- For her appearance in Plus, go here.
Sayori has coral pink hair, cut chin-length and slightly curled at the ends, with a large red bow accessory on the upper left side of her head. Like the other characters, she has two prominent strands of hair beside her bangs, and her eyes are a bright sky blue. She is of short-to-average height, which makes her the second shortest character in the game, after Natsuki.
She wears the standard female school uniform consisting of a warm gray blazer fully unbuttoned, brown sweater vest, white shirt slightly unbuttoned and crooked at the collar, red ribbon that's displaced, dark blue pleated skirt, white knee-high socks and white uwabaki slippers with sky blue tips.
When outside the school, Sayori wears a pink shirt with rolled-up long sleeves and blue shorts. At the time of her death, she is seen wearing a brown collared white dress shirt, which has a pocket on each side of her chest, with brown folds and six black buttons, the top one being unbuttoned, slim-fitting red shorts and barefoot.
Sayori is initially portrayed as the archetype of a Genki Girl, expressing a bubbly and cheery disposition. She is very clumsy, noted for finding ways to accidentally hurt herself or to drop things. Regardless, she is shown to be a jokingly cunning individual who can trick others to get food, shown after managing to eat Natsuki's cookie without her permission. Sayori has also been known to obsess over an activity, only to drop it a few days later, as stated by the protagonist during an interaction between them. This could also be the case with writing poetry, as the protagonist wonders if she might drop it later on, though he also notices that she is a lot more passionate about writing, as she mentions earlier on that it helps her to express and understand her feelings better.
However, it is later revealed that she suffers from bad depression and works so hard to make the people around her happy to cope with her own lack of self-love amongst other things. She is also usually the only character, other than the protagonist, shown to break up arguments, Monika noting that her sentiments are necessary to keep a relaxing atmosphere in the Literature Club (proven by her absence in Act 2). Monika notes that while she may look like a good leader, Sayori is usually better when it comes to dealing with people, notably at mediations. She tries her best to help everyone be happy and dislikes attention directed at her well-being because she feels unworthy of anything that others have to offer her.
Sayori is also introduced as the protagonist's best friend. The protagonist seems to view her as an airhead and slightly annoying at the beginning of the game, but he starts to sympathize with her after Sayori confesses about her depression.
Sayori's depression makes her disorganized, and she often "cannot find a reason to get out of bed in the morning", which is why she is is usually late for school. Her room, which the protagonist regularly cleaned for her, is also noted to be untidy. The protagonist notes how there hasn't been much change in her, and the changes the protagonist notices in her later are due to Monika's interference, amplifying her depression and suicidal tendencies.
Her depression seems to make her believe that she does not deserve to be loved, but at the same time she wants to be loved, especially by the protagonist. When the player chooses to pursue one of the other girls, Sayori seems to suffer because she secretly wants the protagonist to love her while at the same time experiencing guilt for feeling bad in the first place (her depression is also gradually amplified by Monika at this point). However, if the player actively chooses to pursue Sayori, she will experience guilt anyway since she doesn't believe that she deserves to be loved. Regardless of the player's choice, Sayori will kill herself. Her relationship with the protagonist and other people's happiness are her main coping mechanisms since she believes that if she makes everyone else happy, she will not have a reason whatsoever to be unhappy.
When Sayori confesses her love for the protagonist, she will either hug him or run away with a pained expression (depending on the player's choice). The next day, the protagonist will go to school without her, assuming she was still asleep. There, he will read a poem written by Sayori named "%", with the words "Get out of my head" repeated constantly. This will cause the protagonist to panic and go to Sayori's house, where she will be found dead, hanging from a noose with blood on her hands. If the player tries to load their save after her death, the game states that the save files are corrupt and completely reboots, as if Sayori never existed. This would mark the end of Act 1.
After Monika restores each member's file, at the start of Act 4, Sayori will again be present on the game. Natsuki and Yuri will also be present. This time, Sayori is the club president instead of Monika. Towards the end of the game, one out of two endings will happen. If the player achieves the normal ending, Sayori will reveal that since she is now also self-aware, possibly because she is now the club president, and will thank the player for deleting Monika. The scene then moves from the club into the room Monika was in during Act 3, as she claims how happy she will be to be with the player forever. Monika will then delete Sayori, stating that she "won't let her hurt him," and then will delete the entire game.
If the good ending is achieved, Sayori will instead thank the player for spending time with all of the girls, saying that it's all that she wanted. She will then thank the player for playing Doki Doki Literature Club and with a few tears in her eyes say that they all love the player.
It is worth noting that Act 1 establishes that Sayori sleeps in because of her depression, which is why she is often late for school. Act 4, however, establishes that she has been waking up on time lately. This implies that her depression has been alleviated to some degree.
Editor's Note: If you want to add a quote to this page, make sure that it comes from an un-modded version of the game.
Act 1, Day 1
I was talking about how I'm worried that you won't learn how to socialize or have any skills before college.
And I know you're happy now, but I'd die at the thought of you becoming a NEET in a few years because you're not used to the real world!
I thought I'd catch you coming out of the classroom, but I saw you just sitting here and spacing out, so I came in.
Well, I thought you might need some encouragement, so I thought, you know...
Come sit down, [Player]! We made room for you at the table, so you can sit next to me or Monika.
Hey, [Player], since we're already here, do you want to walk home together?
I'm gonna keep writing until I die!
- If Monika's character file (monika.chr) is deleted before the first run, Sayori appears to realize that she is trapped in a game. She will then force the game to close and delete the other character files, including herself. If the player opens the game after this occurs, a black and white screen with her hanging will appear instead of the usual opening and main menu. After 10 minutes pass, a dialogue box written in her handwriting will show up that says "Now everyone can be happy."
- If Sayori is deleted during Act 1, the black and white screen with her hanging herself will also appear immediately if the player reopens the game.
- In Act 4, Sayori is programmed to be the president of the club. However, as president, Sayori starts to exhibit self-awareness as Monika did and begins breaking the game. It is of interest to note that she does not delete Natsuki or Yuri for unknown reasons, but she tries to form an ending with just herself and the player. However, she is prevented from getting too far by Monika, who realizes that there is no way the club can be happy and then deletes the entire game.
- After achieving the special ending, Sayori will thank the player for spending time with all of the characters and will not break the game.
- When the game proceeds to Act 2, Sayori's sprite in the main menu will be replaced with an amalgamation of all the other characters present (Yuri, Natsuki, and Monika) instead.
- Sayori's file can be decoded into an .ogg file, which will play some sort of high screeching. Running the audio through a spectograph will reveal a QR code, which leads to the Project Libitina website.
- Sayori's version of "Okay, Everyone!" involves a soft flute accompanied with a ukulele and snapping in the background, most likely referring to her Genki Girl-type personality.
- Dan Salvato stated in the fan pack booklet that Sayori's name is a fusion between 'Sayuri' and 'Saori,' thus it has no traditional meaning. However, "Sayori" (さより) is an actual Japanese girls' name (as well as the name of the Japanese halfbeak fish), albeit an uncommon one, as seen with voice actress Sayori Ishizuka as well as the pseudonymous artist behind Nekopara.
- As also noted in the fan pack booklet, Dan chose Sayori as the character who inadvertently sets off the horror side of the game largely because he knew it would hit anime fans the hardest, i.e., seeing the archetypal girl who wants everyone to be happy be the one to commit suicide.
- In a livestream celebrating the first anniversary of the game's release, Dan cited the character Yui Hirasawa from K-On! as an inspiration for Sayori's character.