Terra (Kingdom Hearts)
|Kingdom Hearts character|
Artwork for Terra in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.
|First game||Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (2010)|
|Created by||Tetsuya Nomura|
|Designed by||Tetsuya Nomura|
|Voiced by (English)||Jason Dohring|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Ryōtarō Okiayu|
Terra (Japanese: テラ Hepburn: Tera?) is a fictional character from Square Enix's video game franchise Kingdom Hearts. He was introduced in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep as one of the three protagonists. He had a cameo appearance in a secret ending of Kingdom Hearts II and its re-release Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix; the later game included an optional boss fight against the Lingering Will (留まりし思念 Todomarishi Shinen?), a hollow armor containing Terra's mind. In Birth by Sleep, Terra appears as one of the apprentices from Master Eraqus who trains him alongside his friends Aqua and Ventus to become masters of the Keyblade weapon. When Master Xehanort disappears, Terra is sent to find him and also tame the growing darkness within himself.
Terra's character was designed by the director series Tetsuya Nomura when preparing the secret endings of Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. He was developed to be reminiscent to the Xehanort featured in previous titles as well as having a connection with Riku, one of the series' main characters. Ryōtarō Okiayu has done the voice of Terra in Japanese and Jason Dohring in the English version. Video game publications gave mixed responses to Terra's character, with many noting his similarity to the Final Fantasy VII character Zack Fair and later commenting on his naive portrayal in Birth by Sleep.
Terra first made cameo appearances in the secret endings of Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix which depicted events from Birth by Sleep. Additionally, the Lingering Will, an armor containing Terra's will, appears in Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix as an optional boss in the world Keyblade Graveyard. The Lingering Will fights the game's protagonist Sora upon sensing Xehanort's presence and acknowledges Sora as a Keyblade Master afterward.
In the prequel Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Terra is a trainee from Master Eraqus alongside Aqua and Ventus, developing a strong sibling-like bond with both of them. One day, Terra participates with Aqua in an exam to become Keyblade Masters. Terra fails to pass the test as Eraqus detects darkness in his heart, which he disapproves. Eraqus later informs Terra and Aqua about the appearance of creatures known as the Unversed and the disappearance of Master Xehanort. He orders both of them to eliminate the Unversed and find Xehanort. During his search for the missing Xehanort, he interacts with several Disney characters for information on his whereabouts as he faces his inner darkness. When finding Xehanort, Terra is requested by him to kill Vanitas, a figure made from Ventus's darkness and source of all the Unversed. Xehanort later makes Terra return to the Land of Departure to stop Eraqus from killing Ventus. Unwilling to let Ventus die, Terra rescues him and confronts Eraqus. As the battle finishes, both Terra and Eraqus apologize to each other for their actions, but Eraqus is then killed by Xehanort. Realizing Xehanort's true nature, Terra goes to the Keyblade Graveyard where he reunites with Ventus and Aqua and prepares to face Xehanort. There, Ventus tells Aqua and him that Xehanort plans to use him and Vanitas to create the legendary χ-blade to help him in his plans which caused Eraqus to try to kill him. The three are then confronted by Xehanort and Vanitas and proceed to fight. When Ventus and Aqua are wounded in battle, Terra attacks Xehanort alone and unleashes the darkness in his heart, allowing Xehanort to take over his body. However, Terra's mind persists in his discarded armor, becoming the Lingering Will, and continues to fight Xehanort, knocking him out. The Lingering Will remains in the Keyblade Graveyard, while Terra's heart has an internal struggle with Xehanort's in his original body when Xehanort battles Aqua. This results in Xehanort stabbing himself to stop Terra, but Terra's presence remains within Xehanort, swearing to stop him. Although Terra's fate remains unknown, he appears in the game's last scenes alongside Ventus, the two uttering Sora's name with renewed hope.
While Terra does not appear in Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, Mickey reveals he has been searching for him, Ventus, and Aqua. But out of the three, only Terra's fate is unknown to him and Yen Sid. Terra briefly appears in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance during Sora's dream, where Sora's friends, Riku and Kairi, are transformed into Terra and Aqua.
Terra's role from Birth by Sleep is reprised in Tomoko Tanemaki's light novels of the game. Additionally, the final chapter shows his appearance as the Lingering Will fighting Sora from Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.
Creation and development
Although Terra, Ventus and Aqua first appeared in the ending of Kingdom Hearts II wearing armor, director Tetsuya Nomura still had not designed their real look, having only thought about their story. Despite not revealing their identities, Nomura still said that they are characters from the past from the Kingdom Hearts series. Following the release of the Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Nomura revealed a connection between them and the game's villain Xemnas but wanted to leave it up to people's imaginations as he still could not reveal his identity. Terra's face was first shown in the 2006 Tokyo Game Show in which he was described as an avenger of Xehanort. Nomura also confirmed that Lingering Will was connected with Terra. He also stated that his name means "earth" from Latin, following the "land" theme Riku represents as well as connecting him with the other main characters' names from the series. In October 2007, Nomura was asked if the Lingering Will was actually Terra due to their similarities, but he responded it was still uncertain. When asked about what was the Will's true nature after being revealed to contain Terra's memories, Nomura stated it was not a Heartless. Nomura expressed that the fans liked the inclusion of the Will's battle due to his challenging difficulty, which led the staff to design another hard boss character for Birth by Sleep.
From the three protagonists from Birth by Sleep, Terra's design was the only which was decided how should it be from the start, with Nomura stating he would be designed younger than shown in previous games. Japanese-inspired designs were incorporated into Terra's outfit based on the "master and apprentice" relationship featured in the game. Nomura had troubles designing Terra's, Ventus's and Aqua's armors due how they would be able to summon them. Therefore, an "X" was added to their clothes as a mean to activate the armors as well as due to the fact it was one of the game's keywords. Ever since development of Birth by Sleep started, the staff already decided that the three stories would be told in separate scenarios with Terra's story being the first one written. Terra's conversation with Riku was written by Nomura early on development wishing to explain the reason for Riku's ability to use the Keyblade, and he requested the staff in charge to make it into the game. The staff also wanted emphasize the lack of coincidences in the series, leading to the interaction between the three scenarios. Nomura recommended players to first play as Terra in Birth by Sleep in order to understand the story better. His gameplay was also described by Nomura as "heavy" in comparison to Ventus's and Aqua's.
To expand the connection between Terra and Riku, scenes foreshadowing future events involving Riku from Terra's perspective were added to the game, though Nomura has stated that these foreshadows are not of a precognitive nature. Nomura expects that in future games, the connection between both of them would be expanded. Ryōtarō Okiayu was chosen as Terra's Japanese voice actor as the staff wanted one actor similar to Chikao Ōtsuka, Xehanort's voice actor, and Akio Ōtsuka, Xehanort's voice actor while using Terra's body. The staff found Chikao's was a dry sort of voice, Akio's a deep resonating sort of voice, and liked how Okiayu bore elements from both actors.
When Terra's character was first revealed, 1UP.com's Jeremy Parish found him to be very similar to Zack Fair from Final Fantasy VII to the point where he wondered whether he would actually be Zack. However, when considering Terra's weapon being a Keyblade in contrast to all the other Final Fantasy characters shown in previous Kingdom Hearts games, he thought he may not be Zack. Amanda L. Kondolojy from Cheat Code Central found there have been various speculations regarding the similarities between Terra and Zack, but thought it would not be strange considering the existence of Nobodies in the series. Selecting Terra for a demo of Birth by Sleep IGN's Ryan Clements agreed with Parish, finding only minor differences between their outfits.
Terra's role in Birth by Sleep has received mixed critics with Adam Ghigiino from PALGN criticizing his naive personality when finding the three protagonists unappealing. VideoGamer.com writer Emily Gera stated that players may know little about them due to their role in Kingdom Hearts II, but with Birth by Sleep, players will able to know about them. Writing for GamesRadar, Crhis Antista commented that he did not understand the importance of him and the other characters being briefly featured in Kingdom Hearts II, although it could be explained once the player finishes Birth by Sleep. PlayStation LifeStyle's Thomas Williams found the trio as welcome additions to the franchise, finding their stories enjoyable even though the three travel to the same worlds. X-Play found Terra to be very similar to Riku due to his personality and vulnerability to evil's allure. Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot criticized Jason Dohring's work as Terra's English voice actor, saying he "can't express angst, excitement, sincerity, or any other emotion", affecting the storyline. VanOrd also pointed this out when Terra interacts with Disney characters, finding the latters' voice actors to be "uniformly excellent and absolutely comparable to the original source." Bob Miur from Destructoid compared Terra's storyline with the film Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith due to the struggles he faces, and found that gamers familiar to the series may realize that his fate in the game "won't turn out to be very pretty." Miur also commented on Dohring's work, praising how he makes Terra "tortured and conflicted", but still criticizing the result. UGO Networks listed Terra's Helmet nineteenth on their list of "The Coolest Helmets and Headgear in Video Games", stating "For a minute, but only a minute, the two-horned helmet will get you feeling like the Keyblade is a viable weapon." In a Famitsu poll, Terra was voted as the fifth most popular Kingdom Hearts character.
- Square Enix PDD 1 (March 29, 2007). Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. PlayStation 2. Square Enix, Buena Vista Games. Level/area: Keyblade Graveyard.
- Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. "Terra: You're too young to know. / Ventus: Quit treating me like a kid. /.../ Aqua: You two would make the weirdest brothers."
- Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. "Eraqus: Today you will be examined for the Mark of Mastery."
- Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. "Eraqus: However, only Aqua has shown the Mark of Mastery. Terra, you failed to keep the darkness within you sufficiently in check."
- Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. "Eraqus: Eliminate the Unversed and find Master Xehanort. I have unlocked the Lanes Between. You may use these forbidden pathways to travel between this world and countless others."
- Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. "Xehanort: Vanitas uses the Keyblade to sow seeds of darkness. / ... / Terra: The Unversed! / ... / Xehanort: Lend you me your strength, Terra. Right this wrong what I have wrought."
- Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. "Eraqus: Why do all my attempts to reach you fail? If you don't have it in your heart to obey... then you will have to share Ventus's fate. / ... / Terra: You may be my master... but I will not... let you hurt my friend!"
- Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. "Terra: I just... wanted to keep Ven safe. / Eraqus: No, you were right. I failed you, Terra. Perhaps I have no one to blame but myself for the darkness inside you. And now I've done worse... raised my Keyblade against you and Ventus."
- Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. "Ventus: Xehanort wants me and Vanitas to fight, and make some kind of "χ-blade." But the master said we can't let that happen... and he tried to destroy me for it."
- Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. "Terra: You will pay, Xehanort! Was my Master - no, my father, Eraqus not enough for you? Leave my friends alone! / Xehanort: Yes, boy, that's it! More! Let your whole heart blacken with anger!"
- Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. "Xehanort: And now, Terra, it is time for the final union! / Terra: What? / Xehanort: At last, our moment is here. Out with the old and brittle vessel and in with a younger, stronger new one. / ... / Xehanort: And now it is your darkness that shall be the ark that sustains me!"
- Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. "Xehanort: Your body submits, your heart succumbs, so why does your mind resist?"
- Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. "Xehanort: Stop fighting back! / Aqua: Terra, I know you're in there! / Xehanort: This will teach you. Get out of my heart!"
- Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. "Terra: Even if you cast me into the deepest, darkest abyss, you'll never swing me from the one cause that pushes me to keep fighting."
- Square Enix, h.a.n.d. (October 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. Nintendo DS. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Level/area: Reconnect: Kingdom Hearts.
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- キングダム ハーツ バース バイ スリープ アルティマニア [Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Ultimania] (in Japanese). Square Enix. 2010. pp. 640–649. ISBN 978-4-7575-2788-1.
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