I don't think I want to be a KH fan anymore.



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Ditman

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I regret ever becoming a fan of Kingdom Hearts.

And no, not because I hated the series. It was actually the exact opposite.

I was a passionate fan of Kingdom Hearts for over four years. Nothing out of ordinary, right? But much unlike everyone else, I respected almost every design choice Square Enix made for the series, and for logically appropriate reasons (that nobody wants to hear). But the various discussions across the Internet, from fans and haters alike, telling me that I was in love with a poorly-written fanfiction about the Mary Sue OCs capitalizing on the famous properties and stealing their spotlight have really got to me. Seeing how many people actually agree with such opinions and how almost no one tries to defend the series - not even fans themeselves, with their "so bad it's good" kind of attitude - made me fell bad for loving a series that I always thought had no major issues.

But there's nothing wrong with liking something that's mediocre, right?

The thing is, I never felt that the series was anything near mediocre. When fans say stuff like "The first step in becoming a true KH fan is realizing how terrible the story is, and still absolutely loving it", I say stuff like "The first step in becoming a true Kingdom Hearts fan is realizing why Chain of Memories had a card-based battle system". I'm pretty sure you're convinced that the reinvented battle system is just a bad design practice, but how are you supposed to make an action-RPG for the Game Boy Advance with only A, B, Select and shoulder buttons that combines attacking, defending, summoning, using items and casting spells, all while roaming around? The card-based gameplay did exactly that - combined lots-of-buttons gameplay with a game system that has very few buttons. In order to attack or use magic, you choose and individual card; in order to use a special move, you choose multiple cards, and in order to defend, you compare the number of cards. I was always enjoying all the hidden genius behind the series that other people ignored.

Gameplay aside, people absolutely hate the story, and sometimes the original characters as well. Now, four years of my exposure to the series were more than enough to make me understand the lore and the character's insight, and make me open-minded about it. And still, I felt that all of it was absolutelly brilliant, with that feeling growing accordingly as I was discovering more and more titbits of it. Unfortunately, not many people think the same.

"...The crossover is window dressing, decoration, garnish; maybe a side dish to the main dish that is the main story of Sora, Riku and Kairi. If we're being generous. The actual story? Even the fans think it's a bit silly. When you get past the repeated "heart", "light" and "darkness", it's ultimately a shonen anime about some kids with bad hair who have to save the world from supervillains who want to destroy the world/rule the world for... reasons."

I have plenty of reasons to disagree, but is anyone really going to listen? At this point I feel like either a biased fanboy that refuses to accept the truth (the kind that people make fun of), or the only one who can differ right from wrong with everyone else just being clueless assholes (sound pretty pretentious, doesn't it?). And, for a person that doesn't usually victimize themselves, it's a lose-lose situation. After all, if there was nothing wrong with Kingdom Hearts, nobody would complain - simple logic.

I feel like I wasted my time. Don't I have something better to get into, or a more healthy community to be a part of?

This situation hurts me. So how do I avoid this pain? Maybe I should just avoid/ignore the series altogether. And yet here I am, writing all this self-centered bullcrap that will probably make you roll your eyes. Well, I can't really blame you.

I'm just hoping for something. I'm not sure what it is - maybe a new spark of interest in the series, or maybe my ability to move on without it... Maybe something else.

Anyways, if you're still reading this, sorry for taking away your free time. I just wanted to express my feelings in a place most appropriate.
A
"Out of context, the crossover is there for the sake of being there, for the sake of spectacle, rather than to tell a compelling narrative where all these worlds intertwine into one, and see what sort of consequences such a meta-union would unfold."
 

Dandelion

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One of the biggest problems that KH has, and probably the biggest is the fanbase. And I say that knowing I'm part of the problem. Being around this fandom is really, really difficult.

It's hard to find that middleground you're talking about, where you can accept the flaws and talk about them but also not let those flaws get blown out of proportion to the point of being a cynic. Unfortunately, we're in an age of the latter, and I really want to be able to get a better energy going.

I think having more users who are open to these kinds of discussions is a good starting point, though. If users like you keep opening up, maybe we can turn the tide.
 

Kaweebo

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"...The crossover is window dressing, decoration, garnish; maybe a side dish to the main dish that is the main story of Sora, Riku and Kairi. If we're being generous. The actual story? Even the fans think it's a bit silly. When you get past the repeated "heart", "light" and "darkness", it's ultimately a shonen anime about some kids with bad hair who have to save the world from supervillains who want to destroy the world/rule the world for... reasons."
What's wrong with that? Even if you disagree with this, it's just one interpretation among many. Art is art, Kingdom Hearts is art and like all art, it's ultimately up to each individual to decide what he or she sees in it. Personally, I've had many ups and downs with the series from hating the main story and only enjoying the Disney worlds, to the other way around, to somewhere in-between. The point is, you have to make your own mind up on whether or not you're willing to let some other people's opinions ruin your view on the series and make you unhappy or decide for yourself what you really believe.

Do you have fun playing the games and the story? If yes, that's really the only answer you need. Learning different perspectives is important in life but sometimes it just becomes a drag when you listen to people who have such a strongly opposing viewpoint to your own on something you enjoy. This is why it's never a good idea to listen to people who rant and rave on the series about how terrible it is if you still want to enjoy it. It just sucks the energy out of everything.

And that's not to say that it's not okay to have a negative opinion on the series. It's certainly a flawed series worthy of criticism, but there's a difference between criticism and blind negativity. That's the way I see it, anyway.
 

alexis.anagram

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I think stringent criticism is a healthy part of any "fan" community, and I think the healthiest way to interact with an author's work is not only as a fan, but as an active participant in the larger conversation that work ought to inspire. I think it's far more worrisome when there exists a deliberate vacuum of critical voices-- not only does art in and of itself require critical review in order to flourish and thrive, but when we diminish the significance and value of dissenting opinions we signal a larger message about how society ought to treat or respond to folks who experience the world through a different lens which is not popular or kind. Art reflects culture; an uncritical artistic community is indicative of an indifferent cultural mentality.

That's not to say there's anything wrong with unabashedly enjoying a work others consider to be subpar: if you can make a case for your position, that's a valuable contribution to the critical conversation. I'm appreciative of certain entries in the series which others dismiss out-of-hand; I can acknowledge their difference of opinion while still investing the discussion surrounding those entries with my perspective on their worth, and I can't recall a time when I was met with any real derision as a result. Frankly, I think the "negativity" surrounding the KH series is thoroughly exaggerated, and I actually sense a reluctance within the community (albeit one not unique to it) to defy popular trends for fear of being considered a "Scrooge" or being given the cold shoulder by members who know it's easier and more attractive to embrace the hype of the moment.

In essence, it cuts both ways. OP is right in their assessment that "if nothing was wrong, nobody would be complaining." Critical voices simply identify areas for improvement, and there's nothing to be gained from shooting the messenger. I also don't think it's accurate or helpful to draw a hard and fast line between "fans who love the games" and "fans who criticize the games"; I criticize the games because I love them, or because I want to love them, at any rate. There are times when I observe the current facts of their presentation and find it worthwhile to challenge and investigate them, which often involves expressing my own misgivings. I think it's totally healthy to differentiate my own personal level of identification with the series (which is pretty strong) from the manner in which myself and others convene to discuss its strengths and defects. I can only argue my own position, but the real joy of the community stems from the cumulative insight provided by different approaches to the same material.
 

Chuman

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just find a group of like minded people and be friends with them, dont let the toxicity of people you'll never meet ruin the affection of something you love. fandoms are hard. for example, i love the MCU but everyone is shipping the characters with each other and saying a frog lives in tom holland's mouth. don't let them bring you down and keep enjoying what you enjoy.
 

Grono

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Hey, if you need some more positivity here, I'll be happy to start! I honestly feel like there's a lot of bitterness here nowadays, and while I'll say that I don't think criticism is inherently bad, since I still love the series, I agree that people here can be really salty. If you're saying that we should start to be kinder here, I couldn't possibly agree more. Enjoy the hell out of this series, don't listen to anyone else.
 

Soldier

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If you ask me, when it comes to a fanbase being the most difficult part of a series, just ignore the haters or zealots who defend/attack it. And I should know, I've dealt with my fair share of people trying to change my views on what I found enjoyable. I lost friends along the way, who sided with such people, leaving me alone with the franchise in question. But in spite of all of that, I didn't let their reasons get to me, I would always just dust myself off, and walk away. Maybe I'm a little biased because Kingdom Hearts has been a game that would always appear to me at a low point in my life, but the argument still stands. I focus on the aspects of the game that make me happy, and I don't care what anyone else has to say about them. It's always tough being a fan of something, because there will always be people whose opinions will go against yours, but you have to take a stand and enjoy it for what it is.
 

BlackOsprey

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You want my two cents? If it's giving you this much grief, I suggest you take a step back from the Discourse and just enjoy the series on your own. Maybe enjoy some fan works on the side.
You'd think that if "nothing was wrong with KH, no one would complain" buuut let's be real here, people will ALWAYS complain about something. There's that saying that "you can't please everyone." 'Cause everyone's gonna have differing views and expectations, and a game that might seem nearly without fault to one person might seem like a dumpster fire to another.

Toxic fanbase isn't anything unique to this franchise either. You're gonna find it literally everywhere, unless the piece of media in question is so new that there isn't really a fanbase to turn toxic to begin with. It's something you gotta expect.

There's plenty about this series that bothers me some and far more things about the fanbase that just piss me off. But I've enjoyed these games long before really digging into the fanbase and a fustercluck of cynicism, blind worship, elitism, and shipping wars isn't gonna make me give up something I like.
Do whatever you feel like, but I would encourage you to not abandon the series in its entirety. ... Maybe just the fanbase instead, ha. Find yourself a few people who DO exist in that middle ground you wish for (yeah they do exist, they're just kinda hard to find) and stick with them rather than shouting into the echo chamber.
 

maryadavies

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If you want my advice, ignore the haters and keep liking the series. Yes, there's a lot of salt, but there's nice folks too!

I've been pretty subtle in rl with my fandoms, simply speaking since my family doesn't get it. See, I like Sailor Moon (Uh, I admit to avoiding that fandom since it's even more toxic there than here), KH, Final Fantasy, and a lot of jRPGs. I just have to be careful how I mention it in rl, tho I had a funny bit with one of the missionaries one day. She was a KH fan too (what's ironic is she can't play games while on her mission) and we had a good grin and she made a mental note of the collections at the time, since she was going home in a little bit.

But yeah. Just because I don't buy a lot of manga about it or buy Play Arts Kai figures doesn't mean I'm not a fan. :)
 

DarkGrey Heroine

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From what I read you wrote here, I feel like I can relate profoundly to this. I was a long-long-long time fan of the series with a joy and interest for it that was genuine and beautifully bright. Then I wanted to find other people with such an interest and talk about this series, especially since I live in a country that basically the KH franchise barely touched - gaming in general is just FIFA and some shooters and MMOs brainless abuse. I found the forums, some places on deviantArt, some blogs and posts on Tumblr and probably others that I don't remember. Now, if you go to Tumblr, you'll find yourself surrounded by fans that give way too much importance to shippings, sexuality, femminism and the like, as the social-justice-warrior spirit is disgustingly strong there, so people keep missing the point of enjoying the games for the gaming experience, ignore the plot to support their SJW discourses, let their hormones flow and get into fandom wars discussions. Go to deviantArt, and while the tension isn't that strong here, you'll find that the interest is too little on plot (and the knowledge of the lore of course is discouraging) and too much on creating OCs and MMD models, again making all kinds of shipping canon or fanon, and again here we miss the point of a gaming experience in itself. So the place I stayed on most was KHI, because here, even though some people were expressing their disappointment towards one or the other aspect of the franchise, or their rage at this or that part of the game mechanics, or their disappointment in the writing etc. etc., here on KHI people were actually talking in long and usually well-written paragraphs about it all, which means it's at least a step above the other places, for it's a more serious and more passionate fanbase who actually was interested sincerely in the plot, even if they turned into a hater or non-supporter of something after. However, in the end, it all got to me and my heart, all the dry often scientific-ish discussions about the weak points of the series and where improvement could be made, over and over again, this made me look at my KH games with sadness and think if it's wrong for me to still love this series that much. This situation I assume you're in, it's just like a scenario in which, say, I love Italian music, and then I stay a month with someone who constantly points out the negative/silly/poor aspects of Italian music, and as a result after that long time of exposure to someone's constant nagging I end up feeling hesitant to like what I used to like, simultaneously somehow feeling ashamed of it. It's all absurd, but it's all the influence of the place or the people you surround yourself with. And guess what I did? ... I left the forums. For a period of over 1 year I think I barely connected to the fandom and discussions, and I will still avoid Tumblr and other sites, but come back to KHI as in the end it's a rather constructive and educated place here to discuss things, with occasional exceptions of course because it's still the Internet.
Example 2. How many people hate on DDD again? Like, the whole universe? And yet it's probably the game I enjoyed most of all the KH games! My favourite game, I'd say. Not the HD remake, the 3DS version. People hate on it? Especially on the 3DS version? Alright, I still can't help but love the heck out of DDD, and besides, who are they to influence my personal opinion and feelings? Pff, if you were open-minded and understood the game for strong and weak points on your own, then concluded for yourself that you still like it, THEN turn salty and bitter and lean towards a negative opinion, whether of rage or sadness/disappointment, because of the people/fanbase, this stuff - it's like getting corrupted. And who needs that? Games are supposed to be fun, but we all turned into such smartasses that know how to write a plot better than the companies themselves, we know how to program game mechanics better than the companies themselves, we know how to build characters and manage copyright contracts better than the companies themselves, so of course we all complain that the games don't deliver - of course the fanbase knows it all better! Let's be honest, the fandom is just a bunch of little people, swimming in the ocean that is the series universe, shouting our complaints at every even minuscule sting the salt of the ocean gives our oh-so-perfectionist bodies. It's ridiculous and scary when the fandom takes itself too serious, as if we are some kind of major voice of a universal lawyer that commands gaming companies what to create.
Example 3. If you know the slightest bit about all the bullshit Internet talks that went on and on about Final Fantasy XV, you'll understand why I decided to cut my ties to the fandom of FF completely (but I still followed the news and got all the info I could) and enjoy the game on my own. And what do my 208 hours of gameplay say so far - darn if I don't enjoy the game as it is. What I do come back to the fanbase of it for would be various interesting deep theories that sometimes are fruit of it. But that's one good thing amidst a strom of bitching and whining.
You don't need to prove your understanding of the weak points of the series to anyone, you don't need to sustain your love for the series with arguments to everyone each time, especially not on the Internet, where most people behave like they are overpowered know-it-alls with the rights to say and afirm/deny anything possible. I don't feel the need to ship anything, I don't feel the urge to complain about this and that, but I do feel the need to share the fun of playing stuff - however, if I just don't find the few people (few. Not many) I could just talk nicely with, or only meet people that make me feel in all kinds of negative ways towards games I like, then I will let go of the need to share, accept that the Internet fanbase is mostly made of a bunch of vocal frustrated nitpickers and disguised trolls, and move on and have fun on my own. Anyway it's a single player thing most often, right? This applies to things outside games as well, eh

The Internet is a twisted place, man. Makes you share the crowd's opinions and mentality and let go of your own thinking and feeling in subtle, yet apparently attractive ways. It seems there's a bunch of us around here, but, in truth, that doesn't make us one thought and one heartbeat, or truth-holders in first place. Don't ever feel bad about distancing yourself from a fandom. KH still got a fandom with a brain that shows up here and there, unlike other fandoms, and you know it. That alone is not a reason sufficient to stay around if it makes you feel in any way bad. Keep the fandom interaction with you under control, a mature step towards searching for your own views on things and using your own brains. That's what it's for, not for brainwashing.

This being said, if you ever feel regret towards a thing you love or loved, don't let those feelings be based on other people's various opinions, or a crowd's complaining, or anything else than your own personal and honest judgement that happens inside your heart and not on some websites.
 

FangirlfromHell

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I can relate to your problem regarding the fanbase. While I am part of the KH fanbase, I often find myself going out of my way to be in the middle of other fans. I've had to drop Tumblr because the atmosphere is so toxic no matter the fandom you follow, but there are always exceptions to this.

If you personally enjoy Kingdom Hearts, DO NOT let ANYONE take that away from you. If they don't like something about it that you praise, they don't. As long as YOU recognize it and find people who agree, even one, it can be worth it. No one can tell you whether or not to stick to Kingdom Hearts except you.

I loved the card-based system they invented for Chain of Memories because it made it easier to control Sora on a 2-D format without taking away his magic and items. The story was also pretty well thought out and does connect KH to KH 2, making it a title that really should not be skipped over. The command deck in BBS and DDD made it easier to get to commands rather than having to scroll several menus on a portable system. No game is without flaw, just like not all games are devoid of feats.

No matter if you give up on Kingdom Hearts or stick with it I hope you find something that truly makes you happy to talk about and share with others ^-^
 

DefiantHeart

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For me, the series always seemed magical in some aspect. In my childhood years, it felt like the series could go anywhere and was very mysterious. As I got older I started to see many similarities and patterns to the game; at times it would even seem to copy certain aspects of other series like Star Wars and the Matrix. For a while, the game even lost it's magical touch to me. Recently though... as my depression got worse, oddly enough, I started to see things in the game's past as I relived old scenes... and for the first time in a while, I started to feel a magical almost "destiny" aspect to the game that I'd never felt before.

So for me, it's really just that. Somehow the game conjures a magical nostalgic feel to it, that I don't feel anywhere else anymore... and that's what I hold onto, that feeling to help me cling to life and get through my darkest moments. It's part of why I decided to start believing in what my heart says, instead of just listening to what others tell me to do and live their perspective of life. Instead, for the first time... I'm starting to live out my own perspective of life, and I'm finding my heart always had a bright shining light of hope in it all along. So honestly, I don't care what others have to say about the game, I'm still going to hang onto the series for that...
 

Ditman

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Thanks for all the feedback, guys. Made me a little bit happier.

But the problem is, if I just see other people's thoughs as opinions as different points of view, then isn't my opinion just a different, insignificant point of view? If we just stick to our opinions, that's not going to lead us anywhere.

The truth is the same for each and every one.

I want to base my feeling for the series on the actual truth. I want to find out whether or not it's a actually a good series. I want to base my feeling and opinions on something you can't argue against. Only then I could feel 100% confident about myself.

Don't spend your life believing, the true happiness is in the knowing.

But in the world where everyone has a different perspective AND where people divide good from bad at the same time, it's really hard to know for sure. Believing just doesn't seem satisfying enough for me.
 
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VoidGear.

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I don't think there is true happiness in "knowing" everything. There is no truth about a video game being good or bad. Sure, there are some things that can be judged kind of objectively, but most of all, it really just depends on what you like.

Saying that you only want to believe the truth is like saying you only want to like the food that everyone else likes. That's just not realistic.
 

Ditman

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You're kinda missing the point here. Like/Disliked is subjective. Good/Bad is objective. There are quality standarts that make sure everyone (or at least most) of the people enjoy it. That's called objective. There's a clear definition of quality for pretty much everything, and always has been. It's just that people view it in a different way.

My life has taught me that you should never get your hopes up and rely on believing. Getting my hopes high almost always ended up as a dissapointment for me. Some of my dreams DID come true, however in the most unexpected ways possible.
 

VoidGear.

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The word objective itself already hardly makes sense. I definitely don't think that good or bad can be objectively measured, because experiences like the way you were raised heavily influence your definition of all that.

I just don't understand how you think you will find the "right" way to view the series here. There is no right or wrong, good or bad in liking a video game or not liking it, so what exactly is it that you want to hear?
"Yes, quit playing cause it's bad"? "No, go on because it's good"?
 

Alja

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I don't think there is true happiness in "knowing" everything. There is no truth about a video game being good or bad. Sure, there are some things that can be judged kind of objectively, but most of all, it really just depends on what you like.

Saying that you only want to believe the truth is like saying you only want to like the food that everyone else likes. That's just not realistic.
This. Also, somebody else already mentioned: Kingdom Hearts (and games in general) is a form of art. Art is perceived differently depending on our own experiences.

I'd seriously suggest stepping away from the fandom and KH in general for a while. I hit a similar situation with another fandom a while back, starting to hate everything I saw the fandom write about, the ridiculous headcanons, the fanfictions I hated, the utterly incorrect interpretations (in my opinion) of certain situations. I have always been excited to see posts on that fandom, but when I spiraled down into this state of resentment, I stopped feeling joy for it. I scrolled past that stuff and sometimes, I even loathed seeing it. Now I'm at a point where I can actually enjoy and laugh at certain posts again instead of being annoyed by everything that crosses my part, but it only worked because I tried to cut out everything that made me resent it.

Take a break and then, if you feel like it, return to the games on your own. Your opinion is what matters. There is no truth to this game. I've played both Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 ten years ago for the first time. Last year, I came back to the games, not having played them for at least 5 years or so and not having played anything past 1 and 2. My views on the games were unique both times - one time I saw them through the eyes of a naive teen who loved Disney and what Square Enix did with it. The next time I saw the games through the eyes of an adult who had gone through good times and bad times all the same. What I might have perceived as a truth back as a teen changed because my experience changed. And I am very positive that had I played Birth by Sleep when it released (and not last year), I might have had an entirely different perception of that game than I have now. Heck, I even think I might think about it differently if I had been able to continuously play all parts and replayed them again and again to keep the memory fresh.

You won't find a universal truth, the "truth" will always be yours. You have to find your own reasons to like the game and your own reasons to criticize it. Don't let anyone take away your joy with the series because you feel like you have to adapt to their perception.
 

Ditman

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"Yes, quit playing cause it's bad"? "No, go on because it's good"?

Yeah, something like that. This is the only way to put my mind at ease.

I just don't like how people are way too comfortable with the realities they create for themselves, taking it for the truth and not realizing that the real world around them stays all and the same.

If the definitive answer to everything is everyone's preference, then, considering how many people can't stand certain aspects of Kingdom Hearts, maybe I really should put myself into their shoes and stop hurting myself.
 
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