The Kingdom Hearts franchise has become one of the longest running series of games that has told its anime-meets-Disney story through everything from gameplay, to a manga, to novelizations. However, one dedicated fan has taken the original story and reworked it into a musical starring a series of puppets, focusing initially on one of Kingdom Hearts‘ earliest worlds for a song about the main trio.
In this case, the fan is actually voice actor Erika Harlacher, who has voiced several fan-favorite characters across several IPs such as Ann Takamaki from Persona 5 and Venti from Genshin Impact. While Harlacher has also provided voices for additional characters in Kingdom Hearts, this is a completely fan produced project with the help of animator Luke Stone and pianist Greg Chun.
The video itself takes the viewer through the second world in Kingdom Hearts, Traverse Town, that acts as the central hub for the remainder of the original title. However, instead of hacking and slashing through heartless in PS2 era 3D graphics, the adventure is sung with a lighthearted musical number accompanying some delightfully animated puppets. One of the more impressive aspects of the musical segment as well is the animation, that combines traditional puppeteering with a stop-motion style animation for the movement of the mouths and eyes.
Fans of the animation should also be excited that Harlacher claims to have five more songs demoed to continue through other major segments in Sora’s story throughout Kingdom Hearts. Unfortunately, the content creator climate on Youtube and other video hosting platforms does mean that Harlacher will need to wait and see if this first song is able to meet copyright standards. Considering how transformative it is in recreating Sora, Donald, and Goofy as puppets with a musical number telling the story, it should stand up to legal scrutiny as the next few songs continue to release.
Hopefully, a fan project of this quality will be able to continue at least for long enough to get those five other demoes released and stay hosted online. Maybe this could even lead into some official crossover, as Kingdom Hearts‘ books, manga, and other adaptations have already taken the series across almost every medium available to tell this type of longrunning narrative. Of course, it is rare for a fan project to grow to such extents, but this delightful puppet show is exactly the type of quality content fans are looking for between the lengthy releases of each new Kingdom Hearts title.
Kingdom Hearts is available now for PC, PS3, PS4, and PS5.