Disclaimer: Possible spelling and grammar error below I’m just knocking this out of my way so I can work on this Hi-Score Girl review.
Round 1: https://yukithesnowman.com/2018/05/15/yukis-path-to-doki-doki-literature-clubs-good-ending-round-1-sayori/
Continuing from where I left off, I was able to obtain the CGs for Sayori’s route in order to unlock the true ending. Re-playing her route gave me a new insight into her accurate portrayal of people suffering from depression (such as feeling numb, hopelessness, lack of desire, etc.) made me appreciate her character. I want to see more educated takes of characters struggling with mental health in fiction –because done right, it can hit hard.
Since I’ve “completed ” Sayori’s route, I’m going after Natsuki’s next. I haven’t done her route since my first run through, which is perfect given I need to go through her route before replaying Yuri’s. Going through Yuri’s route in Act 1 requires me to witness Sayori’s death scene; therefore ruining my plans to get the game’s true ending.
For cut down on time, any previous read dialogues are being skipped unless I find something interesting and worthy of being talked about.
I like Natsuki. She’s slowly becoming a favorite character of mines. I’ve said this many times, but I hate the tsundere trope in anime – unless a writer puts realism to the trope (as we see with Natsuki). She’s a “tsundere” but her aggressive, angry nature is a resulted of her being physically and emotionally abused by her father. It’s common for victims of child abuse to struggle with anger issues and develop an inferiority complex. Obviously, Natsuki hides her insecure nature (from the abuse) by acting tough and hard-hearted (but of course, she secretly cares about other people and don’t wanna see them down or hurt).
Playing Act 1 again, I couldn’t help but laugh at MC’s awareness of overused anime archetypes as Natsuki did her little “tsundere” bullshit such as “It’s isn’t like I did this for you” and hiding her love for cute things through acting hard and tough. It almost made me forget that DDLC was a psychological horror VN. Almost. With that said, I can’t help but find some parts of my personality in her (as weird as it might sound). There are some things I do enjoy that I’m kinda shy to admit (some moe’ blob anime like Lucky Star, classical music, reading about heart-warming stories , and shedding a tear or two at emotional scenes in anime to name a few).
…that’s as far as my softer side y’all gonna get from me.
The first night of the poem homework for Natsuki went smoothly. And by smoothly, I cheated and save scummed because I accidentally got a few reactons from Yuri and Sayori that completely override my goal to have MC romance Natsuki. Eh. I dunno what cute shit fictional girls like. Or real ones at that. I suck at the romance thing.
After starting over I got MC to interact with Natsuki,. There’s a hint for shadowing/mockery here as Natsuki talks about her favorite manga,“Parfait Girl” MC makes fun of the cover, which offends Natsuki telling him the old adage of never judging a book by its cover and how things may have more layers than it appears. A subtle jab at the true nature of the game.
I can’t help to think how Natsuki’s character mirrors that of the otaku. Otakus are quick to defend their passions – may they be anime, manga, gaming, etc.. Sometimes, they find inspiration in them (such as with Natsuki becoming a baker and a cook from reading her manga) and opening up to those who also share their passion. Natsuki struggles to share her love of manga with her friends. Every attempt has been met with ridicule by them (since they believe she’s still childish for not growing out of her manga phase).
I’m sure you guys had to deal with this in the past (maybe even today as adults for the older people reading this). With nerd culture growing ever popular by the day the stereotype of nerds and anime fans being childish and immature is dying. The stigma is still there, but it wasn’t as bad as it was decades ago.
I was able to have MC make Natsuki fluttered with the poem with him writing something that matches her style. Guess she’s not used to people appreciating and sharing her passion. I know that feeling. Doesn’t excuse her from acting goofy about it but I get it. As Natsuki share her poem with Monika Monika tells MC how Natsuki’s writing style is similar to late author Shel Silverstein: “childish”, but with adult themes and straight to the point by using fewer words than necessary. I like that lowkey. I believe that you can say more by saying less and the more you talk and ramble, the less interesting you are to people.
Make people think about what you say and keep them in wonder by saying less.
Everything goes per normal so let’s skip ahead to Natsuki and Yuri’s fight. Stated in an earlier post (I think, it’s been a while and I don’t feel like searching for it), I went to Yuri because she’s my favorite character and I like her character archetype, but for this one, I went for Natsuki. She gets happy, proud that somebody like her childish, but blunt writing style. Real shit, I get her. It gets annoying when people talk down about your style (without any advice to improve it, mind you). When somebody sees the beauty of your style, it reminds you that it is not bad.
You do get a little egotistical, however.
Following the second poem writing, there’s a funny scene where Natsuki is struggling to get her manga collection from the top shelf of the clubroom’s closet. Natsuki, dealing with her short complex, tries to reach for them but fails. MC tries to help out, but couldn’t, as he was put in an awkward situation – either hold the step ladder that Natsuki had (while innocently looking up her skirt), or let her fall in which she hits head hard against something, crack it open, bleed out and die; thus ending her route and the game . The two fall down and shit scatters, with one of her manga being damaged.
(…okay so she didn’t fall to her death.)
Natsuki gets upset, snaps off on MC, but then starts to cry, saying things like “I’m just having bad day” and “every day, it just gets harder”. Subtle hints to Natsuki’s homelife and being abused by her dad. Of course, you won’t catch it on your first run (unless you read the spoilers). You assume that Natsuki acting childish or overreacting, not knowing that her acting out is a result of her stressful home life. Over time, it’s going to take a toll on any child dealing with abuse.
There was an interesting theory I came across on a DDLC Facebook group months back that not only Natsuki’s dad belittles her for reading manga, it’s possible that he may have destroyed a few from her collections. It’s not uncommon for abusive parents to destroy their children’s personal items. I have friends who during childhood, their parents would break their things as a form of “punishment”.
Natsuki could be hiding her manga at the clubroom to avoid any further damage from her dad. Monika fucking with her collection adding to how horrible her home life is only fueled by Natsuki’s paranoia that she may lose her manga – her way out of reality for a little bit. Really wish Dan did more with Natsuki character. There are layers about her that need to be explored.
Continued in Round 2 Part 2.
(before I go I gotta say some of you Natsuki fans need Jesus)