Characters of Kingdom Hearts

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A piece of promotional artwork for Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ that showcases the main characters of the series up to II; Sora appears twice in the center in two different outfits with his Kingdom Hearts II design next to Roxas (left) and his original design next to Riku (right), with the members of Organization XIII at the bottom.

Kingdom Hearts is a series of action role-playing games developed and published by Square Enix (formerly Square). It is the result of a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios. Kingdom Hearts is a crossover of various Disney settings based in a universe made specifically for the series. The series features a mixture of familiar Disney, Final Fantasy and The World Ends with You characters, as well as several new characters designed by Tetsuya Nomura.[1] In addition, it has an all-star voice cast which includes many of the Disney characters' official voice actors.

The series centers on Sora's search for his friends and his encounters with various Disney and Final Fantasy characters along the way. Players primarily control Sora, though there are numerous characters that join Sora's party as computer controlled members. The majority of the characters were introduced in the original game Kingdom Hearts. Subsequent installments including Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II, 358/2 Days, Birth by Sleep and coded featured several new original, Disney and Final Fantasy characters while the most recent game Dream Drop Distance introduces several characters from Square Enix's The World Ends with You.

Various types of merchandise modeled after the characters' likeness have been produced, including figurines and jewelry. The characters have garnered praise from several video game websites and magazines for the quality of their voice acting and visual style. Comments focused on the accurate presentation of Disney characters, the unique visual style of Square Enix characters, how well all the characters blended together, and the consistent quality performances from voice actors.

Creation and influences[edit]

Early concept art of Riku, Kairi, and Sora, original characters created for the series

The Kingdom Hearts series is directed by Tetsuya Nomura, the character designer of the games. Nomura has stated that unlike working with Final Fantasy characters, keeping the main character Sora alive and interesting over multiple games is a challenge.[2] He also stated that though many of the Disney characters are not normally dark and serious, there were not many challenges making them so for the story, and despite this, their personalities shine because they maintain their own characteristics.[3] Though Disney gave Nomura freedom in the characters and worlds used for the games, he and his staff tried to stay within the established roles of characters and boundaries of the worlds.[2] When deciding which worlds to include in the game, the development staff tried to take into account worlds with Disney characters that would be interesting.[4]

The inclusion of specific Final Fantasy characters was based on the opinions of fans and the development staff.[5] Another criterion for inclusion was whether the staff felt the characters would fit into the storyline and in the Kingdom Hearts universe.[6] Initially, Nomura was hesitant to use characters he did not design, because he was unfamiliar with the background work of such characters.[7] For Kingdom Hearts II, he changed his mind after receiving pressure from his staff.[5] Throughout the development of the games, Nomura has often left certain events and connections between characters unexplained until the release of future games. Nomura did this because he feels that games should have room for fans to speculate and use their imagination. He stated that with speculation, even though a game may get old, people can still be happy with it.[8]

Main characters[edit]

Sora[edit]

Main article: Sora (Kingdom Hearts)

Sora (ソラ?) is an original character created by Tetsuya Nomura. He is the protagonist of the Kingdom Hearts series and the character that the player directly controls through a majority of the games.[1] Sora's weapon is the Keyblade.[9] Nomura has stated that Sora's name can be interpreted as "sky";[10] the Japanese word for sky is sora (?).[11]

Sora is voiced by Miyu Irino in the Japanese version and by Haley Joel Osment in the English version.[12] The character's child version is voiced by Takuto Yoshinaga in the Japanese version and by Luke Manriquez in the English version.

Riku[edit]

Riku (リク?) is an original character created by Tetsuya Nomura.[1] He is Sora's and Kairi's best friend. Nomura has stated that Riku's name can be interpreted as "land";[10] the Japanese on'yomi pronunciation of land is riku (?).[11][13] Riku's character represents one of the series' main themes alongside Sora which is "the light and the dark sides of hearts."[14]

During Kingdom Hearts, Riku is motivated by his wish to go to other worlds and gain strength. However, Riku goes with the darkness as his world is attacked by the Heartless. He is separated from his friends and ends up at Hollow Bastion where he is found by Maleficent and receives his weapon known as the Soul Eater (ソウルイーター?) from her. Under her influence, Riku turns on Sora and searches for a way to help Kairi.[13] Riku becomes possessed by Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, until being sent to the realm of darkness where he meets King Mickey and helps him and Sora seal the door to the realm of darkness.[15] In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Riku appears as a playable character as he awakens in the basement levels of Castle Oblivion and begins climbing to the ground floor. Along the way, Riku faces Ansem seeking to control him once again as well as Zexion and a replica of himself.[16] After learning of Sora's comatose state, Riku chooses to find a balance between his light and darkness, allowing him to defeat what remains of Ansem within him.

Soon after in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Riku joins DIZ to ensure Sora is restored in peace by capturing Roxas in order to make Sora complete again. He fights against Roxas as the final boss. After Roxas defeats him, Riku uses the power of darkness to capture him at the cost of becoming a physical manifestation of Ansem.[17] In Kingdom Hearts II, Riku is trapped in his Ansem form, but helps Sora in secret, eventually gaining his Way to the Dawn (ウェイトゥザドーン?) Keyblade. Riku returns to his original form when Ansem the Wise's machine used to digitally seal away Kingdom Hearts malfunctions and self-destructs. Joining Sora's party, they battle and defeat Xemnas, and return to Destiny Islands.[18]

As revealed in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Riku as a young boy was granted the power to wield a Keyblade by Terra. In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Riku serves as a playable character alongside Sora as the two are instructed to take the Mark of Mastery exam in order to become Keyblade Masters and prepare to fight Xehanort. The two of them undergo a series of trials through various dream worlds. After saving Sora from Xehanort's group, and releasing Sora's heart from Ventus' armor, Riku is declared a Keyblade Master. Nomura emphasizes how Riku is the main focus of this game as it shows the character's growth across the series.[19]

Riku is voiced by Mamoru Miyano in the Japanese version and by David Gallagher in the English version.[12] The character's child version is voiced by Eiji Shima in the Japanese version and Ty Panitz in the English version.

Kairi[edit]

Kairi (カイリ?) is an original character created by Tetsuya Nomura for the Kingdom Hearts series.[1] She is Sora and Riku's best friend, and one of the seven Princesses of Heart. Nomura has stated that Kairi's name can be interpreted as "sea or separation",;[10] the Japanese on'yomi pronunciation of sea is kai (?).[13]

During Kingdom Hearts, Kairi's heart enters Sora's while her body falls into a deep sleep when Destiny Islands is destroyed by the Heartless.[15] Upon learning her identity as a Princess of Heart and the location of her heart, Sora gives up his heart in order to release hers and restore it back into her body. Soon after, Kairi finds Sora's Heartless and restores him back to human form. Kairi later stays in Destiny Islands awaiting Sora's return from his journey.[20]

During Chain of Memories, Naminé's memory-altering powers break the memories in Sora's heart as well as those of all his friends, leading Kairi to lose her memories of him. In Kingdom Hearts II, Kairi gradually remembers Sora as his own memories are restored. Later, Kairi is kidnapped by Axel in the hopes to use Kairi to lure Sora to him. However, Saïx takes Kairi from Axel and imprisons her in a jail cell in the World That Never Was. But with the help of Naminé and Riku, she escapes her cell and uses her Destiny's Embrace (デスティニープレイス?, lit. "Destiny Place") Keyblade to fight the Heartless summoned by Saïx.[21] Kairi reunites with Sora's group to face and defeat Xemnas.[22] Kairi then returns with Sora and Riku to Destiny Islands.

According to Birth by Sleep, Kairi is originally a resident of Radiant Garden. During an encounter with Aqua, she is given a protective charm to keep her safe from darkness (which would lead to her being sent to Destiny Islands when Xehanort performs an experiment where all six apprentices of Ansem the Wise cause the invasion of darkness[23]).

In Dream Drop Distance, Yen Sid has Kairi summoned to train her in the use of her Keyblade in response their future fight against Xehanort's Organization XIII.

Kairi is voiced by Risa Uchida in the Japanese version of the series. In the English version, the character is voiced by Hayden Panettiere in Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, and Alyson Stoner during Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.[12] The character's child version is voiced by Sumire Morohoshi in Japanese and by Ariel Winter in English.

King Mickey[edit]

Main article: Mickey Mouse

King Mickey is the ruler of Disney Castle and, by extension, Disney Town.[24] His inclusion in the series was initially restricted to a small cameo for only one scene.[4] The larger role he played in the sequels first required the approval of Disney.[8]

By the time Kingdom Hearts begins and the Heartless begin to invade other worlds, Mickey leaves his world to discover the cause, leaving a message to Donald and Goofy telling them to find and protect the Keyblade wielder.[25] His journey ultimately leads him to obtaining a new Keyblade, the Kingdom Key D (キングダムチェーンD?, lit. "Kingdom Chain D"), from within the realm of darkness, using it to seal Kingdom Hearts with Sora. In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, he helps Riku in his inner fight against Ansem who previously possessed him.[16] Mickey helps uncover Organization XIII's plan before helping Sora directly during Kingdom Hearts II. He is playable in certain boss battles in Kingdom Hearts II; if Sora and his friends are defeated, King Mickey will step in to fight in Sora's place until he is able to revive Sora. He is also a playable character in the multiplayer mode of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. In the aftermath of both Ansem and Xemnas's utter defeat, Mickey returns to his world, only to go on another adventure in the events of Kingdom Hearts coded, where he learns the fates of Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, and contacts Sora to help them.[26] He originally meets them during the time of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Mickey is a student under Yen Sid and while helping out them with the Star Seeker (スターシーカー?) Keyblade.[27]

Mickey Mouse is voiced by Takashi Aoyagi in the Japanese version of the series. In the English version, King Mickey was voiced by Wayne Allwine in all games from Kingdom Hearts to 358/2 Days, and now voiced by Bret Iwan in all subsequent games starting with Birth by Sleep.

Donald Duck[edit]

Main article: Donald Duck

Donald Duck is the court magician of Disney Castle, King Mickey's majordomo, and one of Sora's two partners throughout the series.[9] Donald is a short-tempered, powerful magician on a quest to find King Mickey Mouse. In Kingdom Hearts, he and Goofy embark on a journey to carry out the missing king's orders to follow the Keyblade wielder. Initially, he only seems to care for Sora as an asset to track down King Mickey, telling a white lie to him about being able to locate his missing friends in order to convince him to accompany them.[28] However, he eventually grows to deeply care for him as a friend. At the end of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, he, Sora, and Goofy are put to sleep for a year while their memories are fixed by Naminé.[29] In Kingdom Hearts II, he awakens with his friends and continues to fight the Heartless along with the Nobodies and Organization XIII. Donald is playable in the multiplayer mode of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. In Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, he saves Riku and Mickey from Xehanort's Guardian when he and Goofy strike the Heartless from behind.

Donald Duck is voiced by Kōichi Yamadera in the Japanese version and by Tony Anselmo in the English version.

Goofy[edit]

Main article: Goofy

Goofy is the captain of the Royal Knights of Disney Castle and the second of Sora's two partners throughout the series. Despite his position as a knight, Goofy dislikes using weapons, instead wielding a simple shield, and prefers to avoid fighting whenever possible. Goofy retains his trademark clumsiness and simple-mindedness in this series, but is an eternal optimist who takes life in stride. He has surprisingly accurate intuitive skills, often noticing things that others miss. Under King Mickey's orders in Kingdom Hearts, he accompanies Donald on the quest to accompany the Keyblade wielder, Sora.[9] At the end of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, he, Sora, and Donald are put to sleep for a year while their memories are fixed by Naminé.[29] In Kingdom Hearts II, he awakens with his friends and continues to fight the Heartless along with the Nobodies and Organization XIII. He is a playable character in the multiplayer mode of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. In Kingdom Hearts 3D, he and Donald saves Riku and Mickey from Xehanort's Guardian by striking the Heartless from behind.

Goofy is voiced by Yū Shimaka in the Japanese version and by Bill Farmer in the English version.

Roxas[edit]

Roxas (ロクサス Rokusasu?, /ˈrɒksəs/ ROK-səs) is Sora's Nobody. He is created when Sora becomes a Heartless to save Kairi in Kingdom Hearts.[11] "Roxas" is an anagram of "Sora" with an X.[30] He is playable in the beginning portion of Kingdom Hearts II where Roxas lives in DiZ's digital Twilight Town after abandoning Organization XIII and being captured by Riku.[31] He merges with Sora to wake him up from his slumber. He is also the protagonist from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days which follows his life in the Organization.[32]

Roxas is voiced by Kōki Uchiyama in the Japanese version and by Jesse McCartney in the English version.[33][34]

Terra[edit]

Terra (テラ Tera?) is an original character created by Tetsuya Nomura who appears as one of the three protagonists of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. He is a Keyblade wielder raised and trained by Master Eraqus alongside Aqua and Ventus, developing a strong sibling-like bond and sharing his dream of becoming a Keyblade Master with them. During the exam to obtain the Mark of Mastery, Master Xehanort manipulates the trials to stimulate the darkness that resides inside of Terra. Terra becomes troubled upon learning that the darkness in his heart is too strong, for which he is denied the Mark of Mastery.[35] He is thus easily manipulated by Master Xehanort's encouragements to embrace and channel his darkness into power,[36] This, in turn, causes him to succumb to the darkness and become possessed by Xehanort. His fate remains unknown as Xemnas and Ansem's destruction brought back Master Xehanort instead of his possessed self.

Terra is voiced by Ryōtarō Okiayu in the Japanese version and by Jason Dohring in the English version.[37]

Ventus[edit]

Ventus (ヴェントゥス Ventusu?), also known as Ven (ヴェン?), is an original character created by Tetsuya Nomura who appears as one of the three protagonists of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. His name means "wind" in Latin and his Wayward Wind (フレッシュブリーズ?, lit. "Fresh Breeze") Keyblade (which he wields in a reverse grip) both have a "sky" theme similar to that of Sora.[10] He is one of the three Keyblade apprentices from The Land of Departure training to become a Keyblade Master. The exploration of his identity, including his striking resemblance to Roxas, is a major theme in the game,[38] which shows him being stripped of the darkness in his heart and sent to train under Master Eraqus by Master Xehanort so he may form an all-powerful Keyblade called the χ-blade.[39][40]

Ventus shares Roxas's voice actors: Kōki Uchiyama in Japanese and Jesse McCartney in English.[34]

Aqua[edit]

Main article: Aqua (Kingdom Hearts)

Aqua (アクア Akua?) is an original character created by Tetsuya Nomura who appears as one of the three protagonists of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. Her name means "water" in Latin and wields the Rainfell (レインフォール?, lit. "Rainfall") Keyblade which both carries a water theme similar to that of Kairi's "sea" meaning.[10] She is the only one among her friends to succeed in achieving the rank of Keyblade Master by the start of the game, and is tasked by Master Eraqus to watch over Terra and bring Ventus home.[41][42] Unlike Ventus and Terra, Aqua was not part of Xehanort's plans, so she remained largely unaware of them. She delved into the Realm of Darkness, replacing the possessed Terra; Aqua now awaits Sora to rescue her.

Aqua is voiced by Megumi Toyoguchi in the Japanese version and by Willa Holland in the English version.[37]

Antagonists[edit]

Xehanort[edit]

Xehanort (ゼアノート Zeanōto?, /ˈzənɔːrt/ ZAY-ə-nort) is the main antagonist of the Kingdom Hearts series. His name is an anagram of "No Heart" and "Another" with the additional letter "X".[8][43]

Xehanort is an elderly Keyblade Master who originally was from the Destiny Islands like Sora and Riku, having ended up in the Land of Departure where he learned to use the Keyblade alongside Eraqus. He wandered the worlds as he eventually became obsessed with the Keyblade War's mysteries, acquiring Luxu's Keyblade as his own while seeking to recreate the χ-blade to summon Kingdom Hearts. Furthermore, he originally also took Ventus as an apprentice to serve his purposes to prolong his life before the youth's inability to use darkness forced him to extract the boy's darkness as Vanitas while seeing Terra as an ideal pawn in his schemes. In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Xehanort orchestrated a series of events to make Ventus strong enough so his fusion with Vanitas can reforge the χ-blade while conditioning Terra to use darkness so he can use convert the youth into his new vessel.[44] Although he is successful in obtaining his vessel to cheat death, able to create a Heartless-like Guardian symbiote, Terra-Xehanort finds resistance in Terra's disembodied will before his conflict reaches its zenith and attempts to purge his host's heart during a fight with Aqua.[45] This results in Terra-Xehanort being an amnesic and then found by Ansem the Wise with Braig's help. As time passes, the amnesiac Terra-Xehanort, as one of Ansem's students, becomes increasingly obsessed with the study of hearts so he can regain his lost memories, steals Ansem's name as his own, and sacrifices his own heart and body to split himself into his Heartless "Ansem" and his Nobody Xemnas, leaving his mind and soul to continuously interfere with various individuals, including Sora and Riku.[46]

Xehanort's youthful incarnation, prior to leaving Destiny Islands, was arranged to travel forward in time in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance to assemble his future self's splintered incarnations to form Organization XIII as the intended Thirteen Seekers of Darkness. Young Xehanort, armed with Ethereal Blades and a time-themed Keyblade, infiltrates the Sleeping Worlds to harass Sora and Riku. When Young Xehanort realizes that recruiting Riku as the group's final "member" will not work, he decides to target Sora instead by luring him to a dream version of the World That Never Was where he takes advantage of the youth's inexperience with darkness. Though Young Xehanort is defeated by Riku, Master Xehanort fully manifests along his other versions and vessels. Though Xehanort did not succeed in transferring his heart into Sora, he falls back to make final preparations for the χ-blade's recreation while his younger self returns to his own time with no memory of his actions yet motivated to ensure his future self's status.

Master Xehanort will return as the main antagonist in Kingdom Hearts III to have his final showdown with Sora.[47]

Master Xehanort was voiced by Chikao Ōtsuka in the Japanese version and by Leonard Nimoy in the English version. Terra-Xehanort shares Ansem's voice actors (Akio Ōtsuka for Japanese and Richard Epcar for English). Young Xehanort shares Riku's voice actors (Mamoru Miyano for Japanese and David Gallagher for English) [albeit uncredited] in Birth by Sleep while in later games by Takanori Okuda in the Japanese version and by Benjamin Diskin in the English version.

Ansem[edit]

Ansem, Seeker of Darkness (闇の探求者 アンセム Yami no Tankyūsha Ansemu?), or simply "Ansem" (アンセム Ansemu?), is Xehanort's Heartless. His name comes from Terra-Xehanort stealing the identity of Ansem the Wise as Xehanort's memories return.[48] He controls a Heartless-like symbiote known as the "Guardian".[43]

"Ansem" appears in Kingdom Hearts as the game's main antagonist. Devoid of a body, he watches Maleficent do his dirty work in gathering the Princesses of Hearts. Once Maleficent served her purpose, Ansem possesses Riku's body to regain a physical presence while dealing with Sora at the End of the World.[49] Although his goal of reaching Kingdom Hearts is realized, the light behind the door to Kingdom Hearts destroys him, causing most of the worlds he destroyed to be restored while the others entered in a state of sleep.[50] But in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Ansem is revealed to still exist and attempted to take over Riku again within Castle Oblivion, however, Riku subdued Ansem.[51]

Ansem reappears as one of the main antagonists for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, having been brought from a moment in time by Young Xehanort. Ansem takes advantage of the Sleeping Worlds to mess with Riku by attempting to open the youth's heart to darkness again. After being defeated by Riku in the Sleeping World version of the World That Never Was, later appearing in the Organization's attire, Ansem attacks Riku and Mickey to hinder from interfering in Master Xehanort's attempt to convert Sora. By that time, it is revealed that Xehanort's scheme included making use of Ansem's bodiless form to make contact with Young Xehanort to enact the back-up plan.

Ansem is voiced by Akio Ōtsuka in the Japanese version of the series. In the English version, the character was originally voiced by Billy Zane in Kingdom Hearts (and again for the Kingdom Hearts Final Mix portion of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX) and later by Richard Epcar in all subsequent games.

Xemnas[edit]

Xemnas (ゼムナス Zemunasu?, /ˈzɛmnəs/ ZEM-nəs), also known as "The Superior of the In-Between" (狭間の指導者 Hazama no Shidōsha?), is the Nobody of Xehanort as Terra-Xehanort albeit uses an anagram of his stolen alias Ansem with an "X" added for his name.[52] He controls the Sorcerer Nobodies, fights with beams of light he generates from his palms called "Ethereal Blades", can manipulate nothingness to phase through solid matter and manifest energy-based shields and projectiles,[43] and is the leader of Organization XIII.

Xemnas is the main antagonist in Kingdom Hearts II, having used Roxas and Xion prior in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days for the deed while watching from behind the scenes, getting Sora to gather the hearts from destroyed Emblem Heartless so he can increase the size of the Kingdom Hearts that he is cultivating in the World That Never Was. However, after his followers have been dispatched, Xemnas finds his kingdom Hearts damaged as the result of Ansem the Wise attempt to digitally contain. When Sora and company refuses to aid him in it restoration, Xemnas uses what is left of Kingdom Hearts' power to take on a new form to fight Sora's party. Though Xemnas is thought to be defeated, he separates Sora and Riku from the others to attack them. However, the two defeat Xemnas and he fades into darkness.[53]

Xemnas returns as one of the main antagonists for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Xemnas takes advantage of the Sleeping Worlds to mess with Sora by using the youth's many connected hearts. In a Sleeping World version of the World That Never Was, Sora defeats Xemnas. It is also revealed that Xehanort's back-up actions included Xemnas forming Organization XIII to serve as vessels for Xehanort's heart to achieve a perfect recreation of the χ-blade.

Xemnas is voiced by Norio Wakamoto in the Japanese version and by Paul St. Peter in the English version.

Maleficent[edit]

Main article: Maleficent

Maleficent is an evil fairy from Sleeping Beauty. As revealed in the series prequel Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Maleficent originated from the world Enchanted Dominion as she encountered Terra, Ventus, and Aqua after Master Xehanort reveals the existence of the Seven Princesses of Heart, the Keyblade and other Worlds to her. Serving as the secondary antagonist of Kingdom Hearts, Maleficent formed a group of Disney villainsHades from Hercules, Jafar from Aladdin, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Captain Hook from Peter Pan—help her take control of all worlds through the power of Kingdom Hearts, using the ruins of Hollow Bastion as a base of operations. However, she is defeated by Sora after Riku—possessed by "Ansem"—unlocks her heart and transforms her into a dragon. But Maleficent is resurrected in Kingdom Hearts II, where she resumes her plans of world domination together with Pete while also seeking revenge against Sora, as well as converting Xemnas' Castle That Never Was into her new base of operations. In Kingdom Hearts coded, unaware that she was in an artificially created simulation of the worlds, Maleficent sought the data in Jiminy's Journal to amass an army of Heartless to invade the outside world. Despite failure to carry out this plan, Maleficent attempted to claim the Datascape in exchange for Queen Minnie's life in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance; however, she once more was forced to abandon her plan. But as revealed in a secret ending in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix, after learning what the Datascape is, Maleficent aims her goals to find a relic known as the Book of Prophecies as she believes there may be a link between it and the journal.

Maleficent is voiced by Toshiko Sawada in the Japanese version and by Susanne Blakeslee in the English version.

Pete[edit]

Main article: Pete (Disney)

Pete is part of the main group of Disney villains led by Maleficent. He is originally a steamboat captain from Disney Castle prior to the events of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, where he causes mischief in Disney Town until he is banished to another dimension for his evil ways by Queen Minnie. However, he is freed by Maleficent and vows to help her conquer the worlds.[54] As such, he plays an unseen role until Kingdom Hearts II in order to build a Heartless army for Maleficent, and spends much of his appearances in the series following Sora throughout the worlds he and his group visit, mainly to recruit local villains, old and new, to either join Maleficent's fold or turn them into Heartless for his own purposes. Despite his bumbling ways, Pete remains Maleficent's only loyal ally throughout the series.

Pete is voiced by Tōru Ōhira in the Japanese version and by Jim Cummings in the English version.[33]

Organization XIII[edit]

Main article: Organization XIII

Organization XIII (XIII機関 Jūsan Kikan, lit."XIII Order"?) is a group of thirteen Nobodies based in the World That Never Was who seek to discover the mysteries that lie within the heart and use the power of Kingdom Hearts to become complete humans once again. The Organization is first formed when Ansem the Wise's six apprentices discard their hearts, their Nobodies becoming the first members of the Organization.[8] Members are numbered in the order in which they joined, with Xemnas numbered first as their leader. Each member also has the letter "X" placed in his or her name, the remaining letters being an anagram of their name prior to becoming a Nobody.[55] As Nobodies, acting based on the memories of their original selves, they lack true emotion and morality, and are unable to feel guilt or remorse for their actions.[56]

Several Organization members were introduced in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, divided into two parties that are eventually destroyed by Sora and Riku. In Kingdom Hearts II, the Organization's plan is fully revealed as they use Sora to eliminate the Heartless, taking the hearts that emerge and using them to create Kingdom Hearts, which they believe will allow them to regain their own hearts and existences.[57]

Xigbar is voiced by Hōchū Ōtsuka in the Japanese version and by James Patrick Stuart in the English version.[33][58] Xaldin is voiced by Yōsuke Akimoto in the Japanese version and by David Dayan Fisher in the English version.[33][58] Vexen is voiced by Nachi Nozawa in the Japanese version and by Derek Stephen Prince in the English version.[58][59][60] Lexaeus is voiced by Fumihiko Tachiki in the Japanese version and by Dave Boat in the English version.[58][60] Zexion is voiced by Akira Ishida in the Japanese version and by Vince Corazza in the English version.[58][60] Saïx is voiced by Ginpei Sato in the Japanese version and by Kirk Thornton in the English version.[33] Axel is voiced by Keiji Fujiwara in the Japanese releases while Quinton Flynn provided the voice for the English releases.[33][58][61] Demyx is voiced by Kenichi Suzumura in the Japanese version and by Ryan O'Donohue in the English version.[33][58] Luxord is voiced by Jouji Nakata in the Japanese version and by Robin Atkin Downes in the English version.[33][58] Marluxia is voiced by Shūichi Ikeda in the Japanese version and by Keith Ferguson in the English releases.[58][60] Larxene is voiced by Yuko Miyamura in the Japanese version and by Shanelle Workman in the English releases.[58][60]

Vanitas[edit]

Vanitas (ヴァニタス Vanitasu?, /vəˈntəs/ və-NEE-təs) is the embodiment of the darkness in Ventus's heart and Master Xehanort's creation/apprentice.[62] In the form of a masked teenager, Vanitas normally wears a mask which hides a face that shares a strong physical resemblance with Sora as a result of Ventus' connection with the child's heart.[37] In addition to wielding his Void Gear (ヴォイドギア?) Keyblade, the Unversed are extensions of his being produced from negative emotions.[63] His name is derived from the Latin word for "emptiness" which connects with Ventus's and Sora's names.

One of the main antagonists in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Vanitas exists for the purpose of fighting with Ventus so that their respective hearts of pure darkness and light can merge back into one as part of Xehanort's attempt to recreate the χ-blade. To that end, Vanitas goads Ventus into following Terra while pitting him against the Unversed to strengthen him until he became an equal for the plan to work. Once Ventus met his expectations at the Keyblade Graveyard, Vanitas has the Unversed hold Ventus down so he can fuse back into the boy's body with the χ-blade manifested. But as he fights Aqua and Mickey using Ventus's body in the form of Ventus-Vanitas (ヴェントゥス-ヴァニタス Ventusu-Vanitasu?),[64] Vanitas learns his reunion with Ventus is flawed as he proceeds to confront Ventus in a metaphysical battle within his mind to force a complete fusion so the χ-blade can be stabilized.[65] Both fights ultimately end with Vanitas seemingly ceasing to be while Ventus's heart leaves his body. An Unversed-like entity who resembles Vanitas, known as the Vanitas Remnant (ヴァニタスの思念 Vanitasu no Shinen?, lit. "Vanitas Sentiment"), appears as a secret boss in the Western and Final Mix versions of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.[37] Vanitas makes a brief cameo in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. When Sora is taunted by Young Xehanort about the nature of his heart at Notre Dame, Ventus's heart reacts to Young Xehanort's presence, causing Sora to see a vision of Vanitas.

Vanitas shares Sora's voice actors (Miyu Irino in Japanese and Haley Joel Osment in English).[37] Ventus-Vanitas also speaks through Roxas/Ventus' voice actors (Kōki Uchiyama in Japanese and Jesse McCartney in English).

Braig[edit]

Braig (ブライグ Buraigu?, transliterated (incorrectly) as Bleig in the English release of Kingdom Hearts II) is a mercenary for Master Xehanort, co-conspirator with Terra-Xehanort, a student of Ansem the Wise, and the original form of Xigbar. He has a profound interest for the Keyblade. Similar to Xigbar, he attacks with a pair of rayguns which can be combined as well to form a sniper rifle and can manipulate space to teleport himself, warp his bullets, and levitate in battle.[43]

In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Braig has a part of Master Xehanort's plan. He battles against Terra at Radiant Garden but receives a scar on the left side of his face and has to wear an eyepatch over his right eye afterwards. After receiving part of Xehanort's heart, he confronted Ventus and Aqua at the Keyblade Graveyard to which the former's glare is etched in his memory and battles against the latter. Back at Radiant Garden, Braig helps Ansem the Wise find Terra-Xehanort. He later helps Terra-Xehanort as Ansem's apprentice before eventually meeting Young Xehanort to discuss Master Xehanort's plans and then becoming Xigbar after being stabbed with Xehanort's Keyblade.[66]

After being restored upon Xigbar's defeat by Sora, as revealed in Kingdom Hearts 2.5, Braig sees Young Xehanort and the two discuss Master Xehanort's plan before they take Isa once he is restored. In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, appearing in the form of his Xigbar incarnation as a member of the True Organization XIII, Briag confronts Sora in a Sleeping World version of the World That Never Was and reveals his nature as "half-Xehanort" being.

Braig shares Xigbar's voice actors (Hōchū Ōtsuka in Japanese and James Patrick Stuart in English).

Isa[edit]

Isa (アイザ Aiza?)[67] is Lea's original friend and Saïx's original self.[68] In Birth by Sleep, Isa has a care-free personality and morals as he is a resident of Radiant Garden compared to his Nobody counterpart. In Kingdom Hearts 3D, Isa returns with Saïx's features which were due to being another "half-Xehanort" being and therefore a member of Xehanort's Organization XIII. In the World That Never Was, Isa is ordered to stop Lea's rescue of Sora before falling back when his masters' attempt to convert the youth are interrupted.

Isa shares Saïx's voice actors (Ginpei Sato in Japanese and Kirk Thornton in English).[33]

Recurring characters[edit]

Jiminy Cricket[edit]

Main article: Jiminy Cricket

Jiminy Cricket travels with Sora, Donald, and Goofy as the chronicler of their travels, recording information about people, places and events in his journals.[69][70] According to Dream Drop Distance, he is originally from the world Prankster's Paradise, where he acted as Pinocchio's conscience. Despite making only a few appearances in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, he plays a major role in both Chain of Memories and coded.

Jiminy Cricket is voiced by Kaneta Kimotsuki in the Japanese version of the series. In the English version of the series, the character was voiced by Eddie Carroll from Kingdom Hearts to Re:Chain of Memories and by Phil Snyder in Re:coded and Dream Drop Distance. However, in the Re:coded HD cutscenes of Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix, he was voiced by Joe Ochman.

Naminé[edit]

Naminé (ナミネ Namine?, /ˈnɑːmn/ NAH-mə-nay) is an original character created for the Kingdom Hearts series. She is Kairi's Nobody, created during the events of Kingdom Hearts. She has the ability to change or erase the memories of Sora and those close to him by rearranging and creating new links between them, for which she is referred to as a witch.[71][72]

Naminé first appears in Chain of Memories, where she alters Sora's memories under the orders of Organization XIII to remember her as a close friend from Destiny Islands. She is later released by Axel under his own agenda and reveals the truth to Sora. After Marluxia is defeated, Naminé puts Sora, Donald, and Goofy to sleep for a year in order to restore their memories to their original state.[29] Naminé also saves Riku in "Reverse/Rebirth" from Zexion by teaching him to not fear the darkness.[8] In Kingdom Hearts II, Naminé visits Roxas in the virtual Twilight Town to help him discover his true identity. Though she outlives her purpose in Sora's restoration, Riku entrusts Naminé to the now rogue Axel after DiZ gives him orders to destroy her. While Kairi is trapped in the Organization's dungeon, Naminé appears and helps her escape. She meets with Roxas once more through Sora after Xemnas's apparent defeat, and opens a portal to lead Sora and his friends go home, after which she fuses with Kairi to complete her. During the events of coded, it is revealed that Naminé had created a copy of herself within Jiminy's journal during the restoration of Sora's memories to contact Mickey and reveal to him Sora's ties to herself, Roxas, Xion, Axel, Terra, Aqua and Ventus.

Naminé is voiced by Iku Nakahara in the Japanese version of the series. In the English version, the character was originally voiced by Brittany Snow in Kingdom Hearts II and now by Meaghan Martin in all subsequent appearances/remakes.

Ansem the Wise[edit]

Ansem the Wise (賢者アンセム Kenja Ansemu?) is an original character created for the Kingdom Hearts series. He first appears under the disguise DiZ (ディズ Dizu?, /dɪz/ DIZ) in the "Reverse/Rebirth" mode of Chain of Memories while his true identity Ansem the Wise is revealed in Kingdom Hearts II.

Ansem the Wise was a former respected sage and ruler of the Radiant Garden. As a researcher, Ansem studied the heart and delved into the many secrets of the worlds. He and his apprentice Xehanort believed that darkness could spread into and take control of the heart. After meeting with King Mickey and learning his research may be connected with a current crisis happening in other worlds, Ansem ceased the experiments. He later found his report on the experiments was given new entries by Xehanort, now using Ansem's name as his own. Xehanort and Ansem's other apprentices—Even, Ienzo, Braig, Dilan, and Aeleus—then betrayed him and banished him to a world of nothingness before he wound up in the realm of darkness.

Taking the name of DiZ, Ansem guides Riku through his encounters in Castle Oblivion during the events of Chain of Memories. Soon after Riku joins him in his campaign, DiZ convinces Naminé to move Sora, Donald and Goofy to Twilight Town for safekeeping as they regain their lost memories, which DiZ oversees throughout 358/2 Days. When the restoration process comes to a standstill, DiZ orders Riku to forcefully retrieve Roxas and he then places inside a virtual Twilight Town, allowing the process to continue.

In Kingdom Hearts II, Naminé begins to act on her own and Riku declines to help him in DiZ's revenge. As he observes the lengths that Riku is willing to go to in order to help Sora, including taking on the physical form of Xehanort's Heartless, DiZ loses his lust for revenge and grows regretful of his actions. Once Sora awakens and embarks on his new quest, he does not function as DiZ wants, and all of his plans fall apart.[73] DiZ reveals himself as Ansem to Mickey at the World That Never Was while attempting to digitally seal away Xemnas's Kingdom Hearts inside a machine. However, the hearts prove unpredictable and begin to overload the machine, and Ansem chooses to sacrifice himself in order to help defeat the Organization. The machine self-destructs after Ansem apologizes for his mistakes,[74] causing an explosion that consumes Ansem, disrupts the power contained in Kingdom Hearts, and restores Riku to his original self.

In the epilogue of Birth by Sleep, Ansem is in the Realm of Darkness once more with only his memories of his relation to Sora intact. There he meets Aqua at the shores of a dark ocean and tells her about Sora and how he may be the means for Ansem to redeem himself for his actions. In Kingdom Hearts 3D, a digital copy of DiZ appears within Sora's mind, informing Riku of the data he hid inside Sora while under his watch. He also mentions that Sora also may have the power to bring back those who were lost or ceased to be.

Ansem the Wise/DiZ is voiced by Genzō Wakayama in the Japanese version of the series. In the English version, the character is voiced by Sir Christopher Lee in Kingdom Hearts II and 358/2 Days and by Corey Burton for Re:Chain of Memories, Birth by Sleep and Dream Drop Distance. Burton also redubs Lee's lines in the HD remaster of 358/2 Days, due to Lee's unavailability to provide his voice for the newly made cutscenes.

Yen Sid[edit]

Main article: Yen Sid

Yen Sid is a sorcerer who lives in the Mysterious Tower and is King Mickey's old mentor when King Mickey once serve as Yen Sid's apprentice.[75] He shows considerable knowledge about Keyblades abilities, and is shown to be an acquaintance of both Master Eraqus and Master Xehanort. Though he is retired, his wisdom still serves as a source of information for the protagonists. In Kingdom Hearts II, he informs Sora, Goofy and Donald of the dangers of the Heartless, the Nobodies and Organization XIII. In Birth by Sleep, he informs Terra, Ventus, Aqua and Eraqus of the threat of the Unversed. In Re:coded, Yen Sid reveals to Mickey that the destruction of "Ansem" and Xemnas will eventually lead to the reconstruction of Master Xehanort. In Dream Drop Distance, Yen Sid puts Sora and Riku through a Mark of Mastery exam in order to make them into full-fledged Keyblade Masters to defeat Xehanort. After Riku saves Sora, Yen Sid decides they need seven protectors to keep the Princesses of Heart safe from Xehanort's Organization XIII so he inlists the aid of Kairi to train because of her ability to wield a Keyblade.

Yen Sid is voiced by Takashi Inagaki in the Japanese version and by Corey Burton in the English version.

Xion[edit]

Xion (シオン Shion?, /ˈʃn/ SHEE-ohn) is an original character created by Tetsuya Nomura who appears in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. She is the newest and fourteenth member of Organization XIII, who then forged a friendship with Roxas and Axel. Later on, it is revealed that she is a replica of Roxas created from Sora's memories of Kairi, and is thus not technically a member of Organization XIII or even a real Nobody.[58] She eventually fades away from existence before asking Roxas to stop Xemnas's plans, reverting into Sora's memories which entered Roxas.[76][77] Though all memories of her existence were erased from everyone she came in contact with, Xion still existed through Roxas (and later Sora in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance). Xion also appears in Kingdom Hearts Re:coded where she is shown to be one of the people connected to Sora's heart who may be able to return one day.[78] It appears Roxas, still existing within Sora in Dream Drop Distance, does remember her, given Sora cried upon seeing Xion. She appears once again as one of the three characters asking Riku a question in Sora's heart.

Xion shares Kairi's voice actresses: Risa Uchida [Japanese], Alyson Stoner (English, 358/2 Days) and Hayden Panettiere (English, Dream Drop Distance).

Master Eraqus[edit]

Master Eraqus (マスター・エラクゥス Masutā Erakūsu?, /ˈɛrəkəs/ ERR-ə-kəs)[79] is an original character created by Tetsuya Nomura. His name is an anagram of "Square", the first name of the developer, Square Enix.[35][80] He also bears a striking resemblance to Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi who also was a member of Square.[81] He appears in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep as one of the few remaining Keyblade Masters who trained alongside Master Xehanort, who he considers to be a friend in a relationship similar to that of old classmates.[79] He oversees the power of light in all worlds from the Land of Departure, and acts as both a teacher and caring father figure of Terra, Ventus and Aqua. Eraqus is strongly biased in the existence of darkness in favor of light, believing darkness to be a malevolent force that needs to be destroyed, which leads him to deny Terra the Mark of Mastery upon sensing darkness in his heart.[82] He also strictly forbids Ventus from leaving the Land of Departure, fearing Xehanort will use him to create the χ-blade. He sends Terra and Aqua to deal with the appearance of the Unversed and the disappearance of Master Xehanort and also sends Aqua to retrieve Ventus, who escaped from the Land of Departure. When Ventus confronts him over this and confirms his fears, Eraqus attempts to foil Xehanort's plan by killing Ventus.[83] He is stopped by Terra and, after battling and losing to his student, is struck down by Xehanort and fades away, leaving behind his Master's Defender (マスターキーパー?, lit. "Master Keeper") Keyblade.[84] However, the game's secret ending reveals that Eraqus had hidden his own heart within Terra, allowing Terra to resist Xehanort's influence after being possessed by him. An additional boss modeled after Eraqus's armor called the Armor of Eraqus (アーマー・オブ・ザ・マスター Āmā obu za Masutā?, lit. "Armor of the Master") appears in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix in the Mirage Arena.

Master Eraqus is voiced by Makio Inoue in the Japanese version and by Mark Hamill in the English version.

Lea[edit]

Lea (リア Ria?) is the original form of Axel and an original character created for the series. He has a desire to achieve his own ideal of immortality by having everyone he comes in contact with remember him, saying the phrase "Got it memorized?" on multiple occasions.

During the events of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Lea and his friend Isa meet Ventus during his visit to Radiant Garden and befriends him (this friendship is reflected in his Nobody's ties to Roxas and Sora[85]). Though converted into a Nobody by the actions of Xehanort to serve as the eighth member of Organization XIII, Axel possessed many of Lea's memories and quirks as he befriended Roxas and Xion during the events of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Axel's sacrifice at the end of Kingdom Hearts II restores Lea to his original form before he leaves Radiant Garden to find Braig and Isa. In doing so, he becomes an ally of Sora and his companions, aiding Riku and Mickey in rescuing Sora from Xehanort's new Organization XIII. Afterwards, Lea reveals himself to have become a Keyblade Wielder as he obtains his own Keyblade.

Lea shares Axel's voice actors: Keiji Fujiwara in Japanese and Quinton Flynn in English.

Princesses of Heart[edit]

The Princesses of Heart, also known as the Seven Princesses (セブンプリンセス Sebun Purinsesu?) in the Japanese language version, are seven maidens whose hearts are made of pure light, devoid of darkness. Five of them are based on the official Disney PrincessesSnow White from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella from the Disney film of the same name, Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and Jasmine from Aladdin—with the other two being Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Kairi. They are stated to be the source of all light in the world and, when all seven of them are brought together, possess the power to summon the door to Kingdom Hearts.

Throughout the original game, Maleficent kidnaps the princesses as part of her plan to summon the Keyhole to Kingdom Hearts. Xehanort's Heartless "Ansem" later uses six of the princesses' hearts to forge a Keyblade with the power to unlock people's hearts, intending to free Kairi's heart from Sora's. Sora restores their hearts after using Ansem's Keyblade on himself, destroying it. The other princesses remain at Hollow Bastion to hold the darkness from the Keyhole at bay until the door to Kingdom Hearts is sealed, returning to their homeworlds soon after.[9] In the prequel Birth by Sleep, it is revealed that Master Xehanort seeks out the Princesses of Heart, spurring Maleficent into gathering them as well; it is later explained in Dream Drop Distance that the princesses' hearts represent the seven fragments of light broken off from the χ-blade, which Xehanort intends to use in his plan to forge the weapon. To protect the princesses from this, Yen Sid prepares to substitute them with seven Keyblade wielders to clash with Xehanort's army of thirteen "darknesses".

Party members and summons[edit]

Several games in the Kingdom Hearts series feature computer-controlled characters that are added to the player's party in a specific world. The first game features six party members: Tarzan in Deep Jungle; Aladdin in Agrabah; Ariel in The Little Mermaid's Atlantica; Jack Skellington in Halloween Town from The Nightmare Before Christmas; Peter Pan in Never Land; and Beast from Beauty and the Beast in Hollow Bastion, a world exclusive to the series. In addition, there are six characters that can be acquired as summonable allies in the game: Simba from The Lion King, Genie from Aladdin, Dumbo, Bambi, Tinker Bell from Peter Pan, and Mushu from Mulan. Chain of Memories features the same party and summoned characters from the previous game, with the inclusion of Cloud Strife as an additional summon.

Party members from the first game return to the role in Kingdom Hearts II, with the exception of Tarzan, who is absent from the game; Ariel, here a non-playable character in Atlantica's rhythm game segment; and Peter Pan, who appears as a summon in tandem with Tinker Bell. Simba is featured as a full party member in The Lion King's Pride Lands, while Mushu becomes a supporting ally in tandem with new party member Mulan in the film's Land of Dragons. Other new party members are Final Fantasy X character Auron in the Hercules-based world Olympus Coliseum, Jack Sparrow in Port Royal from Pirates of the Caribbean, and Tron in Space Paranoids. Chicken Little and Stitch are also included as new summons.

In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Roxas' fellow members of Organization XIII accompany the player during certain daily missions.[86][87]

Birth by Sleep removes the standard party system utilized by previous games, instead using characters as temporary partners during certain portions of the game. These characters are Prince Philip in the Enchanted Dominion, based on Sleeping Beauty; Hercules and Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core's depiction of Zack Fair in Olympus Coliseum; and Stitch (named "Experiment 626") in the Lilo & Stitch-inspired Deep Space.

Kingdom Hearts III is set to include Rapunzel and Baymax in worlds based on their respective films, Tangled and Big Hero 6.[88][89]

Minor characters[edit]

Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee[edit]

The Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee is a group of Final Fantasy characters depicted as residents of Hollow Bastion, formerly known as Radiant Garden, who lost their home to the Heartless during Maleficent's invasion nine years prior to the original game. Led by Squall Leonheart from Final Fantasy VIII, who goes by the name "Leon" (レオン Reon?) out of shame for his inability to save his home, the group also includes Final Fantasy VII characters Aerith Gainsborough, Yuffie Kisaragi, and Cid Highwind. The committee is formed in Kingdom Hearts II with the goal of rebuilding their destroyed world following Maleficent's defeat, using the home of The Sword in the Stone character Merlin as a base.

Hayner, Pence and Olette[edit]

Hayner (ハイネ Haine?), Pence (ピンツ Pintsu?) and Olette (オレット Oretto?) are three teenagers who live in Twilight Town. Virtual replicas of the three serve as Roxas' friends in DiZ's simulation of Twilight Town at the start of Kingdom Hearts II. Their real counterparts briefly encounter Roxas during 358/2 Days, which causes them to react emotionally towards Sora after he has merged with Roxas. In the English version of the series, they are voiced by Justin Cowden, Sean Marquette, and Jessica DiCicco, respectively. In Japanese, their voice actors are Kazunori Sasaki, Hayato Taya, and Yuka Hirasawa.

Ephemer[edit]

Ephemer (エフェメラ Efemera?) is a member of one of the Unions of Keyblade wielders with a desire for knowledge who appears in Kingdom Hearts χ. He is also a friend of his fellow Union member Skuld, being the only one to befriend her at the time when no one else wanted to. Ephemer meets with the player character while attempting to gain more answers regarding the Foretellers' agenda, revealing an information about the nature of the worlds they explore, but he then abruptly disappears and never encounters the player character again. The player later learns from Ava that Ephemera and other Keyblade wielders known as "Dandelions" have entered the World of Light so they can be safe from the upcoming Keyblade War that will ravage the current world.

Ephemer is voiced by Yūto Uemura in the Japanese version and by Michael Johnston in the English version.

Skuld[edit]

Skuld (スクルド Sukurudo?) is a Keyblade wielder and a member of the same Union as Ephemer. She appears in Kingdom Hearts χ. Having been told by Ephemer that the world will be ravaged in a calamity, Skuld searches for him and meets the player character along the way. She learns about Ephemer's whereabouts and accepts Ava's offer to search refuge in the World of Light while the Keyblade War occurs, but is dismayed at the player character's choice to stay behind and help their fellow Keyblade wielders.

Foretellers[edit]

The Foretellers are a group of Keyblade Masters under the tutelage of the Master of Masters who appear in Kingdom Hearts χ. Each of the five was given a tome from the Book of Prophecies, which warn them about the Keyblade War. The five attempt to avert it by establishing the Unions of Keyblade wielders: the Vulpes Union under Ava (アヴァ?), the Anguis Union under Invi (インヴィ?), the Leopardos Union overseen by Gula (グウラ Gūra?), the Unicornis Union led by Ira (イラ?), and the Ursus Union under Aced (アセッド Aseddo?). However, the Foretellers begin to split when they accuse each other of being a traitor who takes the last page from the Book of Prophecies, which contains the description of the Keyblade War's aftermath. As a fail safe for the calamity, Ava sends a group of Keyblade wielders whom she dubs "Dandelions" to the World of Light, giving them a safe place during the conflict. The Foretellers' in-fighting is later revealed to be caused by the sixth apprentice of the Master, Luxu, who is the one currently holding the last page.

Invi is voiced by Karissa Lee Staples in the English version. Gula is voiced by Kevin Quinn in the English version.

Luxu[edit]

Luxu (ルシュ Rushu?) is a Keyblade Master and the mysterious hooded sixth apprentice of the Master of Masters who appears in Kingdom Hearts χ. He is the only one not given a tome from the Book Prophecies and thus the only one not building a Union, but is implied to keep a secret regarding the conflict from the others. Late into the game, it is known that Luxu holds the final page from the Book of Prophecies which contains the written description of the Keyblade War, something that he has used to turn the Foretellers against each other. When Ava accuses him of being a traitor, Luxu raises his Keyblade against her, but the outcome is not known. While his ultimate fate in the resulting Keyblade War is unknown, his Keyblade is currently in the possession of Xehanort.

Other Disney characters[edit]

One of the common elements in the Kingdom Hearts series is the inclusion of levels based on various Disney films and related media. Several key characters from these franchises appear in their respective worlds (e.g., the "Deep Jungle" world based on Tarzan includes the title character, his companion Jane Porter, antagonist Clayton, and much of the film's gorilla community), often closely following their roles from the films.

A number of characters from the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck universes are prominently featured in the Kingdom Hearts series, most of them appearing at the original world Disney Castle and its adjacent urban area, Disney Town.[90] Minnie Mouse is portrayed as the queen of Disney Castle, commonly called "Queen Minnie", who rules the kingdom in the absence of her husband, Mickey. Daisy Duck, Donald Duck's girlfriend, is Minnie's lady-in-waiting. Pluto the dog reprises his role as Mickey's pet and makes recurring appearances throughout the series, accompanying Donald and Goofy's search for the king in the first game. Chip and Dale act as Disney Castle's technicians, managing the Gummi Ship that Sora's party uses to travel between worlds; they play a major role in Kingdom Hearts Coded, where they construct the machine used to digitize the contents of Jiminy Cricket's journal. Donald's nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie appear as shop owners in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, where they attempt to save up money to go on their own adventure. Scrooge McDuck, Donald's wealthy uncle, appears in Kingdom Hearts II and Birth by Sleep where he attempts to open business venues such as a transit system between worlds. The Beagle Boys, as depicted in Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, reprise their roles from the film as Pete's minions in the Dream Drop Distance level "Country of the Musketeers". Other characters such as Horace Horsecollar, Clarabelle Cow, and Clara Cluck make minor appearances in Kingdom Hearts II and Birth by Sleep.

Characters from other Disney films also play prominent roles in the games' story beyond . Merlin from The Sword in the Stone acts as Sora's mentor in performing magic, and he keeps an enchanted book that allows players access to the Hundred Acre Wood world based on Disney's Winnie the Pooh franchise. The Fairy Godmother from Disney's Cinderella appears in Merlin's house in Kingdom Hearts, where she transforms summon gems collected throughout the game into summonable allies; she also appears in her original world, the Castle of Dreams, in Birth by Sleep. The One Hundred and One Dalmatians are featured in a side-quest in the first game, where players must retrieve Pongo and Perdita's 99 puppies hidden throughout the game's worlds in exchange for prizes. The three good fairies from Sleeping BeautyFlora, Fauna, and Merryweather—appear in Kingdom Hearts II where they provide Sora's new clothes, which grant him the ability to access Drive Forms.

Other Square characters[edit]

Destiny Islands, the first world of the original game, features youthful versions of Tidus and Wakka from Final Fantasy X, and Selphie Tilmitt from Final Fantasy VIII. The three make recurring appearances throughout the series as friends of Sora, Riku, and Kairi.

Cloud Strife appears in Kingdom Hearts at Olympus Coliseum, based on Disney's Hercules. In the game, he is a mercenary hired by Hades to kill Hercules in exchange for the whereabouts of Sephiroth, an optional boss included in the North American, PAL, and Final Mix releases of the game. Cloud and Tifa Lockhart later appear in Kingdom Hearts II as allies of the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee. Sephiroth also returns as an optional boss, and is depicted as the physical embodiment of Cloud's darkness in the game's story.[91]

A younger incarnation of Seifer Almasy appears in Kingdom Hearts II as the leader of a group called the "Twilight Town Disciplinary Committee", which also includes similar versions of Raijin and Fujin (named "Rai" and "Fuu", respectively). Twilight Town also depicts Vivi Ornitier as an admirer of Seifer, and Setzer Gabbiani as a champion of the local "Struggle" sport.

The Gullwings from Final Fantasy X-2Yuna, Rikku and Paine—are depicted as fairy-like creatures in Kingdom Hearts II. They are initially sent by Maleficent to spy on the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee, but later switch sides to help Sora's group.

The main characters of The World Ends with YouNeku Sakuraba, Yoshiya "Joshua" Kiryu, Shiki Misaki, Daisukenono "Beat" Bito, and Raimu "Rhyme" Bito—appear in Dream Drop Distance as players of a Reapers' Game in Traverse Town.[92] They are depicted as figments of their original selves, saved from fading out of existence by Joshua following Shibuya's destruction.

Merchandise[edit]

Kingdom Hearts character figurines; a Play Arts figure of Roxas appears in the center and Formation Arts Volume 1 & 2 figures are arrayed around him.

The characters of the Kingdom Hearts series have had various types of merchandise modeled after their likeness. Square Enix has released a collection of Formation Arts figurines that feature several of the main characters from the first game.[93][94] A series of Play Arts action figures has also been released.[95] Other merchandise includes jewelry and key chains modeled after character apparel and accessories.[96] The characters are also featured on posters,[96] desktop wallpapers,[97] and trading cards that are part of the Kingdom Hearts Trading Card Game.[98]

Reception[edit]

Overall, the characters within the Kingdom Hearts series have been well received and have garnered praise for the quality of their voice acting as well as their visual style. IGN, GameSpy, and Game Informer all praised the animation quality of the characters.[99][100][101] IGN's David Smith's impressions of the characters were very positive, referring to them as an "engaging cast", and stating the "characters' acting is helped immensely by the facial expressions and body". The design of the characters created specifically for Kingdom Hearts was seen as the highlight of the first game, stating "the majority of its best visual moments are based on original designs". One complaint he expressed was "the odd bit of cheating with the lip-synching, where textured facial features are substituted for full 3D animation".[99] GameSpy stated the Disney characters "slide perfectly into Square's visual style", and complemented the realistic characters from Pirates of the Caribbean, describing them as "remarkably accurate".[100]

GameSpot commented the first game created a "fascinating world" using the Disney and Final Fantasy characters.[102] GameSpy stated the inclusion of the Disney and Square Enix characters was handled well.[100] The main character Sora has also received press comments. In January 2007, Sora was listed the 4th biggest dork of 2006 by Game Informer, citing the Atlantica singing portions of the game.[103] IGN listed him as a possible character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl;[104] though he was not chosen as the "reader's choice".[105]

GameSpy praised the voice cast and voice acting in the first and third games.[100][106] G4TV awarded Kingdom Hearts II "Best Voice Over" in their 2006 G-phoria Awards.[107] Game Informer praised the voice acting of the third game, particularly performances by Haley Joel Osment, Christopher Lee, and James Woods. They also stated the voice talent "shines across the board."[108] Reception towards the voice acting in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, however, was decidedly mixed, with praise aimed at the performances of Jesse McCartney, Mark Hamill and Leonard Nimoy, while Willa Holland and Jason Dohring's performances received a more mixed reaction, with GameSpot referring to Dohring's performance as "abysmal".[109]

References[edit]

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