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Here’s what Xion and kairi need in my opinion!



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Opinions can't be "discredited" or "wrong". Kingdom Hearts is a work of art, and these things are up for interpretation, you can debate the significance of a work without being aggressive and insulting, which you've done here as well.
Then you'll need to explain why your first post in this thread was an open attempt to discredit the opinion that Kairi is "bland and submissive." Your own words were that there is no "legitimate reason" to refer to her in that manner, but if all art is a matter of interpretation, then that interpretation of her character can't be delegitimized-- "reason" shouldn't even enter the discourse, at that point.

To be clear, opinions and interpretation on art can be formed in error: objectivity in art criticism isn't a mathematical process, it's one of debate and rationalization where clashing ideas on the intent and meaning behind a piece are presented and evidenced, and the stronger the evidence and rationale as it relates to the work of art-- particularly where there is a factual basis from which to draw an argument-- the more accurate and reliable an interpretation can be considered. This retreat into the subjective stance, and the following inference that all opinions are equally valid, is a common rhetorical maneuver designed to obfuscate an argument's inherent weaknesses by attempting to reset the debate to zero, so to speak (one can't be shown to be wrong if there is no right or wrong to begin with). To summarize, you began with a claim relative to the proposition which, with every subsequent post you've made, you have been trying to defend as evidenced and true: upon being confronted with some points of opposition demonstrating the weakness of your evidence and the logic pursuant to your position, you've reconstituted your claim to make the case that your point of view doesn't require grounding because it's an opinion-- which is the rhetorical equivalent of conceding that you no longer have any.

You have routinely declined to counter the substantive claims I've put forward, opting instead to register ad hominem inferences about my tone, my character, and my state of emotion to deflect from your accountability within the discourse. Strident and uncompromising dissent is not equivalent to insult: you aren't due any deference here.

Clearly you do. You can say you take no issue, but we are debating a character in a video game. I assume we are both fans of this series, to say that my opinion is not deserving of respect is bewildering to me.
You'll want to move on from that bewilderment and start addressing the actual point of contention between us.

They're not, unless you're just making up definitions for the words you're using.
Perhaps, as you'll attempt to do later in this response, you can bring out the dictionary definitions of "agency" and "passivity" and we can debate the semantic rules dictating how a deficit of agency compares and contrasts with a surplus of passivity.

Well thats news to me, I havent felt that way until now. I've always thought she was a great character. Sorry you feel as if you have no hope left, I guess if I felt there was no hope for a character I really really really really really thought was GREAT I would be really upset as well.
You aren't wrong in that I expect Kairi's arc is hopeless and that is upsetting to me, but it's telling that you go out of your way to hyperbolize the sentiment given how careful you expect me to be with the tone of my rebuttals.

Is this because "passive" people are inherently bad or just boring in your opinion?
Neither. You've once again confused a quality of character for a literary function.

pas·siv·i·ty
/paˈsivədē,pəˈsivədē/
noun
noun: passivity
  1. 1.
    acceptance of what happens, without active response or resistance.
    "the perceived passivity of the populace is deceptive"
sounds like a character trait to me, but you're using it as a verb - as if Kairi has had no other choice but to go along with the plot for the plots sake. You can definitely say that and look at it that way if you want to, I choose to look at it differently. Even if Kairi hasn't had much control over the plot or her place within it, her acceptance of it and willingness to play a part is a testament to her spiritual strength as a character.
As with the move towards subjective framing, the semantic argument is often the last recourse of a claim which has begun to flag with regards to its original intent, representing an attempt to repair the argument by selectively redefining the phrasing of the proposition, as is the case here. The word "passive" or "passivity" obviously has multiple dictionary definitions, to wit:

passive
[ pas-iv ]

3. not involving visible reaction or active participation: to play a passive role. (Emphasis mine)

It's telling that you so quickly concede the potential for this alternative reading, because it's clear to see that this discussion has never been about Kairi's personal character traits (to describe them as passive would be erroneous to begin with), but one of her role as it is written within the story. Your own central claim is that she fulfills the role of a supportive archetype, where archetypes are defined by the roles they model within storytelling. The fact that Kairi's role has been made passive where it necessarily should have been active in the interests of developing her as a character outside of purely archetypal function is the critical assertion which you've neglected to answer: the claim that she is "spiritually strong" in your eyes is not sufficiently persuasive bereft of any evidence to support that position. What is "spiritual strength" in KH, how can you relate that to the depiction of Kairi's character (not her characteristics), and how can you show that her strength of spirit is tied indelibly to her passive, archetypal role?

I never said your critiques are illegitimate
the fact that the series has not expanded on her character is not a legitimate reason to call her these things.
(Emphasis mine)

You were incorrectly arguing that I was using logical fallacies.
Moreso that you are using fallacious logic, but I'm not one to get hung up on technicalities.

Her categorization hardly matters. I would argue that she is not a main character because she is never playing the lead role, but you can argue she is a main character because her character is very significant to the plot. Are you aware these things are not an exact science? I also said supporting character's typically don't go through the hero's journey, but if they did that wouldn't necessarily stop them from being supporting characters.

Your attempts to scientifically map out "good" characters does not work. In real life all different types of people exist - they play roles of varying degree from different perspectives and their lives begin and end at different points of maturity. The fact that some people mature faster than others or play a seemingly larger role does not make their stories necessarily "better" than the person who grew up slower and played what appears to be a lesser role.
There is no exact scientific dichotomy ruling the writing and development of characters all throughout literary history, but there is nevertheless a literary history which has mapped out conventions within writing, particularly for commercial fiction. It's not controversial to state that supporting characters play a supporting role-- i.e., they do not play a central role in the action. They are typically characters of convenience (i.e. the plot has needs and these characters fulfill them), but they may also represent some symbolic or thematic function that provides layers to the narrative. If they undergo a personal journey which is central to the unfolding narrative, that is because they have been promoted to a principle character (or a lead, i.e., they are leading the story, as opposed to supporting its development). The KH series is not somehow immune to these conventions, indeed it tracks fairly closely to them, and it's certainly not attempting to emulate the intricacies of a story rooted in realism.

One of the confounding aspects of Kairi's writing and characterization, as I've already articulated, is that she is positioned within the narrative as a lead protagonist but utilized in a method more appropriate for a secondary or supporting character. Her role is largely symbolic, subject to the workings of the narrative rather than authoring narrative movement, and she appears typically through no active effort or intention on her part to fulfill some limited objective. The reason that supporting characters can get away with this is that they are not framed in the audience's mind as central to the story, that is, they are recognizably removed from the main action in a variety of ways. Yoda is exemplary of this: in the original Star Wars trilogy, he is a supporting character whose entire role is isolated to a distant planet and limited to interacting with one character who benefits from his sagely guidance: that character must then leave that setting to return to the site of main action and resolve the central conflict. In the prequels, Yoda begins as a supporting character but is increasingly drawn into the main action so that by the third film, he's a principle who is driving much of the story and, indeed, undergoes his own personal journey in which he's forced to reconcile with his core philosophy and the role he has played in the events that have unfolded (godiloveROTS).

The problem for Kairi's characterization is that for as often as she gets drawn into the main conflict, as would be expected of a principle character, she is rarely positioned either to actively drive its resolution or to draw personal meaning from it; her function is one of passive support. No matter what technicality-ridden readings of her character some might put forth, that basic dissonance has to be addressed in answering the criticisms of her writing. You've argued that with the conclusion of KH3, she may be in the process of transitioning to an agent within the narrative, but in order to make that case you would first need to show evidence that this is the authorial intent behind her writing in the game. Both KH2 and DDD have likewise indicated the presence of a potential arc which would instruct her presence in future titles, only for both examples to reveal themselves as bait-and-switches. Nomura is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

Because you refuse to let the subject go and are completely unafraid of embarassing yourself I'm going to do it for you. Do your own research and if you want to debate the role the US played in the 1850's or how Bushido has impacted modern Japanese society I'll be happy to educate you on the subject in a private message, but there is too much I already have to sift through in your post as it is and this is off topic. I was originally only providing context which you decided to debate for no reason despite having no knowledge on the subject.
Always happy to embarrass myself in the service of disqualifying a bad citation, and I've no doubt this deflective posturing is indicative of a wealth of knowledge in the subject on your part.

I know putting words in my mouth is not above you, but you are actually attacking the motivation of my argument here which is a legitimate logical fallacy. No normal person would read what I wrote and say "but you think women should achieve their dreams secondarily to the roles they NEED to play as women". Jesus Christ. But in response, imo, whether to put your aspirations above your current circumstances is a decision made by each person as an individual.
I'll grant you that this was a bit snipey and ungenerous in execution, though it was an inference drawn from your own rhetorical referencing of Bushido philosophy and samurai society, wherein the cultural convention (as I understand it) for women was to play the wife and household caretaker first, and take up arms or pursue an active social role either secondarily or never. Since you've positioned this yourself as the societal allegory upon which you are pinning your understanding and appreciation of Kairi's character, I don't see how you can find it an unreasonable lane of conjecture. My guess is that you're being as selective in your reading of Japanese traditions and customs as you are in your reading of the dictionary.

@AmaryllisMoth
I'm a bit tuckered out from writing the above post so I apologize for the brevity, but I do want to say I appreciate your insight. Ultimately whether or not there is popular appreciation for the film in Japan is not tangibly important to the question of whether it is historically accurate and dependable as a source of information; people of any society can derive entertainment out of stories about themselves that take liberties on facts or attitudes. Much like filming in one location in Japan does not exactly qualify the setting as historical, regarding the presentation of the film as "enjoyable" or "inoffensive" is not quite the same as regarding it as "informative."

Likewise, there's some distinction to be made between how people in Japan (living in a nation and society where their culture is dominant and empowered) often respond to Hollywood/foreign film productions erasing or marginalizing their presence in stories about them, and how this is often viewed within the Japanese diaspora. That's not to invalidate either perspective, but to recognize that there are different cultural dynamics informing them.
 

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I suppose I've misunderstood the meaning of the word "bland" as you've used it. Kairi's characterization (as far as the person she is, what makes up her character) is not bland. I would continue to argue that there is no legitimate reason to call her character bland in this regard because, to put it as simply as I can, she has a personality. She is not a puppet or a robot of a character and I think the personality or 'soul' of her character is one that most people could call recognizable. Perhaps I shouldnt use the word "legitimate" here either though, I only mean to say I strongly believe this to be true, not that no one could hold any other position.

If I understand you now, correct me if I'm wrong, your use of the word bland refers to her characterization with respect to the plot of the story - her implicit "passive" role you believe Nomura has written intentionally written her into. Which I would agree is a fair position to take, I would simply disagree that it is necessary for the overarching theme of the story.

When this argument began perhaps my language was less precise than it needed to be, I didn't realize we would be going as in depth as defining terms and from now on I'll try to refrain from using colloquial terminology as much as I can.

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1) I didn't come to these forums to write a thesis and impress with my knowledge. It's supposed to be a community that has fun talking about KH. If you're not having a good time debating this or you don't respect me or my opinion as fans of this series then we shouldn't be having this conversation.

2) I wasn't trying to discredit your actual argument by calling you emotional or addressing your tone so that wasn't an ad hominem.

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I'll apologize for that quip if you'll accept it, it was difficult to pass on the irony of arguing so fiercely for a character written throughout the series in a way you seem to hate.

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As I stated above, I will concede that "passive" insofar as you've defined it here is perfectly acceptable position to take. I merely don't think the fact her character is passive takes anything away from the story, nor do I believe that if her character was less passive that it would intrinsically add anything to the story.

Spiritual strength in kingdom hearts is the same thing as it is in real life. It is the ability to endure hardship or suffering which she has undoubtedly done. In my opinion it is the greatest kind of strength so I have much respect for her character. Obviously you feel differently, which is another fair position to take, and so you understandably want her role to be much larger. When it comes to a difference of values like this I do not think we can change each others minds.

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You are almost implying here that drawing a character into a main conflict without giving them any means of influencing the conflict is bad story telling or bad writing. It honestly sounds to me like you just hate the damsel in distress trope. If you don't like characters being in situations where they are powerless to influence the plot I really don't know what to tell you - but this situation happens to people in real life all the time, many of them are not even aware of how powerless they are; to exclude it as a literary trope doesn't make sense. In Kairi's case she has lacked a keyblade which means she has lacked the ability to defend herself for a long period of time. Without a keyblade she couldn't be trained. She is a princess of heart which means she has also been a central element of the story as something that Riku and Sora have had to defend.

This has basically been her character so far right? As far as I can tell there is nothing absurd about the circumstances of its development. To call it bad writing simply because her character follows this basic literary plot in the story is not fair, that is all I can say about it. I could criticize a lot of things about Kairi's character as well, but calling the writing of her character bad based on the literary trope used is not really valuable criticism, it is merely a difference in opinion on what you want to see her character do. Now you could say the plot of Kingdom Hearts in general is stupid because these tropes don't work together well or the characters are poorly developed or the story is completely discombobulated and impossible to follow (all of which are valid criticisms) but thats not what you're doing - you're pointing out one specific character and saying I don't like the way her character doesn't get to influence the story.

And I really don't want to put words in your mouth or assume your motivation for feeling this way, but a lot of people now really want strong female characters. If that's your reason thats fine, but strong female characters don't inherently make stories well written either. Maybe you just really like Kairi and you're disappointed that she hasn't had a more important role yet, its also fine to feel this way, but that disappointment does not necessarily mean the story is not well written for what it is.

In my opinion the two most important things a story needs to do at its foundation is have characters and worlds that are realistic. This way, at a bare minimum, a reader can immerse themselves in the story and understand the atmosphere and the choices the characters make within it. The events of KH happen in such a way that I am able to accept the plot and suspend my belief at the things I don't completely understand. I feel this way about Kairi's circumstances as well which i suppose is why I don't feel the way you do. At the same time, based on what she has gone through, I do believe she is a strong character.

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I try not to selectively read anything. Of course I am aware that women weren't typically Samurai (yes, there were female Samurai if you didn't know) and most stayed at home (they also trained to defend it). Did you know that the word for Husband in Japanese can also be translated as master? Yes, men were thought to be the masters of the home and women were meant to pay a certain kind of fealty to them.

But you can't acknowledge this without also acknowledging that there were practical reasons for this arrangement. The strength of men naturally made better Samurai, and samurai lead very harsh, strict lives so having a home and wife to return to was important to them. The men and women both played important roles and despite the fact that both men and women were forced to accept these roles they found the strength to do it and live. And many of them were happy, and I'm sure many of them weren't. Regardless, there was mutual respect for the roles men and women played and their opinions were valued despite what you may think. It is not so simple as saying "they weren't on the same playing field therefore women were not valued". Whether or not these arrangements are any better or worse than the arrangements we have now are difficult to say, people very very rarely actually know what they want.
 
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Wallflower3582

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I don't have any issues with the role she played in the story. I think my issues with her character ultimately come down to her portrayal and how emotionally reliant she is on everyone else. They nailed her perfectly in the first game. She was strong, sporty, adventurous, and brave. She hung out with the boys instead of other girls, raced them on the beach, and was sassy enough to get all up in their faces. I can hardly picture the current Kairi calling Sora a "lazy bum" or sticking her finger in his face and saying "it's my lucky charm. Be sure to bring it back to me!" Even if she couldn't physically fight back, emotionally she was stable and confident.

But now…? Her dialogue and voice acting have become really… soft. She lost all her confidence. She sounds gentle and flowery. Even her character design just looks frail. Whenever I see her assuming a battle stance it just looks off, like one little gust of wind would knock her over (or blow her miniskirt up, not sure what would be worse). Which is fine I guess, but I'd be more accepting of her if she was portrayed this way since the beginning. It just feels like she's lost her spunk. She doesn't have to be out bashing heartless and villains to be a "strong female character," in fact, I find that trope to be as annoying as the helpless damsel. She just has to exude a bit of emotional strength.

Despite everything, I still really like Kairi, nothing can change that. But as an aspiring writer, I can't help wishing her writers had done things a little differently.

(All that said, I honestly think that Kairi's role in the story and her perpetual weakness is or is gonna be a plot point. I think that she's been a pawn in Xehanort's game, (Ansem Report #11) used to trap Sora, serving the purpose of keeping him on track with his plans. Sora's quest to protect Kairi ultimately ended up with him destroying himself, making her the ultimate weapon, more or less.)
 

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But now…? Her dialogue and voice acting have become really… soft. She lost all her confidence. She sounds gentle and flowery. Even her character design just looks frail. Whenever I see her assuming a battle stance it just looks off, like one little gust of wind would knock her over (or blow her miniskirt up, not sure what would be worse). Which is fine I guess, but I'd be more accepting of her if she was portrayed this way since the beginning. It just feels like she's lost her spunk. She doesn't have to be out bashing heartless and villains to be a "strong female character," in fact, I find that trope to be as annoying as the helpless damsel. She just has to exude a bit of emotional strength.
I agree with this somewhat although I think her change in attitude is warranted given the situation and I wouldn't say shes necessarily lost her confidence. There's just so much going on that I don't think there's any time for that sassy/sarcastic nature to come through. Honestly, its only really during their time as kids on destiny islands and that one moment in traverse town that I can ever remember her speaking that way.

But what I'm trying to say is I think the story, and her character, are long overdue for a reprise. Give Kairi the chance to express herself like that again by placing her and the rest of the characters in a proper setting where they can relax for 10 minutes. And I felt the same exact way during Naruto to be hones - all of the action is great, but a break is needed to allow the characters to reset, to talk, rediscover who they are, etc. I'd like the next KH game to be a bit more open about the journey, not just giving me mission after mission. We've been stuck in the "rising action" part of the story for like 10 years now.
 

OrionGold

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I don't have any issues with the role she played in the story. I think my issues with her character ultimately come down to her portrayal and how emotionally reliant she is on everyone else. They nailed her perfectly in the first game. She was strong, sporty, adventurous, and brave. She hung out with the boys instead of other girls, raced them on the beach, and was sassy enough to get all up in their faces. I can hardly picture the current Kairi calling Sora a "lazy bum" or sticking her finger in his face and saying "it's my lucky charm. Be sure to bring it back to me!" Even if she couldn't physically fight back, emotionally she was stable and confident.

But now…? Her dialogue and voice acting have become really… soft. She lost all her confidence. She sounds gentle and flowery. Even her character design just looks frail. Whenever I see her assuming a battle stance it just looks off, like one little gust of wind would knock her over (or blow her miniskirt up, not sure what would be worse). Which is fine I guess, but I'd be more accepting of her if she was portrayed this way since the beginning. It just feels like she's lost her spunk. She doesn't have to be out bashing heartless and villains to be a "strong female character," in fact, I find that trope to be as annoying as the helpless damsel. She just has to exude a bit of emotional strength.

Despite everything, I still really like Kairi, nothing can change that. But as an aspiring writer, I can't help wishing her writers had done things a little differently.

(All that said, I honestly think that Kairi's role in the story and her perpetual weakness is or is gonna be a plot point. I think that she's been a pawn in Xehanort's game, (Ansem Report #11) used to trap Sora, serving the purpose of keeping him on track with his plans. Sora's quest to protect Kairi ultimately ended up with him destroying himself, making her the ultimate weapon, more or less.)
I agree with this somewhat although I think her change in attitude is warranted given the situation and I wouldn't say shes necessarily lost her confidence. There's just so much going on that I don't think there's any time for that sassy/sarcastic nature to come through. Honestly, its only really during their time as kids on destiny islands and that one moment in traverse town that I can ever remember her speaking that way.

But what I'm trying to say is I think the story, and her character, are long overdue for a reprise. Give Kairi the chance to express herself like that again by placing her and the rest of the characters in a proper setting where they can relax for 10 minutes. And I felt the same exact way during Naruto to be hones - all of the action is great, but a break is needed to allow the characters to reset, to talk, rediscover who they are, etc. I'd like the next KH game to be a bit more open about the journey, not just giving me mission after mission. We've been stuck in the "rising action" part of the story for like 10 years now.
I think that's actually my problem with Kairi thinking back. She doesn't have that spunky attitude from the first game anymore. It's actually why people like Kairi in the manga continuities a lot more. Kairi still has that spunk in the manga adaptations after KH1.
 

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I agree with this somewhat although I think her change in attitude is warranted given the situation and I wouldn't say shes necessarily lost her confidence. There's just so much going on that I don't think there's any time for that sassy/sarcastic nature to come through. Honestly, its only really during their time as kids on destiny islands and that one moment in traverse town that I can ever remember her speaking that way.
Kairi has maintained some of her teasing nature, it hasn't surfaced much, but we have little moments where she jokes about Sora with Riku in KH2 at TWTNW and her teasing Riku in 0.2's ending. Though honestly with her now softer way of talking it kind of goes under.

It's a shame she didn't get some snarky or teasing moments with Axel in the Intervals, they could have played off each other nicely, given their personalities, perhaps in the Manga?

But what I'm trying to say is I think the story, and her character, are long overdue for a reprise. Give Kairi the chance to express herself like that again by placing her and the rest of the characters in a proper setting where they can relax for 10 minutes. And I felt the same exact way during Naruto to be hones - all of the action is great, but a break is needed to allow the characters to reset, to talk, rediscover who they are, etc. I'd like the next KH game to be a bit more open about the journey, not just giving me mission after mission. We've been stuck in the "rising action" part of the story for like 10 years now.
I think that's a reason why a lot of fans were hoping for a clean ending with KH3. With most of the plot threads tied up and only hints at the future it'd be easier to make a new starting point for the new Saga.

A game starting out slow and easy going like KH1 and KH2 would be nice and give us more time to experience the characters when they're not running around trying to save the worlds or find each other. Though another way to get that would be to have actually characters traveling together. I honestly feel KH2's ending would have been better suited for the end of an Arc than KH3's ending was.

I'd have loved it, if the game bridging KH3 and KH4 were just Riku, Kairi and Sora going on their journey together as they had wanted to in KH1, and then unraveling whatever's brewing for KH4. But guess I'll just have to wait for the next potential Saga/Arc bridge for that to be possible.

I think that's actually my problem with Kairi thinking back. She doesn't have that spunky attitude from the first game anymore. It's actually why people like Kairi in the manga continuities a lot more. Kairi still has that spunk in the manga adaptations after KH1.
Yeah in the Manga Kairi remains more the way she was in KH1. The Manga I think manages to balance the various sides of her better and pretty much captures how I'd imagine her to be with more properly utilized screen time.
 

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Bare minimum, I'm hoping she has some role to play in bringing Sora back. If she's just waiting on the islands that'll be such a letdown.
 

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I'd have loved it, if the game bridging KH3 and KH4 were just Riku, Kairi and Sora going on their journey together as they had wanted to in KH1, and then unraveling whatever's brewing for KH4.
This is, without a doubt, the number 1 thing that I have always ever wanted and still want with the series. Like...RAX, TAV, all those guys are great and all but seriously just give me a game where I have a party of the original three and finally get the closure I've wanted since the first game. Like...seriously. Them being torn apart was the emotional stab that got me invested in the game in the first place: the lost what-if that was ripped away from the three of them because of EeEeViL (and Riku being a stupid-head at the time...). It's what got me pumped for having Kairi finally training: "oh boy! Now she can finally team up with Sora and Riku!". Nope. I get nothing. Heck, not even just ONE FIGHT that is Sora, Kairi and Riku and that's it. Nothing.

It's hard for me not to feel bitter and hold it against the other trios in that ALL THE OTHER GROUPS get to have big battles together (thanks to FM additions) EXCEPT my main team. Why? Just...why. (holding out a slim sliver of hope with the DLC but...not looking good)

I love Sora and Riku fighting together, I love, absolutely love they are adding more Sora and Kairi stuff but this division does nothing but fragment their trio even further and make it feel like Kairi and Riku don't really care about each other any more, or wouldn't much if Sora weren't in the picture. Or, even more frustratingly, gives the slight whisper of a notion that Riku really was only invested in her in KH1 maybe because he saw her as potential paopu material then decided that Sora "won" her and just...stopped caring. WHICH IS GARBAGE. Like, I get that especially in 3 he was trying to give Sora some room but ughhh she's your friend too dang it! Like, I get that maybe he is just trying way too overly hard to NOT be competitive with Sora over her or something so he is overcompensating and distancing himself? I don't know but it bugs me. (just to be clear: I'm not saying that I believe Riku has emotionally dumped Kairi, but their lack of interaction really doesn't do their relationship any favors...)

I'm almost starting to wonder if there is some REASON why we can't have the three of them teaming up or that Nomura is specifically preventing that from happening because he wants it to be at a particular dramatic time or...he just hates the idea of it.

The one thing that is giving me hope is the fact that Sora and Kairi are still growing and understanding their powers/limits. And considering how well the three of them sync together I'm starting to wonder if having the three of them fighting together at optimum might just be...too strong? Or that having the three of them together is some magical necessary thing they will need to break out at some crazy terri-bad time when everything else is falling apart so they can just blow up the evil or something ridiculously over the top.

Bare minimum, I'm hoping she has some role to play in bringing Sora back. If she's just waiting on the islands that'll be such a letdown.
I've said this before, and obviously getting the new/expanded secret ending after the DLC drops will help, but assuming that Kairi is not able to travel to Shibuya (because it requires waking powers that she doesn't have yet?) and only Riku can go physically get Sora, then I am just praying to all that is good that she gets to take over for Sora while he is missing and help manage whatever bad stuff is happening in the world of light while her two boys are off stuck in the twilight zone. Assuming the bad guys make ANY moves during that time they are indisposed, I want her on the front lines. How awsome would it be if, when Sora and Riku get back they find out that Kairi has just been casually leading everybody while they've been gone. I honestly think with Nomura's slight hesitation in confirming that the "crown" piece on the chess board is Sora that it's entirely possible that Kairi has jumped in there to be his sub for a bit. Anything but "oh I was just sitting around keeping the tea warm for you two to get back!". >_<

I'm just assuming that she won't be able to leave the world of light because she is "linked" to Sora via magical paopu fruit star power so presumably she would have to stay put to be his tether of sorts to help pull him back out to the light. Who knows. But I could see this being the reason why Riku doesn't want to bring her along with him. Lose Kairi = Sora is gone for good.
 

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This is, without a doubt, the number 1 thing that I have always ever wanted and still want with the series. Like...RAX, TAV, all those guys are great and all but seriously just give me a game where I have a party of the original three and finally get the closure I've wanted since the first game. Like...seriously. Them being torn apart was the emotional stab that got me invested in the game in the first place: the lost what-if that was ripped away from the three of them because of EeEeViL (and Riku being a stupid-head at the time...). It's what got me pumped for having Kairi finally training: "oh boy! Now she can finally team up with Sora and Riku!". Nope. I get nothing. Heck, not even just ONE FIGHT that is Sora, Kairi and Riku and that's it. Nothing.

It's hard for me not to feel bitter and hold it against the other trios in that ALL THE OTHER GROUPS get to have big battles together (thanks to FM additions) EXCEPT my main team. Why? Just...why. (holding out a slim sliver of hope with the DLC but...not looking good)

I love Sora and Riku fighting together, I love, absolutely love they are adding more Sora and Kairi stuff but this division does nothing but fragment their trio even further and make it feel like Kairi and Riku don't really care about each other any more, or wouldn't much if Sora weren't in the picture. Or, even more frustratingly, gives the slight whisper of a notion that Riku really was only invested in her in KH1 maybe because he saw her as potential paopu material then decided that Sora "won" her and just...stopped caring. WHICH IS GARBAGE. Like, I get that especially in 3 he was trying to give Sora some room but ughhh she's your friend too dang it! Like, I get that maybe he is just trying way too overly hard to NOT be competitive with Sora over her or something so he is overcompensating and distancing himself? I don't know but it bugs me. (just to be clear: I'm not saying that I believe Riku has emotionally dumped Kairi, but their lack of interaction really doesn't do their relationship any favors...)

I'm almost starting to wonder if there is some REASON why we can't have the three of them teaming up or that Nomura is specifically preventing that from happening because he wants it to be at a particular dramatic time or...he just hates the idea of it.

The one thing that is giving me hope is the fact that Sora and Kairi are still growing and understanding their powers/limits. And considering how well the three of them sync together I'm starting to wonder if having the three of them fighting together at optimum might just be...too strong? Or that having the three of them together is some magical necessary thing they will need to break out at some crazy terri-bad time when everything else is falling apart so they can just blow up the evil or something ridiculously over the top.
It is a bit strange that even after giving Kairi a Keyblade in KH2 which was over 10 years ago, we have yet to have one game with the three of them standing side by side in a fight.

With Kairi fighting Xehanort along side Sora, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of Riku joining the fight in a latter stage of the battle. This is assuming we'll get a new final boss fight with Re:Mind, but we'll have to wait for it's drop in two weeks.

Them wanting to reunite was the driving force for most of the earlier games, so that desire is ingrained in quite a few fans I would assume. So I doubt Square is oblivious to how much fans want to see the three of them together.

I could see Nomura saving the three teaming up for something big, but it's hard to say with that guy.

I've said this before, and obviously getting the new/expanded secret ending after the DLC drops will help, but assuming that Kairi is not able to travel to Shibuya (because it requires waking powers that she doesn't have yet?) and only Riku can go physically get Sora, then I am just praying to all that is good that she gets to take over for Sora while he is missing and help manage whatever bad stuff is happening in the world of light while her two boys are off stuck in the twilight zone. Assuming the bad guys make ANY moves during that time they are indisposed, I want her on the front lines. How awsome would it be if, when Sora and Riku get back they find out that Kairi has just been casually leading everybody while they've been gone. I honestly think with Nomura's slight hesitation in confirming that the "crown" piece on the chess board is Sora that it's entirely possible that Kairi has jumped in there to be his sub for a bit. Anything but "oh I was just sitting around keeping the tea warm for you two to get back!". >_<

I'm just assuming that she won't be able to leave the world of light because she is "linked" to Sora via magical paopu fruit star power so presumably she would have to stay put to be his tether of sorts to help pull him back out to the light. Who knows. But I could see this being the reason why Riku doesn't want to bring her along with him. Lose Kairi = Sora is gone for good.
Honestly one of my biggest fears when it comes to the story moving forward after seeing the Secret Ending and the Riku scenes in the last Re:Mind trailer is, that Riku is going off to save Sora alone or with Aqua & Mickey, while Kairi is left behind once again. I'm tired of her role in the story basically being an embodiment of home and a motivational poster for the boys.

Her being a tether and light for them to get back to their home worldline makes narrative sense. But it's another passive role for her to play, where she doesn't get much to do. If this is to be her role than at least make her have to embark on a quest to create a gate or door for them to return through. Anything that makes her actively contribute to Sora's return and keeps her from just sitting on the islands staring out at the horizon wondering when her boys will come home.
 

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It is a bit strange that even after giving Kairi a Keyblade in KH2 which was over 10 years ago, we have yet to have one game with the three of them standing side by side in a fight.

With Kairi fighting Xehanort along side Sora, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of Riku joining the fight in a latter stage of the battle. This is assuming we'll get a new final boss fight with Re:Mind, but we'll have to wait for it's drop in two weeks.

Them wanting to reunite was the driving force for most of the earlier games, so that desire is ingrained in quite a few fans I would assume. So I doubt Square is oblivious to how much fans want to see the three of them together.

I could see Nomura saving the three teaming up for something big, but it's hard to say with that guy.
I always wondered where they could even put a Sora, Riku, Kairi fight. I certainly want one to, they are long overdue. I don't know if old man Xehanort was the right guy for it, he still feels like a Wayfinder main villain. I stand by Kairi should have been in the Dark Riku fight with Sora and Riku since not only would it give their trio a time to shine it also ties back to Namine getting a body. Assuming Kairi still remembers/cares about that goal by that point, of course.
 

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I always wondered where they could even put a Sora, Riku, Kairi fight. I certainly want one to, they are long overdue. I don't know if old man Xehanort was the right guy for it, he still feels like a Wayfinder main villain. I stand by Kairi should have been in the Dark Riku fight with Sora and Riku since not only would it give their trio a time to shine it also ties back to Namine getting a body. Assuming Kairi still remembers/cares about that goal by that point, of course.
Agreed Xehanort does still feel more like a wayfinder villain than an overall villain, though he's still the guy that screwed every one over.

Personally, if I could choose any 2 seekers of darkness for SRK to face off against as a trio, I'd choose Ansem Seeker of Darkness and Dark Riku.

Dark Riku because he kinda embodies Riku's darkest and lowest moment that nearly tore them apart and because like you said his body is used to save Namine, which is something I associate with the Destiny Trio.

Ansem is pretty obvious he's the one to set everything in motion, destroyed their home, tore them a part etc.
 

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I bet Nomura has some plan to fully fix all this and make it look intentional like he always does with even the minutest plot points. Like, the amount of hype and positivity that will be generated over KH when she finally gets the payoff we've been waiting for will be massive compared to if he just did it right from the start and we weren't even having this conversation. He's probably doing this on purpose lol

(I'm just kidding I have no idea what goes on in that black hole of a mind he has)
 

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Kairi in KH 2: Fool me once, shame on you.
Kairi reveal in 3D: Fool me twice, shame on me.
Kairi in 3: We are all fools.

At some point you gotta stop giving certain people second chances after so many mistakes. I say mistakes despite believing that Nomura purposely did what he did to Kairi. The groundwork was there but he soiled it.
 

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Kairi in KH 2: Fool me once, shame on you.
I actually thought Kairi was pretty good in KH2, honestly? Yes she got kidnapped, but she really tried to fight against that.

She resisted against Axel multiple times, including doing everything in her darnedest to physically drag her feet against being pulled away, ALSO including just straight up jumping into a portal from nowhere to the unknown which takes a lot of guts. She also straight up jumped off a balcony to try and save Sora herself without a plan or a weapon, even used a Keyblade a few times to try and help out. Didn't care about training or lack of experience, just straight up ran at the enemy like let me at em. She basically twisted Riku's arm and forced him to stop being so stubbornly ridiculous and actually GO TO Sora, as well as showing Riku kindness and compassion when he was obviously embarrassed about the way he looked.

Yes, she could have been more integral to things in KH2, but honestly it was a step-up from what her role was in KH1. The first game that I think honestly really shafted Kairi for no reason was 3D.

But...maybe I misunderstood your point and you were saying that her role in KH2 gave you hope for her character that never paid off or something? Sorry if I did not understand properly.
 
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If I understand you now, correct me if I'm wrong, your use of the word bland refers to her characterization with respect to the plot of the story - her implicit "passive" role you believe Nomura has written intentionally written her into. Which I would agree is a fair position to take, I would simply disagree that it is necessary for the overarching theme of the story.
This is correct, and I would also firmly agree with you that Kairi's personality is not "bland" when she is written to have one. Nomura has many damning flaws as a writer, but he has a singular strength in the way he conceptualizes his characters on a human level (when he holds true to that concept, at any rate). He knows how to draw up personalities that match and frequently exceed the dramatic demands of the story, and sometimes it can seem like the KH characters have no business being so likable and interesting given the material surrounding them. Namine and Xion could have easily served as throwaway personas with no identifiable qualities given the nature of their central narratives, but they both end up as fully fleshed out individuals who, in many ways, elevate their own dramatic circumstances through the sheer virtuosity of their character writing.

Kairi, unfortunately, suffers the opposite problem. She feels constantly constrained by the story she's given to work with, and that underscores the dissonance I've mentioned: as a protagonist, Kairi is an eminently believable narrative agent, but because she is constantly cycled and recycled through the symbolic loop tethering her to Sora's narrative trajectories, she's never been successfully showcased within the kind of expansive personal narrative her personal writing merits. The fact that the story doesn't demand more of her is precisely the problem: as a character, she demands more from the story.

As I stated above, I will concede that "passive" insofar as you've defined it here is perfectly acceptable position to take. I merely don't think the fact her character is passive takes anything away from the story, nor do I believe that if her character was less passive that it would intrinsically add anything to the story.
Of course it all comes down to execution, but I don't see much of an argument to be made against the intrinsic added value of realizing Kairi's role in the narrative so that it's as much about her as it is about what she can be or do for others. From clarifying (or even establishing) her relationships with characters who aren't Sora (especially Riku), to giving her proper intent and motivation (not just through internal modes, but also via externalized struggles tracing her interactions with the world around her), writing her as a proper protagonist could only have enhanced the impact of the various contributions she's made to the series by coloring in the necessary shades of triumph and frustration which make for compelling drama.

It's a show of faithlessness with respect to the audience when an author places dramatic stock in the convenience of narrative proceedings, and it's unfortunate that Kairi has served just that purpose for so long.

Spiritual strength in kingdom hearts is the same thing as it is in real life. It is the ability to endure hardship or suffering which she has undoubtedly done. In my opinion it is the greatest kind of strength so I have much respect for her character. Obviously you feel differently, which is another fair position to take, and so you understandably want her role to be much larger. When it comes to a difference of values like this I do not think we can change each others minds.
The reason this point of contention interested me in particular is that I've found myself agreeing with it (in form if not substance) in the past. I think it's possible to advance a reading of Kairi's characterization in KH1 and 2 which subverts many of the most obvious critiques of her treatment, because there is enough of a kind of conceptual richness to those titles to sustain the incremental nature of her arc: from the moment she is revealed to have been present with Sora all throughout his journey in the first game to the moment she reunites with him and Riku in the second, she is moving in a positive direction towards autonomous modes of development. She continues to function symbolically, and yet begins to take on individual narrative weight, tipping the scales of the action towards particular outcomes (particularly where Namine and Riku are concerned). This has a great deal to due with how her outwardly symbolic qualities contain the capacity to carry over into intrinsic character strengths: from representing the home to which Sora and Riku long to return to embodying that process of return and bringing the two of them together in the process, to flexing the analogous nature of her Purity and turning it from something dormant and remote within her to something that has the potential to connect her to a greater story beyond herself. It's the fact of her long and unjustified absence in the developmental period following KH2 when the trilogy was in the process of refashioning itself into the saga (causing her to be excluded from that critical transitional moment) and the subsequent dearth of conceptual substance plaguing KH3 which turns her writing sour; it's not that her arc fails in spite of her circumstances, but that she barely achieves liftoff before the story starts to sputter and she finally crashes in kind with its lowest point. In a game that struggles to make a point with any of its characters, she had the least momentum going in, and it's not surprising in hindsight that she became its biggest casualty.

You are almost implying here that drawing a character into a main conflict without giving them any means of influencing the conflict is bad story telling or bad writing. It honestly sounds to me like you just hate the damsel in distress trope. If you don't like characters being in situations where they are powerless to influence the plot I really don't know what to tell you - but this situation happens to people in real life all the time, many of them are not even aware of how powerless they are; to exclude it as a literary trope doesn't make sense. In Kairi's case she has lacked a keyblade which means she has lacked the ability to defend herself for a long period of time. Without a keyblade she couldn't be trained. She is a princess of heart which means she has also been a central element of the story as something that Riku and Sora have had to defend.
It's bad storytelling because it makes for boring characters. The idea of a protagonist is that they drive the action-- they instigate, interact, push forward (antagonists typically drive the action through direct or indirect opposition by confounding, deflecting and pushing back). Literary tropes are not about reflecting reality, they are about reflecting ideals: the damsel in distress exists not to represent the people in the world who are powerless, but the people in the world whom society would prefer to keep powerless (by constantly reiterating their powerlessness). Concentrations of societal power don't occur naturally: they are constructed, enforced and, when challenged, defended. Stories, throughout history, have reflected these social struggles, and the narrative expectations which they establish are rooted in the social understandings derived through them: who has lead (and is thus suited to lead), who has triumphed (and is thus suited to triumph), who has lost (and is thus suited to lose), etc.

It's normal for these expectations to fall out of favor as society shifts in its collective conscience and the rules governing artistic endeavors become irrelevant and outdated. The damsel in distress is an outdated trope: we no longer seek to keep women confined to male dependence and servitude, so there is no reason to foster its perpetuation. When people talk about "strong women" as a trope, they are typically just referring to women who are written as characters (subjects) and not as objects within the material. Subjects are more interesting because they are designed to hold the audience's interest: plot devices are designed to execute a means to an end, and garner little attention beyond that.

The idea that Kairi's lack of a weapon constitutes a reason to restrain her as a protagonist is inconsistent with how this series has represented strength and agency from the start. Riku has no Keyblade for most of KH1, and several of the games afterwards. Donald and Goofy have no Keyblades. Sora explicitly states that he "doesn't need a Keyblade" as he's expounding upon the core thematic contentions of the first entry. Moreover, once Kairi does have a Keyblade, and has received training, additional excuses are made to justify her continued lack of presence. This line of argument is not coherent.

It is not so simple as saying "they weren't on the same playing field therefore women were not valued".
Nor did I suggest that it was. The point to be made here is that archaic ways of conceptualizing relational dynamics between people, and the archetypes which can be construed from them, are inherently flawed when applied as rationalizations for ideas presented in a modern context. Historical perspective is always worth keeping in cultural discourse, but it rarely does a satisfying job of describing the logic behind commentary and concepts derived from a living society.

Anyhow, I feel that I've made my case, and I appreciate that you took the time to read and respond up to now. I hope you continue to find fulfilling conversation throughout these forums. I'll gladly take into consideration any remaining thoughts you have, and leave the last word to you.
 

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It's bad storytelling because it makes for boring characters. The idea of a protagonist is that they drive the action-- they instigate, interact, push forward (antagonists typically drive the action through direct or indirect opposition by confounding, deflecting and pushing back). Literary tropes are not about reflecting reality, they are about reflecting ideals: the damsel in distress exists not to represent the people in the world who are powerless, but the people in the world whom society would prefer to keep powerless (by constantly reiterating their powerlessness). Concentrations of societal power don't occur naturally: they are constructed, enforced and, when challenged, defended. Stories, throughout history, have reflected these social struggles, and the narrative expectations which they establish are rooted in the social understandings derived through them: who has lead (and is thus suited to lead), who has triumphed (and is thus suited to triumph), who has lost (and is thus suited to lose), etc.

It's normal for these expectations to fall out of favor as society shifts in its collective conscience and the rules governing artistic endeavors become irrelevant and outdated. The damsel in distress is an outdated trope: we no longer seek to keep women confined to male dependence and servitude, so there is no reason to foster its perpetuation. When people talk about "strong women" as a trope, they are typically just referring to women who are written as characters (subjects) and not as objects within the material. Subjects are more interesting because they are designed to hold the audience's interest: plot devices are designed to execute a means to an end, and garner little attention beyond that.

The idea that Kairi's lack of a weapon constitutes a reason to restrain her as a protagonist is inconsistent with how this series has represented strength and agency from the start. Riku has no Keyblade for most of KH1, and several of the games afterwards. Donald and Goofy have no Keyblades. Sora explicitly states that he "doesn't need a Keyblade" as he's expounding upon the core thematic contentions of the first entry. Moreover, once Kairi does have a Keyblade, and has received training, additional excuses are made to justify her continued lack of presence. This line of argument is not coherent.
So then this is the main point of contention. I'm not going to change your mind but I'll point out the obvious counterargument.

"the damsel in distress exists not to represent the people in the world who are powerless, but the people in the world whom society would prefer to keep powerless"

This is a HUGE assumption. One that might have been true, or might be perceived as true in some contexts; but in most contexts this is either not true, not the intention, or not the way the majority of society has perceived the "damsel in distress" trope.

First, you have to acknowledge the men and women, boys and girls, are different and they want different things. No I am not saying women want to be a damsel in distress, I am saying that boys and men want to play the role of a noble hero who is needed by the person they love - and it is a beautiful thing to aspire to is it not? It is also a simple wish and the dream of a child, only when men get older and bitter that they begin to distort the reasoning behind it to be something like "because women need to be rescued" - the vast majority of men do not feel this way and do not normally think this way when watching movies following this trope. But while this trope may work for simple 2d video games in the 1980's you're right that it does not make for interesting story telling because the plot and characters would be one dimensional, a good story does want for more than simply a hero rescuing a princess [its been done millions of times over] and I think KH accomplishes this in many ways, hopefully in the future one of those ways will be giving Kairi a role that is both well written in terms of her character and the story. That is my wish for her.

Secondly, the need to be rescued or rely on people is not necessarily a bad thing, but unfortunately it is almost universally felt that this is the case. Most people would probably tell you that people who need help should seek it out, but they would rather not do it themselves. This is because there is shame or guilt associated with failure or the need to rely on people, and that is as it should be because that is how people grow - but overcoming feelings of failure/lack of strength and asking for help or relying on others is an enormous display of character strength that most people do not have, it shows humility and fortitude.

When people think of "damsel in distress" the words "damsel" and "distress" make people inherently think the story is about a woman who got herself locked up in a tower by her own stupidity and needs a man to rescue her (and that is probably mostly due to Mario...). The words don't imply a woman who needs rescuing by no fault of her own, who consistently does her best for the good of all, who despite her high efforts can't yet return the favor to the ones who rescued her. It is not the trope that is the problem here, it is the perception that you and many people like you have that the existence of the trope itself can only hold one [negative] meaning but it does not - its a wide range of ideas and stories that can allow for great characters who have overcome tremendous obstacles to show a different kind of strength. For people who actually go through this kind of thing, their strength deserves to be recognized and the "damsel in distress" trope is one path that can be taken to show that. Of course the intentions and implications of the trope can and has been perverted over time, all things can be in one way or another... it is only a matter of how many people need to be offended by something until the general public can only see it for what it has been distorted to be and not for the beauty that it may have once been.

I'll close by saying: If Kairi was a male character I think far less people would take issue with the way she is written. No one ever wants to point out when a male is playing the "damsel in distress" role because generally speaking no one cares about men who need help, and thats the truth. There are many males who are also written in the "damsel in distress" paradigm you know, but no ones bats an eye when their conclusions end up less than satisfactory. That's just the way of things I suppose.

Nor did I suggest that it was. The point to be made here is that archaic ways of conceptualizing relational dynamics between people, and the archetypes which can be construed from them, are inherently flawed when applied as rationalizations for ideas presented in a modern context. Historical perspective is always worth keeping in cultural discourse, but it rarely does a satisfying job of describing the logic behind commentary and concepts derived from a living society
We have not come so far as a society and the lessons from the past are not as archaic as you might think. Arguably, technology has become a spiritual, emotional, and intellectual hindrance on the average person, but I digress.
 
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Any

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If Kairi was a male character and seeing how Nomura has a hard time writing female characters, she would’ve had a playable segment a long time ago, and probably fleshed out too and wouldn’t play that damsel role. None of the male KH characters play a damsel role so there you go, male Kairi would’ve been treated better than female Kairi.
 

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If Kairi was a male character and seeing how Nomura has a hard time writing female characters, she would’ve had a playable segment a long time ago, and probably fleshed out too and wouldn’t play that damsel role. None of the male KH characters play a damsel role so there you go, male Kairi would’ve been treated better than female Kairi.
If that was the case he wouldn't be a male Kairi, he would be a completely different character. so no.
 

Any

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If that was the case he wouldn't be a male Kairi, he would be a completely different character. so no.
Yeah, super unrealistic to see any male characters in this game, playing that role or have “the Kairi treatment” and due to Nomura’s bias writing for the male characters. No tea or no shade, just my opinion.
 
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