|Date(s):||first released in 2002|
|Country of Origin:|
|External Links:||Official Square Enix site/JP, Official Square Enix site/EN|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Kingdom Hearts is a video game series developed by Square Enix and Disney set in a giant crossover between various Disney movies and several Final Fantasy games. The first game follows Sora as he fights evil while travels among the worlds looking for his friends Riku and Kairi, accompanied by Donald Duck and Goofy.
The Kingdom Hearts franchise consists of the following titles:
- Kingdom Hearts I
- Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
- Kingdom Hearts II
- Kingdom Hearts Coded
- Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
- Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
- Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
- Kingdom Hearts III
- Destiny Island Residents: Sora, Riku and Kairi.
- Organization XIII: Xemnas, Xigbar, Xaldin, Vexen, Lexaeus, Zexion, Saïx, Axel, Demyx, Luxord, Marluxia, Larxene, Roxas, Xion and Naminé.
- Twilight Town Residents: Hayner, Pence, Olette
- Keyblade Masters: Eraqus, Master Xehanort
- Keyblade Apprentices: Terra, Aqua and Ventus.
- The Foretellers: Ira, Aced, Invi, Gula, Ava, Luxu, and The Master of Masters.
- Daybreak Town Residents: Ephemer, Skuld, Brain, and Strelitzia.
- Scala ad Caelum Residents: Bragi, Hermod, Vor, Urd, and Baldur.
- Others: Ansem the Wise, Vanitas, and Yozora.
The games have an extensive cast. A lot of the fanworks focus on the original characters, or the Final Fantasy crossover characters that had large pre-existing fanbases. Due to Kingdom Hearts story taking place over multiple games, many of which were on different hand-held consoles, theory and timeline explanation videos have become common on youtube.
As the series has developed, some fans have noted the fandom fracturing somewhat as opinion on the games direction and characters differ.
From Kingdom Hearts II onward (if not even before that), it's become increasingly harder and harder to satisfy the entire fanbase. The biggest is one is probably the overarching plot of the series. Supporters say that it's an awesome and exciting Jigsaw Puzzle Plot, and that if you play all the games in the series and just pay attention to what it's explained, you can follow it just fine for a great ride, filled with awe and mystery. The fact that you need to think about it to understand it completely makes it more satisfying. According to them, the only real reason why it may be hard to explain, specially to newcomers, is that the series is now a Video Game Long Runner, so there's a lot of information to take in. Detractors, on the other hand, claim it's nothing but a confusing and nonsensical Kudzu Plot, for which it doesn't matter how much information you are given, it makes less and less sense as it progresses. And even if it does make sense, it shouldn't be necessary to play other games launched in a different console family that you are likely not to have just to understand what's going on in a later entry (the HD releases alleviate this last part, though).
Even outside of the issue of whether it's difficult to follow or not, the plot and writing is often debated on its other merits. Some feel that it is often too corny to be taken seriously, not helped by stilted dialogue from the non-Disney characters and the series being even more unapologetic about running on cheesy concepts than the average JRPG, such as The Power of Friendship, hearts, light and darkness, etc. Others find these same aspects to be Narm Charm instead and wouldn't have it any other way.
[...] There is a perception among some people that the Disney elements of the franchise have become less and less important over time in favor of the original elements of the series, leading the events in a number of Disney worlds feeling like filler. Some really enjoy the original characters and plot and don't mind this shift, others either don't like it as much and/or simply wish the Disney characters besides Donald, Goofy, Mickey and Yen Sid were integrated better into the series' narrative. Some people say the series as a whole has always had this problem.
Kingdom Hearts has a large amount of shipping within its fandom which is only bolstered by it's crossover with Disney and Final Fantasy. When the game was first released common pairings included Sora/Riku, Sora/Kairi, Riku/Kairi and occasionally Sora/Riku/Kairi. Once the characters of Organization XIII were introduced in Chain of Memories there was a general rise in slash/yaoi pairings as 12 out of the 14 members are men. From this, Axel/Roxas went on to be one of the largest ships in the fandom.
In zettaLOL's 2010 post The Most Popular KH Pairing According to Fanfiction Is..., they showed data collected from Fanfiction.net on which pairings and characters were most written for. There were 7 slash and 5 het ships to be in the overall top 12.
The top twelve most popular pairings:
12. SoNami- Sora & Namine (173) 11. AkuRiku- Riku & Axel (189) 10. XemSai- Xemnas & Saix (202) 9. Kaiku- Kairi & Riku (225) 8. Namiku- Namine & Riku (283) 7. AkuDemu- Demyx & Axel (369) 6. RokuSora- Roxas & Sora (516) 5. RokuNami- Roxas & Namine (1,106) 4. Zemyx- Zexion & Demyx (1,139) 3. SoKai- Sora & Kairi (2,030) 2. SoRiku- Sora & Riku (3, 652) 1. AkuRoku- Axel & Roxas (4,617)
As of 2021, the only canon ships in Kingdom Hearts are those that originate from other Disney media. Word of God has yet to confirm any pairings involving characters that originate from Kingdom Hearts, and nothing definitive has been said within the actual games. However, the idea that Sora/Kairi is the intended endgame pairing for the series is a popular fanon among fans of the series, even among those who do not ship the pairing, to the point where many assume it is already canon. This has led to considerable discourse in the fandom as fans of other ships involving Sora (especially fans of Sora/Riku) have received flames and other negative comments on various platforms for not accepting this viewpoint.
See List of Kingdom Hearts Fan Holidays for full list
Since Organization XIII members have assigned numbers, holidays are usually decided with these numbers taken into consideration. A list of holidays (mainly shipping dates) was compiled by raberbagirl on deviantart. Other holidays have included Kingdom Hearts' 10th year anniversary and the years 2014 and 2015 being considered the years of Xion and Sora respectively.
Following the trend of Disney treating the date of a character's first appearance as their birthday, series creator Tetsuya Nomura stated that the anniversary of the original game's Japanese release on March 28 was Sora's birthday.
- Those Lacking Spines by Gexegee of Organization VI
- Kingdom Hearts: The Antipode by Dorked
- (i don't need you to) Worry for Me by Cygna_hime
- Remember the Tides by Regiss
- Why The Sun Sets Red by Perosha
- Quite a Glittering Assemblage by GAvillain
- Take a Heart, Leave a Heart by PhantasmagoriaKnight
- ❤️💟 bymomo_krys, 2017
- The Necklace Theory (January 2018)
- Master Post of the Necklace Theory's additional parts (latest update November 2020)
- Sleeping Realm Theory (February 2019)
- Soriku Ultimania, an ongoing collaborative meta project (started October 2019).