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Spoilers ► Is the story of Kingdom Hearts really that confusing?



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Face My Fears

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The story is not confusing at all. If people spent the time to either read the journals or pay attention to cutscenes, the games make sense. The only KH game that would be confusing on its own is KH3 because there's so many plot elements that you would need to know. I've had people play only KHCoM, 2 or BbS and understand THAT game's story. I don't think Nomura ever released a game where its story is confusing. Even KH3's plot, if you look only at that, can be understood. The additional stuff like why Aqua's in the Realm of Darkness or Ven/Terra being in someone else etc. would be confusing. But KH3's plot can be understood on its own.
 

Rodin

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You might have heard this many times before. Whether it is "The games story is convoluted!", "The games are confusing and bloated!" and "The story should be more simpler!". I am sure you might have heard those quotes or some variation of those quotes in your lifetime. To be fair, those memes do have some merit to them to a degree but it is not always accurate. The plot of the games is actually straightforward and easy to grasp but it can leave you lost if you go into detail. Do not get me wrong, I think the writing could be better. What I would like to know if you think the story is that confusing? Or has it been exaggerated?
Both are true.

How confusing Kingdom Hearts can be is exaggerated by fandom. There are more confusing series out there and I could name a few. If you can't handle KH, you should avoid Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle and 90's X-men.

Just a friendly heads-up. ;)

To me, good storytelling is a sum of its individual parts. Like good characters+ interesting plot+ insightful themes equals good storytelling. You could add more elements like good pacing, cool setting etc but the answer is the same.

So Kingdom Heart's reputation for being confusing comes from bad storytelling.

It's a simple story told really poorly. And my patience ran out with DDD.

I hope that helps.
 

BufferAqua

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So Kingdom Heart's reputation for being confusing comes from bad storytelling.

It's a simple story told really poorly. And my patience ran out with DDD.
Yeah in all fairness, a story told poorly to someone can lead to confusion.
 

KHRULER

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The story didn't get confusing for me until DDD when time travel was introduced. There had to have been other avenues to expand the plot/universe of KH without introducing that into the story but whatever.
There were times that KH3 was confusing as well. I also remember a lot of fans (on here and elsewhere) being confused by some of the events of KH3 and it wasn't cleared up until Remind was released.

Prior to DDD, I would say that the story was unnecessarily complicated at times rather than confusing. Few examples: choosing to make Ventus and Roxas look almost identical, there being 2 "Ansems", there being more than 1 "Kingdom Hearts." All of these could be explained away in less than 3 sentences and everything is understandable, but these things are just unnecessarily complicated which isn't the same as confusing. These unneccesary complications also hardly add any depth to the series imo and the same goal could be achieved without these complications.
 

MATGSY

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The bad guy's name is Ansem.
No, some other guy is Ansem. The bad guy is Xehanort & he's real Ansem's apprentice.
Well actually no, he wasn't that much of an apprentice & it's a pretty minor footnote of his overall story.

This world is called Hollow Bastion.
Nope, it's Radiant Garden. Who started calling it HB anyway?

Vanitas is the dark half of Ven's heart.
Ha no, he's an external darkness that took over his heart & you're a dumdum for believing the other thing even though he's the one who told you.

This shit keeps happening. Nomura seems utterly unable to add to the story without outright retconning parts of it every game. & it's always an ugly, haphazard fit.
 

Rodin

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@BufferAqua
I dropped KH because of the cliched characters and meandering plot. The confusing elements just made everything worse.

It's not the only problem but the obvious one.

@MATGSY
Retcons are inevitable in an ongoing series. If you like Vergil from DMC3 or Bucky the Winter Soldier from Marvel, those are retcons.

But most of the Xehanort stuff didn't add much or was enjoyable.

I wished we could've skipped it entirely for the Foretellers.

Just have TAV be apart of the Unions or
Dandelions who come to our time etc.

@Willow A113
First Class was intended to be a reboot but they couldn't commit to it. So halfassing those connections led to those problems. It's a problem DC has and it's so much worse.

X-men got off lucky lol.
 
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Willow A113

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@Willow A113
First Class was intended to be a reboot but they couldn't commit to it. So halfassing those connections led to those problems. It's a problem DC has and it's so much worse.

X-men got off lucky lol.
Fair enough, but the point I was trying to make about how kh isn't the most confusing thing in the world still stands.
 

Chie

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It has no retcons as far as I'm concerned, of course I know people have a very different definition of retcon.

But nothing that happens onscreen is ever 'invalid', except for reusing YX's model that one time.
 

Just Dari

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How is DDD confusing? I have never understood that, as for the other games in the series, I'd recommend playing in chronological order, it's simpler that way.
The problem is DDD retcon's Ansem SoD's cloak form. Introduces time-travel, and virtually starts to allude to "if you played the phone games, what we're explaining in DDD should make perfect sense."

You can make a game as accessible, you can make it free, I'm not gonna play it, I will sooner watch someone else play the mobile game or wait for a summary than participate and call my personal stubbornness on the matter what it is (keep it stack) I have no desire to play the phone games, just how it is playboy.

Birth By Sleep having to needlessly explain that ceremony to pass the power of the keyblade to a successor, which is only ever done once in the entire franchise...? Just to supply Riku with context in the first game for why he was originally destined to take the kingdom key in contrast to Sora. We later see a back and forth in the first game on "what constitutes" you being worthy as Riku takes it back from Sora, and then vice-versa, that whole tug of war thing wasn't explained very well, and it borderline make BBS attempt to explain passing the power somewhat like it fell on deaf ears. No one's listening, no one cares, because it's quickly pushed to the back of the room and made irrelevant by other unpolished ideas and concepts that just take priority over that argument that's been made for decades now.

If the OP is talking about the games as standalones, multiple playthroughs would resolve issues to some degree. Its very similar to having watched a film multiple times to spot the easter eggs or pop-culture references. If we're talking about a time-line, transitioning across multiple games in an entire franchise, complaints about the story (even in a vacuum) it's still difficult to follow.

If you want my honest take on the timeline, kingdom hearts basically starts to feel like that shoenen Naruto, Kishimoto had all these ideas for all these characters and couldn't properly excecute all these individuals stories and make all of these characters relevant for their own personal arcs, all at once. In the case of kingdom hearts, look at it with reading glasses or basically the hunger games (the books, not films) and tell me does it do what those stories do? A franchise that builds 60% of it's identity on marketing Disney IPs, world travel, telling half-paced stories of fan favorite films, and the troupes are what get baked into the main character who they (game after game) rob of any real development up til DDD where he's made painfully aware that people that are suffering are "locked within himself and need to be freed/woken up".

Let me know if any of that was hard to follow, because explaining that to someone thats only played every single game a single time, they'll barely understand what the heck your saying and rightly so. A more fair playing field, would basically require you to play the games multiple times over, read the in-game journals and bestiaries, secret reports, etc since the game can't just tell you EVERYTHING through it's own merit in terms of its narrative.
 
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Face My Fears

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The problem is DDD retcon's Ansem SoD's cloak form. Introduces time-travel, and virtually starts to allude to "if you played the phone games, what we're explaining in DDD should make perfect sense."

You can make a game as accessible, you can make it free, I'm not gonna play it, I will sooner watch someone else play the mobile game or wait for a summary than participate and call my personal stubbornness on the matter what it is (keep it stack) I have no desire to play the phone games, just how it is playboy.

Birth By Sleep having to needlessly explain that ceremony to pass the power of the keyblade to a successor, which is only ever done once in the entire franchise...? Just to supply Riku with context in the first game for why he was originally destined to take the kingdom key in contrast to Sora. We later see a back and forth in the first game on "what constitutes" you being worthy as Riku takes it back from Sora, and then vice-versa, that whole tug of war thing wasn't explained very well, and it borderline make BBS attempt to explain passing the power somewhat like it fell on deaf ears. No one's listening, no one cares, because it's quickly pushed to the back of the room and made irrelevant by other unpolished ideas and concepts that just take priority over that argument that's been made for decades now.
I thought that whole ceremony was actually to explain how Kairi was able to wield a keyblade? Which - ultimately - didn't matter because Lea becomes a keyblade wielder. Why was it OK for Lea to just get a keyblade with no explanation, but Riku and Kairi needed some crazy explanation? I actually preferred the keyblade choosing Riku first (and not being obligated to go to him via ceremony), then changing its mind when Riku turned to darkness.
 

Just Dari

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I thought that whole ceremony was actually to explain how Kairi was able to wield a keyblade? Which - ultimately - didn't matter because Lea becomes a keyblade wielder. Why was it OK for Lea to just get a keyblade with no explanation, but Riku and Kairi needed some crazy explanation? I actually preferred the keyblade choosing Riku first (and not being obligated to go to him via ceremony), then changing its mind when Riku turned to darkness.
See?

You're blessed with the skill to cross-examine the situation, if we go back even to the first game. The King is the one that leaves a letter for Donald and Goofy to find the keyblade (user). Which eventually leads them to the End of The World where they find the king who found the Dark Realm's keyblade.

Us (the audience in 2002) are seeing this as something sacred. That there are only two keyblades. Right. Right...? Wrong.

The ceremony ends up being pointless because as you said, Lea was given one without explanation. The keybladers belonging to the factions from Chi/Unchained-X, same situation it's no longer a novelty, quite literally everyone has one. So any validity expressed in previous games which would "gatekeep" a weapon like the keyblade virtually get tossed out and is made irrelevant (lmao).

So the concensus then becomes, if they can just retcon information on a dime, following events closely and speculation on what is possible gets thrown into disarray and you're playing knock out, drag out with the writing team trying to make sense of all the information that is canon in one game, but gets retconned in a later game...so, does that invalidate what you played/learned prior? Seems like it.
 

vaderskywalker

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The problem is DDD retcon's Ansem SoD's cloak form. Introduces time-travel, and virtually starts to allude to "if you played the phone games, what we're explaining in DDD should make perfect sense."
How does that retcon xehanort's heartless's cloak form? (I refuse to call him Ansem, he is not Ansem, Ansem is blonde with a beard.) that is his heartless form, before he's given a humanoid form in KH1, and I don't play the phone games, I just look up the information, and store it in the back of my mind for later.
See?

You're blessed with the skill to cross-examine the situation, if we go back even to the first game. The King is the one that leaves a letter for Donald and Goofy to find the keyblade (user). Which eventually leads them to the End of The World where they find the king who found the Dark Realm's keyblade.

Us (the audience in 2002) are seeing this as something sacred. That there are only two keyblades. Right. Right...? Wrong.

The ceremony ends up being pointless because as you said, Lea was given one without explanation. The keybladers belonging to the factions from Chi/Unchained-X, same situation it's no longer a novelty, quite literally everyone has one. So any validity expressed in previous games which would "gatekeep" a weapon like the keyblade virtually get tossed out and is made irrelevant (lmao).

So the concensus then becomes, if they can just retcon information on a dime, following events closely and speculation on what is possible gets thrown into disarray and you're playing knock out, drag out with the writing team trying to make sense of all the information that is canon in one game, but gets retconned in a later game...so, does that invalidate what you played/learned prior? Seems like it.
Okay, I never saw Sora and Mickey's keyblades as the only two, throuout KH1, (and a little bit into Chain of Memories), they refer to Sora as a master, he was just weilder that everyone kept mistaking for a master, and it didn't make sense why until BBS, you can only become a master through training and discipline, so I always knew they were going to expand on that, afterall Yoda was a master and no one was questioning why, so why is it so hard to grasp with keyblade weilders, and Lea was given one with an explanation, obviously, Mickey, or Yen Sid performed the inheritance ceremony off screen, and sped up the process, so no, I don't believe it was retconned.
 

AegisXIII

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It has no retcons as far as I'm concerned, of course I know people have a very different definition of retcon.

But nothing that happens onscreen is ever 'invalid', except for reusing YX's model that one time.
I guess it comes from whether you joined the series from the start of with the compilations. If you started the series in 2002, you got time to theorizing a lot on some obscure forums and any decision that goes different than what was the consensus feels like a retconing. But objectively, I don't think there are some retconning in the series at all.
 

Just Dari

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How does that retcon xehanort's heartless's cloak form? (I refuse to call him Ansem, he is not Ansem, Ansem is blonde with a beard.) that is his heartless form, before he's given a humanoid form in KH1, and I don't play the phone games, I just look up the information, and store it in the back of my mind for later.

Okay, I never saw Sora and Mickey's keyblades as the only two, throuout KH1, (and a little bit into Chain of Memories), they refer to Sora as a master, he was just weilder that everyone kept mistaking for a master, and it didn't make sense why until BBS, you can only become a master through training and discipline, so I always knew they were going to expand on that, afterall Yoda was a master and no one was questioning why, so why is it so hard to grasp with keyblade weilders, and Lea was given one with an explanation, obviously, Mickey, or Yen Sid performed the inheritance ceremony off screen, and sped up the process, so no, I don't believe it was retconned.
I don't really have a response for you other than this. Yep.

Alright but forreal though, if the question was "i don't understand why the series is complicated, I understand it just fine."

I'm presenting reasons, I consider myself one of the few people that hasn't done multiple playthroughs of every game, I haven't read all the in-game lore, and despite being a member of this forum for decades, I've very rarely participated in these discussions. Hope that's enough of a dissenting opinion that would ratify one's confusion with the franchise.

Now, if you'd like to tell me, thats a personal problem however, bold, not incorrect, but bold.
 
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vaderskywalker

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I don't really have a response for you other than this. Yep.

Alright but forreal though, if the question was "i don't understand why the series is complicated, I understand it just fine."

I'm presenting reasons, I consider myself one of the few people that hasn't done multiple playthroughs of every game, I haven't read all the in-game lore, and despite being a member of this forum for decades, I've very rarely participated in these discussions. Hope that's enough of a dissenting opinion that would ratify one's confusion with the franchise.

Now, if you'd like to tell me, thats a personal problem however, bold, not incorrect, but bold.
First few parts of your post are understandable, as for the "personal problem" thing, I'm willing to listen, and not outright deny it, my ears are always open (or eyes).
 
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