Hatoful Boyfriend

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Video Game Fandom
Name:Hatoful Boyfriend
Abbreviation(s):Hatoful, Hato
Developer:Moa, Damu
Publisher:Devolver Digital
Reveal date:31 July 2011
Release date:2011 - 2014
Platform(s):PC, OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, PS4 and PS Vita (Discontinued)
External links:Steam Page
See also:Moa810, Murder by Numbers
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Hatoful Boyfriend is a visual novel dating sim where a human heroine dates birds. What seems like an absurd premise is actually part of a grander storyline.

Canon

Schoolgirl Hiyoko Tosaka is the only human in a prestigious school for intelligent birds. The player chooses which avian bachelor the heroine will pursue and romance, with the endings ranging from happy to bittersweet to frightening.

The premise of intelligent birds behaving and speaking like humans is an actual plot point, not just a gimmick.

Bad Boy's Love route

After unlocking certain endings, the player is given a choice to play the game normally or to "fulfill a promise made long ago." This route is the result of fulfilling the promise; the heroine is killed off early in the story, and the point of view switches to her childhood friend as the cast delves deeper into the mystery of the heroine's death and the reason things are the way they are now.

Holiday Star

Considered an alternate timeline in which Hiyoko doesn't die or is brought back to life, this sequel focuses on more bits of character backstories. The first tale is a lighthearted Christmas adventure, the second parodies magical girl anime, and the third and fourth are a two-parter delving into the inner psyches of the characters.

Fandom

In addition to shipping the heroine with the various birds, shipping the birds with each other is extremely popular. The only canon couple is a side pairing that the player can split up if they go for a certain ending. Incest is also fairly common; two popular ships are brothers Yuuya and Sakuya, and adoptive brothers Hitori and Nageki.

The fandom is generally calm, but for a while there was much wank over the shipping of Hitori Uzune with Kazuaki Nanaki; the two birds shared a troubled backstory that led to Hitori betraying Kazuaki and stealing his identity. Fans of Kazuaki tended to demonize Hitori while denying the wrongdoings of the bird Kazuaki became.

Controversies

Incest, Age Gap, and Abusive Shipping

Like with most fandoms, Hatoful fandom has a divisive opinion on problematic ship contents. The game itself has no canon pairings besides Rabu/Azami (all ships with Hiyoko and the birds are player determinate), but incest shipping is popular in the fandom, with Nageki/Hitori and Yuuya/Sakuya being among the most common. Some fans have taken issue with it.

apparently this is an unpopular opinion but i don’t like incest and pedophilia 😐

“but they’re birds! birds and animals constantly do incest things”

you know what the difference between birds and birds in hatoful boyfriend are? they’re sentient. in most aspects aside from their appearance, they act like people. they live and experience our human cultures.

relationships are far beyond just the physical aspect. “but if they’re not making kids then it’s fine” no it isn’t. it’s the mutual social aspect that makes incest and pedo fucked up. there’s an unhealthy imbalance.

even if they are “birds”… furries… that doesn’t change anything. you and i both know very well that hatoful treats it’s characters as people with social and mental problems. so you can’t pretend as if the intricacies of whether incest/pedophilia is ok is beyond their understanding. or beyond your understanding.

yeah birds in real life mate with their siblings and their parents all the time. but hatoful isn’t real life.

the topic of age and maturity is skewed in hatoful, but it’s very obvious that they mature at a rate at least similar to humans. just because shuu and hitori are gifted and have been independent since a young age doesn’t mean that all the characters are ready to fuck at age 1 (what the hell is wrong with you) and kazuaki is also an example of that. he is a quail just like hitori, but he definitely acts appropriate for his age, and attended primary school and high school and college like a human. this is also the case for pretty much every character except shuu and hitori.*

“but they’re not related by blood!”

by acting as if adopted siblings are somehow less than blood siblings, you’re merely pushing a hateful message towards adopted people worldwide. if them being not “biologically related” somehow makes incest okay for you, then it’s clear you don’t actually care about people like that.

“but they’re not even the same species!”

is an excuse i also saw. and once again. what the fuck are you on about? since when does bird species matter in hatoful? hitori and nageki have the closest and most dear non-romantic relationship in hatoful. if you look at them and are only able to identify them as iN LoVe then you need to develop some real fucking critical thinking skills.

*more about this: moa definitely prides herself in not pushing a certain view or angle onto the readers, hatoful doesn’t necessary ever say “this is wrong” or “this is good” about anything, but if you really think that hitori and shuu are the story’s prime examples of how a good and upstanding person behaves, then……… my god dude.

Kirogaraii on Tumblr

There is a particular amount of controversy on the subject of bird ages and their maturity.

Seeing what a mess everything is if you take the ages at face value (Isa becomes a researcher at age NINE, Yuuya is told to dispose of the egg at age ONE) I tend to think bird aging is perhaps not completely analogous with human aging lol
cobblestories on Tumblr
The phrase “Shipping Isa with adults is ok actually because he acts way older than he is” feels like it undermines a big part of his character and that is that… While he may very well be mentally older and more comparable to a human ~17 year old, Hitori and him are very clear cases of children who were robbed of their childhood and had to discard their innocence to cope with trauma. Moa even hinted at this about Hitori in a certain Tweet last year, which surprised me.

Notice how Kazuaki is also a phasianid but his defining trait is that he is quite immature and apparently had a very normal childhood, attended elementary and high school at normal ages comparable to humans, and then faltered in adulthood. Just because Shuu and Hitori are “mature for their age” doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s how it is for all birds, or specifically phasianids.

And even if Isa does want to be perceived as older than he is, that’s even worse… He’s totally getting groomed.

Kirogaraii on Tumblr
I’m not saying “Isa is mature for his age so we can treat him as an adult despite him being physically a child” or even “Tohri acts childishly so we can treat him as a child despite him being physically an adult”. I’m saying “it’s perfectly valid to interpret ‘Focus on the Hawks’-era Tohri as being of similar age to Souma both physically and mentally”, since Moa seems to play remarkably fast and loose with how bird aging works other than the fact that overall they don’t live nearly as long as humans (as noted by Ryouta). I don’t think that necessarily conflicts with the overall themes of the work that you’ve presented.
cobblepottery on Tumblr

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