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Ongoing biography of my KH life~
Le beginning: I played COM somewhen in either 2004 or 2005, don't quite remember. Fell in love with everything about it, and started playing the rest of the games one by one and reading articles to support and develop my theories about the series. I wrote a few fanfictions and drew lots of fanart (Trivia: My favorite ship used to be AkuRoku! Nowadays, I don't have one.)
Social media POV: I started admining this Kingdom Hearts fanpage on Facebook in late 2012, and for two years, I worked really hard to make it one of the best (imo the best) KH fanpage on FB at the time! We even got the official KH twitter to follow our Twitter account!
But my creativity was going in another direction, so I left and started another page, Kingdom Hearts Hypetrain. Still working on its website! You can also follow it on twitter.
Throughout the years, since 2012, I got to know a lot of people who were very active in the KH fandom and some of the best fans of the series. Among these were fan journalists such as Churro. I also got to know some other cool peeps such as the lovely Lauren and Darryl from KHUnion, to mention a few. I've also gotten to meet a lot of cool peeps from the Square Enix PR and marketing team, such as Dan Seto and Mat Kishimoto, and they're some of the most hard-working people ever! We are so blessed to have them market SE products outside Japan! I've also made some irreversible, very close relationships with some of the best people I could ever have dreamed of being friends with who shared my same passion. This includes Leamax, who is literally my partner in crime; Omelette, who is the creator and main manager of KHMemes, a twitter account followed by the official Kingdom Hearts twitter account; and Mihari-chan (pet name: Mihari Chai), arguably one of my bestest friends and project manager of the Keybearers' Alliance (formerly known as Project: Disneyland of Departure), who is also being followed by the official KH account on their twitter!
I've been sharing KH news as soon as it got online over the years, and did quite a bit of writing myself, so why not - I decided to join KH13.com as a News Team Member on March 2016. I've been encouraged by Sora96 to apply for this before, but I was skeptical of the role at first - but a few months into this role actually gave me a lot of insights! I've got to meet people who have read my articles in real life and it's the most amazing thing ever! I'm also Italian, so I've contributed to some translations that were featured here at KH13.com and in various Final Fantasy fansites! By attending certain KH-related events, I've also been able to contribute to the news in first person! The smallest contribution brings me joy, so I think I will continue with news reporting until I get sick of it
A year after joining the team, I am the News Team Leader at KH13.com!
Oh, and I now cosplay Aqua, so I share my cosplay adventures on social media too.
My "real life" POV: I try to attend any event related to Kingdom Hearts.
My first event was the KH 1.5 pre-launch event in London on 2013, where I just managed to win a ticket for (thank you KHInsider for that!). I got to meet Shinji Hashimoto (KH series executive producer) and Yoko Shimomura (KH series composer) and talk to them about their work - it was honestly a dream come true. I managed to ask Shinji Hashimoto a question about whether they'll make a HD remake for Days to make it playable (his answer was "we're not thinking about it at the moment"), and I got to tell Yoko Shimomura that I love her work, that she's a role model for me, and that my favorite track is Musique pour la Tristesse de Xion. Later, when I saw a KH13.com article with pictures from the event, I was literally screaming inside: "There I am in the picture OMG!" Same when I saw my picture from the green screen photo with Halloween Town as the background on the official Facebook page. Such a fangirl. Here's a picture:
As you can see I was a total dork, also I look nothing like that now. Yay for late-onset puberty.
My second event was the KH2.5 launch event in London, where I got to meet KH3 producer Rie Nishi and co-director Tai Yasue - and they signed my keyblade! So honored. This is also where I met Mat and Dan. One of the cool things about having friends who live on the other side of the Atlantic who also attend KH-related events is that you can talk about them with the Square Enix EU/NA team, who are always travelling back and forth - and they say: "Yeah, I met your friends over there, they told me about you!" Hurray for long distance friendships - we share the same sky! Here are some pics from that evening:
As you can see, I was still a total dork. But apparently, after I put that last pic as my profile picture on Facebook, I caught the eye of a talented gamer and former-Youtuber who sent me a friend request, and who later turned out to be my soul mate and someone I am now engaged to... but that's another side, another story. As you can see, everything connects to something else! Our hearts are connected.
After I got my keyblade signed at the 2.5 launch event, I developed this weird sort of habit to get it signed by anyone majorly involved in the production, development, and distribution of KH! Or whoever I like in relation to KH.
So I went to stalk Willa Holland in May 2016 (who btw totally got misled me into thinking she didn't hear anything about voice acting for 2.8, only to have the first trailer with her voice in it released a couple days after I met her!) And she signed my keyblade! Also, I love her performance from Arrow so that was a bonus. Here's a picture collage of Willa being adorable while telling me she's not allowed to say anything about KH
Another bonus was Katrina Law (Nyssa al Ghul), who was sitting right next to Willa, going around and getting instagram usernames from the fans! She ended up tagging me in her group photo with the fans, so that was a very nice experience as a fan of the Arrowverse!
OK by now I feel like I should tell you that yes, I have stalked some other really cool people at events, movie premieres, etc., but I don't actually have that many people I truly like in show biz. so it's not as extreme as it sounds! To me, the only thing I like to do at cons is to eat takoyaki, mess around with friends, buy jewellery and attend panels/signings. So basically, not much!
Anyway, by this time I had already become a regular geeky event-goer. They don't appeal to me as much now, having lost some of their initial novel luster, and I'll probably not go to Hyper Japan again, but while walking around the fair I spotted Kaoru Wada, who is in charge of arranging orchestral pieces for the KH series (Fantasia alla Marcia, anyone?), and I actually managed to have a five minute conversation with him without much trouble with the whole English/Japanese language barrier. But just my luck that I had forgotten to bring my keyblade with me to sign! Here's a picture though - maybe I'll catch him again next year at his Anime Insiders Panel!
After seeing the first proper trailer of KH2.8 I was too excited to play it. So I kept on the lookout for a demo being eventually playable in London. As I suspected, EGX, the biggest gaming event in the UK, confirmed the demo for its 2016 installment. I was so stoked that I went to play it early in the morning on the first day of the convention! I also met Dan Seto again there (pic below), who was promoting all the cool upcoming Square Enix games, including Dragon Quest Builders (LOOK AT HIS HAT OMG). I think the highlight of the convention was meeting a KH fan who told me that they came to EGX purely because they read an article on KH13.com about the KH2.8 demo being playable there. He was very pleasantly surprised to know that I was the one who wrote that article! Those are the moments to live for! Here are some of my pictures from EGX.
Have you booked your tickets for the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour- yet? Before booking those VIP tickets in April 2016 (Wildfaery, where my tickets at?! They lost my tickets! > ), I actually booked some tickets back in December 2015 for Symphonic Fantasies, which took place a few weeks ago in early October 2016. The concert featured music from Kingdom Hearts, and even featured a special pre-concert Q&A with Yoko Shimomura! Imagine my luck when I got to talk to her again! She actually answered one of my questions (which was quite a personal one, to me). And the concert was purely amazing. Here is a picture I took for KH13.com:
I can't wait to meet her again at the World Tour in March!
A few weeks after Symphonic Fantasies, I went to the biennial MCM London Comic Con on October 29th and 30th. This had to be my most fun convention ever, even if I didn't do a lot or buy too much! I went to my first KH cosplay meet dressed as Aqua, and actually had the chance to meet Shinji Hashimoto again! This time, he signed my Kingdom Key! I also bumped into Dan Seto again (LOOK AT HIS HAT AGAIN OMG) who was casually representing Square Enix around the expo! But the most fun bit was getting to hang out with many other Kingdom Hearts cosplayers: we had a lot of fun, and I almost got kidnapped by a Sora! Here are some pics and a video!
I am so blessed to be able to attend all these events. It's not really about pictures or autographs or even simply meeting the people behind the things you love, but it's the whole atmosphere of solidarity and the emotions that come with the appreciation of true works of art. I've been able to meet a lot of my online friends, plus make some new ones.
A more personal POV: Most people, even when knowing my real name, just call me Aqua. (No, Aqua is not one of my favorite characters. I had literally no connection to Aqua when I got this nickname, but that story is probably irrelevant to you!)
When I started admining a page on Facebook, I used to post some really dank KH memes. Ever since then, most of the KH fans who know me from FB know me as some sort of a meme queen! (lol) I don't really make so many memes anymore, but people still complain about how I've ruined their childhoods! Memes aside, I love getting people involved in the fandom. Which is why I always try to make any original KH content I make as engaging as possible. I've done all sorts of other things including making vines, streaming Disney movies and KH music, conducting podcasts and Skype parties, modding Twitch streams, organizing KH-themed game nights, and much more. Nowaydays, I manage a brilliant team of KH fans who organize these things, rather than doing them all on my own. You can follow their (our!) work on Kingdom Hearts Hypetrain. You can also follow our Youtube channel for interesting videos - I occasionally work on some of the videos.
I love v-logging about my daily adventures around the UK. I am mostly accompanied by my fiancè, and together we're working on our list to visit all the cool places in the Kingdom and beyond! My KH community usually refers to my fiancè and I as RayQua(za) (Ray being his name, Qua from Aquaberry, and za to spell out the Pokèmon!).
Something else that I love to do is cosplay. By now you must have noticed that I wear a headscarf - also knows as a "hijab" (which also means something along the lines of "covering up", and "modesty"). I am therefore an average (or below average?) "hijabi". Cosplay is thus a bit more interesting for me, seeing how I incorporate the elements of the hijab in my costumes, oftentimes I come up with some really cool costume designs. After producing 4 successful cosplays, I was featured on a trending Buzzfeed article in my Konan costume. After that, I just knew I wanted to keep cosplaying even more characters! I debuted my Aqua cosplay at MCM London Comic Con on October 2016, and look forward to improve it even further for next year! Here are some of my cosplays, and you can follow me on Instagram to find more pictures of cosplay and other things.
Conclusion: KH means so much more to me than just the games: to me, it's really about the story and the different elements of it and how it unites the community. And I love being a part of this community! To me, it's not even about JUST KH anymore. It's all of the little things, perculiar hobbies, different fandoms, and dank memes that connect us all on the basis of our common passion for this videogame.
Anywho, here's (most of) my story so far, but expect this space to be updated with more experiences as time passes! And if you have any questions or just wanna say hi, feel free!
Ohhh, okay! (I just started watching Naruto recently, and Hinata still has short hair, so I didn't recognize your cosplay! My apologies!) That's pretty badass, though! I take it you're a big Naruto fan? :3
Oct 04 2016 08:26 PM
Yeah, I can see that! I'm liking what I'm seeing so far! And actually, I don't mind fillers, so I can just watch them, ya know? :3 But yeah, I wanna see more Hinata!!! She's too darn adorable! <3
Oct 08 2016 08:39 PM
This status update has reached the maximum number of replies allowed
KHIII released everywhere at the same time and KH ReMIXes available everywhere I go on the Switch? Hell yes, sign me up!
I mean I know the point of the remixes was to unify everything onto one console, but I think that concept can still be spread to other consoles as well, as long as everything is included for each system. I mean it's just distributing the ReMIXes to 3 systems, 4 if you want to throw PC in there for the hell of it, and it's the same exact experience on each one available to more people than ever before. I love KH being on the Playstation, but even I think it's kind of silly to try and hoard everything when the series has already had a diverse enough history as it is. Plus, those poor Microsoft users still deserve to have these titles available on the system that's going to host it's first KH game ever, a sequel to 2 other ones they've never played before.
Keeping everything on one console isn't "unity", it's isolation. Unity is bringing everyone together, including the new customers you're planning to win over with KH3. Can't do that if they don't prefer to have a PS4 AND an XBone at the same time.
In a recent interview with Nikkei magazine, Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda commented on the company's future sales strategies, including the intention to focus on simultaneous worldwide releases and the Nintendo Switch.
Simultaneous worldwide releases
Matsuda is of the opinion that Final Fantasy XV sold 6 million total physical and virtual copies worldwide (as of January 10, 2017) in a relatively short period compared to previous Final Fantasy games due to its simultaneous worldwide launch. He commented that as the European and US markets tend to continue their sales long term, Square Enix is planning to maximize the life time values of their games through updates and DLCs.
Matsuda observed that simultaneous worldwide releases are an important aspect of marketing, as gamers will want to play a new game as soon as possible and may even lose interest if the game's international release is delayed. He said that it is therefore important for the company to decrease those delays, especially for RPGs and the action/adventure genre, as, due to their emphasis on narratives, they are difficult to sell abroad unless released simultaneously.
Matsuda is also showing interest in gamers sharing gaming experiences over social media such as YouTube. This has become more relevant to Square Enix's sales strategy as they expect their consumers to share gameplay videos and create a "buzz" to lead game titles to become more noticeable.
When asked about the necessity of cultural changes in games, Matsuda replied that Square Enix games are appreciated for retaining their own cultural originality.
Lastly, Matsuda reflected on taking advantage of the emerging market in countries such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, and especially India, where the once negative perspective on video games has been changing steadily.
The Nintendo Switch and other platforms
Following up on new platforms such as the Nintendo Switch and Microsoft's Project Scorpio this year, Matsuda believes that having more platforms is good for content creators. Square Enix is in fact increasing its interest in the Nintendo Switch in particular. The company has already released a few titles on the console and announced more future releases. Matsuda remarked that in addition to developing new titles for the Switch, the company would also like to port existing games to the console. He mentioned that while Nintendo may propose amazing ways to "switch" certain game characteristics, Square Enix aims to make games that will leverage the functions of the Switch following their own creative paths.
Matsuda also commented on the smartphone game business, mentioning that Square Enix's smartphone titles released in the beginning of 2016 struggled in general due to the market having matured beyond the existing templates used to create those games. He also listed other issues such as limited storage capacity. He stressed that the company will need to research its competitors and figure out how to make their games different and engaging.
Lastly, regarding Virtual Reality, Matsuda thinks that the focus is not to make a game specially for VR, but rather to use VR as a factor to make games interesting.
What do you think of this rundown of Square Enix's future strategies, and how do you think it will affect future Kingdom Hearts titles? Would you like to see a worldwide simultaneous release of Kingdom Hearts III, or Kingdom Hearts games ported to the Switch? Let us know below!
A short video titled "Welcome to Kingdom Hearts" has been released by Square Enix to promote Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX, which is out now in all countries. You can watch the video in English below, and in other languages on the official Kingdom Hearts YouTube channel:
The figure is due for release on July 2017 in Japan.
UPDATE: Square Enix is now accepting pre-orders in the Square Enix Japan store for 4,940 yen (about $45 USD) and the figure is set to be released on July 29th, 2017. It's currently unknown when it will be available in the North American store.
I'm coming to the concert the next day but maybe I can get there and meet with you =)
Same here... But the 25th will also be amazing for sure
You are welcome to the meetup even if you dont have tickets or if your show is for another day! If you RSVP to the event we'll update our location at all times during the day, and we'll meet somehwere at the venue where you dont need tickets to access!
Posted by Aquaberry
on 16 December 2016 - 07:49 PM
Update: Square Enix's live program, Square Enix Presents, has just shown the new Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX trailer. It was a very short trailer, about 25 seconds long, showing different cutscenes from all the games in the collection, with the track "Destati" playing in the background.
You can view the trailer below.
The original article follows.
Square Enix have unveiled a new Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix trailer at Jump Festa 2017, according to rikunami13, an attendee at the event. This trailer was different from the game's announcement trailer.
We will update this article with the new trailer as soon as it becomes available online.
A Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue trailer was also shown, but it was not a new one. It may have possibly been the final trailer for the game, which was released on December 8, 2016.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix releases on March 9, 2017 in Japan, March 28, 2017 in North America, and March 31, 2017 in Europe. The PS4 collection will be running at 60 frames per second, and rendered at 1080p. Additionally, the game has been reported to show an improvement in graphics from its PS3 counterparts.
Posted by Aquaberry
on 14 December 2016 - 10:38 AM
The latest issue of Famitsu Weekly contains a 4-page spread on Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, featuring new renders and screenshots from the game that show off cinematic scenes and new and returning gameplay elements.
New images include gameplay images from Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage. The article features the costume customizations of Aqua, including a new pattern for her outfit. Aqua is also seen fighting against Darksides in the Enchanted Dominion area of the Dark World. Some of the screenshots were previewed online yesterday on the Famitsu website. Previous Weekly Shonen Jump screenshots of Aqua performing the magic-activated combo "Thundagun", and the finishing attack with Mickey for the "Wayfinder" Command Style at Destiny Islands, are also shown.
Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover is also featured. A new CG image and render of Ephemer and the Master of Master's 6th apprentice (Luxu) holding Master Xehanort's Keyblade are also available. A close-up of Ephemer in a cinematic scene is also shown. Some of the new cinematic screenshots extend from the scenes shown in the final trailer for KH2.8. For instance, Master Ava and Master Gula are shown looking at a sleeping young Chirithy inside a flask. A new screenshot of the Master of Master and Luxu talking is shown. A picture of the five Foretellers in their study is included. The image of Luxu holding Master Xehanort's Keyblade was previously featured in a Famitsu web article.
Two in-game trophies for Kingdom Hearts HD Dream Drop Distance HD have been revealed, and Flick Rush seems to be making a comeback to the HD remaster. Gameplay images and renders include the new elephant Dream Eater, as well as another new Dream Eater with the appearance of a Penguin in a hot bath. The elephant Dream Eater is called Beat Poi, a pun on the character Beat from The World Ends WIth You on which its design is based. The penguin Dream Eater is called Yuagari Penguin, which translates to "Spa Penguin." You can view scans of the feature below. Translations will be coming soon.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue releases on the PlayStation 4 in Japan on January 12, 2017, and worldwide on January 24, 2017.
Are you liking the new KHχ BC screenshots and renders of Ephemera and Luxu? Will you be playing Flick Rush and getting trophies on KH HD DDD? Let us know below!