The Fan-Works Community of Kingdom Hearts

Fanart is courtesy of Pandadako.deviantart.com

Regardless of whether you love or hate them, ignore, indulge in them or compose them, you can’t stop fans from producing their own work based off of popular pieces. Kingdom Hearts, approaching 10 years in the running and enjoying a fan base in the millions, is far from being an exception.

For every game Nomura and his crew puts out, the fans produce a combined millions of hours of work into artwork, remixed music, small scale games and above all, roleplays and fan fictions. They’re doing everything from trying to creatively fill in holes and tell back stories we’ll probably never get to see, or envisioning some downright disturbing ideas that ignore many social conventions (I’m looking at you, RoxasXAxel fans).

So, why do people do this, and what does Kingdom Hearts offer for those reasons?

Experience Fulfillment

Life, generally speaking, is boring. We’re ordinary people with ordinary problems in an ordinary world. While we have our high moments and our low points, we will never have grand adventures in our lives-and realistically, we wouldn’t really want them, would we? But all the same, this is what drives us to dream and create, and to enjoy the dreams and creations of others.

Any time we read a book, watch a movie, listen to a good song or anything of the sort, we get to experience (from a safe distance) a life that is far more challenging and often times more thrilling than our own. We get to escape and live the life of those characters.

Video games take this to a whole new level, putting us in control of the lives and actions of the protagonist. Whether they live or die, succeed or fail, hope or despair, their lives literally rest in our hands, and it’s up to us to adeptly produce the happy ending (unless you’re a sadist in an open-ended RPG like Sims, in which case, you get to cackle as houses catch on fire). It sucks us in and lets us experience it so intensely that we may curse when Sephiroth stabs us. We’d even yell, “He killed me AGAIN!”, when realistically, it’s Sora who should end up looking like a sieve.

In short, video games are, in one way, a huge steaming pile of wish fulfillment.

Wish Fulfillment

A bitterly moving backstory...could you possibly have one for Marluxia? Fanart is courtesy of Renuski (renuski.deviantart.com)

An ungodly amount of fan creations continue on the experience of fulfilling our every desire, as we wait to play the next game or find ourselves unsatisfied that Sora can’t shoot lasers out of his eyes that also happened to be made out of keyblades (which are also made of lasers).

We’ve all seen the picture of Riku making out with someone else’s character. We’ve read the story about the green-haired super-powered Keyblade wielder dressed like an Organization member, who saves the worlds where our heroes fail, and we’ve walked into the roleplay where Kairi, Namine and Olette are doing decidedly un-Disney-esque things (Okay, maybe I’m the only one unfortunate enough to come across that). These are extreme examples, but we all know that people continue these things to expand the fulfillment of their wishes in the way the game couldn’t or didn’t.

But I don’t think that’s the sole reason people do it. As much as we may enjoy the power trip that comes from being able to smack Maleficient down and continue on, I think just as many people finish a game of Kingdom Hearts (or any other popular media) and want to go on experiencing the atmosphere and mood of the game, to continue exploring its themes, both subtle and overt, to experience the journey again in a new story. No art medium exists purely as a way to satisfy our desires, instead they go on to expand our minds and give us a new sense of experience fulfillment.

When fan-created works go on to create the sense of experience fulfillment, it is a rare but wondrous thing. Whether it is a hypothetical story about Marluxia’s past that stays true to the character and gives us the same tingle the game did, the roleplay who’s progress shows the connection of hearts in unusual and unexpected ways, or the art piece of Sora fighting that clearly-never-happened-but-still-feels-like-it-could, people who sublimely emphasize the experience of the game over simple fulfillment create wonderful pieces that allow us to enjoy Kingdom Hearts without sending Tetsuya Nomura to the hospital for overwork.

A Door Between Worlds

A door between worlds- Naruto in Sora's clothes. Fanart is courtesy of arvalis (arvalis.deviantart.com)

So, what does Kingdom Hearts offer to the fan creator that other respected or popular pieces don’t? There are many answers for this, including the unique vocabulary and pieces of the KH Universe, but I think that the greatest thing offered is how Kingdom Hearts connects a wide variety of ideas and makes it possible to explore them.

For example, the story of Aladdin and his attempts to have a better life than he has aren’t the same as Jack Skellington’s struggles with understanding foreign concepts, but both stories explore the theme of finding your place in the world and being true to yourself. Two totally and completely different worlds intermix and combine to lead to some fantastic stories by themselves. Add in the themes and story of the whole Kingdom Hearts universe alongside each world’s broad cultures, mythos, issues and morals, and there are a lot of stories that you can tell, each stuffed with unique characters, plots, and events. This maintains the feel of the games while exploring all new elements and emotions if done well. It’s a rich sandbox to which we apply our creativity.

More importantly, I think Kingdom Hearts appeals to us as people because most of its major characters are the ordinary people with ordinary lives to begin with. Nomura himself has said that Sora is still just a 15-year old kid, who enjoys and dislikes the same things as we do, and that draws us in and opens a door for our own personal experiences in his universe. Kingdom Hearts serves as a door between our worlds, where we can just be ourselves and fully true experience a world of wonder and excitement.

…Or maybe some people just want to be rear-kicking, zipper-wearing, keyblade wielding Burton-ites who can shoot dark fire out of our eyeballs.

Kingdom Hearts: The Lost Roads

That was the site I was working on in the year 2008 before I left to serve a mission for my church. A roleplaying game site, my goal with it was to get players to tell stories about how their characters grow from average people (for your character’s home world- Wonderlanders clearly don’t fit under anyone else’s standard of normal) into the complex heroes, anti-heroes and villains of Kingdom Hearts in a gaming environment that strived to stay true to the games in both information and atmosphere.

It was one of the most intense RPG projects I had ever worked on, using techniques and approaches I had never done before while fulfilling a lead developer role for the first time. For a bunch of amateurs, I think we were doing really good, having received some good reviews from game sites that reviewed such things. Sadly, it never took off the ground, and my time these days are primarily dedicated to college and trying to get a start in the writing field, but my time working on that site stays with me, and it’s my greatest piece of KH geekiness.

What Kingdom Hearts ‘Fanworks’ have you made?

So, How about you? What have you created that’s set in the Kingdom Hearts Universe? An artwork of your character? A story about what might happen in KH 3? A roleplay, a remix of a song, a comic, etc?

Do you think fan creations contribute to the universe or detract from it? Do you believe in experience fulfillment, or do you think it’s all just selfish wishing? Talk about this and more down below in the comments of nye norske casino.

“The Fan-Works Community of Kingdom Hearts” was written by Arcane. Each Monday, we publish a Guest Blog from a member of the KH & Gaming Community.
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9 Responses to “The Fan-Works Community of Kingdom Hearts”

  1. KingdomHeartsUltimateFan Says:

    I made 27 mouse cursors… Yeah. Some are for left-hand users. I also made a heartless icon for my recycle bin, but it turns out I couldn’t change the recycle bin icon :’-(
    RoxasXAxel Fans… AWKWARD AND MESSED UP.
    People who spammed with comments… Messed up bastards who probably are the ones obsessed with that junk.

  2. Lonios Says:

    I myself dislike all these fans stuff,I used to read fanfics of a online game that I play but its just a thing that a fan created,most of them were left were they started some people just do it over some temporary excitement and its not the real story of the game and sometimes doesn’t even make sense if you compare to the real story.
    But if you like to do these sort stuff kind like a tribute for your favourite game…do it!

  3. Brendan Says:

    I would love to give the Kingdom Hearts team some ideas through fan work and I hope Mr. Tetsuya Nomura could put my works into his newest games.

  4. Brooser Says:

    I wrote a series of fanfictions that explore an alternate timeline where Riku kept the Keyblade at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts 1. The story progresses just like the real game, but with certain differences that start piling up (like Keyblade-weilding Riku helping Maleficent, Riku not choosing to save the worlds initially because he cares more about finding Kairi, etc). It was a lot of fun to explore the differences in Sora and Riku’s personalities, and how each of them would make different choices in similar situations. I ended up continuing it in a couple of other stories following Riku’s adventures afterward… it’s a lot of fun. If anyone’s interested, check them out at fanfiction.net, username “Brooser”… the stories are as follows.

    Kingdom Hearts: Reversed (based on KH1)
    Kingdom Hearts: Reversed Memories (based on CoM)
    Kingdom Hearts Reversed: 358/3 Days (based on 358/2 Days — it’s a 3 because of Roxas, Xion, and Xurik.)

    I’ve also got Kingdom Hearts Reversed 2 on the way soon. :D

  5. Thea Larson Says:

    As a fanfiction writer I’ve written plenty of Kingdom Hearts stories, mostly crossovers (since what other series lends itself so well to the medium?). Yes, I wrote several non-canon pairings (RikuRoku for one) but I’ve tried not to let those stories be the whole of what I write.

    I would have to say that as far as Kingdom Hearts goes, my best work with it is the crossover with NCIS that’s turning into its own full-on alternate universe. Called No Goodbyes, it started off as a “Lea gets murdered and Sora helps NCIS”and turned into a bit where it seems Gibbs and Ziva might sneak into the proper Kingdom Hearts universe and embark on their own adventure.

    Really, anyone can use the Kingdom Hearts series for their own purpose. The way it’s set up allows anyone to write their own stories. How many other Keyblade Masters besides the BBS trio were there? Where are they now? Are they embarking on their own journeys alongside Sora, not knowing of the other Keyblade Wielders there are out there?

    As far as shipping goes… we have our main couple, yes. As much as this yaoi fan hates to admit it, the series says that Sora and Kairi are BFFs. However, what happens around them is certainly up for debate. AkuRoku? Given the fixation Axel has on getting Roxas back, there’s plenty of evidence to support it. WINNER sticks, stalking, willingness to turn Sora into a Heartless again? That screams of either extreme emotional attachment or, you know, love. That’s just this fangirl’s interpretation of their relationship, however; I’d love to hear others! Contrary to my above statement, however, I don’t ship AkuRoku as heavily as I do Sora/Roxas or Roxas/Riku. I have no excuse for that.

    … When did I start writing an essay? Sorry for the long ramblings.

  6. Vani Says:

    f-that all that stuff is junk, i am working with dreamworks and i find that garbage intolerant,
    exept for the naruto crap! thats pretty cool, if both directors could decide on something ofcourse witch would oviously be impossible i dont think either of them are going to be willing to share the doe

  7. Arcane Says:

    No need to apoligize for essaying it out. I sent in a submission because I kept doing essays in the comments and throught it was about time I gave y’all your space. I understand. :p

  8. Arcane Says:

    It’s worth noting that while a great amount of fan-works are crap(You will NEVER hear me deny that), it’s worth noting that quite a few people in the novel and film script writing industries got their start from fan fictions made official. Somehow, I doubt those works were crap. Timothy Zahn is the only one I can think of off the top of my head, but I know there are others in the family library, I’ll get back to you on that one. Point is, it really depends on keeping an open mind and being careful about where you look.

  9. Nalima24 Says:

    If you ask me,nomura should try to see if he can get other coorperations like viz-media or funimation to get new worlds and new characters,and the games after kh3 should be about the keyblade war(not the one on kh bbs),even more into the past before kh b.b.s., or talk about the past of other organization’s members like luxord,marluxia,etc. JUST MAKE SOMMETHING NEW OTHER THAN DISNEY AND F.F.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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