Kudos to the Underappreciated Characters of KH

By Eddie Gonzalez

By now, it must come as no surprise that Kingdom Hearts 3D is on the horizon. Once again, we will find ourselves gladly exploring new worlds and fighting new battles, via our beloved heroes, Sora and Riku (and I guess, maybe Kairi). Usually with every Kingdom Hearts title comes a set of new characters that manage to wiggle their way into the hearts of Sora & Company, and in some cases our very own. But if you were to line up thousands of Kingdom Hearts fans and ask them who their favorite characters are, chances are you will invariably find that Sora, Axel, Riku, Roxas, or more recently, the terrific trio of Terra, Ven, and Aqua are the answer to your question. Yes, they do reek of awesomeness–heck, they’re definitely on my list as well. However, I’d like to shine the spotlight on the other guys. Now that the Kingdom Hearts timeline is on the brink of taking a huge step forward, let us take a look back at a few overshadowed characters in the series, observe the impact they made on it, and most importantly show them some love.

Ansem the Wise/DiZ, a Man of Wisdom and Intricacies

DiZ is actually one of the more complex characters to come out of KH. Unfortunately, his lack of good looks and weaponry have him pushed over for the likes of Roxas and Riku.

The man that started it all, Ansem the Wise’s contribution to the Kingdom Hearts saga is no doubt a colossal one. But it seems as though most people simply dismiss him as the stereotypical disgraced scientist or a distasteful bad guy. While these viewpoints are justified, Ansem the Wise’s characteristics and experiences are really no different from those of the dynamic duo of Sora and Riku. Before he became the semi corrupt “Servant of the World,” Ansem possessed quite the noble heart. Similarly to how young Sora came to the aid of Ventus’ heart and later on inviting it to his own, Ansem took in the orphaned Ienzo, and came to the rescue of Xehanort, both of whom were complete strangers. The research he led was all in the name of protecting his people. Unfortunately, it was the very decisions he made from the kindness of his heart that led to his downfall at the hands of his trusted apprentices in a flash of betrayal.

After climbing out of the dark depths on his own as the alter-ego DiZ he proceeded to seek his revenge. While his plot assisted in repairing the damage caused by his former apprentices, it ironically ruined many lives at the same time; one of which being Roxas. In his “confrontation” with Roxas at the mansion, DiZ spitefully suggested that Roxas share his hatred with Sora, stating that Sora “…is much too kind for his own good.” From DiZ’ experiences, who could really blame the guy for becoming so bitter? In his DiZ persona, Ansem was a man on a mission who was not afraid to take down anyone as long as it was necessitated. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Riku was the perfect ally in his plan, not just because they happened to involve the awakening of his best friend, but because it had already been established that like DiZ, Riku will do whatever it takes to achieve his goals. Eventually, Ansem’s fate in the saga wraps up to what was truly in his heart to begin with. Shortly after doing what he could to amend the lives he ruined, he once again ends up in the Realm of Darkness. Where he ends up from this point on will be interesting to behold. A gracious man, turned legit badass, the only thing Ansem the Wise is missing to match up to our two upcoming new Keyblade Masters are good looks and a nifty blade.

Jiminy Cricket, a Most Resolute Little Bug

Oh Jiminy Cricket! How I admire you. If only everybody could be as devoted to their work as this bite-sized little trooper; or as calm and collected. This little bugger is so faithful to his task of writing his in-game Wikipedia, that he seemed to be completely unfazed when:

Jiminy's doing a job just like Sora. Who else would let us know what dalmatians we've found or what record we've made on Scrooge's skateboard?

1. Donald and Goofy ditch Sora at Hollow Bastion.
2. Sora becomes a heartless.
3. Goofy is seemingly killed.
4. Sora and Riku are stranded in darkness.

Come on–he is part of the crew! Oh well, somebody has to follow the rules when it comes to meddling in the affairs of other worlds. There were a few occasions, however, in which Jiminy pops up to further emphasize for us the seriousness of certain predicaments. In his first appearance, we learn that his world was among those wiped out by the darkness. And in Chain of Memories, Sora’s treatment of poor Jiminy after he shuns Donald and Goofy helps us feel the intensity and desperation Sora is feeling due to the whole Namine situation. Then, in Coded, it would seem that Jiminy even plays God. His trusty journal is way more than just paper and ink—it’s a collection of Sora’s feelings and experiences within his heart. And a gateway to our next adventure! They call Sora, “The Key that Connects Everything”. Well guess what Sora? You weren’t even really in Coded so who better fits that description in this case (even though he only appeared once in the whole game). Jiminy, I shine the spotlight on you not just for your tireless work but for your ability to connect what even Sora can’t to the world of Kingdom Hearts…us fans!

HAYNER!…PENCE!…OLETTE!!….

Yeah that’s right: Hayner, Pence, and freaking Olette. At the commencement of KH2, they were introduced as the best friends of the immensely fan favored Roxas. Before life as he knew it changed forever (once again), they were all he had at the time. Therefore, “Sanctuary” is for many reasons one of the most fitting pieces of music in all of Kingdom Hearts because it’s a song that portrayed the relationship Roxas had with these three individuals. Every time he was on the brink of losing his mind while being tormented by DiZ, the Nobodies, and Axel, whom did Roxas cry out for? Who represented his “sanctuary”? Hayner, Pence and Olette! (With good reason too-who else would lunge unarmed at an hooded, intimating man to protect a girl they had just met).

The regular guys get in on the action! Hayner, Pence, and Olette may not have powers, but they have their own roles to play, too.

Even though the last days Roxas spent with Hayner, Pence, and Olette was a lie and an illusion, the influence they had on him wasn’t. Heck, it turned out that they had the very same impact on him in 358/2 Days while he was in the Organization. His encounters with them while donning the black coat steered him closer to the heart he was told he did not have. The neat thing about Hayner, Pence, and Olette is that they are just typical human beings like us and our loved ones. Not some over-the- top, exaggerated toughies, or “chosen ones” wielding a sword and powers. What we have here is just a bunch of kids we can really relate to. They are just minding their own business, hanging out, and having fun. And how cool was it that they helped Sora, Donald, Goofy, Jiminy, and even King Mickey progress in their quest. That’s like any one of us and our unappreciated friends lending the Justice League a hand.

Well guys, that’s just a handful of characters I would like to glorify a bit. Fellow KH fans, if you have a character or two you would like to show some love to, or general remarks about my chosen few, I’d love to hear about it via the comments!

5 Responses to “Kudos to the Underappreciated Characters of KH”

  1. Bloom4815 Says:

    This is amazing! These chatacters do deserve more credit. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. In fact, you gave me more empathy from Ansem. I never thought about how he could have been seen as “Sora” like and then “Riku” like, but it makes so much sense. I’ve always remembered DiZ telling Roxas to “share his hatred with Sora,” and that Sora’s: “far too nice for his own good.” However, I never thought of it as Ansem trying to help Sora from facing a fate like his. Wow! I wonder if something like that will be brought up in canon.

    Jiminy! I do adore him. Whenever I talk about SDG, I talk about him. He does deserve more credit. And he played a large role in CoM, and Re: Coded (and probably 3D). I never thought that with Re: Coded that Jiminy could be the “key that connects everything”, but that’s true. His writing about Sora gave life to the journal, and gave us Data Sora (and Re: Coded in general). Jiminy is so great. Especially for staying with Sora in CoM!

    Words cannot describe my feelings for Hayner, Pence, and Olette. They’re just so great! They’re amazing kids, and they add a sense of realism to KH. As well as fun. And they just show that anyone can accomplish great things. That’s what Nomura meant to accomplish with Sora’s role, but I see it more with them. They’re just ordinary, but their hearts still defied Ansem’s expectations. And many plot points happened around them. Were it not for Riku and their help, Sora would have never found TWTNW.

    Also, I’m really honored about the pic you used for them! I actually made that! I’m DenizenofTwilight on deviantArt. And I made that pic by using masking (with Sony Vegas) to put Hayner in there. Oh my gosh, I’m so flattered! Thank you so much!

     And thanks for the thought provoking post!

    -Shan

  2. Ian Manning Says:

    Don’t forget Pete, Clayton, and the Mayor of Halloweentown. AND ALL YOUR CARTOON PALLS!!!

  3. Death Rebirth Senshi Says:

    lol, I always thought it was funny that jiminy just suddenly popped out and participated in chain of memories but was silent in KH and KH2. And I never noticed the whole “turned into a heartless” thing-where did Jiminy go? lol little plotholes.

  4. Augi5249 Says:

    Personally, I think the game series would do better with more side charecters like Lightning from the FF series.

  5. Augi5249 Says:

    Personally, I think the game series would do better with more side charecters like Lightning from the FF series.

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