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Kingdom Hearts & acknowledging LGBTQ+ content from Disney source material



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Oracle Spockanort

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Okay children, let’s make it clear right now that if I get any whiffs of homophobic nonsense targeted at the films brought up or towards any users here, I will ban you. No “it’s a game for kids” comments, no trying to sidestep the subject by saying it is irrelevant or political or anything else. If you don’t want to engage with the topic in a constructive way, don’t post in it.

This is mainly something I started thinking about after Strange World releases on Disney+ and how wonderfully open Ethan was as a gay teen.

We’ve had a few previous Disney films feature LGBTQ+ characters (i.e. Cruella, Jungle Cruise, Lightyear, Zootopia, Turning Red), or have had the cast of those films state that they played their characters as gay (i.e. Raya and the Last Dragon) (or are read as LGBTQ+ stories like Luca). We also have the Disney Channel shows like the Owl House, Proud Family, etc. that feature openly gay characters in lead and supporting roles.

It is fairly certain that more projects will come from Disney with more LGBTQ+ characters taking the forefront in bigger, more prominent roles, and it made me wonder about Kingdom Hearts.

As these projects begin to introduce more diverse characters in larger roles, it makes me wonder how Kingdom Hearts will handle such inclusions. Like idk about y’all but Raya and Namaari are enemies to lovers without the actual verbal acknowledgement, and I would hate to see that watered down.

Or if we focus on something concrete and intrinsic, to see Ethan’s identity hidden by essentially just not addressing it at all in lieu of focusing only on the adventure part of the Strange World story.
 

palizinhas

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I don't think we'd see a "Sora teases Ethan about crush" on the level he does with some of the Disney characters, but I think it'd get mentioned in his bio that he has a crush on someone at least.

On the matter of subtext I'm not sure how much SE would be aware or would expect the audience to be aware. Namaari is peak "midboss that helps in the final fight" and I don't think KH would lessen the importance she and Raya have to each other's stories.
 

Elysium

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I hadn't really thought about it. I just assumed Square Enix would depict anything from Disney as it is. I think Square probably has a slightly better (if still imperfect, of course) history with LGBT characters than Disney does? If Asha (from WDAS' new film Wish this year), for example, turns out to be LGBT like Ariana Debose is in real life--still unknown--I would expect they couldn't hide that if Wish were ever in KH and I'm not sure why they would. Especially since Nomura plays around with shippers of LGBT couples all the time, I wouldn't think he'd be against portraying openly LGBT Disney characters as they appear in the films.

I don't know what happens with ratings of games overseas though? Perhaps in some countries (the Middle East, Russia, etc.) where LGBT are outlawed, the game would have to be censored the same way they changed the depiction of Will Turner and the gun in KH2? But thankfully Disney has started resisting censorship of LGBT moments in their films overseas lately, at least to some degree, so I really don't know what would happen. I don't think Disney would allow Square to release a game where they then censor Disney characters for certain countries / regions if Disney doesn't even do that with their films themselves anymore?
 
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Face My Fears

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I haven't seen STRANGE WORLD (but this reminded me that I have to get around to that). However, regarding all the other situations, like LIGHTYEAR, it wasn't really front and center. It was just kinda there in the background. Would it be key information to be included in the KH retelling of the film's plot? Probably not.

Again, I can't comment on STRANGE WORLD, but the only reason romances are really ever covered in KH is because it HAS to be IE it's a MAJOR part of the story. This leaves only the DISNEY films that are built around romance like Cinderella, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast.

Since most of the DISNEY films don't have LGBT storylines as the main focus, I don't think it will be included or focused on besides maybe a mention in the journal. I'm not saying it will be done out of spite or anything, it's just that KH seems to shy away from romance storylines unless they HAVE to. I mean the MAIN ROMANCE of the game - Sora and Kairi - is treated so poorly already where some people still question if it even IS a romance.

I'm sure if KH does a STRANGE WORLD world, the gay character will be included, but I don't think there will be spotlight shone on that person dating or having a crush. Maybe they could hint he has a crush on Sora or something.

EDIT: On this topic, I really wish they would spend some time with Xion and actually have her discuss that she CHOSE to present this way.
 
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Willow A113

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We’ve had a few previous Disney films feature LGBTQ+ characters (i.e. Cruella, Jungle Cruise, Lightyear, Zootopia, Turning Red),
Those are all pretty good examples except for Turning Red. I don't think dancing with a girl is enough to call a character gay. I know it was supposed to be more deliberate, but since it wasn't, I wouldn't call her LGBTQ+ representation.

I would really love to see LGBTQ+ characters in kh, but honestly, I doubt it would happen. Most of the stuff from the movies could be very easy to simply not include in kh. And like @Face My Fears said, romance isn't really the focus of the series. The only movie I feel like it can't be removed from is Strange World, but I feel like it probably won't make it to kh because of how badly the movie did in cinemas. Also, I feel like Nomura wouldn't really want to put that in. He already sidelines his female characters and none of his characters are POC, he just doesn't seem like a writer who would put all that much representation into his stories. I don't want to call him a homophobe, he didn't do anything wrong, after all. I'm just saying it's not likely and don't hold your breath. I'm sorry if I'm being pessimistic, but I just don't want anyone to get their hopes up. I would be overjoyed to be proved wrong, tho! And hey, even if we don't get anything from kh, we're bound to get plenty from Disney as a whole, and that's something to be happy about!!
 

Face My Fears

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Those are all pretty good examples except for Turning Red. I don't think dancing with a girl is enough to call a character gay. I know it was supposed to be more deliberate, but since it wasn't, I wouldn't call her LGBTQ+ representation.

I would really love to see LGBTQ+ characters in kh, but honestly, I doubt it would happen. Most of the stuff from the movies could be very easy to simply not include in kh. And like @Face My Fears said, romance isn't really the focus of the series. The only movie I feel like it can't be removed from is Strange World, but I feel like it probably won't make it to kh because of how badly the movie did in cinemas. Also, I feel like Nomura wouldn't really want to put that in. He already sidelines his female characters and none of his characters are POC, he just doesn't seem like a writer who would put all that much representation into his stories. I don't want to call him a homophobe, he didn't do anything wrong, after all. I'm just saying it's not likely and don't hold your breath. I'm sorry if I'm being pessimistic, but I just don't want anyone to get their hopes up. I would be overjoyed to be proved wrong, tho! And hey, even if we don't get anything from kh, we're bound to get plenty from Disney as a whole, and that's something to be happy about!!
I thought the Turning Red LGBT character was the one people said was transgender - I think her name was Miriam? The LGBT moment was just two girls dancing?

I don't think it's really Nomura's fault. 75% of KH is DISNEY. If those films don't have LGBT material, then KH is pretty much not going to have it. The other 24% of KH is rambling on about darkness and the last 1% is a barely a Sora/Kairi romance. Nomura doesn't seem concerned to even include romance, which would be the only way to acknowledge a character is even gay or bi. For all we know, Nomura could "envision" Roxas as gay, but we would never be able to know if Nomura doesn't care to write a relationship. If Nomura doesn't even care to write Sora/Kairi properly by even ACKNOWLEDGING their romance, there really is no hope for OC LGBT characters (although I always wished that Xion would be explicitly stated as being non-binary/genderqueer).

At this point, the most probable thing would be DISNEY releases a film that is focused on a LGBT storyline and this film is so popular that it ends up in KH.

PS: Aren't all of Nomura's OC characters Asian? I'm not really sure they have a race, but they look like anime characters which are most of the time Asian. But I guess their race can't really be determined since they're all fictional.
 

Oracle Spockanort

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Those are all pretty good examples except for Turning Red. I don't think dancing with a girl is enough to call a character gay. I know it was supposed to be more deliberate, but since it wasn't, I wouldn't call her LGBTQ+ representation.

I would really love to see LGBTQ+ characters in kh, but honestly, I doubt it would happen. Most of the stuff from the movies could be very easy to simply not include in kh. And like @Face My Fears said, romance isn't really the focus of the series. The only movie I feel like it can't be removed from is Strange World, but I feel like it probably won't make it to kh because of how badly the movie did in cinemas. Also, I feel like Nomura wouldn't really want to put that in. He already sidelines his female characters and none of his characters are POC, he just doesn't seem like a writer who would put all that much representation into his stories. I don't want to call him a homophobe, he didn't do anything wrong, after all. I'm just saying it's not likely and don't hold your breath. I'm sorry if I'm being pessimistic, but I just don't want anyone to get their hopes up. I would be overjoyed to be proved wrong, tho! And hey, even if we don't get anything from kh, we're bound to get plenty from Disney as a whole, and that's something to be happy about!!
I plan on responding properly to everybody tomorrow as I'm dead on my feet, but I did want to respond to the bit about the box office reception.

KH's worlds aren't really chosen by their box office reception or anything. If things are still as they said years ago, Nomura and the staff get to see the films long before their release and they get to request to have them or not. Given how long KH4 has been in dev prior to its announcement, I imagine worlds are likely mostly locked in, which means they would have been given access to information on the recent releases a long time ago.

Box office success probably is a stronger indicator of what may or may make it in because it'll usually means there is a higher chance that the dev team enjoyed that film and requested to include it (i.e. Frozen which was selected for KH3 before it was actually released in theaters).

If box office success was an indicator of anything, we would have never gotten Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers in KH3D, that's for sure.

Also I'd argue that many of his characters are POC. I find it hard to believe a bunch of islander kids aren't anything but POC. Or Eraqus and Xehanort...Or like Vidar...Like Nomura could be BETTER about POC rep, though. He definitely likes leaning towards European traits, but ain't nothing non-POC about characters named Sora, Riku, and Kairi lol.
 

Elysium

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Those are all pretty good examples except for Turning Red. I don't think dancing with a girl is enough to call a character gay. I know it was supposed to be more deliberate, but since it wasn't, I wouldn't call her LGBTQ+ representation.
There's also Tyler. I'm not sure if he was confirmed to be gay (or bi, at least) by the director or anything, but probably a heavily implied thing sort of like Ryan from High School Musical. He makes pink, heart-shaped googoo eyes over 4*Town at the concert at the end just like the four girls.
 
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AegisXIII

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I think it depends what you mean by acknowledging. Square hasn't managed to depict a single romantic relationship in the entire series properly. (Has any original character ever kissed someone?)
But with the new turn of events and KH4 willing to take risks in its storytelling by going to places it never went, I think it's definitely possible. However I do not think it would come from the Disney properties. If anything, I think it could come from Quadratum itself in a subtle way, like Aegis and Magia living together.
 
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Idreamaboutcats

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Not gonna happen. And for one very simple reason.

Nomura can’t write a romance, and if he did he’d probably be terrible at it. The main couple has yet to even have one kiss.

There’s also one more thing. As much as I’m cool with those films the mod mentioned, they have a very dim chance of appearing in the series also for one other simple reason: they’re flops. In fact, most of Disney-Pixar projects post-2020 are flops. The only films that stand a chance of appearing are Raya, which is a flop but will probably make an appearance because “princess”, and Encanto because it’s still a flop but a grossing animated film on its release year. Take it with a grain of salt as those years were on quarantine, and the cinema industry has taken a big hit.

Edit: I really need to read posts individually instead of just the OP because it turns out FaceMyFears already said everything first.

Also I don’t think Nomura really cares about POC representation. That’s an American thing. Japanese animation has always been either brightly-skinned/eyed/haired people or genetics that simply don’t exist; diversity is not their concern, and as a whole they (the Yamato people) have almost always been homogenous among themselves, with only the Koreans topping them in that aspect.
 
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NoWay

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I’d prefer to not have any kind of sexual representation. KH is an action RPG and lore wise mixing up sexual orientation would add literally nothing in a story which focuses on Light, Darkness and Friendship. Furthermore, it’d just seem shoehorned and not like a natural part of the game.

I mean, even SoKai feels shoehorned in KH3/ReMind
 

Oracle Spockanort

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Not gonna happen. And for one very simple reason.

Nomura can’t write a romance, and if he did he’d probably be terrible at it. The main couple has yet to even have one kiss.

There’s also one more thing. As much as I’m cool with those films the mod mentioned, they have a very dim chance of appearing in the series also for one other simple reason: they’re flops. In fact, most of Disney-Pixar projects post-2020 are flops. The only films that stand a chance of appearing are Raya, which is a flop but will probably make an appearance because “princess”, and Encanto because it’s still a flop but a grossing animated film on its release year. Take it with a grain of salt as those years were on quarantine, and the cinema industry has taken a big hit.

Edit: I really need to read posts individually instead of just the OP because it turns out FaceMyFears already said everything first.

Also I don’t think Nomura really cares about POC representation. That’s an American thing. Japanese animation has always been either brightly-skinned/eyed/haired people or genetics that simply don’t exist; diversity is not their concern, and as a whole they (the Yamato people) have almost always been homogenous among themselves, with only the Koreans topping them in that aspect.
I’m not talking about him adding his own LGBTQ+ characters. I’m talking about him and the devs utilizing the ones that are present and will be present in future films without ignoring their identity or anything implied about their identity. Most of my examples don’t involve romance stories at all.

And that romance stuff is a load of crap. Nomura will utilize the romance stories present in the Disney films, regardless if they were the primary focus or not. For Mulan it wasn’t a focus but Mulan and Shang’s relationship is absolutely referenced in KH2.

Nomura literally has designed most of SE’s currently existing POC so I have no idea where this statement is coming from. FF7, FF8, FF10, FF13, KH itself which is full of POC characters (now there is a discuss to be had about colorism issues but lol we literally just got new POC with Vidar and Vali), FFO, and beyond…I would argue he’s one of the few designers and directors at the company who seems to care about diverse inclusions regardless of the intent and reasoning behind it.

And if you read my post just a few above, popularity of a film is not the deciding factor for the dev team when choosing worlds when they get to see most of them and make their pick before they are even in theaters. Popularity is only an indicator as far as predicting what they might choose because it means there is a higher chance they also enjoyed it like the masses. The ones I did mention were mainly examples of films with representation and how we are seeing more of it as we move forward in time.

I’d prefer to not have any kind of sexual representation. KH is an action RPG and lore wise mixing up sexual orientation would add literally nothing in a story which focuses on Light, Darkness and Friendship. Furthermore, it’d just seem shoehorned and not like a natural part of the game.

I mean, even SoKai feels shoehorned in KH3/ReMind
I’m not talking about “sexual representation”. I’m talking about identities. Also how is gay people being in KH “sexual representation” but all of the straight Disney couples not also “sexual representation”? I didn’t ask for a bunch of heteros to throw their romance in my face but I gotta sit there and watch Elizabeth worry over Will’s ass and Rapunzel and Eugene flirt. Please explain to me why that sexual representation is fine but oh no it’s an action RPG no room for gay people to exist?
 

AegisXIII

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So basically, Nomura will most likely never write romance in Kingdom Hearts.
And the only romance we get to see in the Disney worlds are the ones from the main characters. Unfortunately, I think most of the gay romances in Disney movies happen in the background and since Kingdom Hearts is usually making a brief summary of the plot, a lot of things have to be skipped.
I would say statistically, it's very unlikely with the material and the time constraints they are given. Then, I haven't seen the latest movies, but I do not think there has been a main gay romance in a Disney movie. The only one that comes to mind is the one in Lightyear but again, it happens in the background. And even more, latest movies do not focus on romance anymore.
I fear that if it were to happen, it would be as npc characters or hints in the background when you visit some places.
 

palizinhas

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People seem to be missing the point of this thread so hard that it's????

Disney+ literally just released a tv show (Willow) where one of its two central characters is a lesbian.

We are going to get to a point of major gay relationships in a Disney/Pixar movie soon - perhaps even before KH4 comes out. The question is HOW it will be handled in KH when they get there.

Say Wish has a lesbian protag with a love interest - would that be explicit in the KH version of the movie?

It's not about original characters at all.
 

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In what way
Sora and Kairi have already shared the paupu fruit and Sora erased himself from existence to save her. Clearly Square has more than friendship in mind for these two. Giving Kairi a random tomboy girlfriend would just be a middle finger to everyone who has gotten attached to the story this franchise is trying to tell
 

palizinhas

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Sora and Kairi have already shared the paupu fruit and Sora erased himself from existence to save her. Clearly Square has more than friendship in mind for these two. Giving Kairi a random tomboy girlfriend would just be a middle finger to everyone who has gotten attached to the story this franchise is trying to tell
Ehhhh. The biggest reason "giving Kairi a girlfriend" is unrealistic is because KH is unable to care about more than one girl per game. Imagine having to give TWO development! With each other! All at once!
 
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