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The treatment of women in this series



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DarkosOverlord

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Audo

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I think in general the game strains under the desire to orient the player as the most important thing in the game. Everything of value needs to be done by them (and by extension, Sora) with the fewest of exceptions.
 

Alja

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Um... I don't see how Xemnas being the strongest Nobody justifies her not even struggling. Usually if a guy or girl is in life threatening danger they struggle and fight to survive that's kind of instinctive. So she should have been kicking and screaming trying to swing her keyblade at him or anything to get away. No one is saying she should have been able to one-shot Xemnas, him taking her would be less of an issue if she, you know didn't just stand there.
Look, I agree with everyone that Kairi's treatment was horrendous, but I've been made aware (I didn't pick up on it either when I played) that there is actually a legit reason that she doesn't even struggle: She simply can't.

Xemnas twisted her arm behind her back. He doesn't just hold her arm up, he pulled her wrist backwards and up or else we'd see her armpit instead of her shoulder:

Spoiler Spoiler Show
And if that wasn't enough, he pulls on her arm twice, clearly making her wince in pain. Try twisting your arm into that position, it hurts at a near 90° angle already and Xemnas clearly pushes 100-120° here. If she struggled, he would have broken her arm or dislocated her shoulder and then she'd definitely be useless.
That doesn't by any means excuse how Nomura wrote her, I'm just as infuriated about it as everyone else, but it's unfair to keep bashing her as a character when this one (and technically everything else since Nomura is the one who is doing the bullshit to her) is not her fault. At all. You can't forget that Xemnas is Terra's Nobody and we saw how strong Terranort was just a few cutscenes earlier.
 

FudgemintGuardian

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Look, I agree with everyone that Kairi's treatment was horrendous, but I've been made aware (I didn't pick up on it either when I played) that there is actually a legit reason that she doesn't even struggle: She simply can't.

Xemnas twisted her arm behind her back. He doesn't just hold her arm up, he pulled her wrist backwards and up or else we'd see her armpit instead of her shoulder:

Spoiler Spoiler Show
And if that wasn't enough, he pulls on her arm twice, clearly making her wince in pain. Try twisting your arm into that position, it hurts at a near 90° angle already and Xemnas clearly pushes 100-120° here. If she struggled, he would have broken her arm or dislocated her shoulder and then she'd definitely be useless.
That doesn't by any means excuse how Nomura wrote her, I'm just as infuriated about it as everyone else, but it's unfair to keep bashing her as a character when this one (and technically everything else since Nomura is the one who is doing the bullshit to her) is not her fault. At all. You can't forget that Xemnas is Terra's Nobody and we saw how strong Terranort was just a few cutscenes earlier.
This is a good point. Yes, Kairi was given terrible treatment, but in this instance here she really couldn't do much.

However, it would have been nice if her first reaction was to try and do something and not immediately call to Sora, but stop when Xemnas starts twisting her arm. Like, Xemnas just casually grabs her with little to no force. Kairi's little gasp when he grabs her doesn't help either. It's so cutesy that it doesn't sound serious at all.
 

Sora2016

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Reading this thread and some peoples post is a case study on why women are often written so terribly in all forms of media. Lol

Anyway. I'm still trying to evaluate my opinions on how Aqua was treated. I don't feel as strongly as some here even though I've read totally valid opinions and facts.

I suppose I view Aqua's treatment not as a weakness of her character or that she was downgraded for the fact that she was a woman. As others have said, when it comes to everyone else (except Kairi, I'm not even including her in this category, she was a beast of her own), no one seemed to be able to 'win' without Sora's involvement. I do understand that he was supposed to save everyone, but i wish Nomura had treated Sora's involvement more like a domino piece and not a finger knocking down every piece one by one, if that makes sense.

Yeah this is how I felt about Aqua, a lot of other characters got the same treatment as her. I don't think, in this instance at least, her sex had anything to do with it. It was about letting the player do everything, as Audo said. Though, I do also think since Blank Points they made it pretty plenty that Sora would be the one to rescue EVERYONE. So I guess. in hindsight, I kinda expected this? But I knew Riku and Aqua were playable I expected maybe for them to get to do more. At least they got to be party members in their big, emotional fights?

Kairi though...blegh. I feel like I gave up on her a long time ago, got hope again in Dream Drop's secret ending, and now I lost it again lol.
Wouldn't it be great if she actually does something because of this? Like, she promised to "protect Sora" this time, and she failed big time. It would be nice if that actually spurred her on to do SOMETHING about it. I really want her to have her own game with her own Disney crew lol. Like she is the only Destiny Trio member without at least one close Disney friend to adventure with...

This is a good point. Yes, Kairi was given terrible treatment, but in this instance here she really couldn't do much.
[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif]However, it would have been nice if her first reaction was to try and do something and not immediately call to Sora, but stop when Xemnas starts twisting her arm. Like, Xemnas just casually grabs her with little to no force. Kairi's little gasp when he grabs her doesn't help either. It's so cutesy that it doesn't sound serious at all.
[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif]The way she spoke in the Keyblade Graveyard was just weird in general? She was so...boring sounding lol. I thought she had some cute energy in the Secret Forest or whatever. But she like lost it all when she came out? I feel like it was the directing more than Alyson or anything. So yeah, she was just very low energy. Just little gasps and little reaction to most things?[/FONT]
 

Alja

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The way she spoke in the Keyblade Graveyard was just weird in general? She was so...boring sounding lol. I thought she had some cute energy in the Secret Forest or whatever. But she like lost it all when she came out? I feel like it was the directing more than Alyson or anything. So yeah, she was just very low energy. Just little gasps and little reaction to most things?
Eh, I'm pinning that on Alyson mostly :/ She tries hard in the Secret Forest and does a decent job to get a similar deep pitch to Hayden, but it looks like she can do it only when she concentrates and not in high-intensity moments like during a fight. It bothered me and that's why the fact that Hayden didn't return bothered me from the beginning, Alyson's pitch is just too high for what we're used to from Kairi.

But then again Nomura tries his darnest to assassinate her character anyway. Where is her cheekiness from KH1? There were traces of it during the Secret Forest cutscene and when she boldly proposed to share the paopu, but that was it. Where is our Kairi who smiles showing all teeth, sassing Sora? I need to stop here or this will turn into a whole endgame rant...

I truly hope that she gets her own game, especially in response to the ending, but Nomura loves his bromances too much to allow that.
Even more than her general treatment in-game I genuinely don't understand why she's been hyped up so much. Did nobody at Square think for a second that maybe boosting her up as a future Guardian of Light in the secret ending needs follow up that doesn't involve her getting rendered useless five minutes after she takes the stage? Did nobody think about how basically all of her battle scenes are in the trailers (as far as I've seen - I've only watched the Final battle trailer once after I finished the game)? Didn't they think for a second that maybe releasing her fighting renders would make people really hyped for a severely underused character to finally take the spotlight, even as a party member that lasts more than a few seconds? Ugh, you guys probably already mentioned that though, I don't remember everything that was said here, but yeah. I don't get why Nomura is doing it. At this point it feels like the only person who cares about Kairi in the entire franchise is Sora and only when it's convenient to the plot. Riku might have his moments, but both he and Mickey were pretty ready to throw her under the bus when Sora rushed to protect her. And that seems like Nomura himself hates her which is just really, really frustrating. He set this new wave of hate against her up himself.

I think I will never understand why her clones get more love from the devs than Kairi herself does (and even Naminé got shafted hard in this - at least she got a happy ending though).
 

Sora2016

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Eh, I'm pinning that on Alyson mostly :/ She tries hard in the Secret Forest and does a decent job to get a similar deep pitch to Hayden, but it looks like she can do it only when she concentrates and not in high-intensity moments like during a fight. It bothered me and that's why the fact that Hayden didn't return bothered me from the beginning, Alyson's pitch is just too high for what we're used to from Kairi.

But then again Nomura tries his darnest to assassinate her character anyway. Where is her cheekiness from KH1? There were traces of it during the Secret Forest cutscene and when she boldly proposed to share the paopu, but that was it. Where is our Kairi who smiles showing all teeth, sassing Sora? I need to stop here or this will turn into a whole endgame rant...

I truly hope that she gets her own game, especially in response to the ending, but Nomura loves his bromances too much to allow that.
Even more than her general treatment in-game I genuinely don't understand why she's been hyped up so much. Did nobody at Square think for a second that maybe boosting her up as a future Guardian of Light in the secret ending needs follow up that doesn't involve her getting rendered useless five minutes after she takes the stage? Did nobody think about how basically all of her battle scenes are in the trailers (as far as I've seen - I've only watched the Final battle trailer once after I finished the game)? Didn't they think for a second that maybe releasing her fighting renders would make people really hyped for a severely underused character to finally take the spotlight, even as a party member that lasts more than a few seconds? Ugh, you guys probably already mentioned that though, I don't remember everything that was said here, but yeah. I don't get why Nomura is doing it. At this point it feels like the only person who cares about Kairi in the entire franchise is Sora and only when it's convenient to the plot. Riku might have his moments, but both he and Mickey were pretty ready to throw her under the bus when Sora rushed to protect her. And that seems like Nomura himself hates her which is just really, really frustrating. He set this new wave of hate against her up himself.

I think I will never understand why her clones get more love from the devs than Kairi herself does (and even Naminé got shafted hard in this - at least she got a happy ending though).

I guess I think since they gave her so little material, like you said, thats why she came off that way. Like if she had been cheekier or like...done anything with personality in the Keyblade Graveyard I would like to believe Alyson could have pulled that off still lol. I dunno. I took Riku and Mickey as actually trying to be thoughtful of the situation? This whole game was I guess about Sora being rash and Xehanort was using that to finish the X-blade. Also they both got mad and tried to attack him after, well, it was too late and Sora already clashed with him or whatever.

But yeah I really don't get it either, building up hype for her to literally let it down. They must know people care about stuff like that...right? Like even if he doesn't lol, then its just like why even bother?
 

FudgemintGuardian

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The way she spoke in the Keyblade Graveyard was just weird in general? She was so...boring sounding lol. I thought she had some cute energy in the Secret Forest or whatever. But she like lost it all when she came out? I feel like it was the directing more than Alyson or anything. So yeah, she was just very low energy. Just little gasps and little reaction to most things?
Maybe she's suffering from jet lag? lol
 

KeybladeLordSora

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Didn't Alyson say that KH3 was the best time she had voicing Kairi or something? It was a youtube comment and that's all I know.

Because if so what version of the game did she see?
 

Elysium

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I didn't like Kairi's voice acting either. She, Xehanort, and Mickey were the only 3 that stood out like sore thumbs. I thought I wouldn't care about Kairi either way to be bothered about the replacement (although I do like Panettiere), but her new voice gave all her scenes weird vibes. I don't blame the actress, just the choice not to invite back her original voice.
 

spidey16

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I dont think Kh3 is sexist. The girls did as much as the boys. Everyone had there moment to shine and there need for saving.

Xion - saves Axel

Aqua - is a good boss and whipethe floor with vanitas till ge cheated.

Naminie - send the Terra-Armor and saves everyone

Kairi - saves sora von fading and show him how to save all the others
 

Sora2016

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Didn't Alyson say that KH3 was the best time she had voicing Kairi or something? It was a youtube comment and that's all I know.

Because if so what version of the game did she see?

To be fair, what other games has she voiced actual Kairi? Re: Com and 0.2 for sure lol. I forget...if there are any others honestly. Its Xion she has the longer history with I feel. Even though Re:Com came out before Days lol.
 

DarkosOverlord

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Look, I agree with everyone that Kairi's treatment was horrendous, but I've been made aware (I didn't pick up on it either when I played) that there is actually a legit reason that she doesn't even struggle: She simply can't.

Xemnas twisted her arm behind her back. He doesn't just hold her arm up, he pulled her wrist backwards and up or else we'd see her armpit instead of her shoulder:

Spoiler Spoiler Show
And if that wasn't enough, he pulls on her arm twice, clearly making her wince in pain. Try twisting your arm into that position, it hurts at a near 90° angle already and Xemnas clearly pushes 100-120° here. If she struggled, he would have broken her arm or dislocated her shoulder and then she'd definitely be useless.
That doesn't by any means excuse how Nomura wrote her, I'm just as infuriated about it as everyone else, but it's unfair to keep bashing her as a character when this one (and technically everything else since Nomura is the one who is doing the bullshit to her) is not her fault. At all. You can't forget that Xemnas is Terra's Nobody and we saw how strong Terranort was just a few cutscenes earlier.


Look, I'm really not trying to be that nitpicking arse when I don't need to be, but in DDD Xemnas and Ansem pinned Riku and Mickey down in an even more definitive way and they had no problems at all breaking free, one of them (I forgot who, I think Riku) even doing a cool maneuver by switching the Keyblade's orientation in his hand to actually hit behind himself, adopting some kind of Ventus stance.

I will admit this is more of a general problem with KH in which sometimes the characters are superhumans capable of the same feats we perform in-game while other times they act like they're nothing more than humans wielding giant keys (look at the end of Aqua vs Vanitas), so it's not like I think this was made to spite Kairi, but she could've done a trick like that which would've worked against Xemnas, even if just to free herself.
My point is, it's hard for me to forgive especially realistic hostage situations like that when other (male) characters have proven they can brush them off when the writing dictates them to.
 

Sephiroth0812

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I will admit this is more of a general problem with KH in which sometimes the characters are superhumans capable of the same feats we perform in-game while other times they act like they're nothing more than humans wielding giant keys (look at the end of Aqua vs Vanitas), so it's not like I think this was made to spite Kairi, but she could've done a trick like that which would've worked against Xemnas, even if just to free herself.
My point is, it's hard for me to forgive especially realistic hostage situations like that when other (male) characters have proven they can brush them off when the writing dictates them to.

That's not a general problem with KH alone but with many entertainment works.

The corresponding tropes for this are "Cutscene Power to the Max" in which characters perform super feats unseen normally or "cutscene incompetence" which portrays an usually capable and competent character acting stupid or being too easily subdued/defeated.

The latter was used in maximum effect during the first scene with Terra-Xehanort at the Graveyard where everyone except Donald acted like total idiots who don't know they can dodge, block or use other abilities instead of just lining up to be slaughtered.
 

SuperSaiyanSora

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Look, I'm really not trying to be that nitpicking arse when I don't need to be, but in DDD Xemnas and Ansem pinned Riku and Mickey down in an even more definitive way and they had no problems at all breaking free, one of them (I forgot who, I think Riku) even doing a cool maneuver by switching the Keyblade's orientation in his hand to actually hit behind himself, adopting some kind of Ventus stance.

Yeah, but to be fair though, you're talking about two Keyblade Masters who are MORE than worth their salt in battle. They've got the experience and confidence to do that. Kairi in KH3 is fresh out of training, God knows if she ever had real fighting experience prior to the Keyblade Graveyard (KH2 doesn't count). Not to mention, those are two enemies that Mickey and Riku are more than familiar with and have taken care of before (or at least Riku). Remember how easy it was for Leon to knock Sora out in KH1? Put Leon against Sora now, and it's Game Over.

Look at with Vanitas. Master Xehanort had to keep him away from Ven in the beginning, because if he didn't, Vanitas would literally try to kill him at any opportunity and his plans would be ruined. He had to leave and grow stronger throughout the many worlds and THEN fight Vanitas.

I know KH3's writing failed Kairi and that she should've been handled way differently, but how realistic would it have really been if she had been this super bad-ass Keyblade wielder in her first true outing? We're talking end-game bosses here, not Pete. And to be honest with you, as cheap as it sounds... All of that really could be chalked up to her being scared. It's one thing to SAY you're going to protect somebody this time around with a brave face, but it's a completely different game when you're staring death down with no combat experience and lack the strength.

I mean, Xemnas shattered Lea's Keyblade, lasered the fuck outta him and was about to finish him off. So I think in that aspect, it's less "Kairi is incompetent" and more "this guy is fucking strong". And Old Man Xehanort took her out in one swing. These people are WAY beyond her pay grade, so canonically? I think it makes sense. Now if it were Aqua acting that way, it definitely is an issue.

Now with that being said though... Xion probably would've struggled and resisted. She would've lost instantly, but she would've still tried. Is that a writing oversight or issue? Possibly. But again, Xion and Kairi aren't going to act exactly the same in every situation. Nomura is gonna have to clarify what he was going for and why he wrote it the way he did, because this is all me (obviously) guessing and interpreting.
 

DarkosOverlord

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Hyperbolic Time Chamber.
Training for as long as she needed.
If those training conditions weren't there to rule out any "well she's not experienced enough", I don't know what was their point, other than keeping Kairi once again away from the majority of the game.

I advocate suspension of disbelief here: just like Sora, a 14 years old boy suddenly thrown into a fantasy world with magic and demons, could avoid Leon's fireballs and knock down giant Heartless with only the fact that he spent 10 years wacking his friends with a wooden sword as a pretense for his feats then Kairi who trained with a seasoned fighter like Lea under the eye of Merlin, arguably one of the most powerful wizards not tied to a Keyblade, should be believably able to hold her own even against final bosses. I do not think it's that unbelievable nor unearned, not when Sora himself is at his fourth reset of power and abilities which is so evident that Pete himself laughs at him, yet by endgame he's always squared against the top entities and wins. I buy battle experience only to a certain extent.
It's definitely unrealistic, but this is a fantasy game.

It's still a match with uncertain outcome, so I'd buy Xemnas besting her in battle, kinda like Terranort did with the Guardians. But if she can get ragdolled just because she lacks experience then what was the point of bringing her in the first place. Kinda makes Yen Sid looking like a desperate fool, sending a clearly unprepared fighter in a clash against the strongest beings ever. Either that or they REALLY hoped for one of the thirteens to be a chump.
As I said, Lea isn't treated better either. I think Nomura just really wanted to get Roxas out of the way and create a desperate situation for him to save the day.
 

Divine Past

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Noivern

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I guess I finally calmed my feelings towards this game enough to be able to write a proper response and not just "KH3 hates women", so let's see.
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As of now I don't expect anything good to come for the women in this franchise ever again unless Nomura steps down and we get a new creative team to direct the next games.
 

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When Aqua falls in 0.2 and lays on the beach, her keyblade is next to her. She's either too tired to grab it or doesn't care at the time. But the keyblade gets taken to the realm of light as she falls. She is not seen with her keyblade at all past that point so there's reason to believe that yeah, she did in fact lose it at that moment.

I always wondered what happened to it. Did it dismiss itself? Did it fall with her? But as we saw... it went back the RoL and was buried under a year worth of sand.
 
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