I'm not sure that was better for our brains.
Reluctant as we are to see this game end, we decided it was time to head over to the one world that appears on the last little group of worlds thingie. We were super relieved to discover that that particular gummi map isn't completely inside a spaceship...but that's not important. The important thing is that we went to the Keyblade Graveyard.
So Sora and all his friends were there, ready to go on to the final battle. Xehanort comes to greet them and he and his minions take turns explaining that in order for them to bring about the ending that will create a new beginning, or whatever it is they're trying to do, they needed to plunge the Guardians of Light into despair, so have fun, we're about to crush your souls.
After fighting the biggest Heartless war yet (I'm not entirely convinced there were more Heartless than at the Hollow Bastion battle in KH2, but there were a whole heck of a lot of them anyway), we go on to see...just one person. And it's Terra! Huzzah! The Birth by Sleepers are united again!
...or are they!? Dun dun DUN! It's actually Xehanort taking over Terra's body! You know, like he did at the end of Birth by Sleep, and like has never actually been resolved. Fortunately, Aqua was perceptive enough to figure it out before he started whacking people with his Keyblade, but oh my goodness, this scene was so dramatic! First he dashes right past Aqua to get Ventus, then he heads for Kairi, but Axel dives in the way and gets knocked out instead, and then he went for Kairi again, but this time Sora is like oh heck no, and he shields Kairi in the super lovable way he always does, but of course now Terra Xehanort is coming right for both of them so Goofy jumps in the way! He has a shield, so his defense is actually pretty effective, and then Donald jumps in and starts doing a super massive scary magic spell...and Goofy's all, "No, don't do it!" but he does it anyway, which is great because it blasts Terra Xehanort away, but also the opposite of great because now it's used up all his energy and he collapses on the ground.
This is when Sora starts to freak out a little bit, which I think is a little out of character, frankly, because they still have half the team, and as Riku points out, their bodies haven't dissolved and we haven't seen any hearts flying away, so they're fine. ...At least for now.
That snaps Sora out of it sufficiently for him, Riku, and Aqua to say, okay, we should probably go fight that giant swarm of Heartless that's coming our way, and Mickey's like, "I don't know, they got us pretty good. Maybe we should retreat and regroup," and Riku's all, "I don't think that's an option," because now there's a giant swarm of Heartless coming from the other side. And we're like, "Hey, does this mean we can take the picture that's one of the Moogle's photo missions?" But we didn't have time to worry about that, because the Heartless swarms just swept through and picked up all of Sora's friends except for Riku.
And this is the part that really bugged me, because the whole time that was going on, Sora was just standing there stunned. And he was clearly stunned, so you could tell he was kind of out of it, but the Sora I know would have tried to chase the Heartless and get his friends back. Instead, he just stood there dumbfounded until everybody (but Riku) was gone, and then he screamed and gave a very emotional speech about how he couldn't go on anymore, because, as has been pointed out a billion times throughout the course of the series, Sora gets all his strength from his friends ("My friends are my power!"), but now they're all gone and he just can't fight anymore. And it was so sad and so emotional, and I would have loved it to bits if I didn't think the events leading up to it were so stupid. In the version in my head, instead of being like, "We should retreat," "I don't think that's an option," "Okay, instead, we'll just stand here doing nothing while the Heartless take us all away," the Heartless would have come and taken the unconscious people, Sora would have run forward to try to rescue them, and the Heartless would have knocked him back and disappeared with his friends while he was still trying to recover. But of course he could still see everything that was happening.
Anyway, Riku says, "Sora. I believe you won't give up." And then he blocks the last Heartless onslaught and gets absorbed in the darkness himself.
Then we cut to a scene of two kids we can only guess are young Xehanort and young Eraquus playing some version of chess, and Xehanort thinks he wins, but Eraquus is like, "Nope. Light can come from the past." I think that's significant, but we don't know what it means yet.
Next Sora wakes up in a world that's only sky and water reflecting the sky. And he's super transparent. Then the little cat from Kingdom Hearts Chi comes along and tells him that he's basically on the verge of death. He'd been coming and going all the time, so Chirithy just let him be, but this time it looks like he didn't come here voluntarily, so he's probably on his way out. Like, out out. And Sora's like, "Wait, I'm dead!?" and Chirithy's like, "Nah, something's keep you here, so you're probably fine. But you better collect the pieces of yourself or you'll probably be stuck here in The Final World."
And then we had the trippiest Kingdom Hearts experience of all time. I'm sure it was inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. (But then, Athena points out, there were similar things in Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII, so.) Basically, there's like a billion Sora's wandering around, and you have to go around collecting them, and they're all running around and dancing and swimming in the air...and it's just extremely bizarre and surreal. And the music was kinda eerie, so it was making me a little uncomfortable.
Well, anyway, we got Sora all put back together, and then he went diving from world to world getting the hearts back of all the other Guardians of Light. He's got all but one when the kid from Dream Drop Distance comes along and says, "Didn't you learn anything? The last time you went diving from world to world like this, your heart got absorbed in darkness." And Sora's all, "Whatever, my heart is right here!" And the kid is like, "If you say so. But you've already lost." And he walks away. Well, that's ominous.
But Sora has bigger problems, because there weren't any more worlds left to dive into, and he still hasn't rescued Kairi's heart! Oh no! Not Kairi!
I should point out, though, that through all this, Sora is not entirely alone. He's joined by Jiminy Cricket! And I like that, because it reminds me of the manga, and because I like Jiminy. And thanks to a call from Chip and Dale (also the best, despite their unfortunate character designs), they remember that they can check the Keyblade Graveyard.
So Sora goes back to the Keyblade Graveyard, and on his way, who should he meet but Kairi! She was okay all along! In fact, she was the one keeping Sora anchored to the world(s) of the living, which is why he didn't just vanish away in the Final World. And she's all, "I told you I would protect you." Awwww.
And now they're all ready to go to the final battle again, but we have stuff to go to tomorrow, so we figured we should go to bed. ...But we didn't want to stop just yet, so we did some mini-games that kept us up too late anyway. Eh heh heh heh... But not as too late as if we'd tried to go on with the story. Seriously, there are way too many things left to address! How can we be at the end? It doesn't make sense! I guess we'll find out later.
Today I'm thankful for finishing our minimum work quota anyway, getting our grocery shopping done, getting transportation worked out for tomorrow, having time to play Kingdom Hearts, and getting to sleep in a little tomorrow.