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Fridge / Doki Doki Literature Club!

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Obviously contains spoilers for the game:

Fridge Brilliance/Horror

  • The very title of the game. "Doki doki" is the Japanese onomatopoeia for the heartbeat, but nobody said it has to be caused only by love...
  • Pay attention to how the girls are positioned on the Main Menu. Specifically, how Monika is positioned front-most of the viewer's perspective of the entire image, which is often what people first notice when viewing a picture with multiple subjects. Yet another hint that she wants you to notice her the most.
    • Also, Sayori is the second closest to the screen after Monika. She is the one that gains the President position after Monika is deleted.
  • The home page is missing any kind of Story or Characters page, and the game's tagline uses a singular form for the cast. Monika likely removed both of them when she was 'helping' with the web page, and she outright wants you to always pick her. ALWAYS.
  • During the poem word mini-game, about half of Sayori's words have something to do with depression and suicide.
    • One of the words she likes is "unrequited". She later mentions having had a thing for the main character for a while.
    • During the second act, those same words belong to Yuri.
  • All of Monika's poems are allusions to her awareness that she is inside a game and has some control on what is happening.
    • Hell, practically all of Monika's spoken lines work much the same way, though many are vague enough that you're unlikely to pick up on them during your first playthrough.
  • Despite being a Tsundere with obvious anger issues, Natsuki is, ironically, the only girl who isn't a Yandere (Monika), suicidal (Sayori), or both (Yuri). That said, it's apparent that Monika has been tampering with her, too, based off a Nightmare Face she gives while talking with Yuri, the fact that she immediately tells you to disregard her note expressing her concern for Yuri, and the more extreme argument the two have. Lord only knows what Monika would have done to her...
    • Arguably, even Natsuki's initial over-the-top hostility to the main character in Acts One and Two is a result of Monika's tampering with her personality. It's notable that Natsuki is far more accepting of the main character joining the Literature Club in Act Four when Monika is no longer around to influence anyone.
      • Note that Sayori explicitly says that Natsuki and Yuri did not fight until the main character joined the Literature Club. Simple jealousy, or something more sinister?
      • It is entirely possible that Monika's influence over Natsuki wasn't directly on her but on her father, turning him from a parent who doesn't approve of her Manga hobby into a full on neglectful/abusive parent, and that situation made Natsuki be even more aggressive than usual.
  • Monika isn't the only one who has the ability to become self-aware. When you delete her file and Sayori takes over as president, she becomes self-aware as well. The sad part is when you realize that Monika deleted/murdered the rest of her friends because she realized she was in a game and they weren't real anyways. But if they all can achieve self-awareness, they're all about as real as she is. Which makes their deaths equally as real.
    • Related to this, If you delete Monika's file before starting the game, Sayori has a sudden Freak Out! five seconds in and the game force quits, deleting game assets much like what happened at the end of the game, and if you open the game after that all you get is a still image of Sayori hanging herself. Judging by what happens if you delete Monika's file when you're supposed to, Sayori becomes self aware, but still has her crippling depression, and does an even worse job than Monika at coping with the knowledge that she's a fictional character in a dating sim.
  • Similar to how being the President of the Literature Club seems to result in meta-awareness, being the Vice President seems to result in Sanity Slippage and self-destructive tendencies. Sayori starts out the Vice President, only for her depression to worsen and for her to hang herself. When Yuri gets the position, she becomes more unstable and obsessive towards the player character, and eventually stabs herself to death. Imagine a playthrough where Natsuki or even the player character has the position...
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  • If you believe what Monika says about Yuri's self harm being a bizarre sexual fetish she has then it makes a lot more sense why she still stabs herself to death if you accept her proposal
  • If you look carefully, you'll notice that every character sprite either stands at a 3/4 angle, or faces the screen but still tilts her head away and gives an aside glance. The only character who faces her entire body towards the screen and looks directly forward is Monika which gives the impression that she's looking straight at the player.
  • In the third act, Monika talks with you about some of her thoughts as she holds the game captive, and some of what she says is actually insightful and well thought out (if somewhat hypocritical). Remember how she used to be in the Debate Club before starting her own? A key part of formal debate is being able to come to well-formed conclusions using research and logic, and then backing them up in an eloquent manner. In other words, she has experience making a solid argument.
  • The player character himself has his thought boxes and dialogue lines show up increasingly less often after the first act until they disappear completely after Monika makes herself the only girl left in the game. While he doesn't have a character file like the girls do, it's highly likely that Monika did something to gradually phase him out of the game too as she's not interested in him but in the actual player and wouldn't want another character standing in the way of direct interaction between them.
    • Consider also the possibility that he does notice what's going on, and his gradually growing more quiet is his own silent form of Sanity Slippage that just kept getting worse the longer things went on. The less he could deny or block out the glitches the more broken he became until he was practically an empty shell forced to move based only on the player's choices rather than his own will. If that's true, however, that means that he's still in there, not deleted, as everything happens.
    • It's possible Monika wiped the player character into a blank slate during act 3, without deleting him simply because without him, the player would have no medium for viewing and interacting with the game. Meaning when she's talking directly to you in act 3, she's staring into an empty husk of a person.
  • When Monika and Sayori are deleted in Acts Three and Four respectively, they're shown in clear agony and suffering from it all. What if this was only because they were alive when they were deleted? Sayori in Act One and Yuri in Act Two are also deleted, but they're dead from it, so they may not have had to suffer. But Natsuki was alive too, she was just offscreen when she was deleted. Unlike Monika or Sayori, who may have somewhat deserved their fate, Natsuki was actually the only character to remain reasonable and sane throughout the entire game. What did she have to go through before she was restored?
    • There's a less-horrifying reading; Monika and Act 4 Sayori were club president when they were deleted and therefore had medium awareness. It's possible that that's what makes it agonizing, since without that you can't perceive what's happening to you. Notably, outside of Yuri's vague sense of deja vu at one point, neither Natsuki nor Yuri directly notice any of the glitches in Act 2, only the behavioral changes that make sense within the context of the setting.
  • The metafictional themes of the game become even more tragic for Monika if you think too hard about them. She's thoroughly convinced that she's a self-aware person trapped in a world of two-dimensional automatons pre-programmed to react to the player in certain ways. However, she herself will always react with the same lines, and ultimately do the same things in every playthrough. She's a two-dimensional character, written to think that she's the only three-dimensional person in a world of two-dimensional characters.
    • It is telling that she disregards the affection the other characters feel towards the protagonist as part of the game rules, but she does not question whether hers is legitimate. The few means of interaction there could be between the player and Monika are cut off and restricted by her. She is merely basking under the presence of the player with no knowledge of who they might be, likely just staring at the hollow shell of the protagonist character.
    • Even worse; she's not "staring" at anyone, not in her world, or in ours. Even if you gave her the knowledge that she's a fictional character forced to act like she knows she's a fictional character, regardless of what "actual" Monika thinks or feels, she'll be forced to recite and "tamper" with things she doesn't understand while changing absolutely nothing in the process, "talk" to people that don't exist, complete tasks she has no consious knowledge of, and always "believe" that the best way to stop her actions is to kill her, forever. All because some group wanted to make a metafictional story where Medium Awareness, which she is forced to think she has, is a horror plot. And not only does this apply to Monika, this applies to everyone as well — outside of outright modding the game or suddenly turning the game into a self-coding program with the cast as AIs, the game is going to keep forcing them to relive the horror (and "react" to it accordingly) for as long as copies of the game exist, with nothing they can do to stop it. No matter how much they think they've figured it out, all their "discoveries" will just be a part of the game's code. It's like they decided to roll up the Cookie problem and the constant updates to Stanley's plight up into one cute, creepy little package.
  • Yuri's poems during her Sanity Slippage have red and yellow stains on them. The red might be accounted for since she has a cutting problem. But what about the yellow? Yuri, at one point, says that she "put her scent on it." It could be essential oils, since she's established to have an interest in aromatherapy in Act 1. The other option, though... it's best not to think about.
  • Given the color of her eyes, one could say that Monika was green with envy.
  • Why does being the head of the literature club grant knowledge of the real world? Throughout the game, Monika occasionally reminds you to save. Rather than obtrusively have some random tutorial screen remind you to save, the designers decided to have the helpful club president give you advice. But before she could teach you about the game, she was forced to learn that she was in a game in the first place.
  • When Natsuki walks in on you after you've been trapped with Yuri's corpse for three days, it seems like it's setting up a The Corpse Stops Here situation but instead, Natsuki vomits and runs away. While part of it could be shock, also consider how much time has passed. If you look closely, you can see that Yuri's corpse starts to decay as the days pass, and as anyone who's worked with corpses can tell you, the decaying doesn't merely affect how the body looks. The smell was probably overwhelming.
    • It's also quite strange that the Player Character doesn't seem to react at all to the smell despite being trapped with a corpse for 3 days. This makes sense because this is the part where he ceases to exist.
  • Despite Monika being the Not Love Interest, the player character seems to have a habit of talking her up in a way that borders on Character Shilling. He seems pleasantly surprised to see her, refers to her as "out of his league," plays up her School Idol status, and, when listing the girls, ends with "and of course, Monika." This is a clue towards Monika being able to edit the game so that she's the most ideal love interest.
    • In fact, Monika playing up her positive traits and amplifying her rivals' less desirable traits backfired on her horribly. Monika made herself a Mary Sue, making her unapproachable for the player character and undesirable and insanely suspicious to the player. Her rivals in love Sayori, Natsuki, and Yuri, however, were possibly made even more desirable when their more negative aspects were amplified. The player would spend more time with the other three girls out of a desire to help them solve their problems and find happiness (or - alternatively - pique the interest of Nightmare Fetishist players that want to see what happens). Compared to Monika, the other three girls were just far more endearing to the player. Monika only became endearing when she gave up trying to play up her positive traits and revealed her true self to the player.
  • Natsuki complains that Monika has a habit of rearranging her manga collection (that she keeps in the clubroom) so that things are out of place. It seems vaguely odd she would do such a thing, until you consider Act 3. If you let Monika talk, she seems to know a lot about anime, manga, and dating sim tropes; she references the Yandere and Tsundere tropes by name, makes fun of the Sacred First Kiss, and lampshades that personalities like Yuri's and Natsuki's seem improbable and idealized in retrospect. This raises the possibility that Monika actually took the time to read Natsuki's manga when she wasn't looking. Why? Well, since she knew that she was in a Dating Sim, she probably felt it was a good idea to make herself as Genre Savvy as possible.
  • Want to know what Monika means in Japanese? It's how the Japanese pronounce the word "moniker". Her name is literally the word for "a name". Monika wasn't just some side-character in the original script. She was a nameless side-character!
  • Why, if Monika's character file is deleted, does the game abruptly end after Sayori's freak out (or even sooner if Sayori's file is deleted)? Because Sayori is the one who introduces you to the Literature Club. Since Sayori is respectively Driven to Suicide or Ret Gone in these cases and there is no one to fill this position, the main character never joins the Literature Club, so the story simply doesn't happen. The only reason the game continues to play after Sayori's scripted suicide is because Monika is controlling things by that point.
  • Why does the Club President have Medium Awareness to begin with? From a gameplay perspective, someone needed to be an Exposition Fairy to explain how to play the game. In this case, the "fairy" is Monika, who indeed explains a lot of the game mechanics and doesn't skimp on the Lampshade Hanging. The catch is that in a dating sim, the Exposition Fairy is almost always a side character, since a romance choice with Medium Awareness would be blatantly unfair to the rest of the options. Their job is to prep the player and let them go about their business, nothing more, and Monika's awareness of this is what compounds her loneliness and leads to her actions in the story.
  • The Golden Ending: The reason Sayori doesn't go nuts is because you've seen all the CG's, gone back and saved and reloaded in order to get what passes for 100% completion of the game. Her depression centers on the idea that everyone being happy is impossible, and she's technically correct: as dating sim characters, the only way any of them can be happy is by completing their story and reaching their happy ending, but those endings are mutually exclusive. If any one of the characters gets that happy ending, the others never will. Allowing her to become self-aware lets her see that the others got their route endings too, so her depression is abated and she can finally be happy herself.
  • Sayori, Yuri, and Natsuki's respective abilities to get along with the player may have determined how heavily Monika decided to tamper with each of them. She seems to have initially focused most of her efforts on Sayori, as Sayori's mental state becomes too broken to even carry on through Act 1, whereas Yuri and Natsuki both survive the first act with seemingly little difficulty. This was a wise tactical move on Monika's part, since Sayori's well established bond with the player made her the most obvious romantic threat. It was only natural that she be taken out first to minimize the risk to Monika's plan. But Monika didn't stop singling certain girls out after Act 1. Throughout Act 2, Yuri is far more noticeably affected by Monika than Natsuki is. This, again, was most likely a tactical choice. Natsuki has a fairly abrasive personality even when she's not being controlled by Monika, and Yuri can be considered more naturally approachable by comparison. In fact, unlocking the only scene where Natsuki becomes as unhinged as Yuri requires you to have already pursued Natsuki in Act 1... if you make Natsuki into a more credible romantic rival, you can doom her to the same level of insanity that Yuri faces no matter what.
  • Monika is even more amazing than she seems. Her mental fortitude is enough to keep her lucid through the realization that not only is nothing around her real, but also that she's designed to be an unimportant side character that can never experience what her world defines as true happiness. Compare Sayori, who went insane and destroyed the world (possibly unintentionally) because she couldn't handle the truth. And why is that? Because she's designed to be. As the mature, capable, responsible upperclassman and mentor to the protagonist, it's in her very nature to be able to handle things that would overwhelm the others.
  • Sayori states that she enjoys stories that are bittersweet, much like how the game itself is.
  • More like Fridge Sadness, but still: so much of what Monika goes through stems from how lonely she is because she's different, and she's suffering because she's under strict pressure to behave in a certain way to make life easier for everyone around her. That's a very simple problem that plenty of characters in fiction cope with. This being not a typical visual novel, it's definitely more complicated than that, but really, that's the core of her problem. Monika already has everything a romance option in a dating sim needs to support a route, but she only exists in the game to fill the role of Club President, and all that entails. Imagine finding out that even though you have a life and dreams and ambitions of your own, you discover that you exist solely to facilitate the happiness of others in a way that makes your own happiness completely impossible.
  • In Act 2, Yuri apologizes for what she said to Natsuki during her argument, but it turns out she doesn't even remember a thing happening despite running out of the room crying. It's heavily implied Monika wiped Natsuki's memory of the event. But why? She knew how anxious and self-conscious Yuri was, and probably decided to make her doubt her own perceptions by having Natsuki not remember anything and laugh at Yuri's apology. Combined with the heavy implication that Monika said something to Sayori that made her depression worse, and something becomes clear: Monika isn't just engaging in Mind Rape by tampering with the girls' files, but intentionally speeding up the process by triggering their insecurities through Gaslighting. Yikes.
  • The endings in which Sayori realizes she's a video game character make even more sense when remembering how much the Protagonist and her other friends mean to her. She and the Protagonist have been best friends since childhood, he is her Living Emotional Crutch, and she bases her happiness on other people's, the Protagonist included. Given how she has no self-esteem or feelings of self-worth, finding out that her best friend isn't real (and doesn't have a canon name, face, or even a character file, so it could be assumed he isn't even as "real" as the girls are), her other friends aren't real either, and possibly learning about Ret Gone friend Monika's fate of deletion probably caused her to hit the Despair Event Horizon realizing that no one's happiness matters, hence her being Driven to Suicide if the player deletes Monika without starting the game. On top of that, in the normal ending, she learns how horribly they've all suffered in past playthroughs because of Monika, as well as Monika's Reality Warper powers and her objective in doing that to them, and instead of taking her own life goes mad with power and tries to reach out to the player, the only person she knows capable of "real" happiness and autonomy, latching onto them to turn them into a Replacement Goldfish for the Protagonist and make herself happy through them. In the Golden Ending, she is touched by how hard the player worked to make all her friends happy despite them not being "real", remembers and sees how genuine her and her friends' emotions and happiness were in those moments, sees that the player has accomplished what they were meant to do (improve the girls' lives), and ends the game with a positive epiphany to bookend Monika's negative one - their world may not be real, but their happiness is still important to them and that's all that matters.
  • Sayori and Yuri kill themselves whether you accept or reject their love confessions. On the surface it's a But Thou Must! moment that takes away the sense of influence the player can have over the plot. That's intentional in a meta sense, to make the player feel guilty and helpless for choosing "wrong," adding to their own sense of horror. In-Universe, likely Monika hijacks control of them to force them to kill themselves regardless of the answer, out of jealousy that they were able to confess to you before her or not wanting you to lock yourself into a route with one of them.
  • Natsuki likes all of the food-related words. Of course, since she likes baking! Or because her father is implied to starve her.
    • If she has the money for baking supplies, why doesn't she just make herself some decent dinner? Because she's childish. One of the special poems implies that her father doesn't starve her deliberately, he's just busy with work and Natsuki is a latchkey kid, and Natsuki is an emotional eater who drowns her sorrows in sweets. Of course she eats cupcakes for dinner, that's what any little kid would do if they could.
  • Natsuki loves making cupcakes, but she only makes cupcakes in Act I, and only if Monika hasn't messed with her programming enough to make her dad abusive. So where do they come from at the end of Act II? They always existed in the club room. Since there's no scene of Natsuki actually baking them, she doesn't have to actually make them for them to be there, she just has to exist. Another example of Monika's lack of foresight when coding.
  • On the final morning of Act 1, you leave Sayori in her house and go on to school thinking she has overslept again and will catch up. However, there is no guarantee that she had already hung herself by the time you had left. It's possible she just overslept as normal and was racing to catch up to you like she did in the beginning of the game, but gave into despair when she saw you had left her behind to hang out at school with whoever she caught you almost kissing the prior day. This is a particularly bad Player Punch if you told her you loved her right after the near-kiss.
  • Why are all of the girls given the Gaslighting treatment instead of becoming legitimately unpleasant people? Monika having the ability to edit game code doesn't mean she suddenly knows how to code. Editing entire aspects of their characters to turn them into radically different people would likely require building code from scratch, which is far beyond her skill level. The gaslighting on the other hand only requires editing existing code and variables, which even a beginner can learn to do in under an hour through trial-and-error, hence the girls' pre-existing issues getting tweaked. Even the "space classroom" was likely a pre-existing location that Monika copy-pasted (or she simply deleted every other location) from the game files. If Monika could've rewritten the world into an entirely different game to feature her prominently, she probably would've.
    • As an extra bit of horror and Tear Jerker, this implies that all of the other girls' flaws have always been present before Monika alters their code. If Monika can't program behaviors from scratch, only modify existing ones, then it's a startling implication that the more crippling issues the girls have (Sayori's suicidal depression, Yuri's self-harm fetish, Natsuki's Abusive Parents, perhaps even Monika's existential crisis) were already there before Monika started tweaking their values. It's enough to make you wonder how these mental problems would've factored into the story had the game been a normal Visual Novel, such as romancing one girl at the expense of the rest and how they'd respond.
  • Why does Monika get sent to some kind of hell-void of endless colors, screams, noise and inability to think whenever the game is closed? The game is decompiling. When a program isn't running, all of its code is just loose data not given any form or function, sitting as a lifeless blob of memory on your computer. The game world quite literally implodes on itself whenever the game is closed, and abruptly reconstructs itself when it is run and recompiled. To the other girls who lack Medium Awareness and don't remember it, this isn't a problem. But from the perspective of someone who does remember it like Monika, it must be like every soundbyte, image and piece of code the game has is blitzing through her entire being, over and over, without cease until the game is started up again.
    • And before you start to feel (even more) bad for Monika, this can be seen as a dose of Laser-Guided Karma, as most of the heart-wrenching or terrifying scenes in the game were directly or indirectly caused by her messing with the code. On the other hand, seeing it all through your eyes (the images in the game are as seen by the player character, after all) might be what helps her understand how awful her actions must've been from another's perspective.
    • Code doesn't really work like that, though...code doesn't "decompile" itself, the OS just ceases execution of the process and frees all allocated memory. The situation would be closer to full-scale stasis. However, I won't burst your bubble in name of pedantic accuracy, without giving you something worse: given the hypothetical scenario of a game character having awareness, what if that awareness is spread across all running instances of the game all around the world? That means a full-on-schizophrenic existence until eventually the game stops being popular and everything just stops. When the process isn't running in your machine, it'd be running on someone else's until that full stop. A different system, different architectures, different endianess, a different player to be forced to love, copies that have been tampered with...fangames...
  • Despite being a generic visual novel protagonist, the protagonist is still a person in the DDLC universe. He has a home, he has dialogue, he even has interests of his own; just because he's designed to be plain enough that anyone can project themselves onto him (to the point of being kind of a douche sometimes) it doesn't mean that he isn't every bit as valid as the other characters. Monika does just as much to alter him as she does with the other girls, but the protagonist is a purely reactionary character that serves as a vessel for the player, so she can't just delete him: instead, once she takes him off the rails he needs to function, all he can do is witness the events unfolding in front of him, unable to speak, move, or react, because he depends on scripting to be able to do anything. Monika even focuses on the player so completely that she doesn't even acknowledge him except as a vessel to reach the player. It takes And I Must Scream to a whole new level, at least that trope usually makes it clear the character is conscious within themselves, the very nature of the visual novel medium means we can't get even that much closure for him.
    • Worse: because it's just not possible to see his point of view short of modding him to be a separate person, he's basically stuck in his own little Sunken Place until the plot needs him again, after which he'll continue to react as if nothing was wrong. But because he's the least "real" character of all, being seen as little more than a faceless surrogate with flavor text, even the player isn't normally inclined to be worried about what happens to him compared to the girls.
  • In act 2, Yuri's character transformation embodies her worst fears about herself, especially if you interpret her cutting problem as Monika's fabrication. Throughout the first act, she's constantly worried that her interest in dark, scary things will alienate her from others. She's terrified that her benign (if unusual) hobby of collecting decorative knives proves that there's something wrong with her. Yuri's convinced that the player will find her frightening and dangerous when he finds out. Then, Monika turns her harmless interests into a dangerous pathology that drives her to chase away her friends, terrorize her crush, and ultimately destroy herself.
  • Monika's entire situation becomes more depressing once you notice something. She only appears in exactly one CG: the one where she's sharing a Held Gaze with the player in Act 3. The other girls get multiple, but she only has one after she's the only girl left.
  • Yuri's final choice to accept her confession being utterly irrelevant makes sense when you realize it's all but certain Yuri is aware of her Sanity Slippage and that she's becoming Ax-Crazy. If you reject her, she's Driven to Suicide, but if you accept her, she has enough lucidity left to protect you from herself, dying at least at peace.
  • The Player Character doesn't really react much to the horrific events in Act II. He give the same lines of dialogue he gave in Act I, doesn't respond to Yuri's or Natsuki's new dialogue, doesn't show any horror to the events that transpire, and when Yuri stabs herself to death, he just stays there, doesn't scream, doesn't go into shock, doesn't leave or try to leave, he just stays in that room until another character enters the scene. After the latter event occurs, Monika explains that the script got so broken that he didn't have any option to do anything else. From that, it can be inferred that the Player Character can only say his canned lines from the original uncorrupted game, and, for some reason, Monika could not alter them (possibly because he doesn't have a character file like the girls do). This all takes a dive into Fridge Horror for two reasons:
    • The Player Character is appropriately shocked and horrified when Sayori confesses her depression and later commits suicide. If he only has his lines from the original dating sim to go by then Sayori's suicide was a possible ending in the original game.
    • Unlike the Player Character, Natsuki is horrified when she sees Yuri's corpse, and Yuri also has moments when she is absolutely horrified when she realizes that she is acting out of character in cruel or disgusting ways. This suggests that the girls are always aware of what is going on, even if they don't always know that they are characters in a dating sim. But the fact that this has a CG at all indicates the cast's mundane school life would have still taken a grisly turn, even if it didn't involve hacking the files.
  • A pretty small one, but in Act I, Yuri says that she thinks she is "useless" when it comes to festival preparations until Monika suggests that she should make something that will help the atmosphere. However, in Act II, Yuri just offers to do it by herself. That's because Monika wasn't affecting the game in Act I (well, mostly, she mostly focused on Sayori) and only Act II is seriously affected by her. It's likely that she remembered what task she gave to Yuri in Act I and programmed it into her in Act II in order to make the whole scene go by faster.
  • The scene where the Player Character watches Yuri's corpse for the entire weekend has "Yuri" speaking what appears to be countless pages of nonsensical gibberish the entire time. However, open up her character file in Notepad. Look familiar? Now think of her character file's "code" like blood, and the significance of this aspect of the scene should immediately become crystal clear: Yuri's actual character file is, in essence, "bleeding out".
  • Strangely enough, Monika fully confesses that "despite being a leader" she "isn't very good with people". She is the only one who's aware that she's in a game, and as a result finds it impossible to sincerely interact with the other characters knowing full well that they technically don't exist.
    • Alternatively, she may have never been programmed with especially strong people skills to begin with. Monika was intended to be a minor character without any truly meaningful interactions with the Player Character. Even with her leadership role, her lack of romance options turned any attempt to give her in-depth people skills into unnecessary extra coding work. Additionally, giving her this shortcoming makes the people-pleasing Sayori (who does have a romance route) look more appealing by comparison.
  • One of Sayori's poems, specifically her final poem, is basically a Madness Mantra. But the words "Get out of my head", make a lot more sense when you learn that Monika is not just editing files to decrease her sanity, she's also using Mind Rape. This adds a bit of Nightmare Fuel when you realize: what exactly is Monika doing to the girls when she edits their files?
  • One of Monika's "Writing Tips of the Day" talks about how becoming obsessed with perfection in your writing just ends up getting you stuck in one spot. She urges you to instead "force yourself to get something down on paper, and tidy it up later". This isn't just a writing strategy. It's also the best way to play Doki Doki. First time players will soon realize that the "save" function doesn't really matter for them. Every save file gets deleted once Sayori commits suicide, and the story has a lot more Railroading from that point onwards. On your first play through, it's best for you to just "go with the flow", just as Monika says, and accept the story as it comes to you. On your second play through, however, you can use your newfound knowledge of the story and the save function to "tidy it up". Successfully making all of the girls happy before Sayori commits suicide in the same play through will finally unlock the Golden Ending.
    • Monika's next "Writing Tip of the Day" in Act 2 has her mention the save function directly, only to become derailed when she cuts herself off mid-way to ask, "Who am I talking to? Can you hear me?". It initially seems like this is Monika's first moment of Medium Awareness, and that she is confused about her own advice because the concept of "saving" doesn't make any sense In-Universe. But what we learn about her later makes it far more likely that Monika already understands save files perfectly. What is actually confusing her is the relationship between the Player Character and... you, the actual player controlling him. She is begging for you to give her a sign that her words are reaching you, an actual real person, rather than just the empty vessel that the Player Character represents.
    • Dan Salvato basically confirmed this in a live stream of the game. The key point of the scene is that Monika realized that since she was talking about saving, this was one of the few points at which the game allowed, even expected, for her to talk directly to the player rather than the protagonist.
  • Monika admitting that she didn't truly delete everybody else's files makes even more sense when considering hers and the player's actions. Many players have experimented with backing up, deleting from, and restoring different character files to the game to see what would happen, or just out of sentimental attachment to a particular character. Monika has a similar perspective, at one point saying she would never really kill a real person and comparing her supposed deleting of the other club members to (accurately enough) a player killing characters in video games. While this means she is willing to mess with the files like the player would (and has to, to reach an ending) to try to get the ending she wants, it also means that she too has an irrational sentimental attachment to the club members and likely backed up their files before deleting them, hence why she can so easily restore them to the game later when she has her My God, What Have I Done? moment (and possibly why she herself still exists in the game in some form even after her file has been deleted; she might have already backed up her own file before you deleted it). It also makes sense because she is the character programmed to teach you the importance of saving; she herself is quietly Save Scumming, in case the outcome isn't quite what she anticipates and she wants to try again another way.
  • The Arc Words "Just Monika" have more layers than it seems initially, through the use of the word "just". On the surface it means only, centering on how she wants to be the only person the player loves, but "just" can also mean merely, and it can also mean "fair", as in justice. She's merely Monika, an unimportant side character, and at the end of the game, she enforces deletion on herself once she has her Heel Realization as a fair punishment for what she's done - just Monika.
  • "Your Reality" uses the game's theme music as a melody, which makes sense. Monika never mentioned learning to write music, just play it. The only music she actually knows is the game's soundtrack, so obviously when she wrote a song, she just wrote lyrics to go with the theme music.
    • The song is also written in the key of C-major, and therefore largely can be played using only the white keys of a piano. Perfect for Monika, who is still a beginner!
  • The Golden Ending - Meta : The last thing Sayori told you before erasing all the data is "to come visit sometime." It can be viewed as an invitation to replay the game later, or... to keep playing with the characters. With all the fan-arts make by the fanbase and mods for the game that provide alternate scenarios to make things happier for the girls, you have lots of opportunities to see them again.
  • The method Sayori uses for her suicide is probably the best one possible in order to make the impact of that scene be what it needs to be. Virtually any other method could leave confusion as to whether or not she was really dead, or else whether it was a suicide or a murder. It's also easy to render in a way that isn't gory - gore would likely distract most players from the act itself.
    • On a similar note when Yuri later follows suit, her stabbing herself in front of you serves a similar purpose. That scene wouldn't work as well if the game had to pause and wait for a CG to load in; even a split second is a lot of lost suspense. In order to be as shocking as Sayori's, it has to be very quick and sudden. And again, though it does lead to the goriest scene in the game, the overall gore level still fits with the tone at that point enough to not be distracting. And the decomposition only becomes apparent after you've already been getting used to watching her body for a while, milking the impact of the scene for all it's worth.
  • In a normal dating sim, you pick a love interest to pursue and make choices that determine how close you get to them, with the best ending being one in which you get together with your chosen love interest. For the player who goes through the whole story, DDLC ends up not being like that- neither of the game's ultimate endings actually get the player character together with anyone. However, from Monika's perspective, the game actually is a kind of dating sim, in which the love interest is the player and the choices are the various alterations she makes to the game. And at the end, either you like Monika enough that you don't delete her and stay with her, or she failed to get you to like her enough.
  • During the Reddit AMA, Dan Salvato dropped a confirmation that Monika was focusing most of her attention specifically on Yuri to make both her and Natsuki look bad in Act 2 (describing her as a "chosen vehicle for Monika to try to get you to hate the club members."). This makes a certain amount of sense if you think about it. Natsuki is... the cranky type, who tends to not get along with Yuri due to their differing tastes. So Monika probably thought that if she just amplified Yuri enough, Natsuki would get more frustrated and defensive even without touching her. In other words, while Natsuki did get tampered with, Monika didn't feel as strong a need to do so since Yuri's negative qualities at their most extreme would most likely be enough to get Natsuki to do something that would make someone think less of her.
  • The way Sayori takes over the game in the Normal Ending. Monika was so bad at rewriting the code that she caused all the glitches seen in Act II. But Sayori? She kept everything running seamlessly, waiting until she got a chance to truly be alone with the player before abruptly revealing her true intentions and taking you back to the Void Room. The same room that Monika couldn't access until she restarted the game and wasn't even sure would load. Talk about Hidden Depths!
  • It's been pointed out that Monika has distinct character design differences, but there's another character who, to a lesser extent, also looks different. Sayori wears her jacket open, and she and Monika don't have their eyes match their hair color, unlike the other two members of the club. She is next in line to gain meta-awareness.
  • The very end of the game reveals that, even after you delete her file, Monika still exists within the game- she's no longer visible and cannot communicate with the other characters, but she can still see everything that's happening and can still speak to you through the game's text boxes. This suggests the disturbing possibility that the other girls also became trapped in this state after being deleted- only, unlike Monika, they wouldn't even understand what had happened to them, nor would they have any method of communication at all.
    • If you're familiar with how computer memory works, this becomes even worse. When you delete something, it doesn't immediately disappear into the ether, it's still technically there, but the space it was occupying is now flagged as 'available' instead of 'in use', meaning that the computer can now use the newly available memory for whatever needs to be done, overwriting what was once originally there. So not only are the girls basically stuck in limbo, but they're also being slowly ground away as the computer simply does it's regular job. Whether or not they would realize this is up for debate, but it's spine chilling either way.
  • Each of the girls' versions of "Okay, Everyone!" are relatively complex, with their tracks usually using strings and woodwind instruments. But Monika's version is relatively simple, being a solo piano. With Monika having Medium Awareness, it's likely that she composed the track herself.
  • Monika's pose on the title screen has her carrying a pen in one hand, while reaching out towards the presumed viewer with her other arm. Her entire character arc is about her rewriting the game so that she can reach out to the player.
  • Monika uploaded an image of herself in a Sleep Cute pose with Yuri, with the description mentioning that it was during a sleepover. There's one way to read into her motivations for taking a picture: aside from convincing the player she's nice enough to help a shy girl like Yuri out of her shell, she might have figured out that certain demographics would definitely be interested.
  • The game's focus on poetry and literature is more connected to its themes than you'd think. There's a phenomenon known as the Sylvia Plath effect, in which it's believed poets, especially female, are more prone to depression and other related issues.
  • One thing to note is how when Monika is late to the Club for the first time, she cites her reasoning being Piano lessons. Her expressions and the way she seems to hesitate when answering seem to imply that she's lying about this. If so, what could she really be doing? Consider the idea that you're playing a game dealing with Literature. Literature, like many forms of art, deals with certain levels of symbolism, metaphor and whatnot, and it's likely to be useful when creatively telling the truth about something. What does a piano have that's required to play it? A keyboard. What also has a keyboard? A computer. It's likely that Monika was actually learning how to code rather than doing piano practice, especially because the results become noticeable at the end of ACT 1. Furthermore, if we go by the ideas that she has composed some of the tracks in the game, we can assume that she used it as an easy excuse because it is something she legitimately knows!
  • The 3rd day of the 2nd arc, is the morning right after the emotional outburst yesterday about Natsuki not wanting any more members. After thinking about it and cooling down Natsuki ends up apologizing, but depending on if you attempt a Natsuki route or follow the Yuri route willingly things will be different. Namely Yuri will either offer to buy Natsuki a manga as a compromise or verbally bully her into submission, what gives? By this point Yuri is fighting obsessions and yandere thoughts and the last shred of her sanity is arguing whether Natsuki is her friend or competition. Had you followed the Yuri route willingly those dark thoughts are easily dismissed as false but if you choose to attempt a Natsuki route, the urge just stacks until she snaps into a full-fledged yandere.
  • Yuri is a Japanese name, but it's also the Slavic version of "George", and the given name of several Russian people. Appropriate, then, that she mentions Pavlovian responses, named after the Russian Ivan Pavlov, and reads the book "Portrait of Markov", Markov being a common surname in Russia.
  • Minor, but at the beginning of Act 2, Natsuki complains that Monika never told her a new member would be coming, because she'd have made cupcakes otherwise. Monika claims she didn't know, but this isn't true, due to her medium-awareness; it's more likely that she kept Natsuki out of the loop so that the cupcakes wouldn't be made, and so the player wouldn't have as much reason to take interest in Natsuki the second time around.
  • More like Fridge Meta and Fridge Humor, but one of the things you can buy from the ddlc store is a "Just Monika" eraser. Oh hardy har har, Team Salvato.
    Team Salvato: The infamous "Just Monika" dialog box in the form of a rectangular eraser, ideal for deleting lead from paper.

Fridge Logic

  • Why are Sayori's hands bloody after she commits suicide by hanging?
    Monika: You know how Sayori is really clumsy? Well, she kind of messed up the whole hanging thing... You're supposed to jump from high enough that the rope snaps your neck, making it quick and painless. But she just used a chair, meaning she kind of just left herself to slowly asphyxiate. But a few seconds in, she must have changed her mind or something... Because she started clawing at the rope, trying to free herself. She must have kept at it all the way until she lost consciousness. That's why her fingertips were all bloody, anyway. Come to think of it, it was probably less 'changing her mind' and more just her survival instincts kicking in. So you can't really fault her for that. It's easier to think that she probably wouldn't have changed her mind anyway, right?
  • Does being president of the literature club involve gaining some meta-knowledge? How else would Sayori know of Monika's actions in the bad ending, or of the player saving/reloading to make everyone happy in the golden ending?
    • Monika comes to believe this in the bad ending. After Sayori starts showing clear signs of Sanity Slippage, she concludes the game itself is a corrupting influence and deletes it all.
  • In Act 1, why does Monika invariably target Sayori instead of whomever the Player Character is making the most relationship progress with? Based on the relative ease with which she can tamper with both Yuri and Natsuki in Act 2, it doesn't make sense that she wouldn't be able to do so to begin with.
    • Monika presumably didn't target Sayori specifically in Act 1 but increased the "unlikable" traits of all three potential love interests: Natsuki's rude and childish Tsundere behavior, Yuri's obsessiveness, and yes, Sayori's depression. Natsuki and Yuri do act differently in Act 4 than they do in Act 1 (though to be fair, Sayori could have altered their personalities to be better friends; or Monika, to make amends and attempt to give you a happier time in the new version of the game she intended for you in Act 4), so it's likely their personalities were modified as well in Act 1 even if it's not as noticeable as Sayori's in Act 1 or their personality changes in Act 2. Increasing Sayori's depression led to more drastic consequences than Monika expected, namely that Sayori became withdrawn and this worried her friend the Protagonist enough to pay more attention to her (and therefore making the player pay more attention to her, no matter if they preferred Natsuki or Yuri over Sayori). Sayori ultimately killed herself and triggered an ending, at which point Monika decided to just delete her file entirely and start over again, seemingly to see if she could take over the route Sayori would've had that was already programmed in the game. Given that it seemed she was more reluctant to make big changes to the game until she feared the game was broken anyway and decided to just delete Sayori (as detailed in the traceback file), Monika might also feel more willing to actively interfere and try to edit code in Act 2 than she was in Act 1, and taken more drastic action by cranking up Natsuki and Yuri's "unlikable" traits again since they were still too likable in Act 1.
  • The seemingly throwaway line "I want breakfast" in the poem Dear Sunshine, while easily explained as Sayori's usual ditziness, could hold a deeper meaning. While Sayori is portrayed as being "always hungry" (overeating is a symptom of depression), we only ever really see Sayori craving junk food (asking MC for some cash for a snack from the vending machine and wolfing down Natsuki's cupcake and cookie). In addition, when revealing her depression, Sayori says to MC, "Why eat?" Lack of appetite and food cravings (particularly carbs and junk food) are also common symptoms of depression. Assuming the poem is about MC, it may be that thinking about him and writing the poem cheered Sayori up to the point that she felt up to preparing and eating actual food.


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