The worst Kingdom Hearts game, also known as Kingdom Hearts coded for Japanese mobile phones, or re:coded in the DS remake, is generally speaking a pointless game to play, and extremely tedious to boot. It's too long for not enough story. I played maybe 60-70% of this game and then got frustrated with the overly repetitive gameplay and also that it rehashed the form/style of the first Kingdom Hearts, when the game is actually set after KHII. Finally, Square Enix took pity on us gamers and re-released the game as a cinematic as part of the Kingdom Hearts 2.5 Remix, much to my delight and completionist obsession.

Basically, the story of this game is that when Naminé was taking apart and then putting Sora's memories back together in Chain of Memories, she discovered memories sleeping deep in his heart that belonged to other people (i.e. Roxas, Xion, Axel, Terra, Aqua, and Ven) and realized that Sora had to come back and reawaken those memories. These memories had remained in his heart despite her taking apart his other memories. She left a message in Jiminy's journal that he later discovered and realized that he hadn't written: "We must return to free them from their torment", or "Their hurting will be mended when you return to end it" in re:coded. However all this is unbeknownst to Jiminy and King Mickey, who discover the journal's data is corrupted and make a Data-Sora to purge the journal's bugs that take the form of weird blocks and Heartless.

These memories, all of them are too painful. Handled the wrong way, they could damage Sora's heart, even break it. That's why I needed for Sora to find a way to face that kind of hurt. So I left the message for all of you. ... I thought that maybe if you fought the bugs that sprang from these memories, you might learn to face the hurt in the memories themselves. Data-Naminé, Data Castle Oblivion

Data-Sora is able to debug the basic components of the journal, but soon King Mickey and company discover another part of the data that would lead to deciphering the message. This part of the data is Castle Oblivion, where Roxas appears as a mysterious hooded figure. His face is not shown initially, nor his name ever mentioned (but you and I both know who it is), and he appears to Sora to give him world cards just as used in the original Castle Oblivion. His introduction is a quick "Me? I'm nobody." Har har. Then, he parrots off the typical "to lose is to find, and to find is to lose" nonsense of the castle. Sora encounters various friends but after these meetings, cannot remember who he spoke to or what they spoke about.

Data-Roxas: Everything in this castle is just an illusion. And once the illusions vanish, you'll forget all about your little reunion.
Data-Sora: I'll forget!?
Data-Roxas: Hey, no big deal. The fact that you can't remember them just means they weren't very important to you to begin with. Isn't that right?
Data-Sora: That's not true! Of course my friends are always important to me! Okay, maybe I forgot what just happened, and who I met inside that room. Trust me, I know I'll remember everything again!
Data-Roxas: Hmph. Sure.

The Data-Roxas that appears is more persistently sullen and bitter than the Roxas' we've been accustomed to - even the angry and anguished Roxas from the end of Days. Everyone, though, has their personalities intact, so it's proably a true reflection of Roxas' feelings. It's similar to the bitterness that Roxas expresses to Riku when he says "why do you have the Keyblade?!". Whenever Data-Sora returns from a conversation with people he's met from different worlds, Data-Roxas mocks him that he can't remember who he spoke to. "What do you care? They're only strangers. Actually, illusions of strangers. Just a collection of empty bits of data." "Guess you decided they weren't worth stressing over. Out of sight, out of mind, right?" He insinuates that there's no reason why Sora should hve to deign to care or bother with these others. Data-Sora rebuts him at every turn, expressing loneliness and frustration that he can't remember, and the longing that hurts him, but says that he needs the hurt somewhere down the road to unlock his memories. Data-Roxas is cruelly amused by this, telling Data-Sora that he would never find his memories again, and only encounter more hurt and succumb to darkness, and tells him that it's not too late to run.

Why should you keep the hurt inside? Just tell yourself you need to forget about the people you met in this place. You'll have no one to miss. No cause for loneliness. No hurt to keep eating away at your heart. Sora, it's your call. Cling to the memories you've lost, and the hurt they bring, till you're dragged into the darkness. Otherwise, let it all go and then you can be free and happy. The decision ... is completely yours. Data-Roxas

Here, Data-Roxas makes constant jabs at Sora, almost mocking him, but Sora never rises to anger. I think this is a re-manifestation of Roxas' dissatisfaction with being the Nobody, with not understanding why Sora was the one who was meant to exist, as well as a feature of Roxas' purpose in the datascape to test Sora to see if he would be ready to face the others' memories. Roxas' constant mentions of him not mattering, or that nothing matters because he and the others in the datascape don't truly exist, are a little too real to be just a datapoint. These are the words of someone who's (very reluctantly) partially come to terms with his destiny, but isn't going to go down without a fight. Data-Roxas wants to pick a fight with Sora, and wants to believe that Sora wouldn't care, and I get the sense that this could mean that Roxas would have further basis for despising Sora for being the Other.

With the help of Mickey, Data-Sora is able to realize that, in fact, it's not that he's lost memories that's making him hurt, despite what mysterious Data-Roxas told him - it's what memories he actually did have that cause him to hurt, and miss those people he had been around. Sora tells Roxas that he actually can keep the hurt inside him because it reminds him that what he'd forgotten in the past was "crucial" and that it keeps the "pieces in place", and that he accepted this as truth.

Data-Roxas, however, isn't having any of Sora's proselytizing and has been getting angrier and angrier.

"You say you accept it? It's not a game! It's way past time that you learned what REAL hurt feels like!"

(For the billionth time, props to JMac for the superb voice acting in this scene.) Thus ensues another battle between Somebody and Nobody. Sora refuses to put an end to Roxas, and he attempts one last jab at Sora. "I'm not even worth the effort, is that what it is? Guess there's no point in destroying something if it never existed." Sora, ever the saint, denies this. He tells Roxas that while they were fighting, he felt some of Roxas' pain, as though it were his own. He then says to Roxas that if his sharing in Roxas' hurt allows him to get closer to other people, carrying around hurt "can't be all that bad." Finally, Roxas smiles, and lets Sora pass on, knowing that his Other understood the true purpose of hurt and that he would be able to handle the pain he had experienced. He re-merges with Sora, who gets a taste of Roxas' memories.

Data-Sora: What's this feeling? I've got memories that don't belong to me. A place to call home. And a sunset, that's comforting. My first and my last ...
[a light flashes]
Data-Roxas: Summer vacation.
Data-Sora: You can rest easy. I've got you now.

Finally, Data-Sora is able to make his way to the Data-Naminé, who reveals the truths of her message and her goal for him as discussed above, and they have a very frank discussion about "hurt" and memories. Unfortunately, these scenes are not the most fluid, some of the verbage is awkward, and the way the game deals with "hurt" as such an abstract idea is somewhat unwieldy. However, through all this, the game communicates a good message, that pain and adversity are not wholly bad, as they can serve a greater purpose in the overall long-term scope of our lives.

Data-Naminé: At times, the pain can be wiped away. But there's also a pain that always stays with you. There's only one way to deal with that; you face it head-on and then you accept it. And if it happens that the hurt is too great for you to bear it alone, well, then you turn to a friend close to your heart.
Data-Sora: It'll bring us closer together; the hurt will only make us stronger. I'm willing to try! I'm ready to face all those memories that you found. It might have to be painful, but I can take it.

And this is why Sora is the hero of the series - because he's just too good and too pure for the rest of us.

Data-Sora completes his journey, and King Mickey promises to communicate what happened in the datascape to the real world, knowing that even a digital version of Sora could deal with the tribulations of the past and surely the future.

Drift © Chrissy 2007 - 2016. No infringement intended.