Monday, September 25, 2017

Kingdom Hearts Primer - Birth By Sleep - Episode 5 - Aqua Reads The Script

This episode contains the second-most annoying scene in Kingdom Hearts.

I spoke earlier about how Birth By Sleep has an almost pathological obsession with "explaining" away all the plot conveniences in the first game. The problem is that in doing so is that not only did we not need those explanations to begin with, but answering those questions raising other, harder to ignore questions.

This scene between Mickey, Aqua, and Kairi is one of the most glaring examples. Here, Aqua senses that "destiny" has brought her and Mickey to Kairi in order to protect her from danger. This explains the following:

  • Why Kairi can use a keyblade. (Although that requires additional information from later in the game, and that the player was paying attention in both scenes to subtle details.)
  • Why Kairi ended up at the Destiny Islands in time for the original Kingdom Hearts.
Unfortunately, in the process on answering those two questions in that scene, these other questions got raised:
  • How did Aqua sense that Kairi needed to be protected? Is it some by-product of her ability to sense darkness (as seen in the Cinderella world)?
  • Why did her protection take that exact form? Why not instead offer her some practical self-defense tool or some power to be used "only in emergencies"?
  • What mechanism decided that the world Kairi would end up in was Destiny Island? Furthermore, how is this any different/better than having her end up in Traverse Town?
  • Why does touching someone else's keyblade give someone a keyblade of their own? Does this mean Jack Sparrow from Port Royal got a keyblade when Sora let him touch his? Why isn't there some more formal ceremony for this, to prevent a bunch of random thugs from getting knowledge of other worlds and ready-access to the very tool to abuse that knowledge?
As a net result, we've now create extra question, since the ones raised far outweigh the number of questions answered. 

Worse than that, these initial plot conveniences did not need to be explained. Simply put, the story of Kingdom Hearts works without knowing how Kairi got to the island. It doesn't matter because the story isn't about that. The franchise's overarching narrative is made worse with these answers.

Tune in next time for the actual worst scene in Kingdom Hearts.

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