How would the story change if the hero wasn’t the main character? Think of all the details you would miss by only getting the main character’s perspective. In the Kingdom Hearts series, a video game series mixing the elements of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy and the magical worlds of Disney, there are many heroes, but the game focuses on a young man named Sora. Sora goes on adventures to save the world and find his friends Riku and Kairi. As interesting and amazing as Sora is as a main character, I personally prefer to focus on Kairi, who the rest of blog post will be focusing on. This is actually my second blog post on Kairi, and rather than go back and do a full description again you can read that by clicking here. If you don’t want to go that post, I’ll do a quick description here. Kairi is a childhood friend of Kingdom Heart’s main protagonist Sora and lived with him in their home world, The Destiny Islands. During the first game, Kairi is captured by the antagonists and is going to be used to grant their wishes because her heart contains pure light. Sora goes on a journey to find the helpless Kairi and she is more of a prize to be won than a character on her own. She is kept in a pod in a coma for a majority of the game until Sora comes and rescues her, traditional Disney Princess story. After Sora defeats the main antagonist, Sora and Kairi are separated again and leads into the events of Kingdom Hearts II. In this game, Sora is again searching for Kairi trying to protect her from the evils in the world. The new antagonists tried to capture Kairi again, but this time she escapes and goes looking for Sora on her own so she can help him. Both are looking for each other, and Sora no longer has to rescue the helpless female Kairi. When they finally meet, Kairi and Sora work together as equals to defeat the antagonists and save the world again.
As the title of this blog post, and that very brief description says, there is two sides to the same story here, each following two characters that are very involved in it. First we have Sora’s side of the games, which is the main viewpoint which the player sees while playing the game. On this side of the story, Kairi is a childhood friend and love interest which Sora needs to save and protect throughout his quest. She seems helpless, and she was in the first game cause she was in a coma and all, but Sora never learns about her new personality and character development. Sora believes that it’s part of his quest to find Kairi wherever she is and help her. On Kairi’s side, she was helpless and needing rescuing during the first game, but she developed into a strong, independent character, which Sora and the player didn’t learn about until the end of the second game. While Sora was searching for her during the the entire second story, Kairi was going through her own brave adventure looking for Sora. Their journeys were each part of a larger story, and the player was only shown Sora’s half.
This idea of different narratives changing the view on a story is called Narratology. To word that better, Narratology is the study of how the narrative or structure of the narrative can affect the viewers perception of it. In this case, the viewer/player is given the story through the viewpoint of Sora, which turns the story into a typical Disney tale. But by looking at both narratives, you get two completely different ideas or perceptions of the story.
One large example from the game series is a scene that is shown many times throughout them. In their home world, The Destiny Islands, there is a cave near there home where the children would constantly play. During the start of the first game, Sora, being a young boy and being in love with is friend Kairi, draws secret pictures of them together on the walls of the cave. He thinks he needs to keep his feelings a secret and tries to keep these drawings as a little sanctuary for himself. But, in the sequel, there’s a flashback of Kairi who not only found these drawings on the wall, but added on to it. She added the drawing of the paopu fruit, which is a magical fruit that when you eat together your destiny become intertwined. It’s revealed that Kairi had the same feelings for Sora, but that part of the story was left out from Sora’s perspective. This changes a lot of the first game, rather than Sora having to prove himself to win Kairi’s love, whether it’s by showing he’s better than his childhood friend Riku, or saving her life, he already had her love and could have not worried about it for the entire game.
There’s even more characters in this tale, each with a different perspective and take on the events, meaning that there’s hundreds of ways to see this story. The games even touch upon the story seen through the lenses of other protagonists, Ventus, Riku, Aqua, Terra, Xion, and Data-Sora. Kairi’s side of the story from the events past the second game are not as explored or explained as Sora’s side, so we’ll have to see where Kairi’s story, and the story as whole, goes in the upcoming sequel.