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Ranking the keyblade wielders from the strongest to the weakest my honest opinion!



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*TwilightNight*

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I would never consider gameplay as any testament to my permeable rankings. Data battles neither. It shouldn't be. Reaction Commands? Huge maybe, and that's only for abilities. It's best to take in what the games hype, and Terra and Roxas have been presented as being very strong fighters. In essence. It's being put in like that for a reason.

i.e. "Roxas...now there was a worthy candidate.”

Nomura listed him as 2nd strongest in the Organization once, and that's only in comparison to Xemnas at full power.

And the whole point of Roxas is that he didn't acquire any skill from Sora because he was born without any memories. We saw him literally start from scratch in canon. He fought Heartless on the daily. We went through a tutorial. Roxas' fighting style is also more merciless and aggressive. That's not Sora. So that argument doesn't fly.

I also don't find this "intense".

It's a fun topic. I can only speak for myself though.
 
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Foxycian

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The Roxas situation is specially funny to me. All he had going for him are his light powers (technically derived from Ventus, I guess?) and dual wield, even then people push him to be a better sword-fighter than Sora based purely on cutscenes, when Sora with the Valor Form fights pretty much the same?

Roxas never really used a sword or anything of the sorts in his life and canonically his powers are derived from Sora. Like, it's literally stated that way. He may have earned his own power and characteristics later on but he, like Xion, only really knew what to do because Sora knew how to fight by the time they were made; both during the Hollow Bastion encounter in KH1 (since it seems Xemnas stealing Sora's data from the FM fight is very much canon, or at least part of it is?)

So if we argue that Sora's power comes from his friendship with others, then by default the same should apply to at least both of them. But Sora at least grew up fighting with the other kids in Destiny Islands and then later was trained by both Leon, Merlin and then Phil in Olympus Coliseum.

But when people get down to discuss his actual fighting capabilities it gets downplayed to "power of friendship" which always amuses me when he's one of the few characters (alongside the BBS characters) that actually had proper training instead of being powerful just because. Even Riku didn't actually go through any training after he left Destiny Islands, he literally gained the power of Darkness through Maleficent like all the other Disney bosses from KH1 before his strenght of heart during CoM made it his own.
I won’t stay Cause I’m not good at debates lol I will just leave this comment of mine here,

Ok first of all you think it’s strange people say Roxas is the better swords men (well he proved he is when he fought Sora, and don’t use forms those are just fanservice for gameplay purposes unless nomura make them Apart of the current story) but you don’t question why Sora an islander who uses his keyblade like a baseball bat can suddenly clash with keyblade masters? Many already called it and that’s that the plot demands whoever wins, also Sora 100 times said my friends are my power and in kh3d and Kh3 yet again proven that Sora is nothing with out his friends (that’s not a bad thing but it’s better then the bs happy go lucky islander kid who was never been trained properly by a keyblade master can suddenly put up a fight with characters that been training with the keyblades for years) also fun fact in the original line jp version Sora and ventus say “Connected hearts they are my power” they don’t say my friends are my power like the Eng version, so yea count all the connected hearts that
Sora has
Ventus
Roxas
Xion
We can also count
Riku
Kairi
Namine
Terra
Aqua

So yea we are not downplaying Sora, his strong but if he fights on his own without the friendship thing or MC plot armor then his next to riku and the gang in strength (or maybe even below riku since kh1 it has been hinting that riku have always been the better one between the two, riku admitted that relying on the darkness alone didn’t make him strong, kh3d is where he started using both of his light and darkness in balance and made him stronger and a keyblade master) Sora is not beyond them, also his greatest feat in cutscenes was slicing buildings and even riku did that in the xemnas fight but that is nothing compared to birth by sleep, look at the keyblade graveyard battle with TVA vs master xehanort and vanitas, that fight is the true strength of a true keyblade masters, Xehanort creating mountains with one hand, causing a catastrophe with just wiggling his fingers lol, and then summons kingdom hearts like it’s normal to him, Xemnas and Ansem got nothing on xehanort, I don’t except many to agree with me but that’s all I’m gonna say.

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SweetYetSalty

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Funny enough he was favored by Phil more too.
Such a underrated relationship.

But I want to address what Foxycian said about Sora and his power of friendship. How is that any different then the characters that use darkness as a crutch? If you take away darkness most of the villains don't have impressive powers either. Why is Sora's "my friends are my power?" thing seen as inferior to everyone else? I saw the TAV fight in BBS, none of them really looked that much better then Sora at least to me, impressive sure but I never said "oh wow they are so much stronger then Sora". Honestly Xehanort didn't seem that much stronger then Xemnas and Ansem. Both the latter two warped worlds into nothingness and darkness with their powers while the old geezer manipulates some stone pillars?
 

Face My Fears

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I like this topic because I never actually thought about this... yet I think about it all the time in other media. Like when I would watch Digimon, I would wonder who would win between MetalGarurumom and WarGreymon; or Yugioh who would beat who in a duel; or Ruroni Kenshin in who was the better fighter. Even in stuff like comics, I would wonder who was actually the strongest... so it's kinda weird I never thought about it for my favourite game lol.

If this even means anything, I don't think we're supposed to consider the actual gameplay elements as a valid example of the character's power. I think we have to take into consideration the cutscenes, which are basically all over the place depending on what the plot calls for. With that in mind, I think we should look at the important fights and their outcomes to make an educated guess.

Sora beating Riku, Maleficent, Roxas, Ansem, Marluxia (Organization members in Castle Oblivion and in KH2), Xemnas, and Master Xehanort basically means he is the best. The only thing I would say lessens his wins here is the fact that he didn't do most of those alone. So I would rank Sora at an A.

Riku beat Riku Replica, Roxas (at near full strength), Ansem, Xemnas, and Young Xehanort. He did have help and even had to use total darkness powers to beat Roxas, so I would put him at a B ranking.

Kairi beat heartless in The World That Never Was and The Keyblade Graveyard, it can be assumed she beat Axel in their final sparring session, Saix, Xemnas, and Master Xehanort. I would rank her as an A.
 

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I like this topic because I never actually thought about this... yet I think about it all the time in other media. Like when I would watch Digimon, I would wonder who would win between MetalGarurumom and WarGreymon; or Yugioh who would beat who in a duel; or Ruroni Kenshin in who was the better fighter. Even in stuff like comics, I would wonder who was actually the strongest... so it's kinda weird I never thought about it for my favourite game lol.

If this even means anything, I don't think we're supposed to consider the actual gameplay elements as a valid example of the character's power. I think we have to take into consideration the cutscenes, which are basically all over the place depending on what the plot calls for. With that in mind, I think we should look at the important fights and their outcomes to make an educated guess.

Sora beating Riku, Maleficent, Roxas, Ansem, Marluxia (Organization members in Castle Oblivion and in KH2), Xemnas, and Master Xehanort basically means he is the best. The only thing I would say lessens his wins here is the fact that he didn't do most of those alone. So I would rank Sora at an A.

Riku beat Riku Replica, Roxas (at near full strength), Ansem, Xemnas, and Young Xehanort. He did have help and even had to use total darkness powers to beat Roxas, so I would put him at a B ranking.

Kairi beat heartless in The World That Never Was and The Keyblade Graveyard, it can be assumed she beat Axel in their final sparring session, Saix, Xemnas, and Master Xehanort. I would rank her as an A.
Now that's just silly! Everyone knows Wargreymon would clearly destroy MetalGarurumon. Why just entertaining the thought that the metal wolf stands a chance at all is being generous. Of the two which has the evil clone lol.


In all seriousness when did Kairi beat Saix or Xemnas? That a new cutscene?
 

Face My Fears

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Now that's just silly! Everyone knows Wargreymon would clearly destroy MetalGarurumon. Why just entertaining the thought that the metal wolf stands a chance at all is being generous. Of the two which has the evil clone lol.


In all seriousness when did Kairi beat Saix or Xemnas? That a new cutscene?
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Kairi vs Xemnas is literally the best example of how wonky power levels are in KH.

She goes from being a greenhorn keyblader who barely does a thing to suddenly taking on XEHANORTS NOBODY. I literally feel Nomura put that cutscene in ReMind as an apology for how terrible Kairi was in KH3 vanillla.
 

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Kairi vs Xemnas is literally the best example of how wonky power levels are in KH.

She goes from being a greenhorn keyblader who barely does a thing to suddenly taking on XEHANORTS NOBODY. I literally feel Nomura put that cutscene in ReMind as an apology for how terrible Kairi was in KH3 vanillla.
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I said I wouldn't take part in a debate, but I'm procrastinating loudly right now so I have the times to reply to a few things here!

Ok first of all you think it’s strange people say Roxas is the better swords men (well he proved he is when he fought Sora, and don’t use forms those are just fanservice for gameplay purposes unless nomura make them Apart of the current story)
But he already did. They don't just show up in gameplay, we literally have Yen Sid and the 3 Fairies explain that the forms are because of his new outfit. Big Hero 6 world/San Fransokyo literally has Sora using the Starseeker Keyblade Form to gather data for Hiro to improve Beymax. All part of the story.

but you don’t question why Sora an islander who uses his keyblade like a baseball bat can suddenly clash with keyblade masters?
I don't have to question that because Kingdom Hearts 1 has Sora training with Leon, Merlin and Phil, literally showing his growth from a nobody (pun not intended) to a capable fighter. CoM has his lose and then regain his power by replaying the same events. 2 has another soft reset but he re-learns everything and then more. Like, it's not my headcanon or me theorizing or anything, it's literally what we experience through the games. Even the "My friends are my power!" bit is explained through the Trinity system sidequest showing his friendship with Donald and Goofy growing throughout the game as well, with the white and final trinity unlocking when they decide to side with him even if it goes against their mission.

also Sora 100 times said my friends are my power and in kh3d and Kh3 yet again proven that Sora is nothing with out his friends (that’s not a bad thing but it’s better then the bs happy go lucky islander kid who was never been trained properly by a keyblade master can suddenly put up a fight with characters that been training with the keyblades for years)
Again, I'm not sure why this is constantly brought up as if that wasn't a legitimate power or anything when it's been constantly hinted that the Power of Friendship = Power of Light (which is why it's used offensively by the characters who are constant screaming about friendship; Sora and his variations, and Kairi, who also goes on about the same thing + being a Princess of Heart). Even then, Sora was alone when he took down Ansem-Riku, and was also alone when fighting the second form of Ansem SoD and the first phase of the World of Chaos form as well before freeing Donald and Goofy.
Like SweetYetSalty said, I'm not sure why in these kinds of discussions the "Power of Friendship" is downplayed and not taken into account as the character's own power but Darkness is valid on it's own.
The whole series takes a lot from the same chinese sayings that Star Wars took as base for the Force and it's Light and Dark sides (Jedi and Sith), and I always saw Light as = Friendship, learning that you don't need to do everything on your own, it's ok to rely on others. It's slow growth with high reward Versus Darkness as = Individuality, thirst for power and knowledge, it deals with pride and vulnerability. It's high reward with instant power versus even higher risk of being consumed by it.

So yea we are not downplaying Sora, his strong but if he fights on his own without the friendship thing or MC plot armor then his next to riku and the gang in strength (or maybe even below riku since kh1 it has been hinting that riku have always been the better one between the two, riku admitted that relying on the darkness alone didn’t make him strong, kh3d is where he started using both of his light and darkness in balance and made him stronger and a keyblade master) Sora is not beyond them
Riku was weaker than Sora by the end of KH1 and probably would have lost to him during 2 as well. We can attribute his win against Roxas due to the element of surprise as we aren't sure how Roxas would have dealt with him had he know he had access to The Guardian, but Sora knew how Ansem fought. Post KH2 Riku masters his own Darkness and can definitely stand his own ground against Sora's powerful Light, but I'd say they're both equal by the end of KH3, they just have different sources of power (Riku relying on Darkness versus Sora relying on Light). But if anything, Sora has access to Keyblade forms and probably is still able to Dual Wield (I mean, if Roxas still can then I'm sure Dual Form is canon too?). I still think they would end up in a draw had they ever need to fight against each other on full force, though.

also his greatest feat in cutscenes was slicing buildings and even riku did that in the xemnas fight but that is nothing compared to birth by sleep, look at the keyblade graveyard battle with TVA vs master xehanort and vanitas, that fight is the true strength of a true keyblade masters, Xehanort creating mountains with one hand, causing a catastrophe with just wiggling his fingers lol, and then summons kingdom hearts like it’s normal to him, Xemnas and Ansem got nothing on xehanort, I don’t except many to agree with me but that’s all I’m gonna say.

Ok, this one will need me to tackle each item separately. lol

Xemnas and Ansem got nothing on xehanort, I don’t except many to agree with me but that’s all I’m gonna say.

Completely wrong? Xehanort summoned Keyblade tornados and raised montains. which makes him a really capable magic user, definitely. But his other selves have done much more than that.

His Heartless took control of the End of the World, a conglomerate of Darkness and chaos and then later fused with it. He easily unleashed the Darkness in Maleficent's heart, could travel back in time, turn into a giant airship-monster-thingy and essentially alter the very fabric of the universe through the power of Darkness.

His Nobody warped an ENTIRE world (that was much, MUCH bigger in scope than the Keyblade Graveyard fight), summoned and took control of a giant Dragon-Nobody and then fused with it, had access to an Armor that was similar to his original self's Keyblade armor (if not the very same), could alter the very fabric of reality through his dominion of the element of Nothingness, the final fight between SoRiku versus Zebra Xemnas happening in what looks like a pocket dimension, if anything. His powers twisted the world so much that his defeat caused the very world to warp out making the duo land in the Realm of Darkness, pretty much hinting that he was the one keeping The World That Never Was together in the first place.

Just by raw feats, both of them did more than their Somebody, which was still an extremely capable man but still lost to Lingering Will fresh after switching to a fresh, young body. Even if we assume he was weaker by not being adapted to the body yet, his old form still lost to the Guardians of Light, but I'd rather not comment on that fight properly because we can't really be sure of how exactly it went? The Sora bit seems to be a battle inside Xehanort's mind (or at least a recreation of Scaia based on his heart), while the actual-fight seems to be the SoKai one against overpowered Goat-Armor Xehanort holding the Chi Blade, where he would still lose although his end only really came through the unified force of all 8 Guardians of Light.

also his greatest feat in cutscenes was slicing buildings and even riku did that in the xemnas fight

He also canonically had access to all of his KH2 forms and definitelly all of the Keyblade Transformations from 3, can summon other beings to help him (reminder that summonings are canon since Mushu and Simba both remember their time with Sora, and since Yen Sid is the one who gives us our first Heartbinder we can assume the Dimensional Links are all canon to some extent too, meaning he has access to Spirit Dream Eaters if anything), fought in the Battle of 1000 Heartless, took down both SoD and Xemnas (whose powerlevels I described above), can Dual Wield (if Roxas still can then Sora should be able to do it too), use Keyblade Attractions, has elemental affinity with Light but can still use all elemental spells up to their -Erza level, has extremely powerful Light Magic like Ars Arcanum and Ragnarok, can use Flowmotion.
His Heart is also so strong that his connection to others let him return to his Human form without having to defeat his Nobody first, and we know how strenght of heart is important in Kingdom Hearts.



I don't think Sora is necessarily the strongest character (Xehanort is more experienced, Aqua is more capable and a better magic user, Terra has a stronger body and better swordmanship,), but he is the one with the biggest room to grow and evolve. His feats will keep accumulating as thats his nature as the main character. His biggest strenght is definitely his ability to keep growing and evolving essentially holding infinite potential, all the while still being 15~16 (do we count the timeskip from limit cut when he was essentially dead? It doesnt seem to work for the BBS trio, anyways).

But Kingdom Hearts doesn't follow power rules which is also why it never tries to set up power levels in the first place.
Ansem SoD was almost a galaxy-level threat who almost ended Sora and Riku but he was still caught off-guard by a regular teenager and a bunch of Dusks. Xemnas had power over Nothingness and took down Kairi in one scene only to be pushed out by her later in a DLC. Axel was one of the strongest fighters in the Organization and used as an assassin with his Chakrams and them suddenly turned into a big baby in 3 only to regain the use of his Chakrams as a Keyblade Form in the DLC, berserk Xion using Sora's "stolen" power could warp her own form and reshape reality to some extent in her final form but was still taken down by regular-1-keyblade Roxas who would later lose when super powered up to Riku.

Aeleus and Dylan have the personality of a door with a really nice doorframe and yet we are supposed to believe their hearts were strong enough to generate human-looking Nobodies.

Kingdom Hearts doesnt care about power scaling, so neither will I.
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Maybe the journal is from Jiminy's perspective? Jiminy only saw them "struggling" after being ganged up on. My theory is that Kairi had to pick up the slack for Axel -- who admitted that he wasn't good with the keyblade. Calling them "rookie keyblade wielders" also doesn't necessarily mean that they are crap. I mean Axel wasn't good, but Kairi was definitely impressive (my thoughts from vanilla KH3; ReMIND confirmed it).
 

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Maybe the journal is from Jiminy's perspective? Jiminy only saw them "struggling" after being ganged up on. My theory is that Kairi had to pick up the slack for Axel -- who admitted that he wasn't good with the keyblade. Calling them "rookie keyblade wielders" also doesn't necessarily mean that they are crap. I mean Axel wasn't good, but Kairi was definitely impressive (my thoughts from vanilla KH3; ReMIND confirmed it).
I mean when we get to the cutscene of Sora showing up Axel is practically fighting both Saix and Xion by himself, as Kairi is knocked away in the first scene. It's true though that Axel said he wasn't as good with the Keyblade but that was mainly in comparison to Roxas and Xion. But Kairi's newfound strength still comes out of nowhere in context to what the vanilla game showed us. It's not a big deal nor does it bother me. It just reinforces that Kingdom Hearts do not have set powerlevels. It's how much friendship/light or darkness one has that makes them powerful in this series so Kairi boost is within the games own rules in a sense.

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But Kingdom Hearts doesn't follow power rules which is also why it never tries to set up power levels in the first place.
Ansem SoD was almost a galaxy-level threat who almost ended Sora and Riku but he was still caught off-guard by a regular teenager and a bunch of Dusks. Xemnas had power over Nothingness and took down Kairi in one scene only to be pushed out by her later in a DLC. Axel was one of the strongest fighters in the Organization and used as an assassin with his Chakrams and them suddenly turned into a big baby in 3 only to regain the use of his Chakrams as a Keyblade Form in the DLC, berserk Xion using Sora's "stolen" power could warp her own form and reshape reality to some extent in her final form but was still taken down by regular-1-keyblade Roxas who would later lose when super powered up to Riku.

Aeleus and Dylan have the personality of a door with a really nice doorframe and yet we are supposed to believe their hearts were strong enough to generate human-looking Nobodies.

Kingdom Hearts doesnt care about power scaling, so neither will I.
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I agree with mostly everything you said, but these ones right here are the main points I share. Kingdom Hearts has no power rules, and while it's fun having these debates on who's strongest (this has been quite entertaining to post in) it shouldn't be taken so seriously when a character loses for plot reasons. Donald Duck was a meme of being knocked out until his Zettaflare moment. Even Star Wars has inconsistent power levels due to different fighting styles. I actually prefer it where power levels aren't set in stone. That's what killed shows like Dragon Ball Z for me because by the end only the Saiyans mattered and if you weren't one you sucked.

I like that KH doesn't have that mentality otherwise Kairi, Ventus, Xion, Axel, Donald, and Goofy would not ever have a place in these big battles as they are not the strongest among the main cast.

Also I love your Aeleus and Dilan take. Are we sure they were actual humanoid Nobodies or that Vexen didn't just make Replicas that looked like them because they couldn't produce real Nobodies, but they didn't want to feel left out, lol.
 

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I mean when we get to the cutscene of Sora showing up Axel is practically fighting both Saix and Xion by himself, as Kairi is knocked away in the first scene. It's true though that Axel said he wasn't as good with the Keyblade but that was mainly in comparison to Roxas and Xion. But Kairi's newfound strength still comes out of nowhere in context to what the vanilla game showed us. It's not a big deal nor does it bother me. It just reinforces that Kingdom Hearts do not have set powerlevels. It's how much friendship/light or darkness one has that makes them powerful in this series so Kairi boost is within the games own rules in a sense.

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I agree with mostly everything you said, but these ones right here are the main points I share. Kingdom Hearts has no power rules, and while it's fun having these debates on who's strongest (this has been quite entertaining to post in) it shouldn't be taken so seriously when a character loses for plot reasons. Donald Duck was a meme of being knocked out until his Zettaflare moment. Even Star Wars has inconsistent power levels due to different fighting styles. I actually prefer it where power levels aren't set in stone. That's what killed shows like Dragon Ball Z for me because by the end only the Saiyans mattered and if you weren't one you sucked.

I like that KH doesn't have that mentality otherwise Kairi, Ventus, Xion, Axel, Donald, and Goofy would not ever have a place in these big battles as they are not the strongest among the main cast.

Also I love your Aeleus and Dilan take. Are we sure they were actual humanoid Nobodies or that Vexen didn't just make Replicas that looked like them because they couldn't produce real Nobodies, but they didn't want to feel left out, lol.
I wasn't actually expecting anyone to read that huge wall of text that I dumped out at 2am while waiting for a download to finish, much less get a reply, lol.

But yeah, the whole tidbit about Aeleus and Dilan has always been so interesting to me. 2 tells us Nobodies are made when stronger hearts turn into Heartless, and when the heart is really strong they look like humans. All of the other Org. Members fit this pretty well (even young Ienzo does since by 3 we know he was driven by a lot of anger and resentment towards Ansem thanks to Xehanort's manipulation), but Aeleus and Dilan are.. just there?
They weren't ever apprentices, but just two bodyguards protecting the castle (a job they didn't do well btw since Lea and Isa constantly sneak into the castle) who kind of get absorbed into this? It's even funnier because after the whole turmoil is over I kinda expected them to have some semblance of individuality since their time in the Org technically put them in the same level as the others, but then 3 rolls by and they have the same relevancy as a fancy wallpaper.

Can't even attribute this to KH3 not bothering to hire VA for them since they barely had a personality in BBS either.
 

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I said I wouldn't take part in a debate, but I'm procrastinating loudly right now so I have the times to reply to a few things here!

Ok first of all you think it’s strange people say Roxas is the better swords men (well he proved he is when he fought Sora, and don’t use forms those are just fanservice for gameplay purposes unless nomura make them Apart of the current story)
But he already did. They don't just show up in gameplay, we literally have Yen Sid and the 3 Fairies explain that the forms are because of his new outfit. Big Hero 6 world/San Fransokyo literally has Sora using the Starseeker Keyblade Form to gather data for Hiro to improve Beymax. All part of the story.

but you don’t question why Sora an islander who uses his keyblade like a baseball bat can suddenly clash with keyblade masters?
I don't have to question that because Kingdom Hearts 1 has Sora training with Leon, Merlin and Phil, literally showing his growth from a nobody (pun not intended) to a capable fighter. CoM has his lose and then regain his power by replaying the same events. 2 has another soft reset but he re-learns everything and then more. Like, it's not my headcanon or me theorizing or anything, it's literally what we experience through the games. Even the "My friends are my power!" bit is explained through the Trinity system sidequest showing his friendship with Donald and Goofy growing throughout the game as well, with the white and final trinity unlocking when they decide to side with him even if it goes against their mission.

also Sora 100 times said my friends are my power and in kh3d and Kh3 yet again proven that Sora is nothing with out his friends (that’s not a bad thing but it’s better then the bs happy go lucky islander kid who was never been trained properly by a keyblade master can suddenly put up a fight with characters that been training with the keyblades for years)
Again, I'm not sure why this is constantly brought up as if that wasn't a legitimate power or anything when it's been constantly hinted that the Power of Friendship = Power of Light (which is why it's used offensively by the characters who are constant screaming about friendship; Sora and his variations, and Kairi, who also goes on about the same thing + being a Princess of Heart). Even then, Sora was alone when he took down Ansem-Riku, and was also alone when fighting the second form of Ansem SoD and the first phase of the World of Chaos form as well before freeing Donald and Goofy.
Like SweetYetSalty said, I'm not sure why in these kinds of discussions the "Power of Friendship" is downplayed and not taken into account as the character's own power but Darkness is valid on it's own.
The whole series takes a lot from the same chinese sayings that Star Wars took as base for the Force and it's Light and Dark sides (Jedi and Sith), and I always saw Light as = Friendship, learning that you don't need to do everything on your own, it's ok to rely on others. It's slow growth with high reward Versus Darkness as = Individuality, thirst for power and knowledge, it deals with pride and vulnerability. It's high reward with instant power versus even higher risk of being consumed by it.

So yea we are not downplaying Sora, his strong but if he fights on his own without the friendship thing or MC plot armor then his next to riku and the gang in strength (or maybe even below riku since kh1 it has been hinting that riku have always been the better one between the two, riku admitted that relying on the darkness alone didn’t make him strong, kh3d is where he started using both of his light and darkness in balance and made him stronger and a keyblade master) Sora is not beyond them
Riku was weaker than Sora by the end of KH1 and probably would have lost to him during 2 as well. We can attribute his win against Roxas due to the element of surprise as we aren't sure how Roxas would have dealt with him had he know he had access to The Guardian, but Sora knew how Ansem fought. Post KH2 Riku masters his own Darkness and can definitely stand his own ground against Sora's powerful Light, but I'd say they're both equal by the end of KH3, they just have different sources of power (Riku relying on Darkness versus Sora relying on Light). But if anything, Sora has access to Keyblade forms and probably is still able to Dual Wield (I mean, if Roxas still can then I'm sure Dual Form is canon too?). I still think they would end up in a draw had they ever need to fight against each other on full force, though.

also his greatest feat in cutscenes was slicing buildings and even riku did that in the xemnas fight but that is nothing compared to birth by sleep, look at the keyblade graveyard battle with TVA vs master xehanort and vanitas, that fight is the true strength of a true keyblade masters, Xehanort creating mountains with one hand, causing a catastrophe with just wiggling his fingers lol, and then summons kingdom hearts like it’s normal to him, Xemnas and Ansem got nothing on xehanort, I don’t except many to agree with me but that’s all I’m gonna say.

Ok, this one will need me to tackle each item separately. lol

Xemnas and Ansem got nothing on xehanort, I don’t except many to agree with me but that’s all I’m gonna say.

Completely wrong? Xehanort summoned Keyblade tornados and raised montains. which makes him a really capable magic user, definitely. But his other selves have done much more than that.

His Heartless took control of the End of the World, a conglomerate of Darkness and chaos and then later fused with it. He easily unleashed the Darkness in Maleficent's heart, could travel back in time, turn into a giant airship-monster-thingy and essentially alter the very fabric of the universe through the power of Darkness.

His Nobody warped an ENTIRE world (that was much, MUCH bigger in scope than the Keyblade Graveyard fight), summoned and took control of a giant Dragon-Nobody and then fused with it, had access to an Armor that was similar to his original self's Keyblade armor (if not the very same), could alter the very fabric of reality through his dominion of the element of Nothingness, the final fight between SoRiku versus Zebra Xemnas happening in what looks like a pocket dimension, if anything. His powers twisted the world so much that his defeat caused the very world to warp out making the duo land in the Realm of Darkness, pretty much hinting that he was the one keeping The World That Never Was together in the first place.

Just by raw feats, both of them did more than their Somebody, which was still an extremely capable man but still lost to Lingering Will fresh after switching to a fresh, young body. Even if we assume he was weaker by not being adapted to the body yet, his old form still lost to the Guardians of Light, but I'd rather not comment on that fight properly because we can't really be sure of how exactly it went? The Sora bit seems to be a battle inside Xehanort's mind (or at least a recreation of Scaia based on his heart), while the actual-fight seems to be the SoKai one against overpowered Goat-Armor Xehanort holding the Chi Blade, where he would still lose although his end only really came through the unified force of all 8 Guardians of Light.

also his greatest feat in cutscenes was slicing buildings and even riku did that in the xemnas fight

He also canonically had access to all of his KH2 forms and definitelly all of the Keyblade Transformations from 3, can summon other beings to help him (reminder that summonings are canon since Mushu and Simba both remember their time with Sora, and since Yen Sid is the one who gives us our first Heartbinder we can assume the Dimensional Links are all canon to some extent too, meaning he has access to Spirit Dream Eaters if anything), fought in the Battle of 1000 Heartless, took down both SoD and Xemnas (whose powerlevels I described above), can Dual Wield (if Roxas still can then Sora should be able to do it too), use Keyblade Attractions, has elemental affinity with Light but can still use all elemental spells up to their -Erza level, has extremely powerful Light Magic like Ars Arcanum and Ragnarok, can use Flowmotion.
His Heart is also so strong that his connection to others let him return to his Human form without having to defeat his Nobody first, and we know how strenght of heart is important in Kingdom Hearts.



I don't think Sora is necessarily the strongest character (Xehanort is more experienced, Aqua is more capable and a better magic user, Terra has a stronger body and better swordmanship,), but he is the one with the biggest room to grow and evolve. His feats will keep accumulating as thats his nature as the main character. His biggest strenght is definitely his ability to keep growing and evolving essentially holding infinite potential, all the while still being 15~16 (do we count the timeskip from limit cut when he was essentially dead? It doesnt seem to work for the BBS trio, anyways).

But Kingdom Hearts doesn't follow power rules which is also why it never tries to set up power levels in the first place.
Ansem SoD was almost a galaxy-level threat who almost ended Sora and Riku but he was still caught off-guard by a regular teenager and a bunch of Dusks. Xemnas had power over Nothingness and took down Kairi in one scene only to be pushed out by her later in a DLC. Axel was one of the strongest fighters in the Organization and used as an assassin with his Chakrams and them suddenly turned into a big baby in 3 only to regain the use of his Chakrams as a Keyblade Form in the DLC, berserk Xion using Sora's "stolen" power could warp her own form and reshape reality to some extent in her final form but was still taken down by regular-1-keyblade Roxas who would later lose when super powered up to Riku.

Aeleus and Dylan have the personality of a door with a really nice doorframe and yet we are supposed to believe their hearts were strong enough to generate human-looking Nobodies.

Kingdom Hearts doesnt care about power scaling, so neither will I.
👋🏻
Correct me if I’m wrong But wasn’t the only reason Sora beat Ansem and Xemnas cause of the keybalde? it’s said to be the weakness of the heartless and nobodies, I don’t remember much about the other Kingdom hearts titles but I do remember Sora having the keyblade is what gave him the advantage against the organization. imo if Sora who isn’t a keyblade master can take Ansem and Xemnas down then Xehanort A keyblade master surely will beat them low effort, MX is certainly seem more impressive then Ansem and xemnas at least from my perspective. I’m not really knowledgeable in kingdom hearts I pretty much gave up trying to understand the plot 😅 so feel free to correct me❤It might help me learn more about the franchise.
 

Foxycian

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Riku was weaker than Sora by the end of KH1 and probably would have lost to him during 2 as well. We can attribute his win against Roxas due to the element of surprise as we aren't sure how Roxas would have dealt with him had he know he had access to The Guardian, but Sora knew how Ansem fought. Post KH2 Riku masters his own Darkness and can definitely stand his own ground against Sora's powerful Light, but I'd say they're both equal by the end of KH3, they just have different sources of power (Riku relying on Darkness versus Sora relying on Light). But if anything, Sora has access to Keyblade forms and probably is still able to Dual Wield (I mean, if Roxas still can then I'm sure Dual Form is canon too?). I still think they would end up in a draw had they ever need to fight against each other on full force, though.
(Please read all first and you will get my point)

I know I said I won’t reply cause I don’t want to start a debate but I respectfully disagree on some aspects, but specifically this one, to begin with you’re right that both Sora and Riku are equal by the end of KH3 and the end of kh2 but we can’t say the same during kh1, in kh1 both were rivals (we can say somewhat equal) while the game was slowly hinting that riku was a bit stronger then Sora (Guess cause his one year Older and that’s still a huge one year gap) also you have to remember that after Sora got the keyblade he jumped way ahead of riku cause riku didn’t have a keyblade of his own, not including the one he got from Ansem cause Ansem was the one fighting not riku, Riku was relying on his darkness alone out of jealousy to Sora, and didn’t use his light side as much, the fight with Ansem-riku is still not riku himself he didn’t have a keyblade of his own, he was only using darkness , and lastly he wasn’t himself, the game never confirmed that Sora was stronger riku, in kh1 either Riku was stronger or both were equal with Sora having the edge cause riku was slipping and wasn’t himself, even Donald agrees that “No one can defeat riku” specially now that he has way to dawn in the final battle of Kh2, Kh3D is Truly how Riku would have been if he hasn’t give in to Darkness, he wouldn’t have lost to Sora in kh1, in kh3 we can agree that they are about equals but storywise the kingdom hearts franchise have always been hinting that Riku was the superior between the two from the start, Sora (after getting the keyblade) after kh1, he never fought Riku fairly anymore since riku fell into darkness and was struggling to conquer it and also he didn’t have a keyblade of his own until the the final battle of KH2, so yea Sora and Riku Never really had a fair fight other then the sparring part on Destiny island in kh1, in kh3d Sora was the one who was possessed this time by Nightmare ventus armor and lost to Riku, so you see they never had any fair fight cause every time they fight they are not themselves, so really we can’t say Riku was Weaker then Sora by the end of kh1 cause the odds were against Riku, i used to think Sora was stronger but because I was a kid back then I always saw it as Good beats evil lol, however if you want a FAIR comparison then look into Dream drop distance, both Sora and Riku had all their power and experience reset to Zero and this time no one fell into darkness and both started equally fresh with their own keyblades at hand, Riku this time uses his light side and not just rely on his darkness, and by the end Riku showed the most resolve and strength, proving his the superior one between the two, KH3D Riku is how riku should have been from the start if he didn’t let jealousy blind him and didn’t fall into darkness and ultimately lose his keyblade to Sora, so yea I stand to you all here and say that Sora was never stronger then Riku, Sora may have been stronger then riku when riku wasn’t in his best shape (which is pretty much all of kingdom hearts until khddd and maybe kh2 final battle) but ultimately when both at top shape then both are equal with Riku have the edge, now ofc in kh3 we can say that both are equal, but if you tell me that Sora was stronger then riku all this time before kh3 then I disagree, I can agree that riku is weaker then Sora when he was not in his top shape or not being himself or him just relying on the power of darkness and lastly not have a keyblade of his own, you’re still free to disagree But It won’t change my opinion cause to me now they are both equal but still that doesn’t mean Riku was weaker then Sora cause Sora was better fighter or anything, Sora was only stronger then riku cause the odds were in his favor while with Riku the odds were against him.
 
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