Organization XIII

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The original members of Organization XIII displaying their weapons. From left to right: Demyx, Luxord, Xaldin, Xigbar, Axel, Roxas, Xemnas, Xion, Saïx, Marluxia, Lexaeus, Zexion, Larxene and Vexen.

Organization XIII (Japanese: XIII機関, Hepburn: Jūsan Kikan) is a fictional group of characters featured in Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios' Kingdom Hearts video game series. The group comprises thirteen beings without hearts called "Nobodies", formed when a person's body fades from existence upon losing their heart and transforming into a "Heartless".

The concept of the Organization was originally introduced in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix within a bonus ending titled "Another Side, Another Story [deep dive]", where their Japanese name was translated as the "Thirteenth Order". The group was later introduced as the "Organization" in the game Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, where they serve as the main antagonists, and returns in the same role in Kingdom Hearts II. Organization XIII is prominently featured in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days as characters available for play, along with a new female member named Xion. Several members, prior to becoming Nobodies, appear in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, return following their restoration in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, and will return in Kingdom Hearts III.

The group was moderately well received by reviewers. Comments focused on their difficulty as adversaries and mysterious nature, which fueled expectations of future titles. Roxas specifically received press comments, focusing on his introduction in Kingdom Hearts II.

Concept and creation[edit]

The Organization XIII characters were created by Tetsuya Nomura, director of the series, and other members of his development staff. The concept began with Xemnas as the first member and Roxas as the last. Each member's name is an anagram of their original name prior to becoming a Nobody, with the letter "X" added to it. They are depicted as wearing black, hooded coats that shield them from the dark portals they use to traverse various worlds.[1] The emblem associated with the Nobodies and Organization XIII was designed to look like a splintered heart as a complement to the Heartless emblem.[2] Nomura tried to portray the characters ambiguously, rather than explicitly good or evil.[3] Throughout the development of the games, Nomura has often left certain events related to and connections between the Organization XIII characters—along with the series' other characters—unexplained until the release of sequels; he feels that games should have room for fans to speculate and use their imagination.[1]

In Chain of Memories, the staff had several of the Organization's members defeated as part of the plot. For Kingdom Hearts II, Nomura intended to allow players to fight these members again at the Coliseum; this idea, however, was dropped due to time constraints.[1] The characters were later included in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix along with the rest of the members as phantoms called "Absent Silhouettes" in separate optional boss fights.[4] Since the battles were optional, the difficulty levels of the fights was increased and the Chain of Memories-exclusive characters were given previously unseen powers.[4][5] After working with the first game, Nomura gained interest in including the Mushroom XIII Heartless, most of which served to yield rare items in the game. This interest continued during the development of Kingdom Hearts II, as he intended to add new variants of "Mushroom" Heartless in the game.[4] Consequently, they are featured in the Final Mix release as the "Mushroom XIII", thirteen Heartless wearing the same black cloaks that also mimic traits of the Organization XIII members. For 358/2 Days, the developers believed the Organization and its large number of characters was a good fit for the intended multiplayer gameplay. Once the group was decided to be a central part of the gameplay, the staff felt Roxas's role as a member would be a suitable theme for the plot.[3] In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, it is revealed that the "X" that is added to their names is derived from the concept of the χ-blade, an extremely powerful weapon that has the ability to directly unlock Kingdom Hearts and is the basis of the Keyblades. Several former members appear in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, having regained their hearts following the destruction of their Heartless and Nobodies.

Members[edit]

The characters' appearances were designed in concept art. This concept art of Saïx also depicts his "berserker" transformation and his claymore.

Prior to the first game in the series, the six former disciples of Ansem the Wise become Heartless, with their Nobodies creating the Organization. Members are numbered in the order in which they joined, with Xemnas, the Nobody of Xehanort, numbered one as their leader.[1] Each member is given a cloak made of a special material that allows them to pass through the Corridors of Darkness into other worlds safely without being attacked by the Heartless there.[6] Members are given titles indicating both their role in Organization XIII and their personality, as well as their own breed of lesser Nobodies to control, usually suited to their fighting style and unique themed powers.[7] As Nobodies, they lack emotion and morality, and are unable to feel guilt and remorse for their actions.[8] However, most of the members' personalities are based from what memories they have of their original selves. Six of the Organization's members were introduced in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, with the remaining members introduced in Kingdom Hearts II. In Chain of Memories, the series' protagonist Sora and his friends Donald Duck and Goofy are led to a mysterious fortress called Castle Oblivion by Marluxia, who intends to turn Sora into his pawn by manipulating his memories. Sora's friend Riku also arrives at Castle Oblivion, but in the basement where he encounters other Organization members. Sora and Riku traverse the levels of the castle to reach the top, fighting and defeating several members along the way. By Kingdom Hearts II, the actions of Sora and Riku, along with Roxas' resignation, reduce the Organization to seven members, who seek to use the power of Kingdom Hearts—a repository of knowledge and power, and the source of all hearts—to become complete beings.[9][10]

The events of the game Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance reveal that the true purpose of Organization XIII is for Master Xehanort—the true incarnation of Xemnas' human form—to divide his heart among the bodies of its other members, effectively transforming them into clones of Xehanort so he may recreate the χ-blade using their thirteen hearts of darkness and seven hearts of light. It is also revealed that Nobodies such as those in the Organization are capable of developing hearts of their own over time, but are deceived by Xemnas into thinking they lack hearts so they can cooperate with his plans.[11] Though this agenda is not realized for various reasons, a new Organization XIII is formed from various incarnations of Xehanort from across time, including Xemnas, "Ansem", and members who succeeded in becoming "half Xehanort". This gathering is accomplished by a younger version of Xehanort that is granted the power of time travel by his future self.

Xemnas[edit]

Voiced by: Norio Wakamoto (Japanese); Paul St. Peter (English)[12][13]

Xemnas (ゼムナス, Zemunasu) is the leader of Organization XIII, ranked first as the "Superior of the In-Between" (狭間の指導者, Hazama no Shidōsha). First appearing in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix as an optional boss labeled "Unknown" (謎の男, Nazo no Otoko, lit. "Enigmatic Man"), he is identified in Kingdom Hearts II and Birth by Sleep as the Nobody of Terra-Xehanort, the fusion of Terra and Xehanort, while his name is derived from Xehanort's alias "Ansem".[14] He uses the power of nothingness to phase through solid matter and wield a pair of "ethereal blades", two red beams of light generated from his palms.[7] He also commands the "Sorcerer" Nobodies.

Xemnas serves as the main antagonist of Kingdom Hearts II, where he gathers the hearts released by Roxas's Keyblade to cultivate his own version of Kingdom Hearts in the World That Never Was. When Roxas defects from the Organization and surrenders his existence to Sora, Xemnas manipulates Sora into completing the task instead. Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix features additional cutscenes that highlight Xemnas's other agendas which, according to Nomura, are influenced by Terra's memories. These include his secret conversations with Aqua's discarded armor preserved in the self-built "Chamber of Repose" in Hollow Bastion, as well as his search for the "Chamber of Waking", a secret room hidden within Castle Oblivion that houses Ventus' comatose body. His plans are thwarted when Ansem the Wise damages Kingdom Hearts and releases the accumulated hearts in his attempt to encode them within a machine. When Sora and his friends refuse to aid in its restoration, Xemnas uses what is left of Kingdom Hearts' power to assume multiple forms, eventually separating Sora and Riku from their allies. The two defeat him, and Xemnas fades into nothingness.

The secret ending of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded reveals that Xemnas's destruction alongside his Heartless counterpart has resulted in Xehanort's restoration to human form. Xemnas also returns as one of the primary antagonists of Dream Drop Distance, brought from the past by a younger incarnation of Master Xehanort to serve on the new Organization XIII. During a confrontation with Sora at the World That Never Was, Xemnas reveals the Organization members' true purpose of being converted into vessels for Xehanort's fragmented heart, battling and exhausting Sora into succumbing to darkness. After failing to turn Sora into a vessel, Xemnas and the other incarnations fade back to their original time periods.

Xigbar[edit]

Voiced by: Hōchū Ōtsuka (Japanese); James Patrick Stuart (English)[12][13]

Xigbar (シグバール, Shigubāru) is the Nobody of Braig[a] (ブライグ), a guardsman at Radiant Garden and collaborator with Xehanort prior to the Organization's formation. Bearing the title of "Freeshooter" (魔弾の射手, Madan no Shashu, lit. "Magic Bullet Shooter"), he wields a pair of rayguns called "arrowguns" that can be combined to form a sniper rifle. He also commands the "Sniper" Nobodies, and manipulates space to teleport himself, levitate, and alter his surroundings in battle.[7] He is Xemnas's second-in-command,[15] and is privy to Xemnas's various private agendas due to eavesdropping on him.[16][17] At various points across the series, Xigbar taunts Sora by commenting on his angry glare, saying that "he used to give me that same exact look";[18] in 358/2 Days, it is shown that Sora's expression reminds him of Ventus, whom Roxas bears a resemblance to.[19]

His first chronological appearance is in Birth by Sleep as Braig, where he becomes interested in the power of the Keyblade after encountering Master Xehanort.[20] He stages Xehanort's kidnapping to provoke Terra into unleashing his inner darkness, which results in Terra scarring Braig's face. Braig later participates in the game's climactic battle at the Keyblade Graveyard, dueling Aqua and observing Ventus's glare for the first time.[21] At the end of the game, he monitors Xehanort after the latter has possessed Terra's body and seemingly developed amnesia.[22] In 358/2 Days, he discovers Xion's true nature as a Replica before the other members, mocking Roxas with this knowledge.[17] Throughout Kingdom Hearts II, Xigbar confuses Sora by making cryptic allusions to Roxas and the previous Keyblade wielders.[23] During their battle at the World That Never Was, he mystifies Sora one last time by calling "Roxas", refusing to explain himself as he is defeated and fades away.[24] Xigbar's destruction restores Braig to human form by the events of Dream Drop Distance, where he reappears in his Nobody identity as one of Xehanort's chosen "seekers of darkness", revealing himself to be a willing vessel for Xehanort's heart, which has gradually transformed him into "half Xehanort".[25]

The telescopic sight sequence of Xigbar's boss battle underwent some content edits in the English release of Kingdom Hearts II. Before the sequence, Xigbar combines his two guns into a sniper rifle in the Japanese release, which was changed to him twirling his weapons and shooting with a single gun; however, the original animation was kept in the English release of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix. The reticle was also changed from a crosshair within a circular scope to three glowing circles.

Xaldin[edit]

Voiced by: Yōsuke Akimoto (Japanese); David Dayan Fisher (English)[12][13]

Xaldin (ザルディン, Zarudin) is the Nobody of Ansem's guardsman Dilan[b] (ディラン, Diran), introduced in Kingdom Hearts II. He is nicknamed the "Whirlwind Lancer" (旋風の六槍, Senpū no Rokusō, lit. "Six Lances of the Whirlwind"), using wind to manipulate his six lances. He commands the lance-wielding "Dragoon" Nobodies.[7] Becoming a Nobody to be free of emotion, Xaldin understands the setbacks of lacking a heart, but keeps a clear disdain towards people who follow their hearts, developing a particular obsession towards the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.[26] Xaldin primarily appears at the Beast's Castle in Kingdom Hearts II and 358/2 Days, where he attempts to manipulate the Beast's rage to create a powerful Nobody and Heartless for the Organization.[27] He later steals the Beast's enchanted rose and kidnaps Belle to stoke the Beast's rage, but his plans fail when Belle escapes with the rose. Xaldin is vanquished by Sora, which results in his restoration as Dilan in Dream Drop Distance.[28]

Vexen[edit]

Voiced by: Tatsuya Kando (COM), Nachi Nozawa (Re:COM onward) (Japanese); Derek Stephen Prince (English)[29][30][13][31]

Vexen (ヴィクセン, Vikusen), originally named Even (エヴェン), is a mad scientist and researcher of the heart. Also known as the "Chilly Academic" (いてつく学究, Itetsuku Gakkyū), he has the power to control ice and carries a large shield in battle.[7] As revealed in 358/2 Days, Vexen oversees the Organization's "Replica Program", which deals with the production of artificial human replicas such as Xion. In Chain of Memories, Vexen occupies the basement of Castle Oblivion with Lexaeus and Zexion, whom he sides with to prevent Marluxia's plan to overthrow the Organization.[32] He battles Riku in order to gather data to create a replica of him, and allows Naminé to manipulate the replica's memories to test Sora's worth.[33][34] Later, Vexen fights Sora himself with the intention of revealing Marluxia's plan to him. As a result, Marluxia declares Vexen a traitor and sends Axel to kill him,[35] which Axel does to gain Marluxia's trust and prevent him from using Vexen's replica research.[36] Vexen's death eventually leads to his restoration as Even in Dream Drop Distance.[28]

Lexaeus[edit]

Voiced by: Tatsuya Kando (COM), Fumihiko Tachiki (Re:COM onward) (Japanese); Dave Boat (English)[29][13][30]

Lexaeus (レクセウス, Rekuseusu), also known as the "Taciturn Stalwart"[c] (静かなる豪傑, Shizuka-naru Gōketsu), is the Nobody of Aeleus[d] (エレウス, Ereusu), a castle guard at Radiant Garden. His weapon is an "axe sword", a massive battle axe with an extended blade that he uses to shatter rocks and shake the area itself with his elemental power of earth.[7] In the "Reverse/Rebirth" story mode of Chain of Memories, Lexaeus and Zexion seek to counter Marluxia's plans to overthrow the Organization with Sora by using Riku in the same fashion. When they believe that Sora might fall into Marluxia's grasp, Lexaeus confronts Riku directly, trying to convince him to open himself up to the power of the darkness in his heart. After Riku defeats him in the original Chain of Memories, the mortally wounded Lexaeus releases all of the darkness within himself to consume Riku.[37] In Re:Chain of Memories, Lexaeus is instead killed when Ansem, Xehanort's Heartless, possesses Riku and finishes Lexaeus off.[38] Lexaeus's demise leads to his revival as Aeleus in Dream Drop Distance.[28]

Zexion[edit]

Voiced by: Akira Ishida (Japanese); Vince Corazza (English)[13][30]

Zexion (ゼクシオン, Zekushion) is the Nobody of Ienzo (イェンツォ, Yentso),[e] Ansem's youngest apprentice, who appears as an orphaned child during the events of Birth by Sleep. Also known as the "Cloaked Schemer" (影歩む策士, Kage Ayumu Sakushi, lit. "Shadow-walking Schemer"), he uses illusions to mimic others' appearances and create duplicates of himself.[4] Zexion does not use a weapon in his original appearance in Chain of Memories, with the game's remake revealing his weapon to be a lexicon.[1] Appearing in "Reverse/Rebirth", Zexion initially plans to use Riku against Marluxia and his co-conspirators. After Sora defeats Marluxia, Zexion attempts to dispose of Riku by drawing him into a simulation of the Destiny Islands, where Zexion attacks him under the guise of Sora.[39] However, Naminé's intervention allows Riku to cut through Zexion's illusion and accept the power of darkness. Zexion retreats, only to be killed by Vexen's replica of Riku at the encouragement of Axel, who determines Zexion to be an obstacle for his and Saïx's own agenda.[40] Zexion's death leads to the revival of an adult Ienzo in Dream Drop Distance,[28] who will appear in Kingdom Hearts III.

Saïx[edit]

Voiced by: Ginpei Sato (Japanese); Kirk Thornton (English)[12]

Saïx (サイクス, Saikusu) is Xemnas' right-hand man[41] with an X-shaped facial scar, also known as the "Luna Diviner" (月に舞う魔人, Tsuki ni Mau Majin, lit. "Devil Dancing in the Moon"), introduced in Kingdom Hearts II. While ordinarily appearing to be devoid of emotion, he is obsessed with regaining his heart and existence as a human, and he uses the power of the moon to assume a berserk state of mind. He also commands the "Berserker" Nobodies, which carry weapons similar to his claymore.[7] His human incarnation is a resident of Radiant Garden named Isa (アイザ, Aiza), who appears in Birth by Sleep as a friend of Axel's human counterpart, Lea, although Saïx's cold and ruthless personality as a Nobody strains their friendship.

In 358/2 Days, Saïx assigns missions to other Organization members, and is tasked by Xemnas to oversee the progress of Xion, whom Saïx disregards as a failed experiment. He also conspires with Axel to gain leverage over Xemnas by assassinating the members stationed at Castle Oblivion until Axel develops a friendship with Roxas and Xion, which causes Saïx to feel betrayed. Towards the end of the game, Saïx attacks Roxas for attempting to leave the Organization, only to lose to the younger Nobody. Saïx encounters Sora at various points in Kingdom Hearts II to goad him into destroying more Heartless, eventually explaining Sora's purpose in the Organization's plans to him. He also reveals Kairi to be the Organization's hostage in order to further motivate Sora. At the World That Never Was, Saïx draws power from the lunar form of Kingdom Hearts to fight Sora, but he is defeated and fades into darkness. Saïx's death results in his return to human form in Dream Drop Distance, where he appears as one of Xehanort's thirteen "seekers of darkness" necessary for the creation of the χ-blade.

Axel[edit]

Voiced by: Keiji Fujiwara[f] (Japanese); Quinton Flynn (English)[12][13]

Axel (アクセル, Akuseru), originally a Radiant Garden citizen named Lea (リア, Ria), is the Organization's resident assassin who is entrusted with killing the group's traitors. He is also the best friend and mentor of Roxas, whose relationship with him enables Axel to re-experience human emotion as a Nobody.[42] Nicknamed the "Flurry of Dancing Flames" (おどる火の風, Odoru Hi no Kaze), he uses the power of fire manipulation to emblaze his chakram-like weapons,[7] and he commands the "Assassin" Nobodies. He frequently utters the phrase, "Got it memorized?", which he does to achieve his own ideal of immortality through other people's memories.[43]

Axel is one of the members Sora encounters at Castle Oblivion in Chain of Memories, where he acts as a double agent within Marluxia and Larxene's attempted coup against the Organization. The events of 358/2 Days reveal his actions at Castle Oblivion to be part of own conspiracy with Saïx to gain leverage over the Organization, which Axel eventually abandons in favor of pursuing his friendship with Roxas and Xion over the course of the game.[44][45] Upon learning of Xion's true nature as a replica created by the Organization to absorb Roxas, Axel reluctantly allows her to escape, which results in Roxas's defection from the group.[46] In Kingdom Hearts II, he is ordered to retrieve and later kill Roxas, but Roxas defeats him and merges with Sora, although the two friends reconcile.[47] Axel later kidnaps Kairi in an effort to lure Sora, intending to turn him into a Heartless and reunite with Roxas. After Saïx takes Kairi on the Organization's behalf, Axel performs a suicide attack against a swarm of Nobodies to save Sora, apologizing for his actions as he fades away.[48] Axel's sacrifice restores him to his human form as Lea in Dream Drop Distance,[28] although those familiar with his Nobody still address him as Axel, to his grudging acceptance.[49] Lea sets out to find the missing Braig and Isa, helping Riku and Mickey Mouse rescue Sora from Xehanort's Organization XIII. He also turns to Yen Sid to learn how to wield a Keyblade, managing to summon one at the end of the game.[50]

Nomura designed Axel based on a similar concept as Reno from Final Fantasy VII; Nomura wanted to see what it would be like to have a similar character in a different role and world.[2] In Birth by Sleep, Nomura included a scene where protagonist Ventus—whose appearance is deliberately identical to Roxas's—encounters Axel's human counterpart, which he hoped would convey the character's importance to newcomers and older players of the franchise.[51]

Demyx[edit]

Voiced by: Kenichi Suzumura (Japanese); Ryan O'Donohue (English)[12][13]

Demyx (デミックス, Demikkusu) is the Organization's reconnaissance agent who is also referred to as the "Melodious Nocturne" (夜想のしらべ, Yasō no Shirabe). He behaves as an easygoing and self-professed slacker, and has a noted lack of combat skill. His weapon is a sitar that he uses to control water and create duplicates of himself, and he commands the "Dancer" Nobodies.[7] He is encountered in the underworld at the Hercules-inspired world of Olympus Coliseum, where he reluctantly fights Sora to elicit a response from Roxas, who had fused with Sora. He battles Sora's party again at Hollow Bastion after they enrage him by mocking his nature as a Nobody,[7] but he is defeated and fades into darkness. He also appears in 358/2 Days, where he frequently tricks Roxas into doing his work on missions,[52] only participating out of fear of being transformed into a Dusk.[53] Demyx will reappear in Kingdom Hearts III as one of the real Organization's members.

Luxord[edit]

Voiced by: Jouji Nakata (Japanese); Robin Atkin Downes (English)[12][13]

Luxord (ルクソード, Rukusōdo) is a courteous gambler nicknamed the "Gambler of Fate" (運命を賭す者, Unmei o Tosu Mono) who speaks in rhetoric and gaming-related metaphors. He controls the "Gambler" Nobodies, and he uses a deck of playing cards as his weapons. He also has power over time, and can transform Sora into a card or gaming die.[7] He appears before Sora's party in Kingdom Hearts II at Port Royal, a world based on the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, where he uses the curse of the Aztec gold to produce a Heartless for them to defeat. He later faces Sora in a timed, game-like battle at the World That Never Was and, upon being defeated, accusingly calls out to Roxas within Sora while fading away. Luxord also appears in 358/2 Days, where he accompanies Roxas on various missions to Wonderland, based on the 1951 film Alice in Wonderland. He will reappear in Kingdom Hearts III as a member of Xehanort's Organization.

Marluxia[edit]

Voiced by: Tatsuya Kando (COM), Shūichi Ikeda (Re:COM onward) (Japanese); Keith Ferguson (English)[29][13][30]

Marluxia (マールーシャ, Mārūsha) is the main antagonist of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Also known as the "Graceful Assassin" (優雅なる凶刃, Yūga-naru Kyōjin, lit. "Graceful Assassin's Blade"), he uses a scythe and power over flowers to produce flurries of petals and energy-based attacks.[7] Despite being one of the Organization's newer members, he is given lordship of Castle Oblivion in recognition of his profound abilities.[54]

Plotting to use Sora and Naminé to overthrow the Organization, Marluxia lures the former to Castle Oblivion and gives him a set of cards to progess, allowing Naminé to manipulate Sora's memories and enslave him.[55] He collaborates with fellow members Larxene and Axel, assigning the latter with eliminating Vexen to prevent him from revealing Marluxia's plan to Sora. However, Axel ultimately betrays them by releasing Naminé.[56] Following Larxene's death, Marluxia kidnaps Naminé and orders her to erase Sora's memories so he can rebuild Sora into his pawn, but she refuses.[57] Marluxia battles Sora using an illusion of himself, and later while fused to a massive Nobody, but is defeated and dissolves into darkness. Marluxia makes a minor appearance in 358/2 Days, where he expresses his interest in Roxas's Keyblade while training him, and considers including Roxas in his and Larxene's alliance shortly before being sent to Castle Oblivion. He will also appear in Kingdom Hearts III, where he reintroduces himself to Sora as a member of the Organization.

Larxene[edit]

Voiced by: Rieko Katayama (COM), Yūko Miyamura (Re:COM onward) (Japanese); Shanelle Workman (English)[13][30][29]

Larxene (ラクシーヌ, Rakushīnu), the "Savage Nymph" (非情の妖姫, Hijō no Yōki, lit. "Callous Vixen"), is a ruthless and sadistic female member of the Organization who wields a set of knives and the power of lightning to fight.[7] She primarily appears in Chain of Memories as Marluxia's co-conspirator for control of the Organization, helping to manipulate Sora's memories by causing him to remember Naminé's name.[58] After Larxene discovers Axel's betrayal and sees that Marluxia's plans have fallen apart, she decides to reveal her and Marluxia's plans to Sora with the intention of killing him.[59] However, Donald and Goofy arrive to assist Sora, and the three defeat Larxene, who fades into darkness. She makes a minor appearance in 358/2 Days as a tutor of Roxas, whom she refuses to include in her and Marluxia's alliance due to frustration with his lack of experience. Larxene will return in Kingdom Hearts III, serving on Xehanort's Organization.

Roxas[edit]

Voiced by: Kōki Uchiyama (Japanese); Jesse McCartney (English)

Roxas (ロクサス, Rokusasu), the main player-controlled character of Kingdom Hearts II's prologue sequence, is Sora's Nobody, the Organization's thirteenth member, and commander of the "Samurai" Nobodies, bearing the title of "Key of Destiny" (めぐりあう鍵, Meguriau Kagi, lit. "Serendipitous Key"). Born during the events of the first game when Sora becomes a Heartless to restore Kairi's heart, Roxas possesses the ability to wield a Keyblade, for which he is inducted within the Organization to further their goal of collecting hearts, until he decides to abandon the Organization to discover his origins. He also serves as the main protagonist of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, which further explores his membership in the Organization up until the events of Kingdom Hearts II.

Xion[edit]

Voiced by: Risa Uchida (Japanese); Alyson Stoner (Days, KH1.5), Hayden Panettiere (BBS, KH3D) (English)

Xion (シオン, Shion) is the fourteenth member of Organization XIII, introduced in 358/2 Days. First appearing as a featureless, hooded figure, she comes to form her own identity during her time spent working alongside Roxas, bonding over their similarities such as a lack of memories of their past lives and an ability to wield a Keyblade. She eventually comes to forge a strong friendship with Roxas and Axel. After Riku makes her question her own existence, Xion discovers that she is a Replica—an artificial human—designed to absorb Sora's scattered memories following the events of Chain of Memories and duplicate Roxas's powers as a fail-safe for the Organization's plan,[60] and is not counted as an official member of the Organization.[61] Her physical appearance differs among those who see her,[62] with her most prominent form resembling Kairi, who embodies Sora's most precious memories.[63] Because her existence prevents Sora from awakening,[64] Xion is initially torn between staying with her friends and merging with Sora, but she chooses to sacrifice herself when she begins draining Roxas's power. However, she is recaptured and forced to fight Roxas in order to absorb him and become a perfect copy of Sora.[65] After Roxas defeats her, she asks him to release the stolen hearts from Kingdom Hearts before she returns to Sora,[66] erasing all memory of her from those she has encountered.[67] She makes minor appearances in Birth by Sleep, Coded and Dream Drop Distance, showing her to still exist within Sora's heart.

Xion was conceptualized during development of Kingdom Hearts II in which the staff wanted to explain the reason why Roxas left Organization XIII.[68] Additionally, the staff wanted to create a new member from the cartel, but having a different nature from all the other members. Xion's name was coined by Tomoko Kanemaki, one of the scenario writers for 358/2 Days and the author of the Kingdom Hearts novel series. Tetsuya Nomura took a liking to the name, noting that it corresponds to the Japanese words for "tide" (, shio), fitting the oceanic naming theme of Kairi and Naminé, and Aster tataricus (紫苑, shion) which, according to Japanese floriography, means "I won't forget you" or "remembrance".[69] It is also revealed within the game's "Secret Reports" that her name is an anagram of "No. i" and the letter X, the former being an imaginary unit.

Reception[edit]

The obscure nature of the Organization's activities throughout Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II led reviewers to describe them as an "ominous" group that "seems to be intent on guiding Sora and his friends to accomplish some dark purpose".[70][71] Similarly, Rice Burner of GamePro emphasizes this plot when reviewing the group's debut, noting how the "strange inhabitants of the castle trap our heroes" and "force Sora on a ponderous journey into his own memories to face his subconscious thoughts and fears".[72] This mysterious perception is furthered by the fact that some members of Organization XIII present themselves as dark silhouettes with their faces covered, acting as an "enigmatic robed and cowled figure speaking in riddles".[70] The questions surrounding the groups motivation and purpose have created great curiosity among players; Andrew Reiner of Game Informer included "What secret lies behind Organization XIII?" as one of the main questions that are answered and that serve as plot devices in Kingdom Hearts II, creating situations that "certainly give you shivers and make your heart leap".[73] Visually, the artwork of Organization XIII's members is based more on the styles of Final Fantasy rather than those of Disney. Bethany Massimilla of GameSpot referred to their models as "very much cut from the Final Fantasy spiky-haired cloth".[70]

While writing BradyGames' Kingdom Hearts II strategy guide, Beth Hollinger, Matt Berner, David Cassady and Grag Sepelak reviewed the role of Organization XIII's members as adversaries. Both Axel and Demyx were described as providing easier battles during their first encounters.[74] The ones found later in the game were regarded as more difficult enemies, as is the case with Xaldin, Xigbar, and Saïx, the first of which were described as "tough" and "tricky" opponents respectively, while the ferocity of Saïx's "Berserk" attack was noted.[75][76] Luxord's battle was considered one that "brings something new to the table", mostly based on the unique use of a "Time" parameter instead of the common system based on "Health Points".[14][77] The various battles against Xemnas gathered different points of interest; during the first one, the writer praised the "Facedown" Reaction Command, while the final battle's focus is on its difficulty and the need of constantly using Reaction Commands to switch between Riku and Sora.[75] GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd noted in a preview of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, that Xigbar's ranged magic proved helpful while fighting as an ally along Roxas.[78]

Individually, the members of Organization XIII have received varied receptions. Jeff Haynes of IGN felt that Roxas was a "likable kid", and Ron Fahey of Eurogamer concurred, calling him a "likeable enough young chap who just happens to be troubled by memories and visions of people he doesn't even know".[71][79] His playable involvement in the game was regarded as a transitional arc, being used to introduce the gameplay to players that are new to the franchise. Fahey also considered it a good introduction, as it lets the player become familiar with the basic elements in a manner that "isn't a bad way at all of setting the scene for the game".[79] However, Reiner emphasizes his role as a "troubled boy", calling his story arc "an amazing chain of events", particularly noting that the revelation of his nature as a Nobody creates a "devilish yet remarkable plot twist" which may impact the player in a way that he "may not want Sora back".[73] The introduction of Xion in trailers for Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, created expectation, particularly based on the facts that her face could not be distinguished and that she wields a keyblade.[80] In the 2009 Nintendo Power Awards, the magazine's readers voted Xion the "Best New Character" of the year.[81]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Romanized as "Bleig" in the North American release of Kingdom Hearts II.
  2. ^ Romanized as "Dilin" in the North American release of Kingdom Hearts II.
  3. ^ Originally translated as "Silent Hero" in Kingdom Hearts II.
  4. ^ Romanized as "Eleus" in the North American release of Kingdom Hearts II.
  5. ^ Written as イエンツォ (Ientso) prior to Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.
  6. ^ Fujiwara also provided the character's battle expressions in the international versions of Chain of Memories.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Kingdom Hearts II Ultimania — Tetsuya Nomura Interview". Kingdom Hearts Ultimania. Archived from the original on 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  2. ^ a b "2nd Famitsu Nomura Interview". Kingdom Hearts Ultimania. Archived from the original on 2007-08-04. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  3. ^ a b "King of Hearts: Tetsuya Nomura Interview". Nintendo Power. Future US (243): 44–45. July 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Famitsu — December 2006 - Tetsuya Nomura Interview". Kingdom Hearts Ultimania. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  5. ^ "Cutscene Downloads & New Interviews". KingdomHearts3.net. March 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-02-01. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  6. ^ Square Enix (2008-12-02). Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories. PlayStation 2. Square Enix U.S.A., Buena Vista Games. DiZ: They wear this to give themselves protection from being devoured by darkness. Is it clear? Even the Organization cannot rule the darkness. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Studio BentStuff, ed. (2005). Kingdom Hearts II Ultimania (in Japanese). Square Enix. ISBN 4-7575-1621-5. 
  8. ^ Square Enix (2006-03-28). Kingdom Hearts II. PlayStation 2. Square Enix U.S.A., Buena Vista Games. Yen Sid: Nobodies may seem to have feelings, but this is a ruse---they only pretend to have hearts. You must not be deceived! 
  9. ^ Square Enix (2006). Kingdom Hearts II Instruction Booklet. Square Enix. 
  10. ^ Saïx: Pitiful Heartless, mindlessly collecting hearts. And yet they know not the true power of what they hold. The rage of the Keyblade releases those hearts. They gather in darkness, masterless and free...until they weave together to make Kingdom Hearts. And when that time comes, we can truly, finally exist. Square Enix (2006-03-28). Kingdom Hearts II. PlayStation 2. Square Enix U.S.A., Buena Vista Games. 
  11. ^ Square Enix (2012-07-31). Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Nintendo 3DS. Square Enix U.S.A., Buena Vista Games. Xemnas: And so I knew, even after we were divided into Heartless and Nobodies, it was just a temporary separation. / Sora: Why, then? Why did you lie to them and tell them that have no hearts? / Xigbar: Xemnas and Xehanort formed the Organization for a specific reason--round up a bunch of empty husks, hook them up to Kingdom Hearts, then fill them all with the exact same heart and mind. Translation--they were gonna turn all the members into Xehanort. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Kingdom Hearts II Tech Info". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Tech Info". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  14. ^ a b Hollinger et al. p. 341
  15. ^ Square Enix 1st Production Department (September 10, 2013). Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix. PlayStation 3. Square Enix. Xigbar's Character File: A senior member of Organization XIII. Second-in-command in deed as well as in name. 
  16. ^ Zexion: I think eavesdropping is intrusive. /.../ Xigbar: Oh, don't be like that. Come on. Stay and talk. Isn't it time you told me about Xemnas's secret?
  17. ^ a b Square Enix, ed. (2009). Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Ultimania (in Japanese). Square Enix. ISBN 978-4-7575-2578-8. 
  18. ^ Square Enix (March 28, 2006). Kingdom Hearts II. PlayStation 2. Square Enix U.S.A., Buena Vista Games. Xigbar: That's RIGHT, he used to give me that same exact look. / Sora: I guess you think you can psych me out by saying really random stuff! / Xigbar: Gee... I just don't know. 
  19. ^ Xigbar: Of all the faces... Why do I look at her and see yours? Do you always have to stare at me like I just drowned your goldfish?
  20. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Braig: That thing right there. It's called the Keyblade, isn't it? Yep, it seems like these days everybody's got one of those... even grandpa there. When I nabbed him, he told me all about it—what a weapon like that can do. How could I not want one? 
  21. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Braig: Oh, so this kiddo thinks he's a full-fledged Keyblade wielder? He's got the angry look down. 
  22. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Braig: Hey, Mister Master! Oh c'mon, you don't even know your old pal? Please tell me the amnesia was just a sick joke. Boy, this is some cliché. Hey, you're not... Terra? Just gotta check. As if. Well, don't sweat it. I got your back. 
  23. ^ Square Enix (March 28, 2006). Kingdom Hearts II. PlayStation 2. Square Enix U.S.A., Buena Vista Games. Xigbar: You've really put Organization XIII in a pickle. I guess that must be why the Keyblade chose you. But MAN, did it pick a dud this time. You don't look like you're half the hero the others were. / Sora: Are you done rambling? / Xigbar: Rambling? As if! All I'm trying to tell you, traitor, is that your time is up! 
  24. ^ Square Enix (March 28, 2006). Kingdom Hearts II. PlayStation 2. Square Enix U.S.A., Buena Vista Games. Sora: Why did you call me Roxas? / Xigbar: Wouldn't you like to know? 
  25. ^ Square Enix 1st Production Department (31 July 2012). Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Nintendo 3DS. Square Enix. Sora: But you—aren't you scared of just turning into someone else? / Xigbar: Me? I'm already half Xehanort. 
  26. ^ Square Enix (2009-09-29). Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Nintendo DS. Square Enix. Xaldin: Watching that foolish beast flail about only deepens my disdain for humans and their incessant need to be pinned down by feelings. We became Nobodies precisely to avoid the shackles of emotion. It was only later that we realized the scale of that loss: that some things simply cannot be done without a heart. Nonetheless, I see nary a pleasant thing about it. 
  27. ^ Square Enix (2006-03-28). Kingdom Hearts II. PlayStation 2. Square Enix U.S.A., Buena Vista Games. Goofy: That's right. And they were gonna make you into a Heartless. That way, they could get that Nobody of yours and have control over it. 
  28. ^ a b c d e Square Enix 1st Production Department (31 July 2012). Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Nintendo 3DS. Square Enix. Lea: That's me. Dilan, Aeleus, Even, Ienzo— We're people again. 
  29. ^ a b c d e "Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories Tech Info". GameSpot. Archived from the original on February 12, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2007. 
  30. ^ a b c d e "Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories Tech Info". GameSpot. Retrieved June 16, 2009. 
  31. ^ "Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix + Tech Info". GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  32. ^ Square Enix (December 7, 2004). Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Game Boy Advance. Square Enix U.S.A. Vexen: I don't think Marluxia plans to hand Sora over, but...he can play his little game. If he gets Sora, then we need only acquire Riku. If he truly is like the Superior, then we will be untouchable! 
  33. ^ Square Enix (December 7, 2004). Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Game Boy Advance. Square Enix U.S.A. Vexen: Ha ha ha... This battle has made it clear. The darkness coursing through you is a tremendous power. All you needed was the right provocation. / Riku: Great. So this was a trick? / Vexen: Precisely. Your fiery reaction provided just the data I needed. You have my thanks, Riku! 
  34. ^ Square Enix (December 7, 2004). Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Game Boy Advance. Square Enix U.S.A. Larxene: This is your chance to get your hands on the real Riku's memories. All you need is that card and a little help from Naminé. Maybe we'll get her to make you forget you're fake... Better yet, we could remake your heart so you can be just like the real Riku. /.../ Any objections, Vexen? Do you or don't you want to test Sora? / Vexen: It must be done. 
  35. ^ Square Enix (December 7, 2004). Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Game Boy Advance. Square Enix U.S.A. Larxene: Is it just me, or has Vexen finally lost it? Now he's done something REALLY rash... What now, Axel? The show's over if Sora finds out about the other side. /.../ Marluxia: Rid us of our traitor. / Axel: Done. There's no taking that order back later. 
  36. ^ Square Enix (September 29, 2009). Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Nintendo DS. Square Enix. Axel: Vexen was caught in the middle. Pitiable, but unavoidable. I could not risk his Program falling into their hands. 
  37. ^ Square Enix (December 7, 2004). Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Game Boy Advance. Square Enix U.S.A. Lexaeus: Well... It seams... I am beaten... But the Organization shall triumph! I may perish, but all the darkness within me will billow forth and devour you! 
  38. ^ Square Enix (December 2, 2008). Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories. PlayStation 2. Square Enix U.S.A., Buena Vista Games. Lexaeus: You are the Superior's— Forgive me, Zexion. This was a fight I should not have started. 
  39. ^ Square Enix (December 7, 2004). Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Game Boy Advance. Square Enix U.S.A. Axel: Marluxia plotted to use Sora against the Organization...so it's fitting Sora should be his downfall. / Zexion: Then...we won't be needing Riku anymore. 
  40. ^ Square Enix (September 29, 2009). Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Nintendo DS. Square Enix. Axel: Hmm... Look, I knew Vexen and Zexion would be obstacles. That's why they're not here anymore. When have I ever complained about the dirty work? 
  41. ^ Square Enix 1st Production Department (September 10, 2013). Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix. PlayStation 3. Square Enix. Saïx's Character File: A member of Organization XIII. As Xemnas's right-hand man, he is charged with giving orders to other members. 
  42. ^ Square Enix (28 March 2006). Kingdom Hearts II. PlayStation 2. Square Enix U.S.A., Buena Vista Games. Sora: Axel... what were you trying to do? / Axel: I wanted to see Roxas. He... was the only one I liked... He made me feel... like I had a heart. 
  43. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Lea: I want everybody I meet to remember me. Inside people's memories, I can live forever. / Isa: I know I won't forget you. Believe me, I try all the time. / Lea: See, I'm immortal! 
  44. ^ Square Enix (September 29, 2009). Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Nintendo DS. Square Enix. Axel: Look, I knew Vexen and Zexion would be obstacles. That's why they're not here anymore. When have I ever complained about the dirty work? /.../ I cleared the way to the top for you [Saïx]. Just do me a favor and don't trip on the way up. 
  45. ^ Square Enix (29 September 2009). Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Nintendo DS. Square Enix. Saïx: What were you really after, Lea? We joined the Organization at the same time, and formulated our plan. At this point, it's just an idle fantasy. Everything changed. You, and me. 
  46. ^ Square Enix (September 29, 2009). Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. Nintendo DS. Square Enix. Axel: You can't turn on the Organization! You get on their bad side, and they'll destroy you! / Roxas: No one would miss me. / Axel: That's not true... I would. 
  47. ^ Square Enix (28 March 2006). Kingdom Hearts II. PlayStation 2. Square Enix U.S.A., Buena Vista Games. Roxas: Axel... / Axel: Let's meet again in the next life. / Roxas: Yeah. I'll be waiting. / Axel: Silly. Just because you have a next life... 
  48. ^ Square Enix (2006-03-28). Kingdom Hearts II. PlayStation 2. Square Enix U.S.A., Buena Vista Games. Sora: You're... fading away? / Axel: Well, that's what happens when you put your whole being into an attack. You know what I mean? Not that Nobodies actually HAVE beings... right? Anyway, I digress. Go, find Kairi. Oh, almost forgot... Sorry for what I did to her. 
  49. ^ Square Enix 1st Production Department (31 July 2012). Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Nintendo 3DS. Square Enix. Xigbar: Axel! / Lea: Axel? Please. The name's Lea. Got it memorized? /.../ Riku: Why are you here, Axel? / Lea: No, I told you my name's— Agh, whatever, Axel, fine. 
  50. ^ Square Enix 1st Production Department (31 July 2012). Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Nintendo 3DS. Square Enix. Lea: Ah, I'll catch up with ya in no time flat. / Sora: What? You wanna be a Keyblade Master? / Lea: Yeah. I mean, I came here to learn how to wield one. 
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  52. ^ Square Enix (2009-09-29). Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Nintendo DS. Square Enix. Demyx: We'll split up! And, uh...form two strike forces! I'll handle the Heartless out here. You take the ones inside. Covering a broader range means more efficient collection, right? / Roxas: I guess? / Demyx: (And while you collect those hearts, maybe I can collect some Z's...) 
  53. ^ Square Enix (2009-09-29). Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Nintendo DS. Square Enix. Demyx: Can't say I blame the girl for wanting to bail on these missions, but... I'm not about to go get myself turned into a Dusk over it. 
  54. ^ Square Enix (December 7, 2004). Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Game Boy Advance. Square Enix U.S.A. Marluxia: Your project has failed, Vexen. Do not disappoint us again. / Vexen: Disappoint YOU? You presume too much, No. 11. I am No. 4, and I will not stand for your snide remarks! / Marluxia: Yes, you will. This castle and the girl Naminé have been entrusted to ME. Defy me, and you defy the Organization. 
  55. ^ Square Enix (December 7, 2004). Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Game Boy Advance. Square Enix U.S.A. Axel: Right, your big plan. You use Naminé to rewrite Sora's memory piece by piece. He becomes her puppet. Then, using Naminé and Sora, you and Larxene overthrow the Organization. Did I get it right? 'Cause that would make YOU the traitor, Marluxia. Not me. 
  56. ^ Square Enix (December 7, 2004). Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Game Boy Advance. Square Enix U.S.A. Marluxia: Why did you let her go? You and your cursed meddling! He was ours! The Keyblade master could have been our slave! 
  57. ^ Square Enix (December 7, 2004). Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Game Boy Advance. Square Enix U.S.A. Marluxia: Naminé... Erase Sora's memory! / Naminé: But...if I do that... Marluxia: Yes. If you uproot the memories you planted...then Sora's heart will collapse and all his memories will be torn asunder. /.../ I'd prefer the Keyblade master unmarred...but even a riven heart can be rebuilt with time. Sora will yet be my slave. Do it, Naminé! Obliterate his memory! / Naminé: No. Sora forgave me even though I deceived him. I could never break his heart! I don't care what you do to me. I won't hurt Sora! 
  58. ^ Square Enix (December 7, 2004). Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Game Boy Advance. Square Enix U.S.A. Larxene: Now think, Sora. What oh what could it be? Who gave it to you? / Sora: Na... Na...mi...? / Larxene: That's right! Free the memory from your heart! / Sora: Nami... Naminé. / Larxene: Well, it's about time. That's right, Naminé. 
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