Clickbait Boyfriend: Is Kingdom Hearts Sexist? One New Yorker Thinks it Might Be

Way back in the first Kingdom Hearts, Clickbait Boyfriend pondered whether the game was racist. He was being pretty tongue-in-cheek, but it’s a serious question worth addressing. It’s certainly not doing anything noteworthy in terms of representation! This week, in a month where these kinds of questions feel particularly salient, he wonders whether or not Birth By Sleep (and the series as a whole) is sexist too. Sneak preview: Aqua definitely has to put up with some behavior her male counterparts did not face, and Kairi is still looking for a personality, so things are not looking good.

Don’t worry, there are still plenty of laughs and memes! Let’s load up this save data, shall we?

(First time reading Clickbait Boyfriend? You can read all of our previous entries here.)

“Is Phil talking about her tits?”

-on objectification

Yes, despite existing in the Disney universe, Aqua must face the same sexism that women across the multiverse have battled since the beginning of time. None of the princesses or villainesses hit on Terra or Ventus. Yet Aqua, who, let us note, is seventeen or eighteen, maybe twenty at the absolute oldest, has to take all this crap from a hairy goatman she just met. Greek mythology nerds, I hear you: this is absolutely in character for a Satyr like Phil. But for a series that has rightly been criticized for poor character development in its women to have its only truly capable and independent heroine endure BS like this? It’s either way too realistic or incredibly tone deaf.

Aqua Phil Olympus Coliseum attributes


“The voice acting is so bad. It sounds like she’s just coming out of a coma.”

-on Willa Holland

Clickbait Boyfriend has been pretty judgmental about the voice acting in this game, and rightly so. I don’t think that Aqua’s voice actress is quite as bad as Terra’s, but she does sound like she could have used a cup of coffee before her recording sessions.

Bad Times Aqua Voice Acting Meme

You’re awful Aqua.

“All I had to do was watch one Kingdom Hearts speed run and now I’m perfect at Kingdom Hearts and no one can tell me otherwise.”

-on well-deserved confidence

The fall is a pretty busy time for me, and CBB needs to find ways to keep himself amused. For a few days, that outlet was Kingdom Hearts speedruns. I admit: I am fascinated by speedrunners. Obviously, I don’t believe in nerd-shaming people for playing video games. However, something about this pursuit always strikes me as a sign of someone with way too much time on their hands. It’s a knee-jerk reaction I’m trying to shake, because the skill it takes to complete these playthroughs is pretty darn remarkable.

Below, a public speedrun by one of the best in the Kingdom Hearts business. This is about a minute shy of the world record, but no worries: he holds that too. Oh yeah, and this one is a Proud Mode Zero EXP Level One run.

“No, actually I would appreciate the help!”

-on refusing Zack’s aid

Look, if she let Zack help, he would absolutely get one hundred percent of the credit from the sexist goatbro. While CBB is clearly feeling the loss of his pals Donald and Goofy once again, the lady’s got to look out for number one.

Hades and Aqua Olympus Coliseum

For god’s sake, even the Lord of the Dead is ridiculing her.

“Wow, this is a totally sexist world.”

-on inappropriate propositions

Oh Zack, this is not a good look for you. The woman is busy battling the forces of darkness and negativity, and you’re going to ask her on a date? Read the room dude: this isn’t the time!

I mean, look at her body language:

Zack How about One Date Birth by Sleep Gif

Fellas, take note: this is not the face of a woman who wants to go out with you. Seems obvious, but since Zack took it to mean “maybe after she saves the world and I grow muscles,” it needs to be said.

Aqua Zack date gif

“This is like being at a Kingdom Hearts rave. I would totally go to that.”

-on the Lanes Between

I’m not sure who made the decision about space in the Kingdom Hearts universe being one long bizarre trip (and not just the transitory kind), but it is a consistent aesthetic.

Also, Clickbait Boyfriend would not go to a rave. He’s just pretending to be cool for his readers.

Kingdom Hearts Rave

My rendering of a Kingdom Hearts rave.

“Are we finally going to go to Hawaii?”

-on well-deserved vacations

Spoiler Alert: Aqua is not going to Hawaii. Maybe Lilo will be a Keyblade wielder in Kingdom Hearts 3.

Lilo and Stitch Kingdo Hearts Surfing

Or Lixol will join the Organization.

“Dude, I’m like a Jedi!”

-on Blade Charge

Confession time: I died a lot playing through Aqua’s storyline on Proud Mode. Like, a lot. Once I discovered how to trigger Blade Charge, I was finally able to effectively defend myself/level grind in the latter portion of the game. Because I am a kind and benevolent girlfriend, I shared this knowledge with Clickbait Boyfriend. Remember a few weeks ago when CBB was still insisting he could get through the game with the x-button alone? Now baby’s all grown-up and triggering second-tier command styles!

Aqua Blade Charge Birth By Sleep

Eat this, Master Era—I mean, Luke Skywalker.

“Suddenly unable to one-hit K.O. three at a time, controls return to the player.”

-on cut-scene discrepancies

This is such a common trick that it even has its own TV Tropes page.

One Kit KO Cutscene to the Max Sora


“These controls are very intuitive.”

-on the Deep Space spaceship battle

Ah yes, Clickbait Boyfriend’s favorite part of Kingdom Hearts: any kind of spaceship battle! This one is more like gummi ship meets pinball, which is an obvious slam-dunk recipe for success.

Deep Space Ship Battle Birth By Sleep

Which of the three mini game designers is responsible for this?

“I’ve been waiting this whole time for them to call Terra ‘Terri’ as an affectionate nickname.”

-on the privileges of friendship

Why is Ven the only one with a nickname? They could have been Ven, Terri, and Awk.

Terra Birth By Sleep What?

Doesn’t seem like Terra’s into it. Honestly, calling him “Terri” would probably have accelerated his fall into darkness.

“It’s a triangle of fiends. To have a circle of friends, you would need an infinite number of friends all equidistant from a midpoint.”

-on relationship geometry

Does it look like any of these people has ever attended a math class?

Birth By Sleep Friendship Triangle

Caption: Figure 1: Friendship Triangle

Kingdom Hearts complete character rectangle

Caption: Figure 2: Friendship Rectangle. n.b.: Sora has not yet reached infinite friends, so a Kingdom Hearts Friendship Circle cannot be constructed

Next time: Half-hearted Disney,the proper way to “strike down” your enemies, and even more mysterious mysteries!

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