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Squood!

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Throwing my hat in the ring here. The person in the black coat is not (physically, at least) Xion. Xion's hair doesn't come down like that at all. In fact, the only person with a singular hair spike that goes down on both sides (and has spikes going out the back) is Sora. I made a quick pic to show what I mean:
e9a62Hd
e9a62Hd
e9a62Hd.jpg


Aside from the alleged spike of hair not lining up perfectly to the top half of the image, (a lot can change in a character design in 16 years) there's another little spike coming in to the lower right of the ear that is an exact match to Sora's hair. It may be a bit of a reach, what with the pictures not being a perfect match, but KH3's new assets obviously aren't going to be point-for-point remakes of old ones. So while the person may be Xion, it would seem she's manifesting in Sora's form just how she did in Days.
The nort's chin also perfectly aligns with the KH1 Sora pic. Might not really mean anything, just pointing it out.
 

Luminary

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Looking side-by-side, replica riku's hair changed considerable between the kh3 trailer and CoM. Aqua's hair also did change alot between the new engine and BBS. KH2 Sora's hair tho didn't change a thing, all the spikes still the way they are.
Don't know if it means anything tho.

With KH2 Sora, they probably didn’t change anything to further accentuate his transition into the KH3 hairstyle.
 

Zettaflare

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Speaking of the Bug Blocks I'm hoping Donald and Goofy recognize them from Coded. They could be the ones to inform Sora and Hiro about what they are and how to deal with them.
 

kirabook

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It's not inevitable. AtW survived in the Realm of Darkness for years (RoL years, anyway) by bringing his heart into stability with the darkness, and he had none of the benefits of Aqua's powerful connection to the outside world. He had been betrayed by all of his closest friends: that thirst for revenge drove him to befriend the darkness and use it to his ends. Yes, his ends were wrong, but the darkness doesn't care one way or the other-- absent the malignancy of the human spirit, it's just a state of being, an element within the universe. And, tellingly, it never consumed him, anymore than it has consumed Riku or Master Xehanort. AtW's own folly drove him back to the Dark Margin.

If you spend a considerable about of time in the dark realm, you WILL fade. There's no evidence to say otherwise. Xehanort specifically states you shouldn't stay there long and even he wouldn't dare to sit down there for that long. AtW has been there twice, escaped the first time through sketchy means, and seems resigned to his fate last we saw him. Aqua, arguably the strongest and most light based key wielder we've seen has admitted the darkness is even getting to her and she's on the edge of giving up. Aqua has never been given a break. She's been down there longer than Ansem ever has. Aqua never found an escape. While Ansem had a break and was creating schemes in the light realm, Aqua was still down there being bathed in darkness.

It's inevitable that someone stuck in the darkness will fade away and nothing has ever implied otherwise. Aqua is not special. No matter how many friends she has, how much light she has, how strong she is, that doesn't protect her from the purest of darkness. Maybe even her armor wouldn't have protected her. It was inevitable period. If there was never the threat of Aqua eventually succumbing to the darkness down there, we all wouldn't feel the urge to quickly to rescue her realizing how long she's been there. It's dangerous for a reason. You're ignoring the length of time she's been there compared to literally everyone else. It wasn't a 5 second visit like Sora and Riku. It wasn't a quick jog through the park like Mickey. It wasn't a timeout like Ansem. She's been down there for the equivalent of 11-12 light realm years.

Aqua is not Ansem. Aqua was not consumed with revenge or hatred. Aqua wanted to get back to her friends and wanted to go home. Unlike Ansem, Aqua is unwilling to let the darkness in her heart. She believes it is bad, she believes it will overtake her and she will fade. These are things she said in 0.2 that were never addressed. I repeat, Aqua has not learned the lesson that darkness is not evil and that it can be controlled and harnessed. Neither has Mickey or Sora or Riku. They don't know that until Riku shows them the way through trial and error. This is a lesson Aqua will eventually learn, albeit in a much more complicated way. Whatever's happening to her isn't normal (compared to say, Riku and Terra)

Aqua's situation is actually the first time we'll see the long term effects of being in the dark realm.

Aqua's baggage is not the result of darkness "infecting" her, and the disease analogy is not accurate; though the darkness can "corrupt" a heart, that heart has to be vulnerable to its corrosion. Aqua is vulnerable throughout 0.2 because she hasn't addressed her own, internally conflicted spirit: she despairs for her friends, she sees the Castle of Dreams and fears the worlds may be falling to destruction, and she has more deeply resonant, personal issues of self-deprecation and difficulty accepting and recognizing her own strength for what it is. Throughout the game, she confronts all of these fears and either overcomes or begins to overcome them: she knows Ven is safe and Terra is fighting against the darkness, she knows the worlds are restored, and she has her own light and conviction reaffirmed through the last leg of her journey with Mickey. No, she hasn't reached a point of perfect equilibrium, but she's set on that path, which begins with acknowledging her own power: that allows her to face the darkness for what it is, something extant both within and without her, but not something to fear so long as she doesn't allow it to hold power over her. What, exactly, is left to drive her to the darkness after 0.2? The last time we see her, she is once again full of hope and relief that the worlds are still under the care of capable Keyblade wielders, and that the light is still being protected. She has no reason to give into the darkness knowing that. It's a cop out.

If you remember, I've written before that Aqua's current situation is extremely personal. It's more personal than Terra's. It's more personal than Riku's. It's more personal than Sora's. Aqua's fighting nothing but herself.

Her insecurities are not being created by the darkness, as she says herself, the darkness has FOUND her doubts and insecurities. It's found it's way into her heart and is repeating all her deepest and darkest regrets out loud. This is what I loved about 0.2. Obviously Aqua was struggling a bit in BbS with what she should do to help her friends on the right path, and of course she'd feel a certain kind of way after failing. 0.2 allowed us to hear it all in plain language. The darkness has done nothing but manifest her inner feelings into illusions (and literal phantoms that tried to kill her)

You keep saying she addressed and confronted her issues when she did not. Her fight with Phantom Aqua ended with her admitting Phantom Aqua was only expressing her own feelings and then she went on to say the darkness has found a way in and fears this is the last 'warning' before she's done for. Where did she confront this? Was it when she nearly gave up again and dropped her wayfinder only for Mickey to find her in the nick of time? Was it when she told Mickey the darkness is getting to her and Mickey answered with just "You'll be ok!" Was it when she solemnly stated they'd know where to find her as she resigned to falling into the darkness again? You accept one thing happening, but ignore all the context and patterns around it. She's hopeful, then she's down. She's hopeful, then she's down. It's not hard to see where that would end up without another continuous 'hopeful' moments and events...

Every time she reassures herself things are fine (at the end of Castle of Dreams, after she sees Ven in the casket, and possibly after meeting Mickey again) there's always something else to bring her down physically and emotionally. You really think after her meeting with Mickey, she was feeling honky dory and the darkness couldn't possibly twist her emotions and resolve again like it's done at least two times prior?

And I think you completely misunderstand the concept of "giving in to darkness". I think very little people here are thinking, "Oh. One day Aqua's going to say, 'Ok I give up!' and accept the darkness." No. I've also stated before that Aqua's situation is going to be much more similar to Sora than Riku and Terra. Riku and Terra purposely used the darkness for their own means. Sora has never purposely used the darkness, the darkness was forced upon him. he extended himself too much and became weakened. They kept smacking him with it over and over again until he couldn't keep going and it consumed him. If Aqua has fallen to darkness, that is why. She's been beaten down and literally cannot keep going. There's a reason why Sora and Aqua are parallels of each other through and through (and Riku sometimes too).

Your rush to conclude she just decided to shake hands with the darkness one day is ... weird because obviously that's not the kind of person she is and that's not the only way to 'fall to darkness'. I say Aqua isn't special because anyone stuck down there would eventually be beaten down too. Anyone. Even people like Xehanort who has aligned himself with the darkness. Even Ansem the Wise. Even Mickey if he spent enough time there.

The darkness isn't some... intelligent foe making plans and creating schemes to get its way. It's just there. It's just like a disease. It's there, spreading, doesn't care who you are or what you're doing. Light, dark, good, bad, doesn't matter. If not taken care of, it'll have its way. You can willingly give into it and fade away (aka die). You can willingly give into it and gain power (Terra, Xehanort, Ansem, all of the org, Riku) OR, you can have it unwillingly thrust onto you and end up basically dead (coma Sora). Or, you can have... whatever is happening to Aqua right now.

And, more to the point, it's a derailment of her ongoing character arc either way. She gets corrupted by the darkness so that she can play bad guy for game. Then she'll go back to being good and it will never be mentioned again, everything she does will be written off as Xehanort's influence, and what does she learn? That she really was weak all along and needed somebody else to come save her? That's cool. I'm glad she spent all that time in the Realm of Darkness so she could learn that about herself. Much better than delivering on the promise of a superior Keyblade Master who has been made stronger by the struggles she's faced in the series, who comes out of her journey through Hell fashioned into somebody even more capable and more driven than she was before. That kind of character development is reserved for the boys like Sora and Riku. Even as a Darkness Aqua will never be as strong as Master Xehanort. Wait your turn, Aqua. I love it.

This is an assumption, but it's whatever. Aqua fought Xehanort in what he considers to be his 'prime' and won (when he possessed Terra and was pretty much in complete control for 99% of the fight). I'm not gonna say Nomura is the best writer ever, but I was impressed with 0.2 that he brought up key points in Aqua's character I never thought would be mentioned (her obvious depression, her fears, her doubts, all her insecurities, I love that we actually got to see how she was feeling compared to the boys). We'll both have to wait and see what happens, but since you're already set on hating it, I doubt you'll enjoy it whether it's good or not.

Aqua believes she is the light in the darkness. Aqua believes she can lead them to her and wants to save her friends and I think she will. She first needs to witness that despite what's happened to her (falling to darkness), it can still be used for good. She's not tainted or useless or anything. She'll make do and protect her family.
 

Luminary

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Speaking of the Bug Blocks I'm hoping Donald and Goofy recognize them from Coded. They could be the ones to inform Sora and Hiro about what they are and how to deal with them.

Let’s have a recreation of the infamous “we’re a sandwich” scene. Lol.
 

alexis.anagram

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It's inevitable that someone stuck in the darkness will fade away and nothing has ever implied otherwise.
All of the evidence available explicitly states otherwise. Who else has been trapped in the darkness aside from AtW and Aqua for any extended period of time? Neither of them faded. Aqua didn't fade after 10 RoL years. How long is it supposed to take? 20 RoL years? This is just conjecture based on an unreliable narration of a facet of the universe which nobody knows anything about, really. Xehanort wouldn't stay in the RoD because despite being aligned with darkness he still doesn't understand the Dark Realm nor can he be sure what the long-term effects would be on him: not because he knows they would be dangerous, but because he doesn't know enough to be sure that they wouldn't, and he's got nothing to gain by spending time there. All of his plans involve the RoL.

edit: And if you've played KH1, you know that the whole point of that game is to prove that light can and does endure even in the deepest darkness. The RoD may be dangerous to wander in for a lot of reasons, but the idea that it's "inevitable" that a person will fade to darkness there is directly contrary to the foundational theme of the series. Light always persists, one way or another.

You're ignoring the length of time she's been there compared to literally everyone else. It wasn't a 5 second visit like Sora and Riku. It wasn't a quick jog through the park like Mickey. It wasn't a timeout like Ansem. She's been down there for the equivalent of 11-12 light realm years.
This is exactly why I view this as a wasted opportunity. Instead of another boring retread of the captured-by-darkness schtick we've already done ad infinitum with these games, they could have used Aqua's time in the RoD to give her knowledge and an understanding of the darkness that nobody else has, from the perspective of a person filled with light. She could have wielded the intimate insight she has into the darkness for the benefit of the GoL, it could have made her a stronger Keyblade Master, it would have complicated her understanding of the worlds, and it would have been poetic for Eraqus' star apprentice to completely shift the RoL's understanding of the darkness through the dissemination of her experience and direct contact with the feared Dark Realm for all those years. She could have arrived in KH3 triumphant, not embittered and broken down and in need of rescuing. Still waiting on the supposed benefits of this approach.

These are things she said in 0.2 that were never addressed.
Aqua's fear of the darkness is rooted in her feelings about herself vis-a-vis her own darkness. I think we agree on this fundamental point, but unlike you, I see this as being absolutely addressed in 0.2. That's why the Phantom appeared to her halfway through the game to set up that dynamic. The Phantom doesn't get the final world on it, that would occur during the climax of the story, which is when she meets Mickey, learns that her light drew him to her, helps save the world, and sees the light deep within the darkness that is Kingdom Hearts. That's where 0.2 leads Aqua: it only pulls her deeper into darkness in order to position her closer to the light within it. The whole game is leading up to that: the Phantom, the visions, everything. Cap that off with Blank Points, where she and Ansem sit side by side in full knowledge that the worlds are in good hands, and she's closer to that light than ever, or that's the impression it gives you. That scene could have ended with the Door to Light opening up right in front of them and it wouldn't have been a bit out of character for the series.

Prior to the E3 trailer reveal, few people aniticipated the possibly of Aqua falling to darkness. It wasn't a common theory within the fandom. That's why it caused such an uproar. 0.2 didn't set it up. Blank Points didn't set it up. This is a reverse-engineered plot point designed to surprise the audience. If it works for you, cool. I'm not convinced.

And I think you completely misunderstand the concept of "giving in to darkness". I think very little people here are thinking, "Oh. One day Aqua's going to say, 'Ok I give up!' and accept the darkness." No. I've also stated before that Aqua's situation is going to be much more similar to Sora than Riku and Terra. Riku and Terra purposely used the darkness for their own means. Sora has never purposely used the darkness, the darkness was forced upon him. he extended himself too much and became weakened. They kept smacking him with it over and over again until he couldn't keep going and it consumed him. If Aqua has fallen to darkness, that is why. She's been beaten down and literally cannot keep going. There's a reason why Sora and Aqua are parallels of each other through and through (and Riku sometimes too).
It's not like Sora's situation in DDD. Sora was being actively assaulted by people who were using the darkness to malicious ends-- they actively tricked him into letting the hurt inside him drag him down. Aqua doesn't have to contend with outside manipulation, her situation in the RoD is better understood in similar form to Sora turning himself in to a Heartless in KH1: he unlocked the darkness in his heart, but for righteous reasons, and his Heartless ends up being totally chill. Despite his heart being completely overwhelmed by darkness to the point where we literally see him falling into it, he's not driven to harm anyone. Aqua, likewise, is only fighting her own darkness, and in 0.2, she learns everything she needs in order to do so successfully. There's nothing left to gain by turning her into a Darkness. One more friendship monologue shouldn't make the difference here.

We'll both have to wait and see what happens, but since you're already set on hating it, I doubt you'll enjoy it whether it's good or not.
It's more that I think the conceit is bad from the outset, and everything else is fruit of the poisonous tree. Not all stories have potential. This one withered on the vine.


Aqua believes she is the light in the darkness. Aqua believes she can lead them to her and wants to save her friends and I think she will. She first needs to witness that despite what's happened to her (falling to darkness), it can still be used for good. She's not tainted or useless or anything. She'll make do and protect her family.
Everything you said here could have been true without turning her into a proxy villain and rehashing the same drama we've already seen with her as a character. 0.2 put a nice bow on this plotline, I was ready for something fresh and to see her make some progress in KH3. Instead we get another Xehanort clone. It's an arbitrary extension of her suffering, and it's a bad choice in terms of the narrative economy of the series: not enough time for a redemption arc like Riku's, not enough grounding to bring things full circle like with Terra.
 

Dandelion

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While I understand the lack of faith in execution, I have to admit I'm a little disappointed and a lot bored with the "she fell because darkness" situation. It's clear that she's been infected, but why? I'm a little more hopeful that her being a Xehanort is an extension of the flaw she didn't overcome in 0.2. Her tendency to self-sacrifice for the greater good.

I don't think it's out of character at all for Aqua to have jumped in the way of a Xehanort heart blast, or for her to have chosen the path in an effort to stop Xehanort from going after Ven (or possibly even Terra). 3D calls her the light within the darkness in the secret ending. I'll choose to dream she's had agency in the choice and is working as a double agent.
 

mytomxxx

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While I understand the lack of faith in execution, I have to admit I'm a little disappointed and a lot bored with the "she fell because darkness" situation. It's clear that she's been infected, but why? I'm a little more hopeful that her being a Xehanort is an extension of the flaw she didn't overcome in 0.2. Her tendency to self-sacrifice for the greater good.

I don't think it's out of character at all for Aqua to have jumped in the way of a Xehanort heart blast, or for her to have chosen the path in an effort to stop Xehanort from going after Ven (or possibly even Terra). 3D calls her the light within the darkness in the secret ending. I'll choose to dream she's had agency in the choice and is working as a double agent.

I think this would be a really good explanation for why she fell.
 

Leaferian

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I wouldn't be shocked to find she gave herself over to the darkness just to save Terra and/or Ven. For that matter I would also be unsurprised if they revealed that she isn't an actual Seeker of Darkness.

What's happening with her physically as of the new trailer is absolutely unprecedented as far as I'm aware. Yes the color scheme does remind of Dark Riku/Vanitas, but it is definitely not the same thing. For one, the red on DR and Van is from the forearm to the wrists and STOPS THERE, where Dark Aqua has red fingers/parts of her hands. Second, both Dark Riku and Vanitas have been rendered in the KH3 engine, and what you can see of their bodies reiterates and makes clear that they are wearing body suits effectively. They are materials, with material texture. Dark Aqua's effect, slowly spreading up her arms and legs, is very clearly her skin. To be totally honest, the only thing that is close to similar are the Darklings from KHUX which, if I recall correctly, were keyblade wielders who fully gave in to the darkness. Red claw-fingers and blue-black shadow bodies with yellow eyes... They're wearing hooded clothes so who can say if they have hair or what color it might be?
 

Launchpad

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I've been saying this since the day it was revealed Aqua was Norted-- It's either just 'stuff happening with no real narrative purpose or depth', which happens a lot in KH, or it's to set an example that self-sacrificing heroics aren't always the healthiest thing. Aqua has put her friends before her own safety so, so many times. It's a defining positive trait in her character. But if she were to, say, protect AtW from Xehanort in the RoD, that might be the last sacrifice she'd be able to make before all these choices come back and bite her in the rear. This is the reason why Yen Sid withheld Aqua's location from Sora; he'd find a way into the realm of darkness with no preparation or contingency, and get himself turned into a Heartless again.

Again being the operative word, as stuff like this has already happened several times in the franchise and isn't surprising or anything to get up in arms over. Nomura just wants to give us a cool character to fight before everything is magic'd okay again. These games don't have in depth arcs, they're all about flashy solutions and crazy reveals; it's all very on the nose, and now is a very strange time to start getting angry about that.
 

gosoxtim

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I've been saying this since the day it was revealed Aqua was Norted-- It's either just 'stuff happening with no real narrative purpose or depth', which happens a lot in KH, or it's to set an example that self-sacrificing heroics aren't always the healthiest thing. Aqua has put her friends before her own safety so, so many times. It's a defining positive trait in her character. But if she were to, say, protect AtW from Xehanort in the RoD, that might be the last sacrifice she'd be able to make before all these choices come back and bite her in the rear. This is the reason why Yen Sid withheld Aqua's location from Sora; he'd find a way into the realm of darkness with no preparation or contingency, and get himself turned into a Heartless again.

Again being the operative word, as stuff like this has already happened several times in the franchise and isn't surprising or anything to get up in arms over. Nomura just wants to give us a cool character to fight before everything is magic'd okay again. These games don't have in depth arcs, they're all about flashy solutions and crazy reveals; it's all very on the nose, and now is a very strange time to start getting angry about that.
^this thank you launchpad for saying this
 

mytomxxx

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To be totally honest, the only thing that is close to similar are the Darklings from KHUX which, if I recall correctly, were keyblade wielders who fully gave in to the darkness. Red claw-fingers and blue-black shadow bodies with yellow eyes... They're wearing hooded clothes so who can say if they have hair or what color it might be?

Will just leave it here... Credits to the autor wickenstrife
_oc__darkling_mathias_by_venikk-dbu4ndd.png

Nomura just wants to give us a cool character to fight before everything is magic'd okay again. These games don't have in depth arcs, they're all about flashy solutions and crazy reveals; it's all very on the nose, and now is a very strange time to start getting angry about that.

In the end we can't forget this is a game, the games who have excellent\genius narrative are excpetions. And the first reason why I love the series, is because is so freaking cool to play, and the bosses are so awesome.

The chess board has me a little curious. Either Xemnas or Xigbar doesn't have a piece on it.

FkeoG1z.png


Since the piece looks like crossed swords, I can see it based on Xemnas' lightsabers, but his weapon isn't crossed-shaped. Xigbar's arrowguns kind of are except I would assume the crossed swords would have circles in the middle of them.

Digged this up, just to point out that the cubes piece are, more probably, from whoever are controlling the bug bloxes, than Luxord.

And I just noticed that the flower piece, looks like a wayfinder.
 
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Squall Strife

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Before the Aqua was confirmed to be Norted, it felt more natural to have her to slowly be corrupted to a dark being. It would transition to ending the Xehanort saga while introducing a new threat but one that was once a hopeful keyblade master, one that we liked, turn corrupted. I would like to see a main female antagonist, not like Maleificent but more like Xehanort. A good person turned corrupted antagonist angle would have been very emotional which Kingdom Hearts is known for doing. I'm not sure who they'll have as the next antagonist but hopefully one that doesn't snatch bodies, go back in time, take on the same name as someone else, etc like Xehanort. I'd like the next saga to be less convoluted as possible lol.
 

Zettaflare

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I'm actually more curious about that star keyblade since it appears to be Aqua's replacement for Master Keeper. Was it always in the realm of Darkness? Did Mickey(or Riku) secretly have it?
 

Luminary

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Will just leave it here... Credits to the autor wickenstrife
_oc__darkling_mathias_by_venikk-dbu4ndd.png



In the end we can't forget this is a game, the games who have excellent\genius narrative are excpetions. And the first reason why I love the series, is because is so freaking cool to play, and the bosses are so awesome.



Digged this up, just to point out that the cubes piece are, more probably, from whoever are controlling the bug bloxes, than Luxord.

And I just noticed that the flower piece, looks like a wayfinder.

Luxord is the Gambler of Fate... Why is it so hard to believe the cubes are dice to represent him? Because they don’t have the dots? They also don’t have the Bug Blox markings. We don’t even know if a Seeker is controlling the Bugs. Also, Wayfinders have five points, not six. Given that Luxord and Marluxia are confirmed Seekers of Darkness, these are most likely their chess pieces. They could have used cards, but the dice are probably just more recognizable as a three dimensional object. I also think they intentionally only showed the pieces for the confirmed Seekers in this shot.

In other news, it looks like that mystery figure is probably a form of KH1 Riku. https://www.reddit.com/r/KingdomHearts/comments/9fdlp8/kh3_mystery_solved/?st=JM04I4O4&sh=635b8e2a
 
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alexis.anagram

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Hm, the lead-up to KH3 sure is a convenient time to apply the, "KH just has a bad plot anyway" defense mechanism in full force. Because I'm sure we're all anticipating the next Great American Novel, and discussing basic plot points back and forth eternally is so unlike this fandom.

Everybody plays these games for different reasons. Some of us have an emotional investment in the characters and the narrative, and that's always going to come first for us. For me, all of the gameplay elements exist solely to deliver the story. Others may consider the opposite to be true. Regardless, Nomura has an obligation to his audience to put out the best game he possibly can. I think we're all aiming to encourage as well as define that in our own terms in anticipation of the big finale, regardless of whether or not we agree on what that will ultimately look like.

In other news, it looks like that mystery figure is probably a form of KH1 Riku. https://www.reddit.com/r/KingdomHearts/comments/9fdlp8/kh3_mystery_solved/?st=JM04I4O4&sh=635b8e2a
Wow, nice find. This gives me some hope, actually. Riku's hair doesn't have to change color at all in order to seem like a Seeker, so whichever Riku that is, it may be that little montage isn't conveying quite that message. Which means Aqua might not be a Seeker. Still haven't seen her out of the RoD yet... *patiently waits for all hope to be dashed on Sep 18th*

Although it does feel a little silly to have all that speculation going around and then...oh, it's just Riku. Pretty much how we'll all feel when the second playable character is revealed.

edit: also yayyy Xion's not a Darkness. The thing that launched this whole retread of the Aqua debate. Yeah. I'd actually prefer if Xion's role in KH3 remains a secret along with Roxas and maybe Namine, as much as I want to see her again I just think she's going to be way more important than a Xehanort lackey or some such.
 
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Sephiroth0812

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While I understand the lack of faith in execution, I have to admit I'm a little disappointed and a lot bored with the "she fell because darkness" situation. It's clear that she's been infected, but why? I'm a little more hopeful that her being a Xehanort is an extension of the flaw she didn't overcome in 0.2. Her tendency to self-sacrifice for the greater good.

I don't think it's out of character at all for Aqua to have jumped in the way of a Xehanort heart blast, or for her to have chosen the path in an effort to stop Xehanort from going after Ven (or possibly even Terra). 3D calls her the light within the darkness in the secret ending. I'll choose to dream she's had agency in the choice and is working as a double agent.

The thing with self-sacrifice for the greater good is, and here I agree with Launchpad, that it can in most cases only be done once and removes any further possible agency on your own part and can fail/be for naught if the issue you seek to solve with that sacrifice can be brought back via different means or "only" buys time others fail to use effectively.

You think along the lines of Aqua trying to protect Ansem the Wise or something? If her aim is to stop Xehanort from going after Ven giving in to Darkness and thus providing Xehanort an opening he can exploit is arguably the most bad decision she could make as she's literally the key to at least Ven's body and soul. It's Aqua who has the knowledge and power to transform C.O. back into the LoD and and find/gain access to Ven's chamber. The latter can be done without having to transform the world back and unless Xehanort is specifically interested mainly in Ven's heart, he would already get everything he wants from accessing the chamber alone.

While working as a double agent certainly sounds intriguing and I think it might be a somewhat fresh take on the whole thing which still leaves Aqua some agency I'm doubtful if this can work if she has literally Xehanort sitting in the back of her heart overlooking everything she does, not to mention possibly having to put up with Xemnas and Vanitas, who are practically evil caricatures of her beloved friends.

I wouldn't be shocked to find she gave herself over to the darkness just to save Terra and/or Ven. For that matter I would also be unsurprised if they revealed that she isn't an actual Seeker of Darkness.

What's happening with her physically as of the new trailer is absolutely unprecedented as far as I'm aware. Yes the color scheme does remind of Dark Riku/Vanitas, but it is definitely not the same thing. For one, the red on DR and Van is from the forearm to the wrists and STOPS THERE, where Dark Aqua has red fingers/parts of her hands. Second, both Dark Riku and Vanitas have been rendered in the KH3 engine, and what you can see of their bodies reiterates and makes clear that they are wearing body suits effectively. They are materials, with material texture. Dark Aqua's effect, slowly spreading up her arms and legs, is very clearly her skin. To be totally honest, the only thing that is close to similar are the Darklings from KHUX which, if I recall correctly, were keyblade wielders who fully gave in to the darkness. Red claw-fingers and blue-black shadow bodies with yellow eyes... They're wearing hooded clothes so who can say if they have hair or what color it might be?

If that is the case I'm certainly intrigued how that plays out and especially how Aqua rationalizes this decision. By giving in to Darkness, no matter how willingly, she does give Xehanort an opening to possibly exploit and that would be 100% counterproductive to her aim of saving Ven since she would put him in even more danger by doing it.
On the topic of Terra I could see actually some merit in the prospect as Aqua possibly trying to find Terra in the Darkness by immersing herself in it despite hating it, like Kreia in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic who hated the force yet wielded it "like one would wield poison".
I wouldn't necessary say it is out of character for Aqua to eventually resort to radical means to try and set things right, especially if she really lost faith in Mickey and Yen Sid to finally do something about the predicament of her and her friends.

These things that constantly chant "Lux, give us Lux"?
Well, the opening scene of 0.2 did feature the aftermath of the Keyblade War and lingered on Luxu and the No Name for a while, so it is possible that Aqua is slowly turning into a Darkling?
What would induct such a transformation and why wouldn't Aqua just lose her heart and become a Heartless like Sora did?
Maybe they have to "subdue" Dark Aqua somehow and then Kairi can show off her purification powers again like in KH 1?

I'm willing to entertain such notions purely because I wouldn't put it past Nomura to throw some extra wrenches and twists into the soup just for the heck of it.
It has been shown that he values surprises and shocks more than narrative coherency anyways.

Maybe Xehanort's seekers aren't the only Dark powers at work after all.

Hm, the lead-up to KH3 sure is a convenient time to apply the, "KH just has a bad plot anyway" defense mechanism in full force. Because I'm sure we're all anticipating the next Great American Novel, and discussing basic plot points back and forth eternally is so unlike this fandom.

Everybody plays these games for different reasons. Some of us have an emotional investment in the characters and the narrative, and that's always going to come first for us. For me, all of the gameplay elements exist solely to deliver the story. Others may consider the opposite to be true. Regardless, Nomura has an obligation to his audience to put out the best game he possibly can. I think we're all aiming to encourage as well as define that in our own terms in anticipation of the big finale, regardless of whether or not we agree on what that will ultimately look like.


Wow, nice find. This gives me some hope, actually. Riku's hair doesn't have to change color at all in order to seem like a Seeker, so whichever Riku that is, it may be that little montage isn't conveying quite that message. Which means Aqua might not be a Seeker. Still haven't seen her out of the RoD yet... *patiently waits for all hope to be dashed on Sep 18th*

Although it does feel a little silly to have all that speculation going around and then...oh, it's just Riku. Pretty much how we'll all feel when the second playable character is revealed.

edit: also yayyy Xion's not a Darkness. The thing that launched this whole retread of the Aqua debate. Yeah. I'd actually prefer if Xion's role in KH3 remains a secret along with Roxas and maybe Namine, as much as I want to see her again I just think she's going to be way more important than a Xehanort lackey or some such.

Is that really a "defense" mechanism or an attempt to strangle any debate or discussion?
Frankly, it may sound weird but I can see good points in both kirabook's approach to the topic and yours, depending on if one looks at the overall narrative from the possible setups given or more in terms of personal character arcs.

In the former, 0.2 can be interpreted as a deliberate setup for Aqua's eventual fall, be it because even her formidable defenses and resilience (which no one doubted here btw) got eroded to a point where she finally cracks or because a third party (The norts) gave her a final push to shatter the new resolve she had build up.
That Ansem the Wise also seems to be nowhere to be found is also a fact to be concerned about and an indicator that the scenes on the dark margin shown in the secret ending of DDD are not the most up date view we got on this theater of operations.
It is a devious but very effective tactic to break someone by repeatedly building up hope and then cruelly crush that hope shortly afterwards again. Repeat this process three or four times and the target will eventually succumb because the next provided hope spot (even if it is a genuine one) won't be taken for fear of the inevitable dashing of that hope the being has already experienced many times beforehand.

Both Ramsay Bolton of Game of Thrones and Morganna from .hack are very effective in deploying this tactic and while in Aqua's case there might not have been a conscious force following it the properties of the Realm of Darkness seem to work in a similar way.

So from this angle, I can entirely see where kirabooks argument comes from and that it makes in-universe sense to happen, also when considering that the original ending of 0.2 which was eventually scrapped did include Aqua breaking down according to Nomura.

Agreement, I am certainly more into it for the story elements than the gameplay side, so unlike i.e. Launchpad I don't give much about yet another interesting boss fight just for the sake of having it and prefer seeing a character getting agency, characterisation and interaction with other characters over that any day.
So in terms of the information we currently have I agree with the notion that it doesn't really looks well or advantageous for Aqua as a character since unless they play "Dark" Aqua as a rogue element who goes to extreme lengths to save Terra and Ven (like i.e. her getting sick of waiting for that lackluster mouse to finally show up and deciding to polish Xehanort's bald dome with his own weapons and if necessary rip Ventus out of Sora etc.) or something similar that explores her own issues it will indeed be just a rehash of what we've already seen x-times in this series with "possession by the main bad guy".

That comparison with KH 1-Riku certainly has quite some convincing similarity.
I guess that means the Team Data-Riku and Team Riku Replica contest can be dusted off and re-introduced, lol.

"Just" Riku is probably the wrong way to describe it, more like "which" or "what" Riku in this case.

We haven't seen neither of those three nor Terra or Ven yet anyways.
 

Luminary

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I'm gunning for Data-Riku with those Bug Blox and all.

Also, this will mean that we saw him 6 years ago and nobody except me recognized him as a 'nort.
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Oh I’ve been saying for ages that this Riku from DDD is one of the vessels, but others insisted it was part of a dream. However, I’m not 100% sure it is Data Riku, particularly since he’s just a manifestation of the journal and Riku describes this guy as the dark side of himself. But I also don’t think it is Riku Replica. Some of Nomura’s recent comments have made it seem like the Riku on the beach is supposed to be Riku Replica, but he may be an illusion and might not be the “other Riku” that has been teased. So I think this new “other Riku” will be a manifestation of Riku’s dark side, whether a time traveled Riku-Ansem or something else. Personally, I found it curious that they focused and ended Riku’s story so far video on the moment he turned into Ansem to stop Roxas. Perhaps, something was created at this point without him knowing.
 
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