Why you should go to Kingdom Hearts Convention

The Experience of Kingdom Hearts at Anime & Comic Cons

Kingdom Hearts at Anime & Comic Cons

The one thing I, in no way, expected to see during my first con (convention) experience was anything that related to Kingdom Hearts. Back then, I had no idea that my favorite series of games had been widely accepted by the anime community. Not only that, but it’s a very strong following that well surpassed what I thought it meant to be a Kingdom Hearts fan.

KH at a Convention-Costumes and Merchandise

At most cons, you are guaranteed to see tons of kids running around, donning black cloaks, and sporting wigs that defy gravity. You are also guaranteed to see armies of Soras and Rikus hauling around Keyblades. At this point, it’s strange going to a convention and not seeing any Kingdom Hearts characters. It’s almost a staple of conventions in general now, rivaling even the most popular Shonen Jump characters.

You also can’t ignore the fact that Kingdom Hearts Merchandise is sold everywhere in the vendor rooms, which range from wall hangers, to shirts, and even plushies. (I myself have Riku, Axel and Demyx plushies, and am excited to add more to the collection.) The amount of Kingdom Hearts products is unimaginable, and manages to rival any Hot Topic out there. Many artists also at least ends up doing one commission related to Kingdom Hearts before the con is over.

What does KH have to do with anime?

The funny thing about all of this is, Kingdom Hearts has absolutely nothing to do with anime. While it’s true that video games are a big part of conventions, there’s always been a fine line between what has to do with anime, and what has to do with games. For whatever reason, Kingdom Hearts has managed to cut through this line so well you’d swear it was an actual anime.

While I hate to admit it, Sora is very much a spiky haired anime protagonist with a heart of gold. Also, Riku and The Organization can easily be categorized as bishi’s (effeminately pretty Japanese men) and Kairi, in Kingdom Hearts 2 at least, for the most part is another useless anime heroin. Now that I’ve brought up Kingdom Hearts 2, I think this is the game that made the series so popular with the anime crowd. It’s the first in the series to really follow the styles of anime and the like. From the storyline, to the villains, and even just the way Sora reacts to the world around him gives it much more of an “Eastern” feeling associated with experiencing this game.

This seems to show up only in the games that have heavy involvement with Organization XIII. Mainly Kingdom Hearts 2 and Days; but Re: Chain of Memories as well to an extent. I’ve already stated my reasoning for this above, but you can’t deny that fangirls love pretty bad guys, even if their characters are overly shallow. I certainly don’t get this feeling when I play Birth by Sleep or the original Kingdom Hearts, and I think that’s why most of the Soras I see running around are in his KH 2 outfit.

The Final Fantasy crowd’s common ground

Through interacting with everything related to Kingdom Hearts at these cons, I think I’m starting to get the idea of why it is so highly regarded among the anime community. I’ve noticed that all the Final Fantasy games that are popular amongst the anime community have something in common which most people overlook-the character designer. Tetsuya Nomura designed most of the characters which are commonly associated with anime, examples being Cloud Strife or Sephiroth. His character designs closely resemble anime art styles, so it’s no surprise a series where he’s director, concept artist, and character designer is very closely grouped in with anime.

Keeping in touch with KH through the Con experience

Nothing is more fulfilling than meeting other fans out of the comfort of the internet. Even the simplest things, such as having one of my many Kingdom Hearts shirts complemented on, makes me feel so much closer to the fan base. Discussing with people about which game or character is their favorite is something I look forward to every convention now and seeing all the different cosplays of all the different characters helps as well.

Now that I have two years of con-going experience under my belt, I can say that conventions have helped me get closer to a series I thought I had nearly lost touch with. It helped me rediscover my passion, and show that I’m part of something much bigger. The fan base is now stronger than ever now that we’ve got the anime crowd behind us for support. I feel that cons are a big part for why this has happened because they have helped bring countless fans closer together through other common interests.

Have you been to a Anime/Comic Convention?

Tell us-are you an anime fan who has also set foot in KH fandom? Have you ever been to Comic Con or maybe PAX? Or did you discover Anime at a later time as a result of KH? We want to know!

What do you enjoy most about KH at conventions?

  • Plushies, t-shirts, figurines and other merchandise (39%, 59 Votes)
  • Costumes (27%, 41 Votes)
  • Artwork (18%, 28 Votes)
  • Meeting other fans (16%, 25 Votes)

Total Voters: 153

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XaldinPuppyXaldin Puppy (the name he puts on all of his con badges) is the inspiring writer of this article, an avid convention attendee and Kingdom Hearts panelist. He’s been into Kingdom Hearts since the beginning and is ready to admit how obsessed he is.