The protagonist is one of the five main characters, one of the five members of the Literature Club, and the only playable character in Doki Doki Literature Club!. The protagonist uses whatever name the player gives him, but he is a separate entity from the player.
In Act 2, after the first few lines and the game script gets rewritten, the protagonist will have no memories of the events that happened in Act 1, acting as though Sayori never existed. In Act 4, he will have no memories of the events that happened in all of Acts 1, 2, and 3.
The protagonist's largest appearance is shown once in Act 1 when Sayori hugs him. Only his back is visible, revealing that he has short, dark brown hair and pale skin. His arms also appear in Acts 1 and 2.
He is around Sayori or Monika's height. If the protagonist chooses to write poems for Sayori, the player can see from the actions and perspective of the protagonist that he's slightly taller than her.
Though the protagonist's uniform is never shown, when Sayori hugs him, it is shown that his casual top is a collared-black shirt.
The protagonist's facial features are also not shown.
The protagonist was designed to function like a typical visual novel protagonist. He acts blunt and mean towards Sayori, his childhood friend; teases Natsuki, the tsundere; is warm to Yuri, the shy girl; and falters around Monika, the popular girl. According to Dan Salvato, he is deliberately given very little focus.
More specifically, the protagonist is an underachiever, preferring to play video games and watch anime instead of applying himself and having friends. Despite this, when he does interact with others, he tries to be kind and thoughtful. He takes note of how people around him are acting and feeling, although more subtle things may go over his head. He is shown to be clever and observant in Act 1.
He tries his best to help even when he is out of his depth, as seen when he tries to ease Sayori's depression, despite not understanding it.
He shows a distaste towards those who are judgmental, shown by a scene in Natsuki's route, and in Yuri's route, he is accepting of Yuri's interest in knives, highlighting an open-minded personality.
The protagonist is true to his word and always attempts to keep his promises; he works harder if he knows people are counting on him.
Although the protagonist's primary interests are self-oriented, he does show a liking towards "cute girls", deciding to join the Literature Club on the basis of cute girls attending.
- As of Act 2, the protagonist slowly begins to stop reacting to the ever-breaking game world as Monika tries to reach out to the player and guide them in her direction.
- Monika is the only character who does not have a romantic interest in the protagonist, as she falls for the player controlling the protagonist.
- The two times characters have confessed their love to the protagonist, they both died.
- The protagonist has been subject to modifications by Monika. This is evident when the protagonist attempts to say the name of the remnant Sayori in Act 1.5 (which instead comes up as randomized Unicode) and when he does not mention such at all throughout Act 2 so the script can proceed without game-breaking bugs. This leaves only the player the eligibility to witness the uncanny that transpires.
- Dan Salvato does not see the protagonist as a real character in the game.
- Age statement by Dan Salvato on subreddit Discord
- Dan Salvato's AMA – "Was the protagonist intended to be a huge jerk from the start, or did that develop over time?"
- Dan Salvato's anniversary stream – "I don't imagine him as a character in the same way as the other characters. He's just a blank slate that says whatever is convenient."