Fandom: Kingdom Hearts
Spoilers: ALL of Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep! I also have brief mentions of pretty big Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days spoilers. Additionally, there’s a bit of spoilerage for the Disney movie The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, but nothing too big there. I kinda expect you to know a bit about Birth By Sleep before you read, but anyone new to the series (who doesn’t mind spoilers!) should be able to understand just fine :D
Special Thanks: To cypsiman2 for his lovely interpretation of Vanitas and all the VenQua artists in the "Fandom Guide" section. Thank you so much, you guys! ^_^
Notes: Part two of two! View part one here.
At this point, I would say that the Ven/Aqua-ness dies down pretty hard. Why? Well, because Aqua has faith and confidence in Ven that just strengthens by this period in the game, and she feels no need to constantly worry and doubt him. She tells him to go home, and while she assumes he did so, she never double-checks on it like some distrustful mother, and even when she finds out he didn’t, she doesn’t even get upset about it, leading me to believe that her support and love for him was enough to lead her to disobey her Master’s orders! Her following worlds are mostly filled with her constantly reassuring herself of her doubts regarding Terra, and, in the case of Ven, he’s just looking to make new pals and meet up and Terra and Aqua again. As such, the next real bit of Ven/Aqua love is in Aqua’s scenario in Neverland, right before the ending hits. I’m talking about the incident with Vanitas and Ven’s wooden Keyblade—a scene that drips with Ven/Aqua goodness. It begins when Aqua gets a bad feeling, and then continues like so:
Vanitas: So, have a good time hanging out with the kiddies?
(Aqua turns around to see Vanitas with Ven’s precious wooden Keyblade)
Aqua: How’d you get that?
Vanitas: I think that kid’s outgrown such a childish toy, if you ask my opinion.
(Vanitas snaps the Keyblade in half)
Vanitas: Just like I’ve outgrown my need for you.
Aqua: You freak!
(Aqua proceeds to kick his ass)
Oh no you didn’t!
So, why is this scene an example of Venqua? It’s Aqua’s reaction to all this. She is so pissed off at this that it’s incredible. Vanitas wasn’t even threatening to hurt Ven—just breaking his treasure—but that’s enough to send Aqua over the edge. The slightest thing against Ven is enough to piss her off. Like a protective Knight, you make one move against the Princess, and you’re dead meat. Just look at her face in this. She is pissed off! And then, check out after the battle:
Peter Pan: Aqua! Aqua! Aqua! Are you all right? What happened?
Aqua: I’m fine.
(She stands up and Peter notices Ven’s broken Keyblade)
Peter Pan: Oh no! Look at Ven’s treasure!
Aqua: It’s okay, Peter. Whatever it is that binds us together isn’t going to break so easily…and that’s our real treasure. I think Ventus knew that. That’s why he left this behind.
Peter Pan: You must be really close.
This bit is particularly interesting to me. Her words here show how much both she and Ven care for one another, and how their bond is so strong that nothing can break it. Also, Peter’s “you must be really close” is totally d’awww worthy.
Okay, okay. I think I’ve been blabbering long enough now, so I’m gonna move on right over to the ending, which, if I must say so myself, is absolutely filled the brim with great Ven/Aqua moments. Notably, the ending has the very original Venqua scene, from the Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ secret ending. Personally, as soon as I saw the video, two years ago, with Aqua gasping as a creepy old dude cracked Ven’s helmet enough to show one of his eyes gazing right at her, and then promptly proceeded to freeze him and chuck him down a cliff, with Aqua catching him and saving his life…I couldn’t help falling in love with the pairing. Yeah, I knew pre-game shipping was really ridiculous, but I couldn’t help but have a soft spot for Ven/Aqua, which was only furthered by the trailers that came out. Even now, I consider that ending basically one of the best—and most beautiful—Ven/Aqua scenes in the entire game. Though, the actual ending has a lot more than just this great moment.
To begin with, when Aqua meets up with Ven in the Keyblade Graveyard, and he sadly asks for his two good friends to destroy him, Aqua is shown to be considerably shaken up by this—and I’m not just talking about her immediate shocked reaction. Much later, when Vanitas knocks her unconscious, she can only think of Ven and what he said to her before the big battle. “I’m asking you…as a friend”, she remembers. “Just…put an end to me”.
And this is where Ven/Aqua really clicked for me. There was some serious shit going on at this point. Master Xehanort was doing evil stuff, Terra was faced to fight him by himself, and Vanitas had just knocked her unconscious, but what does she think of? Ven! Her mind is all about him. And then, once she does wake up, her first thoughts are still about Ven, and immediately, despite probably feeling like utter crap after being hit by Vanitas, she goes off to find him. She’s, as I’ve probably bored you by saying by now, his Knight in Shining Armor, and like any Knight, her thoughts are frequently on her Princess. And, gosh, the way her face just lights up when she sees him seemingly alright is perhaps one of the greatest Ven x Aqua moments in the game.
And it’s not just Aqua, either. Ven, after being frozen by Master Xehanort, RAGES himself un-frozen when Vanitas threatened Aqua. That’s right; the thought of Aqua getting hurt was enough to RAGE Ven out of being a Popsicle.
There’s only a little bit left of the game at this point, but I’d say the greatest bit of Ven/Aqua moments is contained within the last portion of her ending and Last Episode. First off, just after she kicks Venitas’ ass and the X-blade begins to go berserk, which creates a huge explosion in the Keyblade Graveyard, Aqua cares just for Ven, and goes to huge lengths to grab a hold of him and assure that he was safe. It’s one of the most beautiful and dramatic scenes in the game where she grabs a hold of his hand as the Keyblade Graveyard explodes!
Of course, due to the explosion, Aqua’s consequently knocked unconscious, and sent flying into the space between the worlds shortly after she assures herself that she’s got Ven. But even so, she still keeps a firm grip on his hand, and Mickey later finds them floating in space, hands pressed together, and brings them over to Yen Sid’s tower. Aqua eventually wakes up, and the scene goes on like so:
Aqua: Where am I?
Yen Sid: Aqua, you lost consciousness. Fortunately, Mickey found you and Ventus drifting in the Lanes Between, and brought you back to me to receive proper care. I am sorry, but there was no sign of Terra.
Aqua: I see.
(She moves over to Ven and gently shakes him)
Aqua: Ven! Ventus!
(Ven doesn’t wake up)
Yen Sid: The boy’s heart is sleeping.
Aqua: When will he wake?
Yen Sid: I could not say. It is almost as though his heart has left. Should it return, he may very well wake. Should it not, then he may sleep like this for all eternity.
Aqua: No… I’ll keep him safe—until he wakes. Forever if I have to.
…does anything else really need to be said about this? Aqua cares so deeply for Ven that she’s willing to be by his side forever, protecting him until he can wake up. And, if we pretend Ven’s a pretty princess and Aqua’s a knight in armor again, everything makes perfect sense. She’s his Knight, and she’s gonna protect her Princess, no matter what. Yen Sid continues the conversation:
Yen Sid: I will tell you what your friend needs right now. It is not your protection. He needs you to believe. You see, Ventus’ heart hangs in the balance. It sleeps in the place between light and darkness. From all I can perceive, that means he will be looking for a friend—one who believes in him, to show him the way home. Just as long as you love him…then Ventus will be able to find you when he wakes. He can follow that love back to where he belongs—the realm of light.
I find it interesting that Yen Sid seems to put Aqua as the –only—one who can bring Ven back. Of course, Aqua proclaims that she, Mickey, and Terra will bring Ven back, but I find it fascinating nonetheless. Besides this, I think Yen Sid points out pretty nicely that Aqua has faith and trust in Ventus, and that she believes in him, which again goes back to their great understanding of one another, making them such a compatible couple in my eyes.
Finally, the game continues on to Last Episode. And, yeah, I am an insane Ven/Aqua shipper, but I think even those who are fans of other pairings can’t deny that Last Episode is full of beautiful and powerful scenes between Ven and Aqua.
Last Episode starts right where Aqua’s ending left off, with her leaving the tower with Ven on her back piggy-back style. And the first words you hear are her declaring to protect him. With a determined and gentle smile, she proclaims, “Ven needs a safe place”.
Like any Knight, Aqua needed to keep her Princess safe. But, if you ask me, Aqua pwns all the other Knights in Shining Armor in what she actually does to insure her Princess’ safety. She, being the badass that she is, proceeds to build Ven a castle. Yes, a castle. If that’s not a sign of really powerful feelings between them, I don’t know what is. And as soon as she makes the thing, she turns over to Ven, and what follows is one of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching scenes of the game. Take a look:
Aqua (while caressing Ven’s hair): I know it’s a lonely place, but you’ll be safe. Terra and I will be back to wake you up before you know it.
I also think it’s pretty important to note that Aqua is the only one who can find Ven. Sora, Naminѐ, Xemnas, Terra…no matter what, they will never be able to find Ven without Aqua. She’s the key to getting to him, and come on, that’s pretty damn romantic!
While the rest of Last Episode is mainly Aqua fighting with Terranort, it’s important to note that when Aqua saves Terra from falling into darkness, she instantly says, “Ven, I’m sorry. I might not make it back as soon as I thought. But I promise I’ll be there, one day, to wake you up.”
I mean, by this point, I’ve fallen absolutely in love with the Ven/Aqua ship. So much crap had just gone on, but she just smiles and assures her Princess to wait for her, because she’s going to make it all okay again.
The game’s just about over by this point, but me being such a wild shipper, I can’t help but take note on a few more Ven/Aqua hints. Though this may just be grasping at straws, I feel it’s interesting that when Aqua is wandering the Realm of Darkness and remembers all the people she met on her journey and who’s important to her, her first thoughts are of Ven, which just goes back to my main point here—Aqua’s the Knight in Shining Armor, and no matter what happens to her, she will always protect her Princess.
A little more?
And...by now, you may be feeling as I did at one point. Ven/Aqua seems nice, but there still seems to be a lack of evidence from Ven’s side. Yet, cypsiman2 kindly pointed out a possibility for more Ven evidence in this coupling:
“…the evidence for VenQua is much stronger on Aqua's side than it is for Ven's side...but I would like to suggest that there is a source of evidence that has been overlooked...Vanitas!
Vanitas, as we all know, is the embodiment of Ventus's darkness. While he is a separate and distinct person, he possess an essential connection to Ventus that makes his actions and desires reflect back onto Ventus to one degree or another. For example, both Ventus and Vanitas desire to become stronger, but for very different reasons; Ventus wants to be able to stay close to his friends, while Vanitas wants to kill them. Now, Vanitas's main ambition is to create the X-Blade, which he knows he can only do by battling with Ventus. And yet, in Radiant Garden, he deliberately goes after Aqua, despite the fact that unlike Terra and Ven, she does not figure into Xehanort's master plan, and after the fight, he declares that he'll keep her around as "back up". Later on, Vanitas and Aqua have another encounter in Neverland. Vanitas breaks Ventus's toy Keyblade, declaring that he believes that Ventus has outgrown it, just as he himself has outgrown his need for Aqua; this is interesting to me, since Vanitas was nice enough to draw the direct parallel for us, between the Toy Keyblade and Aqua, things that are important to Ventus that he seeks to destroy. Again, Vanitas does not need Aqua for Xehanort's plan, so his "need" for her can only be personal, unrelated to his greater mission; while defeating her now could smooth things for Xehanort down the line, he could contribute to the plan much more directly by going after Terra and fighting him to force him to tap into his inner darkness, and yet he never does so.”
“The base fact of it all," he later added, "is that Vanitas demonstrates an interest in Aqua that has nothing to do with his greater mission. And to me, it can't just be about antagonizing Ventus, because going after Terra would do the same thing, and again, be more directly pertinent to his greater mission. And me, being the VenQua shipper that I am, I interpret this as Vanitas having an attraction to Aqua that is ultimately based in Ventus. It might not be what the writers were going for with that, but given how tightly written and plotted Birth by Sleep is, they were going for something.”Now, I figure it can be argued that Vanitas *couldn’t* go after Terra, as Master Xehanort would have ordered him against it, in fear that they’d kill each other. And if that were the case, surely the only way Vanitas could torture Ventus would to be to fight and potentially hurt Aqua, his only other close friend. Yet, if this were the case, what would be stopping Vanitas from breaking the rules? As shown in the game, he’s a little…hard to control, even trying to kill Ven at one point, even though that would seriously jeopardize the mission. And, going after Terra might even help the mission itself! In many ways, Vanitas just seemed very attached to Aqua, for what seemingly little reason, and though he tries and claims he will destroy her, he never is able to do so. In Neverland, both of them fall unconscious, and when Aqua arises, he is gone, while he could have easily defeated her while she was out—a quick stab in the chest and she could have been gone. Tempting Ventus in Destiny Islands later could have gone much easier had he destroyed her, as well. In the Keyblade Graveyard, he even seemed hesitant when going to kill her, being slow and lethargic, perhaps to point out that he could easily kill her, yet he still seems unable, or unwilling, to push the Keyblade just a bit farther and end her life. To me, it seemed as though something was always holding him back from destroying her—a something I can only think of as Ven’s intense feelings for her. The fact that he wants her around as “back-up” also hits on this; it’s almost as though he can’t bring himself to kill her. Plus, his mind-boggling interest in her might mean something just on its own.
While there’s a lot of uncertainly about Vanitas, it's completely worth considering that his actions regarding Aqua may somehow reflect Ven's feelings towards her, giving this pairing even more substance.
The age issue
Of course, all this time, I’ve neglected to talk about one of the biggest reasons that Ven/Aqua is looked down upon. The age issue! “Ven’s too young for her!” is one of the biggest reasons Venqua isn’t shipped! And though this whole thing is the rambling of a rabid Ven/Aqua fan, I’m going to say that the argument is rather petty. Since when does something as silly as age dictate love? Especially when they can’t really be that far apart! Two years at most? That’s really not much of a stretch. I mean, let’s take a generally accepted couple: Peach x Mario. Uh, he’s an old plumber dude, and she’s a young, pretty princess. But people don’t really seem to object to that. So, what’s different about Ven x Aqua? No matter what, love is love, and some stupid number shouldn’t play a part in that, right?
Also, I’m gonna go to a common rebuttal against this that I’ve heard around: Zack asked Aqua on a date (which she so cutely refused), and he looks about the same age as Ven. So, really, it’s not that crazy of a stretch, and, come on, anything is possible in Kingdom Hearts!
I love shipping! I enjoy tons of Birth By Sleep ships (you know, Ven/Terra, Aqua/Cinderella, etc.), but there’s just something special about Ven/Aqua that makes me love it even more. It’s perfectly plausible, it’s cute, and a fresh twist on a common story element. It may not be “sexy”, but it’s still freaking awesome, and I’m rooting for it to go further (even just a little!) in another game from the Kingdom Hearts series!
Here’s to hoping, anyway!
The Kingdom Hearts series is still churning out new games, so the community is pretty active and bustling with discussion. For the latest news and announcements, both HEARTSTATION.ORG and Kingdom Hearts Insider are good places to start. As for Ventus/Aqua in particular, Birth By Sleep hasn’t been out too long, so, there isn’t too much on it, but here are some works I would recommend:
Thank you for reading!!!