It's easy to assume that the TWEWY-cast's appearance is non-canon but it might as well be. Alternate realities are a huge part of the original game's story so the characters seen in this game could simply come from one of the parallel Shibuyas.
The game tells us that the "Recusant's Sigil" is a mark of Xehanort, particularly that he's chosen someone bearing it as a potential vessel. Go back and look at the character designs that feature an "X" shape somewhere on their clothing — Riku's outfit in the first game (including Dark Mode, and by extension Vanitas), Roxas's zipper pull, Sora's outfit in the second game, Saix's scar. The trio of Birth By Sleep all have the symbol too, but while Aqua and Ven have theirs bearing the Mark of Mastery in the center to "break" the X, Terra wears the Mark on his belt so his X is complete.
Just because it is an X doesn't mean it must be a Recusant Sigil. It seems to be purposefully marked. (i.e. The X in the name anagrams of the Organization members, Sora's Sleeping World clothing). However, that doesn't eliminate the possibility that Eraqus placed that sigil on Terra, Aqua and Ven, being the paranoid he is (and especially Ven). The Recusant's Sigil isn't a part of Xehanort; it's just a magical tracking device.
However, given the theme of destiny and everything being preordained in the series now, maybe the lack of a purposeful marking isn't an issue, and could just be taken as further proof that those bearing the X are doomed to be manipulated by Xehanort.
In The Grid, Sora is announced as Combatant Thirteen.
In Dream Drop Distance, we learn that Braig and all the other members of Organization XIII were intended as new hosts for Xehanort. He states he's already "half Xehanort", with the camera zooming in on his yellow eye. His hair isn't going grey because of his age... he's slowly taking on Xehanort's coloration, just like Terra did after his Grand Theft Me. Likewise, this explains why Saix's eyes are yellow instead of green like in Birth By Sleep. And it explains why Isa had bright blue hair, while Saix's is lighter, with grey mixed in, he, too, is taking on Xehanort's coloration.
And supports Axel's claims that Saix had changed from when they originally joined the Organization.
This also explains why Organization XIII is comprised entirely of males (andLarxene), and adds a whole new level to Saix's claims that Xion was never a member- she was supposed to become Sora, never Xehanort.
Speaking of Larxene, this could also explain her sadism. As number 12, she was the most recent addition to the Organization before Roxas and Xion. Most likely, her heart isn't as developed as some of the others.
And of course Organization XIII were perfect vessels for Xehanort's heart- Nobodies don't have hearts of their own!
Oh, it's even more brilliant than that. It was confirmed that Nobodies actually can have hearts and Xehanort has been lying to the Organization members all this time. What better way to weaken their defenses and make them a more perfect vessel than to make them believe that it never existed?
Yet another moment of Fridge Brilliance regarding the Organization. Specifically Demyx. When Sora first meets him, he's a Dirty Coward and pretty much an incompetent idiot, but when he confronts Sora in Hollow Bastion, he suddenly acts frighteningly competent and is pretty much That One Boss. Why the total 180? By the time of the fight, Xehanort was starting to take over, slowly replacing Demyx's original personality. As to why his actual last words are goofy again, it's simple: it was a case of Dying as Yourself!
The problem with that theory is that, as of now, it hasn't been confirmed that Demyx had Xehanort's heart transplanted into his body (same goes for any member of the Organization barring Xigbar, Saïx, and, presumably, Xion). Given Xemnas and his remarks about how most of the prospective hosts were deemed to be ill-suited for the job (and even those that could've been having been killed off before Xemnas and Xigbar could even make a move), this seems unlikely.
The Replica Program takes on a whole new meaning considering all this, as it essentially kills two birds with one stone in Xehanort's point of view: create suitable replicas to serve as vessels as part of his plot to forge the χ-blade, but more importantly, create a duplicate of Sora to serve as his primary new host. Commissioning it under the guise of creating a Keyblade wielder for the Organization serves as both a handy excuse as well as playing further into his plan; returning Hearts to Kingdom Hearts only makes it more powerful. This also adds another level of detail as to exactly why Roxas and Xion were so important to Xemnas.
They also explain that the letter X acted as a way to mark and monitor people who were prospective vessels. This pushes Saix's X scar into being full-blown Fridge Horror and provides an actual reason for the theme naming of Organization XIII.
The revelations also explain why Xemnas and Ansem, Seeker of Darkness never seemed to come into conflict, despite somewhat competing goals. Since they were on the same side the whole time, both working towards either snagging Sora or creating more opportunities to make more Xehanorts in general.
It also explains why Xemnas wanted to find the Chamber of Waking. Xehanort wanted to take one of the Lights as a Darkness, and a body without a heart makes an easy vessel to take...
A little bit more fridge brilliance here. at the end of the game Saïx is revealed to be a part of the New Organization XIII. If you look at all of the other members of the original Organization, you'll notice that Saïx is the only other one besides Xigbar and Xemnas to have yellow eyes. Meaning that the reason as to why we don't see the other members of the original organization there (Ignoring the ones that came back) is because they were not being possessed by Xehanort. It also explains as to why Saïx was second in command besides Xigbar in Days.
The black cloak is said to resist the corrupting effects of Darkness, so it would be redundant that Nobodies would wear one. In Dream Drop Distance, we find out that Nobodies are able to grow hearts over time, but Xemnas and Xigbar fooled the others into believing that they didn't have one and thus couldn't be corrupted by the darkness. The cloak unintentionally protected them from darkness the whole time to further the illusion. Xemnas was lying the whole time. Nice foreshadowing Nomura, it slipped under most people's minds.
This also explains why Nobodies get attacked by heartless, despite the fact that they only go after people who have darkness in their hearts and/or keyblade wielders. Since they supposedly don't HAVE hearts there wouldn't be anything to attract the heartless to. The weak fledging hearts that the Nobodies are growing is like a free buffet to the heartless.
A lot of things annoyed me from what I saw of the Disney world cutscenes in the game... the lack of people at the Festival of Fools, Phoebus and Esmeralda's hookup coming out of the clear blue (since any bonding scenes between them from the film were cut from the game), Sora leaving The Grid without checking to see if Tron's alright (despite CLU's dialogue suggesting he's still alive. And then it hit me... it's All Just a Dream! When do dreams ever make sense when you look back at them?
This also maybe the reason why Shiki is still in Eri's appearance.
Xemnas' boss theme, "L'Oscurita dell'Ignot". "Ignoto" means "unknown" in Italian, which may, at first glance, mean that the theme should be named "L'Oscurita dell'Ignoto", meaning "Darkness of The Unknown". However, "Ignot" doesn't mean anything in Italian or in other words, means nothing. Which would make the name suddenly appropriate: "L'Oscurita dell'Ignot" would be interpreted as "Darkness of The Nothing."
The Symphony of Sorcery world uses a different suite of classical music for Sora and Riku each: The Sixth Symphony by Beethoven for Sora and The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky for Riku. This doesn't seem to mean much at first... until you realize that both, the initially intended meanings of the pieces as well as the animated shorts done for them for Fantasia both apply to the characters in some way: The Sixth Symphony's form is supposed to represent five stages of a trip to somewhere: Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the country, Scene at the brook, Happy gathering of country folk, Thunderstorm, Shepherds' song; cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm. This can be interpreted to represent the structure of pretty much all the Disney world visits that Sora has done during his time as a Keyblade wielder: Arrival, Exploration, Meeting, Danger, Aftermath. Meanwhile, the Fantasia Short the piece was used for is mainly set on Mt. Olympus... In other words, in the sky, reflecting Sora's name. Over on Riku's side, The Nutcracker is a ballet about a prince who was transformed into something useless, but saved, returned to his true form and then went on to protect his land. This can be loosely applied to Riku's own story. Meanwhile, the Fantasia short which used the music depicts the change of seasons and nature, heavily featuring flowers and the like as it does so... which fits with Riku's name, "land", as opposed to Sora's "sky". This is reflected in their Reality Shifts for that world too: Sora's Reality Shift manipulates clouds and wind, while Riku's causes flowers to bloom and lakes to freeze over with solid ice to stand on (somewhat creating "land").
Sora is The "Fourth" Musketeer.
The fact that Riku was actually a Dream Eater inside Sora's dreams for the entirety of the exam bugged me at first, but then I realized... what's a Dream Eater? It's the form darkness takes in the sleeping worlds!
Then look at the back of his new clothes. The Dream Eater emblem is on his back but if you check Sora... well there's no emblem anywhere obvious.
To make it even more brilliant, consider the way each character interacts with their Dream Eaters. Sora works with his in various physical ways whereas Riku actually combines with them which the game itself points out that Dream Eaters merge together make combo moves. Bravo, Square.
It's even foreshadowed on the cover: Sora is directly behind Riku while Riku looks up with an apprehensive expression on his face. If you pay attention to the positioning, Sora is curled behind Riku in such a way that you would have to go through Riku to reach him. Riku is effectively standing standing guard over Sora in a similar to how he acted as Sora's Guardian Dream Eater in the game
Indeed, Sora has no Dream Eater emblem... but he does have a different one: The X, the "Recusant's Sigil"!
At the start of the game, Sora and Riku have almost the same skills in their command deck, one physical skill, some potions and two magic skills. Sora's magic skills he starts with is Blizzard and Fire, while Riku has Fire and Sleep.
A Fridge Heartwarming: The reason why Neku's Dream Eater is a Necho Cat is because it shows the two things that he loves - music and artist CAT.
Why, all of a sudden, does flowmotion allow the protagonists to pull all those crazy stunts? Reason one, Rule of Cool. Reason two, the protagonists are free from their bodies' boundaries due to Sora's and Riku's selves shown in the game being, more or less, their respective souls in the Dreaming Realm. The fact they can still be defeated and die in the game is more or less a case of Never Sleep Again; on the other hand, due to flowmotion they can do in dreams what their bodies could never (so far) do in reality. - FB by Alex Sora 89
That'd make sense except for the fact that Sora's reaction commands in Kingdom Hearts II have Flowmotion handily beat in terms of crazy stunts. Sora's fifteen-year-old body is capable of far more than just Flowmotion. The only thing Flowmotion has is the bright lights and the fact that you can do them at will. Flowmotion is more likely just an indicator that he's still capable of some of the stuff he pulled in Kingdom Hearts II. Reality Shift, on the other hand...
Sora's Color Motif is magenta, which can be associated with purple, which in this game is generally associated with darkness. Sora's heart is shattered and falls into darkness. But don't worry, he gets better. Riku's color motif is sky blue which signifies that he is the true protagonist of the game. Not to mention the colors portray their Red Oni, Blue Oni relationship.
Sora may not be a true Keyblade wielder at all. Here me out on this, when Ven's heart is within Sora, Sora gains the use of Ven's Keyblade. Riku has a Keyblade inheritance ceremony with Terra, giving him use of the Keyblade, but Riku falls into darkness, so Sora has Riku's also. Now, in Dream Drop Distance, Riku has his Keyblade back, so all Sora has is Ven's Keyblade. When Ven wakes up, and regains his Keyblade, guess how many Keyblades Sora has... None!
There's one hole in this Fridge though: Sora got the Keyblade when Riku turned to the darkness, then the whole back-and-forth happened, and Riku couldn't use the Keyblade at all afterward... then in KHII, he worked hard to get his own unique one, while Sora still has the same Keyblade. Riku got a new one, while Sora still has Riku's... so even if/when Ven, Roxas and Xion are removed from Sora's heart, he'll still have a Keyblade to use: Riku's original one.
Sora IS a Keyblade wielder in his own right. He inherited what would have been Riku's keyblade when Riku fell into Darkness. Riku had to forge himself an entirely new keyblade and earn the right to use it. Ven's heart inside of him is the reason he and Roxas can wield two Keyblades at once.
Technically, here's the progression of Keys to Hearts with Sora. First Keyblade came to him because he had a Keyblader(Ventus)'s Heart. During most of KHI, Sora's Keyblade is based in Ventus' Heart. Events with Riku happen at Hollow Bastion, causing the Keyblade to bounce to Riku until Sora proved himself worthy on his own merit, making his own Heart a proper Keyblader. Then Sora stabs himself with the Key to People's Hearts to free Kairi's Heart, causing himself to turn into a Heartless and his Body+Ventus' Heart goes off to become Roxas. Sora-Heartless gets a hug from Kairi, creating a Body of Light for Sora's now official Keyblader Heart to reside in. He then progresses through the rest of the game, Co M, and the prologue of KHII with just 1 Keyblade and 1 Heart, his own. Roxas fuses into him, returning the Ventus Heart, so now he has two official Keyblader Hearts within, thus allowing his Synch Blade ability, 1 Keyblade per Heart. Even if/when Sora saves Ventus and returns the Heart to him, Sora will still have the Keyblade of the Realm of Light(Kingdom Key) as his own personal, and rightfully owned Keyblade.
Links and Duel Links. For Sora, it involves partnering up with his Dream Eaters for special attacks. Riku on the other hand absorbs their power to grow stronger. It makes so much more sense when you discover Riku himself is a Dream Eater.
Young Xehanort said that when he goes back to his own time, he'll lose his memories of time travel and live life as he was meant to, but that he'll make the intended choices because it's "etched into his heart." When we see his face in the secret ending, recreating the first scene from Birth by Sleep, his eyes are gold. The path he was meant for, as a Seeker of Darkness, was indeed etched into his heart.
Sorry to disappoint, but Xehanort's eyes are naturally gold. That's why Braig/Xigbar and Saïx's eyes turned gold and why Terranort's eyes were shown to be brown when both Terra (blue) and Xehanort (gold) were locked out of control.
Both of you are right. Xehanort's eyes are gold because the effect of darkness staining people's hearts (hence, why DiZ also had gold eyes despite not being a vessel; the Heartless also have glowing yellow eyes, which are, while not natural eyes, are nevertheless have the same color). People who are vessels for his heart have gold eyes as they are taking on his traits, Xehanort's stained heart is overshdowing their original's.
Though Word of God stating that Young Xehanort was the only Xehanort incarnation not corrupted by darkness throws a wrench into things because, while the transference/influence of Xehanort's heart is indeed the reason other characters have gold eyes, Xehanort was shown to have gold eyes before he dabbled in darkness and tumbled down into villainy (as evidenced by flashbacks and Ansem SOD's meeting with Young Xehanort). The distinction between gold eyes as a result of corruption by the darkness and gold eyes as a result of possession by Xehanort is basically a "square is a rectangle, but rectangle is not a square" kind of deal.
Technically DiZ's gold eyes(of the orange variety) were there before he dabbled in darkness when he was Ansem. The only beings of Darkness with Gold Eyes that didn't have gold eyes before falling to Darkness are the Heartless and Vanitas(who's pretty much a Heartless himself).
Riku passing the Mark of Mastery makes more sense when you remember that in Birth by SleepTerra chose him as his successor. Given all their parallels to each other—both had the darkness in their heart grow and inadvertently destroyed their homes due to influence from an incarnation of Xehanort, both attacked one of their friends when possessed by the previously mentioned incarnation, and both resisted long enough to help their friend win in some way—Riku really did become Terra's successor and succeeded where Terra mostly failed.
The deepest part of Sora's heart is Destiny Islands. Remember what the background was on Sora's personal station.
Young Xehanort tells Sora that the reason he knew everything up to that point was meant to happen, and the reason he is able to travel forward in time to be present during the events of the game, is because "I'm here, looking down at you." A line to the effect of "I'm meant to be here because I'm able to here" doesn't make much sense until you remember the rules of time travel — you can only travel to locations and times where an incarnation of yourself exists. Young Xehanort is there because Master Xehanort is reforming, if MX wasn't reforming YX wouldn't have been able to come there, and to his perspective, that of someone from long in the past witnessing future events unfold, his own presence as a result of those events is proof those events are destined to happen. He's telling the truth completely straight, and it makes total sense.
When Master Xehanort appears as the leader of the XIII Seekers of Darkness, Xemnas is sitting in his right side throne, and Ansem in the left. It's all too fitting, heart on the left as though mimicking its physical representation within his chest. Being completed within as well as without, both heart and body at his side. - Capax infiniti from Dream Width for the inspiration.
Remember Riku's Dark Mode? Awesome looking bit of armor right? You ever wonder why the supposed Heartless symbol on his chest was incomplete? The thorned X was missing, unlike the emblem Ansem wore on his jacket. The Heartless Emblem incorporates the Mark of Heresy/Recusant's Sigil, that which marks someone an extension of Xehanort. Ansem bore it as Xehanort's heart, but Riku's was bare. Even when possessed and at his most vulnerable to the darkness, Riku was still strong enough to never be branded. A foreshadowed Badass unlike any other.
Also noteworthy is that his eyes have always remained their original color. He's never had the golden eyes that indicate his succumbing to darkness.
The Drop gauge suddenly makes more sense given that Riku is a Spirit Dream Eater... if he's inside Sora's dreams, he can't do anything while Sora's awake now can he?
Meowjesty is mostly black and appears to have Mickey Mouse-like pants. Kind of like Mickey's design in other media.
On Ansem SOD's character page, it's noted there's a Plot Hole regarding his not knowing Kingdom Hearts was light, despite the fact he had Master Xehanort's memories the whole time (and hence should know this). However, when you consider that the original target to be the 13th Xehanort was RIKU, who Ansem SOD possessed... maybe he pretended to be ignorant of that, because his true plan involved marking Riku. Unfortunately for him, Riku resisted, but it still makes sense when you think about it.
An extension to this, after learning Ansem and Xemnas' plan to assemble the 7 lights and 13 darknesses, it was very possible that their original intentions in their respective games were a ruse to draw a keyblade wielder to defeat them and reform into Master Xehanort, with the added bonus of putting that Keyblade wielder to become one of the 13 darknesses after learning that Xemnas' plan failed.
And as for Ansem SOD knowing Kingdom Hearts was light, he didn't know—Not consciously, anyway. Young Xehanort tells Sora that when he returns to his own time, he'll forget everything he's learned in the future, but the actions he'll have to take is now embedded in his heart. This is a case of Because Destiny Says So and Stable Time Loop.
Xehanort's plan to forge the X-blade really bugged me. I mean, 13 darkness vs 7 light? Isn't the X-blade supposed to be made through an equal amount of light and darkness?. However, the secret ending made it reach into Fridge Brilliance. Kairi will be part of the lights. Now, if you include the Princesses of Heart as well as the Keyblade users, how many is that? 13. Kairi being both a Princess and a keyblade user makes it equal out.
Additionally, what is another reason why Yen Sid would train Kairi in the Keyblade? If one goes through the entirety of Xehanort's plans, and what each person we currently know had a part in it, Kairi's entire purpose for Xehanort in any incarnation was as a defenseless girl who would serve as a Princess of Heart to try to kill. Every incarnation saw her as this, and none of them saw her Keyblade, since Riku had locked Ansem, Seeker of Darkness away by that time, and she only ever summoned it to attack some Shadows attacking Sora. Further take into account the anti-darkness powers of the Princesses of Heart in addition to the Keyblade's ability to manipulate certain matters of the heart, and it looks as though Yen Sid is trying to use the last piece he possibly can think of to call up an honest to god Spanner in the Works.
Not only that, but Xehanort has a really bad habit of ignoring the third member of any of the game's Power Trios, only for said member to turn out to be a Spanner in the Works. This was true for Aqua in Birth By Sleep, and (eventually) Axel/Lea in Dream Drop Distance. Now it's Kairi's turn, and Yen Sid is preparing her for that moment.
... Not quite. In the ending, it turns out that just combining an equal amount of Light and Darkness isn't truly the right way to forge the X-Blade. That's why Ven/Van didn't work out. The original X-Blade split into 20 pieces, seven of Light, thirteen of Darkness. Xehanort's plan is to try to recreate the original X-Blade by bringing the seven pieces of Light that split off back together with the thirteen pieces of Darkness that split off. Thirteen Lights versus thirteen Darknesses would actually be the wrong way to go. It has to be the seven and thirteen.
In Dream Drop Distance, Sora is inexplicably more happy and childlike, why? Well, for the entire spans of KHI, CoM, and KHII, he's been chasing after Riku, wanting to make sure he's okay (and to a lesser extent, Kairi as well). In Dream Drop Distance, they're finally back together and safe, even though Kairi couldn't take place in the test... in other words, Sora is literally expressing relief and happiness that all his hard work has finally payed off, and he can't restrain himself.
Also, check the character model. Minus the beginning and the end of the games, Sora's in-game model resemble his KHI form, in which his optimism was higher when compared to the KHII version.
And an alternate explanation: he is in a dream for most of the game. No said our dream selves had to act exactly like themselves.
In the secret message shown through the credits, Xigbar is seen with the letter "R". Why? It's "R for Reload."
And another for TWEWY fans: Those groucho glasses look awfully familiar.
Lea/Axel gaining a Keyblade adds Fire to the Air-Water-Earth trio motif. Nomura just added the 4 Classical Elements to Kingdom Hearts.
Adding to that, with nothingness already as an established element parallel to both light and dark, you technically have the "fifth" classical element, Aether/Quintessence (or, if you're going by the Japanese concept of the five elements, Void).
You know how Lea had trouble getting his Keyblade to appear? How he needed training and all? Okay, now remember how Kairi never got out her Keyblade again after that one long cutscene where she fought with it soon after getting it? Sure, there are a few other things that question this logic, but this is still at least a reason, and a pretty amusing one, too.
Kairi got the Keyblade from Riku (who even explicitly takes it out to hand it to her). Now consider the chain of events that led to Riku's appearance as Ansem. He was for some time possessed by Xehanort's Heartless, who has both Terra, Eraqus and Xehanort's hearts within him. A remnant of said Heartless remained in Riku for a while after being blasted by Kingdom Hearts' light. Even after Riku conquered Ansem in Castle Oblivion, the remnant of Ansem remained (albeit locked) until Riku's fateful encounter with Roxas, where he "unlocked" it, causing him to take on and gain Ansem's appearance and powers. This means he had a total of four Keyblade-qualified hearts inside him: his own, Terra's, Eraqus' and Xehanort's. His own Keyblade is Way to the Dawn. Xehanort lost his Keyblade when he turned into a Heartless. Aqua took on Eraqus' Keyblade. Guess whose Keyblade is the girly Destiny's Embrace that Riku handed to Kairi?
Amusing catch, yes, but wouldn't he still have to physically receive the Destiny's Embrace from Aqua herself (assuming she's actually holding on to the keychain and it wasn't lost along with Stormfall and her Keyblade Armor), seeing as Aqua gave Kairi the ability to wield a Keyblade but not necessarily the Destiny's Embrace itself?
Actually, there's another way. The Room of Repose is only guarded by a password, consisting (we think) of the true names of the Organization's first six members. These are also the six apprentices of Ansem the Wise, who therefore would know the password just as well as Xemnas. And guess who Riku has been in regular contact with? Riku could have gotten the names from Ansem, gotten into the Room of Repose some time after Xemnas last used it, and picked up Aqua's keyblade (complete with the keychain for Destiny's Embrace) from there.
The X, or the "Recusant's Sigil," is how Xehanort marks all of his potential vessels, right? Look at the original Organization XIII members. What do all of their names have in common?'
This also explains why Namine is the only Nobody without an X in her name. Xehanort only ever needed XIII vessels so Xemnas never marked her.
Not only that, but Namine is the nobody of a girl who is explicitly immune to darkness, and it's possible that Kairi's immunity rubbed off on her. She's the only humanoid nobody who has never worn a black cloak— because she doesn't need it. She's one of the last people Xehanort would consider using for a vessel.
People have noted how Lea seems more dull-toned as a complete person, but consider this: during his time as Axel, he had a heart most of that time, but thought he didn't. And so like all Nobodies, they were pretending like he had one (read: overacting, hence being hammy). But now, as Lea, he no longer needs to overact.
Wasn't it somewhat strange that in Birth by Sleep Xehanort's plan was to seemingly have Vanitas absorb Ven if he wanted the perfect equal fusion of light and darkness? Since it's revealed that the X-Blade broke off into 13 pieces of darkness and 7 of light it makes sense that Vanitas was meant to be stronger than Ven. The amount of light and darkness in the blade is uneven.
Actually we don't know the exact amount of light and darkness in each piece. The totals for both could be equal, but there's nothing to say the darkness isn't more thinly distributed. That would explain why Sora and co. are capable of defeating one of the Seekers of Darkness, but all of them will probably be a lot harder.
It's not really "Fridge," though. "L'Impeto Oscuro" is just "Dark Impetus" translated into Italian like the rest of Xehanort's themes.
Pay close attention to some of Riku's moves. Look familiar? One of the them is basically Aqua's Ghost Drive. And a lot of his moves are the same from those he uses when you fight him in Hollow Bastion in KHI.
Sora becoming overwhelmed by his own darkness near the end of the game makes all the more sense when you remember the quote prior to Sora fighting the Darkside the first time "The closer you get to the light, the greater your shadow becomes." Throughout the series Sora has been relying solely on the light and strengthening it inside him, thus inadvertently strengthening the darkness within him at the same time, but unlike Riku, Sora hasn't been using the darkness, and thus when the Xehanorts stoke the darkness within him, he doesn't know how to control it.
At the end, Master Xehanort reveals that the X-Blade was split into 7 lights and 13 darknesses, after I thought about that, I realized that "Ansem's" attempt to open the keyhole to darkness in KHI was about more than just opening the way to Kingdom Hearts, but was also yet another attempt to forge the X-Blade. The Keyblade of Heart was the Light half of the X-blade (minus 1 heart). Had Ansem succeeded in completing the Keyblade of the Heart, he would have had the Light half of the X-Blade literally at his fingertips, while Xemnas would have used Organization XIII to create the 13 Darknesses. Thus, Xehanort would have been able to forge the X-Blade virtually unopposed.
This does seem to have indeed been the original plan, as Xehanort says during the info dump near the end of the game that he used Maleficent to gather the seven pure lights for him, which we saw in the first game.
Throughout the game, Lea has to constantly remind people that his name is no longer Axel, and even when he does, people still tend to call him Axel. It seems just like a silly thing the writers threw in. But it becomes a hell of a lot funnier when you realize that the reason they are still calling him Axel is because he has spent every appearance since Chain of Memories getting people to memorize his name.
How come only Riku rides a light cycle in The Grid? Simple: he's the only one old enough to drive.
Actually, the journals for a few characters confirm that over 12 years have passed since Birth by Sleep; thus, Sora and Riku are, respectively, 16 and 17 in KH3D. In some countries, you can start to learn to drive as young as 14. And don't forget that Sora did use a Light Cycle before, at age 15, in Space Paranoids.
The only reason why Sora cannot use the Light Cycle is because he escaped from the guards, while Riku volunteered to be arrested; had the guards succeeded with recapturing Sora, then chances are Clu would've put him on the Light Cycle arena as well.
In the Japanese version, the Recusant's Sigil is called the Extremist's Sigil. As in Xtreme.
Namine's appearance to Sora in the game didn't quite make sense at first, other than her being one of the people needing rescuing, because she's Kairi's Nobody. Then I remembered that while that is true she was born of Sora's body. The same can be said about Terra and Aqua's appearance because Sora was looking like Ven at that moment.
When Sora reiterates the whole my friends are my power thing to Xigbar and Xemnas they both freak out to the various degrees allowed by their personalities at the appearance of the other Keyblade wielders having Sora's back but I wonder why Xemnas would freak out and then it hit me: Xemnas is Apprentice Xehanort's Nobody born from when Master Xehanort possessed Terra. Of course he'd freak out, he just saw the person who should have succumbed to Xehanort completely as his true self not the living armor fate he ended up with.
In Kingdom Hearts 2 Xemnas told Kingdom Hearts that without it he can't be complete and yet in this game he knows Nobodies can grow Hearts and probably grew one himself so why isn't he complete? Simple his powers are Nothingness based which means that despite having a Heart it has more Nothingness in it than Darkness so his plan was pretty much the same as Ansem's: "Kingdom Hearts! Fill me with the power of Darkness!Supreme Darkness!"
This one just hit me right now, and it's a little more light-hearted/funny here: Why would Necho Cat and Frootz Cat have six legs while the other Dream Eaters (save for Sir Kyroo) are technically more normally limbed? because they're CATerpillars!
Throughout the game the main villains seem to have the ability to put their opponents into a deep sleep, keeping in line with the sleep/dream theme of the game. Now, which Disney villain also has this power? Maleficent.
This troper had been SO ticked when Riku got the Mastery and Sora didn't, until she finally realized something: Sora has Ven's heart inside of him. Sora can't get the Mastery because Ven isn't qualified for it yet!
In Birth By Sleep, Ienzo doesn't talk. In Co M, he gets interrupted by an overbearing Vexen, which he's none too happy about (one could describe their relationship as vitriolic). Vexen had probably been used to speaking for him, and doesn't like it when he started talking back to him (from his point of view, anyway). Now in DDD, Ienzo is interrupted again, this time by Lea, which he doesn't seem to mind. He doesn't even seem to hold a grudge about Axel using Repliku to kill him.
At first, it had always bugged me that at the beginning of their journey Master Yen Sid implied that Sora and Riku's Mark of Mastery exam was partly meant to teach them how to wield their keyblades like true Masters, as opposed to their mostly self-taught skills up until this point. However, it always seemed as though They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot; while Sora and Riku DO learn new techniques and improve their styles to be more in line with what we've seen from trained keybladers like Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, they learn this from their Dream Eaters with (seemingly) no plot explanation. But then I realized: in this game, the Sleeping Worlds being trapped in dreams manifests as memories of people and events from that world. It's stated that Dream Eaters feed on the dreams of the world and its inhabitants. Thus, by feeding on these worlds' dreams, the Dream Eaters absorb some of the memories of those worlds, including those pertaining to previous keyblade wielders who may have lived on or visited them. That's why they learn them from their Spirits - the Spirits have absorbed the skills and experience of numerous past keybladers, and bonding with them allows Sora and Riku access to all of that training. Master Yen Sid really chose a brilliant test - not only does unlocking the Sleeping Worlds help achieve multiple goals, it also allows Sora and Riku to get entire worlds' worth of training in a fraction of the time it would normally take. If only it hadn't Gone Horribly Wrong...
In the ending, Ansem The Wise lists a few "things" that are capable of growing hearts...including an empty puppetnote alluding to Pinocchio as well as the two Replicas seen in the series, the trees of the forest, and the petals on the wind. Now remember in Symphony of Sorcery, Young Xehanort crushes a petal floating by him. He is effectively crushing a heart.
Back when Kingdom Hearts II came out, and the original Secret Ending hinted at things to come in Birth by Sleep, the word "Chaser" was mentioned, leading many to think it would be an Arc Word of some sort. It didn't happen in Birth By Sleep, but the word was referenced in this game. What's a synonym for "Chaser?" "Seeker," as in "Seekers of Darkness."
How come that Sora gets so mad at Xemnas near the end of the game? Xemnas just revealed that Nobodies can develop new hearts, but he hid that piece of information in order to manipulate the other members and keep them heartless, thus making them easy vessels for Xehanort. Sora is angry on behalf of Roxas and Axel and Xion... but Roxas is pissed.
A more optimistic interpretation is that since most of the worlds destroyed by the Heartless were restored at the end of KHI, and Shibuya isn't seen in the Realm of Sleep (where all the worlds that weren't perfectly restored went), the originals are safe and sound back on their own world. On the other hand, it doesn't seem Joshuaknows... but maybe he's just a dream recreation too. After all, Yen Sid did say that everything that Sora and Riku saw in those worlds were just dreams, including the people they met.
Or Maybe Joshua did know, but by the fact he can't interfere with the other Player in the RG.
Why are there so many Heartless if there isn't a lot of people among the worlds? There is one world that could hold at least 582 and maybe more... Shibuya.
And we know all about Radiant Garden and its lab of pods.
Look at the game's boxart. Riku's eyes are open and he is facing upward while Sora is downward, eyes closed, Micky attempting to help him. This pretty much proves that Sora is the one falling in the potholes this time.
The end of the opening cinematic features Sora, Riku, Mickey, Terra, Aqua, Ven, Roxas, Donald, and Goofy confronting Master Xehanort. Fridge Heartwarming, right? Terra, Aqua, Ven, and Roxas are going to be ok!... However, once taken in context with 3D's ending, Xion, Kairi, and Lea are nowhere to be seen.
According to Nomura, you are correct.Lea and Kairi, and possibly Xion as well could be Guardians. Terra, Ven, Aqua and Roxas might not be guardians. The people in 3D''s opening could be the 7 Guardians, or they could not be the 7 Guardians. 3D's opening is a "what if" or a "maybe" scenario, not what will happen in Kingdom Hearts III''.
The Recusant's Sigil, as described above, is a prime source of fridge horror considering how frequent the X has appeared on characters' designs. The most chilling of them all may be Saix, considering how it is carved into his skin and his drastic change in personality when he became a nobody. Plus there's the implication that Xehanort may or may not have had his sights set on Isa from as young as fifteen.
The definition of Recusant? Someone who does not conform. Brings a whole new meaning to Saix's X shaped scar.
Around the middle of the game, Lea wakes up in the same chamber that the other of Ansem's six apprentices had their hearts removed via Machine. They seemed to remember Lea and Ïsa being there... so at one point, Lea and Ïsa were were in that room and had their hearts removed with the same machine. We're not told what the circumstances to them losing their hearts were... for all we know Xemnas took them both in.
Joshua and the other The World Ends with You kids in the dreaming Traverse Town is rife with this, even more so after the second visit. Joshua presumably witnessed the attack of his world and the other four's deaths, which is bad enough on its own for a World that usually offers people a chance to get back to life. He gathered up their memories and fled to "Traverse Town" to put them together again, only to find out that when it's just him interacting with them, fixing them isn't that effective. He molded them into shape and had them play a Game anyway hoping it would make some difference and then Sora and Riku show up and it looks like their contact with Neku, Shiki, Beat and Rhyme will help them become alive again... except that when Shiki and Rhyme get back to their Partners, Joshua finds out that all of this is most likely just a dream and for all his hard work and hopes, it might end up meaning all of nothing whatsoever and he might not be able to get them back after all. He looks about ready to cry in the scene where he tells Riku this. And Joshua's still waiting for "a friend", probably Hanekoma, but Hanekoma's not showing up, so he might have died in the Heartless invasion... His own game's ending is bad enough if you believe in the "the Composer can't interact with the RG"-theory, but this is so much worse. Someone give this kid a hug.
What's worse is that Joshua is god (or something) in his world but all he could do was flee. I guess the Heartless really were Eldritch Abominations...
What's even more worse id that the higher higher ups in Shibuya are angels, who keep the Undergrounds safe, which may indicate the presence of a God. What happened to them?
Chernabog uses the spirits of the dead he has summoned as projectiles that latch onto Riku and sap his HP, which is pretty much Nightmare Fuel as it is. Think about it a bit more, though, and you realize that the spirits are most likely trying to take Riku with them. Keep in mind that Chernabog apparently enjoys torturing the spirits of the deceased...
Another for TWEWY: Players from the original game may remember Rhyme's entrance fee? Her hopes/dreams/goals? Now remember what Joshua used to get the cast to safety and to move between Traverse Towns? Doubles as Fridge Brilliance, since as the Composer, Joshua would have access to everyone's fee.
It might mean that Terra somehow manage to return but Aqua has fallen in the Realm of Darkness and is not going to return.
To make that possibility even more real, one of the trailers for Kingdom Hearts III shows Sora picking up Master Eraqus Keyblade (the same Aqua has been using since she sacrificed herself to save Terranort) on the shore of Destiny Island.
A bit of Fridge Logic from the 358/2 Days page:
Fridge Brilliance/Tear Jerker: In the scene where Roxas and Xion meet Genie, Genie remarks that they could do better than a simple, "Nice to meet you too," kind of thing. Tear Jerker comes in when you realize that because they're Nobodies, they actually CAN'T do better. Whenever they go into worlds and meet people with Hearts, they're doomed to see everyone around them all enthusiastic and happy/sad/angry/etc while they themselves cannot. Brilliance comes in when you realize that it may be one of the reasons they are to remain stealthy. Interacting with normal people, with the Tear Jerker in mind, would most definitely lower morale in the group.
But if they don't have emotions, how can they have morale?
The Fridge Logic actually has some interesting implications after this game. Nobodies can create new hearts. Contact with people with hearts could have accelerated the creation of new hearts as well as strengthening the fledgling hearts through bonds. The Organization was told not to interact not for simple stealth reasons alone, but also to make sure their new hearts wouldn't grow as fast as that would make them less perfect vessels.
Reality Shifts can also be likened to lucid dreaming.
What if Terra and Aqua appearing to Sora-turned-Ven, holding out their hands, and turning away before any real contact was made was a manifestation of Ventus feeling like Terra and Aqua had abandoned and forgotten about him?