Welcome to KH13’s trailer analysis for the new Kingdom Hearts III Winnie the Pooh trailer from Mexico City’s X018 event! Though only being a little over a minute and a half, this trailer features a lot of new content from a new world reveal to extensions of scenes that hint at what the Seekers of Darkness have in store for our main protagonists. So, let’s dive into it!
The trailer starts with the Kingdom Hearts III rating provided by the ESRB: It is rated E10+ for alcohol reference and fantasy violence. The full description they released for their rating can be viewed here, but do be warned: it includes minor spoilers for some as far as what type of violence to expect.
The trailer then opens properly with a sea of lanterns in the sky before closing in on Rapunzel and Flynn on a canoe in the midst of it all. Fans of Tangled will recognize this iconic scene, for it is the scene before the popular, “I See the Light” is sung. I will never stop marveling at the authenticity of the cutscenes Square Enix revealed; it really pulls you into the world of the movies. A nice touch is seeing Sora and co. viewing the lanterns, separate from Rapunzel and Flynn from their mound with the castle in the background. It is a good way to start the trailer.
Next we jump straight into the Winnie the Pooh world after which this trailer is named. We see Sora surrounded by Pooh and his friends, including the small purple Heffalump, a character from Winnie the Pooh that has not been present the previous times we visited this world in the series. The characters are all cell-shaded, with small black outlines. You really do feel like you are viewing a storybook. It makes sense, as Square are doing their best to make every world distinct and a character in their own right.
After feasting our eyes on such a sweet moment, we transition back into Twilight Town as Utada Hikaru’s beautiful “Chikai”, or "Don't Think Twice", plays over these new cutscenes. We see Pence and Hayner outside the old mansion. Without hesitation, Hayner straight up rushes over and tries to dropkick Ansem in the head. The man was ready! The slow-motion and angle changes really sell the moment, and it is one of the highlights of the trailer for me. As you can imagine, the barrage of memes from this scene alone just goes to show how much of an impact Hayner makes here. I’m not sure if Hayner will survive this attempt (we all know Ansem doesn’t play fair), but no one can say the boy didn’t try, okay? Hayner is a loyal friend that needs protection!
Afterwards, we see more Organization members, specifically Demyx and Vexen. We get a much clearer look at Demyx’s eyes here. Though some may have doubted it before, with the close-up there is no denying Xehanort’s influence over him. However, his sass remains intact as he tells Vexen exactly what he thinks of their business arrangement. Though they are both tasked to do some type of assignment together, it is clear that Demyx doesn't feel valued by Vexen. The voice acting here is solid and is a highlight for a character we have mostly only seen react based off of fear.
In the next frame we are greeted to Sora reassuring Chirithy that they will meet again. This is the first time any character related to Union χ[Cross] have shown up in a Kingdom Hearts III trailer. Though Nomura stated that Union χ[Cross] would be important to this chapter in the series, it's nice to finally get this scene for confirmation.
So far we don’t know if Sora and Chirithy are in a new world or if this is somewhere in the lanes between. It appears like they are standing in the sky, but a scene a little further in the trailer may shed some lights as to their whereabouts.
After Sora’s chat with Chirithy, we encounter more cutscenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Hero 6 worlds. The detail of the pirate ships and Jack Sparrow’s sword fight against Davy Jones amidst the rain is truly breathtaking . I really felt like I was watching a scene from the film.
The worlds of Kingdom of Corona and The Caribbean are an example of worlds with plots in Kingdom Hearts that take after their film counterparts. From the more photo-realistic look of the models within Pirates of the Caribbean, it looks like this world will test the graphic engine the most compared to the other worlds Sora will visit. From Kingdom Hearts II to now, the series has come so far in depicting this franchise and I think many fans of these films will appreciate all the effort.
From Big Hero 6 we finally see Dark Baymax in action and view a snippet of what his boss fight will look that.
It has been a while since the concept art showcased Sora on top of Baymax fighting another Baymax that is seemingly corrupted with darkness. So seeing him within the game engine for me was a high point. His boss fight seems to take place fully in the air and is very fast paced. Despite the combat, the detail doesn’t falter and the city surrounding them feels alive and thriving.
From here on out the trailer focuses mostly on various gameplay and new limit attacks. We get our first look at some of the mini games one can play within Hundred Acre Wood. For me, it reminds me a little of Bejeweled, Diamond Dash, and Tetris. Color coordination and category type seem to play a huge role in progression. It looks very engaging, and the cute aesthetic surrounding the menu and environments adds to the experience.
New limit attacks feature Sora, Goofy, and Donald being wrapped in Rapunzel's hair as she, with the help of Flynn, swing the trio around to attack surrounding enemies. It reminds me of Rapunzel's self contained attacks in which she swings her hair or utilizes her environment to gain momentum. It looks like Rapunzel's limits will be very useful in this regard with a large area of effect.
Another cool limit shown involves Jack Sparrow. Sora, and him team up for a flurry of sword attacks that connect with raining bombs from above, sending off a series of explosions and sword slashes towards their enemies.
The last gameplay segment involves a new transformation Sora utilizes. The “Hunny Launcher” canon attack appears similar to the Star Seeker canon finisher Sora can perform with the Keyblade, though this time the attack forms an explosion of honey. It is a short but nevertheless satisfying look into the possible attacks you can do with what I assume to be the Keyblade you obtain from the Hundred Acre Wood.
After this we see Sora running by clones of himself on a white platform surrounded by blue skies and white pillars. This almost appears like a nod to the scenes of Sora and images of himself run amok in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. The look of the sky in this area also appears very similar to wherever Sora and Chirithy are standing, though its unknown if these places are truly the same or even connected.
Many fans have speculated that these cloudy places are in reference to the Final Mix cover of Kingdom Hearts II. With Nomura’s love of hidden messages within symbols and visual metaphors, I would not be surprised if these places were connected. Let’s not forget, Sora’s name translates to “Sky,” in English, so these places could have a special connection specifically to him or have to deal with how Sora connects to others. Characters falling through the sky are a constant throughout the series.
Cover for Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.
Another concerning aspect is that as Sora is in free fall, passing by multiple clones of himself, his body fades away into a translucent blue form from his legs to his torso. This makes me feel like this place has to do with the heart or some other mental field rather than a physical world. It is the most vague moment of the trailer and I’m very curious to find out where this is taking place in the future. Could Sora be traveling through them in order to help Roxas or Ventus in some way?
Another highlight of the trailer for me is the next sequence. Sora looks up only to see multiple shadows fall from the night sky. Besides him, Goofy, and Donald., we also see Lea paired up with Kairi and King Mickey paired up with Riku in the same area, ready to face the horde of Heartless, Unversed, and Nobodies alongside Sora.
Kairi and Lea!
For the first time we see Lea summoning his Keyblade in battle. It will be really fun to see him in action. Kairi also goes into a stance similar to Sora, Xion, and Roxas.
The entire battle feels like a call back to the 1,000 Heartless battle Sora faces with Donald and Goofy back in Kingdom Hearts II. This new battle will be even more chaotic with every type of enemy our heroes have faced throughout the series present and accounted for. Good thing Sora has a lot more help this time around.
The final moments of the trailer feature more from Organization XIII. We see Terra-Xehanort encountering the Lingering Will and exclaiming, “Who are you?!” It is an intriguing exchange, because back in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Terra-Xehanort knows that the Lingering Will is part of Terra (what's left of him). But here Terra-Xehanort doesn’t recognize the suit of armor, possibly due to his amnesia. I believe this fight is an attempt for Terra to regain his body. This could be the makings of a very compelling boss, and if Sora ends up being a part of the scene I think it would be fitting to fight alongside the Lingering Will against Terra-Xehanort instead of against the armor itself, as was the case in a grueling secret boss fight within Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.
In a fast cut directly after the exchange, we witness a shot of various Keyblades tumbling through the sky and a shot of all 13 Darknesses arranged on a rising platform within a environment. It appears similar to the barren wastelands present in the Keyblade Graveyard, but this could also be the new location where the final battle will be set. This ending leaves us with a feeling of dread as Master Xehanort speaks of recreating the χ-blade once more.
We also hear some of what the new actor reprising for the late Leonard Nimoy will sound like as Master Xehanort. Some fans have speculated that Mark Hamill, who voices Master Eraqus, has taken upt he mantel. When a fan asked Mark Hamill on twitter directly, he liked the tweet which adds to this theory. It is too early to say, but after viewing the trailer multiple times the resemblance of the few spoken lines to Mark Hamill’s voice is uncanny. We shall see!
All in all, this trailer offered so much content for speculation. I really like the balance between the tones of each world and the loving attention to detail. Witnessing Chirithy and the Lingering Will really doubles down on the promise of many loose ends being tied up for this saga as everything comes full circle.
What are your thoughts and opinions regarding this latest trailer? Nomura recently revealed that more are coming for this and next month, so stay tuned for more trailer analyses from us real soon! If we’ve missed anything (or if you have any theories concerning Sora’s encounter with Chirithy and his multiple doppelgangers), let us know in the comments below!
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