I have played through Hatoful a couple of times now so I probably won't be with you on surprises or silly commentary, but maybe I can be entertaining with jokes and meta.
LET'S GET STARTED
The default name for our protagonist is "Tosaka Hiyoko", so we're going to go with that. From what I can tell most people play this game with a funny name at first and eventually get attached to Hiyoko either way.
As you can tell the text in Hatoful Boyfriend isn't particularly sympathetic to the eyes. This improves in Holiday Star, but I'm going to write out the text for you most of the time to make things easier for reading.
To answer a few questions before we even begin: Hiyoko is a human. It's important and she takes a lot of pride in it. Even in the manga she is never shown, but her speech bubbles are indicated with a little meat bone, which I'll be using to indicate her speech.
At the start of a new game you are given the chance to name the main character. It also tells you about a japanese version of the game that also includes voice credits, that are not included in the english version, I believe. It does however give us the voice actor's names when the characters are introduced. It also asks if we would like to see the human forms of the pigeons when they are introduced. We're going to be doing that, because it doesn't really impede on the game in any way. We might as well!One more note: the title of the game is a pun which my friend, Riki, is certain inspired the concept in the first place. "Hatoful" in japanese is はーとふる which should be understood as "heartful", but "hato" (鳩), means "pigeon"!
OKAY, LET'S BEGIN FOR REAL sorry for my babbling.
(Music: St Pigeonation's Institute)
St. Pigeonation's. A school blessed with extensive curricula and facilities.
It's already been a year since I ended my ordinary life and walked through these gates. I should probably say... this school is known for one thing in particular.
This school is Japan's -- no, the world's greatest gathering place for gifted birds.
Birds who want to study the arts, the sciences, even sports all come to St. Pigeonation's.
The teaching staff and student body are both made up of a diverse blend of birds of different backgrounds and species.
I'm often asked why I chose to come here, despite not being a bird.
It's a long story...
"Not every day I see you rushing along like this!"
"Usually you'd have been ready for an hour by now, Hiyoko!"
Ryouta's full name is Kawara Ryouta (華原 涼太). The Kanji for his last name translate into "original flower". Ryouta's credited voice actor is Asanuma Shintaro.
This rock dove is called Kawara Ryouta. We've been friends since he was barely hatched.
He can be a little mischevious, but he's responsible and kind.
"Breakfast was a little hard to catch today... I can't relax without red meat inside."
"Living as a hunter-gatherer sounds tough... I'd be happy to make you breakfast, you know."
"I might take you up on that offer when starvation looms. Thanks, Ryouta!"
An audio clip sounds for a ringing bell.
"The bell already? Come on, we need to hurry to class!"
"Jeepers! No good being late on the first day!"
And so Ryouta pulled me along into the school.
Today is the start of a new semester. I wonder what lies in store...
It was all I could do to adjust to the atmosphere last year. Better make up for all that lost fun!
I think we're in 2-3... Ryouta and I are in the same class again.
Old faces, new faces... a strange thrill fills my heart as I look around at the assembled birds.
I hope we all get along. Here's to the formation of many happy memories!
Oh! The teacher's here!
"Good morning, everybirdie!"
"Err, I'm Nanaki Kazuaki. I seem to be your teacher this year."
"I specialize in math and
and also some
Wake up! It's homeroom!"
"...he sleeps with his eyes open?!"
Kazuaki Nanaki, maybe my second favourite in the game. The Kanji for Nanaki means "seventh princess". He is a white button quail! Button quails are tiny and adorable and I recommend looking them up on youtube. His credited voice actor is Hirofumi Nojima.
This quail is Nanaki Kazuaki. He's a famously soporific math professor.
This translation is really bizarre at times, like here. Nobody says "soporific". The word should be "narcoleptic."
I'd heard the rumors, but I hadn't expected him to fall asleep just like that...
Apparently he's well-known as a mathematician. Just goes to show, great minds come in all forms!
Isn't it a little warm in here?"
"Which reminds me, we have a transfer student."
"Please, introduce yourself, Shirogane,"
"What is the point?
I have no wish to speak to commoners. Do not think I'm here because I wish to be."
"Oh, well. I guess that's that."
"Hey, hey, hey! That's no good!"
"But he doesn't want to introduce himself..."
"But we can't just let him break the rules like that, sir! The system will collapse and we'll all turn into kulaks and dissenters!"
"...well, when you put it like that... could you at least say your name, Shirogane?"
"Shirogane Le Bel Sakuya."
Sakuya Le Bel Shirogane (銀 朔夜) is a difficult character. It took me completing all of Hatoful Boyfriend the first time before I warmed up to him, so please be patient. His voice actor is Ishida Akira! It amuses me that all it takes to make his name French and fancy is to add "Le Bel".
It seems this fantail is Shirogane Sakuya. His feathers would make anybirdie proud.
He's pretty stuck up. But then, transferring is never easy. I hope we can be friends!
Sakuya sits down, glaring daggers at Ryouta and me.
I think this little bird is telling me there's going to be trouble down the line.
We fade to black and timeskip off to lunch. St Pigeonation's begins playing again. You hear this song a lot.
Today is slipping by so quickly...
...that reminds me, I've had these books out from the library all summer! I'll return them now.
We fade to black again and reappear in the library.
Where is everyone? Aside from the receptionist, there's hardly anybirdie here.
Is someone looking at me?
Probably just my imagination.
Nageki fades slowly in.
A mourning dove stands in a dark corner, staring in my direction.
Mourning doves aren't very common in Japan, but apparently they're everywhere in America.
"Um... did you want something from me?"
(He looked away...)
Nageki's theme song starts playing now, which is one of my favourite tracks from the OST.
I'm pretty sure it was him I felt looking at me... There's no one else here.
"Are you sure?"
I don't want anything with you."
"It's the things you're carrying that I'm interested in."
He glances at the desk as if to say "hurry up and return them already!"
"Oh... sorry. Ehehe, they were a little too dense and I never finished them."
"Were you waiting for them all summer?"
He silently returns his gaze to his book.
Maybe he's in a bad mood?
"I'm Tosaka Hiyoko.
What about you?"
Nageki Fujishiro. The hatoful wiki (don't go there unless you want to be spoiled) claims that "Nageki" comes from the "mourning" part of the Japanese word for "mourning dove". Unfortunately my Japanese is not good enough to confirm or deny. His Drama CD voice actor is Mitsuki Saiga. Hatoful was the first time I realized that mourning doves aren't common outside of the Americas. As a Canadian, I've heard them before, so you should check youtube to listen to their sad call if you haven't heard it before. They're very lovely.
Fujishiro Nageki, huh. Mourning doves are pretty rare in Japan...
Maybe it's just his voice, but he seems kind of sad.
"...leave me alone."
He's reading his book again.
"Okay. Sorry to bother you."
Nageki fades out.
"I keep meeting depressing people today."
"Now that I have that out of the way, I think I'll head back to class. Wait, isn't that..."
Sakuya and Yuuya fade in.
"You should have been instructed not to approach me in school."
"Come on, Sakuya -- what kind of thing is that to say to your own brother?
After all these years!"
"My brother? You must be joking. You've never once been a brother to me."
"Please, don't try to talk to me again. I've no time for half-breeds. I'll be going now."
"Hey, wait just a -"
Sakuya fades out with some footsteps as accompaniment.
"I guess even if we're in the same school now what's done is done..."
I didn't mean to eavesdrop but I think I just overheard something juicy!
The ever-popular trend-setter and ladies' man Sakazaki Yuuya is Sakuya's brother?
I wonder what the story behind that is...
The tense music breaks for St. Pigeonation's Institute.
"You heard that whole thing, right? Are you a friend of Sakuya's?"
I didn't mean to listen in on you!"
"Haha. No sweat."
"I try to stay sexy and luxurious in front of all you little ladies, but that there wasn't too cool."
Sakazaki Yuuya, 坂咲 優夜, my favourite character. His catchphrase is "sexy and luxurious", and he always greets with a "Salut~" which isn''t used in the official Hatoful Boyfriend translation. This is such a pet peeve of mine that I'm just going to switch it in whenever "salutations" is used. SALUTATIONS IS CUTE BUT SALUT IS A LEGIT GREETING IN FRENCH.
This fantail is Sakazaki Yuuya, an upperclassman.
I've never talked to him before, but he's famous, or infamous, throughout the school.
Everybirdie knows of him.
"You're Hiyoko... right?"
"H-how did you...?!"
"I know everybirdie here.
Besides, you're the only human.
A single poppy in a field of rye."
"Did you say you were a friend of Sakuya's?"
We had a rather ballistic introduction this morning."
"We're in the same class, that's all."
"I'd never have thought that stuck-up aristocrat wannabe was your brother."
"He is an aristocrat, actually.
The genuine article, in the flesh."
"He's a bit of a pain, so good luck, mon amie.
Yuuya fades out.
He really is a noblebird...
I've never heard anything like that about Yuuya though. Probably a twisty business!
The scene fades out and reopens to the sound of the bell in homeroom.
"That's all for today.
Stay safe, everyone."
"Sir, where's Ryouta?"
"He said he was going to the infirmary. Maybe you should go and see if he's still there?"
Ever a good role model, Kazuaki fades out leaving Hiyoko alone.
Now that I think about it, Ryouta always did have a weak stomach.
I should go to the infirmary just to make sure he's okay.
The screen fades out and we change rooms, Hiyoko making her way to the infirmary.
There's no one sleeping behind the curtains, and the doctor isn't here, either.
My hunter-gatherer instincts feel no presence.
There's nobirdie here.
The infirmary is empty.
Did he go home already?"
I feel a little nervous poking around the empty room...
Now that I think of it, I haven't been in here much before. Unlike Ryouta, I'm perfectly healthy.
"Whoah, they've got all kinds of drugs in here!"
"Ethylpar, tri-fe, lucio benzene... what do these even do?"
I tried to look these up but for once the internet wasn't very helpful.
"Care to find out?"
"I'll feed you all sorts of things, if you want. Hmm?"
"No, thank you!"
Iwamine Shuu (岩峰 舟) is voiced by Takehito Koyasu, a very prolific seiyuu. Shuu is a chukar partridge and umm, certainly does a lot to keep this game interesting.
This partridge is Iwamine Shuu, the school doctor.
He's rather creepy in person, and has a bad reputation among the student body.
Everyone knows that even just talking to him can bring you down with aspergillus, psittacosis, or even worse things.
And I never even heard him come in the door.
"You don't look like you have a good reason to be in here. Did you need something?
"Umm, I heard Ryouta...
Kawara from 2-3 was supposed to be here."
"He's already left."
The screen fades to black and the music fades as well as Hiyoko takes us out into the hallway.
"S-sorry to bother you!
I'll be going now!"
Finally out of that den of evil.
Ryouta's already gone home... what do I do now?
I never got around to joining a club last year.
Maybe I'll go take a look at some of my options.
I think there are clubs for baseball, soccer, track, kendo, migration, birdwatching...
Wasn't there another one...?
Anyway, I'll start with the track team.
I ran in middle school, and it's always funny watching the birds hop around.
I think their clubroom is on the ground floor, off to the side...
A white dove is having a tantrum outside.
(This is no pudding for a man!)
(Okosan rejects it! It is a lie!
A vicious falsification!)
He's dancing around on a squished pudding.
"Hey... that's not very nice to the pudding."
Okosan (尾呼 散) is sort of the entirety of people's expectations of what Hatoful Boyfriend will be. His voice actor is Norio Wakamoto. Okosan is often referred to people as the only "real pigeon" in hatoful boyfriend. But no, they're all really pigeons. Okosan, like Yuuya and Sakuya, is a fantail pigeon. He's actually based on the creator's real pet fantail!
This is Oko San.
He doesn't really look it, but supposedly he's a fantail pigeon.
Either way, he's hyper.
(Okosan has suffered a deception most vile! A wretched betrayal!"
(Okosan instructed that pudding be provided for new members!)
(But this is no pudding!
Ousted, scorned, betrayed!
Dragged into the street and shot by those he trusted most!)
It's squished and filthy, but the thing under his feet looks like normal store-bought pudding...
"What's wrong with it?"
(Spare the jests, young lady!)
Okosan used WING ATTACK!
It's super effective!
(They'll rue the day they crossed Okosan! He'll have the flayed, hanged, shot at dawn! He will!)
(Okosan must now train to achieve true pudding! Farewell!)
Okosan fades out with a "vrooom!" that becomes an iconic thing for him.
...and he's gone.
He's a good runner, but what does pudding have to do with the track team?
The screen and music both fade to black.
And that's a wrap for part 1! The very next day we begin making decisions that will lead down the romance routes. Who should we date first? If you have a preference, feel free to leave a comment. I hope to get through everyone's stories eventually and also record BBL. So STAY TUNED!
And so ended the first day of my second semester at St. Pigeonation's.