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Terra (Kingdom Hearts)

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Terra
Kingdom Hearts character
.
Artwork for Terra in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.
First game Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (2010)
Created by Tetsuya Nomura
Designed by Tetsuya Nomura
Voiced by (English) Jason Dohring
Voiced by (Japanese) Ryōtarō Okiayu
Fictional profile
Weapon Keyblade

Terra (Japanese: テラ Hepburn: Tera?) is a fictional character from Square Enix's video game franchise Kingdom Hearts, prominently featured in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep as one of the game's three playable protagonists. He appears in-game as a pupil of Master Eraqus who trains alongside his friends Aqua and Ventus to become a master of the Keyblade weapon. Terra's storyline highlights his struggle to tame his inner darkness, a negative attribute that serves as a source of both power and corruption for him. Prior to Birth by Sleep, he had a cameo appearance in a secret ending of Kingdom Hearts II and its re-release Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix; the later game included an optional boss fight against the Lingering Will (留まりし思念 Todomarishi Shinen?), a hollow armor containing Terra's mind.

Series director Tetsuya Nomura designed Terra's character when preparing the secret endings of Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. He was developed to be reminiscent of series antagonist Xehanort as he appears in previous titles, as well as having a connection with Riku, one of the series' main characters. Ryōtarō Okiayu has done the voice of Terra in Japanese and Jason Dohring in the English version. Video game publications gave mixed responses to Terra's character, with many noting his similarity to the Final Fantasy VII character Zack Fair, and later commenting on his naive portrayal in Birth by Sleep.

Appearances[edit]

An early character concept for Terra first appeared in the secret endings of Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, titled "The Gathering" and "Birth by Sleep", respectively. Additionally, the latter game includes the Lingering Will as an optional boss that is accessible upon clearing the game's story.[1]

The prequel Birth by Sleep introduces Terra as an apprentice Keyblade wielder who trains alongside Aqua and Ventus at the Land of Departure. Early in the game, Terra is denied the rank of Keyblade Master when his mentor, Master Eraqus, detects a strong presence of darkness in his heart.[2] Disheartened, Terra is given a chance to redeem his failure when dispatched to eliminate an insurgence of dark creatures called the Unversed in neighboring worlds.[3][4] Periodically, the vagabond Master Xehanort appeals to Terra to channel the power of darkness freely,[5] creating a schism between him and his friends as they grow troubled by his actions.[6] This eventually leads Terra to clash with Eraqus when he finds his master inexplicably attacking Ventus, which ends with Xehanort vanquishing the weakened Eraqus.[7] Terra, realizing the entire conflict was engineered to stimulate his inner darkness,[8] confronts Xehanort at the Keyblade Graveyard and succumbs to rage,[9] allowing Xehanort to take over his body to prolong his own life.[10] Terra's disembodied mind inhabits his discarded armor and becomes the Lingering Will, which remains in the Keyblade Graveyard after defeating Xehanort.[11] The game's secret ending shows Terra's heart continuing to resist Xehanort, who still possesses his body after losing his memories in a final battle against Aqua.[12]

Terra makes an appearance in Kingdom Hearts Coded alongside various other suffering characters who are bound to Sora's heart. He is also mentioned in the secret ending of the remake Re:coded, where Mickey Mouse and Yen Sid discuss his and Ventus' whereabouts following the events of Birth by Sleep.[13] Terra briefly appears in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, first during Sora's dream where Sora's friends, Riku and Kairi, are transformed into Terra and Aqua; and again when Sora declares his pride in being connected to many Keyblade wielders.[14] A vision of Terra makes an appearance in Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage, a part of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, while Aqua explores the realm of darkness.

Terra's role from Birth by Sleep is reprised in Tomoko Tanemaki's light novels of the game. Additionally, the final chapter shows the Lingering Will fighting Sora from Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.[15]

Creation and development[edit]

Although Terra, Ventus and Aqua first appeared in the secret ending of Kingdom Hearts II wearing armor, director Tetsuya Nomura still had not designed their final look, having only thought about their story.[16] Despite not revealing their identities, Nomura still said that they are characters from the past from the Kingdom Hearts series.[16] Following the release of the Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Nomura revealed a connection between them and the game's villain Xemnas, but wanted to leave it up to people's imaginations as he still could not reveal their identities.[17] Terra's face was first shown in the 2006 Tokyo Game Show in which he was described as an avenger against Xehanort. Nomura also confirmed that the Lingering Will was connected with Terra. He also stated that his name, meaning "earth" from Latin, follows the "land" theme Riku represents, as well as connecting him with the other main characters' names from the series.[18] In October 2007, Nomura was asked if the Lingering Will was actually Terra due to their similarities, but he responded it was still uncertain.[19] When asked about the Will's true nature after being revealed to contain Terra's memories, Nomura stated it was not a Heartless.[20] Nomura expressed that the fans liked the inclusion of the Will's battle due to his challenging difficulty, which led the staff to design another hard boss character for Birth by Sleep.[21]

Out of the three protagonists from Birth by Sleep, Terra's design was the only one Nomura decided on from the start, with Nomura stating Terra would be designed younger than shown in previous games.[21] Japanese-inspired designs were incorporated into Terra's outfit based on the "master and apprentice" relationship featured in the game.[22] Nomura had troubles designing Terra's, Ventus's and Aqua's armors due how they would be able to summon them.[23] Therefore, an "X" was added to their clothes as a means of activating the armors as well as due to the fact it was one of the game's keywords. Ever since development of Birth by Sleep started, the staff already decided that the three stories would be told in separate scenarios, with Terra's story being the first one written. Nomura wrote Terra's conversation with Riku early on development, wishing to explain the reason for Riku's ability to use the Keyblade, and he requested the staff in charge to make it into the game. The staff also wanted to emphasize the lack of coincidences in the series, leading to the characters' interaction between the three scenarios. Nomura recommended players to first play as Terra in Birth by Sleep in order to understand the story better. Terra's gameplay was also described by Nomura as "heavy" in comparison to Ventus's and Aqua's.[23]

To expand the connection between Terra and Riku, scenes foreshadowing future events involving Riku from Terra's perspective were added to the game, though Nomura has stated that these scenes are not of a precognitive nature. Nomura expects that in future games, the connection between both of them would be expanded.[20] Ryōtarō Okiayu was chosen as Terra's Japanese voice actor as the staff wanted one actor similar to Chikao Ōtsuka, Xehanort's voice actor, and Akio Ōtsuka, Xehanort's voice actor while using Terra's body. The staff found Chikao's was a dry sort of voice, Akio's a deep, resonating sort of voice, and liked how Okiayu bore elements from both actors.[21]

Reception[edit]

When Terra's character was first revealed, 1UP.com's Jeremy Parish found him to be very similar to Zack Fair from Final Fantasy VII to the point where he wondered whether he would actually be Zack. However, when considering Terra's weapon being a Keyblade in contrast to all the other Final Fantasy characters shown in previous Kingdom Hearts games, he thought he may not be Zack.[24] Amanda L. Kondolojy from Cheat Code Central found there have been various speculations regarding the similarities between Terra and Zack, but thought it would not be strange considering the existence of Nobodies in the series.[25] Selecting Terra for a demo of Birth by Sleep IGN's Ryan Clements agreed with Parish, finding only minor differences between their outfits.[26]

Terra's role in Birth by Sleep has received mixed critics with Adam Ghigiino from PALGN criticizing his naive personality when finding the three protagonists unappealing.[27] VideoGamer.com writer Emily Gera stated that players may know little about them due to their role in Kingdom Hearts II, but with Birth by Sleep, players will able to know about them.[28] Writing for GamesRadar, Crhis Antista commented that he did not understand the importance of him and the other characters being briefly featured in Kingdom Hearts II, although it could be explained once the player finishes Birth by Sleep.[29] PlayStation LifeStyle's Thomas Williams found the trio as welcome additions to the franchise, finding their stories enjoyable even though the three travel to the same worlds.[30] X-Play found Terra to be very similar to Riku due to his personality and vulnerability to evil's allure.[31] Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot criticized Jason Dohring's work as Terra's English voice actor, saying he "can't express angst, excitement, sincerity, or any other emotion", affecting the storyline. VanOrd also pointed this out when Terra interacts with Disney characters, finding the latters' voice actors to be "uniformly excellent and absolutely comparable to the original source."[32] Bob Miur from Destructoid compared Terra's storyline with the film Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith due to the struggles he faces, and found that gamers familiar to the series may realize that his fate in the game "won't turn out to be very pretty." Miur also commented on Dohring's work, praising how he makes Terra "tortured and conflicted", but still criticizing the result.[33] UGO Networks listed Terra's Helmet nineteenth on their list of "The Coolest Helmets and Headgear in Video Games", stating "For a minute, but only a minute, the two-horned helmet will get you feeling like the Keyblade is a viable weapon."[34] In a Famitsu poll, Terra was voted as the fifth most popular Kingdom Hearts character.[35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Square Enix PDD 1 (March 29, 2007). Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. PlayStation 2. Square Enix, Buena Vista Games. 
  2. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Level/area: The Land of Departure. Eraqus: However, only Aqua has shown the Mark of Mastery. Terra, you failed to keep the darkness within you sufficiently in check. 
  3. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Level/area: The Land of Departure (Terra's story). Eraqus: Eliminate the Unversed and find Master Xehanort. I have unlocked the Lanes Between. You may use these forbidden pathways to travel between this world and countless others. 
  4. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Level/area: The Land of Departure (Terra's story). Eraqus: Terra. Consider this an opportunity. A second chance for you to change my mind. /.../ Terra: Thank you, Master. I swear...I will not fail you again. 
  5. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Level/area: The Land of Departure. Xehanort: You are fine as you are. Darkness cannot be destroyed. It can only be channeled. 
  6. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Level/area: Radiant Garden. Terra: It might be a different route, but I'm fighting the darkness. / Aqua: I'm not so sure. I've been to the same worlds as you and I've seen what you've done. You shouldn't put yourself so close to the darkness. / Ventus: Listen to yourself, Aqua. Terra would never— / Terra: You mean you've been spying on me? /.../ Just stay put! I'm on my own now, all right? 
  7. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Level/area: The Land of Departure (Terra's story, revisit). Eraqus: Why do all my attempts to reach you fail? If you don't have it in your heart to obey... then you will have to share Ventus's fate. /.../ Terra: You may be my master... but I will not... let you hurt my friend! 
  8. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Level/area: Keyblade Graveyard. Aqua: I was told...the Master was struck down. / Terra: Yes...that's right. I was stupid and helped Xehanort do it. [...] But I was tricked. Xehanort set the whole thing up—all so he could awaken the darkness inside me. 
  9. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Level/area: Keyblade Graveyard (Terra's story). Terra: You will pay, Xehanort! Was my Master—no, my father, Eraqus not enough for you? Leave my friends alone! / Xehanort: Yes, boy, that's it! More! Let your whole heart blacken with anger! 
  10. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Level/area: Keyblade Graveyard (Terra's story). Xehanort: At last, our moment is here. Out with the old and brittle vessel and in with a younger, stronger new one! [...] And now it is your darkness that shall be the ark that sustains me! 
  11. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Level/area: Keyblade Graveyard (Terra's story). Terra-Xehanort: Your body submits, your heart succumbs, so why does your mind resist? 
  12. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Level/area: Blank Points. Terra: Even if you cast me into the deepest, darkest abyss, you'll never swing me from the one cause that pushes me to keep fighting. 
  13. ^ Square Enix, h.a.n.d. (October 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. Nintendo DS. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Level/area: Reconnect: Kingdom Hearts. Mickey: Yen Sid, I think we're finally close to figuring out where Ven's heart is. / Yen Sid: Is that so? Then that only leaves Terra. 
  14. ^ Square Enix 1st Production Department (31 July 2012). Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Nintendo 3DS. Square Enix. Level/area: The World That Never Was (Sora's story). 
  15. ^ Kanemaki, Tomoko (May 26, 2011). 小説 キングダム ハーツ Birth by Sleep Vol.3 To the Future [Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Vol. 3 To the Future] (in Japanese). Square Enix. ISBN 978-4-7575-3221-2. 
  16. ^ a b キングダムハーツII アルティマニア [Kingdom Hearts II Ultimania] (in Japanese). Square Enix. 2005. ISBN 978-4-7575-1621-2. 
  17. ^ Kingdom Hearts Another Report (Included with the video game Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix) (in Japanese). Square Enix. March 2007. 
  18. ^ キングダムハーツII FINAL MIX+ アルティマニア [Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ Ultimania] (in Japanese). Square Enix. 2007. p. 505. ISBN 978-4-7575-2013-4. 
  19. ^ Famitsu Staff (October 2007). キングダム ハーツ バース バイ スリープ [Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep]. Famitsu (in Japanese). Enterbrain and Tokuma Shoten. 
  20. ^ a b キングダム ハーツ バース バイ スリープ アルティマニア [Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Ultimania] (in Japanese). Square Enix. 2010. p. 616. ISBN 978-4-7575-2788-1. 
  21. ^ a b c キングダム ハーツ バース バイ スリープ アルティマニア [Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Ultimania] (in Japanese). Square Enix. 2010. pp. 640–649. ISBN 978-4-7575-2788-1. 
  22. ^ "Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Q&A". GameSpot. July 19, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2010. 
  23. ^ a b Gantayat, Anoop (December 23, 2009). "Tetsuya Nomura Talks Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep". Andriasang. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2010. 
  24. ^ Parish, Jeremy (September 19, 2007). "Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep preview". 1UP.com. Retrieved March 19, 2010. 
  25. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda L. (October 13, 2008). "Kingdom Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Preview". Cheat Code Central. Retrieved September 10, 2010. 
  26. ^ Clements, Ryan (October 9, 2008). "TGS 2008: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Hands-on". IGN. Retrieved September 30, 2010. 
  27. ^ Ghiggino, Adam (September 22, 2010). "Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Review for PSP". PALGN. Retrieved September 22, 2010. 
  28. ^ Gera, Emily (December 8, 2008). "Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Hands-on Preview". Videogamer.com. Retrieved September 9, 2010. 
  29. ^ Antista, Chris. "Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep review". GamesRadar. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  30. ^ Williams, Thomas (September 14, 2010). "PSP Review – Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep". PlayStation LifeStyle. Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  31. ^ Marissa Meli (September 3, 2010). "Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Review". G4. Retrieved September 3, 2010. 
  32. ^ VanOrd, Kevin (September 3, 2010). "Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Review for PSP". GameSpot. Retrieved September 3, 2010. 
  33. ^ Miur, Bob (September 23, 2010). "Review: Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep". Destructoid. Retrieved October 1, 2010. 
  34. ^ Marissa Meli (March 4, 2011). "The Coolest Helmets and Headgear in Video Games". UGO Networks. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  35. ^ Gantayat, Anoop (July 13, 2011). "Famitsu's Readers Want Kingdom Hearts on PS3". Andriasang. Archived from the original on September 30, 2012. Retrieved July 13, 2011.