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



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kirabook

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I know a lot of KH fans don't read the Ansem reports, but as a fandom collective, I'm pretty sure most people know Xehanort the apprentice is the one that yeeted Kairi. Not only that, he destroyed Radiant Garden, her home world. He tormented her bffs and even her new friends recently rescued. He also killed her in KH3, which set Sora on the path to sacrificing himself for her??? I mean, that's a good amount of beef, isn't it? Why wouldn't she want to take on Xehanort after all that even if she doesn't remember most of the childhood stuff?

I don't care what naysayers say though. They got their crappy "It's a dream!" excuse, meanwhile, Kairi wins a fight against Xehanort and there's no ifs or butts. I'm not in the business of pleasing people who will always and forever hate Kairi because she's Kairi. I want this character to be built up and have a win for once. To me, it's worse that she can't 1 on 1 Xehanort and needed ghost Sora to save her instead of letting her fight him herself.

I don't see any benefits to having someone else do it the way it happened in MoM. Even if she has to call on the power of all her friends (which I would have preferred), I don't think we needed a transformation scene of Sora taking her place for this one fight.
 

LoneFox

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I don't see any benefits to having someone else do it the way it happened in MoM. Even if she has to call on the power of all her friends (which I would have preferred), I don't think we needed a transformation scene of Sora taking her place for this one fight.
Why so? I think it makes at least some sense for her first formchange to be Sora Form... 🙃
 

Zackarix

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I have to write a message for my Angelica meme to be a reply.
BTW thread necromancer why did you bother digging up a thread that had been dead for over half a year? Just to post a bad meme? I can't even tell if you're complaining about Kairi's treatment in MoM or complaining about the complainers.

I think the point that most justifications or excuses for how Kairi was treated in KH3 and MoM miss is that this is a fictional story. This isn't an archeological dig where we're merely discovering the facts, the only reason ANYTHING happens in a story is because the writers choose to have it happen. Trying to justify those events with in-universe logic will fall flat because the complaint is aimed at an out-of-universe decision.

If Kairi landing a blow on Master Xehanort is so unthinkable even with the excuse that it's just a memory, not the real thing then don't have her solo Xehanort! Either change the villain or have Kairi discover some way to counter his power. Having Kairi literally be replaced by Sora is pathetic.
 

bambii

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I don't see any benefits to having someone else do it the way it happened in MoM. Even if she has to call on the power of all her friends (which I would have preferred), I don't think we needed a transformation scene of Sora taking her place for this one fight.
I'm probably being overly optimistic and will eat these words a few years from now, but I think there is a way to read this as set-up for a proper character arc for Kairi. Of course it's way past due, but better late than never. Up till now, the problems and challenges Kairi faces have always been filtered through her relationship to Sora and/or Riku. Her memory-confrontation with Xehanort is the first time in the entire series that we actually get to experience Kairi's own internal psychological conflicts. I totally get why people are pissed off about Sora saving the day in such nonsensical fashion, but at the same time, I'd probably be even more disappointed if they finally set her up to confront her trauma, then have her immediately succeed on her first go-around. In my opinion, that would be more—not less—shallow, because it would trivialize the intensity of what she's going through.

Of course Nomura could still totally bungle this and fail to carry through on building up Kairi's character once again, but I really do think there is reason to be optimistic. ReMind/MoM literally comprise the opening chapter of the entire Phase 2 saga. This is not the time to resolve long-simmering conflicts; on the contrary, it's the time to set them up, and I think MoM does that very effectively for Kairi. She's dealing with psychological trauma and the ghost/specter/memory of her abuser—a scenario in which her age-old proclamation of "this time, I'll fight" finally doesn't ring hollow because she's fighting for herself this time, not for the men around her (particularly Sora, whom she's been defined in relation to for the past 19 years). The fact that she has a good spar with Master Xehanort but ultimately fails to defeat him without Sora's support adequately sets up the defining tension that she'll have to resolve moving forward; it literally IS her character's whole conflict: defining herself, defending herself, etc. And the epilogue reinforces this trajectory by setting her up to develop her inner (and outer) strength by training with Aqua. Again, follow-through is another matter entirely, and I understand the frustration and skepticism, because yea—Kairi desperately needs a win. We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed.
 

AdrianXXII

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I'm probably being overly optimistic and will eat these words a few years from now, but I think there is a way to read this as set-up for a proper character arc for Kairi. Of course it's way past due, but better late than never. Up till now, the problems and challenges Kairi faces have always been filtered through her relationship to Sora and/or Riku. Her memory-confrontation with Xehanort is the first time in the entire series that we actually get to experience Kairi's own internal psychological conflicts. I totally get why people are pissed off about Sora saving the day in such nonsensical fashion, but at the same time, I'd probably be even more disappointed if they finally set her up to confront her trauma, then have her immediately succeed on her first go-around. In my opinion, that would be more—not less—shallow, because it would trivialize the intensity of what she's going through.

Of course Nomura could still totally bungle this and fail to carry through on building up Kairi's character once again, but I really do think there is reason to be optimistic. ReMind/MoM literally comprise the opening chapter of the entire Phase 2 saga. This is not the time to resolve long-simmering conflicts; on the contrary, it's the time to set them up, and I think MoM does that very effectively for Kairi. She's dealing with psychological trauma and the ghost/specter/memory of her abuser—a scenario in which her age-old proclamation of "this time, I'll fight" finally doesn't ring hollow because she's fighting for herself this time, not for the men around her (particularly Sora, whom she's been defined in relation to for the past 19 years). The fact that she has a good spar with Master Xehanort but ultimately fails to defeat him without Sora's support adequately sets up the defining tension that she'll have to resolve moving forward; it literally IS her character's whole conflict: defining herself, defending herself, etc. And the epilogue reinforces this trajectory by setting her up to develop her inner (and outer) strength by training with Aqua. Again, follow-through is another matter entirely, and I understand the frustration and skepticism, because yea—Kairi desperately needs a win. We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed.
I think I'd be more on board with this, if this were happening after KH2 and leading into KH3. With Kairi losing to Xehanort and needing Sora to take over here, it means she'll never have the chance to really face off and defeat the guy who's many incarnations derailed her life. MoM actually finally acknowledged that Kairi had personal beef with Xehanort, she isn't likely to have as much of a intertwined history with the Foretellers.

Also I'll continue to hope that this will be where Kairi's arc begins but at the same time it feels like we've been teased with her story beginning for the past 10+ years.
 
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Zackarix

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Yes, I understand wanting to be optimistic but Kairi has had "great set-up for an arc in the next game" in every game she's appeared in since KH2. At what point do we stop giving the benefit of the doubt? I'll believe that there are great plans in store for Kairi when the follow-through actually happens instead of getting my hopes up only to be let down again.

The best way I've seen it put was "A better role for Kairi is always coming, but never here."
 

bambii

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I totally sympathize with where y’all are coming from. Just to clarify my optimism a little more though (cause I’ve been through the same two-decade Kairi tease rollercoaster as you all), Kairi was never actually set up in any meaningful way if we’re honest about it. In KH2 they slapped her with a Keyblade, and the DDD secret movie was effectively the same: “oh you can wield a Keyblade.” Where are the personal stakes? They were hidden in the subtext; that’s it. There’s not a whole lot to do with the character until those stakes are made clear. That pattern persisted with Kairi pretty much consistently until Melody of Memory, irrespective of any ways in which a new “role” may have been teased for her.

My point is, yes it was shitty of the writers to falsely set expectations in the past, but at the same time IMO it was essentially baseless to expect a whole lot more than what we got, because there was never any real evidence that Kairi was being considered as an actual protagonist with inner conflict that the audience should care about. That equation has since changed. (… I think/I hope 😛)

EDIT: For the record, my theory assumes that we’re going to see more of Xehanort, if only as a psychological construct in Kairi’s mind/memories. Which I’m aware is not a popular idea… but that’s another can of worms entirely
 
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Meilin

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I am probably super desperate optimistic with this, but.....

I have two hail-mary hopes for Kairi and I can't think of anything else that would redeem her to me after all these fumbles.
1: Give me Kairi and Aqua training and pursuing their own quest so that Kairi becomes the only formally trained keyblade wielder of the Destiny Trio. Sora and Riku are both self-taught and Riku fell to darkness already. Having Kairi be the more formally trained, but less adaptable character would finally give her a gameplay and thematic hook linked to but separate from the boys (much like how aqua was magical, terra was slow and tanky, and ven was quick like sora in BBB). Give Kairi the ability to use formal keyblade powers like the glider instead of the power of waking the boys have, things like that. And not in the background, in their OWN DAMN ADVENTURE. Then she can bail Riku out in Quadrantum just like Sora saved his sorry bum from DarkAqua in KH3.

2: Tie her backstory in with Skuld/Subject X somehow and give her character depth using that. She has a relationship with Lea based on Xion right now. Wouldn't it be the most NOMURA THING EVER for Isa and Lea to make a connection between her and the girl that is basically set up to the be 3rd in their own Radiant Garden trio? This sets up Isa and Lea to have much deserved and overdue development of their own.

I love bambiis idea of Kairi handling trauma, but I don't think Disney or Nomura is up for writing that kind of story without fucking it up.
 

kirabook

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I do applaud your optimism. Kairi fans have it so tough honestly, I'd be super pissed if my favorite character was constantly on the back burner for no apparent reason. KH3 was supposed to be the finale and they undercut her there. This is one of the first steps into the new era and she's undercut again. I just don't understand.
 

Seasaltrio

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I know Kairi has been a very reoccurring character and many think she should be better at fighting than she is currently, but if you think about it, she hasn't seen barely any action with the keyblade other than training in a forest with Lea under Merlin??? who isn't even a keyblade wielder. So basically, that's really just playing around and getting the hand of wielding the keyblade. Also, I guess there's the few times she fights in KH3, so... Of course she's not going to beat freakin' Xehanort yet, but despite what others say, I believe with the right training (under Master Aqua) she might become just as good a figher as Sora, Riku and the others.
And I think Roxas, Xion and Sora not needing to train is a bit irrelevant to Kairi not hopping straight into where Yozora is in another side of the multiverse. Roxas and Xion worked up from really easy missions to super annoying boss battles and Sora was unwillingly thrown into a place where he had no choice but to fight (plus the difficulty grew from easy to hard.
So I personally think Kairi has great potential for KH4 and future games.
 

Zackarix

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Of course she's not going to beat freakin' Xehanort yet
As I mentioned in an earlier post, if Kairi landing a blow on a memory of Master Xehanort is too much of a stretch then don't put her up against him! Either have her discover a way to counter him or change the boss. Apprentice Xehanort would have been just as appropriate for the story and doen't have an established power level.
I believe with the right training (under Master Aqua) she might become just as good a figher as Sora, Riku and the others.
Why would training with Aqua be so much better than training with Merlin? Aqua may be a Keyblade master but that doesn't mean she's a good teacher.

Either Merlin's training was good enough that Kairi is now competent enough to participate or it wasn't and it was extremely irresponsible to send Kairi to fight in the Keyblade Graveyard at all.
And I think Roxas, Xion and Sora not needing to train is a bit irrelevant to Kairi not hopping straight into where Yozora is in another side of the multiverse. Roxas and Xion worked up from really easy missions to super annoying boss battles and Sora was unwillingly thrown into a place where he had no choice but to fight (plus the difficulty grew from easy to hard.
Are we assuming that Quadratum is nothing but superboss battles? And if the next game doesn't have a difficulty curve it will be a franchise first.
So I personally think Kairi has great potential for KH4 and future games.
Kairi has had great potential for future games for pretty much every game, but by the time the next game comes they've found another excuse to bench her. At what point do we stop giving the benefit of the doubt.

Kairi needing more training is an excuse to bench her. Once that excuse runs dry another will be found. Unless there's an active change in what Kairi's role is supposed to be she'll continue to be in storage most of the time and only be pulled out when Sora needs a love interest.
 

pastel.goblin

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I find it interesting how many people bend over backwards to justify why Kairi still isn't "good enough" to actively participate in the story, whereas apparently it's totally realistic for everyone else to be the level they're at. At the end of the day it's a video game, Kairi's lack of inclusion in the fighting boils down to the writers not wanting to include her and nothing else.
 

kirabook

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Sora and Riku did not need formal training to defeat Ansem Seeker of Darkness or Xemnas. Riku basically had no training. Sora "trained" with Merlin too technically.

EVERYTHING else they learned was on the road. This insistence that "Well, Kairi needs training!" is silly at this point. No she doesn't! This is not a shounen manga! She can run out to the worlds and get stronger too just like her two friends. Even Aqua, Terra, and Ven, the most "trained" wielders we have at the moment, learned most of their skills and abilities on the road, not from training with Eraqus.

This training excuse only seems to come around when it's about Kairi. No one says that about Sora, Riku, Roxas, Xion, or anyone else "new" to the field. No one says this when the story finds an excuse to bring everyone back to level 1. No one says Sora needs more "training" when he's against a tough enemy that's seemingly tough to beat. Just Kairi.

It was so silly to have Kairi and Axel in some pocket dimension "training" when they could've just as easily been on the road just like Sora who they continuously joked tongue-in-cheek would be starting back at level 1 because he lost all his abilities. What a missed opportunity it was to have Sora run into Kairi and Axel on a world somewhere and show how much she's improved on her journey. Instead, we get glimpses of her writing letters to Sora she never intends to send and a new outfit.

Sora: Oopsie, I lost all my abilities and I'm back to level 1. Gotta go adventuring again to build up my strength to face Xehanort!
Kairi: Um, I'm not ready to go adventuring because I'm only level 1. I'm gonna go train on a small world and nowhere else probably. Later Riku.

"There's no way Kairi could beat Dream Xehanort that she literally made up in her mind by herself! Of course Sora had to do it." Sora didn't defeat Xehanort by himself either! He did it with Donald and Goofy at his side. It still makes absolutely no sense.

I hope people can see the contradiction, and that there is no excuse why this keeps happening to her character specifically. At this point, she's on the back of the stove not the back burner.
 

pastel.goblin

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What a missed opportunity it was to have Sora run into Kairi and Axel on a world somewhere and show how much she's improved on her journey.
There was literally zero reason to not do this, and it would've been so much better than what they did. Granted, I did like some of her characterising and especially her speech about Naminé but my gosh. What point was there to that "training" other than having somewhere to shove her out of the way until the end of the game?

Hell, forget just running into them, include a whole level for Kairi learning the ropes with Lea in one of the worlds. I would've loved more interludes in KH3 playing as other characters.
 

kirabook

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To be honest, this is the kind of thing I was hoping Re:Mind would add. I feel like if this was like the past "Final Mix" versions of the game, they might've included a bit more interlude related things.

We did get the big battle in the sky with everyone and that was kind of the highlight of the mini-expansion for me.
 

Zackarix

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This training excuse only seems to come around when it's about Kairi.
It sort of applies to DDD where Sora and Riku being self-taught and needing to relearn things is the reason they're at level one again. But this only reinforces the double standard due to how it's handled. Instead of being sent to formal training Sora and Riku are learning on the job again! What a flimsy excuse.

What really gets me about Merlin's pocket dimension is that it exists specifically to justify Kairi being strong enough to be sent up against endgame bosses, then the narrative turns around and treats Kairi like a level one rookie anyway. I see people justifying this by claiming that all the training in the world is no substitute for hands-on experience, but if that's true Kairi hanging back to train instead of going on a journey is actively hurting her skills.
 

kirabook

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Kairi would've had Axel with her as well, a dude that has been to a bajillion worlds on missions probably and in a pinch could protect her if it really got that dangerous. He may be a noob with a keyblade but he still has his chakram (however you spell that word)

Imagine those two on a silly fieldtrip like adventure, big brother Axel showing her the sights. It would've made so much more sense too if he kept getting glimpses of Xion when he was with Kairi. You know, flashing back to the days where he went on mission with Xion and hung out.

Kairi and Axel could still have heart to hearts about Roxas, Namine, and Ven. It would've made MORE sense because Kairi would bring up how Namine is not truly able to be on this adventure with them because she is locked inside her heart.

Hindsight 2020 maybe, but I think most fans have drawn and written about this Kairi and Axel adventure before KH3's release. :/
 
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