I recently had the opportunity to speak to Kieron Sampson, the individual behind the Taco Bell Mexican Pizza advertisement rap that overtly mentioned Sora from the Kingdom Hearts series.
Throughout this interview, Kieron provided personal insight regarding his history with the franchise, the personal impact it has had on him, and how this unexpected reference came about. He also discussed the internet's reactions to his rap, noting how he did not expect it to blow in popularity like how it ended up doing.
You can view the full interview with Kieron Sampson via our Youtube channel below:
7-Elevens in Japan currently have a Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary promotion occurring via their printers. Until June 30th, 2022, fans can pay ¥200 to have special celebratory postcards depicting various illustrations printed.
You can view each of these illustrations via our galleries below:
You can view more information regarding this Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary promotion via the official 7-Eleven Japan website.
Former Kingdom Hearts Producer Shinji Hashimoto has retired from Square Enix after 27 years at the company. Hashimoto served as the producer for Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II, and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories as well as Executive Producer for every Kingdom Hearts game from 2009-2019 with the last game being Kingdom Hearts III. He also served as the Promotional Producer for the Final Fantasy series until May 2021 when he stepped down to become an Corportate Advisor for the company.
Hashimoto has also sent out a video message announcing his retirement. You can watch it below.
Hashimoto is an important figure within the development of the Kingdom Hearts video game series staring with a discussion with Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi in 1996. Shortly after, he had a chance meeting with an Disney Execeutive in a office elevator when the offices of Square Enix (known back then as Squaresoft) and Disney were in the same building.
Thank you Hashimoto-san for your vision, ideas, and hard work for the Kingdom Hearts series. Without you, this series may not have come into realization and we wouldn't be here as fans of this amazing series. Enjoy your retirement and May you Heart Be Your Guiding Key.
UPDATE (5/31/2022) : Each item is now available for pre-order until June 26th, 2022. We have updated our galleries with respective product images and have added hyperlinks to each store page. Additionally, shipments are expected to occur in early November 2022.
Following the announcement of Japanese luxury fashion brand Samantha Thavasa collaborating with Kingdom Hearts' 20th anniversary, the celebratory products have finally been unveiled. Each item is viewable via our galleries below alongside their respective price points and store links.
Aitai Kuji store links are listed in this article's conclusion.
The first wave of products, save for the strap depicting Sora's Station of Awakening, is themed around Sora and Riku.
Round Zip Long Wallet - ¥27,500
L-Zip Fold Wallet - ¥22,000
Round Zip Key Case - ¥15,400
Pouch - ¥12,100
Mini Shoulder Pouch - ¥12,100
Bag Charm - ¥6,050 each
The second wave of products is themed around Organization XIII.
Organization XIII Wallet (¥27,500) / Keychain (¥6,050)
Organization XIII Smartphone Shoulder Bag - ¥22,000
Organization XIII King Mickey Backpack - ¥27,500
Organization XIII Bag Charm - ¥4,400
The final wave of products comprises Keyblade charms, with all 7 making up an obtainable collection. However, each charm will also have its own dedicated store page. The individual charms cost ¥4,950, while the collection housing all of them costs ¥13,200.
Way to the Dawn
Kingdom Key D
KH1 Ultima Weapon
Thanks to @rote_punkt on Twitter for sharing the collective hub page revealing all of these products.
UPDATE (6/1/2022) : Aitai Kuji has now listed each of the aforementioned items on its digital storefront. These items' store links are provided below alongside their price points, which differ from Samantha Thavasa's. No estimated shipment times are available yet.
Round Zip Long Wallet - ¥28,000 ($220.47)
L-Zip Fold Wallet - ¥24,000 ($188.98)
Round Zip Key Case - ¥16,500 ($129.92)
Pouch - ¥13,500 ($106.30)
Mini Shoulder Pouch - ¥13,000 ($102.36)
Bag Charm - ¥6,500 ($51.18)
Organization XIII Wallet - ¥28,000 ($220.47)
Organization XIII Keychain - ¥7,000 ($55.12)
Organization XIII Smartphone Shoulder Bag - ¥24,000 ($188.98)
Organization XIII King Mickey Backpack - ¥28,000 ($220.47)
Organization XIII Bag Charm - ¥5,200 ($40.94)
Keyblade Charm Collection Case ONLY - ¥14,500 ($114.17)
Keyblade Charm Collection - ¥5,500 ($43.31)
Sony Japan has finally revealed the previously announced Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary walkman and specially designed earbuds.
The Walkman NW-A105 KH 20th Anniversary Limited Edition costs ¥36,000 and comes with "Hikari" (via a coupon) sung by Utada Hikaru, in "high-resolution" quality. Additionally, the 20th Anniversary branded Wireless Noise Cancellation Stereo Earbuds cost ¥34,000. Both products also have a 3-year warranty.
You can view images of these products via our gallery below:
These products are now available to purchase via Sony Japan's website.
Sony Japan also tweeted about the items' availability, viewable below:
Japanese retailer Blooming Nakanishi has announced that Kingdom Hearts-themed handkerchiefs and microfiber cloths will be available for pre-order via their digital storefront. Each microfiber cloth costs ¥1,100, and the handkerchiefs cost ¥2,200.
Additionally, pre-orders for these products begin on May 27th, 2022, at 12:00 JST and conclude on June 10th, 2022, at 03:00 JST. Shipments are expected to occur in August 2022.
You can view images of each microfiber cloth and handkerchief via our galleries below alongside respective store page links.
Kingdom Hearts II Microfiber Cloth
Sora Station of Awakening Microfiber Cloth
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded Microfiber Cloth
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX Handkerchief
Kingdom Hearts II Handkerchief
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance Handkerchief
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories Handkerchief
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Handkerchief
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Handkerchief
If you're interested in purchasing any or all of these products, be sure to check back on these store pages later this week!
Japanese publication Game Watch has announced that Kingdom Hearts merchandise will appear at a dedicated Animate Fair event to celebrate the franchise's 20th anniversary.
A summation of the provided information has been provided via our team's translator, Ryuji:
Of the products currently showcased, there are new stickers depicting each of the games, viewable via our gallery below:
In the latest of Kingdom Hearts references appearing in different media, this one could be the most random. In a recent ad for Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza on their official Facebook page, the rap includes the line "Key to my heart like Sora." You can watch and listen to the ad below.
So far in 2022, in addition to the 20th anniversary celebration of the franchise, Kingdom Hearts has been referenced and have cameos in a couple of Disney+ shows from The Wonderful Spring of Mickey Mouse, The Proud Family: Prouder and Louder, and very recently in Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers.
Fans have discovered an over 5-year old Twitter post of user TheDaguar sharing their discovery of the unused Alice Stained Glass platform within the files of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix.
While this platform artwork was viewable via the Kingdom Hearts Design Document, it being found in the game files themselves is a new, resurged development altogether. Further, it's also far clearer, and several facets of the Station of Awakening platform can be better viewed, including the Queen of Hearts, Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, and more. The borders of the platform also house unique icons like the other Station of Awakening platforms, with Alice's containing playing card symbols indicative of Wonderland's motifs.
You can view the original Alice Stained Glass platform via our gallery below:
Thanks to Twitter user @DaniZayaa for sharing this news.
A post from the aforementioned user shared an image of how the platform looks in-game, though it isn't in particularly high-quality yet:
Following the Kingdom Key cameo in the trailer for Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, another Kingdom Hearts-related cameo has appeared, though this one is quite odd.
Sora's hair is viewable in the recently released Disney+ film as a wig. It's certainly unexpected, but still cool, we guess?
You can view the Sora's hair wig below. Credit to GlaxonXIII for spotting it:
Livedoor News has announced that the upcoming BBC Proms orchestral concert occurring later this year will have video game music performed, including songs from the Kingdom Hearts series. In addition, Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda are also stated to be making musical appearances, with video game tracks being performed on August 1, 2022, by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Royal Albert Hall.
No details on which songs will be performed were provided, but we'll be sure to keep you updated when that information arises.
The official Japanese Kingdom Hearts Twitter account has announced that the Nintendo Switch Cloud apps of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX, Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue, and Kingdom Hearts III + Re Mind have been updated to display the server congestion present throughout each title.
The Square Enix Japan support website reiterates this collective announcement with no accompanying details on this matter. Additionally, Kingdom Hearts III + Re Mind will now provide the option to prioritize graphical presentation or performance quality.
Japanese retailer Sega Plaza has announced that their stores will start selling Kingdom Hearts-themed can badges, premium bath towels, and premium clearium on June 10th, 2022. For reference, Clearium is an epoxy resin substance used for decorations in Japan.
You can view images of the Kingdom Hearts-themed can badges and premium clearium via our gallery below. The premium bath towels currently lack images.
Speedrunning has been a constant practice in the Kingdom Hearts fandom, with there being an admirably dedicated community intently focused on maximizing their results with the hobby. However, the history of how these speedruns began and eventually grew has only been known by those who partook in or viewed them during the appropriate times.
Though recently, Kingdom Hearts speedrun community member Saiyanz constructed a remarkable video intricately detailing the growth of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix's speedrunning scene. Saiyanz provides insight and objectivity regarding the runners responsible for pushing the game's limits, the routes used to make these feats possible, and an excellent timeline.
Further, this video's commentary, also done by Egglamation, is beginner-friendly. It explains most concepts and terminology that those unfamiliar with the speedrun scene would not ordinarily be aware of.
Above all else, this video can be perceived as a collective celebration of the Kingdom Hearts speedrunning scene, so congratulations to Saiyans for taking the time to make such a stellar breakdown.
You can view Saiyanz' video chronicling the history of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix speedruns below:
The official Kingdom Hearts Twitter account has finally shared a high resolution, clean version of the series 20th Anniversary art drawn by Tetsuya Nomura!
Numerous characters are gorgeously depicted such as the Guardians of Light, select members of the True Organization XIII, the Master of Masters alongside the Foretellers, and more.
You can view this stellar artwork via our gallery below: