Back to reading Kingdom Hearts novels for games I never got to play!
It’s interesting to me that there are people who are fans of Kingdom Hearts but ignore any game that isn’t a big number – to them it was a 14 year gap between Kingdom Hearts 2 and 3 and then they were confused because they had missed between 8 and 11 games in-between (depending on how you count “remixes”). The original Coded was released in 2008 and remixed in 2010 as Re:coded. This is one of the games that deals more with the pure concepts of Kingdom Hearts and so I wanted to have a chance to understand the story and so read the book.
In this story something has gone wrong with Jiminy Cricket’s journal (which contains the details of the travels of Sora in Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2). Mickey Mouse (King of Disney Castle, and key blade master) tasks a Data version of Sora to investigate and fix the corruption in the journal so that they can find out what happened between those adventures because Sora, Donald, and Goofy have no memories of this other than a message to “Thank Namine”.
Whilst the core journey is a rather rote retelling of travelling through Sora’s first adventures again it’s the concepts that are interesting. There is really no difference in Kingdom Hearts between data and reality, sentience as a computer programme means you have your own life independent of where you came from. Data-Sora and Data-Riku are both as real as their originals – Data-Sora even earns his own keyblade (meaning he has a heart/soul). Data-Sora and Data-Riku are interestingly more open with their emotions than their real-world counterparts – Sora becoming annoyed with Riku’s sacrificial tendencies and doubt in his own worth.
Why this is interesting for the overall storyline is that the long-running mobile game Kingdom Hearts Union Cross is also set in a data realm where until recently everyone believed it was the “real” world and there is indication that it’s possible for those in the data to move to a physical realm. As this story has now also tied in to the latest Kingdom Hearts game it makes Sora’s first line in the first game “I’ve been having these weird thoughts lately… Like, is any of this for real… or not?” quite interesting…
So as an independent work it’s not great, but as a story that clarifies some concepts for the broader game it has interesting ramifications. And it’s nice to see a version of Sora and Riku who are more open with each other about feelings and thoughts.