Tempest’s Downpour – Kingdom Hearts: A Better Princess Than Alice

Posted on Apr 01 2012

In celebration of Kingdom Hearts’ recent 10-year anniversary (Oh god no, I’m not that old!), I’d like to dissect the decision that left most people scratching their heads: making Alice a Disney Princess.

For those of us that haven’t played the game in some time, the plot in Kingdom Hearts involves the seven Princesses of Heart being kidnapped. The list comprises Snow White, Aurora and Jasmine who are born into royalty, Cinderella and Belle who have married into royalty. Alice is the sixth and Kairi is the seventh because shut up.

The seven Princesses of Heart from Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts defines its Princesses of Heart according to how much light is in their hearts – typical vague Disney logic. They are kidnapped and brought together to summon the Final Keyhole.

But what on earth about Alice makes her princess-worthy? She’s an absent-minded little girl who wandered into a magical realm and just barely managed to keep herself alive. She’s not royalty, although she came from a wealthy family.

Alice may be a force to be reckoned with in Japan, but there are many other Disney heroines who more readily fit the bill.

Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

Ariel comes readily to mind as she was born into royalty AND married royalty. Her actions were selfish and nearly caused the downfall of her kingdom. However, she has inner and outer beauty, a beautiful singing voice and a romance that is resolved by the end of the film, which the Disney Wikipedia defines as the basis of each Disney princess.

She was even featured in the first three Kingdom Hearts games. Why wasn’t she kidnapped?

Maybe Ariel is too selfish to have a heart of pure light. What Disney princess receives the least credit for having such a pure heart?

Pocahontas during her song “Colors of the Wind.”

Pocahontas is probably the least noted princess in Disney cannon. Born the daughter of a Native American chief, she is considered by Disney to be a princess, though she isn’t included on any lists that I can find.

Her mother is dead, which automatically categorizes her with previous Disney princess (Snow White, Cinderella, etc). She’s friends with the animals and through song, bestows the wisdom of the Powhatan people upon her love interest, John Smith. She risks her life to prevent a war and to save her love. She does not marry him in the end, although their relationship is resolved with the words “Whatever happens, I’ll always be with you, forever.”

There was some legal trouble with the film because it strayed so far from the true story it was based upon. Disney tried to make amends by making a more accurate sequel, but Pocahontas seems to have faded out of the memory of most Disney fans.

Maybe controversy makes a Disney princess less appealing. What Disney princess was motivated by selfless actions and hasn’t been the center of any controversy?

Kida possessed by the blue crystal.

Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a good choice. Believe it or not, this was not a Don Bluth movie like Anastasia – it is an honest-to-god Disney film. Though, it wasn’t widely received, but the film is considered a cult favorite due to its animation style.

Kida is the princess of Atlantis whose mother recently… well, she didn’t quite die, but she glowed blue, went funky and became absorbed in a blue crystal. Though Kida doesn’t sing, she does have the childlike curiosity of Ariel and wisdom of her people in a manner resembling Pocahantas. She falls in love with Milo and their relationship is resolved by the end of the film.

Considering Kida is the only princess listed who hasn’t made it to the House of Mouse, a TV series where every known Disney character meets to hang out, maybe there’s something I’m not seeing. Is it the singing? Is the singing necessary? Fine, then we have more options.

Kiara and Kovu as adults.

Stop picturing humans. Kiara is a Disney Princess and the star of The Lion King II. Her father is Simba, king of Pride Rock, which makes her a princess. It is mentioned on more than one occasion that she will grow up to be queen. Though motivated by the selfish desire to explore the world on her own, she undergoes character development and eventually works to combine two broken prides and accept previously rejected lions.

This is a princess who sings, falls in love, has her romantic situation resolved by the end of the movie, and undergoes character development. Just because she’s a lion, she’s not a princess? That’s not politically correct, Disney.

Mulan looks like a Disney Princess.

Finally, the last option is Mulan. A forewarning: Mulan is not and never will be a princess. She’s a peasant who marries a general. She is not royalty and never will be, but for some reason she keeps popping up on lists of Disney Princesses.

Mulan sacrifices everything from her identity to her future in order to fight in the stead of her injured father. She sings and undergoes more character development than any other princess on this list. She even has two trusty animal sidekicks. Her romantic situation, while not a focal point of the movie, is resolved by the end. She can also kick major heartless ass, as seen in Kingdom Hearts II.

Most of the Disney Princesses from left to right: Jasmine, Snow White, Mulan, Aurora, Cinderella, Pocahontas, Belle and Ariel.

So there we have it: Ariel, Pocahontas, Kida, Kiara and Mulan would make better princesses than Alice. Of course, Rapunzel and Tiana would make excellent additions to this list, but their movies came out long after Kingdom Hearts debuted.

Do you know someone who should be part of this list? Are you righteously angry on behalf of all capable Disney females? Leave a comment below.

I had to do a lot of research for this. Some of my sources are below:

You Might Also Like...

  • Kanashimi April 1, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    Quite honestly, I have complained since the first Kingdom Hearts, where is Pocahontas? It’s my favorite Disney movie of all time and yet I sit waiting for it to enter Kingdom Hearts in some way. I originally thought it might have something to do with race, quite honestly.

    Though, since you mentioned the sequel, let me just say, it’s utter garbage. Historically accurate or not, it literally is horrible. John Smith says I’ll stay with you forever in the first one, they even have an uncut song where he’s captured added in the most recent DVD versions, but they drop each other immediately in the second. Love sure lasts forever, don’t it, Disney? I will never understand that since it’s pretty rare to see the love interests separate (I can technically only think of Hunchback as another example, and its place is debatable all things considering).

  • Kibs April 2, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    I never really considered Alice a princess, myself. I get the Kairi thing, they wanted to shoehorn in a love interest for the protagonist, and the best way to make her not useless (read; strong independent woman) is to have her be relevant to the plot.

    I would say Mulan did a much better job NOT being a princess, as her entire movie’s message is how she’s a strong, independent woman who is on the front lines of the battle.

    When it comes right down to it, though, I’m fairly certain everyone simply said “welp, we need a 7th princess to make things all…seveny, and we can’t think of any other girls whose level doesn’t COMPLETELY SUCK (I’m looking at you, Little Mermaid) and who we can’t be somehow called a racist for having captured (even though we’ve captured 6 other white people, it’d still be considered racist somehow, because that’s how America works) and an Alice In Wonderland level would be amazing, because this is Japan, and Alice In Wonderland is the only literary work that we like that has come out of the West”.

    Not verbatim, but I’m sure something like that was said.

    • Kanashimi April 2, 2012 at 7:32 AM

      It might be because I’ve restarted Kingdom Hearts so many times and have played that level so many times, but I really detest the Alice In Wonderland areas. I’m just sick of them now, and even newer versions make me go bleeeeh.

  • nerdwerld April 2, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    I don’t like the fact that Alice is a princess either, and I agree that there were tons of Disney movies out there with better princess’s than that of Alice. A Pocahontas level would of been awesome, much better than the maze, insanity, and no plot to the main story besides Alice being a princess in Wonderland. At least Tarzan’s level had plot importance, they had crashed on the planet. Wonderland was a bore, the monsters were a bore, and in reality Alice is not that interesting of a character.
    I don’t really see how Ariel is a pure princess, because she sold her voice to the devil so she could impress some lame guy. I’m sorry, but if any mermaids didn’t give enough courage to ask Ariel out they are morons. Yeah, her father brother did scare them away Ariel has the body, and the voice to be an underwater diva, and left that life so she could be with some lame human. I know Disney supports that lifestyle, but Little Mermaid levels in Kingdom Hearts, and the movie as a whole, despite having great sing-a-longs isn’t a great movie.
    Mulan isn’t a a princess, but she is a more interesting character than the two above. She fights against authority, and social mores to do what she thinks is right. She goes through actually problems unlike the other two which are almost “maniac pixie dream girl”…and has depth. Mulan is probably my favorite Disney Heroine besides Tinkerbell.
    I would of wanted an Atlantis level in Kingdom Hearts besides the annoying battles that you had in Atlantica or Wonderland. Atlantis is one of my Disney treasures, and is one of the most underrated animated films Disney had ever produced. Milo also is a strong, and assertive woman, and one of many reasons she isn’t considered a princess.

  • Renku April 2, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    xD You don’t how much I raged to Eternal about this.
    I HATE Alice being princess. I barely even like the Disney Alice in Wonderland movie now.

    I think Kiara would of been the best. Or even Pocahontas.
    :\ As much as I LOVE Mulan I hate it when she is put in with the princess.She is the opposite of a princess.

    Could of used Nala. HELL, they could of used Jane!
    >.> Or for a really nice plot, Minnie or Daisy.

  • redgamehunter April 6, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Meh, it’s like you said, Alice in Wonderland is big in Japan. They had to make a level around it, and when they saw the opportunity to make Alice one of the princesses over a bunch of Disney princesses whose movies they might not have even seen, they jumped at it. Personally, I like the choice, because she’s a good representation of kingdom hearts: Relative innocence battles larger dark power.

    • Tempest Wind April 7, 2012 at 1:45 PM

      Fair argument. “Relative innocence battles a larger, dark power.” That is an accurate representation of Kingdom Hearts. Now if only her level didn’t suck. AGH, THAT MUSIC WAS SO REPETITIVE.

  • Zero Gravity April 12, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    Deep down I want to say Disney had a hand in the choosing of princesses and “coincidentally” made all the Disney princesses a “White chick” place, but I’ll never say that out loud.
    Frankly I never liked Alice in Wonderland, I’m not even fond of the story, no morals or lessons to be learned other than “Rabbits lead to crazy s**t’.
    Of all the other great candidates you listed, I would have found Atlantis to be a much more entertaining level than “Wonderland” but at the same time, Kingdom Hearts was released in 2002, while Atlantis was released in 2001.
    Oh well, no used complaining now, what’s done is done

  • […] published on 91.8 The Fan, April 1, […]

  • You must be logged in to comment. Log in