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*MoM SPOILERS!* We really need to talk about Kairi...



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Launchpad

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Kairi's more serious plight, compared to being 'useful' or 'badass' (y'all watch too much Naruto I swear), is that she's lost a lot of characterization since KH1. She used to have a sense of humor, and a playful understanding of Sora's feelings for her-- She even joked about jetting off without Riku to mess with Sora.

It's not too late for her, though. I really, strongly think the next game, even if it's KH4, should star Kairi over Sora, at least partially. If Kairi went on a journey to find Mickey, who goes MIA on HIS journey, she could be accompanied by Donald and Goofy, and they could pull her out of her doe-eyed ingénue pit that she's in. No more 'training', no more waiting for Yen Sid to tell her what's next, just going for it, hitting Heartless, gaining EXP, and leveling up the way Kingdom Hearts God intended.

She has more of a chance than anyone to be an even character with a full range of emotions and moods. In the case of Riku, Aqua, Terra, and Roxas... No one's coming to save them from their boring stoicism. Kairi's the 'protag' that could actually turn out better.
 

The Kid

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I do agree with others who've mentioned that Nomura is very bad at writing female characters. He has full control of KH and the story so far speaks for itself. Hell, even in Versus XIII, the rumored plot was that Stella died when Noctis was a kid and he was seeing visions of her the entire game.

The FF games Nomura has helped work on got bailed out by having other creators who have strong creative control as well like Nojima and Toriyama (he's a perv but he's significantly superior to Nomura at writing women lol)

I think KH will need a bigger writing staff with new voices to collaborate with him for change to happen. IIRC from the ultimania, the first couple games had other people working with Nomura but the last couple games has pretty much him being doing everything from the dialog to the story and yea...
 

The Kid

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The 3rd Birthday would like a word
Touche that was awful. But his work on FF7 with Aerith alone is better than anything Nomura has done with any female character and even FFXIII's women would be a significant upgrade over KH
 

The_Echo

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Touche that was awful. But his work on FF7 with Aerith alone is better than anything Nomura has done with any female character and even FFXIII's women would be a significant upgrade over KH
I hate to break it to you but Nomura had a not-insignificant part in writing FFVII, including Aerith

And Toriyama is credited as an event planner, not even a writer.
 

Cumguardian69

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Kairi's more serious plight, compared to being 'useful' or 'badass' (y'all watch too much Naruto I swear), is that she's lost a lot of characterization since KH1. She used to have a sense of humor, and a playful understanding of Sora's feelings for her-- She even joked about jetting off without Riku to mess with Sora.
None of that ever mattered, and your mentioned points about Kairi's character fall flat as they were demonstrated in the first hour of the game and promptly D R O P P E D IMMEDIATELY AFTER, never to return except for a 2 minute scene with Sora and Kairi @ Traverse Town. lawl

Kairi is dead in the water fam. Just give it up
 

The Kid

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I hate to break it to you but Nomura had a not-insignificant part in writing FFVII, including Aerith

And Toriyama is credited as an event planner, not even a writer.
Nomura as far as I knew worked as a general story guy for FF7 not a guy who was writing the specific events or the character dialogues themselves. He was the one to push for killing Aerith over Barret but he wasn't in charge of her as a character. Toriyama was responsible for the Aerith scenes from the time Cloud falls to the Church through the Wall Market so her personality and the plots revolving around her was his work.

That said this is getting really off topic for what was a one-off statement in my overall post which is that the writing of female characters in KH is really not good. Kairi is the worst of it but it's an overall problem
 

Xagzan

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Kairi's more serious plight, compared to being 'useful' or 'badass' (y'all watch too much Naruto I swear)
You say that as if Nomura and Kishimoto didn't attend the exact same class on How to Write Your Female Lead.
 

toniostarke

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So, let's get right down to it. Kairi got screwed.
She got screwed hard.
And I think it's time we as a community address our expectations for her going forward.
A while ago, shortly after KH3 came out and we were all disappointed by Kairi's pathetic display in that game, I predicted that Nomura would never be able to actually allow Kairi to be the fighter we want her to be because of some irreconcilability between the vision we have of her and the vision he has of her. I think Nomura knows all of us want Kairi to fight and become her own character apart from Sora, and I think he makes steps to try and inch her toward that for our sake, but he can never actually bring himself to fully realize her as a fighting character, because the image he has of her is of this sweet, pure, innocent, ideal little girl, and I think he may be hesitant to actually make her grow up, similar to how some fathers often want their daughters to stay young and sweet forever and never mature. I think some sentiment like that is blocking Nomura from going all in with maturing Kairi's character, and I think he's terrified deep down to separate her from Sora and allow her to be independent.
What we've seen in Melody of Memory is further evidence of this to me.
This title was advertised as HER game. She was the one on the cover; she was the one in the trailers; it all takes place within her memories. This was an entry that was supposed to be all about her character. And after the end of ReMIND where she finally got to strut her stuff against Xehanort, she was all primed to take the stage and kick some ass.
And she got completely tossed aside on every count.
The story had almost nothing to do with her. I don't even know how they managed to screw this up as hard as they did. This whole concept was primed for a deep dive (no pun intended) into Kairi's backstory, an area of her character that we've only ever lightly touched upon and that everybody wanted to see more of. We wanted to see her childhood; we wanted to see her relationship with her grandmother; we wanted to see aspects of her as a person that had NOTHING to do with Sora or Riku. And yet, even though this whole game takes place inside HER memories, inside HER mind, and from HER perspective, it's still all just a trip through the experiences of every other character BESIDES Kairi, and the little, microscopic bit of insight that we DO get into her past is only for the sake of advancing the plot and focused exclusively on getting Sora back. We learned absolutely nothing new about Kairi as an individual. In a game that literally takes place entirely inside her own damn mind.
But perhaps the most insulting thing about MoM's climax is how the final fight is handled. Yes, Kairi did put up something of a fight, although it's clear that Xehanort wasn't even taking her seriously the whole time, only bringing out his Keyblade at the last minute once he started getting sick of it. So, for all the flash and gumption she showed during those cutscenes, it's all undercut by the fact that her opponent was basically just toying with her and she wasn't even posing a threat. Not to mention, the Xehanort she was fighting wasn't even the real deal—it was just a projection of her memories of him. She literally couldn't even best her own memories, which is extra sad. And the grand topper of course is Sora somehow stepping in to save her at the last minute. Now, this part rubbed me all the wrong ways for three main reasons: 1) It doesn't make any sense; how is Sora suddenly possessing Kairi if he's in another reality, and if there's some way that he can, why does Xehanort say "your voice can't reach us here" when his soul very clearly is? 2) It added absolutely nothing. Sora possessing Kairi was utterly irrelevant to determining that he was stuck in some fictional realm, as Kairi's flashback and Xehanort's apparition already hinted at that fact. In a better written version of these events, Kairi would have only experienced the flashback AFTER beating Xehanort as means of unlocking a repressed memory, and that would have given her the answer she needed. And finally, 3) it is beyond abysmal that Kairi can't even fight the final boss in her own game. They went through the trouble of making a gameplay model for her, they gave her two memory dive sections, and at the end, they stop short of actually giving her the fight THAT SHOULD BE HERS AND HERS ALONE TO OWN! And to add salt to the wound, she's the ONLY playable character in the game that doesn't show up with everyone at the end credits. Like, are you serious, Nomura? Are you just trolling us at this point? And on top of that, instead of actually stepping up to go on a real adventure, Nomura just decides to hold her back to train more. Granted, I think her training under Aqua will be pretty cool, but that's not the point. The girl can't stop getting benched. She's a more neglected character than Xion, honestly. And Xion literally got FORGOTTEN BY EVERYONE for the majority of this series. Yet even SHE does more with what little time she had than Kairi has done through this whole series.
So, I think, now that we've all been burned once again, it's time we all take stock of where we are in the story, and where we're likely to be going with Kairi's character.
I think this game has made it clear that Nomura has no intention of actually letting Kairi grow into her own character. She exists purely and exclusively to be Sora's girl, nothing more. Now, some might think I'm being harsh considering this is only the first game we've ever gotten with Kairi as the centerpiece, but let's take a look at Riku: he's only ever gotten two games where he's been a significant playable character (CoM and DDD), and both of those games made ample use of building his character. In fact, Riku went through more character development in those two games alone than Sora has throughout most of the series. Even in KH2, for which Riku was absent for most of the plot, he STILL got more character development than Kairi has in this game.
So, given what we've seen and given the roundabouts we've gone through with Kairi thus far, I think it's appropriate to keep our expectations for her future in this series in check. Because based on what we've seen, I have serious doubts that she will ever be made a fully independent character. Sora has had five games to be the hero (six if you count Data-Sora in Re: Coded). Three games (KH1, KH2, and KH3) he's had completely to himself. And if you count Roxas as an extension of Sora in 358/2 Days (which heavily revolves around Sora anyway), then that brings his total to seven games in which either Sora or some extension of him is the main protagonist. Riku has had two games alongside Sora to be the hero as well, and served as the main antagonist for most of KH1 AND 358/2 Days, along with being a playable supporting character in KH3. In all that time, Kairi has had diddly squat under her belt. She was nothing but a damsel in KH1; literally got forgotten in CoM; wasn't even mentioned I don't think in Days, or if she was, then she wasn't important whatsoever; again, nothing but a damsel in KH2; completely absent from Coded and DDD; and finally, in KH3, she gets sidelined for training the whole game, and then gets TWO fights under her belt—one against Xion and Saïx, which she gets trounced in even with having Lea and Sora as partners; and one battle against Armored Xehanort, which she handled well, but still needed Sora as an assist. Now, in MoM, she doesn't get a single fight outside of a cutscene. She doesn't even fight any Heartless.
So, don't be fooled, everybody. Even though the story is setting her up for more training, it won't lead anywhere meaningful. Best case scenario we're looking at down the line is that Kairi does learn how to actually take care of herself for minor skirmishes, but then when an actual important battle comes along, she may hold her own at first, but she'll eventually get beaten down and have to be saved by Sora yet again at the end of the day. And on top of that, the story will NEVER be about her. If it wasn't about her in a game that literally takes place entirely inside her own memories, then it never will be. The story will always be about Sora, and somewhat about Riku, but Kairi is only there to serve either as a guardian angel or a damsel to be saved depending on convenience. She has no existence beyond Sora and Riku. She has nothing that is uniquely her own. She has no ambitions for herself, she has no long-term goals, and tbh, she doesn't even have a real trio to be part of anymore. The Destiny Islands trio hasn't been a trio since KH2. Sora is closer with Donald and Goofy and Riku is closer with Mickey at this point than Kairi is with either of them anymore.
I just don't see a way that they redeem her character after this point, because I'm really not sure Nomura actually wants to. It's clear that he only sees Kairi as an assist for Sora and Riku, mainly Sora, and even if she does one day learn how to actually hold her own against a strong opponent, it'll only ever be with the assistance of somebody else, and it will only ever be in service of saving/protecting Sora or Riku.
Sorry this comment was so long and sorry about the pessimistic tone, but I just really needed to get this off my chest after playing MoM. I liked it fine enough as a game (although I have a whole different slew of criticisms about that), but the way they handled Kairi and the story to me was just unacceptable, especially after all the backlash Nomura got about her involvement in KH3. I expected him to learn how to handle her more from that, but considering how this game was marketed and the central conceit, this actually felt like a step BACKWARDS for her character in all honesty.
Personally, I was too busy busting a nut to the low poly render of KH3 Sora to really care that Kairi got cock blocked like that, but you're right there really was no reason she couldnt have done that on her own. And for Kairi to say she needs to continue her training is kinda crap and, now that you bring it up, does sound like Nomura afraid to let his little girl do the cool thing. The very idea of her having to train at all is kind stupid too, what with neither Riku or Sora needing any training before they could run up the sides of buldings and shoot lasers from their swords, but she needs MORE training now? what the hell was all that at the end of REMind then? This girl was tossing strike raids and crazy shit Sora wouldnt be able to do til his Drive forms in KH2 and she still doesnt think shes strong enough to go save her boyfriend?! It is kinda insulting, all things considered.
 
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DraceEmpressa

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And as for your "if they don't like it they don't have to play it" argument—that's the most obnoxious argument there is, acting like you can't be critical of something and call yourself a fan of it at the same time. People have a right to criticize whatever they want. If they want to go off and play something else, that's their business, not yours. Furthermore, criticism is the only way creators can get helpful feedback on what they're doing that people don't like, so that they can fix it in the future. Because if they don't get constructive criticism, then eventually what happens is people do exactly what you're suggesting: they just stop playing the games. And that means the games stop getting made. And I don't want that. So I'm sorry if people's criticisms make you uncomfortable or annoyed or personally attacked, but that's just how things work, and it's for the best at the end of the day. Hell, criticism from the fanbase gave us ReMIND, which made KH3 a hell of a lot better.
Try to think from the other side, why the "don't like don't touch(the work)" mindset exist in the first place. Most people can't tell the difference of a constructive critic and flat out bashing, and still so many people does their "constructive critic" with insults mixed in it, to use the freedom of speech and said need for criticism as justification for bashing. Maybe you can write a constructive, civil critic, but can you guarantee others would be able to speak off their criticism as civilly? Yes, not everyone would be that rude. But the majority are. Creators are moody, touchy people, and if they got insults, how is that going to encourage them to make more work? What is the guarantee the next comment would be a civil critic instead of insults? And then generally Japanese people are even more touchy/private than western people. Many Japanese artists now would just block anyone who speaks English for so many times western people offends them, for both their insults, many times in form of the bad kind of meme as well, even when they are praised by English speaker .

You forgot this is a business, as in, commercial business. It's not only the interest of the author that keeps the works goes on, it's the money flow. Even if the author wants the story to end, if it still sells so much companies will make them write more, or make more continuation even if the author disagrees, like with Megaman X series when Inafune want it to end at 5, Capcom still try to make more of the series. And the series didn't exactly stop at 8 as Command Mission and the new Dive gacha exists, so.... yeah, money is a big factor here.

Actions speaks louder than words, more like money (or lack or diversion of it) speaks louder than just words. Again, sure they need the critic to know what needs to be fixed, but they are not going to realize what exactly is wrong unless there is sales decrease. Like when Nintendo ported #TMS to Switch but it was censored and the Japanese has strike by buying off the WiiU version instead. It's a business, if it didn't notably affect the sales, then the change is hardly necessarry.

I'm not saying critic is completely unnecessary,because it is, I'm just saying you need to consider the other perspectives , such as the creator's, business and the Japanese perspective.
 
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