The meaning of "training" and "power" in KH universe



Nov 2, 2018
I don't know if I'm alone in this or not but, while I read other threads about how powerful some characters are, I'm starting to wonder what is the meaning of "been powerful" in this saga from a narrative standpoint, aside of stats or gameplay mechanics. Same with the "training" stuff, which doesn't appear until BBS, but now is relevant enough to make determine the victory or defeat in a fight. Yes, all of this can be attribute to bad writing and retcons, but I'm trying to make a sense of what little coherence we had now, and I would like what is your opinion on the topic.

At first, neither Sora or Riku seems to need any training to use the keyblade. Then we get TAV, which had proper training, and that led to the conclusion of Yen Sid considering that the first two need to pass the exam in DDD in order to become properly trained instead of self-taught. And finally, we got Lea (and Kairi, but I'm going to let her out of the analysis even if is basic, because is too polemic right now and is not in her treatment where I want to focus: there's a lot of discussions about that already)) who lose in KH3 because their lack of training.

However, when watching the cutscenes, you can't tell any real differences between Sora and Riku styles from TAV ones, neither you can see any reason for Lea's defeat aside of "not been strong enough", which is not a tactical flaw or lack of skill, which is what I would, at least in real life, asociated to "training". In fact, probably the only mistake made in the saga for lack of training is when Roxas lose to Sora because he doensn't expect him to invoke the Keyblade back to his hand (Aqua trying to stop a ball of fire with her body doens't seem the best idea, but I'm going to believe that she has no other resource and thus is not her intelligence to blame for the sake of the topic). The fact that we doesn't actually see the training of TAV with Eraqus because BBS start right at their departure, and the scenes of the Secret Forest are omited in KH3 doesn't help as where. So, my conclusion at this point would have been that "training" only serves to rise "one's level of power". Sora would have manage to do that if he would have passed the exam, but instead Xehanort made him undergo the opposite: to lose it. Riku's power, on the other hand, has increased, so he can more or less stand to both Xigbar and Repliku, when in KH2 he can't even make a scratch on Saix after hit him with a dark fire.

So, what is the "power"? I would say that, judging for the scenes (again I'm only interested in the narrative perspective) seems to be the ability to "damage an enemy" or to be able to "support and enemy attack". If the enemy is more "powerful" than you, it seems is imposible for a character to hurt them or to defense properly against them, no matter what they do (special attacks that consumes one's life or magic, like zettaflare, seems to level up "one's power" for what is the case).

Let's take Terranort, for example. He manage to take down three or four guardians before been blocked by Goofy. But why Goofy manage to block him, when Lea also try with his sword and fail for no apparent reason? Because Goofy is more powerful than Lea, and at least enough powerfull against Terra, that's all. And why Axel manage to stop Marluxia's scythe with chakrams (which, I would say, are far more difficult to use as a defense weapon than a sword)? Because Marluxia is less powerful than Terra, so he is on the same level with Axel: thus, this kind of tactics works in this case.

Why Marluxia can put Sora into a slumber with a wave of his hand in the beginning of KH3 but not in his fight at the Graveyard? Because Sora has lose his powers, so it's weaker than Marluxia first, but then at the end is again at his peak and that kind of attacks just doesn't work against him. Why can Luxord put Mickey in a card? Because Xemnas has granted him more power, so there were no way Mickey could scape on his own (before Xemnas's gift, the attack would just doesn't work); on the other hand, if Mickey would have been stronger than him, anything that he would do would have been enough to break free on its own, whether it would have been a cut of his keyblade or a sneeze.

I admit this "character's level" seems oversimplistic (and kind of lame, because it turns useless any kind of skill of strategy), but is the only way I see any sense to this mess of battles. Probably I'm over-complicating a fact that not even Nomura has totally thought trough (like kind of everything on this saga), but I really like to see an explanation.

So, in other words, in narrative like in gameplay, "training" means "rise level", and "powerful" means "higher level: higher impact rate, higher defense skill and higher damage done". What do you think about this? You think is allright and logic or would you like something more tactic or skill-oriented?


Jan 5, 2017
I'm curious how an adaptation might handle this. KH didn't have a thought out battle system because as a game it didn't need one the same way most shounens do.

Granted i don't think the manga worried about it so i doubt the animated series would.

I just saw "power" as inner strength ie doubt, conviction etc.