Hatoful Boyfriend review


You’re in for a treat today, my chums. This isn’t your everyday, run of the mill review of a pigeon dating simulator and visual novel. No! What you are reading, what is being transmitted directly from this screen and into your lovely brains, is an intimate – possibly even sordid – diary of my many avian encounters in Hatoful Boyfriend. 

So read on to discover if I found love or only loneliness in this post-human, pigeon society.

The new semester

I appear to be the last living human, but instead of wallowing in self pity, I’ve left my cave – yes, I live in a cave – and enrolled in a school for gifted birds. I will repopulate the planet by seducing my new avian friends and birthing some kind of human-pigeon hybrid.

I’ve learned a lot about my avian chums, this semester – perhaps too much. I know to check behind curtains when entering a room, in case there’s a bird sleeping there, and I’m getting to grips with the uncomfortable class hierarchy that puts fantail pigeons on the top – like this guy:

He’s pretty awful, but check out that plumage!

But the most important thing I’ve discovered about my avian overlords is that they absolutely love puns.

Oh yeah, and I learned this:

Obviously this is of interest to me.

Getting down to business… with classwork

My lust for feathery animals must sometimes be set aside for work. Schoolwork. My throbbing libido had to take a back seat as I decided what class I was going to take. Mathematics would make me wiser, gym class would make me more vital, but what I really needed was charisma, so I could seduce every bird under the sun. So music class was my calling.

I have been noticing, however, that most of my hard work goes unremarked by my peers or teachers, and I seem to have little use for my growing skills. Why won’t anyone pay attention to me?

My focus on carrying a good tune has done me no good when it comes to my exams, either. My narcoleptic teacher was none too impressed when he informed me – between naps – of my poor performance.

I was beside myself.

A new love: power

As the premier school for birds, St. Pigeonations offers a great deal of extra-curricular activities. But the best of the best join the school council, which Sakuya – the snobby fantail – is president of, despite only just joining the school. Bloody nepotism is to blame.

Here’s the thing, though, diary: my lust for feathery men is only matched by my lust for power. My new plan is to seduce Sakuya and eventually take over as president of the school. I guess Sakuya could become the first pigeon.

I’ve taken up the position of vice president, which impressed Sakuya. He liked my boldness. My plan is working, and soon everything will be mine.

Nothing will stop me from achieving this dream.

On being wrong

Oh, summer – how you have changed me. My plan to seduce Sakuya has fallen by the wayside, for some reason, and I spend most of my time in a parrot-owned coffee shop, where I’ve got a job.

Somewhere down the line, unbeknownst to me, the path that would lead me into my fantail amore’s arms wings was closed off to me and my life has taken a dramatically different direction. One where I’m tipped in sweets and talk about old ladies in Osaka for some reason. A lot of the things I say don’t make much sense.

And I’ve developed a taste for violence, getting in fights – which I always know are coming, thanks to the wailing of guitars – with pigeon biker gangs and cruising the mean streets with a bad ass sparrow. School, with its petty politics, hard work, and peculiar hierarchies is not for me. No. I must be free. And that is what I am.

Unless I travel back in time and relive the last few months of my life.

Groundhog Day

It’s all become so clear. My eyes have been opened to the truth. I am Bill Murray (if he was a schoolgirl) and this is Groundhog Day. But instead of being tasked with seducing Andie MacDowell and escaping town, I must strike up relationships with every bird I meet and see them through to experience the full story of this bewildering avian society.

And when I’ve got a bird in my sights, I must spurn the advances of all others. I’ve become quite adept at that:

I must melt the icy heart of Sakuya; break through the bravado and lady killing ways of Yuuya, Sakuya’s brother; somehow decipher what the pudding-obsessed and slightly damaged Okosan is talking about; and, scandal of scandals, become a teacher’s pet.

The feathery prison

The days and lives blend together in a whirlwind of fast-forwarded text and new relationships. My life is now repetition, until seemingly inconsequential decisions open up new paths and new romantic or platonic encounters.

And that’s okay. I could chat to these crazy pigeons all day, every day, and it wouldn’t stop being a delight. Whether they are bombarding me with bad puns, or opening up, revealing painful tragedies or touching stories.

It’s a strange series of lives, each one containing many of the same events and conversations, but each offering some sort of fulfilment, separate from the rest. They build up, and put together like jigsaw pieces, they flesh out the denizens of this nation of birds.

I came for the promise of pigeon romance, but I stayed for the surreal world these fowl reside in.