|Occupation:||Schoolgirl, Keyblade Wielder|
|Title/Rank:||Princess of Heart, one of the New Seven Hearts|
|Location:||Destiny Islands (KHI)|
|Relationships:|| Sora (friend/love interest)|
Tidus, Wakka, Selphie (friends)
Axel/Lea (kidnapper turned friend)
King Mickey, Donald, Goofy (acquaintance)
Leon, Yuffie, Cid, Aerith (acquaintances)
Hayner, Pence, Olette (friends)
|Other:|| Voiced by Uchida Risa (Japanese)|
Hayden Panettiere (English: KH, KHII, KH:BBS)
Ariel Winter (English: child)
Alyson Stoner (English: all other appearances)
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Kairi is the childhood friend of Sora and Riku. She came to Destiny Islands when she was five years old, nine years before the events of Kingdom Hearts (2002). After the Islands are swallowed by darkness, Sora journeys across the worlds to find Kairi and Riku.
After the events of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (2004), Kairi has lost her memories of Sora. In II (2005), she regains her memories, obtains a Keyblade of her own, and reunites with her friends.
Between the events of II and 3D: Dream Drop Distance (2012), Sora and Riku must once again set out on a quest. Kairi promises to wait for them on the Island.
In Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- (2017), Kairi begins training with Lea as Keyblade wielders. She continues training into III (2019), and joins her fellow Keyblade wielders in their fateful fight.
Kairi made her debut as a playable character in Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind (2020), a DLC expansion of Kingdom Hearts III (2019), nearly 18 years after her first appearance.
She is a central character in Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory (2020).
Where Kairi is concerned, the Kingdom Hearts fandom is often divided. Many fans have been frustrated with Kairi due to her distinct lack of agency, development, and fighting skills within the story, often favoring more action-oriented female characters such as Larxene, Aqua, many of the characters from Disney or Final Fantasy universes, or even Naminé, who is supposed to be a 'shadow' of Kairi.
Fans have directed criticism toward the developers of the series, namely creator and director Nomura Tetsuya, for not placing Kairi in an active role in her male friends' adventures, despite her supposed importance to the plot as a Keyblade wielder and Princess of Heart. Thus, Kairi has been the subject of character bashing. However, in the fourteen years between Kingdom Hearts II (2005) and III (2019), many expressed desire for her to finally become a playable character.
Fan works have depicted Kairi in a more active role as a Keyblade wielder since the very beginnings of the community, even before the release of II.
According to a 2017 Famitsu Weekly feature covering Kingdom Hearts' fifteenth anniversary, Kairi ranked third in a popularity poll of ten female characters, with 182 votes.
Fans refer to Sora, Riku, and Kairi collectively as the "Destiny Trio," "Destiny Islands Trio", or "Paopu Trio".
Often considered the "main" female character of the series, Kairi is naturally popular in het and femslash shipping within the Kingdom Hearts fandom.
In the 2010 post The Most Popular KH Pairing According to FanFiction Is..., zettaLOL reported that Kairi was the fifth most popular Kingdom Hearts character to be shipped on FanFiction.Net. Out of the top twelve most popular pairings, SoKai (Sora/Kairi - 2,030 stories) and Kaiku (Kairi/Riku - 225 stories) ranked third and ninth, respectively.
In a sample of 565 Kingdom Hearts stories published between October 2013 and 11 October 2019, Kairi was overwhelmingly listed as paired with Sora (85%), distantly followed by Riku (3%), Naminé (2%), Roxas (2%), Zexion (2%), and Vanitas (2%), via FanFiction.Net's pairing feature
- Kairi from Kingdom Hearts by johnjoseco (14 March 2003)
- Kingdom Hearts AU character by The-Z (21 July 2004) - genderbent Kairi, "Kai"
- Smiling Kairi by BlackBunny8 (5 August 2004)
- カイリ (Kairi) by かいぽ (11 March 2009)
- 【イラリク】アクアの鎧なカイリ (Aqua armor Kairi) by けりゅ (4 April 2010)
- kairi by singt0me (3 August 2014)
- in the mirror by しょーん (3 April 2020)
- Got some free time, so here’s my take on Antiform Kairi by venacoeurva (6 July 2020)
- "Kairi's Grand Adventure: An Analysis of Kairi's Character Arc" by The_Violet_Howler
Archives & Sites
- Kairi works at AO3
- Kingdom Hearts stories and crossovers featuring Kairi at FFN
- カイリ (Kairi) tag on Pixiv
- Destino, Archived version by Rems
- Heart, Archived version by Medli
- The Seventh (last updated September 2003) by Sarah
- johnjoseco. Kairi from Kingdom Hearts posted to DeviantArt on 14 March 2003. (Accessed September 2020.)
- Cecily. KINGDOM HEARTS 15th Anniversary Feature in Famitsu published to KH Insider on 5 April 2017. (Accessed September 2020.)
- phantomstatistician. Kairi's FanFiction Shipping Chart 2013*-Present posted to Tumblr on 11 October 2019. (Accessed September 2020.)