In this blog post, we will try to understand what is Doki Doki literature club depression. We will look at the character of Sayori who suffers from depression by seeing how the story unfolds. We will also try to understand how to cure sadness after the Doki Doki Literature Club.
What is Doki Doki literature club?
Doki Doki Literature Club is the brainchild of Dan Salvato and his friends at Team Salvato and isn’t so much a love letter to dating sims as an invitation to an intervention. From one angle, Team Salvato’s free visual novel Doki Doki Literature Club looks like an attempt to capture a bit of Undertale‘s signature metafictional magic. A game that begins as a piece in a well-defined genre ends up being anything but—picking apart both the mechanical and narrative tropes that a player might expect from, respectively, a visual novel or a JRPG.
At a glance, what looks like a corny romance Japanese visual novel designed to satisfy the cravings of hormonal teenagers is actually under the genre of psychological horror.
Doki Doki literature club depression
What initially starts off as a cutesy and ever-so-slightly lewd dating simulator grows into a subversive, mature, and complex swan dive into some very serious themes. These include abuse, self-harm, bullying, and depression, among many more.
the thing about Doki Doki Literature Club that makes it terrifying is how real its depictions of these topics are, which are all explored within the narratives of the four in-game characters Sayori Yuri, Monika, and Natsuki. It’s absolutely paralyzing to be confronted with these topics in a way that’s so familiar and so realistic that it makes you feel like you’re looking into a mirror in an age where most media fails to really capture how it feels to deal with these problems and situations.
In Doki Doki Literature Club, depression is explored through the character Sayori. Throughout the majority of the game, she’s friendly, cheerful, silly, and cute — all she wants is for everyone to be happy. However, as time goes on, she begins to break down, and eventually, you discover through an incomprehensibly emotional conversation with her that she’s lived with severe depression for her entire life. The only reason that she acts the way she does in front of you and her friends is so that she can hide her emotions.
How the story unfolds in Doki Doki Literature Club
At the beginning of Doki Doki Literature Club, the game introduces you- the player of the game, to Sayori who is the next-door neighbor and lifelong-friend-by-proximity-rather-than-choice. You usually walk to school together, but she’s always just late enough to keep you annoyed and waiting.
As the game introduces its world Sayori drags you to the titular Literature Club, where you—a typical, fairly bad high school male—decide to stay because hey this club is full of girls. And so begins the game’s first act, which plays like a normal dating sim—you have conversations, make a couple of seemingly-meaningful choices, and play a poetry-writing minigame to win the heart of your favorite fictional character. Just some normal high school stuff.
After about an hour, you’ll reach a point where you’ll either spend a Sunday afternoon with Natsuski or Yuri (the game’s other two seemingly romanceable characters), while Sayori grows strangely apathetic and distant.
That Sunday morning you decide to check on Sayori and, in the game’s first twist, she confesses that she has serious depression and has been hiding it from you as best she can because she doesn’t want you to worry about her.
At this point, the scene was already hitting me pretty hard. But what truly made it “incomprehensibly emotional” was how Sayori conveyed the details. As you desperately try to tell her that you’ll do anything, anything, to try and help her feel better, she simply smiles weakly and tells you that you don’t understand. Trying to care about her just makes her feel worse; by allowing her sadness to become noticeable and making you worried about her, she (in her mind) has become even more worthless because not only is she sad, she made you sad, too. She caused the one thing she wanted to prevent: loss of your happiness.
She uses phrases like “spear through my heart”, “a bat swung against my head”, and “stabbed in the chest” which are haunting for the audience.
But then comes the big moment, the point that, elevates its representation of depression by turning that trope on its head. After the playable character’s Sunday date, Sayori is seen again, and the game gives you a choice. This character is seriously depressed, to the point where every piece of her dialogue is motioning towards suicide. And you can either tell her that you love her, or that she’ll always be your dearest friend.
The scene cuts you to waiting outside Sayori’s home the next school day, but she doesn’t arrive. You go to school and bumped into Monika. She shows you Sayori’s poem and asked if you have been keeping Sayori hanging around. A sudden dread filled my chest at those words. On top of this, Sayori’s poem implies that you can’t possibly love her, that she’ll “show” you. At this very moment, you realize that it was a suicide note.
The cheerful music cuts out as you race to Sayori’s home. Her bedroom was at first empty, but then she appears. Sayori was hanging from the ceiling, dead, her eyes staring blankly at nothing. The screen glitched, the music warped, and you- the player character began to ramble in shock, asking with increasing panic what was going on.
It was seen that no matter which option you pick, Sayori hangs herself the following morning.
Doki Doki Literature Club is not an actual dating sim. It’s an entirely linear narrative that, despite a clear affinity for its genre, deconstructs some of its worst aspects. Here, it trains its gaze on a trope, the idea of “saving” a depressed person with shallow love, and it tears it down.
But then again, nothing is, and that comparison actually overshadows the one thing that Doki Doki Literature Club does brutally well—a piece of character work that’s impressive in its simplicity, truthfulness, and the way it uses the illusion of choice to make a point about how fiction often treats depression.
What do we learn from Doki Doki literature club depression?
Her feelings of worthlessness have underpinned every quirky, childish, absentminded action the player laughed at throughout the beginning of the game. Not only that, she doesn’t want the object of her affection to attempt to help her. It isn’t that she feels she’s done something to be undeserving of love, but rather that she’s so worthless on a universal scale that anyone reaching down to assist her would just be wasting their energy. And that viewpoint is a constant presence in her mind, to the point that it’s become an inarguable truth. There’s no talking her out of it or “making her understand.” That’s just how it is.
This alone is already more accurate than other media; many people don’t understand that depression is often about feeling worthless and like a burden. It isn’t really so much about being sad, rather, it’s about feeling like you drain others of their happiness. And as Sayori’s two-dimensional cartoon sprite tells us that through the lens of a lightly-animated visual novel, which the audience is instantly resonated with her more than they have ever resonated with a video game character in all of the time being a gamer.
Doki Doki literature club depression not only creates awareness about depression among the high school kids but also portrays depression in its most real sense possible. It brings the actualities of depression unlike the rest of the media and entertainment industry that starts to romanticize depression.
How to cure the sadness after experiencing Doki Doki literature club depression?
As you have seen in the above section of the article that the Doki Doki literature club is a psychological horror. The portrayal of depression can make a person’s heartbreak. There have been various audience reviews that say they had to give themselves a break after such an emotionally filled episode in the game. In fact, when the game begins, it gives you a warning about what lies ahead. Even though we say we can handle it, it does leave an impact on your soul.
Have you played Doki Doki literature club, and felt sad and depressed? Firstly, it is nothing to worry about.
Here are a few things to do if you feel depressed after the Doki Doki literature club.
- Dont feel foolish about your emotions: As said earlier it is no fault of yours to feel bad for Sayori. The portray of depression is so real, that it can make anyone feel depressed. This is a good thing rather, it shows that you are an empathetic and understanding person.
- Talk to real people: If the fictional characters are taking a toll on you, take a break. Hang out with real people who care about you. Tell them what you feel like after playing the visual novel. This will make you realize that Sayori is not a real person and burst your bubble of Doki Doki Literature Club.
- Play or read something else: The best way to distract yourself is to read or watch something else. Find a mindless action thriller, a romantic comedy where everything turns out okay, or listen to some nice soothing or upbeat music or whatever puts your heart in the right place.
In this blog post, we have tried to understand what is Doki Doki literature club depression. We have looked at the character of Sayori who suffers from depression by seeing how the story unfolds. We have also tried to understand how to cure sadness after the Doki Doki Literature Club.
FAQs: Doki Doki literature club depression
Why does Sayori have depression?
The reason Sayori has depression is her extreme lack of self-consideration. Sayori lacked a sense of self-consideration that is found in almost all others. She didn’t want to do anything for herself and didn’t even like others taking actions for her welfare.
Does Sayori always die?
The game is designed for Sayori to always die. Sayori’s ending happens halfway through the game, marking the end of Act 1. Regardless of the protagonist’s choices prior, he will always rush into Sayori’s bedroom, where she can be seen hanging by a rope in her room.
Are there Jumpscares in the Doki Doki literature club?
There are no real jumpscares in the game. The horror aspect of the game works with some unsettling imagery and just generally messing with your head with the psychological aspects such as the portrayal of depression, self-harm, and suicide.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.