When we last left off, I had skipped talking about Sora & Riku's fight with Ansem, Xigbar, and Dark Riku. Well, first, we started whacking Ansem, but soon after that, he's all, "You know what? I'm out." And he just leaves. So we fight the two other guys. When you beat Xigbar, he's like, "I guess you gotta use a Keyblade after all..." and for some reason, this had Sora and Riku all, "You can use a Keyblade?" and Xigbar's like, "Yeah, Xehanort gave me the qualifications and everything," and Riku's like, "Nah, you can't use a Keyblade," (it was more like, "Keyblades can't be used for evil" or something like that, but it was basically that sentiment, only more serious) and then Xigbar teleports to the top of the wall and pushes himself off of it. It was really pretty weird.
When you beat Dark Riku...this is where all the playing with hearts and time and things gets to be kind of confusing. So apparently, Dark Riku was Riku's heart from when Riku was possessed by Ansem, transported into the future to be a member of the new Organization XIII. You beat him, and he starts going off about how, "I'm...the real one..." and Riku's like, "Wait, you're talking like a replica!" Then Riku Replica flies outside of Riku, and is like, "This is the moment I've been waiting for! I've been looking for a new vessel!" So he (now a disembodied heart) flies to Dark Riku, and rips Dark Riku's heart out of its body...and instead of taking over, he just flies off with Dark Riku, and they both dissolve. But before they fade away, Riku's like, "Wait, what? Oohh, you did this for Namine!" And we're like, "Awwwwwww♥♥" It's touching and kind of sad, because Riku Replica's love for Namine was manufactured, but he's still so devoted, the poor guy. Anyway, he's like, "Yeah, send that replica back to the lab so they can put Namine's heart in it."
And then Sora and Riku just leave it lying on the ground, because they don't really have any means of transporting it. And Riku goes off to find Ansem while Sora goes on to help the others. And now it gets really dramatic! I don't know who to start with!
Well, we went to join Kairi and Axel first, so I'll start with them. They were fighting Saix and a smaller figure who remained hooded. The voice was familiar, and this person was using a Keyblade, so we had a pretty good idea who it was early on. Saix had like a billion HP, and he was in berserk mode (which looks super scary in the fancy new graphics), so we got to fight for a while before Xemnas showed up again to interrupt the proceedings.
He addressed Axel, and was like, "You were my guy for killing traitors, so I guess now that you're the traitor I'm going to have to kill you myself." And oh my goodness, he showed NO mercy. He even used the thing...okay, when you fight Xemnas at the end of Kingdom Hearts II, he does this thing where he transports Sora and Riku into a dark spherical dimension, where all around them are lightsaber blades, that Xemnas sends flying at you from every angle imaginable. Of course, Sora and Riku block them all with their Keyblades, but at this point, Xemnas has already zapped Axel's Keyblade into nothingness. It was intense.
Eventually, the small hooded figure steps in and suggests maybe Xemnas could go a little easy on him, because if they kill Axel, that kind of goes against the weird whatever-it-is they're doing to create Kingdom Hearts. And Xemnas is like, "You're right. You were his best friend. You kill him." The logic kind of falls apart a little, but I guess the whole point is despair? Anyway, Small Hooded Figure steps forward to maybe? kill Axel, and Axel's all, "Who are you?" and we're like, "*heartbreak*!!!" and then Sora steps in and says, "That's enough, Xion." And I'm like, "!!!"
Then Xion decided not to kill Axel (I don't think she was going to anyway), and Xemnas is like, "You're useless!" and pushes her down so her hood comes off and now we can all see the Xion we grew to love in 358/2 Days. And now that Xemnas is getting violent with Xion, there's someone in Sora's heart who can no longer sit back and watch the proceedings. We see a light fly out of Sora, and we hear a familiar voice say, "Don't touch my best friend."
It's Roxas!!! He's back!!!!!! HUZZAH!!! And of course we're all like, "But how!?" so Roxas explains (because the other characters asked the same question) about Ansem the Wise and Ienzo getting a replica, just like how most of the new Organization XIII is using replicas, and then with the connection from Sora's heart, he was able to come back! Tadah!
Xemnas was pretty unhappy about all of this so he goes you know what? I'm just gonna take Kairi and be on my way. (Incidentally, when Xemnas first showed up, the first thing he did was knock Sora and Kairi out of the way, so it made sense that they didn't immediately jump to Axel's aid, unlike in certain other scenes I can think of...which might have been a dream, come to think of it...) So now Kairi's a hostage and Saix is still ready to fight, so Sora gets to join Roxas and Xion to beat the boss! And the music was this really complex mix of Roxas and Xion's themes, and it was pretty awesome. I gotta say, the music in the whole series of sequences was a big part of what made me so emotional.
When you beat Saix, he explains that he saw Axel going off and hanging out with Roxas and Xion, and he thought that Axel had forgotten about their quest to find "ano ko." And Axel's like, "I never forgot." And Saix is all, "I know. You're not that kind of guy." And then he admits the real truth, which is that he was jealous. And Axel's like, "Wow, you're awfully candid," and Saix is like, "Yeah, I figured I'd get the embarrassing truth out now, because when I'm human again, there ain't no way I'm going to admit to this stuff." And then he disappears, and we're all optimistic that Axel and Saix can be friends again.
And then Axel, Xion, and Roxas are all reunited and they share a big group hug! Awwwwwww! And Sora leaves Xion and Roxas to take care of nearly-dying Axel while he goes to help Aqua and Ventus, who of course are fighting Vanitas and Terra Xehanort. When you beat Terra Xehanort first, he falls to the ground and Aqua and Ventus are like, "Terra!" and then they leave him lying there while you finish off Vanitas.
When you beat Vanitas, his mask breaks, and Sora sees for the first time how much they look alike. Vanitas explains that, when Xehanort took the darkness out of Ventus's heart, Sora's heart filled in the gaps, so to fill in the gaps of Vanitas's physical form, that connection made Vanitas look like Sora, so they're all brothers! And Sora is the best. He's like, "If that's how you see us, why do you keep fighting us?" And Vanitas is like, "So I can be free," and Sora's like, "Being controlled by darkness is freedom?" and Vanitas is like, "It's the path I chose." And we're like, "Well, everyone's got their agency, but dude..." And he disappears.
Now we can focus on Terra Xehanort. Aqua and Ventus run up to him and are all worried, and he struggles to get up...and summons a bunch of chains! And captures Aqua, Ventus, and Sora for good measure, which was smart, frankly, because Sora always want to help. And of course, these chains are unbreakable, because they're forged by the bond between the three of them, and how ironic that it's now going to cause their deaths. He knocks them around for a while, and then Ventus cries and says, "I'm going to save you, Terra."
And those were the magic words! Out of nowhere this giant thing comes flying over and grabs Terra Xehanort. When you get a good look at it, it looks a lot like the Heartless that Ansem Seeker of Darkness always had over his shoulder, acting like his shield and beating on Sora and stuff. Its mouth was bound shut with some kind of weird Heartless matter or something, probably to represent its enslavement to Ansem Seeker of Darkness (which I'm pretty sure is who Terra Xehanort became after Ansem the Wise took him in and made him his apprentice and then he turned evil and stuff...there are so many identities to keep track of, and it wasn't that hard until they all became autonomous). Anyway, he rips the stuff off his mouth and struggles to talk and tell Terra Xehanort to leave his friends alone. (We can't remember the line exactly, but it was super dramatic and awesome.)
Long story short, the Heartless destroys Terra Xehanort and Terra takes his body back, and the three of them are finally reunited! HUZZAH!!!
While the trios have their happy reunions, we're down to Sora, Riku, and Mickey to face off against the remaining four members of New Organization XIII. Of course Master Xehanort hangs out in the background while our heroes confront Ansem Seeker of Darkness, Xemnas, and the kid from Dream Drop Distance. Xehanort's all, "Thanks to you beating the other Organization members, I have nine evil Keyblades, and I only need four more." And Sora and Friends are like, "How about we just not fight you?" and Xehanort's all, "That's why I got you some incentive. Here's Kairi!" And they're all, "!!!" And there's some stuff about Kingdom Hearts and whatever, and then they just start fighting.
There aren't any huge dramatic scenes for beating these guys, which makes sense, because they did have their dramatic moments in previous games. Ansem Seeker of Darkness and Riku had kind of a tender moment, though. Riku was like, "You know, now that you're gone, I think I might miss you." Y'know, since they shared a body for a while. And Ansen was almost friendly at this point, like he said something that I think was along the lines of, "At this point, I almost wouldn't care about betraying these people." I may not have been following the Japanese very well. And then got all supportive, like, "Keep going, young men. Your search for knowledge has only just begun."
Of course, this was a direct contradiction to what 3D kid said, which was along the lines of, "I told you you'd have to pay a price. Keep this up, and you will end forever, because--" and then he disappears without finishing, which I find to be extremely ominous.
Xemnas confesses, after you beat him, that he is starting to remember an emotion other than hatred or anger...and it's loneliness. So he's like, "Maybe I don't want feelings after all." It's kind of sad, because one of his whole things in Kingdom Hearts II was he wanted a real heart so he could have feelings, poor guy.
And this is where things get really intense! It was so intense I don't remember all the details, because the one thing was just so shocking! Xehanort is taunting the heroes again, and they're trying to reason with him and stuff, and he's like, "Hey, remember when I said I had Kairi? Here she is!" and then he just shatters her. Like glass or something. And not like the kind of glass that you can find the big pieces and glue them back together. This is like shattered windshield level of shattered. Like, little tiny bits everywhere. Only they didn't fall down everywhere, they vanished, because that's what happens in this series.
So that's two super alarming things going on. And while the Keyblade wielders are all in shock about that, Xehanort uses all his evil Keyblades to unlock the Kingdom Hearts he's now fully created. And then he goes through it, and now we can't fight him. Mickey knows a way! And it's for the Keyblade Masters (Mickey, Riku, and Aqua) to...do something...they were going to create a link portal through Xehanort or something, and then they could use that to make it to Xehanort and beat him. Then they would have to close the door to Kingdom Hearts, or we'd have a repeat of the disappearing worlds phenomenon from Kingdom Hearts I.
So of course Sora volunteers to fight. And he walks forward to go through the portal, and you see Donald and Goofy walk right up alongside him. And that's one of the things that really got me. I can't really explain it, but it means a lot to me to see people helping each other like that. And then they go off to a world with some Latin name (it ends with Caelum, of course), but right before they leave, Xion stops Sora (of course by now, everyone has caught up with Sora) and reassures him that Kairi is still alive, because she can feel her heart. And that was a huge relief, because it was bedtime, and we could tell there might be some stuff to get through before the final battle, and we were sure that it was going to take at least an hour even if all there was was a fight and the ending movie(s), and we had church so we didn't want to stay up too late. But we also couldn't just leave the game with Kairi all shattered like that! (Also, Donald and Goofy joining the party again indicated the possibility of sidequesting again, and we certainly didn't want to do that if Kairi was still maybe dead. But now we know she's alive, so we figure she's safe wherever she is until we have time to beat the final boss. Which probably won't be until Friday.)
And that's that. Oh my goodness, this game. I don't think the reporting does it justice, but I like to think that our reactions will be an amusing read, at least for ourselves in the future.
Today I'm thankful for Kingdom Hearts giving us a not-too-terrible stopping point, all the amazing scenes we got to see, having theater mode already in case we need to refresh our memories when we finally get back to the game, getting to talk to someone in the Primary presidency and hopefully solve some problems we've been having, and having a super cute single-layer cake we got at Bread Day.