Is Kingdom Hearts Racist? One New Yorker Thinks It Might Be.

It’s getting cold out here in New York City, and you know what that means! It’s video game season! Now that Clickbait Boyfriend and I are officially not going outside until March (I wish), we have a lot more time to spend running around virtual worlds. In Kingdom Hearts, that’s pretty literal. Our heroes are going to be doing some major world-jumping, so fasten your gummi seatbelts! Today’s journey begins in Olympus Coliseum, before returning to Traverse Town, doubling back to Olympus, and then blasting off to Agrabah!

(PS- Is this your first time reading Clickbait Boyfriend? Catch up on previous entries here!)

“I just let them do all the work for me. It was great!”

-on Cerberus

Sometimes, the best battle plan is to exploit your animal friends.

Visual depiction of Josh’s strategy

“I have never gotten to fight dressers before.”

-on fighting Merlin’s furniture

Josh was surprisingly taken with Merlin’s antique store arena for magic practice. I’m not sure if I’ve ever spent more than thirty seconds at a time on it, but he bashed away at tea pots and chairs for a solid ten minutes.

Pay no attention to the man beneath the armoire.

“Firaga G! Firaga! Yeah boy!”

-on gummi treasure

Nothing like some good old fashioned sarcastic enthusiasm. Josh was not thrilled when many of his hard earned chests and trinities rewarded him with gummi blocks. I don’t get it. Who wouldn’t want one of these bad boys?

It can make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.

“Hotter than Daisy Duck? I’d have to see what Daisy Duck looks like in revealing clothing.”

-on the continued objectification of Yuffie.






This whole Daisy Duck thing continues to get more and more disturbing. But here we go: Yuffie in short shorts and a crop top vs. Daisy Duck with her feathered booty fully exposed.









“The little guys are the least satisfying monsters in the game. I like killing the big boys.”

-on the relative merits of Shadows and Large Bodies

Size matters, people.

Annoying combat mechanics also matter.

“Oh, giant Donald Duck again.”

-on Guard Armor, redux

I still don’t see the resemblance.

The colors are mostly right. Maybe if you squint…

Folks, we’ve hit a big milestone in Clickbait Boyfriend’s playthrough here! With Traverse Town’s keyhole locked, the second circle of worlds has been unlocked! (See what I did there?). I thought Josh would quit long before this, to be honest. Let’s celebrate with some Phil Cup weirdness!

“Monkey and magic! I love these names!”

-on the Phil Cup, Part 1

Missed opportunity here

“Green requeeeeem?”

-on the Phil Cup, Part 2

Offended that you pronounced his name wrong.

I never really noticed before how weird the names of each seed are in the tournaments. Someone in the writer’s room had fun with those/needed a break while crafting this bizarro story. Anyway, time to head off into the unknown (for anyone who hasn’t played this fifteen year old game, that is).

“This straight up looks like an acid trip.”

-on gummi travel (again)

Sure, Donald. We know what you really mean *wink wink nudge nudge*

Have I mentioned that Josh thinks the gummi ship is dumb? I have? Well, he’s not making it a secret.

“Is that racist?”

-on Agrabah’s Heartless

This is a tough one. There is nothing inherently racist about a character that wears a turban. It may be a stereotypical way to indicate that the character is Arab, but it’s also true that many people from that region do wear turbans for religious reasons. However, it is a little bit (and I hate to use this term) problematic that the most common enemy Heartless in Agrabah is costumed in this fashion. Why did the people of Agrabah turn into this particular monster and not ordinary Soldiers or Shadows? For that matter, why does anyone turn into any particular Heartless? Has this ever been addressed? Without any canon explanations, I have to assume some kind of racial or cultural dynamics are at play, which is more than a little icky. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but it doesn’t seem like any POC made it to Traverse Town. Disney’s universe is pretty lily-white, but I would love to see Kingdom Hearts 3 go further to remedy this than Kingdom Hearts 2 did. 

It also raises some fundamental questions about the nature of this Heartless. Is it wearing clothes, or are the turban, vest, and harem pants part of its being somehow? It seems like it should be the latter, given that we haven’t really encountered any Heartless that are clothed up to this point. 

That said, they look more like Star Wars Tusken Raiders than anything else.

“I feel like I’m in Assassin’s Creed, parkouring all over this Middle Eastern city”

-on surprising gameplay connections

Cannot believe this image exists.

“Is Jasmine a peeping Tom?”

-on Princesses hidden in barrels

Gives “don’t you dare close your eyes” in “A Whole New World” an entirely different meaning.

“This entire level I’ve only been able to think about ‘Funky Town’.”

-on soundtrack synergy

Josh claims it’s just “one little phrase” in the Agrabah theme music that reminds him of the 1979 classic. I’ll let you be the judge.

“I am a little concerned about Aladdin’s judgement. His princess is captured, and his first impulse is to go treasure hunting? The ol’ ball and chain is gone?”

-on acceptable relationship behavior

“They’re just like little puppies who can’t stand being away from their owner for too long.”

-on Donald and Goofy’s clinginess

No New Friends 2002.

“That’s an upgrade? I thought that was just a typo.”

-on Blizzara

Yeah, the writers must have been phoning it in here.

It really doesn’t make sense.

“Is it weird that genie Jafar got kinda hot?”

-on the next entry in the hotness continuum

Dude’s pretty ripped.

For those keeping score, our entrants are Genie Jafar, Turk the Gorilla, Yuffie, Kairi, and Daisy Duck. Official rankings are still TBD.

One quick trip back to Traverse Town before we end today’s post:

“This is my ultimate goal right now.”

-on synthesizing the moogle badge

Some things never change. Next time, whales, fairies, mermaids, and the Nightmare Before Christmas…just in time for Christmas!

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