'Butterfly Soup' is a visual novel released in 2017 by developer Brianna Lei.
The story follows a group of LGBT, Asian-American teenage girls who decide to join their high school's baseball club. Throughout the game, the player watches the story unfold through the perspective of each of the games' four protagonists:
- Diya: An extremely gifted athlete with one deaf ear and a lot of social anxiety.
- Noelle: A Deadpan Snarker and aspiring class valedictorian.
- Akarsha: The Class clown. She is basically a walking fountain of memes.
- Min-seo (also known as Min): A borderline teenage delinquent who is quick to beat up somebody.
Diya and Min's budding romance serves as the main plot of the game.
The game is downloadable for free on itch.io. However, the developer also allows people to support the game financially by buying an additional artwork PDF.
The game contains examples of following tropes:
- Abusive Parents:
- Noelle and Min finally start to bond when they share their stories of parental abuse.
- All the main characters have them, to varying degrees of severity and/or for different things.
- A Dog Named "Dog": The giant snake plushie Diya gives Noelle is named "Snakey."
- All in the Manual: Certain details like the characters' statistics such as height, and details like how Liz is transgender.
- Anti-Frustration Features: The game has a back button that allows you to rewind to the previous screen or text box, just in case you accidentally double-click and miss something.
- Book-Ends: Akarsha's segment of the story begins and ends with very similar scenes: Akarsha meets Diya outside her house so they can walk to school together and finds Diya looking at a caterpillar in a bush. The main difference is that in the first scene, Diya attempts to tell Akarsha about her feelings for Min, but chickens out at the last second, while in the second scene she finally tells her.
- Brick Joke: A particularly hilarious and awful one if you chose to lie to Min, and teach her "I like to fart." in Tamil instead of "Hello." (Though, it's not as if Min is being completely honest with her Korean lesson, either.) After their years long separation and unexpectedly meeting again, the sweet and heartwarming moment is effectively ruined by Min happily greeting Diya in Tamil in exactly the way you taught her all those years ago.
- Character Blog: The main characters try to record a video to submit the game to the 2017 Independent Games Festival.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Diya and Min.
- Comically Missing the Point: When Akarsha asks Min if she would kiss a girl for a million dollars.Min: I guess? I don't have that kind of money though.
- Déjà Vu: Diya's dream of the time Min took her to the dog park.
- Developers' Foresight: Lei knew people wouldn't know how to pronounce Diya's name, so she wrote it directly into a scene.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The main cast;
- Sanguine: Akarsha (spontaneous, reckless, talkative, and frivolous).
- Choleric: Min (aggressive, rebellious, hotheaded, and passionate).
- Melancholic: Noelle (intelligent, aloof, analytical, and straight-laced).
- Phlegmatic: Diya (kind, socially anxious and awkward, reserved and quiet).
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Lampshaded by Akarsha as Min violently pins her to the wall by her jacket.Akarsha: Not gonna lie, if you were taller this would be pretty hot.
- Gretzky Has the Ball: Noelle is hilariously uninformed when it comes to baseball. She doesn't realize that the runner is out when a baseman catches the ball, thinks the pitcher throws the ball to their own teammate, and at one point refers to a home run as a touchdown. Eventually, Chryssa asks if Noelle can even name a single baseball team; the player can answer the San Jose Sharksnote , the San Francisco 49ersnote , or the Oakland A'snote .
- Improbably Female Cast: At first, Diya expects the baseball club to be her and a bunch of guys. Instead, it's all girls. It's even lampshaded how the organizers did not intend that.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": The game explicitly points out that Diya's name is pronounced "DEE-ya" and not "DIE-ya". The game even makes fun of you for pronouncing it wrong.Diya: No one says "DIE-ya".Min: The substitute teacher does.Diya: The substitute teacher sucks.
- Knife Nut: Min loves butterfly knives. She carries one (or several) in her jacket at all times.
- No Periods, Period: Subverted! Quite disgustingly and graphically when Akarsha uses her menstrual blood to gross out Min and escape her grasp.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Noelle and Akarsha's "cover" during Min and Diya's date at the shaved ice shop.
- Parents as People: Noelle laments that her parents are good people who happen to make horrible parents.
- Product Placement: Likely unintentional, but Diya is almost always seen wearing a ball cap with a Nike swoosh on it.
- Punny Name: Chryssa and Liz. "Chrysalis," as in the scientific term for a butterfly's cocoon.
- Stealth Sequel: Of Pom Gets Wifi. Diya and Min are actually Pom and Shibe's owners, after they grow up and move-in together.
- Stop Hitting Yourself: Akarsha does this to Noelle at one point.
- Stylistic Suck: Whenever something happens that is simultaneously heartwarming and silly, the background music turns into a badly-played off-key recorder cover of "My Heart Will Go On".
- Tattoo Sharpie: Min draws one of a dagger on her arm as a young child, which can be seen in all of the flashbacks (although it isn't clarified if it lasts, or she just keeps redrawing it). In the present, as a pre-teen, she prefers to carry the actual thing.
- They Do: By the very end of the game.
- Title Drop: In the closing speech by the end of the game. "Butterfly Soup" refers to the awkward transitioning phase of puberty and high school, where it's easy to feel confused, lost, and just generally an incoherent, fluid mess.
- Trolling Translator: See Brick Joke.
- Turn of the Millennium: The game is set in 2008—specifically, the fall of 2008; the characters encounter Prop 8 rallies on their way to school, and later on in the game, Diya and Akarsha talk about Barack Obama having been elected president the day before. Akarsha in particular is a fountain of mid-/late-2000s memes.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Noelle and Akarsha, and eventually Noelle and Min, definitely.Min: I hate you.Noelle: I hate you too.Min: Good, none of that Disney shit.
- Wanted a Gender-Conforming Child: Min's parents force her to wear dresses against her will while her brother Jun gets to enjoy baseball and video games, which are both interests of Min's.
- Yaoi Fangirl: Akarsha