Here’s hoping that I convince people that this game does, in fact, have carefully planned-out imagery in order to communicate broader themes or reinforce the feelings of dread throughout the game.
In order to fully understand Yume Nikki, we should only look at the game itself, concentrating on the game’s most prevalent themes. Here’s the most obvious motif of the game—isolation. I’ll tie it all in to the dramatic conclusion of the game, so be warned… SPOILERS AHEAD.
Isolation, claustrophobia and hopelessness are the biggest aspects of the game communicates its themes through use of motifs and subliminal in a way that culminates with Madotsuki’s suicide at the end of the game. So, here’s some of the clever ways that these feelings are projected onto the player through the environments and characters.
We know Madotsuki can't leave her room. Her only escape from her repressive, inescapable, tiny room is her dreams. To emphasize that sleep is the only worthwhile aspect of her life, a game console is placed in her room while she’s awake. The game is incredibly tedious and boring, the imagery and music are incredibly dull. This game serves as a stark contrast between her waking limitations and her open possibilities of her dreams.
And so, as it would seem to a new player of Yume Nikki, her dreams serve as a quite literal doorway to another world in which she can do things she couldn’t do while awake (walking through her door is the most obvious example, and through this she is seemingly empowered because she can now make the decision to roam around where she wants). The dark twist is, her dreams are yet another closed-off trap like her bedroom is. We know this because, ultimately, all paths in the dream world lead to nowhere. All paths circle back on one another and many of those paths lead to areas where monsters such as the Toriningen or Uboa can take her away to a tiny place that she can’t escape… unless she wakes up again, bringing herself back to her prison bedroom. Seeing the pattern yet? To back this up, there is a place in the game in which Madotsuki comes across a cabinet. She opens the cabinet and sees herself crouched inside, not moving. This is the game’s way of telling the player that even Madotsuki sees herself as totally alone and trapped. It is symbolic of reality filtering into her dreams and making them seem far more ominous. More on that later.
Moving on to the suicide at the end.
Why does Madotsuki kill herself? All projecting and assumptions aside, anyone who looks at it from a pure game-play standpoint would say she killed herself because she had all the effects. What does that mean? Well, we know that the effects are placed in the game in such a way that one has to travel to pretty much every corner of the dream world to find them. This would mean that Madotsuki has seen everything there is to see, and has come to the conclusion that she can go no further, ever—her dreams are a dead end and there’s nothing left to accomplish. In other words, she’s trapped, just like she is in the bedroom. The game is very clever about subliminally letting us know that Madotsuki never leaves her bedroom during her dreams. The carpet on the floor of her room is one example. In many areas of the dream world, a peculiar image of a figure (let’s call them Aztec figures since that’s what they resemble to me) float past under Madotsuki’s feet, just as the carpet of her bedroom runs under her feet with a design similar in style to the Aztec figures of the dream (sharp angles, tessellation-like patterns, contrasting colours and bold lines). The constant presence of doors and beds and a running theme of areas that cannot be accessed is another thing that relates to Madotsuki’s room (the teleport maze with the red transport squares to me represents a bunch of simplified versions of Madotsuki’s bedroom, one after another). Also, when Madotsuki is awake, it is occasionally very dark and cloudy outside. This cloud layout is the exact same that we see reflected in the world with the puddles.
Madotsuki, after collecting everything in the game and realizing she can never go any further, sees that her escape world is a lie. She’s just as trapped as ever, tormented by her subconscious demons on top of being utterly alone. She realizes there is no way out and kills herself.
what if madotsuki just wanted to fly but forgot she didn't have wings
…Or a broomstick, in this case. :\
what if mado lived during the salem witch trials and thought she was a witch so she threw herself off the balcony to find out if she was a witch
Now I understand how this forum went south so fast.
Without this anon even having read any post they spam on really makes me wonder what makes them want to keep doing it.
Well, long story short, back in the day this was basically the joke board for shiposting, largely due to the whole "mado was raped" meme. That mostly ended after the mods started deleting shitposts, banning repeat offenders, and posted that sticky at the top of the board. But some people didn't get the memo.
Well, considering there have been some decent posts on this thread in the last little while, I still think it's salvageable despite the trolls. :)
"mado was raped" meme
Wait, is that not a serious theory? Sorry, newfag here.
Some people take it as a legit theory, but it is mostly a meme.
Good observations! Especially about the game system serving as a contrast.