YMMV / Kingdom Hearts

I know now, without a doubt, the Kingdom Hearts fandom is... not agreeing on some things, listed down here.

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Are the members of Organization XIII evil, or misunderstood? Can they feel emotions, or are they just really good actors?
    • Dream Drop Distance confirms that Nobodies really are capable of feeling emotions, and even growing new Hearts; Organization XIII just didn't know that, being duped by Xemnas into thinking they were totally emotionless.
      • Which leads to more interpretations. Who were suppressing their emotions and reveling in sociopathy, and who were merely ignorant?
    • What of the circumstances of the individual members? As 358/Days showed, Xemnas has little tolerance for failure or insubordination, even having members devolved into dusks if they become useless to him. Did some of the other, nicer members care if they were hurting innocent people, yet didn't see the point in resisting, as they'd be turned into dusks and serve Xemnas anyway, losing what little they had left? Or did they ultimately care about nothing but getting their own hearts back?
    • The game did this to Goofy, having him go from a Good Is Dumb guy to the one of the main trio with the most common sense.
  • Americans Hate Tingle:
    • Reports on the Japanese KH fandom report significantly less Kairi/Namine/Xion hate from fangirls than there is in the US; even most of the ones who don't care for them don't hate on them. However, a lot of this hate comes from the some fairly obvious reasons.
    • Sora has become something of a Base-Breaking Character amongst the American fandom. In Japan, he's the most popular character from the series, and in a Famitsu reader poll, he ranked 5th as the most liked Video Game Character.note 
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Talking to Sora even at length will reveal him to a be a cheerful, optimistic, happy teenager. Who happens to have been put into a coma for a year, watched his home get destroyed, had to deal with Fighting Your Friend several times, routinely fights the forces of darkness, and has been Mind Raped a couple times over.
      • Subverted in Kingdom Hearts 2, as Sora is more quick to anger and irritable in general, (though that can be attributed to Roxa's influence) shows his disappointment and hopelessness multiple times over the course of the game over failing to find Riku and the Organization's manipulations, and when he FINALLY finds Riku near the end he breaks down crying in relief showing just how much of a brave front he was putting up.
      • Subverted as of Dream Drop Distance. Sora finds out the full extent of his connection to the rest of the cast, and the fact he can only wield the Keyblade because of Ven and those bonds strengthening his heart. The revelation that he's essentially a nobody (not literally) made strong because he happens to be surrounded by heroes is something that really tears him up when he first figures it out, but he decides if that's what it takes to give him the strength to help the rest of them fight, then so be it.
    • Bambi prances around pretty happily for someone whose world was destroyed...
  • Anvilicious: About all of its moral messages, even the... unusual ones.
  • Arc Fatigue: The "Dark Seeker Saga", which is intended to be the first of several storylines in the franchise, has taken the better part of two decades to fully develop. And a major part of this is that, despite the obvious tease of a third game at the end of II (released in 2005), the next seven years would be devoted to spin-off titles before 3D finally continued the story in 2012, and ended up being a prolonged set-up/tease for III (while it's coming in 2018, no one really knows when exactly it's coming out). Quite a few fans just want the Xehanort story to end already.
  • Archive Panic: There's seven games in the series (eight counting the 2.8 prologue, nine counting chi) telling one continuous story, and each of them is a full-length RPG that can take dozens of hours to complete without even going for the optional content. Playing through the entire series can take months. It's gotten to the point that several "compilation" titles that are released include a "Archive Mode" of sorts just to catch everyone up to speed.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • After three infamously No Export for You "Final Mix" versions that were Japan-only, the 1.5 and 2.5 PS3 ports of the series included the Final Mix versions of I, II, and Birth By Sleep. International fans that had been left out of all their extra content over the years can now enjoy it looking better than ever.
    • The series has long been criticized for its entries being spread over multiple consoles from both Nintendo and Sony, making it a bit tricky to keep up. The 1.2+2.5 release for the PS4, in tandem with the 2.8 release that compiles chi and 3D, mean the entire series sans Days and re:coded is playable on a single console.note 
    • The Days adaption in 1.5 Remix was criticized for its awkward cuts between fight scenes and for not including scenes from the Disney worlds. The adaption of coded in 2.5 Remix does include scenes for fights and the Disney worlds making the cuts much less jarring and telling the story more coherently. When 1.5 Remix was put on PS4, a scene for Roxas fighting Xion was added.
    • The Disney elements have been The Artifact since Days, but there has been some effort to avoid this starting from coded. Donald and Goofy are given a bigger role in coded after getting Demoted to Extra and return to being party members for Kingdom Hearts III and a scene added to the storyline of coded during 2.5 Remix has Maleficent making a connection between the Datascape and the Book of Prophecies from chi, adding context to her appearance in 3D and reversing the Villain Decay she has gone through. Additionally, the Disney worlds are back to having a story reason for getting visited as of 3D (where visiting them was necessary to get the ability to save the protagonists of Birth By Sleep and Days) and III (where Sora goes to Olympus Coliseum specifically to train).
    • Kairi has been Demoted to Extra as of Days. She gets called in to help in the secret ending of 3D.
    • Going beyond just the Kingdom Hearts series, the portrayal of the main trio of Disney characters—Donald Duck, Goofy and Mickey Mouse—could be considered a response to some of the most common complaints about those characters over the last few decades. For many animated fans, the trio were basically glorified corporate mascots with little personality, which wasn't helped by the fact that they never really had definitive backstories or occupations. The original Kingdom Hearts made sure to rectify that, portraying Mickey as a monarch, Donald as his Court Mage, and Goofy as his Captain of the Guard. And while their backstories still aren't terribly detailed, Kingdom Hearts II still makes an effort to give Mickey an actual character arc by showing the beginnings of his feud with Pete and introducing us to his childhood mentor, Yen Sid.
    • Birth by Sleep and Dream Drop Distance were notorious for having poorly designed secret bosses that had A.I. Roulette and forced players to spam invincibility frames and cheap tactics to win. 0.2's secret boss hinted at a return to reactive boss design that Kingdom Hearts I and II had.
  • Awesome Music: Yoko Shimomura, folks.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Many characters, but especially the members of Organization XIII.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In Kingdom Hearts II, pretty much any cutscene with the Gullwings (Yuna, Rikku, and Paine) is this. Even though they work for Maleficent, they never actually cause any trouble, unlike Pete. Their cutscenes have no relevance to the story, at all.
    • In the same game, this happens nearly any time Cloud, Tifa and Sephiroth appear in cutscenes. They show up in a couple of cutscenes that play during the main story, even though none of them have any relevance to said story. It all leads up to a Bonus Boss fight with Sephiroth.
  • Broken Base: From Kingdom Hearts II onward (if not even before that), it's become increasingly harder and harder to satisfy the entire fanbase.
    • The biggest is one is probably the overarching plot of the series. Supporters say that it's an awesome and exciting Jigsaw Puzzle Plot, and that if you play all the games in the series and just pay attention to what it's explained, you can follow it just fine for a great ride, filled with awe and mystery. The fact that you need to think about it to understand it completely makes it more satisfying. According to them, the only real reason why it may be hard to explain, specially to newcomers, is that the series is now a Video Game Long Runner, so there's a lot of information to take in. Detractors, on the other hand, claim it's nothing but a confusing and nonsensical Kudzu Plot, for which it doesn't matter how much information you are given, it makes less and less sense as it progresses. And even if it does make sense, it shouldn't be necessary to play other games launched in a different console family that you are likely not to have just to understand what's going on in a later entry (the HD releases alleviate this last part, though).
    • Even outside of the issue of whether it's difficult to follow or not, the plot and writing is often debated on its other merits. Some feel that it is often too corny to be taken seriously, not helped by stilted dialogue from the non-Disney characters and the series being even more unapologetic about running on cheesy concepts than the average JRPG, such as The Power of Friendship, hearts, light and darkness, etc. Others find these same aspects to be Narm Charm instead and wouldn't have it any other way.
    • Another one is the Disney worlds, and how they fit into the individual games and the story as a whole. There is a perception among some people that the Disney elements of the franchise have become less and less important over time in favor of the original elements of the series, leading the events in a number of Disney worlds feeling like filler. Some really enjoy the original characters and plot and don't mind this shift, others either don't like it as much and/or simply wish the Disney characters besides Donald, Goofy, Mickey and Yen Sid were integrated better into the series' narrative. Some people say the series as a whole has always had this problem. It also doesn't help that often the plots of the worlds are either recycling of the movie plots with Sora and co. tacked on, or underwhelming original plots which don't live up to the writing of the original films.
    • The announcement of Kingdom Hearts II.8 caused this, with some fans happy for the chance to play 3D in HD and get some new content, with others wishing that Square would just get on with moving the series forward with Kingdom Hearts III already and upset that it's a PS4 exclusive.
    • The command deck systems of Birth by Sleep and Dream Drop Distance. Half of the fanbase likes that the command deck offers a variety of different attacks to choose from and allows for more customization than the magic system, while the other half does not like how some attacks were really slow and that the command deck system greatly reduced the amount of combos possible in previous games.
    • The Revenge Number system in Kingdom Hearts II and it's subsequent disuse in all future titles. The Revenge Number was a hidden counter that counted up as you landed attacks on a boss, and once it passed a certain threshold, the boss would break out of any combo you might have been performing on them and counterattack. This system was beloved by some players for allowing them to really master boss fights and in some cases, defeat a boss while taking no damage, and exploiting the system was essential for certain challenge runs, and speedrunners in particular were fond of it. Later games didn't use it and had the bosses react in more of an A.I. Roulette style. Some like this change, saying that it makes boss fights more challenging, as the bosses can't be boiled down to a simple pattern of attacks and counters that can be repeated ad infinitum until the boss is dead, and want the speedrunning crowd to shut up about it. Others bemoan the loss of the system, claiming that it makes bosses feel less fun to fight and that it removes an element of strategy. And then there's the crowd that doesn't really care either way.
    • Bringing III to the Xbox One, and possibly the Switch, as well as eventually 1.5, 2.5, and 2.8. Great way to bring new people into the fandom that aren't fans of Sony, or Square making their "Playstation exclusive" series available on platforms whose players "don't deserve it" (whatever the hell that means) and making it less special? You'll get serious flamewars between both camps, despite the series never being Playstation exclusive, as it's had games on Nintendo handhelds, PSP, and mobile.
  • Cargo Ship: Xemnas/Kingdom Hearts and Sora/Keyblade.
    • Zexion/Lexicon.
  • Catharsis Factor: Frollo, Chernabog, Lucifer, Jafar, Maleficent. Was there a Disney villain in your childhood you found exceptionally wicked or terrifying? Odds are there's a game in the series to give you your chance to claim violent retribution.
  • The Chris Carter Effect: Good luck trying to make sense of the cosmology, especially when the characters who would theoretically be best qualified to explain are of somewhat questionable sanity. Playing just the main installments is not enough.
  • Complete Monster: Master Xehanort is responsible, both indirectly and directly, for all the hardships the main characters suffer and the creation of the three main villains that are destroying the worlds. The secret reports in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep paint him as a well-meaning person ready to resort to extreme solutions of unleashing the Heartless and the Unversed in order to flood the universe with darkness and thus bring about perfect balance between light and darkness, but as of the game, he's clearly run so far beyond the line of inexcusable acts that any good intentions he once had are long gone. He takes Ven, an eleven-year-old child, in as an apprentice with the sole intention of training him to use the darkness and stealing his body. When Ven proves himself not to be up to the task, he forcibly extracts Ven's darkness, leaving him comatose, then drops his apprentice's failing body off in his own much-hated home world to die. After realizing Ven isn't going to die, he gives him to his fellow Keyblade Master Eraqus, a man whom he considers to be a brother, to train until Ven's light grows strong enough that he can be forcibly reunited with his darkness and become a weapon that will allow its wielder to reshape the entire world. While he's there, he notices Eraqus's student, Terra, and immediately decides that he wants Terra's body. Through a complex series of manipulations, Xehanort arranges Terra to fight Eraqus to the death, and finishes off Eraqus himself after Eraqus is weakened. He is even willing to risk an apocalypse out of sheer curiosity. Eventually Xehanort willingly becomes the Heartless known as "Ansem", which possesses Riku and manipulates a cartel of Disney villains from behind the scenes, and causes his former self's Start of Darkness.
  • Continuity Lockout: If you start the series from a later game, you may be a bit lost when it comes to the plot.
    • To be fair, if you've played the series in order from the beginning AND read all of the extra canon information not available outside Japan, you may still be lost when it comes to the plot. See Broken Base above.
    • 358/2 Days might be the worst offender of this for the series. It takes place between I and II, as well as during Chain of Memories, and is mostly about character development, depending on the player to have a considerable knowledge of the series. It doesn't help that it also has a few scenes that only truly make sense if the player has also played Birth by Sleep, which came out a year after Days. You have to feel sorry for the unlucky few who picked this up without prior knowledge of the series.
    • Birth by Sleep may be the only game released after KHII that someone can play without prior knowledge. It having its own story separate from the rest of the series (partly due to it being a prequel) helps accomplish this. It has a Call-Forward here and there, but it's not as alienating as, say, 358/2 Days was.
    • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance makes an admirable attempt to resolve this with the Memoir feature that summarizes relevant plot points from previous games, which does help. However, the emotional impact of those scenes is still lost when you haven't actually played the games and gotten attached to the characters. Also, the plot has gotten so complicated at this point that many reviewers have mentioned that you can read the summaries and it still won't make alot of sense.
    • Square Enix possibly seems to be doing an attempt to catch players up to speed (prior to 3D) with the HD remake compilations, which include the Final Mix elements available in the west for the first time.
  • Counterpart Comparison: Fans have sparked this between Aqua and Lightning, for their similarities as Lady of War Magic Knights, while having striking differences in personality. Depictions of the two of them together, often locked in combat, are not hard to find, up to and including exchanged outfits and trademark poses.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The series, though not without its dark moments, started off as a lighthearted romp through various Disney worlds, with The Power of Friendship as its central theme. However, the series began to move dangerously far into Darker and Edgier territory with the Bittersweet Ending of Birth by Sleep, where Master Xehanort killed Eraqus and then ruined the lives of Terra, Aqua, and Ven — Terra's body became Xehanort's new vessel, Aqua got trapped in the Realm of Darkness, and Ven was left comatose in a castle. But it was the ending of Dream Drop Distance that truly raised the ire and frustration of quite a bit of fans: It was revealed that everything that had happened so far throughout the series was all part of Xehanort's master plan via Time Travel, thus both retroactively reducing all of the heroes' accomplishments to nothing and making Xehanort an outright Invincible Villain. That, combined with Kingdom Hearts III taking so long to come out and potentially throw said fans a bone by finally subverting this trope, has only served to burn them out.
  • Die for Our Ship: The extreme levels of vitriol towards Kairi and Namine by Yaoi Fangirls, particularly fans of Sora/Riku and Axel/Roxas, is legendary, to the point the Kingdom Hearts fanbase has become a cautionary tale for many newcomers to shipping fandom. Despite the fact that a lot of the hate has largely died down over time.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Organization XIII is one of the more infamous video game examples of the trope. They cast Ansem into darkness, go around worlds ruining lives to create more Heartless and Nobodies, manipulate Roxas, Xion, Naminé, Riku and Sora for their own ends, Mind Rape Sora forcing him to be put into a coma for a year, kidnap Kairi to emotionally blackmail Sora, and most of them show little concern or regard for the other members if they are killed. And yet, fans insist Sora is a horrible person for being as mean to them as he is, and argue they aren't all that bad. Word of God even seems to have gotten on this bandwagon; if 3D is an indication: several Organization members now revived as humans are implied to be performing a Heel–Face Turn, and it's explicitly spelled out they really were beginning to grow hearts and were just pawns of Xemnas for Master Xehanort's scheme.
  • Ear Worm: Most of the soundtrack, but specifically the opening song "Simple And Clean," used in several of the games.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Axel, Axel, AXEL. Got it memorized?
    • Among the bosses, Chernabog (of Fantasia fame) also falls into this. He's got no reason to really be there and is never referenced again, but it's Chernabog, Disney's king of Nightmare Fuel! How could the developers resist putting him in?
      • He even got "Night on Bald Mountain" as his boss theme, something NONE of the other Disney villains have gotten (having a theme or song from their films as their boss theme, that is). This was only in the American version, however; in the Japanese version, he just has the regular boss music. In 3D, he keeps "Night on Bald Mountain" as his boss music, even in the Japanese version. Even better, it's a much more faithful rendition of his theme than Shimomura's original composition. It was this rendition that was inserted into his original boss battle in Kingdom Hearts for 1.5
    • Xigbar/Braig is starting to get here, thanks to mastering the art of deadpanned snarking and by being, by far, the biggest Troll in the series - as well as the reveal of his critical importance to the series' plot.
    • Demyx and Zexion are the biggest fangirl magnets in the Organization XIII.
    • Any Disney character that was popular to begin with is bound to be this, as long as the games don't Flanderize them or ruin their portrayal in other ways. In particular, both Jacks (Skellington and Sparrow) seem to be the most popular world-specific Disney allies (aside from the Beast), to the point that they receive more exposure and merchandise than some of the more important original characters.
    • Yen Sid has gotten some popularity thanks to being an Ascended Extra who goes from a generic mentor to the Big Good of the series, and a reasonable Cool Old Guy who doesn't adhere to Eraqus' vehement anti-darkness philosophy. Many would like to see him take part in the final battle.
    • Ansem the Wise has gotten fans thanks to being voiced by freakin' Christopher Lee, and for his Character Development as he becomes The Atoner for being such a Knight Templar.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Special mention to the famous Another Side, Another Story special ending from the Final Mix version of the first game. This single video alone inspired so many fan theories back in 2003 that you needed to go to a debate about the timeline of The Legend of Zelda series in order to find something remotely as insane. Fans literally went through the video frame by frame like it was the frigging Zapruder Film (specially the second half, which was prone to this kind of viewing), looking for clues about what the next installment was to offer. Let us stress the fact that this was back when the series had only one game... Yeah...
    • A quite popular theory is that Cloud and Sephiroth are a Nobody and Heartless, respectively, or visa-versa, given the dynamic between the two, and would explain why Cloud is more emotionless in this game series than his home game, since Nobodies don't have actual emotions unless they actively start developing their own heart again. When Birth By Sleep was in development, it was a common theory that Zack was who Cloud and Sephiroth were before he fell into darkness and split into two, but the ending implying Sephiroth was already still around at that point, and possibly killed Zack threw a monkey wrench into that theory. What this would make Tifa, Cloud's supposed 'light', is a further mystery.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Hades. Although anyone with magical powers and the voice of James Woods would be cool.
    • Maleficent, the MISTRESS OF ALL EVIL!
    • Organization XIII.
    • Xehanort in general. "Ansem", Xemnas, Master Xehanort... you name it, he's a guaranteed badass.
    • Again, Chernabog.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Much of the Organization qualifies.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation:
  • Fandom Berserk Button: A lot of fans don't take well when people call the handheld entries "Spin-Offs".
  • Fandom Heresy: Claiming that Dark Riku (and by extension, Vanitas) wears a skirt will get you brutally murdered by the fandom.
    • Calling the games released between Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts III "spin-offs". See Fandom Berserk Button above.
  • Fanfic Fuel: With the exception of Xemnas, Roxas, and Xion, the Heartless counterpart of Organization XIII members are left open to our imagination.
  • Fan Wank: Lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of it due the often confusing nature of the plot, no Word of God explanations being offered, and sometimes simply inadequate explanations offered by the games. Some of the most common ones include fan-made assumptions for how Nobodies actually work and why characters like Maleficent just won't stay dead. Head over to the "Headscratchers" pages to get a good look at some of the wank.
  • Game-Breaker: The difficulty in KH and KHII is considerably lowered once you get the Second Chance and Once More abilities. And by considerably, maybe two or three bosses can now kill you if you play well. Even less if you've got MP Rage, Concentrate, and Petal Guard, allowing more or less constant Curagas.
    • And Oblivion Keychain from the first game. Oathkeeper too, to an extent.
    • Sora's Final Form in Kingdom Hearts II.
    • The Tinkerbell summon in the first game basically makes you invincible by acting as a Regen and Auto-Life spells, periodically healing you and reviving you once upon death, and the best part is that she doesn't cause your companions to disappear like all other summons do.
    • Someone who is also a summon in the first game is Bambi. He gives you HP or Magic orbs when summoned and will give you whichever one you need most. He also sometimes drops rare items which is good if you want to use synthesis.
    • Balloonga in 3D. Taking out large chunks of the endgame boss' health with Mylar balloons is hilariously satisfying.
    • In Chain of Memories, building decks around sleights could really break the game, such as Ars Arcanum: using a deck focused on this sleight will make difficult bosses like Riku Replica a cake walk.
  • Genius Bonus: One of the arc phrases of the franchise is some variation of "Several World, All Share the Same Sky". In English, this just sounds like some Meaningless Meaningful Words, but if you know some Japanese, you'll know that Sora, Riku and Kairi, the names of the three protagonists of the franchise mean sky, land and water in Japanese. The phrase isn't referring to a literal sky- it's referring to Sora.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • It should be noted that some characters are more popular with certain segments of the fandom than others. While Ensemble Darkhorse Bishōnen characters such as Demyx and Zexion are popular with fangirls, Rated M for Manly characters such as "Ansem", Xemnas, Braig and Terra are popular with male Kingdom Hearts fans. Kairi and girls similar to her aren't very well-liked among fangirls (as stated above), but tend to be popular with younger/girlier girls, Disney fans and male players who think they're cute.
    • Riku is nowhere near as popular in Japan as he used to be even though he remains popular in the west. An official Japanese popularity poll listed Sora, Roxas, Axel, Aqua, and Terra (in that order) as the fan favorites, while Riku didn't even breach the 100 vote mark.
    • Roxas is another case: a Base-Breaking Character in the West, but the second most popular character after Sora in Japan, according to an official Top 5 popularity poll.
  • Goddamned Bats: Air Pirates and Fat Bandits, especially in the first game.
    • Not to mention the Hot Rods and Undead Pirates in the second.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In Transformers, Shockwave (voiced by Corey Burton) seemed to be impersonating David Warner's portrayal of Sark in TRON. Guess who winds up voicing Sark in Kingdom Hearts II... note 
    • The version of Tron in the game being coded by Ansem the Wise, the series Chessmaster and all around badass. Over in the film's Expanded Universe for TRON: Legacy, Alan Bradley (Tron's creator in the film universe) is a Chessmaster and Memetic Badass. Queue TRON fandom joking that "Ansem" is one of Alan's aliases.
    • Christopher Robin Milne always hated the fact that his father wrote him into the Winnie-the-Pooh books. Six years after he died, he was replaced by Sora.
    • Mandy Moore voiced Aerith in the first game and was replaced by Mena Suvari for the next one. In the meantime she was chosen to voice Rapunzel in the Disney film Tangled. Fast forward to when the third game is announced, and Rapunzel is the first Disney character slated to appear.
    • Marluxia, whose design is heavily influenced by the Grim Reaper, is voiced by Keith Ferguson. He would later go on to voice another character in Overwatch who goes by the alias Reaper and is also centered around Grim Reaper motifs.
  • Ho Yay: Has its own page.
  • Internet Backdraft:
  • It Was His Sled:
    • That Ansem guy you're looking for in order to find a way to stop the Heartless? He's actually the Big Bad. And then the second game revealed that he wasn't actually Ansem, but the Heartless of Xehanort, a man who studied under (and pretended to be) the real Ansem the Wise. Both of these were shocking twists at the time of their respective releases, but are more or less Late Arrival Spoilers now.
    • Kairi is a Princess of Heart.
    • Roxas is Sora's Nobody.
    • Diz is actually Ansem the Wise in disguise.
  • Jerkass Woobie: All the Organization may qualify, with the possible exceptions of Xemnas and Xigbar since they were manipulating all the other members into being pawns of Master Xehanort's plan the whole time.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Cuts both ways. Some people are here just to explore the Disney worlds and see the reimagined Final Fantasy characters and don't care at all about the Original Generation and their story. That was more common in the franchises' earlier days; after a few games, it's more common to see people who don't care at all about the Disney parts and want to get to the real story.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Axel, Demyx and Roxas are pretty much the fandom's whores.
  • Love to Hate: Xehanort really cements this status during the events of Birth By Sleep (particularly at the end of Terra's story).
  • Magnificent Bastard: Xehanort. While there are other magnificent bastards in the Kingdom Hearts series, Xehanort is the biggest and greatest of them all. A rare instance where it also overlaps with Complete Monster.
  • Memetic Badass: The Beast.
    • There is also Mickey Mouse, the Lingering Will, Aqua, and Vanitas.
  • Memetic Molester: Ansem/Xehanort's Heartless. He just won't stop talking to Sora and Riku about how they should open their hearts and accept him, and when they refuse he shouts for them to SUBMIT. His appearance does not help this at all.
  • Memetic Mutation: Now has its own page
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • A portion of the fandom considers Roxas "emo", but the entire reason he was sullen and quiet in 358/2 Days was because he was un-emotional, he had no memories of how to emote and had to develop his own personality over time, and as he did so he became much friendlier and cheerful. His 3D personality is closer, but the fandom existed before that game was even released.
    • If any of Xehanort's victims (such as DiZ/Ansem and Eraqus) go Knight Templar in their retaliation against him, expect some fans to vilify them over him. And no, their eventual Heel Realizations (in contrast to his sheer Lack of Empathy, no less) haven't been enough to quell this.
  • Mis-blamed: Some fans hate Sora because of how Roxas and Xion "died" in 358/2 Days. Thing is, it really isn't Sora's fault: the entire reason he needed to absorb Roxas was because Roxas has absorbed some of Sora's memories from Xion, preventing Sora from waking up. So if Organization XIII and Naminé hadn't screwed around with his memories in order to create Xion from said memories, Sora wouldn't have needed Roxas to join with him and the two could have co-existed. Sora had absolutely no hand in Roxas's fate.
    • Not just that, but Sora is probably the only character who doesn't shoulder some of the blame for Roxas's fate. Given that he was, you know... asleep.
    • It goes even further in that Sora is about the only character who agrees with the fandom's position, and is rather indignant about it.
  • Moe: The original female characters to some degree, such as Kairi, Naminé, and Xion.
  • Narm: Enough for its own page.
  • Never Live It Down: Kairi only gets properly kidnapped twice (both in II, and in the first instance she actually escapes on her own; the first game had her lifeless body held captive by Riku but her heart/essence safe with Sora, and Riku, insistent on being her savior instead of Sora, wasn't exactly putting her body in distress), yet part of the fandom apparently will forever deem her a Damsel Scrappy regardless.
    • Also, it's quite irritating to see that after she appeared with one pink article of clothing in II, the fandom instantly turned her into a parody of Feminine Princesses Prefer Pink Turned Up to Eleven, portraying her in all-over pink outfits in fanarts, with pink accessories, pink pens writing in pink and a pink-themed bedroom... Nevermind her outfits through the series have otherwise all been primarily white with blue or purple.
  • Nightmare Fuel: As long as Disney is involved, there's bound to be some. That's not even including the bizarre Nobodies.
  • One True Threesome: One of the game's main themes is that most of the heroes are Two Guys and a Girl Power Trios, lending itself to plenty of Ship Tease for Sora/Kairi/Riku, Ven/Aqua/Terra, Roxas/Xion/Axel, etc. The Birth by Sleep trio in particular emphasize that the three of them are True Companions who will never give up on each other.
    Terra: "The three of us can never be torn apart, all right? I'll always find a way."
    Aqua: "The three of us will always be one."
    • And let's not forget the Accidental Innuendo of Roxas and his excitement over "having ice cream" with Axel and Xion at the same time.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: The Osaka Team (who developed Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance) are often compared negatively to the Tokyo team who developed Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, with many people considering the former two games to be much weaker gameplay wise than the main installments. Commonly cited complaints are poor balancing and an emphasis on Level Grinding and grinding for powerful commands/items over actual skill, not to mention the lack of the Revenge Number system introduced in KHII that was so beloved by a portion of the KH community
  • Pandering to the Base: 358/2 Days and 3D have cast Organization XIII in a more obviously sympathetic light, the latter even going so far to imply some of them did have hearts after all, or were beginning to grow them, they just didn't know any better because Xemnas was manipulating them.
  • Periphery Demographic: Although the series is aimed to teenagers and young adults, the series has tons of fans in practically every single demographic imaginable. Including the most obvious ones of all.
  • Player Punch:
    • Birth by Sleep is practically made of this. You remember Aqua, Terra and Ventus, the three characters you spent at least 45 hours playing as? Respectively, she ends up stuck in the Realm of Darkness for the next twelve years, he ends up hijacked by Xehanort and does all those atrocities for the next eleven years, and he ends up in a coma after his heart gets literally broken and is presumably still in that coma twelve years later. It's softened a bit by the secret ending, which suggests that Sora might be able to save them all, but it's still pretty harsh.
      • 3D reveals that their efforts were all in vain. Heck, they actually HELPED Xehanort more than they hindered.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: With how insane and all over the place the plot points are and how many consoles the games have been released for, many people suggest just playing the games for what they are and not to pay attention to the games over arching plot, mostly because it's nigh impossible to keep track of without a flowchart.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: AkuRoku for Axel/Roxas. SoKai(i) for Sora/Kairi. SoRiku for Sora/Riku. Namixas has been used too. Come to that, even the crack pairings tend to get names made for them.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: The series kinda overdoes it with some of the deeper male friendships. The shippers have noticed.
    Aqua: "The friendship between boys...it almost makes me jealous."
  • Replacement Scrappy: The "True" Organization XIII, introduced in Dream Drop Distance, is largely seen as this. The original is seen as one of the best aspects of the series, for its diverse characters and motivations; this version, however, is just a Me's a Crowd for Master Xehanort note  — and his Villain Override ability over the other members doesn't leave much, if any, room for similar diversity.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Sora for rabid Organization XIII fans and Kairi for rabid yaoi fans.
    • Diz. Granted, DiZ was a real piece of shit, but he had reasons for it (he was in the darkness for so long) and he genuinely atoned for it in the end with a Heroic Sacrifice. Yet part of the fandom still see him as an irredeemable racist monster who is more evil than the guy who stole his name!. And it got worse now that it's been revealed that DiZ managed to survive his redemption death. It doesn't help that he personally orchestrated one of the greatest tragedies in the series by effectively killing Roxas in addition to ordering Namine's execution.
    • Eraqus. Yes, he suffered from Poor Communication Kills and tried to Shoot the Dog on Ven and Terra, but he genuinely believed that doing so would prevent Master Xehanort's Apocalypse How, he was still remorseful afterward, and then he even decided to atone by giving his Heart to Terra to keep him from being fully overtaken by Xehanort's possession. And yet some fans still see him as a Jerk Ass fanatic who was too biased toward the Light, despite the fact that Xehanort is obviously far worse and clearly biased toward Darkness despite all of his talk about "Balance".
    • The Organization gets almost as much as this, as they do the DILP treatment. Despite it being made clear with recent games that they were lied to from the start about there being one way to get their hearts back (a Nobody can grow one back over time), don't have the option to leave and will be killed for trying, will be turned into Dusks if they're not doing a good enough job, and aren't told exactly what they'll be doing until they're already in, many still choose to see each and every one of them as irredeemable psychopathic monsters who gleefully slaughter countless innocents for their goal. The truth is, they don't seem to have a whole lot of choice in the matter, with the exceptions of Xemnas and Xigbar.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The Gummi ship and its levels, until they were Rescued from the Scrappy Heap in Kingdom Hearts II.
    • Not knowing when your allies will use their magic. The most common scenario is when you're about heal yourself after taking a huge hit only to discover too late that Donald or Goofy has already done so. If the combined healing is more than your hit points would allow, this becomes a waste of magic. Worse still, you won't hear the character calling for Sora if you're too far away.
  • Silent Majority: Despite having one of the biggest (and most infamous) Yaoi Fangirl bases in fandom, such fangirls make up a much smaller portion of the overall Kingdom Hearts fanbase than one might think, like with many other JRPG series and shonen anime/manga. Sadly, the Vocal Minority is so loud and obnoxious that it turns off many potential fans, who dismiss the whole thing as yaoi fangirl fodder.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Particularly in regards to the Ho Yay.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The manga adaptations by Shiro Amano, which turns the whole story into a farce, and is filled to the brim with Pandering to the Base/Running the Asylum in regards to Fanon elements. That being said, the art is a factor that makes it worth looking into.
    • Of course, the manga is starting to develop it's own fandom thanks to the Yen Press translations, and the manga adaptation for Days is not as much of a farce so much as it is it's own thing altogether.
    • The second half of the KH2 manga is also praised by many as being much better than the first half, and it says something that this half was made after Shiro Anamo was done with the Days manga. So with both the Days manga and second half of the KH2 manga, Amano seems to have started taking his work more seriously and greatly improving it.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Both Kairi and Namine seemed to have more character in their debut games than they did in subsequent ones, with both of them flattened down to a more basic personality. With Kairi, it mostly stems from her being put Out of Focus for several games straight, whereas Namine suffered from Flanderization.
    • DiZ / Ansem the Wise. For such an important character for the series, we barely ever see him, and his entire Character Development in Kingdom Hearts II takes place completely off-screen, meaning that he's a radically different character at the start of the game than he is when he reappears at the end, and we are only told why this has happened rather than actually shown it.
    • Despite the fact Olympus is the most heavily recurring Disney world in the series, only two of the five Titans have appeared as bosses. Many fans have been clamoring since the first game for a boss battle with the Lava and Wind Titans (and to a much lesser extent, the cyclops).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Nothingness (the third major element, alongside Light and Darkness), hinted at in Chain of Memories and outright established in II. It could've really mixed things up regarding the usual "Light vs. Darkness" shtick. Instead, only one character (Xemnas) actually wields it — and, as Dream Drop Distance revealed, he's one of the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness (in a plot point that just seems to reinforce Light Is Good and Dark Is Evil more than ever) anyway.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: A lot of the plot tends to fall into this territory, 3D in particular.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • Several kinds of Heartless fall under this.
    • Jack Skellington's supposed to be the scariest looking monster in his world. The "common people" of his world probably have never seen a Heartless or a Nobody.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Chernabog shows up in Kingdom Hearts I as a surprise boss fight.
    • One of the summons in Kingdom Hearts II is Chicken Little, a Disney character whose movie wasn't even out in Japan at the time.
    • The whole main cast of The World Ends with You—Neku, Joshua, Rhyme, Beat, and Shiki—appears in quite the reunion party as part of the series's first non-Final Fantasy, non-Disney cameo.
    • A world based on Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers. Not even Master Xehanort could have seen that coming.
    • For the first time since Ice Titan, we have a Bonus Boss from a Disney property: Julius from Runaway Brain. Also unexpected in how he, despite being a Disney character, is just as aggressive as the ones designed by Tetsuya Nomura.
    • Gaston, who has been absent in the corresponding Beauty and the Beast worlds before now.
    • Players guessed that Enchanted Dominion would end up being one of the worlds in the game, and by extension that Maleficent would appear, but no one expected that it would be the Maleficent from the present time of the series.
    • VENTUS is one of the Dandelions in Union χ?!
      • Marluxia's Somebody too?!
    • Unchained contains medals representing nearly every Disney movie that appeared in previous Kingdom Hearts games, along with Zootopia and Moana (both of which were released during Unchained's lifetime), and...The Jungle Book?note 
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: In terms of forces of nature, the Darkness itself — as a consequence of the Balance Between Good and Evil Clueless Aesop. We're supposed to see it as Not Evil, Just Misunderstood... But so far, every major problem has had the Darkness at its source, with every major solution being made possible by the Light — which really isn't helped by the Realms of Light and Darkness being a (formerly) idyllic paradise and a Hellish Mordor, respectively. Meanwhile, any Dark Is Not Evil examples are extremely rare, and they still seem to favor the Light anyway — thus arguably coming across as merely "Dark Is Evil that just so happens to be kept in check by equal, if not greater, Light Is Good" instead. Quite frankly, some fans prefer the so-called "tyranny of Light" as a result — at least that system doesn't seem to carry the same risk of such large-scale misery. In fact, this is one of the main factors behind the widespread desire for a Light Is Not Good major threat, believed to be the only way to finally subvert this.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: The main offender of this trope is Marluxia; he's got a feminine name, has pink hair, a pink scythe, and flower petals around him. According to Nomura in a Japanese-only publication, the staff actually originally intended for him to be a woman, but when the Organization traitor plotline was thought up, they had to change him to male.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: A Square Enix staple. Thanks to its colorful and detailed art style, all the games look incredibly beautiful. So much that they only needed an HD upgrade to even surpass a lot of modern Triple A games! And even without said upgrade, the graphics still hold up. Even the original Chain of Memories has a beautiful pixel art engine and the NDS entries show some of the best graphics in the console.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Nomura maintains this position on the series, as seen here. It's not hard to agree — behind the Disney characters, colorful anime character designs and fun gameplay, are existential dilemmas, human cloning, lots of Mind Screw and Mind Rape, Demonic Possession, Child Soldiers, child [[Abusive Parents abuse]], outright murder, genocide (with the destruction of worlds and all), human experimentation, and somewhere along the way the series has begun to turn into a Deconstructor Fleet of its own tropes. And that's not getting into the fact that the plot is so complex you need a flowchart now just to keep track of how many different incarnations each character has and how they exist and interact.
  • Win the Crowd: When the original game was announced, a lot of people took to making fun of Disney and Square-Enix for thinking a crossover between their works could be successful in any capacity (the response being a collective "What The Hell, Marketing Agency?"). After the original game came out, it's safe to say that the game managed to win people over (including the detractors) and started the beginning of a Cash Cow Franchise.
  • The Woobie: Naminé in Chain of Memories and Roxas in Kingdom Hearts II. Both of them are the only Nobodies to not be total emotionless sociopaths (save for Axel after spending a lot of time with Roxas, and even then he's not a good person) and they both wind up being put through hell by the Organization and DiZ. At least they find happiness in the end. Sort of.
    • Kairi definitely falls under this. She is first separated from the people she cares for most, then she actually sees her closest friend sacrifice his heart to save her, then she is separated from her friends further, then gets kidnapped twice, and later when she finally receives a Keyblade, she is still cut off from Sora and Riku by Xemnas. Oh, and the real kicker? The fangirls hate her guts for all this.
    • There's also Xion from 358/2 Days, who ends up as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • Woolseyism: COM's "stock techniques" were changed to "sleights" (as in sleight of hand).
    • Lots of weapons were renamed, especially in the first game. Some make sense. ("Wonder of Abyss" to "Mysterious Abyss".) Others don't. ("Holy Pumpkin" to "Decisive Pumpkin.")
      • "Decisive Pumpkin" actually makes sense if you think about it: the name comes from Jack (Skellington) wanting to combine Christmas with Halloween instead of leaving the Holidays be, and eventually learning that it's best he do his own thing instead of riffing off "Sandy Claws's" holiday.
      • Days also renamed many weapons, most notably Xaldin's and Lexaeus's, which had a Chinese/Japanese respectively name theme going in the Japanese version.
    • Xemnas's weapon type got changed from "Aerial Blade" to "Ethereal Blades", which helps get the point across to those who actually speak English.
    • Xigbar's title is the Japanese title of the opera Der Freischütz, so his English title is the English translation of the opera's title ("the Freeshooter").
    • In a Continuity Nod, Seifer still calls you a "chicken-wuss."

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