Butterfly’s Poison; Blood Chains | Common Route | First Impressions

The most taboo of taboo games has a lot to live up to. If you haven’t heard of the infamous 18+ game Chou no Doku then you likely haven’t been around the fandom long enough, or you’re really not into “problematic” content.

Recently released in English on the Switch, Chou no Doku‘s title was changed to Butterfly’s Poison; Blood Chains. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to get the 18+ version on Nintendo, however, the game can still get plenty steamy and disturbing.

Game Name: Butterfly’s Poison; Blood Chains
Developer: Aromari
Publisher: PROTOTYPE
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: Mature (ESRB)
Price: $44.99

Disclaimer: Butterfly’s Poison contains a long list of triggering content covering drug & alcohol use, non-con, dub-con, incest, violence, murder, poverty, mental health, and abuse.

First Impressions

“Butterfly’s Poison; Blood Chains (Chou no Doku), the beloved visual novel conquering people’s hearts with its mature love story, is now available in English and Japanese on Nintendo Switch™ system!”

– Game Marketing (eShop)

I’m going to be as honest as I can be here, I literally had no idea what the game was about besides taboo relationships. Even after hearing Butterfly’s Poison; Blood Chains was coming out in English, and being certain I was going to buy it, I still didn’t know.

Word around the community is that this game is not for the faint of heart, or those who regularly practice purity culture – those are certainly not things I’d use to describe myself, so I felt I was solid on picking it up.

Little did I know Butterfly’s Poison was much more than a smutty and taboo romance game. It has a depth I didn’t expect, and is written in such a way as to express the beauty of language and this story even in the darkest of moments.

I’m absolutely in love with the writing for Butterfly’s Poison already, and I’ve only read the common route. I feel like it sits on a completely different level than The Big Tomato’s (Otomate) recent commercial releases. In essence, I’m reminded of reading Shakespearian tragedies and feel this is a literary masterpiece – for now.


“Tokyo. The year is 1918, a dark age for the world.
In this tale of love and hate, five young men pursue the daughter of an aristocratic family on the verge of ruin.”

– Game Description (eShop)

Oh, that sounds interesting. Dark and interesting. Once Butterfly’s Poison was available on the NA eShop, I went right to the store page and read the first few lines. This is how they start it out. Really catchy. From here, there is a lot of talk about what sort of things come in this version of the game, since it clearly cannot contain the 18+ content that the PC version has. I got bored half-way through all that technical talk; since I didn’t know what I was missing anyways, I didn’t see the point in reading what was included. I was already sold.

I often go into games without knowing much about them. I just don’t trust people to manage spoilers, including the companies that are publishing the games. A certain well-known publisher has accidentally released spoiler images on more than one occasion, and that stuff gets around like wildfire. Absolutely uncontained and spreading to all corners of the fandom. So when I get two sentences about a game, usually I decide that’s enough information. As was the case here.

I’m not entirely sure what made 1918 a “dark age” for the world. Knowing my history, that was the end of World War I, but the big stock market crash hadn’t happened yet, nor the USA’s Great Depression. Japan’s great Kanto earthquake wasn’t for some time still, either. I suppose the ending of a world war could signal a dark age, but I also feel this was a dramatic way of setting the scene for this “tale of love and hate.”

In other words, I ate it up and prepared myself for some nasty, messy, toxic, and problematic romance. It wasn’t until I had played a full hour before I realized there was a lot more to the story than the two sentences I had built all my expectations on. Which really just helps me in the end because it means I set the bar incredibly low and am outrageously surprised when anything surpasses it.

“Tokyo, 1918. Yuriko Nomiya, born and raised comfortably in an aristocratic family, is suddenly struck by a series of misfortunes. Is this fate brought about by the Taisho era, or is someone plotting against her?
The dark, bittersweet tale of Yuriko and five gorgeous young men is about to unfold…”

– Game Summary (eShop)

Remember how I said I got bored with the technical talk? The quote above is what came after it. If you read that far, good on you! You have more patience than I do. Now that we have a proper start, I feel we can properly get started. Butterfly’s Poison is ultimately about Yuriko Nomiya and the tragedies and misfortunes surrounding her. While that is the simplest way of putting it, it barely touches the surface of the amount of intrigue there is to this game.

We open on the evening of Yuriko’s birthday party that her parents are hosting with many distinguished guests. It’s an opulent affair and Yuriko knows their noble family has been building debt and barely scraping by, so the entire engagement seems rather superfluous. The common route of the game focuses around this party, building up Yuriko’s relationships with the guests, love interests, and her family.

It becomes very clear, very early that there is more to this party than Yuriko has been led to believe. Despite being told it is to celebrate her birthday, she had already entered into adulthood and the age for marrying, so this wasn’t some big debutante debut.

During the party, a childhood friend lets it slip that the reason this party was so extravagant is because her parents are trying to impress potential suitors. Apparently the biggest reason for this show of wealth (that the Nomiya family doesn’t actually have) is to net Yuriko a husband.

At this point I had an idea of what Butterfly’s Poison was about— I was wrong, again. I had changed my expectations of sneaky, smutty, hidden relationships in the “dark ages” to all the improper things that rich and famous adults do outside of the public eye. Like hosting drug induced orgies and partaking in vices typically illegal and often in luxurious comfort. What a game this was going to turn out to be!

As I said, I was wrong. I’d sat through several choices – meeting all the LIs save for one – and while I was waiting for the last man to show up, all hell broke loose. Those misfortunes the summary was talking about? They started. Quite suddenly, this party shifted from parading Yuriko around to entice men to propose, to being thrust into a noir mystery that left me reeling as I tried to figure out what the fuck just happened.

Okay, this time I know what Butterfly’s Poison is all about. I’m certain now. Butterfly’s Poison; Blood Chains is a story of intrigue following Yuriko Nomiya through the unfortunate events that surround her most recent birthday. A young woman thrown into a world she wasn’t prepared for, full of misfortune and manipulation.

Trying to find a reason to move forward in life again – and take control of her future – she desperately grasps blindly in the dark in an attempt to find the threads of fate; hoping they lead her to a happy ending away from the devious machinations that surround the aristocratic society she had managed to avoid until now. Oh yeah, and there’s bound to be banging.

Game Trailer


Are you ready to dive into this mature romance with five young men that will absolutely do untoward things with MC? I sure am! There are six routes in Butterfly’s Poison, though one is not considered a love interest and I can’t tell you why because I don’t exactly know, myself. I just know that Kyouko, the only woman who has a sprite in the common route (excluding Yuriko’s mother) has a route with her name on it.

With Butterfly’s Poison being a noir mystery, the story slowly gets revealed during each route, so it is highly recommended that you play in this suggested order to prevent spoilers:


I’m not big on route order suggestions, so I can’t say I will follow it, but it does line up with my interests in each of the characters. I might have moved Hideo and Mitzuhito around, but this suggestion also works because I don’t feel strongly for one over the other. I also might have moved Majima and Kyouko around, since Kyouko is not considered a love interest, but has a route. It feels like that leaves her as the “truth route” for the game. No romance, only answers. And typically that is the last route in order to wrap up all mysteries left in a game.

Main Character (MC)

Name: Yuriko Nomiya
Pronouns: She/Her
Voice Actor: N/A

I never thought it would be so easy to feel like a young woman in Japan in 1918. I’m sure the writing and localization affects that, but it can’t be denied that Yuriko’s characterization plays a large role as well. Though a concrete age is not given, Yuriko is described as an adult, in the first years of marrying age. I would guess that she’s around 20 years old, seeing as she has attended formal schooling, but was denied the chance at higher education.

We’re given an extensive background on Yuriko, fleshing her out to be a fully-fledged character that is actively put into the center of conflict for Butterfly’s Poison. While you could self-insert, the writing is third person which makes it a little difficult for my brain to read it as me in the position of the protagonist, rather than an observer.

My first impression of Yuriko is that of a woman out of her time and status. She is the daughter of an aristocrat during a time when there was a large disparity between nobility and peasantry in Japan. We do get to see some of the elitism that was ingrained in her come out during emotional outbursts, but her interactions when level-headed give the impression that she doesn’t care about class as much as those around her.

I think Yuriko is a beautiful character in this awkward place stuck between worlds. She once had ambitions to pursue higher education, but it would be improper for a noble lady in her time to become a scholar when she is capable of (and ideal material for) marrying and providing children to further her family name.

It’s clear she is wrestling with her own desires and the expectations imposed on her by her family and social status. This feels incredibly relatable, despite it being a very personal problem I haven’t had to deal with due to living 100 years later and having nothing linking me with Yuriko in my own background. I love how easy it is to understand her thought process, and how her naivety and intelligence is shown in her own reactions and not “told” to us by the author.

Love Interests Character Routes

All the love interests main players in this drama are introduced to us through Yuriko’s eyes, so my initial impressions are very similar to Yuriko’s. If a character is described as being gentle, I have to trust in the narrative being correct because that is how Yuriko knows them to be and there isn’t a reason to oppose that description as a reader. However, I’m not exactly the trusting sort… If I get a feeling, you can bet your ass I’m running with it even if it is the completely wrong direction.

Yoshiki Majima

Name: Yoshiki Majima
Pronouns: He/Him
Voice Actor: Ooishi Keizou
Yuriko’s Impression: A kind, handsome man that has worked for her family since she was a child. His doting on her has sparked a feeling of her first love, but she doesn’t believe his affections to be personal, merely his personality.
RJ’s Impression: A little safe and boring; maybe cute? His kindness seems like an act, and what the heck is he doing in this part of the house anyways?

Majima Yoshiki gave me a feeling. Something about him niggled at the back of my mind and upon further reflection after the common route, I’m going to go with my gut on this one. He’s the first love interest we’re introduced to, and Yuriko sees him as a kind (to everyone) man. He’s the family’s gardener, but their relationship is more friendly than master and servant. However, even Yuriko notes that his friendliness seems to be directed at everyone, and he’s not just sweet on her, but other women who approach him because he’s somewhat attractive.

Yuriko recalls moments of their shared past, indicating he has always shown worry over her wellbeing, and even fights internally with herself several times during the common route whether she harbors feelings of love for him or if they’re just feelings of comfort due to his extended presence in her life. At first I also wondered if I liked him, he seemed sweet enough, but he had an odd way of popping up during key moments that made me squint my eyes dubiously wondering why he was around.

Majima is sus. He’s too nice and too available for our unsuspecting MC. I’ve got my eye on you, mister.

Mitzuhito Nomiya

Name: Mitzuhito Nomiya
Pronouns: He/Him
Voice Actor: Hirai Tatsuya
Yuriko’s Impression: Good older brother. He may be a bit of a lush and a smooth talker to the ladies of the night, but he lives to the beat of his own drum and he’s the only brother she has.
RJ’s Impression: Incredibly respectful of Yuriko, and the right amount of complimenting and attention to not come off as creepy. Why is everyone in this game so wholesome so far?

On the other hand, Mitzuhito Nomiya is exactly the type of guy you’d expect a half-brother to be. There’s no masking with this guy, it’s all honesty, all the time. He offers all the kindness and care an older brother should, and despite knowing Mitzuhito will be a love interest, nothing really stood out to say “This guy is into siscon!”

During his introduction to us he gives Yuriko a few compliments about how stunning she looks, and how all those at the party will find her very cute. But it isn’t uncomfortable, and he keeps his distance physically, so I just didn’t see him as the typical overprotective, overbearing, and obsessive older brother. I liked him, but I’m here for some raunchy romance, so he got filed away as a last resort– but before Majima, that dude just didn’t sit right with me.

We learn a few things about Mitzuhito throughout the party, which did make him slightly more interesting, but made it clear that Yuriko isn’t even aware of what brocon is. She’s aware of his vices – constant visits to the red light district, drinking, and his general laissez-faire attitude – but he’s always nice to her and nothing was noted as concerning.

I knew I was getting into a game that was laden in non-con, and contained unfiltered incest, yet the relationship between these two was so normal I had to wonder if people were just exaggerating. Nii-san isn’t going to help us out of a tight spot, is he?

Hitoshi Fujita

Name: Hitoshi Fujita
Pronouns: He/Him
Voice Actor: Cyanosis Sandayuu
Yuriko’s Impression: Fujita is the ideal servant; polite, respectful, and maybe a little sweet. It’s easy to see that she looks up to him to make the best, most proper choices without needing guidance.
RJ’s Impression: Fujita has some Daddy vibes with his perfect appearance and exceptional managing of the house and staff. He looks to be a soft teddy bear; sweet and caring under the stoic outer shell.

I honestly cannot wait to get into Fujita’s route. There are two big tropes at work here that make this too enticing for me to want to put him off for long. First, unbalanced power dynamic. Fujita is the head butler for the Nomiya household, meaning that he is a servant to Yuriko despite being roughly twice her age. And that is the second trope, the age gap. Earlier I had said that I believe Yuriko to be about 20-years old, Fujita is 37.

Not only do we get the fun of an older, subservient man as a love interest, but Fujita is also described as half-Japanese. Can you say foreigner fetishism? I can! He’s noted to be quite tall compared to most others, along with lighter colored eyes and hair due to his English heritage. Plus he’s a sweetheart! This man is after my own heart.

Yuriko only has nice things to say think about Fujita. He’s intelligent, comforting, and a perfectionist in his job. He also has a sweet-tooth according to Yuriko, and often gifts her chocolates or other candies that he carries around in his pockets. Where’s the downside here?

Now we’re talking! Butler Daddy was the first LI I wanted to see on his knees– I mean tackle! Tackle and get to know. Just get to know? Whatever the case, this is the type of taboo relationship I was hoping for. Gimme, gimme!

Kyouko Amami

Name: Kyouko Amami
Pronouns: She/Her
Voice Actor: Nekomi Ai
Yuriko’s Impression: Kyouko Amami is a woman that Yuriko respects and admires. Although she finds the things she says shocking, you can’t deny that Kyouko has a magnetism that draws you in.
RJ’s Impression: Kyouko Amami is intriguing and mysterious. I love her casual callousness about propriety, and while she certainly seems the mischievous and conniving sort, her blunt honesty makes her feel genuine.

Kyouko Amami has a way of drawing a crowd and demanding attention. She’s elegant, enchanting, and the epitome of an aristocratic lady. She’s also aware of her standing and a little unorthodox in what is expected of women. I know, how can I say she’s both the perfect example and also not ordinary? You just have to meet her to understand.

The way she can confidently, authoritatively call out to someone of any standing and politely correct the behavior is exactly how I imagine a woman of her wealth and status to act. She has been in charge her entire life. But the things that she says! I’m serious! Kyouko will casually talk about sex and her desires like she’s taking about a new fashion trend. There’s no difference between asking how someone’s health is, and asking how their sex-life is.

When Kyouko came on screen, I was taken with her, but also very confused. I hadn’t heard we were going to have a female LI. From what I understand, we don’t get her as a LI, but she does have a route. I don’t know exactly what this means, a friendship route, perhaps? I don’t see why the distinction between counting her as a LI and a route, but I suppose I’ll find out.

I can’t think of a person better suited to encompass my expectations of taboo relationships in the upper echelons of society. I fully expect Kyouko to regularly hold orgies that she talks about as if they were a proper garden party.

Hideo Ozaki

Name: Hideo Ozaki
Pronouns: He/Him
Voice Actor: Suga Kiya
Yuriko’s Impression: Sometimes a jerk, but Hideo is obviously someone Yuriko has a lot of history with. I’m sure she sees all that softness under the prickly exterior.
RJ’s Impression: Not as much of a jerk as I thought at first, but certainly way more concerned about propriety and being proper. Those guys have the kinkiest sides, so I’m ready to see Hideo’s.

You know how the childhood friend is usually either genki and sweet, or a total tsundere that “would never be interested in” the MC? Hideo is the latter. I’m not against tsundere characters, I find them incredibly relatable and typically understand their motivations so I can score high with them; I just sometimes wrestle with self-loathing and see too much of myself in them. Do not want.

Hideo comes into our world that Yuriko is showing us as an angry, obnoxious “friend” that I have to wonder why Yuriko even considers him one. Eventually he mellows out on the initial introduction, and the second conversation we have with him in the common route changed my entire opinion of him. This man can be sweet, and his dere side isn’t far below the tsun surface he shows us.

I really appreciate Hideo the more I get to see him. Sure, he’s a tight-ass about most things, but that nasty attitude he has isn’t really directed at Yuriko, she just takes splash damage from it. The times he is clearly trying to protect Yuriko from others are some of my favorites of his. Also, I think he falls in love with Shiba before Yuriko does. Hideo can be my bi-king, I’m down.

My combative nature with tsundere characters makes me want to be mean to Hideo the same way he is to Yuriko, but I like what I see under that prickly exterior. I want to see where this relationship can end up.

Jun’ichi Shiba

Name: Jun’ichi Shiba
Pronouns: He/Him
Voice Actor: Chasuke
Yuriko’s Impression: Shiba is a man that doesn’t deserve a modicum of respect. He’s rude, brash, and uncouth. Never would she fall in love with him.
RJ’s Impression: Shiba is amazing! He’s brash, uncouth, and hilarious because he breaks so many social etiquette rules and doesn’t seem to care at all.

That entrance, yo. Shiba comes in like a lightning strike in the middle of a storm, without warning, and his presence felt long after he leaves. As I mentioned earlier, there was one LI who hadn’t made an appearance by the time the common route broke into chaos, and that LI was Shiba. When needed most, he showed up, said a few things, and went on his way with a smile, leaving everyone staring in shock. Like I said, he was lightning.

Luckily the common route didn’t end there, and we get to see Shiba not too long later. Man, I love this guy. He’s the type you love to hate, hate to love, or just love and know that he’s a guilty indulgence. The things he says! He has absolutely no tact, clearly has endless confidence in himself, and quickly won me over just by being his ridiculous self.

I’m in trouble.

Story & Gameplay

There is so much about the way Butterfly’s Poison is written that I love. Our introduction to the world is from deep inside Yuriko’s thoughts. Slowly the scene is laid out before us, and we get to see her world expand further and further until the entire cast is introduced. Information is given at precisely the right moments so I’m never left wanting an answer for long, only when I’m waiting for confirmation on a theory I have concocted.

I found the third person perspective to be a little jarring at first, because I’m so used to otome being written from the MC’s point of view with only glimpses in certain games from another’s first person perspective. In Butterfly’s Poison, the narrator is omniscient, but the story focuses on Yuriko and her thoughts more than anything else.

The writing feels much more poetic and deeper than other current commercial titles. Of course, I’m not disparaging The Big Tomato’s games, I love many of them, but it’s clear the story for Butterfly’s Poison is a little more advanced than the more modernized language in Otomate games. Perhaps this is why I feel like I’m reading classic literature rather than a current best-selling novel.

Butterfly’s Poison boasts many UI features I haven’t seen before, and I have to say they impressed me. You can alter the text used in the game, from size to font, to even color in order to make reading it easier. This accessibility was surprising since I feel it is often disregarded in other commercial games despite having the funds to include them.

The option to turn individual voices up and down is also provided, as well as skipping to the next choice while playing the game. Along with other common features – such as text speed, auto speed, skipping features – all the usual players are also provided. However, because of these and the extra features, the game menu can feel a little overwhelming.

Final Thoughts

I started Butterfly’s Poison; Blood Chains in hopes of finding the porniest otome Nintendo had on their system, and my expectations were both low and high. Low because I came in thinking I was going to get a story full of smut written like Letters to Penthouse, and high because I came in knowing there was non-con, incest, and many other taboo themes.

Without having finished a route yet, I can say for certain that both the original story and the localization of it are far from the amateur writing I was expecting. Since I haven’t gotten through a route, I can’t say if my expectations of the most taboo of otome games will hold up to being taboo enough for me. But I have high hopes, along with a good feeling that I’m going to end up loving this game.

It’s no secret that there are many controversial themes presented in Butterfly’s Poison, and while I have yet to experience any of them (sorry, no sex in the common route) I fully believe that every route and ending, good or bad, will contain some sort of content that some might find problematic or uncomfortable. So please, if you’re concerned about the content, keep in mind that this may not be a game for you. And that’s okay!

You’ll like Butterfly’s Poison; Blood Chains if you like: A dark mystery, romance story that is more than porn with plot. If you’re okay with, or even interested in the taboo themes listed in the disclaimer section, you might get what you’re looking for here. Obligatory: Humans as a whole tend to have a morbid curiosity in different fields and topics, so fiction can be a safe way to explore said curiosity about dangerous and/or disturbing experiences.

Official Art

Game Info

Game Name: Butterfly’s Poison; Blood Chains
Developer: Aromari
Publisher: PROTOTYPE
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: Mature (ESRB)
Price: $44.99

Disclaimer: Butterfly’s Poison; Blood Chains contains a long list of triggering content covering drug & alcohol use, non-con, dub-con, incest, violence, murder, poverty, mental health, and abuse.

About the Author

RJ Mercy

Late blooming romance lover living the dream of playing games and writing about 2D men.

Obsessive content consumer, awkward streamer, and casual reviewer.

Fun fact: I sleep with several men in my bed at night.

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  • Do you think it’ll see an uncensored PC english release…? New to otome games, trying to round out my VN experience, and followed your twitter for an education–so I don’t know what’s good yet haha. But this premise seems promising

    Liked by 2 people

    • I would be very happy if this were the case, but I don’t think it will see an English PC release at all. Prototype, the publishing company that localized it for the Switch, doesn’t do uncensored versions of games, it’s kind of their thing to take adult games and make them accessible to more people. We’d have to see another company buy the PC rights and localize it themselves, and it doesn’t appear to be something companies are concerned with doing for us at the moment.

      The Japanese, uncensored version is available on PC, but as far as I know there isn’t a fan patch or anything else for that matter. I know some people get creative with setting up machine translators and text-hooking and all sorts of stuff I haven’t put any research into (because that would be work) so that they can play unlocalized games, but I wouldn’t even know where to direct you for that sort of thing. Sorry.

      Also! Welcome to otome games! I love it here, and I think it’s a great place to be. I hope you find something you like.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Your write-up has definitely made me think I made the right choice in buying this game. I knew about as much as you did when I chose to buy it, and having read your thoughts, I already formed some ideas about the plot and characters. 😀
    Thank you, RJ! I look forward to hearing more about this game from you at a later date.

    Liked by 2 people

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