Tag Archives: heartless

Kingdom Hearts FAQ #13.9: Live! On Ice!

You could argue that this entire site exists because of Kingdom Hearts (see the FAQ’s FAQ for more details), so it seemed only appropriate to celebrate the release of Kingdom Hearts 3 with a live stream of its opening segments on February 1st. Want to watch that sucker? Well, here you go:

This video is primarily featuring myself, Captain Clueless, BEAT, and Fanboy Master. Additional promotional considering was provided by Trident, Bongo Bill, A Turtle Does Bite, and Mars Dragon. Thank you to everyone that joined in the stream! (And if I missed anyone, I’m very sorry.)

Notes! With Time Annotations!

9:00 – An explanation for this nonsense is provided. My original “plan” for the stream was that Countess Clueless, joining me live on the couch while I played this game, was going to be exposed to the Kingdom Hearts franchise for the first time, and we would all get to see what it’s like for a Disney fan to see this complete nonsense without the context of seven or so previous titles. However, the opening of the game is surprisingly bonkers-free, so Contessa Clueless wasn’t all that shocked. Hypothesis disproven!

19:00 – Hey, nineteen minutes into the stream, and we’ve got some gameplay. That’s not too bad for something JRPG adjacent.

28:00 – BEAT attempts to explain the plot and Fanboy Master explains exactly how a Goofy Movie World should work in Kingdom Hearts. And that should be canon. Also, apparently we’re only playing Kingdom Hearts 2.9.

Darkness!35:00 – BEAT starts the first of his anti-Disney screeds. This will be a recurring conversation across the stream, though please be aware that if you disagree with Disney, you will be devoured by Disney, and replaced with a more palatable version of yourself.

45:00 – “I’ve had two battles, and I think it’s been forty minutes.” Also, the first appearance of a woman with a speaking role (well, a woman that cannot turn into a dragon. Sorry, Maleficent.)

1:05:00 – This Air Herc mural really showcases how the worlds of Kingdom Hearts 3 are a lot more interesting than the themed hallways of previous Kingdom Hearts titles. It’s not like every previous Kingdom Hearts game was particularly terrible, they just weren’t this consistently… cool.

1:25:00 – As all streams must, discussion rapidly descends into the realm of Sonic the Hedgehog mechanics.

1:49:00 – I run directly into a stampede. Look, my Kingdom Hearts skills exist in a quantum state: I am either very good at keeping Sora alive, or very, very bad. In this case, I earn Nega-Sora pretty damn fast.

2:00:00 – Speaking of which, marvel as I don’t understand flowmotion for a solid few minutes.

2:15:00 – “We did it!” … No we didn’t! Hercules and Zeus did everything! Also, this wraps up some very interesting Nintendo discussion that I missed on account of actually playing the game.

2:25:00 – As Riku descends into The Darkness, Carmine Clueless comments that she doesn’t see the point. It’s all just running around hitting things with a giant key. She’s on level six billion of Candy Crush, but this she finds repetitive? Bah!

Heartless!2:35:00 – It is worth noting that Gasoline Alley is completely insane, and apparently features a wealth of immortals.

2:45:00 – Finally it is time to start Kingdom Hearts 3. We’re only nearly three hours in!

2:59:00 – Fanboy Master notes that the Heartless Tornado here only exists to satisfy that one trailer that was released a million years ago. He is also able to identify clothing from The Bouncer. FBM really is the MVP of this stream.

3:09:00 – And we close with a discussion on the joys of skateboarding in Kingdom Hearts 2. Thank you again to everyone that participated, and thanks for watching, everybody!

Kingdom Hearts FAQ #13.1: It All Goes Wrong

Run, child, runQ. Where did it all go wrong?
Q. What is your favorite Kingdom Hearts moment?

A. Two questions, same answer!

I will always maintain that Kingdom Hearts 1 was a straightforward game with a straightforward plot. Well, straightforward for a JRPG’s descendant, at least. In a nutshell, the universe is in danger, and it appears the Disney Council of Evil, with Maleficent at its head, is to blame. Honest, noble, and fairly mundane Sora, his best friend and rival Riku, and Kairi, his makeshift girlfriend, are all caught up in the crossfire when their world (hometown) is destroyed. Sora answers the call of the hero, Riku is seduced by the darkside, and Kairi flops around like a fish. At about the same time the trio finally works through their issues, the true evil is revealed: a scientist king who gazed into the darkness too long, and sacrificed his kingdom, people, and sanity for the sake of learning more about an unspeakable horror. In his final moments, the evil king is defeated not because of Sora’s strength, but ultimately because he believed the core of the universe, the core of humanity, was darkness, but, no, it was light, and he was obliterated mentally and physically by the revelation. The worlds are restored, but the trio is still separated in the final moments, because adventures are always to be continued; so the last we see of Sora is a boy who just saved the universe exploring a whole new world joyously with his new (duck ‘n dog) friends. Fade to black, let’s call it a day.

And then it all goes straight to Hell.

In North America, if you played Kingdom Hearts 1 with some dedication (saved all the worlds and saved all the puppies… not certain which one is more important…), you would receive a bonus movie that acted as a teaser for (presumably) Kingdom Hearts 2. I literally am incapable of describing the impact of seeing this movie after devoting forty nearly continuous hours to earning it. After a story where there are implied to be two keyblades in the universe, one of which is wielded by Mickey Mouse, here’s a warrior in a strange cloak utilizing two keyblades at the same time. And he’s fighting heartless we’ve never seen before. And he can run straight up a building! SO COOLAnd who’s that other guy? He’s wearing a blindfold? OMG is that supposed to be Riku? Did he get blinded by the light at the core of the universe? But now he’s free? How did he escape? What happened to Mickey? Did the other dude steal his keyblade? Is that Oathkeeper? Why are there so many heartless? What happened? What’s going on!?

Practically days after Kingdom Hearts was first released, the Internet was ablaze with theories and conjecture for what was coming next. No two people could agree on one solid theory as to what was coming. There were even naysayers that claimed nothing could live up to the potential of that one teaser movie.

Who could have guessed that that was the right answer?

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, the GBA game that followed Kingdom Hearts 1, was a tremendous tease. Kingdom Hearts 2, Squaresoft knew, was to be the next big thing, so this “side story”, even though it directly continued the plot of KH1, had to pace itself to only tantalize the audience for the upcoming hotness. Organization XIII was born here, and it’s clear they were created with an emphasis on “mystery” and not much else. Anyone in the Disney or Square pantheon could be under those hoods, and the fact that Axel and Vexen both resembled ersatz Final Fantasy 7 characters only fanned the fandom’s fanatic speculation that Organization XIII was some big crazy melting pot of Disney/Square characters hiding under hoods. Chain of Memories’ (second) ending introduces DiZ (Delightfully Immature Zealot), a character wrapped in bandages in an effort to hide a face the player had never seen, but, oh, he’s mysterious, so what’s hiding under there? Come to think of it, I don’t think CoM introduced a single new character that is actually operating under their “real” given name.

And then came Kingdom Hearts 2, which, to its credit, did finally give answers to all the questions that had been asked thus far. The bad news? It approached those answers in the worst possible way.

Looking so smug.  Maybe?Let’s revisit Ansem. As I mentioned earlier, in KH1, “Ansem” is simply (?) a scientist king that goes too far in his research of heartless. It is clearly stated throughout that Ansem did not create the heartless (he created some heartless, but he didn’t originate the idea), he just found them, labeled them, and enhanced them until they ran amuck over his world and others. Again, during the KH1 finale, Ansem is evaporated by the light of his own hubris. There was, in short, no reason for Ansem to return. Even if we wanted to revisit the heartless (which, according to that bonus movie, was always the intention), Ansem was not at all necessary, all we needed was some other loser to find a door to darkness and release them, or even go the extra mile and dig out some even greater evil and claim that the newbie is the real origin of the heartless, Ansem was only a misguided, weak fool, bwa ha ha and whatnot. But, no, Kingdom Hearts 2 brought back Ansem in the form of Xemnas. Yes, you watched Dark Ansem die, but this is Twilight Ansem, and he’s just as murderous as the last Ansem.

The insanity didn’t stop there. Just to confuse everyone further, Ansem was revealed to not be Ansem, but actually Ansem’s apprentice, Xehanort, and the real Ansem was that guy all wrapped up in the bandages. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and, even after years, I still have no idea why this “twist” was introduced. It’s the kind of plot twist that makes everyone look like an idiot (so Leon, Cid, Aeris, and all of Ansem’s subjects had no idea what the guy looked like? They just loathe anybody with the same name?), outright contradicts preestablished, straightforward facts (Xehanort wrote about Ansem meeting King Mickey in the first person… so… Xehanort was confusing his own identity?), and alienates anyone who just enjoyed KH1 but hadn’t yet played KH2 (“Man, that Ansem is a jerk.” “Weeeeeell…”). It adds practically nothing to the story, aside from exonerating an Ansem #2 that was just created, and, perhaps worst of all, it further complicates a plot into “Who’s on first” wordplay territory. The literal plot of Kingdom Hearts 2 can be explained as, “Ansem is dead, and in his absence, Ansem hatches a new plan, but Ansem, Ansem’s former mentor, thwarts Ansem’s efforts, losing his life in the process, and Ansem dies shortly before Ansem is finally killed.” The only benefit to introducing Ansem the Wise is that it gives DiZ (Delicious, Inviting Zest) an interesting reveal to hide under those bandages. But that wouldn’t be necessary if that stupid mummy hadn’t been introduced in the final moments of CoM, anyway!

All shiny and redEver hear of Vader Syndrome? Well, remember Empire Strikes Back? Where that big scary dude reveals he’s actually that blonde kid’s father? It is an amazing, Alderaan-shattering moment because it completely flips the dynamic of everything that has ever occurred before and after in the story. And it’s a neat trick, but you can only do it once, or you very quickly get diminishing returns. Imagine if the series went on to explain, I don’t know, that the princess was also related to blondie and the scary dude, or something even dumber, like one of the robots was also the son of the scary dude. It wouldn’t enhance the story in any significant way, it would just pile some dumb trivia into a universe that shrinks and shrinks because it seems like there’s only one important family in an entire far, far away galaxy.

Kingdom Hearts has a terminal case of Vader Syndrome. Every game since Kingdom Hearts 2 has introduced new characters that, presumably in an effort to endear them to the audience, are just new versions of previously existing characters. There are three playable characters in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, all of them all new, and 66% of them are either Ansem or Sora. Remember “the other guy” from that teaser movie I so loved? He was a Sora. Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days introduced an entirely new character into the timeframe between Chain of Memories and KH2, and, surprise, she was just another Sora, but in the shape of another Kairi. Even more confusingly, “Ansem” also seems to be aging in reverse, he’s at his oldest when Sora was born, and by the time Sora is fifteen, he appears to be just old enough to rent a car.

None of this is a bad thing from a story telling perspective. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? Of course it’s a bad thing: it’s needlessly convoluted and even requires dedicated fans to create new and interesting descriptors for characters so we’re not just talking about Ansem being at odds with Ansem all the time. But, to return to the original point of this paragraph, you want to tell a story with such needlessly complicated plots, that’s your business, but it’s terrible for this franchise. Look at Kingdom Hearts 3. It is confirmed that it will No plot relevance at all, I'm surefeature Big Hero 6 and Tangled, and it would be insane for them to ignore Frozen, the entire Pixar library, and let’s throw the Marvel and Star Wars cinematic universes in there. I know an eight year old that loves all of those things, and has the Legos to prove it. By the time the game is finally released, let’s say he’ll be ten, just a perfect age for a Disney crossover game that could be an ideal gateway to the more heady Square-Enix JRPGS of yesterday and today. But I could not, in any kind of good conscious, recommend Kingdom Hearts 3 to the kid, because, holy cow, he’d have to read my thirteen part Kingdom Hearts FAQ just to begin to understand what’s going on. No child should be subjected to that. I shouldn’t be subjected to this!

So, it is with that, that I leave you, Kingdom Hearts. You looked too deeply into the darkside of complicated plots and complex character relations, failed to come up for air at any point in the last fifteen years, and drowned in the darkness, finally swallowed by an impenetrable black. You’ve sacrificed your kingdom, people, and sanity all for the sake of mystery. Maybe, one day you’ll realize that Kingdom Hearts should be… light.

Thanks for reading!

Kingdom Hearts FAQ #12: Titles

A door to knowledge?Q. Why did they number the Kingdom Hearts games so dumb and weird?

A. Here are the ridiculous title explanations you were waiting for.

Kingdom Hearts, aka Kingdom Heats 1, is the most straightforward of the bunch. As a reminder, yes, Kingdom Hearts is revealed to be an actual object in the game/series, and is not just some random nonsense title. Gilgamesh is not searching the multiverse for the Final Fantasy, and Benjamin does not live in Final Fantasy, USA.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is the Gameboy Advance game that was kind of a retelling of Kingdom Hearts 1, kind of its own original story. So, the “Chain of Memories” is a gentle reminder that you’ve seen everything in this game once already, and a descriptor for how the plot of the game involves Naminé, the slave witch, altering Sora’s memories by inserting herself into key moments. She is breaking Sora’s chain of memories, while you are trying to get a chain combo going through your own memories of a game you already played. Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories was the PS2 remake of the game that has a title based on an email subject misunderstanding.

Quirky?Kingdom Hearts 2 is the sequel to Kingdom Hearts, and the last time we saw a straightforward title in this series (it’s been almost a decade!). The “2” here could also be a clever reference to the fact that Sora and Kairi are both accidentally duplicated for the entirety of the game (Roxas and Naminé, respectively), or how Sora wields a pair of keyblades during special occasions. Also, every world winds up getting visited twice, so Kingdom Hearts 2 is twice as padded as Kingdom Hearts 1.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days for the DS is where we start sliding off the rails forever. This impossible to abbreviate title features Roxas (Sora clone) and new character Xion (… also a Sora clone) palling around with Organization XIII for the period of time between Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2. We’re talking about 358 Days, and since the relationship between Roxas and Xion is central to the plot, it is 358 days divided by two people. Also, a DS screen can be used by better games (thinking of Contra 4 here) as a sort of giant screen divided into two. It all adds up to KH358/2D being titled unusually so as to discourage people from playing that turd.

LIAR!Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep is the prequel of the series, thus the whole “Birth” thing. Aggravatingly, this is not the origin story of the main villain of the series, Xehanort, so we’re probably going to see another, earlier prequel somewhere down the line to cover the Birth of Darkness. Interestingly, while this game is mostly in media res because someone lost the ability to tell stories with concrete beginnings, the game does open with the literal birth of Sora, which causes Ven, an identical cousin of Sora, to awaken from a deep sleep. The game is then bookended with Ven knocking back into a coma while his heart flutters off to hang out with child Sora, so “Birth by Sleep” actually makes a sort of sideways sense. If you squint. Note that, thanks to its plot placement before Kingdom Hearts 1, BBS is sometimes referred to as Kingdom Hearts 0, which will be important in a moment.

Kingdom Hearts Coded was a damn episodic cell phone game that got rereleased as a complete DS game named Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded. This is the story of Mickey Mouse trying to get with the times and digitizing Jiminy Cricket’s dusty old journal which, naturally, leads to the world nearly being destroyed, because technology is scary and somehow scanning a book creates sentient life, most of it malevolent. “Coded” is referring to the scanning (coding) process here, and “code” is also a synonym for “puzzle” according to Word’s thesaurus, which alludes to the fact that this is a puzzle game. “Re:coded” is just what those whacky programmers were complaining about when they were informed the game would be reheated for the DS.

When your hero doesn't understand...Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is just… ugh… still mad at this one. First of all, yes, if you abbreviate the title, it just appears as Kingdom Hearts 3, which we… *cough*… I mean fans have been clamoring for since Kingdom Hearts 2 six years prior. Now, to be annoyed by the very next letter, it’s “3D” not just because it’s in 3-D, but because the subtitle is three sequential D’s: Dream Drop Distance, which is a previously unmentioned keyblade ability that allows the user to drop into the dreams of the heart… which are… just regular dreams. Anyway, to the game’s credit, it does continue the “story” of Kingdom Hearts, so it did work out like a pseudo-Kingdom Hearts 3. Of course, now we’re all excited about the real Kingdom Hearts 3, and nobody cares about the 3DS anymore, so let’s resubtitle the game as 2.8, since we already used 2.5 for the Kingdom Hearts 2 HD release, and we can’t exceed three. There are an infinite amount of numbers between two and three, and I’m betting 2.9 is reserved for some kind of prologue cell phone game released three months before KH3. Or a paid demo! The possibilities are endless!

Speaking of lousy promotional games, Kingdom Hearts χ was a browser based game set ages before the events of any given Kingdom Hearts, pre-Keyblade War, which was fought over the χ-blade. For those of you without a doctorate in Kingdom Hearts History, this would be akin to setting a Star Wars game a thousand years before the birth of Chewbacca. Kingdom Hearts χ is a nothing of a game, basically meant for playing around the Kingdom Hearts universe while your boss is off hitting on Debra in accounting (think about it, Kingdom Hearts was released in 2002, the teens that played that game and bought Nobody hoodies and custom zippers are well into their cubicles today). There were a few inklings of the plot in there, though, so those scenes are being repackaged as the movie Kingdom Hearts χ in the new set, like 358/2 Days in KH1.5HD and Re:Coded in KH2.5HD. Wow, Team Kingdom Hearts really has this down to a science.

And χ is pronounced “key”, of course.

Moving right alongFinally, we have Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep: A Fragmentary Passage. Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (KH0) ends with Aqua sucked into the Realm of Darkness, which is also where a whale of a lot of worlds also wound up during the time period between BBS and Kingdom Hearts 1. This means that we can just reuse Aqua’s BBS HD Remake model and animations to explore a whole host of “lost” worlds that are just reused assets from previous KH games modified to a darker palette for inclusion in the Realm of Darkness. It’ll be Birth by Sleep 0.2 alright, as the whole game will likely involve two new worlds, one new Square guest star (let’s say… Laguna?), and the other 80% will be stuff we’ve already seen.

I’ll buy it day one.

Q. Any handy visual aids available for the series?

A. Here’s the boxart for Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD

The Whole Gang

Highlighted below are all the characters that are, or have ever been, Sora.

The Soras

Now here are all the characters that are, or have ever been, Xehanort.

The Xehanorts

And, finally, here are all the characters that are… female.

Kinda Lonely

That help?

Kingdom Hearts FAQ #08: Square

Honestly?  This scene always gets me.Q. So what about the Square Characters of the Square/Disney Crossover?

A. Oh, you know, they’re doing this and that.

Note that this post will contain vague spoilers for not only Kingdom Hearts, but also a myriad of other Square games. Though I am rather proud of myself that I don’t think I distinctly noted the fact that Aerith dies.

First, a history lesson for any young whippersnappers wandering around the site and perhaps my lawn, which you should vacate immediately. Back in the day, when Squaresoft was young and gay (see Tobal No. 2), Final Fantasy plots and characters were a one-off event. Sure, you may see a Cecil cameo in a virtual reality nightmare world, or Black Mage kicking off the era of the sprite comic, but, by and large, when a Final Fantasy game hit “The End”, you were never going to see those characters again. Ultimecia may as well have won, because all of her opponents stopped existing about fifteen minutes after her death. Nowadays, you have your Dissidias and Theatrehythms and The After Years and we know exactly how Kefka would react to Squall, and how many children were conceived during the ending of Final Fantasy 4, and the mystery is just gone.

Kingdom Hearts (1) was released before even Final Fantasy 10-2, so not only was it a chance to see all those fresh faces from Final Fantasy 10 again, but it also featured a number of “old favorites”, like Cloud and Squall, characters that hadn’t been seen on anything but rad Versus posters for years. I literally cannot describe how amazing it was, at the time, to see these characters returning to an active role. They could just show up, say three lines, and then disappear into the ether, and it would be exhilarating.

So that’s exactly what Square did.

Good job, guys. Nice hustle.

Scampering aboutTidus, Wakka, and Selphie all appear on Destiny Islands as a sort of cameo balance to protagonists Sora, Riku, and Kairi. They’re all Sora-aged, so they look much younger than in their original appearances. They all play (literally, no euphemism here) with Team Sora, and, when their entire world is destroyed, Sora never mentions them ever again throughout the franchise. Selphie appears briefly as Kairi’s friend in Kingdom Hearts 2, because, with Sora and Riku off planet and adventuring at the time, Kairi has no other friends, and must settle.

Squall decides to call himself Leon for some reason or another, and also decides to be a very confusing character for the KH universe. Squall and the remaining Final Fantasy characters in Kingdom Hearts 1 all used to live in Radiant Garden, a happy shiny world ruled by Ansem the Wise in its better days. Then Xehanort took over without anyone noticing… or… something. Radiant Garden became Hollow Bastion, and anyone worth a damn got exiled to Traverse Town. Leon, using a gummi ship provided by Cid, traveled the universe, and did bupkis. Seriously. There’s this whole backstory where he earned Mickey’s trust for all the effort he’s putting in and all the hearts he’s saved, but when you go to the other worlds, there’s just no mention of the guy, or even the slightest bit of evidence any other off-worlders have been curbing the heartless onslaught. Best guess? Leon is completely fabricating his own history. Oh yeah, I saved… uhhh… Victory Through Air Power world. Yep, totally saved. Oh, you’ve never heard of it? Oh, that’s alright, it’s not really a mainstream world.

So fuzzySomehow Leon got King Mickey’s attention, and rather than Mickey, Keyblade Master, just explaining keyblade history to Sora himself, Mickey chooses Leon to be his proxy. Is Mickey secretly ashamed of his squeaky voice? Whatever the case, Leon is basically the lore-meister for the entirety of Kingdom Hearts 1, so any plot irregularities stemming from basic keyblade knowledge can be placed squarely on his shoulders, or at least his silly little half-coat.

In KH2, Leon heads up the committee to make his home planet look less like a depressing, dark hovel. This goes against everything I understand about Squall.

Aerith is here to be Team Final Fantasy’s mom, which is a common problem in Kingdom Hearts. Basically, every good guy group has to have one character, always female, who stands around and worries about what the boys are doing. I will remind you that this is Aerith, who, aside from that whole end on her knees business, spent a lot of Final Fantasy 7 sneaking out to escape her mom to meet up with boys. Also, she’s one of only two FF7 playable characters to join the party that doesn’t already have some kind of weapons/warrior training, which has to take some level of lady balls (MASTER level lady balls). But, no, KH Aerith just stands around, elaborates on whatever Leon is saying, and then looks concerned. In KH2, she joins in the battle… as an unarmed white mage. Sigh.

It's weird, right?Yuffie is also Leon’s sidekick. While she is at least the rare “active” woman in the Kingdom Hearts universe (you can actually fight her and Leon in Olympus Coliseum), she still doesn’t do much of anything in either game.

Cid rounds out team Final Fantasy, and he’s basically there to maintain your gummi ship. This is a very Cid appropriate task. In KH2, he is replaced by a pair of chipmunks. This, most unfortunately, does not lead to Chip ‘n Dale ‘n Cid: Rescue Rangers. Sit your ass down in that chair and eat your goddamn cheese!

Cloud actually has something of an interesting go of it in KH1. He appears as a minion of Hades in Olympus Coliseum, which grants Cloud the honor of being the only Final Fantasy character to appear on a Disney planet in KH1. This Cloud looks a lot like Vincent Valentine, and it would completely make sense if this “role” was originally supposed to go to Vinnie. After all, in the backstory of FF7, Vincent was nearly killed, So pointystored in an underworld like basement, and then eventually revived to a world where he decided to fight against the evil that once injured and imprisoned him. Unfortunately, as well as that would fit the motif of Hades’ underworld warrior, they decided to go with Cloud, who, in the backstory of FF7, was nearly killed, stored in an underworld like basement, and then eventually revived to a world where he decided to fight against the evil that once injured and imprisoned him. Totally different scenario.

Also, Cloud checked out his new Hades powers/look (the single batwing, the power of flight, increased durability, “dark powers”, aversion to sunlight) and deduced he had become a mummy, so he wrapped his sword in bandages.

Cloud fought for Hades, but then couldn’t bring himself to kill Sora, because Cloud knows that he might be able to mow down hundreds of unnamed soldiers, but he draws the line at some kid with spikey hair and an unusual sword. Cloud officially becomes a hero for voiding his contract, and then proceeds to not do a single other thing.

Smash Mouth loves itSephiroth is lurking around as a bonus boss in Kingdom Hearts 1, but doesn’t get any kind of a storyline until KH2, where it is revealed that he is the darkness in Cloud’s heart… or… something. As a result, it’s kind of fuzzy on whether or not Sephiroth is actually genetic-freak Sephiroth, a normal human being, or even just a belabored metaphor. We just know he is responsible for some amazing voice acting. Related: KH2 introduces Tifa, who is supposed to be the light to Sephiroth’s darkness. Tifa also proves she can punch through steel walls… and then proceeds to spend the rest of the game worrying about Cloud. Kingdom Hearts, you have a lady problem.

So sadI should probably mention Auron at this point, as he pretty much fulfills the same role as KH1 Cloud for Kingdom Hearts 2. Auron is plucked out of Hell by Hades. Auron is supposed to fight against Hercules/Sora, but resists. Auron learns a very valuable lesson about never losing your sunglasses. Despite the fact that the events of Final Fantasy 10 cannot have happened in the Kingdom Hearts universe (reminder: Tidus and Wakka are children), Auron has a brief flashback to losing his friends during some kind of heroic journey. Given Yuna’s state in KH2, I choose to believe a drunken Jecht and Auron traveled with a magical fairy Braska to stop Monstro, and failed. Someone please contact fanfic.net about this.

Speaking of which, Yuna, Rikku, and Paine (aka the Gullwings) are magical fairies in the service of Maleficent. There is absolutely no explanation for this phenomena; it is unknown if Maleficent transformed the girls, if they’re just part of a completely unseen fairy race, or if Still love their theme songRikku cast the wrong spell at the wrong time and it led naturally to hijinks. The Gullwings help Maleficent until… they don’t. Again, pretty much no explanation for anything these three do. I kind of assume their existence is owed to a weird dream someone had.

Seifer and his disciplinary committee buddies appear as young teens in Twilight Town. Given the difference in their ages, Leon either must have received his trademark scar from some random heartless, or he is a phenomenally poor swordsman. I suppose it could be both. Seifer is basically there to be a rival to Roxas in the very beginning of KH2, and while he doesn’t really accomplish much, he does firm up his place as “biggest jerk in the Final Fantasy series”. He could do worse.

Now, you may have noticed that all of the Final Fantasy characters have hailed from Final Fantasy 7, 8, and 10 at this point. There is a very particular reason for this: no one on the staff has played any other Final Fantasy games. To prove this, Vivi of Final Fantasy 9 My life is lame in this pile.  Ante up?appears in Twilight Town, and his entire contribution is being replaced by a random malicious mook. He speaks, without exaggeration, maybe nine whole words. Setzer of Final Fantasy 6 also appears, and the “noble gambler with a heart of gold” is an adult trying to bribe his way to victory in a children’s bopper game. My reaction to this can be summarized in the immortal words of Vivi, “…”

Zack Fair, who just about appears in Final Fantasy 7, drops by for KH: Birth by Sleep. In a radical change of pace for the series, Zack is tricked by Hades into fighting Hercules at Olympus Coliseum. Final Fantasy characters find faustian bargains to be sweeter than honey. During his downtime, Zack also finds time to ask Aqua out on a date, which I believe makes him the only character in all of Kingdom Hearts to Poorest guyplainly display a libido. Good for you, Zack, I’m sure you two crazy kids have a wonderful future ahead.

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance does not feature any new Final Fantasy Characters… or any Final Fantasy characters, I think. But it does feature a healthy portion of the cast of The World Ends With You. Those whacky kids are back to their old Reaper Game shenanigans, and, while a tutorial is mixed into the plot, this appears to be the first time in the series where a straight “Square World” plays out similarly to Disney Worlds hewing closely to their original plots. Of course, for some stupid reason, Team TWEWY is stuck in Traverse Town, as opposed to their own, personal setting. Hey, it’s not like the actual geographic location of TWEWY played any part in the gameplay or plot.

This article ends with youSo what does this all amount to? Not much. Team Final Fantasy doesn’t really accomplish much of anything in the grand overarching plot of Kingdom Hearts, and, by and large, most of the characters are simple caricatures of their former selves. It’s pleasant enough to fight against Squall or Cloud or Zack, but nothing of value is added, no great insight gleamed, and, in many cases, it’s just a brand name attached to a role that could be played by any ol’ NPC. I think we can all agree that perhaps after spending twenty hours with someone hunting movers in a dank cave, you don’t want to see that person ever again…

And the odds of Lightning being seduced by Hades into fighting Hercules in Kingdom Hearts 3? Staggering.