For as easily as I can blindly love a game and ignore its faults, there are simply some instances in a story or within the midst of gameplay where I stop and realize, wow, that was just stupid. Regardless of my affection for the Kingdom Hearts series and the magic it has delivered, there was an instance within Kingdom Hearts II that upset me greatly and after discussing it with several other gamers, I realized I wasn’t the only one both confused and annoyed by this moment.
Kairi is Not a Keyblade Master
Near the conclusion of Kingdom Hearts II, once Kairi, Riku and Sora have been reunited and prepare to take on the final Organization members, Kairi receives a keyblade and then proceeds to do absolutely nothing with this miraculous gift. While this is a video game, I have a degree in film studies and learned how to critique and analyze storytelling effectively and to me, this feels like a cop-out. Giving Kairi a weapon that was created and welded specifically by the chosen ‘keyblade master,’ as seen in the fact that when others pick up Sora’s keyblade, it vanishes and goes back to his hand, it makes me ask suddenly, why is she so special now? Kairi was already found out to be one of the Seven Princesses and that I never had a problem with, but that doesn’t make her a keyblade master out of nowhere! In fact, from a story point of view, it makes it look like they were trying to boost Kairi’s popularity with gamers and make her role more useful in the story, which it can’t be argued, wasn’t very critical to the plot of the second game.
Why it Works for Riku and Not Kairi
Unlike Kairi, who was safe, fine and otherwise just a normal girl once she was rescued in game one, Riku continued to be important to the Kingdom Hearts story, as he is basically a mirror of Sora, should he have chosen the darkness instead of the light. It made sense that Riku should obtain a weapon similar in use and appearance, as he was in the beginning, Sora’s number one enemy. While in the soon to be released game, Birth By Sleep, which features three new characters known as keyblade apprentices, may explain why multiple keyblade wielders can exist more than the current games do; it does not currently explain Kairi’s sudden keyblade.
Non-Essential to the Game’s Climax
She literally received the weapon in order to aid her friends but as we can all recall, did nothing in the final scenes. Despite her appearance at the location and clearly holding a weapon, she is ignored. Riku is instead put on the team, allowing gamers to once again battle with a character whom has proven his worth time and time again throughout the second story within Chain of Memories. This is the crux of the problem with Kairi receiving a keyblade. Not only is she not a chosen master, but she is given the item merely to give her an excuse to be in another world and nothing more. If this were a wise decision on behalf of the storytellers, then both Riku and Kairi would have been put on Sora’s team, but that never happened.
Emphasis Taken Off Sora
Instead of writing in a good scene which allows us to accept Kairi’s presence and reunion with her friends, the keyblade thrown at her without just cause actually makes Sora’s less important and this is upsetting, as he is the hero of the game. Forcing her importance when it is clearly uncalled for makes me institutionally want to repel her character, which is a shame. As a gamer, I shouldn’t want to dislike one character in replace of another, but that’s what I feel has happened for a lot of players. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of grief for this article, as there are some hardcore Kairi fans out there, but my opinion still stands firm as to Kairi’s keyblade being completely uncalled for.