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Making Sense of the Unexplained



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ShinobiMuramasa

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For a while I have been trying to make sense of the many unclear aspects of this game’s story. I think most people would agree that out of all of the KH games, the more complex points of this one’s story are harder to follow. My goal with this topic is to provide explanations for some of the hard to understand story points that go unexplained in the game. Very little of what I will say is pure speculation, but I will be sure to mark speculation as such; the conclusions I will make are based on in game information and interviews.

The majority of the issues are linked together, so one explanation may transition into the text. As Time Travel seems to be the area of greatest confusion, I will start there.

The most important conclusion about traveling through time that I have come to is that there is no concept of the “future” in Kingdom Hearts. By this I mean that traveling into the future is not possible; there are only the past and the present. This is another key component to the rules of time travel that Nomura has put in place to prevent time paradoxes and the timeline splitting through time travel. Young Xehanort and Master Xehanort both make clear that, “It is the future which lies beyond my sight, (Master Xehanort says this in the cutscene “Seven Lights, Thirteen Darknesses”).

My assertion that there is no concept of the “future” in KH may be difficult to conceptualize. Consider it in this way: the events that we view and play in the games are occurring in the present. Time constantly moves forward and the present progresses onward. The characters in the present cannot travel into the future not only because they will not know where they will be, and thus lack a portal, but also because the future has not been created yet. The future is not set in stone and there is no “destiny” binding the characters to certain events in the future because the future has yet to be determined.

Young Xehanort mentioning that he was “set on his destined path” only refers to him having the events that occurred etched into his heart. As explained in the game, you cannot travel into the past and change the events that are “destined” to happen. “Destined” in this use carries the same meaning as Young Xehanort’s usage. The only things that are “destined” to happen are those that have already occurred; they are destined to happen because they have already occurred and the past cannot be changed. Thus, Xehanort deciding to leave Destiny Islands was not spurred on by his future self. He had his own reasons for leaving and since he did indeed leave, he is destined to leave.

If this is still unclear, I would be happy to explain it further or in another way and provide a diagram if necessary. This point is vital to understand as it highlights the utility of time travel in spite of all of the rules to it. While the past cannot be changed, the present can be influenced by time travel, and thus it can be to create a desired future. Master Xehanort does not know what the future holds, none of the characters do. But his plan to bring his past selves into the present is a viable option to create the X-Blade for his use later.

With that in mind, the concept of time travel fits very well into the KH universe. There are numerous rules restricting it, the past cannot be changed but it can be used to impact the present, and paradoxes are not possible. Further, it is not as if time travel was just thrown randomly into the series with this game. It was first introduced as a plot point in KH2 and was foreshadowed as returning through Young Xehanort’s appearance in BBS. In fact, to a smaller degree, the manipulation of time through spells such as Stop has been present since the first game. It may be a stretch to categorize time manipulating spells along with time travel, but Nomura himself makes that association in the DDD Ultimania Interview:
Spoiler Spoiler Show

Those points, along with Merlin and the Three Fairies’ ability to manipulate time for Lea’s training, indicate another key point about time travel: It is not a big deal. Time travel occurs in KH2, time magic has been present from the beginning, and rather than being surprised at the use of time travel in the game, Sora instead finds Xehanort being able to plan ahead so well more ridiculous. There is also the fact that Sora and Riku both time traveled too, but I will get to that later. The point is that while manipulating time may be a big issue to fans, due to the restrictions and other aspects to the system, it is not an issue for the characters. Consequently, once you wrap your head around how restricting it is and that it limits you up to the present, it does not pose a problem for the series.

These restrictions also explain another point that many people have brought up: What prevents Young Xehanort from collecting multiple of the same character? While time traveling, in the interviewers Nomura refers to the characters as “exceeding time” (I am aware that for the interviews we are working with translations. If anyone takes issue with that phrasing from the interviews, if you are willing to provide the Japanese text of it I would be happy to take a look at it myself as I speak Japanese). The past goes undisturbed by time travel and we can gather from Young Xehanort’s words that attempts to alter the past result in the ending of the time travel session. It is likely multiple of the same person cannot simultaneously exceed time as doing so would constitute as too much interference with the flow of time and result in the end of the session.

Some people have also taken issue with Young Xehanort and Master Xehanort being able to exist in the same place despite being essentially the same person. The common explanation seems to be that they must differ enough in some way that it is acceptable for them to be in the same place. Rather than that explanation, I would assert that they are able to exist in the same place for the same reason that Young Xehanort cannot collect multiples of the same people; only one version of a person can “exceed” time at the same time. Even if Young Xehanort and Master Xehanort are constituted such that they are considered the same, only Young Xehanort is exceeding time, while Master Xehanort exists properly in the present.

Now that we have the issues with time travel out of the way, we can get to mysteries regarding the Realm of Sleep. I have noticed that some people have had difficulty understanding when Sora and Riku were asleep and what parts of the game involved dreams, reality, and time travel. This is understandable as the game does not make it completely clear that Sora and Riku time traveled until the end of the game. Sora’s cutscene “Pleasant Dreams, Kiddo” makes much of this clear, so I will take the information from there and explain it in the context of the rest of the game.

The beginning of the game on Destiny Islands is in fact the result of Sora and Riku time traveling. In order to enter the Realm of Sleep, they needed to be in a world as it went to sleep. Based on that and Yen Sid asserting that Mickey had no means of entering the Realm of Sleep, we can gather that Yen Sid does not possess the ability to enter or send people there. Instead, since Sora and Riku both met the criteria for time travel (both of them have had their hearts released from their bodies) and versions of them existed at Destiny Islands at the time it went to sleep, they returned there via time travel to enter the Realm of Sleep.

It is important to notice that when Sora and Riku interact with the Keyhole at Destiny Islands they were not releasing the world from sleep; the Keyhole at Destiny Islands was not one of the Seven Keyholes of Sleep. The assumption that it was has led many people to be confused and suggest that Sora and Riku’s activities create a plot hole. Indeed, if the Keyhole at Destiny Islands was one of the Seven Keyholes of Sleep, Sora and Riku could not awaken the world without violating the rule of time travel that you cannot change events in the past. However, Sora and Riku only use that Keyhole to enter the Realm of Sleep. To enter the Realm of Sleep they needed to be in a world as it fell into sleep. Since dreams are linked and can affect each other, Destiny Islands was used as a gateway to the dreams of the other Sleeping Worlds.

If that is the case, then how did Sora and Riku still unlock the Seven Sleeping Keyholes and obtain the power to awaken sleeping hearts and enter the Realm of Sleep? It was thanks to Traverse Town, that world had two Sleeping Keyholes. After the return visit, Sora and Riku unlock another Sleeping Keyhole. Thus, the Keyhole at Destiny Islands was only used as a gateway and was not unlocked nor did it count as one of the Sleeping Keyholes. Yen Sid never mentioned the number of worlds that they would have to travel to or that worlds would only contain one Sleeping Keyhole. Traverse Town happened to contain two and that is how the number of unlocked Sleeping Keyholes still totals up to seven.

If that alone does not convince you, also consider that Destiny Islands was not part of the Mark of Mastery Exam. It was explained that Sora and Riku returned to the Destiny Islands in order to enter the Realm of Sleep and that that would be the stage of the exam. Further, the only adversity that Sora and Riku ran into on Destiny Islands was Ursula, who was only present due to Xehanort’s influence, which falls outside the scope of the exam. Also, Sora and Riku’s clothes, which Nomura has explicitly said changed as a result of Yen Sid’s magic, did not change until they entered the Realm of Sleep and began the test.
Spoiler Spoiler Show

Based on all of that, it is clear that the events on Destiny Islands did not constitute part of the test, the Keyhole there was not unlocked and was instead used as a gateway into the Realm of Sleep. Once they entered the Realm of Sleep, they entered the present again. As we know, connections can be made through and by dreams, and the Sleeping Worlds’ dreams loop. The Sleeping Worlds operate under different rules from the other worlds, just as all of the Realms operate differently. That is likely why Sora and Riku return to the present upon entering the dreams; for the Sleeping Worlds everything has stopped. In a sense they are encapsulated in time until they are released from their sleep.

Next I want to talk about some of the ambiguity surrounding the events that occur in the Realm of Sleep. It seems unclear at times whether or not Sora and Riku are awake or asleep for the duration of their time in the Realm of Sleep. The Drop system seems to confound this further by showing the characters go to sleep when you switch. It is already clear that Riku is active when Sora is sleeping since he is in his dreams, but it is unclear that when playing as Sora he too is actually asleep (except in parts of The World That Never Was and possibly The Grid). This is hinted at several times throughout the game but Xigbar makes this clear in Sora’s cutscene “Pleasant Dreams, Kiddo.”

As we know, Sora and Riku do not traverse the actual Sleeping Worlds (except maybe The Grid in Sora’s case). Sora travels through the Sleeping Worlds’ dreams and Riku travels through Sora’s dreams of those dreams. But it is also important to keep in mind that they are both physically in the Realm of Sleep and traveling between the worlds. We can also tell that Sora and Riku are asleep throughout their travels based on Joshua’s explanation that the Dream Eaters only attack “dreamers,” i.e. people who are asleep. This also tells us that physical beings can enter dreams without being asleep themselves, just as Joshua was. Young Xehanort and his crew were likely awake the whole time and were able to travel directly to Sora and Riku via Corridors of Darkness due to them being able to pinpoint Sora, and Riku since they knew he was in Sora’s dreams, thanks to the Recusant’s Sigil.

The point here is that when we are playing as Sora we are playing as him while he is dreaming. So when you Drop to Riku, Sora enters a sleep within sleep, similar logic applies to Riku. While not necessary for explaining any mysteries in the game, another point worth mentioning involves the events that occur in TWTNW as Sora falls into multiple layers of sleep. This part of the game can be difficult to understand and rather than explaining each step I want to direct you to a marvelous diagram by Ragnell 37 that explains it visually. Riku suffers the effects of Sora’s decent into the abyss since he is still in Sora’s dreams at that point. This is shown in the cutscene, “Riku Falls Into Darkness” when he is pulled into the darkness. Just as Ragnell 37’s diagram showed, the darkness of the abyss filled all layers of Sora’s dreams.

I understand all of that was a lot to read. I think this explains many of the questions that people had and leaves very little with the story to take issue with (honestly there’s only one aspect I have a problem with now). In case you scrolled to the bottom to see if the topic was worth reading or you want just a quick summary of what I wrote, here it is:

1. There is no concept of the “future” in KH; there is only the past and present. This means that characters in the present can travel forward as far as the present and characters in the present cannot travel any further ahead.

2. Manipulating time has been present from the first game, was a plot point in KH2, and was foreshadowed to become even more important in BBS.

3. Sora and Riku traveled in time to just before Destiny Islands fell into sleep as a means of entering the Realm of Sleep.

4. Sora and Riku did not unlock a Sleeping Keyhole at Destiny Islands. Traverse Town had two Sleeping Keyholes and that is how the total still adds up to seven.

5. Sora and Riku were sleeping for the vast majority of the game. The only exceptions being the short amount of time on Destiny Islands, possibly Sora’s time on The Grid, and some parts of The World That Never Was.
 

billyzanesucks

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4. Sora and Riku did not unlock a Sleeping Keyhole at Destiny Islands. Traverse Town had two Sleeping Keyholes and that is how the total still adds up to seven.
[Sora] and Riku returned to the Destiny Islands shortly before their fall to darkness. After their raft was wrecked by a phantom Ursula, they unknowingly unlocked the first "Sleeping Keyhole".
The Reports help. My theory is that they freed it only from sleep, while it remained trapped in darkness until the end of the game.
 

ajmrowland

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regarding the time travel, one thing that may be confusing is the one line YMX says "once you arrive, you can only move forward". I tae that to mean you can only time travel once at a time, meaning that you cant go to the further future or past if you are already in the past or future. You can only move with time then.
 

Vanitas666

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first of all, great thread. About the "present" and "no future" part though, I didn't really get the reason why it would be like that.
if someone goes in to the future they won't remember anything when they come back anyway.

now there are still a few things that I don't understand and people have probably discussed this already and I've missed it but here I go.

- Can you only move in one direction through time?
XH when he was just a heart could only move backwards in time and then had to wait there for an eternity until KH I but meanwhile YX could move forward in time (and beyond XH's time which kinda completely take away the "can't go any further then the present concept"). when YX chooses to travel forward that means that he could never travel back again till before his "present"

- How did YX bring Xemnas etc with him? (this was probably explained in the game somewhere and I didn't really get it)

- How could YX (and Xemnas etc) travel with his body intact?

- Did Sora and Riku travel with their bodys intact or did they project bodies like Sora did in CoM (and KH I & II) when he was just a floating heart?



and one more thing that doesn't have anything to do with that.
- when sora speak to YX at destiny island they discuss how Xehanort could plan so far ahead.
"Xehanort saw Riku's experiences in real time"
"so? that could only tell him so much. How did he know I was gonna be here today?"
"Simpel..."
then Kairi fly out from the cavern. from a story telling perspective this should mean that he knew that because of Kairi.
does anyone have any ideas about that. I was thinking about creating a separate thread for it but figured it might not be worth it.
 

Decrith

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"once you arrive, you can only move forward"

From what I understood from this line, I thought it meant that you can travel ANYWHERE you want to your most distant past or future, but when you "land" there, you can only time travel forward, no more going to back.
 

RoadtoDawn

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and one more thing that doesn't have anything to do with that.
- when sora speak to YX at destiny island they discuss how Xehanort could plan so far ahead.

then Kairi fly out from the cavern. from a story telling perspective this should mean that he knew that because of Kairi.
does anyone have any ideas about that. I was thinking about creating a separate thread for it but figured it might not be worth it.

Spot on. If you're saying what I think you're saying.
Xehanort's answer was "Simple. [Kairi led us here after AX sent her into the Inbetween nine years before KH1. You see, Apprenticenort suspected that Kairi was a Princess of Light and sent her into the Inbetween hoping she would lead him to the one with the Keyblade. Though his theory was flawed, Kairi did indeed lead us to DI and you[Sora] and so he knew he had to be here when the world fell into sleep]."
Just don't ask him why he brought up Ansem posessing Riku...cause I don't know that one. :D
 

Sephiroth0812

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Just don't ask him why he brought up Ansem posessing Riku...cause I don't know that one. :D

Simple! (lol)
By possessing Riku Ansem SoD experienced the events of KH 1, CoM, Days and KH 2 in real time (cuz he was always inside Riku) and therefore lost his ability to time travel.
That's why Ansem SoD didn't know everything beforehand, because he experienced the events of the series after he possessed Riku when they occured.
 

ShinobiMuramasa

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Thank you everyone for the responses. This took some time to type up so I appreciate the time you took to read it and respond.

first of all, great thread. About the "present" and "no future" part though, I didn't really get the reason why it would be like that.
if someone goes in to the future they won't remember anything when they come back anyway.

now there are still a few things that I don't understand and people have probably discussed this already and I've missed it but here I go.

- Can you only move in one direction through time?
XH when he was just a heart could only move backwards in time and then had to wait there for an eternity until KH I but meanwhile YX could move forward in time (and beyond XH's time which kinda completely take away the "can't go any further then the present concept"). when YX chooses to travel forward that means that he could never travel back again till before his "present"

I may not have been clear enough with my explanation of how the past, present, and future work. I think the point you may be confused on is that I am not saying that the "present" is specific for each characters and that each character has their own "present." I am speaking in regard to the actual timeline and how time flows in the series. There are not individual timelines for the characters, so when I am talking about the present, I am referencing the events that are occurring in the game as we play.

So, you cannot travel into the future because the future has yet to be made. The actual present, which right now is the events of DDD, is constantly moving forward as time progresses. This means that the characters in the present can only move backward in time because there is not a future yet to move into. Characters in the past, like Young Xehanort, can move forward up to the present.

The key here is that in the moment each character is personally in what they think is the present. However, the "present" of the series is what is occurring with Sora, i.e. the events we play in the games. Young Xehanort only knows that he can go into the future because his future self came and made him aware that he is in the past. This may be difficult to conceptualize, but I think the best way to do it is to consider the most current point in the timeline to be the "present." When you consider it that way, the distinction between the "past" (anything before the most current moment in the timeline), "present" (the most current moment in the timeline, which is constantly changing since time continues to flow), and the "future" (events that have yet to happen and thus have yet to be decided) is very clear.

This concept of time and the restrictions on time travel are what prevents it from creating paradoxes or other problems for the series. Essentially, unless time travel is used just as Xehanort used it, moving to the past to inform your previous self that this is currently the past, then people in the past will not be aware that they can move forward in time. In this way, time travel is extremely limited in its use.

I will respond to the other points that have been brought up later. This conceptualization of how time works is the central point of my topic, so it is essential that I make it clear.
 

billyzanesucks

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- Can you only move in one direction through time?
XH when he was just a heart could only move backwards in time and then had to wait there for an eternity until KH I but meanwhile YX could move forward in time (and beyond XH's time which kinda completely take away the "can't go any further then the present concept"). when YX chooses to travel forward that means that he could never travel back again till before his "present"
You answered your own question.

- How did YX bring Xemnas etc with him? (this was probably explained in the game somewhere and I didn't really get it)
He just grabbed him and jumped, I'd guess.

- How could YX (and Xemnas etc) travel with his body intact?
To move through time, one must "first" give up their body. As a result of "Ansem" giving up his body and giving that power to his younger self, YX could go through time with a bodily form. It seems it's not really being a heart that enables someone to transcend time, but rather the revelation that comes with that experience. I think they also can't pick up a person who's practically a copy of their self, since Xehanort's vessels had at least some individuality.

- Did Sora and Riku travel with their bodys intact or did they project bodies like Sora did in CoM (and KH I & II) when he was just a floating heart?
It's pretty much the same thing.
 

Vanitas666

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I may not have been clear enough with my explanation of how the past, present, and future work. I think the point you may be confused on is that I am not saying that the "present" is specific for each characters and that each character has their own "present." I am speaking in regard to the actual timeline and how time flows in the series. There are not individual timelines for the characters, so when I am talking about the present, I am referencing the events that are occurring in the game as we play.

but when XH went back in time "the present" should have been KH I, not 3D. On second thought it was probably even earlier when AX had just split himself into heartless and nobody. It wasn't like recompiled MX went back to and told YX to move forward in time.
And I didn't quite get how paradoxes could be created seeing how if a character move forward in time like YX he would loose his memories of that later and their future self's couldn't move backwards in time and change any events that where destined to happen.

Edit: I didn't think about how YX only went to the time when DI was swallowed by the darkness but if that was the present then Sora and Riku had not gone back in time jet.

You answered your own question.
good, then I got that right.

He just grabbed him and jumped, I'd guess.
it seems to simple but I suppose so.

To move through time, one must "first" give up their body. As a result of "Ansem" giving up his body and giving that power to his younger self, YX could go through time with a bodily form. It seems it's not really being a heart that enables someone to transcend time, but rather the revelation that comes with that experience. I think they also can't pick up a person who's practically a copy of their self, since Xehanort's vessels had at least some individuality.
thanks :)

Spot on. If you're saying what I think you're saying.
Xehanort's answer was "Simple. [Kairi led us here after AX sent her into the Inbetween nine years before KH1. You see, Apprenticenort suspected that Kairi was a Princess of Light and sent her into the Inbetween hoping she would lead him to the one with the Keyblade. Though his theory was flawed, Kairi did indeed lead us to DI and you[Sora] and so he knew he had to be here when the world fell into sleep]."
Just don't ask him why he brought up Ansem posessing Riku...cause I don't know that one. :D

y'know, I think I misunderstood that entire thing. I thought that sora wondered how Xehanort knew that Sora would take the exam that day but obviously he meant that Sora would be on the island that day and your absolutely right (I think).
 
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Wow. This thread cleared up almost all of my questions. One thing that still confuses me is how the drop system fits into the plot. Are you saying Sora is traversing the sleeping worlds dreams until he drops into a second sleep, then Riku wakes up in Sora's dreams of the sleeping worlds dreams? If that is the case, how can they be active at the same time? Additionally, the in game reports definitely confirm that the Destiny Island keyhole was a sleeping keyhole. Is it possible that by the time Riku and Sora are on the raft fighting Ursula, they are in the realm of sleep but not in the sleeping world's dream until they unlock the first sleeping keyhole? Sorry if this sounds like a load of nonsense.:frown::frown:
 

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- How did YX bring Xemnas etc with him? (this was probably explained in the game somewhere and I didn't really get it)

- How could YX (and Xemnas etc) travel with his body intact?

Not quite sure, but perhaps Xenmas came back because MX was separated from him. Isn't Xenmas basically the body and soul of Terra? if so it would make sense why he would still be around. I don't think he was time jumped at all. Xenmas is hard to figure out as he was one of the first ones to study Sora before taking his memories and to manipulate his goals. I think there is more to Xenmas than meets the eye. If we knew more about how their lab experiments procedure works I think everything would come together. I feel that Xenmas's somebody did the experiment on himself thus creating a heartless for himself. Perhaps XH knew he was going to be reborn in some form and followed suit.

What I want to know is who else knew or found out the Xeohanorts' plans?
 

Jim Hawkins

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Wow, I wish I found this thread a lot sooner. This clears up so much for me, THANK YOU!!!
 

ajmrowland

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Im still not getting the "what's already happened will happen part" but i suppose I'd have to think from ymx pov then.
 
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Im still not getting the "what's already happened will happen part" but i suppose I'd have to think from ymx pov then.
It means that it's impossible to change past events. Things in the past are destined to always play out the way they originally happened. A time traveler can interact with the past and even bring people into the present, but once the session is over anyone from the past returns to their proper time period and any changes made to the past revert back to an unaltered state.
 

zaqareemalcolm

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Maybe they unlocked the same keyhole, only the second time as a means of continuing onward from Traverse Town. After all, they only went there a second time because Joshua dreamed them up again.
 

Odium Crop

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Simple! (lol)
By possessing Riku Ansem SoD experienced the events of KH 1, CoM, Days and KH 2 in real time (cuz he was always inside Riku) and therefore lost his ability to time travel.
That's why Ansem SoD didn't know everything beforehand, because he experienced the events of the series after he possessed Riku when they occured.

This really puzzles me... So, even after Ansem's heart was expelled from Riku's body in Kingdom Hearts I, he still somehow was not entirely gone from Riku's body in CoM, and then even after Riku defeated him, Ansem SoD was still in Riku's body and managed to internally attack him, forcing Riku to wear the blindfold, before Riku succumbed to darkness and took on Ansem's appearance. Why is it that it took so long for Riku to fully rid Ansem from his body? Would he never have rid Ansem from him without the machine? I also think the fact that the only reason for why Ansem finally 'fully' left Riku's body was because of the machine's explosion was far from being a well-explained resolution.
Another thing (this will probably sound like a very stupid question)... How did Young Xehanort manage to take Xemnas and Ansem SoD from the past without changing the present time of the series? Would his actions not mean that Sora's encounters with these two never happened, or stopped inadvertently?
 
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Evello

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Very good explanation. I don't think I'll ever quite understand how Sora and Riku were dreaming in the realm of sleep, and where on earth (or not earth?) their physical bodies actually were, but you've summed up a lot of good info here.

The one thing I would dispute is the malleable future concept. I'm not sure where the evidence for that is in the series. There's not a whole lot of evidence against it, that I can come with off the top of my head anyway, except for the fact that Braig/Xigbar states that MX's plan is "too perfect". At least the way I understood him, he was describing that the plan was made with prior knowledge of the events of KH1-DDD, a feat which would not be possible under your model.

What I'm essentially getting from your explanation, is a sort of idea of meta-time, which overlays onto the linear timeline. Essentially, a "present" wall moves across the timeline and the new present is assembled by the moving impassable wall according to the state of the current present. My issue is that for the future to change depending on the state of the past and present, the past is required to be changeable. The changes may not be what we consider significant (for instance, YMX leaving DI because he was bored or because residual memories said so) but regardless of importance a change still is being made. And while the vague description of what is "significant" and unchangeable may prevent clear paradoxes within the series' main storyline, it is logically invalid.

The only real way for the past to be unchangeable is for the future to be set as well. If the present is generated by the past, and the past can't change at all, then the present is always the same. Same for the future. I took all of the Organization's talk about everything being set in stone to mean that the past could not be changed; that everything was orchestrated by MX. If it were not, how could his plan have worked? By your system, when the "present" was before KH1, Xehanort would have had no knowledge of his future selves (as Xehanort's Heartless wouldn't exist yet and therefore could not have time traveled to talk to YMX), and thus he would have had no way to work out exactly where to set up backup plans in case he was defeated repeatedly by a hypothetical Keyblade hero in an extremely complicated and specific set of circumstances. His plan was reliant on him already knowing (probably subconsciously) what was going to happen, which would allow him to set up the perfect future (or rather, to fulfill the setup which his future selves had scripted for him).

This whole issue doesn't really affect the series' plot, since either way no paradoxes are formed in the series (though your model does theoretically allow for paradoxes in relation to minute details), and I highly doubt the series will dig this far into time travel mechanics, but I just figured I'd ask what parts of the story were leading you to your meta-time idea.
 
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The problem with the series existing within a predestined loop is that the Xehanorts would have the entire timeline to work with. If there is no sense of "now" in the KHverse, what exactly is stopping MX from interacting with the future? He should potentially be able to travel until he stops existing. The idea that the present determines the past and future, the past is unchangeable, and the future has yet to happen creates a natural roadblock that Xehanort would not be able to cross. The present would act as a wall and provide a concrete reason why he can't see into the future. Another problem is that we clearly don't have all of the information at the moment. For example, Sora and Riku being able to time travel without giving up their bodies at the beginning of DDD, timeless river, etc.
 
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Evello

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The problem with the series existing within a predestined loop is that the Xehanorts would have the entire timeline to work with. If there is no sense of "now" in the KHverse, what exactly is stopping MX from interacting with the future? He should potentially be able to travel until he stops existing. The idea that the present determines the past and future, the past is unchangeable, and the future has yet to happen creates a natural roadblock that Xehanort would not be able to cross. The present would act as a wall and provide a concrete reason why he can't see into the future. Another problem is that we clearly don't have all of the information at the moment. For example, Sora and Riku being able to time travel without giving up their bodies at the beginning of DDD, timeless river, etc.
I'm not completely opposed to meta-time, I just don't think a changeable future is possible, since it requires a changeable past and thus opens up opportunities for paradoxes (and DDD basically confirmed that the past is set).

I also don't really see the need for a present block. Hypothetically, MX could travel to the future (all the way up until he ceases existing), but that's really not beneficial for him. Why would he want to move farther along in time? He wants to restart the Keyblade War and create a balanced world; neither of those things will happen if he keeps moving forward forever. At some point MX just needs to stop, gather his selves, and create the X-Blade. And, for him, there really is no forseeable time better than the "present' for his goals. He's got Xehanort forms and Keyblade heroes up to his eyes to use as X-Blade material.

As for knowing what will happen in the future, none of the memories are conscious, so they are next to useless too. If MX were to travel into the future and learn that he has been defeated, he will still come back and be led to the same defeat. Time is set, so trying to learn what will happen to adjust for it is pointless since it will still happen anyway. The only thing worth doing for him is to arrange the present to be as auspicious as possible. Seeing the future will not, and cannot help.

As a result of this, time travel is very limited in its uses. Mostly, it would just be good for assembling multiple of a unique object (in this case Xehanorts). Trying to gain knowledge from the future is virtually always impractical, and time travel is at least limited to an individual's life span. I don't see where the problem is in a completely open predestined timeline. It's certainly a lot less confusing that meta-time.
 
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