Happy birthday to the valiant hero, champion of light, conqueror of darkness, and protagonist of the legendary Kingdom Hearts series, MY GUY, Sora!
March 28 marks 19 years since his debut in Square Enix’s masterpiece action role playing collaboration with Disney, Kingdom Hearts.
To know Sora is to love Sora for his innate, unassuming character and pure heart. He is a character fueled with righteous intentions and extreme loyalty and love for his friends. He possesses a personable personality and an extraordinary knack for galvanizing those around him. He is infinitely courageous, optimistic, and carries himself with unyielding focus and determination when he’s serious. Besides that, Sora is a goofy, high-spirited, and sometimes half-witted guy.
Sora himself will tell you that his friends are his greatest power, but the hero of Kingdom Hearts also has an exciting, dynamic, and versatile mix of abilities that make him one of my favorite characters in all of gaming (why isn’t he in Smash Bros. again??!).
As the initially-unknowing heir to a spectacular power, Sora derives all of his powers from his Keyblade, a pivotal weapon used in the KH series against the forces of darkness and entrusted to only a select few. With it, he yields the power of extremely powerful magic and other unique capabilities. His Drive Forms are special abilities introduced in Kingdom Hearts II that allow him to use different, more powerful attacks and combos, wield dual Keyblades, or use abilities that he couldn’t normally use.
“They can take your world. They can take your heart. Cut you loose from all you know. But if it’s your fate…then every step forward will always be a step closer to home.” – Sora in the beginning of Kingdom Hearts III
It’s fascinating to ponder on the “what ifs” and early plans for our favorite games, characters, and anything in general we are particularly fond of.
Although developed by Square Enix, Kingdom Hearts is still a property of Disney, and if plans had fallen into place as initially discussed, Sora wouldn’t even exist! He was not originally slated to be the protagonist, as Disney wanted Donald Duck to fill the role, while Square wanted Mickey Mouse (Enix merged with Square in 2003, thus becoming Square Enix, after the first Kingdom Hearts was made.)
The genius Tetsuya Nomura, director and creator of the series, created Sora with the concepts of the Disney characters in mind, basing his outfit on Mickey Mouse’s trademark white gloves, red shorts, and giant yellow shoes. What’s also very interesting is that Sora’s trusty Keyblade was originally meant to be a chainsaw-like weapon (which Disney wasn’t fond of), and early concepts of his design saw him with lion-like features.
After a series of revisions, this cheeky young man was born and immortalized as the protagonist and face of the Kingdom Hearts Series which is still creating new memories to this day.
A few special things about Sora are the three P’s: personality, perseverance, and perspective.
Sora isn’t particularly special if you look at him at face value. He isn’t a supernatural being with amazing strength or a super high IQ. KH pioneer Nomura conceptualized Sora as a normal boy because he wanted to give players the message that even though they are not “important people,” they have the opportunity to accomplish great things.
It’s worth noting that he was not even the original choice to wield the Keyblade, but commanded its power due to the strength of his heart. He carries himself throughout the series with an incredible perspective on life for his age, a welcoming, warm personality, and an uncanny gift for perseverance. For those reasons, and many more, Sora continues to be a favorite in many fans’ hearts… including mine.
Happy birthday, Sora!