Welcome back to Clickbait Boyfriend, Talk This! Podcast’s most prolific blog series. While most of the Kingdom Hearts world (okay, us too) is working itself into an anticipatory frenzy over the impending release date announcement of Kingdom Hearts 3, we’re looking back at the previous games through the eyes of a newbie. Josh is now deep into Kingdom Hearts 2, so you’d think there would be no turning back now. But there are a few boss battles coming up which could make the most dedicated fan throw down his controller. Can you say…dance water dance?
(New to the series? You can catch up on all of our quotable blogs here.)
“Is Pooh Descartes?”
-on philosophical bears
We’re picking up the action (or lack thereof) in the Hundred Acre Wood. Pooh sure does a lot of think, think, thinking, so he must exist about three times as much as Descartes ever did. If Pooh is a sentient stuffed animal, does that mean he also has the answer to the hard problem of consciousness? Has the existence of Winnie the Pooh proved panpsychism true in the Kingdom Hearts world? #philosophyjokes
“This isn’t a reading game, it’s a fighting game.”
-on minigame instructions
To be fair, Sora is literally in a book in the Hundred Acre Wood.
“Sora shouldn’t have any emotional attachment to Santa Claus. When did the Christian missionaries reach Destiny Islands?”
-on the magic of Christmas
The more I think about it, the less sense it makes that Sora would believe in Santa Claus. He literally lives on a different planet, a world that Sora was not supposed to know about because nothing was connected. Did the people of Destiny Islands independently invent an identical conception of Santa Claus and Christmas to delight their children? Will all worlds eventually evolve a Santa Claus myth? Or does Santa have a gummi ship and literally deliver toys across all of the worlds? There are a lot of big questions at play here.
“Any love for the Jewish kids here?”
-on diverse representation
It’s not called The Nightmare Before Hannukah, sorry.
“Which one you and which one me?”
“I’m Jack. Because you can’t do anything without my approval.”
-Josh and Madelyn on Jack and Sally
Josh and I do a lot of comparing each other to pictures of animals, people, and inanimate objects, so it was inevitable that we would eventually bring this labelling impulse to Kingdom Hearts. I’ve got Clickbait Boyfriend whipped as heck.
“They have the whole ocean at their disposal and they give me two rooms.”
-on wasted opportunity
Atlantica was one of Kingdom Hearts’ most expansive worlds in the original game, to the point where it’s easy to get lost and spend half an hour hunting for that dolphin you saw that one time. It was actually one of Clickbait Boyfriend’s favorite levels because of its creative level design. That’s all out the submarine window.
“It was Sebastian, what’s going on?”
Part of the reason Clickbait Boyfriend hates the new Atlantica is that it feels kind of superfluous and dumb. But I think most of his hatred stems from the fact that he is not very good at the mini game. He had a particularly hard time with the Sebastian prompts, where you have to avoid pressing any buttons, and an even more difficult time with the Sebastians that turned into normal Ariels. CBB is a rockin’ guitarist, but he can’t master pressing buttons.
“That was the most stressed I’ve been the entire game.”
-on having no chill
He’ll be begging for some silly rhythm exercises when he gets to the real dance water dance.
“This is boring. I’ve seen The Little Mermaid.”
-on recycled storylines
It does feel a little cheap that Atlantica no longer has any interesting gameplay to speak of and also offers up a story which the majority of the Kingdom Hearts audience has already seen.
“Where are the little lobster lawyers doing contract law?”
-on limited crustacean career paths
Did Sebastian have a choice in becoming a conductor, or was it forced upon him? Is everyone Under the Sea a musician? There are a lot of questions to be answered about how Atlantica functions economically.
It’s astonishing how many of these quotes are about The Little Mermaid compared to the percentage of gameplay time it takes up.
“Is Auron an existentialist?”
-on philosophical fantasy
I think he’s just moody.
“That was actually illuminating.”
-on Secret Ansem Report #10
I definitely ignored the Ansem Reports, secret and non, when I played these games as a kid, but they are some of the most useful in-game explantations for the whole Heartless/Nobody/Organization XIII mess. Still awaiting an answer for exactly whose job it was to write them, though, because they read like Ansem’s LiveJournal.
“Depth? You think this adds depth?”
-on the Ansem Reports
Maybe depth was too strong of a word. Character? Speaking of which, here’s Clickbait Boyfriend’s dramatic reading of Secret Ansem Report #4:
“This is gonna break me.”
-on Demyx and Dance Water Dance
I told you it was coming, and not just the Atlantica variety of watery choreography. One of my proudest video game achievements is beating Demyx on my first try when I played through Kingdom Hearts 2 before going to college. I had never made it that far in the game before because it was too difficult for young Madelyn when it first came out. Best of all, I didn’t realize it was a big deal! I must have just gotten incredibly lucky. And for the record, I was playing the original game on our PS2, not the ReMix, so it was truly impossible back then.
All this to say, “dance water dance” does not have the same sting for me as it does for many Kingdom Hearts players. But I got a taste of what it must have been like for them as Josh played this boss fight over and over again.
“My ego has taken a huge hit tonight.”
-on dance water dance again
Clickbait Boyfriend did eventually defeat Demyx, but not without reevaluating his self-image. Maybe Kingdom Hearts 2 is a little harder than he thought!
Next time: Jungle Hamlet, robot hugs, and the boss fight to end all boss fights.
Now, who wants to send Clickbait Boyfriend and the Talk This Sisters to E3 to play the KHIII demo?