Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk and Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly are interesting otome games. These two visual novels clearly have a connection, as indicated by the title. But if someone were to start playing, it might not be immediately obvious how the two connect. It is only after spending a substantial amount of time with Ashen Hawk that things will start to click and become clear.
Editor’s note: there will absolutely be spoilers for Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk and Black Butterfly here. However, no spoiler images are used.
Okay, so let’s go ahead and get the major issue out of the way. Both Psychedelica games do not take place in the real world. In each one, we are in a realm called Psychedelica. Various circumstances have trapped the characters there. In Black Butterfly, the characters end up in the realm after incidents involving a house in the real world. Natsuki (Kagiha) died and Kazuya (Monshiro) fell into a coma when the group of friends were children, and Ai (Benyuri), Aki (Karasuba) and Takuya (Yamato) were on a bus to visit the place where everything happened as teenagers when it got into an accident and they all fell into comas. In Ashen Hawk, Olgar’s grief over the death of his wife and misuse of the Kaleido-via sent the whole town he lived in and its residents into Psychedelica.
Both games also have the kaleidoscope as a means of returning to the real world. In Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly, the group must defeat the monsters to rebuild the kaleidoscope projector. As things pull together, they gradually learn more about their world and regain their memories. In Ashen Hawk, we are rebuilding the Kaleido-via after a request from Lawrence. It turns out that Jed, Lavan, Levi and Lugus were around when Olgar dropped its world’s Kaleido-via from Ashen Hawk’s tower and actually found all of the stones. They almost activated it, except Aria interfered. When that happened, a piece went into Jed’s eye, making her the “witch.” Since this is a magical device, each of their magical stones has a sort of influence and power to it.
Now, let’s talk about Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk’s Lawrence. Lawrence, the orphan living with him, Elric, and Elric’s rabbit, Usagi, are actually characters from Black Butterfly. Lawrence is Kagiha/Natsuki, Elric is Hikage and Usagi is Usagi, Hikage’s little sister. The voice actor for Lawrence is the same in both games (Toriumi Kousuke), Elric has the same double moles as Hikage and it seems like Lawrence references Ai from Black Butterfly. Not to mention, it is because of them that Jed even starts looking for the Kaleido-via to get out of Psychedelica. It seems like a reincarnation for both of them and a way to reference the other game. Especially since it is not the only time we see Black Butterfly characters in Ashen Hawk.
There is a epilogue to Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk’s true ending that is very telling. The true ending comes when Jed and Lugus get together. Jed challenges Lugus to a duel in front of everyone, as the only way to complete the Kaleido-via and save the town is for her to die. (The final piece is in her witch’s eye.) Lugus completes the machine, kills himself so he can find Jed’s soul in the void and save it. This makes it possible for both of them to reincarnate, even though people who died in that town while in Psychedelica should have died without a chance of returning. In this epilogue, we see that Ai (Beniyuri) and Eiar (Jed) are friends in the modern day and Lavan has reincarnated. It closes out with Eiar and Lugus reuniting in these current incarnations, just as Ai reunited with Aki, Kazuya, Natsuki and Takuya in one of the alternate ends in Black Butterfly.
Basically, Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk and Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly deal with the same sorts of otherworldly realms that can be created due to grief and death. Our characters are in these supernatural spaces and need to recreate the kaleidoscope-like device needed to escape. If successful, then we might get to see people freed and reincarnated in a better place where they could have a chance of reuniting with the people they love.
Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk and Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly are available for the PlayStation Vita.