WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Kingdom Hearts
It sounds a little weird to say this but there was a time when Kingdom Hearts was oddly simple. While the series is notorious nowadays for its convoluted story-line, the first game is actually pretty easy to follow (for the most part – there are still some nonsensical moments). And while it may not seem as grandiose or have presentation on the same level as its superior sequels, the first game is responsible for some of the series’ most iconic traits and moments. Case in point – this scene.
At this point in the game, Sora is at his lowest. He lost the Keyblade to former best friend Riku, who was meant to be the true wielder of the legendary weapon, and his only companions – Donald and Goofy – reluctantly ditched him since they were instructed by their king to “follow the key.” Armed with only a wooden sword and with the Beast by his side, Sora was able to overcome his grief and continue fighting his way through the ominous and Heartless-filled fortress of Hollow Bastion so that he can save his other friend Kairi (and probably Riku too, who at this point has almost completely succumbed to the darkness).
After being separated from the Beast, Sora finds himself face-to-face with Riku, who once again tells him to quit and leave, now wearing his “I’m super evil” clothes, and with Donald and Goofy by his side. But Sora, being the bastion of determination that he is, refuses to leave, confident that his heart is strong enough to survive the darkness – something that Riku decides to test by immediately firing a dark fireball at him.
While Riku had been increasingly antagonistic to Sora throughout the game so far, this is pretty much the first time he’s tried to cause direct harm. His lack of hesitation only shows how far the kid has fallen; he is perfectly willing to destroy his best friend to achieve his goals.
But then, Goofy suddenly appears in front of Sora and blocks the attack with his shield, having finally decided that maybe teaming up with the obviously evil guy is a bad idea and rejoins Sora. Even if it means going against his king’s orders, he won’t abandon Sora, because they’re best friends – an action that manages to convince Donald to do the same. This gesture in particular is sweet since Sora and Donald regularly butted heads in the past. This very much feels like the point where this trio became inseparable.
Unfortunately, Riku still has the upper-hand since he has the Keyblade. Donald and Goofy are tough but it’s unlikely that they can take on that kind of power, especially in Riku’s hands. And all Sora has is some magic and a wooden sword. The odds aren’t great. But Sora delivers possibly his most iconic, cheesiest and Disney-like speech ever – that his heart is a far greater weapon, one strengthened by all the bonds he’s made on his journey:
“I don’t need a weapon. My friends are my power!”
And with that, the Keyblade leaves Riku’s hands and returns to Sora’s. Riku may have been chosen by the Keyblade initially, but Sora has proven that he’s more than worthy to wield it. It’s a pretty great “screw you” to Riku as well; his face when it happens being a mixture of shock and disbelief. And then you get the satisfaction of beating the brat up.
For Kingdom Hearts fans, this is without a doubt one of the best moments in the whole series and helped cement one of the defining aspects of not just the series but Sora as well.