July 26, 2012

Too Many Split Personalities to Keep Track

[Celebrating the release of Kingdom Hearts 3DS this week, Enix Hearts is currently running an article series looking back at the previous Kingdom Hearts games. Since I wrote a piece for them revisiting Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, I feel compelled to do posts for the rest of the games as well. Below is the story of the prequel to the events of Kingdom Hearts 2.]

I know it’s common for a Nobody to have few, if any memories of their past, but I don’t remember a thing. Well, that’s not entirely true I guess. The only thing I see are fragments, hazy pictures of a spiky haired boy surrounded by friends. A boy that can’t—or maybe won’t—stop smiling.

If that boy was me, my cheeks would hurt too much to keep up the laughter. There’s no way he could have been happy all the time. That he could have been surrounded by friends, loved by everyone. People aren’t like that—they aren’t that lucky.

There’s no way I could have been him. That I’m a part of him or that he’s a part of me. It doesn’t matter, anyway—I have my own personality, my own identity. And no memory, no connection, nobody is going to take that away from me.

Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days takes place between the events of Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2. Much like Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories took place directly after Kingdom Hearts, 358/2 Days functions as a bridge between the first and second Kingdom Hearts. 358/2 Days is the story of a boy named Roxas, who at this point in the story we know is Sora’s Nobody, created when Sora became a Heartless in the first Kingdom Hearts. Roxas is taken in by Organization XIII, who uses him to fight Heartless and collect their essence in order to open the door to Kingdom Hearts. During his time with the Organization, Roxas questions his memories (or lack thereof), his existence, and his purpose. His keeper, Axel, puts up with his lack of self-confidence and existential crisis while accompanying him on several missions. Eventually, the two become close friends and begin to question the Organization and their roles in it as a whole.

As Roxas grows in strength and ability, he is introduced to a new member of the Organization—Xion. While Xion, unlike the rest of the Organization, is not assigned a number from I to XIII, she is nonetheless assigned missions to capture Heartless much like Roxas. She accompanies Roxas on several missions as well, and just like Axel does, she becomes close friends with Roxas.

Eventually, both Roxas and Xion learn their origins—Roxas learns he is Sora’s Nobody, while Xion learns she is a copy of Sora’s memories that was created by Xemnas in order to replace Sora. Xion knows that in order for Sora to become whole again after the events of Chain of Memories, she needs to be absorbed by him. She leaves the Organization with the help of Axel, and in the process, Axel and Roxas have a falling out. Xemnas takes control of Xion and sets her against Roxas, and Roxas defeats her and leaves the Organization. Axel tries to stop Roxas from leaving, but Roxas defeats him as well.

Shortly after leaving the Organization, Roxas encounters Riku, whose mission is to capture Roxas in order to return the rest of Sora’s memoires. Roxas defeats Riku as well, but before he can kill him, Riku turns to the darkness in his heart, channels a newfound power, and defeats Roxas, setting the stage for the events of Kingdom Hearts 2.

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