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  • Adaptation Displacement: Unchained χ[chi] and Union χ[cross] are much more popular than the original χ[chi] was, mostly thanks to the mobile versions getting an official global release as well as their story extending past where χ[chi] ended service. Most of the gameplay tropes listed here apply to the mobile version for this reason.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The Master of Masters' Pet the Dog moment with Ava: Since it's implied that Ava is the traitor, it could be that the Master is just downplaying his usual carefree humorous side so he doesn't accidentally reveal this to her.
  • Arc Fatigue:
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    • In August 2017, the story updates show Strelitzia was killed by an unknown assailant. Ever since that story quest, there's been no explanation as to who did it or why.
    • The first batch of story missions take quite a while to get through. You're forced to go through the same worlds and fight the same enemies, over and over, with very little plot progression in any of them. There is a movie symbol to let a player know which missions are story-critical, but there could be as many as fifteen missions between each plot point. And each one of those might only advance the plotline a slight bit. It picks up after a while, but the game's title card doesn't appear until mission 401 out of more than eight hundred story missions.
    • The "Abu is missing" storyline in Agrabah. It lasts from about mission 550 to nearly the end of the game, and it's become a running joke among the playerbase about how absurdly long the questline is, to the point that some of the jokes believe Abu is behind the Keyblade War.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
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    • When Union χ[cross] was announced, it was also revealed in an interview that not only would medals be buffed up to better match the Japanese version, the long requested Mickey and Brooms medal would finally be coming to the international version.
    • Along with that came the Anniversary events, which had ridiculously good rewards for low cost, including the powerful Illustrated KHII Kairi, plus free Jewels and other rewards.
    • In December 2017, the addition of Skip Ticket+, which allow you to completely skip a quest and move on to the next one. Proud 160 will immediately come to mind for many.
    • Patch 3.2 introduced the ability to speed up field travel and battles, reducing some of the grind that could come with replaying missions.
  • Awesome Music: Some of the premium medals come with high quality versions of soundtracks from the games. Setting one of these medals as your ally medal will change your homescreen music to that of the medal's. Needless to say, a number of players cite the soundtrack for these medals as a major reason for why they pull for them. The game's got some pretty sweet tunes of its own, too.
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  • Breather Level: While some Union Cross quests feature a battle against a powerful Heartless such as Iron Giant, Gummi Hound, or the dreaded Darkside, other quests feature much lighter and simpler objectives, such as beating the much easier Cerberus, Card Soldiers, or Possessors, or just clearing a room of Shadows.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Certain medals will always be used over others because they are effectively the same thing but better. For example, Minnie heals so much more than other pure healing medals like Tinkerbell, Daisy or Jiminy Cricket, that the main reasons people don't use Minnie as their healing medal is they don't have it or the one they do use has another effect like adding a stat buff. Or at least - that was the case. These days, specialized healing medals generally aren't required because you'll probably have either Kairi EX or Xion EX or both as part of your setup. The point remains, but the particular medals used from time-to-time changes due to Power Creep, Power Seep.
  • Continuity Lock-Out: A working knowledge of χ [chi]'s storyline, terminology, and characters is required to understand the Back Cover movie, which doesn't stand as a functioning narrative on its own and simply fills in the gaps of what the Foretellers were up to during χ [chi].
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Seemingly continues this trend after Birth by Sleep and Dream Drop Distance. The heroes here, no matter how hard they work, are all Doomed by Canon, and the setup for Kingdom Hearts III looks to be veering even closer to You Can't Fight Fate territory — meaning that hope for the future seems to be getting dimmer.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Show someone the Back Cover movie from the 2.8 HD collection, then ask them who their favorite character was. Nine out of ten times, the answer will be the Master of Masters.
    • Ephemer seems to be this since he's the only named Union member to appear in Back Cover and thus gains HD render.
  • Epileptic Trees: Easily the most notorious case of Mind Screw in the series, in no small part thanks to the game's refusal to properly explain what's going on, instead throwing bits of the plot there and there on a monthly basis. This got even worse in Back Cover which shamelessly danced around the Driving Question of who was the traitor, leaving behind only a vague clue, not to mention the infamous ending of the browser game. As a result, fans use whatever they can find to come up with all kinds of explanations for what's going on. Most often, it is the artwork that ends up being the closest thing we have to a reliable source about the lore.
    • The Foretellers being predecessors linked to the main trio and the Wayfinder trio, such as through reincarnation. Usually, it's Kairi & Ava, Riku and Ira, Terra and Aced, Ventus and Gula, and Aqua and Invi, with Sora being related to either the Master of Masters or the later-introduced Luxu. This died down after Luxu was introduced (since there is no seventh analogue) and Ventus was revealed to have been alive at the same time as them. Although, said spoilered character only appears after the Foretellers disappear, so this doesn't necessarily eliminate the possibility that he is Gula without his cloak and mask... on the other hand, they do have different keyblades and voice actors. Possibly jossed as of III, as the Foretellers minus Ava and the Master appear in the present (and Luxu was revealed to be a past life of Braig/Xigbar), unless this has something to do with time travel.
    • The credits of the browser game show events from the game, but instead of you, replace Skuld or Ephemer instead. What does that mean?!
    • Why is Maleficent in the same time period as the player character talking about being safe from Sora?!
    • Gula's official character art from Back Cover has him in the exact same pose as Sora's official character art for Kingdom Hearts III. What's Nomura trying to say with that one?
    • The Japanese trailer for Union χ ("season two" of Unchained χ) has Ventus appear. Nomura, what is going on?!
    • An update on August 24th 2017 for Union χ has the fifth Union leader Strelitzia murdered by an unknown figure and her rulebook stolen. Later on a boy named Lauriam appears in the Keyblade Graveyard to meet the other leader claiming to be the fifth Union leader rulebook, meaning one of the leaders is a traitor. Lauriam is the human form of Marluxia of Organization XIII. Seriously Nomura, what the hell is going on?!
      • Given the visible aesthetic resonance in their designs, there is speculation that Strelitzia might actually be the original form of the Specter Nobody used by Marluxia during his last stand. This somewhat clashes with a theory below which hypothesizes that the mysterious sixth figure shown in the recent artwork is her Nobody, and if she has a humanoid appearance, than that means that she's a higher-ranking Nobody, unlike the seemingly mindless Specter, unless something happened which made her lose power to the point of mutating into a (technically) lower-ranking Nobody.
      • And then there's the 15th Anniversary Commemorative Campaign where Nomura states that "Lauriam is himself and not Marluxia." Whether or not this means Nomura is being coy, Lauriam is a new character altogether, or if he's simply saying that they shouldn't be thought of as the same character despite being a human/Nobody pair (a la Sora and Roxas) remains to be seen.
      • And guess who showed up many months later, in November 2018? A girl named Elrena, the human form of Larxene.
    • Recent artwork for KHUX features the five Dandelion leaders and sixth figure in a Black Coat holding a Bleeding Heart flower. The figure appears feminine and is believed by fans to be Strelitzia's Nobody. This is further hinted at due to the Bleeding Heart flower being symbolic of a young woman who died in tragic circumstances which perfectly describes Strelitzia's death.
    • Brain's localized name combined with his appearance and Smart Guy tendencies among his fellow Dandelions made many people to suspect him of being related to Ienzo and/or Zexion. Not to mention that Zexion's Weapon of Choice was a lexicon.
      • In order to explain the timeline, one theory is that Brain is the traitor, going by his choice of words during his debut and his later disregard for the instructions given to the Dandelions. The theories than go on to say that during a critical moment, Brain's plans fall apart and through whatever Plot Device, he ended up getting de-aged and caught in a Time Abyss until he just happened to end up in Radiant Garden and was than subsequently assumed to be a lost orphan by Ansem (and his other disciples), who pitied the little boy who couldn't remember anything about where he came from and adopted him, similarly to Xehanort. Wouldn't actually be unlikely to be true, given the series' track record when it comes to the usage of Laser-Guided Amnesia as a Plot Point and/or Plot Device.
      • Bonus points for the Xehanort comparison due to the actual Ansem's reports saying that it was Ienzo who convinced him to establish the laboratory for researching the Heartless in the first place.
    • With the release of Back Cover, a theory that Braig/Xigbar and the Master of Masters were in fact one and the same quickly sprouted due to their similar voices and character tics, as well as the Master of Masters claiming that he's missing an eye because its on No Name and Braig/Xigbar having some sort of plan of his own. As it would turn out, the Secret Reports in III reveal that Luxu is Braig/Xigbar, Luxu having taken cues from the Master of Masters... Unless this also goes with the theory that Luxu and the Master of Masters are the same person.
    • That the human forms of Luxord and Demyx were also involved in the Age of Fairy Tales, just like Marluxia/Lauriam and Larxene/Elrena. Further evidence is given in III, where Xemnas states that Luxord and Demyx were recruited to the True Organization XIII for the same reason as Marluxia and Larxene: they have pasts as ancient Keyblade wielders from the Keyblade War.
    • III would reveal content that would happen in the future of X, including Luxu knows that there's a traitor among the new Union leaders, Luxu will pass down No Name to one of the new Union leaders, the new Union leaders seem to still be alive in the present somewhere, and that a girl from this time period would be transported to the present day to become known as X.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • It's not too uncommon to see discussions or even edits of characters that have yet to debut in the game or even the entire franchise receiving one via medal in X, as the game has demonstrated that not all medals use Kingdom Hearts art (ex. Illustrated Belle & Beast) or are characters that have previously been introduced to the franchise (ex. Moana, Judy Hopps). Also sometimes goes into outfits, like how there have been outfits based on Beauty and the Beast (2017), Moana, Zootopia, and so forth. For example, there have been a couple of fan edits of a Noctis medal.
    • It's also not too uncommon to see edits of Keyblades not available in the game.
    • Of course, the opportunity to create your own Keyblade wielder and place them into the universe of Kingdom Hearts, along with the implication that thousands of others are fighting alongside you, is rich fuel for fanfic of all kinds, especially Self-Insert Fic.
  • Game-Breaker: Here.
  • Good Bad Bugs: A December 2017 update had a bug where the activation of a Pet skill would sometimes leave a transparent heart pattern beneath the player's HP bar. It didn't do anything, but it looked pretty cool.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The Vulpes union has won every single union ranking in the global version by a landslide. Come Back Cover, and who is it that Gula asks to help him gather Lux in order to summon Kingdom Hearts? None other than Ava, the Foreteller for the Vulpes union.
    • Lauriam's entrance and replacement. Him replacing Strelitzia is also a bit funny when one considers how Marluxia was originally intended to be a female, but was made into a male. It's the same story here, a female leader being replaced with a male one.
  • Ho Yay: The player character is really affectionate towards Ephemer and Skuld regardless of the player's gender. They were sad when they got Stood Up by Ephemer, upset and attacked a Foreteller after said Foreteller supposedly killed Ephemer, Holding Hands with Skuld, saw Skuld after the war and thought she was a goddess, shed a Single Tear in Anger Born of Worry upon seeing Ephemer alive, and finally Holding Hands with Ephemer as he took them to new World.
  • Iron Woobie: All of the Foretellers, considering they're all trying their hardest to fulfill the roles left to them by the Master of Masters to save the world from darkness despite the seemingly inevitable End of the World as We Know It Keyblade War looming on the horizon. Ava in particular takes the infighting between each other very hard, but is also one of the most resolved to fulfilling the Master's wishes, specifically gathering Keyblade wielders of promise to join the Dandelions and flee the world when the Keyblade War begins.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: A sizable amount of players have stated that a major reason for why they roll for premium medals is for the soundtrack that comes with them, such as Illustrated Kairi (EX)'s "2nd Movement Kairi - Andante Sostenuto".
  • Last Lousy Point: In Unchained. With three bonus objectives for every single mission in the game, this was bound to come up.
    • In the global version of Unchained, nearly every mission has "Defeat all enemies in 1 turn" as its first objective. If the mission contains secret passages, hidden enemies, or a Boss in Mook Clothing, that Mickey head will stay dark for quite a while. (The Japanese version generally uses "Defeat the target enemy in 1 turn" instead.)
    • The major exceptions to the "Defeat all enemies in 1 turn" in the main storyline are all against bosses. In most cases, the requirement is instead..."Defeat the target enemy in 1 turn". That's right, take down a boss in a single turn. And if a boss has more than 1 turn listed, that boss's HP is so high that it's a difficult task regardless.
    • These frustrations are exacerbated further in Proud Mode, where the enemies are much tougher, intense restrictions are placed on which medals can be used, and friend medals and continues aren't allowed. The mode is so tough, it's a struggle to get through these missions alive, let alone clear special objectives. And, while the rewards from normal mission objectives are generally Avatar Coins which can be acquired through other means, Proud Mode objectives reward players with materials necessary to level up special Keyblades, also acquired through Proud Mode. Meaning, if you can't get every Last Lousy Point, these Keyblades will be virtually useless...which will be an issue when you come across more Proud Mode quests that require these Keyblades themselves. Whoops.
    • A lot of the time in the global version, not only is the first objective "Defeat all enemies in 1 turn," but the others are "Defeat (powerful enemy) within 1 turn" and "Collect # or more lux," meaning that both of the latter are satisfied by achieving the former. So if you're hoping to achieve them all, the first is the only one you really need to pay attention to.
    • Occasionally, these objectives are mutually exclusive in that you have to replay the quest at least once to complete them all. For example, any that has a "complete within X seconds objective," as this is generally only possible by going straight for the target enemy, which obviously nullifies the "Defeat all enemies in one turn" objective. Additionally, the objectives are sometimes "use x or more special attacks" or "use x or fewer special attacks," however, it sometimes possible for the objectives within the same quest to be, for example, "use 5 or more special attacks" and "use 1 or fewer special attacks," again making it outright mathematically impossible to complete both objectives in the same go and thus again forcing at least one additional play. For that matter, the "use x or less special attacks" can be this in general, since you're probably not going to get all one-turn triumphs while going for this as well, and it can be difficult to even survive, since you'll have to take enemy attacks without boosting your defense.
    • Many event missions beginning in mid-late 2018 carry the criterion "Must clear all together." In other words, it doesn't matter that you were able to complete without having to continue, or completed the task within the time limit, or avoided taking damage. If you weren't able to do all three at the same time, then you don't earn the rewards for any of them.
  • Memetic Badass: Kairi, on account of being the subject of some of the game's most game-breaking medals, with many fans speculating as to just how powerful her next medal will be. And then came Kairi EX, which was so far Up to Eleven in terms of game-breaking, that speculation was no longer necessary. It had arrived. It should be noted that this all happened after growing internet criticism of how Kairi has been handled in the main series over the past few years, so one wonders if this might be part of an Author's Saving Throw to give her relevance even in a game that doesn't feature her as a character in the plot.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Due to how long the search for Abu in the Agrabah storyline drags on (which didn't even end in the browser game until the game was nearly over), there is a joke theory among players that Abu will be revealed to be the true mastermind behind the events of the game.
    • Sephiroth. The announcement of the release of the Sephiroth medal for NA set multiple forums ablaze.
    • It is common to play around with medal placement. For example, it can be used to show Sephiroth stabbing Aerith just like in Final Fantasy VII.
    • Pence, who is one of the weakest medals in the game, has somehow been elevated by the fanbase to be jokingly referred to as the most valuable and powerful medal in the game, and sometimes the most powerful character in the series, usually called Lord Pence.
    • Practically anything said by the Master of Masters, but in particular his casual "Nah, not possible" when asked about the possibility of averting the Keyblade War has caught on with the fanbase.
    • After his name was localized as Brain instead of the fan translation of Blaine, and the scene in which he and Lauriam stay in the laboratory to prepare for the next phase of the formation of the new Unions, many people started comparing them to Pinky and the Brain.
    • A Twitter meme started by YouTuber HLG Brawler in which he retweets a banner announcement from the Kingdom Hearts χ SENA account, asking for medal banner centered around copy medals with the Kingdom Hearts II Naminé medal at the forefront. His dream seemingly ended up being crushed when Kingdom Hearts II Naminé arrived without the other copy medals... then followed up a week later when SENA announced that that the new permanent banners were centered around copy medals (it is unclear if this was indeed a direct response to the request or if he managed to predict it).
    • There are some who compare Master of the Masters with Deadpool due to their similar trollish nature.
  • Moe: Even before her introduction, Strelitzia was called cute by Nomura. Cue her introduction, and everyone agreed with him, with several fanart being made for her within hours due to how adorable she is. And then she dies soon afterward. Nomura, you bastard.
    • The new Spirit Dream Eaters distributed by the Pet system that came with the September 2017 update.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story and Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game:
    • Many players tend to ignore the story, which is particularly easy when the story is very sparsely paced out over hundreds upon hundreds of missions, almost coming off as an Excuse Plot.
    • On the other hand, Kingdom Hearts series fans who are turned off by the mobage mechanics may sign on just for the story surrounding the Foretellers and the Keyblade wielders, especially after Back Cover and the introduction of Ventus revealed that the story was much more connected to the rest of the series than it seemed. However, due to the sheer number of quests required to catch up, most of them in Disney worlds that contribute nothing to the overall plot, and (for global players) the fact that the global version lags behind the Japanese, these players are highly likely to drop the game and just watch recap videos to get caught up, then keep up with translations of the Japanese updates.
  • Seasonal Rot: A rare video game example - Union χ[cross] has outright been described as the "second season" of Unchained χ by Word of God, and it's common to see many fans who previously enjoyed X and Unchained χ getting frustrated by it due to the series' confusing narrative tradition returning, particularly with the introductions of Ventus and Lauriam, Marluxia's real self.
  • Ship Tease: A fair bit between Ava and Gula in Back Cover, specifically when Ava is taking care of Gula after he was injured fighting Aced and not telling Ira where he is. Gula also holds Ava's hands while he's asking her to form an alliance.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Out of all the Disney worlds in the game, Agrabah has the most missions. Many of the world's missions were about looking for Abu or helping the royal guards before it went on to follow the main story of Aladdin.
  • That One Boss: The boss of mission 425, Foreteller Ava, is considered by many to be effectively a pay wall. In addition to a massive amount of health, the boss is immune to status effects and alternates between huge attack and defense buffs.
    • This also extends to the boss of mission 555, the foreteller of the player's union or Foreteller Ira for Vulpes players. This boss starts off with a massive defense boost which can make dealing damage nigh impossible without some sort of dispel or defense debuff in tow. On top of this is also a massive pool of health extending up to 48 bars of HP. They switch up buffs on the second turn to an immense attack buff that can and will defeat you instantly. And the objectives want you to defeat said boss in only two turns. Strong speed medals with their special attack bonus, or guilt, unlocked are almost mandatory to achieve these objectives.
    • The Darkside Union Cross quest. The Darkside has a lot of HP (to the tune of twenty million, where other Union Cross bosses peak at less than four million) and its attacks are capable of one-shotting even the strongest of players. It gets even worse if you're matched up with weaker teammates who don't deal a lot of damage and constantly need to be revived, which takes up one of your attacks for each counter they have. It's far harder than any other Union Cross boss, but its rewards aren't adjusted at all to compensate. Thankfully, it has since been severely nerfed to the point where it is on par with the other bosses.
    • The previously mentioned Iron Giant added to Proud 160.
    • Lexaeus from the May 2018 Organization XIII event becomes this in the later challenges, namely because he straight up cheats. In addition to the standard counter above his head before he gets a free attack outside of turn order, he can just interrupt your turn to attack you whenever his HP is depleted past 30% and again at 10%. At least with the countdown system it is possible to manage an enemy counterattack and there are medals that don’t affect the counter or even increase it. With this however, if the player can't deal just enough damage to make these counters overlap with his normal attacks, Lexaeus will stop you dead in your tracks with an attack that will almost certainly kill you in one hit. It is just plain unfair that even if you know for a fact you would be able to defeat him if you had the maximum three full turns note , the game simply does not allow you to do that. This basically breaks the entire turn-based system the game was built on and is Fake Difficulty at its finest.
    • If you thought Maleficent's dragon form was tough in other games, think again! Here she's spiked up to level 1000 with an HP bar to match, her attacks are easily one-hit kills, she automatically attacks after a certain number of hits, and her defense is so ludicrously high that without the trait that reduces Ground Defense, even the game's biggest Game Breakers will do nothing but Scratch Damage.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Powering up the Moogle O' Glory in the mobile version. The only quests with the materials necessary to upgrade it are hallways with forced encounters against viciously tough enemies, and were originally only available to play on weekends (unless you purchase the VIP quest package).
    • The 101 Dalmatians medal, obtainable by fusing together Puppy medals. In the JP version, the Puppy medals are found individually, hidden as random drops from various quests, including bosses and Raid Bosses, and each of them takes up their own space in inventory. And guess how many Puppy medals you need?note  In the global version, the Puppy medals instead came from a Union Cross event, which only lasted a week, and required players to grind a very limited set of quests to get the puppies, which drop almost completely randomly. It wasn't uncommon to be stuck with 10 or 20 copies of a single puppy while not getting even one copy of another
    • The "Classic Kingdom" Retraux games are meant to invoke the style of old CRT game-and-watch games. While none of the games by themselves are particularly hard, a player needs to get very high scores on all five games to get a code for the Starlight keyblade in Kingdom Hearts III. Some of the requirements are so high that it could take hours just to reach one of these scores, resulting in ten-plus hours of grinding through the old-school games to hit the point requirements needed to unlock the code. Even though a player is rewarded an increasing number of Jewels for clearing the games, it's a grind all the same. To wit: an update in January 2019 cut the requirements for each game in half, and they're still absurdly high.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Some fans are disappointed that the confrontation between Ava and Luxu that kickstarts the Keyblade War isn't included in Back Cover.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • When the update that enabled medals to evolve to 7 star rarity was released, a lot of older medals saw new life due to lower tier medals being easier to evolve to that rarity. Medals that have special attacks that do damage without an attribute, however, saw no such luck. Most players now are easily able to max out attribute-based buffs and debuffs, and medals that deal damage without attributes do not benefit from any of those, dealing pitiful damage even compared to attacking with an attribute resisted by the target.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Few fans expected Ventus to be involved in the Keyblade War; even fewer could have predicted that Marluxia had ties to the Keyblade War as Lauriam.
      • And now we can add Larxene as Elrena to that list.
    • Tsum Tsum medals, a crossover between two Disney crossover-centric franchises.
    • World of Final Fantasy medals, as it is a set containing Final Fantasy characters that have yet to appear in the Kingdom Hearts franchise (that is Lightning, as well as Reynn, Lann, and Tama).
    • Zootopia and Moana medals, released to tie in with their movie releases.
    • The Jungle Book medals, likewise released to tie in with The Jungle Book (2016), but featuring the characters from the original animated movie.
    • A male Avatar Board based off of Terrence from Disney Fairies as a counterpart to the female Avatar Board based off of Tinker Bell.
    • The SENA Kingdom Hearts χ Twitter account announcing the arrival of medals based on Launchpad, Webby, Scrooge, and the tripletsnote  in their Ducktales (2017) incarnations. Doubly so, as these are the first medals the global version got before the Japanese version that weren’t part of a movie tie-in.
    • An example of a world getting this treatment, after several worlds in previous games getting reused, Quest 875 introduces a brand new world: Game Central Station!
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Back Cover looks incredible in Kingdom Hearts 2.8, as seen in this trailer.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The explanation involving how Maleficent learned of the Black Box and returned in Kingdom Hearts II. It's so downright absurd in both concept and execution that many were wondering if Tetsuya Nomura really was smoking something when it was written in.
  • The Woobie: Strelitzia. Her introduction is all about how she's seen the player on missions, always wanting to talk to them, but never working up the courage to do so. Then she's killed five missions later, her last thoughts being of you, the Keyblade wielder she never really got to meet.

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