Kingdom Hearts was the Disney/Final Fantasy series combo that never should have worked, meaning Sora in Smash Bros. really shouldn’t have happened.
Adding Sora in the Nintendo Switch fighting game Smash Ultimate was the least probable of my dreams to come true, given his series origins. The 2002 role-playing game Kingdom Hearts introduced protagonist Sora, a Keyblade wielder tasked with traveling to different Disney worlds (read: movies) to vanquish The Darkness.
As Sora made his way through worlds like Neverland and Halloweentown, he befriended Final Fantasy series regulars like Cloud Strife and Squall Leonhart. Sora’s notable fights included Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, and Sephiroth, the One Winged Angel antagonist of the Final Fantasy 7 games. This melting pot of Disney cartoon happylands with the intense, violent, fantastical elements of Final Fantasy went against all odds. Alas, Kingdom Hearts was fun, charming, and just sorta worked in its own specific niche.
Want to recap the Super #SmashBrosUltimate presentation on Sora with Mr. Sakurai? Watch the full video in the link below and get a deep dive into the fighter’s moves & abilities. Sora arrives on 10/18!
📺 https://t.co/x0uH1j4PIx pic.twitter.com/E0JWnbkySP
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) October 5, 2021
Riding off the high of 2005’s Kingdom Hearts 2 for PS2, I wanted to see the magic Keyblade warrior in the Nintendo brawler ever since the official 2007 Smash Dojo website started releasing tidbits and teasers for the coming Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii.
As much as I wanted Sora in Smash, never, ever did I expect both Disney and game developer Square Enix to come to an agreement with Nintendo to add him in. By some legal miracle we may never be made privy to, we got our spiky-haired anime boy as the last paid DLC character for the ultimate fighting game of all time.
That’s three major corporations agreeing to let an anime teenager donning a red jumpsuit and giant clown shoes smack Princess Peach and Yoshi in the noggin with an oversized magic key.
Seeing Sora in ‘Smash’ made me cry all day
To recall my specific experience: I had just sat down for a morning meeting full of fellow geeks. Unfortunately, the surprise announcement of Sora in Smash happened literally the minute the meeting started.
A shocking amount of people called out sick that day, leading my boss to the assumption that yeah, everyone was at home watching the final Smash Bros. character release.
Five minutes into the meeting, I heard one of my friends exclaim, “Yes! He’s in!” I didn’t know who He was, but I kept my expectations low. I figured it would be someone like Master Chief from Halo or just-another-anime-sword-fighter.
Halfway through the meeting, my boss stopped to acknowledge, “Yes, I know, Sora is the character. Can we all move along now?”
The chills I got were immediate and intense. Have you ever gotten chills that rose so quickly they hurt?
Sora’s ‘Smash’ introduction changed my life
As soon as I got home, I tossed my bag with extreme reckless abandon and loaded up the Nintendo Direct. A love letter to the Smash Bros. games, the presentation opened with a CGI cutscene of the entire cast of characters witnessing the series’ giant firey logo burn out.
Everyone turned into statues, but a small fire burning within Mario allowed him to approach the final bit of flame in the darkened room. As the Italian plumber went to toss the fireball back at the giant logo, a sudden rush of flames revealed the Mickey Mouse emblem.
This keychain probably cost Nintendo more money than Sora himself. pic.twitter.com/sKwToFlcFk
— Nick (@GameApologist) October 5, 2021
As if that wasn’t enough to get my heart racing, a giant keyhole appeared, spreading light out of its opening as it revealed Sora in his classic floating entrance pose. The Kingdom Hearts series music swelled, meaning my eyes filled with so many tears so as to make it impossible for me to even see what was going on.
I had to put down my phone to cope. My lowered expectations were met with the highest high I could have imagined. How could I recover from such a shock?
Against all odds, well, here he is
After doing some deep breathing, I watched the rest of the Sora presentation, often rewinding for a closer look at the intricacies of his moveset. He had magic unlike anything else I’d seen in Smash Bros., a major sell for a more technical player like myself.
After I watched the whole 40-minute video, it felt like the world came to a stop. I had experienced this feeling before during major losses, but I couldn’t remember feeling this way toward a major win.
okay real talk, seeing sora getting into smash means so incredibly much to me. as someone who grew up with both kingdom hearts and smash it feels like a dream seeing him not just in smash but given such a beautiful and heartfelt entrance- pic.twitter.com/tUy4PfeZGe
— rhelaza (@rhelaza) October 6, 2021
I didn’t care if there was a slim chance I would end up hating the way Sora played. The very fact that a half-Disney-owned character made his way into a giant conglomeration of pop culture was enough to tell me that dreams indeed do come true.
There had to be a catch, right? If anything, every other Disney-specific reference beyond Mickey’s emblem was scrubbed clean from his inclusion — a small price to pay, truth be told. Sora was there, right in front of my own eyes, soaring above the 80-plus character cast, spreading love and cheer with his twirls and laughter.
Over the past few days, I rewatched Sora’s announcement trailer countless times, along with videos of others reacting to the reveal. I had no choice; every time I watched Sora’s reveal, I was sent into a hard sob. How intense was Sora’s inclusion in Smash for you? Or did you not know much about this apparently iconic character before reading about him? Feel free to reach out to me via our Twitter or our About Us page to share your experience with Smash Bros. Ultimate ending in Sora’s inclusion.