Best Doki Doki Literature Club Plus Side Stories

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus is a great rerelease of one of my favorite games ever, and the most interesting aspect of it is the side stories. I think they made for an excellent prequel to the main story, so why not rank the best of them, and highlight why they are so great!? There are 7 side stories in total in the game by the way.
The Top Ten
1 Self-Love (Yuri and Natsuki's side story)

Ok, first of all, props to Eclipsmon for putting the effort in when it comes to talking about these. It's always nice to see someone feeling this passionate. That, and the rankings are just really good. I'd personally put Balance lower, but other than that it's identical. So yeah, major props! With that, onto my thoughts.

So, the original game made it seem like these characters were a complete mess without Sayori, and completely unable to communicate. So, first great point is that this proves that wrong. However, the amazing thing about this one is just how emotional it all feels. Mainly because this is just Yuri and Natsuki talking. There's no outside parties, just like Trust, and those two are indeed the best ones simply because they connect the characters so well. There's a lot of time spent to build their relationship, which is especially important after Reflection. But better yet, the theming is extremely loose and yet extremely powerful in this one specifically. Since they get a lot of time to just talk, they bring up several topics, from the letter to the weekends. It does all eventually tie back to her friends though, and the way Natsuki's struggles are constantly reflected is perfect. The theme is constantly reflected in a way that feels real and earned, more so than all the others.

And that's not even bringing up the ending, which is probably my favorite part. It's pretty similar to the ending of Trust, but as powerful as that ending is, I think this one might be even better thanks to just how well it's built up. You really are afraid for Natsuki, which makes the peace afterwards so much more enjoyable. The way they connect here is amazing. I could not love it more. The theming and characters are great, and this is definitely my favorite of the side stories.

2 Trust (Monika and Sayori's side story)

Trust is so good. It's just amazing. The character connection is amazing, seeing Monika and Sayori setting up the club is really engaging, and it's just overall such a worrying yet fun area. However, I think the big thing for this one is that it's the first one. Mainly, I didn't know that it wasn't going to have any horror elements. And I'm endlessly grateful for that, it made these side stories the best part of the game thanks to the great writing, but it made the ending a lot more worrying.

And that ending is far and away the best thing in all of the side stories. Forget that actually, it's the best part of the entire game. Like, I love the Self-Love ending, I can't deny that, but the impact this one has is simply immeasurable. It's a scary moment when you don't know things are peaceful, but the connection between Monika and Sayori here is amazing and so well done. Sayori will always be my favorite character, and seeing her like this really hurts, but seeing it resolved feels really good, and when it's brought up again in Reflection, it feels really powerful and natural. It's a really powerful moment that is built up to well. Maybe not as well as Self-Love, but the moment is so impactful either way. Overall, Trust is so good. I may not like it quite as much as Sel-Love due to it having slightly better theming and buildup, but that doesn't mean it's bad, not even close. It made me cry the most, and it made me feel the most. It was just so impactful.

3 Balance (Sayori and Natsuki's side story)

Personally, I think Trust and Self-Love are the better side stories. However, this is probably the most "genius" of the side stories, on top of being rather emotional, even for this game full of emotions. So balance is one of two side stories in the game where the creators were like "Hey! You know Sayori? If she had the occasion to meet someone, she would try her hardest to make this person happy! What if it lead to some issues with the person she is interacting with?" I absolutely love that idea, because we see another way that Sayori struggles other than when she is dealing with depression. In that case, this side story takes place after Respect, the side story where Natsuki joined the club. Now Sayori tries to spend time with Nastuki to make her feel comfortable. At first it went pretty well, but with Natsuki not being used to the way Sayori treats her, she starts being less enthusiastic as time goes on. Sayori starts noticing this, and after a talk with Yuri, she decides to give Nastuki some space. Due to Natsuki starting to get used to Sayori spending time with her, and the fact that the other day she ignored Sayori when spending time with her old group of friends, she thinks Sayori is angry at her, and is concerned about that, and decides to write a letter to her. Natsuki finds the courage to directly talk to Sayori, and the two now understand themselves more. I simply love this side story, and all the realistic themes it tackles.

4 Understanding (Sayori and Yuri's side story)

I said Balance is one of two side stories with Sayori struggling with her goal to make everyone happy. Understanding is the other one. And it's almost as amazing in my opinion. This where Yuri joins the litterature club, with Sayori trying to know more about her, and hopefully, make her happy. Sayori tries her hardest to get into what Yuri likes. Yuri notices this, and she doesn't like that Sayori "forces" herself to be friend with her, when she just does what she likes, and want to see what Yuri likes about her novels. When Yuri starts to distance herself more from Sayori, she is concerned about that and tries harder, until Yuri says what is truly bothering her. And after this beautiful scene where Sayori comforts Yuri, the two started to understand themselves more, and became true friends. Just an amazing side story.

5 Respect (Monika and Natsuki's side story)

Respect is the side story where Natsuki became a member of the literature club. She says that she likes manga, which leads to mixed reactions for members of the club. Monika in particular wonders if she should accept mangas as a style of literature. Eventually, Natsuki starts to feel Monika's concerns about her taste, and doesn't feel respected in the club. Monika starts to wonder, if she makes for a bad president or if Natsuki just wasn't right for the club. Then after earing a discussion between Natsuki and her friends who are judgmental of her taste of manga, she realizes that she was acting just like them, and that she should have behave better. She decides to accept mangas as a form of literature, and she even shows to Natsuki how she motivated her to start practicing piano. The two now respect each other, and became friends.

6 Reflection (Monika and Yuri's side story)

Like I said, Reflection is in my opinion like a build-up to the side story right after, being Self-Love. Indeed, in this side story we see Yuri and Natsuki disagreeing on multiple subjects, and we see Monika, and eventually Yuri herself, trying to find a way for the two to respect each other despite their differences, with Self-Love showing us how they became closer eventually. As result though, this side story is considerably less eventful than the other main side stories. To be fair, we still have some really good interactions between the characters, and I don't think Self-Love would be my favorite side story if it wasn't for the existence of this side-story, but it is overall my least favorite of the "main" side stories, even though it is still really good.

7 Equals (Epilogue)

Equals is the final side story, and acts as the epilogue of the side stories. This just makes for a cute little conclusion for those amazing stories, which on one hand the simplicity makes it the weakest side story (if you even count it as one), but on the other hand it is still cool to have, and I especially love how they say that the literature club is a club about literature AND feelings. This describes Doki Doki Litterature Club perfectly, since if you ask to me, the main strength of that game aren't the fourth wall breaks or the horrors that occasionally happens, but the moments full of emotional weights.