In its essence, Kingdom Hearts is a simple story about love and friendship. It might sound corny, but anyone one who has played Kingdom Hearts know that for some reason, it really isn't. Because with this series, Square Enix managed to create something so genuinely innocent and honest it transcends the mundane concept of JRPG corniness; leaving behind only the touching tale of three friends (and a possible couple).
In the center of the story is the friendship of the series' three main characters, Sora, Kairi and Riku. Being childhood friends, they are bound together, overcoming impossible odds throughout the games to protect each other and the worlds of #KingdomHearts from the villainous powers of Disney scoundrels, Heartless and Organization XIII.
A Downplayed Love Story
But even though the friend-trio is tightly knit together, the feelings between Sora, the game's protagonist, and Kairi, his female friend, are something even more special. With the release of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 & 2.5 ReMIX (and the everlasting build up to Kingdom Hearts 3), we're gonna examine that bond, once and for all telling you all there is to know about Sora and Kairi's relationship.
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By playing both Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2 it becomes apparent that Sora and Kairi are more than just friends. But they are also just children; teenagers in the most romantically confusing years of their lives. We don't see any kissing between the two, only hand-holding and hugs, and as such never get the final proof to confirm an actual romantic relationship.
Or do we? Let's take a look at what actually happens between the two during the series.
The Cold Facts About Sora And Kairi's Relationship
Tracing love in Kingdom Hearts:
- In the very beginning of Kingdom Hearts, general flirtation, sentimental moments and Sora's showing off when Kairi's around indicates his love or at least fascination of Kairi.
- Kairi and Sora did love-drawings of each other on a cave wall near their home on Destiny Islands, depicting them sharing the paopu fruit of destiny. Sora only realizes this at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2.
- For the entire series, Sora carries around a necklace gifted to him by Kairi in the first game.
- When Kairi loses her heart in Kingdom Hearts, she gives it to Sora who unknowingly carries it around for the remainder of the game. Is that symbolic or what?
- Riku, Donald and Goofy consistently tease Sora about his feelings for Kairi throughout the game.
- Sora, a child, embarks on a life-endangering quest to save Kairi (and Riku).
- After Sora defeats Xehanort’s Heartless and saves Kairi, the two briefly hold hands. (!)
It's beginning to add up, isn't it? Looks like there might some romance going on in Kingdom Hearts after all. But wait, there's more:
Tracing love in Kingdom Hearts 2:
- Riku, Donald and Goofy are still teasing Sora.
- During the whole game, Sora fantasizes about Kairi every time he sees a couple in love.
- Roxas outrights refers to Kairi as "you're that girl that Sora likes."
- Organization XIII takes advantage of Sora's feelings for Kairi, forcing him to kill more Heartless for their plan.
- Xion's very appearance is due to Sora's feelings and memories of Kairi being so powerful that it influenced her existence.
- When Sora and Kairi are reunited late in the game, they come together in a heartfelt hug. (!)
- Sora confesses to the Nobody Saix that Kairi is more important to him than anyone else.
- The whole paopu fruit of destiny exchange concludes in the end credits of Kingdom Hearts 2, when Sora realizes that Kairi has added her love-drawing to the cave wall.
An Eastern Depiction Of Childhood Love
It is obvious that there's something going on between Sora and Kairi throughout the games, but Square Enix did a very good job of downplaying the romantic aspects of their relationship.
A lot of this has to do with how differently romantic relationships, and especially romantic relationships between youths, are depicted in Japanese pop culture compared to western culture. Friends in Japanese games, mangas or movies generally don't touch. And if they do (like when Sora and Kairi held hands or hugged) it's an indication that something else is going on. It's basically the equivalent of kissing.
So there you have it. Something else is actually going on. Unfortunately, Kingdom Hearts 2 ended on a cliffhanger, as Sora realized he and Kairi felt the same way about each other. We still don't know if Sora acted upon that information at a later point and took Kairi out for dinner or something. In any case, we'll probably find out when Kingdom Hearts 3 is released. If that is ever going to happen.
Do you think we will see Kairi and Sora in a full blown kiss in Kingdom Hearts 3?