Monday, June 24, 2024

Top 10 Best Keyblades in Kingdom Hearts


It’s been a while since I have made a Kingdom Hearts post (almost two months) so of course I decided to make another post about this beloved franchise. For this post I want to go over my top 10 favorite kingdom hearts Keyblades.

10. Star Seeker

Before King Mickey got his Kingdom Key D keyblade he had Star Seeker. Its design features a star motif, reflecting Mickey's role as a guiding light and protector of the worlds. It symbolizes hope, guidance, and the pursuit of knowledge, embodying the values that Mickey imparts to Sora and his friends.

9. The Gazing Eye

The only Keyblade on this list that we players cannot use (yet?), the Gazing Eye symbolizes foresight, destiny, and the manipulation of time. It represents the ability to see beyond the present and influence future outcomes, a theme that is prevalent throughout the Kingdom Hearts series. The Master of Masters' use of the Gazing Eye to predict and shape events speaks to the broader narrative of control and free will. Characters like Xehanort, who seek to reshape the world according to their vision, embody the struggle between predetermined fate and the freedom to choose one's path.

Additionally, the Gazing Eye reflects the overarching conflict between light and darkness. Its ominous appearance and association with characters who tread the line between these two forces highlight the series' exploration of moral ambiguity and the complexity of the human heart.

8. Way to the Dawn

Way to the Dawn is Riku's Keyblade, signifying his journey from darkness to light. Its design includes elements of both a bat wing and angel wing, symbolizing the duality of his past and his aspirations for redemption. It represents Riku's acceptance of his past mistakes and his resolve to forge a new path guided by the light.

7. Fenrir

Fenrir is a powerful Keyblade obtained after defeating Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts II. Its design is inspired by the Fenrir motorcycle from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, featuring a mechanical, almost industrial look. Its unique design and association with one of the toughest battles in the game make it a standout Keyblade.

6. Lionheart

Since this is a list of best Keyblades I cannot mention Squalls weapon, but I can mention the Keyblade Lionheart. It is a tribute to Squall Leonhart (also known as Leon) from Final Fantasy VIII. Its sleek design, featuring a lion emblem, reflects Leon's character. It symbolizes courage and determination, traits embodied by Leon and admired by Sora.

5. Oblivion

Oblivion is a dark, edgy Keyblade often associated with Riku and the darker aspects of the Kingdom Hearts storyline. Its black and silver design, along with its high strength stat, makes it a favorite among players who prefer a more aggressive playstyle. Oblivion often pairs with the Oathkeeper Keyblade, symbolizing the balance between light and darkness, and Sora's connection to both his friends and his inner struggles.

4. Oathkeeper

The Oathkeeper is the counterpart to Oblivion, representing light and hope. Its elegant design features white and gold colors with a charm resembling Kairi's lucky charm attached to the hilt. It is a symbol of Sora's promise to return to Kairi and his dedication to protecting his friends.

3. Two Become One

Two Become One is a unique Keyblade representing Roxas, Sora's Nobody. Its design is a fusion of Oblivion and Oathkeeper, symbolizing the merging of light and darkness within Roxas. This Keyblade has the unique ability "Light & Darkness," which triggers the Drive Form transformation into either Anti Form or Final Form. It represents the duality of Roxas' existence and the struggle to find balance between conflicting aspects of identity.

2. Ultima Weapon

The Ultima Weapon is one of the most powerful Keyblades in the Kingdom Hearts series, typically obtainable only after completing extensive challenges and side quests. Its design varies slightly between games, but it consistently features an intricate, almost regal appearance with a glowing aura. The Ultima Weapon boasts high strength and magic stats, making it an ideal choice for both physical and magical combat. It symbolizes ultimate mastery and dedication, reflecting the player's commitment to the game.

1. Kingdom Key

The Kingdom Key is the iconic starting Keyblade wielded by Sora throughout the Kingdom Hearts series. Its design is simple yet memorable, resembling a classic key with a gold handle and silver blade. Despite its basic appearance, the Kingdom Key is a symbol of Sora's journey and growth. It represents the bond he shares with his friends and the light that guides him through the darkness. Its versatility and balance make it a reliable choice throughout the series.

Each Keyblade in the Kingdom Hearts series is not just a weapon but a symbol of the character's journey, values, and growth. They represent the intricate connections between light and darkness, friendship and struggle, and the unwavering resolve to protect the worlds from the forces of evil.

Friday, June 21, 2024

Friday Creature Feature - Mushu

I wrote about Mushu a bit when celebrating Year of the Dragon, but since he's the Disney dragon who's actually supposed to be Chinese, I felt like he deserved a personal spotlight this year, not just a group post. Basically it's just an excuse to gush about Mushu and say why I love him.

Long before Mulan was in the picture, Mushu had failed as a guardian (see Fa Deng's decapitated head for the results) and was demoted to ring the shrine's gong. Dunno how long Mushu endured that humiliation and shame, but it can't have been fun. In an act of clumsiness, he broke the Great Stone Dragon in an attempt to wake him (though I kind of wonder if the spirit of the Stone Dragon in his wisdom wanted to send Mushu on the journey with Mulan).

After lying his way into war with Mulan, he looked for a way to redeem himself. He was clever and strategic, despite his lacking people skills (like telling Mulan to punch Yao). Despite his reasons being selfish, if it weren't for Mushu forging the general's message, Shang's forces wouldn't have been in place to fight and defeat the Huns. And if they hadn't fought the Huns in the mountains, they wouldn't have been in the capital to save the Emperor. So Mushu's selfishness inadvertently gave Mulan the opportunity to save China.

Coming clean to Mulan about his lies, Mushu started a wonderful redemption, unlocking some impressive teamwork. Mushu was instrumental in saving China. So while Mulan received accolades from the masses, Mushu was content to once again have the respect (sort of) from Mulan's ancestors. Too bad the praise went to his head, which contributed to about half the soap opera drama in the sequel (which I still won't talk about more).

Honestly, I think it's hard to not love Mushu. He's voiced by Eddie Murphy in the first movie (still not discussing the second) and I've yet to meet anyone who hates him. His wit and comedic timing make Mushu quotable and memorable. Plus, he's travel-sized for your convenience.

For more Mushu fun, check out some of his other appearances:

Mushu appears as a summon in Kingdom Hearts, but as I haven't played it, I'll let Michael talk about that.

He was a recurring character/cameo on House of Mouse.
PS: Why isn't that on Disney Plus yet?

I've yet to meet Mushu at a Disney Parks meet-and-greet, but on rare occasion he's at Epcot.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Wax On, Wax off... Wait, What?

Have you ever been asked to do something that you don’t understand or that doesn’t make sense at the time? Daniel from the original Karate Kid certainly had that experience. “Wax on, wax off” was always a fun saying as a kid. For Daniel, it became almost a form of torture. Day in and day out, he was instructed to “wax on, wax off” or “paint up, paint down.” He thought he was supposed to be learning karate from Mister Miyagi and here he was doing chores for him instead. At the height of his frustration, Mr. Miyagi shows Daniel that the actions he has been doing over and over and over again are the very movements he needs to be successful in karate.

Likewise, we have commandments, we have invitations, and we have ordinances from the Lord that are in many instances repetitive. “Thou shalt not…” and “Thou shalt…” are repeated phrases in the 10 commandments. I know that as I was growing up, I mistakenly understood my good works or my keeping the commandments to be what was keeping me from being thrust down to hell and saved in Heaven. Thankfully, mercifully, the Lord has taught me otherwise. While I may have been like Daniel, thinking the “waxing on” of reading my scriptures was for a certain menial purpose and the “waxing off” of taking the sacrament meant I could have the spirit, the Lord, like Mr. Miyagi has shown me a higher way and a more important reason for the things that I do. I have been saved by Jesus Christ. He paid the full price. I am saved by Him! The commandments and invitations and covenants He gives me are ways to help me better get through life, just like waxing on and off better helped Daniel in his karate tournaments. 

The late M. Russell Ballard said: 

“As we embrace His teachings, we give up all of our sins, we repent, and we do all that is in our power to come unto Him in a true spirit of discipleship, knowing perfectly well that it is through His grace that we are saved, even after all that we can do.” Safety, Peace, Joy, and Security in Christ, Ensign, June 2001

So, if Jesus did all the saving, why do I need to keep the commandments? Why do I need to keep spiritually “waxing on and waxing off?” Elder Bednar explained one reason in his October 2010 General Conference address: 

“Praying, studying, gathering, worshipping, serving, and obeying are not isolated and independent items on a lengthy gospel checklist of things to do. Rather, each of these righteous practices is an important element in an overarching spiritual quest to fulfill the mandate to receive the Holy Ghost. The commandments from God we obey and the inspired counsel from Church leaders we follow principally focus upon obtaining the companionship of the Spirit. Fundamentally, all gospel teachings and activities are centered on coming unto Christ by receiving the Holy Ghost in our lives.” (“Receive the Holy Ghost” October 2010)

As I continue to practice the gospel of Jesus Christ, I can have His spirit more abundantly in my life and hopefully, my life and actions will become and look more like the Savior’s. So while I may not be entering any karate tournaments anytime soon, I am continually working on the primary song, “I’m trying to be like Jesus.” It is my hope that through continually doing what He asks me to do that I may draw closer to Him.