Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days: Making Something Out Of The Nobodies

By Laura . January 6, 2010 . 1:14pm

khdays_event06 It is no secret to those who know me that my favorite characters in the series was the Organization XIII, a group of beings called Nobodies who have lost their hearts.  As such, they can feel no emotion (more on that later).  Just to put things in perspective, I had actually quit the series at Kingdom Hearts, but after I had read spoilers on the existence of Nobodies and the theory behind it, I was actually intrigued enough to finish the last quarter of Kingdom Hearts and all of Kingdom Hearts II in one fell swoop. 

 

And I was mildly disappointed in the lack of perspective into the Organization’s characters.  They have such a wide range of characters that were introduced, that we were given a taste of, but were never fleshed out… because Sora went and killed most of them, or they went and killed each other.  As such I was very, very excited to hear about Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.  An opportunity to put the spotlight on a group of original characters to the game (not from Disney or the Final Fantasy series)?  I’d bite.

 

Now, after playing Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days I’m torn between thinking of their use of the disappearance of memories as ingenious and contrived.

 

khdays_event04 It was a good plus that the game fulfilled my expectations in the characterizations of the Nobodies, although not quite in the way I expected.  We do learn more of the personalities of the Nobodies and their quirks, but it also drives home how odd some of the interactions are.  While some may say that this is a one-trick pony to drive in the fact that Nobodies can’t feel emotions despite the fact that they act like they do, it does work.  When the team at Castle Oblivion was obliterated except for Axel (and even he was thought dead for a while), all Xigbar had to say was “Yeah, so?”  When you’re on a mission with Demyx, who is arguably one of the most emotional of the characters we see in Kingdom Hearts II, it’s slightly disturbing to see him skirt out of work … even when you’re facing an extremely tough boss battle.  After the fight, Demyx is just happy that he didn’t have to fight it as well.  No concern for Roxas’ well-being whatsoever.

 

Each member is unique and I enjoyed learning quirks like the fact that Xigbar speaks very differently from how he writes, a fact that definitely helped him in becoming the former-scientist he is.  Saix isn’t just an unthinking lapdog of Xemnas; he has his own agenda as well.  Even Xion, the newest addition to the team, was likeable.

 

These differences carry over to the Mission Mode as well, in which you can play as different members of the Organization.  For every keyblade that Roxas has, every organization has their own weapon design and name, as well as their own variations of attacks and abilities that are derived from the weapons.  It was fun, especially for (I admit) a fangirl like me, to see the members fighting and not trying to kill you.  Currently, my favorite is Zexion, although Saix (although I abhor his personality) is a close second.

 

khdays_event07 Despite all of this expansion into the world of Nobodies, though, the question of what precisely Nobodies are is still not explicitly answered.  As I mentioned, they are beings without hearts, but what does that mean exactly?  In the fandom, I’ve heard explanations varying from “they feel emotions because they remember it, not because they can actually feel them” to “they always feel a certain wrongness because they know they’re supposed to feel something but they don’t,” and there is even dispute between whether this “heart” they’re missing is physical or purely metaphysical or both.  While little snippets of information is given in the games and some things may be deduced from the visuals in the game or the dialogue, one of the main premises of a game shouldn’t be left to such vague, nebulous descriptions. 

 

Then again, the reason they (the Nobodies, possibly the creators of the game) don’t answer the question is that they don’t really know.

 

khdays_event09 Another piece of information I’m hesitant to accept readily is this development on Replicas.  Tales of the Abyss vibes aside, it was almost as though Replicas don’t even have real bodies, but are rather some form of spirit.  During certain points in the game, there are scenes where Xion is seen with her hood up, then down, then up, and then down, ad nauseum.  I had originally thought that this was some really odd bug that Square Enix had missed, but it turned out that was happening (and we were never told this, which bothered me) was that you were seeing her from different points of view.  What does it mean when “what she is” resonates with someone in such a way that they see her as that person?

 

After playing this, I’m even more eager to see how the “Somebodies” come into play, seeing as they’re appearing in the upcoming game, as well as what role Venitus (Ven) plays in his dealings with the apprentices.  Heck, I’m interested in seeing the whole fall of Ansem and his apprentices, which will almost surely be covered in Birth by Sleep.


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  • Nekobo

    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=384047

    Best Kingdom Hearts message board thread ever. (sorry, couldn’t resist…)

    • Aoshi00

      lol, hilarious. But what do I know, I’ve only finished the first game, and played little of KH2 and CoM. I hope the PSP game would revive my interest in the series.

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      That … is the most awesome thread I have ever seen XD

  • Vanilla

    I was sorely disappointed that most of my favorite half of the organization were pretty much wiped out within the first few hours of the game.

    The existence of nobodies has ALWAYS given me a headache and a brief bout of depression. As for what’s “missing,” I’m more inclined to believe that it really is a metaphysical loss they endure. Something that everything else has that they don’t–figuratively, it’s as if the rest of the world (universe, whatever) has 3 arms and they only have 2. They can function perfectly fine, but they are still aware that something is missing.

    Regarding Xion’s hood, the only times she’s seen with her hood off is when either the POV is neutral or Roxas’. When you think about the relationship Roxas and Xion share, which is steadily revealed by the end of the game, it makes a lot more sense. It didn’t bother me much because all it really required was for the player to slow down and observe the scenes. I remember being pretty confused by it at first, too. Then again, most of what happens under the radar in KH requires a LOT of rumination.

    Ahhh I’m so excited for BBS. :)

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      Yeah, I was really confused since it switched between scenes, and then her hood would be on. Then off. Then on. Then off. I seriously thought Square screwed up somewhere and accidentally set “sad face” to “hooded face” XDDDD

      That’s me. When I’m pessimistic, I’m it to the extreme =P

  • vrakanox

    I do like the nobodies. I think it shows that Nomura can still make good original characters. In the future of the Kingdom Hearts series I hope Nomura will focus more on such original characters. I don’t think we will be seeing the specific nobodies again but maybe their somebodies? I don’t know I need to do more research on the Kingdom Hearts lore. Anyway Riku is my favorite character.

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      Thus far, the scans seem to indicate that we’ll be meeting most of the Nobodies’ Somebodies. Can’t say I’m too-too excited about it, but … they’re there =P

      On another note, I never realized Nobodies age… But apparently they do…

      • Vanilla

        I’ve never really understood the whole aging process. IIRC, Namine was the only one who could age? But then why would Zexion only have been a toddler in BBS, because the six apprentices were the first to become nobodies?

        Augh, thinking about KH too long seriously hurts my head. X_X

        • Masengan

          Are you saying that the young Zexion became a Nobody at that age and then grew? Maybe some time passed before he became a Nobody? I think it would be weird if they aged… Maybe that’s what’s missing? Lol I am confused as well… I need to play the DS game so I can see the hood thing.

          • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

            From what I’ve seen and heard about BBS timeline-wise, it would seem that the group became Nobodies first, and then aged (which is completely contrary to what I’d thought). I’m used to them not aging, but now that I think about it, most of that is based off of assumptions and fanfiction. Nothing from the actual canon series states that Nobodies don’t age, so I guess Nomura had fair game with that one, even if it is weird for me.

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