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Latias

Vanitas' Fate (AKA, Vanitas Deserved Better)

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Posted (edited)

So I got into an argument the other day with someone over Vanitas... it all started because of an image with the BBS trio hugging him, and Van looking rather annoyed at the situation. The discussion got me thinking... so I'd like to see what more members in the community think. I'll be labeling myself Me and them with Key (it was part of their username). I'm not saying I'm entirely in the right, or they're entirely wrong. I think we both made good points, even if I don't agree with... anything they said. So, I'd like to share both sides.

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Key: (in reply to the image) Vanitas assisted in ruining their lives and tried to kill them multiple times.

  • Me: Vanitas was created against his will and was physically/mentally abused by an awful old man for the entirety of his existence and literally knew nothing but pain and suffering c: - so anyway, Vanitas deserved better.

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Key: Cool motive, still attempted murder. I don't mind Vanitas getting a redemption arc, but Ventus, Terra and Aqua instantly forgiving him after he played a part in ruining their lives? Yeah, that's a no. He needs to earn his redemption, a tragic backstory isn't the "get out of jail free card" you people make it out to be.

  • Me: Bold of you to assume we DON'T want a long, drawn out slow-burn redemption arc. Don't assume things, friend. Of course he wouldn't get off without SOME kind of punishment or reprimanding, but anything was better than DYING for sicko that made him that way.

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Key: I'm talking about the context of this picture of Ventus, Terra and Aqua happily hugging the same person who helped ruin their lives as if it's supposed to be something cute and wholesome. It's a good art, a very good drawing, but it's ridiculous to assume these three would ever hug Vanitas after the crap he put them through, even if he was redeemed.

  • Me: You're missing half the point of KH then, which is forgiveness. Always been a big part of the series. Given time, they absolutely could forgive him. Anyone can change if they want to, have the time to, and have people around them willing to help them. Vanitas never had any of these.

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Key: There's forgiving someone, and then there's happily hugging the same person who helped ruin your life. Would I be fine with Ventus, Terra and Aqua forgiving Vanitas? Yes, I can even see it happening, but them happily hugging him as if he's a bestie to them? Hell no. There are limits to everything, and just because you forgive someone doesn't mean you'll become friends with that person, or even like that person to begin with, it's not the same thing.

Can I see Ventus, Terra and Aqua forgiving Vanitas? Yes. Can I see them relating to him? Sure. But you saying that they were all used by Xehanort is wrong. Terra was POSSESSED by Xehanort, all the evil things he did were AGAINST HIS WILL. Vanitas did all that shit because HE WANTED TO, he also clearly enjoyed the thought of people in pain and suffering. So don't come at me with saying Vanitas was "used and abused" when it's clear that he enjoyed doing all the things he did.

  • Me: Vanitas was taught nothing else but to cause suffering, because of Xehanort literally beating into him. He never had a chance to learn or be anything different. Vanitas WAS used and abused, believing his only purpose was to cause others suffering. Of course he enjoyed it, it was the only thing he was told he was good at- it's what he was trained to do. I'm not going to blame the VICTIM for what their abuser did to them and forced them to be.
  • Xehanort clearly liked to ruin others too. Of course he taught that to Vanitas. Of course he used the fact that Vanitas was all darkness to paint him as nothing more than a tool to be used to create the Keyblade. That's literally all Vanitas knew; he wanted to join back with Ventus because he believed that was his only purpose. The only way to stop his physical and mental suffering.
  • Terra, Aqua, Ventus- they would absolutely realize what Xenahort did to Vanitas and used him to be. Ventus clearly understood, you can see it when they're talking as Vanitas is fading away in KH3. Maybe they wouldn't be totally functional family, but they could eventually learn to get along. Again, your imagination... is lacking. KH has always been about growth and bonds. Why can't Vanitas have that?

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Key: TERRA REGRETTED HIS ACTIONS. Unlike Vanitas, who did far worse than that with a smirk on his face and LAUGHING. Xehanort raising Vanitas to be like that is a lame excuse too. He did the same thing to Ventus, but HE didn't became a sadistic, psychotic ass like Vanitas. Vanitas is literally PURE DARKNESS, he would have been evil with or without Xehanort.

  • Me: I mean... the fact that Vanitas likely doesn't know what regret IS because he was taught never to regret his actions, or be anything other than a tool to his master... MIGHT have something to do with that, buddy. Boy had the emotional range of... well. You saw the Unversed. If he had ANY good emotions, they were likely stomped out early. How are you incapable of seeing that this kid was literally brainwashed and beaten from day one??
  • Also... Darkness =/= evil, way to miss the entire point of Riku's journey. Just because someone is pure darkness doesn't mean they'd automatically be evil. That part of him was NOURISHED and TAUGHT. There is no excuse. Everything Vanitas became, and is, is because of Xehanort.

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Key: I don't care if he was brainwashed and beaten. Like I said, SO. WAS. VENTUS. Xehanort abused him before Vanitas was even created, and he remained a good person. Being abused is no excuse for what Vani did either, and the fact you think so is just laughable. Stop talking about how a clear psychopath deserves forgiveness when he never showed being anything but a self centered and psychotic prick.

  • Me: Because he was FORCED TO BE THAT WAY. Again, I'm not going to blame the victim for how they turned out because of their abuser. Especially when changing their behavior was never seen as an option and doing the opposite would likely have result in more punishment.

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Key: My point is that Vanitas being "abused" doesn't matter when Ventus went through the same abuse and didn't became a psychopath like he did. And when he was given the choice to join them, by Ventus himself no less, he basically told him to piss off.

  • Me: You're really gonna to sit there and blame what is essentially a CHILD for how they turned out, when they had NO CHOICE in the matter? The reason Ventus didn't become like Vanitas is the very reason the two were ripped apart in the FIRST PLACE. The behavior Vanitas displays is TAUGHT. It is not nature. Not all darkness is evil, and not all light is good- that was the point of BBS. Neither side is entirely right, but Xehanort's way of doing things was VERY WRONG.
  • Eraqus taught his students that ALL DARKNESS was automatically bad, which couldn't be further from the truth. Does it surprise you that Terra/Aqua/Ven never questioned it? Never tried to reason with Vanitas? Because he was only a monster to them- because he was darkness... just like their master said. They never tried to reach out to him either, but after all is said and done, if Vanitas had been given an actual chance to live and change... they would've been smart enough to see how Vanitas turned out was NOT his choice.
  • Because ALL OF THEM went through trauma at Xehanort's hand in some way. They would know why he's like this, given time, and they would give him a chance. KH has always been a story about growth and change and I don't see why Vanitas shouldn't get those things because he was never given the choice to be anything other than what he was.

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Key: Yes, I'm going to. Vanitas is a tragic character no doubt, but that does not erase his actions, nor his clear enjoyment of them. If you wanna say Ventus doesn't count as an example, guess who else was also abused and had no choice in his life? Roxas! And guess what? He ALSO didn't became a psychotic asshole like Vanitas did.

Yes, not all darkness is bad, but that doesn't mean that every darkness is good either, and Vanitas is very much a evil character. The BBS trio would UNDERSTAND what Vanitas went through, but they would NEVER, EVER see him as a friend- much less hug the bastard. That's like saying Xehanort should be forgiven by them because the fact he lost all his friends like they did.

  • Me: Yeah, and you wanna know WHY Roxas didn't turn out just as bad? Because as bad as it got, he still had FRIENDS and people who genuinely cared for him even if he himself didn't think so, or didn't even remember them. Vanitas had Xehanort. That's it.
  • And I do think they could be physically affectionate with him later, if only limited because again I doubt Vanitas would be entirely okay with it, and yes there's still the past lingering between them. But you saying it could NEVER happen at all is just untrue. Vanitas is nowhere near as bad as Xehanort, nor did he cause the same level of damage and suffering. He was used. He knew nothing else. We keep going in circles here, bud.

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Key: Roxas had friends? And what happened to those friends? One turned out to be lying and hiding things from him, and the other died and was erased from his mind- so he LOST the only things keeping him together, and then proceeded to lose everything he ever had AGAIN with the Data Twilight Town situation. In short, Roxas was abused BY LIFE ITSELF LITERALLY HIS ENTIRE EXISTENCE. EVERY moment of happiness he ever had was taken from him... and yet, he STILL turned out better than Vanitas.

  • Me: Here's the thing- Roxas had moments of happiness to fall back on. Had moments where someone showed him kindness, and friendship, and that he had value outside of being a weapon/tool. Vanitas had NONE OF THESE. NOT ONCE. If we go by Data Roxas and that fight between him and Riku, Roxas could've easily turned out as bad as Vanitas- except HE would be able to stop, because he knew right from wrong. Vanitas was taught that wrong WAS right, and to EMBRACE IT.
  • Hell, Diz wanted Roxas to be WORSE (angrier) to try and pass it on to Sora. And we can see it actually kind of worked with how sassy and sarcastic Sora was throughout KH2. Influence matters, and Vanitas NEVER had a single GOOD influence in his ENTIRE. LIFE.
  • I REFUSE to blame what is essentially a child for the actions of someone who took advantage of them and forced them to be a monster. He could've easily done the same to Ventus, but he thought the boy worthless and was dying. Leave him with Eraqus. I have a better, more obedient tool right here that won't hesitate, because if he does, he knows what awaits him.

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The other user ignored me after this so... take that as you will. Sorry if this is sort of long-winded and repetitive at times, but I am firm in my beliefs than the cards Vanitas was dealt were unfair. He should have been given a chance to become better, to redeem himself, to learn. He's not perfect. He's not entirely innocent, either... but he didn't deserve to die as a tool to an awful old man who created him to be that way, and never gave him a choice or reason to be anything else.

But, that's me... what do you think?

Edited by Latias

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Vanitas is a very difficult subject. lol

One thing people need to understand is that the game's canon and the novel's canon are two different things. Vanitas' tragic backstory, the insight on how he felt about everything, and how Xehanort treated him are all exclusive to the novel. The games cannot be faulted for not following up on the novel's character arc, because the novels are not canon to the games.

As a fanbase, we're allowed to mix and match elements of the game's, novel's, and manga's different canons, but we need to remember they are all different iterations of the same story. If you want to headcanon Vanitas' novel backstory as his in-game backstory, you're very free to do that, but I personally think it's clear now that the game didn't have a backstory like that in mind even as far back as BbS.

I've seen some people say Tomoco Kanemaki (the KH novels author) worked on BbS, but that is false; her name is nowhere in the credits (believe me, I would know lol). She actually helped with 358/2 Days, and contributed to Xion's character, which she even highlighted at the end of its novel. If she had a hand in BbS, I think she would've said something in its closing comments. I've also seen some people say Nomura confirmed aspects of the (BbS?) novel are canon, but I've never seen this from a reliable source, so I think it's a rumor at best.

Speaking strictly of the games, the only times I ever felt it left Vanitas open for sympathy was when he died in BbS, as it was clear he really didn't want to, and then his final scene in KH3 (although that seems to be pretty subjective to the viewer). Personally, I really do like Vanitas, but way more in the game than in the novel, actually. XD I totally understand other people seeing his story as a tragic one, seeing as how he's a child made of darkness (and the other half of a sweetheart like Ven), and I see why the novel wanted to expand on his story, given he's such a mysterious character, but I really don't think the game intended for him to be a sympathetic one.

KH Union X has added a lot of lore about darkness in recent updates, and I personally think it's cleared up what the basis for Vanitas' character has been since BbS. I'm not talking about Vanitas' origins, I mean his personality and mindset. The way darkness is shown to think really lines up with Vanitas' final scene in KH3, and just seems to fit with what the games have shown of him in general.

My interpretation of Vanitas is that he isn't supposed to be a sympathetic character, but he's not supposed to be a complete monster with zero personality and depth either. I think if anything, you're supposed to sympathize with Ven's and Sora's dysfunctional relationship with him. In the end, Vanitas is darkness, so he opposes light, and he's totally cool with it. He could've been more, Sora and Ven gave him the choice, but the thing is, he declined them of his own will.

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This got......pretty heated.......

Well anyway, what I got to say about it:

Yes. Vanitas did bad things. Terrible things. He's a being of pure negativity. But he says himself that he chose to be darkness, so that was his choice, and that's a main factor of why he did those things. There is also Xehanort's influence and all which definitely affected him. 

I'm really glad you brought up the importance of forgiveness in your argument. Key doesn't seem to understand a deep forgiveness like forgiving a murderer, but I can't blame them for that, because I myself struggled with that for a long time and I still kind of struggle with it. It's hard to understand and accept.

Throughout the Kingdom Hearts series we see Sora loving and forgiving his own enemies; how he talks to some of the Organization members at their 'deaths' in KH3 is evidence. Despite his enemies kidnapping or hurting his friends, he ultimately forgives them. All of them. That's a huge thing, something that defines Sora.

I totally think that Vanitas can be forgiven. Sora would, and I know he already did. 

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9 hours ago, Double OKP said:

This got......pretty heated.......

Well anyway, what I got to say about it:

Yes. Vanitas did bad things. Terrible things. He's a being of pure negativity. But he says himself that he chose to be darkness, so that was his choice, and that's a main factor of why he did those things. There is also Xehanort's influence and all which definitely affected him. 

I'm really glad you brought up the importance of forgiveness in your argument. Key doesn't seem to understand a deep forgiveness like forgiving a murderer, but I can't blame them for that, because I myself struggled with that for a long time and I still kind of struggle with it. It's hard to understand and accept.

Throughout the Kingdom Hearts series we see Sora loving and forgiving his own enemies; how he talks to some of the Organization members at their 'deaths' in KH3 is evidence. Despite his enemies kidnapping or hurting his friends, he ultimately forgives them. All of them. That's a huge thing, something that defines Sora.

I totally think that Vanitas can be forgiven. Sora would, and I know he already did. 

but vanitas didnt want to be forgiven. 

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To be honest, I think I prefer the novel overall when it comes to characterization. Example: Aqua's baking adds...well....*something* to a character that is otherwise defined primarily by her circumstances, as with many of the characters in this series.

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