Should Kingdom Hearts Explore DATING/RELATIONSHIPS?



REGISTER TO REMOVE ADS

Nukara

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2017
Messages
335
Awards
0
Age
22
Location
Russia.
Nobody is ever really gone in KH. Replica Riku also still has Way to Dawn which was something of a hint about him eventually getting the chance at being his own person.

Yeah, exactly. 2.8’s credits came out a long time ago. That is plenty of time for Nomura to change his mind. Also Roxas and Namine never interact at any point in KH3, and instead they decide to focus on Namine and Replica Riku’s connection and make that a focal point of the scene when Riku reaches out to Namine. That was meant to represent the promise Replica Riku made to Namine.
I don’t know, it seems to me that leaving Repliku was his final farewell to this character. He entrusted the future to Riku.
Yes, and Repliku's feelings are largely based on Namine's false memories. The same Roxas and Namine, regardless of the fact that they are nobody Sora and Kairi, built their communication separately from them.
 

Zettaflare

Ice Queen
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
10,357
Awards
2
Location
California
  • Anguis Union
  • Nothing's Like Before
Maybe but its fun to think about. Plus i prefer it to other fan theories like Namine is Streltzia, Xion is Skuld and Ienzo is Blain. Those are painful to read.

There's a fan theory that Kadaj, Loz, Yazoo are Riku's older brothers and I want that bossfight.

I liked giving Sora a connection to Sion who was the main character of the Bouncer.

In terms of love I'd prefer if you did the structure of FF13-2 and between new characters or someone existing/new.

Im not too big on pairings within the main cast. So i rather they find someone outside their circle.
I always liked the fan theory of the Sephiroth trio being Riku's older brothers. I figured if Destiny Islands was playable and Nomura allowed FF characters in KH3 we could have seen that, lol
 

Sign

Site Staff Manager
Staff member
Joined
Nov 1, 2009
Messages
15,716
Awards
30
  • Ninja'd
  • In the Grid
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX
  • Ever Gentle and Kind
  • Fairest of them All
  • Jiminy's Journal
Maybe but its fun to think about. Plus i prefer it to other fan theories like Namine is Streltzia, Xion is Skuld and Ienzo is Blain. Those are painful to read.
I cringed just by seeing your post. Can't imagine what it must be like to actually read those lol
 

*TwilightNight*

Bronze Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2005
Messages
1,857
Awards
2
Age
30
  • Keyblade Master
  • Master Defender
I don’t know, it seems to me that leaving Repliku was his final farewell to this character. He entrusted the future to Riku.
Yes, and Repliku's feelings are largely based on Namine's false memories. The same Roxas and Namine, regardless of the fact that they are nobody Sora and Kairi, built their communication separately from them.
My stance on it from before:

That whole situation is strange.

The only time Naminé ever acknowledged Repliku is that one drawing in KHII. Otherwise, it's like he never existed. Not one single breath of him she puffed. Whatever connection they have is Naminé violating his mind to be obsessed with her [by orders] and her feeling very guilty about it. He doesn't know her. And they never had that much content in CoM. Perhaps someone can explain what this "strong connection" they have is?
How much of that was on his own volition and how much of that was due to the brainwashing? Would he had done the same if Naminé hadn't messed with his heart and mind? He accepted they were fake, but he's still acting on feelings that wouldn't have been there if it wasn't for her. Repliku in general was a non-factor post-CoM. That's why the sudden plethora of relevancy in III came out of left field to me, some more build up would have smoothed it better.
And really, what do we know for anyone to dictate what would make her happy with the "let them be happy". We have nothing on her perspective on things with Riku Replica aside from probably wanting to make amends. The sacrifice was sweet, but felt random. Naminé was more or less used as a prop to close Riku Replica's arc more than anything. I also felt she had more of a thing for Sora in CoM. Nomura says one thing, but there was hardly basis for it. And he tends to do that a lot.

Roxas and Naminé are in limbo. Subtly there, which makes sense since they barely appear sans their game(s) proper, but not forgotten either. The 2.8 credits do have a specific couple montage. Before that was the friendship montage. Post-KHII we have:

DDD:
When Roxas shares his memories (i.e. pain) through Sora, you see it consists of his memory of Data Twilight Town, with Naminé appearing in more than two of them. KHIII alludes to this in two ways.
- One, within the secret report written by Ienzo where he states that getting the data from virtual TT was crucial in returning Roxas and Naminé.
- And two, when Sora flashbacks to that very moment in DDD when in the Final World, in which he says, "I know how much you're hurting. I...felt that pain through Roxas." Roxas, somehow, shared Naminé's hurt. This might have to do with them bonding over their mutual and eventual ends (returning to Sora and Kairi). I don't know....lol.

KHIII: "Roxas too, he misses you!" in the Final World, and it connects to -
Spoiler Spoiler Show


And then miscellaneous things like:

The 2.8. couple montage -
IMG_20190909_211638.png

I remember Sora/Kairi's part draaaagged, lol.

And -

IMG_20190928_023216.jpg

So Nomura hasn't forgotten about their connection, but it isn't in your face either. We can't fully ascertain anything until they interact physically again. My thing is I don't know if it even matters now? We first need to question if the old cast will be relevant in the future.

As for the topic in question, no, not focused on romance. Sora and Kairi are in this situation where they are the only pushed, canon couple of the series. Yet Kairi's lack of inactivity and absence in any of his adventures (unlike Riku), leaves scraps to go by in terms of relationship development. The paopu scene in KHIII was cringe. You either make it friendly or romantic, don't half ass an awkward mix of both. That was odd.

Most of what Nomura decided on in that game makes me wonder who okayed it and thought it was good.
 

The Kid

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
42
Awards
0
Nomura does not and really has not ever cared for romance and you can see that in his lack of development of the one actual somewhat romance in the series (Sora and Kairi). Even in other stuff he did like Advent Children, he always said he never cared about who was with who lol

IIRC Nojima is more of the romantic writer. Idk how involved he is with Kingdom Hearts anymore though
 

Raz

i'm nobody
Staff member
Joined
Mar 22, 2005
Messages
9,083
Awards
4
Age
26
Location
Midwest
  • Nothing's Like Before
  • Keyblade Master
  • News Hound
  • Retired Staff
I'd rather they keep it loose and ambiguous so we can all read into the relationships what we want than, say, heaps of canon heterosexuality.
 

alexis.anagram

one step closer
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Messages
2,361
Awards
2
Age
27
Location
Mishopshno
  • News Hound
  • Keyblade Master
Previously, I haven't been of the opinion that KH would benefit from overt romance, but I'm also at the point where canon gay (or should I say, explicit in-your-face gay, because SoRiku is easily as "canon" as SoKai by any reasonable metric) is the only thing that could potentially reignite any spark of interest for me in the series, so in the context of that impasse, I'd take if it was done well and focused on the right couples/triads/what-have-you. Given where the series is headed (none of which I like, but putting aside my preferences), it might actually be the optimal route to follow from a narrative perspective.

In the first place, I think post-KH3 it's clear that this story is not an ensemble character drama in the vein that many/most fans had envisioned it, or in the style that some games (especially the Days/BBS/Coded trilogy) prefaced. Yes, there is a large cast of characters, but the reality is that they're present primarily for plot utility and to drive pathos and emotional development (of a kind) for a set range of primary protagonists while the rest are regarded as tertiary at best. Nomura clearly has more interest in designing mysteries and setting up plot points than developing relationships, and while it may seem counterintuitive to argue that romance would suit this narrative structure, it nevertheless carries the potential to focus specific character dynamics that Nomura wants to emphasize (Sora x whoever, Roxas x whoever) while providing for a kind of literary coding that allows audiences to read into their emotional journeys without necessarily having to do the work of writing them. Basically, it provides a dramatic shortcut through actual character writing, which is why we saw Nomura leaning on SoKai so heavily throughout KH3 while neglecting to explore and further define other, more complex relationships: it's easy to convey an emotional incentive when it can be boiled down to "love" in its traditional definition, because most societies precondition people to accept (heterosexual, monogamous) "love" at face value as something desirable and worth pursuing and defending at all costs. When it's done poorly (like SoKai) it can also come across as superficial and lazy, but Nomura's proven himself capable of mismanaging character arcs without any direct insinuation of romance (Aqua, Namine) so his problems as a writer run a lot deeper than one predictable pairing and, imo, have more to do with his philosophy (or lack thereof) on the role of women in fiction.

In essence, I agree with the argument presented by others here that Nomura doesn't have a great handle on how to write characters in connection with each other, as he seems to do a better job of composing a story when he has his elements sufficiently compartmentalized, and even then it isn't always consistent. For example, the BBS trio, notwithstanding some valid critiques as to execution, each have solid individual arcs with good dramatic grounding up to a point, but they don't really cohere as a unit in the sense that they've lived together and share familial bonds. By contrast, the Days trio has the best group dynamic, but that has a lot to do with the pared down and comparatively restrained structure of the story surrounding their introduction, and I suspect the fact that Nomura was able to double up Xion's narrative utility as both a "new surprise character" (he loves those) and a mystery box (plus some other factors) gave him the personal incentive to, ironically, develop her into one of the most emotionally intelligible and human characters in the series (until he got bored of her, like Namine, the other best written character). And then there's the DI trio which has just become an utter mess, which many people anticipated or hoped could be salvaged during KH3 only for Nomura to double down on his absolute worst tendencies and relegate their shared internal dynamic so far to the Dark Margins that it has now been corrupted into the Anti-Trio, with no chemistry or even a comprehensible arc left between the three of them whatsoever, just a whole bunch of weird passive aggressive indifference alternating with toxic possessiveness but somehow all coded as "friendship." Eek.

And yet it's telling that Nomura's first instinct following KH3 was to go back to that well of SoRiku, because their relationship serves (exactly) the same purpose as Sora's and Kairi's in that it provides a useful pretext for audience investment-- the difference being that their relationship has been actually developed as the central focus of most of the games, and so it doesn't carry the same cheap connotations which tend to drag down developments in Sora's and Kairi's dynamic. Nevertheless, it provides the opportunity to isolate Sora and Riku out from the rest of the cast and highlight their "connection" as the driving rationale for the next game as a zero effort, low risk method of ensuring some continuity in the fandom (despite the fact that this is all very been there, done that by now). Regardless of how effective this strategy is, I think it's worth recognizing that it's (likely) being done at the expense of virtually every other character who was brought back during the events of KH3, and possibly Kairi as well. And that's not all, because if these trends hold true then we have to contend with the reality that the next "main game" is going to be contriving ways to introduce and make narrative space for even more characters than KH3 had to manage, which will inevitably lead Nomura to cut character content down to only the most essential and strongly developed instances within the series (SoRiku, Axel/Roxas/maybe Xion, Namine is friendless forever).

There's a lot of reasons I find that frustrating, but even so, at some point it does bare consideration: if Nomura is really just going to settle into repeating and reinforcing the same character dynamics that have already been established among the current ensemble for the ease and convenience of it, that's functionally the same as writing romances between them to the exclusion of other potentially rewarding relationships and the underlying themes that could be explored through them, because either way we're not getting those. At which point I figure he might as well just start lending some explicitly romantic overtones to things, because at least that might spice them up or offer some added significance/payoff.

Of course this only works if they're going gay with it, and I'm not just saying that because I like the gay things, but because that's where all of the actually established, human-ish forms of emotional connection are at in this series. Sora and Riku, and Axel and Roxas, are the only two pairings that have any kind of reasonable grounding currently; SoKai could have worked at one point but it's become a narrative ankle bracelet cuffing both Sora and Kairi to the 2006 readings of their characters and thus doing a disservice to both of them. And unfortunately I don't even think two women have exchanged words in this series since Aqua visited Cinderella so we have nothing to go on there (although yeah I guess exchanging seashells is pretty romantic).

Ultimately, it's not that I think the series as a whole would benefit from romance, but that I think the series as it is has very little that's new or interesting to offer even in its absence, unless Nomura makes some big changes to how he approaches it. Regardless, I think the idea that he's going to backpedal to focus on the inter-relations between the protagonists now that KH3 is over in any substantial manner is pretty wishful thinking, and flies in the face of how he has directed this series. There will be superficial "connections" between characters that serve a purpose for plot, but he's not going to waste time exploring the concept that Terra's choices had a direct influence over Riku's future when he could be introducing the Next Mysterious Antagonist or designing another damsel in distress subplot to exploit.
 

redcrown

Active member
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Messages
898
Awards
0
no chemistry or even a comprehensible arc left between the three of them whatsoever, just a whole bunch of weird passive aggressive indifference alternating with toxic possessiveness but somehow all coded as "friendship." Eek.
I'm curious, what do you mean by the "toxic possessiveness" and passive aggressiveness, specifically between the DI trio? The only overt instances I can think of was in KH1 with Riku's whole arc and Kairi's "just the two of us" comment. If you're talking about KH3 I'm assuming you mean there was an unintentional implication of animosity between them? I would say it was unintentional if that's what you mean since writing subtlety, especially in KH3, isn't a strong suit of Nomura.

I'm probably reading what you're alluding to completely wrong here though.
 

alexis.anagram

one step closer
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Messages
2,361
Awards
2
Age
27
Location
Mishopshno
  • News Hound
  • Keyblade Master
I'm curious, what do you mean by the "toxic possessiveness" and passive aggressiveness, specifically between the DI trio? The only overt instances I can think of was in KH1 with Riku's whole arc and Kairi's "just the two of us" comment. If you're talking about KH3 I'm assuming you mean there was an unintentional implication of animosity between them? I would say it was unintentional if that's what you mean since writing subtlety, especially in KH3, isn't a strong suit of Nomura.
It's the unintended result of attempting to execute poorly grounded material which is riddled with inconsistencies. The biggest problem for the DI trio is that Kairi has actively regressed as a character, from a young woman with her own history (KH1) and the potential to act on her own instincts (KH2) to a passive romantic cipher who doesn't do anything other than think about Sora and magically appear where and when Sora needs her. She has no distinctive personality and no meaningful relationships with anyone in the series aside from Sora, which causes it to appear as though she has no interest in anybody else although there are brief, feigned attempts to cultivate some other driving motivation for her: wanting to help Namine, which goes nowhere; training for most of KH3 with Lea, which goes nowhere; meeting the woman who inadvertently granted her the ability to wield a Keyblade, which goes nowhere, etc. Kairi's "character arc," if you can call it that, is a dramatic dead end (no pun intended) so her efforts to continually insert herself into Sora's story feel forced on a narrative level and skew her personal journey to make it appear as though she is eternally dependent upon him, both to remain relevant and to achieve anything resembling growth or progress (just look at how they chose to compose all of her appearances in the OP). The Paopu tree scene is exemplary of this, because its framing is just so absurd: Sora wonders about Riku, who is within spitting distance of them, and Kairi's first response is to shrug it off and then shove a paopu fruit in his face as if to redirect his attention on her. That's meant to segue into a romantic interlude but it's so awkward and sudden that it ends up feeling gross, manipulative, and needy.

This isn't helped by the fact that the subtext (and occasionally the text) for both KH3 and DDD have gone out of their way to dispel the notion that Sora has any singular kind of interest in Kairi, romantic or otherwise. It's not that he doesn't care about her or doesn't like her, but beyond recognizing that she has a special utility for him as his "light," ("I feel safe with you, Kairi") he doesn't appear to be altogether strongly attached to her. He doesn't think about her once all throughout DDD, in KH3 most or all of this thoughts while traveling are of Riku, and when he's sitting alone with her watching the sunset in the moments preceding what Kairi will point out is "their toughest fight yet," he looks right past her and wonders what Riku is up to. Again, it gives the impression that Kairi can only ever get Sora's attention when she's actively monopolizing it, either because she does something to make him look at her, because she's the only one around, or because she's in imminent danger and he has to drop everything for her. Their dynamic is just not remotely romantic, and every indication we get is that they like the idea of each other more than having much actual regard for each other as people: for Sora, Kairi is his "light" and he will always need her to be that, and Kairi seems to project some past, idealized version of Sora onto him as a way of papering over the fact that she hasn't actually spent any valuable time with him and learned about how he's been changed by all the experiences he's been through. Hence why she still wants to do things like share paopu fruits even though the thought never occurred to Sora.

This is doubly detrimental to Kairi, because her whole character has been so thoroughly wrapped up in symbolism (representing "home" in KH1 and "completion" or "wholeness" in KH2) that every time the series tries to convey her feelings through added symbolism it just ends up making her seem less like a person and more like a narrative prop with a static, predefined role. When she hands her good luck charm back to Sora at the end of the scene in BBS where Sora tells her he needs to go after reading the King's letter, which was initially framed in KH2's ending as if it was for the entire DI trio, it's a direct contradiction of any progression she had made up to that point, and yet KH3 somehow manages to make the situation worse by subtracting any symbolic value from her participation in the story (she can't represent home because Sora isn't lost, she can't represent completion because Sora is whole) and reducing her, finally, to a totally basic plot device. She's no longer present to even metaphorically validate Sora's journey or provide some sort of thematic presence: her sole purpose is to act as a narrative checkpoint leading Sora from one storyline to the next and as "motivation" for him to place himself in the crisis of separating from her again.

Meanwhile, Riku's situation doesn't merit a high degree of examination, mostly because I think it's obvious how deeply disconnected he feels from both Sora and Kairi in KH3, even though it's kind of jarring in its suddenness. There's a sense that he's preoccupied with some situation that doesn't involve either of them but that's never justified within the story in any meaningful way besides Kairi brushing it off. He's "mad!" when Xehanort kills Kairi but otherwise doesn't seem all that affected, he lets Sora go after Kairi without even offering to help ("she's my friend, too!" or literally any indication that he cares would be cool) and there's never any effort (from any of them) to insinuate their friendship as a shared dynamic between the three of them. They just don't have any chemistry as a unit anymore, but Nomura still wants to parse their relationships with one another using the series' language of deeply felt, spiritual connections, so he keeps stumbling into all these graceless depictions of friendships that feel like they're waning even as we're being told they're stronger than ever. The dissonance is palpable.
 

*TwilightNight*

Bronze Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2005
Messages
1,857
Awards
2
Age
30
  • Keyblade Master
  • Master Defender
It's the unintended result of attempting to execute poorly grounded material which is riddled with inconsistencies. The biggest problem for the DI trio is that Kairi has actively regressed as a character, from a young woman with her own history (KH1) and the potential to act on her own instincts (KH2) to a passive romantic cipher who doesn't do anything other than think about Sora and magically appear where and when Sora needs her. She has no distinctive personality and no meaningful relationships with anyone in the series aside from Sora, which causes it to appear as though she has no interest in anybody else although there are brief, feigned attempts to cultivate some other driving motivation for her: wanting to help Namine, which goes nowhere; training for most of KH3 with Lea, which goes nowhere; meeting the woman who inadvertently granted her the ability to wield a Keyblade, which goes nowhere, etc. Kairi's "character arc," if you can call it that, is a dramatic dead end (no pun intended) so her efforts to continually insert herself into Sora's story feel forced on a narrative level and skew her personal journey to make it appear as though she is eternally dependent upon him, both to remain relevant and to achieve anything resembling growth or progress (just look at how they chose to compose all of her appearances in the OP). The Paopu tree scene is exemplary of this, because its framing is just so absurd: Sora wonders about Riku, who is within spitting distance of them, and Kairi's first response is to shrug it off and then shove a paopu fruit in his face as if to redirect his attention on her. That's meant to segue into a romantic interlude but it's so awkward and sudden that it ends up feeling gross, manipulative, and needy.

This isn't helped by the fact that the subtext (and occasionally the text) for both KH3 and DDD have gone out of their way to dispel the notion that Sora has any singular kind of interest in Kairi, romantic or otherwise. It's not that he doesn't care about her or doesn't like her, but beyond recognizing that she has a special utility for him as his "light," ("I feel safe with you, Kairi") he doesn't appear to be altogether strongly attached to her. He doesn't think about her once all throughout DDD, in KH3 most or all of this thoughts while traveling are of Riku, and when he's sitting alone with her watching the sunset in the moments preceding what Kairi will point out is "their toughest fight yet," he looks right past her and wonders what Riku is up to. Again, it gives the impression that Kairi can only ever get Sora's attention when she's actively monopolizing it, either because she does something to make him look at her, because she's the only one around, or because she's in imminent danger and he has to drop everything for her. Their dynamic is just not remotely romantic, and every indication we get is that they like the idea of each other more than having much actual regard for each other as people: for Sora, Kairi is his "light" and he will always need her to be that, and Kairi seems to project some past, idealized version of Sora onto him as a way of papering over the fact that she hasn't actually spent any valuable time with him and learned about how he's been changed by all the experiences he's been through. Hence why she still wants to do things like share paopu fruits even though the thought never occurred to Sora.

This is doubly detrimental to Kairi, because her whole character has been so thoroughly wrapped up in symbolism (representing "home" in KH1 and "completion" or "wholeness" in KH2) that every time the series tries to convey her feelings through added symbolism it just ends up making her seem less like a person and more like a narrative prop with a static, predefined role. When she hands her good luck charm back to Sora at the end of the scene in BBS where Sora tells her he needs to go after reading the King's letter, which was initially framed in KH2's ending as if it was for the entire DI trio, it's a direct contradiction of any progression she had made up to that point, and yet KH3 somehow manages to make the situation worse by subtracting any symbolic value from her participation in the story (she can't represent home because Sora isn't lost, she can't represent completion because Sora is whole) and reducing her, finally, to a totally basic plot device. She's no longer present to even metaphorically validate Sora's journey or provide some sort of thematic presence: her sole purpose is to act as a narrative checkpoint leading Sora from one storyline to the next and as "motivation" for him to place himself in the crisis of separating from her again.

Meanwhile, Riku's situation doesn't merit a high degree of examination, mostly because I think it's obvious how deeply disconnected he feels from both Sora and Kairi in KH3, even though it's kind of jarring in its suddenness. There's a sense that he's preoccupied with some situation that doesn't involve either of them but that's never justified within the story in any meaningful way besides Kairi brushing it off. He's "mad!" when Xehanort kills Kairi but otherwise doesn't seem all that affected, he lets Sora go after Kairi without even offering to help ("she's my friend, too!" or literally any indication that he cares would be cool) and there's never any effort (from any of them) to insinuate their friendship as a shared dynamic between the three of them. They just don't have any chemistry as a unit anymore, but Nomura still wants to parse their relationships with one another using the series' language of deeply felt, spiritual connections, so he keeps stumbling into all these graceless depictions of friendships that feel like they're waning even as we're being told they're stronger than ever. The dissonance is palpable.
I'm going to add my two cents here. They have a limit when it comes to the relationship between each other due to Sora himself being the main protagonist. It's also why it seems almost unfair when pit against the other trios Kingdom Hearts provides, and probably why some are also not convinced about TAV. Most of the media, be it films, novels, anime, manga, etc., depict the developing friendships of their characters/cast as a focal point. There are multiple instances and chances for those bonds to strengthen and be expressed because they are all part of the protagonist's ensemble. They are around each other majority of the time, they know where to find the other, they have to interact. This is why Days works for RAX to people (putting aside my opinion of the toxicity of their friendship). They have nothing else going on for them majority of the game except choosing to associate with each other as colleagues. BBS allows elements of the inter-relations of TAV to show when they cross each other within their own personal adventures aside from the beginning, but because they are separated as individuals with their own arc that ties in to the overarching plot, it's not as deeply rooted . For Sora, this isn't possible due to the very premise of his adventures - he travels alone. Oh wait! He has Donald and Goofy with him!

And that's the first crux of the issue.

Nomura cannot change this status quo, because at its core, it's a Disney game.

All of Sora's development, growth, pain, sorrows, joys, are solely shared not by the cast of the series, but by Donald and Goofy. This automatically excludes Kairi and Riku from understanding his journey and experiencing it with him. Riku partially escapes this by pure virtue of being an antagonist in the first game, having a story of his own told from his perspective in one side game while appearing in another, and then comes DDD where he and Sora work together. It's why we get a clearer substantial scope of their relationship. It appears they are going to get that again based on the secret ending. Which personally, is getting freaking old.

And here's the second crux of the issue.

That leaves Kairi alone due to the narrative choices already made when it comes to her involvement. That is, staying only on the island because she can't fight after being comatose for a good chunk of the first game, and only able to wield a weapon in the near of KHII.

With Nomura, it's either not knowing what to do with her now or deciding not to do anything with her. Kairi keeps getting paid dust and the attached string they hold for anything meaningful with Sora is the romantic undertones they have hinted at and established previously when she's spent all her time being inactive and staying home. I still don't get why she had to after KHII. She could've gone with Sora and Riku to begin her training instead of waiting the last possible moment to show her as a tease that essentially never went anywhere in KHIII. Nothing is going to change until he starts inputting Kairi, and for some nonsensical reason, he refuses to do so.

It's also why the cast of the KH series as it stands don't feel like true companions. They have their personal tales not having to do with Sora (this essence of separation I spoke about) and the one chance they had to start the grounds of a group of comrades is butchered and rushed (including issues like Isa not visibly apologizing to Xion an Roxas, but crying about some Subject X they knew that was never mentioned until this game, Roxas and Riku running around together when they have yet to ever have a positive exchange, Sora caring so much about bringing back Roxas only to have their reunion be a nod of acknowledgement and therefore lackluster to the extreme) while simultaneously establishing focus elsewhere that will bench some of them.
 

alexis.anagram

one step closer
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Messages
2,361
Awards
2
Age
27
Location
Mishopshno
  • News Hound
  • Keyblade Master
I'm going to add my two cents here. They have a limit when it comes to the relationship between each other due to Sora himself being the main protagonist. It's also why it seems almost unfair when pit against the other trios Kingdom Hearts provides, and probably why some are also not convinced about TAV. Most of the media, be it films, novels, anime, manga, etc., depict the developing friendships of their characters/cast as a focal point. There are multiple instances and chances for those bonds to strengthen and be expressed because they are all part of the protagonist's ensemble. They are around each other majority of the time, they know where to find the other, they have to interact. This is why Days works for RAX to people (putting aside my opinion of the toxicity of their friendship). They have nothing else going on for them majority of the game except choosing to associate with each other as colleagues. BBS allows elements of the inter-relations of TAV to show when they cross each other within their own personal adventures aside from the beginning, but because they are separated as individuals with their own arc that ties in to the overarching plot, it's not as deeply rooted . For Sora, this isn't possible due to the very premise of his adventures - he travels alone. Oh wait! He has Donald and Goofy with him!

And that's the first crux of the issue.

Nomura cannot change this status quo, because at its core, it's a Disney game.
I'm not sure I understand what the fundamental difference is between TAV and SRK in terms of opportunities presenting themselves within the story to develop these characters both as individuals and in relationship to one another. With RAX, yes, the entire narrative devotes itself to establishing their dynamic, and that has a lot to do with how it's positioned in the series as a whole, but the games diverged from portraying Sora as the sole playable character, with Donald and Goofy at his side, as early as the second installment. Riku has been either a playable character or a party member (or both) in virtually every game Sora appears in post-KH1. Kairi, on the other hand? If we want to make the comparison to TAV, it would be like leaving Ven unplayable in that game while Terra and Aqua go on their adventure and we just get little snippets of him waiting at Land of Departure wondering if they're OK until the third act begins and he gets kidnapped by Vanitas and Xehanort. Even when there were obvious chances to incorporate Kairi in some form or another, like in Coded or DDD, she routinely got passed up, even though Donald and Goofy do basically nothing for the majority (or entirety) of those games. In KH3 this whole issue is moot anyway, because the game supports up to 5 party members, so we could have easily had a world or two (like lol Radiant Garden) where Sora travels with Donald, Goofy, Kairi and Riku-- but despite a big showcase being made of how convenient it would be to have greater party capacity in the game, it's never once used effectively to the benefit of the story (instead we have nonsense like Axel being removed from the Days' trio fight because ???). Nomura just can't fathom paying off his dramatic infrastructure with anything more than the most obligatory of handwaves. That's the difficulty obstructing KH3's storytelling and potential as a finale: Nomura's disinterest and lack of imagination, especially (though not exclusively) when it comes to Kairi.

All of Sora's development, growth, pain, sorrows, joys, are solely shared not by the cast of the series, but by Donald and Goofy. This automatically excludes Kairi and Riku from understanding his journey and experiencing it with him. Riku partially escapes this by pure virtue of being an antagonist in the first game, having a story of his own told from his perspective in one side game while appearing in another, and then comes DDD where he and Sora work together. It's why we get a clearer substantial scope of their relationship. It appears they are going to get that again based on the secret ending. Which personally, is getting freaking old.
I agree that it's getting old, but the dramatic logic of KH is that people grow together through their connections. One of the reasons I don't have a huge issue with Kairi's role in the story prior to KH3 (that's not to say there aren't valid critiques though) is that it layers her lack of direct involvement in the major narrative movements by emphasizing her connection to Sora as a connection to those big moments, lending her a sense of importance and (potential) narrative value beyond the immediate limitations imposed upon her as a character. Hence, Kairi is not as absent as she appears to be in KH1 (she actually does experience all of Sora's growth along with him, because her heart i.e. the essence of her person is with his the entire time, that's the Big Twist), and in KH2 she and Riku are both relegated somewhat to the periphery in order to drive the drama of their reunion as a triad-- with Kairi acting as the lynchpin to that whole sequence. It provided a solid starting point that could have been built on to flesh her out into a proper protagonist in her own right, but instead she's abandoned completely for the back half of the series and awkwardly resumes her only permitted role as Sora's "light" in KH3 while making no progress whatsoever beyond those character brackets. She has no personal journey, no moment of self-actualization, not even a scene or moment that really belongs to her. The only reason she even meets Lea, the only other character she appears to know in this universe (granted, she's probably better friends with him than with Riku at this point), is to give Lea an impetus to remember Xion: nothing is ever advanced in terms of their shared origin world (and their shared loss of it), their own abilities or motivations as Keyblade wielders, etc. which could have helped to develop the most basic building blocks of backstory for Kairi. It's just a whole lotta nothing, and that's why seeing her sit on a tree with Sora and try to shove their hetero romance down our throats (and his) while asking us to ignore the fact that Riku isn't with them in the moments before they all might/will die in the battle for the future of the universe as if Kairi has something more interesting to offer than literally any other character including Jiminy Cricket is just such a bad plan.

And, just to be clear, I love(d) Kairi. I championed her. I wanted her to own that PoH power and take the reigns of her own story, develop a relationship with the other Princesses or explore her history with the Capital of Light. I wanted everything for her but Nomura decided she was better off being fodder for manpain, so this is where things stand.

With Nomura, it's either not knowing what to do with her now or deciding not to do anything with her. Kairi keeps getting paid dust and the attached string they hold for anything meaningful with Sora is the romantic undertones they have hinted at and established previously when she's spent all her time being inactive and staying home. I still don't get why she had to after KHII. She could've gone with Sora and Riku to begin her training instead of waiting the last possible moment to show her as a tease that essentially never went anywhere in KHIII. Nothing is going to change until he starts inputting Kairi, and for some nonsensical reason, he refuses to do so.

It's also why the cast of the KH series as it stands don't feel like true companions. They have their personal tales not having to do with Sora (this essence of separation I spoke about) and the one chance they had to start the grounds of a group of comrades is butchered and rushed (including issues like Isa not visibly apologizing to Xion an Roxas, but crying about some Subject X they knew that was never mentioned until this game, Roxas and Riku running around together when they have yet to ever have a positive exchange, Sora caring so much about bringing back Roxas only to have their reunion be a nod of acknowledgement and therefore lackluster to the extreme) while simultaneously establishing focus elsewhere that will bench some of them.
Post-KH3, there isn't even really a semblance of character or thematic logic underpinning the thoughts or actions of anybody. Ven and Aqua have no objections to the plan to go die in the Keyblade Graveyard, nobody bothers to develop a coherent strategy for what to do once they get there, Sora is made fun of by everybody for no reason, Riku is randomly (self)-ejecting from his childhood friendship, even the villains are just like "we did it for the lols and also we have amnesia." I get that Nomura was 100% over it and wants to get to the furry convention but jeez, at least get a competent co-writer to hammer down the details or something dude. "Writing stories is hard" is not a valid excuse for dramatically neutering your climactic chapter.

*Xehanort dies in his boyfriend's arms while everybody whose lives he ruined watches with mild disinterest, minus Kairi because she's fucking murdered* isn't quite how I envisioned this "resolution" the KH team kept espousing in the marketing for this game.
 

Tartarus

Villain by Necessity
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
2,410
Awards
2
  • Fairest of them All
  • Nothing's Like Before
The only reason [Kairi] even meets Lea, the only other character she appears to know in this universe (granted, she's probably better friends with him than with Riku at this point),
This made me laugh. And it feels true, too.
 

redcrown

Active member
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Messages
898
Awards
0
The Paopu tree scene is exemplary of this, because its framing is just so absurd: Sora wonders about Riku, who is within spitting distance of them, and Kairi's first response is to shrug it off and then shove a paopu fruit in his face as if to redirect his attention on her. That's meant to segue into a romantic interlude but it's so awkward and sudden that it ends up feeling gross, manipulative, and needy.
This reminds of this excellent comic:
Spoiler Spoiler Show


But on the topic, whenever the paopu scene is brought up I'm reminded of how the Japanese voice actor for Sora has mentioned that Nomura did in fact have another version of this scene where they wouldn't have shared the fruit. The fact that he decided to go with the one where they do, with it's incredible awkwardness and Sora's palpable hesitation towards the gesture, tells me it's possible Nomura was trying to subtlety imply that the romantic connection these two had might have faded away, or subsided on Sora's part, to reinforce the theme of "changed relationships" KH3 was supposed to have.

If so, then this still counts as a writing blunder on Nomura's part, since this implication was/would have been nullified almost completely by the scenes in the Keyblade Graveyard, with Sora's preoccupation with her well being (even before she was killed) over all his other friends and companions, his declarations of how he views Kairi in particular ("You make me strong, Kairi", "My journey started when we were separated") and the overall (however unhealthy and badly portrayed) romantic framing of their relationship throughout the segment and the ending.
 
Last edited:

Zettaflare

Ice Queen
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
10,357
Awards
2
Location
California
  • Anguis Union
  • Nothing's Like Before
You know if someone were to ask Nomura either in an interview or somewhere else if Sora and Kairi were an actual thing post KH3 I wonder how he would answer?
 

BassDS

New member
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
1
Awards
0
The scene didn't feel awkward at all; if anything, it was a perfect compromise of how they felt to one another, but relegating to hold off on things until the current threat was dealt with. Sora was only caught off guard because he never imagined Kairi would be the one to offer the fruit, even though the idea to share it was from him when he added it back to the cave drawing, and you can't deny the smile on his face wasn't genuine.
 

Nyx Winters

The Dawn Fox
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
1,667
Awards
0
Location
outer-space
I think I'd like to see the relationships established mature with a rating increase to the M rating give the characters more dimesnsions and depth emotionally plus i wanna see shipping go crazy
 

Face My Fears

She's not an "it"!
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
3,400
Awards
0
Previously, I haven't been of the opinion that KH would benefit from overt romance, but I'm also at the point where canon gay (or should I say, explicit in-your-face gay, because SoRiku is easily as "canon" as SoKai by any reasonable metric) is the only thing that could potentially reignite any spark of interest for me in the series, so in the context of that impasse, I'd take if it was done well and focused on the right couples/triads/what-have-you. Given where the series is headed (none of which I like, but putting aside my preferences), it might actually be the optimal route to follow from a narrative perspective.

In the first place, I think post-KH3 it's clear that this story is not an ensemble character drama in the vein that many/most fans had envisioned it, or in the style that some games (especially the Days/BBS/Coded trilogy) prefaced. Yes, there is a large cast of characters, but the reality is that they're present primarily for plot utility and to drive pathos and emotional development (of a kind) for a set range of primary protagonists while the rest are regarded as tertiary at best. Nomura clearly has more interest in designing mysteries and setting up plot points than developing relationships, and while it may seem counterintuitive to argue that romance would suit this narrative structure, it nevertheless carries the potential to focus specific character dynamics that Nomura wants to emphasize (Sora x whoever, Roxas x whoever) while providing for a kind of literary coding that allows audiences to read into their emotional journeys without necessarily having to do the work of writing them. Basically, it provides a dramatic shortcut through actual character writing, which is why we saw Nomura leaning on SoKai so heavily throughout KH3 while neglecting to explore and further define other, more complex relationships: it's easy to convey an emotional incentive when it can be boiled down to "love" in its traditional definition, because most societies precondition people to accept (heterosexual, monogamous) "love" at face value as something desirable and worth pursuing and defending at all costs. When it's done poorly (like SoKai) it can also come across as superficial and lazy, but Nomura's proven himself capable of mismanaging character arcs without any direct insinuation of romance (Aqua, Namine) so his problems as a writer run a lot deeper than one predictable pairing and, imo, have more to do with his philosophy (or lack thereof) on the role of women in fiction.

In essence, I agree with the argument presented by others here that Nomura doesn't have a great handle on how to write characters in connection with each other, as he seems to do a better job of composing a story when he has his elements sufficiently compartmentalized, and even then it isn't always consistent. For example, the BBS trio, notwithstanding some valid critiques as to execution, each have solid individual arcs with good dramatic grounding up to a point, but they don't really cohere as a unit in the sense that they've lived together and share familial bonds. By contrast, the Days trio has the best group dynamic, but that has a lot to do with the pared down and comparatively restrained structure of the story surrounding their introduction, and I suspect the fact that Nomura was able to double up Xion's narrative utility as both a "new surprise character" (he loves those) and a mystery box (plus some other factors) gave him the personal incentive to, ironically, develop her into one of the most emotionally intelligible and human characters in the series (until he got bored of her, like Namine, the other best written character). And then there's the DI trio which has just become an utter mess, which many people anticipated or hoped could be salvaged during KH3 only for Nomura to double down on his absolute worst tendencies and relegate their shared internal dynamic so far to the Dark Margins that it has now been corrupted into the Anti-Trio, with no chemistry or even a comprehensible arc left between the three of them whatsoever, just a whole bunch of weird passive aggressive indifference alternating with toxic possessiveness but somehow all coded as "friendship." Eek.

And yet it's telling that Nomura's first instinct following KH3 was to go back to that well of SoRiku, because their relationship serves (exactly) the same purpose as Sora's and Kairi's in that it provides a useful pretext for audience investment-- the difference being that their relationship has been actually developed as the central focus of most of the games, and so it doesn't carry the same cheap connotations which tend to drag down developments in Sora's and Kairi's dynamic. Nevertheless, it provides the opportunity to isolate Sora and Riku out from the rest of the cast and highlight their "connection" as the driving rationale for the next game as a zero effort, low risk method of ensuring some continuity in the fandom (despite the fact that this is all very been there, done that by now). Regardless of how effective this strategy is, I think it's worth recognizing that it's (likely) being done at the expense of virtually every other character who was brought back during the events of KH3, and possibly Kairi as well. And that's not all, because if these trends hold true then we have to contend with the reality that the next "main game" is going to be contriving ways to introduce and make narrative space for even more characters than KH3 had to manage, which will inevitably lead Nomura to cut character content down to only the most essential and strongly developed instances within the series (SoRiku, Axel/Roxas/maybe Xion, Namine is friendless forever).

There's a lot of reasons I find that frustrating, but even so, at some point it does bare consideration: if Nomura is really just going to settle into repeating and reinforcing the same character dynamics that have already been established among the current ensemble for the ease and convenience of it, that's functionally the same as writing romances between them to the exclusion of other potentially rewarding relationships and the underlying themes that could be explored through them, because either way we're not getting those. At which point I figure he might as well just start lending some explicitly romantic overtones to things, because at least that might spice them up or offer some added significance/payoff.

Of course this only works if they're going gay with it, and I'm not just saying that because I like the gay things, but because that's where all of the actually established, human-ish forms of emotional connection are at in this series. Sora and Riku, and Axel and Roxas, are the only two pairings that have any kind of reasonable grounding currently; SoKai could have worked at one point but it's become a narrative ankle bracelet cuffing both Sora and Kairi to the 2006 readings of their characters and thus doing a disservice to both of them. And unfortunately I don't even think two women have exchanged words in this series since Aqua visited Cinderella so we have nothing to go on there (although yeah I guess exchanging seashells is pretty romantic).

Ultimately, it's not that I think the series as a whole would benefit from romance, but that I think the series as it is has very little that's new or interesting to offer even in its absence, unless Nomura makes some big changes to how he approaches it. Regardless, I think the idea that he's going to backpedal to focus on the inter-relations between the protagonists now that KH3 is over in any substantial manner is pretty wishful thinking, and flies in the face of how he has directed this series. There will be superficial "connections" between characters that serve a purpose for plot, but he's not going to waste time exploring the concept that Terra's choices had a direct influence over Riku's future when he could be introducing the Next Mysterious Antagonist or designing another damsel in distress subplot to exploit.
You literally have Xion/Namine talking to each other in your sig. Also, Mother Gothel/Rapunzel, Anna/Elsa, Gogo/Honey Lemon (sort of), and Aqua/Kairi all happened in KH3.
 

alexis.anagram

one step closer
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Messages
2,361
Awards
2
Age
27
Location
Mishopshno
  • News Hound
  • Keyblade Master
You literally have Xion/Namine talking to each other in your sig. Also, Mother Gothel/Rapunzel, Anna/Elsa, Gogo/Honey Lemon (sort of), and Aqua/Kairi all happened in KH3.
Wow, you very literally showed me.

Even though it's a little cheesy I could probably go for Aqua x Kairi, if only because Aqua is "a lot like Sora" (pfft) and she could use a princess to protect. And since Nomura has made it clear Ven doesn't count...
 
Top