Hey this might be controversial but
I love Riku so much. I’ve loved him ever since the day when I first turned on Kingdom Hearts on my old ps2 nine years ago and I saw him and automatically picked him as my favorite for, at the time, basically no reason except I thought he looked cool. And then I loved his desire to see other worlds because I was (and still am) the same in the sense of wanting to get away from where I am and see what else is out there. And I loved that even though he spent the entire game running around being a big jealous asshole he still came through at the end and put the safety of everyone else above his own in order to close the door to the Realm of Darkness.
I love that ever since then he’s spent every single day trying to better himself, to move past his mistakes and overcome his demons both literally and figuratively. I love that everything Riku did through Days was just him selflessly doing anything in his power–even if it involved using the same darkness he was so afraid of giving into again–to make sure that Sora, his best friend in the world, would be safe. And how even though by KHII Riku was so self-loathing and ashamed of himself that he wanted to hide away from his friends, he still helped them in secret.
I love how even after everything, Sora and Kairi still love Riku. Because they know him, and they know his past mistakes aren’t all that he is. They know that he’s loyal and caring and brave and a good person even if he can’t see it, and they’re his best friends and he doesn’t have to hide from them. They love Riku for who he is, and they accept him for his light and his darkness.
I love that even if Riku can’t forget his past, that’s okay because he doesn’t have to let it haunt him–he may not be able to get rid of his darkness, but it doesn’t have to hurt him anymore. He’s learned and accepted that it’s a part of him, and that he can control it instead of letting it control him. I love that he can still hold darkness in his heart and be worthy of being named a keyblade master. That he can still hold darkness in his heart and be someone who cares deeply for his friends, who protects others, who is seen as–and just genuinely is–good, and worthy of love.
Riku is just so important to me. I see so much of myself and who I wish I was in him. He’s one of my favorite fictional characters of all time and I am so glad he’s a character that exists, so grateful for his growth throughout the series. Riku is amazing.