I was never fully convinced by Axel's extreme character change.



REGISTER TO REMOVE ADS

Veevee

Active member
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Messages
762
Awards
8
Location
darkness within darkness
  • Red Travels the Farthest
  • Savage Nymph
  • The Gambler of Fate
  • 15th Anniversary
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX
  • Unicornis Union
First of all, I don't dislike Axel. I like his type of character, but I could never really connect with him because his rash development always kinda irritated me.
In Re:Com, we get to see him as cunning, smart-mouthed, manipulative and cold-blooded. He kills Vexen without a second thought, taunts and fights Sora, plays Marluxia and gets Replicu to kill Zexion who didn't even need to die. Days is trying to sell me that this man who seemed hardly much different from Marluxia and Larxene (which is why they accepted him quickly) would actually try to befriend someone who can't even talk. And it's not just handing him an ice cream once after a job, but Axel actually does make an effort to keep this friendship up. He later states that Roxas made him feel like he had a heart, but that was way after he started caring about Roxas (a job he complained to have, actually). I can take into consideration that his friendship with Isa was on hard feelings then - which I, retrospectively, don't really understand because Norts don't act norted. They only act norted in KH3 and are pretty much their own respective self all the time, so he actually could've talked to Isa about the latter being a douche. That aside, I'm under the impression Demyx or Luxord could've been good company for him - Demyx is chill and Luxord seems cunning and likes to play games. It's not that I dismiss the idea of Axel befriended someone like Roxas entirely - but RAX is the trio that sold its friendship to me the least. There's is this jarring difference between Re:Com Axel and Days Axel and also KH2 Axel and KH3 Axel. Re:Com Axel is, like I already said, cunning and manipulative, but acts like a playful, "I'll explain the world to you" nice uncle in Days when he isn't currently out there killing people (this transition obviously doesn't bother him one bit) and after he jumps between two extremes, he is rather straightforward in KH2, being quite clear with Roxas. In KH3 he turned into a joke, sadly and I can't even see why he had to. He always did very well with his chakrams and I never understood where the non-official Guardian of Light job description listed "has to have a keyblade". And please, don't try to sell me the "Roxas looks like Ventus dat's why he liked him" thing because it wasn't a real thing back then and felt much like an afterthought to me. Also, the two met ... once. For an hour or so.
I feel there's a rather leap in his character portrayal and that it's not sold too well.

I'm curious how you guys feel about it.
 

DarkosOverlord

Bronze Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
2,808
Awards
4
Age
24
Location
Rome, Italy
  • Keyblade Master
  • You've Got A Friend In Me
  • The Foreteller
  • Savage Nymph
I've written a similar post a while ago about how Axel starts behaving like a completely different person after CoM.
I LOVE Axel in CoM, I'm a sucker for the super-partes character archetype, like Kill-Vearn (any DQ fans out here?). Much like most of the writing in CoM, there was nuance to it. Axel wasn't just a rogue killer or cool for the sake of being cool. He ACTED like nothing bothered him, but he had the most iron-clad agenda and was coldly calculating everyone's next move at any moment.
I also really like how Lexaeus managed to catch a glimpse and was the most wary of Axel, exactly because no one could understand what he was truly thinking behind that facade.

Axel was the true winner of CoM: killed every traitor, nay, every witness at all (whether you want to stick with him killing Zexion because he knew too much and Vexen because ordered, or to do Saix a favor I guess is up to you) and performed his task swiftly and without harming Sora permanently.
He truly deserved to lead the Nobodies called "Assassin".

Then we have KH II, which I still consider barely "okay" when it comes to his character. I can still dig the subversion of giving the cold-blooded killer a small life he cares about, and I want to believe that they were still trying to make him be menacing. Axel was still charged with the task of getting Roxas back, or to terminate him. I'm sure many think he wasn't going to go through with it, but at the very beginning of the last day he truly seemed up to it. I actually like his "Man, I really don't want to do it but I have no choice" attitude there.
And he kidnapped Kairi, too. I think what truly damaged Axel in KH II was that the game wasn't able to manage secondary characters (like him, Naminé or DiZ) and that there was an untold story about his travels. For example I'm always intrigued by how when you fight alongside him, he's constantly in a pained stance, like he's on his last leg anyway.

Days was the fallout, and any shred of nuance his character had was gone. There's like, a tiny bit of it when he has to go to Castle Oblivion and has a "don't ask me about my job" vibe with Roxas, but that's not enough to make up for the rest of the game in which he's this sad puppy trying to befriend other sad puppies.
You bring up a fantastic point by saying he could've been friends with other members: one of my gripes with Days is that from the outside Roxas, Axel and Xion seem like this snob trio that doesn't even try to give other people a chance.
Axel ditches possible companionship with people he's known for years and that are much closer to his age and possible interests because as soon as he sees this mute and unresponsive kid he's like, completely in awe. (Axel truly was the first "must protect precious cinnamon roll" person).
And you can FEEL how much Roxas wants to get away from every single person who isn't Axel or Xion.

Axel got turned into this caricature of himself because I think the series lacked the skillful writing to keep him around as one of the good guys while also mantaining his character intact.
So as soon as he started to become a positive figure he was turned into yet another acolyte of the Church of Friendship and Every Good Thing. Kingdom Hearts has too much black and white philosophy to handle a grey character like OG Axel without having to rethink and retell a lot of events.
And he became the comic relief because I guess someone had to be when Donald wasn't around.
 

Veevee

Active member
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Messages
762
Awards
8
Location
darkness within darkness
  • Red Travels the Farthest
  • Savage Nymph
  • The Gambler of Fate
  • 15th Anniversary
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX
  • Unicornis Union
Very good points. I wholeheartedly agree, I liked him best in CoM where he had a complex character. He later became rather ... boring and as you so nicely put in, just another "I love friendship" guy.

The lack of connection to the other characters is something that also bothered me in Days. While one would be right to stay away from people like Larxene or Xigbar, Demyx was rather fond of Roxas and in the manga, they even talked quite a bit. Luxord was a bit weird, but never unfriendly with Roxas. With Isa, we never even really see their friendship going down. It was executed plainly with Saix being a one-dimensional douche and Axel not willing to put up with it any longer. Axel switching to Roxas as his bud put the final nail in the coffin. Don't get me wrong, I love Saix but he is so plainly shitty without any depth in Days that it hurts.
And the lack of any meaningful conversations make this age (and experience) gap so much more obvious. Axel complains about the job being a bother, Roxas looks at him with a stupid face, saying that he doesn't even know what to do with himself without the job. Or Axel explains something that any normal person would know about - which must be rather exhausting after a while, it's like being with a toddler all day while pretending you have the time of your life. Or - most of the times - they don't talk about anything because there's nothing to talk about and just stare and eat ice cream. I know this is supposed to be relaxing and emotional and stuff, but I found it rather repetitive and dull.

I digress, so back to topic. I feel it would've been more convincing if they went more into depth in Days - you can't have a person being a cold-blooded killer on the one hand while being some ice cream eating lovely good smart uncle guy at the same time without diving into the complexity of this at least a little. Like, had he ever doubts about what he did? Did he do it for Saix? For himself? For both? When did Saix change? How did that show? Did he grow an actual conscience while being with Roxas? The game expects me to just believe that this assassin guy had a complete change of heart after spending about half a year with a guy who he can hardly find a conversation topic with.

It's not that I dislike turning an evil character into a good one - but Kingdom Hearts is so bad at it. I didn't believe Vexen was any good until the credits hit me, I expected him to go evil again every second. Xehanort did a shitton of evil things and at the end, they treated him like a misguided good guy. Saix gets a redemption arc out of nowhere by dying.
The franchise basically gives you point a, the starting point and point b, the end which is at the complete opposite of the character scale and claims that you have to fill the gap between yourself, otherwise you clearly didn't pay enough attention.
 

EliDZ

New member
Joined
May 30, 2019
Messages
14
Awards
0
Website
www.youtube.com
I kind of address this in my latest video essay . What I propose is that it isn't that Axel changed because of roxas's influence on him, but rather because he was growing back into Lea. Sure CoM was the first game to come out with Axel, however BBS is chronologically first. Lea didn't appear to be the type of person to want to be a cold blooded killer. However since he believe he had no heart it was easier for him to operate as one. He behave the way he did with Xion and Roxas because he could truly be himself around them aka they made him feel like he has a heart.

I like that there are people like you that want to have real discussions about KH. There is a lot to this story and you should definitely be asking these questions. If you want to see a unique topic that has a lot to cover you should check out the video It's mainly about Xemnas and figuring out what his hidden agenda was in KH2. Roxas, Axel, Xion, and Saix play a huge role in my video.

Whole heartedly agree that not enough was shown of these characters for their growth to be believable. Rather then figuring them through plot we have to solve their mystery by using the lore and their laws of nature. Bu it can be done, watch the vid and tell me what you think.
 

Face My Fears

She's not an "it"!
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
3,311
Awards
0
I think Axel's change of character stems more from how we perceive him. We see him through the lens of Sora at a time where Roxas still exists and Axel can hang out with him. It's expected that his character would shift when circumstances in his own life change IE Roxas running away and Xion being erased. Also, if you factor in that Axel (before Roxas appeared and he befriended him) was trying to earn Xemnas' immense trust to find out what happened to Subject X at the time of CoM (and before), undoubtedly Axel would be more cunning and manipulative to achieve his goal.

So we see him in CoM as ruthless and cunning because he is juggling earning Xemnas' trust, his friendship with Saix, and trying to protect Roxas/Xion. At that time, the solution was simple -- just kill the traitors and do whatever Xemnas says. Sora (and us the players) see only that in CoM. In KH2, Sora has no memory of Axel in Castle Oblivion, but we get reacquainted with him via Roxas. The circumstances have changed now: Roxas is a loose cannon and Axel is torn between Roxas and Subject X (following Xemnas' orders). I think his change of behavior can also be attributed to him growing a heart. I think meeting Roxas and Xion sort of started that process.

I think the real issue with Axel post-KH2 is that he isn't given the time or care to be fleshed out more than "I used to be bad, now I'm good!" I made a thread a while ago about what I thought was really good development for Axel's character, even though it was small -- Axel's removal of the tears on his face, so that he can actually cry now. I thought it was interesting to see this visual change from how Axel used to be, to how he is currently and how it was all based in Axel being forced to hide his emotions before.
 

Rodin

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2017
Messages
684
Awards
0
An Axel-centered spinoff might have helped show this transition better.

Granted I'm an Axel fan so I'm biased.
 
Last edited:

Sign

Site Staff Manager
Staff member
Joined
Nov 1, 2009
Messages
15,589
Awards
30
  • Ninja'd
  • In the Grid
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX
  • Ever Gentle and Kind
  • Fairest of them All
  • Jiminy's Journal
Axel was created because Nomura wanted to see what it would be like if FF7 Reno were a KH character. His behavior in CoM properly reflected the asshole that Reno was, as the sort of person who would drop a metal plate and murder thousands of people without even blinking. It's unfortunate that they've been drastically changed since their debut, with one becoming a fucking joke and the other having completely overstayed his welcome IMO.

It's concerning to me that the dev team has a history of turning antagonists into nice boys and girls whenever they grow too fond of them. Axel and Xion are two examples of this. Yes, this made their characters and relationship with Roxas all the more tragic, but they really should have committed to their original intentions.
 

Zettaflare

Ice Queen
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
10,271
Awards
2
Location
California
  • Anguis Union
  • Nothing's Like Before
Something that bothered me in regards to Axel and Kairi's relationship was he didnt seem to show much sadness over her death. Those two were together for most of the game yet he didnt seem to care much.

Almost as if now that he got his friends back he forgot about her, lol
 

Oracle Spockanort

the only villain on staff
Staff member
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
32,386
Awards
54
Age
28
Location
California
Website
twitter.com
  • Put That Thing Back Where It Came From
  • 15th Anniversary
  • Just Short of the Mark
  • Advanced Chain of Memories
  • Beauty Within
  • No Name
Something that bothered me in regards to Axel and Kairi's relationship was he didnt seem to show much sadness over her death. Those two were together for most of the game yet he didnt seem to care much.

Almost as if now that he got his friends back he forgot about her, lol
To be fair, nobody but Sora really reacts to her death. Even Riku has very little to do or say about the situation and they are supposed to be best friends.

And in general, Axel wasn’t really a proactive character in KH3. He’s just there to react and has little else to him.
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Messages
2,339
Awards
2
Age
27
Location
Mishopshno
  • News Hound
  • Keyblade Master
Alright, so, I think the problem here is that a lot of people tend to view the polarities in Axel's personality as if they ought to be mutually exclusive, whereas the games make a pretty strong case for why Axel is the way he is. As @Face My Fears pointed out, in CoM we view Axel through the lens of characters who have cause to mistrust him, and against whom Axel has cause to perform the part of an antagonist-- but we never learn why he behaves the way he does, and the game leaves us with more questions than answers as to what end his actions were intended to play out. What we learn about Axel in CoM are certain qualities of character: he's ruthless in pursuit of his agenda, he's highly intelligent and coldly at ease with manipulating others, but he's flexible in the degree of his antagonism depending on the situation: he makes it clear that he and Sora aren't actually enemies, which signals that there's something larger at play in his machinations. In total, Axel's depiction in CoM is openly coded as misdirection: it's plain as day that we aren't seeing this person for who he really is, we're only grabbing glimpses of the cards he elects to flash us from his hand. This is how Axel presents himself when he is managing a situation wherein he's comfortably in the driver's seat, sewing the kind of chaos only he can make sense of.

Advancing through the series as intended, KH2 deliberately eschews this reading of Axel's personality (in keeping with its thematic purpose of dividing every character into seemingly irreconcilable dualities that nevertheless reveal the truths of their internal realities) by immediately stranding him in a situation where he has no control. This is indicated textually by placing him in his first appearance inside of a virtual reality containment system that is designed and administered by a separate power, so he's rather literally out of his element, and it only goes downhill from there. In KH2, we see what Axel's like when he continually finds himself forced into a corner: he's no longer the master manipulator, coolly containing unfortunate complications with the backing of a powerful organization, but a rogue on the lam running on fumes and throwing every backup plan he has at the problem in front of him until all his errors finally rebound on him and he's forced to make that final, self-destructive gamble. In KH2, Axel is caught up in a chaotic scenario that is not of his making, and we see the toll that takes on him-- but we still don't have a strong sense of why he made the choices he did, and the ambiguous nature of his arc is summed up when Sora asks him rather directly, "What were you trying to do?" and all Axel can respond with is a fumbling attempt to categorize feelings he himself doesn't fully understand. The problem for Axel in KH2 is not that he suddenly became a different person, but that he was impacted by experiences that confused his fundamental perception of himself: more than anything, Axel was seeking a resolution to his own existential dilemma, and the only way he could find it was by taking himself to the threshold of existential annihilation and, ultimately, crossing it. There's an idea embedded in there that Axel was acting decisively not in his best interests during the events of CoM, that with every soul he eliminated he was actively digging his own grave deeper, and the increasing uncertainty with which he carries out his actions as an adversary with too many obligations to conflict closing in on him drives that home. Would he have eliminated Roxas during the prologue of KH2 if he hadn't been overpowered, in order to save his own skin? There's no correct answer, because by that point Axel already doesn't know himself well enough to be sure.

Then we have Days, which has as its sole task with regards to Axel bridging the seeming disparity in his depictions. It does this by removing the circumstantial framework dictating both of his previous appearances and allowing Axel to participate in the story not only as himself, but as someone being forced to look at himself for the first time in too long. Thematically, this runs as a tangent with and in many ways an intersection of Xion's journey of self-discovery, where she learns who she is and how to accept it, and Roxas's journey of self-insulation, where he refuses to look at the truth of who he is for fear of what he will see. Axel's age relative to the other two lends this process a unique quality, because it burdens him with a history with which he has to contend, textually referenced as "memories" which neither Roxas nor Xion carry inside their hearts. The question of why Axel latches onto Roxas, in particular, is a provocative one because it is so central to what occurs within and around him, and while the answer isn't made immediately apparent it becomes gradually excavated as the character drama that defines Days unfolds. First, we have to consider what we see of Axel and how it coheres with what we already know: factoring in his interactions with Saix, these conversations run him as close to CoM as Axel gets outside of actively inhabiting that role, and it reframes his decisions and actions in Castle Oblivion as being done in service of another's aspirations-- in other words, as indicated in KH2, Axel was not acting for self-serving gain in CoM, and in fact Days goes farther to reason that he's essentially taking on all the risk and getting his hands dirty for a cause which he would appear to regard as greater than himself (sound familiar? we'll get to that). His wits and careful strategic management of the game afoot are the only things keeping his head off the chopping block, so right away the throughline from his introduction in CoM to his demise in KH2 is laid out, but there's still some connective tissue to weave in. It's also in Days that we see the emergence (or re-emergence) of a side of Axel that he had been consciously or unconsciously suppressing in order to act in his capacity as the sword within Saix's agenda: it should be remembered that Axel was lead to believe he had no heart, and thus to distance himself from any experience of emotion as fleeting, erroneous, imagined, and inauthentic-- basically to dissociate from his internal state as much as humanly, or inhumanly, possible, so that the "cold blooded murderer" we see in CoM is a reflection of how successfully he was able to lean into that bifurcated construction of his experience of self as a "Nobody." Suffice to say, for Axel, being Axel is fundamentally a different thing from being Lea: he can do things as Axel that Lea would never do, and the life that he lived as Lea is like a "past life" that has no bearing on his present intentions. So when Saix refers to him using his old name, it's a way of cutting him down by dredging up the vulnerable, human past Saix knows intimately and through which he can extend his influence over Axel: it's a possessive, emotionally manipulative gesture, although it's rooted in the genuine legacy of their friendship (as all the most potent psychological buttons are in KH).

What we see as Days progresses is the increasing strain in Axel's conflicting attempts to maintain and balance both aspects of his entire self, which he has never been made to reconcile up to that point. While Roxas and Xion are busy rebounding off of each other in the text, the subtext to Axel's arc is that he is becoming increasingly internally compromised, and that's manifested in the stark divisions put to his loyalties in realtime: he's challenged to make choices that have no optimal outcome, betraying one friend for another, finding his sense of duty to the cause to which he had committed to as Axel shaken by the rediscovery of a moral compass and a personal directive he didn't realize he still carried with him from when he was Lea. And yet, though he doesn't quite get to the point of consciously realizing it, it was that moral directive that had always fueled Axel's intentions: at his heart, Axel is driven by an inverted form of the kind of heroism that is embodied by Sora (I believe this is even alluded to in CoM, with Axel saying something to the effect that they're more alike than Sora realizes), as both are willing to go to extreme and even self-sacrificial ends in order to protect and be of service to their friends. However, while Axel is more logically deductive, Sora is more emotionally intelligent, so the experience of falling in love iiii mean finding someone who makes him feel whole again at the expense of his safe and ordered separation of his internal identity surprises and unbalances Axel whereas that's the kind of depth of connection that Sora actively pursues.

So what is it that Roxas does to Axel, exactly? Well, first of all, he looks like Ven, which seems kind of quaint until we consider that Ven is a marked reminder for Axel of who he once was, reappearing suddenly and out of nowhere and preserved almost exactly to Axel's memory, as if he stepped right out of a time machine. Even if Axel didn't consciously recall Ven (and I believe KH3's journals make it explicit that he did, but honestly who cares about that game anyway), his heart, or the memories that would come to form the basis of it, would have reacted, and we know what happens in KH when the heart responds to something. Axel would have felt that connection, and been inevitably drawn towards it. But there's something more important that Roxas himself does, or more specifically, doesn't do, at least initially: he doesn't ask anything of Axel. The fact that he's empty and guileless means that he can't burden Axel with the kinds of dictations he receives from everyone else around him: Roxas isn't going to ask him to kill people because it's politically expedient, or beat up teenagers to keep them in line. The part of Axel that is Lea is absolutely attracted to that, an unexpected opportunity to kindle a potential connection that isn't made bloody and cynical by time and circumstance. Of course Axel himself doesn't understand this because he's not in tune with his own resilient humanity, but he's nevertheless compelled by it, and as Roxas grows into himself we see how the bond between them develops. Whereas with Xion, who inadvertently holds up a mirror to him and everybody else, Axel is gradually forced back into the position of prioritizing an intelligible order he believes is "for the best," at an inevitable human cost, which has the dual consequence of degrading the progress he had made in revitalizing his suppressed emotional experiences and, ultimately, poisoning his relationship with Roxas, leading to the fallout wherein he basically makes the decision to defy everything in a last ditch effort to self-actualize. Again, the heroic trope is carefully inverted to match Axel's conflict of character: he goes to save Xion, guided by his best instincts as Lea and in direct contradiction of what "Axel" believes to be best, but he nevertheless intends to do so by applying the methods of his Nobody persona and that bites him (he fails to understand/doesn't care that Xion has already self-actualized, and can't really be dissuaded from the path she set for herself; Xion later makes the opposite mistake in overestimating Roxas's readiness to accept who he is and what must be done). The existential crisis that Axel faces in KH2 is one of losing what he perceived (but did not fully comprehend) in Roxas as a "second chance," someone who makes him "feel like he has a heart" in the sense that he reminds him of who he used to be and almost seems to offer a redemptive path forward for him. In that spirit, it's fitting that his single-minded pursuit of that redemption actually does restore him to his human self (as I said, it took crossing that threshold and risking total annihilation, but you could say that was the price on Axel's soul).

As for everything post-KH2, I think there was a strong intention in designing a dramatic confrontation between him, as Lea, and Saix, in conjunction with his continued attempts to restore Roxas and Xion. The problem is that DDD is short on opportunities for deep characterization because it sets itself up with too much plot and doesn't distribute it economically, and then KH3 is...KH3, so while I don't think Axel is as thoroughly trashed a character as some, none of this pretext is ever brought to real resolution or payoff in any satisfying fashion. He asks Kairi to call him Axel as a way of recalling something he recognizes instinctively he must have known from his time as a Nobody, buuuut then he plays no part in bringing Xion or even (lol) Roxas back, so it doesn't matter. He crosses weapons with Saix in theatrical fashion in DDD but has no role in shifting Saix's allegiance in KH3, so it doesn't matter. And don't even get me started on Mystery Girl X. It does not matter.

But yeah. Prior to the games that suck Axel had a pretty good arc going for him, all things considered. I would have loved to see a version of KH3 where his skills as a tactician were put to proper use, maybe working with Namine, Riku and Aqua, hell even Ienzo, to develop actual plans of action in the decisive, fateful, potentially world-ending battle instead of walking into an obvious trap half-cocked and then getting mowed down by Super Saiyan Terra. Idk. He had potential, connections within the Organization (honestly, Isa ought to have been his greatest asset, but that kind of basic dramatic turnabout is beyond KH3's capacity to fathom), and that final showdown between him and Xemnas would have been so much more gratifying if he had actually fucked things up for the bad guys once again.
 

Nexale

Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Messages
32
Awards
0
Age
22
Location
Spain
Is a little late for posting here, but didn't have time before. There's so little less to add now, after all that has been said, but I wanted to add my grain of sand.

In few words, I would say that Axel character development seems right to me until DDD (even if my favourite is CoM Axel too). In any case, I would say that it is somehow rushed, and that is perhaps because we haven't had a game where he can be the protagonist (not saying that it would be necessary, just that it could have helped because Axel is somehow an "opaque" character, as Lexaeus points out, and been able to enter in his head always facilitate the process).

In many words, maybe is just a question of interpretations. Many seems to believe Axel is a tactician, but I have never see him that way, not even in CoM. I believe that his main ability is, on the contrary, adaptability: and is in that way too how I understand his development:

In CoM, Axel seems able to blend well with Marluxia and Larxene, but he also haven't got any problem with "plotting" with Zexion, convencing Repliku to do his dirty work, and also he somehow manage to make Sora almost feeling sorry for his "death". Yes, he is highly manipulative, but it doesn't seem to have a plan from the beginning that he is following step by step. I really doubt he had the initial idea of killing Vexen to gain Marluxia's confidence: but when the time arrives, he know how to use it at his advantage. The same goes for using Repliku: I doubt he expected him to survive, but like he does against all odds, Axel use him to get ride of Zexion and, why not, to try to kill the real Riku.

Then, in 358/2 days, I don't see him really changing so much. He openly says in relation to his plans with Saix "I will follow your game... for now" or something like that. Again, adaptability: is working with him because it suits him, and nothing more. Yes, they were friends in the past, but Axel seems really willing to backstabb Saix at any time. With Roxas, in the secret reports, he stated that is trying to get close to him just because is a keyblade wielder, and all of the "friendship thing" is a lie. Also, with Xion, he goes with a "well, yes, Roxas's friends are my friends too", but it seems everything except truth (his voice is not exactly enthusiasm, and he is looking in the opposite directions).

Until here, is yet completly CoM Axel. He is expending time with children? Why not? He can blend with everyone: he is an actor, and someone who seems to enjoy the act of acting itself. And then, is just a case of "becoming the mask", and I don't even see it like a completly straight case. Roxas and Xion are the only people in the organization that act like they have hearts, that cares for him, and also is the only ones with whom he can low his guard down, because they are not going to betray or use him. Is not so far-fetched that he start to really care about them too, and Sora's (and Roxas's) ability to connect with other hearts also help. So, he start develop a heart, and regain his emotions.

But still, he is really manipulative towards them both: he, again, "adapt". He acts with them like a "big brother" to gain their confidence and trust, but at the same time he is hiding the truth from them, a truth that he positevily knows they want to know. Maybe is not a conscience process, but it still is there. He is "happy" with them, so he try to keep them with him at any cost, ignoring their feelings and desires. He genuinely wants to help them, but at the end of the day he is working for himself and his benefit. And I don't see any inconsistence between caring for some people, and don't care the least and kill others (everyone of us care for some people and is indifferent to others, so in a fictional story where someone can even lack a heart I don't see weird to take that to an extreme).

Then, in KH2, as alexis.anagram wrote, nobody knows if he would have been able to kill Roxas or not. I agree with that. But the inmediate reaction is, "Well, the organization is against my head so it doesn't matter now. So, I'll try to get Roxas back because I am better with him. So let mess with both the Organization and Sora. I don't care the less." He kidnapped Kairi, but that blows up in his face, so again he change plans and help Sora. I really doesn't see that like a change of mind, a redemption or anything of the sort. He has already lose the war, he was injure, so he pass out in the fanciest way he find. He manage to save Sora (which remind him to Roxas) and gives a not very heartful apologies to Kairi. Kind of enjoy the show he himself has made. Again, with some evolution, he still look likes the CoM Axel to me.

BBS only shows him in an irrelevant scene (sorry, it was completely unrelevant and unnecessary, but ok), and it start to try to change it into someone who cares about sad puppies and want to "be remembered forever". Well, Axel always kind of like to work in the shadows, but he likes to show of too. Alright. He seems to pet the dog when he can, even if he is also willing to kick it, too. Whatever. Not really adds nothing to me.

And then, is DDD. And, in first place, I see again like Axel, perhaps a litte more warm one, doing Axel things. He still wants to get his friends back, so the best way to manage that is to follow the good guys. He doesn't seem to care the less about Xehanorth (if he even really know about him before talking with Yen Sid), the worlds or anything else. Just playing along with the heroes suits him this time more than it suits him following the bad guys (in fact, he only was with the bad guys for the same reason, to find Subject X). So he ask for a keyblade (always kind of like them, if one look atently to dialogue, even if they shouldn't have granted him one, which is a different topic) and goes to save Sora in order to save Roxas, killing two birds with one shot.

Until here, I see everything coherent, and more or less well explain (could have been better, but definitely is not wrong). Only, it let me with too many questions: does Axel, now Lea, really want to be a keyblade hero? Or is he just blending with the good guys to get his friends, which is the only thing he cares about? Will he betray them if Xehanort offers him to bring their friends back? If he rejects, will be because of having change his heart about betrayal or because he can't trust Xehanort? If he really wants to be a hero, is because he wants to protect the worlds or just because he likes the glory?

But that wasn't a problem, because in my opinion Axel has to be a complex character which always let you thinking what or why is he really doing. And, with my interpretation of events, he does precisely that until DDD. The problem is... KH3 doesn't solve any of this. Not only that, but KH3 Axel doesn't like like any previous Axel, but any KH3 character looks like any previous character, so is a more global problem that "Axel character arc is bad in KH3".

Maybe one of this questions is solvered in the next saga. But even if it does so, they will have to explain me why was he depressed in KH3 when in DDD has a really optimistic mood, why is he conform with doing nothing when he never followed orders before and causing trouble was his specialty, why was he over-apologeting to Kairi when in DDD he didn't even remembered she existed... and so on.

So, in summary, I thing they were doing things great until DDD, in DDD they lend questions open about Axel as a character that would have been better or worse depending of the resolve in KH3, but in KH3 has been no resolve and a change of characterisation that I'm still trying to digest. Is a shame, because he, like Sora, was one of the more powerful "dynamos" in the game that moves the plot fowards and to introduce chaos and "unexpectation".
 

Tartarus

Villain by Necessity
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
2,381
Awards
2
  • Fairest of them All
  • Nothing's Like Before
I never thought his character change worked either. I thought it was funny that people didn't want Isa to be redeemed despite all the horrible things Axel himself had done in CoM and KH2.
 
Top