|Date(s):||2011 - 2014|
|Medium:||Video game (PC, Steam)|
|Country of Origin:||Japan|
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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.
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.
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.
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.