Ah, the keyblade. What started off as Square Enix’s latest mash-em-up weapon (see the gunblade in Final Fantasy VIII) circa 2002 has become an endless exercise in joyful overdesign. You can customize a keyblade to your heart’s content, as long as your heart’s content involves the word “maximalism.”
Which is why I was surprised and delighted to discover that Riku’s new keyblade in Kingdom Hearts 3 did not adhere to this design scheme. Instead, it appears to be the car key of a Honda Civic for giants.
True, there have been pin lock tumbler keyblades (as opposed to the much more common level lock tumbler) in Kingdom Hearts before. The keyblade Fenrir is designed after Cloud’s motorcycle from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, so it looks like a giant motorcycle key. But it’s jagged and covered in bandages, with a more traditional keyblade hilt. It’s just fantastical enough.
Braveheart, on the other hand, is so faithfully a recreation of a car key that I have come to one conclusion: there must have been a Cars world to which this was the keyblade.
I mean, it makes sense that it might be under consideration: Kingdom Hearts 3’s new worlds are focused on latter-day Disney Animation and Pixar films. But it also makes sense that even the production team that designed and created Monsters Inc. Sora could not make Cars versions of Sora, Donald, and Goofy work. The worldbuilding of Cars is horrifying enough; having to turn Goofy into his own 1978 AMC Pacer Wagon is a creative act that flirts too readily with darkness. Better to scrap the idea altogether, salvaging what little they could: like Braveheart. We should be thankful to this keyblade for rescuing us from that vehicular nightmare.