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Let's discuss comedy, self-awareness and the fourth wall in KH3.



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Veevee

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Hey guys,
I haven't seen a thread yet that discusses these topics, but if I'm wrong, I apologize beforehand, feel free to delete it.
Since I feel there might be a lot of interesting opinions on these topics, I want to discuss them.

KH3 has tried a different approach of comedy than the other titles. While the other titles focused their comedy part mainly on the dialogue or stupid faces and awkward, non-funny laugh scenes, KH3 is more self-aware and puts it more into the presentation. The characters break the fourth wall a few times and instead of funny dialogue, we have funny scenes, both are one of my biggest issues with the game.

The bickering between SDG: There were some instances where it was good, but overall I felt it was a little ... off this time. I can't remember how often both, especially Donald, stressed that Sora has lost his powers AGAIN and that he is weak and can't do anything of his own. While talks like "pint and a half" are somehow cute, they also lay bare that Donald and Goofy don't respect Sora as a capable Keyblade Wielder - he also is often compared to Riku who is a totally different type of person and had his share of problems (solved by Sora), but he's always depicted as the much more capable one. We already had nuances of that in previous titles, but this time I got to a point where I felt it was uncomfortable that everyone constantly picks of a guy who managed to beat THREE titans without even having his normal power. Personally, I felt the teasing was too mean to be funny.

The self-awareness and breaks of the fourth wall: These really annoyed me because fourth wall jokes break the immersion because they tear down the wall that makes the game world a separate world that has no touch to reality. As soon as characters realize they are in a video game, everything becomes less serious - which is an approach one can take, but you have to go all the way through with it and it's mostly used in the comedy genre (because you don't need much immersion to laugh). Scenes like "I don't know why I even am in this world" or the after-musical quote "wow, what was that?" (not literally) kinda want to say "hey, we (the developers) basically had to do this because of Disney and we know it doesn't make much sense, so at least let's be funny about it". To me, these instances proved that even my in-game me (Sora) wouldn't know why I'm strolling through Disney worlds and listen to awkward singing scenes for 20 hours, so how do you expect me to care?
On a further note, scenes like Vanitas getting thrown by Sulley or Lea claiming he is too popular to get killed really take me out of the tension. We just had this menacing "I want to stab Ventus out of you with my sword" scene and suddenly it is all thrown out of the literal window / door with a stupid yelling and we all laugh because the once so evil dude was beaten by a Disney monster. And Lea can't die because he knows he's popular with the fans and acknowledging that kiiinda takes the seriousness out of battle scenes that could've been impactful. So why does this bother me? Because I want villains to be menacing and epic scenes to be epic. To me, it's the equivalent of playing a fart noise upon the villain entering and everyone gives a short laugh and expects me to still be in the serious mood for the rest of the story because we are, after all, at the grand finale.
The "roasting", how many people call it, also felt rather embarrassing to me. Woody telling Young Xehanort that he is evil because no one loves him - it's like telling your high school bully that he's only bullying you because he's self-conscious which he nods off before beating the crap out of you.
I can't help but feel that Kingdom Hearts 3 tried too much to be ... modern, up-to-date and following trends. We have smartphones, Twitter posts on the loading screens, scenes that felt pre-destined to be memes and we even follow the latest trends of breaking the fourth wall. We're hip and trendy now even though it doesn't help the story one bit.

I've read that a lot of people liked these scenes because they made the game funnier, because "KH3 is the funniest game in the series so far" but I really couldn't get into them. I love a good laugh as much as everyone else does when it fits the mood or helps the game - for example, I love the KH2 scene where Riku asks how he is supposed to face the DI people now and Sora makes this dumb face saying "Like thiiiis". It was fitting for Sora's character, took the seriousness out a bit and showed the sweet, supportive side of their relationship dynamic. Or moments like "Rude? Then it WAS Riku!" made me really laugh because it hit the nail on the head - Riku can act somewhat rude sometimes and knowing this, Sora and thus we as players knew it was him. It was fitting with both their characters and verified an information without disrupting the game's pace.

I would love to hear your opinions on that. I know this sounds like a rant because it is, I really don't like the comedy aspect in KH3, but I'm curious how other people perceived it.
 

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Fourth wall jokes are fun in moderation. I enjoyed Lea's semi rant in Yen Sid's place but they kept going and they got less funny. He literally cracks a plot point joke after Kairi died. So it wasn't funny and badly timed too. And while I love the "Nobody axes Axel" line everything he said before it was way too meta for the situation. I have always wanted a Kingdom Hearts gag reel ever since Days, and these lines would have fit a gag reel as opposed to staring down Xemnas, one of the most threatening things in the series.

I didn't mind Donald roasting Sora for the most part, because it added to their dynamic. But again timing is the key and many of these were placed at the wrong moments. Like at Guardians meeting. We really shouldn't be roasting Sora's abilities right after he saved Riku and Mickey and kicked Aqua's butt by himself. All three of these guys are Keyblade Masters. Sora's done just as much as these guys in the series. Sure you can make fun of how he resets, but near the end of the game get some new material to roast him with beyond not being reliable. Because Sora was more reliable then three Keyblade Masters. There were plenty of other things they could tease Sora on that would be more accurate and more funny.

We are presented with a real question halfway through the game. Is Ventus in Sora's heart and who's heart number three? Instead of asking some real questions it ends on a Sora can't count joke, and is not brought up until it's time to save Ventus. The timing of this was bad because it blocks actual plot from developing and a important bit of info is lost on a roasting joke. No wonder people still don't know who the third heart is.

Woody roasting Young Xehanort is one of the most overrated scenes in the game IMO. I didn't even realize it was so popular until I went on Reddit and Youtube. We've had heroes roasting the Organization for years. Heck the Organization roast each other. This is nothing new. I didn't hate the scene but I didn't mark out for it. Sully chucking Vanitas on the other hand I found hilarious. I don't think it devalued Vanitas as a threat. Especially with his following fight scene with Aqua. Man that was hard on Crit. Vanitas was caught off guard because he was so focused on Ventus and Sora that he didn't see Sully coming. Vanitas isn't perfect.

I actually loved the smartphones and twitter things in KH. It added some extra flare and life. Little things like Mickey explaining Yen Sid had a playful side was cute. I wish there were more of them. I wish the other main characters had some twitter stuff. If you aren't going to give them screentime then at least give them a twitter thing to talk on. Especially the characters who were lacking the screentime like Terra, Roxas, or Xion.

I guess those are my thoughts on the self aware stuff. Some of it worked some didn't. It really came down to timing and how much you use it.
 

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It's interesting you think that way, but you're not alone. Personally though, when Kingdom Hearts takes itself too seriously, I think is when it's at its worst. Because I personally don't think that this game is capable of being the kind of serious you imagine without being shonen-y, or a parody of that. It's truer to the spirit of the original idea of the game for it to be a bit more self-aware, and honestly, good for them. KH III is the only game in the series that made me laugh out loud at a joke that was meant to be funny.
 

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I personally enjoyed the humor in KH3. It might have been the first game where I verbally laughed a lot of the time and wasn’t just internally humored.

I don’t think there was anything wrong with the 4th wall breaking humor, either. It isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but I’m a sucker for that kind of meta humor because it reminds me to not take the material I’m consuming so seriously.

Of all of the issues I have with KH3, this is not one of them.
 

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Fourth wall jokes are a little... Corny. It can be tempting, in a game as silly as Kingdom Hearts, to wink at the player and say "isn't this situation rather insane????" but honestly, I've gotten more entertainment out of KH taking it all in earnest in the past. Axel being confused about all the intersecting character dynamics is one thing, but Jiminy jumping out to explain that you can read about it on your phone is a whole other thing.

As for Donald and Goofy roasting Sora... I mean, what do you want them to do? Compliment him? Revere him? Constantly point out how strong he is? I don't know about you, but that would be really embarrassing to listen to for me. They're close friends with Sora, they know what he can do. They just have more fun (including Sora) prodding him. Also, Sora's tough but Donald might just be tougher but very lazy?

Anyway, the SDG dynamic saved KH3 from being just another Kingdom Hearts game. For once we have a friendship that goes beyond restating how important friendship is. Real friends have banter, they don't just look up at the stars and hold friendship charms.
 

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Personally I found the Yeetus Vanitas and Jack knocking out Luxord with his bad breath hilarious. I know some people didn't like the organization members being played for comedy but for me it was a breath of fresh air.

As for they self aware humor some of it worked while other bits made me groan. I thought Woody's line about how he didn't care about Xehanort's darkness crap worked better then Sora referencing how they villains say things before disappearing.
 

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As for Donald and Goofy roasting Sora... I mean, what do you want them to do? Compliment him? Revere him? Constantly point out how strong he is? I don't know about you, but that would be really embarrassing to listen to for me. They're close friends with Sora, they know what he can do. They just have more fun (including Sora) prodding him. Also, Sora's tough but Donald might just be tougher but very lazy?

Anyway, the SDG dynamic saved KH3 from being just another Kingdom Hearts game. For once we have a friendship that goes beyond restating how important friendship is. Real friends have banter, they don't just look up at the stars and hold friendship charms.
It's not that I don't want them to roast him or him to roast them back, I didn't like that it was mostly about the one thing Sora was actually really capable of. Sora has a lot of flaws: He's gullible, very goofy, too good for his own good, a bit slow on the uptake, gets embarassed about love stuff, is easy to influence and the list could go on and on. But what he also is is a very good Keyblade Wielder and they already put so much emphasis on him being weak in Olympus when he wasn't (I mean Pete even SAW it, however he did that) that I got really tired about it after some time. Tease him about Kairi, make him jealous about Riku being cool, complain about his lacking sense of direction or whatever, but all this "you're so weak" from all fronts annoyed me when he was actually the only person in this game who ultimately accomplished something. Originally I thought this would fit into the "he's weak individually but we are strong as a team" thing but they didn't go far with that ..

I guess I would love more comedy in the KH manga style. I laughed so much at Chain of Memories, also Days where I finally felt they talked like real people would. When Roxas comes to Demyx in the manga to ask him whether he ever pushed the wrong buttons with a girl and Demyx is super irritated that they aren't that close - which in turn irritates Roxas and Demyx adds that Larxene is basically made of wrong buttons, I completely lost it. That's the kind of talk that even helps fleshing characters out instead of constantly ridiculing them.
 

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To each their own with what kind of humor they prefer, but let’s not forget Donald literally grabs and moves the game camera in KH1. So fourth wall breaks aren’t anything new for the series. I don’t remember anything in KH3 as intrusive as that, but I might be forgetting something.

I personally really enjoyed the humor, even when it was cheesy as hell. But I like that kind of silly stuff.
 
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I really enjoyed he humor in this game more than any of the other games. Donald was a complete savage! 😂

My favorite part that I could not stop laughing at was when Sora was trying to say he looks more like Yozora than Riku because he has the black clothes and Donald just sideeyes him and says “so what?” THE SHADE 😂😂😂
 

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I really enjoyed the humour in KH3. I didn't really mind Donald and Goofy making fun of Sora or not letting him talk, it just felt like the gang being back together after so long. It's not like they weren't there for him when it really mattered (I mean was anyone even thinking the lighthearted bickering they had on the Gummi Ship when Donald and Goofy were screaming for Sora through the controller?) Maybe I get their relationship because me and my friends are like that, but even if I take a step back I don't find it particularly offensive the way people were talking to Sora.

The 4th Wall breaks were hilarious -- and to be honest -- a nice addition on behalf of the creators. It was kind of like them acknowledging the fan base's own jokes about KH3. I mean when I saw KH 2.9 I could not contain my laughter. Axel talking about how he won't get killed because of how popular he was had me in tears (especially because it's followed up with Axel being put in real danger). Sora being in awe after "Let It Go" and being confused saying "I don't know what that was, but wow" was amazing -- I didn't take it as a dig at Frozen, but rather how an outsider would react to being in a Disney musical film. Like random bursts of singing and a grand performance... all while he is supposed to be trying to take down the ultimate evil? I really liked that they let Sora's reaction to that be more genuine/realistic, rather than him just ignoring the fact that Elsa started singing this perfectly arranged original song randomly in a snow storm (where was the orchestra?) so loudly that Sora could hear further down the mountain and then proceeds to construct a whole ice fortress while singing (to no one).

The Disney "roasts" of the Organization didn't make the Organization members seem weak. I didn't get that vibe from them at all, I actually felt that it was a step forward in integration of Disney worlds/characters to the main story. All prior games had this invisible wall where as soon as any outside main plot element appeared in a Disney world, conveniently the Disney characters would be missing from the scene or make no acknowledgement of it whatsoever (except for a select few occurrences). Moments like that ALWAYS took me out of the game. If an Organization member is standing right in front of Woody and was the person that kidnapped Buzz, it would look strange if he stood in the back and said nothing and let Sora do all the talking. After helping Mike and Sulley find Boo's door, it would be weird if they just got ATTACKED and sat back and did nothing. It was nice that every world (minus Arendelle due to reasons provided by the Walt Disney Company) featured Disney/Organization interaction.
 

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While the humor didn't always land for me, I generally speaking didn't have much issues with it.

I do feel the subject and the timing of the Sora roasting, could have been picked a bit better. Joking about how lacking or weak Sora is when he's the only one that the story allows to accomplish something, is rather frustrating, especially seeing it kept coming up again and again.

But I didn't mind how the Org members were treated in the Disney world, the humor seemed fitting for the world they were in.

The forth wall breaking kinda worked but sometimes missed the mark. Them bringing up that they don't know exactly why they're somewhere made sense, they were just going with the flow. Axel talking about plot points while not horrible, did feel a bit odd, but overall matched his type of humor in more recent games.
 

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Ironically, the lack of comedy and fourth wall jokes were pretty big complaints against KH2. Granted, there were only a few instances of them in KH1 anyways (Donald pulling down the camera, getting flattened by the door), but these scenes had a big impact and it was something players really missed in subsequent titles. In my opinion, the amount in KH3 was noticeable but overall inoffensive. In any case, they certainly do need to strike a balance with the *right* kind of humor.
 

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Disney characters taking down Organization members was actually a huge plus for me, and didn't strike me as out of place. Instead, it made the Organization members more like DISNEY villains -- viable threats to the heroes from the films and vice versa, actually interacting with the world they are invading and being forced to follow the logic of that world. I would've preferred more if it, honestly. Why couldn't we have seen Larxene tempting Elsa with darkness??
 

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The only issue I had with humor in KH3 was Lea's constant wisecracking. You're not Deadpool, so stop acting like it. I feel like his quip-iness and meta-awareness ever since 3D has really derailed his character. Axel was a complex character who did evil things and followed his own agenda, but he was also someone who ultimately just wanted to reunite with his closest friend(s). Lea is just a wiseass, and I hate it. "Nobody axes Axel" was REALLY cringey for me, and in all honesty I really thought he was going to say "F*ck you" to Xemnas when asked if he had any last words. If he had, I might have actually laughed at something Lea said.

Most of the funny scenes landed for me, like VanYEETas and Jack's breath. I love when Woody tells Xehanort that nobody's ever loved him, and how Sora and Woody's stomps dispel the darkness. That was the kind of unintentional humor that comes from KH taking itself too seriously, and I loved it. I would actually prefer more of that to intentional jokes.... KH is just more fun for me if I accept it as a "serious" work and just laugh when it takes itself too seriously, as if Donald Duck and Goofy aren't my teammates.

On the topic of people roasting Sora, I thought "pint and a half" was cute, but a lot of the rest of it seemed flat-out mean. It's like the writing team doesn't know how to write friendships that aren't really cheesy/stilted or almost mean-spirited. Ultimately this is a gripe less about humor and more about writing, though.
 

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I think KH3 is the most successfully funny KH game in the series for me. While I didn't laugh at every joke, I don't remember cringing at anything.

KH1 wasn't really that funny, and its few attempts were hindered by the animation not being quite as smooth back then as in later games and the characters often being expression-less (fish face). CoM and re:Coded are more somber than other games in the series, despite having great dialogue, and Sora and Riku are alone too often in 3D for there to be much comedy (althoug the tea party still makes me LOL, that and Spellican going berserk when it was ignored). I remember thinking KH2's attempts at humor were spotty. Sometimes it hit the bull's-eye, mostly with Oogie and Hades, but more often came across corny and try-hard. Some of the other moments from that game that did make me laugh: Donald's treasure obsession in Agrabah, SDG "tickling" TRON, Belle elbowing Xaldin, Donald's "That'll do it" in the fight with the soldiers in LoD, Jack calling Sora "Zola," Aerith sticking Merlin's disc into the MCP.
 

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Kingdom Hearts isn't a game made for comdey, in my honest opinion. Most things in line of comdey and self-awareness seems so forced and unneeded. Donald grabbing the camera in KH1 especially just felt forced (But back then I assumed there's so little to use.) The dynamic between the trios that AREN'T Sora, Donald, and Goofy just seem sooo awkward. KH3 is no exception. Of course I admit that I laughed through the 3 elephants in the room, that's.....honestly idk. All I felt. I'm sure there were other amusing things I felt in KH3, but that's really the only 3 things MOLDED from my mind. Kingdom Hearts...I guess really isn't funny and I can understand that it's not supposed to be funny, but...eh. If I'd ever look for comedy and charm I'll always turn to the manga. It's understandable if no one agrees that the manga's funny or trying TOO hard to be funny, but...idk. It just has that charm that the game just...lacks.
 

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I feel like one of the few who didn't mind and actually liked Axel's 4th wall breaking jokes. It was nice to have at least one character acknowledge the Ven and Roxas looking identical aspect and all the confusion over it. Even the "ironing out plot points" and " you know how popular I am" line got chuckles out of me. It was only a few lines from one character and hardly impacted the suspension of the story or characters at all imo. Plus the line of Sora mentioning it felt like a long time since he's been to Twilight Town didn't feel like a meta joke (even though it is for the fans), it felt like an honest sentiment from him since he had been though a lot (DDD) since he had last been there.

There were a few pretty cringey jokes and attempts at humor in KH3, but the meta and 4th wall jokes weren't one of those imo.

Also since we're on this subject; is anybody else still confused over the "she's like Sora" scene and Riku's reaction with the "What!?" over it? I can't tell if it was supposed to be a joke or not and why the reaction was so over the top. If it was about the idea of Aqua being another Sora clone, why would it be so surprising since he's met at least 2 before? I still don't understand this scene.
 

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The reaction is over the top because Riku loves Sora he really does, but one Sora is enough for any friendship not to mention as a whole he's a very uniquely and empathetic individual. The idea there is another person like Sora is both a shock and an "oh god no not two of them" moment for Riku, cause again you can love your best friend and still acknowledge that they have a personality that is exhausting and troublesome enough just by themselves. Like yeah there are Sora clones but the only Sora clone that is actually another Sora is Data Sora and he's just a copy so you'd expect it, people like Roxas, Xion, and Vanitas are all distinctly their own people.

Of course what Mickey was trying to say is that Aqua simply is the kind of person that can fall into the deepest darkness and always find the light at the end, which has more to do with Mickey understanding jack all about Aqua and being dismissive of her emotional issues just like he was in 0.2...actually he was pretty dismissive of Riku's issues in CoM as well. Mickey might just have a serious problem with always wanting to assume the absolute best of a person that he willfully blinds himself to their flaws and darker possible paths.
 

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I think it was more that Riku had an image of Aqua as a more formal, serious person in his mind and when Mickey said she's like Sora he involuntarily imagined a complete goofball Aqua.

Speaking of comedy, this made me laugh.



I liked the "Whaa?!" , Vanitas, and Luxord moments. What I'm not liking is Axel's over-use of a catchphrase.
 

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KH has always had a weird relationship with true, honest humor. I think Sora and Axel are quite capable of carrying funny moments, if they're in the right situation, but the rest of the original characters are dry, dry, dry. This is the issue you run into when a Japanese writing team has to adapt English humor to their standards, and then we have to translate it back to English. It's a conundrum, and the fact that KH3 made me laugh or smile as many times as it did is a testament to how hard Nomura worked on the dialogue in that game.

In general, Disney isn't primarily about laughs and goofs, but it HAS great laughs and goofs. Aladdin is suuuuch a funny movie, but the folks at SE didn't get the humor right at all, so the KH version of Aladdin is really kind of awkward.
 
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