My second installment of Read the Manga focuses on Kingdom Hearts, a hugely popular and expansive series that spanned several generations of consoles, some that are extremely hard to find now. Reading the manga is a great way to catch up on stories before playing the ones you do have.
KINGDOM HEARTS by Shiro Amano
Kingdom Hearts is a mash-up between two favorite universes: Disney. and Final Fantasy. Disney has repeatedly created worlds that captivate our imaginations, and there are an abundance of Final Fantasy video games with iconic characters. Kingdom Hearts pulls these two franchises together by asking the main character to save each of the different Disney Worlds while teaming up with Disney characters and interacting with our favorite Final Fantasy characters. Similarly to the Legend of Zelda and other Japanese manga for children, the main themes of this series include friendship, belief in oneself, and determination. Some of these storylines can be complex, so these titles would most likely be enjoyed by ages 10+.
There are four different series within the Kingdom Hearts universe, and they are listed here in suggested reading order, not publication order.
Kingdom Hearts (4 volumes)
In this series, Sora is joined by Donald and Goofy in order to save King Mickey and Sora's friends, Riku and Kairi. The trio travel from world to world and "lock" each with Sora's Keyblade, stopping the invasion of the Heartless (beings created by the Big Bad and other Disney villains).
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (2 volumes)
This series picks up immediately after the first. Sora continues on his journey to find his friend Kairi, and he enters Castle Oblivion and immediately forgets everything from the first storyline. As he travels through the layers of Castle Oblivion, he pieces his memories back together and encounters members of a strange group, Organization XIII.
Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days (5 volumes)
This storyline happens in parallel to Chain of Memories, but from the perspective of Organization XIII. The story follows Roxas, a "nobody" who can wield the Keyblade and must help the Organization gather hearts to open Kingdom Hearts. Roxas just wants to figure out who he is, along with his friend Xion. Why are they the only two who can wield Keyblades? And who is this "Sora" person they keep dreaming about? Axel, Roxas' other friend, occasionally mentions going to Castle Oblivion for a secret mission, but those who have read Chain of Memories will know exactly what happens on those missions.
Kingdom Hearts II (10 volumes)
This hefty storyline follows Sora, Donald and Goofy again as they battle the powerful Organization XIII. The trio travel to different worlds, mostly derived from Disney films again, to stop the evil plans of the Organization, Ansem, and other Disney villains, all vying for control of the universe.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability : Grades 3-12
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: Elementary School, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Action Adventure, Fantasy, Video Games
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