This is coming from someone who has played every game in the series, excluding re:Coded. (I know the basic story of it though). There will be spoilers for all the games in this, so if you do not want to be spoiled for Any of the games, please move along.
You want been warned, that is all.
:: It's Starts Here::
So with Dream Drop Distance being released recently in America, and having just beaten it, I am all inspired and in a huge Kingdom Hearts kick, again.
I say this, because this game marks Kingdom Hearts's 10th year anniversary, and I just feel like I need to pay tribute to such a great series.
Firstly, I am proud to say that I have been apart of this series since it's beginning. I was in eight grade when it all stated and I started to see the old commercials that would come onto TV, and I would always talk about how stupid I thought it looked, but in my heart I wanted to play it so bad - but I wouldn't voice it because I was in my "Disney is not cool." phase.
Well Christmas of that year rolled around and I found out some of my friends had gotten it for Christmas and after watching the beginning of it, I was dying to play it. I didn't have a PlayStation 2 of my own, because my parents were always against me playing a lot video games and were the "go outside and play kind of parents" so I would play it every now and then when I would go over to a friend's house.
This was the first time I had played a game and it left me wanting.
What I mean by this, is I would go home and play something else, and it literally left me with the mindset of "It's not Kingdom Hearts, it's not the same." and I didn't want to play anything else, all I wanted was Kingdom Hearts. Well after sometime, one of my friends finally let me borrow his PS2 and the game so I could finally beat it for myself. I didn't sleep. I might as well have breathed the game, because that was pretty much all I did.
After much begging and pleading I convinced my parents to buy me a PS2 and by this time it was one of the slim baby ones, if that tells you how long it took me to get them to cave, and what was the first game I bought for it? Kingdom Hearts, of course.
This is one of the only games I have played through over and over and over and over again, and I when I say that, I don't just mean one of them. I mean all of them.
Not just that, seeing as I have been there since day 1, I have been among the fans who have to painfully await the next installment to this series.
Every single Year. Every Month, every day, every minute has been worth it.
Never once have I felt let down by this series.
But enough about how it came into my life, let's talk about what it's done to it.
How it's changed me.
One minor note before I begin:
I don't do these emotional fan rants very often, because I am very shy, and most of the time embarrassed by just how much I get involved with things. So I just want to clarify something. I don't have a lot of things in my life that I find true enjoyment in. I don't have many things I really call myself a true fan of, but when it comes to the things I actually say that I love, I invest an extremely large part of myself into them. Kingdom Hearts is one of those few things.
As I stated already, this year marks Kingdom Heart's 10th year Anniversary, and in those 10 years, Kingdom Hearts has given us a total of Eleven games if you count the "Final Mix" versions of KH1, KH2 and KH : BBS that will never be released outside of Japan.
Of all these games, we've been given characters that everyone can relate to. We've been given characters that somehow everyone can find something they love about them. I love everyone for all their quirks, differences, and little personality flaws. It makes them feel like people. The fact that Square struck a deal with Disney only makes it more captivating for me, for two reasons.
1. I'm an animation major, so I grew up all sparkly eyed over anything and everything animated in the first place.
2. I grew up with those characters. Because of the previous reason listed, I almost breathed Disney as a child, so bringing Disney into it makes it feel so much more friendly and at home to me.
But seriously, the Kingdom Hearts original characters? Wow, just wow. There was so much thought, so many little details put into not only their physical designs, but their personalities and emotions. They've been with me so long, that I almost feel like they are family to me now.
I grew up with these characters. Sure fourteen isn't the youngest of ages, but I'm Twenty-Four now and I'm still juvenilely excited over a video game? That love, that love and passion I have for this series I don't think is ever going to go away. I get so eager to know more and more about these characters, that I get sad and I miss them once I beat a game. Kingdom Hearts is also so very capable of introducing new characters to us and I find myself welcoming them like lost family members without a second thought about it.
This story started as that of a young boy looking for his friends, gifted with the powers of the magical "Keyblade", and it has evolved into so much more than that. It's a story of the heart now. A heart's journey, and being able to find your own path in life, your own light.
I cannot put into words how much these characters, these worlds, the events, how much this story means to me. It's changed me. It's helped me. It's taught me so many things in life, and I admit that I use a lot of the "philosophy" that Kingdom Hearts throws out there in my everyday life.
Is it sad that a video game had helped me to put so much trust in my friends? Call me Naive if you want, but I know that even after everything we have gone through, all the wrongs, all the fights, after everything the people that love me will always be there no matter what, and it's my job as a friend to always do the same for them. Always.
I'm not going to take claim to being a perfect person, because by no means am I, but it's because of a story like this, that I relate to the struggles of these characters. Things like a person as cheerful as Sora can still fall to darkness. A person who is pure of light like Ventus, will have troubles problems just like everyone else, but with friends behind you, people who love you in your life - you can always be strong, even in the darkest of times.
There was something that Sora said in KH: 3D that hit my heart hard.
"Even if it didn't chose me, even if I am just a small part of something bigger, I'm proud to be a part of that - I'm proud to be a part of the people it did chose."
(in reference to the keyblade)
Do you all realize you're a part of this? You're all a part of a fan base that loves the same thing? That something so simple as a story connects all of our hearts together? All under one sky.
This series always makes me so sentimental and emotional.
And it nails me even more to see the amazing things people create out of their love of this series. All the people I meet because of this series are amazing people. I've met other roleplayers, (I currently run a Ventus blog, and everyone is amazing) I've met artists, cosplayers, writers, people who make music videos. You all are so talented, and creatively amazing people. The amount of love that is expressed in this fan base never fails to leave me speechless.
Just as speechless as every game does.
As an artist, the series never fails to impress me visually. Every single one of the openings to the game is beyond impressive.
Everything from the artist style, to the softness of the renderings, to the symbolism, to the use of color. Everything is just beyond impressive. Not just that though, that level of quality is always kept up throughout the game, no matter the platform, and even more so with the story telling. Kingdom Hearts loves to throw twists and turns in, making every game important. Everything connected.
The last few games have introduced so many different names and faces, and yet we all accepted them without question. The story blended them all in so flawlessly it's hard to think about what the story would be like if they weren't involved, even if their part is small like Wakka, Tidus and Selphie way back in the original game.
I mean Kingdom Hearts II didn't even start the story with main character. No. They dropped Roxas in our laps, and let us play out six days with him, and then didn't bring him back in until the end of the game. Just stop and look at how many people honestly can say they love Roxas. How many fans he got with such a small appearance in a game. It wasn't until 358/2 Days that Roxas got his own game, and it was because he had such a huge fan base that the game was so accepted into the story so easily.
And there comes up the topic of Xion. Even someone who isn't even supposed to be a real person is accepted and loved. We're handed the story of a girl that is actually a compilation of memories and made to look in the image of another character, and she feels like family just like everyone else. She is on the list of "part of Sora's heart" now, and admit it or not, everyone can relate to that lovable brunette and his ever loving heart.
Then a little while later they give us a story that doesn't even focus on the original trio of the game. They hand us Terra, Aqua and Ventus. These are characters that have exploded with popularity and been welcomed into our hearts like they were the lost family members that everyone was looking for. The world of Birth By Sleep alone, is simply amazing. - I personality consider Ventus my favorite character.
But I mean, just look at the story telling this game does in a few minutes - by that I mean simply the opening. No words, just a song - and most of the time the same one- and in a few minutes the opening is capable of handing us almost the entire story, without the viewer even knowing it.
And then two years later, here comes Dream Drop Distance, and it is the first time we have truly advanced the plot in six years
and what was it? Amazing - absolutely amazing. Even with all the waiting, and the "mini games" that were released prior, that game introduced even more new plot twists, and little quirks to the battle system, that reformed the player's way of thinking and handling the system in new and exciting ways.
Every game, it bring something new to the table, and again and again, game after game Kingdom Hearts never fails to out-do it's self. Kingdom Hearts 2 brought in reaction commands, Birth by Sleep re-worked the "hand-held" system with the command deck, and made have a single person party acceptable with command styles, and then Dream Drop Distance comes in with Flow Motion. What genius thing will they come up with for the next game? I'm seriously excited to find out.
Kingdom Hearts never fails to blow my mind, and I am not only proud of say that I will eagerly be awaiting the next game, but I am proud to be apart of it's fan base. I don't have many things I can say that about.
" One Sky, One Destiny. "
Listening to: Lights - Ellie Gouling
Reading: nothing at the moment
Watching: No 6./ Star Driver
Playing: Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance
Drinking: Mountain Dew