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Romance in a series about friendship



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SweetYetSalty

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This is why I've always shipped Aqua/Terra actually. They seem more mature than other original characters, even though Terra is dumb as a rock, and the fact that they treat Ven like their adopted child just takes the cake, lol. Roxas/Namine is really the only other het ship I have for KH--and that actually stands a slim chance of happening because they are like a shadow version of Sora and Kairi.
I mean Terra and Aqua have barely interacted beyond their Keyblade training. I don't dislike the idea of them together I just don't see it right now. If they wanna push it then that's cute, again they got a kid lol. I've never been crazy about Roxas/Namine for that reason of them being a shadow of Sora/Kairi. A lot of people put the blame on Xion for coming between that ship, but honestly I thought it had problems long before she existed. It's a product of it's time so I don't hate it. I just don't want Roxas with a romantic love interest personally. Seeing how Sora/Kairi have played out I don't want my boi saddled with that burden. Just expand his circle of ice cream eating buddies and I'm good.
 
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Tartarus

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To be clear, I actually think Roxas/Namine are much better than SoKai despite being intended as a shadow version of those two characters.
 
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As I mentioned recently in other thread, I'm not a fan of Soriku at all. But I don't consider homophobia. With those personalities, I could see a workable couple happening. But when people try to state that SoraxRiku is secretly canon, that's a red flag for me. Cause the scenes that fanatic shippers are putting on pedestal as "proof" can be turned over so effortlessly IMO. It's about taking scenes out of context because they would want them to be gay. Not to mention ignoring and denying the obvious signs about Sora's and Kairi's feelings for each other.
What I hate most though, is the idea that two guys with open and deep connection have to be gay. Though the intension isn't bad in this case, that kind of thinking pattern is actually what makes young guys immure their feelings real life. Have you seen the document The Mask You Live In? It talks largely about the cultural phenomenon, where features like sensitivity openness and care are considered to be feminine(which in immature mind: =queer), when they should be considered just humane. Through my job, I've seen see how it is an actual problem, creating a pecking orders between boys, with the rudest and the loudest on top.
Briefly: claiming Soriku is a real thing ends up feeding toxic masculinity.

There's a legitimate point in Kairi being a weaker as a character than Riku, and therefore Riku's and Sora's connection has made a good part of the story throughout the series. But there has already been enough talk here how every person's relationships work differently. And hey, of course things are easy between Sora and Kairi, cause they are both such pure souls. Their difficulties come simply from circumstances around them. Still, I would like to see Kairi growing, to become able to actually stand on her own.

Riku and Namine on the other hand... Well, I don't dislike it. Their scene in the end of KHIII was sweet, but I don't think it necessarily equals romance. Besides, a love interest could be nice for Riku, but I don't see his ideal match being a person who would need him to protect herself. That can be a nice way to start things, but in a long run it creates inequality.
 
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Xickin

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I am in 1000% agreement with *TwilightNight*. The only thing I'll argue for Riku's placement is that he was the one that helped convince Xion (a major person in his life) to go back to Sora, they'd been tracking him for months, Riku gave hints to Sora, and overall I would LOVE it if Roxas actually actively disliked Riku for what he did to him in game (he just tolerated him on the beach).
 

Rodin

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Honestly, I always thought SoKai was pretty dull so I'd prefer it not to be the only romance Nomura commits to. It's too predictable and Kairi's rather forgettable as a character. I think having her be Namine's somebody was unnecessary and more of a detriment than a benefit overall. Same with Xion but she had other problems than looking like Kairi with black hair.

I'm fine with romance in KH overall but it's not a necessity.
 

*TwilightNight*

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To be clear, I actually think Roxas/Namine are much better than SoKai despite being intended as a shadow version of those two characters.
What do you mean by shadow though? Roxas and Naminé are two different characters with different personalities from their originals with a different dynamic. Aside from them being the Nobodies of their respective selves, I'm curious about this "shadow version" comment.
 
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redcrown

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As for the question of whom Sora's heart ultimately belongs to, I view it similarly to the love triangles in classics like Devilman, Berserk, and Naruto, because I think that's essentially what KH is (or was) going for. It's the epic story of a hero torn between two forms of passion: protecting the light, represented by a good-natured female companion; and battling the dark, in the form of an obsessed and unscrupulous male rival.


But the feelings between Sora and Riku are ambiguous by design. There is something there. Just as there was something there between Devilman and Satan, Guts and Griffith. It doesn't have to be sexual, though it certainly could be, as these characters are human and bicuriosity is no rare phenomenon. Notice these dark-sided rivals tend to be especially beautiful. The struggle is meant to be confusing for the hero, and agonizing for both of them. The depth of their feelings is a beautiful mystery in itself. A tragic ballad told through the intimacy of violence.

If there's any problem with shipping, it's in the name. As an abbreviation of relation-ship, there's often an expectation of culmination. Of an idealized dating situation, of sharing a home together. Satisfaction. But some romances are destined to be unconsummated, some feelings will always remain unspoken.


If I had to guess, I think there is a stifled strain of bisexual desire that swims beneath the series. But just like in most media with similarly ambiguous dynamics (and often in real life) this desire will remain unconfirmed, or at least a secret. Such is the wistful elegance of male bonding.
I might be ignorantly overstepping my bounds here, and I'm not sure how controversial this would be to mention, but this makes me re-wonder if Nomura himself is bisexual/gay. I don't know that much about modern Japanese norms/culture, and I'm not that informed of Nomura's career and public life over the decades, but isn't he unmarried and middle aged?

Again I'm very ignorant about this and I might come off as viewing this very stereotypically, I'm not trying to imply anyone not married by their mid-life automatically means they aren't straight, but it does make me wonder; how common is the "married to my work" lifestyle in Japan, in his age group? Does not being married by his stage in life have different connotations/implications than it typically does in the West? Is there more or less pressure to "settle down" romantically in modern Japan? I'm probably coming off super offensive here and wording it the way I am, I'm just honestly curious about all this and would like to learn.

I'm probably opening a can of worms bringing this up big time.

That, and it's accompanied with the shades of homoerotic (intentional or unintentional) tension going on in KH, paired with it's emotional storytelling and language accentuating it. Is the degree of this typical in other shouen works, or does KH really stand out strongly in terms of this compared to other typical shounen media? There was the whole "rivalry" going on in KH1, with Riku's aggression and hostility towards Sora, but it wasn't as tangible and apparent until towards the end of the game; he still had the strong desire to have Sora adventure with him (with him as the leader of course) in the first half of the game, with him reaching out to Sora on DI and even Monstro, with it's flashback. Is this typical of rivalry dynamics in other media of it's genre?

Plus this is assuming Nomura's personal life would bleed that much into the KH character writing at all.
 

welken

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I might be ignorantly overstepping my bounds here, and I'm not sure how controversial this would be to mention, but this makes me re-wonder if Nomura himself is bisexual/gay. I don't know that much about modern Japanese norms/culture, and I'm not that informed of Nomura's career and public life over the decades, but isn't he unmarried and middle aged?
I've had the same thought. I was considering whether to bring it up. It's crossed my mind because of how he designs and appreciates his male characters. He really has an eye for male beauty. And he is the person with highest authorial influence over KH, which has its ambiguities.
There probably is a lot of pressure to marry and do the expected thing, though Nomura seems like the type to do things his own way. He is an artist, and icon is his own right, and may not be bothered with the same expectations. But even if he had a girlfriend, we probably wouldn't know. Wouldn't surprise me if he had a handsome boyfriend, though.

That, and it's accompanied with the shades of homoerotic (intentional or unintentional) tension going on in KH, paired with it's emotional storytelling and language accentuating it. Is the degree of this typical in other shouen works, or does KH really stand out strongly in terms of this compared to other typical shounen media? There was the whole "rivalry" going on in KH1, with Riku's aggression and hostility towards Sora, but it wasn't as tangible and apparent until towards the end of the game; he still had the strong desire to have Sora adventure with him (with him as the leader of course) in the first half of the game, with him reaching out to Sora on DI and even Monstro, with it's flashback. Is this typical of rivalry dynamics in other media of it's genre?
I would say KH is actually slightly less homoerotic than most of the manga that it's reminiscent of. When you compare them to a current example like Deku and Bakugou from My Hero Academia, Sora and Riku just aren't that intense. Their rivalry has mostly dissipated, though KH2 and 3D make it clear how significant they are to one another. But there's overall not as much tension in KH's storyline in general when compared to an average action manga.
Berserk, still ongoing, does have the villain Griffith as a former leader and friend to Guts, and their story becomes significantly darker after he feels Guts has betrayed their camaraderie. Ryo from Devilman also wanted Akira to stay by his side. The hero and rival could just be peers like Naruto and Sasuke. What they all seem to have in common is that the characters possess a similar level of power, which affects the conceited rival's psyche more negatively, which in turn leads to passionate conflict. How the conflict develops from there is different for each story. Sometimes they become friends again, sometimes it leads to the apocalypse.

Plus this is assuming Nomura's personal life would bleed that much into the KH character writing at all.
Maybe not specifics, but every artist has a perspective that's going to be reflected in their work. The feeling of institutional alienation and strained friendships in Days made me think it was drawing from a personal place. KH2 is possibly very personal somehow too, given that the story was such a peculiar left-turn from KH1 when it first came out. I get the sense that Nomura relates to Xehanort and Riku the most. Noctis almost looks like a self-insert, and Versus/XV was to be his dream game, so that must've been personal to him. I always felt it was absurd to take that game away from him.
 

BassDS

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I would say SoKai definitely isn't well-written. That's more because Nomura doesn't know how to write female characters at all. Sora might as well be in love with a lamp for all the development he gives Kairi. I'm not sure whether to consider this a blessing or a curse. It's a blessing because it means SoKai will never be a huge part of the series because Kairi will never be a huge part of the series. But, on the other hand, perhaps it's a curse because if Kairi was written well, maybe I'd actually like SoKai and wouldn't mind seeing it play out onscreen in spite of my love for SoRiku? The thing is, gay relationships almost never happen in mainstream media, so I almost always have a different ship from the canon one with anything I'm reading, watching, or playing. And I'm often able to enjoy the canon ships in spite of that. KH is one of those exceptions because SoKai just doesn't do anything for me, personally.

I just love romance when it's well-done. I love Zidane and Garnet in FFIX and Yuna and Tidus in FFX, for example. And there are many Disney examples, like Hercules and Meg, Tiana and Naveen, Rapunzel and Flynn, Belle and the Beast, etc. And many others outside of Disney and Square Enix products.
Except now with how LimitCut's final scene centered on her, that notion she'll never be a huge part is most likely about to become moot if she's majorly involved in bringing Sora back.
 

kirabook

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I hate KH shipping not because I think the ships are bad, I couldn't care less. But it's the fandom wars. They used to be SO prominent back in the day between SoKai and SoRiku. It was the worst trying to find a good fanfiction to read where the authors were so biased they would either be bashing Riku or bashing Kairi based on their shipping preference.

For many years, it seemed like the fandom calmed down so much and took shipping way less seriously. Yeah, people still fought, but it felt like there were so many more voices that said, "Who cares what you ship, we're all i this together, let's be friends."

Now the fandom is fully back into the shipping wars drama and it's so exhausting. Like, I'm glad there is still tons of friendship/OT3 content. WAY more than there used to be. But, it also makes me sad that people still argue over this dumb stuff.

I'm so done with shipping wars in every fandom, I really thought the KH fandom overcame this hurdle long ago.
 

Absent

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Gosh the difference between the current community and the 2005-2007 era is so radical. Two completely different beasts. Without a doubt akuroku was THE ship, you could not escape it. It became the flagship of the shipping community. It is funny because no matter how much you describe it, it's one those you had to have been there to understand. I guess the scene changed but shippers evolved with it.
 

*TwilightNight*

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Gosh the difference between the current community and the 2005-2007 era is so radical. Two completely different beasts. Without a doubt akuroku was THE ship, you could not escape it. It became the flagship of the shipping community. It is funny because no matter how much you describe it, it's one those you had to have been there to understand. I guess the scene changed but shippers evolved with it.
Yaoi fangirls were abundant and wild back in the day.

It was basically:

SoRiku vs. SoKai

AkuRoku vs. RokuNami

With the same sex ships having the most support, obviously. I think RokuNami shippers stayed in their lanes and didn't bother, I don't remember any acting up unless you came for Naminé. But SoKai and Kairi...good Lord. Just Kairi herself. No one would ever understand the amount of bashing and hatred that character went through, the immense absurdity of the hatred was something I haven't witnessed anywhere else. Other than with Sakura from Naruto.

It seems that hasn't changed, though nowadays there's a lot more support for her to balance things out.

And the fanbase was at its peak. It was huge. Now it's quieted down to the point that it feels like a niche community.

AkuRoku was a thing until BBS basically confirmed that Axel was basically twice Roxas' age and they were all supporting ephebophilia.

Then Days officially placed Axel as some pseudo father, knowing Roxas from the equivalent of a newborn.

After that, it was --



To be honest, I always, and still do, find it weird that a 24-25 adult male will befriend a bunch of 14 year olds. Out of the trios, it is the oddest one.
 
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I feel that both sokai and SRK in general would have better development if it weren't for SDG. I don't think it's a coincidence that the "weakest trio" is the one that spends the least amount of time together. let's be real: the vast majority of consumers won't buy a numbered title of donald and goofy don't take up 90% of the screen time.

I don't say this out of hatred towards disney. ...... well not entirely. sorry. it's difficult for me to judge their products and their power-drunk business practices separately.
 

SweetYetSalty

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I feel that both sokai and SRK in general would have better development if it weren't for SDG. I don't think it's a coincidence that the "weakest trio" is the one that spends the least amount of time together. let's be real: the vast majority of consumers won't buy a numbered title of donald and goofy don't take up 90% of the screen time.

I don't say this out of hatred towards disney. ...... well not entirely. sorry. it's difficult for me to judge their products and their power-drunk business practices separately.
Well Disney is a major selling point for KH so Donald and Goofy will always be Sora's two main sidekicks most likely. But there are ways to have Sora, Riku, and Kairi feel like a trio friends even when not together and bring them together for the big fights. It's just the series hasn't done that yet.
 
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I don't say this out of hatred towards disney. ...... well not entirely. sorry. it's difficult for me to judge their products and their power-drunk business practices separately.
I get that. After seeing what kind of underachievement Arendelle was in Kingdom Hearts 3, due to Disney being so overprotective with their money maker franchise, I've started to think the same. A bit aside from the subject, but I think the feeling is similar.
 

alexis.anagram

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TwilightNights’s point of eastern vs western lens is the main reason why I stopped watching anime. I am not going to sugarcoat, I’ve grown to resent the shounen genre after consuming it for 20 years. Obviously there’s outliers but more often than not they fall to the same trappings sooner or later. I tolerated it for Kingdom Hearts but its influences still bother me. The west isn’t any better either.
Thats why books IMO ARE the best mediums in the world, there’s something for someone.
True mood. I can't even watch BEASTARS because of all the residual shonen schlop it brings to mind. Though OTOH if HAIKYUU was as abrasively horny I would probably be following the new season.

You should try Chihayafuru if you haven't seen it though. You'll hate the romance but it's a show about competitive literal poetry slams. Booknerds rejoice.

Gosh the difference between the current community and the 2005-2007 era is so radical. Two completely different beasts. Without a doubt akuroku was THE ship, you could not escape it. It became the flagship of the shipping community. It is funny because no matter how much you describe it, it's one those you had to have been there to understand. I guess the scene changed but shippers evolved with it.
I feel mightily targeted/dated by these posts and also @*TwilightNight* I don't recall giving you permission to post a picture of me in this thread.

NamiXi is still pure because it works as friendship and a romance so it doesn't break any KH rules or ruin the story. Unlike some ships we could write a whole DLC around.
 

Foxycian

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I might be in the minority on this but I don’t want romance to get deeper then it already is, it will ruin the friendship of Sora riku and kairi. Ofc I know it won’t completely ruin it but still the more Sora and kairi hang in together, the more riku might start distant himself from them, Sora and kairi should wait until they are 19 or above if they want to get deeper into this, but as of now let them just be friends pls.
 
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