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I guess that's why KH1 is still my favorite of the series. It was the least Shonen-y game in the franchise. It had much more of a Disney feel to it that subsequent games have replaced with more of a battle-focused power-scaling and convoluted plot points reminiscent of Dragon Ball Z or Naruto. KH1 focused more on the feels and the characters and the childish whimsy, whereas most of the games since have focused on the plot and the problem-solving. I think KH3 was the worst offender in this regard, and I pray that Nomura reverses course going forward, but it's hard to imagine that he will.
I honestly believe all the exposition rn is a consequence of people complaining about how confusing it is.Imo, KH being easy to understand or is all over the place is the least of my concern. I wouldn't mind if it weren't for the writing going out of it's way to avoid doing anything fun or exciting. I wish the plot was an "Cuh-razie!" as people say it is, because atm it's mostly loads and loads of boring exposition about shallowly pretentious concepts while shoving the character-driven narratives aside.
In that same vein, ever notice how every time new lore or rule is introduced they gotta have an exception? The rules of magic or the worldbuilding are always being modified with new add ons to explain something. Nomura and crew build their stories like kids who don't want to lose a game so they make up rules or exceptions to override past mistakes.On the issue with power dynamics and powers in general, I think the issue is deeper than just "Nomura doesn't understand power dynamics".
In the beginning, I like to think Kingdom Hearts had a mixture of "hard magic" and "soft magic". It had simple set rules that were rarely broken (or was a HUGE deal to everyone in the game if it was broken. Such as there being more people who can wield a keyblade)
As time has gone on though, I feel that Nomura writes himself into this holes that can't be explained other than to use softer and softer magic. Dozens and dozens of new rules are added and then almost immediately get broken. (You need the power of waking to save Aqua. But do you really? Getting back and forth from the dark realm to the light realm is extremely difficult, Aqua was trapped there for a decade, if you aren't a wielder of darkness. But oh, keyblades can do it now no prob)
I think Nomura and the writers are afraid of laying characters to rest permanently, so the "magic" gets softer and softer until there's basically no consequences at all. For almost any problem they have now, if they just believe hard enough, somehow they can overcome anything. What if Xion really was gone? What if Aqua didn't make it and passed off the answer to Castle Oblivion to the new generation? What if in destroying Terranort, Terra was finally free but he was all used up and disappeared too? What if Kairi got permanently fridged? What if that rock really did kill Goofy?
But you know, soft magic isn't always bad! It's something commonly used to defeat the final bad guy in all kinds of stories in almost every genre. It's part of the journey of being strong enough to hold your own and then needing one last boost in confidence to seal the deal. KH1 used it spectacularly.
But now... Kingdom Hearts is kinda doing that for.... well, everything. It's using these rules to hold characters back from progressing (Sora forgetting how to use the power of waking for some reason, so he isn't allowed to help save Aqua for 80% of the game) but then when it time is right, just hand waves it away (again, did he need the power of waking to save Aqua? Uh, no.)
"Soft magic" is ok... but I think for a story like this, you need a mix of hard and soft so that your story has structure, consequences, but also a feeling of achievement when the characters accomplish something. That feeling of accomplishment admittedly is getting smaller and more fleeting with every new entry.
When Nomura sets rules, he needs to keep them. If he doesn't plan on keeping them, he shouldn't write them at all. Nomura seems to have a set path from point A to point B, but the filling in between is making less and less sense, which brings down the enjoyment of point B.