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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.