I legitimately can’t tell if that’s a joke or not
That vdieo is hilarious, but here goes with my attempt to explain Kingdom Hearts, as far as I have gotten. There are going to be spoilers, and I am going to screw it up, but oh well. I am gonna do it anyhow. If nothing else, this will be good notes for me later.
The universe of Kingdom Hearts is made of a whole bunch of “worlds” which are mostly each individual Disney movies, except for the ones that are not. So a meteor hit one of these worlds (Radiant Garden, which later becomes Hollow Bastion). A dude named Ansem the Wise lives there, and he studies the meteor, which is made of a substance called Gummi that allows people to travel between worlds. In theory, it shouldn’t be possible without this. Mickey Mouse, who is king of his own kingdom/world, shows up and he and Ansem become bros. This is important, but not until the end of Kingdom Hearts 2.
So Kingdom Hearts 1 begins with Sora (ya boy), Riku (Sora’s main dude), and Kairi (who they both might be in love with or it might be platonic or who even knows) chilling on an island world called Destiny Island with the Muppet Babies versions of the ff10 cast. Except some dark shit comes to the island, and Sora ends up being able to weild “the key blade” after he hallucinates himself in a stained glass dimension for a second. Sora escapes the island through a secret door in a cave under a tree, and wakes up when Pluto the dog is licking his face in a whole new world, Traverse Town.
If you played through KH1, you know the sweet Traverse Town jam, but just in case, here is the music that plays on loop forever in Traverse Town:
So in Traverse Town, Sora meets up with Goofy and Donald, a bunch of ff7 and ff8 characters. Donald and Goofy have a ship made of Gummi, so they can fly between worlds, and are trying to find Mickey. Sora wants to find his pals from DI, so they all head out and adventure through some disney movies. OK, whatever. On these worlds, your team fights Heartless, which are people who have no heart any more, so they become little dark evil things.
Meanwhile, Maleficent (the baddie from Sleeping Beauty) is working with the baddies from a bunch of other Disney flicks to get the 7 princesses, which will let her open up the door to Kingdom Hearts*. She eventually gets them all, but Sora Goofy and Fucking Donald (he is really bad for most of KH1 at…well…anything but dying) go to Hollow Bastion, where Maleficent is gathering the princesses to open the gate to KH. Riku is also there, having been possessed by Ansem (note: not Ansem the Wise; I’ll explain later). After beating up Maleficent (who was being played by Ansem, using her to get the princesses), Sora has to fight Riku and beats him, but Riku/Ansem tells him that Kairi is the Princess of Heart, but Ansem has been unable to use her since her heart is hiding inside Sora, leaving Kairi an empty husk, basically (but also doing something else; more in a sec). So to let Kairi’s heart out into Kairi, Sora impales himself on the keyblade and sorta dies.
THIS IS A HUGE FUCKING MOMENT PLOTWISE (but you might not know it from the game)
So a quick explanation of people and hearts: so when people lose their hearts, they become heartless (the little baddies Sora has been fighting all the time), but in addition to this, a thing called a Nobody gets created. A Nobody is an entirely separate being from the original person, but also doesn’t have a heart itself. So in this instance (and nothing in KH1 tells you this), Sora becomes a Heartless, but also creates a Nobody of himself. By KH universe rules, a Nobody’s name is an anagram of the original person’s name plus an X, so this is how Roxas gets made (but we don’t even meet him till the next (well actually third) game).
So anyhow, Sora is now a little tiny dark Heartless, but eventually Kairi recognizes him and gets Donald and Goofy not to kill him (in the manga, she literally says she recognizes his calves, which man fuck what). Somehow Kairi magics Sora back to being human, and he and his crew fight Ansem, who of course turns into a giant organic thing floating in space because this is the end of an 00s Square game. The power source for Ansem doing this is actually Kingdom Hearts, which is now opened up, and Mickey and Riku are inside of it fighting heartless in it. Sora, Donald, and Goofy are outside, pushing the door shut, and for some reason Riku thinks he has to stay inside and pull, and eventually they get it shut.
The game ends with Ya Boys walking down a path through a field at night. And the next game starts like RIGHT AWAY. But that is the next post. I need to go not think about Kingdom Hearts for a bit first.
*: man, I could write a whole thing on how nobody actually knows what Kingdom Hearts actually is, but whatever.
Sidenote: the voice acting in these games is hilarious and Lance Bass from N*SYNC is the voice of Sephiroth.
The next game is CHAIN OF MEMORIES, in which Sora ends up in Castle Oblivion, which erases his memories and makes him play a card game to get them back. You play through the same worlds from the first game, but on a GBA, and each world is the floor of a castle.
Notable in this game are the introduction of the Organization, who are a bunch of people in trenchcoats trying to fuck with Sora to get the keyblade, and Namine, who is actually Kairi’s Nobody, but she doesn’t like the letter X and can completely fuck with people’s brains whenever she wants. The Org uses her to screw with Sora until eventually Sora fights his way up the castle and frees her. She eventually offers to put Sora into basically a giant lotus flower machine and spend a year rebuilding his memories, but doing this will erase his memories of the time in Castle Oblivion and her. Sora says “psh, yeah do it” and boom, he is in a coma for a year.
Meanwhile, Riku is also in the Castle, but starting in the basement, and trying to fight his way up. He also gets King Miceky to help him. Riku eventually conquers the Castle, but learns that his problem is that he has darkness in his heart, and that is how Ansem got in and he has to learn to deal with it. Also the Org are dicks, because they can be.
More of it is real than should be.
Okay, so far I can follow it. My burning question has just always been: why? Why all this elaborate plot and so many characters that really aren’t as interesting as either FF or Disney characters? I mean I understand that you have to have someone there who’s new so they can traverse these two worlds. You couldn’t just make Cloud the main character, even though that would rule. You have to have a neutral observer so to speak.
And I like Sora, Riku and Kairi for that, they’re okay. But why Roxas and all these other people? It’s not enough that you have the entire Disney and FF cast at your disposal? You really need a story about a MacGuffin (Kingdom Hearts) and all this superfluous stuff? Couldn’t they have come up with something more simple and beautiful than that, really now…
i kind of wish the pumbaa bit wasn’t there at the end
You mean sth more simple an clean?
I mean the simple and clean reason is you own your OCs and there are a whole lot of stipulations on what you can and can’t do with Disney and probably even FF characters.
Like Goofy wields only a shield because you can’t just give a Disney character a Mace or something!! Nevermind in KH2 Mickey Mouse cold blood murders some human like Nobodies.
Like for KH3 they have said in interviews it has gotten harder and harder to find room for the Disney and FF characters. The FF characters had very little to do in the main games anyways.
That’s true, the FF characters were seemingly more restrained than the Disney ones. I guess that makes sense. It’s a shame though
The “why” is multilayered, as it changed significantly during the development of KH2, although part of it is inherent to how KH games are structured.
KH1 was planned as a game with Disney characters plus some original Square-designed characters, still owned by Disney, that they could market in japan. Square game characters were added late during development, when they were lacking time to design the humans in Traverse Town and they realized they’d get mad PR if they made the Square-Disney collaboration a crossover. it’s one of those happy accidents, just like how they were only allowed to show Mickey for a single scene in KH1. For Disney, this was obvious this would reduce Mickey to a cameo and he’d have no role in the story. Instead, Square made his absence a central element of the overarching quest and the one scene in which he appears is the climax. Anyway, the idea is that FF characters were (and still are) bit players added almost by accident that, by design and because it is a Disney series, will never have any significant role.
And neither will the Disney feature film characters, for that matter. They are all constrained, still by Disney mandate, to their own worlds and required to reenact simplified versions of their own movies’ plots. You don’t really have the whole Disney cast at your disposal, instead you are allowed to go visit their universes as long as you don’t mix them up (which amusingly also ended up being a rule in the series’ fiction). From the beginning the KH games have been designed as virtual theme parks and the areas don’t overlap (as mentioned a previous time we talked about this, this concept is thematically reflected in how the heartless and nobodies are in fact wearing costumes like performers, while the unversed are inanimate animatronics). The characters that are allowed to roam around are the ones that were always cast in varied roles, Mickey and all, and the princesses can be in the same spot thanks to the Disney Princess brand.
And KH1 made it work despite that limitation, but also kept the story pretty simple, although with a couple strong thematic ideas (notably that the wise man and pal of King Mickey that you’re searching for is in fact the one destroying everything as a science project, a nice and well told idea that is completely muddled and undone in subsequent games).
KH2 is where it should all fall apart, by virtue of basically being written as an exquisite corpse that had to include all the random sentences from KH1’s bonus ending plus the heart shaped moon, which was merely an artist’s whim on the KH1 box art that they ended up liking. I say “should” because it was not doomed to be so. Like, the basic idea is that for the prologue you’re gonna play as a character that’s a distorted reflection of the protagonist, living through a quiet nostalgic neverending summer dream, who finds out that he’s nothing but a dream and his whole existence is gonna be sacrificed because the dreamer has to wake up, and there’s nothing a mere dream can do to stop the dreamer. It’s great stuff, especially since it’s also supposed to make you grasp the point of view of the antagonist, himself a dream person of sorts. But the pacing is completely botched, plus there’s CoM, the GBA game
Thing is, KH2 was supposed to start in media res. You left Sora and his friends running towards adventure at the end of the first game, with one secret video teasing that everything had somehow gone wrong after that, and you start the new game with this new kid who doesn’t want to be the protagonist but can’t help going through a weird echo of Sora’s initial call to adventure, only to learn that the hero’s the other guy and he’s gonna have to stop existing so that other guy can continue being the hero.
But instead, KH2’s development was taking too long and having some problems (the final game even shipped without one of its most important boss fights, replaced by a cutscene) so they decided to make that ellipsis a full game. And there’s not quite enough to fill a game. By mandate, KH1’s world and characters have to be reused, it’s essentially a poor KH1 GBA port only with a kinda barebones new script glued on it, due to the fact that nothing important can happen except teasing the twist of KH2’s prologue.
But it’s fundamental because that’s where it all starts, all the doubles and confusion. Like, OK the base concept of KH2 is that there’s that whole first part that’s a dream, echoing a theme that was already running in the background of the first game and the bad guy is a distorted (and somewhat different!) reflection of the first game’s bad guy while Sora and Kairi get the same not-quite-clones, but that was it. But in CoM all the world are knockoffs of the KH1 world, you get a dark Riku clone because people thought Dark Riku was cool but since he actually learned from that dark bullshit and grew you need a clone to not undo his character development, to have your cake and eat it too. And he’s not the same kind of double as those other guys because they’re not just clones. And KH2’s pacing is broken because at the point where you should have learned what was up with the whole dream thing you just get told “go read CoM’s plot in a wiki if you haven’t played it”.
And then, as KH3 enters development hell by virtue of S-E’s whole FF pipeline becoming a clogged sewer of ineptitude, more filler is needed. Yo, Disney liked the younger Sora more so we need a game where he’s young again and going through KH1 rehashes again. People liked the black coat guys so let’s show their original selves except they’re exactly the same guys because we’ve forgotten about that distorted reflection thing. People wanted to know how Roxas was when he was one of the bad guys so let’s make a game about him going through the most boring bad guy office life. Also that whole bittersweet thing about Roxas being pissed at never really existing but finding solace in always having been a part of Sora? Nah, let’s declare there’s a way he could be brought back, along with characters that had even less of a concrete existence than him. In fact fans love Roxas so on top of that let’s say he’s in fact based on another actual person rather than just a dream! And that guy gets his own evil doppelganger! And the bad guy is an echo of the real bad guy! And that bad guy has a secret master lurking behind the scenes (or is a clone of him, we don’t know yet)!
Like, all of this only got so confusing because they needed filler between the three main games in the first place, but also because since those games are so obviously lower budget filler (apart from BBS to some extent) you need to motivate fans to buy them with some NEW REVELATIONS AND TWISTS. But at the same time they needed original characters because they weren’t allowed to develop the Disney or FF ones, so even if they’d kept it simple there always was gonna be that weird dichotomy between Disney characters stuck in their worlds except without a feature film budget or songs, FF bit parts, and the originals doing their thing.
Kingdom Hearts 2
or Well Shit, This Got Complicated Real Fast
So as Chevluh covered in their post, the development of KH2 was kinda a hellscape, and took way too long, so Chain of Memories was supposed to fit in the middle there. It’s weird because in being a GBA game, they couldn’t just port assets over quickly, but whatever, it happened.
Roxas is…maybe not real?
That being said, one might suspect that KH2 would start right after CoM leaves off, and one would be entirely wrong. KH2 starts with playing as Roxas, who you might remember is the Nobody of Sora, except that literally NOTHING IN KH2 EXPLAINS THIS for a long time. You just are playing as some kid in some town that you only have previously seen as a floor in the CoM Castle Oblivion, and he is on summer vacation. And participates in a Nerf dueling contest called (no shit) The Struggle against more FF Babies, including Vivi from 9.
Oh yeah, and it turns out that all might be a simulation to keep Roxas occupied until Sora wakes up (right there would be where people who didn’t play CoM should be going “WTF” but since most of KH2 is a big WTF, they probably don’t). Anyhow, Sora eventually wakes up in the “real” world of Twilight Town, but only after Roxas starts to figure out that his version is a simulation because some Org people, led by a guy with red hair named Axel, start to attack the simulation run by a dude with bandages all over his face named DiZ and one of the trenchcoat Org people that looks a lot like Ansem from KH1.
Oh also in here, Roxas meets Namine, because she is still around.
Sora is real.
Anyhow, once you are back to being Sora, there is a pretty funny joke about his old clothes being too small, so he gets an upgrade, and you are off to solve Disney Worlds for awhile. Eventually, you come back to Twilight Town and Mickey is there and he drops some messed up retconning on you, which happens because you see a picture of Ansem and it is some old blonde dude, not the white haired super seiyan knock-off you fought at the end of 2.
OK, so the Ansem you fought at the end of KH1 was not actually Ansem but is actually the Heartless of a guy named Xehanort (who, despite the X in his name, is just a guy, not a Nobody). Ansem the Wise, which is what Mickey refers to Actual Ansem as, is actually an old dude who had Xehanort as his apprentice. Also Mickey tells you that Xemnas, the leader of Org 13, is Xehanort’s Nobody who still uses the name Ansem because…? It’s also around this time that you find out that Org 13 are actually trying to open up Kingdom Hearts, which is where the hearts of all the Heartless that Sora keys to death go. By doing this, the Nobodys that make up all of Org 13 hope to get hearts and become real people.
Oh, it should also be noted that Ansem the Wise’s computer is…Tron world. You go there multiple times, because Org 13 corrupts it or something and it makes the security system in Twilight Town lose its shit.
After some more Disney World solving (including the worst song ever in these games in the Little Mermaid world; notably, the Little Mermaid world was the worst part of 1 for the controls, but it 2, it is because they let the Disney D-Team write an original song for it that you have to play a rhythm game to and it is the worst), Sora eventually goes back to Twilight Town where Axel helps him open up a portal to The World That Never Was, which is the Org’s HQ.
So a sidenote about Axel. The whole game he is kinda hassling Sora a lot, but also kinda not working in total concordance with the Org, and the reason why is that his best bud in the whole world was Roxas, who used to be in Org 13 but then had to leave to find Sora and…reunite with him or something. There’s a pretty sad scene with Axel and Roxas where they are chilling on a clocktower eating some Sea Salt Ice Cream (a Thing in KH games) and it is basically like the end of that summer before college when your high school buds are all going to different schools and you aren’t gonna be the same again and everyone knows it and you just kinda don’t talk about it.
Back to Sora
So in the World That Never Was, Sora fights a trenchcoat dude with two keyblades (hint: it is ROXAS) and then a bunch of other Org people. Eventually, he makes it through their castle and is fighting his way up to the top when Mickey meets DiZ, who pulls off his mask and is ANSEM THE WISE, and who has a laser to shoot at the heart shaped moon that everyone now says is Kingdom Hearts (not the doors that were Kingdom Hearts in the first game). The laser overloads, and somehow blasts the dude that looks like Ansem from KH1 and…it’s actually Riku! RIKU! But it maybe kills Ansem the Wise.
Anyhow, the whole crew goes up to the top of the tower, fights Xemnas in a couple different bullshit forms, and eventually kills him, making sure the power of Kingdom Hearts…stays as a moon? Who even knows? Anyhow, in this scene, you also see a ghost of Roxas merge with Sora.
And then somehow Sora and Riku get dropped out of the sky like meteors, and come crashing down off the coast of Destiny Island. It should probably be mentioned that Destiny Island is now a tiny island off the coast of an unnamed city, and Kairi is there. I recall the ghost of Namine somehow coming out of Kairi, but I could be wrong because at this point information overload is a real thing.
Oh, and if you did enough in the game, you get a secret ending with like 1000 keyblades in an empty field and three people in battle armor, who come back in BIRTH BY SLEEP, which is not the next game in the series because why would it be.
These are two excellent megaposts
lol yep this is more than I wanted but also somehow exactly what I wanted
Anytime I am exposed to anything Kingdom Hearts I am immediately teleported back to high school, this is very fitting
I had an ex walk in on me playing through the Little Mermaid song in Part 2 and I’m pretty sure it caused irreparable damage to our relationship.
by virtue of those megaposts describing what goes on in KH, i now have - honestly - even less of an idea what’s going on in this series, with nobodies and X-people that aren’t X’es and other people’s spinoffs and not even real, and the more you think about it, the better the giant joke that SQEX has pulled off gets, minute by minute:
forging a link between the japanese/english versions of a song called “simple and clean”, where it is basically proven that no, this series’ storytelling is definitely NOT simple, and not what you’ll call clean.
joke’s on us then, and the trainwreck that is KH3 better follows up on that B-movie series kind of plot-twists.
I really want to watch some leaked KH3. I even looked on pornhub but no dice
That’s actually not a dumb joke. Sometimes people put videos that youtube would take down on pornhub and stuff like that okay