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 Kingdom Hearts II; the top left features the protagonists of Kingdom Hearts II and the top right features the main cast of Re:Chain of Memories, 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, The World Ends with You and Pixar 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 have featured several new original, Disney, and Final Fantasy characters, Dream Drop Distance introduces characters from Square Enix's The World Ends with You, while Kingdom Hearts III introduces characters from Pixar's Toy Story series and Monsters, Inc..[2][3][4]

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 have focused on the accurate presentation of Disney characters, the unique visual style of Square Enix characters, how well all the characters blend 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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[5] 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.[7]

The inclusion of specific Final Fantasy characters was based on the opinions of fans and the development staff.[8] Another criterion for inclusion was whether the staff felt the characters would fit into the storyline and in the Kingdom Hearts universe.[9] Nomura was hesitant to use characters he did not design because he was unfamiliar with the background work of such characters.[10] For Kingdom Hearts II, he changed his mind after receiving pressure from his staff.[8] 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.[11]

Original characters[edit]

Main playable characters[edit]

Sora[edit]

Voiced by: Miyu Irino (Japanese); Haley Joel Osment (English)[12]
Young Sora
Voiced by: Takuto Yoshigana (Japanese); Luke Manriquez (English)

Sora (ソラ) is the main protagonist of the Kingdom Hearts series, and the sole playable character of the original game.[1] He is portrayed as a cheerful teenager who lives on the Destiny Islands with his two childhood friends, Riku and Kairi. When his world is beset by creatures of darkness known as the Heartless, Sora comes into possession of a weapon of light called the Keyblade,[13] and he embarks on a journey alongside Donald Duck and Goofy to protect other worlds from the Heartless and nobodies and other forces of evil.

Riku[edit]

Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano (Japanese); David Gallagher (English)
Young Riku
Voiced by: Eiji Shima (Japanese); Ty Panitz (English)

Riku (リク) is a childhood friend and rival of Sora who resides with him and Kairi on the world of Destiny Islands.[1] Originally appearing as a non-playable character in the original game, where he is introduced as 15 years old, he has a playable role in the "Reverse/Rebirth" story mode of Chain of Memories, the multiplayer mode of 358/2 Days, and the core story of Dream Drop Distance. He is also a computer-controlled party member exclusive to the final level of Kingdom Hearts II, and is temporarily playable during a sequence where Sora is incapacitated in the game's final boss battle. Riku is also briefly playable at several points in the "Dark World" in Kingdom Hearts III. His signature weapon is the "Soul Eater" sword, a manifestation of the darkness in his heart. During the first game, Riku is revealed to be the rightful owner of Sora's Keyblade, which is bequeathed onto the five-year-old Riku by Terra during the events of Birth by Sleep; however, his reliance on the power of darkness causes the Keyblade to reject Riku in favor of Sora. In Kingdom Hearts II, the 16-year-old Riku acquires another Keyblade of his own, the "Way to the Dawn"; this Keyblade is later broken in Kingdom Hearts III, leading him to obtain a new Keyblade, "Braveheart".

During the invasion of Heartless in Kingdom Hearts, Riku immerses himself in darkness to discover new worlds beyond his home. Arriving at Hollow Bastion, Riku is manipulated by Maleficent into aiding her plans for world conquest in exchange for knowledge to restoring Kairi's missing heart. He is later tricked into allowing Xehanort's Heartless, Ansem, to possess his body. Following Ansem's defeat, Riku helps Sora and King Mickey close the door to Kingdom Hearts, remaining on the other side with the king. In Chain of Memories, DiZ helps Riku escape from the dark realm. Initially rejecting his darkness out of guilt for his betrayal, Riku resolves to wield both powers of light and darkness to battle Ansem, whose essence lingers in his heart. In Kingdom Hearts II, Riku is forced to harness Ansem's power to capture Roxas in order to restore Sora's missing memories, assuming the Heartless's physical appearance as a result; after the Heartless is destroyed by DiZ's exploding heart encoder, Riku returns to his regular appearance, and he and Sora return to the Destiny Islands together following Xemnas's defeat. In Dream Drop Distance, he and Sora undertake a Mark of Mastery exam in preparation for Xehanort's return. Riku is promoted to Keyblade Master after venturing into Sora's dreams twice in the form of a Dream Eater to protect him from Xehanort. He subsequently embarks with Mickey in A Fragmentary Passage to rescue Aqua from the realm of darkness.

Nomura has stated that Riku's name can be interpreted as "land", since the on'yomi pronunciation of Japanese word for "land" is riku (),[14][15] similar to how Sora's name is identical to the Japanese word for "sky", sora ().[16] Riku's character represents one of the series' main themes, "the light and the dark sides of hearts," alongside Sora.[17] On the character's role in Dream Drop Distance, Nomura emphasized Riku as the game's main focus as it shows the character's growth across the series.[18]

Roxas[edit]

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

Roxas (ロクサス, Rokusasu) is the initial player-controlled character of Kingdom Hearts II, featured during the game's prologue segment. Introduced as a youth living in a virtual simulation of Twilight Town, he discovers himself to be Sora's Nobody, born when Sora transformed into a Heartless to restore Kairi's heart during the events of the first game. He is also revealed to be a defector from Organization XIII, serving as the main protagonist of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days in which revolves around his circumstances as a Keyblade user in Xemnas's plan leading to his defection.[19] While he merged back into Sora's body, Roxas becomes a separate being in a Replica body created in Kingdom Hearts III. Roxas originally uses Sora's Kingdom Key Keyblade before acquired Ventus's Kingdom Key, turning the two Keyblades into Oathkeeper and Oblivion.

Terra[edit]

Voiced by: Ryōtarō Okiayu (Japanese); Jason Dohring (English)[20]

Terra (テラ, Tera) is one of the three playable characters of Birth by Sleep. He is a Keyblade wielder who is 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;[21] gameplay-wise, he performs slower, heavier-hitting attacks than Aqua and Ventus. During an exam to obtain the Mark of Mastery, Master Xehanort manipulates the trials to stimulate the darkness that resides inside of Terra, for which he is denied the rank.[22] He is thus easily manipulated by Xehanort's encouragements to channel his darkness into power,[23] ultimately turned into Xehanort's first vessel. Terra is ultimately freed from Xehanort's control and restored to normal during the events of Kingdom Hearts III.

Ventus[edit]

Voiced by: Kōki Uchiyama (Japanese); Jesse McCartney (English)[20]

Ventus (ヴェントゥス, Ventusu), commonly nicknamed "Ven" (ヴェン), is one of the three playable characters of Birth by Sleep who is later revealed to be a member of the Dandelions who survived the Keyblade War before being displaced from his time by Xehanort. Throughout the plot of Birth by Sleep, Xehanort intended Ventus to recreate χ-blade for his agenda. After Ventus sacrifices his heart to prevent the χ-blade's completion, his comatose body is sealed within Castle Oblivion while his heart takes refuge within Sora's, which factors into the physical appearance of Roxas.[24] In Kingdom Hearts III, Sora becomes aware of Ventus's heart within him and uses the power of waking to send it back to his body, reviving him. Ventus later aids Sora and his allies in the final battle with Xehanort.

Aqua[edit]

Voiced by: Megumi Toyoguchi (Japanese); Willa Holland (English)[20]

Aqua (アクア, Akua) is a Keyblade Master who serves as one of the three playable characters of Birth by Sleep, and the sole playable character of A Fragmentary Passage, a direct sequel bundled in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. She is also playable during one fight in Kingdom Hearts III, against Vanitas. She is a nimble character who specializes in magic attacks while dealing weak physical damage. As the only one among her friends to achieve the rank of Keyblade Master by the start of the game, she is tasked by Master Eraqus to watch over Terra and retrieve Ventus when he runs away from home.[25][26] While attempting to protect Ventus and save Terra from Xehanort's control, she becomes trapped in the realm of darkness, where she remains suspended in time throughout the series while fending off the endless swarms of Heartless. In Kingdom Hearts III, Sora rescues her from the realm of darkness, and she joins him in the final battle against Xehanort.

Other characters[edit]

Kairi[edit]

Voiced by: Risa Uchida (Japanese); Hayden Panettiere (KH, KHII, BBS), Alyson Stoner (other appearances) (English)[12]
Young Kairi
Voiced by: Sumire Morohoshi (Japanese); Ariel Winter (English)

Kairi (カイリ) is the main female protagonist of Kingdom Hearts, and the best friend of Sora and Riku. As one of the seven Princesses of Heart, she is cast adrift from her homeworld of Radiant Garden at a young age as part of Xehanort's experiment to locate the key bearer, which eventually brings her to the Destiny Islands, piquing Sora and Riku's interest in other worlds. In Birth by Sleep, it is revealed that her arrival on the islands is the result of an encounter with Aqua, who gives the four-year-old Kairi a protective charm to shield her from the darkness as well as Kairi gaining the ability to wield a Keyblade after touching the one belonging to Aqua.

During Kingdom Hearts, the 14-year-old Kairi's heart is stolen by the Heartless commanded by "Ansem", sending her body into a coma while her heart takes refuge within Sora's. Upon learning her identity as a Princess of Heart and the location of her heart, Sora sacrifices his own heart in order to release hers and return to her body. Soon after, Kairi finds Sora's Heartless and restores to human form. Kairi later remains behind on the restored Destiny Islands to await Sora's return from this journey.[27] In Kingdom Hearts II, Kairi is kidnapped by Organization XIII to motivate Sora towards acting in their wishes. She escapes with the help of Naminé and Riku, receiving her Keyblade "Destiny Embrace" from the latter to fight alongside Sora.[28] After Sora and Riku defeat the Organization's leader Xemnas, Kairi reunites with them at the Destiny Islands. In Dream Drop Distance, she is summoned by Yen Sid to train as a Keyblade wielder in order to combat Xehanort's reconfigured Organization XIII. In Kingdom Hearts III, Kairi trains with Axel in a secret place created by Yen Sid's magic. After completing her training, she later reunites with her friends Sora and Riku at the Mysterious Tower, where she and the other guardians of light (minus Terra, Roxas, and Xion, whom show up during the battles at the Keyblade graveyard) prepare for the final battles against Xehanort and Organization XIII. At the Keyblade Graveyard, Kairi briefly fights alongside Sora and Axel against several Organization members, until she getting kidnapped. As Sora tries to rescue her, Xehanort kills her before Sora's very eyes, as Xehanort's way to motivate Sora into helping recreate the χ-blade. After defeating Xehanort, Sora heads out by himself to search for a way to use the "Power of Waking" to restore Kairi. In the final scene of the game, Kairi is shown alive again on Destiny Islands holding Sora's hand as tears fall from her eyes, then Sora fades away.

Nomura has stated that Kairi's name can be interpreted as "sea",[15] as the on'yomi pronunciation of the Japanese word for "sea" is kai ().[14]

Xehanort[edit]

Ansem/Terra-Xehanort
Voiced by: Akio Ōtsuka (Japanese); Billy Zane (KH), Richard Epcar (subsequent appearances) (English)
Xemnas
Voiced by: Norio Wakamoto (Japanese); Paul St. Peter (English)
Master Xehanort
Voiced by: Chikao Ōtsuka (BBS, 3D), Akio Ōtsuka (KHIII) (Japanese); Leonard Nimoy (BBS, 3D), Rutger Hauer (KHIII) (English)
Young Xehanort
Voiced by: Takanori Okuda (Japanese); David Gallagher (BBS), Benjamin Diskin (3D, KHIII) (English)

Xehanort (ゼアノート, Zeanōto, English: /ˈz.ənɔːrt/) is the foremost antagonist of the Kingdom Hearts series, introduced in the original game as a sentient Heartless named Ansem before being revealed in Kingdom Hearts II to have assumed the identity of his mentor Ansem the Wise.[29][30] The prequel Birth by Sleep further reestablishes Xehanort as an elderly Keyblade Master from the Destiny Islands who acquired the means to transplant his heart into the bodies of others, which he uses to orchestrate the events of the games up to Kingdom Hearts III to suit his agenda. Throughout the series, Xehanort is driven by an obsessive interest in the Keyblade War, a historic cataclysm that resulted in the universe's present, fragmented state.[31] In Birth by Sleep, he attempts to use the hearts of his pupils Ventus and Vanitas to forge the χ-blade and unlock Kingdom Hearts to incite another war, desiring a new world where light and darkness exist in perfect balance.[32][33] However, he is defeated through the combined efforts of Ventus, Terra, and Aqua, sustaining amnesia in the process.[34] In Dream Drop Distance, Xehanort returns to his original form following the destruction of Ansem and his Nobody, Xemnas, who are revealed to have been created to reenact his original plan by gathering seven "guardians of light" and thirteen "seekers of darkness" in the form of the Princesses of Heart and Organization XIII respectively; he also uses time travel to assemble Ansem, Xemnas, and other versions of himself from across time into a new Organization, sending their hearts into replica bodies to co-exist with their present self.[35] In Kingdom Hearts III, Xehanort acquires the χ-blade and summons Kingdom Hearts after his past selves are eliminated during a showdown between the Organization and Sora's group. Upon losing to Sora, Xehanort surrenders and allows his heart to pass on together with his former friend Eraqus.[36]

The character's name is an anagram of "no heart" and "another" with the additional letter "X".[11][37] The character's other featured incarnations are:

  • Ansem, Seeker of Darkness (闇の探求者アンセム, Yami no Tankyūsha Ansemu), Xehanort's Heartless and the main antagonist of the first Kingdom Hearts. He uses Maleficent to gather the Princesses of Heart and produce the Keyhole to Kingdom Hearts, later possessing Riku's body to regain his human appearance; as revealed in Dream Drop Distance, his incorporeal form allows him to travel to the past to initiate Xehanort's teenage self.[38][35] Following Ansem's destruction, his presence continues to linger within Riku's heart in Chain of Memories until it is destroyed by Ansem the Wise's malfunctioning heart encoder in Kingdom Hearts II.
  • Xemnas, Xehanort's Nobody and the main antagonist of Kingdom Hearts II. He is the founder and "superior" of the first Organization XIII, whom he manipulates into constructing an artificial Kingdom Hearts to turn them into vessels for Xehanort's heart, as revealed in Dream Drop Distance. His name is an anagram of "Ansem" with an additional letter "X".
  • Terra-Xehanort, the original form of Ansem and Xemnas who was first seen in Kingdom Hearts II as Ansem the Wise's amnesiac apprentice.[34] He is created in Birth by Sleep when Xehanort transferred his heart into Terra's body once having him embrace his inner darkness, prolonging his own life while confining Terra's heart within a Heartless thrall that both he and Ansem can command.[39][citation needed] In Kingdom Hearts III, Terra's heart regains his body and expels Xehanort's heart with Sora's help.
  • Young Xehanort, Master Xehanort's adolescent self and the primary antagonist of Dream Drop Distance, whom the Heartless Ansem summons from the past to assemble the "real" Organization XIII from his other incarnations and certain member of the previous Organization.[35] Though he loses his memories upon returning to his time, he remains motivated by the destiny "etched in [his] heart" to carry out all of his future self's plans.[40]

Naminé[edit]

Voiced by: Iku Nakahara (Japanese); Brittany Snow (KHII), Meaghan Martin (Re:COM onward) (English)

Naminé (ナミネ, Namine) is a girl with the ability to change, rearrange, or erase the memories of Sora and those close to him, for which she is called a witch.[41][42] Introduced in Chain of Memories, she is revealed in Kingdom Hearts II to be Kairi's Nobody, created when Sora releases Kairi's heart from within himself during the events of the first game. Originating at Castle Oblivion, she is forced by Marluxia to alter Sora's memories so he remembers her as a close friend from the Destiny Islands, allowing Marluxia to manipulate him. She later defies Marluxia to reveal the truth to Sora, and oversees the year-long process to restore Sora and his friends' memories to their original state.[43] Naminé also saves Riku in "Reverse/Rebirth" from Zexion, disguising herself as Kairi.[11] In Kingdom Hearts II, Naminé visits Roxas in the virtual Twilight Town to help him discover his true identity as Sora's Nobody. Naminé returns in the game's final world to help Kairi escape from the Organization's dungeon, after which she merges with Kairi to complete her. A bodiless Naminé would later play a role in Kingdom Hearts III in summoning the Lingering Will to help Sora against Terra-Xehanort, Riku providing the body of the second Riku Replica for Ansem, Ienzo and Even to use to give Naminé a body of her own.

Riku Replica[edit]

Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano (Japanese); David Gallagher (English)

The Riku Replica is a Replica created from the data Vexen had gathered on Riku in Castle Oblivion. Normally resembling Riku in Dark Mode with use of his Soul Eater sword, the Replica first appears in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and its remake Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories as one of its antagonists. Originally a subject to test the real Riku, the Replica was later exploited to become a puppet of Marluxia who had his memory altered to use in his plans of using Sora to take over the Organization. The Replica eventually learns the truth of his origins, helping protect Naminé before he left and aided Axel in disposing of Zexion before facing Riku one final time. While the Riku Replica returns in Kingdom Hearts III, revealed to have been inside Riku since their last fight, a second one is created to fight for Organization XIII with the original replica defeating the second by removing its heart with the vessel later used to create Naminé's new body.

Organization XIII[edit]

Organization XIII (XIII機関, Jūsan Kikan) is a group created by Xehanort in his plan to acquire the χ-blade, introduced as thirteen Nobodies who seek the power of Kingdom Hearts to become complete humans, with Xehanort's Nobody Xemnas ranked first as their leader.[11] With the exception of Xemnas using Ansem's name, each Organization member's name is an anagram of their original self's name with the letter "X" inserted.[44] While Nobodies initially lack true emotion and morality at first,[45] they gradually grow hearts over time. In Dream Drop Distance, it is revealed that the Organization's true purpose is to serve as vessels for Xehanort's heart in his plan to forge the χ-blade, with a second, "real" Organization XIII being assembled from Xehanort, Xigbar, Saïx, and Vexen using the Replica technology to create artificial bodies for Xehanort's Heartless, Xemnas, Young Xehanort, Vanitas, Luxord, Demyx, Marluxia, Larxene, and Xion. The first Organization's members also serve as computer-controlled party members of 358/2 Days, and are playable in the game's "Mission Mode". Excluding Xemnas and Roxas, the initial members and their original names are, in order of rank:

  • Xigbar (Braig), a marksman armed with two "arrowguns" (rayguns) and the power of spatial manipulation, introduced in Kingdom Hearts II. His role as the group's second-in-command is further expanded in subsequent games, revealing him to be an incarnation of the ancient Keyblade wielder Luxu who caused the first Keyblade War and feigned being Xehanort's collaborator and "seeker of darkness" to observe his actions. Xigbar and Braig are voiced by Hōchū Ōtsuka in Japanese and James Patrick Stuart in English, while Luxu is voiced by Kenjiro Tsuda in Japanese and Max Mittelman in English.[46]
  • Xaldin (Dilan), an eloquent warrior who uses the power of wind to wield six lances at once, introduced in Kingdom Hearts II. Xaldin and Dilan are voiced by Yōsuke Akimoto in Japanese and David Dayan Fisher in English.
  • Vexen (Even), a researcher and scientist who conducts various experiments for the Organization, introduced in Chain of Memories. He carries a shield and controls ice. While restored in Dream Drop Distance, Vexen returns to the Organization as one of Xehanort's "seekers of darkness" in Kingdom Hearts III to sabotage Xehanort's schemes before his restored human self resumes his duties as Ansem's apprentice. In Japanese, the characters are voiced in most appearances by Nachi Nozawa, with Shigeru Chiba replacing him in Kingdom Hearts III; in English, Vexen and Even are voiced by Derek Stephen Prince.
  • Lexaeus (Aeleus), a stalwart warrior who is the Organization's most physically powerful member, introduced in Chain of Memories. His weapon is an "axe sword", a long-bladed axe capable of shattering solid rock through his manipulation of earth. In most appearances, Lexaeus and Aeleus are voiced by Fumihiko Tachiki in Japanese and Dave Boat in English.
  • Zexion (Ienzo), the youngest of the Organization's founders, who has the ability to create illusions. Initially appearing as a non-combatant in Chain of Memories, later games reveal his weapon to be a lexicon. Dream Drop Distance and Kingdom Hearts III, his restored human self supports Sora's group by using the Replica that Vexen secretly provided him to reconstruct Roxas. Zexion and Ienzo are voiced by Akira Ishida in Japanese and Vince Corazza in English.
  • Saïx (Isa), Xemnas' second-in-command and Axel's former friend from Radiant Garden, introduced in Kingdom Hearts II and later made into one of Xehanort's thirteen "seekers of darkness". He draws power from the heart-shaped moon of Kingdom Hearts to assume a berserk state and transform his weapon, a claymore. In Kingdom Hearts III, his restored human self makes peace with Lea as they live in Twilight Town. Saïx and Isa are voiced by Ginpei Sato in Japanese and Kirk Thornton in English.
  • Axel (Lea), a Radiant Garden resident and the Organization's resident assassin, who controls fire to emblaze his chakram-like weapons. Introduced in Chain of Memories as a double agent under orders to dispatch the traitorous members at Castle Oblivion, Axel's friendship with Roxas causes him to develop a more compassionate side by Kingdom Hearts II. In Dream Drop Distance, his restored human self becomes a Keyblade wielder and guardian of light. Axel and Lea are voiced by Keiji Fujiwara in Japanese and Quinton Flynn in English.
  • Demyx, a laidback member who controls water with his sitar music, introduced in Kingdom Hearts II as a member Xehanort selected for being the Nobody of an ancient Keyblade user and later made into his thirteen "seekers of darkness". He is noted for his lack of combat skill and tendency to shirk his duties off onto other members, yet helped Vexen act against the Organization in Kingdom Hearts III. Demyx is voiced by Kenichi Suzumura in Japanese and Ryan O'Donohue in English.
  • Luxord (Lodur), a courteous gambler who manipulates time and carries a deck of cards as his weapons, introduced in Kingdom Hearts II as a member Xehanort selected for being the Nobody of an ancient Keyblade user and later made into his thirteen "seekers of darkness". Luxord is voiced by Jouji Nakata in Japanese and Robin Atkin Downes in English.
  • Marluxia (Lauriam),, is the steward of Castle Oblivion when introduced as the antagonist of Chain of Memories, Xehanort having selected him for the Organization for his original self being an ancient Keyblade user which made him one of his thirteen "seekers of darkness". In most appearances, Marluxia is voiced by Shūichi Ikeda in Japanese and Keith Ferguson in English.
  • Larxene (Elrena), a ruthless female member and Marluxia's comrade introduced in Chain of Memories who Xehanort selected for the Organization for her original self being an ancient Keyblade user which made her one of his thirteen "seekers of darkness". She has electricity-based powers and carries a set of knives as her weapons. In most appearances, Larxene is voiced by Yūko Miyamura in Japanese and Shanelle Workman in English.
  • Xion, the de facto fourteenth member of the Organization, introduced in 358/2 Days. Similar to Roxas, she wields a Keyblade and appears to lack memories of her past. She eventually discovers her true identity as an artificial human "replica" created from Sora's memories to duplicate Roxas' powers, which forces her to sacrifice her existence and all memories related to her in order to protect her friends. She was later revived as the final member of Xehanort's thirteen "seekers of darkness" before opposing them. Xion is voiced by Risa Uchida in Japanese; in English, Xion is voiced by Alyson Stoner in 358/2 Days and KHIII, and by Hayden Panettiere in Birth by Sleep and Dream Drop Distance.

Ansem the Wise[edit]

Voiced by: Genzō Wakayama (Japanese); Christopher Lee (KHII, Days), Corey Burton (other appearances) (English)

Ansem the Wise (賢者アンセム, Kenja Ansemu) is the former sage king of Radiant Garden, first appearing in the "Reverse/Rebirth" storyline of Chain of Memories as a bandaged figure known as DiZ (ディズ, Dizu). His true identity is uncovered in Kingdom Hearts II, simultaneously revealing the similarly named antagonist to be an impostor.[30] Nine years prior to the first game's events, Ansem studies the darkness in people's hearts for the benefit of his world after taking an amnesic Terra-Xehanort under his wing. After meeting with King Mickey and learning his research may be connected to a crisis happening in other worlds, Ansem ceases his experiments. But Xehanort regains his memories as he and his accomplice Braig secretly continue the experiments alongside Ansem's other pupils—Dilan, Even, Aeleus, and Ienzo—the former using Ansem's name as his own. Exiled to a world of nothingness by his apprentices, Ansem disguises himself as DiZ, an acronym for "Darkness in Zero", and escapes to exact revenge on Organization XIII.[47]

In Chain of Memories, DiZ guides Riku through Castle Oblivion under the guise of Xehanort's Heartless. Together with Riku and Naminé, DiZ oversees the restoration of Sora, Donald, and Goofy's memories throughout 358/2 Days, moving them from Castle Oblivion to Twilight Town for safekeeping. When Roxas unwittingly begins absorbing Sora's memories, DiZ orders Riku to retrieve Roxas, whom he places inside a simulation of Twilight Town to eventually merge with Sora. In Kingdom Hearts II, DiZ's plans fall apart when Sora does not function as he wants upon awakening.[48] Realizing the harm he has brought upon Sora and his friends, DiZ becomes remorseful and loses his lust for revenge. Ansem reveals himself to Mickey at the World That Never Was while attempting to digitally encode Xemnas' Kingdom Hearts within a machine. The hearts overload the machine and cause it to self-destruct, Ansem allowing himself to be engulfed by the blast to atone for his mistakes.[49]

In the epilogue of Birth by Sleep, having implanted a data copy of himself within Sora's mind as revealed in Dream Drop Distance, Ansem is revealed to have ended up in the Realm of Darkness where he relays his intact memories of Sora to Aqua. During the events of Kingdom Hearts III, Ansem is dragged back to the Realm of Light by Xehanort's Heartless and Nobody before being rescued by Vexen's indirect intervention. Following Xehanort's defeat, Ansem resumes his role as ruler of Radiant Garden.

Vanitas[edit]

Voiced by: Miyu Irino (Japanese); Haley Joel Osment (English)

Vanitas (ヴァニタス, Vanitasu) is a Keyblade wielder and antagonist who first appears in Birth by Sleep, created by Master Xehanort from darkness extracted from Ventus's heart as part of the man's plan of forge the χ-blade.[50][51] Vantias was initially faceless at the time of his creation until Ventus connected his heart to the newborn Sora, considering Sora as a "brother" like Ventus since their connection defined him as a person.[20] Though he aids Xehanort's scheme, Vanitas acted on his own whims to lure Ventus away from home in order to strengthen him into his equal to commence their reunion while attacking him and his friends with the Unversed manifesting from Vanitas's negative emotions.[52][53] While Vanitas succeeded in merging back into Ventus during their final confrontation at the Keyblade Graveyard, their reunion produces an unstable χ-blade,[54] which is destroyed along with Vanitas in a metaphysical battle against Ventus within their combined heart. However, briefly appears alongside Young Xehanort in Dream Drop Distance in reaction to the presence of Ventus's heart within Sora's, Vanitas is inducted into the True Organization XIII as one of the thirteen Seekers of Darkness in Kingdom Hearts III with the intention of reclaiming Ventus's heart. But once his Replica body is destroyed during in the Second Keyblade War, Vanitas returns to his original place after being defeated.

While developing Birth by Sleep, Nomura created Vanitas's relationship with Ventus under suggestion from the game's Osaka development team, as he enjoyed the idea of adding more connections between characters. He chose the name "Vanitas"—Latin for "emptiness"—for its similarity to Ventus's name, and because its Japanese translation, kara (), could be reinterpreted as Sora's name, which means "sky".[20] A secret boss based on Vanitas called the Vanitas Remnant (ヴァニタスの思念, Vanitasu no Shin'en) appears in Birth by Sleep. In the English version of ''Kingdom Hearts III'', Vanitas speaks in a raspier voice since Haley Joel Osment has to voice Sora in the same scenes as him.

Eraqus[edit]

Voiced by: Makio Inoue (Japanese); Mark Hamill (English)
Young Eraqus
Voiced by: Daisuke Namikawa (Japanese); Drake Bell (English)

Eraqus (エラクゥス, Erakūsu) is introduced in Birth by Sleep as one of the few remaining Keyblade Masters alongside Xehanort, revealed to be descended from the Keyblade users that survived the Keyblade War. In charge of the Land of Departure, he is both a mentor and father figure to Terra, Aqua and Ventus, and is noted for being biased against the existence of darkness in favor of light,[55] a key factor behind his eventual falling out with Xehanort. Nomura described his relationship with Xehanort as that of old friends and classmates.[56] At the start of the game, Eraqus passes Aqua the Mark of Mastery but denies Terra, basing his decision on the darkness in Terra's heart.[57] 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, fearing that Xehanort will use Ventus to create the χ-blade. When Ventus confronts him over this and confirms his fears, Eraqus attempts to destroy Ventus to foil Xehanort's plan, but is stopped by Terra.[58] After battling with his student, he is struck down by Xehanort and fades away, leaving his Keyblade behind. 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.[59] Eraqus makes a return appearance in Kingdom Hearts III, emerging from Terra's restored body to help Xehanort pass on with the two agreeing to entrust the future to the next generation.

Eraqus' name is an anagram of "Square", referencing series developer company Square Enix.[22][60] He also bears a resemblance to Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi.[61] An additional boss modeled after Eraqus' 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 Birth by Sleep Final Mix as an opponent in the Mirage Arena.

Foretellers[edit]

The Foretellers are a group of Keyblade Masters trained under the Master of Masters, each a leader of one of the five Unions that were established to gather light and combat darkness First appearing in Kingdom Hearts χ, the Foretellers were each given a copy of the Book of Prophecies which detailed their master's prediction of the future and the manifestation of worlds. After the Master disappears, Luxu instills paranoia among the Foretellers, with the resulting infighting eventually leading to the Keyblade War and the destruction of the world. With the exception of Ava, the Foretellers appear in the epilogue of Kingdom Hearts III, where they are summoned by Luxu and informed of the events that occurred in their absence.

  • Ira (イラ, English: /ˈrə/) is the "reliable" leader of the Unicornis Union, symbolized by a unicorn. Prior to disappearing, the Master of Masters assigns Ira to lead the other Foretellers in his place.[62] Ira is voiced by Yūichirō Umehara in Japanese and Matthew Mercer in English.[46]
  • Invi (インヴィ) is the "virtuous" leader of the Anguis Union, symbolized by a snake. She acts as the Foretellers' moderator while also observing them and reporting her findings to Ira.[62] She is voiced by Kana Hanazawa in Japanese and Karissa Lee Staples in English.[46]
  • Aced (アセッド, Aseddo) is the "fearless" Leader of the Ursus Union, symbolized by a bear. As Ira's second-in-command, Aced comes to doubt Ira's leadership and acts of his own accord to prevent the Keyblade War.[62] He is voiced by Subaru Kimura in Japanese and Travis Willingham in English.[46]
  • Gula (グウラ, Gūra) is the "coolheaded" Leader of the Leopardos Union, symbolized by a leopard. A lone wolf with little attachment to the other Foretellers, he is assigned the role of identifying the traitor among the group.[62] He is voiced by Kaito Ishikawa in Japanese and Kevin Quinn in English.[46]
  • Ava (アヴァ, English: /ˈɑːvə/) is the "prudent" Leader of the Vulpes Union, symbolized by a fox. Under her master's orders, she secretly recruits Keyblade wielders from various Unions to establish the Dandelions, a group who are sent to another world to ensure their survival after the prophesied Keyblade War.[62] Sending the Dandelions off when the Keyblade War draws near, Ava ends up causing the event when she confronts Luxu over the truth behind the Lost Page. Ava is voiced by Yume Miyamoto in Japanese and Isabela Moner in English.[46]

Dandelions[edit]

The Dandelions are a group of Keyblade wielders recruited by Ava, each deemed strong enough to resist the darkness. They are sent to another world before the Keyblade War to prevent being caught in the battle and to help rebuild the world in its aftermath. In the new world, five of the Dandelions, including Ventus and Lauriam, are chosen to retain their memories of the Keyblade War and become the new Union leaders, forming the joint group Union Cross to ensure the event would never repeat itself. The other Dandelions, like Elrena, had their memories rewritten to forget the events leading to the Keyblade War.

  • Ephemer (エフェメラ, Efemera) is a Keyblade wielder from a different Union than the player, his allegiance depending on the player's chosen Union. Being chosen as a Dandelion, Ephemer is sent away from the Keyblade War as one of Foretellers' successors. He becomes the leader of Union Cross and guides the group's decision-making. He later appears in Kingdom Hearts III to help Sora in spirit. Ephemer is voiced by Yūto Uemura in Japanese and Michael Johnston in English.[46]
  • Skuld (スクルド, Sukurudo) is a girl from the same Union as Ephemer, her first friend from the Union. She joins the player in investigating Ephemer's whereabouts following his disappearance, eventually becoming a member of Union Cross.
  • Brain (ブレイン, Burein) is one of the Keyblade wielders selected to serve in Union Cross. Having obtained the Book of Prophecies, he believes the new world is destined to fall and begins working to change the future.
  • Strelitzia (ストレリチア, Sutorerichia) is one of the Keyblade wielders selected to serve as one of the new Union leaders, being both Lauriam's younger sister and a comrade of Elrena. Before she is able to convince the player to join the Dandelions, she is attacked by an unknown individual who takes her place and she fades from existence.

Others[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, while their real counterparts help Sora infiltrate Organization XIII's stronghold through the digital town. They also briefly encounter Roxas during 358/2 Days. In Kingdom Hearts II, the three are respectively voiced by Kazunori Sasaki, Hayato Taya, and Yuka Hirasawa in Japanese, and by Justin Cowden, Sean Marquette, and Jessica DiCicco in English. In Kingdom Hearts III, Sasaki and Hirasawa are replaced by Makoto Sutō and Yuna Watanabe in Japanese, while all three English actors are replaced by Zachary Gordon, Tristan Chase, and Ashley Boettcher.
  • Chirithy (チリシィ, Chirishii) is a cat-like species of Dream Eater created by the Master of Masters, with each Keyblade wielder receiving one to aid in their endeavors. Due to an empathic link to their Keyblade wielders, a Chirithy transforms into a Nightmare if their user is tainted by darkness, with the appearance of one starting the chain of events leading to the Keyblade War. Ventus's Chirithy makes an appearance in Kingdom Hearts III, guiding Sora in the Final World before reuniting with Ventus. Chirithy is voiced by Tomoko Kaneda in Japanese and Lara Jill Miller in English.[46]
  • The Master of Masters (マスター・オブ・マスター, Masutā obu Masutā) is the mentor to Luxu and the Foretellers who vanishes before the events of Kingdom Hearts χ. He possesses an eye with prophetic vision that allows him to transcribe the Book of Prophecies, embedding it within the "No Name" Keyblade and passing it down to maintain his future sight until it is acquired by Xehanort at the beginning of the series storyline. In Back Cover, he is shown to have a playful and mischievous personality that conceals his true nature. The Master of Masters is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita in Japanese and Ray Chase in English.[46]
  • Yozora (ヨゾラ, Yozora) is a character from an in-series video game Verum Rex (a shout-out to Final Fantasy XV). First appearing in "Toy Box" (the world based on Toy Story) as a character in the video game, he is a young man with a strong likeness to Riku. He appears later in KH3's secret ending, watching Riku from atop a skyscraper.

Disney and Square Enix characters[edit]

Mickey Mouse[edit]

Voiced by: Takashi Aoyagi (Japanese); Wayne Allwine (KHDays), Bret Iwan (BBS onward) (English)

Mickey Mouse is depicted in the Kingdom Hearts series as the king of Disney Castle, frequently referred to in-game as "King Mickey" or simply "the King" (王様, Ōsama). He is also an experienced Keyblade Master, alternatively wielding a golden version of Sora's "Kingdom Key" retrieved from the realm of darkness, and the "Star Seeker" he is seen using during his apprenticeship to Yen Sid in Birth by Sleep. Mickey is absent for most of the original game,[7] which sees him departing his world to discover a solution to the Heartless' invasion, leaving instructions for Donald and Goofy telling to find and protect the Keyblade wielder.[63] He has a more active role fighting alongside Sora and his allies in later installments, which first required the approval of Disney.[11] He is a playable character in Kingdom Hearts II, stepping in to replace Sora whenever the player is defeated during certain boss battles until he is able to revive Sora. He is also available for play in the "Mission Mode" of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days as an unlockable character.

Donald Duck and Goofy[edit]

Donald Duck
Voiced by: Kōichi Yamadera (Japanese); Tony Anselmo (English)
Goofy
Voiced by: Yuu Shimaka (Japanese); Bill Farmer (English)

In various games, Donald Duck and Goofy serve as the player's main computer-controlled partners.[13] They are both depicted as members of Disney Castle's royal court; Donald is a magician who is proficient with a variety of spells, and Goofy is a peaceful knights' captain who performs supportive and defensive techniques with a shield.[13] In Kingdom Hearts, Donald and Goofy embark on a journey to find their missing king, with orders from a letter left by Mickey to find the Keyblade wielder. They accompany Sora for this reason, initially viewing him as little more than a means to track down the king,[64] and abandoning him upon the discovery that Riku is the rightful owner of Sora's Keyblade. However, both eventually grow to care for Sora as a friend and remain with him. The two are also unlockable characters for play in 358/2 Days's "Mission Mode".

Maleficent[edit]

Voiced by: Toshiko Sawada (Japanese); Susanne Blakeslee (English)

Maleficent, an evil fairy and the antagonist of the 1959 film Sleeping Beauty, appears as a secondary antagonist in the Kingdom Hearts series. During the first game, she leads a group of other 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—to capture the Princesses of Heart and harness the power of Kingdom Hearts, which she intends to use to conquer all worlds.[65] In reality, she is an unwitting pawn of Xehanort, who first informs her of the princesses during the prequel Birth by Sleep as part of his own plan to gather components for the χ-blade.[66] Her defeat results in her becoming trapped in the realm of darkness,[67] but she returns after her raven forces Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather to recall their memories of her, allowing her to resume her conquest of worlds.[68] Following Maleficent's attempts to acquire a new lair after losing Hollow Bastion, she and Pete proceed to search for the Master of Master's Black Box for much of Kingdom Hearts III before witnessing Luxu summoning the Foretellers.

Pete[edit]

Voiced by: Tōru Ōhira (KHIIHD 2.5), Katsuhiro Kitagawa (KHIII) (Japanese); Jim Cummings (English)[69]

Pete is included in Kingdom Hearts II as Maleficent's bumbling henchman who first encounters Sora's group while amassing a Heartless army for her, unaware of her earlier defeat. Originally a steamboat captain based on his depiction in Steamboat Willie, Pete is banished to another dimension by Queen Minnie for incessantly causing mischief around Disney Town under the masked superhero guises "Captain Justice" and "Captain Dark", as seen in Birth by Sleep. He becomes indebted to Maleficent when she frees him, and he vows to help conquer the worlds in return.[70] He makes recurring appearances throughout Kingdom Hearts II and later installments, menacing Sora's group alongside Maleficent and various other Disney villains. A version of Pete based on his depiction in Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers also appears in the "Country of the Musketeers" world based on the film.

Yen Sid[edit]

Voiced by: Takashi Inagaki (Japanese); Corey Burton (English)

Yen Sid is the sorcerer from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment of Fantasia, appearing as King Mickey's old mentor and a retired Keyblade Master who resides in the Mysterious Tower. He first appears in Kingdom Hearts II, where he informs Sora's group of their task at hand on Mickey's behalf.[71] In addition to providing counsel to the main characters of Birth by Sleep, he proctors Sora and Riku's Mark of Mastery exam in Dream Drop Distance to prepare them for an inevitable showdown with Master Xehanort, training Kairi and Lea to serve as two of the potential seven "guardians of light" as well.

Princesses of Heart[edit]

The Princesses of Heart, known as the Seven Princesses (セブンプリンセス, Sebun Purinsesu) in the Japanese language version, are maidens whose hearts are made of pure light, devoid of darkness with the original character Kairi as one such maiden. The roster of the other Princesses included five 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, plus Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Kingdom Hearts III introduces potential replacement members in Rapunzel from Tangled and the sisters Anna and Elsa from Frozen.

Throughout the original game, Maleficent kidnaps the princesses for their ability to summon the Keyhole to Kingdom Hearts when brought together. 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 to revive Kairi, destroying it. The other princesses remain at Hollow Bastion to contain the darkness spilling from the Keyhole until the door to Kingdom Hearts is sealed, subsequently returning to their homeworlds.[13] 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 prevent this, Yen Sid prepares to substitute the princesses with seven Keyblade wielders to clash with Xehanort's reformed Organization XIII.

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 different party members in addition to Donald and Goofy: Tarzan in the Deep Jungle; Aladdin in Agrabah; Ariel in Atlantica from The Little Mermaid; 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 summoned allies in the game: adult 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 first game, with the inclusion of Cloud Strife as an additional summon.

Aladdin, Jack, and the Beast return as party members in Kingdom Hearts II, with Ariel appearing in a non-playable capacity, and Peter Pan appearing as a summon in tandem with Tinker Bell. Adult 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 include Final Fantasy X character Auron in the Hercules-inspired Olympus Coliseum world, Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean's Port Royal, and Tron in Space Paranoids. Chicken Little and Stitch are included as new summons.

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 Phillip in Enchanted Dominion, based on Sleeping Beauty; Hercules and Zack Fair in Olympus Coliseum, with the latter being based on his Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core appearance; and Stitch, named "Experiment 626", in the Lilo & Stitch-inspired Deep Space.

Dream Drop Distance has the Spirit Dream Eaters act as Sora and Riku's party members. In the opening battle against Ursula on the Destiny Islands, Riku acts as a cooperation member to Sora.

Hercules and Jack Sparrow return as old party members in Kingdom Hearts III, with new party members including Rapunzel and Flynn Rider from Tangled, Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, James P. Sullivan and Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc., Marshmallow from Frozen, and Baymax from Big Hero 6, all in worlds based on their respective films.[2][72][73] Ariel, Meow Wow, Wreck-It Ralph, Simba, and Stitch also appear as summonable "Link" characters.[2][72][74][75]

Other Disney characters[edit]

One of the common elements in the Kingdom Hearts series is the inclusion of levels based on various Disney and Pixar films, as well as related media. Several key characters from the films appear in their respective worlds, closely following their roles from the film and play a small role in the main story.

Several characters from the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck universes appear in the Kingdom Hearts series, most of them appearing at the original world Disney Castle and its adjacent urban area, Disney Town. Minnie Mouse is portrayed as the queen of Disney Castle who rules in the absence of her husband, King Mickey. Daisy Duck, Donald Duck's girlfriend, is Queen Minnie's lady-in-waiting. Pluto 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 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 appears in Kingdom Hearts II, Birth by Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts III where he attempts to open business venues such as a transit system between worlds. In III, Scrooge opens a successful restaurant. 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. Jiminy Cricket appears as a chronicler of Sora's travels, recording information about the people, places and events they encounter in his journals;[76][77] he also retains his role from Pinocchio as the title character's conscience. 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 Cinderella appears in Merlin's house in Kingdom Hearts, where she transforms "summon gems" collected throughout the game into summoned allies; she also appears in Birth by Sleep as a resident of her original world, the Castle of Dreams. The One Hundred and One Dalmatians are featured in a side-quest in the first game, where players retrieve Pongo and Perdita's 99 puppies scattered throughout the game's worlds in exchange for prizes. Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty appear in Kingdom Hearts II, where they provide Sora with new clothes that grant him access to Drive Forms. Kingdom Hearts III includes Remy from Pixar's Ratatouille as the host of a cooking minigame in Twilight Town.[78]

Other Square Enix characters[edit]

In addition to Disney elements, Kingdom Hearts features characters from other Square Enix-developed titles, most prominently Final Fantasy. A majority of the games include Moogles, small creatures that are a recurring element throughout the Final Fantasy series; they serve to run shops where players can create and purchase items used in the game.

Kingdom Hearts prominently depicts several Final Fantasy characters as residents of the ruined world Radiant Garden, known as Hollow Bastion prior to Kingdom Hearts II. 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, a flower girl and healer; Yuffie Kisaragi, a friendly ninja; and Cid Highwind, an expert in the games' "Gummi Ship" feature. These characters form the "Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee" in Kingdom Hearts II, with the goal of rebuilding their destroyed world following Maleficent's defeat, using the home of Merlin as a base. In both games, Leon and Yuffie are featured as opponents in the Olympus Coliseum.

Youthful versions of Final Fantasy X characters Tidus and Wakka, as well as Final Fantasy VIII character Selphie Tilmitt, make recurring appearances as residents of the Destiny Islands. The three serve as optional sparring partners early in the first game.

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, who is 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 here as an optional boss, and is depicted as the embodiment of Cloud's darkness.[79]

Younger incarnations of Final Fantasy VIII characters Seifer Almasy, Fujin, and Raijin—the latter two named "Fuu" and "Rai", respectively—appear in Kingdom Hearts II as members of Twilight Town's self-proclaimed disciplinary committee. Twilight Town also depicts Final Fantasy IX's Vivi Ornitier as an admirer of Seifer, and Final Fantasy VI's Setzer Gabbiani as a champion of the local Struggle sport; neither character was designed by Nomura, who included them under pressure from his staff.[8]

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

The main characters of The World Ends with You—Neku Sakuraba, Yoshiya "Joshua" Kiryu, Shiki Misaki, Daisukenojo "Beat" Bito, and Raimu "Rhyme" Bito—appear in Dream Drop Distance as players of a Reapers' Game in Traverse Town.[80] 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.[81][82] A series of Play Arts action figures has also been released.[83] Other merchandise includes jewelry and key chains modeled after character apparel and accessories.[84] The characters are also featured on posters,[84] desktop wallpapers,[85] and trading cards that are part of the Kingdom Hearts Trading Card Game.[86]

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.[87][88][89] 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".[87] 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".[88]

GameSpot commented the first game created a "fascinating world" using the Disney and Final Fantasy characters.[90] GameSpy stated the inclusion of the Disney and Square Enix characters was handled well.[88] 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.[91] IGN listed him as a possible character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl;[92] though he was not chosen as the "reader's choice".[93]

GameSpy praised the voice cast and voice acting in the first and third games.[88][94] G4TV awarded Kingdom Hearts II "Best Voice Over" in their 2006 G-phoria Awards.[95] Game Informer praised the voice acting of the third game, particularly the performances by Haley Joel Osment, Christopher Lee, and James Woods. They also stated the voice talent "shines across the board."[96] 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".[97]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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  19. ^ Square Enix (March 28, 2006). Kingdom Hearts II. PlayStation 2. Square Enix U.S.A., Buena Vista Games. Axel: Your mind's made up? / Roxas: Why did the Keyblade choose me? I have to know. / Axel: You can't turn on the Organization!
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  31. ^ Square Enix 1st Production Department (July 31, 2012). Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Nintendo 3DS. Square Enix. Yen Sid: As a Keyblade Master, Xehanort had a gift like few others. But such great minds are often plagued by a single great question. What is the essence of the human heart that weakens us, or empowers us? The answer, he believed, would be found in the "Keyblade War."
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External links[edit]