Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Ball, and the Super Saiyan Effect
I’ve been replaying Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 recently and while the games hold up incredibly well and it’s a blast revisiting these worlds again, I keep being reminded about how nonsensical and strange the story is. I’m sure if you’re at all familiar with the Kingdom Hearts series, you already knew that, I mean, it’s one of the most-discussed topics about the game aside from shipping Sora and Riku together. Since the topic of the overall story has been talked about so much, I wanted to discuss something I personally noticed that I don’t think gets as much attention. Kingdom Hearts did to Sora what the Dragon Ball series did to Goku, and that’s destroying what made them special. Let’s talk about it.
In both the Dragon Ball series and Kingdom Hearts, we’re told that our protagonists, Sora and Goku, are special. In the case of Goku, it starts off with the reason being that he’s from another planet and ridiculously strong and then becomes that he reaches the level of super Saiyan, a legendary form that was thought to be a myth. Now when he first becomes a super Saiyan, it’s written as if this is it, this is the ultimate form and Goku is officially the strongest being in the universe and he reached this through his relentlessly strong will and the pain of seeing his childhood friend murdered in front of him.
In this moment, you think that this is something unique to Goku, and with Vegeta and Gohan being the only other living Saiyans in the series so far, it’s going to be a while before anyone else reaches this. Then Frieza’s defeated and the next arc starts off with a new character becoming a super Saiyan and killing Frieza like it’s nothing. Then Vegeta becomes a super Saiyan. Then Gohan becomes a super Saiyan. Then the mystique of being a super Saiyan goes out the window when Goten and kid Trunks, who are children and haven’t even been in any serious fights, reach super Saiyan and even super Saiyan 3 status like it’s nothing. At this point, the standard super Saiyan would get absolutely destroyed by any villain they face these days. Being a super Saiyan is no longer special, it’s just an expectation to even be viable in a fight now.
In the case of Sora, the first game tells us that he was chosen by the keyblade as a result of how strong his heart is. This holds up really well in the first game since you don’t meet anyone else that has one besides Riku, which is reasonable because he’s your rival. When 2 starts, you’re playing as another character named Roxas, who is apparently a part of Sora and also has a keyblade. You see what I’m getting at here? When you give this special weapon to too many people, you make this special weapon less special. Throughout the Kingdom Hearts series, more people are getting keyblades and it’s gotten a little out of hand.
The series is like:
“So, Sora the main protagonist has a keyblade.” Yes, he’s the chosen one and he’ll be the one to defeat the darkness.
“Riku, a secondary protagonist also has a keyblade.” I mean, yeah, he’s the main protagonist’s childhood friend and rival, so I guess it makes sense.
“Roxas, a guy you play as for a few hours in the second game has a keyblade.” Hm… Okay, I guess they kind of made it make a little sense as to why he has one.
“King Mickey has one too.” Wait, couldn’t he have done this himself then?
“So does Aqua.” Who is-
“And Ventus and Terra.” Wait-
“And Xehanort and Xion and-” No, no, there’s too many-
“And there was a keyblade war and-” A keyblade war?
There’s enough keyblade wielders that they were able to have a whole war?
Way too many people have keyblades for it to be considered special anymore. Sora is no longer the best fighter in the universe because there are so many other characters who already have keyblades and are already better with them than Sora, so why is he the protagonist? Hell, Tron’s weapon is a frisbee and no one else in the universe of Kingdom Hearts uses a frisbee besides him. Tron is more special and unique than Sora, our main protagonist. When you write your stories like this, you take away what makes your protagonist unique, which is incredibly damaging to your story.
Imagine what One Punch Man would be like if everyone could punch like Saitama. What would The Witcher be like if the witcher schools were public schools. It’s no wonder that Kingdom Hearts and Dragon Ball are praised for everything but their stories. It makes sense that both seem to be written as they go. Dragon Ball eventually made Goku special again by having him reach the level of ultra instinct, which looks awesome and has a super hype theme to it, but I fear that as it continues they might repeat their mistake. Even if they don’t, I don’t think anything will be as special as when Goku first became a super Saiyan.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is releasing at the end of January, and while I’m excited for it and will definitely be getting it, I know that it won’t be able to fix my issues with the story and what they’ve done to Sora because it’s far too late. He’ll never again be what I thought he was when I played the first game as a kid. Someone who wasn’t the strongest on his home island, but regardless of that, was chosen to be the hero who saved the universe from darkness.
For future Kingdom Hearts 3 coverage when it finally comes out, stay tuned to ForAllNerds.com!