Working for a online game web site, I have interaction in lots of playful, although generally heated, debates about video games with my co-workers. We lately mentioned one of the best Kingdom Hearts characters, and, surprisingly, a number of of us excluded Sora from the cream of the crop. Nonetheless, a defender propped up Sora’s one defining good trait, his overwhelming positivity. In response, I jokingly stated if optimism is all Sora provides, he needs to be changed by a superior beacon of positivity: Ichiban Kasuga, star of Yakuza: Like a Dragon. We had an excellent snort and moved on, however the thought lingered in my mind.
I’ll preface my subsequent assertion with this disclosure: I like Kingdom Hearts. Now that blowback immunity is activated, I feel Sora is lame. He’s an excellent child with an excellent coronary heart, and he’s enjoyable to make use of in Tremendous Smash Bros. Nonetheless, Kingdom Hearts III made me lastly settle for that I haven’t actually been into Sora as a persona since (perhaps) Kingdom Hearts II. A lot of that most likely has to do along with his dialogue; it’s unbearably cringe-worthy at instances. To not point out he’s additionally bought a foul case of Ash Ketchum syndrome; the dude is umpteen video games deep, and he nonetheless isn’t an formally acknowledged keyblade grasp? Greater than anything, although, I discover Sora bland.
Let’s paint a hypothetical image the place Sq. Enix determined to retire Sora alongside his goofy clown sneakers and determined to get wild. I can’t consider a greater substitute than Yakuza: Like a Dragon’s Ichiban Kasuga. Why? Briefly, he’s just about Sora however cooler and vastly extra endearing. Like Sora, he values his friendships, is fiercely loyal, possesses an inspiring can-do angle, has an excellent ethical compass, and is an entire dork. Plus, I’d like to see Ichiban work together with all the Disney weirdos. However clearly, that may’t occur, so the following neatest thing is for Sq. Enix to take a look at Ichi to construct a greater Sora.
Ichiban is flawed. Regardless of being a complete sweetheart, he willingly joins and associates with organized crime syndicates. Nonetheless, that interior turmoil drew me to him since you knew that, underneath the smiling poofy-haired floor, the man had some baggage that he wanted assist sorting via. Yakuza: Like a Dragon does an excellent job fleshing out his upbringing as an orphan to provide context for his beliefs and comparatively brilliant outlook on life. In consequence, Ichiban’s optimism feels earned and galvanizing relatively than compulsory. Like a Dragon spends time creating its cheerful hero as a lot because it does the overarching plot, giving me somebody I genuinely wished to root for.
Sora has by no means felt as compelling. He grew up on the Nick Jr. model of the Lord of the Flies island, so he’s had it fairly good in comparison with Ichiban. That’s to not say that Sora wants tragedy to be fascinating, however I need extra from him. Sq. Enix has spent extra time making Kingdom Hearts’ fiction as convoluted as attainable however hasn’t given Sora’s characterization the identical TLC. He’s had some progress, after all, however I nonetheless see the child we met in 2002 – solely taller and with repressed puberty in his voice. And in a sequence all about friendship, heartbreak, and loyalty, that’s grow to be extra evident as I’ve gotten older. You are able to do “plucky blissful dude” and nonetheless make him participating relatively than mildly grating.
I don’t need Sora to grow to be some form of edgelord both. Rikku already fills that quota because the “emotionally broken good-then-bad-now-good once more hero.” I simply need Kingdom Hearts IV to discover who Sora is, what makes him tick, and develop him right into a extra full particular person. I feel Ichiban is a good template to review as a result of the 2 wacky-haired heroes are so comparable. If that’s out of the query for Sq., then take my suggestion earlier and truly put Ichiban within the recreation as an alternative. I’d like to see him get a drink with Donald and Goofy.