There's Not Many Heroes Like Sora



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I stumbled upon a good article citing why Sora isn't your typical hero we see in video games.

There's Not Many Heroes like Sora Anymore - Medium

The article uses examples from other video games and genres by comparing Sora to other heroes from video games. By comparison it's easy to see why Sora's unique charisma and up-beat yet spunky personality strives to be unique from most heroes we typically see.

The article also expresses how nothing seems to get the best of him, even when he fails to become the true Keyblade master as seen in Dream Drop Distance. His emotions are powerful messages given to the players who cheer Sora on as he gets through the good, the bad, and the ugly times. Additionally, Sora is the type of person who never gives up, no matter what the circumstances are.

I encourage you to read the article since even I had a hard time trying to remember a protagonist as cheerful and as passionate as Sora. Provide your thoughts below.
 
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Rodin

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I'm not a huge Sora fan but I think the article is a good one. Here's hoping KH3 does a better job with Sora.
 

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I'm actually kind of already at a loss early into the article. The Final Fantasy comparison is highly questionable.
medium said:
If you spare a glance at the current line of FINAL FANTASY titles, their leading protagonists are often someone who embodies ambiguity. They are engulfed in mystery, and a lot of cover art depicts them with a cold, reserved, and distant disposition.
How much more obvious can you be about only having an idea about games like FF 7, 8 and maybe 13? I'm sorry, but this whole "oh they're so mysterious, cold, reserved" thing is so typical for people who have no idea about the series and just take the most popular or well-known (or in this case: beneficial for one's own agenda) installments to prove their point.
What about Bartz? Zidane? Tidus? Vaan? Hell, even Noctis doesn't fit into that trope, even though people still try hard to somehow compare him to Cloud, which makes absolutely no sense.
And this doesn't even scratch the fact that it's actually a problem how much KH focuses on Sora while in most FF games, you have multiple interesting main characters with totally different character traits that usually all feel interesting.

It’s unfortunate we get a recycled Cloud Strife doppelganger with a few tweaks added here and there.
Am I surprised they immediately bring up Cloud? No!
Also is this about Lightning? I think it is. Yeah, Lightning is entirely like Cloud, except they're really both just soldiers and while Lightning is brutal and to the point, Cloud doesn't give a flying diddly. But hey, soldier is soldier, right? Totally the same.

For example, Lightning. Nothing against her as a character for her kickass battle moves, but she doesn’t look friendly or approachable on a glance alone for people who have not played it. Noctis, while more on the shy and reserved side doesn’t stray far from the impression Lightning gives you either.
Am I surprised Lightning and Noctis are next? Helluva-noooo.
Also, did they play FF XV? Where does Noctis give off a vibe that is in any kind of way like Lightning? The first thing we see him do after the spoilery Ifrit-intro is being cocky and childish and annoying towards his father and his bros, and being shown to be a bit too carefree when it comes to fighting and the whole journey. How does that, in any kind of way, relate to a supposedly cold-blooded soldier who wrecks a train and dares to leave behind the ally she just made in order to just get to the fal'Cie / her sister, kicking everything out of her way without mercy? I'm sorry, I'm totally lost here.
Yes, I know this is mainly about their looks, but that's the thing - their characters are pretty much visible on them. Lightning always scoffs in the beginning, while Noctis makes faces at his father and gestures dramatically as if nothing in the world were serious. I just do not understand where this whole paragraph comes from, other than ten-year-old "FF XV used to be part of the 13-series!!1" memories someone just couldn't let go of.
It's also funny because they're probably referring to both Light's and Noct's pose on that sofa / throne being similar, which is btw the same pose that Sora has on the 1.5 cover so that argument doesn't make any sense, either.

Despite characters like Riku, Kairi, Axel, Aqua, and so on, nobody hits the concept of being multi-faceted quite like Sora.
Lmao I'm sorry, but what? Have they ever played a game with Riku in it? Sorry, but turning Sora into a two-dimensional moron who doesn't know if he wants to have fun in Atlantica, save China or actually find Riku and save the worlds from Org 13 has nothing to do with him being multi-faceted, but with bad writing, which he suffers a tremendous lot from.
I'm not even getting started on what SE did to him in 3D.

Another thing I find highly fascinating about the article are the examples. Dante from Devil May Cry. Bayonetta. Okay, both very different from Sora, but also from each other (hell, DMC5 Dante is different from Dante in every other installment already), so which point does that part prove? Wasn't it about Sora being unique? That doesn't work if the characters you compare him to are very unique, too.

I noticed games, especially when they focus on male protagonists, often don’t like to make their characters emotionally vulnerable. When we get an insight into their past, or when someone they know dies, it’s the only time we get to see them break loose. Anguish, grief, and sadness are all wonderful emotions that make a character human, but not often seen as it should be. Sora diverges from the male-centric image of “toughness.” Yes, he can physically hold his ground, but emotionally? He’s absolutely open about it.
I agree with this part, yet it's nothing that should be labeled "Sora-only". I thought about it for like...a second? and immediately had another example ready (Johnny Garland from Shadow Hearts: From the New World). Half a second more and I think of Zidane Tribal (FF9) having a sick mental breakdown late into the game. And I'm just going to say that they're not the only two other examples that are capable of showing emotion and not being all tough and cool all the time.

Then there's the part about Sora crying like other characters don't and being displayed differently. Yes, true. It kind of goes with KH giving it's story a different pace than lots of other (RP) games, by being divided into worlds that you can partly choose to do when you want, and often only giving the "KH story" short moments like, for example, in Twilight Town, Radiant Garden and TWTNW in KH2. Sora may be different in this regard from many game characters, but he's actually literally a shounen manga protagonist at these times, and let me say he's not a very creative one at times. Being cheerful, funny, but also crying is just really not that revolutionary. It just comes with the way he is presented.

Imagine Riku’s internalization that the one person he risked everything for to wake up was joking around with silly glasses and having a tea party.
Kudos to the article for the perfect example of one of the times where the "anime character" hype totally took over and made Sora look unnecessarily stereotype and dumb. I almost thought I'd have to do that myself. I don't blame anyone who likes the scene, but it's like the pinnacle of how the series turned Sora into a cliched anime character - anything to please the fans for just this small moment of chuckling where really no one needed it - because it didn't make sense. He was just almost taken over by Xehanort, with Riku still knocked out after saving him basically twice; even Sora should be a little more considerate than that.

Riku has hurt him plenty, emotionally and physically, but that never put a damper on Sora’s headstrong determination. Nor did he harbor any ill-will or resentment whenever Riku physically knocked him down or even when Sora started to question his worth in Hollow Bastion and lost his keyblade.
So?
In Persona 5, there's Goro Akechi, an asshole of a mastermind who sets up a whole friendship with the protagonist just to be the one to kill both the protag and the main antagonist in order to come to terms with himself feeling worthless. He even becomes a playable character for a short time before his true intentions are revealed.
And what does protag (all of them, actually) do once they meet again? Offer him help, let him know that they do care, even if he tricked them. That they understand and even if they're mad, they want to help them, because he's not the grand evil. And they weren't even best friends, so they had a lot less reason to support him than Sora has with Riku.

I know this is just one example, but again, I didn't have to think about it for longer than a second before it came up, so that's not a "Sora-unique" character trait as well.
(I can btw name FF 9 here again, too, as Zidane stays behind after Kuja [I]repeatedly[/I] tries to kill all of them and tries to save him after the final battle. Sure, Kuja eventually saved them, too, but not until very shortly after he tried to destroy the whole freaking planet and very shortly before they would've died in the place of memories.)

it’s not like we got to play as Riku often
lmao

How will Sora react? Disappointed? Willing to accept Yen Sid’s decision but will the game cut to a scene where Sora’s wondering why he wasn’t chosen? No. Instead, he’s brimming with pride and admiration for Riku’s new title.
Have they played 3D? Sora doesn't give a damn about the mark, but he knows it matters a lot to Riku.
Anyone who thought he'd be disappointed or even giving it much thought really didn't understand the whole premise of the game.

Many games could have used this moment and spun it out of proportion for the sake of plot, but thankfully, DREAM DROP DISTANCE did not.
That's an interesting statement, but what is it supposed to mean? They could've made Sora feel bummed about not passing? How is that in any kind of way spinning it out of proportion? Again, there was no reason for Sora to be really disappointed. And he does show disappointment if he cares about something, so it's not like he's this "generous perfect boy who never wants to have any praise". Remember how much they bothered Phil about being named heroes? If he cared about the title as much as that, you bet he'd have acted on it, even if right after cheering on Riku.

It demonstrates how far Sora has come, and how much his sacrifice for his best friend led to such a great honor and redemption. That’s the reward Sora desires: saving, not claiming a title.
Is it me or does that sound like Riku is really just an ass who's after a title? It wasn't about the words "you're a master, lol", it was all about proving that you're worth it. Which, again, didn't matter to Sora, because he didn't diddly things up like Riku did in the first place. He has no reason to doubt himself being worthy of the keyblade, and as he stated more than once, it doesn't matter to him half as much as his friends, who are his source of power.

Conclusion:
Yes, Sora is a cheerful character capable of emotions other than what would often be defined as "manly" in other games or media in general, but he is by no means a total individual standalone example of a character that the gaming (and, again, general media) industry has never ever seen before and will never ever see again.
Very often, he actually fills a lot of cliché'd anime tropes that are not always pleasant to watch, and his character traits were very inconsistent throught the series to either make him relatable and "cool" for the player or make sure that he fills his role (like, in 3D, being kind of a bit dumb and letting himself be led to the end of it way too easily).

(PS: I realized how heated this sounds, but the original article just made me roll my eyes so hard at how they have hardly an idea about FF and never really explain further on how he falls out of certain clichés that apparently close to all other game protagonists suffer from.)
 

Rodin

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A more apt comparison would be between Jak from Jak and Daxter and Sora because they start out in similar places and weren't that different from each other in their respective first games.

From Jak 2 onward Jak changes into a more adult anti-hero character and looses a lot of innocence and emotional honesty versus Sora who doesn't.

The crossover fanfic https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10721778/1/Taking-Orders-From-Nobody plays with that comparison perfectly.
 
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