Kairi

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Character
Name: Kairi
Occupation: Schoolgirl, Keyblade Wielder
Title/Rank: Princess of Heart, one of the New Seven Hearts
Location: Destiny Islands (KHI)
Status: Alive
Relationships: Sora (friend/love interest)
Riku (friend)
Naminé (Nobody)
Tidus, Wakka, Selphie (friends)
Axel/Lea (kidnapper turned friend)
King Mickey, Donald, Goofy (acquaintance)
unnamed Grandmother
Leon, Yuffie, Cid, Aerith (acquaintances)
Hayner, Pence, Olette (friends)
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts
Other: Voiced by Uchida Risa (Japanese)
Hayden Panettiere (English: KH, KHII, KH:BBS)
Ariel Winter (English: child)
Alyson Stoner (English: all other appearances)
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Kairi is a supporting character in the Disney/Square Enix video game franchise Kingdom Hearts and its related media.

Canon

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).

Fandom

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.[1]

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.[2]

Fans refer to Sora, Riku, and Kairi collectively as the "Destiny Trio," "Destiny Islands Trio", or "Paopu Trio".

Shipping

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[3]

Notable Ships

  • Sora/Kairi (SoKai)
  • Riku/Kairi (RiKai or Kaiku)
  • Sora/Riku/Kairi (SoRiKai)
  • Naminé/Kairi (NamiKai)
  • Roxas/Kairi (RokuKai)
  • Zexion/Kairi, Ienzo/Kairi
  • Larxene/Kairi
  • Axel/Kairi (AkuKai) and Axel & Kairi
  • Kairi/Olette (Kailette)
  • Aqua/Kairi
  • Vanitas/Kairi
  • Yuffie/Kairi

Fan Works

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Fan Fiction

Fan Art

Animation

Meta

Archives & Sites

Shrines

Resources

References

  1. ^ johnjoseco. Kairi from Kingdom Hearts posted to DeviantArt on 14 March 2003. (Accessed September 2020.)
  2. ^ Cecily. KINGDOM HEARTS 15th Anniversary Feature in Famitsu published to KH Insider on 5 April 2017. (Accessed September 2020.)
  3. ^ phantomstatistician. Kairi's FanFiction Shipping Chart 2013*-Present posted to Tumblr on 11 October 2019. (Accessed September 2020.)