Sora In Smash Proves That Kingdom Hearts Doesn't Need Disney – TheGamer

Sora can stand on his own oversized two feet.
After years of expecting him to be relegated to a Mii Swordfighter outfit, Sora has finally defied expectations and arrived in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. As someone who has both played a lot of Smash and has four Kingdom Hearts tattoos – a true gamer, in other words – I, of course, would say he’s the best DLC character and a near-perfect inclusion.
Note that I said near. As fans quickly noticed during Masahiro Sakurai’s presentations, pretty much every single bit of Disney has been scrubbed from Sora, save from the Mickey Mouse keychain on the Kingdom Key. Donald and Goofy apparently don’t exist in this world, and if you wanted some of Kingdom Hearts’ great Disney battle themes on the Switch, well you better go line up for the cloud version of Kingdom Hearts, you palooka.
Related: YouTuber Assigns A Keyblade To Every Single Super Smash Bros. Character
Although many Kingdom Hearts fans feel it lessens Sora’s appearance in Smash and that Disney has too tight of a grip on the character, I instead think it proves that Kingdom Hearts no longer needs Disney to be successful.
Sora’s Smash debut does him justice thanks to the things that are purely Kingdom Hearts, even without any Disney involvement at all. All of his moves, all of his music, and almost all of his costumes – minus the Timeless River one that couldn’t be more classic Mickey Mouse if it ran a steamboat – are taken from the Square Enix side of Kingdom Hearts.
There’s not a single glimmer of Disney magic here, yet it still works fantastically because Kingdom Hearts has gone far beyond Disney meets Final Fantasy. All of the stuff that Kingdom Hearts is iconic for like the dopey quotes, the convoluted plot, and the fantastic music… they’re all separate from Disney. It loses some mainstream appeal by not chucking in a world with Frozen characters in, but the Kingdom Hearts fans are here for Sora, Riku, Kairi, and the gang, not Elsa.
A similar situation happened with Final Fantasy in Kingdom Hearts 3 – they were completely and noticeably absent. As much as I would have loved to see Cloud finish his fight with Sephiroth or, more importantly, see the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee react to Sora’s growth, Kingdom Hearts has become too wrapped up in its own stuff to be able to do everything at once, a situation that I don’t see getting any simpler as it dives further up its own butt. If I had to choose between finding out the fate of Sora or seeing Heartless invade Motunui (that’s Moana’s island, if you’re too cool for Disney), I’d go for the former and I’m certain most Kingdom Hearts fans would agree.
I love the Disney content in Kingdom Hearts. Donald, Goofy, and Mickey are key characters to the series and one of my favourite parts of a new game is finding out what worlds will be in it. I screamed when Big Hero 6 was announced to be a part of Kingdom Hearts 3, and I’m sure I’ll wee a little when Treasure Planet comes to Kingdom Hearts 4. I sincerely doubt that the next big numbered Kingdom Hearts game will go without Disney worlds because of money, but I also didn’t expect Cloud to take a holiday in the game’s biggest entry, so who knows what Nomura’s thinking?
Kingdom Hearts shouldn’t scrub Disney from its identity, but if it ends up drifting away from it and focusing on Sora and Riku’s journeys into other realities, Smash has proven that will work out just fine. It’s not just Smash showing this potential either, it’s mainline Kingdom Hearts as well. Both ReMind and Melody of Memory teased that the next game in the series is going to take place in a completely different world, Quadratum, and likely focus on Yozora and Riku in another Dream Drop Distance-esque game.
The last we see of Kingdom Hearts is Sora frozen in a crystal, a Noctis look-alike “protecting” him, and Riku wandering around a massive cityscape looking for the pair of them. Once again, beyond the little Mickey Mouse heads on their Keyblades, this is completely separated from anything Disney. As a Kingdom Hearts fan, that's the most exciting thing the series has done in years. Kingdom Hearts 3 showed some big identity issues at times as it struggled to give a reason for the Disney worlds in between all of the rescuing of the Guardians of Light. Perhaps it's time it stops worrying about that stuff so much.
Quadratum is a chance for Kingdom Hearts to do its own separate thing altogether, and Smash has shown that Kingdom Hearts doesn’t need Disney anymore. It’s a juggernaut in its own right that can stand on its massive two feet.
Next: Sora In Smash Is An Even Greater Reveal Than Kingdom Hearts 3
A trilogy of opinions.
George is a news editor for TheGamer, and an advocate for Psychonauts goggle-wearing. He’s notorious for caring far too much about platforming mascots. He tries, bless him.

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