With all these negative and positive attributes listed for the respective foreteller animal sign, do any of the present day characters relate specifically to any of them as well? This could potentially support or hinder the rebirth theory.
Alright, let's do this.
- wild and untamable except for very pure souls.
- symbolizes grace and purity.
- rumored to have the powers to make poisoned water potable and heal sickness.
I wouldn't say there's anything about Riku that makes him particularly "graceful" and certainly not "pure," thanks to his... questionable past actions. However, those past actions- such as trying to blast a defenseless Sora into oblivion- could certainly be seen as examples of wrath, even if they were mostly fueled by jealousy. Riku's ability to "consume the darkness and return it to light" can be seen as a parallel to the unicorn's ability to cleanse water and banish diseases.
- unrivaled strength and perseverance.
- often also considered a noble and protective animal, the celtic bear god Artaois being the namesake of the well-known mythological figure King Arthur himself.
- in scandinavic mythology, the bear is also connected with the state of "berserker", which literally means "bear shirt" in viking language and stands for the fact that once truly enraged, a bear is a nearly unstoppable force.
- folklore of the Native Americans also designates the bear as a "keeper of dreams" and it is a highly respected and powerful totem in their culture.
"Unrivaled strength and perseverance" sounds just like Terra, doesn't it? His fighting style is defined by the former, and the latter allowed him to animate an empty shell of armor to kick Xehanort's arse. His desire for strength comes from his want to protect what he cares about, and he demonstrates this protective nature when he defended Ven from Eraqus. "Strength to protect what matters."
- known to be very agile, speedy and versatile.
- rather elusive and reserved in behaviour.
- prefer to avoid fights if possible, but are very fierce if a fight is unavoidable, a famous hunter once stated that when a Leopard truly decides to fight, it might be more dangerous than a Tiger.
- in mythology, the Leopard is sometimes regarded as the symbol of Jesus Christ himself, as an enemy of snakes and dragons, which are said to be symbols of Satan.
- in ancient Greece and ancient Rome, Leopards were regarded and respected as symbols of determination and speed as well as being companions to the god Dionysus(greek)/Bacchus(roman).
Agility defines Ven's fighting style, but I'd hardly call his behavior "reserved"; he's far too outgoing for that. As for avoiding conflict, he tried to do this with Vanitas... but when he was forced to, he fought quite valiantly.
The fact that leopards are seen as both symbols for Jesus and Satan is quite interesting in this case, considering how the Ven we know and Vanitas were derived from the same being. Moreover, Ven willingly took self-sacrifice to defeat Vanitas and to save his friends (sound familiar?). On the other hand, I see no real parallels between Ven and anything associated with the god of wine.
- has a very mixed history in regards to mythology:
- often regarded as a symbol of scheming, treachery and temptation in several religions,
- but also as a symbol of immortality, fertility and healing, which is shown for example in the Rod of Asclepius, a widely known symbol for medicine.
- said to be very clever and also a symbol of wisdom and knowledge.
Wisdom is a trait often attributed to mages, so I guess it works for Aqua. However, she hasn't displayed many of the negative connotations associated with snakes, such as scheming, deceit, or evil in general, due to her "light is right" attitude.
- often depcited as a symbol of cunning and trickery, but also as familiar animals possessing magic powers.
- highly intelligent.
- particularily interesting is finnish mythology, which paints the fox as cunning trickster which isn't evil, but outsmarts the true "evil" by proving that intelligence conquers both brute strength (bear) and malevolence (wolf).
- similar to that is the interpretation of chinese and japanese mythology which paints the fox as a mischievous trickster that may indeed be dangerous, but not necessarily evil by default.
- in the middle ages though, especially in Europe, the fox was designated as the symbol of the devil himself.
Kairi hasn't ever really been shown to be particularly cunning or tricky. We really just haven't seen enough of her to draw many parallels, although she does
have an unknown amount of magical power by being a Princess of Heart.