Today’s recommended listening: Well, we’re sticking to the KH theme for a while, I think, so I’ll try and keep them thematic to that – without just doing each game’s Dearly Beloved, I mean. Today, let’s go with… Naminé. It’s only fair that she get some recognition, after all.
Yes, that’s right, I’ve decided to make this a Kingdom Hearts week. Or, week-and-a-bit probably, it might take a while to get through them all. Don’t like it? Well… that’s fine. This is a slutocracy, so I will do what I feel like here – but also, I’m 200% happy to write about anything else if you have an idea in mind. Just let me know through a DM!
I’ll be going in game release order, which might mean we have to jump around the timeline a little later down the track – but bear with me, and I’ll try to make it as comprehensible as I can. Which… might not be that much, tbh. While I do adore these games, I’ve actually only ever played 1, II, and III myself – fake fan, I know. So I’ll be trying to recall the storylines off the top of my head, which… well, we’ll see how it goes. Join me, won’t you?
A little background – today’s game is Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, originally released on the GameBoy Advance (in comparison to the first game’s PS2 release), with an enhanced port to the PS2 in later years. Very very different combat system, revolving around playing cards to attack your opponents rather than directly hitting them with a big key.
This one actually starts out fairly simply – for one, we’re kicking off immediately after the ending of the first game. Our heroes – Sora, Donald, and Goofy – are chasing after Pluto, who was holding a letter bearing the King’s mark. They follow him down a long, winding road, and eventually end up at a mysterious castle. An equally mysterious man in a hooded black cloak gives Sora a card which will allow him to ascend to the next floor of the castle. Upon entering it, they find themselves… in Traverse Town of all places, the town Sora ended up in after his home was swallowed by darkness. Upon meeting their friends there, the gang is surprised to find out that nobody remembers them! Equally, everybody there is surprised that they know the names of these strangers that they swear they’ve never met before. Their hearts remember them, even if their memories have forgotten.
After essentially getting a tutorial in how to play the game, the gang head up to the next floor where they’re confronted by the same mystery man from before. However, they ALSO meet a new guy in the same cloak, introducing himself as Axel and challenging Sora to a fight. Sora wins, because of course he does, and they gang continues to ascend up through the castle, revisiting the worlds from the first game.
As they progress through the worlds, they begin to forget more and more about their journeys outside the castle. Even Jiminy- oh, right, I never mentioned that. Jiminy Cricket has been tagging along right from the start, as the royal chronicler, keeping notes on everything the gang got up to in the first game. However, even his journal pages are now blank. Sora also begins remembering things about his past – including his good childhood friend, Naminé. How could he forget her?! He even gave her a lucky charm to make sure he comes back to her! Kairi? Nope, no idea who that is. We’re talking about Naminé, you know? He make a promise to protect her under the meteor shower all those years ago! Naminé!
Yeah, uh, that’s not quite true. See, Naminé is actually a Nobody (that’s not just a weird insult, but… we’ll get into it in KHII) – and happens to have the power to rewrite memories. Which she’s doing to Sora, under strict order from the master of the Castle, in order to get him on-side with the mysterious Organisation. She’s not only making him forget his past outside the castle, but also replacing his memories of Kairi… with memories of herself.
Quick hypno-horny sidebar – how fucking hot is that?! Fully re-writing someone’s memories, making them forget, making them remember things that didn’t happen – straight-up replacing their memories of someone with memories of you. It’s next-level gaslighting, to an extremely sexy degree, and I am completely here for it.
Ahem. Anyway. Naminé’s not only doing this to Sora – she’s doing it to Riku, too. There’s a lot to go into here, but basically Riku’s had the option of peacefully sleeping in the World of Darkness Kingdom Hearts hangs out in – but he decided not to, and escaped. He’s still a little possessed by Ansem, but don’t let that bother you. Sora and Riku both believe they’re the one who has to protect Naminé, and they get into a little scuffle about it, with Sora coming out on top.
OK, technically it’s not actually Riku – one of the members of the Organisation created a Riku Replica (or Repliku, if you like (I don’t)) who wants to prove that he’s better than his original. Sora defeats him, as well as a couple of the other Organisation members on his way to the top of the Castle, still desperately trying to save Naminé. The real Riku is fighting his way up from the Castle’s basement, also taking out a couple Organisation members along the way. He also runs into his Replica, and after a good fight, ends up winning, comforting the Replica as he fades away into darkness. It’s… pretty sad. This scene is great, though:
Sora keeps passing through his memories of past worlds – but then, on the eleventh floor (of thirteen) he comes across a world that he (and us the viewer, for once) has no recollection of. A peaceful, serene little town, forever cast in the amber glow of twilight. It is, of course, Twilight Town. We’ll come to this one again in KHII – for now, just look at how pretty it is.
Jumping back to Sora – he’s figured out by now that Naminé is under the control of Marluxia, Lord of the Castle. Turns out he was also the one who lead them to the Castle in the first place, woah! Her conscience has gotten the better of her, and she feels bad for tampering with Sora’s memories so severely. He has a big fight with Marluxia and ultimately, destroys him for good.
Naminé explains the extent of what she’s done – she can reforge his chain of memories (hey, that’s the name of the game!) but it’ll take a very long time, and they’ll forget everything that’s happened inside Castle Oblivion. Including, unfortunately, her. The gang agrees to this, and are placed into these awesome-looking stasis pod things to rest up while she does her work. (Spoilers: she’ll be doing it for, uh, a while.)
Riku eventually rocks up to Naminé, guided by a mysterious figure (yeah, another one) named DiZ. DiZ (voiced by Christopher Fucking Lee!) has been pretending to be Ansem for a while, but his disguise got ruined when Riku said he could smell the darkness on the Heartless, but not him. Yeah, idk either. Anyway, he sees Sora like this, and while he’s a bit sad for his best buddy / polycule member, he knows it’s for the best. Naminé asks if he’d like her to work on his memories to remove the fragment of Ansem left in his heart, but Riku declines, saying this is something he has to take care of himself. DiZ gives him a black coat, identical to the ones the Organisation wear, and he goes off to fight Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, once again.
After successfully defeating him, he leaves the Castle and heads to the crossroads outside, where DiZ is waiting for him once again. (Mickey’s there too, btw – in fact he’s been with Riku the whole time pretty much, I just never mentioned him. But he’s there!). DiZ asks if he’s be taking the path leading to the light, or the road leading to the darkness. Riku responds by saying he’ss take neither, choosing instead to take the middle way to the dawn. And he heads off. Mouse in tow.
…and then, after the credits, we see a familiar-looking town, with a not-so-familiar looking boy, enjoying the perpetual sunset. We will, once again, see him in KHII.
But who is this mysterious blondie? What’s in store next for our gallant heroes? Find out next time, on this blog that was once sexy but now talks about Kingdom Hearts. Thanks for reading.