Hello! I apologize for the sudden lack of posts, but I was dealing with hurricane Sally and college stuff! I’m hoping to post the next part of The Unlikley Prince very soon so watch out for that update!
As you can see by the title of this post, I’m going to be talking about my favorite video game series, Kingdom Hearts! KH recently had it’s 18th anniversary (American release) and I want to celebrate! Just a heads up before I get into this, I want to bring to your attention that there will be MAJOR spoilers, so read at your own risk!
Where do I even start?
Kingdom Hearts released on March 28th in 2002 in Japan, then in America on September 17th in the same year. I was almost a year old. It seems crazy that it was that long ago. Obviously since I was only a baby, I couldn’t have been a fan since the beginning, but I will say I got an early start.
My most cherished memory is of the night I saw Kingdom Hearts for the first time. I have always loved video games, and my Dad sometimes brought a new game home from work. I was six when he brought home Kingdom Hearts II, which had just released two years before in 2005. That night, after everyone else went to bed, I stayed up with him to watch him play KHII. Of course, I couldn’t understand what was happening. All I knew was that it featured Tigger and Winnie the Pooh and other Disney characters I knew and loved. Years later, the only thing I remembered about the actual story was about a boy who was dreaming, which was close to what was actually going on. Oh, I also remembered the song Lazy Afternoons, which was probably the most nostalgic thing I could hear years later.
I didn’t REALLY get into Kingdom Hearts until 2018, which was a really long time to wait. I’m pretty sure I had played the first one here and there, but that was the year I beat the first one and started off on this crazy weird, complex, feels train ride. I knew Kingdom Hearts III was about to come out, so I tried to get through the seires as fast as I could. Unfortunantly, I didn’t have a lot of time and I also didn’t have the consoles to play the games on, so I ended up having to watch a lot of the story on YouTube.
Before we move on, I’d like to highlight coming back to Kingdom Hearts II eleven years after seeing it for the first time. This is my favorite game in the Kingdom Hearts series, and it definitely has the most memories linked to it. I started it a week before Christmas in 2018 and beat it pretty fast. I just couldn’t get over how genius the beginning of that game truly was. I remember having so much fun that week, and even staying up late on Christmas Eve with my sisters to play it. It also has my favorite rendition of Dearly Beloved!
The next year, Kingdom Hearts III released. I had gotten the pre-order of it for Christmas, so I was really looking forward to it! It took me two months to beat it, but that’s only because I was trying to make it last for as long as possible. When it comes to Kingdom Hearts games, you never know when you’ll get the next one. After all, it took KHIII thirteen years to be released.
But that didn’t happen this time. January 2020 saw the release of the ReMind DLC. That one took me even longer to beat…I literally just finished the data battles last month, and I don’t see myself beating Yozora anytime soon, so I ended up watching the secret ending on YouTube. I might have to do a post talking about that, but I seriously don’t know what I would say. It was really something else!
Dark Road released back in June to tell the story of how Xehanort fell to the darkness, and I have to say that though the gameplay isn’t that fun, the story has been really interesting so far!
Now, there is exactly 1 month and 18 days until the next Kingdom Hearts game comes out. I was really surprised that there would be three in one year, but I’m SO excited! Melody of Memory will not only be a nostalgic look back at the journey behind us, but it will also shed some light on Kairi’s backstory! I can’t wait to play as her!
The music of Kingdom Hearts is very special to me. From Dearly Beloved to Vector to the Heavens to Destati, there is never a shortage of amazing songs. I am always thrilled to hear the next version of Dearly Beloved. Just last month the audio for Melody of Memory’s Dearly Beloved released and I just couldn’t wait! I had to listen right away! You can hear it below!
Just when I think there’s no way it can get any better, it does just that!
My favorite song in Kingdom Hearts – my favorite song of all time – is Don’t Think Twice by Hikaru Utada. I learned to play it on the piano and I even got them to play it at Prom! I still remember hearing it for the first time! The other songs like Sactuary, Face my Fears, and Simple and Clean (all by Hikaru Utada) are all very special to me. One of the highlights of my life was going to the World of Tres orchestra in October last year, where I got to hear the orchestrated versions of Hikari (Simple and Clean) and Don’t Think Twice. What a night that was! I got to meet other Kingdom Hearts fans and hear my favorite songs! And I cried during half of it, haha!
I always say that Final Fantasy 7 is my favorite game, but deep down I know that it’s actually Kingdom Hearts that holds that special place. Kingdom Hearts has shaped who I am and has inspired me to write, play piano, and most of all, to create my own games. It has taught me so many lessons that I know I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.
Sora taught me to stay cheerful.
“The heart may be weak. And sometimes it may even give in. But I’ve learned that deep down there’s a light that never goes out!” (Sora)
Life gets you down. You get back up. That’s what Sora does best. No matter what, he has a smile on his face. I mean, heck, Donald won’t let him on the Gummi ship if he has a sad face! Of course Sora cries and gets mad and gets scared. Everyone does. But it’s what happens AFTER that matters. Sora gets back up, the smile returns to his face, and he keeps moving forward.
Riku taught me that it’s never too late to turn back.
“Will you take the road to light – or the road to darkness?” (DiZ)
“Neither. I’m taking the middle road.” (Riku)
“You mean the twilit road to nightfall?” (DiZ)
“No…the road to dawn.” (Riku)
I think Riku’s story is one of the most impactful. He was an immature teen restless for a bigger life. There had to be more for him than simply staying on a little island for the rest of his life. The sad thing was that there was BIG things in store for him…he just needed the patience to wait for it. Right before he could have had the chance to become the Keyblade’s chosen, he fell to darkness. For most of the series, Riku had to fight the darkness from swallowing his heart, and in the end, he comes out stronger and wiser. KHIII Riku is nothing compared to KHI Riku. He might have fallen to the darkness and was one of the villains in the first game, but he proved that you can come back from that.
Axel taught me how important it is to stay by your friends’ sides.
“… Go on, you just keep running! But I’ll always be there to bring you back!” (Axel)
One by one, his friends were leaving him, but Axel was determined to hold onto them. He and Saix started to drift apart. Ventus disappeared, then Roxas. Xion died. Axel was alone. But with Xion and Roxas, Axel strived to keep them together. Before Xion’s death, Axel fought to bring her back to Castle Oblivon. When Roxas wanted to desert the Organization, thinking no one would miss him, Axel wanted him to know that was a lie. He tried so hard to be by their sides, and even though it might not have worked, it still taught me the importance of never leaving your friends’ sides.
Roxas taught me that I am my own person.
“I am ME! Nobody else!” (Roxas)
Everyone called Roxas “Sora”. Because Roxas wasn’t anyone. Roxas couldn’t be anyone. He was a Nobody, a simple shell without a heart. Roxas IS Sora. But did that mean Roxas couldn’t be his own person? It was so frusterating for him. The last straw came during his battle with Riku, when he was once again referred to as Sora’s Nobody, and that was when this quote was said. As someone who has spent a lot of time wishing I was someone else, this quote opened my eyes. Roxas might have only been a shell of a human being, but he was a human being none the less. A special one at that. And so are all of us. We should never long to be someone else. We are our own selves and we should keep it that way.
Xion taught me that life is fragile.
“…Wow. The sun sure is beautiful. I know we’ve seen a lot of sunsets, but today’s puts all of them to shame. If only things stayed like this.” (Xion)
Xion’s death was by far the saddest Kingdom Hearts moment. Not only because she died, but because everyone forgot her afterwards. Xion loved her friends and spending time with them. Her favorite activity was watching the sunset with Axel and Roxas, and this quote shows how fragile time is. They always talked about wishing things could stay the way they were forever so they could always be together. Obviously time is not kind and they did’t get their wish, but it does teach us that we shouldn’t take life for granted. We should live our life to the fullest and spend time with our family and friends as much as possible.
I could go on and on with these lessons. I’ll definitely be doing a Life Lessons in Fiction, because there are so many good ones!
To finish this little letter off, I just want to say that yes, Kingdom Hearts is a game. The characters may not be real, but somehow they are real to me. They were my friends when I didn’t have any. And to a lot of people, Kingdom Hearts is more than a game. It’s an experience. It’s a journey the characters take you on. It’s super cheesy, I know. And this is probably cheesy too, but I’m going to say it; when I turn on a Kingdom Hearts game, especially Kingdom Hearts II, it’s like coming home. You might even say it’s my sactuary, haha!
With all that being said, I want to know what you think about Kingdom Hearts! Share your memories and thoughts in the comments below! I really enjoy reading them! I feel like there’s so much more I could have shared, but I don’t have a lot of time these days! There will have to be more to come when Kingdom Hearts turns 20, haha!
Now, God bless you, and “may your heart be your guiding key!”
Happy birthday Kingdom Hearts! 🎉🥳👑🗝💗
All media property of Square Enix