Thursday, June 25, 2015

Is Braig in the True Organization XIII

This is going to be more of a theory than anything else, and we won't know until the new game comes out, and even then we might not know. So let's cut to the chase. Spoilers for Kingdom Hearts DDD and probably all other games involving the Organization before that, such as II and Birth By Sleep, and maybe Chain of Memories. Is Braig part of the True Organization spoken of in Dream Drop Distance? First off, who exactly is the man who Sora talks to in the World That Never Was in this game: Braig, or Xigbar? Xigbar. Or at least, that's my guess. Even if he is a Somebody again, like Axel, Zexion, Vexen, Xaldin, etc are, that doesn't mean his name is Braig once more. I know that the others reverted back to their human names (Lea, Ienzo, Even, Dilan, etc) and Axe-I mean Lea continuously took every opportunity to remind us he was not longer Axel. However, is that not a conscious choice? The X in the names of the members of Org.XIII symbolize their "unity" supposedly, their "brotherhood", but in actuality, it seems to symbolize their crossing out who they were as a Somebody, and also becoming Xehanort, which is what was originally intended to happen. Therefore, returning to their human selves caused many of them to change their names back, as they were once again who they were when they had that name. In other words, Lea became a Nobody and took on the X in his name to make Axel because he was rejecting his former self, realizing that he was no longer who he used to be. When he became human again, he was rejecting his Nobody self and chose to go by Lea once more. But what about Saix and Xigbar? Even if they are human again, are they really who they used to be? Both are fused with Xehanort, hence the creepy yellow eyes, and both are still mixed up with the Organization. Doesn't sound like Braig and Isa to me. Therefore, I propose that those two still go by their Nobody names. On top of that, I'm not even entirely sure this Xigbar is from the same time as all the completed members. Time travel is confirmed to be involved in these games and the thing that got me to start thinking "maybe this is Xiggy from the past" was a lovely secret ending in Re:Coded where Braig is talking to young Xehanort. When I first saw this scene, I figured it took place sometime around Birth By Sleep, I mean, I think everybody did. But some people were saying that it actually took place after Xigbar has been defeated and goes back to his Somebody. I'm still not so sure about that proposition, but after doing a bit of research, I'm a bit more convinced than I was before. So that means, the Xigbar we see in DDD just might be from the past, as Braig in the secret ending has short, black hair again, but his eye is still yellow. This is why I still am not so sure that this takes place when some people think it does. Isn't his hair turning silver because he's becoming more like Xehanort or is he truly just getting old? Either way, I see no reason for his hair to return to normal unless his eye does, too. Great, anything else? Yes. This is all great, but it's not what the blog post is about. What about Braig? Well, I've been planning this blog post out for half a year now, and the reason is, I was playing Dream Drop Distance. And I was going through the enemy profiles, because I like to read them for some reason. And I found this: (I don't know how to take a screenshot, so you guys are just going to have to trust me and read my description) Xigbar, Braig, and Saix. All as separate files. But no Isa, further proving that Saix (and probbaly Xigbar) goes by his Nobody name. Under Xigbar it ssays this: "One of Organization XIII's members. As Number II, he has Xehanort's trust above all others. His job this time has been to vex Sora and lead him further into the abyss of sleep." Okay, so? Well, the entry for Braig says this: "The human form of Xigbar, one of Organization XIII's members. He became a Nobody during a certain experiment." I know that when it says "one of Organization XIII's members," it's talking about Xigbar, not Braig, but this still tells me that Braig might still be part of the Org. First off, why do they have both for him and nobody (pun) else? Also, he is the only person who has been with Xehanort from the beginning. He was working with Mister Master since Birth By Sleep, which is also when he became fused with the dude. Doesn't it make sense that he might be taken out of time and brought to the future to become one of the Thirteen Darknesses? Especially when they seem so desperate for a thirteenth member, I feel like Braig is a prime choice, considering, and clearly they can have the same person from different points in time because half of the True Organization is Xehanort. For the record, Saix's enemy profile says this: "One of Organization XIII's members. He expired after an epic clash with Sora. In his human years, he was named Isa and was Lea's close friend." So they do mention him as a human, but do not add a separate entry for Isa. Anyway, obviously we won't know for sure until all the members are confirmed, but while we're on the subject, apparently Nomura said that all of the members of the 13 Darknesses and 7 Lights are characters we already know, but some we may have forgotten about. I'm glad he's not going to pull the rug out from under us with a character we couldn't have possibly guessed because we didn't know s/he existed, and I also like that it sounds as though we're not going to have a bunch of obvious choices. I do think that Vanitas will be one of the Darknesses, and maybe a Disney character or two thrown in. Either way, I'm super excited to see who all the members are and how KH3 plays out. I'm seriously surprised no one seems to have thought of Braig and Xigbar as being separate members, or at least, I haven't seen anybody posting anything about it. What do you guys think?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Is Marluxia's Element Death?

This is a post addressing the debate about Marluxia, number eleven in Organization XIII in the Kingdom Hearts game series, and whether his element is death or flowers. Now, the honest answer, is no, his element is not death, it is indeed flowers, however, I personally consider his element to be nature or plants and thus, phrase it as so. Anyone who has played the game or is a big fan, might remember that the Proof of Existence shows the names and elements of all the members of the Organization, save for Xion. Here, it clearly shows Hana as his element, meaning "flower". Amusingly enough, in Korean, it means "Number One" which may have been slipped in on purpose considering he is the Lord of Castle Oblivion, and on top of that, wishes to overthrow the Organization and probably become the new Number I. So, the mystery is solved, right? Well, not yet. Or at least, not in this blog. I'm going to entertain the thought that his element may be death, or even, that he may have dual elements. First off, let me talk about why many people think his element may be death in the first place: his weapon. Marluxia uses a scythe named Graceful Dahlia. Considering even his weapon is named after a flower, I feel like that's the first hint that this theory is incorrect, but I shall continue. In America, as well as other parts of the world, the scythe is associated with the death because of the skeletal Grim Reaper who uses the tool to collect souls in mythology. However, the scythe did not originate with the Reaper of Souls, and is in fact, a gardening tool. Invented in about 500 BC, the scythe was used as a means of cutting crops such as wheat or grass, and eventually replaced the sickle in farming. As far as I know, the Japanese do not associate the scythe with death, and though it is not uncommon for them to slip European or American symbols into their games and anime/manga, I am more inclined to believe that his weapon was chosen for the latter reason. Now, before recently, I had never even entertained the thought that his element was anything besides plants or flowers. Then, when I was replaying the games and looking up some cut scenes on YouTube, I noticed something. This is what made me reconsider. "Your heart shall be judged!" I searched the internet extensively, and I seem to be the first person mentioning this. Why on Earth (or rather, in the World that Never Was) would he say that? It seems to random! Now, I understand that he says other things that are similar, such as "Your heart is in shackles!" but the first quote really stopped me in my tracks. Seriously, I died because I stopped fighting for a moment; I was surprised. My first thought about this quote was Anubis (and Thoth, Ammit, and Osiris of course) during the weighing of the heart in ancient Egyptian mythology. Of course, this game in Japanese, not Egyptian, and it's not like Yu-Gi-Oh where they merge the two cultures together, but then I was thinking, Enma is a Japanese deity very similar to the Egyptian Anubis. Both of them are often associated with death for obvious reasons. Then there are the flowers. The majority of people in the fandom who have actually paid any mind to the nature of the plants which surround him, like myself, have always assumed them to be petals of a cherry blossom. Now, cherry blossoms sort of represent death in the Japanese culture, but not quite, and this is what many people don't realize. In a way, cherry blossoms represent life more than they do death. The fragility and beauty of the flowers is a reminder of how life is beautiful, but also painfully short and easy to break or lose, thus is the nature of life and death. Honestly, if the petals were to symbolize anything having to do with Marluxia, I'd be more inclined to say he probably has some sort of tragic backstory, a life of heartache, thus being easily broken just as the flowers are. That being said, I don't even think that's the case. It is more likely to me, that the flowers would almost symbolize Nobodies in general. Their lives were fragile and broken and were taken away from them. They lost themselves too soon, and a short, painful life was what they had, yet their lives were beautiful and filled with emotions and passions. All of that was stripped from them. Like the cherry blossoms that drift through the spring breeze, they fell and essentially died. Still, we're not even sure the flowers he has are cherry blossoms. Personally, I think it would make sense for the flowers to be Lumaria petals because the word holds all of the letters of Marluxia's name, minus the X, twisted around, meaning it could also be his Somebody's name. And before anyone tries to correct me, no I do not mean Lunaria, though I know that's a type of flower as well. Anyway, at least one person I saw proposed the idea of a dual element, basically meaning his attribute is flowers or plants, but also death. An interesting idea, but unlikely. Why would he, of all characters, have two elements? Xemnas, the leader of the Organization, only has one, so does second-in-command Saix, and Number II Xigbar. Sure, he's Lord of Castle Oblivion, but other than that, he really doesn't have much power in Org. XIII. The only other reason I can think of that a Nobody would wield two attributes, is if his first one was particularly useless, but that's clearly not the case either. If anyone has a useless element, it's Roxas (light), or better yet, Xion who doesn't have one. All of this is fine and dandy, but where does that leave us? Well, as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, his element is officially "flowers", not only according to the proof of existence in the game, but also all official sources by the creators of the game. I doubt they are wrong about the attribute of their own character. In other words, it's an interesting idea, but just doesn't hold up. Marluxia wields flowers, not death.

Friday, June 12, 2015

How Do You Pronounce the Names of the Organization in Kingdom Hearts?

That title is quite the mouthful, huh? Anyway, I honestly never thought there would be so much controversy about this because the majority of the names seemed straight forward to me and a lot of them have been said in the games. So, allow me to clear somethings up about the oddball names of the fourteen members of Organization XIII, with the cannon names actually said in game, and for those which have never been said aloud, I will give my own opinion, but also some other options which are possible, and let you guys decide for yourselves. Sound good? Great, let's get started! Of course, we'll go in order.
Xemnas: His name has been said in the games. It is pronounced Zeh-m-neh-s or Zeh-m-nuh-s, depending on which character is speaking.
Ansem: This is also confirmed to be pronounced as An-s-eh-m, which is exactly how it looks to me. Even before I heard the names aloud, I always assumed these were the pronunciations simply by looking at the spelling. It always seemed obvious to me.          
Terra: T-air-uh. This should be obvious, in my opinion, since it is an actual name in our world. But, it has also been said in Birth By Sleep several times.
Xigbar: A lot of people think that his name has never been said in English, but this is untrue. In Final Mix 1.5, during the cut scenes for 358/2 Days, Saix says, "Why Xigbar it almost sounds as though you know," speaking of Namine's absence. His name is pronounced how I, and many others, have been saying it. Z-ih-g-b-ah-r. With a Z. Honestly, because the letter is missing from the language, it could have literally ended up being pronounced either way, but they went with the English version of "x" it seems.
 Braig: This one is tricky. Generally in Japanese the "ai" sound is pronounced "eye". However, that is in Japanese. Dilan is not a Japanese name and doesn't even follow the rules of Japanese. If it were to follow the Japanese language, Dilan would be D-eeh-l-on. Or rather, D-eeh-r-on. I always pronounce this as Br-ay-g. Part of the reason is because it just feels right to me when I look at the name, but also, in Japanese, it is spelled Buraigu, which feels like it would translate into Br-ay-g or Br-eye-g. Other options that I have seen are "Brag", Br-eh-g (kind of like Craig), and, as previously mentioned, Br-eye-g. It would not be Br-ai-icks, or anything similar, as I have seen some people suggest, because Saix's name is pronounced that way because of the umlaut. Besides, could any of you really say that name with a striaght face if it were the case? Because I wouldn't be able to.
Xaldin: This is confirmed to be pronounced Z-all-din. I have heard some fans call him Z-al-din, though, or Z-all-deen. I've never understood the last one; it sounds like a gender-bent version of him. Dilan: What do you think? His name is Dilan. D-ill-an.
Vexen: Also confirmed. His name is pronounced V-eh-ks-en, exactly how it looks. I don't believe I've seen anyone pronounce it any other way except for maybe V-eh-ks-in, but I feel like it is basically the same thing.
Even: Same with Dilan, his name is Even. Like Evan. Eh-v-eh-n.
Lexaeus: In Chain of Memories, his name is said as L-eh-ks-ee-us. For the longest time, I had always been trying to decide between that or L-eh-ks-ay-us, but once I played CoM, I got my answer. I have seen people pronounce this in so many ways though. I've even heard L-eh-ks-us, as well as L-ay-ks-ee-us, L-eh-ks-eye-us, and L-eh-ks-ay-ee-us. Just remember, according to the actual game, it is pronounced L-eh-ks-ee-us. I'm still getting used used to it.
Aeleus: This has never been pronounced in the game, along with Braig. I always used to pronounce it Ale-ee-us, but I have heard Uh-lie-us, Uh-l-ee-us, Eh-l-ee-us, Eh-lie-us, and Ale-eye-us. The Romaji is Ereusu, which, according to Japanese rules of the alphabet would be pronounced Ay-r(l)-ay-ooh-s-ooh. The l is in parenthesis because it is likely in English it would be pronounced as an l, which does not exist in Japanese and is more often than not replaced with an r for simplicity. This further makes me believe his name would be Ale-ee-us or possibly Ale-ee-ooh-s. I am more inclined to believe the first one.
Zexion: This has been pronounced two ways by two different people in the game. One way is Ze-ks-ee-on, and the other is Ze-ks-ee-own. Personally, I can't decide which one sounds better, but Ze-ks-ee-own sounds more Japanese to me, as it follows all the rules of Japanese pronunciation.
Ienzo: This has also been said in the games, and also should same obvious in my opinion. It is pronounced, Ee-en-z-oh. However, I have seen some people say Eye-en-z-oh or even Eye-n-z-oh. This is incorrect.
Saix: Ah, the highly debated name. I wish I could put the diaeresis but I don't know how to on Blogger, or even if it is possible, as I do not have a keyboard which includes it. I am going to admit something that I actually find rather embarrassing now; when I first got into Kingdom Hearts a long, long time ago, and had only seen the majority of these names written out, I pronounced his name Sigh-ks, simply because I couldn't find a better way to pronounce it. This is before I even knew that the "ai" is pronounced "eye" at the time. It does, however, say his name probably two or three times in the games and it is pronounced Sigh-icks. Other people have said it Sigh-axe, Sigh-eeks, Sigh-eh-ks, say-icks, and even one person saying they pronounce it Sigh, without the X for some reason. In every cutscene of the game it is pronounced, Sigh-icks.
Isa: Also pretty straight-forward. His name is pronounced Eye-s-uh, not Eeh-s-uh or Eye-say as I have seen some people say. Isa is actually a real name, and that is the pronunciation. Axel: Not only has this name been said several times throughout the games, but it also seems rather obvious to me and I have seen no debate about it. His name is pronounced A(as in cat)-ks-eh-l or A(as in cat)-ks-ol(as in old). I usually pronounce it as the latter. Lea: In the Japanese version, his name is pronounced Lee-uh, but in English, it is L-eeh. This demonstrates how the names can change in their pronunciation from Japanese to English. Demyx: His name was said in Final Mix, and it is pronounced D-eh-m-ih-ks, although I used to call him D-eh-m-eeh-ks. I've seen people say D-eeh-m-ick-s, D-eeh-m-eeh-ks, and D-eh-my-ks, but it is D-eh-m-ih-ks. Luxord: His name has never been pronounced, but I have always said L-uh-ks-or-d. I've seen others call him L-ooh-ks-or-d and L-uh-z-or-d. Marluxia: His name is said in Re:CoM as M-are-l-ooh-sh-uh. I used to pronounce it M-are-l-ooh-ks-ee-uh, and have seen others say M-are-l-ooh-she-uh, M-are-l-ooh-ks-uh, M-are-l-uh-ks-eeh-uh, and M-are-l-uh-ks-uh, but these are not the case. Larxene: Her name is pronounced L-are-ks-eeh-n, and I honestly have not seen anyone say anything different. Roxas: No one should debate this, and I have never seen anyone debate this. It has been said a thousand times in the games. Rock-s-ih-s. Sora: Technically, Sora is Roxas' Somebody, so in all fairness, I will write how you pronounce his name, but considering they remind you every three seconds, I don't feel it is necessary. S-or-uh. Ventus: *SPOILERS FOR BIRTH BY SLEEP* I count Ventus as his Somebody as well. His name is pronounced V-eh-n-t-uh-s. Xion: It is not Z-eeh-on or Ks-eeh-on, it is She-on or She-own, depending on who is speaking. Noi: Number imaginary number.
UPDATE: I totally called it! Braig is pronounced Br-aye-g in Dream Drop Distance!