Saturday, June 21, 2008

Kingdom Hearts, Chain of Memories, Volume 2 by Shiro Amano

Sora, Goofy and Donald continue their exploration of the castle. Sora remembers that in his group of friends, he knew another girl, who was quiet and always drawing. But one day, she was just gone. Sora wonders why he is remembering this now, but since to find is to lose, and to lose is to find, inside the castle, perhaps the castle brings back forgotten memories to replace the ones they lose?

Meanwhile, the members of Organization XIII continue to taunt and plague Sora. A woman, Larxene, taunts him until he remembers the name of the girl in his memories... Namine. And then she tells him he will have to go through her to get to Namine. She fights him until a star-shaped charm falls out of Sora's clothes, and that's when he remembers Namine's name. After a few more taunts and blows from crossed swords, Larxene disappears.

Back at the Organization XIII base, one of the higher ups, Vexen, tried to recruit Riku to his side, but was soundly rebuffed, so he makes a heartless replica of Riku, and will use him to fight Sora. The Fake Riku picks fights with Sora, but is unable to win. When Sora learns that Namine is being imprisoned, he rushes off to find her, even leaving Donald and Goofy behind.

Eventually, he finds a door that leads to the island where he grew up, where he meets Namine again, only to discover that she is responsible for the loss of his memories. She entered his heart and rewrote his memories to include her. Larxene appears again to taunt Sora, and Sora decides to fight her anyway. He is losing until Donald and Goofy show up, and they use lightning on her, but she isn't affected. It isn't until they get her wet that she overloads from all the lightning inside her.

Namine tells Sora he can get his true memories back by going to the top of the castle and fighting Marluxa, the castle administrator, who is rather... evil. But a fight for control is going on in the organization, and Sora must decide who to support before he can enter the pod to regain his memories.

Meanwhile, Riko has rejected the darkness, but Ansem waits inside him, urging him to give in, telling him that only his fear leads him to reject the darkness inside. When Riku finally gives in, Ansem tries to take over his body, only for Riku to apparently kill him. But Ansem isn't gone. He's still inside Riku, waiting to take him over. Namine offers to seal Riku, with Ansem inside him, away forever, keeping the world safe from Ansem and his evil, only for Riku to reject her. He wants to kill Ansem permanently. Namine is relieved by his choice, and Riku and King Mickey travel on, while Sora, Goofy and Donald sleep, slowly regaining their memories. To be continued in Kingdom Hearts 2...

This was a rather confusing series, even if it was only two volumes. I have a hard time conceiving of why they wrote it, as the Nobodies are introduced again in the second Kingdom Hearts series, as well as Organization XIII. Maybe it was to introduce the character of Namine and show the infighting in the Organization. I honestly don't know. But I do know it doesn't seem necessary to the story as a whole.

Even if the entire series was some huge wank-off for the writers, it's still entertaining, though it doesn't make much sense story-wise. I'm not sorry I read it, but I am a bit upset at spending money on it. The only consolation is that each volume is about twice the size of the Original "Kingdom Hearts" manga, so at least you are getting a lot of reading for the money.

My feelings on this one are mixed, but combined into a whole, I'd rather not have spent my money on this series. Well, what's done is done, and that's all I can say.

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