Miso Soup for the Otaku SoulSummer Adventures: Summer jobs and getaways for teens and college studentsYoung and Broke: Student JobsJapan

Kingdom Hearts


Kingdom Hearts opens with an ambiguously yaoi music video, then drops Sora into a mysterious, surreal dreamworld in which the disembodied sages of the world impart to him mysterious, surreal advice and mysterious, surreal encouragement (along the lines of, "It's going to be dark and scary, but don't fear, because eventually your own shadow is going to turn into an enormous tentacle monster with supersensitive wrists and an ethereal crotch") and put him through mysterious, surreal tests. A mysterious, surreal door stands closed on the edge of the mysterious, surreal platform and will not open until Sora wreaks enough havoc on innocent pieces of set furniture. And there is much mysterious, surreal talk of "buttons" and "joysticks" and "forget everything you learned about navigation in FF9 because we are going to fuck you up."

And then he wakes up on the beach, where all 14-year-old boys sleep at night on Destiny Island.


...But no, it's over, and this is real life. Kairi is here and must be dealt with. If you plug your ears and sing "Anacreon in Heaven" loudly enough, you might not have to hear her "self-satisfied six-year-old learning to flirt" voice. If you can get past that, you'll be treated to the sight of Sora, who's much less sexy as a Gumby-faced adolescent with perfectly flat teeth.

And then you'll be able to explore the island, which is apparently designed for Lost Boys on Quaaludes. Ramps and featureless shacks made out of bulk lumber cover most of the ground. Small snotty children wave swords in every corner, telling you that you're not nearly as good as Riku. Riku sits in the paopu tree and does sweet fuck-all. And Kairi orders you to get a bunch of stuff for the raft.

So you do, because otherwise the gods of Plot will not be appeased.

By this time you've been awake for maybe half an hour to an hour, depending upon how competent your player is at navigating the place, and Kairi is tuckered out from all this standing around and bossing you. So everyone goes to bed.

And then they wake up the next morning and mope about the beach some more. It's dawn in Paradise, and the natives are restless. They're tired of bouncing around a skateboarder's paradise with no skateboards, wearing oversized Spandex workout clothes culled from ship wreckage. They're sick of their coconut, fish, and water diet. The fact that they don't know where they live and they never actually see their parents is starting to subtly freak them out. It's time to leave this world, and go on to another--a kinder, gentler world, one where people eat mammals and vegetables and wear cotton clothing, one where they live in "cities" and night occasionally falls, one where they will be popped into starchy uniforms and hustled off to school in the nearest reformatory the instant the authorities get wind of them. But, uh, they don't know about that last bit.

Evidently they don't know the difference between a "world" and an "island," either, because they keep talking about how they want to go to other worldsworldsworldsworlds. And the way to travel is aboard a raft. *sage nod* The raft is done now, thanks to yesterday's treasure hunt, so now they need provisions. Kairi sends Sora off to get an egg, a couple coconuts, some fish, a handful of mushrooms, and a little flask of water.

Kairi's mom does all the cooking at her house.

Sora bounces off to get the groceries. He has astonishing good luck with coconuts--the trees shower him with scores of ripe, juicy fruit, possibly in an attempt to kill him--but less luck with fish, since his mun can't direct him for shit. There's a little glitch when he goes to get mushrooms from his Secret Place, gets sidetracked into drawing graffiti of him offering paopu fruit to Kairi, and is interrupted by a Jediless Jedi bathrobe. He grrs at the bathrobe, the bathrobe tells him that he's stupid, and he bounces off as though nothing happened. A mushroom-heavy diet is poor for the discerning faculties.

At some point during the festivities, Riku handed Sora a paopu fruit. "They say that if two people eat it together, they'll be bound together for all eternity." Sora looks confused, Riku looks sly, Sora throws the paopu fruit into the sea. Hey! Don't do that! That's the only source of vitamin C on the island! But Sora is more interested in demonstrating his disdain to Riku, who refused to meet him in the Secret Place last time he asked and went off with that tough blond kid instead, so into the drink it goes.

Later, Sora and Riku are having an argument about what to name the raft. Riku wants to name it Highwind, 'cos he has a thing for tough blondes. Sora wants to name it Excalibur, 'cos he has a thing for names which are really comical when the Japanese try to write them in romaji. They agree to race. "If I win, I get to be the captain!" says Sora. "Winner gets to share a paopu fruit with Kairi," says Riku. Sora boggles. He's not quite into puberty yet; he doesn't need any vitamin C! But Riku grins and he's off.

I decide to throw the match. The game won't let me, though. I make the obstacle course in about eight tries, yelling "FUCK A TUFFET!" all the way.

Riku wins and names the raft Highwind, then goes off smirking. When Sora asks him about the paopu fruit later, he claims that he was "only joking." Sora knows he's lying, though. His legs are straight.

Eventually Sora wreaks enough damage on the local wildlife, and drops off his groceries with Kairi. There are enough coconuts to sink the raft.

...And by the way, what's this about a raft? Three children too young to drive are going to float away from the only home they've known on a RAFT, armed with nothing but the makings for a small fish lunch, to go to another world where they may never see their parents again? What crack-ass stories have their parents been telling them? Is this just a rite of passage--turn 15, paopu somebody, float off to found a new home somewhere else, be eaten by bitterness for the rest of your life and hide away from your children in jealousy for the ease with which they navigate this strange new world?

But such is not to be the fate of our bold adventurers.

That night, there's a storm. Sora runs out into it and gets to see Sora go completely whacked, then Kairi disintegrates, then a tentacle monster starts eating the island. An enormous key materializes from Sora's ass. He slaps the monster on the wrists for a while, and it groans, explodes, and drops him off in the Disney version of Vegas.

Complete with prostitutes.

V. amusing.


Miso Soup for the Otaku SoulSummer Adventures: Summer jobs and getaways for teens and college studentsYoung and Broke: Student JobsJapan