These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Kingdom Hearts
I know now, without a doubt, the Kingdom Hearts fandom is... not agreeing on some things, listed down here.
Dream Drop Distanceconfirms 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 was suppressing their emotions and reveling in sociopathy, and who was merely ignorant?
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. To be fair, most of this hate comes from the Yaoi Fangirlsforobviousreasons.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: It should be noted that some characters are more popular with certain segments of the fandom than others. While Ensemble DarkhorseBishōnen characters such as Demyx and Zexion are popular with fangirls, Rated M for ManlyBadass 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, of course, hornymales.
Sora has become something of a Base Breaker 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 The only characters that outranked him were Mario, Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII, Solid Snake from Metal Gear, and the Metal Slime from Dragon Quest.
Roxas, his Nobody, shares the same situation. A Base Breaker in the West, but the second most popular character after Sora in Japan, according to an official Top 5 popularity poll.note Axel, Aqua, and Terra took third, fourth and fifth places respectively. Riku, popular in the western fandom, ironically didn't even get 100 votes, making him a possible case of Germans Love David Hasselhoff as well.
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.
Finally 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. Then this trope gets played straight when only Riku is announced as a Keyblade Master and Sora doesn't seem bothered by it at all.
Bambi prances around pretty happily for someone whose world was destroyed...
Archive Panic: Every game is quite long, making playing through them all quite a daunting task. If you have a PS3, Nintendo 3DS, and either a PS4 or Xbox One, you're golden. Otherwise....
Author's Saving Throw: Birth by Sleep and Re:coded both feature additional bosses that, gameplay-wise, turn out to be close enough to the ones previously exclusive to the Final Mix version of Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, and therefore confined to Japan. So, the "Unknown" (Xemnas) gets an expy through the new Unknown in Birth by Sleep, thus covering KHIFM territory, while Terra's Lingering Will from KHIIFM+ gets his expy thanks to Vanitas' Lingering Will, still in BBS. About Roxas, upgraded from a cutscene (KHII) to a full-fledged boss (KHIIFM+), the fact he was still a storyline boss instead of a bonus boss allowed him to be used as a Final Boss instead, in Re:coded. You can basically see Tetsuya Nomura saying "sorry, western fans."
Now that 1.5 HD Remix and 2.5 HD Remix are coming to the west, this apology may have been rendered meaningless.
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. 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.
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.
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. It's one of those series.
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 afterDays. 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 WarMagic 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.
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, manipulate Roxas, Xion, Riku and Sora for their own ends, Mind Rape Sora forcing him to be put into a coma for a year, and kidnap Kairi. And yet, fans insist Sora is a horrible person for being as mean to them as he is.
Pandering to the Base: 358/2 Days and 3D have cast them 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.
Ear Worm: Most of the soundtrack, but specifically the opening song "Simple And Clean," used in several of the games.
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.
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.
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.
Epileptic Trees: A can of worms that's better left unopened... Let us just say that they started in the first game and it gets worse as the series advances.
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...
Flanderization: Now, while he was always a very positive kid, Sora was much more prone to negativity, anger, and doubt in Kingdom Hearts 1 compared to the rest of the series. In fact, his situation even caused him some stress in the first game. By 3D, he's gotten to the point where not even failing his mastery exam makes him even the least bit discouraged, and he very rarely if ever stays mad or sad about anything. Remember back in the first game when he and Donald had an argument and Sora actually held a grudge about it for awhile? Lampshaded by Ansem the Wise in KHII, when he's amused by Roxas's anger and tells him that he should lend Sora some of his anger, as he (Sora) is "far too nice for his own good."
Also concerning Sora, his messiah status was greatly exaggerated over time. With how clearly it's been made lately that the entire universe rests on him and every single character is connected to him somehow, you'd almost forget that he's not even the universe's original Chosen One (he accidentally stole the job from Riku).
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.
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.
The King is Mickey... yes it was a surprise in the first episode.
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.
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.
Misaimed Fandom: A portion of the fandom considers Roxas "emo", but the entire reason he was moody 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.
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.
Hell, if it weren't for Sora, Roxas wouldn't have existed at all.
Moe: The original female characters to some degree, such as Kairi, Naminé, and Xion.
Narm: The series is very averse to having Non Player Characters around, usually only have a half-dozen or so of them per world and they're always named characters important to the story. This can lead to positively ridiculous scenarios when there aren't crowds of people when there should be, such as the ball of Cinderella or the Festival of Fools for The Hunchback of Notre Dame — it's just the four or five plot important characters in an empty room/field.
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 most of the Fan Dumb 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 FemininePrincesses Prefer PinkTurned 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 simple brown school satchel or the fact her color sheme has been purple ever since I.
Nightmare Fuel: As long as Disney is involved, there's bound to be some. That's not even including the bizarre Nobodies.
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.
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.
Sora for rabid Organization XIII fans and Kairi for rabid yaoi fans.
Diz. Granted, DiZ was a revenge-driven asshole, 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 much of the Fan Dumbstill 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.
The Scrappy: Kairi, Namine, and Xion, either alternatively or all together. Female characters just don't get it too good in the fandom unless they're Aqua.
Don't forget Roxas; a G4 review of Days likened him to Scrappy-Doo himself.
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.
Of course, the manga is starting to develop it's own fandom thanks to the Yen Press translations, and the manga adaptations for II and Days are not as much of a farce.
Tear Jerker: 358/2 Days and Birth by Sleepwill turn the waterworks on like a faucet. Basically, everything starting an hour or so before the first in the series of final boss battles, and increasing in severity as the final sequence approaches in each of those games is tailor made to be simultaneously awesome and the most depressing thing ever. In the latter case, at least one of the characters is driven to tears by what's happened, and he has no idea that anything actually happened, the aura of tragedy note emanating in this case from the disembodied heart of one of the victims, which wasn't even in the same world at the time is simply that palpable.
Xaldin from Kingdom Hearts II. If you ever need to be rescued by Mickey, chances are you'll need it here.
Then there's Demyx. Never has a simple sitarist-slash-waterbender been so very dreaded.
Maleficent's dragon form in the first game. She can kill you in seconds unless you're overleveled, and her attacks can be hard to avoid. you don't get much room to avoid them, and you can only damage her by attacking her head. This is followed by Riku possessed by Ansem, who probably would be as hard except for the fact that you have to fight him on your own. Yes, two in a row! And you don't get to save in-between them.
3D gives us Young Xehanort who would be hard enough on his own, with hyper-fast teleports, sword combos, stopping your action commands, and being hard to hit. But then he'll actually rewind time and make you fight him all over again if you're not fast enough.
The Antlion in Days. It moves around the desert just fast enough so that you have to catch up if you use magic, and, as well as its powerful attacks when it's not moving, once you get it down to two bars of health, it flies up into the air. From then until the end of the battle, the only way to damage him is to hit back the wooden boxes he throws at you and stun him. Most players won't even realize that until they get the strategy guide!
The Olympus Coliseum visits are starting to wear out their welcome, largely because there's usually little to no exploration and the player simply enters the tournament to fight several waves of enemies until they get to the boss. Also repetitive are the pot-smashing Mini-Game, the overused "two words" Running Gag, and Hercules and Phil treating Sora like a rookie hero-wannabe. Made up for slightly by James Woods and the surprise of seeing which Final Fantasy hero Hades has roped into service this time through.
Agrabah gets even more flak for constant re-appearances. It was considered a terrific level back in the original game, but it's lost more and more luster with each passing appearance, and it generally has less going for it than Olympus Coliseum does. A major factor is likely that the world is pretty much the same in each game — three streets of Agrabah, then we're off to the Cave of Wonders to fight Genie Jafar by whacking Iago carrying his lamp.
Atlantica in both Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, being a water level this isn't surprising. In the first game the water is hard to move about in, the layout of the world is confusing, and areas are generally huge. The second game it's a bit of a stretch to even call Atlantica a world, you just play a series of rhythm mini-games, able to play a new one when you progress in the story enough. There's absolutely no exploration or combat.
It should be noted that this only happens to two people: Terra and Rikunote It seems they took on the form of their most recent possessor(s), rather than just turning dark — young Xehanort is just as dark-skinned when we briefly see him in Birth by Sleep. Everyone else keeps whatever skin color they had.
More or less justified as Xehanort's Grand Theft Me ends with the person affected slowly looking like himself.
The only non-white character in the main cast is... the bad guy. Different versions of the same one, to be precise.
The Disney-centered side of the fandom has lamented over this, fearing they'll never get a world based on The Princess and the Frog. Especially frustrating, considering Dr. Facilier's whole gimmick involves shadow magic; it's as if he was tailor-made to be included in the series!
Villain Sue: Master Xehanort is competing with Aizen for stakes in this. EVERYTHING that has happened in the previous games (across dozens of worlds and who knows how many decades; he's been at it since before BBS) was all part of his plan, and he thoroughly outclasses everyone else in the game in power and intelligence. And that was before he split himself into 13 equally powerful bodies.
Visual Effects of Awesome: 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, 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 incarnations Xehanort 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 seesher 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 fangirlshateherguts for all this.
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").