Monday, April 14, 2008

Kingdom Hearts 2 by Shiro Amano

Kingdom Hearts 2 is the sequel to the original Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. In this case, instead of the original hero, Sora, and his companions Daffy Duck and Goofy, we have a boy named Roxas, who is growing up in the little hamlet of Twilight Town, with his friends Hayner, Pence and Olette. Roxas has been having dreams of Sora, experiencing things from his perspective, and he doesn't know why.

One day, he's with his friends as their clubhouse when he discovers things are being stolen from the merchants in town. The merchants are blaming Roxas and his friends for the thefts, thanks to the tales of Seifer, a local bully. But Roxas and his friends have been stolen from as well, and not only has the thing been stolen, but the word for it is missing, too. They can't even say the word, just a blank spot in its stead. When they go in search of the real thief to clear their names, they encounter Seifer and his gang, and Roxas is attacked by a strange... something that steals a camera that had taken his picture.

Roxas goes after it, and winds up near a Haunted Old Mansion, where several of the things attack him. Roxas fights back with a bat-like weapon, and in his hands, it morphs into the Keyblade, which he uses to defeat the things. They call him "Master" and say they have come for him, but when he defeats them, they disappear, leaving only the pictures they have stolen behind. The friends get back their stolen item, which was a picture of them in happier times, and the word comes back as well. Pence says did they notice that all the stolen pictures had Roxas in common?

Roxas is troubled by what the creatures said. He and his friends try to make plans to go to the beach, and work to get the money to go there, but it is stolen by a tall figure in black, keeping them in town. The next day, Hayner gets money from his uncle to once again go to the beach, but Roxas sees the man who stole the money and chases him, causing them to once again miss the train. This plays right into the man's hand, as he doesn't want the "program" the kids are in to get any bigger.

Roxas also encounters Namine, who leaves him a note to come to the mansion and talk to her about himself and Sora. He does, and she asks if he knows his true name, but she is stopped by the man in black, who doesn't want Roxas to know too much too soon.

The next day is a fighting championship that Hayner and Roxas are entered in. Also fighting in it is Seifert, and a member of his gang, Vivi, a being who reminded me of Orko from the "He-Man" cartoons. Roxas and Hayner battle, with Roxas the winner. Seifert and Vivi battle, with Vivi the winner. Seifert claims Vivi is not the real Vivi, and when Vivi and Roxas fight, the world seems to freeze. The man in black shows up again, revealing himself to be Axel, one of Organization XIII's men from the Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories series. He claims to know the truth about Roxas, and tells Roxas to come with him, but Roxas doesn't want to, and when another man in black with a bandaged face shows up, he tells Roxas to wake up from this dream. Roxas is confused, and when time starts up again, he finds he has won versus Vivi. He shares parts of the trophy with his friends, and falls off the tower, has a vision of Sora's friend Kairi, and helps her remember Sora's name and shares his dreams and visions of her and Sora with her, along with their friend, Riku.

When he wakes up, he's back in bed at his home, and after another meeting with his friends, they decide to do their homework... by visiting the Haunted Old Mansion. Here, Roxas has another dream/vision of Namine, who tells him that Sora is sleeping to regain his lost memories, and that Roxas holds half of Sora's memories. Also, Roxas wasn't supposed to exist.

His friends wake him up at that point, back outside the mansion, and decide to go and eat ice cream. Back at the control panel, the man in black with the damaged face, whose name is DiZ, says they must get rid of Namine.

I enjoyed this manga a lot, although I realized after a very short time reading that Roxas' name can be changed to SoraX or XSora, so I am expecting him to be only part of Sora, and not really existing. But I'll be the first to admit I could be wrong. I can only wait and see for the rest, as I will do.

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