It’s The 21st Anniversary of Kingdom Hearts!

Hey guys! In case you didn’t know, twenty-one years ago today the first installment in my favorite video game series, Kingdom Hearts, released in Japan (it didn’t release in the West until September 17th, 2002). Pretty crazy, right? I obviously wanted to do something to celebrate, even though it won’t be on as grand a scale as last year. This time around, I’m going to be giving us all a little (or maybe a lot) of nostalgia. I went back and forth with different ideas, but I really wanted to capture the kind of things that have been on my mind lately. I’ve been reflecting about my childhood and teenage years recently since a lot of things have been changing in my life, and I feel that I’m transitioning into a new stage of life. I’m starting to cherish my memories a lot more, and a lot of those memories have to do with video games I played growing up, especially Kingdom Hearts. I have seen a lot of people share the impact something as simple as a video game made on their lives. A lot of us grew up with Sora! So for this post, I wanted to go through the different stages of Sora, because in a way, we went through those stages with him!

The Early Years

This is going to be a little out of order since we see Sora as a four year old in one game, but in the first game he’s actually fourteen. So bear with me while I go through the first game, well, first!

Sora in Kingdom Hearts (Property of Square Enix)

Sora was pretty young here and was just starting out on his journey to save the worlds from darkness. Everything seemed so much smaller and simpler then, didn’t it? Sora didn’t understand much of what was going on then, but he did his best and eventually was able to close the Door to Darkness. Of course, that didn’t fix everything. But for that moment, all he wanted to do was find Riku, who had been trapped in the Realm of Darkness.

At this point in time, Sora is his usual goofy self, but he’s still got a lot of maturing to do, right? He’s a little more colorful in this game design-wise, and looks very much like a child despite the fact that he’s bringing down so much Heartless. This is the first Sora many of us ever saw. Who knew he’d grow up to be just as dorky as he was in this game? I think the biggest things in this game was how determined he was to save Destiny Islands and his friends. He didn’t yet realize the magnitude of what was going on around him. His biggest priority was Kairi. He didn’t know why the Keyblade chose him, but he still went through with his mission. I think we see a lot of him maturing in this game, because this is his first encounter with this amount of hardship. Still, he has the positivity that I feel has worn away in later games (and certainly less trauma).

Pride and Fall

We get a very different Sora in Kingdom Hearts II.

Sora in Kingdom Hearts II (Property of Square Enix)

A year has past since the first game, so he is now fifteen. As the game progresses we see how prideful Sora has become. I feel he tried to isolate himself from his friends a little in this one, and he sometimes expressed that he could handle his journey on his own. He seems to have always had a bit of a hot temper, but it was more apparent in this game (Sora is categorized as an ENFP in the Myer’s Briggs personality types, which is the same personality as me…I can attest to the hot temper we seem to be born with, haha!). He’s boastful and blows up his reputation, which makes him arrogant most of the time. Not to mention that at this point, he was dealing with a bit of an identity crises, so that definitely didn’t help his behavior!

However, at the end of the game, Sora can’t beat Xemnas without Riku. I think he learned a lot from the events in this game, because it kind of showed him how much he couldn’t do without his friends, even though this was a subtle process. And what I mean by subtle is that he wasn’t really like this the entire time. Over all, he is still determined to find his friend, and now he’s beginning to find out just how much bigger his purpose is.

Mark of Mastery

In Dream Drop Distance, Sora is ready for the Mark of Mastery exam! If he passes, he gets the title of Keyblade Master. Riku is taking it with him, and it seems pretty obvious at first who is going to pass and who isn’t. After all, Riku has struggled for a long time with darkness, and that can cause you to fail the exam pretty easily, as we saw in Birth by Sleep when Terra and Aqua took the exam. However, in a unforeseen turn of events, it’s Sora who falls into darkness during the exam. He became so occupied with wanting to help Riku that he was easily used by Organization 13, and he almost paid a hefty price for it. In the end, Sora fails the exam, and Riku, who saved Sora from the darkness, passed and received the title of Keyblade Master.

Sora in Dream Drop Distance (Property of Square Enix)

Although Sora has a good heart and he wants to help people, he can become so obsessed with his mission that he tends to destroy himself. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean that Sora can never be a Keyblade Master, and I think this game opened up some intriguing story possibilities. Sora’s getting older now and he’ll have new things to deal with, including his own darkness. In regards to his failure, he takes in in stride. He’s incredibly happy for Riku and he doesn’t let this set back get in his way.

Moving Forward

In Kingdom Hearts III, Sora is now sixteen. He’s come a long way, but now we find he’s starting to feel a little frustrated. The events of Dream Drop Distance were a little more debilitating that simply failing an exam. It took a toll on his power, and he needs to get them back, especially the Power of Waking so he can rescue the rest of the Guardians of Light. But unfortunately, this is slow going. Sora isn’t a patient, either. He’s definitely matured a lot, though he’s still his quirky self. If anything, he seems quirkier than usual!

Sora in Kingdom Hearts III (Property of Square Enix)

However, it is in this game that we catch him at his lowest points. In the final battle Sora watches his friends die. In a contrast to his independency in Kingdom Hearts II, he feels he’s powerless without his friends. The first time, time resets and he gets a second chance, but he simply can’t save everyone no matter how hard he tries. He becomes enraged when he watched Xehanort kill Kairi and nearly gives up on the fight, but his friends are there to pull him through. They stop Xehanort and we find out just how far Sora will go to protect his friends. Kairi is not entirely dead, but in order to bring her back, there must be a life taken in exchange. Sora doesn’t hesitate and sacrifices himself for her. The last we see of Sora, he’s trapped in Quadratum with Yozora, who he fights in the ReMind DLC.

What Will Future Sora Be Like?

Kingdom Hearts IV will take place a year after Kingdom Hearts III if it comes directly after the ReMind DLC. We’ve seen Sora’s new KH4 design and he’s looking so much older!

Sora in Kingdom Hearts IV (Property of Square Enix)

We don’t know all the details about Quadratum, but it seems to be some sort of afterlife. We’ll have to find out more later! But as for Sora, what will happen to him next? What has a year in Quadratum changed him? I hope we’ll find out soon…

I realized halfway through writing this that this is like another version of my Character Development posts, haha! What are your thoughts on it? Are you a Kingdom Hearts fan? Let me know in the comments below!

And as always, God bless y’all and have a wonderful week!

Happy Birthday Kingdom Hearts! 🥳

Shout out to Kay Adelin! She has some cool stuff so check her out!

Sora in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (Property of Square Enix)

All media property of Square Enix.


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