We all know what’s coming just from the cover. So you might as well go ahead and put your headphones and have this clip ready because yes, Elsa does still sing “Let It Go”.
This second volume of Kingdom Hearts III: The Novel has Sora, Donald, and Goofy continuing their adventures in the worlds of Tangled, Monsters, Inc., and Frozen. He also quickly drops by to see Winnie-the-Pooh and friends, and there are a couple of other scenes featuring Organization XIII and a few other important characters.
Compared to some of the other Kingdom Hearts novelizations, New Seven Hearts is more of a direct adaptation of the game’s cutscenes, and most of it follows Sora, Donald, and Goofy. That hurts in worlds like Arendelle, which is widely regarded as the worst of the main Kingdom Hearts III worlds. Sora and gang are in a labyrinth of ice, must track down Olaf’s body parts, and dodge ice dragons as they climb up the mountain again and again. It all just pales in comparison to Sora enjoying hanging out with Flynn and Rapunzel or Mike and Sulley. I mean, they don’t even get to explore the city of Arendelle itself! Plus, the aforementioned “Let It Go” scene is so weird in text format.
Anyway, as Sora visits these worlds, he learns about the New Seven Hearts, ladies who have inherited Alice and the other Princess of Heart’s powers. But Kairi is still a Princess, and the Organization plans on using the New Seven Hearts if all seven Heroes of Light aren’t gathered. In addition, the mysterious Vanitas reveals Ventus is inside Sora’s heart along with Roxas and one other. There are a few times when the novel shows Sora or another character’s internal thoughts about what’s happening, but they’re few in number. The only one that really stood out to me was a small section by Vanitas. There are a few scenes from the various antagonists (Maleficient and Pete, Xemnas), but again, those are from the game.
However, Arendelle aside, New Seven Hearts has a lot of the game’s fun scenes, and Kanemaki captures the infectiousness of them. The team attack in Monstropolis, for instance, is just too funny as Mike is turned into a bowling ball. And although I said this is mostly a direct novelization, there’s one particular part that I felt was better than in Kingdom Hearts III: 100 Acre Wood. Winnie-the-Pooh’s world was woefully underused and felt forced in the game. While Kanemaki doesn’t make Pooh and the gang’s scenes longer or anything, changing the three repetitive minigames to “Sora helps out” was much more enjoyable. Shiro’s art also offers his usual charming takes on the characters, especially the gang’s monster forms.
In the end, though, Kingdom Hearts III: The Novel Vol. 2: New Seven Hearts is not going to dazzle anyone who is familiar with these adaptations. Unlike some others, a lot of its strengths lie in the original game rather than in Kanemaki’s artistic license. It is good that even the relatively lame 100 Acre Wood is improved, but there’s not much she can do to improve the snowy world of Arendelle.