Our Favorite Characters: Sora (Kingdom Hearts)

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s edition of Our Favorite Characters. In this series, we at PlayStation LifeStyle dig into why our favorite video game characters are special. It’s my turn, and to no surprise to the people I know online and offline, it’s Sora. By the way, there are spoilers for Kingdom Hearts 3, so you have been warned.

A relatable personality

Let’s face it. He’s not as deep or complex as the previous characters we’ve discussed in this series, such as Joel from The Last of Us or Jodie from Beyond: Two Souls, but this spiky haired keyblade wielder has an innate charm and personality that helps make the games incredibly endearing.

Sora

Sora’s so likable. Every character he meets, even the most distrusting like The World That Ends With You‘s Neku, warms up to his wacky personality. Neku even makes fun of Sora for immediately thinking of him as a friend, and this is inherently funny. That naivety is actually a character flaw throughout the series. In a sea of shooters, dark fantasy stories, and sappy J-RPGs over the past few generations, it’s a breath of fresh air to have a protagonist with a cheerful disposition.

Sora Begging

Something that makes Sora stand out is that he isn’t afraid to show how he is feeling. Unlike the stern protagonists of most Final Fantasy games and other JRPGs, he’s willing to express his frustration, his sadness, and his love for others. While Mulan and Shang get together towards the end of their story in The Land of Dragons, he gazes at them in a dreamy fashion. When Sora is tested to show his love for Kairi after the events of the 1000 Heartless Battle, he lets go of his pride and bows down to his enemy, Saïx. Sora begs to the villain so he can see her and desperately says, “Please” and tells him that he cares about her “more than anything.”

What also tugs at your heartstrings is how his friends are ripped away from him in Kingdom Hearts 3. He is sobbing, screaming at the top of his lungs, and can’t do anything as they all fade away. For the first time in the series, he was alone, and felt useless. Seeing such a happy, optimistic soul in an astonishingly sad state was incredibly heartbreaking to watch. He’s an emotional character to his core, and that’s why he’s so relatable. He might be a goofball at first glance, but he shows his emotions without any second thought.

I spoke to a friend of mine from the Kingdom Hearts community who has a YouTube channel called PlayStacin to get a second opinion, and he agrees with my sentiments about Sora’s personality. He said that Sora is the friend we all want. “He’s kind, supportive, and he’s always there for you even when you think you don’t deserve him,” he said. Sora was supportive of his best friend Riku, even after he betrayed him, took his keyblade, and joined Maleficent to the darkness. In fact, he was desperately trying to find him over the course of Kingdom Hearts 2, even more than the girl he loves, Kairi.

He also took the role of the keyblade wielder in the original Kingdom Hearts with very few complaints, despite losing his home, his friends, and the life he knew. He had to save the worlds from the darkness, and PlayStacin pointed out to me that “despite [all of these troubles], he smiles and continues to fight the good fight.”

A Light Character

Most characters have an edgy past that drives them, but not Sora, and during the process of writing, I think that’s why I relate to the character. I like to think of a positive future and keep moving forward or at least aspire to have that same frame of mind. PlayStacin agreed with me. He said, “Most heroes in entertainment media always have this dark traumatic thing that keeps them going, but with Sora, all he wants to do is make sure everyone is happy and to make new friends. I’ve never seen any other video game hero be like this, that’s what makes him so great.”

Sora Kingdom Hearts

Despite the problems revolving around him, he keeps moving on with a smile on his face, and even though he’s a fictional character, it’s a pleasant outlook on life to have that all inspire to have. It’s a nice sentiment. Jenni Lada, a fellow Kingdom Hearts fan here at PlayStation LifeStyle, said to me, “I always liked Sora’s optimism and devotion” She also mentioned, “It’s pretty impressive that he doesn’t have some serious neuroses after having multiple hearts inside of him, being transformed into a heartless, and failing his Keyblade Mastery exam.” I’d also add having his memories stolen away from him in Chain of Memories, almost being a vessel for Master Xehanort in Dream Drop Distance, having his girlfriend slain right in front of him by the hands of the evil master, and performing those awful songs for Ariel and the kingdom of Atlantica in Kingdom Hearts 2.

Whether you like Sora’s cheerful disposition or not, you have to admit he is unlike many other video game characters. Most popular video game protagonists recently are of the cynical type, but not Sora, who has inspired a big fanbase.

Furthermore, that is why when Sora crumbles down to the ground, cries, and gives up at the end of Kingdom Hearts 3, it’s so shocking and painful to watch.

He’s Done A Lot of Cool Attacks

Sora is a fun character to play as and has become even more exciting as the series has gone on. The dude has literally torn through multiple skyscrapers and sliced them in half! That’s bad ass! Has Kratos ripped through a building!? I don’t think so (though to be fair, skyscrapers weren’t exactly invented during Kratos’ timeframe)! His weapon, The Kingdom Key, is iconic as well because of it’s unique design. As a fascinating side note, Sora’s original design was a lion and he wielded a chainsaw-like version of the keyblade.

The reaction commands brought a lot of cool moments enacted by this guardian of light. For example, in this GIF to the left, he slashes a charging flying dragon heartless, flings it into the air, and lands on the ground in a stylish super hero like fashion. So sick!

The combat is so fun in the main installments of the games. His combos are flashy and exciting to input. The spells are helpful in battle and evolve the combat, like freezing an enemy in place in KH3 or deflecting attacks with a shield in KH2. He has great maneuverability with a dodge roll, he can climb to tall buildings just by running up them, and he has the ability to fly from one point of the arena to the next in a flash. In Kingdom Hearts 3, he teams up with his allies to pull off elaborate moves. This move with Goofy is fun to watch as Sora throws his shielded ally into the ground:

He also summons characters from Disney’s vast library to help him in battle. It provides the perfect fan service for any big Disney fan; it’s too bad they were lacking in KH3. Even seeing him unlocking the next world path is slick as hell in Kingdom Hearts 2.

Conclusion

Overall, Sora is the perfect hero for this Disney and Square Enix crossover series, Kingdom Hearts. He’s a jubilant character, who is willing to show his emotions to his friends, and sometimes his enemies. With a cheerful disposition, a strong sense of justice, the willingness to fight for his friends, a charismatic personality, an exciting array of abilities at his disposal, Sora is one of gaming’s best characters.