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Answers to misconceptions about the Mark of Mastery and becoming a Keyblade Master



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Elfdemon

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Over the years, I've seen many people be confused as to why Sora and Riku had to do so much more for their Mark of Mastery than Aqua and Terra.

Aqua and Terra trained their whole life for their Mark of Mastery. Sora and Riku didn't. Sora and Riku's Mark of Mastery was also their training. Their Mark of Mastery was so much more difficult than Aqua and Terra's because they had to make up for the years of training they missed.

The Mark of Mastery and becoming a Keyblade Master isn't about whether you can save the world or not. It's about being traditionally trained. For example, becoming a black belt in Karate has nothing to do with whether you can save the world or win a fight or not. It has to do with if you have mastered the traditional skills you have been taught. The title of "Keyblade Master" is nothing more than a formality.
 

Antifa Lockhart

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Word, but I've not really seen many people complain about what Sora and Riku had to do since Yen Sid says later in the game that their exam isn't typical
 

DarkosOverlord

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I see that kind of "joke" on a daily basis, sadly.
"lol wut Sora saved the wors 2 times and Aqua just hit sum balls"

Even without DDD, Eraqus states pretty clearly the Mark of Mastery isn't about power or skill. Is about the heart. Which makes sense that an order born by handing Keyblades to worthy individuals would make a test to even further test this worthiness.

(And also seeing what a single corrupted Master brought. They screwed the pooch regardless, but it further proves that Masters do need to be incorruptibles.)
 

Precursor Mar

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Pretty sure that someone who used the Keyblade to defeat 2 versions of Xehanort is a more competent wielder than someone who couldn't even beat 1 version.

Sora's already proved multiple times he has a worthy heart.
 

Muke

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Except Aqua was able to beat Xehanort - sure, she didn't kill him, but she did win the fight, so I don't know what you're talking about. I'm pretty sure would she have gone all out without holding back because of Terra's heart, she would have been able to beat Terranort. She knew Terra was still in there somewhere and hoped he'd be able to overcome the darkness.

Just because he didn't die in the end, doesn't mean Aqua is not a competent wielder. Look at her in 0.2 , she certainly knows how to fight with the Keyblade and is probably also a little bit more experienced than Sora. But I'm not gonna delve into that.
 

DarkosOverlord

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Exactly as I said: people turn everything into a contest of skills and strenght even when it's explicitly stated that's not the case.

Sora plunged himself into the Darkness, risked to become a Xehanort vessel and "forced" Riku to brave the Darkness to save him (which Yen Sid himself acknowledged played a big part in making him a Master), Aqua was in the Darkness for 11 years and is still "sane".
Aqua and Riku overcame the corruption of Darkness, Terra and Sora didn't.
I don't think there should be any doubt to who has the strongest heart in that regard. Which in no shape or form has ever been translated into "to become a Master you must be able to Keyblade good".

I could also kinda debate whether Ansem and Xemnas are as strong or fearsome as a No Name-wielder Terra-Xehanort, but let's not turn this thread into Death Battle.
 

Muke

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Exactly as I said: people turn everything into a contest of skills and strenght even when it's explicitly stated that's not the case.

Sora plunged himself into the Darkness, risked to become a Xehanort vessel and "forced" Riku to brave the Darkness to save him (which Yen Sid himself acknowledged played a big part in making him a Master), Aqua was in the Darkness for 11 years and is still "sane".
Aqua and Riku overcame the corruption of Darkness, Terra and Sora didn't.
I don't think there should be any doubt to who has the strongest heart in that regard. Which in no shape or form has ever been translated into "to become a Master you must be able to Keyblade good".

I could also kinda debate whether Ansem and Xemnas are as strong or fearsome as a No Name-wielder Terra-Xehanort, but let's not turn this thread into Death Battle.
Completely agreed with everything you said, especially about not turning this into Death Battle.
 

Precursor Mar

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I admittedly forgot about her bout with Terranort, so I'll give you that one. Though I don't know what that's worth compared to Sora beating Xemnas like 3 times.

Sora plunged himself into the Darkness, risked to become a Xehanort vessel and "forced" Riku to brave the Darkness to save him (which Yen Sid himself acknowledged played a big part in making him a Master), Aqua was in the Darkness for 11 years and is still "sane".
Aqua and Riku overcame the corruption of Darkness, Terra and Sora didn't.
I don't think there should be any doubt to who has the strongest heart in that regard. Which in no shape or form has ever been translated into "to become a Master you must be able to Keyblade good".

Can you even fault Sora for that? Not even Yen Sid knew what was going on until it was too late, and the only reason it wasn't Riku was because he was immune from already being possessed in the past, not because he was perceptive or experienced enough to realize what was happening.

Aqua hasn't overcome anything. She's literally been waiting over a decade to be saved by Sora. She would've fallen into darkness in 0.2 if Mickey hadn't come to her.
Not that it matters since going through that wasn't what made her into a master. All she did was ​hit some balls. How does that and X amount of years of training equate to having a strong heart?
 

Launchpad

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The series has done kind of a poor job at explaining why being a master is important or good at all. Sora picks up the Keyblade and saves the worlds with 0 training in KH1, and we haven't really been shown the difference between his strength in KH1 vs Master Aqua's strength in BBS-- KH1 Sora has abilities that Aqua and company CAN'T do!
 

Muke

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Being a master is really just a formality.


Percursor Mar said:
Aqua hasn't overcome anything. She's literally been waiting over a decade to be saved by Sora. She would've fallen into darkness in 0.2 if Mickey hadn't come to her. Not that it matters since going through that wasn't what made her into a master. All she did was hit some balls. How does that and X amount of years of training equate to having a strong heart?

Not necessarily hitting balls and X amount of years of training, but we do see how strong her heart really is.
She is the embodiment of sacrificing oneself to save another. She is selfless - she's been in the RoD for over a decade and gave up the chance to finally get out of there just to protect someone else.

She is determined to fight on, no matter how long it will take. She has a very strong will and will keep on fighting for the Realm of Light, as she knows the battle isn't over. She isn't afraid of the darkness.
She did overcome something as of 0.2 - her fear of the darkness.
If that's not a strong heart, I don't know what is.

The series has done kind of a poor job at explaining why being a master is important or good at all. Sora picks up the Keyblade and saves the worlds with 0 training in KH1, and we haven't really been shown the difference between his strength in KH1 vs Master Aqua's strength in BBS-- KH1 Sora has abilities that Aqua and company CAN'T do!
Well, TAV also have some abilities and techniques that Sora doesn't have, but I feel like that's beside the point, since it's all just gameplay - except if you mean things like what Sora did for Ven? Anybody could do that, too.
 

Chuman

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sora is an ordinary kid with no formal training who has had his power stripped away time after time. despite this, he defeated xehanort twice, took down organization xiii almost singlehandedly, and defeated a juiced up lingering will- who was definitely more powerful than xehanort. though much of this is due to his strong heart and connection to his friends, and this series is basically like star wars in that none of this will matter if plot dictates otherwise

also @muke, sora literally killed himself to save kairi and seal the keyhole, cant get anymore sacrificial than that.
 

DarkosOverlord

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Can you even fault Sora for that? Not even Yen Sid knew what was going on until it was too late, and the only reason it wasn't Riku was because he was immune from already being possessed in the past, not because he was perceptive or experienced enough to realize what was happening.

Aqua hasn't overcome anything. She's literally been waiting over a decade to be saved by Sora. She would've fallen into darkness in 0.2 if Mickey hadn't come to her.
Not that it matters since going through that wasn't what made her into a master. All she did was ​hit some balls. How does that and X amount of years of training equate to having a strong heart?

I'm not faulting Sora, if Xehanort wants you to fall into his trap you have little choice: but of course I won't praise him or giving him any merit.

Aqua has overcome the corruption of Darkness: we don't know how much dense is the Darkness in space, but I don't think it can be greater than the one in the RoD: therefore, Aqua's heart is stronger than even Master Xehanort's in that regard.
I'm not saying she was perfectly fine, but, aside from the fact that to me since Mickey's appearance 0.2 becomes rather... silly, I think we can concede her a little mental breakdown. But she still was able to fight, think, feel, even remember and we knwo from Ansem the Wise how hard is that (kinda)

I sure wish we had some insight on what exactly Terra Aqua and Ventus did in those years of training, and not just to completely satisfy your question.
Would've helped big time to clarify: what have they learned aside from fighting techniques; in which way was Aqua better than Terra, what did she learn that Terra didn't and so on.
Without that, I can only assume that she did learn how to... repel the Darkness (again: why did Terra fail to do that though).
But I do hate assuming.

I won't even try to deny the balls were pretty dumb. We already had the tutorial, they definitely could've done more there.
 

Muke

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also @muke, sora literally killed himself to save kairi and seal the keyhole, cant get anymore sacrificial than that.
Okay, what's your point? I just told Mar why Aqua's heart is strong, nowhere did I say it is stronger than Sora's, or that Sora doesn't have a strong heart.

Aqua has overcome the corruption of Darkness: we don't know how much dense is the Darkness in space, but I don't think it can be greater than the one in the RoD: therefore, Aqua's heart is stronger than even Master Xehanort's in that regard.
I'm not saying she was perfectly fine, but, aside from the fact that to me since Mickey's appearance 0.2 becomes rather... silly, I think we can concede her a little mental breakdown. But she still was able to fight, think, feel, even remember and we knwo from Ansem the Wise how hard is that (kinda)

I sure wish we had some insight on what exactly Terra Aqua and Ventus did in those years of training, and not just to completely satisfy your question.
Would've helped big time to clarify: what have they learned aside from fighting techniques; in which way was Aqua better than Terra, what did she learn that Terra didn't and so on.
Without that, I can only assume that she did learn how to... repel the Darkness (again: why did Terra fail to do that though).
But I do hate assuming.

I won't even try to deny the balls were pretty dumb. We already had the tutorial, they definitely could've done more there.
Agreed
 

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We've just been given no reason to care about Mastery. There is nothing distinct about it. It's a very insignificant thing.
 

Audo

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We've just been given no reason to care about Mastery. There is nothing distinct about it. It's a very insignificant thing.
such is recognition from institutions that proclaim themselves to be important.

it's all just millenia old circle jerking and the revelation that the whole institution and structure was the sole creation of one man who orchestrated an entire apocalypse in order to entrench it into the next world after only cements it.
 

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We've just been given no reason to care about Mastery. There is nothing distinct about it. It's a very insignificant thing.
it literally exists only to draw another comparison to star wars.
 

Grono

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Let me put it this way:

Sure, Sora and Riku weren't trained properly, but whatever they did worked. Why Yen Sid felt the need to reboot their abilities when Sora could practically go god-mode in his clothes and Riku was already super powerful is absolutely beyond me. Why not just send grown-up Riku and Sora down to the dreaming realm? Why did he have to turn them into little kids again? That was never an established rule of time travel. And, sure, Yen Sid's mark of mastery exam was significantly different from Terra, Aqua's, and Ventus', but maybe it was a little too different. I get the point that Sora isn't good at holding back the darkness, and I get that that's an admirable quality in keyblade wielders. That being said... fucking really, Yen Sid? Yen Sid is that professor that fails the student that gets a 100 on the final but doesn't do that homework in between. He clearly understands the material, just lead him to the new ability he must acquire and stop holding him down for not having to go through the master-student thing like everyone else. Terra and Aqua's test was different, and that's not the problem; if either one is to be thought of as problematic, Dream Drop Distance has to take the cake, since Birth by Sleep was the one that set the precedent of what a mark of mastery exam consisted of to begin with. I don't think it's problematic, just that one aspect of Yen Sid shrugging Sora's accomplishments off irks me like it irks most people. Yen Sid set off their mark of mastery exam much like he set off Mickey's, just on a grander scale. That's not the issue.
 

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Who says how the test is done must be set in stone anyways? They can change based on history. We saw how screwed up things can become if someone who does become Keyblade Master, and is trusted to take pupils and given the power to wake sleeping hearts, hold either selfish intentions or are blinded by their own ideals (ie. Master Xehanort and Eraqus). It makes sense that Yen Sid would rework the objective of the exam so then to prevent cases like that from happening in the future ever again. This isn't about Sora doing a lvl 99 double-wielding 360 no scope on Xemnas's gut. This is about how, under the pressure and manipulated like he was in CoM and DDD, Sora isn't emotionally mature enough to handle it as Riku at this point. Besides, to truly make a test fair, they wouldn't take past accomplishments into consideration otherwise the results would've too heavily favored Sora. It's like that saying that chefs use, "you're only as good as your latest dish."

On another note though, I agree that Riku and Sora having to physically relearn how to use a Keyblade was unnecessary. There's more than one way of doing something, and one way doesn't work the best for everyone. Still, this setback is nothing compared to the awful depiction of the MoM exam in BBS, which both heavily favored Aqua before it even started if Xehanort's letters are any indication AND was totally biased on Eraqus's own beliefs that all darkness = evil. It was because the Mark of Mastery exam in BBS was awful that it ended in such a disaster in the first place. Sora failing the exam in DDD on the other hand, makes sense.
 

DarkosOverlord

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This isn't about Sora doing a lvl 99 double-wielding 360 no scope on Xemnas's gut. This is about how, under the pressure and manipulated like he was in CoM and DDD, Sora isn't emotionally mature enough to handle it as Riku at this point.

Accurate.

Besides, to truly make a test fair, they wouldn't take past accomplishments into consideration otherwise the results would've too heavily favored Sora. It's like that saying that chefs use, "you're only as good as your latest dish."

Even more accurate. I know some might object that past events should be taken into consideration, but they were as erratic as the DDD exam was. I doubt even Yen Sid would have a fair way to gauge one's mastery by things so specific and unique like Sora and Riku's journeys.

On another note though, I agree that Riku and Sora having to physically relearn how to use a Keyblade was unnecessary. There's more than one way of doing something, and one way doesn't work the best for everyone.

Alas, KH is still a game, gotta sneak that starting back at level 1 somewhere. I was fine with it, but maybe because I was spoiled by these GoW-esque exploits for a long time.

Still, this setback is nothing compared to the awful depiction of the MoM exam in BBS

Okay stop EVERYTHING, I just realized both the Exam and the Alpha Master are spelled MoM.
Fascinating.

which both heavily favored Aqua before it even started if Xehanort's letters are any indication AND was totally biased on Eraqus's own beliefs that all darkness = evil. It was because the Mark of Mastery exam in BBS was awful that it ended in such a disaster in the first place.

Here, I am less in agreement. I do agree that Eraqus was the blindest fool around and an extremist, but Aqua deserved the Mastery nonetheless while Terra didn't.
It's okay that Terra was manipulated and had no real reason to doubt a wise Master until the very end, but that doesn't mean he's free from any guilt.
 
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