Wow, this is a really good post! It really made me appreciate Roxas and Naminé more and I agree with you about Larxene too.I don't even know where to begin with Roxas.
I feel he's the reason why I stuck with this series for so long despite the declining quality, so he's extremely omnipotent in that regard. And consistent.
His status as being absurdly popular with the fanbase is understandable to me. His initial introduction consisted of being a dual wielding badass in a black coat within a great Secret Ending with Deep Dive at the end of KH1, has the most impacting, emotional character theme in the series, and is overall the cooler Sora. He had all the right set ups. BHK was once a thing, those were the good old days. The KH fandom was at its peak. It's not as active anymore.
What I technically like about him though is the fact that he isn't the typical paragon of virtue like majority of the cast is. And even now when there are more characters, he still stands out within that context. I always found his sense of wrath entertaining and fascinating. He has such range of negative emotions along with positive ones that it compels me to love the shit out of him. He's selfish, he's a smart aleck, wears his emotions on his sleeves, has a short temper, and fights incredibly hard for his right to exist as an individual. Or at least to be respected as his own individual. His plight for truth and for others to be honest with him is such a simple request that everyone aside from Naminé somehow failed to do. And it's not that he isn't a good person, he is. At his best and happiest, he's a mellow, laid back, introspective guy who's normal and cracks jokes with his friends. He acts out only when he feels trapped because he, one, doesn't like to be controlled, two, doesn't like people telling what he should be, three, doesn't appreciate assholes, four, doesn't like others making decisions for him, whether through coddling or otherwise, and five, doesn't like his friends being mistreated or threatened, let alone anyone he cares about. Some fans think this only applies to Axel and Xion, but he has shown this with Sora in KHIII if you can catch his expression when Xemnas (either him or Saïx) knock Sora off and you can see it when Diz manhandles Naminé in KHII as he charges forward to stop him, being pissed on her behalf.
The universe has consistently dealt him a bad hand with two sets of friends, with multiple losses wherein he suffered immense pain, and he has to come to terms with the fact that he has to renounce his entire existence to a person he doesn't know. His reaction is realistic: he's not happy, he doesn't want to leave it all behind despite having nothing anymore, and he isn't willing to sacrifice himself easily. The experiences he has gone through naturally created his inherent traits of anger and aggression, and I don't want to label him as bratty considering he has solid reasons as to why he's like this. When he understood the situation, it proved that all he needed was somebody to listen to him and let him know what was going on so he can finally decide his course of action and ultimately did the right thing. Of course, it's not something he wants, so it's difficult to assimilate quietly. He fought Sora mercilessly right after witnessing Axel's "death" and only then did he 100% concede. He accepts his inevitable fate along with Naminé because they are in this together at least, despite that both aren't fully okay with it. It took quite some time to quell Roxas really. He's still the most present out of the ones in Sora's heart hotel as he's not entirely dormant, considering Sora has felt his emotions since KHII and it continues to KHIII. Roxas isn't as good of a person as Sora is, Roxas knows this, he's aware of this. It's brought up in DDD. Sora cares so much about others, including people he just met to the point of nonsensical selflessness, that Roxas comprehends why it has to be him that needs to save everyone. While I don't agree with that, it's still good to see how Roxas developed in coming to terms with his reality. He initially disliked Sora and gradually grew to recognize who Sora is and why things had to be the way they were, even if he had to be rather volatile about it. Hes not perfect.
He's flawed to the bone, I love his journey, I love his concept. He's one of the best characters of the series, point blank. He's extremely dynamic.
Larxene is another buttercup of mine for similar reasons despite that there's incredibly less depth to her. It's that same fascination of characters being full of faults and providing me with an entertaining personality. I've commented on how the female cast of the series are basic and are peas coming from the exact pod because they are. Doesn't matter what recolored hair they have, if you attempt to pinpoint what difference there is in their personalities, you find that there's barely anything of substance to argue with. Larxene is a breath of fresh air. So much so that she was an instant favorite. She's vile, she's mean, she's sadistic, has no qualms or problems being vindictive or hurting others. She's meant to be evil but she's also a hoot. She's immature and how she reacts and thinks of the other members of the Organization is near crazy to me. She's a hilarious, overdramatic bitch and I love her for it. It helps that there's more to her than that. When she died in CoM, she sounded rather vulnerable, fearful, which was surprising what with her entire attitude throughout the whole game. The novel chapter where she talks to Marluxia and mentions how she's better off without a heart because it's painful added to what I noted about her that time. And to confirm in canon that this might actually be the case has me interested and curious.
Now with KHUx [and KHIII], to witness how she was before being Larxene as Elrena, makes me contemplate as to what got her to the point of exhibiting so much hate for everything. The Chirithy made a comment on how she keeps to herself and doesn't get involved with caring about others, but she's still polite and sweet. More so when we compare and contrast what we see of her as Larxene. Color me more intrigued. If only her motivation for joining the Organization was...handled better. It was such a disappointment to see that this strong woman went with it cause of a man. I don't care if it's to hark back to KHUx, do better and write better for female characters without rendering them to being tools for male characters. I tire of Nomura's sexist bull. Larxene has so much potential right now and it's a shame that it's at the hands of who, well, you know.
I would add special mention to Naminé in this list. Again, I'm not fond of the female characters, I feel they blend in. For a long time, I simply adored Larxene. I reevaluated on that a bit.
Naminé is the most different simply because she's not presented like the rest. She's not spunky, not as energetic, she's basically a calm, quiet, unassuming, reserved young girl who draws. But it's understandable based on the environment she grew up in. Out of the characters, she's the most tragic and saddest of them all. I have no doubt about that. It's subtle, it's not in your face, no tragic theme song here, but she's led a very lonely existence basically her entire damned year of life, only wishing to belong, to have friends, to be in someone's heart. She clearly wanted to matter, to be noticed, to get attention. The memories she planted weren't just to fulfill her job, they were her wishes. It's the reason why the events of Castle Oblivion happen. Her isolation causes her to want the happiness she sees in Sora's memories. She beckons him there out of her feelings of loneliness and it's that one mistake that legit influences majority of the series' installments from there on out. Not only is she friendless, she was coerced to manipulate the memories of Sora because the members she was with wanted to take advantage of this aforementioned mistake and use this to overthrow the Organization they belonged to. She was forced to brainwash Riku Replica. She was verbally and physically abused - bitch slapped by Larxene, told by Diz how she isn't supposed to exist, got called a witch by him, conditioned to believe she had to return to Kairi, used as a meat shield (which Axel was about to not mind cutting over to get to Marluxia), spent her time stuck within four white walls barely seeing the light outside. On top of that, she has to carry the weight of guilt because of what occurred as it affected two other characters, which is why Coded even exists. She was a victim, a child victim really, and yet she still feels responsible for the damage, so she tries really hard to make up for it. What happened, happened, and she was stuck between a rock and a hard place. She promised Sora [and Riku] that she would fix his memories, but she also doesn't like what has to be done for it and does her best to help while remaining neutral. In fact, what she did in KHII for Roxas actually risked Sora's recovery. But, once more, it's tough being in that position. There's no winning here no matter the choice.
She's kind, but she's not perfect either, there bouts of selfishness in there. She wanted Sora to care for her and choose her. The fact that she said that bitter line in CoM when he decided that he wanted his old memories back instead of the ones created in Castle Oblivion was such a realistic remark to make rather than what one would expect (i.e. "it's okay"). She's sad, and still finds it in herself to do what she knows is right and respects what Sora wants for himself, putting his needs above her own. We begin the game with her being this fragile, silent doormat. We are shown that she does have a bit of fire in her those two times where she's glared at Larxene or Marluxia, but overall she's submissive. It isn't until Axel allows a leeway for her to escape that she's able to put a stop to all of it without the fear of being thrown across the room. She's weaponless in this situation, with no way to defend herself. She proceeds, despite the dangers, to find Sora and tell him the truth. The fact that he forgave her even with what she's done impacted her enough where that little fire that was previously seen, bloomed. Without a Keyblade, without a weapon, the spine finally straightened and she stood up for herself for the first time. She refused to continue hurting people, to continue hurting Sora. Against Larxene of all people. And got slapped. Later on, she also stood up to Marluxia, so that didn't stop her.
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Yes, she still suffers from low self esteem, she feels that no one still cares for her, based on what she said in the Final World in KHIII. I don't blame her either in a meta sense because of all of the black hole trios and how she's left out of everything due to it (along with not being able to fight). But she did a glow up. This newfound confidence and strength of will that she achieved in CoM expanded further in KHII. The manner and way in which she approached Roxas in the prologue was so assertive and unruffled, so in charge, that it was hard to believe this was the same girl that kept her head down in perpetual sadness on a chair. She disobeyed Diz, hacked into the computer to help Roxas and let him know the truth so he won't go into Sora blind and ignorant, fought Diz off despite the manhandling, busted Kairi out of jail, raised up fists along with her original against Saïx (I know but it's the audacity that counts, okay), opened a corridor of darkness to help Sora, Riku, and Kairi get home, and while Sora and Riku couldn't get to it, Kairi did. During some period, she put in data in Jiminy's journal to inform Data Sora of those who he needs to save which got to Mickey. And the lack of closure to her connections and sidelining wasn't the best, but she single handedly summoned Lingering Will to the graveyard to literally save everyone's asses from dying a second time. While in the KH equivalent of limbo/heaven as a disembodied star. In other words, she accomplished shit even while dead.
In general, she's come a long way. She isn't self contained in one game after all, her journey continues from CoM, to KHII, to Coded, and to KHIII in some respects. I do wonder where her insecurities stand now as we didn't really get a resolution to that, what with the mediocre writing in III. Nonetheless, she's the best developed female character. We see her personality go from point A to point B. As in, she changes. I haven't seen that sort of visible growth in any other girl other than Aqua.
While Larxene is forever best girl, like Riku, I simply respect Naminé's progress and development.
This is new.
Utterly off and completely missed the mark but also new.