Three years ago, I fell in love with a man. He was dashing. The kind of man every other girl in the school adored. They wished he would be out, picking up nesting materials with them. For some reason, he chose me. He loved me and, despite his constant greeting of “Salut~!,” I loved him in return.
My second love wasn’t so pure. He was a man possessed. Consumed by his thirst for knowledge, no-one could cross paths with him and survive. Such passion is rare. Like a moth to a flame, I headed toward my inevitable demise. I regretted nothing though, for who could resist such a man?
Perhaps it’s only fitting that my third love was otherworldly. My pure heart (shut up Ishaan and anyone else who knows me) allowed me to happen upon a lost soul. Our love burned brightly and, while we couldn’t remain together, I could take solace in the fact that he was finally able to move forward towards something better with my support.
Yet, all of these affairs were fleeting. Despite the love we had for one another, it couldn’t last. Those damn computer requirements got in the way. Fortunately, things are different now. Enough time has passed. My heart has healed. It’s time to go Hatoful again.
…What? You all thought I was talking about real men? Yeah, right! Like any human could inspire that kind of devotion! No, I was talking about Yuuya Sakazaki, Shuu Iwamine, and Nageki Fujishiro – three of the famous birdies from Hatoful Boyfriend! To be more specific, the three are a fantail pigeon, chukar partridge, and mourning dove.
Hatoful Boyfriend is one of my all-time, top dating sims. It’s hands-down one of the most imaginative and hilarious games I’ve ever played. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the easiest title to play. Finding it, getting a translation patch, and then even getting the right patches to run it on your computer got to be such a hassle. That problem was solved with a little help from Mediatonic and Devolver Digital.
I was concerned about the remake. I mean, it’s only natural. As rough as Hatoful Boyfriend was, the game was something of a masterpiece. Such worries were immediately assuaged. The translation remains the same, with only some minor alterations to ensure everything reads well and there aren’t glaring spelling or grammatical errors. The character portraits remain the same, though there’s this nice shadowing around them that ensures they “pop” against the redrawn backgrounds. The music even sounds better, and once again we’ll find “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” striking fear into our hearts. Everyone involved could have offered these alterations up and fans would have been satisfied.
They didn’t. Instead, all parties involved went a step further and made a fan-demanded change. Azami “Carve it into your soul!” Koshiba now has her own route. Yes, Hatoful Boyfriend isn’t just an otome game anymore. Hato Moa came back with this original content because people loved Azami too much in the original game to let her run off with someone else. The new storyline fits seemlessly into the game, Both newcomers and dedicated fans will surely appreciate the wit and wisdom of the Way of the Sparrow.
Still, I began this article by detailing some of my romantic affairs. Since I’m clearly the kind of woman who kisses and tells, I may as well share more.
I’d always heard good things about Okosan. I have no idea why I didn’t pursue him in the original Hatoful Boyfriend. I greatly enjoyed his references to Pokemon games. Perhaps I feared he would be too silly? I decided his tale would be a good starting point for a reintroduction, and must admit that his is now one of my favorite routes. There’s something about his “best” ending. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I enjoyed the supernatural twist. I only wish I could share the nickname I’ve created for him, because it’s just too perfect, given one of his ending event images.
After Okosan, I went back to Dr. Iwamine. (He only hurts me because he loves me!) There is no doubt in my mind that the “Fat Bird” is the best yandere character in otome. I can’t bring myself to start Ace’s route in Alice in the Heart because I know he won’t, can’t, compare.
From there, I hopped among many lovers like a finch skipping along the bottom of a birdcage, searching for dropped seeds. I went on adventures with Azami. I fought alongside Anghel as Edel Blau. I conquered it all, then explored a rather “hurtful” truth.
Hatoful Boyfriend is a true delight. It’s a comedic otome game that shows a tremendous amount of craftmanship and dedication. Especially once people go through every single romantic route to uncover more sinister truths. Most people look at it as a joke. They aren’t wrong. It absolutely is a hilarious, satirical look at the dating sim genre. But, people would be wrong to write it off as a gag game. The birdie has two faces, and I wholeheartedly encourage anyone with an interest in visual novels to attend St. Pigeonation’s.
Food for Thought:
1. If you’re looking for a recommended “route” order, I suggest this: Ryouta, Okosan, Sakuya, Azami, Nageki, Nanaki, Shuu, Yuuya, Anghel, then Hurtful.
2. In terms of content, my routes from most to least favorite are: Anghel, Shuu, Okosan, Yuuya, Azami, Sakuya, Nanaki, Nageki, then Ryouta.