Yuri is one of the main characters from Doki Doki Literature Club. On initial inspection, she seems like just another generic character from anime and anime-adjacent media. However, it is important to note that Doki Doki Literature Club. isn’t a dating simulator. Instead, it is a psychological horror game.
1. Comes from a Visual Novel
For starters, it is important to mention that Yuri is a character from a visual novel. Such works are pretty much what they sound like, which is to say, stories that are text-based for the most part but use both audio and visual elements for the purpose of improving their storytelling. It is common for visual novels to have some interactive elements, though it is important to note that these interactive elements tend to be both simpler and smaller in nature than those seen in adventure games. Doki Doki Literature Club! is a western-made visual novel that was born from the project lead Dan Salvato’s self-stated love-hate relationship with anime.
2. Appeared in Doki Doki Literature Club!
Yuri appeared for the first time in Doki Doki Literature Club!, which was released for free on September 22 of 2017. Amusingly, it was marketed like one of the dating simulators that it was inspired by. Meanwhile, its true nature as a psychological horror game wasn’t clear until quite some time into the game. Indeed, the titular “doki doki” was chosen to reflect both because it is the Japanese onomatopoeia for a heartbeat, meaning that it can indicate either love and excitement or fear and anxiousness.
3. Appeared in Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!
Since then, Yuri has appeared in Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! as well. Essentially, the original game met with a very positive response, so much so that Team Salvato decided to do a paid expansion that came out on June 30 of 2021. The new content of most interest were the six side-stories set in an alternate universe. Yuri had a notable role in four of the six side-stories.
4. Is a Dandere
Yuri has sometimes been called a dandere. This is one of a number of related terms that see use to indicate stock characters in anime and anime-adjacent media. A dandere can seem similar to a kuudere. However, the first refers to a character with a quiet personality whereas the second refers to a character with a calm personality. Often-times, a dandere isn’t quiet because they want to be quiet. Instead, they are quiet because of their social awkwardness. As for why a dandere is called a dandere, the gist of it is that “dan” comes from danmari meaning “silence” while “dere” comes from deredere indicating that someone is lovestruck.
5. Becomes a Yandere
Speaking of which, Yuri has been called a yandere as well because that is what she becomes later in the game. In this case, the “yan” comes from yanderu meaning “sick.” Specifically, this refers to a character who is sick in a mental sense. Furthermore, this refers to a character whose issues in this regard can move them towards violent and otherwise irrational actions. Sometimes, a yandere might kill anyone and everyone who gets in the way of them entering into a romantic relationship with the target of their affections. Other times, a yandere might kill the target of their affections as a way of denying said individual to other people. Yuri doesn’t fit either one of these two descriptions. However, she does act in a violent, irrational manner later in the game.
Hair is a common way to indicate personal characteristics on the part of characters in anime and anime-adjacent media. Yuri is notable in that she has very long hair that extends beyond waist-length. Often-times, that kind of hair length is used to indicate femininity. Specifically, it indicates an elite sort of femininity. This is because longer hair requires more maintenance, meaning that very long hair can be used as a show of status. There is no indication that this is true for Yuri. However, it is possible that it is meant to play up her sophistication or faux sophistication.
On a related note, hair color has multiple uses in anime and anime-adjacent media. For example, different hair colors are a useful way to differentiate characters from one another, which is useful when the style has very simplified facial features. Similarly, hair colors can indicate personal characteristics. Yuri’s purple hair is hard to read, particularly since purple often blurs into either black hair or blue hair in these works. However, it is interesting to note that blue hair often indicates someone who is on the shyer side of things, which would fit her personality.
Unsurprisingly, eye colors can be meaningful as well. However, they tend to be less so than hair colors for the simple reason that they tend to be less noticeable than hair colors. Yuri has purple eyes, which are often used to indicate someone who is extraordinary. In her case, it is possible that the purple eyes are another indication of her sophistication or faux-sophistication.
9. Notable for Wearing a Long-Sleeved Sweater
Generally speaking, the female characters in Doki Doki Literature Club! wear more-or-less the same clothing, which makes sense because they are students at a high school that presumably mandates school uniforms. However, it should be mentioned that Yuri wore a long-sleeved sweater even outside of this context. It is possible that the sweater was another indication of her shy personality. Still, the more interesting part would be the long sleeves, which might be meant to cover up one of her secrets.
10. Her Name May or May Not Be Meaningful
Doki Doki Literature Club! is based on Japanese visual novels. As a result, the female characters have Japanese-sounding names. Yuri is no exception to this rule, seeing as how she has a specifically feminine-sounding Japanese name that is similar but not quite the same as the more unisex-sounding Japanese name Yuuri. Unfortunately, her name is written in kana rather than kanji, which makes it impossible to tell what it is supposed to mean. Still, there are a number of common possibilities that could be very meaningful. To name one, Yuri in the sense of the lily flower could mean grace, purple, and death, all of which are associated with the character for one reason or another.
As mentioned earlier, Yuri has a shy personality. Due to this, she prefers to blend in rather than stand out. It should be mentioned that it is common for dating simulators to have each female character represent a particular kind of stock character that appeals to a particular segment of consumers, thus enabling them to target a bigger player base than otherwise possible. Yuri would be the game’s dandere until everything starts moving in the direction of psychological horror anyways.
12. Socially Awkward
Speaking of which, Yuri is very much the kind of dandere character who is that way because they are socially awkward. For example, she is hesitant to speak up because she is afraid that doing so will make other people dislike. Simultaneously, she just isn’t very good with social matters, meaning that she can be insensitive towards others either without realizing it or without realizing it until later. Something that can make her very apologetic because of that strong desire to be liked.
13. Not As Passive As She Seems
Having said that, Yuri does feel strongly about certain topics, so much so that she is willing to defend her positions with considerable passion in spite of her usual shyness. Examples include horror, literature, and surrealism.
14. Sophisticated or Faux-Sophisticated
Yuri is presented as the sophisticated character. However, the game makes it unclear whether she is sophisticated or faux-sophisticated. The gist of it is that she presents herself as a more mature as well as a more sophisticated person as a way of covering for her personal insecurities. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that she doesn’t like the things that she says she likes. The whole thing is particularly hard to figure out because Doki Doki Literature Club! characters are acknowledged as being game characters by the game’s very own narrative, meaning that which was true might no longer be true once changes start being made.
15. Has Problems Making Friends
The game states that Yuri has problems making friends. Apparently, she comes on too strong because of her desire to be liked, which is unfortunate because she is supposed to be a very good-natured individual. This point has been the subject of some discussion. Essentially, it supports the idea that Yuri as a yandere didn’t have new characteristics added to her personality. Instead, some of her existing characteristics were intensified to the enormous detriment of her as well as everyone around her.
16. Uses Keigo Most of the Time
Different cultures communicate in different ways, meaning that they can convey the same thing using very different methods. For instance, it is interesting to note that Yuri apparently uses keigo in the Japanese translation. For those who are curious, there are three general levels of politeness in Japanese speech, which can be described roughly as colloquial, polite, and honorific. Keigo would be the last, so it should come as no surprise to learn that it is used for formal occasions, ceremonial occasions, the addressing of superiors by subordinates, and so on and so forth. It is fitting for a character who presents herself as being both mature and sophisticated. Furthermore, it is useful for conveying a change in behavior when Yuri drops the keigo in preference for much blunter language.
17. Collects Knives
Most of Yuri’s interests are pretty common. However, she does have one unusual interest, which would be the collection of knives. Plenty of people do so for harmless reasons. Unfortunately, Yuri isn’t one of them. In her case, her collection is knives is implied to be connected to her practice of self-harm. This is speculated to be the same reason that she wore a long-sleeved sweater even when she didn’t have to.
18. Goes Mad
As mentioned earlier, there comes a point when existing characteristics in Yuri’s personality seemed to have been intensified, with the result that she pretty much goes mad. It is clear that she is trying to win the player-character’s affection. However, she does so in extremely uncomfortable ways, which aren’t helped by her portrait being placed in front of the screen with strangely realistic-looking eyes. Something that clashes a great deal with the general animesque look of the game. The whole thing culminates in Yuri committing suicide. After which, the player-character has the horrifying experience of watching her dead body decay over the course of a weekend, which in-game, is explained by them having been locked in place by a malfunction in the game’s code.
19. Involved in Existential Horror
Yuri is very much involved in the game’s existential horror. There is the whole thing about being game characters who are unable to truly act beyond their scripted roles. However, an argument can be made that she evokes existential horror in a more normal way as well. Essentially, we like to believe that we are in control of ourselves. Unfortunately, mental health issues can make it very clear that isn’t necessarily the case, which can be particularly horrifying when it happens in a particularly blatant manner. In Yuri’s case, she knows that something is wrong with her after she has been changed on a script-level. However, she can’t do anything about it, as shown by how she stabs herself whether the player-character accepts her feelings of love or not.
20. Never Forced to Confront Her True Nature
Still, Yuri was spared being confronted with her true nature as a game character. Something that the other characters didn’t take very well to say the least. Monika would be the most obvious example. However, the same was true for Sayori as well.