%% Administrivia/ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.
%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1446019833060855700
%% Please do not replace or remove without starting a new thread.
[[caption-width-right:350:Keys to the Kingdom.[[note]]From left to right:\\
Top: [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII Xemnas]], [[BigBad Master Xehanort]], [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsI Ansem, Seeker of Darkness]]\\
Middle: [[Disney/MickeyMouse King Mickey]], [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Ventus, Aqua, Terra]], [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded Data-Sora, Data-Riku]]\\
Bottom: [[VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2 Roxas]], [[TheHero Sora]], Disney/{{Goofy}}, Disney/DonaldDuck[[/note]]]]
%% Caption selected per Caption Repair Thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1404492079030138900
%% Please do not replace or remove without discussion there.

->''"There are many worlds,\\
but they share the same sky--\\
one sky, one destiny."''
-->-- '''Kairi's Letter/Opening Credits'''

[-''For the game in the series titled ''Kingdom Hearts'', see ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsI''''.-]

So Creator/SquareEnix and Creator/{{Disney}} walk into a bar... or rather, as the apocryphal story goes, an elevator.

''Kingdom Hearts'' is a series of ActionRPG games, co-produced by Squaresoft (now Creator/SquareEnix) and Creator/{{Disney}}, directed by ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' character designer Creator/TetsuyaNomura, and starring characters from both companies. It's basically ''[[JustFurFun/XMeetsY Final Fantasy]]'' [[JustFurFun/XMeetsY meets Disney]] (along with some other Square Enix properties later on). The series is well-known for its incredibly bizarre premise and increasingly complicated plot.

Sora is a young boy living a peaceful but boring life on an island with [[ThePowerOfFriendship his best friends Riku and Kairi]]. This is until the day his world is engulfed by TheHeartless, an [[EldritchAbomination eldritch species]] that [[TheVirus feed on the hearts of innocent people]] and literally consume entire worlds. Sora is sucked through a portal and winds up in Traverse Town, a crossroads world that has become the refuge of those who have lost their worlds to the Heartless. As he begins to search for his missing friends, [[TheChosenOne Sora is granted the mysterious Keyblade]]: [[ClingyMacGuffin the only thing capable of closing the gaps that the Heartless are using to invade the worlds]].

With the aid of Donald Duck and Goofy, two royal knights searching for their missing king, Sora must travel to all of the different worlds in TheMultiverse and use the Keyblade to lock them safely away from the Heartless and those who plot to use the Heartless to further their own ends. Meanwhile Riku, having ended up in another world, [[TheRival becomes obsessed with rescuing Kairi at all costs]] and [[TheDarkSideWillMakeYouForget is tempted by the same power of darkness]] that Sora is trying to seal, [[RivalTurnedEvil setting up the two best friends for a fateful confrontation]].

As Sora and Riku grapple with their newfound powers and responsibilities, an ever-expanding mythology begins to unfold around [[MacGuffinLocation the legendary Kingdom Hearts]]: the source of all hearts and the goal of many an antagonist.


[[folder:Games in Series]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Kingdom Hearts|I}}'' (2002, UsefulNotes/PlayStation2): The first game in the series, detailing the world-hopping adventures of Sora, Donald and Goofy as they search for their missing friends and a solution to the darkness invading the worlds.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories'' (2004, UsefulNotes/GameBoyAdvance): A direct sequel to ''Kingdom Hearts'' following Sora as he descends into the mysterious Castle Oblivion and comes into conflict with a mysterious Organization of hostile, black-hooded figures.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' (2005, [=PlayStation 2=]): The third game in the series, taking place roughly a year after the ending of ''Chain of Memories''. Sora, Donald and Goofy once again travel the worlds in search of Riku and King Mickey, but find themselves waylaid by the remaining members of Organization XIII and the mysteries behind a boy named Roxas.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded'' (2008-2010, [[MobilePhoneGame mobile phones]]): A mobile phone game taking place immediately after ''II'', following King Mickey as he attempts to decode a mysterious message left in Jiminy Cricket's journal.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2'' (2009, UsefulNotes/NintendoDS): An {{Interquel}} taking place roughly alongside ''Chain of Memories'', about Roxas, his friends Axel and Xion, and the internal conflicts Roxas experiences as a member of Organization XIII.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'' (2010, UsefulNotes/PlayStationPortable): A prequel set ten years before the first game. Follows three Keyblade wielders, Terra, Ventus, and Aqua, as they contend with the first schemes of the series' antagonist.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance'' (2012, UsefulNotes/Nintendo3DS): A sequel to ''Kingdom Hearts II''. Sora and Riku take their Mark of Mastery exam to prepare for a new battle, but sinister forces attempt to manipulate the boys for their own purposes.
* ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsX Kingdom Hearts χ [chi] ]]'' (2013, PC): A WebGame set during the [[GreatOffscreenWar Keyblade War]], using a SuperDeformed graphical system reminiscent of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyBrigade'' and ''VideoGame/TheatrhythmFinalFantasy''. The game follows your own VirtualPaperDoll keyblade wielder (a series first) on the sidelines while a mysterious group of keyblade masters known as the "Foretellers" attempt to follow the cryptic instructions from the "Master of Masters" - the original keyblade master.
* ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHearts02BirthBySleepAFragmentaryPassage Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage]]'' (2017, UsefulNotes/PlayStation4): A shorter installment only released as part of ''Kingdom Hearts II.8 Final Chapter Prologue''. A sequel to ''Birth By Sleep'' exploring the ten years Aqua spends in the realm of darkness leading up to ''I''.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsIII'' (2018, UsefulNotes/PlayStation4 and UsefulNotes/XboxOne): The next in the main series and the conclusion of the "Dark Seeker Saga". Sora, Donald, and Goofy have reunited and seek the "Keyblade to Return Hearts", which will allow them to put an end to [[BigBad Xehanort's]] schemes once and for all.


[[folder: Remakes and re-releases ]]

* ''Kingdom Hearts Final Mix'' (2002, [=PlayStation 2=]): The first game's UpdatedRerelease, featuring rebalanced gameplay and a host of new content in addition to what was added to the initial international release. Only released in Japan.
* ''Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories'' (2007, [=PlayStation 2=]): A 3D [[VideoGameRemake remake]] of the UsefulNotes/GameboyAdvance game ''Chain of Memories''. Released as part of the ''Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+'' bundle in Japan and as a standalone title in North America in 2008. Features little new content other than the 3D overhaul, although the Japanese version can give/receive minor {{Old Save Bonus}}es to/from ''Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix''.
* ''Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix'' (2007, [=PlayStation 2=]): An UpdatedRerelease of ''II''. Similarly to ''I Final Mix'', rebalances gameplay and adds new content, along with a new difficulty level. Only released in Japan. This game and ''Re:Chain of Memories'' were also released as the Japan-only bundle ''Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+''.
* ''Kingdom Hearts Re:coded'' (2010, UsefulNotes/NintendoDS): A remake of ''coded'', [[RemadeForTheExport created for international audiences]]. Uses a new battle system based on the Deck Command system of ''Birth by Sleep''.
* ''Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix'' (2011, [=PlayStation Portable=]): An UpdatedRerelease of ''Birth by Sleep'', containing new content. Only released in Japan.
* ''Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 [=ReMIX=]'' (2013, UsefulNotes/PlayStation3): A bundle containing ''Kingdom Hearts Final Mix'', '' Re:Chain of Memories'', and a movie using cutscenes from ''358/2 Days'', remastered in HD. Released in all territories.
* ''Kingdom Hearts HD II.5 [=ReMIX=]'' (2014, [=PlayStation=] 3): A bundle containing HD remasters of ''Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix'', ''Birth by Sleep Final Mix'', and a movie using cutscenes from ''Re:coded''. Released in all territories.
* ''Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ [chi]'' (2015, [[MobilePhoneGame mobile phones]]): A tweaked mobile port of ''χ [chi]'' [[RemadeForTheExport for international audiences]].
** ''Kingdom Hearts Union χ [cross]'' (2017, [[MobilePhoneGame mobile phones]]): The "second season" of Unchained χ [chi], set in the aftermath of the first Keyblade War in a realm untouched by the tragedy.
* ''Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue'' (2017, UsefulNotes/PlayStation4): A bundle containing an UpdatedRerelease of ''3D: Dream Drop Distance'', the new ''0.2 Birth By Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage-'', and ''Kingdom Hearts χ [chi] Back Cover'' (a movie that tells the story of the Foretellers from ''χ [chi]'').
* ''Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 [=ReMIX=]'' (2017, [=PlayStation=] 4): A bundle containing all of the remasters previously released on the [=PlayStation=] 3.

The franchise has had several manga and novels published.

The first four games have been adapted to manga by Shiro Amano, with ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' [[http://kh13.com/news/kingdom-hearts-manga-series-is-over being the final one.]] While the manga itself does have some [[{{Dramedy}} dramatic moments]], it is mainly an abridged adaptation of the games with a lot of humor, typical of Japanese comedy in other manga.

The novel adaptations are written by Tomoco Kanemaki, with illustrations by Amano. Currently, the first novel in the series has an official English translation, which was released in March 2015 by Creator/YenPress, as well as the first half of ''Kingdom Hearts II'', with the second half slated for release in December 2017.

* Manga:
** ''Manga/KingdomHeartsI''
** ''Manga/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories''
** ''Manga/KingdomHeartsII''
** ''Manga/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2''
* Literature:
** ''[[Literature/KingdomHeartsI Kingdom Hearts]]''
** ''Literature/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories''
** ''Literature/KingdomHeartsII''
** ''Literature/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2''
** ''Literature/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep''
** ''Literature/KingdomHeartsCoded''
** ''Literature/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance''

The series contains appearances by characters and locations from the following games, films and franchises.

* ''Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians''[[note]]a CollectionSidequest in ''I'' involves finding the 99 puppies for Pongo and Perdita; a ''x'' costume depicts Cruella[[/note]]
* ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''[[note]]basis of the world Agrabah, which appears in ''I'', ''Chain of Memories'', ''II'', ''coded'', ''358/2 Days'' and ''x''[[/note]]
** ''Disney/AladdinTheReturnOfJafar''[[note]]the Agrabah story in ''II'' loosely adapts this sequel[[/note]]
* ''Disney/AliceInWonderland''[[note]]basis of the world Wonderland, which appears in ''I'', ''Chain of Memories'', ''coded'', ''358/2 Days'', and ''x''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/TheAristocats''[[note]]a ''x'' costume depicts Marie[[/note]]
* ''Disney/{{Bambi}}''[[note]]Bambi is a summon appearing in ''I'' and ''Chain of Memories''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast''[[note]]the Beast and Belle appear in ''I'' and ''Chain of Memories''; the world Beast's Castle appears in ''II'', ''358/2 Days'', and ''x''[[/note]]
** ''Film/BeautyAndTheBeast2017''[[note]]''x'' costumes were released to promote the film[[/note]]
* ''Disney/BigHero6''[[note]]basis of the world San Fransokyo, which will appear in ''III''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/ChickenLittle''[[note]]Chicken Little is a summon appearing in ''II''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/{{Cinderella}}''[[note]]Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother appear in ''I''; the world Castle of Dreams appears in ''Birth by Sleep'', ''x'', and ''0.2''[[/note]]
* WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts[[note]]many characters from the classic shorts appear throughout the series, most notably WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse, WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck, and WesternAnimation/{{Goofy}}, who appear prominently in every game, and WesternAnimation/{{Pete}}, who debuts as an antagonist in ''II'' and has appeared in every game since; their home world, Disney Castle/Disney Town, appears in ''II'' and ''Birth by Sleep'', and in non-interactive form in ''I'', ''Re:coded'', and ''3D''; Timeless River, a world based on the very oldest black-and-white shorts, appears in ''II''; minigames based on various shorts appear in ''III'' and ''x''[[/note]]
* Ride/DisneyThemeParks[[note]]''III'' will feature game mechanics based on assorted theme park rides[[/note]]
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales''[[note]]this series' incarnation of Scrooge [=McDuck=] appears in ''II'' and ''Birth by Sleep''[[/note]]
** ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales2017'' [[note]]''x'' medals depict this show's versions of Scrooge [=McDuck=], Huey, Dewey, Louie, Webby, and Launchpad [=McQuack=][[/note]]
* ''Disney/{{Dumbo}}''[[note]]Dumbo is a summon appearing in ''I'' and ''Chain of Memories''; a ''x'' costume depicts Timothy Mouse[[/note]]
* ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}''[[note]]''I'' features several ''Fantasia'' elements, such as the enchanted brooms from ''The Sorcerer's Apprentice'' and Chernabog from ''Night on Bald Mountain''; Yen Sid the sorcerer debuts in ''II'' and has since ascended to the role of BigGood, appearing in ''Birth by Sleep'', ''Re:coded'', ''3D'', and ''0.2''; a world based on all of the film's segments, Symphony of Sorcery, appears in ''3D''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/{{Hercules}}''[[note]]basis of the world Olympus Coliseum, which appears in every game except ''3D'' (and only mentioned in ''0.2'') and will return in ''III''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame''[[note]]basis of the world La Cite des Cloches, which appears in ''3D''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/TheJungleBook''[[note]]''x'' medals depict Mowgli, Baloo, and Louie[[/note]]
* ''Disney/LadyAndTheTramp''[[note]]a fountain depicting the film's title characters is in Traverse Town and can be seen in ''I'', ''Re:Chain of Memories'', and ''3D''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/LiloAndStitch''[[note]]Stitch is a summon appearing in ''II''; basis of the world Deep Space, which appears in ''Birth by Sleep''[[/note]]
** ''WesternAnimation/StitchTheMovie''[[note]]Experiment 221 appears in ''Birth by Sleep'' as a boss[[/note]]
* ''Disney/TheLionKing''[[note]]Simba is a summon appearing in ''I'' and ''Chain of Memories''; the world Pride Lands appears in ''II''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid''[[note]]basis of the world Atlantica, which appears in ''I'', ''Chain of Memories'', and ''II''; Ursula makes a surprise appearance in ''3D''; Ariel is a summon in ''III''[[/note]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MickeyDonaldGoofyTheThreeMusketeers''[[note]]basis of the world Country of the Musketeers, which appears in ''3D''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/{{Moana}}''[[note]]''x'' medals depict Moana and Maui[[/note]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc''[[note]]basis of a world in ''III''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/{{Mulan}}''[[note]]Mushu is a summon appearing in ''I'' and ''Chain of Memories''; basis of the world The Land of Dragons, which appears in ''II''[[/note]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas''[[note]]basis of the world Halloween Town, which appears in ''I'', ''Chain of Memories'', ''II'', and ''358/2 Days''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/PeterPan''[[note]]basis of the world Never Land, which appears in ''I'', ''Chain of Memories'', ''358/2 Days'', and ''Birth by Sleep''; Peter and Tinker Bell appear as a summon in ''II''[[/note]]
** ''Franchise/DisneyFairies''[[note]]a ''x'' costume depicts Terence[[/note]]
* ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}''[[note]]basis of the WombLevel "world" Monstro, which appears in ''I'' and ''Chain of Memories''; the film's actual world, Prankster's Paradise, appears in ''3D''; Jiminy Cricket makes further appearances in ''II'' and ''coded''; Monstro is a BonusBoss in ''Birth by Sleep Final Mix''[[/note]]
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean''[[note]]basis of the world Port Royal, which appears in ''II''[[/note]]
* ''WesternAnimation/RunawayBrain''[[note]]Julius appears as a BonusBoss in ''3D''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/SleepingBeauty''[[note]]Maleficent is a recurring antagonist, appearing in every game except for ''358/2 Days'' and ''0.2''; Aurora also appears in ''I'', and Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather in ''II''; the world Enchanted Dominion appears in ''Birth by Sleep'', ''x'', and ''0.2''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs''[[note]]Snow White appears in ''I''; the world Dwarf Woodlands appears in ''Birth by Sleep'', ''x'', and ''0.2''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/TheSwordInTheStone''[[note]]Merlin appears in ''I'', ''II'', and ''Birth by Sleep'', and is mentioned in ''3D'' and ''0.2''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/{{Tangled}}''[[note]]basis of the world Kingdom of Corona, which will appear in ''III''[[/note]]
* ''Disney/{{Tarzan}}''[[note]]basis of the world Deep Jungle, which appears in ''I''; ''Tarzan'' material has disappeared from future games for copyright reasons[[/note]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory''[[note]]basis of a world in ''III''[[/note]]
** ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory2''[[note]]the ''Toy Story'' world is set after the events of the sequel[[/note]]
* ''Film/{{TRON}}''[[note]]basis of the world Space Paranoids, which appears in ''II''[[/note]]
** ''VideoGame/TronTwoPointOh''[[note]]elements from this game are used in Space Paranoids[[/note]]
** ''Film/TronLegacy''[[note]]basis of the world The Grid, which appears in ''3D''[[/note]]
* ''Franchise/WinnieThePooh''[[note]]basis of the world The Hundred-Acre Wood, which appears in ''I'', ''Chain of Memories'', ''II'', and ''Birth by Sleep''[[/note]]
** ''[[WesternAnimation/PoohsGrandAdventure Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin]]''[[note]]an area in ''II'' is inspired by Skull, a location from this film[[/note]]
* ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}''[[note]]''x'' medals and costumes depict Judy and Nick[[/note]]

* ''VideoGame/TheBouncer''[[note]]Sora's design is heavily reminiscent of Sion; Pence's shirt reads "Dog Street", a ShoutOut to this game[[/note]]
* ''VideoGame/BravelyDefault''[[note]]''x'' costumes exclusive to the Japanese version[[/note]]
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy''[[note]]Moogles appear in every game in the series, while many other staples of the franchise appear as components in design and gameplay[[/note]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI''[[note]]Setzer appears in ''II''[[/note]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''[[note]]Aerith, Yuffie, and Cid appear in Traverse Town, and Cloud in Olympus Coliseum, in ''I'', ''Chain of Memories'', and ''coded'', and all of them in Hollow Bastion in ''II'', which also introduces Tifa; Sephiroth is a BonusBoss in ''I'' and ''II''; Zack appears in Olympus Coliseum in ''Birth by Sleep''; Cloud makes another Olympus appearance in ''x''[[/note]]
** ''VideoGame/CrisisCore''[[note]]Zack's appearance in ''Birth by Sleep'' is based on this game[[/note]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII''[[note]]Selphie appears on Destiny Islands, and Squall in Traverse Town then Hollow Bastion, in ''I'', ''Chain of Memories'', ''II'', and ''coded''; Seifer, Fujin, and Raijin appear in Twilight Town in ''II''[[/note]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX''[[note]]Vivi appears in ''II''[[/note]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX''[[note]]Tidus and Wakka appear on Destiny Islands in ''I'', ''Chain of Memories'', and ''coded'', and are mentioned in ''II''; Auron appears in Olympus Coliseum, and Yuna and Rikku in Hollow Bastion, in ''II''[[/note]]
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2''[[note]]Yuna and Rikku are in their Gullwings attire and accompanied by Paine in ''II''[[/note]]
* ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou''[[note]]the main cast appear in Traverse Town in ''3D''[[/note]]
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfFinalFantasy''[[note]]''x'' features medals depicting Lann, Reyn, and Tama, plus a whole series of characters from previous games in a WOFF artstyle, specifically the "lilikin" forms seen within the game[[/note]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyRecordKeeper''[[note]]as part of a [[{{Crossover}} crossover event]], ''x'' features medals depicting Tyro, Dr. Mog, Ulala, and Terra from ''FFVI'' in her original pixel art style, as well as enemies and music based off Gilgamesh from ''FFV'' and Kefka from ''FFVI''[[/note]]

!!''Kingdom Hearts'' as a whole provides examples of:

[[folder:Tropes A to F]]
* AbortedArc:
** One of the main concepts of the first game was that Sora, Donald, and Goofy cannot interfere with the affairs of other worlds, since they're outsiders. This hasn't been brought up again since the first game and is mostly ignored now. It was recycled and used in ''Days'', where Roxas and the other members of Organization XIII cannot interfere to avoid blowing their cover (at the time they were still covert and not ready to expose themselves).
** ''Birth by Sleep'' adds on that Keyblade wielders are free to travel between worlds, but are not to tell their inhabitants about the existences of worlds besides their own. However by the time of ''Kingdom Hearts'' worlds are being destroyed left and right and their inhabitants are taking refuge in Traverse Town, so this isn't an issue for Sora. Even in ''Birth By Sleep'''s timeframe though, many other characters are already aware of other worlds and can travel between them in their own ways.
** Riku's implied feelings for Kairi from ''Kingdom Hearts''. It was one of the main reasons he turned on Sora in the first game and for his descent to darkness. It ''may'' just count as CharacterDevelopment, but the way all the ShipTease was just completely dropped was a bit extreme.
** ''II'' likewise had ShipTease for Roxas and Naminé that hinted they had a history together. ''358/2 Days'' instead made Roxas' ImpliedLoveInterest Xion. He and Naminé never even ''meet'' in ''Days''. [[note]] Though, Naminé worked with Xion in her final days, to help her return to Sora (through Roxas) - and when Xion disappeared, all sense of knowing was likely transferred to Roxas. [[/note]] The credits for ''HD II.8'', however, bring the ShipTease ''back'', to implied OfficialCouple levels.
* AbsurdlyHighLevelCap: All games in the series let you level to Level 99, but most of the time you can play through the game and beat the final boss just fine in the Level 40-50 range. {{Bonus Boss}}es need more level grinding, and are often still very difficult at level 99. This trope is particularly bad in ''Chain of Memories'', where there ''are'' no Bonus Bosses or any other post-game challenges, so other than getting trophies in the ''1.5'' port, there's no real reason to level grind unless you're having difficulty.
** VideoGame/KingdomHeartsX takes to new heights with an initial level cap of 300. This is not as unusual as other examples, as leveling up is a different creature in this game. It doesn't improve any kind of stat, but at certain levels, it grants new avatar boards which hold upgrades, such as additional AP and health, to be unlocked individually with Avatar Coins. Update 2.5.1 for the two year anniversary pushes the level cap even further at 500, with level 301 to 302 requiring well over 500 million lux points. Seeing as most veterans had beaten the current game build around level 250, the update is clearly a BraggingRightsReward.
* AchillesHeel: Sora, Saïx, Marluxia, and Roxas may be extremely powerful, but depriving them of their weapons would render them almost powerless. Later on, Roxas, in his battle against Sora, is seen to have outgrown his problem by becoming a very powerful mage. If Sora is without his Keyblade, it would take many hits to take down even the weakest of enemies, although using magic is still as effective as if you still had the Keyblade. With that said, [[EmpathicWeapon given the nature of Keyblades]], disarming their wielders is ''incredibly'' difficult.
* ActionGirl: Numerous ones throughout the series, thanks to an assortment of both Disney and ''Final Fantasy'' party members. For the original generation we have Aqua, and Kairi is looking to grow into the role after ''II'' once she got her own Keyblade.
* AdorableEvilMinions: TheHeartless are the well-deserved page picture. Some of them are just so darn cute!
* AdorablyPrecociousChild: Ienzo, who follows around his mentor in an oversized labcoat, and Young Riku, who is abnormally serious and mature for his tender years. Both are definitely played for cute.
* AdultFear: Imagine this: It's stormy outside - really stormy. Your child has been in his room all evening. You go upstairs to call him in for dinner... the window's open, he's gone, and so are his two friends and their boats. He doesn't come back for years - during which you have no idea where he is, or if he's safe, or if he can ever come back. (The parents of the main characters never get more than a shadow in a doorway...) On the other hand, WordOfGod states that a world remains frozen in time once it is swallowed by the darkness. Also, due to events of ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories Chain of Memories]]'', the parents forget about their son until Namine restored Sora's memories, which means that they only started worrying at the beginning of ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII''. Which might make it worse for them once they realize they completely forgot of their missing son's existence.
* AerithAndBob: You've got Sora, Kairi and Riku (distinctly Japanese names), amongst mainly English or more standard names (and the trio of ''Birth By Sleep'' have Latin names). In some cases it's understandable, though, such as with some Disney villains or Organization XIII.
* AlasPoorVillain: Clayton was technically controlled by the Heartless through his heart's obvious darkness, and Sora, Tarzan, and co. express pity after he's killed.
* AlienGeometries: Castle Oblivion. It exists at the very edge of light and darkness, it's far [[BiggerOnTheInside larger than it looks]], its layout/inhabitants change to match the memories of an occupant, and it somehow [[UnexpectedGameplayChange forces whomever enters to play a card game]].
* AlienNonInterferenceClause: Very early on in ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts'', it's stated that Sora and co. shouldn't interfere with the affairs of other worlds during their mission because they are outsiders. Sora quickly decides to ignore that rule when he sees Alice in trouble on their visit to Wonderland, and the scope of the villains' plans eventually make it impossible to not meddle anyway.
* AllThereInTheManual: Many of the explanations for the ''Kingdom Hearts'' mysteries are in the ''Ultimania'' guides which, surprise surprise, will [[NoExportForYou never see the light of day outside of Japan.]] Several minor lore points have also been explained in interviews with Nomura. 2017 also brought on a new standard of obscure side material by explaining a minor plot point of ''0.2'' through a dramatic line-reading at an orchestra concert.
* AllegedLookalikes: Sora and Roxas are noted to resemble each other by several characters due to them being the whole human and Nobody versions of the same person. However, to the player, they don't have a particularly strong resemblance, and when other human/Nobody pairs start showing up, those ones actually ''are'' basically identical.
* AlphaBitch: Larxene in ''Chain of Memories'' thinks nothing of sadism and meanness towards enemy and ally (the Organization) alike.
* AlternateContinuity: All characters from previous works are subject to BroadStrokes regarding which of their adventures from their original films have happened. For instance, Jack seems to have caused trouble in Christmas Town before ''Kingdom Hearts II'', yet Oogie Boogie is still around. And of course, it's highly unlikely the ''Final Fantasy'' cast members are from the same continuities as in that series.
** Averted with the Toy Story world in ''KH III''. WordOfGod confirmed that the adventures Sora and Co. have there actually take place between the second and third movies.
* AlwaysNight: [[FirstTown Traverse Town]], Halloween Town, Port Royal, and [[EldritchLocation the World that Never Was]] are always depicted at nighttime.
* AmbitionIsEvil: Every character who has sought to further their own power or knowledge, no matter how just their cause is, ends up either being a villain or aligned with one. This also extends to simply having the ambition to leave their home. The main character, Sora, is notably lacking in ambition.
* AmusementPark: Prankster's Paradise (''Pinocchio'') is the amusement park from the film.
* AnachronicOrder:
** The Reports in any given game. You never collect them in numerical order, leaving holes in the story for other entries to fill in. However, they're usually written in a way to ''tease'' you with what's in those other entries, and usually explain some plot revelation that just happened.
*** The Ansem Reports from the first game deserve special mention. They were given to you in such a way to still paint Ansem as a BigGood protagonist, but after TheReveal late in the first stage of the Hollow Bastion level, Aerith gives you the pages Maleficent had in her possession, which radically change the way the player interprets those early report pages.
** The games themselves. The first three games were released in chronological order, but ''358/2 Days'' takes place before ''II'' (with the first part of the story taking place ''during'' ''Chain of Memories'') and ''Birth by Sleep'' takes place before all of them, while ''Coded'' takes place before TheStinger of ''Kingdom Hearts II'', but its stinger proceeds from the ending of ''II'' so it kinda got things moving forward. ''3D'' finally got things completely moving forward again, while ''0.2 Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage'' [[TakeAThirdOption took a third option]] by having the main action transpire during the original ''Kingdom Hearts'' but told via a flashback being told in the present day immediately following ''3D'' and leading straight into ''Kingdom Hearts III''.
* AnatomyOfTheSoul: Everyone has a Heart, Soul, and Body. Well, every ''normal'' person. Individual worlds also have Hearts, and in-game text alludes to them being somewhat sentient. Memory is also part of the equation, hinted to be another aspect of the Heart.
** '''Hearts''' contain the emotions and identity of an individual, and are made up of light and darkness. If the Heart is overcome by Darkness, it can separate itself from the Body and Soul and become a Heartless. It's accepted by most characters that a person without a Heart isn't really a person at all. [[spoiler:The reality is slightly less complex; anyone or anything that wants to think of itself as a person can likely generate a Heart]].
** The '''Soul''' is seemingly simple--it's the animating force that gives life and movement to a body and heart. It's also translated as "Spirit" and synonymous with "Will" later in the series. Theoretically, if you somehow give or transplant a soul to an object, that object will gain a mind of its own and move around. In extreme circumstances, the Soul by itself could be enough to keep a Body moving. When a Heartless is formed, the Body and Soul left behind may reanimate into a Nobody, if the individual was particularly strong-willed.
** The '''Body''' is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin--the thing that holds the Heart and is animated by the Soul.
** '''Memory''' is hinted to be similar to one's Mind, and is critical to the function of a Heart but not entirely the same. Nobodies have no Hearts but retain Memory to teach them how to fake emotions, Replicas are {{Artificial Human}}s made of Memory, and Memory can be used to strengthen or weaken one's Heart. Additionally, ''Chain of Memories'' says memories of different people can be connected, like links in a chain, and that chain can be broken, mended or reorganized. This means that as Sora forgets people as he proceeds through Castle Oblivion, the people he forgets about forget ''him'', too.
* AndIMustScream: The ''Birth by Sleep'' video at the end of ''KHII Final Mix'' shows Ventus being frozen completely and thrown off a cliff, and still conscious at the end of it (you can see his eyes moving).
* AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent: After being left in suspense for years after the cliffhangers of ''Kingdom Hearts II'', the next game chronologically speaking is...''coded'' / ''Re:coded'', a game which has almost no impact on the lore as a whole save for providing some backstory for the cliffhanger at the end of KH2 and revealing the contents of Mickey's letter.
* AnimatedArmor:
** There are numerous Heartless modelled after suits of armor. Guard Armor in the first game and ''358/2 Days'' is the most prominent. The latter game also has a PaletteSwap called the "Powered Armor".
** In ''Birth By Sleep'' and ''KHIIFM+'' the Lingering Will is another one. ''Birth By Sleep: Final Mix'' add Eraqus' and Master Xehanort's empty armor as a pair of {{Bonus Boss}}es, Armor of the Master and No Heart.
** The living suits of armor in Beast's Castle.
* AntiFrustrationFeatures: Most worlds in ''Kingdom Hearts I'' were non-linear and featured both puzzle- and platforming-oriented navigation, creating many points where players didn't understand where or how to proceed in the story. Topping this off were bosses with special gimmicks, like Oogie Boogie or the first fight with Ursula, which pushed the basic story progression of the first entry into GuideDangIt territory. Later entries would include an Information bar that would hint towards the player's next step in the story or towards special boss mechanics (and also gave the developers freedom to create more exotic encounters), as well as the addition of Maps that would highlight all the doors in a tile.
* AntiVillain: The Nobodies and Organization XIII only want to become whole beings again, and they antagonize the heroes due to their unscrupulous methods. [[spoiler:Except Xemnas and Xigbar, they just want Kingdom Hearts for its power.]]
* ArcNumber: The numbers 3, 7, and 13 show up ''a lot''. To recap some of the most prominent ways;
** 3 -- three party members at a time, the many {{Power Trio}}s in the series and the associated Trinity motif, three realms (Light, Darkness, Nothingness), three aspects of being (Heart, Body, Soul), three types of Keyblades (Heart, Light, Darkness).
** 7 -- Seven Princesses of Heart, seven Organization members left remaining in ''II'' (not counting Roxas), seven Orichalcum+ for the Ultima Weapon in ''II'', seven days left in Roxas's vacation, Ansem and his six apprentices, the Master of Masters and ''his'' six apprentices, seven letters in "Xehanort" minus the "X".
** 13 -- Organization XIII, the "XIII Blades" attack in ''II'', thirteen letters in "Kingdom Hearts", usually 13 worlds in each game (accordingly, 13 floors in Castle Oblivion), 13 matches in the Mirage Arena (not counting the ''Final Mix'' additions), and several of the mentioned trios of characters have 13 letters between their three names (Sora, Riku, Kairi).
** This trope comes to its head in ''3D''; [[spoiler:There are three Xehanorts (Ansem, Xemnas, Young Xehanort) acting to revive Master Xehanort, and the true χ-blade is made up of seven Hearts of Light and thirteen Hearts of Darkness.]]
* ArcWords: "We'll go together." Also, "Reconnect" has been showing up in the secret endings since ''Birth by Sleep''.
** ''X Back Cover'' adds "May your heart be your guiding key", and variations thereof. Given just how much it appears during both ''Back Cover'' and ''0.2'', it'll probably be used quite often in ''III'' as well.
* ArcSymbol: The Recusant's Sigil, which happens to be [[LetXBeTheUnknown the letter "X"]]. This is due to Xehanort's fascination with the χ-blade.
** Obviously, hearts, but also stars which usually represent destiny of the intertwining of destinies.
** The Gazing Eye, a blue eye ordaining some of the Dark aligned Keyblades. ''Unchained Back Cover'' explains [[spoiler: they represent the Master of Master's and his ability to see the future. The eye on Master Xehanort's Keyblade actually ''is'' this eye.]]
* ArtEvolution: The hand-drawn artwork has gotten much more anime-influenced, angular, and thick-lined over time, but this is less an aspect of this series and more one of Tetsuya Nomura himself. There's also a good deal of evolution in the character models, but that makes sense due to better technology. Even so, it's hard to tell Aurora from ''[=KH1=]'' and Aurora from ''Birth by Sleep'' are the same person.
* TheArtifact:
** The ''Final Fantasy'' elements have become this. After being important to the plots of the first three games, ''358/2 Days'' didn't include them at all, ''coded'' saw their presence reduced, ''Birth By Sleep'' was limited to Zack (though there were aborted plans for other inclusions), and ''3D'' went for ''The World Ends With You'' characters instead of ''Final Fantasy''.
** Maleficent, once a BigBad, has lost relevance since the first game. Starting with [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII KH2]] onward, she appears to do evil... just because. However, an additional scene in the movie version of ''Coded'' that comes with ''[[CompilationRerelease Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix]]'' reveals she is looking for a Book of Prophecies; this is what she was doing in ''Dream Drop Distance'' and it is her goal in ''III''.
** The Disney elements have ''also'' taken ever more of a back seat to Kingdom Hearts' own original mythology and plotlines. By this point, the worlds' plots and characterizations are lifted directly from the movies with the only contribution to the overall plot being CharacterDevelopment for the main characters, and the Disney villains are almost never more than {{Miniboss}}es, who understand the metaplot even less than the heroes, and exist only to be manipulated by the real bad guys ([[ItMakesSenseInContext who are all the same person]]). The only Disney character to maintain a consistently major role is Disney/MickeyMouse. ''Kingdom Hearts III'' and the lead up to it has been making a concerted effort to give them relevance again; Donald and Goofy are party members and actual story reasons have been given for visiting the Disney worlds again since ''3D''.
** As a side-effect of this, Kairi, the supposed female lead of the series, also became TheArtifact from ''Kingdom Hearts II'' and onward, since her main role as a Princess of Heart meant squat since the other Princesses of Heart were all Disney characters and thus the whole lot of then fell OutOfFocus. However, [[spoiler: the end of ''Dream Drop Distance'' doubly reverses this by bringing the Princesses back into play in the metaplot '''and''' finally paying off on the {{Foreshadowing}} of Kairi as a Keyblade wielder from [=KH2=].]]
* ArtShift:
** The art style of the game will typically shift between worlds to something appropriate to that world. Sora and company are typically not affected by this change unless they need to actually alter their appearance to fit in like in Halloween Town. This leads to some weird dissonance, especially in the worlds based on live-action films when you see more "realistic" characters like Jack Sparrow standing next to Goofy in Port Royal, or when you see the obviously more stylized Sora standing next to the Flynns in the Grid.
** HalloweenTown is probably the most obvious example, as even the Heartless get different, more detailed textures so that they look closer to the style of Tim Burton's puppets (Shadows have a grainy skin texture, Soldiers' armor is stitched up and rusted, Wight Knights' bandages are given a darkened gauze look, Emerald Blues' body looks like a strange button-up coat, etc.).
** ''III'' has been stated to use a "Kingdom Shader" system, which will alter the lighting and general look of a world to give each its own unique vibe.
* AsYouKnow:
** In ''KH II...''
-->'''Yen Sid:''' If one such as you, Donald, yields to the Darkness in their heart, they too will become a Heartless. But you know this.
** Also, recapping the end of the first game...
-->'''Sora:''' Then I guess we better go find the King first!\\
'''Donald:''' But where could he be?\\
'''Goofy:''' Well, we won't know 'til we look.\\
'''Sora:''' Yeah. And the King must know where Riku is, 'cause the two of them were together in the Realm of Darkness when we closed the door. You know, after defeating Ansem.
** Also seen in ''Re:Chain of Memories'' multiple times, though [[JustifiedTrope justified]] there, since Sora, Donald and Goofy knew they were losing their memories and wanted to make sure they still remembered what they were doing there.
* AscendedExtra:
** Surprisingly enough, Cerberus. In [[Disney/{{Hercules}} the original movie]], he shows up in the background for all of five seconds and only interacts with the hero near the climax. Despite this, he has been a recurring boss throughout the series.
** Yen Sid was introduced in ''Kingdom Hearts II'' as Mickey's old mentor, and he only showed up to deliver some exposition at the start of the game. ''Birth By Sleep'' revealed he's a Keyblade Master, and as of ''coded'' he's effectively the BigGood.
* AsLongAsThereIsEvil: As long as darkness exists within the hearts of sapient entities, the Heartless (and Nobodies) will continue to spawn.
* AttackItsWeakPoint: A staple of bosses in this series, most of whom can only be damaged if attacked in one specific part of their body. Much of the game's difficulty comes from the fact that these are often either hard to reach or are where the boss deals the majority of its damage from.
* AuthorAppeal: Nomura's obsessions with zippers and belts manifests in many character designs. He also worked sea-salt ice cream into ''II'' after visiting Disney World and enjoying the treat.
* AwardBaitSong: Well, it's based off Disney movies isn't it? Protip: Search iTunes for Utada, the singer, to score the Japanese-lyric versions of both songs[[note]]The Japanese version of "Simple and Clean" is called "Hikari", and "Sanctuary" is "Passion". And yes, the same singer (Music/UtadaHikaru) wrote and sang both versions of both songs.[[/note]]
** As expected, ''Kingdom Hearts III'' gives us another one; [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc2vEr-618g "Don't Think Twice"]], also known as "Oath" in Japanese.
* {{Awesomeness by Analysis}}: Sora's universe saving feats and daring swordplay are made even more impressive when you realize that unlike his predecessors, he is completely self-taught, his fighting style developing itself over the course of the series from his sparring with wooden swords at home. This shows when you compare him to Terra, Aqua, and Ven. They all fight in their own individual styles that show they have familiarity and training with their Keyblades. Sora wields his like a club or a baseball bat, and shows little finesse. This changes in ''Kingdom Hearts II'', where he's a bit more experienced. [[spoiler:The year of training Roxas had that Sora absorbed probably helped.]]
* AWizardDidIt: The reason casting fire spells works in Atlantica, or how casting electricity-based spells doesn't completely fry Sora, Donald, Goofy, or Ariel.
* BackFromTheDead:
** [[spoiler:Kill a Heartless and then the Nobody, and the original person comes back to life. Master Xehanort, Braig, Dilan, Even, Aeleus, Ienzo, Isa, and Lea have all been revived in this manner. The only known exceptions to this rule are Sora and Kairi; various odd circumstances surrounding the losses of their hearts and the births of their Nobodies allowed for both of them to exist as normal humans alongside their Nobodies until both pairs went for {{Split Personality Merge}}s]].
** [[spoiler:Maleficent]] also counts. Killed off near the end of the first game, and then brought back to life through rather vague means (that are implied to have involved the fairies from ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'' remembering her) in ''II''.
* BadassLongcoat: Standard attire for the members of Organization XIII is to wear a long black cloak. It's implied this helps protect them from darkness when travelling between worlds.
* BagOfSpilling:
** Every single game does this, and every single one [[JustifiedTrope justifies it]], at least regarding their skills and abilities (but not their weapons and items):
*** In ''Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories'', Sora and co. walk into [[ForebodingArchitecture Castle Oblivion]] of all places, and lose their memories so that they must learn their skills back.
*** In ''Kingdom Hearts II'', they get "restored", meaning restored back to zero, erasing their memories from the previous game and with that, most of the skills they learned throughout. Also, Sora, Donald, and Goofy spent a year in a coma, making it impressive that they could even walk at the start of the game. They weren't in stasis, either, as Sora actually hit a growth spurt during that time.
*** In ''Kingdom Hearts coded'' you play as Data-Sora, a digital copy of Sora, thus starting from scratch with a different character.
*** In ''Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days'' you play as Roxas, Sora's Nobody, thus starting from scratch with a different character. The fact that Roxas gets his memory erased by the game finale also justifies the beginning of ''Kingdom Hearts II''.
*** In ''Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep'', which takes place ten years before the original game, you play as three completely new characters, Aqua, Ventus and Terra.
*** ''3D'' has Yen Sid HandWave that the self-taught Keyblade skills of Sora and Riku are impressive, but for the purposes of the Mark of Mastery exam, they'll start fresh and prove themselves anew within the rules of the exam. This example does lead into GameplayAndStorySegregation though, since a good portion of the attacks they learn during the game are ones they had before.
*** ''II.8 HD'' includes TheStinger where Yen Sid sends Sora to train at Olympus Coliseum, as his heart is still damaged following the end of ''3D'' and he hasn't fully recovered all his abilities yet.
** Every game includes minor aversions. In ''Chain of Memories'', Sora keeps a few of his old abilities (e.g. Aerial Sweep) and his magic has [[TookALevelInBadass taken a level in Badass]]. In ''Kingdom Hearts II'' he is faster and more technical from the start, retains Blitz, and immediately outstrips the previous games very early on in magic and weapon skills. It's similar in ''3D'', where he has slide-dash from ''[=KH2=]'' as part of his combo and is relatively fast and strong (though granted, never as much as in ''[=KH2=]''), and also starts with more movement options. In all cases, Sora has never had to relearn the Guard ability (and usually the Dodge Roll too).
* BatmanCanBreatheInSpace:
** Arguably, this is the case of all the heroes and villains in the series, considering every major FinalBoss takes place in the middle of space.
** Monstro can travel between worlds but seems just fine.
* BeehiveBarrier: Seen in protective spells and in boss fights or event battles, locking you in the area.
* BetaTestBaddie: Organization XIII are driven to acquire hearts since, as Nobodies, they have no hearts of their own and are incomplete.
* BigBad: Master Xehanort is the overarching antagonist of the series, acting through various alternate incarnations. Everything wrong in the game universe can be blamed on him or his allies directly or indirectly. In order:
** ''Kingdom Hearts I'': Ansem, Seeker of Darkness and the [[LegionOfDoom Council of Disney Villains]] led by Maleficent
** ''Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories'': Marluxia for Sora's story and Ansem for Riku's plotline
** ''Kingdom Hearts II'': Xemnas
** ''Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days'': Depending on your definition of BigBad, either Xemnas, Saïx or the Heartless themselves.
** ''Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep'': Master Xehanort and Vanitas
** ''Kingdom Hearts coded'': [[spoiler: Sora's Heartless]]
** ''Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance'': Master Xehanort again [[spoiler: or more specifically his time traveling teenage self]]
* BigBoosHaunt: Halloween Town is a town full of ghosts and other supernatural beings.
* BigDamnHeroes:
** Maleficent and Pete decide to fight the Heartless by themselves while Sora and friends battle Xemnas.
** In ''Birth by Sleep'', Ven is menaced by someone he trusted, and from his POV, Terra comes out of absolutely nowhere to save him.
** Ven gets to pull one ''as a disembodied heart no less'' when in 3D he [[spoiler:gives his Keyblade Armor to Sora to protect his heart.]]
** And in 3D [[spoiler:Lea]] gets to be the Big Damn Hero twice, first by saving Minnie and Mickey from Maleficent and Pete, and then saving Sora from [[spoiler:Master Xehanort]].
** Mickey makes it a game mechanic; when Sora falls in certain boss battles in ''II'', Mickey may arrive to fight in his stead and revive him.
* BigDoor: The Door to Darkness and the door to Xemnas's artificial Kingdom Hearts reality. The big door in Disney Castle has a smaller one built in.
* BigGood: Yen Sid was probably the closest thing to this during ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', but in later games, he's really stepped up to the plate. [[spoiler:Ansem the Wise]] has shades of this as well. The series started this way by teasing Ansem and Mickey as the BigGood characters in the series. Mickey still shows shades of this as time goes on, but Ansem played the audience hard in the first game.
* BioData: [[EmperorScientist Ansem the Wise]] hides research data within [[TheHero Sora]], although it is left vague on how he does this.
* BishonenLine:
** Nobodies are stated to take forms closer to their original bodies as they grow more powerful, with the weakest looking like twitching white jumpsuits and the very strongest being physically indistinguishable from normal humans.
** Can also apply to the Heartless as well, though only two examples exist: Xehanort's Heartless (which needed a body to remain stable, but changes the body to resemble Xehanort) and Scar (immediately after losing his heart and during the boss fight; the second visit ends with what is either the true form of Scar's Heartless or a OneWingedAngel form, the massive beastly Groundshaker).
* BittersweetEnding: The standard kind of ending to the franchise, though they usually end on a high note for the most part. Exceptions to this rule include [[spoiler:''358/2 Days'']] and [[spoiler:''Birth By Sleep'']], which both have {{Downer Ending}}s when taken on their own but resemble Bittersweet Endings when one considers what happens later on on a chronological scale, and [[spoiler:''Kingdom Hearts II'']], which is unambiguously a case of EarnYourHappyEnding only hampered by the fact that [[HappyEndingOverride it isn't the final chronological adventure]].
* BlackCloak:
** Comes complete with an InTheHood function! The cloaks themselves are stated by WordOfGod to be protection against the Realm of Darkness' corruption, but several people who wear them (namely the [[TheSoulless Organization XIII]]) don't really need that due to not having hearts to corrupt.
** It was said repeatedly that darkness always threatens to swallow up Nobodies because of their non-existence, so it's likely to stave it off. ''3D'' reveals [[spoiler:that the Nobodies ''do'' have hearts, so Xemnas kept them in uniform to protect his potential vessels.]]
* BlackMagic: The ever-vague 'darkness' everyone keeps talking about can be controlled by strong people, but for [[EvilIsNotAToy those who aren't...]]
* BlessedWithSuck: The Keyblades. All-powerful weapons that also look pretty dang neat, but no one we've seen who has been chosen to wield one has had a good life. Even freaking ''Mickey Mouse'' can't get away from it! The Heartless also constantly follow Keyblade wielders no matter where they go.
* BloodlessCarnage:
** All over the place, but special mention goes to a scene early in the first game where a horde of Shadows and Soldiers cut down a civilian ''and tear his heart out and eat it''.
** Zigzagged in the manga, where characters sometimes are visibly wounded, yet still bloodless.
* BonusBoss: This series loves this trope. The most [[NintendoHard insane]] bonus bosses are usually an EarlyBirdCameo for plot-central characters. To clarify:
** ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts'' has Phantom, [[ContestWinnerCameo Kurt Zisa]], Ice Titan, Sephiroth, and, in ''Final Mix'', [[spoiler:Xemnas]].
** ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' has Sephiroth again, Hades Paradox Cup Match 49, the five Absent Silhouettes, Organization XIII Data, and [[spoiler:Terra's Lingering Will]] (the last three only appear in ''Final Mix'').
** ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2'' has Dustflier.
** ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'' has Vanitas Remnant and [[spoiler:the time-travelling young Master Xehanort.]] The Mirage Arena has Mimic Master and four incarnations of the Iron Imprisoner. The ''Final Mix'' re-release adds three more in the Mirage Arena - Monstro and the animated armors of Eraqus ("Armor of the Master") and Xehanort ("No Heart").
** ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance'' gives us [[spoiler:Julius from ''WesternAnimation/RunawayBrain'']], a boss fight NO ONE saw coming.
** ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts02BirthBySleepAFragmentaryPassage'' has a hidden gauntlet ending in a fourth match against Phantom Aqua with a completely new and much more powerful set of attacks, often referred to in this incarnation as [[FanNickname Zodiac Aqua]].
* BoringButPractical: Shadow Heartless can flatten themselves against the ground, making them invulnerable to attacks.
* BossBanter: Pretty much every single humanoid boss does this (and a few of the non-humanoid ones).
* BossRemix: A lot of themes are remixed as boss themes sooner or later, particularly character themes, and many boss themes are themselves remixed, sometimes together, to make a new boss theme. One of the most striking examples is the final boss theme of ''Dream Drop Distance'' "Eye of Darkness", which is a remix of [[spoiler:the Dive to the Heart theme, as Riku has had to dive into Sora's heart and fight him to free him from darkness.]]
* BroadStrokes: The events of the original Disney films are subject to this. Some worlds feature a retelling of the plot of the source franchise with Sora tagging along, others imply the events of the source franchise occurred before Sora visited, or haven't occurred yet, and many just have an original plot. That said, the relationships of characters changes as well, and in ''coded'' and ''Chain of Memories'' when the worlds visited are composed of memories and data that aren't 100% accurate, anything could happen.
** Averted with the Toy Story world in ''KH III''. WordOfGod confirmed that the adventures Sora and Co. have there actually take place between the second and third movies.
* ButtonMashing: A common complaint about the series, and it's not unfounded. Arguably the worst offender of the series is ''KH II'', where upon entering [[SuperMode A Drive Form]] like Valor Form or Master Form, you basically hit X until there was nothing left to attack. The series is growing out of it though due to better integration of special attacks and enemies starting to require more strategy. In ''Birth By Sleep'' for example, relying on just mashing attack to win and not properly building a balanced deck will get you crushed.
* CameraLockOn: Tapping R locks you onto an enemy. Although with the loads of enemies, it's one of the few times in a game that this trope does not avert CameraScrew; it can be hard to lock onto a specific enemy.
* CaptainOblivious: For the so-called key that connects everything, Sora, Donald, and Goofy seem to be the lone people not privy to the GambitPileup in a universe full to the brim with [[TheChessmaster Chessmasters]] and {{Magnificent Bastard}}s.
* CastFullOfPrettyBoys: There's a lot of cute hunks around. Sora, Riku, Roxas, Ventus, Terra, Vanitas, many of the members of Organization XIII, etc.
* CerebusSyndrome: The first game was a lighthearted, episodic adventure quest, and didn't really get tense until the arrival of Maleficent and Ansem. ''II'' and ''Chain of Memories'' began exploring the mysteries of the heart, soul and memories, the true value of human life, and had stronger overarcing stories, and then ''coded'' and ''358/Days'' explored the same issues in-depth. ''Birth By Sleep'' took this trope and ran with it by introducing the most sinister villain and the highest-stakes story yet while also making the hero-villain dynamics more personal, and with ''3D'' the series shows little sign of stopping from getting even darker.
* ChainedByFashion: The Shadow Stalker/Dark Thorn boss.
* ChaosArchitecture: The layout of various worlds changes between games, particularly between ''I'' and ''II''. WordOfGod is that Traverse Town and The World That Never Was are anomalies with canonically changing layouts, and sometimes it's merely visiting a different part of a world than what was seen in another game, but usually it's this trope.
* TheChick:
** Both Ariel and Mulan, the only two female guest party members in games I and II respectively, fill this role. Ariel and Sora seem to form a TrueCompanions bond, not to mention with a little flirting in the first game. And of all the new party members you meet in II, Mulan is among the closest allies. Also Kairi plays this role in the series overall.
** Tinker Bell is the only female summon in the games, being summonable in the first, and appearing alongside Peter Pan in the third.
* TheChosenMany: Keyblade wielders were a knighthood.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder:
** Axel. At one point in ''Chain of Memories'', he betrays a senior member of the Organization, killing him, to get into the good graces of another faction betraying the main Organization. However, he's actually TheMole, set to betray ''that'' faction under Xemnas's orders, but ''then'' he kills a member particularly loyal to Xemnas because he's secretly [[spoiler:planning to betray Xemnas alongside Saïx, because Xemnas is betraying the ''whole Organization'']]. And then later on, during ''Days'', he betrays ''that'' alliance when he [[spoiler:develops friendship with Roxas and Xion]], and then inadvertently betrays ''them'', too! You need a friggin' ''flowchart'' to keep track of this dude. Lexaeus said it best:
--> "And then there is Axel. Who knows what that one is thinking."
** The Organization's lack of discipline was lampshaded by Sora in a mocking way:
-->'''Sora''': ''"Not a very organized Organization"''.
** Organization XIII has a real problem with this. Virtually every other member is working on a scheme that works against the group's agenda.
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Due to Square Enix being unable to [[ScrewedByTheLawyers secure the rights to use Tarzan]] in future installments, Deep Jungle hasn't appeared again after the first game and no references to the trio's visit there are ever made.
* ClothesMakeTheSuperman: Sora's drive forms in [=KH2=] are a function of the new outfit he receives in the game, enchanted by the Good Fairies.
* CluelessAesop: The series in general seems to be torn between two conflicting cultural beliefs. Namely, it tries to adhere to both a BlackAndWhiteMorality ''and'' a BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil. In this story, LightIsGood and DarkIsEvil as far as both aesthetics and characterization goes, but the lore professes that too much of either side (light included) is a bad thing. This confused narrative was inevitable, because the story itself is the brainchild of both a Western company built on children's cartoons heaped with strong Christian values, as well as an Eastern company whose stories typically carry a strong Buddhist bent. Thus, ''KH'' tries to be all over the map with its themes, which can be very confusing.
* CollectibleCardGame: Both as a gameplay mechanic in ''Chain of Memories'', where you fight using cards as attacks and abilities, and as an actual collectible card game.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: The 2008-2012 handheld games were each given a prominent color motif: ''Birth by Sleep'' is blue, ''Days'' is red, ''coded'' is yellow, and ''3D'' is pink.
* CombinedEnergyAttack: Trinity Limit combines the power of three heroes to attack.
* ComboBreaker: A rare non-FightingGame example, starting from ''[=KH2=]'' onwards, some bosses have a "revenge value," which causes them to instantly retaliate in a specific way if you hit them too many times in succession. [[BonusBoss Sephiroth]], for instance, will teleport out of Sora's combo and attack from a safe distance. The Payback moves in ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth By Sleep]]'' allow the player to do this, to some extent, by retaliating immediately after being knocked back by an enemy.
** ''[=KH2=]'' actually tracks ''two'' ComboBreaker values for bosses: one ([[FanNickname "Revenge Value"]]) based on number of hits that gradually resets when the boss isn't being attacked, and one ([[FanNickname "flinch count"]]) based on how many times the boss plays their flinching animation that never resets until the revenge triggers. Certain AIBreaker strategies trigger one type of revenge to override the other, more dangerous one.
* ComicBookTime: The only time that the in-game characters are portrayed as being of a different age between games is when it's plot-relevant. Otherwise, they don't age. This wouldn't be that obvious if it wasn't for the fact that the earliest game in the franchise chronical-wise, ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsX'', is set before the first keyblade war (an event that happened a long time before the ''Birth By Sleep'', the next game in the series chronical-wise), and that several of the characters that appear in the game, like Disney/{{Snow White|AndTheSevenDwarfs}} and Disney/{{Aladdin}}, apparently exist within that era as well. Even Mickey, Donald and Goofy can be encountered within that game within their modern-day Kingdom Hearts design. Their appearance within ''Kingdom Hearts X'' can be {{justified|Trope}} in that their worlds are simulated from the Book of Prophesy á la the Datascape from ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded'', essentially allowing a form of pseudo-time travel to occur for the player characters of that game[[note]]although this doesn't explain Mickey, Donald and Goofy appearing outside of the book within their standard garbs[[/note]].
* ComplexityAddiction: The more that Xehanort's plans are revealed, the more it looks like he's actually allergic to {{Mundane Solution}}s. Case in point: ''Dream Drop Distance'' reveals [[spoiler:he's turned his entire life into a StableTimeLoop -- a loop that '''''required his past efforts to fail''''' -- just to set up a LongGame for ''Kingdom Hearts III''.]]
* CompositeCharacter: This happens often in the Disney worlds, usually because some of the characters are absent in their video game counterparts. These roles are usually filled by one of the original Kingdom Hearts characters. For example:
** Sora takes on the role of Christopher Robin in the ''Franchise/WinnieThePooh'' world.
** Xaldin seems to play the role of [[Disney/BeautyAndTheBeastTheEnchantedChristmas Forte]] in the ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast'' world.
** Terra replaces the huntsman in the ''Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs'' world.
** Ventus replaces Gus in the ''Disney/{{Cinderella}}'' world.
* ContinuityLockout:
** You ''have'' to play all the previous games in the series, or at least know their stories, to understand any other given game. ''Birth By Sleep'' tells its own story since it's a prequel, but a lot of references and foreshadowing to the rest of the series will be lost on newcomers.
** This is not helped by the ''Final Mix'' versions including cutscenes that later games treat as canon, and the ''Final Mix'' versions were originally never released outside Japan. Thank goodness for the internet and newer compilation releases, though some versions pare down certain handheld titles to just cutscenes.
** Additionally, the series spans multiple consoles -- [=PS2=], PSP, GBA, DS, mobile phones, browser games, and 3DS. Anyone who does not own all those consoles is left out.
** As of ''3D'' and the [=PS3=] era, the series is finally making an effort to avert this and make it easier for new players to catch up. ''3D'' contains plot summaries of the past games with character bios and plot points recapped, and the entire series was ported to [=PS3=], including the ''Final Mix'' versions at last. Thus, all you need is a [=PS3=] to play most of the games, and the two left out (''358/2 Days'' and ''coded'' were given cutscene plot summaries, not full ports) are still on the DS, so once you get a 3DS for ''3D'', you can play those two as well.
** Even better; thanks to 1.5 and 2.5 getting remade for the [=PS4=], every single title save for ''Unchained X'' is available in at least some form on a single system.
* CoolKey: Keyblades. Doesn't get much cooler than a key that not only doubles as a sword, but can open literally ''any'' lock or barrier.
* CosmicKeystone: The Keyholes serve this purpose for each individual world; their safety keeps the world from falling into darkness.
* CrazyEnoughToWork: The series concept itself for starters. A Disney and Final Fantasy crossover where anime-esque heroes fights the forces of darkness with swords shaped like giant keys.
* CreatureHunterOrganization: Although not their original purpose. The [[TheChosenMany Keyblade Wielders]] in general are this given they're the ones with weapons capable of purging the various creatures of the dark.
* CriticalStatusBuff: Various abilities can boost the player's status at critical HP, like "Defender" and "Damage Control" for defense, "Berserker", "Striker", and "Grand Slam" for offense.
* CrossOver: The Kingdom Hearts franchise is centered around characters of both the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' franchise and WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts / Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon frequently meeting and interacting.
* CutsceneIncompetence: Most of the heroes, particularly Sora. In-game the kid is a maelstrom of Keyblade-fueled MagicKnight chaos that can rip through the hordes of darkness for days on end. In cutscenes, expect to see him regularly tossed around, knocked down, taken by surprise, etc.
* CutscenePowerToTheMax:
** Near the end of ''Kingdom Hearts II'', Sora basically turns into an overpowered action movie character. Case in point: he carves his way through entire buildings using a key. Using cuts that travel the length of said buildings. [[ActionCommands This may not count, however]], depending on your definition of "[[IncrediblyLamePun cutscene]]".
** Heartless and Nobodies are disposed of in one hit during cutscenes, regardless if it's Sora, Mickey, or even [[spoiler:Kairi]] who is attacking.
* CyberSpace: Space Paranoids (''Tron'') and The Grid (''Tron Legacy'') take place inside computers.
* DamnYouMuscleMemory: The series has a bad habit of switching the button inputs for Aerial Recovery and Glide every other game.
* DarkIsNotEvil:
** It doesn't have to be evil. It just happens to attract a lot of bad guys, is all. Darkness, itself, is neither good or evil, and neither is light. They're just sources of power. The difference is that abusing darkness can lead to JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope, and you can lose your humanity if your heart is too weak or if you go too far. Riku is the only main character (and implied to be the only character, ever) to be able to use darkness without the drawbacks, but it took him three games to master and to strengthen himself enough to do it, and it was not an easy journey. Not to mention, he still wouldn't have been able to entirely master the darkness without drawbacks had [[spoiler:Ansem the Wise's Heart Codifier not blown up and destroyed the remains of Ansem in Riku and make him completely immune to corruption from the darkness, reverting him back to his original appearance.]]
** However, while darkness itself is not evil, most of the protagonists associate it with such, which is easy to do since they're beings from the Realm of Light, and all of the villains use Darkness to some degree as the source of their power. Due to the mentioned risk of going too far with it, it's also seen as evil for tempting others away from light and costing them their lives. Both the heroes and villains ultimately agree that there will always be a [[BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil Balance Between Light and Darkness]], and the two cannot exist without the other. As ''Kingdom Hearts II'' phrases it, the heroes don't oppose darkness itself but those who abuse it for evil.
-->'''Xemnas:''' Denizens of light, answer this: Why do you hate the darkness?
-->'''Mickey:''' Aw, we don't hate it. It's just kinda... scary. But the world's made of light ''and'' darkness. You can't have one without the other, 'cause darkness is half of everything. Sorta makes ya wonder why we are scared of the dark.
-->'''Riku:''' It's because of [[BigBad who's]] lurking inside it.
** This is even reflected when it comes to keyblade appearances - Riku's keyblade, Way To The Dawn, greatly resembles the Soul Eater blade Riku was often seen with beforehand. In spite of this, it's technically a Keyblade of Light. On the flip side, the only way to tell that Mickey Mouse's second keyblade, the Kingdom Key D, is a Keyblade of Darkness is the fact that its color scheme is the complete reverse of its Keyblade of Light counterpart that Sora wields. Otherwise, it doesn't appear to be affiliated with darkness at first glance.
** Dream Eaters, introduced within ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsDreamDropDistance'', are beings of darkness just like the Heartless. There's two types of Dream Eaters: Nightmare Dream Eaters, [[DarkIsEvil which are evil]], and Spirit Dream Eaters, which are benevolent and oppose their Nightmare counterparts. In fact, Chirithy, the ExpositionFairy from ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsX'' given to each and every single player character, are actually Spirit Dream Eaters (as evident in the emblem that appears on their back), and [[spoiler:Riku temporary becomes one]] during the events of ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsDreamDropDistance''.
** ''Re:coded'' and ''Dream Drop Distance'' also link happiness to light, and pain and sorrow to darkness. Being purely light under this definition would mean being an above-it-all jerk who ignores the pain of the people around him, but being purely dark and focusing exclusively on pain would be also be a bad thing.
* DeathIsCheap:
** Pretty much ''every single death'' has been, is, or will likely be undone by the end of the series.
** According to Nomura, "...there is no concept of death in the world of KH...." This seems to translate to "Nomura hasn't established an afterlife in the KH-verse" and currently has no plans to. That and the majority of characters haven't "died" as defined in the Secret Ansem Reports, so much as that they've lost their hearts or something similar. However, in KHII, Nala stated that King Mufasa of the Pride lands died just like he did in the movie.
** Does not apply to Disney villains, however, whether they have a DisneyDeath or they actually die, such as Clayton in ''[=KH1=]'' or, in a shocking change from the usual Disneyfication, Lady Tremaine and the step-sisters in ''Birth By Sleep''. Interestingly, the characters who were already established as being old in KH X seem to die of old age, given that they're all long gone by the time of KHII, and some characters in the more 'realistic' worlds like Twilight Town mention retirement.
* DeusExMachina:
** Usually at the end of the games, most notably Mickey and Riku's sudden appearance at the Door to Darkness in I and Riku randomly finding a flying motorcycle right as Xemnas summons his dragon-shaped ship in II. The former was gradually justified: Riku's appearance at the DTD in ''I'' is explained in the Final Mix version, and while it took fifteen years, Mickey's appearance was eventually explained as well, complete with an explanation for why he was wearing [[WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts his classic red pants]] in that appearance and that appearance only.
** As the series goes on, it becomes clear that it's not random serendipity so much as it is some really frantic teamwork on the side. The flying motorcycle is a proper example, however.
* DevelopersForesight:
** Normally when one character heals another, the former shouts the latter's name. During the fight with the Guard Armor however, before they're properly introduced, Goofy shouts encouragingly to Sora "Don't give up!" instead.
** In the first game, they thought of what would happen if you engaged in a bit of SequenceBreaking. If you complete Deep Jungle ''before'' Wonderland, the scene replaces Alice with Snow White. If you complete other worlds ''after'' completing Hollow Bastion, certain events with Maleficent will not play.
* DifficultButAwesome:
** Magic in most games. Most players often [[BoringButPractical stick to the basic combos]] in most games with automatic finishers tagged on, and at most only use magic for healing. However, if used right, such as just before a combo finisher takes place, or at the end of a combo while the boss is stunned, magic attacks can take out large chunks of enemies HP and keep them stun-locked for longer.
** Additionally, most combo finishers that aren't automated. For those, especially those not good at fighting games, getting the timing down can be rather tricky, but once you do, much like magic, it can take out large chunks of the enemies HP, and keep them stun locked for longer than the basic combos can. In fact, combined with magic above, it's possible to keep ''any'' boss permanently stun locked for the entirety of their battle, provided the boss doesn't have a move that specifically gets them out of being permanently stun locked.
* DisappearsIntoLight: When a Nobody dies, its body degrades into darkness. Appropriate, as they aren't full humans and are sinking into the interstitial space between worlds to find the rest of their "parts".
* DiminishingVillainThreat: Poor Maleficent. She was a [[BigBad powerful, competent threat]] in ''Birth By Sleep'' and the original ''Kingdom Hearts''. Then she lost all her help and resources in ''Kingdom Hearts II'', but still managed to [[BigBadEnsemble hold her own against Xemnas and the Nobodies.]] Then came ''Coded'' and ''Dream Drop Distance'', where she is now [[BigBadWannabe a failure with plans that no-one but her cares about.]] [[spoiler: Then she gains ''RealityWarper'' powers in X...]]
* DisneyDeath: Well, Disney ''did'' help produce the game. It's even been stated by Creator/TetsuyaNomura that there is no concept of death in the Kingdom Hearts universe, though it seems as though some of the villains from the Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon are exceptions to the rule.
* DoomedByCanon: The first game in the series feeds the audience bits of lore about a society based around light, darkness, and the Keyblade which appears to no longer exist. Suffice to say, characters introduced in the prequel games end their games on low notes.
* DoomyDoomsOfDoom: A variation in that the series is known for throwing the word darkness around a bit too much. This is especially bad in Riku's story within Chain of Memories.
* {{Dramedy}}: Likely owing to its Disney roots, the series is as genuinely silly as it is dark.
* DubNameChange:
** Some Heartless get little renames, like "Bulk Vendor" to "Bulky Vendor" or "Flare Globe" to "Fiery Globe"; sometimes the name changes are more significant ("Gate Guardian" to "Thresholder"). Conversely, ''very many'' Heartless were renamed in ''Days'', and some renames are even inconsistent with previous renames (for example, a Heartless named "Loudness" in all Japanese games is called "Crescendo" in the English ''Chain of Memories'' but "Loudmouth" in the English ''Days'').
** Most of the Keyblades are renamed too--with the exception of a handful of character-significant Keyblades like the Oathkeeper, which have actual Japanese names, all the Keyblades have GratuitousEnglish names in the original. Some changes are minor ("Wish Star" to "Wishing Star", "Kingdom Chain" to "Kingdom Key", "Wishes Lamp" to "Wishing Lamp"), but some aren't - "Power of Hero" to "Olympia", "Desire Lamp" to "Three Wishes", "Native Work" to "Jungle King".
* DuelBoss: There are several examples in the main games (you tend to run solo period in the non-numbered titles). Some of these fights are more emotionally charged (e.g. Roxas vs. Axel), while in other cases you're simply separated from his party before the fight (Sora vs. Luxord).
* DummiedOut:
** The first ''Kingdom Hearts'' has the remnants of a Bahamut summon in its code.
** KH2 Final Mix has unused models for a Woody and Buzz summon.
** Sprites related to a Pinocchio-based world are hidden in Days.
** A half-finished Jungle Book world is hiding in Birth by Sleep's files.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness:
** The manga adaptation of the first game is notable for reading left-to-right like a Western book, despite being originally in Japanese. This is dropped for all the following manga, which read right-to-left like any other Japanese book.
** It was said in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsI'' that only the Keyblade of Heart could unlock or remove a person's heart. This was retconned away in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'': not only does Maleficent mind control Terra into removing [[Disney/SleepingBeauty Princess Aurora]]'s heart using a standard keyblade, the climax of Terra's storyline involves [[spoiler: Xehanort unlocking his ''own'' heart using his own keyblade just so that he could steal Terra's body]]. It has since been clarified that this is simply a Keyblade Master-level skill, which still doesn't really explain the situation in ''Kingdom Hearts I''.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: It takes '''three full games''' for everyone to reunite and return to their home safely. [[spoiler:And even then, Sora's job isn't done.]]
* EvilCounterpart: Xehanort for Sora. [[spoiler:Xehanort steals the bodies and hearts of others to extend his life. Sora lets others share his body and heart to extend ''their'' lives.]] ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'' goes even farther, revealing that [[spoiler: the original Xehanort was not only a Keyblade Wielder but also from Destiny Islands. This also makes him Riku's Evil Counterpart, as they share very similar backgrounds of being dissatisfied with life on their tiny world and wanting to see the outside, even if it means delving into darkness.]]
** This goes even further with Riku. Both use darkness as their main weapon. They also both invaded [[spoiler:Sora's subconscious]] during the events of Dream Drop Distance, but for differing reasons.
* EnemyScan: The recurring Scan ability shows the HP of any targeted enemy.
%%* EnemyWithin:
%%** Ansem Seeker of Darkness for Riku.
%%** [[spoiler:Master Xehanort for Terra.]]
* EnemyWithout: [[spoiler:Vanitas is Ven's darkness forcibly removed from his heart and given form.]]
* EldritchAbomination: Although there are many weird creatures in the series, the Nobodies are the closest. Even by the cosmology of the series, it's stated that their existence simply doesn't make sense. It doesn't help that most of them look and move like animated clothing or that their movements look like a video playing in reverse.
* EldritchLocation: The Realm of Darkness. In its earlier appearances, it's just a perpetually dark place with strange rock-formations that glow blue, and is the natural home of the Heartless, with Kingdom Hearts contained somewhere in the absolute depths. ''0.2: A Fragmentary Passage'' explores it deeper. [[spoiler:The laws of physics don't apply, and time is a complete non-entity. Not only can ten years in the Realm of Light be far less to someone inside, in some areas the flow of time can be reversed or just doesn't exist at all. If someone stays there too long, the darkness will start getting into their hearts, and start taking on physical form, psychologically tormenting them.]]
* ElementalPowers: Organization XIII. Most of them. Their individual powers are accurately "attributes", or themes to their abilities. This gets corrupted into "elements" by fans.
** Some of them aren't quite what they're made out to be anyway. For example: Xemnas has "Nothing" and Luxord has "Time", but they turn out to be more like "YinYangBomb" and "TimedMission" in practice.
* EleventhHourSuperpower: The Final Form transformation in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII''. Granted, it's available for a while before the final boss, but it's hard to unlock quickly. It's really, really broken too, seeing as how it automatically attacks with every movement, including flying or drinking potions.
* EmpathicWeapon: Keyblades are only possible to wield by a chosen few, and can't be stolen, among other strange quirks. At one point in the first game, Sora and Riku actually have a battle of wills over who gets to keep the Keyblade, constantly trying to summon it away from the other.
* EssenceDrop: There are several types of spheres, depending on the game:
** Green Orbs are HP
** Blue Bubbles are MP
** Yellow Orbs are [[GlobalCurrency Munny]] (It's a Disney/WinnieThePooh reference. Pooh spelled "Honey" as "Hunny." So "Money" is "Munny.")
** Red Orbs are Moogle Points (In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories'')
** Orange Orbs are for the Drive Gauge (In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'')
** Blue, Star-like Orbs refill D-Link (In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'')
* EvilIsHammy: On top of the Disney classic villains, the original villains also tend to wax poetic about the cosmology of the setting, chewing scenery the whole time.
-->'''[[spoiler:Heartless]] Ansem:''' ''Kingdom '''HEARTS'''!''
* EvilIsNotAToy: Anyone too cavalier about the power of darkness learns this the hard way; they tend to turn into Heartless or power-mad husks of their former selves.
* EvilMakeover: Organization XIII. Its members are all humanoid Nobodies, and have slightly altered appearances compared to their past selves (for instance, Axel's eye makeup), all wear the same black coat, and have more angular and intimidating versions of the weapons they used as humans.
* EvilWearsBlack: Xehanort and Organization XIII all wear black. In-universe, their coats help protect them from the darkness within the corridors between worlds they use for travel.
** Even though some of the good guys can wear some amount of black, those aren't their defining colors, so they don't undo this trope here.
* ExperiencePenalty:
** The EXP Zero ability first introduced in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsIIFinalMix'' prevents experience from being gained for as long as it's active.
** Using the Warp spell causes enemies to disappear without leaving any experience.
* FightingFromTheInside:
** [[spoiler:Riku]] in the first game when he's [[spoiler:possessed by Xehanort's Heartless.]] At one point he [[spoiler:leaves his body as a spirit to physically block Riku-Xehanort's way]].
** At the end of their respective storylines in ''Birth by Sleep'', [[spoiler:Terra possesses his own empty armor to stop Xehanort from absconding in Terra's now-possessed body, while Ven's mind stays in his body while Vanitas possesses him, resulting in a literal battle inside Ven's mindscape]].
* FirstTown:
** In KH1, Traverse Town, a strange world that naturally cobbled itself together from the remains of other worlds and serves as a base for the various refugees of those worlds. As the home of Sora's ''Final Fantasy''-based friends, it serves as the hub.
** In KH2, the ''Final Fantasy'' characters' ''actual'' home of Hollow Bastion takes on the role.
* {{Flanderization}}:
** Now, while he was always a very positive kid, [[ThePollyanna Sora]] was much more prone to negativity, anger, and doubt in the first game and ''Chain of Memories'' compared to the rest of the series. In fact, his situation even caused him some stress in the first game. By ''3D'', he's gotten to the point where not even failing his mastery exam makes him even the least bit discouraged, and he very rarely if ever stays mad or sad about anything. Remember back in the first game when he and Donald had an argument and Sora actually held a ''grudge'' about it for awhile? {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d by Ansem the Wise in ''KHII'', when he's amused by [[CloningBlues Roxas's]] anger and tells him that he should lend Sora some of his anger, as he (Sora) is "far too nice for his own good."
** Also concerning Sora, his {{messia|nicArchetype}}h status was greatly exaggerated over time. With how clearly it's been made lately that the entire universe rests on him and every single character is connected to him somehow, you'd almost forget that he's not even the universe's original [[TheChosenOne Chosen One]] (he accidentally stole the job from Riku).
* FlashbackWithTheOtherDarrin: A natural consequence of several re-castings from KH1 and KH2 and the fact that KH2 features many flashbacks in its first chapter.
* FlightStrengthHeart: The [[GreenLanternRing Keyblade]] can do a lot of things, one of which is to [[MundaneUtility act like a key]]. [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower Which turns out to be its strongest ability by far]].
* ForDoomTheBellTolls: "Showdown at Hollow Bastion", which plays in the suitably dramatic context of right before the 1000 Heartless battle in KH2, replaces the usual piano chords in the Organization's {{leitmotif}} with bell strikes.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The very nature of the "Dive to the Heart" location as a dreamworld located within one's Heart, encountered many times throughout the series by the games' various protagonists as a tutorial location, retroactively becomes this when Roxas is able to unwittingly visit it within ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' [[spoiler:foreshadowing the fact that he had managed to develop a heart all on his own in spite of being a Nobody, a race of beings said to have no hearts]].
** For more foreshadowing of the above, Pinocchio (a wooden puppet), Tron (a computer program), and Data-Sora (likewise) are all noted to have [[spoiler:developed their own hearts]].
* FragileSpeedster:
** Ventus's fighting style centers around speed and agility, but he cannot take much punishment.
** Larxene from the Organization, fitting her electric element, is incredibly quick but easily staggered.
** Anti-Form is this. It moves around hyper fast, but has little defense and offense.
* FreeRotatingCamera: The game, as is typical, uses the right stick in a "rotate and tilt" style.
%%* FunnyAnimal: Mickey and Co.
* FusionDance: Drive, a mechanic from KH2, will fuse Sora with one or both party mates. The physical attack-oriented Valor Form fuses with Goofy and the magic-focused Wisdom Form uses Donald, while the more well-rounded options will fuse with both party members. [[GameplayAndStorySegregation (However, these party members will still appear in cutscenes.)]]

[[folder:Tropes G to O]]
* GambitPileup: This first really rears its head in ''Chain of Memories'', which is about certain members of the Organization trying to brainwash Sora into a useful pawn against Xemnas, while one member of this movement decides to start working against them due to mistreatment and ''another'' member turns Sora against ''both'' of those factions. Then it's revealed during ''358/2 Days'' that the Organization even being present at the setting of ''COM'' was a deliberate plot by Xemnas to root out traitors. ''Most'' of the games have ridiculous amounts of planning and counter-planning to this degree.
* GambitRoulette:
** Master Xehanort. [[spoiler:He had been manipulating Terra and Ven for ''years'' to accomplish his goals. In the end, Terra, Aqua, and Ven used ThePowerOfFriendship to stop him, but not before getting totally screwed over in the process]]. And he [[CrazyPrepared had some backup plans just in case the first one would fail]] so...
*** And in ''Dream Drop Distance'', we get [[spoiler:a plan that involved all of the previous plans going off exactly as they did so that a crazily convoluted plan involving time travel and dreams to finish what every single game previous has set up can go off according to plan.]]
* GameplayAndStoryIntegration:
** On the one hand, the developers put a lot of thought into making the gameplay reinforce the idea of teamwork and friendship. By and large, it's not too Anvilicious and almost universally regarded as fun. You also have a lot of little tidbits highlighting Sora's growth in skill.
** Within Hollow Bastion from the first game, [[spoiler: Belle conveniently goes missing from the Princesses of Heart even when they're rescued just to give Beast the reason to still be with Sora and the gang]].
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: It is said many times that The Heartless can only be defeated with the Keyblade... yet Donald and Goofy (and whatever guest character who happens to join for the level) can mow down tons of them by themselves. ''358/2 Days'' clarifies things: Heartless '''can''' be defeated by any weapon, but they'll just come back some time afterward. The Keyblade is the only weapon that can purify the hearts that make up the Heartless upon defeating them, vanquishing them for good.
* GangplankGalleon: Neverland and Port Royal fill the pirate-level niche of any game in which they appear.
* GenreBlind: Increasingly so as the series has gone on, the heroes haven't yet clued in that [[BreakingSpeech listening to Xehanort is never a good idea]], but they let him do in anyway instead of just summoning the Keyblade and lunging at him when he appears. ''3D'' is particularly problematic about this, since of all people Sora and Riku should know better by now.
* GladiatorSubquest: Olympus Coliseum is traditionally the site of tournament sidequests.
* GlassCannon:
** Aqua in ''Birth By Sleep'' is a master mage, mastering every element and is incredibly agile and strong. But she cannot take a hit early on in the game.
** Sora's Anti-Form in KH2 maximizes his attack, but minimizes his defense and removes any way of recovering health.
* GoKartingWithBowser: Most bizarre in the original, where the Hades Cup is harmless. (Well, as harmless as a 50-round chain battle featuring lots of tough Heartless and a battle with Hades himself can be, anyway.)
* GrandTheftMe:
** Riku being possessed by "Ansem" is a key plot point late in KH1 and shapes much of Riku's character arc going forward.
** Possession is, suffice to say, a big deal to Xehanort. [[spoiler:As revealed in 3D, Master Xehanort's ultimate goal is to corrupt enough people with his heart so he can create a team of 13 selves to start the final war between darkness and light]].
* GratuitousEnglish:
** In the Japanese dubs, "Kingdom Hearts" is referred to in English. English text is also sprinkled about in the various game menus.
** The Japan-exclusive ''[[UpdatedRerelease Final Mix]]'' versions of ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsI'', ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', and ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'' use the English dubs with Japanese subtitles for almost every cutscene and sound effect.
* GratuitousForeignLanguage:
** Italian titles for the background tracks are not uncommon. ''358/2 Days'' throws in some French.
** In the Japanese version of ''358/2 Days'', Xaldin's weapons all have Chinese names. Larxene's weapons have French names in both versions.
* GravityIsPurple: The Gravity and Anti-Gravity spells are depicted as purple with black sometimes mixed in.
* GreenLanternRing: Keyblades can be used as tradition swords (or clubs), channel magic, lock and unlock pretty much anything, [[SummonToHand teleport to their owner's hand at will]], create portals to other worlds, generate armor, turn into personal hovercraft that are capable of intergalactic travel, morph into other weapons like cannons or whips with no known limit to the transformations, and [[spoiler:create elaborate castles out of rubble]].
* GrimReaper:
** KH1 features a BonusBoss, the [[spoiler:Phantom]], a spectre in a black cloak who will cast Doom on party members whenever a nearby clock tower strikes 12.
** ''Kingdom Hearts II'' features an Aztec-themed Heartless version in [[Disney/PiratesOfTheCaribbean Port Royal]] who steals the cursed coins that keep the ''Black Pearl''[='s=] crew undead.
* GuestStarPartyMember: Several worlds allow you to replace Goofy or Donald with a native Disney character.
* HalloweenTown: "Halloween Town", a world based upon ''WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas''. It's named after the main area of the world which happens to be a town that houses the physical manifestation of Hallowen.
* {{Hammerspace}}:
** Where else do you think the Keyblade goes when Sora's not carrying it?
** The intelligent Nobodies can also call forth spiritual weapons at will, or at least most of them can.
** ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth by Sleep]]'' shows Donald and Goofy pull their weapons out thin air, complete with pretty lights. Sure, Donald's a magician, but Goofy...
** Ventus actually pulls a ''huge wooden'' keyblade from somewhere behind him during a cutscene in Neverland.
** Averted in the manga, where Sora carries the Keyblade on his person.
* HarderThanHard: The first game wasn't the easiest alone, especially once the player starts tackling the [[BonusBoss post-game battles,]] and Proud Mode is usually a hefty boost for enemy stats to amp it up. But starting with the [[UpdatedRerelease Final Mix]] versions of ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' and beyond (and unlockable by beating the game once in ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance'' and ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts02BirthBySleepAFragmentaryPassage''), [[HarderThanHard Critical Mode]] gives the player additional benefits at the cost of turning even basic battles into entirely lethal ones for reckless players. Once you get to end game or post-game fights, ''almost every boss fight is probably able to kill you in a single combo.''
* TheHeartless: The creatures from which [[TropeNamer the trope is named.]] Heartless are created from the darkness within hearts, and technically don't have physical bodies--they can be "destroyed", but their darkness will simply coalesce into a new Heartless somewhere else. They can only actually die from the Keyblade.
* HelpfulMook: The mushroom Heartless (with the exception of the Black Fungus) are the only Heartless that aren't inherently evil, rewarding Sora if they've been hit with the right spell, but running away if attacked a few times. Even [[spoiler:Mushroom XIII]], the EliteMook variation of them, aren't evil - they just want to play combat-based minigames with Sora. [[spoiler:They even reward Sora with an extra Keyblade and a token of appreciation in a form of a crown saying thanks should you complete all 13 of their minigames]].
* HeroicSacrifice:
** In the first game, [[spoiler:Sora]] stabs himself with a [[spoiler:a special Keyblade that can unlock the true essence of a heart]] in order to [[spoiler:release Kairi's heart from his body, releasing his own heart as well]]. (He gets better.)
** [[spoiler:Axel]] detonates himself in the second game to hold off several Nobodies. (He gets better too.)
** [[spoiler:Ansem the Wise]] tries to use a machine to destroy [[spoiler:Kingdom Hearts]], but the machine explodes. ([[spoiler:He gets thrown into the realm of darkness]].)
* HijackedByGanon: In any given game, you can be sure that if some incarnation of Xehanort isn't behind everything, one of his subordinates is. The only game where this isn't true is ''coded'', where the BigBad is [[spoiler:Sora's Heartless]], but Xehanort still indirectly caused the being's creation.
* HonoraryPrincess: The seven "princesses of heart" turn out to be the six (then) [[Franchise/DisneyPrincess Disney princesses]], except [[Disney/TheLittleMermaid Ariel]]: the sixth is [[Disney/AliceInWonderland Alice]], and the seventh is Sora's friend Kairi. Both are not royalty by birth or marriage; it turns out that "princess of heart" title is used to name the only people in the universe with hearts made of pure light, [[IncorruptiblePurePureness without any shadow of evil in it. ]]
* HopelessWithTech: Anything related to computers goes directly over Sora's head, implying that the technology of his home world never progressed that far. Riku keeps his questions about computer stuff vague enough that he might or might not be completely lost as well. Donald and Goofy at least have prior experience with computers, as there are some at Disney Castle, but aren't much better with them than Sora is. And of course Maleficent, being from a 14th century fairy tale world, is completely lost when computer jargon is thrown around, though she takes it in stride. Ironically, Jiminy Cricket of all people has no trouble understanding computers at all.
* HPToOne: Because of the Once More and Second Chance abilities, the developers have deigned it necessary to practically ''require'' the use of them in order to survive, especially on harder difficulties and with the later/bonus bosses. Thus, rather than having bosses with HP to One-type attacks, they simply have massive attack power which will always reduce you to within an inch of your life, regardless of your defense stat. Perhaps a form of FakeDifficulty, some bosses degenerate into the pattern: attack --> get hit by one attack (hanging on with 1 HP) --> heal --> get hit by another attack --> dodge like crazy waiting for your magic to regenerate so you can heal again --> repeat.
* HumanoidAbomination: Nobodies. While the stronger ones look human, they're only the leftover body and soul of a human turned Heartless. They lack true emotion and gain strange powers over darkness and other elements. Weaker Nobodies, meanwhile, are made of the same parts, but for some reason have become extremely flexible and move in unsettling ways.
* HumansAreWhite:
** Most of the cast are pale-skinned with {{Mukokuseki}} features. Sora is just a tiny bit more tanned than most, while Ansem [=SoD=] is dark-skinned but has the same white/Asian features as the rest of the cast. [=DiZ=] has a similar appearance to [=SoD=], including the skintone, but loses all of his similarities to [=SoD=] when he removes his mask, putting Ansem's dark skin in the same category as [[RedRightHand his yellow eyes and pointy ears]]. All other iterations of Xehanort also have dark skin, though lighter than [=SoD=]. To western audiences, this creates the unfortunate impression that the only non-white characters are all aspects of the main villain, but keep in mind that the creators probably see all of the characters as Asian.
** As the majority of [=NPCs=] in the game are Disney characters, and most Disney films are based on stories of European origin, most of the humans encountered throughout the worlds are ''actually'' white. Obvious exceptions include the entire casts of the ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' and ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'' worlds, plus occasional outliers such as [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanTheCurseOfTheBlackPearl Bo'sun]] and [[Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame Esmeralda]]. The ''Disney/BigHero6'' world is sure to be an aversion as well.
** Generic [=NPCs=], most of them designed in the same vein as the ''Final Fantasy'' cast, seem just as likely to be brown as pale. AmbiguouslyBrown ''Final Fantasy'' characters such as Wakka and Raijin also make appearances.
* IceMagicIsWater: Water-themed monster as considered Ice-type. This trope creates a GuideDangIt on why the player should use Fire magic against, say, Demyx.
* IconicSequelCharacter: Much of the recurring cast debuted in the sequels (including pre-existing Disney characters who play major roles)
** ''Chain of Memories'' - Axel, Namine, Marluxia, Larxene, Vexen, Lexaeus, Zexion, [=DiZ=].
** ''II'' - Roxas, Pete, Yen Sid, Xemnas [[note]]not counting ''Kingdom Hearts Final Mix''[[/note]], Xigbar, Xaldin, Saix, Demyx, and Ansem the Wise.
** ''Days'' - Xion.
** ''Birth by Sleep'' - Terra, Aqua, Ventus, Eraqus, Vanitas, and Master Xehanort - notably, the BigBad of the franchise is only introduced five games into the series!
** ''Dream Drop Distance'' - Young Xehanort.
* IdiosyncraticDifficultyLevels: Beginner, Standard, Hard, Proud, and Critical.
* ImpossiblyCoolClothes:
** Zippers galore, even on hats!
** Dusks actually have zippers for ''mouths''.
* ImpossiblyCoolWeapon: Keyblades. While consistently referred to as swords and variably used in many varieties of fighting styles including as mediums for channeling magic, at the end of the day, Keyblades are still just giant keys. How most of them can actually cut anything is a mystery since only a small handful have any sort of cutting edge or even points on the striking side.
* ImprobableWeaponUser: Sora's giant key, Goofy's shield, Demyx's sitar, Zexion's lexicon (a book)...
* InconsistentDub:
** [[DubNameChange Renames]] to Heartless are occasionally inconsistent. For example, a Heartless--Japanese name "Loudness"--is introduced in ''Chain of Memories'' as "Crescendo" but was renamed "Loudmouth" in ''Days''.
** While fourth-tier level spells consistently use the suffix "-gun" in Japanese, the English dub is inconsistent about it. ''KHI'' and ''KHII'' use "-gun"[[note]]No level 4 spells actually appear, but some high-level equipment would use "-gun" spell names[[/note]], ''3D'' uses "-za", and ''0.2'' uses "-ja". And assuming nobody changes their mind, it looks like ''III'' is going back to "-za."
** Three different characters show up in the black coat with the hood up, and are all called "''nazo no otoko''" by their respective games while wearing this guise. All three have different translations for the phrase in the English games--"Mysterious Man" (Xemnas), "Enigmatic Man" (Marluxia), and "Unknown" (Young Xehanort).
** All games prior to ''[=KH2=]'' were dubbed into various European languages, but all games released afterwards only had English voice tracks for their Europe-wide releases (although text was still translated). Oddly enough, Quebec[[note]]and the rest of Canada and the US too, but they don't care as much and aren't affected by the pseudo-law mentioned here[[/note]] only received games up to ''[=KH2=]'' in English, and only started having French options for the game[[note]]on the same cartridge as English and other European languages[[/note]] ''at the very point'' where they stopped providing French audio, which just happened to coincide with a pseudo-law requiring games to be released in French in the province.
* InfinityMinusOneSword: The Oblivion keychain can be obtained in-game once you pass a certain event. While it's not Ultima, it's still pretty fantastic. Its attack power is outstripped only by Ultima and Fenrir, and doesn't have the latter's downgraded magic stats.
* InfinityPlusOneSword: The Ultima Weapon. Good luck hunting down all the synthesis items. Also, Final Form is an [[UpToEleven Infinity+1 Super Mode]].
* InformedFlaw: The "tyranny of Light" [[note]]Explicitly said by [[UnreliableNarrator Master Xehanort]] in ''Birth by Sleep''.[[/note]]. So far, all the major problems have come from the Darkness side of things, and any pure-Light examples (e.g.: the Princesses of Heart, Ventus, etc.) have been unambiguously good. Furthermore, the closest thing to a LightIsNotGood problem -- Eraqus -- only ends up going full-blown KnightTemplar because of [[DarkIsEvil Xehanort]]'s ManipulativeBastard-ry.
* InstrumentOfMurder: Demyx wields a sitar that can manipulate water.
* InvisibleParents: Sora's mom gets a single line in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsI'' and his dad gets mentioned by Riku in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'', but they are otherwise completely absent. Riku and Kairi are also implied to have parents, but they never get any mentions. Interestingly, Sora mentions both of his parents in a flashback during ''Chain of Memories.''
* KudzuPlot: The game starts as a simple story of a boy trying to find his friends and stopping a MadScientist from [[PlanetDestroyer destroying worlds]]. Then it becomes multiple stories about dealing with different {{Enemy Civil War}}s going on between 13 super-powered {{Empty Shell}}s of the bosses you fought in the first game. Then it turns out everything that's happened so far has been an EvilPlan set in motion decades ago by an EvilMentor who Reincarnated into the {{Big Bad}}s of the previous games. Before long there's [[RecursiveReality Recursive Realities]], the main character has become a SoulJar for half a dozen characters, the BigBad has become a HiveMind for ''over'' a dozen, TimeTravel becomes involved, centuries old [[TheProphecy Prophecies]] show up, there are dozens of OriginalGeneration characters where there was once 4, and so on.
* IWantYouToMeetAnOldFriendOfMine: Sora's interactions with ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast'' characters, since Haley Joel Osment voiced Chip in [[Disney/BeautyAndTheBeastTheEnchantedChristmas one of the direct to video sequels]]. Also in the Japanese version of Birth by Sleep, [[Creator/RyotaroOkiayu Terra's seiyuu]] voiced [[VideoGame/MegaManX Zero]], and [[Creator/ChikaoOhtsuka Master Xehanort's actor]] voiced [[VideoGame/MegaManZero Dr. Weil]]. And in Re: Chain of Memories, Kairi and Naminé, are respectively voiced by Alyson Stoner and Meghan Jette Martin who played archenemies in ''Film/CampRock''.
* JekyllAndHyde: Used as a gameplay system in ''KH II''. The normally skillful SwordAndSorcery fighting style of Sora becomes a uncharacteristically wild, animalistic style where Sora literally rips his enemies apart with his bare hands when he slips into Anti-form. You similarly have no control over when a SuperMode activation will go to Anti-form rather than the one you actually selected.
%%** [[spoiler:Riku and "Ansem" in ''Kingdom Hearts II'', in an interesting inversion.]]
* JigsawPuzzlePlot: As Mickey says in ''Re:coded'', "I should have known there were no coincidences--only links in a much larger chain of events." Looking at the series chronologically in-universe helps one make sense of it, but the mythos of the series is so deeply entwined that you need knowledge of the plot of every game to understand it; something not everyone can afford since the series is expanded through (so far) ''SIX'' different game platforms (but there are numerous remakes that mean you can disregard the mobile and Gameboy Advance titles). By this point it's pretty much impossible to follow the overarching story if you just pick a random game and dive in. And as of ''Dream Drop Distance'', on top of the MindScrew, MindRape, human cloning, death and resurrection, alternate dimensions and GambitRoulette games, we're adding [[spoiler: ''time travel'']] to the equation now. Also qualifies as a KudzuPlot.
%%* JungleJapes: Deep Jungle (''Tarzan''), The Pridelands (''The Lion King''), and Neverland (''Peter Pan'')
%%* KingMook:
%%** Darkside.
%%** Also, Twilight Thorn (Big Nobody).
%%* LandSeaSky: the main characters' names follow this.
%%* LargeHam: "It is I, '''Ansem''', the Seeker of '''Darkness'''."
%%** SUBMIT!!
%%** [=KingDOM=] ''HEARTS!!'' '''''FILL''''' ME...WITH THE ''POWER'' OF '''''DARKNESS!!''''' Yes, that is exactly what he sounds like.
%%** Xemnas, for a guy who's supposed to have no emotions whatsoever, comes across as this anyway.
%%*** BEGONE!
* LateArrivalSpoiler:
** Roxas is Sora's Nobody.
** Axel is the only Organization member to return from the Castle Oblivion mission.
** [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyX Auron]] is DeadAllAlong.
** The prologue to ''II'' spoils pretty much all of the original game and ''Chain Of Memories'', including the endings to both games.
* LegacyBossBattle:
** [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Sephiroth]] appears as a BonusBoss in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsI'' and ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII''. The first one as one of the coliseum matches with no context except for one Final Mix exclusive cutscene, the latter game has him cameo during the 1000 Heartless War where he asks where Cloud is, vanishes and then taunts Cloud a little bit later.
** The Absent Silhouettes in ''Kingdom Hearts II: [[UpdatedRerelease Final Mix]]'' are {{Bonus Boss}}es against the members of Organization XII that had "died" in ''Kingdom Hearts Chain Of Memories''.
** Xehanort (or rather [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII Xemnas]] and [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsDreamDropDistance Young Xehanort]]) invert the trope, as they [[EarlyBirdCameo first appeared]] as {{Bonus Boss}}es in ''Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix'' and ''Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep'', respectively, albeit with their identity hidden from the characters (and the audience).
* LegacyCharacter: Many games have new characters that physically resemble established characters and often have similar personalities and abilities. This is actually almost universally significant, as it means those characters are likely connected to each other in some manner. The exception is Aqua and Kairi, whose connection ([[spoiler:Aqua inadvertently named Kairi her successor as Master]]) is comparatively superficial, thus, Aqua looking like an older Kairi and happening to be friends with Legacy Characters of Sora and Riku, is just coincidence.
* {{Leitmotif}}: A very frequent musical inclusion.
** Kairi, Sora, Riku, Roxas, Naminé, Xion, Ventus, Aqua, and Terra all have their own theme tunes, although Xion's uses riffs from Kairi's, Ventus's is a combination of Roxas's and Sora's, and Aqua's and Terra's are lifted wholesale from "Fate of the Unknown" [[[spoiler:Aqua's theme also has riffs from Castle Oblivion's world and battle themes]]].
*** Vanitas' battle themes, "Enter the Darkness" and "Unbreakable Chains," use an original riff for the first minute or so, before vaulting into Roxas' theme, then Ventus's theme, and finally ending with a minor-key version of Sora's theme before looping back to the beginning. All of this because [[spoiler:Vanitas is Ventus' darkness, and Ventus' heart had already bonded with Sora when they first met]].
** Master Xehanort has a theme that appears first in ''Birth By Sleep'', but was remixed and appears whenever he is present in ''3D''.
** Battles against [[spoiler:Riku and/or "Ansem"]] in the first two games open with identical organ chords, though all instances of fighting the latter used some portion of "Forze del Male" as his motif. Also, every battle with Xemnas uses the same bits from "Darkness of the Unknown." However, anything involving [[spoiler:past!Xehanort]] uses "Dark Impetus."
*** A bonus battle in ''Birth By Sleep Final Mix'' even mixed the first two of them together.
** The vast majority of tunes related to Organization XIII use some part of "Another Side"'s melody (the exception being Xemnas, as he uses the themes noted above).
** "Destati" is a very general mystical/arcane motif, and plays during such cosmologically significant moments as Sora's dream at the beginning of the first game as well as in the End of the World and final battle.
** Several other themes also have riffs from "[[RecurringRiff Dearly Beloved]]".
** All of the Nobodies' themes seem to be the normal characters' themes (for those that have them) slightly altered.
* LetsGetDangerous: See, Demyx has all the work ethic of a bar of soap. He goes above and beyond the call of {{Dismotivation}}, running and hiding at the first sign of combat. Saïx tries and fails to get Roxas to motivate him. But put a traitor in front of him, and you better run for your life.
* LetterMotif: X for Organization XIII. At first it seems to be just be more ''mysterious'', but it's revealed later on that [[spoiler:any "X" placed by Xehanort becomes the "Recusant's Sigil", a mark of domination that Xehanort can use to track and influence his subjects]].
%%* TheLifestream: The actual Kingdom Hearts, also known as "the Heart of all Worlds".
* LightEmUp: Sora, Roxas, Xion, Ventus, Aqua and Mickey all have powerful light spells and/or abilities.
* LiteralSplitPersonality:
** Sora's Nobody, Roxas [[spoiler:and his replica, Xion]]. They're put back together in one being by the end, but Roxas and [[spoiler:Xion]] still exist somewhere in Sora, somehow - but the games never really explore any possible future consequences of that might have. However, ''Birth by Sleep'' and ''coded'' shows that [[spoiler:part of Ventus's [[note]]who, in turn, may have Vanitas's[[/note]] heart was absorbed into Sora, and that all of the people in Sora will likely get their own bodies back in a future game.]]
** ''coded'' alludes to some of the issues involving clones/copies/replicas/etc. While ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' put forth the idea that they should be re-absorbed with the original and don't have true identities of their own, ''coded'' seems to argue that copies who develop connections to others are deserving of their own identity.
** [[spoiler:''Dream Drop Distance'' shows that Sora thinks they deserve to be their own people, not just a part of him. If this means anything, it's that they ''will'' be back.]]
** [[spoiler:Not counting the people Xehanort goes GrandTheftMe on, there's his Heartless Ansem, his Nobody Xemnas, and his younger self who all coexist with each other]].
%%* LivingMemory: The Remnants; there is [[spoiler:Vanitas's Remnant]] in ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth by Sleep]]'', and the Absent Silhouettes in ''Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix''.
%%* LivingShadow: The Heartless, some varieties moreso than others.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: There are more than half a dozen OriginalGeneration main heroes, various supporting characters, numerous villains from Disney's history or [[OriginalGeneration made just for this franchise]], and a huge number Disney characters from a large pool of their animated and some live action movies that are sprinkled throughout the games.
* LuckySeven: The Princesses of heart are seven human incarnations of Light. ''3D'' introduces the idea of [[spoiler:seven guardians of light]].
* MacGuffinLocation:
** The titular Kingdom Hearts. It is said to be the ultimate source of knowledge and power, letting whoever controls it have dominion over the entire universe if they choose. The primary goal of the main antagonists is to obtain it.
** The Chamber of Waking, which [[spoiler:houses a comatose Ventus]], and is located in Castle Oblivion. Somewhere. Only [[spoiler:Aqua]] (the person who created the Castle) is capable of finding it again.
* MacroZone: Wonderland (''Alice in Wonderland'') features its movie's iconic size-changing food and potions, while the Castle of Dreams (''Cinderella'') features segments where the player must shrink to the size of Cinderella's mouse companions.
* MadeOfEvil: The Heartless are literal embodiments of the darkness that infuses the universe. Their predecessors, the Unversed, are manifestations of [[spoiler:the negative emotions of Vanitas, a being of pure darkness]].
* MagicAIsMagicA: An underlying component, and one that may be surprising to newcomers or those merely scanning the plot, is that the series ''is'' internally consistent. Retcons exist, usually for the purpose of clarifying/simplifying the cosmology, and the first installment is often glossed over. Despite this, [[JigsawPuzzlePlot the myriad plot points]] all conform to what is an overarching storyline.
* MagicKnight: All Keyblade wielders and most of Organization XIII use a combination of physical butt-kicking and spectacular magic.
* {{Magitek}}: All over the place, most prominently the Gummi Ship and the Hollow Bastion/Radiant Garden laboratories. When you're talking about a physical machine that subjects someone's heart to darkness in order to shatter their heart and turn them into a Heartless, it's hard to draw the line between science and magic in this series.
* MalevolentArchitecture: The Land of Departure lies directly between the light and dark realms. WordOfGod clarifies that the castle houses a mechanism that transforms it to invoke this trope should it fall into the wrong hands, and ''that's'' how Aqua made [[spoiler:Castle Oblivion]].
* ManaMeter: In some games you have a set number of magic points. Others avert this by having other limits on magic and abilities.
* ManaPotion: Ethers, and some enemy item drops, will restore magic points or spell uses (depending on how the game limits magic).
* MassiveMultiplayerCrossover: Between Disney and Square Enix.
* MeaningfulName:
** Sora means sky, the "kai" in Kairi means sea, and Riku means land. Also, the Keyblade Knights in ''Birth by Sleep'' happen to be called Ven(tus), Aqua, and Terra. ''[[TheUntwist Hmmmmm.]]'')
** There's also Naminé. "Nami" is a word for "[[spoiler:ocean wave]]". Remember whose Nobody she is?
** The first part of Xion's name- "shio"- is the word for "[[spoiler:tide]]".
** "Shion" is also the name of a plant associated with memories in Japan.
** Xion's name, sans the "X", is an anagram for "No i". For those who do not understand, "i" is [[spoiler:a mathematical term for the square root of -1, an imaginary number]]. In addition, [[spoiler:being a clone formed of memories whose appearance changes depending on who looks at her, she initially had no self. No "I"]].
** To be specific, Ventus, Aqua, and Terra stand for wind, water, and earth respectively.
** Nomura really went all out with Vanitas. Not only does it mean "emptiness" in Latin and looks like Ventus, but [[spoiler:the kanji for emptiness is the same one as the one for sky.]] His name is connected to a Biblical quote, as well -- "all is vanity [[spoiler:and a ''striving after wind'']]". Now consider what he spent most of the game doing...
* {{Melodrama}}: The series puts its emotion on its sleeves, which also fits the style of both ''Final Fantasy'' and Disney's animated works.
* {{Metafiction}}: The series has acquired a surprising amount of meta subtext.
** ''Dream Drop Distance'', without going into spoilers, makes reference to a group of 7 and a group of 13, and the arrival of the 13th member of the latter group completes the set. The series contains seven base games current -- ''Kingdom Hearts'', ''Chain of Memories'', ''Kingdom Hearts II'', ''coded'', ''358/2 Days'', ''Birth By Sleep'', and ''Dream Drop Distance''. Add in the {{Updated Rerelease}}s of all games except ''Dream Drop Distance'' and ''Days'', and that's an additional 5, bringing the total to 12, and the promised ''Kingdom Hearts III'' makes thirteen. If Nomura really didn't have all this planned out from Day One, he is playing some mean XanatosSpeedChess to make it all work together.
** [[spoiler:The 7 and 13 form the χ-blade, formerly attempted to be formed by Ventus and Vanitas, but they didn't form a complete union. There's been two HD re-release bundles for the series that bring the first six games into HD, but they're missing ''3D'' and thus the series is not complete just with them.]]
* MetalSlime: Many different kinds:
** The first game has three separate varieties, all based off mushrooms. White Mushrooms and Rare Truffles will heal you and grant you rare items if you hit them with the correct attack based on their cues...unless you move too slowly, and they leave. Black Fungi are more akin to the traditional MetalSlime, being very tough Heartless that must be defeated with a critical hit to drop their rare items.
** ''Kingdom Hearts II'' introduces the Bulky Vendor as the new MetalSlime, a walking capsule prize machine that gives better rewards the longer you wait to activate it, but begins jumping around increasingly quickly as its timer depletes and eventually vanishes.
** ''Re:Coded'' provides the Gold Tricholoma, a new kind of mushroom that teleports around the System Sector in which it appears and provides large amounts of SP when hit.
** ''Birth By Sleep'' has the Prize Pods, which show up in certain areas and must be hit as many times as possible to make them drop their flavor-themed prizes. These flavors are used to make ice cream at Disney Town, items which allow the user immediate access to their Command Styles when used.
%%* MightyGlacier: Goofy.
* MonsterArena: Olympus Coliseum (''Hercules'') and Mirage Arena feature arenas where you can fight powerful foes.
* MonsterMash: Sora, Donald and Goofy take on monster-like forms in [[WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas Halloween Town]], with Sora wearing a [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampire attire]] with fangs, white skin and an eyepatch, Donald being wrapped like a {{mummy}}, and Goofy becoming a parody of FrankensteinsMonster.
%%* MsFanservice:
%%** Aqua.
%%** Also Kairi from ''II'', to an extent.
* MuseumGame: To varying degrees. For example, the first and second main games in the series not only have you visiting different Disney movies and interacting with the characters, but there's even an information gallery with details about the characters (albeit their role in ''Kingdom Hearts'' rather than their own movies specifically), including details of when the character was first created, and occasionally trivia (e.g. "Doorknob was the only character in ''Alice in Wonderland'' who wasn't in the original book").
* MushroomMan: The Mushroom Heartless family, which includes White Mushrooms, Black Fungi, Rare Truffles, and Pink Agaricuses.
* MythologyGag:
** The victory poses the characters sometimes do is highly reminiscent of the victory poses Franchise/FinalFantasy characters often do.
** The way Genie is summoned within the first game is highly reminiscent of the scene in the original Disney/{{Aladdin}} when the Genie's first summoned out of the lamp, only instead of the lamp that's reacting, it's Sora's keyblade.
** The theme song for Disney Castle/Disney Town, the home setting of the classic Disney characters like Mickey, Donald and Goofy, is an instrumental remix of the opening song to ''Series/TheMickeyMouseClub''. It's even credited within the credits as "Mickey Mouse March" whenever the song's featured in one form or another (practically any game that portrays events within Disney Castle or Disney Town), the same as any other songs that weren't specifically composed for the game.
%%* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: All of the X obsessed Organization XIII.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero:
** The progress the Organization has made with its plans is due to the unwitting help of Sora, Roxas and to a metaphysical extent, the player himself.
** According to ''coded'', thanks to killing off Xehanort's Heartless and Xemnas, Sora and Riku ended up reviving Master Xehanort. Justified in that according to Yen Sid, they ''had'' no other choice - Xehanort's Heartless and Xemnas both posed universe-level threats and ''had'' to be taken out.
%%** Terra, Aqua, and Ven do this over and over again due to Xehanort manipulating them.
** The Foreteller's actions once they realize there's a traitor directly contribute to the first Keyblade War, creating the cause of Xehanort's start of darkness.
%%** Admittedly, the entire series falls under [[HeadsIWinTailsYouLose heads darkness wins, tails light loses]], so...
* NonindicativeName: The Heartless are actually hearts that have been consumed by darkness, and it's the Nobodies ("no body") who are actually the empty shell of the body left behind when a heart is thus consumed.
* NonLethalKO: Party members just get dazed when defeated. After a breather (or some healing) they'll be ready for action again. This doesn't apply to Sora unless it's a battle Mickey shows up in.
* NonStandardCharacterDesign: Applies strongly to Shiro Amano's manga adaptation. While the originals and Square Enix carryovers use his native art style, Amano goes to great lengths to imitate the art style of every Disney character's individual movie.
* NonStandardSkillLearning: The series spreads learning abilities across various methods (level up, progress the plot, defeat a boss, or complete some other challenge), but that comes across as not having one "standard" method in the first place. Though stat boosts come primarily through level-ups, so that might create an expectation that most character growth is from experience points.
* NowWhereWasIGoingAgain: Jiminy's Journal gives you a quick summary of what you're doing in the current world, hopefully keeping you from getting too lost.
* NPCRandomEncounterImmunity: Justified. The Heartless are drawn to the keyblade, and most people don't have one. With that said, The Heartless can also be made to do evil peoples' bidding, so they do sometimes attack towns, in which case this trope gets averted.
* ObviouslyEvil: Take a wild guess who the villains are in the Work Picture. Subverted slightly with several other characters who are either more complicated than they appear [[spoiler: Such as DiZ, Xion, and Repliku]] or are being forced to act in a certain way. [[spoiler: Such as Saix, Xion, and Axel]]
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: In ''[=KH2=]'', Kairi and Mickey get [[spoiler:knocked outside the door to Kingdom Hearts as Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Riku go to fight Xemnas.]] But at the end of the battle, all six characters are shown facing [[spoiler:Xemnas]] in fighting pose, as if they HAD been fighting. Then, Square Enix... ''why didn't you just find a way to have them fight in the actual gameplay battle!?''
* OlderIsBetter: Played with throughout the franchise. The further back in time the story goes, the stronger the Keyblade wielders were, with skills and abilities that the modern wielders don't even know exist. However, going further back also sees Sora's predecessors making less and less use of ThePowerOfFriendship, which is constantly presented as a vital force in the setting, and their lack of it is a FatalFlaw that brought about their ruin. Sora and his friends triumph over foes that stronger, better-trained Keyblade Masters fell against by standing united where their predecessors stood apart. At its most extreme, the ancient Keyblade wielders in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsX'' were each practically a OneManArmy, but their competition with one another eventually led to a war that destroyed the world.
* OminousLatinChanting: "Destati" and all its derivatives feature chanted lyrics in Italian about awakening to one's destiny. The chanting is featured in scenes that emphasize darkness or general mysticism, like fights with Xehanort or the [[JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind Dive to the Heart sequences]].
%%* OminousPipeOrgan: "Forze Del Male" and "Beyond the Door" from ''Kingdom Hearts''; "Struggle Away", "The Force in You", "Revenge of Chaos", "The 13th Struggle", "Castle Oblivion", "Forgotten Challenge", "Graceful Assassin", and "Scythe of Petals" from ''Chain of Memories''; "Tension Rising", "The Corrupted", "The 13th Dilemma", and "Darkness of the Unknown" from ''Kingdom Hearts II''; and another boss theme from ''358/2 Days''.
%%* TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness: In the first game, ''Chain of Memories'', and ''II Final Mix'', overlaps with the LegionOfDoom.
* OneSteveLimit:
** Riku and [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyX Rikku]]. Rikku was actually cut from the first game out of the fear that this would cause confusion, and her name is never actually spoken aloud when she appears in ''Kingdom Hearts II''.
** [[Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean Jack Sparrow]] and [[WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas Jack Skellington]]. In the Japanese version, game interface calls the pirate "Sparrow" and the skeleton "Jack" to avoid confusion. In the US version, the game interface calls both of them 'Jack' but when you use an item on them (or cast cure on them) Sora will say "Jack!" for Skellington and "Captain!" for Sparrow.
%%* OneWingedAngel: Most final bosses do this at least once. We're talking about Creator/SquareEnix AND Creator/{{Disney}}, King and Queen of this trope. [[note]]In case you're wondering, this was the debut of trope-naming wing belonging to [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Sephiroth.]][[/note]]
* OnlyFriend: During [[spoiler:Axel]]'s death scene, he tells Sora that Roxas was the only one he liked, and basically his only friend.
* OverratedAndUnderleveled: Zig-zagged.
** Sora restarts each game he stars in at level one when he was one-shotting enemies and soloing bosses in the previous game. However; it's explained in ''Chain of Memories'' as being ''forced'' to forget, and at the start of ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', he was [[spoiler:spending the past year asleep, progress being hampered by Roxas and Xion.]] In ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance'', his and Riku's reversion back to Level 1 deals with them entering the Sleeping Worlds and losing all of their abilities to [[spoiler:learn the proper techniques for Keyblade Masters]]. Sora then [[spoiler:gets his heart temporarily shattered and goes comatose for a while]] at the end of that game, the damage and need to recover from which explains his drop back to level one for the next game.
** However, played completely straight with Donald and Goofy. When the court mage and knight-captain join Sora, they're at the level he is and only have a fraction of their abilities.

[[folder:Tropes P to Z]]
* PaletteSwap:
** The ''Final Mix'' versions of the games change the coloration of most enemies, apparently just for the sake of being refreshing.
** Rampant in ''Days'' and ''X (chi)'', which add several "new" enemies and weapons by way of this trope. Some of the new enemies in the Final Mix versions are not much better.
%%* PalmTreePanic: Destiny Islands
* ParadoxPerson: Nobodies are the remains of a person's body and soul after they become a Heartless, animated by their strong will. They lack the ability to truly feel emotion due to the loss of their heart, but their memories allow them to act out the appropriate emotions in the right situations. They are said to defy the laws of the universe to the point that neither the Realm of Darkness nor the Realm of Light accept them, and thus they don't truly exist.
* ParentalAbandonment: Kairi's grandma, Ariel's father and Simba's dad are the only parental characters given any screentime. Of those three, Mufasa is dead and Kairi's grandma hasn't been seen since Radiant Garden fell. Sora's mom gets ''one'' line from offscreen near the start of the first game. Anyone else's parents are either [[InvisibleParents invisible]], implied to be dead (Ienzo), or completely unmentioned.
* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: Played embarrassingly straight in II on several occasions. The passwords were (the first two of these were correctly guessed on the first try): "[[spoiler:Belle, Snow White, Aurora, Alice, Jasmine, Cinderella, Kairi]]," "[[spoiler:Sea-salt ice cream]]," and [[spoiler:"Sora, Donald, and Goofy"]].
* PiecesOfGod: In game mythology, "the light" was once whole; but was shattered; and the pieces survived in the hearts of children.
* PopStarComposer: Music/UtadaHikaru writes the theme music for the series.
%%* PortTown: Port Royal (''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'')
* ThePowerOfFriendship: This concept is key to the series, but it's usually done in such a well-executed manner as to still feel natural, despite being idealistic. Keyblades in particular appear to be drawn to individuals who have strong hearts, and thus, exemplify this trope.
* PowerTrio: Sora! Donald! Goofy! [[CombinationAttack Trinity Attack!]]
%%* PowerUpMagnet: The "Treasure Magnet" ability.
* ProlongedPrologue:
** The second game is notorious for this. The first game is no slouch in this department, either, though most of the stuff you can do on Destiny Islands is optional. However, the spin-off games are typically a lot better at this. ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth by Sleep]]'''s prologue is both very brief and can be skipped on subsequent playthroughs (which is helpful since there are three separate storylines to get through), and ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories Chain of Memories]]'' barely has a prologue at all.
** Ironically, the minute Ventus starts messing around for the tutorial, [[MythologyGag he stops and questions why he was doing all that]] when he was on his way to see the meteor shower.
-->"Wait. What am I messing around here for?"
** Technically, the entirety of ''0.2'' is one for ''Kingdom Hearts III'', only as a stand-alone game rather than packed with the main bit.
* RainbowPimpGear:
** With space ships, no less. While the Gummi ship editor are clearly there with creativity in mind, more often than not you won't always have matching blocks to pull off a specific design. Similarly, a Gummi's HP is directly proportional to the amount of blocks it has. As a result, most Gummi ships will end up becoming literal {{Flying Brick}}s with miss-matching blocks with [[MoreDakka tons of guns attached to the front]] and the best engines in the back, with actual wings being considered a DumpStat. Similarly, if you choose to go with the AIBreaker tactic, replace literal FlyingBrick with a giant flying donut.
** Some Keyblade designs themselves can verge on this at times, being the only thing that averts NoCutsceneInventoryInertia. Sure, Keyblades beyond the one you'll start out with will have vastly better stats, but it can occasionally make cutscenes look unintentionally {{narm}}ish when Sora has something like [[http://www.khwiki.com/images/0/0d/Decisive_Pumpkin_KHII.png Decisive Pumpkin]] equipped. [[note]]And considering it dishes out some of the highest physical damage in [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII the game]]...[[/note]]
* RecoveryAttack: Payback skills and Retaliating Slash, among others, allow the player to counterattack out of an attack that launches them into the air. Unlike most, though, these skills have to be initiated in the air; once you land, you lose your chance.
* RecurringElement:
** It takes some from ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'', such as Moogles, summon monsters, and the magic system.
** Multiple games have central characters that form a PowerTrio in the form of a shorter, younger guy, his taller, brasher best friend, and a girl. The tall one tends to have a personality darker than the short stack, and tends to suffer some sort of bad fate (either a FaceHeelTurn, mind control, separation, or death). The short one and the girl tend to be separated in some way.
* RecurringRiff: No matter which series installment you're playing, the title screen will always have some variation of "Dearly Beloved". Another standout is "Destati", which has been left out of only two games.
* RedOniBlueOni: Sora's Valor Form and Wisdom Form. The former uses exclusively physical attacks, while the latter relies on magic.
** Donald would probably like to be this to Sora, but fails due to his own {{Greed}}. However Donald and Goofy qualify well as Donald is in the red due to his bad temper and Goofy is in the blue due to his calmer way of thinking and aloof personality. Ironically, Donald's battle uniform in blue and Goofy's is green.
%%** Sora and Riku, Sora and Roxas, Axel and Saïx, Terra and Aqua, Hayner and Roxas, the list could possibly go on.
* RefusedByTheCall: Sora at first. He wouldn't have gotten to be TheHero if Riku hadn't [[RefusalOfTheCall gotten impatient and used the darkness to leave Destiny Islands]].
* {{Retcon}}: Arguably the main reason why [[KudzuPlot so many people have problems following the overarching story]]. The BigBad's origin story is by far the worst offender, which seems to change with every major installment (read, the two numbered entries, ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'' and ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance''), and there are already hints that there is yet another change coming in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsIII''.
* ReplayMode: The series has a cutscene replay feature as an unlockable that can be viewed from the title screen (the feature's been there since the UpdatedRerelease of ''II'').
* RetGone:
** [[spoiler:While Sora is sleeping and Naminé is reconstructing his memories between ''Chain of Memories'' and ''Kingdom Hearts II'', everyone who knew him forgets that he existed until he awakens again.]]
** [[spoiler:Everyone had forgotten Xion when she died]], which is devastating to watch after seeing the development in ''358/2 Days''. [[spoiler:As of ''3D'', she's being remembered more, by Sora, Riku, and possibly Roxas.]]
* RewatchBonus: The revelation in ''Dream Drop Distance'' that [[spoiler:Nobodies gradually grow hearts back]] and that [[spoiler:Saix and Xigbar were possessed by Xehanort]] makes the personalities and actions of the Nobodies throughout the series come across very differently.
* TheRival: Riku is this for Sora, [[spoiler:at least until the end of the second game.]]
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge:
** For the ''player'' rather than anyone in the game. Seriously, name something from a Disney film that scared the bejeezus out of you as a kid. Maleficent, Chernabog, Ursula, Oogie Boogie... odds are good that whatever you named, you're gonna get to dish out some long overdue payback on.
** Also played in-universe during a scene on [[spoiler:Hollow Bastion. After defeating Demyx, a rock falls toward King Mickey. Goofy shoves the King out of the way only to catch the rock dead on his head himself. For all appearances, Goofy is now dead. After a brief mourning scene, Mickey declares that "they'll pay for this", throwing off his cloak, revealing his Keyblade and leaping into the battle, followed by one pissed-off Donald!]]
%%** Roxas goes on one after [[spoiler:Xion dies]], but is cut short by [[spoiler:Riku]].
%%** The entire ending portion of [[spoiler:Terra]]'s storyline becomes this in ''Birth By Sleep''.
* RoleReprisal: Most of the Disney worlds from UsefulNotes/TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation onward are populated ''mostly'' by the original actors from the films, though [[Disney/LiloAndStitch Deep Space]] is the only Disney world in the series to date to have no [[TheOtherDarrin Other Darrins]] at all. It varies; you'll hear almost the entire original casts of ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast'', ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'', ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'', and ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'', but only a handful of original voices from ''Disney/TheLionKing'' or ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame''. Still, the only post-Renaissance worlds to have ''no'' Role Reprisals are the live-action worlds, [[Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean Port Royal]] and [[Film/TronLegacy The Grid]], so they do pretty well. Notable pre-Renaissance reprisals have been Bruce Boxleitner reprising the eponymous role from ''Film/{{Tron}}'', John Fiedler still playing Piglet from the original ''Franchise/WinnieThePooh'' shorts, and Kathryn Beaumont reprising the roles of Alice and Wendy from ''Disney/AliceInWonderland'' and ''Disney/PeterPan'' a full fifty years later.
* RuleOfSymbolism:
** There's a lot of Taoist symbolism, namely the themes of duality and how nothing can exist without its opposite to give it proper meaning; namely, yin and yang, neither of which is innately evil. This is seen in the series with the balance of light and darkness, the belief that DarkIsNotEvil, it's just misused, and the existences of the Nobodies and Heartless. Furthermore, the three realms of Light, Darkness and Nothingness, tie into the "third" element of yin and yang, wuji, which symbolizes nothingness and limitlessness.
** A lot of Christian symbolism ties together Sora, Xehanort, and Kingdom Hearts.
*** Sora acts as a stand-in for Jesus Christ, TheChosenOne who travels worlds fighting darkness and helping those in need of serving the higher good. Xehanort acts as {{Satan}}, a FallenHero who corrupts others to darkness and can possess them to act through them. His Keyblade Armor and Glider even brings to mind FallenAngel symbolism, a silver suit of winged armor that Xehanort discarded when he began using the powers of darkness.
*** Kingdom Hearts serves as Heaven, the realm from which all hearts and life comes that Xehanort is trying to take control of and Sora fights to stop him. The χ-Blade that can open the door to Kingdom Hearts is depicted as two Kingdom Keys crossed over each other, and at the end of the first game, Mickey and Sora seal the Door to Darkness to Kingdom Hearts using two Kingdom Keys, Sora's being silver with a gold handle and Mickey's gold with a silver handle. In Papal heraldry, the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven are often depicted as a silver key and a gold key crossed over each other. Note also that "χ" is the first letter of the Greek word ''christos''.
*** As a tie to the Bible story of Genesis, the "capital city of light" that people were forced to flee when Xehanort conquered it and cast it into darkness, is Radiant ''Garden''.
** As a flip of the Christian symbolism applying to Sora, Organization XIII consists of thirteen Nobodies led by Xemnas as a DarkMessiah, and Roxas, the thirteenth member, betrays them. This is really driven home in ''II'' when the other members repeatedly refer to Roxas as a traitor.
* RuleOfThree: Three, thanks to the Trinity motif, is an ArcNumber for the series. There are several trios of characters; the realms of Light, Darkness, and Nothingness; three paths at the start of the two numbered games (Sword, Shield or Staff); three ways of levelling up in the first game (journey begins at dawn, midday or dusk); three party members at a time; three main incarnations of Xehanort; three captured Princesses in the first game; the Drive Gauge starts at 3 in the second game, and so on.
* SadBattleMusic: A recurring trope.
** In ''II'', "Darkness Of The Unknown" is at first fairly epic, but when it hits its third stage, it takes a turn for the somber.
*** And in Final Mix+, you have "The Other Promise," Roxas' theme turned into a boss music. It continues to play in the ensuing cutscenes.
** In ''358/2 Days''', you have "Vector to the Heavens," full stop.
** In ''Dream Drop Distance,'' you have "Rinzler Recompiled."
%%* SavingTheWorld: ''Worlds'', plural. However, the worlds are collectively referred to as "The World" in ''Birth by Sleep''.
* SayMyName:
** In the Secret End of ''Birth by Sleep'' [[spoiler:regardless of their state of existence, Naminé, Roxas, Xion, Ven, Terra and Aqua pray to Sora's name across time and space.]]
** ''Kingdom Hearts II'' have Sora, Donald and Goofy referred to or greeted in that exact order almost 100% of the time.
* ScienceFantasy: Due to being a crossover of various properties that are from different genres, the series contains many elements from fantasy and science fiction. Knights, sorcerers, spaceships, intergalactic travel, {{Cyberspace}}, {{Artificial Human}}s (and other artificial lifeforms like ArtificialIntelligence), royalty, some {{Magitek}}, and TimeTravel are just the tip of the iceberg.
* SecondHourSuperpower:
** The Keyblade from the original. Sora starts out with a wooden sword.
** Also, Roxas's keyblade. He starts with a struggle bat.
* SelfInsertFic: Literally done with the [[Franchise/WinnieThePooh 100 Acre Wood]], in which Sora inadvertently rewrites the story by finding the pages and interacting with the residents to include himself as a prominent character. It even includes him on the cover where Christopher Robin would've been when you clear the stage and find the keyhole.
* SequelHook: Most games have a secret ending movie that teases the next game.
* SentientCosmicForce: The Light; among other possibilities, this is the stuff of which worlds and people are made. It's apparently also the source and distributor of the Keyblades and Sora's initial visions. Can also impart Mysterious Monologues with the best of them.
* SequelNumberSnarl: The only games with a regular numbering scheme in their names are the home console releases, even though just about every game is important to the overarching narrative. This naming convention has created a situation where, in release order, ''Kingdom Hearts'' is the first game, ''Kingdom Hearts II'' is the ''third'' game, and ''Kingdom Hearts III'' is the ''eleventh''.
* SequentialBoss: No self-respecting final boss in this series would be caught dead without at least three forms.
** [[spoiler:The Virus version of Data Roxas encountered in the 13-level Sector in Hollow Bastion has ''four'' forms.]]
** Marluxia only has two forms in ''Chain of Memories'' but gains a third in the remake.
%%** [[spoiler:Data Roxas]] in ''Re:Coded'' only has one part to his battle although both Data Riku and [[DiscOneFinalBoss Sora's Heartless]] qualify.
%%* ShadowArchetype: The series loves these, using all sorts throughout the games.
* ShiftingSandLand: Agrabah, being an Arabian locale based off of the movie ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'', is largely comprised of desert.
* ShipSinking: [[spoiler:Axel]] specifically states that he considers romantic love (the kind between [[Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast Belle and Beast]] being the topic-starter) and love between best friends to be completely separate.
%%** [[spoiler:Xemnas/Saïx is torpedoed in ''358/2 Days''.]]
* ShooOutTheClowns: In the original game, played straight with the Hollow Bastion ClimaxBoss, but subverted in the final battle (in which Donald and Goofy rejoin you gradually). Played straight at the end of ''Kingdom Hearts II'', in which Sora and Riku are the only heroes at the final battle, but that's because Donald and Goofy had just left earlier after everyone ''thought'' that Xemnas was dead already.
%%* ShootEmUp: With the Gummi Ships.
* ShoutOut:
** The majority of {{Mook}} Nobodies are named after the various job classes in the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series, and often behave as such.
** The Darkside Heartless is named after ''Tales from the Darkside'', an anthology horror TV series. The Twilight Thorn is called [[Series/TheTwilightZone Twilight Zone]] in Japanese, referencing another famous horror TV series.
** The poses Sora does when he wins a tournament round in the first game are victory poses from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII VIII]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyX X]]''.
** Most of the Gummi Ship names are names of various airships from the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games.
** Xigbar's [[RedBaron title]], "Freeshooter", is taken from the title of the German opera ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Freischütz Der Freischütz]]''. The eponymous marksman makes a DealWithTheDevil in exchange for seven magical bullets; the first six are controlled by the marksman while the seventh is controlled by the Devil.
* ShownTheirWork:
** Repeatedly. The development staff has access to the whole of Disney canon to look at for concepts, and they go the extra mile to represent them well. Character designs match their film counterparts right down to the littlest detail, numerous locations look just like they did in the films, and many voice actors return to reprise their roles.
** It speaks of the quality of the localization team that Mickey, Donald and Goofy all talk ''exactly'' the way audiences expect them to.
* SigilSpam:
** The Heartless emblem and the Nobody sigil both show up on pretty much anything connected to their groups. The Unversed sigil also get the same treatment, as well the Dreameaters. [[spoiler: ''Weaponized'' by Xehanort in 3D.]]
* SignificantAnagram:
** All of Organization XIII; each of their names is an anagram of the old selves' name with an added X. Leads to EpilepticTrees about the original names of the "other" members.
** Xehanort especially. Get rid of the X and we get both "No Heart" and "Another". Nomura says both were entirely intentional. As of ''Birth by Sleep,'' add "No Earth." [[spoiler: Fitting, given what happens to Terra.]]
** Eraqus can also be arranged as "Square." Almost a complete reversal of the name in fact, just with the "u" being placed after the "q" to follow English vocabulary rules. This is done to make him a counterpart to Yen Sid, which is "Disney" spelt backwards.
* SignificantDoubleCasting. Several pairs of characters use the same voice actor, due to being alternate versions of the same character or having some other kind of strong relation.
%%* SlasherSmile:
%%** Axel displays these in ''KH:[=ReCoM=]'' during Vexen's and Zexion's deaths, and before fighting Roxas for the last time in ''II''.
%%** Ansem, when he takes over Riku after he kills Lexaeus.
%%** Vanitas and Master Xehanort display them quite often in ''Birth By Sleep''.
* SlidingScaleOfContinuity: Level 5 (Full Lockout). From the second game onward the games head straight into KudzuPlot with any detail potentially {{Foreshadowing}} future games (Xigbar's cryptic lines in ''II'' being an example). ''Dream Drop Distance'' has "memoirs" thought that record the plots of the preceeding games and unlocks them when a ContinuityNod[=/=]CallBack to the respective game first occurs. Making the games a Level 4 (Arc-Based Episodic) at least (though without that game it still remains at 5). ''Birth By Sleep'' tones it down to a Level 3, with the story being self-contained and easy to understand if you've not played the other games, but there's a lot of {{Call Forward}}s and Foreshadowing for future games that will be lost on a new player.
* SlidingScaleOfSillinessVersusSeriousness: Shifts from silliness towards seriousness within each game, and over the series as whole.
%%* TheSoulless: Well Heartless, if you want to get technical, but the Nobodies fit this like a glove.
* SoundOfNoDamage: The games feature a rubbery bounce sound when an attack has no effect, accompanied by a ripple where the enemy was struck. Countering an enemy's physical attack with one of your own or guarding causes a high "ching" sound.
%%* SpaceZone: Deep Space (''Lilo and Stitch'')
* SpamAttack: One technique, Ars Arcanum, is really just a flurry of blows from the Keyblade.
* SpannerInTheWorks: Sora and Co. have an amazing ability to tear complicated schemes to pieces without ever fully understanding them. (Though they do have help.)
* SpeedyTechnoRemake: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Bd6oUKw2U4 The PlanitB remix]] of "Simple and Clean", used in the openings of the first game and ''Birth by Sleep''.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Never Land or Neverland? Never Land is probably right, given that it was written as "the Never Never Land" in the original play (''Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up'').
* SpiritualSuccessor: The ''VideoGame/WorldOfMana'' series was succeeded by ''Kingdom Hearts'', more or less. ''[[http://dsn.91.com/ Disney Fantasy Online]]'' is a spiritual successor to Kingdom Hearts, as it's essentially Kingdom Hearts online with the Creator/SquareEnix properties filed off but with the Nomura art style and core concepts retained.
%%* SquishyWizard: Donald, ''in spades''. Aqua can be a bit like this as well.
* StandardFemaleGrabArea: Happens a few times to different characters, and is wonderfully subverted by Disney/{{B|eautyAndTheBeast}}elle in ''[=KH2=]'', who takes the opportunity to stomp on the foot of her captor and dash to safety.
* TheStationsOfTheCanon:
** Take a drink every time Sora and company intervene to make sure that the Stations of the Disney Canon happen properly.
** ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories'' turns visiting the Stations of Kingdom Hearts into a ''plot point''--The Important Promise is [[spoiler: changed by Namine so that Sora remembers her as the one he made that promise to]].
* StarsAreSouls: ''Kingdom Hearts'' is a bit iffy on this one. Usually, the stars in the ''KH'' universe represent worlds as a whole and they disappear from the night sky when that particular world is submerged in darkness. Then, in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', we have the [[Disney/TheLionKing Pride Lands]] as a world, which reaffirms the plot point that the old rulers of Pride Rock become stars in the sky upon death. This is also shown in ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth by Sleep]]'', when, after [[spoiler:Master Xehanort strikes down Master Eraqus in front of a horrified Terra]], Yen Sid notes, [[spoiler:"Eraqus's star has blinked out."]] The contradictions can just be chalked up to the world running on the TheoryOfNarrativeCausality.
* StillWearingTheOldColors: Neither Roxas nor Xion ditch their Organization XIII cloaks after they quit the organization. It's unlikely that Roxas had time to buy anything else to wear and Xion probably was wearing it [[spoiler:to protect her heart from darkness, like Riku does]]. Later, Lea also continues to wear his Organization cloak following his resurrection.
%%* StoneWall: Goofy, so very much.
* StoryDifficultySetting: A variant - ''Kingdom Hearts: 58/2 Days'' and ''Kingdom Hearts: Re:coded'' were both re-released in HD as the 1.5 Remix and 2.5 Remix, respectively. Each re-release featured cutscene-only versions of the game in question, removing all gameplay.
%%* SummonToHand: Keyblades can do this.
* SuperMode: Drive Forms:
** Valor Form cuts off magic, but grants DualWielding, SuperSpeed, and [[InASingleBound high jump]].
** Wisdom Form turns the Keyblade into an extreme MagicWand, gives a [[SuperSpeed speed dash]] ability, and turns your attack into a ProjectileSpell function. [[PowerFloats And it floats]].
** Master Form boosts [[MasterOfNone attack and magic to a lesser degree than the previous Forms]], but grants DualWielding and the ability to spam magic for as long as you have MP.
** Final Form is all of the above and cranks it UpToEleven. PowerGlows and PowerFloats (and {{Dual Wield|ing}}s floating Keyblades). It can [[NotQuiteFlight glide]] and [[InASingleBound high jump]]. Almost every action prompts rapid attacks from the Keyblades (including jumping, landing, and drinking a potion). Every physical and magical attack is a SpamAttack, to say nothing of the [[FinishingMove finisher versions]]. The only thing it lacks is Master Form's unlimited casting ability, but that's not much of a loss.
** Subverted with Anti-Form, which raises attack to maximum, but lowers defense to minimum. If you're good at evasion, this can destroy most enemies and even bosses pretty quickly, but you will drop after taking a few hits which makes this a double-edged sword.
** Lastly, Limit Form, a CallBack to ''Kingdom Hearts 1''. It emulates Sora's old moveset and grants him his old [[LimitBreak Limit attacks]].
%%* SupportingLeader: Leon's role in the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee in ''[=KH2=]''.
* SurpriseCreepy: Especially if all you saw before playing was the Disney element or hadn't actually watched some of the Disney films featured (did you think ''Pinnocchio'' portrayed being swallowed by a whale ''nicely?'')
* SurprisinglyGoodEnglish: Even though the game series was made in Japan, a lot of the English that appears in the game is grammatically correct, including the phrases that appear in the opening. Justified, as Engrish would look out of place in a game filled with Disney characters.
* TakenALevelInBadass: Mickey Mouse -- in his cartoons sometimes goofy, overly polite but assertive -- now kicks all kind of ass in a BadassLongcoat to boot, and sometimes in KHII if Sora is losing in a boss fight, Mickey fights in his place, and is much more overpowered.
%%* TakeMyHand:
%%** Seen a lot with Riku and Sora (especially Riku, who makes it his pose in the opening cinematics of both ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsI'' and ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII''.)
%%** And Vanitas takes the same pose in the opening for ''Birth by Sleep'', facing Ventus.
%%** Axel does it in ''Chain of Memories'' to Sora, but he doesn't accept it. Seeing what we [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder learn of Axel later]], that was definitely the right choice to make.
%%** Axel also does this to Kairi in ''Kingdom Hearts II'' when he offers to take her to Sora, but she also doesn't accept. So naturally, kidnapping comes next.
* TakeUpMySword: One way someone claims a Keyblade is by performing The Rite of Succession with a Keyblade Master. A Keyblade still has to choose ''them'', though.
* TeensAreShort:
** Sora, Riku, Kairi, Roxas, Naminé, etc. are all shorter than almost ''all'' of the adults in the game. "Shorter than some" would be understandable, as would "slightly shorter than most", but there is a significant height gap most of the way through, at least for the males. Although Riku does hit a growth spurt after ''Chain of Memories'' and becomes "adult height" for ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII''.
** Sora's growth spurt was nothing to scoff at either. The pants that reached his ankles in the original didn't even pass his knees in the sequel.
** Not really a teen, but seeing Goofy next to some of these other characters makes you realize that he's not so tall as much as all of his friends are just short.
** Gets really weird in ''3D'' when you see them interact with the cast of ''Film/TronLegacy'' (which are portrayed are as real, detailed, and unsettling humans) and see them tower over Sora and Riku.
* TerribleArtist: Naminé. Which may be forgivable as she is working in crayon then. In pencil, of course, she's completely amazing.
* ThemeNaming:
** The three major protagonists are named after the Japanese words for sky (Sora), land (Riku), and sea (Kairi).
** Their counterparts from Birth By Sleep match, being named after the Latin words for wind (Ventus), earth (Terra), and water (Aqua).
** Kairi and the two Nobodies born from her from her have a theme of a Japanese word related to the ocean with an extra [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mora mora]] at the end: Kairi (''kai''/ocean+''ri''), Naminé (''nami''/wave+''né''), and Xion (''shio''/tide+''n'').
** All the names of the Organization XIII members are anagrams of the names they had before they became Nobodies with an "x" added in.
** The [[EliteMook stronger Nobody mooks]] are all named after Job Classes from various ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games.
** Some of the spinoff games have something of an internet theme: ''[=CoM=]'' (''Chain of Memories''), ''coded'', ''BBS'' (''Birth by Sleep'').
* ThemeSongReveal: The series runs this trope as far as it can take it. Many themes are remixed and incorporated into other themes, and analysis of such can provide a glimpse into connections between characters when one of their themes incorporates snippets from the other's.
* ThereAreNoTherapists: Especially for Ventus, Aqua and Terra in ''Birth By Sleep.'' [[spoiler:Aqua winds up having to put down both Terra and Ventus, Terra loses his body and kills his master, and Ventus finds out he has to sacrifice himself]]. Though some of Organization XIII could also use them.
* TheyreCalledPersonalIssuesForAReason: Played straight and deconstructed several times throughout the series. Cases in point:
** In ''Birth By Sleep'', if Ven had told Terra and Aqua about Vanitas' warning, if Terra had told them about Master Xehanort's side teachings, basically if all three had just talked before things got out of hand [[spoiler:Terra may still have his body, Ven wouldn't be in a coma after destroying his heart to defeat Vanitas, Aqua wouldn't be trapped in the Realm of Darkness, Eraqus may still be alive, and Xehanort's plans would have been either halted or siderailed.]]
** Deconstructed [[spoiler:and intended]] for the Nobodies of Organization XIII. [[spoiler:By denying their emotions since they had no hearts, none of them progressed, and as revealed in ''Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]'', none of them could regain their hearts due to keeping those feelings locked up.]] Best part? [[spoiler:This was Xehanort's plan from the start, so he could have vessels to put his heart in and create his Thirteen Seekers of Darkness.]]
* ThirteenIsUnlucky: Organization XIII are the bad guys of ''KHII''. ''Dream Drop Distance'' introduces another example with [[spoiler:Xehanort's ultimate plot: creating thirteen human incarnations of darkness, the seekers of darkness, as a direct counterpoint to the guardians of light]].
* ThreeStrikeCombo: The protagonists typically start with a basic three point combo attack just by tapping to attack button. This can be lengthened, shortened or powered up depending on your abilities and keyblade.
* ThinkingUpPortals: Corridors of Darkness are portals that a person can conjure up, and they effectively allow the conjurer to travel to from anywhere in the entire universe to anywhere else in an instant. However, [[PowerAtAPrice doing so risks corruption by darkness.]] This explains why the villains can get anywhere in a flash, but the heroes always have to avoid these portals and take the slow way ([[VillainProtagonist with one]] [[VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2 exception.]])
* TitleDrop: In every game so far, the Kingdom Hearts, of which the series is named after, is referred to by at least one character. It is put simply, the heart of ''all'' worlds.
* TookALevelInBadass:
** Mickey is shown to have been clumsy at wielding a Keyblade when training under Yen Sid in ''Birth by Sleep.'' In the present day, he's the most skilled Keyblade wielder of all.
** Roxas gains a level in badass when he [[spoiler:absorbs Xion]], gaining his signature power to dual-wield two Keyblades.
** Sora in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' not only gets Roxas's dual-wielding, but later on takes his own level in badass when he gets the power to use Drive Forms. Even not counting this, Sora's skill with the Keyblade drastically increases during the events of ''Kingdom Hearts I'' and ''Kingdom Hearts II''.
** [[spoiler:Riku and Kairi]] both get their own Keyblades in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII''. The latter also demonstrates the ability to make a several-story jump off a balcony with seeming ease, a considerable feat for someone who hasn't previously been depicted as athletic, and continues to level grind offscreen between games.
** Over the course of the franchise chronologically, Lea goes from a seemingly normal kid with a [[ImprobableWeaponUser frisbee]] to a fire-wielding chakram-slinging Nobody assassin, then back to a human who retains all of those same abilities, and then [[spoiler:manifests a Keyblade]] on top of that.
** By ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsIII'', Sora finally taps into the Keyblade's potential as a MorphWeapon, opening him up to new weapons such as guns, whips, and drills, even up to the level of summoning ''[[Ride/DisneyThemeParks Disneyland rides]]'' in battle.
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: Quite a few characters like sea-salt ice cream, which serves as a minor plot point.
* TranslationConvention: Despite the games originally being in Japanese, the series uses characters from an American company. As such, the canon language being spoken, for the most part, is English--signage is generally in English, and KHII hammers the point home with the initialism "D.T.D." ("Door To Darkness") and a pun based on [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Cloud]]'s name[[note]]"It's like trying to chase a cloud", with the character actually pronouncing "cloud" in English in an otherwise Japanese line[[/note]] being present in the original Japanese version. It's never actually stated what's going on in, say, [[Disney/{{Mulan}} China]] or [[Disney/{{Aladdin}} Agrabah]], but Donald is able to use his magic to help the party blend in terms of their appearances, so the implication is that some magic-based TranslatorMicrobes are involved.
** This is compounded by the fact that even the Japanese rereleases of the games have the English dubs by default as the spoken language with Japanese subtitles and everywhere else only get the English dubs on the international rereleases with subtitles in other languages. However, you ''can'' switch to the Japanese language dialogue on their rereleases if you want when viewing the cutscenes in the games' theater modes.
* TrilogyCreep: There are 3 main consoles titles and half a dozen side games that were released on various other devices (primarily handhelds). Every single one is important to the plot and lead up to the "third" installment, ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsIII''.
%%* TwoGuysAndAGirl:
%%** Sora, Riku, Kairi; Terra, Ven, Aqua; Hayner, Pence, Olette (if you don't count Roxas); Roxas, Axel, Xion. Not to mention the evil, non-friendship version with Marluxia, Axel, and Larxene in "Chain of Memories". This series loves this trope.
%%** The mansion trio Riku, Ansem, and Naminé.
%%** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' characters Seifer, Rai(jin) and Fuu(jin)
%%** Tidus, Wakka and [[TheLastOfTheseIsNotLikeTheOthers Selphie]] on Destiny Islands.
%%** Cloud, Sephiroth, and Tifa in KHII.
%%* {{Troperiffic}}: Dear God, yes.
%%* TwoRoadsBeforeYou: Sword, shield, wand.
%%** "Will you take the road to light, or the road to darkness?"
%%--> "Neither. I'm taking the middle road."
%%--> "You mean the twilight road to nightfall?"
%%--> "No, the road to dawn."
* TomesOfProphecyAndFate: The Book of Prophesies, introduced within ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsX'', serves as this for the entire universe. It has information about the past, present, and future, and according to Maleficent via a [[{{Retcon}} retroactivelly]] added scene within ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded'', one can, among other things, create new worlds simply by adding onto it.
* TheUnchosenOne:
** Sora was not the initial choice for the Keyblade. Pretty much spelled out when Sora meets [[spoiler:Terra, one of the previous Keybearers.]] The latter flips out upon seeing the Keyblade in the hands of someone other than the one he chose. Cue BonusBoss. This is subverted if you take into account that it was the keyblade that chose Sora. Not a keyblade wielder like [[spoiler:Terra]].
** In contrast to Sora, both [[spoiler:Riku and Kairi actually ''are'' TheChosenOne, selected by Terra and Aqua, respectively (Although in Kairi's case, it was accidental, and in Riku's case, as mentioned above, he lost his chosen right and had to work hard to eventually transform his sword into a Keyblade instead.)]]
** Mickey and Aqua are also unchosen ones, in a sense. The former is, well, [[TheEveryman Mickey Mouse]], who became a Keyblade wielder [[ForGreatJustice just so he could help people with it]], and Aqua is simply a highly-skilled Keyblade wielder with no great destiny set out for her like [[spoiler: Terra or Ven]]. It doesn't stop either of them from [[SpannerInTheWorks derailing Xehanort's plans]], serving vital roles on the side of the good guys, and generally being badass the whole time.
* UncommonTime: The Hollow Bastion theme is in 5/8.
* UnderTheSea: Atlantica.
* UniquenessDecay: Over the course of the series, a surprising amount of Keyblades and Wielders have popped up with each passing game. In the first game, it's implied there's only one Keyblade and Keyblade Wielder, which is a major plot point when [[spoiler: Sora has to earn it back and prove himself after Riku reveals his status as the ''real'' [[TheChosenOne Chosen One]] and promptly takes it from him]]. At the end of the game, there's also revealed to be a Keyblade for the DarkWorld as well, which isn't too unreasonable to believe because of it being the opposite of the realm of light. However, in the secret video unlocked ''in the very same game'', there's shown to be a mysterious figure who can ''dual wield'' two Keyblades. Then in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', we find out that there's ''more'' Keyblades and Keyblade Wielders out there, but the amount is still rather reasonable come end game. [[spoiler: That being Sora, Riku, Mickey, and Kairi, with everyone else being either a Nobody version of an existing Keyblade Wielder, retired like Yen Sid, or (at that point) being a massive MindScrew like [[BonusBoss the Lingering Will]].]] Then the secret video in ''that'' game and ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'' reveals [[spoiler: ''an entire war of nothing but Keyblade Wielders took place in the past'', over what can be considered the ''ultimate and true'' LegendaryWeapon version of the Keyblade, and that there's an ''entire graveyard'' of the things now as a result]]. It's a fact that Braig in ''Birth By Sleep'' [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]], ironically, given the games status as a prequel to the rest of the series.
--> '''Braig''': ''It seems like these days, everybody's got one of those...''.
%%* UnresolvedSexualTension: Between Sora and Kairi. Seriously, you could cut it with a knife.
* UnscaledMerfolk: While in Atlantica, Sora is half dolphin, Donald is half octopus, and Goofy is mostly turtle (only his head is still clearly him).
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight:
** You'd think someone like Jack Sparrow would say something when faced with an ''anthropomorphic duck''. (Then again, considering this is ''[[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Jack Sparrow's]]'' mind...) In fact, someone would probably comment on there being several people looking like they just stepped out of a cartoon in a place that clearly doesn't have that kind of stuff.
** Likewise, in the Disney/{{Mulan}} level, the Captain doesn't seem to notice that the three most powerful of the new recruits don't look Chinese, don't have Chinese names, and aren't wearing Chinese soldier armor.
* UpdatedRerelease: The Re: and Final Mix editions of each game as they come. ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsI'', ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', and ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'' all have Final Mix editions that include additional bosses, areas, weapons, minigames, cutscenes, powers, and items, but, until ''Kingdom Hearts 1.5: HD Remix'' was announced with the original game's Final Mix included, [[NoExportForYou none of these were available outside of Japan]], despite having some international voices. The Re: editions (of ''coded'' and ''Chain of Memories'') have been available internationally, however, albeit in some changed format and minor changes to story elements in the process.
* TheUsualAdversaries: While they are also obviously TheHeartless, the Heartless and Nobodies are also this. ''Birth by Sleep'' brings the Unversed, and ''Dream Drop Distance'' introduces the Dream Eaters.
* VictoryPose:
** Sora, Donald and Goofy all have various victory poses in Olympus. Sora's poses are {{Mythology Gag}}s toward ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Final Fantasy VII]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII VIII]]'', and ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyX X]]''.
** In ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHearts358DaysOver2 358/2 Days]]'' everybody gets one for Mission Mode.
* VideoGameRemake: The [=PS2=]'s ''Re:Chain of Memories'', a remake of the GBA's ''Chain of Memories'' and ''Kingdom Hearts Re:coded'' for the DS, a remake of the mobile game ''Kingdom Hearts coded''.
* VillainBasedFranchise: [[spoiler:Master]] Xehanort (or one component of him) managed to cause every single problem in the series in some manner. Nomura recently has basically stated that Kingdom Hearts ''I'' through ''III'' and the associated spinoffs will comprise the "Xehanort saga" of ''Kingdom Hearts''. Yeah, '''all these games''' are just part of one villain-based saga.
* VillainTeleportation: A wide variety of villains will teleport around the battlefield. Notable examples include Ansem-Riku and his infamous [[TeleportSpam Dark Aura]] attack, Maleficent, Master Xehanort, Vanitas, and Organization XIII.
* {{Wackyland}}:
** Wonderland (''Alice in Wonderland'') features talking plants, potions that cause the party to grow and shrink, and frustratingly obtuse locals.
** Timeless River is based on old Disney shorts like ''WesternAnimation/SteamboatWillie'' and as such runs on CartoonPhysics and absurd slapstick.
** Symphony of Sorcery (''Fantasia'') has strange, magical weather phenomena and, as an example of BandLand, seems to impose MickeyMousing on its inhabitants.
* WatchingTheSunset: There are several scenes of dear friends watching the sunset together. Approaches an extreme degree in ''Days'', where Roxas, Xion and Axel meet in Twilight Town after every mission to do just that.
* WeaponJr: Sora's wooden sword, Tidus's wooden pole, Selphie's jumprope, Ven's wooden keyblade, and Lea's frisbees.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Xehanort believes himself to be this. [[spoiler:Sure he's screwing over Eraqus and his pupils, but he's doing it to bring about cosmic balance. It's just that his idea of cosmic balance requires causing a war between Keyblade masters that will destroy the universe]].
* WhamEpisode:
** The Hollow Bastion visit of the first game caused lingering consequences for the rest of the series afterwards.
** ''Birth by Sleep'' was one for the entire universe as well, as it featured the beginning of Master Xehanort's efforts to put his long plan into motion.
** ''Dream Drop Distance'', being the penultimate game in the series before the Xehanort Saga's conclusion, ties story elements from practically the ''entire series'' and shows how it's all connected, as well as having some major reveals about the Heart, Xehanort, Nobodies, and Organization XIII.
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman:
** The Nobodies. Sora in particular sticks to his "You don't exist, you don't feel anything" mantra right until the end, even after one of them pulls a HeroicSacrifice for his sake [[spoiler:yet comes back to life as a human, because of it]]... One might think he was speaking directly to Disney's censors. Meanwhile ''other'', non-Nobody villains succumb to TheHeartless, a KarmicDeath, get OneWingedAngel enough to get covered by this trope or survive for a while. To Sora's credit, once he actually gets some room to just process everything that went down in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', he is the ''first'' to avert this trope and he isn't shy about calling himself and others out for their bullshit.
** To a further extent, Nobodies unlucky enough to not have a human appearance are treated less than the ones that do. Just imagine a Dusk in place of Roxas or Namine or any member of Organization XIII.
%%* WhiteHairBlackHeart: Several--though two or three, depending how you count, are kinda the same person--and a couple subversions too.
* WhiteVoidRoom: Most of the rooms in Castle Oblivion. Most notably Naminé's. The justification in the game is that these rooms are altered by the memories of those inside the room, so they are blank white by default.
%%** Also Naminé's room in the Old Mansion in ''Kingdom Hearts II'', and also the Pod Room where Sora sleeps. Also, while not technically a room, [[spoiler:the Realm of Nothingness where the final battle against the [[OneWingedAngel really, REALLY final form]] of Xemnas is fought.]]
%%** The Chambers of Waking and Repose, in Castle Oblivion and Radiant Garden, respectively.
* WholePlotReference: Typically, the plot of a Disney world will be a truncated version of the film it's based on with Sora's party and the Heartless shoehorned in.
%%* WombLevel: Monstro (''Pinocchio'')
%%* WorldOfHam: There are actually plenty of characters who, dialogue-wise, aren't hammy at all, but there's also the fact that ''everyone'' is constantly MilkingTheGiantCow...
%%* {{Wutai}}: Land of Dragons (''Mulan'')
%%* XanatosSpeedChess: Xemnas, [=DiZ=], and even ''Mickey Mouse'' are masters of this.
* XanatosGambit: As of ''Dream Drop Distance'' we have this predicament: [[spoiler:Either the Keyblade wielders face Xehanort and forge the χ-blade in the process starting a new Keyblade War, or he attacks and takes the Princesses of Heart by force and creates it anyway.]]
%%* YouShallNotPass: Donald and Goofy give this to Ansem to keep him away from Kairi.
* {{Zipperiffic}}: '''Like you wouldn't friggin' believe.''' Pretty much the only things that don't have zippers in these games are the classic Disney designs (i.e. anyone who's not Donald, Goofy or even Mickey).