Kingdom Hearts Girls (Xion)
Kingdom Hearts Girls
So I was talking to a friend about girls in fiction and I mentioned Kairi, from Kingdom Hearts, in passing, and it got me thinking about how few female characters there are in the series. (When I talk about the female characters, I mean the originals that are first introduced in the Kingdom Hearts series.). However, of the few, Square Enix has made some truly great female characters (and a stinker, but I'll get to that later), and I've decided to make a post dedicated to the women of Kingdom Hearts and why I love them!
1. Xion (358/2 Days, brief mentions in KH: coded and KH: Dream Drop Distance)
This never stops being funny to me because, going into Days, once I heard about the 14th member of Organization XIII, I was so prepared to hate her guts for being a Mary Sue (an impossibly perfect female character) who exists solely to invalidate the relationship of Axel and Roxas that many fans speculated on and to be a special little snowflake.
But then I fell in love with her.
And I was right; she's a special snowflake, but she's a special snowflake in that she's way too special and by all normal standards you probably shouldn't like her as much as you do, but you do. Like most of the female characters we see in Kingdom Hearts, she's a victim, and you as the player know she's doomed from the start since she doesn't appear in any games that are set after Days, but instead of making her a poor little victim who weeps over herself, Square Enix makes her into an actual character. The story of Days isn't really about Roxas; it's about Xion and her mission to uncover the truth.
Xion Stands Up Against Axel
The Three Types of Characters: Where Xion Fits in
There tends to be three types of people in the Kingdom Hearts trios: the one who moves the story along; the one who reacts to the plot, and the one who relatively does not move (or perhaps changes very late into the game) throughout the story. For example, in the main trio, Riku moves the story along by attracting the Darkness to the Islands and helping Maleficent collect the Princesses of Heart; Sora reacts to the challenges Riku puts in front of him, and Kairi remains stationary. In Days, Xion moves the plot, Axel react to the plot, and Roxas stays stationary up until the very last parts of the game.
I like to think of Xion as the Clarisse in Fahrenheit 451 to Roxas' Guy. Clarisse, like Xion, is the one who notices the things so inherently wrong with the world in which she lives, and functions to create an empathetic connection with the main character (Guy/Roxas) to tell him what's wrong and to pass the role of the mover and doer onto him. But unlike Clarisse, who figures everything out before the novel begins so Ray Bradbury can focus on Guy's development, Nomura actually begins Xion's journey, so that we can see the risks she took to gain her knowledge and how she grew as a person. If Organization XIII stopped with Roxas and didn't bother making a Keyblade-wielding puppet, they would have been unstoppable; Roxas, according to his cutscenes and his journal, never questions the Organization's motives and is content to serving the Organization and eating ice cream with friends on the clock tower. And Axel, never feeling the need to protect Xion or Roxas, probably wouldn't have gone through the lengths that he did, so no rebellion and therefore no plot.
One article that I read a while ago said that, in order to determine whether the character is good (as in well-written), try to replace him or her with another person and see where that gets you in terms of the story. Kairi, which I'll get to a bit later, could be replaced by just about anyone or, heck, anything in Kingdom Hearts 1 and the story would remain the same; her motives and actions as a character do little to affect the plot. Xion gets replaced, and you as the player don't get a story. There are many characters (like Roxas, but even if we were to replace Xion with another female Organization member, Larxene) who wouldn't seek Riku for information about her origins, wouldn't hack into systems to find out what the Organization was up to, wouldn't continually risk her life in pursuit of the truth, in defiance of her oppressors, and probably wouldn't go into full psychosis and sacrifice herself so that Roxas could live.
I love her fight and drive, the way she single-handedly drove the story forward, while realistically (or at least as realistic as a Kingdom Hearts game can get) making friends with Axel and Roxas. Personally, I ship AkuRoku (for those who don't know what that means, I personally believe and root for a romantic relationship between Axel and Roxas), and part of my (and a lot of other people's) reasoning for initially hating Xion was the fear that she would come in between those two characters and create a "no homo" atmosphere, but I feel that her relationship with both Roxas and Axel was well done and quite organic.
(This post is getting way too long to be manageable if I put all six characters in, so I'll probably have about three installments of this hub. Thank you all for reading this!)
Part 2 is Here!
- Kingdom Hearts Girls II
There are so few females in the Kingdom Hearts series that it's easy to overlook them. Here's a post dedicated to the Kingdom Hearts girls! (Part 2)