He just doesn’t learn…
This is what real friendship looks like.
In which I write a post about Sora’s character development from KH1 to KH2 (including everything in between), or what I like to dub:
Sora Hit Puberty Like a Freight Train Into A Brick Wall
Let me take you back in time. Back to a simpler time (with less sequels), 12 years ago, when Kingdom Hearts’ beauty first graced the planet.
Let me bring you back to a 14 year old Sora, a 14 year old Kairi, and a 15 year old Riku, before we knew that any other Soras, Rikus and Kairis existed in the world
Do you remember? You might not. Let me refresh your memory.
Haley Joel Osment back when he was still 13, the soft tender voice of a sweet kid, that really embodied Sora. Sora was a sweet, naive kid. Little bit slow, but you loved him for his absent-mindedness.
You’re presented with the first mini-dilemma of the game…Sora has a crush. And if you bought into the 15 year old Riku’s bluff, so did Riku. They fought over sharing the precious Paopu fruit with their little girl friend, and Sora in particular was sweet on her and it was very, very clear.
Then the darkness came. And Riku went from a brash, overly muscular but smart, sarcastic jerk to quite the moody little not-quite-villain.
And Sora? Well…he was still a sweet kid.
Sora in Kingdom Hearts I is defined by a few key concepts; he needs to find Kairi and Riku, his best friends in the world, and he needs to help out others with this strange key-shaped weapon he’s been handed. It’s all about exploring, the new sights, being this makeshift hero and doing all the things his little boyish head has been dreaming about.
One thing that really stood out to me about this game is just how adorable Sora is. He doesn’t really show anger at all in the first game. Even when people are trying to hurt (and kill) him and his friends, it’s almost as if Sora doesn’t quite realize the danger they’re in, he doesn’t seem to feel really strong negative emotions at all. He feels sad about a lot of the villains, almost as if he feels they’re lost kids. Perhaps it’s because Riku is siding with them, but he makes a substantial effort to understand, rather than dislike.
It’s almost as if negativity isn’t in his formula.
Kingdom Hearts ends, and even then, Sora’s words to Ansem aren’t particularly angry or forceful. He’s just doing what he does best…speaking from his heart.
We move to Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. I should mention, this game I played first, so I saw this Sora before I saw the Sora in Kingdom Hearts I. I remember what I was thinking distinctly when I finally had the original game in my hands…who the heck is this sweet kid?
That’s not to say that Sora wasn’t a sweetheart in every game. Sora always has and always will have that shining light that defines him, and the ability to speak earnestly from his heart.
But this Sora, the Sora in CoM, showed anger. This Sora showed confusion. He yelled at Donald and Goofy and angered them to the point that they ditch him for a portion of the game. This Sora, though no less self-sacrificial, no less brave and honest, now had something added…the fear, the anger, the confusion that comes with danger and risky circumstances.
I loved to tease: “Testosterone is really working on you, huh, Sora?”
Sora had stopped playing friendly with the enemies…he was sniping at them, angered by them, and showing that anger plainly.
It was an interesting, smooth development and growth in Sora’s character and I remember dreaming up fic after fic about how that might grow even more.
Kingdom Hearts II did not disappoint!
Sora developed past the anger, the fear, and the confusion, and he was left with this beautiful, mildly snarky personality. Almost as if he’d somehow imbibed Riku’s sarcasm during that time they were apart, Sora’s not only coming out with cute one-liners with the enemies, he’s doing it with friends, too. He begins to understand jokes that would’ve normally gone over his head. He begins to fantasize about Kairi. These might seem like simple, normal, mundane things to note, but to me, the attention to each and every little detail and how it smoothly blends into the next is brilliant.
Case in point? This gif. Look at that cheek. That sheer attitude. That eyebrow. Kingdom Hearts I Sora doesn’t even know what this face is, and Kingdom Hearts II Sora is throwing it at us like he birthed it. Kingdom Hearts II Sora is not taking your shit, not even a little of your shit.
But Sora is still Sora. He still bows to Saix in a dogeza position, willing to beg for his friends. Only now, this Sora instantly jumps to his feet in anger when he realizes he’s been tricked. He still tries to convince Xemnas to stop the madness at the end of the game, but he also snaps at the Organization, asking them if they’re “gonna cry about it?” Half the time he’s ticked about being mistaken for Roxas, and the other half he’s just like “huh?”
Dream Drop Distance, however, was a very interesting diversion from these developments in Sora. Sora’s original Kingdom Hearts I personality shines through in DDD. Is it because he’s reliving himself as a 14 year old? I like to think that Riku’s constant presence, and Sora’s naive belief that there would not be any danger lead to a return of that sugary, negativity-free personality.
By the time Riku wakes up at the end of DDD, Sora’s already returned to his obliviously happy self, but I wonder…what if that was just residual from the shock of nearly dying? A week later, wouldn’t it be interesting if it finally hit him and he just broke down in private? Does Sora hold himself in sometimes to make sure his friends are happy?
Perhaps I’m getting too dark for a Disney production, but, considering the fact that Sora just learned that following his heart is not always the right path, and that his enemies have pre-empted his tendency to do that to manipulate him into their trap…I wonder what kind of effect it will have on him as a person in the long run…
AAAH A GOOD POST ABOUT MY FAVORITE VIDEO GAME CHARACTER
Sora being an absolute cutie in his forms (x)
Some things don’t change… not really…