortunately unvoiced with no CGs), but it’s free and there’s even an English patch. So really, most of you could probably play this yourself. I’ll probably keep the route summaries to one paragraph because really, there’s not much to talk about.

Moving on to the actual storyline, you play as a human girl in her second year of high school. …A high school for birds that is. As stated before, she lives in a cave for whatever reason and that’s all I can tell you about her really. I told you this was short. Oh also, I don’t think she has an ‘official’ name, so I’ll just refer to her as the heroine. Each of the …er, bishies (?) have their bird sprite, but also get a human looking one for “inexperienced players” as well that is briefly shown in the beginning. Just in case you aren’t mentally prepared for romance with birds and need to visualize actual bishies. But who would want that? xD Spoilers start here.

Shirogane Le Bel Sakuya:

I started with Sakuya. Why? Because his suggested voice is Ishida Akira. Duh. Anyways, he’s the stuck up pigeon who’s rolling in money (though I have yet to see a bird actually roll). He’s also the student council president and brother to Yuuya. However, I think this is mentioned once and then completely forgotten about, so really it’s not that important. He starts out with bossing the heroine around (since she’s forced into being vice president) and being a stereotypical rich kid who believes that everything is for peasants. However after the heroine hangs out with him for a bit and makes him do peasant things, he becomes less of a bocchan and more of a tsundere (a little bit). He even invites the heroine to his fancy Christmas dinner party (which is subsequently crashed by San in his search for pudding). New years, he runs away from home and the heroine finds him dying outside her cave house. He tells her that he wants to be a musician (…does anyone else see this going downhill extremely fast?) , but his father won’t let him because Sakuya needs to become head of the family/ do important rich people things. The heroine tells Sakuya that he should follow his dreams and the route ends with Sakuya heading home to stand up to his father. …No really, that’s it.

Oko San:

Obviously the best looking guy in the game. After one playthough of this, I realized that this was in no way, shape or form a normal game, so I figured I’d just get San out of the way. To put it lightly he’s… insane. San is probably the most feral of the bishie selection, but he’s head of the school track team and can somehow outrun everyone (including the heroine). He also has an obsession with pudding, but doesn’t recognize real pudding when he sees it. Most of the route is spent on having San destroy things while raging about pudding until a track meet where the heroine saves him from Shuu trying to give him steroids. The heroine takes them instead (…and they increase her intellect for some reason). Eventually, San tells the heroine that his true goal in life is to find the mythical seven-coloured pudding and they both drop out of school/ travel the globe to find it. It was around here that I learned to stop questioning this game.

Fujishiro Nageki:

The quiet antisocial guy who spends his time in the library. The heroine sees him a lot after she joins the library committee, but everyone else seems to ignore him. Eventually they start talking and it turns out that they share interests in books. They get along pretty well from here on. The heroine notices that she’s the only one who ever talks to him and thinks he’s being bullied, but later finds out that she’s the only one who can see him. The other people don’t know that he even exists. In the end, Nageki remembers that he’s actually the ghost of a student who committed suicide in the library and he disappears after thanking the heroine. …I don’t know what was weirder. The shift from going from San’s route to this, or the fact that a game about pigeons made me cry. In either case, yeah a surprisingly serious route.

Kawara Ryouta:

Ryouta is the cheerful childhood friend whom the heroine saved when he was just a hatching (he fell out of his nest). Him and the heroine get along well from the start and his mother is sick in the hospital. He also helps run the maid cafe that the class does for the cultural festival. In full maid gear and everything. Going through the route, you figure out that Ryouta has liked the heroine since forever ago, but that’s all put on hold once his mother gets extremely sick in the hospital/dies. He then gets depressed. Ryouta tells the heroine that his mother told him that he should rely on her. He confesses his love (as does the heroine), but then he points out the obvious. They’re completely different species. He tells he that he’ll die way before she does and he doesn’t want to leave her like his mother just did. However, the heroine doesn’t care and the two become a couple. …You mean this game actually has romance in it?! Lolwut.

Nanaki Kazuaki:

Kazuaki is the heroine’s homeroom teacher/math genius who has the talent of falling asleep in the middle of lectures.  Their relationship starts off as pretty professional (that is, just student and teacher), but the heroine soon finds that she wants to know more about him. Eventually while hanging with him, he drops a picture of some bird that’s been scribbled out with marker. At first Kazuaki doesn’t want to talk about it, but after the heroine confesses, he tells her that he used to have a partner that he loved, but one day she just left him. After that, he closed off his heart and was confused because he both hated her and loved her at the same time (thus why he couldn’t stand to see her face and marked out the picture). He also tells the heroine that he burned the picture because he wants to remember her from his heart. So yeah, the route ends with Kazuaki saying that he’ll be waiting for the heroine after graduation and if she still loves him, he’ll give a relationship between them a chance. A-another serious route?! I have greatly underestimated this game.

Sakazaki Yuuya:

Yuuya’s route is closely tied in with Shuu’s, so I’m putting this here despite the fact that I did this route before Kazuaki’s. Yuuya is the ladies man-bird who’s suggested seiyuu is Kouji Yusa. …Lolwut? But he’s not a rapist or angsty! Anyways, yeah he’s also a year above the heroine and he also helps out in the infirmary. Yuuya’s route starts off as him hitting on the heroine/adding in random French to his lines/ her rejecting him. About halfway through, Shuu asks Yuuya if he’s been messing around with his desk (which they were supposed to stay away from) and Yuuya tells an outright lie. The heroine has a chance to say something here, but she chooses to cover for Yuuya and he thanks her, but doesn’t provide an explanation. From then on, Yuuya acts suspiciously and later warns the heroine to stay away from him since she might get shot, knifed, buried alive, etc. and he also tells her that he’s going to disappearing from the school for a bit. When she finally finds him again, he tells her that he’s a spy. The whole story behind him joining the infirmary is that Shuu is actually an agent sent from the Hawk Party (a government faction dedicated to wiping out humans) and he’s experimenting on students to come up with something to kill off people. Anyways, back to Yuuya, he was supposed to prove the Hawk Party’s connection to the school/stop them, but they figured him out so he has to go into hiding. He invites the heroine to go with him and the route ends with the heroine becoming a spy as well. Well this explained a ton about the Hawk Party (since they’re the cause of some of the bad ends), but yeah. There was no build up to their relationship. It just kind of… happened.

Iwamine Shuu:

Oh god, it’s the school doctor. You know, despite hearing about the ending to this route, I thought it wouldn’t be that bad since he’s such a bishie in his picture. I was wrong.Very, very, very wrong. Words cannot describe how wrong I was. This guy is a COMPLETE CREEP. The route starts out normal enough with the heroine joining the infirmary and basically follows part of Yuuya’s route up until Yuuya lies about going through Shuu’s desk and the heroine says that he’s lying. Next thing you know, Yuuya goes missing and the heroine is sent a nice new white feather pen and mysterious roast bird (that she eats) for Christmas from Shuu. (ಠ_ಠ), just (ಠ_ಠ). So eventually, the heroine walks in on this:

After that, Shuu explains that he’s been preforming experiments on students and basically all the creepy rumours (about students disappearing in the infirmary and ending up as feathered pens in the store or as chicken served in the cafeteria (… the cafeteria in a school for birds sells chicken.)) about him are 100% true (and yes, the bird the heroine ate for Christmas was Yuuya). …For whatever reason, the heroine chooses this time to confess her undying love for Shuu, but he decides to kill her anyways. He’s impressed by her though so he decides to keep her close… by keeping her dismembered head in a jar. Don’t you just love happy endings?

…So why the pigeons?

Is what you’re probably asking. Well, believe it or not, the writers actually provided an explanation for this. You see, there was this virus called the H5N1 (better known as the avian flu) but in the game, the vaccine the doctors made did next to nothing for people and made birds smarter. So pretty much all of the humans died off and the birds took over. Yeah. I guess the heroine was one of the few who survived. By the way, you learn this by staying in the doctor’s office after looking for Ryouta. The price for this information is the fact that the heroine winds up with her decapitated head in a jar. Again. Joy.

Overall Thoughts:

DEAR LORD WHAT HAVE I DONE?! …Was my first reaction after playing this all the way through. It’s all because of that last route. Sadly, I’ve played more scarring things (*CoughYusanekoCoughAkazukinCoughCANNIBALISMCough*) involving yanderes though, so I recovered from this pretty fast. Er, other than that, this wasn’t that bad of a game. It was extremely entertaining and weird. I can see why it’s popular (I’ve heard rumours about a manga. Not a clue if this is true or not though). When I first finished this, the lack of romance surprised me since some of these seemed like just friend endings. However when I actually sat down and thought about it, I realised that anything more then what the game went through would just be bestiality. …Which then made me question the heroine even more and why I played this. …Return to the first line of this paragraph. 

*Cough* That aside, the game had stats to raise as well, but I have no idea how that even worked. I seriously just picked classes to attend based on the route (for example, I raised stamina for San’s and intelligence for Kazuaki’s). This seemed to have worked for me since I never received a bad end unless it was on purpose, but yeah. Noooooo idea what the stats were even for. The choices for each bishie’s route were fairly easy to figure out based on context and the controls were pretty easy to figure out. Though the skip option skipped through new text and was pretty fast, so I had to go back a few times to read what I missed since the game was so short. The game lacked Cgs (though after my revelation from the last paragraph, I don’t think I want them), but the music they had fit pretty well. The art for backgrounds and such wasn’t bad either (the screencaps are pretty low quality due to my crap computer. The game quality is far better than what I have here). It was pretty good for a doujin game. Overall, the heroine was pretty awesome. Some of her dialogue was the best in the game:

 ….I don’t know whether to recommend doing Shuu’s route first to get it out of the way, or last so you don’t have to deal with it until the end. I usually just laugh while doing crazy yandere routes, but that thing with him sending the heroine Yuuya as a present makes me (ಠ_ಠ) every time. I have to use a face because there are no words to describe how creeped out I am. Not even the fact that he keeps her head in a jar is as creepy as what he sends the heroine. That being said, Ryouta’s route was actually pretty sweet, Nageki’s and Nanaki’s were emotional, Yuuya’s explained a lot, Sakuya’s was entertaining once you got past his superiority complex and San was…. just lol. I was NOT expecting the game to get as serious as it did. I was expecting stuff like San’s the entire way through. The bad ends were entertaining despite most of them involving the heroine dying horrible deaths (…or maybe that’s why they were entertaining in the first place). This game was really weird and didn’t even bother trying to pretend that it wasn’t. So yeah, if you have a borderline insane love for birds, are extremely masochistic or just enjoy Japan’s weirdness, I would suggest this game. It kept me entertained for half a day at least.


University student and the one at Metanorn who's known for wearing glasses. Likes blood, insanity and plot twists, but also plays otome games and adores cute romance anime. It balances out... somehow.
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69 Responses to “Otome Game Review – Hatoful Boyfriend”

  1. Kyokai says:

    This made me ROTFL for so long! WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN—! Japan sure comes up with gems and this is one of those that no one should miss. From the fluffy ones to bishie ones, this game seems insane yet highly entertaining.

    • Karakuri says:

      Lolol what would we do without Japan? Kyo, you should play this xD. Or force Hato to play this

  2. Jak says:

    Brightened up my day XD
    Serious mindfcuking LOLZZZ
    Though, the part where the heroine got sent a bird for a meal was….. err…

    • Karakuri says:

      Ahaha good to know!
      Er… yeah. I think the worst part was that you knew what he had sent her, but the heroine was all “He’s so thoughtful!”

  3. Ceyrai says:

    @[email protected] This game is such a troll from the way you describe it (well, except for the le-gasp serious stuff). This is just craaazy and almost a deconstruction of the otome video game genre. Why is Japan so weeeeeiiiird?

    Awesomest dating sim EVAH. Please let them make one where the birds are in a music academy and are technicolor fabulous. And now I shall show this post to my otome gamer friend and see what she makes of this.

    • Karakuri says:

      I think it was supposed to be a satire of the otome game genre, but it took itself so seriously on the official site that I’m hesitant to call it a joke… Either way, highly entertaining for obvious reasons.


      • Ceyrai says:

        OKAY. So we played it after school – just Shuu’s route just to see. I’ll never hear “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” the same way again. :)))) That said, that kept me highly entertained and really took off the negative aura that surrounded my day *coughquizcough* a lot. Will play San’s route next. Or maybe I should play it last, as it sounds like the best? 😛

        This is the best recomm ever. I don’t even play otome games and I’m going to waste allot disk space in my laptop for this. I hopehopehope they make a sequel. :)))

        • Karakuri says:

          Ahaha San’s route is the best if you feel like mindless comedy.

          A sequel would be fantastic, but I wonder how they would carry on Shuu’s route… lolol

  4. Shey says:

    This is just so insane that I almost can’t believe this is for real. Who would play such a game haha! I love your review though, it made my cheeks hurt from laughing too much 😀

  5. Miyu says:

    ….whaaaaat? Japan y u so crazy? Σ(・□・;)
    Honestly after this I don’t think any other game can beat it in terms of weirdness (um, I HOPE, but then again this is Japan we’re talking about >.>)

    At this point of time I’m still not sure whether I’d like to try this HAHAHA. As amusing as it seems, that last route you played will probably give me nightmares ;_; all the games I’ve played are light and fluffy xD

    Great review Kara! Enjoyed reading it x3 Now I can show this to all my friends and freak them out (Y)

    • Karakuri says:

      I’d like to see a game that could beat this in weirdness. (… and then I would probably play it xD)

      Yeah that last one was just scarring. You could probably just skip the doctor’s route though~

      Ahaha thanks and mission accomplished!

  6. Overcooled says:

    Oh my God Karakuri, I’m so glad you actually wrote this. XDDD One day it just popped up on my info sites, then it invaded all of Tumblr. My friend and I got so curious we watched someone else play it on youtube (and they added their own…INTERESTING voice acting…). We laughed so hard we cried. I saw most of the Doctor’s route and oh my God, the ending is weird. The whole sending her a bird to eat was also super weird. Only a game like this could make eating a normal dinner into a horrible crime.

    Oh my God, reading what you wrote about San’s route…what the heeellllllll…I just…wow. I don’t get it, do people really want to get it on with pigeons or do they just find the concept so hilarious that they’re playing for the novelty of it all? I’m…scared for the answer.


    • Karakuri says:

      Like I said, I don’t think I’ll ever fully comprehend why this is so popular xD. Ahaha I’d look that up, but seeing that Christmas scene once was enough. NEVER AGAIN.

      San’s was the most wtf route (aside from the doctor’s) and yeah. I played because of the hype/I thought it was hilarious. But looking online, there were a few people who seriously wanted to get it on with pigeons. lolol


    That was hilarious, Karakuri! xD I liked how the had a legit explanation to why everyone’s a bird at the end.

    • Karakuri says:


      I thought the explanation for the birds was a nice touch (the game certainly didn’t have any obligation to give us one), but it would have been nice to avoid the whole decapitation thing again xD.

  8. Mint says:



    I can’t help but laugh whenever I see that pigeon. And then he turns out to be a crazy decapitating pigeon? IS THIS REAL LIFE?!?

    • Karakuri says:

      The doctor’s pigeon even looks like a creeper. I don’t know how that got past me before it was the bishie glasses

  9. Anya says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I heard about this a few times, but never bothered to look it up. This is hilarious XD Though that ghost route seems too serious/sad for something that is a troll game.

    I’m gonna stick to normal VNs ^^”

    • Karakuri says:

      Nageki’s route was definitely a shock due to it’s seriousness. But overall, this game is hilarious.


  10. Bob from Accounting says:

    My god, this looks amazing. I may actually have to play it.

  11. Joojoobees says:

    The power of imagination. o.O

  12. anaaga says:

    Mother of god shit laughing so hard right now.

    I need to play this game. And damn Oko san is just hot.

    Surprisingly, I actually like the library ending. It was actually touching, and no bird magic that makes him come back alive THANK GOD.

    I’m pretty sure people will see this game in a new light if the pigeons aren’t there. But what makes this game stands out is the game, so…

    • Karakuri says:


      Oko-san was the best looking bishie. Hands down xD.

      Yes, no sparkly bird magic/convenient comas. I wonder how the extended version of his route goes though.

      Hmmm, I think it would lost it’s touch without the birds.

  13. Junko says:

    I actually had the freakiest nightmare after reading about the ending for Doctor bird, and now have a very low tolerance to gore. Stupid pigeons ;__;

    • Karakuri says:

      I was wondering what your aversion to him was. Whoa, I don’t even want to know what that dream was about but that sounds pretty terrifying.

  14. Tofu says:

    This is…. extraordinarily “what the hell is this!?” At first glance and judging from the screenshots it doesn’t look like a very high budget VN ;D Anyways of course it’s an otome game and…well… if you enjoyed it Kara then it should be pretty decent ^^ For the girls that is ahahaha!

    I’ve never seen a VN review before so this would help me learn heaps!

    • Tofu says:

      by the way… is it actually called HATOful boyfriend!? AHAHAHAHAHA! ;D

    • Karakuri says:

      …I don’t think this had a budget at all actually. Or at least it didn’t have one when it was made (who knows how the drama CD is going to sell). Ahaha yep, this was aimed at girls (… probably xD). If they make a guys side to this, that would be awesome.

  15. Amutofan123 says:

    What. The. Hell.

    Hahahaha, this made my day. I gotta play this.

  16. Hawthorne says:

    AHAHA!! omg this entire post was all sorts of awesome, this so made my day. xD I’m really tempted to play now, Oko san and the seven-colored pudding would obviously be my first choice.

  17. Arctic says:

    Yesss I played this game too it was the best. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy will never be the same again.
    Personally my favourite is Kazuaki, but I think Nageki had the best route.

    Also that wasn’t even the whole game btw. That was just a free shortened version. You’ll have to pay for the real one, and the

    • Karakuri says:

      YES~! Someone else! I actually really liked Ryouta’s route. Though I’m a sucker for childhood friends.

      I wanted to buy the longer version, but I have no idea how to pay. I was planing on just waiting for the English patch for the long one to come out and then I figure it will be popular enough for someone to post instructions xD.

      • Arctic says:

        I’m waiting for the English patch too. xD The maker of Hatoful Boyfriend actually ASKED some Tumblr people to make an English translation, I think.

        Also, the reason why Shuu is so fluffy and all is because… he feels like breeding.

  18. Flamand says:


  19. Samantha Zan says:

    The thumbnail just confused me for a second lol. Aghh I haven’t played this game but…it’s free? Time to find in Google 0w0

    Though I kind of loled with dating birds and all. Though they have really bishe human sprites :3

    • Karakuri says:

      Yes it’s free~. Free things are good~

      Yes, the deceiving bishie sprites! Sadly, the bishies don’t last and the game is 95% birds.

  20. Hoshi says:

    ~Oh God, I HAVE TO PLAY THIS. This is just too hilarious not to play. Like Overcooled, screencaps of this just suddenly appeared on my tumblr dash and I was like, “LOL IS THIS LEGIT?”. Now I have my answer xD

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