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Visual Novel / Psychedelica Of The Black Butterfly

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A young woman wakes up in a Western-style mansion without her memories. Luckily, she isn't alone: There are four (or perhaps five?) other men trapped in the manor with her. Unfortunately, they too have lost their memories. Worse yet, the mansion is populated with vicious monsters.

If they want to escape, they need to defeat the monsters in order to collect shards for a kaleidoscope. Will they make it out and find out who they are? Will they even want their memories back when they learn the truth?

Originally released on January 29th 2015, Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly is a Play Station Vita Visual Novel by Idea Factory under its Otomate label. It was released in English on April 27th 2018 by Aksys Games, and ported to PC in November 2018.

WARNING: As a mystery story, there are a number of twists that may spoil the game. Proceed with caution.

Tropes found in this game are:

  • Abusive Parents: Hikage's birth mother was abusive toward him, as was his stepmother when he was taken in by his father. As his father's business failed, he became cruel toward him as well.
  • Adventures in Comaland: This is what Beniyuri, Karasuba, Yamato and Monshiro are going through. The former three fell into a coma during a bus accident, while Monshiro has been in a coma since the incident at the summer camp.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: The flowchart system is very helpful in hunting for endings—you can literally stop in the middle of a character's route, jump into another one's, finish it, jump right back, and pick up where you left off with no problem.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The "Real World" ending opens with Ai waking up from a nightmare, which would seem to imply that the events of the game were just a dream. Continue to play, however, and in the very last scene, the bus she, Takuya, and Aki are on goes careening into the lake, revealing that you were playing the prologue.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Yamato eventually remembers that his younger twin brother is in a coma outside the mansion and he wants to return to him. Even back in the world of the living, he diligently visits Kazuya every day in the hopes that he'll wake up one day.
    • This was the manor owner's primary motivation in life. He did everything he could to get medicine for his sister. When she died, he went off the deep end and tried to resurrect her.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Almost every single ending is this, since Natsuki/Kagiha stays dead no matter what. The remainders are all downers or explicitly an Alternate Universe What If?.
    • The "Best" ending, Kazuya/Monshiro's True Ending, and Takuya/Yamato's True Ending are the happiest, as Ai, Kazuya, Takuya, and Aki escape the manor in all three.
    • Hikage's is about in the middle—Ai and (presumably) everyone else escapes, but he killed himself to let them out. She goes to the lake to privately mourn...then turns around and sees a reincarnated Hikage.
    • Aki/Karasuba's True Ending is more on the bitter side, as while he, Ai, and Takuya escape, Kazuya is still comatose.
    • Kazuya/Monshiro's bad ending just barely manages to fall into this, and it still leans heavily on the "bitter". Ai wakes up completely alone. The other three are still comatose even a month later, but she continues to visit and cling to the hope that they'll wake up someday.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: But of course. Not only is it right in the title, but there's a children's story that focuses on the life and death of two butterflies.
  • Central Theme: Death, the Five Stages of Grief, and how to heal from them both. Additionally, each of the routes focuses on a particular aspect.
    • Kagiha: Denial. He refuses to let go of the Childhood Marriage Promise he made with Ai, even though it will never come to pass because he's dead. But because he clings to that and his hopes of coming back to life, he betrays the group to Hikage, the most untrustworthy person there. And in his ending, he and Beniyuri live out a fantasy of being alive and married, implicitly dooming the others in the process.
    • Hikage: Letting go. While Hikage was alive, he bargained everything he had to keep his sister alive; when she passed away, he remained stuck in the bargaining stage, sliding deeper into darkness as he tried to find a way to bring her back. He accidentally created the manor, where his inability to move on bound him there even as his descent into madness continued. In his ending, he's able to come to terms with Usagi's death and willingly kills himself to set everyone else free.
    • Yamato: Guilt. His perceived guilt over what happened to Kazuya has become, in his own words, a chain. While visiting his brother every day isn't in itself wrong, the way Yamato quit the soccer team and effectively put his life on hold is. In his bad ending, he and Beniyuri drag themselves down with their mutual guilt, "licking each other's wounds" forever, while in his good ending, they forgive themselves for what happened that day.
    • Karasuba: Avoidance. In the past, Aki was bullied harshly, and dealt with it by avoiding confrontation. He plays off things he feels seriously about with jokes. He figures out the truth about Hikage, but keeps quiet when Hikage threatens to expose his cowardice to Beniyuri. In his bad end, he and Beniyuri blissfully live out a "lukewarm" fantasy, refusing to ever think about or look at their real names, their memories, or anyone else. In his good end, her refusal to run away from memories, even if they're painful, strikes him, and he decides to stop running away from everything that had been hurting him.
    • Monshiro: He actually has two, loneliness and hope. His route focuses on the isolation he felt while being stuck in the manor for ten years, which Beniyuri can empathize with him because of how alone she felt when all her friends left. The climax of his route comes when Hikage and Kagiha break him down with cruel speeches about how no one really cares about him; his despair at this sucks him into the Abyss, and Beniyuri leaps into it because she refuses to let him be alone again. Ai's ribbon is explicitly symbolic with hope, his good ending is reached by continuing to struggle even in the face of the seemingly impossible, and both his endings involve Hope Springs Eternal.
  • Childhood Friends: The main group realizes that most of them were childhood friends ten years ago.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Beniyuri eventually remembers that she made one of these with Kagiha as a child.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Strangely enough, the protagonists can summon guns just by wishing for them hard enough. This is due to the nature of Psychedelica and the Abyss as "in-between" worlds: with enough desire and will, one can make just about anything happen, including changing one's face, creating a Lotus-Eater Machine, or shrinking the distance between yourself and another person.
  • Dead All Along: Kagiha, Hikage, and Usagi. Kagiha drowned at the summer camp when he was a child, Usagi died of illness, and Hikage committed suicide.
  • Death of a Child: The whole plot is caused by the death of two—Natsuki and Usagi—and the emotional fallout it had on Natsuki’s friends and Usagi’s brother, respectively.
  • Downer Ending: All the bad ends, naturally, but also Kagiha's ending. It's an in-universe Esoteric Happy Ending, as while he and Beniyuri happily live out an illusion of being married, they're still stuck in Psychedelica and have doomed everyone else to be stuck as well.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Monshiro's is doubly dramatic and occurs in a scene straight out of Code Geass. Karasuba shoots his mask, cracking it in two. The pieces fall off to reveal that he's Kazuya, which simultaneously reveals that Hikage is the imposter and the master of the manor.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Represented across the entire cast. Endings where characters either stay in or fail to escape Psychedelica are generally caused by a symbolic failure to reach Acceptance.
    • Beniyuri: Depression. Also Denial in some bad endings.
    • Hikage: Anger. Also Bargaining in the past.
    • Kagiha: Bargaining. Also Denial in his ending.
    • Karasuba: Denial.
    • Yamato: Depression.
    • Monshiro: Acceptance.
    • Usagi: Acceptance.
  • Foreshadowing: There are a number of hints that some of the people you see aren't what they seem.
    • Hikage has two moles below his left eye. When Beniyuri receives the picture of Yamato and his brother, there's a bandage over that part of his face, hinting that Hikage may not actually be Yamato's brother.
    • Monshiro wears a mask that conceals his face. He also becomes very close to both Beniyuri and Yamato, but maintains something of a distance from the others save Karasuba. Monshiro didn't want to disturb the peace the group had formed by revealing his identity as Kazuya, so he hid the truth.
    • Both Kagiha and Hikage are hopeless with technology, since they died well before smartphones were created.
    • Despite his early comments that Monshiro’s weird, Yamato quickly becomes protectively affectionate towards him. Even without seeing his face, he can still subconsciously recognize his little brother.
    • Yamato, Hikage, and Monshiro are all left-handed. Yamato and Monshiro are twins, and Hikage is pretending to be Yamato's brother.
  • Free-Range Children: Tragically deconstructed. At the summer camp, the supervisors let the kids run around with only a warning not to go near the lake. Being kids who were not supervised, the main cast didn't listen, which lead directly to the tragedy that took Natsuki's life, left Kazuya comatose, and scarred the surviving three.
  • Guide Dang It!: The flowchart system alleviates this somewhat, as it visually shows you where branching points are, and you can jump directly to whatever chapters you want. But even with that, finding all the endings requires either a walkthrough or a lot of trial and error, to the extent that when newcomers ask for a recommended route order, they're given one that is less about plot revelations or characters and more about "the smoothest way to unlock everything".
    • For starters, almost all the endings are locked behind other endings. Monshiro, Yamato, and Karasuba all need the "Real World" ending for you to even start pursuing them, while Hikage needs you to have obtained another guy's ending. Yamato and Karasuba's endings both also require you to have seen Kagiha's, and Karasuba also needs you to have seen at least one of Monshiro's. And every one of the guys has certain side stories you need to see to get to their endings, as well.
    • Monshiro, Yamato, and Karasuba also have an additional requirement that you will have no way of knowing about: you need to start a new game, individually and each time, to unlock them. While this would seem to be a "well, duh" thing, what actually makes it this trope is that unlike most otome games, the flowchart system seems to eliminate the need for new games completely; you can just hit 'Continue' after getting an ending (or even in the middle of a route!) and jump back to a previous chapter. You can get onto Kagiha's and Hikage's routes this way, which only feeds the incorrect assumption that new games aren't required at all.
    • Speaking of those three (again), they actually have two endings each—a bad ending and a True Ending. However, their bad endings are labelled "x ending", similar to Hikage and Kagiha, who have one ending each. A quick look at the flowchart will show the rather obvious point where Monshiro's endings branch, but for the other two, you might be tricked into thinking their bad endings are their only endings, since the choice that led you there is insanely obscure. spoilery hint
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Usagi takes a bullet for Beniyuri in Hikage's ending.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: In Monshiro's endings. In the bad one, a half-despairing Ai clings to hope that he, Aki, and Takuya will wake up someday. In his True end, he and Ai optimistically wait for Aki and Takuya to wake up, and at the very end, they do.
  • Interface Spoiler: At the start of the game, Beniyuri doesn't know her real name. When you start a new game, you have to choose what her real name is, but the default name is already put in.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The cast have all had their personal memories, such as name, family, and past, removed. This is because the master of the manor is holding their memories hostage as incentive to collect the kaleidoscope shards, and will occasionally return a few as rewards for doing well.
  • Maybe Ever After: Hikage's ending has Ai coming across a reincarnated Hikage and Usagi.
  • MacGuffin: The kaleidoscope, which is said to grant wishes; thus, the master's manor has the cast collect its shards. It's later revealed that the kaleidoscope actually opens a gateway between Psychedelica and the real world.
  • Missing Mom: Beniyuri eventually remembers that her mother died shortly after giving birth to her little sister.
  • Never Found the Body: It's mentioned that Kagiha/Natsuki's body was never recovered. It's found in the "Best" ending (and presumably the others where the cast return to the real world), as he has finally moved on.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Takuya and Aki regaining consciousness in Kazuya's True Ending means that they were able to defeat Hikage offscreen, even missing two of their number.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Everyone. They don't have much of a choice, considering that they don't have their memories and don't know their names. Even after they begin to regain their memories, however, they often keep using their nicknames.
  • Redheaded Hero: Our protagonist, Beniyuri, is a redhead.
  • Resentful Guardian: While Yamato does care for his brother, certain routes reveal that he does hold some resentment towards him for having to look after him in the hospital, though he feels disgusted with himself for feeling that way, primarily since he blames himself for the incident that led to him falling into a coma in the first place.
  • Rewatch Bonus: If you know certain important things only revealed near the end of the story, several things at the start and specifically Hikage's behavior are given a new light.
    • Hikage saves the main character right at the moment she was about to get killed? The main character has a shard; he wants to keep it safe.
    • Hikage does not seem to notice the shard on the ground? If he had grabbed it, it would arise suspicion in the main character, as he has been acting just as amnesiac as she was.
    • Hikage is aversive of the main character clinging on to the man in the fox mask and does not trust him one bit? Monshiro had already betrayed him once, and he also does not want the main character to follow him since she has a shard in her hairpin.
    • Hikage is anxious when seeing the pictures in the study? Chances are, they're of his family, and even though he does not remember them correctly at that time, they must have awoken something inside of him.
    • Hikage being annoyed at the protagonist getting closer to him and seeking him out after Yamato turned? Hikage doesn't want her to figure things out prematurely and keeps her at a distance.
    • Hikage wants Monshiro out after the summer camp picture is shared? He knows that Monshiro is the real brother, and even though he has been keeping his real identity secret, he just wants to be sure. He's secretly coercing the group to be against him in order to get them on his side.
  • Shout-Out: Monshiro’s Dramatic Unmask involves someone who has guessed the truth about a masked character’s identity shooting the mask to break it.
  • Switching P.O.V.:
    • While the earlier side stories are slices-of-life or looks into the protagonists' pasts, latter ones will occasionally follow the perspective of other characters.
    • Happens in Monshiro's route when he sneaks off by himself to confront Hikage.
  • Take My Hand!: The choice that leads you to Monshiro's good end. Despite him having fallen out of sight, Beniyuri stretches her hand out and begs it to reach him. At that point, the ribbon and her desire pull them closer, allowing them to grasp hands and escape the Abyss together.
  • Title Drop: In Hikage's route, we find that "Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly" is a title of a in-universe children's book.
  • Violation of Common Sense: A meta example. If you want to get Yamato's and Karasuba's True Endings, you have to do the exact opposite of what every otome game ever tells you and not start their routes.
  • Wham Line: Shortly after Monshiro is unmasked:
    Hikage: I am the master of this manor.
  • Wham Shot: Monshiro's mask is shot, breaks, and falls off to reveal Kazuya, in full CGI glory.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Time is wonky in Psychedelica; the cast are there for at least a few months, but find out that only a few weeks have passed in the real world when they wake up. There doesn't seem to be a consistent pattern to its wonkiness either, as Monshiro and Kagiha aged normally, matching the ten years that have passed in the real world.