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Kairi should have been the star of the Kingdom Hearts franchise!



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SweetYetSalty

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And that is sadly the truth. You are right about her. She is technically not a character, not now, we have to wait until MoM comes out, maybe this game will redeem her in some parts, but since the first KH game, I can not really see Kairi her own character. Like I said it before, she is just a price for Sora. The most memorable part of her is actually her big feet, which is the reason I use them as my avatar. The sad thing about her is, that in concept, she sounds like a very interesting character, but in execution, she is one of the most poorly handled female leads I have ever seen in a story.
I mean a lot of this is true, especially her legendary big feet lol. But I feel Kairi doesn't get enough credit for what she does contribute. Not everything about her is just Sora. She likes collecting and making trinkets with sea-shells, wants to adventure just as much as Sora and Riku...or at least she did. We just need more screentime with her to learn more about her. I agree she's not written that well, but I don't think she's nearly as bad as many make her out to be.
 

Swing

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What she needs is more focus. In my opinion, they should have made her playable in DDD instead of Riku. I'm still not sure, why Riku gets so much attention from the developers. He doesn't seem to have a big connection with the other characters. Heck, I'm not even sure if he interacts with Kairi in KH3 once.
 

SweetYetSalty

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What she needs is more focus. In my opinion, they should have made her playable in DDD instead of Riku. I'm still not sure, why Riku gets so much attention from the developers. He doesn't seem to have a big connection with the other characters. Heck, I'm not even sure if he interacts with Kairi in KH3 once.
They could have all been playable in DDD. Riku and Kairi did not interact in KH3, which is why Melody of Memory seems to be correcting it.

Off topic but I love how you changed your avatar and made it bigger to emphasize your last post. Good stuff.
 

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What she needs is more focus. In my opinion, they should have made her playable in DDD instead of Riku. I'm still not sure, why Riku gets so much attention from the developers. He doesn't seem to have a big connection with the other characters. Heck, I'm not even sure if he interacts with Kairi in KH3 once.
There's an old Nomura interview where he says something to the effect of KH telling the story of Sora and Riku's relationship. If I have time I'll try to dig it up.
 

Swing

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There's an old Nomura interview where he says something to the effect of KH telling the story of Sora and Riku's relationship. If I have time I'll try to dig it up.
I didn't play all KH games, I missed out on some like Coded and Days, so maybe the relationship was a bit better explained in those games, but from what I played, I do not really get the feeling, that Sora and Riku have that of a great relationship with each other. For me, their bound feels more similar to that of two rivals like with Goku and Vegeta and Sonic and Shadow.

Sora actually has the biggest relationship with Donald and Goofy. He spends most of the screentime with those two, he interacts with them the most, and those two were the once that stood next to him in the final battle of Master Xehanort. Sora doesn't really have that great of a relationship with Riku or Kairi, to be honest. Riku is just his former rival and Kairi is just Sora's trophy girl.
 

Tartarus

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Riku gets attention because he was always an interesting character. Even in KH1, the difference in Riku and Kairi is stark. Kairi has always been a dud. The desire for a playable female character is misplaced with her. Why don't we devote that energy to raising up female characters who actually deserve that attention and would shine with it? I'd much rather play a game of Aqua and Riku searching for Sora than one of Nomura attempting (poorly) to give Kairi a flimsy character facelift.
 

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Riku gets attention because he was always an interesting character. Even in KH1, the difference in Riku and Kairi is stark. Kairi has always been a dud. The desire for a playable female character is misplaced with her. Why don't we devote that energy to raising up female characters who actually deserve that attention and would shine with it? I'd much rather play a game of Aqua and Riku searching for Sora than one of Nomura attempting (poorly) to give Kairi a flimsy character facelift.
Glad someone else said it. Kairi should just be given the bench, honestly, because any good character development has been spent in Aqua and with Kairi, it reeks of TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE. We saw two different trials in Riku and Aqua - Riku willingly getting DARKed, and Aqua forcibly being DARKed - both are Keyblade Masters, the same relatively age, and they could have a hell of a dynamic between the two if they had a feature length adventure. They're both pensive, both have a desire for peace, and both are actual fighters at their cores. I love to see it
 

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Riku gets attention because he was always an interesting character. Even in KH1, the difference in Riku and Kairi is stark. Kairi has always been a dud. The desire for a playable female character is misplaced with her. Why don't we devote that energy to raising up female characters who actually deserve that attention and would shine with it? I'd much rather play a game of Aqua and Riku searching for Sora than one of Nomura attempting (poorly) to give Kairi a flimsy character facelift.
I want to frame this whole post on a wall, with the bolded in golden letters.
 

SuperSaiyanSora

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It always baffles me that they didn't include Kairi as one of the mains in DDD. It's literally a perfect set up. Yes, the test goes all wrong from Xehanort's meddling, but it was supposed to be a safe isolated test from start to finish where they would have to start from the beginning and learn everything anew.

Why the hell wouldn't Kairi be included in that? It's such a perfect set up for her to get into the grove of things at last. Still very late in the game, but better than nothing.

How does Nomura and the writing staff keep overlooking these obvious opportunities over and over and over again? I just do not get it. To me, it doesn't seem like they don't know what to do with her. It's that they didn't feel like doing anything with her.

It seemed to me that Nomura already had plenty of stuff behind the scenes he considered writing about (BbSv2 trailer), but he just dropped her completely in favor of... well, Riku.

I don't even have anything against Riku, I think his role is fine as it is. I just wish they'd put that much effort in the third part of the supposed Destiny Trio sooner. But I guess as a writer, if you don't care about a character, it's going to be obvious no matter what you say in an interview or two.

Ehhh, the only reason why DDD wouldn't have worked to have Kairi is because that game is for those two to become Masters. If DDD happens maybe like a month or so after KH2 (3-4 months MAX), she just became a Keyblade wielder. Going into the Realm of Sleep for Sora and Riku has its dangers, but those two are more than battle-experienced enough to handle it. After all, they're being tested for the Master title. And considering what ended up happening to both Sora and Riku, despite how strong they are, it still was extremely dangerous. Sora himself almost became a vessel. So tossing Kairi into the middle of that would just spell doom, punching way above her weight class. Axel is a different case because he's had tons of battle experience and didn't have his Keyblade at the time.

I mean, that's what happened in KH3 but at that point, desperate times called for desperate measures and the hope was that her training was going to be enough.

I think what they could've done was do a 0.2 situation and give Kairi a 3-5 hour episode about her training to be a capable Keyblade wielder and put it in 2.8 or something. Maybe as an unlockable episode for beating DDD, like what they did for BBS and Blank Points. ReMind shows that she knows a bit of magic and has a Shotlock, but playing as Kairi, you definitely feel the inexperience in her move set. Although her Warp-Striking technique that's basically what Noctis could do, that's pretty impressive.
 

disney233

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Glad someone else said it. Kairi should just be given the bench, honestly, because any good character development has been spent in Aqua and with Kairi, it reeks of TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE. We saw two different trials in Riku and Aqua - Riku willingly getting DARKed, and Aqua forcibly being DARKed - both are Keyblade Masters, the same relatively age, and they could have a hell of a dynamic between the two if they had a feature length adventure. They're both pensive, both have a desire for peace, and both are actual fighters at their cores. I love to see it
I also want to see more of this....but Kairi, the one who has been with the cast since the beginning, SHOULD'VE had developed since the beginning before moving onto Little Ms. Mary Sue. I still blame Nomura for the too little too late bit. If you have THIS much trouble developing a female character, that female character shouldn't have been introduced in the first place. It's disgusting, and saddening that I have as much hope in a change as I do having Disney worlds with a relevant story than a movie play-by-play.
 

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Kairi is treated more like a Disney character with a set storyline (like the KH Disney Worlds, where they can't be altered beyond source material), than she is like a KH character. Kinda like she was designed to be the mandatory love interest for Sora, because Disney at the time was more conservative with their properties (Eisner/Iger, early 2000s). It's sad, but that is what it is. i'm not holding my breath for MoM to do anything significant with the character, and I have to say that I'm more interested in TAV venturing into the RoD, whatever Riku might be doing, and so on.
 

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Riku gets attention because he was always an interesting character. Even in KH1, the difference in Riku and Kairi is stark. Kairi has always been a dud.
Nah.

I get it, Kairi hasn't been given the proper attention nor the best writing. But the inner detest for her that some people have is frankly, unreasonable. Not that I can say much without looking like a hypocrite considering Tomoco Kanemaki's little self-insert Xion can go lie back down into the ditch of non-existence if you ask me, but I think Kairi had a good set up in KHI. She was spunky, adventurous, bright, and had a bit of a mouth to shade throw. While Riku was at the topmost jerk level, she wasn't entirely clean with her way of joking either. She had a mysterious past that she can't remember with the added benefit of being a PoH.

The potential and personality was there.

Then she got knocked out for the majority of the game to be the damsel in distress, only to then stay behind in the island after. The rest is history.

Really, what's being covered in Melody of Memory should have been covered years ago.

So while Kairi is lacking, I can't say I agree that she's always been a dud since the beginning. The set up was there and she was interesting, despite people hating on her for that one questionable raft line and for shipping reasons.
 

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I sometimes have the feeling, that Kairi was some sort of prototype for female KH-characters. Naminé was a better written Kairi, Xion was a better written Naminé, and Aqua was a better written Xion. Kairi feels really like an unfinished concept sometimes. Aqua is all that Kairi should have been.
 

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Pretty much everything @*TwilightNight* already said, especially about characters not needing to be able to fight to be a fully fleshed out character.

Yeah, back then a girl protagonist would have still a big issue for some folks.
This is still an issue in game development. I'm sure there are other examples but I know director Yoko Taro said that he, at first, struggled to get a female protagonist for Drakengard 3 which was released in 2013 (although I just realised... wow, that's seven years old already). This was a sequel in a super niche series that likely appealed to the sort of demographic who wouldn't care about the protagonist's sex anyway. I'd hope KH wouldn't have this issue nowadays, but none of us fully know what goes on behind the curtain.

If everything else in the original Kingdom Hearts had been the same, I couldn’t see Kairi working nearly as well as a protagonist as Sora. The main draw of Kingdom Hearts back then was the idea of exploring Disney worlds in this immersive, three-dimensional way with a unique story and Final Fantasy embellishments.

Sora is (was) a normal kid. Gets a magical weapon, boom, off on a magical adventure through the universe to do something as simple as find his best friends. He’s a nice audience surrogate to witness the world and events that unfold within. Most players will find him relatable even if it's just as 'some random kid'.

Kairi’s not a normal kid and never has been. She comes from another world, of which she has no memories (though I was under the impression this was originally just due to her being very young?), and is a Princess of Heart. There’s lot more baggage that comes with having her as the protagonist. (Unless they swapped it up and just made Sora a Prince of Heart with memory loss, but in that reality he’s probably the one who exists solely to pine over/be pined for by Kairi, and other versions of ourselves are debating whether Sora should get his own KH game, haha.)

Whilst I don't think she would've been as good a protagonist as Sora at the time Kingdom Hearts began, in retrospect I definitely think Kairi had the potential to be a better, more interesting protagonist. Exploring her existence as a PoH, what that means, why she's the only one with a Keyblade, if this means she has to defend her fellow Princesses from the forces of darkness/anyone wanting to exploit the PoH’s power could’ve provided us with interesting character progression if she had been KH's protagonist. Heck, Chain of Memories could've even been how they explored her forgotten past. But that's not the reality we live in.

Personally, I like Kairi, though only a little bit and it took me until KH3 to start actively liking her. Before that I was ambivalent—she just existed and I was all, “Okay”. Like Swing said, she was basically just a prize for Sora. Either that or a plot contrivance on legs.

I would like to see Kairi get her time in the spotlight, however that may manifest, because let’s face it: Kairi isn’t going anywhere. Regardless of whether or not Nomura should get rid of her, have written her better from the start, made her the games’ main protagonist or whatever else is irrelevant. She’s too important to Sora to just be vanished from the series without rhyme or reason. The only way I could see Kairi being removed is if she literally died/was killed permanently, which ain’t gonna happen. (I mean if Nomura ever has the balls to actually kill off a KH character, especially someone like Kairi, more power to him.)

If she must be here, make her being here worthwhile. Personally, I’m hopeful she’ll get more attention going forward—but to what extent? That is the crux.

This has been another public political broadcast from the Doesntknowwhentostoptyping Party.
 

SweetYetSalty

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I sometimes have the feeling, that Kairi was some sort of prototype for female KH-characters. Naminé was a better written Kairi, Xion was a better written Naminé, and Aqua was a better written Xion. Kairi feels really like an unfinished concept sometimes. Aqua is all that Kairi should have been.
Be careful with statements like this. Comparing female leads is a declaration of war. Always make sure your shield is flame proof.

With that said, Aqua's a great, but if Kairi were to be like her, I would hope she would have better interactions with Disney characters. Aqua's Disney interactions were nothing to write home about, and some were really boring ones with a few exceptions. Zack doesn't count on 'Disney' interactions by the way. Actually Kairi could use a Zack character for some funny moments. Maybe they can use Noel XD
 

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Not even Sora has good interactions with Disney characters, this is due to Disney's world burger nonsense. Peak disney was either KH1 or KH2 (love seeing Sora get slugged tbh)
 

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if this was the plan all along, creating a simple character like Sora that can interact with Disney-characters, shouldn't they also just make the story simple as well? I do not really see the point in creating such an over-complex backstory for someone like Kairi if this isn't what KH is about.
 

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Kairi's backstory was pretty simple in KH1. A princess of heart who was casted out and landed in DI where she met her future best friends. Its only now that they are retconning things into existence because Nomura loves the rule of drama.
 

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I still don't get when the whole "Kairi was an itty bitty toddler so doesn't remember her home" became "oooh, she doesn't remember anything, how mysterious!!" Was it when BBS became a thing? Since that meant Kairi had seen a Keyblade and a wielder long ago. I don't remember what I ate for dinner last night, let alone stuff that happened when I were mini-Kairi's age. I never knew my backstory was so mysterious...
 
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