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Ventus (Kingdom Hearts)

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Ventus
Kingdom Hearts character
VenConcept art 1.jpg
Concept artwork for Ventus by Tetsuya Nomura.
First gameKingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (2010)
Created byTetsuya Nomura
Designed byTetsuya Nomura
Voiced byEnglish
Jesse McCartney
Japanese
Kōki Uchiyama
Fictional profile
WeaponKeyblade
HomeLand of Departure

Ventus (Japanese: ヴェントゥス, Hepburn: Ventusu), commonly referred to as Ven (ヴェン), is a fictional character from Square Enix's video game franchise Kingdom Hearts. Having first made cameos in Kingdom Hearts II and other related titles, Ventus was introduced in the 2010 prequel Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep as one of the game's three playable protagonists. In its story, Ventus is introduced as the youngest apprentice of Master Eraqus who trains him alongside his best friends, Terra and Aqua, to become experienced warriors with the Keyblade. When Terra goes on a mission to find Master Xehanort, Ventus follows him, having also become concerned about his fate. As Ventus journeys through various worlds and battles dark creatures called the Unversed, he learns about his own origins as well as his relation to Xehanort's apprentice, Vanitas.

Ventus was designed by director Tetsuya Nomura who wanted to create a character with an important connection with the series' main character Sora. Ventus bears a strong resemblance to the character of Roxas, both of whom are voiced by Kōki Uchiyama in Japanese and Jesse McCartney in English. After Ventus's first cameo, Nomura had to clarify that both of them are different characters, and that the reason for such connection would be revealed in Birth by Sleep. Video game websites also commented on Ventus's first appearance, initially confusing him for Roxas during the development of Birth by Sleep, but has since been well received.

Appearances[edit]

Before being introduced in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Ventus made cameos in the secret endings of Kingdom Hearts II and its re-release, Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, which depict him and his friends Terra and Aqua battling Master Xehanort and Vanitas. Ventus is also shown in a cameo in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days when Xion, a replica of Roxas, appears as Ventus while fighting Xigbar from Organization XIII.[1] Ventus is also constantly referenced by Xigbar in Kingdom Hearts II and 358/2 Days while Xemnas, the Nobody of Xehanort, searches for him in Castle Oblivion.[2]

Birth by Sleep reveals Ventus's backstory as being the apprentice of Master Xehanort, who tries conditioning him into a dark component of the χ-blade. Due to Ventus's reluctance to use darkness, Xehanort extracts it from his heart and creates Vanitas,[3][4] damaging his heart in the process. Xehanort brings Ventus to the Destiny Islands, where his heart connects with that of a newborn Sora to keep it from collapsing.[5] An amnesiac Ventus is placed under Master Eraqus's care alongside Terra and Aqua, whom he forms a sibling-like bond with.[6] At the game's beginning, Vanitas provokes Ventus into pursuing Terra during the latter's search for Xehanort,[7] pitting him against dark creatures called the Unversed to strengthen him.[8] Upon meeting Xehanort, Ventus rediscovers his purpose in the χ-blade's creation. Ventus refuses to battle Vanitas and create the weapon, but is forced to do so after Vanitas threatens his friends.[9] They battle within the Keyblade Graveyard, where Vanitas merges with Ventus and obtains the χ-blade.[10] However, the fusion is incomplete, which allows Ventus to destroy both Vanitas and the χ-blade within his heart, losing his own heart as a result.[11][12] Aqua reconfigures the Land of Departure into Castle Oblivion to keep Ventus's catatonic body safe, while his wandering heart is able to find its way back to Sora, who accepts Ventus's heart into his body.[13]

Ventus makes an appearance in Kingdom Hearts Coded, where Mickey Mouse—whom Ventus befriends in the previous game—discovers his heart is connected with Sora's.[14] In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Sora briefly takes Ventus's form during a dream, and when his heart is wounded, Ventus's armor appears to protect his body. In the game's ending, Ventus is seen smiling in Castle Oblivion, still asleep. An apparition of Ventus appears in the realm of darkness in Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage, a playable episode included in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. Ventus also appears in Kingdom Hearts Union χ, set many years before the other titles, as a member of the Dandelions and one of the five new Union leaders chosen after the end of the Keyblade War.[15]

Creation and development[edit]

When first designing Ventus, Tetsuya Nomura already decided the character should look like Sora or Roxas, and decided to choose the latter when thinking that Vanitas being revealed to have Sora's appearance would give a big impact to the gamers.[2] Nomura wanted Ventus's personality to more closely resemble Sora's, which led to his outgoing personality, yet at the same time he wanted him to become more serious as the game progressed to make them distinct.[16] Ventus was first shown in the secret endings of Kingdom Hearts II and its rerelease Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix. Ventus's name first appeared as a code in a 2006 Tokyo Game Show promotional video of the games. While making Final Mixs ending, Nomura had only developed the backstory for Terra, Aqua and Ventus and not their appearances, but had to finish their design for the end of game cameo. Nomura did not reveal their identities, and only stated that the three character were from the chronological past of the Kingdom Hearts series.[17] Following their release, Nomura stated that his nickname was Ven. Ventus was first mentioned by the character Lingering Sentiment in Final Mix as Ven, while his full name was still unrevealed.[18] He also mentioned a connection between him and Xemnas but wanted to leave it up to people's imaginations as he still could not reveal his identity.[19]

Nomura commented that, despite how similar they are, Roxas and Ventus are not the same character.[20] Additionally, he stated that by playing Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, players will be able to distinguish Roxas from Ventus and that the game explores his true personality.[20][21] In another interview, Nomura implied both characters are related, specifically to Sora, but he wanted fans to imagine reasons for such connection.[18][22] The guidebook Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Ultimania clarified the connection, stating that Roxas and Ventus look alike because Ventus's heart entered Sora's body, and that Roxas's birth allowed Ventus to influence his appearance.[23] In early versions of development, Nomura planned to have Ventus's broken heart be healed by the heart of Sora before he was born, but after negative feedback from overseas coworkers, it was abandoned.[2] Like Roxas, Ventus has been voiced Kōki Uchiyama in Japanese and Jesse McCartney in English.[2]

Ventus's name means "wind" in Latin; both it and his Keyblade's default form, "Wayward Wind" (フレッシュブリーズ, Furesshu Burīzu, "Fresh Breeze"), have a "sky" theme similar to that of Sora's.[18] During the development of Birth by Sleep, the Osaka team in charge of developing the game suggested that Ventus should be related with Vanitas, something which Nomura liked as he wanted to add more connections within the story; Vanitas's name was chosen to sound similar to Ventus's name. Nomura had trouble designing the armor for Ventus, Terra, and Aqua, since the gameplay mechanism for activating their armor had not been fleshed out. Therefore, an "X" was added to their clothes as a way to activate the armor, 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 Ventus, Aqua, and Terra's stories would be told in separate scenarios, with Ventus's story being the second one written. They also wanted emphasize the lack of coincidences in the series, leading to the interaction between the three scenarios.[2] In the perspective of gameplay, Ventus was designed to be the easiest character to play with in Birth by Sleep, although Nomura recommended to players that Ventus should be the second character to play with in order to better understand the story.[24] Additionally, the way Ventus handles his Keyblade backwards is meant to show the gameplay differences between his and Terra's and Aqua's scenarios.[16] Nomura also remarked that Ventus's encounter with the characters Lea and Isa as an important event from the game, hoping both newcomers and older gamers will also find it important from Ventus's perspective.[24]

Reception[edit]

Due to his resemblance with Roxas, video game publications initially thought that Roxas would be one of the protagonists from Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep upon seeing one of Ventus's images.[25][26] However, when it was revealed that the two were separate characters, publications continued to discuss how similar they were and if there was a connection between them.[27] GamesRadar particularly thought that there would be an eventual connection between the two of them and Sora.[28] Amanda L. Kondolojy from Cheat Code Central also commented on speculations regarding the similarities between both of them, but mentioned that due to the existence of Nobodies in series, it is hard to find them as coincidences.[29] When Jesse McCartney confirmed he was working on the English localization of Birth by Sleep, sites thought that he would voice Ventus, as he also voiced Roxas in previous titles.[30][31] The character's story and actions shown in the demonstrations were praised for being the "most original take on Kingdom Hearts" and yet "frustratingly traditional".

Upon Ventus's introduction in Birth by Sleep, X-Play found the character to be very similar to Sora's due to his friendly attitude.[32] Kevin VanOrd from the same site gave praise to Ventus's character for his "well-meaning" and yet not "annoying" personality. The site also said that the time players spend playing with Ventus would be "rewarding" and commented on the English voice acting.[33] PlayStation LifeStyle's Thomas Williams found the trio of Ventus, Terra and Aqua as welcome additions to the franchise, finding their stories enjoyable even though the three travel to the same worlds.[34] On the other hand, PALGN found the three characters unappealing, labelling Ventus as "just a Roxas clone, but without his personality."[35] In contrast to 1UP's comments towards Ventus's actions in Cinderella's world, VanOrd commented on such interactions to be "more bothersome than boisterous."[36] Writing for GamesRadar, Chris Antistaer called Ventus a "Roxas-clone", and did not understand why he was briefly featured in Kingdom Hearts II.[37] Bob Muir from Destructoid noted that fans considered Ventus to be the most important character in Birth by Sleep due to his similarities to Roxas. Additionally, Miur praised Jesse McCartney's work as Ventus's English voice actor for making his story mode more engaging to players.[38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ キングダム ハーツ 358/2 Days アルティマニア [Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days Ultimania] (in Japanese). Square Enix. 2009. ISBN 978-4-7575-2578-8.
  2. ^ a b c d e 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.
  3. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Xehanort: Pure light against pure darkness, to forge the ultimate key. The all-powerful χ-blade! / Ventus: And I have the power to make it?
  4. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Ventus: Please don't do this, Master. I'm not strong enough. / Xehanort: No. It is because you are trying to hold it in. Let the dark impulses waken in the pit of your heart. /.../ Really? You would rather die than use the power? Feckless neophyte. If I must... I will extract the darkness from within you myself. Empty creature from Ventus riven... to you, the name Vanitas shall be given.
  5. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Ventus: But my heart is fractured. And now...the little I have left is slipping away. / Voice: Then you should join your heart with mine. / Ventus: Huh? / Voice: Now our hearts have touched. Nothing else will slip away. And one day...you'll be strong enough to win back the part that already did.
  6. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Terra: You're too young to know. / Ventus: Quit treating me like a kid. /.../ Aqua: You two would make the weirdest brothers.
  7. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Vanitas: Or you'll never see Terra again. / Ventus: What? Get real. I can see Terra anytime I want. / Vanitas: Like right now? He's leaving you behind. And by the time you catch up...he'll be a different person.
  8. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Vanitas: I released them in all the worlds I could, hoping to lure you away from home and isolate you from your Master. We needed to make you stronger. The Unversed were the perfect opponents.
  9. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Vanitas: Come and find me...at the one and only place to spawn the χ-blade—the Keyblade Graveyard. There you're gonna see me choke the life out of Terra and Aqua. Then we'll see how long you play the pacifist.
  10. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Vanitas: Correct. I am not Ventus. His heart has become a part of mine now.
  11. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Vanitas: Our union was not finished. The χ-blade shouldn't stay broken like this. Join me now, and we can complete the χ-blade! / Ventus: I've got a better idea. How 'bout I destroy you both?
  12. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Aqua: Ven! Ventus! / Yen Sid: The boy's heart is sleeping. / Aqua: When will he wake? / Yen Sid: I could not say. It is almost as though his heart has left.
  13. ^ Square Enix PDD 5 (September 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. PlayStation Portable. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Sora: Hey, can you hear me? / Ventus: I heard your voice. It cut through the darkness around me. All alone. I followed the sound into a sea of light...and found myself here, with you. You gave me back something when I needed it the most. A second chance. / Sora: I did? / Ventus: But...now I have to go back to sleep again. / Sora: Are you sad? / Ventus: Would you mind if I stayed here, with you? / Sora: Sure, if it'll make you feel better. / Ventus: Thank you.
  14. ^ Square Enix, h.a.n.d. (October 7, 2010). Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. Nintendo DS. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios.
  15. ^ Square Enix, Success (April 6, 2017). Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]. Mobile. Square Enix, Disney Interactive Studios. Ephemer: So, Master Ava talked to you too, huh? / Ventus: Yeah, she said I should come here when everything was over, and that I was one of the five.
  16. ^ a b Famitsu Staff (August 27, 2009). キングダム ハーツ バース バイ スリープ [Tetsuya Nomura Interview]. Famitsu (in Japanese). Enterbrain and Tokuma Shoten.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ a b c 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. ISBN 978-4-7575-2013-4.
  19. ^ Kingdom Hearts Another Report (Included with the video game Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix) (in Japanese). Square Enix. March 2007.
  20. ^ a b Famitsu Staff (September 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.
  21. ^ Gantayat, Anoop (October 2, 2007). "Nomura Discusses Kingdom Hearts". IGN. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ 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. 616–623. ISBN 978-4-7575-2788-1.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Parish, Jeremy (September 19, 2007). "Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep preview". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on June 22, 2011. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  26. ^ Hatfield, Damien (October 9, 2008). "TGS 2008: Square Enix Closed Mega Theater Exposed". IGN. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  27. ^ VanOrd, Kevin (October 10, 2008). "TGS 2008: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Hands-On". GameSpot. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  28. ^ Glasser, AJ. "Kingdom Hearts: the story so far, page 4". GamesRadar. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  29. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda L. (October 13, 2008). "Kingdom Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Preview". Cheat Code Central. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  30. ^ Glasser, AJ (December 2, 2009). "Voice of Roxas Tweets Kingdom Hearts PSP Localization". Kotaku. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  31. ^ Yoon, Andrew (December 1, 2009). "Jesse McCartney confirms Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep localization". Joystiq. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  32. ^ Marissa Meli (September 3, 2010). "Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Review". G4. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
  33. ^ VanOrd, Kevin (September 3, 2010). "Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Review for PSP". GameSpot. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
  34. ^ Williams, Thomas (September 14, 2010). "PSP Review – Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep". PlayStation LifeStyle. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  35. ^ Ghiggino, Adam (September 22, 2010). "Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Review for PSP". PALGN. Archived from the original on September 26, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  36. ^ VanOrd, Kevin (September 3, 2010). "Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Review for PSP". GameSpot. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
  37. ^ Antista, Chris. "Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep review". GamesRadar. Retrieved September 7, 2010.
  38. ^ Muir, Bob (September 23, 2010). "Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep review". Destructoid. Archived from the original on September 26, 2010. Retrieved May 1, 2017.