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The treatment of women in this series



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DarkosOverlord

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KH1 Kairi was peak Kairi
KH II Kairi was worst Kairi
KH III Kairi wasn't AS bad, but the fact that they made some of us BELIEVE only to take that away from us is a pretty heavy aggravating factor.

Like, a few days ago someone on my timeline ironically retweeted Square's tweet of when the Kairi renders got released and how "Kairi joins the fray!" and all of that

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry
 

Squood!

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KH1 Kairi was peak Kairi
KH II Kairi was worst Kairi
KH III Kairi wasn't AS bad, but the fact that they made some of us BELIEVE only to take that away from us is a pretty heavy aggravating factor.

Like, a few days ago someone on my timeline ironically retweeted Square's tweet of when the Kairi renders got released and how "Kairi joins the fray!" and all of that

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry
This isn't completely on topic but ever notice how the one trio that is constantly separable and never acts like a trio is the one where two of the wielders were accidental?
 

Divine Past

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KH1 Kairi was peak Kairi
KH II Kairi was worst Kairi
KH III Kairi wasn't AS bad, but the fact that they made some of us BELIEVE only to take that away from us is a pretty heavy aggravating factor.

Like, a few days ago someone on my timeline ironically retweeted Square's tweet of when the Kairi renders got released and how "Kairi joins the fray!" and all of that

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry

I think KH2 Kairi was actually better than KHIII. At least she had interactions and did stuff on her own terms more often. Like escaping Axel.
 

Sephiroth0812

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Isn't the fact that Aqua fights Vanitas what awakens Ventus though? Ventus' heart reacted to her being in possible danger, similar to the way Roxas' heart is triggered by the Old Mansion earlier in the game. Ventus had to tell Sora what to do in the moment because Sora didn't understand the power of waking. Ventus coming in with a final shot to chase off Vanitas was mostly for dramatic effect + Vanitas has always been Ven's antagonist, but Aqua choosing to fight alone to save Ventus rather than take Sora's help was what started the dominoes going.

True, Nomura could've had Aqua hold Vanitas at stalemate rather than being in real danger. Still, I had a positive impression of Aqua at the end of that scene.


Indeed, that is the trigger, the "spark" as Ienzo mentions to wake Ventus' heart fully. He was awake beforehand inside Sora as shown with some outbursts where Sora clearly states to Donald and Goofy he doesn't know why he said it, but it is still fact that Sora needs to be there because he holds Ven's heart and an action from his side is needed to guide Ven's heart home for the final stretch.

Ven having to tell Sora what to do is on one hand just typical Sora being a dork-fashion, but at the other hand also yet another hint towards Sora using that power without fully understanding it and thus using it not effectively which later leads to his disappearance from using it too much in quick succession, something Young Xehanort, Riku and Mickey all warn against.

True, furthermore if Sora had participated in the fight he couldn't have concentrated on the final action to get Ven to wake.

This part of the game is certainly not the worst treatment Aqua gets, yet I still think they could have made it work without damseling Aqua while still letting Ven have his big moment.

Incidentally, Sora does mention that Aqua has barely recuperated so it stands to wonder why they have to rush to Castle Oblivion right away instead of giving her at least a few hours of rest.
As Vanitas says no one could actually find Ven and after 11 years I doubt he would have minded holding out a few hours more if that meant having Aqua there in better shape. His heart wasn't injured anymore either so it would also not be that Ven would be in any extra pain.


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kirabook

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Yes. It's actually not out of character for Aqua to have extreme confidence like that (and she's not wrong to. She technically won both times she decided to fight alone had it not been for Vanitas tricks). It was just... a weird moment for them to do that.

If they had spaced out the story more, they could've had this "I can do this on my own" moment like... on a quest in a Disney world. Or maybe if LoD had been open to explore, Aqua literally teaches Sora some tricks and kinda goes like "Watch and learn. C:"
 

DarkosOverlord

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I have no qualms with Aqua being confident, it was actually a pretty cool moment. "I am the senior, I have to look good in front of my junior".
But man I do with the resolution of that fight. Pick a side, KH III: either you acknowledge that gameplay powers and techniques are a thing in the story like with LW, or that characters are huimans and have reaction times.

I think KH2 Kairi was actually better than KHIII. At least she had interactions and did stuff on her own terms more often. Like escaping Axel.

I can understand that. What KH III Kairi doesn't accomplish might actually make her worse than KH II Kairi to some people.
 

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She probably couldn't, the arena they were in was her guard. If anything, it may be a continuity acknowledgement as she didn't even block with her keyblade when Vanitas attacked her.

Sora and Kairi really isn't forced, I don't see why you think that. She loved Sora from near the beginning, they're childhood friends. He was her safe space when her heart was under attack. She lived those moments with him and he brought her back. He marked the wall with sharing a paopu fruit. He didn't expect her to see it. Then she saw it, was happy that he seemed to like her back, and she put hers up too. Then they unite again in KH2 under duress and after finally uniting again (he focused on Kairi as soon as he heard she was also captured) he went back to focusing on Riku because he sees the trinity while she sees Sora and his loyalty to friendship. She helps Sora reunite with Riku so she can hopefully get back home with him. Then they meet back up again and they take hands. He notices that she also marked the wall and there's no telling what else happened off screen (discussion of romance etc) but I think something definitely did happen to cause her to want to fight alongside Sora. She tried to train hard to save him from shouldering this burden all on his own, however destiny chose Sora and he couldn't break free from those chains. It is clearly evident that she loved him and he loved her because when Xehanort destroyed her his response was "Why her?" he knew it could have been anyone and he may not have fought as hard, Xehanort hit Sora where he knew it would hurt. This romance has been building since moment one in KH and has never once been forced. From the moment she suggested they leave without Riku, and Riku knew it too from the moment he offered to have Sora share a paopu and threatened to be the one to share it with the race.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying people can't like SoKai? And I mean, yes, there is in-game evidence that they are close, that's indisputable. My problem is how much it is hammered in by OTHER characters and how much the ship is prioritized over Kairi as an actual character throughout the series. I mean, everything you listed is all fine and dandy, but... how often has Kairi been shown having meaningful interactions with characters that aren't Sora? And actually shown, not just vague glimpses or being talked about.

We don't really get to SEE much of her friendship with Hayner's group. When she speaks with Roxas, it's about Sora. She has a few moments with Riku in KH2 that are nice but way too fleeting and a tiny bit in 2.8, but otherwise? There's very little. Nearly all of Kairi's screentime revolves around Sora, so you'll have to forgive me if I'm not enthralled by a ship where one party doesn't get to stand on her own outside the shipping context.

To me, having characters like Donald and Goofy constantly remind the audience of the ship during KH2, for example, just feels like a classic case of tell, don't show.

Here's the problem. Sora has plenty of time to be his own character with his own friendships and experiences. Kairi?

- Comatose through most of KH1.
- Offscreen or captured through most of KH2.
- Only vaguely mentioned in Days, barely acknowledged in Coded
- Brief moment in BBS with Aqua as a child
- Has some moments with Lea in KH3, and admittedly it's cool that she's a party member during one of the endgame fights, and yet... we still don't see her have meaningful interactions with most of the cast, ESPECIALLY Riku, who is supposed to be one of her best friends, too.

Now do you see my problem with SoKai? I just don't think shipteasing automatically makes a ship compelling. If you like it, that's fine, but I just can't root for a ship where one half of the pair got the serious shaft in EVERYTHING that isn't her connection to Sora. That, and the ship just doesn't interest me (but it's fine if it interests you).

I just really think that if they were going to make the ship a thing... they should have done more with Kairi's character. Because they did not and she contributes so little to KH3's story, it just makes me mad when a noncanon manga has a much more well-rounded Kairi who ISN'T just there for shipping.

And again, it makes an even more glaring contrast with Xion and Aqua, who have strong bonds with both members of their respective trios AND get to go out and do their own things as their own characters. It really makes it feel like there isn't a true, strong trinity of friendship that was present in at least parts of KH1 and KH2 (but even then, I'd argue Kairi still didn't get much outside her scenes with Sora).

I just want Kairi to be more than Sora's love interest. :/ I wanna see more of her personal aspirations, her interests, etc, etc.
 

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I'm liking all these valid discussion. But I am worried about pr people that take it too far. Let me explain with a big example. Remember when Jennifer Lawrence wore a dress in cold weather, and everyone lost their sh*t? She was okay with it, and it was her choice. Basically i'm saying agree with the people in this post, but looking out for the ones that take it a bit too far. Just wanted to share this while reading.
 

galaxystars

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I thought the women were treated perfectly fine in this series.

Kairi in particular might not be good at battles,but she is not useless in the slightest. It seems our western sensibilities has the unfortunate mindset that in order for a woman to be worthy she must be a man with breasts.

There is nothing wrong with being traditionally feminine and badass. They are not mutually exclusive. Also being badass does not have to always mean how good you are at being violent. It can also mean emotional strength, and I think Kairi has always brought that very well.
 

Oracle Spockanort

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I'm liking all these valid discussion. But I am worried about pr people that take it too far. Let me explain with a big example. Remember when Jennifer Lawrence wore a dress in cold weather, and everyone lost their sh*t? She was okay with it, and it was her choice. Basically i'm saying agree with the people in this post, but looking out for the ones that take it a bit too far. Just wanted to share this while reading.

...I have no idea what you just said and find it completely irrelevant to this discussion.
 

.:Mega:.

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Kairi in particular might not be good at battles,but she is not useless in the slightest. It seems our western sensibilities has the unfortunate mindset that in order for a woman to be worthy she must be a man with breasts.

There is nothing wrong with being traditionally feminine and badass. They are not mutually exclusive. Also being badass does not have to always mean how good you are at being violent. It can also mean emotional strength, and I think Kairi has always brought that very well.

I mean, that's a fair point and I'm not disputing it outright, but... how much has Kairi actually done herself? She did have some nice moments, like changing Sora back from a Heartless, seeing Riku even when he looked like Ansem, and even keeping him from running off during KH2. She trains in KH3- but we really don't see much of the fruits of her training before she gets murdered by Xehanort, and even then, she kinda jobs during the Saix fight.

She does, yes, guide Sora back during the Final World segment
but that once again highlights my issue. Lack of Kairi doing meaningful things or showing emotional strength outside of her relation to Sora.

Compare that to Aqua, who shows both great combat skill AND emotional strength. Time and time again, she's put through arduous situations and persists. It was really only KH3 that made her waver so much... and I'm still not fond of how KH3 handled her either. Seriously, one little blast from Ansem SoD was all it took? And she couldn't even use her magic without her Keyblade? I said it before, but Days!Xion was fine casting magic barehanded. :P

The reason so many people see Kairi as useless is because the games REPEATEDLY damsel her, to the point where it's just insulting. KH3D hyped her up in its secret ending, and for what? It's just a repeat trend. Kairi has not been developed well in the SLIGHTEST, and I say that as someone who actually likes Kairi and feels she has a lot of untapped potential.

I don't think she's useless, but I think she's been very poorly utilized.
 

AdrianXXII

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I thought the women were treated perfectly fine in this series.

Kairi in particular might not be good at battles,but she is not useless in the slightest. It seems our western sensibilities has the unfortunate mindset that in order for a woman to be worthy she must be a man with breasts.

There is nothing wrong with being traditionally feminine and badass. They are not mutually exclusive. Also being badass does not have to always mean how good you are at being violent. It can also mean emotional strength, and I think Kairi has always brought that very well.

Oh I dont disagree that there are different ways of being a well writen useful female character. It'd be strange for say Namine to pick up a sword and start fighting people. Her strengths lie else were and it's good to have different types of female characters. I see her more as someone that has unique insights and can help in non-combative ways.

My big issue in this game and the series as a whole is how often female characters do not get to do significant stuff and when they do something it's often just in a supportive role and they need a male character to do the heavy lifting.

Aqua was usually good in that regard, but like all other non-Sora characters wasn't allowed to have a win in this game, actively saying she'd do something only for her not to be able to do it.

Also in the case of Kairi, there's the issue that she herself has actively stayed, in in-game dialog, she wanted to help and fight, that she didn't want to be protected, but do the protecting. This game was set up in away that implied this was her time to shine and where all her talking about wanting to help and fight at Sora's side was going to pay off, but it didn't. Her dialog implies she's feisty as do some of her actions in 2, but here we're just shown how helpless she is. What was her training for?

Worse yet she didn't put up a fight when Xemnas kidnapped her or Xehanort kills her (yes, she was unconscious, but they could have had her constrained struggling to free herself or fighting him alone clearly out matched instead).

I can get her freezing in the Terranort fight it was her first real combat situation, even if she could have at least tried to summon her Keyblade.
 

Oracle Spockanort

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Kairi in particular might not be good at battles

Except she is. The game goes and shows her being able to hold her own against Xion and Saix. That was why her and Lea were training in a place without time. They trained and became very strong fighters. They certainly were not experienced Keyblade wielders but they were there to fight in a war and came prepared.

The problem begins in the lack of showing more of this in the game before she is taken without a fight and subsequently killed as a result of it. This isn’t even touching on the fact that she is used solely for developing Sora rather than her own character.

It seems our western sensibilities has the unfortunate mindset that in order for a woman to be worthy she must be a man with breasts.

What the f u c k does that mean? “Man with breasts”? That is already insinuating that women cannot be strong or take on “traditionally” male roles without being considered masculine.

Nobody is asking Kairi to become some super powerhouse of a character, but rather that she was allowed to put in more of a fight when she was captured and to not lose all agency as a character. KH2 Kairi in comparison puts in much more of a fight against her captors than she does in KH3.

There is nothing wrong with being traditionally feminine and badass.

Nobody is asking for her mannerisms to change. Like you said, she can be feminine and badass. Nobody disagrees with that.

Also being badass does not have to always mean how good you are at being violent. It can also mean emotional strength, and I think Kairi has always brought that very well.

So why does every other single character get to be both emotionally strong and physically strong in KH3 except Kairi? They are fighting in a WAR. A battle for the fate of the universe and you’re telling me they decided to bring Kairi along for her emotional strength alone?
 

Taochan

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I thought the women were treated perfectly fine in this series.

Kairi in particular might not be good at battles,but she is not useless in the slightest. It seems our western sensibilities has the unfortunate mindset that in order for a woman to be worthy she must be a man with breasts.

There is nothing wrong with being traditionally feminine and badass. They are not mutually exclusive. Also being badass does not have to always mean how good you are at being violent. It can also mean emotional strength, and I think Kairi has always brought that very well.
What in god's name does that even mean?

I don't think anyone ever asked for Kairi to be displaying traditional male tendencies, they just asked for her not to continue to get kidnapped.
 
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...I have no idea what you just said and find it completely irrelevant to this discussion.

Oops sorry about Spocknart. I was trying to explain these arguments in this post are worth while and valid women representation of the kingdom hearts series, but their are also people take it a step too far. I really can't explain in this community, but other's i've been get what i'm saying. Sorry for the inconvenience.
 

Divine Past

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des97

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It's not just women actually. Most of the characters don't have a purpose other than being brought back.
 

TruestSyn

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Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying people can't like SoKai? And I mean, yes, there is in-game evidence that they are close, that's indisputable. My problem is how much it is hammered in by OTHER characters and how much the ship is prioritized over Kairi as an actual character throughout the series. I mean, everything you listed is all fine and dandy, but... how often has Kairi been shown having meaningful interactions with characters that aren't Sora? And actually shown, not just vague glimpses or being talked about.

We don't really get to SEE much of her friendship with Hayner's group. When she speaks with Roxas, it's about Sora. She has a few moments with Riku in KH2 that are nice but way too fleeting and a tiny bit in 2.8, but otherwise? There's very little. Nearly all of Kairi's screentime revolves around Sora, so you'll have to forgive me if I'm not enthralled by a ship where one party doesn't get to stand on her own outside the shipping context.

To me, having characters like Donald and Goofy constantly remind the audience of the ship during KH2, for example, just feels like a classic case of tell, don't show.

Here's the problem. Sora has plenty of time to be his own character with his own friendships and experiences. Kairi?

- Comatose through most of KH1.
- Offscreen or captured through most of KH2.
- Only vaguely mentioned in Days, barely acknowledged in Coded
- Brief moment in BBS with Aqua as a child
- Has some moments with Lea in KH3, and admittedly it's cool that she's a party member during one of the endgame fights, and yet... we still don't see her have meaningful interactions with most of the cast, ESPECIALLY Riku, who is supposed to be one of her best friends, too.

Now do you see my problem with SoKai? I just don't think shipteasing automatically makes a ship compelling. If you like it, that's fine, but I just can't root for a ship where one half of the pair got the serious shaft in EVERYTHING that isn't her connection to Sora. That, and the ship just doesn't interest me (but it's fine if it interests you).

I just really think that if they were going to make the ship a thing... they should have done more with Kairi's character. Because they did not and she contributes so little to KH3's story, it just makes me mad when a noncanon manga has a much more well-rounded Kairi who ISN'T just there for shipping.

And again, it makes an even more glaring contrast with Xion and Aqua, who have strong bonds with both members of their respective trios AND get to go out and do their own things as their own characters. It really makes it feel like there isn't a true, strong trinity of friendship that was present in at least parts of KH1 and KH2 (but even then, I'd argue Kairi still didn't get much outside her scenes with Sora).

I just want Kairi to be more than Sora's love interest. :/ I wanna see more of her personal aspirations, her interests, etc, etc.

It's not that I personally like or dislike SoKai, but I don't understand why everyone says it's forced. A group of people who look at subtext for relationship contexts in manga, anime and video games almost outright refuse to look at subtext or even bright neon signs pointing to something saying "HEY THIS IS A THING" and then say that it is forced.

They definitely should have done more WITH Kairi, but if they did too much with her there wouldn't be anywhere for her to go in KH4. We might get a nice opening tutorial with Kairi in KH4 where she's trying to figure out what happened to Sora. Riku even seems to have an older sibling feeling towards the two of them, like he has to protect them, and too many people look at that as "she's weak and needs defending" instead of "i feel like he's strong and wants to protect them." Of course that then gets into the whole debate as to why it's always the female who is being looked at as needing defending and the male who has to do the protecting but I'm sure one day we'll get to a point where we aren't following those stereotypes. I do just want to see more from Kairi.

Shipping wise, I prefer SoKaiRiku because I myself and poly and believe it would solve SO MANY issues with media and society if they stopped using toxic monogamy (mostly possessiveness) as a focus as to what makes a relationship strong or weak.


Oops sorry about Spocknart. I was trying to explain these arguments in this post are worth while and valid women representation of the kingdom hearts series, but their are also people take it a step too far. I really can't explain in this community, but other's i've been get what i'm saying. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I see where your problem is. You've got Toad status. *throws Maiden's Kiss* Better?
 

kirabook

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"Western sensibilities" is code word for "Japanese people like their women girly and docile unlike in the west where women are too strong headed and independent." I've seen it thrown left and right lately. Seen it in the past when a moe character is criticized for being a damsel in distress 24/7 or a serve no purpose other than to be saved (usually in the dumbest ways possible)

Guaranteed anyone who says that has no idea what they're talking about and are just letting their preference (or fetish) get in the way of looking at characters objectively.

If you're a fan of Kairi:
#1: Stop using this "western sensibilities" excuse because you sound stupid.
#2: Don't let Nomura keep treating Kairi like this. If she's not meant to fight, you should be fighting for her to find something else to help instead (like Namine) and stop putting her in these damsel situations. This has happened 3 times now, it's boring.
#3: Desire something more for her character than just a ship. Please

I wrote a post on reddit about this. One headcanon I've really taken a liking to this past week is simply the idea that Kairi starts using her power on purpose. We're told constantly that she's uber powreful, full of light, can do stuff others can't. Etc etc. We never see that... unless it's an accident or dire situation.

I suggested instead of the KHUX cameo (as fun as it was), maybe Kairi stepped up to the plate and with the power of a heart of pure light, she managed to deal it a major blow so that everyone else could fight back? Maybe when Xemnas grabbed her, she made herself shine so brightly, Xemnas had no choice but to let go and retreat (same when Xehanort tried to slash her)

If she's not meant to be in the heat of battle or strength isn't her strong suit... why not grant her power and show off abilities the rest of the party doesn't have and can't do? Why not make her as special as you keep saying she is. Words aren't good enough.

I'll say it again, between Aqua, Xion, and even Namine's treatment, Kairi's was rock bottom in KH3. Somehow, all of their moments outweigh Kairi's impact for me this game.
 
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