As with virtually everything else in the game, Madotsuki's identity and life are a mystery. Only what can be seen in-game can be considered canon, although there are many varying interpretations of her.
Although there is no indication nor canonicity of age given in the game, she is often depicted as a young person.
The word "Madotsuki" means "windowed" (as in a box or envelope) or "aperture". The name appears in the menu as the name of the player character, and (in the Japanese original version) is one of the two instances of kanji writing in the game. Nearly all the text in the game—the game menus, instructions, the "menu has changed" notice, NASU, and even the title screen of the game—is written using the hiragana alphabet. The only other time kanji is used is for the message that appears when sitting in Madotsuki's desk chair in the dream world.
'Madotsuki' is not a word used as a name in Japan—in fact, it may not even be her true name at all. It could be thought of as being a metaphor; more a description of the character as the 'player's window into the dream world' rather than a literal name. It could also be a way to preserve the game's theme of loneliness by giving the character a functional, dehumanizing name, rather than a personal name.
It is similar to the colloquial Japanese term for 'windower', a person who spends a long time looking out the window; that is, a daydreamer.
It has been noted that when you reverse her romaji name (Madotuki in Kunrei-shiki romanization), it becomes Ikutodam: 行くと駄目 or 行くとダメ ("iku to dame"), a commonly used phrase that means "it is useless to go/leave." This may be a coincidence.
Madotsuki doesn't have much to do in her room. Her television set doesn't receive any channels, so she can only use it to play a single Famicom game, NASU. She can go outside on the balcony, but the balcony itself must be rather high as her view always seems to be blocked by fog.
Elements in Madotsuki's dream world seem to hint at her mental or emotional state. Some Effects seem to show her unhappiness. The knife, in particular, appears to hint at her misery. However, the player ultimately controls Madotsuki—it is unknown whether she would use the knife on her own or not.
Since many dreams are disturbing when shared, Madotsuki may just be a typical lucid dreamer trying to find a release from her sadness by exploiting her dreams for fun and self-discovery.
- Main article: Theories
See the Theories page for theories regarding Madotsuki and Yume Nikki in general.
- An image of a human figure that somewhat resembles Madotsuki has been found on a very ancient poncho. Full scan of the poncho here and some info here.