Does Riku being an antagonist in KH I feel forced?



REGISTER TO REMOVE ADS

jahob000

New member
Joined
Jul 2, 2015
Messages
110
Age
31
After 15 years I still don't exactly know why he became an enemy to Sora in KHI. I mean, I know that he's pretty much responsible for Destiny Islands disappearing because he was willing to use the darkness to get off of the island. As far as being Sora's enemy, why? I honestly don't think that it was only because Maleficent or "Ansem" turned Riku against him. Riku was well aware of the fact that they were trying to be manipulative. I don't think it was over Kairi either because it didn't seem like Riku ever had feelings for Kairi in that way.

I know that the game "says" they're rivals and Riku even admitted being jealous of Sora. I just don't think the we saw enough, if any, in the game to actually illustrate more on why Riku would hold a grudge against Sora. It's almost like he became a antagonist simply because the game needed one.

Not hating on Riku. I like Riku as a character. Again, I'm only talking about KHI. Riku's character in every game after makes more sense because they make him seem more guilt driven since he did pretty much destroy their home.

Anyone else have any opinions?
 

Tartarus

Bronze Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
2,291
  • Fairest of them All
Well, outside of "shipper" reasons, the only explanation I can think of is jealousy that he isn't more like Sora, who is positive, easygoing, and strong effortlessly, whereas Riku has a weak character (overemotional, falls into temptation easily, etc.) despite his physical strength. Like you said, his interest in Kairi only ever seemed like a forced reason for him to compete with Sora (the paopu scene and the race over Kairi) while they're on Destiny Islands. When Destiny Islands is going under--because of Riku--he pretends to care about Kairi when Sora brings her up and says they'll take her with them (without even attempting to do so when he offers Sora his hand) to get Sora to listen to his offer to explore the outside world, all of which is despite the fact that she was only a stone's throw away from him in the Secret Place. But maybe he just assumed they could find her afterwards? *shrug*

Like you said, he clearly did not believe Maleficent was a good person with benign interest in him from the way he jerks back from her when she puts his hand on his cheek while pretending to act motherly. Teaming up with her seemed to be only a temporary, petty way for him to 'get back' at Sora after he became jealous over Sora having "replaced" him so easily with Donald and Goofy.

Personally, I've always thought Riku was sort of obsessed with Sora in an overdramatic, adolescent fashion in KH1 (the shipper in me says repressed romantic feelings that he didn't understand). I've always felt the original trio was the weakest because Riku and Kairi don't seem to really care about one another's wellbeing that much.
 

Oracle Spockanort

the only villain on staff
Staff member
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
31,933
Age
27
Location
California
Website
twitter.com
  • Put That Thing Back Where It Came From
  • 15th Anniversary
  • Just Short of the Mark
  • Advanced Chain of Memories
  • Beauty Within
  • No Name
I wouldn’t describe it as “forced”, but rather more of a fault of the nature of what KH started as. Since they didn’t know if they were going to get a chance to make a sequel, they made sure to keep things simple enough for people to be able to jump in and recognize familiar character archetypes and story beats, and they also left enough open so people could draw their own conclusions around what was untold in the game.

The game implies that Sora and Riku were really good friends as children, but as they got older they started drifting. Riku was the popular kid, Sora was the one who felt that he was always in Riku’s shadow. The raft was meant to be something to unite them and Kairi together and make them closer as friends despite the strain in their dynamics.

We are also supposed to realize that Riku hadn’t just started feeling jealous about Sora at the start of the game, but rather that this was something that had been festering in him for ages.

Like Tartarus, I think a lot of what began to strain their relationship was Sora’s interest in Kairi. It is illustrated in the scene when they are kids and Sora, after they discover what the loud sound in the Secret Place is, starts talking about wanting to meet the new girl at the Mayor’s house. It is again illustrated in how Riku continually ribs Sora about his crush on Kairi. He is trying to egg him on, but you can also tell he is upset by Sora’s feelings for Kairi because Riku wants to dominate his attention.

Riku was jealous that Sora wasn’t paying attention to him, and it comes out frequently in KH1 with the way that Riku was ready to leave Kairi behind to leave the island with just Sora or when Sora makes new friends and his answer to this is to be petty and join up with Maleficent. He goes from being completely unconcerned about Kairi to hyperfixating on her while trying to one-up Sora at every turn. This only happens when he feels rejected by Sora.

Riku’s motivations become easier to understand when you are able to see that it wasn’t Riku and Sora fighting over Kairi, Sora’s friends, or the Keyblade, but rather Riku wanting to dominate Sora’s attention and be the only person he needed to rely on.

The Final Mix additions do better to sell this idea, mainly because every additional Riku scene is about Riku being with Sora or wanting to see Sora or seeing Sora as his guiding light in the Realm of Darkness or Sora remembering all of the fond moments he had with Riku. Riku’s motivations are intrinsically tied to Sora.

Riku wanted somebody to rely on him. He wanted Sora to be that person. When Sora shows that he can handle things without him, he feels rejected and like he has no value to Sora as a friend. He fixates on Kairi because she is helpless and it makes Riku feel better about himself to be able to prove to Sora that he is worth something. If Sora doesn’t want or need his help, then he will take everything from Sora until he has nothing and will beg for Riku’s help.

Riku was also jealous of Sora, but it was a mutual jealousy formed on the fact that neither of them realized that they wanted to be like the other, and that miscommunication only aided to create a bigger rift between them.

Honestly I am glad they didn’t give us every small detail about Sora and Riku’s friendship and what led to everything that coalesced in KH1 because there is a point where too much background can hinder the creative interpretations of subtext. The big issue with KH is that we have an over-abundance of explanations, so KH1 always feels refreshing to return to because of how simple it was initially.
 
Last edited:

jahob000

New member
Joined
Jul 2, 2015
Messages
110
Age
31
Wow! I hate to respond with such a simple worded response but that seemed spot on! Even though, some of the things you said wasn't explicitly stated by the game, it makes a lot of sense logically. Riku saw himself as needing to be the guiding figure to both Riku and Kairi. However since Sora was able to hold his own, it was a blow to Riku's pride. To add to his broken pride, he actually saw how inferior he was to Sora when HE was the one that lost his way and was lonely and in a weakened state.

You're absolutely right about the series. As with any story, you don't know how far it will go, so you leave a few holes in the story just in case you want to add onto it. KH's flaw is as you said that they added TOO much. Not every single thing needed to be explained. While it is satisfying for fans to get questions answered, it takes away the mystery from the story.

Back to the topic though. I guess you gave me my answer which is pretty much the same as what I'd been thinking. They made him Sora's enemy simply because. No other deep reasons as they weren't thinking two steps ahead or anything, which is fine. Well with the things you stated, I can see how he could become his enemy. It's a shame that they couldn't have teased at things like this a lot more in the game.
 

AmaryllisMoth

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2018
Messages
228
Location
Japan
I apologize if I am not very eloquent with this response, but I'll try my best.

Consider the case of Beauty and the Beast for a moment. In this film, the antagonist is generally considered to be Gaston. Mostly because he is arrogant, selfish, and wants really badly to be considered the hero everyone wants and needs. So much so, that this desire blinds him to basic common sense and he ends up being taken out by his own hubris. However, from his point of view, he is the hero, trying to save his love interest from the scary monster. Honestly, in his eyes he seems like a real stand up guy and he isn't really seeing the negatives of what he is doing.

I think Riku is operating on a slightly similar principle as Gaston, and as such it is fairly believable to me. I don't think it comes from a place of "just because". He has very clear reasons for what he does, I think, and that is what motivates him to do more and more questionably "evil" stuff. But in his mind, he has justified it all away until he is so far gone he can't salvage it.

Starting from when he is young, we know that his ultimate desire is to be strong enough to protect his friends. He became pretty used to being the guy everyone turned to for help, and maybe almost needed to fill that role to feel satisfied with himself. It was also clear that he was intensely dissatisfied with being stuck on a tiny little island with nothing much to do except play around. He wanted to be strong, and probably wanted to DO things with that strength. He wanted to go on adventures and be the hero. In many video games, this sort of character is definitely going to be the main protagonist, simply because that is such a common and relatable trait to have.

Sora, on the other hand, while he did want to go explore other worlds (as he says at the start of the game) doesn't care so much about the adventure but rather who he is sharing it with. No matter where Riku wanted to go, he was happy to follow along because they would be together. Riku was the one who suggested the raft project, Riku was the one putting the most work into it, because Riku was the one who wanted to go the most. Meanwhile, Sora was happily helping out, getting excited himself because it maybe sounded fun, and it would let him spend time with his best friend.

So, again, in most games Riku would probably be the protagonist, spear-heading the adventure and the direction the party moves in, while Sora is the plucky best friend who tags along. But that, obviously, isn't what happened. Riku, maybe like Gaston, got too focused on what he wanted, his desire to be strong and get out of his tiny little backwater island that he made some incredibly stupid decisions. Naively believed what some creeper in a coat told him, and messed his home up. I don't think him initially aiding in bringing the darkness to the island was forced, because it fits what I understood about his character. So utterly desperate to reach his goal he was willing to sacrifice anything. He, also naively, maybe assumed even if something bad was to happen, he was such a strong guy that Sora and Kairi would both be okay. He would help them out. He's the hero.

I mean, you can even see this dynamic represented in the little chalk drawings they made as kids. There is one of the three of them fighting some goop monster, and Sora is standing back, guarding Kairi while Riku is launching himself sword-first at the thing's head. So, this is why the "jealousy" that they refer to makes a lot of sense. Because Sora ended up getting the Keyblade, not him. When you first run into Riku in Traverse Town after meeting Merlin, he seems perfectly normal riiiight until Sora whips the Keyblade out to smash a Heartless in the face, thinking it's pretty snazzy. Riku just absolutely hates that their usual dynamic is, well, not what it usually is. As he was saying when he got cut off, "just leave it to me". He liked being the strong one everyone could count on, and in his mind, Sora was maybe trying to vie for that spot. It also didn't sit right with him that Sora was "chosen" by the Keyblade. In Riku's mind, that should be his job, as the hero.

And later from what he learned from Maleficent, it really was supposed to be his. So the whole time Sora was using his Keyblade and that just really didn't sit right with him. This is where his jealousy started to influence most if not all of his decisions. He wanted to be the best, and be strong, etc... And his extreme focus on this, like tunnel vision, meant that he was almost actively working against his own better interests.

I slightly disagree that his motivations were entirely fueled by wanting to be the only person important to Sora, because he was throwing a TON of effort in trying to get Kairi's heart back. In fact, this is the sole reason he keeps being antagonistic initially is because he is trying to do whatever he can to help her. He doesn't have a Keyblade, he is angry at Sora for trying to steal his thunder, and for stealing what was supposed to be his. He wants to save her so badly, to maybe prove that he is a strong person, that he is willing to step on anyone and anything in his way. He teams up with Maleficent, not because he likes her or really trusts her all that much, but because he is using her for his own goals.

Take the stuff that happens in Neverland for example. He shows off Kairi to Sora, basically saying "see! I am helping her and you aren't. I AM THE HERO, NOT YOU." Then chucks Sora in the jail room. He also makes a point to tell the captain not to let Sora and Kairi see each other. I think this is, again, born out of jealousy, maybe insecurity, because he wants to be the one to help Kairi. He doesn't want Sora interfering with it because, to Riku, that would mean he failed at being the strongest. At this point in time, he has a goal to be "strong" still, and for a while Sora has been actively interfering with what he thinks he needs to do to be strong in his own mind, so he basically declares Sora an enemy at this point. Their "rivalry" is pretty much built up all inside Riku's head.

Anyway, long rambling piece coming to an end here:
I think him being an antagonist is wonderful because he is strong, great, motivated, etc. and represents someone who, in order to achieve their goals in life stops listening to their heart and selfishly presses on at any cost. Then you have someone like Sora who was supposed to be average, not particularly special, not considered all that great, but he listens to his heart gosh darn it and his friends help him out so they can see things through together. Having Riku around allows these two ways of life to come into conflict with each other, and with Sora's victory obviously highlight a major theme of the game. That it doesn't matter how strong you want to be, or think you are, if you lose sight of yourself and selfishly throw away those around you, you really aren't going to get very far.

It is also a great way to show Sora's growth as a character, in how much confidence he is able to gain about his own ability to stand up for himself. This is why they made him an antagonist, I think. Because through his character, we see what makes Sora special. And Riku has very clear reasons for doing what he does.

If Riku was not an antagonist, I think it would be far more difficult for players to feel as connected with Sora on his journey. Because when you first step into this world with him you are supposed to feel slightly overwhelmed, maybe under powered, and eventually work your way up to the top. Defeating Riku is almost like the in-game acknowledgement that you did it. It allows a player to have something to conquer and feel like their adventure and hard work has paid off in defeating someone who was previously a strong competitor all the way back from the start of the game.

Final thoughts/ tl;dr: Riku being an antagonist makes sense from many levels. One, from just the pure mechanics of the game, in allowing a player to feel accomplished at defeating a character that may have posed a challenge at the start of the game. Two, from serving as a way to highlight one of the themes of the game by clashing two opposing viewpoints at each other and demonstrating which the game considers superior. Three, using the contrast between the two of them as a vehicle for Sora's own characterization and making him relatable to the audience. And four, it honestly just makes sense for both the characters to end up in that position based on their personalities, so it just...works.
 
Last edited:

DarkosOverlord

Bronze Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
2,665
Age
24
Location
Rome, Italy
  • Keyblade Master
  • You've Got A Friend In Me
  • The Foreteller
  • Savage Nymph
I'll give my own take on this matter.
I'm afraid I'll have to disagree on the fact that Riku felt only jealousy over Sora, I think Kairi plays the biggest part in his character development in the first game.
As Spockanort rightly said for the first title they stick with a simple story and familiar character archetypes, and Riku was the classic jrpg antagonist: in love with the main girl, but knows in his heart that she has eyes only for the protagonist, so he will constantly challenge the hero and becoming an antagonist.
Riku is totally KH's Kain Highwind.

Riku liked Kairi.
When he was a kid, he kept dreaming about leaving the island and go to other worlds, having real adventure. Then, a young girl came to their home, not knowing where she came from, just not from there. During a meteor shower.
At the end of the first day, when Kairi says he's been thinking a lot about it, Riku responds that it was only thanks to Kairi that he's been thinking about it so much. Which isn't even true, even without counting the BbS stuff with Terra, you see in the Monstro flashback that Riku was always passioned to leave his home. One of the few instancies where kid Riku smiles is when he talks about it.
So, either it was a small mistake in the writing, or Riku was trying to impress Kairi, or something. (Remember, he is 15 by that point. I've seen worst attempts at conveying to a girl how special she is)

But Kairi liked Sora, and Riku knew. That's the gut punch: everybody, including Tidus, Wakka and Selphie, were sure Kairi was gonna fall for Riku and were pretty vocal about it. But Kairi only thinks Riku has "changed" and jokingly attempts to ask Sora to leave without him. She then concludes with "Sora, don't ever change". I sincerely think she was trying to at least suggest the idea of leaving him behind, and quickly camouflaged it as a joke when she noticed Sora's concern.
(And I retroactively love that scene, btw. Kairi is a Princess of Heart, and especially in KH1 they had specific powers. She sensed Riku's Darkness growing, or perhaps just Ansem lurking around, but didn't know what to make of it so she was just uneasy.)
This is also kind of a Gaston scenario: Riku was deemed perfect and even believed it (as he will admit in KH II, he always thought he was better than Sora), but couldn't get the girl despite this perfection. If anything, he might've noticed Kairi was starting to feel distant towards him, hence why the flattery and the sudden mention of the Paopu (an effective way to rebuild a bond).

I think the "Kairi's coming with us" was just because he knew where she was, or was even promised by Ansem she was coming too, so he wasn't worried. But Ansem probably didn't say a thing about Sora, so that's why Riku was going to convince him. It seems weird to phrase it like that if he was just leaving her behind or something, KH1 is usually a bit more direct than that. He would've said something like "Kairi doesn't matter!" or "This isn't about Kairi!" if that was the case. Nah, I think that sentence just needs to be taken at face value: Kairi WAS coming with them.

But Aqua's spell got in the way, something not even Ansem predicted, and Kairi became a lifeless puppet. Then, whether it was always the plan or a contingency plan in case Riku would've refused to cooperate, Ansem and Maleficent hid Kairi's body from him in order to further lure him in.
Cue in the Maleficent and Riku's cutscenes: at Traverse Town, after Jafar's defeat, the first one in Hook's ship.

"I'll help you find what you're looking for"

"You help us, and we grant you your wish" *Kairi hologram shows*

"So, Kairi is like a lifeless puppet now?"
"Precisely."
"Tell me! What can I do?"
Then Riku willingly accepts the plan to control the Heartless and gather the seven princesses, turns to Kairi's body and says "Soon, Kairi. Soon."
It's brought up even stronger in a subsequent scene with Hook, where the Captain asks about Maleficent's plan and Riku respond that he isn't sure himself, but "As long as it means getting Kairi's heart back, I couldn't care less." Then, when Hook says it's lost forever: "I will find it, no matter what."

I dunno, seems pretty self-showing evidence of just how much Kairi meant to Riku. While he thought he could control them, he was by that point fully aware of how bad the Heartless were and that what Maleficent was doing spelled destruction for many worlds and innocent people. But Kairi was that important to him, he just needed to get her back. His expression when he sees her body is that of a distraught boy, opposite to the blank face he exihibit when spying on Sora.
Was he jealous of Sora, was he feeling hurt and betrayed, did he mess with him because of that? Absolutely. Sora was and is his best friend, after all.
But Hollow Bastion is where the "Riku was just concerned about Sora" theory shows possibly the biggest holes. At Hollow Bastion, Riku gets new powers and the Keyblade back, Sora is utterly crushed in spirit. That would've been the perfect chance to... I don't know... doing something to influence the friend, if that was his objective. Further hurting him, trying to reconcile (Riku does act like Sora getting the Keyblade was the initial mistake and what led the friend astray, so now that he didn't have it perhaps a new beginning was possible), everything worked for me.
But Riku straight up leaves. He leaves for Kairi. He tells Sora that his part is over now and when he insists on follow him again he tells him to quit while he can. Riku wanted Sora gone, he believed he had everything he needed to save Kairi (little did he know).
And of course, just to keep underlining the full weight of his actions, he allows Ansem to take control of his body when Sora one-ups him again.
Which fair, it can be seen as a sacrifice commited over Sora this time. And it basically is. But, Riku's heart only reacts and stops Ansem when he was going towards Kairi. Riku let Sora fight that gruesome battle against Ansem, but as soon as Kairi's back and in danger he steps in and says "You won't use me for this!"
The "for this" part always impressed me. Either he realized only then what Ansem wanted to do (which would require quite a level of blindness on his part) or Kairi was, once again, where Riku drew the line.

Riku's villainous arc ends with him roaming around in the dark, apologizing to both Sora and Kairi. Mickey's voice informs him on what was going on, that Sora was fine and he needed his help. Riku accepts, and then they meet one last time when closing the door. There, Riku has a very peculiar decision about his last words.
"Take care of her."
That line culminates and relatively ends the whole romantic triangle: Riku lets go of his grudges, acknowledges Sora being better at protecting Kairi than him and passes the torch to his friend, silently approving the relationship. From that point onwards, Riku will only treat Kairi as a dear friend (and considering he tried to unleash armageddon for her, that's a big change), which once again falls into the common jrpg rival archetype (including trying to exile himself because he feels unworthy of his friends but ends up coming back because of sequels and money)

So, to sum it up and answer the main topic: Riku's antagonist role in KH1 is both a self-contained story and the cornerstone for his redemption arc in subsequent installments.
Didn't feel forced to me, because his drive was the strongest emotion that spurned countless stories and actions since ancient times, love and the rejection of it.
 
Last edited:

AmaryllisMoth

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2018
Messages
228
Location
Japan
I'm afraid I'll have to disagree on the fact that Riku felt only jealousy over Sora, I think Kairi plays the biggest part in his character development in the first game.
It a little bit of this and a little bit of that. But yeah, I agree that his development is definitely not only based on jealousy alone. Far too many people overlook the stuff that Kairi adds, even if she was unconscious through most of the game she has a pull on the way things progress.
 

ImVentus

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
987
Location
Neverland
  • Red Travels the Farthest
  • 15th Anniversary
No! But it feels very formulaic and basic. I still feel like he's not that interesting of a character in the first game, he's suddenly all "nah, nah, nah I got a keyblade. Now go play with your stick, (or) I can't believe that you replaced me as your bud"
It also puts more pressure on the writers to write a stronger arc for Riku in the incoming instalments, which they succeeded in.

He's still very much an ass in the first game, but eventually he matures.
 

Tartarus

Bronze Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
2,291
  • Fairest of them All
At the end of the first day, when Kairi says he's been thinking a lot about it, Riku responds that it was only thanks to Kairi that he's been thinking about it so much. Which isn't even true, even without counting the BbS stuff with Terra, you see in the Monstro flashback that Riku was always passioned to leave his home. One of the few instancies where kid Riku smiles is when he talks about it.
So, either it was a small mistake in the writing, or Riku was trying to impress Kairi, or something. (Remember, he is 15 by that point. I've seen worst attempts at conveying to a girl how special she is)
Well, like you say, it was patently false when he said it (even within KH1 and not needing to look at BbS--which Nomura definitely had no idea of when KH1 was written), and Sora looks at him like he's a liar. I've always taken this scene as another attempt to taunt Sora over Kairi. Notice right after this, Riku doesn't talk with Kairi, but instead brings up the paopu to Sora and mocks him over it (basically making the conversation competitive between them before brushing it off as a joke, just like he did with the race on the next day). I guess for me, Kairi is just an object to Riku to compete with Sora over, whereas Sora has more genuine interest in Kairi. That's actually more like Gaston, who never loved Belle, but considered her a trophy to be won.
But Kairi liked Sora, and Riku knew.
I don't think that Riku knew she didn't like him (not talking romantically specifically here, but in general; I don't think he would've guessed she disliked him so much she would suggest leaving him behind for example, both when she and Sora are on Destiny Islands and then again before the second visit to Hollow Bastion). Nothing in his behavior shows that to be likely he would've known that.

If he did, surely he would've felt as betrayed by her as he did by Sora later--especially if he has romantic interest in her as your theory suggests. He doesn't show any behavior like that though. In contrast, Riku basically throws a fit for the rest of game and turns to darkness over feelings of rejection/inadequacy after finding out Sora can take care of himself and didn't need/want to rely on Riku for direction anymore.
I think the "Kairi's coming with us" was just because he knew where she was, or was even promised by Ansem she was coming too, so he wasn't worried. But Ansem probably didn't say a thing about Sora, so that's why Riku was going to convince him. It seems weird to phrase it like that if he was just leaving her behind or something, KH1 is usually a bit more direct than that. He would've said something like "Kairi doesn't matter!" or "This isn't about Kairi!" if that was the case. Nah, I think that sentence just needs to be taken at face value: Kairi WAS coming with them.
I don't buy that, personally. We don't know what Ansem, SOD told him about leaving for the outside world. CoM implies he knew Destiny Islands would fall to darkness when he made that decision at least, but if so how could he have just assumed Kairi would be alright without taking her with him directly?

Don't get me wrong, I believe Riku does have genuine, amiable feelings towards Kairi--something I don't believe Kairi has for him in KH1--and wanted to save her just because he knew her, although I still think some of what we see late-game in KH1 was guilt considering he caused what happened to her.
But Hollow Bastion is where the "Riku was just concerned about Sora" theory shows possibly the biggest holes. At Hollow Bastion, Riku gets new powers and the Keyblade back, Sora is utterly crushed in spirit. That would've been the perfect chance to... I don't know... doing something to influence the friend, if that was his objective. Further hurting him, trying to reconcile (Riku does act like Sora getting the Keyblade was the initial mistake and what led the friend astray, so now that he didn't have it perhaps a new beginning was possible), everything worked for me.
But Riku straight up leaves. He leaves for Kairi. He tells Sora that his part is over now and when he insists on follow him again he tells him to quit while he can. Riku wanted Sora gone, he believed he had everything he needed to save Kairi (little did he know).
It's true that Riku turns on Sora to the point that he wants nothing more to do with him although my opinion is still that was because he felt rejected and unnecessary after the TT meetup. The thing is, Riku attempts to attack Sora's heart in the Grand Hall out of feelings of betrayal, but he essentially did the same thing to Kairi at the beginning of the game when Destiny Islands goes under when he wasn't even angry or upset at her (the same way he did to the rest of the Destiny Islands citizens). To me, that shows his lack of focus on her. His later interest when finding her heartless body to me reads like both guilt and a desire to show up Sora (who Riku feels has rejected him by that point in the story).

Anyway, I definitely agree a lot of Sora's best character points were built all the way back in KH1 because Riku is the antagonist and emphasized them. Also, just speaking for myself, the drama between Sora and Riku in KH1 made the original characters more interesting. In comparison, Kairi and Ansem SOD are like cardboard cutouts.
 
Last edited:

Rodin

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2017
Messages
672
I saw him as a good person who fell into a bad situation. He made some poor choices but he had limited options.

People are more what they do than what they say. He was doing the wrong thing for the right reason (s).
 

jahob000

New member
Joined
Jul 2, 2015
Messages
110
Age
31
@AmaryllisMoth

I wouldn't really compare Riku to Gaston. I see what you're getting at but also you have to take in the creator of the story as well. The difference is that in the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast, the creators purposely portrayed Gaston to be arrogant to make sure that the audience KNEW what kind of character he was. It's a children's movie after all. I see how you're trying to step into Riku's view of things but if it was meant for the audience to do so, Nomura would have incorporated that. That's why with KHI Final Mix, they added those new scenes of Sora and Riku as kids. It was to portray more of how much Riku wanted to explore and see other worlds.

@DarkosOverlord

The reason why I don't believe that Riku had any feelings for Kairi is because the same reason as above. Nomura didn't incorporate it into the story to make it obvious to the audience. Instead, it was always painfully apparent that there was something between Sora and Kairi. It didn't have to necessarily be love right off the bat but just the fact that they have some sort of "thing" going on.

@ All

I guess what I'm saying is that if it was meant for the audience to take it that Riku had feelings for Kairi or that he was really jealous of Sora, it would have been very obvious for the audience to see because the creators wanted you to know and be aware of that fact.

I think Oracle Spockanort was right on the money with the fact that since they didn't know which way the story would end up going while creating KHI, they kept it simple and just kind of made it generic to just show that they had a simple innocent rivalry but they never delve deeper than that. However when they decided to add on the story and broaden it and it's characters, they wanted to give them more depth. You can see it clearly in CoM with both Riku's and Sora's stories.

In Soa's story you see him actually feel lost in what to feel or do at times with Donald, Goofy and Jiminy to raise his spirits (which makes them even have more depth). Whereas in KHI Sora is just a wee bit 1 dimensional. As far as Riku's story, he's very guilt driven and apologetic about how he's to blame for their world to fall into darkness and also at accepting darkness. However since a specific reason was not strongly portrayed to the audience as to why he was upset with Sora it makes it look like he was mostly guilt driven for accepting the darkness.

I know that we can theorize plenty of reasons and scenarios as you've all done above as to why exactly Riku was Sora's enemy but the fact that we have to do so proves that the creators never had a strong reason themselves other than the game needing a close antagonist to Sora. It would've been a lot more helpful if they would've shown us a scene of maybe Riku and Sora arguing with one another about some of their difference. For example if we could see them arguing over abandoning everyone they know and love for their own desires. If we had a scene like that, along with a few more little confrontations between the two, it would have cemented for us the audience a solid reason as to why he became Sora's enemy.

Remember the Disney movie the Fox and the Hound? From the title alone, it cemented the fact and reason as to why they would become enemies. Hounds hunt Foxes. If that weren't enough, you would see it even more when the neighbors don't get along. Nothing about it was left ambiguous for the audience. They audience knew WHY they became enemies because the creators made sure it was obvious to the audience.

Lol. I'm done rambling. This is fun! Anyone else have more views or opinions?
 

Chuman

Dad of Boy
Joined
Jun 30, 2008
Messages
12,699
Age
20
  • Savage Nymph
  • Come So Far
  • Come So Far
  • Come So Far
  • The Gambler of Fate
  • Dandelion
kh1 riku will always be the greatest and most fully realized fictional villain of all time to me because i fucking hated him my entire childhood, more than ansem.
 

DarkosOverlord

Bronze Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
2,665
Age
24
Location
Rome, Italy
  • Keyblade Master
  • You've Got A Friend In Me
  • The Foreteller
  • Savage Nymph
Well, like you say, it was patently false when he said it (even within KH1 and not needing to look at BbS--which Nomura definitely had no idea of when KH1 was written), and Sora looks at him like he's a liar. I've always taken this scene as another attempt to taunt Sora over Kairi. Notice right after this, Riku doesn't talk with Kairi, but instead brings up the paopu to Sora and mocks him over it (basically making the conversation competitive between them before brushing it off as a joke, just like he did with the race on the next day). I guess for me, Kairi is just an object to Riku to compete with Sora over, whereas Sora has more genuine interest in Kairi. That's actually more like Gaston, who never loved Belle, but considered her a trophy to be won.
In order to bring value to my own interpretation I emphasized the possible Riku-Kairi elements, but certainly mocking and acting towards Sora are a big part of it too.
Riku was surely mocking Sora with the Paopu stuff and I have no qualms with the idea he thought of Kairi as a trophy, an achievement rather than the purest of love (that's also how the media can get away with it without making the rejected guy looking like he has to give up to the love of his life)
I guess my main point of divergence is that to me Riku wasn't just mocking-- he was kinda serious in wanting to try the paopu. Or at the very least, him saying he wanted to was him notifying that he was going to make a move.

I don't think that Riku knew she didn't like him (not talking romantically specifically here, but in general; I don't think he would've guessed she disliked him so much she would suggest leaving him behind for example, both when she and Sora are on Destiny Islands and then again before the second visit to Hollow Bastion). Nothing in his behavior shows that to be likely he would've known that.

If he did, surely he would've felt as betrayed by her as he did by Sora later--especially if he has romantic interest in her as your theory suggests. He doesn't show any behavior like that though. In contrast, Riku basically throws a fit for the rest of game and turns to darkness over feelings of rejection/inadequacy after finding out Sora can take care of himself and didn't need/want to rely on Riku for direction anymore.
That's true, I guess I've just assumed he knew but on second thought there isn't really any indicator. If anything, the way you pointed out it makes more sense for Riku not to notice Kairi's disdain for his condition.
Scratch that part of my post.

I don't buy that, personally. We don't know what Ansem, SOD told him about leaving for the outside world. CoM implies he knew Destiny Islands would fall to darkness when he made that decision at least, but if so how could he have just assumed Kairi would be alright without taking her with him directly?

Don't get me wrong, I believe Riku does have genuine, amiable feelings towards Kairi--something I don't believe Kairi has for him in KH1--and wanted to save her just because he knew her, although I still think some of what we see late-game in KH1 was guilt considering he caused what happened to her.
That's fair, we indeed do not know. Based on the cutscenes, when he first landed at Hollow Bastion he calls for Sora and Kairi, and later on in Traverse Town he expects her to be with Sora.
Me believing Ansem might've said something about Kairi coming too is mainly born out of the fact that Ansem needed both Kairi and the Keyblade chosen one, and that according to the Reports he was the one who sent Kairi adrift hoping to locate the Key, so by that time he was just a fisherman retrieving both cast and fish.

And also because... I'm not gonna lie, without this speculation I feel like the Riku line about Kairi is just very jarring compared with how the story proceeds.
What, first you don't care and then you'll do everything to get her back? Is Kairi the replacement friend when Sora goes away?
I dunno, it kinda clashes both previously, with Riku saying Kairi was the one inspiring him, and after the fact.

The idea that he does it out of guilt is definitely interesting, but I dunno if Riku would've been so blatantly drunk on Darkness if he truly believed it was his fault by invoking that same power.
And donning a hated power for the sake of his friends is definitely something in-character for Riku as we know him now, but I'm unsure whether that would apply to his self-centered KH1 version.

It's true that Riku turns on Sora to the point that he wants nothing more to do with him although my opinion is still that was because he felt rejected and unnecessary after the TT meetup. The thing is, Riku attempts to attack Sora's heart in the Grand Hall out of feelings of betrayal, but he essentially did the same thing to Kairi at the beginning of the game when Destiny Islands goes under when he wasn't even angry or upset at her (the same way he did to the rest of the Destiny Islands citizens). To me, that shows his lack of focus on her. His later interest when finding her heartless body to me reads like both guilt and a desire to show up Sora (who Riku feels has rejected him by that point in the story).
Mainly answered in my previous point, but I'm starting to notice this discrepancy about Riku.
Despite of interpretations, Riku undeniably has moments when he sounds even somewhat happy that dark events are unfolding, and he was aware of what he was doing back at the Island.
I mean, screw Kairi, he doomed the entire planet, parents included.

Or perhaps he wasn't? He does say "We may never see our parents again", which didn't sound to me like he knew he was sending them to the Darkness or some corner in Traverse Town. It does sound like he believed whatever he started only applied to that specific island, leaving the townsfolk unharmed.
Riku's relationship with the darkness in KH1 is complicated. He had to be aware Maleficent and the others were using Heartless, and yet he managed to fall for Maleficent acting like Kairi wasn't a Princess and could be helped by gathering the other ones.
It is possible at this point that Ansem coaxed him into believing opening the door wasn't this big of a deal, hence why he didn't think he was doing such a bad leaving Sora and Kairi behind.
 

Howler

"Sexiest Man Alive" since 2002
Joined
Apr 6, 2016
Messages
1,519
Location
in the sky
  • No Name
  • Master Defender
  • The Foreteller
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
  • Put That Thing Back Where It Came From
  • Savage Nymph
I saw him as a good person who fell into a bad situation. He made some poor choices but he had limited options.

People are more what they do than what they say. He was doing the wrong thing for the right reason (s).
This. Here, right here.
And for those who put paragraphs of opinions and ideas here, I'm very appreciated. Even if this isn't my thread lol.
 

Tartarus

Bronze Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
2,291
  • Fairest of them All
It is possible at this point that Ansem coaxed him into believing opening the door wasn't this big of a deal, hence why he didn't think he was doing such a bad leaving Sora and Kairi behind.
Thinking more about it, it's possible and/or likely that Ansem SOD lied to him about what would happen after the door was opened. In the one scene we actually get to see them interacting (after you solve the Grand Hall puzzle in HB), Ansem SOD plays him like a fiddle and Riku pretty much believes everything Ansem SOD said in a way he didn't with Maleficent. I guess I'm still caught up in the fact that he actually offered his hand out to Sora and not Kairi at the beginning, but then again he didn't even know Sora was going to be there.

Although that makes me wonder why he would still trust Ansem SOD so much in HB if he’d promised Riku that everybody on Destiny Islands would be alright, then everything was destroyed and Kairi lost her heart.
 
Last edited:

DarkGrey Heroine

Warrior of Sunlight
Joined
Jan 29, 2015
Messages
1,342
Age
22
Location
not on KHI
Website
www.deviantart.com
  • NieR: Automata
  • No Name
  • Ninja'd
  • Master Defender
  • Come So Far
  • Superior of the In-Between
kh1 riku will always be the greatest and most fully realized fictional villain of all time to me because i fucking hated him my entire childhood, more than ansem.
I wanted to share this thing about hating him with a passion during his KH1 phase. Man, KH1 Riku... looking back, I don't even recognize the hatred and anger I felt towards him. I was so annoyed by his actions, his impact as a character was strong enough to make me despise him, despite his handsome looks and awesome voice (yes a very important aspect thank you)
But then KH CoM happened and I had the biggest change of feels towards a fictional character I ever lived through. Riku became relatable, his KH1 act became transparent and one could finally take Riku by himself and observe the guy alone, not in conflict with Sora, not tied to Kairi, but walking his own path out of his past mistakes. I did feel alone while playing Reverse Rebirth. This feeling was the open window to a view of a beautiful character. KH1 antagonist!Riku was necessary, it was youngster foolishness at its stereotypical finest. But what came with CoM and after, that is a beautifully rich character portrait.
 

Veevee

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Messages
665
Location
darkness within darkness
  • Red Travels the Farthest
  • Savage Nymph
  • The Gambler of Fate
  • 15th Anniversary
  • Flurry of Dancing Flames
  • Luna Diviner
Riku being an antagonist didn't feel forced to me because I had quite some difficulty actually believing that trio dynamic of SRK. I always felt they were a trio that revolved around Sora - Sora likes Kairi and Riku and they like him back, but aside from Sora and being childhood friend who grew up together, Riku and Kairi don't have much of a connection. Still, I felt Riku genuinely cared about Kairi, not only in terms of being a trophy, but because he is the type of guy to care about people he has been spending a lot of time with. Sadly, I can't remember a single dialogue between Kairi and Riku that wasn't kind of awkward, Kairi states in KH1 that Riku has changed and even jokes about leaving without him which doesn't really qualify as a joke since it's simply not funny. When you think he has changed, why not talk to him or something?
Playing KH1 back then, I could actually relate to Riku pretty much. He sees Sora again after a long time, gets rejected by Sora's new friends (one of which acts like a d*ck, regardless of his reasons) and leaves, while Sora just stands there and says "oh, well, he's gone, nevermind, he's okay, whatever, let's go help random people again". I knew Sora looked for Kairi and Riku in all those worlds, but I kinda felt disconnected from his actions when he actually met Riku who (in my opinion) did a lot more to find Kairi than Sora did, regardless of his motivation. Maybe I'm a little unfair here, but that's how I felt about the first game, so I can kinda understand Riku got mad and became an antagonist.
 

DarkosOverlord

Bronze Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
2,665
Age
24
Location
Rome, Italy
  • Keyblade Master
  • You've Got A Friend In Me
  • The Foreteller
  • Savage Nymph
Thinking more about it, it's possible and/or likely that Ansem SOD lied to him about what would happen after the door was opened. In the one scene we actually get to see them interacting (after you solve the Grand Hall puzzle in HB), Ansem SOD plays him like a fiddle and Riku pretty much believes everything Ansem SOD said in a way he didn't with Maleficent. I guess I'm still caught up in the fact that he actually offered his hand out to Sora and not Kairi at the beginning, but then again he didn't even know Sora was going to be there.

Although that makes me wonder why he would still trust Ansem SOD so much in HB if he’d promised Riku that everybody on Destiny Islands would be alright, then everything was destroyed and Kairi lost her heart.
Yeah, it is coming to light that while KH1 does a fairly decent job at showing you the bad guys' point of view, Riku's whole motivation and train of thoughts were kinda left behind in favor of a more simplistic approach.
I mean, it's the entire core of this discussion: why Riku did what he did, since it's apparently open to interpretation.
Knowing a bit more about just how much Riku truly knew, why did he trust Ansem so badly especially when he seems depicted as such a level-headed guy (I mean, kinda. It's what the game wants you to think) wouldn't have hurt.

*shrugs* I stand by what I said.
I can and will rethink many points, especially the most unclear ones, but to me the Kairi obsession Riku has near the climax was out of romantic feelings more than other stuff. The "take care of her" at the end seals the deal.

That and the whole sharing a Paopu thing, which I just can't bring myself to believe it was just to taunt Sora.
 

redcrown

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Messages
850
Riku's heart only reacts and stops Ansem when he was going towards Kairi. Riku let Sora fight that gruesome battle against Ansem, but as soon as Kairi's back and in danger he steps in and says "You won't use me for this!"
The "for this" part always impressed me. Either he realized only then what Ansem wanted to do (which would require quite a level of blindness on his part) or Kairi was, once again, where Riku drew the line.
Even though I disagree with your interpretation about Kairi being Riku's main motivation for his fall to darkness, I'll still respect it. But I think this particular instance/scene where Riku tells Kairi to run from Hollow Bastion wasn't Riku rebelling only because Kairi was in danger, and still harboring a grudge against Sora as to let Ansem still fight him in his possessed body.

I don't think Riku only "broke free" because Kairi was in immediate danger, I think it was because that was his ONLY moment he was able to be free of Ansem's control. I say this because I don't believe Riku was a-okay with another being using his heart and body for his own purposes. As power hungry as Riku was in that point of the story, I don't believe he was willing to be possessed; he was too independent and wanted to only increase his own power with darkness, not use another being's power to take down Sora. That would only prove he didn't have enough strength on his own.

When I say that was Riku's only moment to break free of Ansem, I mean that was how I believe we were supposed to interpret the mechanics of his possession.
In the fight with Sora, Ansem was using Riku's heart and body in equal manipulation, with Riku's form still appearing as his own, his own voice still being used in conjunction with Ansem's, but with Ansem solely speaking through him, pointing towards Ansem being in total control at the moment.

This is furthered backed up by Riku himself in CoM.

Riku: "All you've been talking about is the darkness. I can only assume you want to pull me back in, so you can play puppetmaster."

Ansem: "Clever boy. I'd knew you'd be the one to most appropriately serve me. And now surrender to me again!"

Riku: "You're crazy! Not a chance!"

When Riku-Ansem loses the fight to Sora, you can see his body collapse and disappear, but with Ansem himself appearing a few minutes later after Sora sacrificed himself. It's only then that Riku has the strength to hold Ansem back, as it's apparent Ansem had taken fully control of his vessel by completely splitting their beings once Riku was defeated in the fight.

Again I say this not to argue the interpretation of Riku liking Kairi, but I just don't believe Riku knew he was going to be possessed, and actually wanted to be, when he gave into the darkness after the first fight with Sora at the HB entrance. And I don't believe he was in control of himself anymore during the second fight in the HB keyhole room. Even before Ansem comes back in his actual form after, Ansem was still intending to use Kairi's heart to open the door, with no concern over her well being, and whether or not Kairi would actually awaken after her heart was freed and used to open the door.
 
Last edited:
Top