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InnerLight13

The 100 Greatest Kingdom Hearts Scenes (80-71)

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After taking a break from the Kingdom Hearts series for a few months, I decided I wanted to piece together a summer project that I can share with the world. This is that project. I will be counting down the 100 greatest scenes in the series’ history. Ten scenes will be revealed at a time, so this will run for a few days. No text box cutscenes or opening cinematics are included in this list. Each of the scenes is listed under their “Theater Mode” title. I hope you enjoy the countdown, and I hope it can spark some hearty discussion.

 

80. “The Same Place as Mine” (Chain of Memories)

Well, this Disney game just went there. As the camera pans up to the phony Twilight Town sky within Castle Oblivion, the Riku Replica questions where he goes after he passes away. The poise in which the scene is directed is deserved for this character that easily could have been tossed aside into the forgettable swamp of strawman territory. The real Riku really doesn’t need to offer much in the way of bedside manner. Being so close to death, anything the Replica heard at that point would have been worthy of an “okay” at best.

79. “The Icing on the Cake” (358/2 Days)

Leave it to two characters without hearts to bring so much to the Kingdom Hearts equivalent of the post-work happy hour experience. Of the countless clock tower scenes in 358/2 Days , this one is far from the most existential or plot relevant. That’s exactly why it works. Sometimes the simple, most mundane moments are the ones that build the most character and reveal the true heart of a story. Set to the lovely tune of “At Dusk, I Will Think of You,” this scene is the quintessential telling point as to why the trouble that ensues after it hits so incredibly hard. The stakes weren’t always so high.

78. “Kingdom Hearts” (Kingdom Hearts III)

The theme here, as it is in many other scenes throughout the series, is belief. The cold-blooded murder of Kairi by Xehanort’s hand in the name of motivation is questionable, but the response is anything but. Despite Mickey’s doubts regarding Sora’s chances at thwarting Xehanort, the rest of the cast know there is a clear candidate among them to put an end to the Dark Seeker Saga. With the always supportive combo of Donald and Goofy by his side, the beginning of the end gets underway in spectacular fashion.

77. “Those Who Remain” (Kingdom Hearts II)

On the heels on Axel’s emotional kamikaze attack and subsequent demise, we find the camera pointed back in the direction of the living members of Organization XIII. What we see is to be expected for the most part, but lend an ear and eye to Saix’s tone as he wickedly rips the memory of his fallen former best friend to shreds. The lack of eye contact and savage words he uses to mark Axel’s fade as being in vain is mindlessly cold to the bone. For those who would argue that the Organization at large were the mere victims of circumstance in Kingdom Hearts II, give this one another watch.

76. “Assembly of Darkness” (Kingdom Hearts)

As the original journey begins, a who’s who of Disney villains watch Sora, Donald and Goofy from afar. It gives us a little taste of what’s to come, especially for those well-versed in Disney voice talent. Still, this may be the greatest example of the game’s goofy crossover concept being implemented perfectly. Not only is the scene suspenseful, but the sheer magnitude of these characters being in the same room together is a massive development in terms of what the series can accomplish. If the villains from different films can coexist in this way, what else is possible? Order be damned; the world is wide open.

75. “A Present from Vexen” (Kingdom Hearts III)

Kingdom Hearts III quietly does a solid job of offering development for the supporting characters. It happens slowly, for sure, but it often hits all the right notes. Hold any excitement for the name in the scene’s title, for this one belongs firmly to Ienzo. Initially confused by Demyx’s gleefully goofy appearance, the unsuspecting tactician is met with the face of someone whom he desperately needs to see: Ansem the Wise, his former Master. On the side lies a lifeless vessel (the titular present), which, in due time, would prove to be the lasting impact of the entire interaction.

74. “Across the Ocean” (Kingdom Hearts)

The honest naivety of Sora and Kairi’s pseudo-romantic boardwalk conversation makes the game, and situation, that comes next so horrific. These are simple characters with a simple worldview on the cusp of a journey that they are woefully unprepared for, even if they had been able to leave on the raft the next day. If only it were so easy, as Kairi assumes, to come back home to comfort at any point you feel is right. Kairi jokes about leaving Riku behind, but there’s a hint of truth in her excited proposition. All that ever really matters to her is that she can be in the company of her best friend.

73. “Vanitas’s Making” (Birth by Sleep)

While Master Xehanort often harkens back to seeking balance and nothing more, one would be wise to acknowledge his complete lack of regard for the heart and life in general. His dismissal of the full-hearted Ventus’ potential creates Vanitas. In that creation arises the hypocrisy that is the crooked Master’s consistent downfall. He seeks not a balance between light and dark, but a conflict between the two. In the process, he makes a fractured person of Ventus and a slave of Vanitas. He’ll get his redemption eventually, but his monstrous processes were inexcusably despicable.

72. “Because We’re Best Friends” (358/2 Days)

You know something big is happening when a reprise of “Dearly Beloved” gets spun. The philosophical differences on how to consider friendship are brought to light as a fainted Xion is returned to the World That Never Was. For someone who is constantly scoffed at for chasing friendship, Axel seems to have a pretty natural grasp of the concept. During the sugary moment where the former Lea lets his two best friends know how he feels, the room rings with an atmosphere of unity amongst the trio. In a series that is heavily built on tragedy and the separation of characters from one another, this is a breath of fresh air.

71. “Talking on Paper” (Kingdom Hearts III)

And now, back to the tears. In addition to being a vehicle for how far the facial animations have come in the series, this scene is jam-packed with the feels. First, we get hit with Kairi’s impressive skills with the quill in a letter that’ll never be sent. It’s a unique way to show how she’s decided to connect with Sora as they are kept apart yet again. The real money shot, though, is the close-up on Axel’s bright green eyes after he has a vision of Xion. The instantaneous stream that falls down his face is brilliantly reactionary given the epiphany’s randomness, and it lets us know that some connections go beyond what our memory can withstand.

 

To 90-81: https://www.kh13.com/forums/topic/121583-the-100-greatest-kingdom-hearts-scenes-90-81/

To 70-61: https://www.kh13.com/forums/topic/121605-the-100-greatest-kingdom-hearts-scenes-70-61/

 

Edited by InnerLight13

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