The Villains Special Part I: The not-so-villainous Villains

Sora has more than his fair share of enemies—if it wasn’t bad enough that Heartless spawns without warning, lured by the power of his keyblade, then the biggest, baddest foes this side of Disney awaits him in their lairs at every turn. Even areas that initially felt like sanctuaries such as the restored Hollow Bastion and Yen Sid’s Tower become battlefields. In the case of Hollow Bastion, that battlefield quickly evolves into more sinister encounters with hooded men and an infamous Heartless fest in a canyon. Worlds do not remain safe after the key hole has been sealed (as Heartless re-spawns as soon as you step foot again) and the only darkness-free realm lies within the pages of a children’s book about a yellow bear.

Yet there is one reason for a sigh of relief—not all villains are made equal and Sora catches a break sometimes. There are some villains who are less motivated to take over the world or villains who look big but do little. I’m thinking that if there was an Academy of Trained Villains, the following few would have dropped out early.

Pete: Of all things haphazard

Pete is the type of bumbling nuisance that will never die. He’ll just keep coming back for another beating, unfortunately, so might as well get used to him.

If you think about it, Sora doesn’t interact with Pete very often. Sure, there are the odd times when they’re almost constantly in each other’s faces and Sora even fights him man-to-man (Hades’ Underworld, Timeless River), but Pete mostly causes havoc in the background before Sora’s arrival (by unleashing small collections of Heartless)—leaving Sora to clean up the mess. As a prominent Disney villain in the game, Pete is the most cowardly because he doesn’t fight his own battles and he is good at escaping before Sora can impart any real damage. As Maleficent’s right-hand man, Pete is capable of using the forces of darkness, where he summons Heartless to swarm Sora and cause him inconvenience. I stress inconvenience because that’s as much trouble as Pete would ever give to Sora. Pete is not a real threat by any standard, and the Heartless he summons are weak and easily taken care of. Pete is simply too incapable, too short-sighted, clumsy and foolish to be effective at his job. It begs the question of why Maleficent keeps him around, you’d think she’d have better pickings from other worlds.

Even with his faults, Pete is one-of-a-kind. There is no other villain in the game quite like him. You might think Oogie Boogie would compare in terms of clumsiness, but Oogie was quite nasty and wrought with underhanded tactics; he was nasty enough to be granted a seat on the Council of Villains in the first Kingdom Hearts. Pete, on the other hand, is bad, but he is an oh-you’re-naughty kind of bad and seeing him is like seeing an old but very annoying friend.

Demyx: Difficult and very annoying but not villainous

Yeah, any villain whose major pose is this likely isn't of the mastermind variety.

In a previous poll , I discovered a healthy mix of people who both really hate and really like Demyx. Ironically, both extremes make Demyx less of a villain. First of all, it’s possible to love a villain for being a good villain (case in point: Ansem/Xehanort, Xemnas). Demyx, however, is not loved for deliverying badass ‘villainery’. Demyx fans think well of him for his upbeat attitude (unusual for an Organization member), quirkiness, his musical affinity (he plays one of the coolest instruments that you can attribute the word “cool” to) and for being outlandish. Fans are even sympathetic towards Demyx, citing that he is one of the Organization members who is the most desperate to hold on to his memories and the feeling of being human. His emotions are easy to read and except for the fact that he’s part of the Organization, he could pass for a silly side character in Kingdom Hearts.

When people hate him, they hate him for some of those same reasons–which don’t quite fall in place with what we normally hate villains for. That quirky, cowardly attitude comes off as extremely annoying to some players, who don’t quite care for villains who aren’t willing to fight head-on. Sounds sort of like Pete, doesn’t he? Demyx is highly unmotivated to carry out his duties and does them begrudgingly, half-heartedly, or shirks out altogether, as we’ve seen in 358/2 Days. He is less like an Organization member than any of the others (exceptions are Roxas and Xion, who are exceptions for everything about the game). He lacks Larxene’s ruthlessness, Zexion’s calculating demeanor, Xigbar’s previous history and grudge against keyblade wielders, or Saix’ scheming brain. Demyx has no penchant for helping the Organization do much real good (or real bad). He’s an odd case, and if he weren’t powerful, chances are that Xemnas wouldn’t have recruited him in the first place.

Lack of motivation can translate to lack of loyalty, because he’s not dedicating much of an effort to back his team. It makes me wonder whether Demyx would have been the type to reconsider his alliance had he been given a more enticing offer of no work, all play, and the promise to regain his heart (or be reborn). I imagine that in a way, Demyx has a similar base characteristic to Captain Jack Sparrow—he might bail ship for a more profitable, less risky opportunity.

Sakuchan: There are more not-so-villainous villains to showcase next week. What are your feelings on Pete and Demyx? Do you like their “type” of villainy, or are they just nuisances to you? Are there other villains who you believe make better candidates for lack of evilness and backbone? We continue with Part II next Monday so I will see you then!