Video Game / Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

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Destiny is never left to chance.note 

"That would be the last night we ever spent beneath the same stars..."
Terra, Ventus, and Aqua, at the end of the tutorial/prologue

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is a prequel to the Kingdom Hearts series set 10 years before Kingdom Hearts I.

Terra, Ven and Aqua are three young friends who are training together to be Keyblade Masters: chosen warriors of light tasked with protecting The Multiverse against the corrosive powers of darkness. After years of hard work, Aqua is successfully able to earn the title; however, Terra fails the final examination (after he is unable to control his inner darkness) and Ven is too inexperienced to even take the test.

Aqua's first assignment is to track down a missing Keyblade Master named Master Xehanort, whose sudden vanishing coincides with the appearance of mysterious monsters called "Unversed". Eager to prove himself, Terra embarks on his own investigation, and Ven follows after a shadowy figure convinces him that his friends are in danger.

The story is split into three separate scenarios, each focusing on one of the characters' efforts to locate Master Xehanort and Vanitas. While the characters will be alone most of the time during their journey, there will be times when the characters' paths will cross (a storytelling gimmick previously used by Squaresoft in Treasure of the Rudra and Threads of Fate).

All three of the characters are equally important story-wise. The game focuses on several main themes such as Ven's identity and connection with Sora as well as the mystery behind the memories of the original series' primary villain, Xehanort. Each character's story takes between 8 and 15 hours plus additional prologue and epilogue chapters, for a total of at least 30 hours of gameplay.

The player can play the three different routes in any order they so choose, but the recommended route (and the route that makes the most sense story-wise) is Terra, Ventus, then Aqua.

Birth by Sleep: Final Mix was released in the HD 2.5 ReMIX collection in 2014. Aqua's story after the events of this game's Secret Episode continues in Birth by Sleep 0.2: A Fragmentary Passage, a playable episode note  included in the PS4 collection Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 ReMIX: Final Chapter Prologue, to help lead into Kingdom Hearts III.

Birth by Sleep is the first - and last - game in which Alan Young voiced Scrooge McDuck before his death in 2016.

This game provides examples of:

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    A - G 
  • Aborted Arc: What kick-starts the plot is the rise of the Unversed and the threat they pose to the Princesses of Heart. The three worlds with the Princesses are visited first, but once you hit Radiant Garden they're forgotten and subsequent worlds focus solely on fighting the Unversed. Fittingly, Radiant Garden is where the three begin to follow their own agendas. Terra believes himself a failure and is charmed into becoming Xehanort's apprentice. Thereafter, he's focused on trying to find Vanitas and put an end to him. Ventus never had the mission, and is intent on finding Terra, and Aqua is essentially scrambling to find the both of them and keep them together.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The game has a level cap of 99, though it can easily be beaten before you reach Level 40.
  • Acting for Two: In-Universe. Pete dresses up as a hero called Captain Justice, or a darker counterpart of him called Captain Dark, in an attempt to fool the citizens to vote for him to win the Million Dreams Award. Nobody is fooled by the disguises, though a few people still vote for him because.
  • Action Girl: Aqua, amongst other characteristics.
  • Adapted Out: Deep Space is based on the first part of Lilo & Stitch that takes place before Experiment 626/Stitch reaches Earth, so the entirety of the human cast is absent. Because of this, Terra, Aqua, and Ven teach Experiment 626/Stitch about the meaning of friendship instead of Lilo teaching him about the meaning of family.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Ienzo and all of the future Destiny Islands trio, though Riku is especially bright for a five-year-old.
  • A.I. Breaker: When fighting Vanitas's Lingering Spirit, running behind the large rocks in the battlefield will cause him to try to run through them to you without attacking. As long as you keep him there, you can cherry tap him to death with Strike Raid and its variants without retaliation since they go through the rocks, or heal yourself with Potions.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The Bonus Boss Unknown seems to gather the best attacks from the series: he's got Meteor, Tornado, Sonic Rave, Doom, Vanitas's X-shaped projectile attack, Mega Flare, Raging Storm, and Restore Barrier.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Master Eraqus is the Square equivalent of Disney's Master Yen Sid. While Yen Sid is based off of Walt Disney, Eraqus is based off of Hironobu Sakaguchi: former president of Square, creator of the Final Fantasy series, and an executive producer of Kingdom Hearts. Just as Yen Sid spelled backwards says "Disney", Eraqus's name almost-backwards is "Square".note 
  • Amazon Chaser: Zack's attraction to Aqua seems to be this.
  • And I Must Scream: Terra's fate.
    • Alleviated slightly by the fact that Master Xehanort's stuck in the exact same way.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Briefly, and not completely different, but: At the end of Terra's story, you stop directly playing as Terra, and fight against the body that Xehanort just committed Grand Theft Me on... with the Lingering Will, the suit of armor that Terra left behind. Although the Lingering Will does have Terra's memories and motives, essentially making it the remains (or a new incarnation) of the original Terra. Whether this trope applies or not is a matter of personal taste.
  • Animated Armor: When Xehanort takes over Terra's body, his armor, still possessing Terra's memories and part of his spirit, fights him. 2 of the Bonus bosses are similar. And, in the Final Story, Aqua temporarily animates her armor to get Terra out of the Realm of Darkness.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The Mirage Arena prior to Final Mix had a 999 cap on how many medals you could win from events. Final Mix removed that, making it much easier to farm medals and thus buy the rather expensive items for sale.
  • Antihero: Terra, who allies himself with Disney Villains in his drive to find Xehanort, and later on, embraces Xehanort's words about Darkness being safe to use, in the hopes of being a Master in someone's eyes. Aqua and Ven worry about him Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. However, he doesn't generally follow the villains except when he is tricked by them into thinking that they are trustworthy. Which is often. Unfortunately, he stays like this throughout the game.
  • Another Side, Another Story: There are three playable characters (Terra, Aqua, and Ven) that have there own playstyles and follow their own stories. All 3 stories intertwine, making playing all of them necessary to fully understand what's going on.
  • Armor Is Useless: Well, more specifically, it only plays a role in story rather than in gameplay. It's designed to protect you from the power of darkness and basically acts like a space suit when the three protagonists travel through the void of space to other worlds. It has no apparent effect on your actual defense stat. Of course, that doesn't stop the trio from activating it for the finale because it looks awesome!
    • Expecting this trope to be averted, Terra becomes slightly Wrong Genre Savvy when Master Xehanort tries to take over his body. Not only is the darkness of Xehanort's heart so great, but Terra's heart has been weakened by the dark powers he embraced.
  • Art Evolution: Every character who appeared in Kingdom Hearts got a new, much prettier model. It's most obvious in Aurora, who goes from having Tareme Eyes to having Tsurime Eyes.
  • The Artifact: A few features related to the Mirage Arena become this in the 2.5 version, as the multiplayer was removed.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The computer simply sucks at the Command Board.
    • The objective of the Command Board is to acquire a pre-set amount of GP by circling the board earning GP and buying tiles, then be the first person with that amount of GP to make it back to the start panel as quickly as possible. AI opponents will frequently earn enough GP to win and keep circling the board like normal.
    • AI opponents rarely make decent use of their cards, either using them very rarely or using them too much and thus being unable to buy panels. Exceptions are Peter Pan on the Skull Board and Tigger on the Honey Board. Both make liberal use of Magic cards to roll two or three dice at a time, but conserve their other cards. Additionally, AI opponents will always use Joker cards for Joker's Fortune/Golden Fortune, depending on how many they receive at once (mostly because you can't place Jokers on panels).
      • Altered somewhat in ReMIX (and possibly Final Mix) with the addition of another "personality": Experiment 626 knows how to hoard Jokers and use Golden Fortune when he has enough. Most other AIs will still use Jokers immediately, however, only using Golden Fortune in the rare event of drawing three Jokers at once.
    • The AI doesn't pay attention to Special Squares, which usually activate some helpful effect to boost GP. In particular, the Secret Board and Keyblade Board Special Squares let the person who landed on them warp to any square they like. This means there will be times when the AI character rolls and comes to a fork, where going one direction takes them to the path to the next checkpoint, and going the other direction takes them to a Special Square that lets them warp to the checkpoint immediately. They'll still ignore the Special Square.
    • Aqua's AI will irrationally avoid the Keychain of the Keyblade Board, despite one of the Checkpoint squares and a Special Square being located there.
    • The AI will rarely, if ever, buy out your panels to add to your own. Of course, as the main point of the Command Board is to level up your commands by placing them on panels, this may be meant as an Anti-Frustration Feature.
  • Artistic Age: There are flashbacks where, given that Aqua is approximately 18-20 in the main story, she can't be older than 14-16. Not that you would know that from her character model, which is unchanged. The characters do seem to act younger, at least. Ven, however, has a somewhat younger looking model.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Xigbar didn't play too large a role in Kingdom Hearts II, only showing up in a few cutscenes and was never implied to more important than most the other Organization members. His original self, Braig, gets more screentime, is revealed to be Xehanort's right-hand man, and guided the amnesiac Xehanort to betray Ansem the Wise.
    • Cinderella, Snow White, and Aurora also fit this role seeing as how they didn't have voices in the first Kingdom Hearts and were barely even mentioned in Kingdom Hearts II.
    • Stitch, who only appeared in a few cutscenes and served in as a summon in Kingdom Hearts II, plays a bigger role in this game. He gets to appear in his home world as his story is finally explored.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Reversal and Teleport. They allow you to get behind the enemy by pressing Square when it's about to attack, but most of the times you'll want to block instead. Many attacks, such as the Bruiser's shockwaves, can be blocked but are not avoided by teleporting behind him, so they're kinda useless.
    • Trinity Limit does a huge amount of damage over a wide area, but it takes up 3 Deck Command slots out of the maximum of 8 and is only effective if 2 other people help the user. The only time in the story that this is possible is during the Trinity Armor fight when you're teamed up with the other 2 Player Characters, but by that point you'll only have 5 total slots (7 if on Critical Mode) and you have to grind for medals at the Mirage Arena to purchase it in the first place.
    • For playing the Command Board, Golden Fortune. You need to use three Joker Cards to activate it, and the reason you save up three is that Golden Fortune has a chance to activate Zone Capture, which instantly captures an entire color zone, stealing enemy panels in the process if they have any there. However, every other option on Golden Fortune is the same as the ones activated on Joker's Fortune, so while Zone Capture is awesome if you can get it, every other result means you just wasted two Jokers. There's also the problem of hoarding your Jokers to get three in the first place.
  • Badass Grandpa: In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix's secret trailer (which turned out to be the penultimate scene in everyone's scenario), Master Xehanort makes a mountain out of nothing and smacks around the trio with a Keyblade tornado. It takes half the video for Terra and Ventus to even get to him and when they do he kicks their asses in about ten seconds. He manages to hold down Terra, the strongest of the trio, without even straining. All with that little grin on his face.
  • Bald of Evil: Master Xehanort.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind:
    • Ventus and Vanitas's final showdown.
    • The secret ending also implies that Terra and Master Xehanort will be doing this in Terra's mind indefinitely.
    • During the battle with Terra-Xehanort, Aqua herself can briefly enter Terra's mind (somehow). If she can evade Xehanort's guardian familiar and make it to a comatose Terra (without attacking him) in time, she can join him for a Combination Attack meant to purge Master Xehanort's heart out of Terra's body. It doesn't (fully) work, although it can be a One-Hit Kill if done correctly.
  • Beam-O-War: Ventus and Vanitas, at the very end of their final fight.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Terra's chasing after any number of things, Ven's chasing Terra, and Aqua's chasing after both of them. In this massive amount of chasing around, there's quite a bit of bystanders from Disney worlds who can be questioned for assistance and many of them are quite unhelpful. The Magic Mirror? Speaks only in riddles. The Seven Dwarfs? Openly hostile to Ven even after he saves Snow White! Maleficent? Takes every opportunity to sow seeds of discord between the ¡Three Amigos! she gets, just for the evil of it.
    • Veeeeery slightly averted when Aqua asks Scrooge McDuck for information on Terra's whereabouts. Scrooge answers as helpfully as he can, but because her description of Terra was so vague note , Scrooge sends her after where he last saw Ventus instead of Terra.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Even at age four Sora is able to see the light in darkness. The secret ending also ends with it implying that it is Sora's destiny to unite all hearts.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Aqua is the most soft-spoken of the ¡Three Amigos! but she's also capable of putting the hurt on in ways they can't approach.
  • BFS:
    • Terra's Keyblades are the largest of the three to go with his heavy-hitting playstyle. The biggest ones are nearly as long as he is tall.
    • The χ-blade is a huge blade made up of 2 Kingdom Keys crossed together and a transparent blade that connects to the top of the keys. The handle alone is larger than one's head.
    • The Bladecharge Command Style for Terra and Aqua cloaks their Keyblades in a purple aura that greatly increases their length and width. The blades are noticeably longer than they are tall and are as wide as their bodies near the hilt.
  • Bifurcated Weapon:
    • Braig can combine his arrowguns into a single one to snipe opponents, though this was removed from the English version of the game.
    • The Unknown combines his blades during combo finishers and lunges and even combines them into a Whip Sword.
  • Big Bad: Master Xehanort.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • From Ventus's perspective, when he's about to be destroyed by Master Eraqus, Terra comes out of NOWHERE.
    • Mickey does this twice. First to protect Ven when he's outmatched by Vanitas, and again when the Vanitas-possessed Ventus is about to strike down an unsuspecting Aqua with the χ-blade.
    • Terra does this for Captain Hook and Smee in his entrance to Neverland.
  • Big "NO!": Ventus, which, combined with his defrosting himself through sheer willpower and the pace-quickening of Vanitas's battle theme, stops Vanitas from killing Aqua.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: The Keyblade Graveyard consists of thousands of keyblades stuck into the ground or the surrounding cliff walls. Every single one is driven point down in the earth; not a single one is lying on its side.
  • Blatant Lies: A real-world example - Tetsuya Nomura said Birth By Sleep may not see a Final Mix re-release, depending on how much extra content was added to the Western release. Did anyone really believe him? (To his credit, he said "may not", not "will not.")
  • Bonus Boss:
    • Vanitas Remnant, accessible only after playing through every character's storyline and obtaining all the Xehanort Reports.
    • A new one exclusive to the international releases and Final Mix is dubbed the Unknown, a man in a black coat who dual-wields reverse-gripped laser blades that he can combine to result in a lance and Whip Sword. Just look at him. Wordof God stated that the fight is canon, despite the random setting. The reason is revealed in the next game.
    • And yet four more bosses in the Final Mix version: in the Mirage Arena, Monstro, Armor of the Master note , and the Strongest one, No Heart note . The Secret Episode has "Red Eye", who Aqua fights in the Realm of Darkness post-game. Mercifully, none of them are quite as relentless as the Unknown, though Nomura mentioned that they were intended to be multiplayer bosses. That said, No Heart is definitely harder than Unknown when you fight him alone, due to his incredible strength, speed, and attacks. But, there is alot of reprieve when you have 2 other players fighting alongside you.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Realm of Darkness, in Final Mix.
  • Bookends:
    • The game starts and ends with a battle between Aqua and Terra, though the circumstances between the two encounters are vastly different. The first time it's a friendly sparring match for the Mark of Mastery test, while the second time it's Aqua in a fight for her life against a partially amnesiac Xehanort in Terra's body.
    • In the opening, Xehanort is at the Destiny Islands to give Ventus a peaceful death following Vanitas' creation; after reminiscing a bit, he says to Ventus "There, you see? An empty world, like a prison. I imagine you'll be right at home." At the end of Terra's story, after Terra strikes him down and χ-blade happens, he points behind Terra and says "There, you see?"
  • Boring but Practical:
    • The Surge commands have simple animations and deal moderate damage, but they also provide invincibility during the attack animation, and have decently fast reload times.
    • Sonic Blade is a basic 1-slot command that does okay damage, but it can stunlock enemies and recharges decently fast.
  • Boss Corridor: On all story paths, the Point of No Return is a narrow, dark valley in the Keyblade Graveyard, with the massive "crossroads" of dead Keyblades visible in the distance.
  • Boss Remix:
    • Vanitas' battle theme is a more tense remix of Sora's and Roxa's respective themes. Conversely, the final battle theme against Vanitas is, itself, a more darker remix of this exact same battle theme.
    • The Mirage Arena Bonus Bosses added in Final Mix each get one—Armor of the Master remixes the Land of Departure battle theme, Monstro remixes the first game's Monstro battle theme (interestingly, the remix is slower than the original), and No Heart gets a mashup of Dark Mode Riku's battle theme from the first game and Xemnas's third battle theme from KH2. Inverted with Terra's theme, which is a slower version of Rage Awakened. It comes full circle when Xehanort steals Terra's body, Lingering Will forms and its theme kicks in.
  • Boss Rush: The final Mirage Arena match (in the original), Villain's Vendetta, involves fighting 8 of the game's bosses without any breaks between them.
  • Bound and Gagged: Master Xehanort, when captured by Braig, though he's merely chained to a pipe. We later learn that it's a Faked Kidnapping.
  • Bowdlerise: In the Japanese version, Braig combines his arrowguns into a sniper rifle to shoot at Terra from a distance. In the English version he does not combine them, and the sight when aiming is less realistic.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The Bonus Bosses Vanitas Remnant, Unknown, and No Heart each grant the player a extremely powerful Keyblade on defeat. They all happen to be the hardest bosses in the game, so once you've gotten those Keyblades you don't really need them.
  • Brick Joke: ...all share the same sky...
  • Breather Episode: Disney Town. No boss battles, nothing connected to the overarching plot. Just some fun minigames to relax with.
  • Broken Aesop: The whole Balance Between Good and Evil message is especially egregious here. Master Xehanort, the most vocal supporter of it, is the absolute worst example of Dark Is Evil in the entire series. Eraqus, who actually has plenty of Properly Paranoid reason to dislike Darkness, is painted as a Light Is Not Good Knight Templar (granted, his actual decision-making is still poor). The Fairy Godmother tries to convince Aqua not to use Light to fight Darkness, despite (A) that being the primary objective of just about every single game — including this one — and (B) the would-be Asshole Victims ending up dying anyway soon afterward. And in the end, each of the main trio gets a Downer Ending via Darkness-related circumstances, while each one's surviving Light is what keeps him/her from being completely lost.
  • Butt Monkey: Captain Hook is in this game - and naturally Square-Enix gives you so many opportunities to make his day into a living nightmare just like in the first game. And among them, you can knock him into the water where the crocodile will bite him.
  • Cain and Abel: Xehanort mentions in one of his reports that he sees Eraqus as his brother. Now consider what Xehanort ends up doing.
    • Drizella and Anastasia, as well. In this game, their hatred towards Cinderella caused them to attempt to murder her! Unlike with Eraqus, she is saved, while they are executed by the Cursed Coach.
  • Call Forward:
    • "My friends are my power, And I'm theirs!!" - Ventus.
    • From the true final boss (Xehanort) fighting JUST like Xehanort's Heartless first form (Guardian and all). Also, when Master Xehanort possesses Terra, his first lines are the "His heart has returned to darkness" speech Xehanort's Heartless gives Sora before you fight him in KH1. Xehanort is full of these.
    • Vanitas's suit resembles Riku's Heartless suit (minus the Heartless emblem on it, natch), they share a fighting stance, and the demonic appearance of his Void Gear closely mirrors that of Riku's Soul Eater. In the intro FMV, Vanitas and Ven re-enact the scene from the FMVs of I and II where Riku outstretches his arm and Sora runs after him.
      • And, in one of the opening scenes, a young Master Xehanort stands on the shore of Destiny Island and says 'This island is like a prison'.
    • Xehanort wears the Org XIII coat in one of the opening scenes, and in his normal clothes he wears the same boots that Ansem and Org XIII wear (you get to see them in Terra's story, at least).
    • One line in Kingdom Hearts II from Xigbar, where he says that the Keyblade picked a dud "this time" and that Sora wasn't half the hero the others were... Meaning Aqua, Terra, and Ventus.
    • Near the end of the opening scene with Ventus at the Station of Awakening where he talks with newborn heart Sora, mention is made that they will "open the door", something that is told to Sora by a mysterious voice in KHI. What makes it double as Foreshadowing is that if you listen closely when Ven says the line, you can hear Sora's voice speaking alongside his.
    • It's not all serious stuff, either. Aqua waking up Ven the same way Kairi woke Sora up in KHI, complete with "Gimme a Break, Aqua.", and Terra saying "Come on, Ven. I thought you were stronger than that.". The beginning scene also mimics KHII, where Ventus wakes up in the same manner as Roxas.
      • In addition to Terra's line, Ventus-Vanitas says "What's wrong? Giving up already?" as a Call Forward and a Call Back!
    • Another one (that retroactively doubles as Foreshadowing) is Master Eraqus' death scene. As he fades into light, his body phases through Terra at the last moment. Much like the whole Sora-Kairi deal in the first game, Eraqus' heart is locked away inside of Terra's as revealed by "Blank Points".
    • From the epilogue:
    Terra (inside his mind/heart, conversing with Master Xehanort): "Wrong. You're going to get shown the door, old man." note 
    • From Aqua's meeting with Sora and Riku at Destiny Islands:
    Aqua (to Sora): "So then, if something happens, and Riku is about to get lost—or say he starts wandering down a dark path alone—you make sure to stay with him and keep him safe."
    • In a flashback to Master Eraqus confronting Master Xehanort about his objectives:
    • After Lea introduces himself to Ventus, he says something quite familiar:
    Lea: "We're friends now. Get it memorized."
    • Xigbar notes that Ventus has a pretty good "angry look". When he first met Sora in Hollow Bastion, before even removing his hood, he joked how someone used to give him the same glare as Sora.
  • Camera Screw: Occasionally, the camera will end up behind your target instead of you, which will have you running the wrong way. More annoying, however, is when the Lock-on will randomly unlock, potentially making you attack and guard in the wrong direction. Usually (but not always) the camera only unlocks after you get a certain distance from the target but it also shows no ability to realize whether it's locked onto a barrel or an enemy. This can make fights in some areas a headache if you can't switch targets quick enough.
  • Cap: The damage cap against bosses prevents them from losing more than 25 Hit Points per hit. Meaning, you can't obliterate most of their health bars in mere seconds like you could in KH2.
  • Cats Are Mean: Lucifer, the cat of Lady Tremaine of Cinderella is a boss. This might not seem like a challenge except that you happen to be the size of a mouse at the time.
  • Chained by Fashion: The Secret Episode's final boss and the Iron Imprisoner.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • At the part where you choose who you want to play as, Ven's description notes he holds his Keyblade backhand. This might not seem important at first. However, at the end of Aqua's story, Ven gets possessed by Vanitas. When this happens, Possessed!Ven holds his Keyblade out in front, showing that he isn't really Ven.
    • At the start of the game, Aqua, as the newest Keyblade Master, is "entitled to certain knowledge", that the player doesn't get to see, even when playing as Aqua. You finally find out what she was told in the Final Story: that being the true nature of the Land of Departure, its significance as a world of balance, and how to turn it into Castle Oblivion.
    • The Wayfinders are given a lot of focus throughout the game, Aqua's in particular getting a lot of screen time. Said Wayfinder becomes the keychain for her Infinity–1 Sword during the final chapter when she fights Terranort.
  • Cherry Tapping: Subverted for the Sweetstack Keyblade, which is actually very powerful despite being designed around ice cream. note 
  • Combo Breaker: The Payback moves allow the player to do this, to some extent, by retaliating immediately after being knocked back by an enemy.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • Most A.I. players in The Command Board. Most notably though is Tigger, who can go from 2000 GP below you, to 2000+ above you in a grand total of one turn. Tigger seems to understand how to play the Command Board better than anyone else, which is funny, given how he is normally.
    • Averted by Pooh himself, who can't seem to process what's going on, which is pretty par for the course with him.
      • Which makes it kind of baffling when he wins.
    • The computer will almost always get the best rolls. On numerous occasions, you can attempt to get several consecutive tiles on the command board, only to watch as suddenly, your opponent manages to get just the right roll to get in between you, whereas you'll be lucky to get it.
    • Normally, the Confusion effect causes you to randomly pick a direction whenever you get to a crossroad, rather than being able to choose which one. However, the AI's have an annoying habit of getting the direction they were going to go anyway more often than not, making the effect a lot less useful on them than on a human player (though still potentially devastating when it does work).
    • It also seems like that once Captain Dark/Justice becomes available as a random special panel event, the computer seems to get Captain Justice far more often than Captain Dark, while the reverse mostly applies to you. Thankfully you can just leave Captain Dark to harrass other computer opponents if you're close to them and steal their Captain Justice the same way.
    • In Rumble Racing, the computer players are able to catch up to you regardless of how far ahead you are.
    • In the wrap-up sparring matches for the Tutorial battles, Terra has Counter Hammer a full three worldsnote  before the player can get at it.
    • Terra-Xehanort's version of Ars Solum goes by twice as fast as Terra's own.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: The corner of a balcony in Maleficent's castle is colored darker than the rest. It gets broken apart during Aqua's escape with Phillip.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: It's sad how badly the trio get beat down in their cinematic final battle against Xehanort and Vanitas.
  • Credits Medley: The "complete" credits sequence after you beat all three scenarios features one of these. It combines Terra's, Aqua's, and Ven's leitmotifs with the battle themes from Never Land, Enchanted Dominion, Castle of Dreams, and Dwarf Woodlands and "Dearly Beloved".
  • Crosshair Aware: When Braig is sniping Terra, the camera shift to Braig's view so the player can he where he's aiming.
  • Crutch Character:
    • Or command. In any case, if you go out of your way to make it early on, Mega Flare is an absurdly powerful screen nuke for all characters, but on Terra, it's only really useful early on and the mid game. Late game, it starts to fall behind thanks to Terra being a Mighty Glacier and his magic stat beginning to slow down in growth with each level up. Additionally, he gets a Keyblade during the end game that boosts his attack stats to sky high lengths, but decreases his magic stat as well, making Mega Flare even less useful. By the time you get to the end game areas, it'll be very unlikely that Mega Flare will even take half the HP off of most enemies there as a result.
    • D-Links are very useful early on when you only have access to a limited amount of commands, with Aqua's in particular being useful because it gives access to cure commands without having to level it up first, unlike Terra and Ven's D-Links, which have to be maxed out before you can access their cure commands. However, once you reach mid-game and start getting better commands, D-Links quickly fall behind because the commands they offer are usually under-powered in comparison to the commands you can fuse at that point.
    • Of the three protagonist, Terra has by far the easiest early game thanks to being a Mighty Glacier while Ven and Aqua have to deal with Early Game Hell, thanks to being a Fragile Speedster and Squishy Wizard, respectively. However, as the game goes on, Terra slowly begins to fall behind as Ven develops into a Jack-of-All-Stats and Aqua becomes a Lightning Bruiser, while he more or less stays the same. With a lot of end game bosses dealing high damage regardless of a characters defense, and a lot of Bonus Bosses being able to one-shot all the characters regardless, Terra quickly falls behind them in terms of handling the after game, to the point certain Bonus Bosses are nigh impossible with him because of how slow he is.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: In any cutscene where the heroes confront a villain, they're completely ineffectual. Special mention to Ventus' first battle with Vanitas, which is a Hopeless Boss Fight. Even if you're effortlessly crushing Vanitas, once the fight stops and the cutscene plays, the story treats Ven as being helpless against him and it's only through Mickey's intervention that he's saved. And of course there's then the final cutscenes, where the heroes fail to even get close to Master Xehanort and Vanitas and are thrashed as they try.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Averted by Master Xehanort. Blasts of ice, a storm of Keyblades, raising plateaus of earth? Those are all things he does when you fight him.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: Spend ten or more hours playing as Terra and you'll take quite a bit of getting used to the style of the next two characters. Especially Aqua.
    • There's a reason why the player characters are ordered Terra, Ventus, Aqua. Terra is all physical, with poor magic stats on his exclusive Keyblades and not a lot of exclusive magic to use. ALL of Aqua's exclusive commands are magic, due to her heavily relying on spells. Ven is the halfway, plus speed.
  • Dark Reprise: The battle against the Armor of the Master uses one of "Future Masters", the Land of Departure's battle theme. It is fittingly called "Master, Tell Me the Truth."
  • Darker and Edgier: This installment plays on the darker elements of the Disney movies it's adapting a little more. Particular note is the game's version of Cinderella: After she tries on the glass slipper and is about to be taken to the castle, Lady Tremaine and her daughters give into their hatred towards her and try to murder her with an Unversed called the Cursed Coach, but after Aqua saves her, they seemingly die or get turned into Heartless (most likely the latter) when the Unversed accidentally drops a bomb on them.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: Ven's Tornado can be used to incapacitate and deal massive damage to almost any enemy in the game, Vanitas included. However, the spell also leaves him a sitting duck for the duration with no way to cancel out, so any enemies not caught in it are free to retaliate with impunity.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Master Xehanort can't be anymore antagonistic looking if he were to wear a sign on him saying "I'm evil, nyahahaha!"
  • Developers' Foresight: The Exp Walker ability gives your experience just by walking around. A common exploit players found is using tape or an elastic to fix the analog stick in place so your character runs in a circle, then just let the game sit. Except, the devs anticipated that and programmed a failsafe - if you just walk in one direction without pressing any buttons, after about a minute your character will stop moving.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: On her trip to Olympus Coliseum, Aqua is forced to fight the Physical God Hades and his Ice Colossus as part of the final round of the Games. She beats them both despite being outnumbered.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Master Eraqus dies in Terra's arms, sort of, after their battle. Even though Terra wounded him, it was Master Xehanort who killed Eraqus.
  • Disc One Nuke:
    • In Maleficent's Castle is a ledge in the corner with a chest on it, normally requiring Glide/Air Slide to reach it during endgame. However, a simple jump and Sliding Dash in midair will get you there on the first visit. It contains Tornado Strike for Ventus or Ice Barrage for Aqua, both ultimate 2-slot commands.
    • In the castle's courtyard in the Dwarf Woodlands, there's a chest with Fission Firaga that normally requires High Jump to obtain. Terra and Aqua can get it by abusing Slide Dash to climb up a slope and cross the gap between the walls, giving them a strong spell very early.
    • If you know the melding recipes, you can make several high level commands very early with a bit of grinding. For example, Mega Flare and the EXP Walker ability can be obtained as soon as you can access the Mirage Arena, which occurs after you complete the first world in each story. Mega Flare kills all on-screen Mooks in one shot on each cast, while EXP Walker grants you experience just by walking.
    • Aqua's D-Link, one of the first that Ven and Terra get, comes with Magnera once it's been leveled up once. Magnet spells trivialize battles against Unversed Mooks by pulling most into to a sphere near the player that prevents them from attacking, makes them very easy-to-hit targets, and greatly fills up the Command Gauge if it catches a lot of enemies so you can use Finish Commands quickly.
    • Ven's D-Link grants the Haste ability after being leveled up once, making Terra and Aqua attack much faster. This is very useful against the early bosses, as combo finishers will stun them for a short period to let you get more attacks in.
  • Disney Death: The secret ending reveals Ansem the Wise's Heroic Sacrifice in Kingdom Hearts II to be this.
  • Distant Finale:
    • The Secret Episode in the Final Mix version is set a year after the end of the game. It shows Aqua traversing the Realm of Darkness, where she eventually finds the Castle of Dreams trapped there thanks to the release of the Heartless.
    • The "Blank Points" secret ending takes place a bit after Kingdom Hearts II, which itself takes place 11 years after this game. Aqua finds Ansem the Wise (who survived the explosion of his machine) in the Realm of Darkness, and they talk about Sora.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Terra, Ven and Aqua are a Mighty Glacier, Fragile Speedster and Squishy Wizard, respectively, but at the beginning of the game they all play more or less the same. As you proceed through the game you unlock their unique abilities a bit at a time, and come the final world their unique playstyles are firmly established.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The relationship between the three characters is certainly... interesting, to say the least. While the "trinity" motif of the series has been around since Day One, this game in particular has the three heroes constantly demonstrating their faith and friendship with the others. Overall, the dynamic between the trio seems more like a family slowly crumbling, rather than some friends having their friendship challenged. In the Japanese version of the game, when Ventus gives Terra and Aqua their passes to Disney Town, it was because he was told to "bring his parents" ... yeah.
  • Doomed by Canon: The game takes place ten years before the first Kingdom Hearts I, where none of the protagonists are anywhere to be seen. All of them can be expected to meet an untimely fate, it's just a matter of finding out what each of their unfortunate ends is.
  • Doppelgänger Spin: The Unknown. The Spirit of the Magic Mirror pulls this off multiple times, too (which should be expected, given it's a mirror.)
  • Downer Ending: Implied, like the rest of the "prequel" Kingdom Hearts games, by virtue of the fact that none of the main characters are seen in the present time. Especially with the "old" worlds known to be devoured by the Heartless as early as the first game. Let's just say that none of the trio come out that well, either. However, the secret ending heavily implies that Sora will eventually gear up and set out to save everyone who's met with a terrible fate, twisting the series resolution to a likely Earn Your Happy Ending status at the end.
  • The Dragon: Not just Vanitas to Master Xehanort; it's implied that Xehanort recruited Braig for his efforts, possibly in advance for after Xehanort successfully pulls off his Grand Theft Me gambit, which would certainly go a long way towards explaining Xigbar becoming No. II in Organization XIII.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Vanitas. The visor of whose helmet just sort... of melts away when he pulls this off. Note that he's previously been shown with the entire helmet off (and with his face off-screen, natch).
  • Draw Aggro: Taunt will cause Unversed to attack the user instead of their allies.
  • Dual Boss:
    • Aqua takes on Hades and the Ice Colossus at the same time during her visit to Olympus Coliseum.
    • Terra's final boss sequence begins with him fighting Master Xehanort and Vanitas, but Vanitas does most of the attacking and it ends automatically after you do a certain amount of damage.
    • One of the Mirage Arena matches, A Time To Chill, pits the player(s) against Zack and Hades in the 4th round.
  • Dual Wielding: The Unknown.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • 13 of 14 Keyblades' names were changed, although some were pretty minor (e.g. "Mark of Hero" vs. "Mark of a Hero"). 12 of 35 enemies also had their names changed.
    • Some of the Command Styles also had their names changed, such as Aqua's "Magic Wish" becoming "Spellweaver", Terra's "Fatal Mode" becoming "Critical Impact," and a few others.
    • Most of the Trophies had their names embellished, going from titles like "Step Trophy" or "Munny Trophy" to "Power Walker" or "In the Munny."
  • Dull Surprise:
    • This is Terra's standard reaction to just about everything he encounters. Although this seems to be more to do with the nuances of Jason Dohring's acting method rather than Terra's characterization.
    • Willa Holland (Aqua) dabbles a bit in it too. That being said, both characters can emote, but Terra is usually subtle about it (if his friends and later on, Xehanort are the subject of choice, then Terra starts to break out the passion).
  • Dummied Out:
    • Hackers have found remnants of an unfinished world based on The Jungle Book, the one completed room being King Louie's temple, along with a few partially unfinished jungle rooms including the edge of the man-village. They also found the Light Seeker, a Keychain for Ventus that resembles Mickey's Kingdom Key D. It can still be accessed using cheat codes, but only in the Japanese version.
    • Pleakley was originally going to appear in Deep Space. An untextured model for him remains in the game's code.
    • Certain cutscenes which appeared in early trailers - shown at events such as the Tokyo Game Show and Jump Festa - were later altered for the game's final release. For example, the scene in which Master Xehanort reveals his plan to forge the χ-blade to Ventus was originally meant to appear in Olympus Coliseum, rather than the Keyblade Graveyard. A scant few scenes were also omitted, including one where Terra watches a young Sora and Riku partake in a swordfight, as well as individual lines, such as Terra telling Aqua that searching for the light Master Xehanort is after will lead them to him or Ventus at Destiny Island telling Aqua to erase him.
    • The Final Mix version contains character models from the then-unreleased Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance and a graphic from the title card.
    • A texture for a large Treasure Chest for the Land of Departure appears in the game files, but does not appear in-game.
  • Early Game Hell: Aqua and Ven have difficulty early on due to their low strength, defense, and HP. If playing on Critical Mode they easily die in a couple of hits.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Save files set to Beginner Mode cannot unlock the "Blank Points" secret ending.
  • Elemental Powers: Terra and Ven get powerful exclusive Earth and Wind based abilities and spells, curiously however, Aqua doesn't get a powerful Water spell or ability, other than her starting Bubble Blaster Shotlock. That's because she kicks ass with Fire, Lightning, Ice, Time, and Light.
  • Enemy Without: Vanitas is the darkness of Ven's heart that was stripped out by Master Xehanort a couple years before the events of the game.
  • Escort Mission: Each character has to clear one in the first batch of worlds.
  • Evil Counterpart: Vanitas is a copy of Ventus made from the darkness in Ventus's heart.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Xehanort and Vanitas both have prominent ice powers; poor Ven gets almost totally iced over at one point.
  • Evil Laugh: Vanitas does a couple throughout the game. Captain Hook gets a glorious one too.
  • Evolving Attack: Every character has Finish Commands that level up and unlock new Finish Commands in a branching system. Their exclusive Finish Commands unlock stronger versions of themselves—Ven gets Air Flair that evolves up to Level 4, then to Stratosphere as his Level 6 finisher, while Aqua gets Magic Pulse 1-4 with Teleport Spike as her Level 6. Terra's finishers break the naming pattern, Rising Rock 1, 2, then Dark Star 1, 2, then Demolition, but Dark Star 1 is still a powered-up version of Rising Rock 2.
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment: You can obtain a black and white version of Vanitas's Keyblade, called Void Gear.
  • Expy:
    • Ventus looks like Roxas and it's been said by the creators that Ventus, while having some of Sora's characteristics, has Roxas's seriousness. So in personality, he's a mixture of both, like his duds.
    • Vanitas is basically an evil Sora with black hair and yellow eyes (and the same voice; only deeper and more sinister), and he is Ven's Enemy Without.
    • Terra somewhat resembles Zack Fair, and both of them are tragic heroes. He is also quite similar to Riku, hence the shared name meaning, though due to his older age and maturity, in his delving into darkness he rises from his angst and jerkass-itude faster than Riku did.
      • The number of similarities between Terra and Cloud and striking. Tricked by Hades? Check. Uses Darkness powers? Yep. Not very people friendly? Pointed out for both by Hades. With almost the same line. Claims he's not a hero? Uh-huh.
  • Eye Scream: Braig loses an eye to Terra, leading to him wearing an eye patch for the rest of the series.
  • Faked Kidnapping: Braig appears to capture Master Xehanort, but it was all a set-up to get Terra to further trust in the latter.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Terra and Ventus, since they both wear a single chunk of armor on one arm, but Ven thought he'd go for the gusto. There's actually a reason they wear it like that: touching the shoulder pad will activate their full armor.
  • Fastball Special: Aqua is both the thrower (with Stitch) and the... throwee (with Prince Phillip). Ven follows the same pattern with Stich and with Hercules.
  • Feminist Fantasy: The game stands out from the rest of the franchise for not only providing the first playable Heroine, but turning classic Disney films on their head a little with how she fits into their narratives. The story begins with Aqua earning the rank of Master, and being charged with locating and bringing home her True Companions when they go astray. She spends much of the game struggling to save Terra and Ventus from the darkness threatening them, and is the sole protagonist of the Final Chapter. An equal balance of Lady of War and Lady of Black Magic, she is an exceptionally skilled warrior and the most level-headed among the Power Trio. When encountering classic Princesses, she is the one who actively facilitates their happy endings — escorting Cinderella during her escape from Lady Tremaine, defeating the Magic Mirror and the Evil Queen to help save Snow White, and rescuing Prince Phillip from Maleficient's castle before they face down the sorceress-turned-dragon together. In the Final Chapter, it is revealed that she was the one that laid many significant pieces of groundwork for the main story — providing Kairi was the power of the Keyblade, creating Castle Oblivion to protect Ventus, and foiling Xehanort's original plan by destroying the x-Blade and leaving his new host (Terra) without memories. She was also the one to first encourage and warn Sora to watch over Riku, and never give up on him should he go astray in the future.
  • Field of Blades: The Keyblade Graveyard. The ruins of many keys who took on the powers of their masters are here in the place, where there was a fight between light and darkness.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three playable characters. Terra's the fighter, Aqua's the mage, and Ven's the thief.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Possessed versions of both Ven and Terra serve as Aqua's two different Final Bosses.
  • Finish Him!: Lampshaded in the final battle with Vanitas with Ven. Given that the "information" is likely to be the POV of the player character, it was likely the joke was not lost on the translators.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The non-character-specific Command Styles are Firestorm, Diamond Dust and Thunder Bolt. There's also a second ice-themed one, Frozen Fortune, except it's ice-cream themed.
  • Flash Step: Master Xehanort and Vanitas use these liberally, as do Bonus Bosses Vanitas Remnant and the Unknown. Some special attacks usable by the player also make use of them, like Teleport and Magic Hour. Aqua's Command Style Ghost Drive ramps this up to insane levels —every normal attack she uses in this mode is a Flash Step, to the point of Teleport Spamming.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Watch the ending of the introduction movie closely. After Ventus descends from his Awakening and transforms into a ball of light, if you look real close at the next scene, you can see him enter Sora.
    • At the beginning of the game, we see a younger Master Xehanort, who looks very much the present day Xehanort, as well as Terra. He even appears to be voiced by both Ryotaro Okiayu and Jason Dohring (who voice Terra). When Terra picks Riku to be his successor, we see a brief silhouette of Young!Master Xehanort and then Riku circa KHII. This should make you cringe, as when Terra performed the Keyblade Rite of Succession, he didn't intend for Riku to end up being body snatched by Xehanort like he was.
    • Note how Tinker Bell met Ventus in Neverland... suddenly her interactions with Roxas in Days make a LOT more sense!
    • Pay close attention to Braig's sudden change from when Terra knocks his eye out and when he confronts Aqua at the climax. Near the climax of Dream Drop Distance? Braig drops the Wham Line: "I'm already half Xehanort!" and points at his yellow eye.
    • At Destiny Islands, Aqua muses "One Keyblade is enough for any friendship...I wouldn't want to wish our lives on all of them.
    • When Master Eraqus was killed by Terra while he was trying to protect Ventus, Master Eraqus faded in the same way Master Xenahort faded away when he unlocked his heart in order to possess and steal Terra's body, as well as the way Ventus faded away while he was moving into Sora's heart at the end of his own story. As it is revealed later, Eraqus deliberately put his heart inside inside Terra's body so that he could help him overcome the darkness in his heart and as well as help him resist Xehanort's influences.
  • For Science!: Xehanort's plans: 1: Forge the χ-blade to summon Kingdom Hearts and get Keyblade wielders fighting over it. 2: Possess Terra to live through to the end of the new Keyblade War, and watch the universe be destroyed. 3: See what happens next.
  • Fragile Speedster: Ven. The quickest of the three, yet not as resilient as Terra and Aqua.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Look closely on Ven's bookshelf in the scene where Vanitas corners him. One book is titled Birth by sleep, another is Kingdom Hearts, and a third is labelled Ultimania. Ven's been reading the strategy guide!
  • Fun with Subtitles: We probably wouldn't be able to understand half of what Jaq says without it. Made even more funny when you occasionally do catch what he's saying and realize they are translating his strange way of speaking and verbal tics into normal English.
  • Game Breaker: invoked Word of God admitted Mega Flare was one, doing high damage to all enemies over a wide area, executing quickly, and doing the damage over a period of several seconds so it could hit waves of spawning enemies as they appeared. As a result it was nerfed for the Final Mix release by doubling its reload.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Each world has events beyond what one character sees. Often there's a Broken Bridge stopping a character from exploring an area, but another character will fix that bridge. However, chronologically, this should mean if that first character comes back to the world after the in-game timeline says the second character has visited, the bridge should be fixed for them too, right? Wrong. Generally, if a character somehow unseals a sealed area in their story, that area will probably remain sealed for the other characters. However, this is sometimes subverted — in Ven's story, returning to the Enchanted Dominion after completing it will reveal some balconies in Maleficent's castle have been destroyed, because Aqua visited the Enchanted Dominion after Ven and destroyed them during her escape. Curiously though, the trope is played straight for Terra, who throughout the game will have his path to Maleficent's castle blocked by flames, but they're dispelled in Ven's story and stay that way through his story and Aqua's.
    • After Aqua discovers King Mickey Mouse passed out in the Lanes Between, it is still possible to D-Link with him if you visit another world before taking him to the Mysterious Tower.
    • If you go visit any of the worlds during the Final Episode, the Unversed all are still around even though their source (Vanitas) has been destroyed.
  • Game Within a Game: The Command Board is a full version of Square Enix's long-standing Itadaki Street series, rules and all.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Theme Naming aside, Terra is still a female name on a male character.
  • Genre Blind: Come on: Xehanort is a textbook example of Obviously Evil... and yet everyone still keeps trusting him until it's too late. For example: Eraqus, specifically his scars? Given to him by Xehanort during a past argument where he flat-out revealed his desire to create his very own Keyblade War. And yet Eraqus still not only invites him to overlook Terra and Aqua's Mark of Mastery exam, but also unhesitatingly invokes You Are Not Ready upon Terra for demonstrating a never-before-seen bout of noticeably uncontrollable Casting a Shadow power... and never even remotely suspects Xehanort as a potential saboteur.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Braig is somehow even worse than his Nobody counterpart. See here. Played with since one of the strategies to beating him is to simply use Block to reflect all of his regular attacks right back at him and to dodge every attack that can't be blocked.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Hades gives Aqua a once-over and a rather suggestive leer. See here.
    • When Phil offers to train Aqua, Hercules protests he had to beg Phil to train him. Phil's response is "Sh, pipe down kid! You and she ain't got the same attributes, if you know what I mean."
    • Tinker Bell Panty Shots. Consistent with her original design, anyway, that one-piece has a really short skirt.
    • Maleficent gets to keep the line "See for yourself all the powers of hell!" "Hell" typically isn't a swear word if you are talking about the biblical place, but this deserves special mention. (Even when she used it in the movie, it was rated "G".)
    • One of the seven dwarfs remarks he will miss Snow White's 'dapple lumpkins - er, apple dumplings.'
    • During Ven's Boss fight with Hook, if you use any sort of fire command, it will go right towards his butt. (Even if you aim for his face!) He will immediately start smacking it crying out "Hot, Hot, Hot!" And then there's the not so bad thing of his randomly crying out, "I will send you to the Lord!"
    • In the Final Mix version, the Belly Balloon transformation's sole Deck Command is called Bloody Bounce.
  • Getting the Boot: At the end of the game, Lea and Isa are caught trespassing Hollow Bastion by Dilan and are kicked out.
  • Glass Cannon: A Bonus Boss has only one bar of HP, but dishes out One Hit Kills without remorse. However, it also averts No Cure for Evil by healing to full HP whenever the player uses Cure (items don't seem to trigger this, mercifully) so really it's no more of a Glass Cannon than you are.
    • Vanitas (the original version of said Bonus Boss) is like this too. He has the speed and strength of a Lightning Bruiser, but his defense is somewhat poor. Of course, his aggressive, No-Holds-Barred Beatdown-styled attack pattern makes it somewhat hard to notice this.
    • As opposed to Terra and Ven, Aqua grows into this mold by endgame. She's quick (although not quite to Ven levels) and possesses deadly magic, but due to her low HP, she cannot take a hit. Ever. Good luck with Ventus-Vanitas and Terra-Xehanort!
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Hey guys! Let's stop trying to destroy the Unversed and race with them instead!
  • Gory Discretion Shot: What happens to Cinderella's step-mother and step-sisters is downright brutal.
  • Graceful Loser: The Servant of the Mirror, to Aqua.
    The queen is gone, my service done.
    Adieu, oh victorious one.
  • Grand Theft Me: Master Xehanort takes over Terra's body at the end of Terra's story, which explains how he appears as Ansem's apprentice.
    • Not to mention what Vanitas did to Ventus. Didn't last, though.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Zero Gravity. Upgrade it to get Transcendence, which traps its helpless victims and bounces them around like rag dolls.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: One of the motivations behind Lady Tremaine and her daughters attacking Cinderella after she's freed from their tyranny. Also, the reason why Braig has allied himself with Master Xehanort, since he wants a Keyblade for his own.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • Some commands can only be obtained through Command Melding, but the game never tells you the recipes for the rarer commands and you're forced to either experiment or look at a guide.
    • The locations of the Prize Pod enemies, which you'll need to hunt down if you want all the ice cream recipes, can take forever to find without a guide since whether or not they'll spawn at the designated point is mostly random and if they don't spawn, you need to leave the area or room you're in and come back, which is something you wouldn't normally do unless you knew where they're supposed to spawn.

    H - Q 
  • Hammerspace:
    • During a cutscene, Lea pulls his frisbees from what appears to be from out of nowhere.
    • Ven carries a full-size, wooden toy Keyblade with him for most of his story. It's never seen until the plot requires it, and it's never explained how he carries it around since it doesn't have the Summon to Hand magic that is inherent to real Keyblades.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Save files set to Critical Mode start with five Deck Command slots instead of three.
  • Harmless Freezing: Nope! Ventus getting frozen is certainly not harmless, as it clearly hurts a lot and nearly gets him killed. For that matter, getting frozen in itself causes a lot of damage in gameplay and sets you up for even more (both you, and the enemies).
  • Hartman Hips: Aqua's suit of armor.
  • Hero Antagonist: Gantu's either this or a type of Knight Templar.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.:
    • During the credits, Mickey blames himself for everything that happened and tries to turn in his Keyblade. Yen Sid won't have any of that.
    • Aqua would have gone suicidal in the epilogue had it not been for the timely appearance of Terra and Ventus's Keyblades giving her a renewed sense of hope and the will to smile again.
  • Heroic Resolve: Ventus: As he lies frozen and helpless on the ground, Vanitas strikes Aqua down and prepares to finish her off. Through nothing more than sheer willpower, Ven thaws himself out just in time to stop him and engage him in combat.
    • Terra: After Master Xehanort commits Grand Theft Me on him, he begins to walk away, when a barrier suddenly surrounds the plateau. The camera pans over and we see Terra's armor has reformed itself, through what is apparently his lingering emotions and will. Terra's Lingering Will proceeds to battle Xehanort on its own, giving us a very satisfying This Cannot Be! moment.
    Xehanort: Your body submits, your heart succumbs— so why does your mind RESIST?!
  • The Heartless: The Unversed, who were the Heartless before the Heartless, so to speak. Instead of devouring whole hearts they feed off of stray emotions. Pureblood Heartless in the form of Neoshadows and Darksides show up at significant points in some cutscenes, however. (A tad consistent with some of the Ansem Reports; reporting shadowy creatures.)
  • Hollywood Spelling: Averted and lampshaded with the χ-blade. When it is first mentioned, Ventus mutters "Key...blade?" in confusion due to how the word is pronounced. Master Xehanort then explains the spelling is different despite the identical pronunciation, and produces an image of the χ letter as he explains its origins. He even notes, "Some say 'kye', but the meaning is the same." Played straight with Terra and Aqua, though, who have it spelled correctly in their subtitles and don't seem at all confused.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: Ven's exclusive skills Faith and Salvation.
  • Hot-Blooded: Vanitas's battle taunts certainly sound as if his VAs had fun with the role. Both Miyu Irino and Haley Joel Osment were obviously enjoying themselves playing a character who looked like Sora but was his exact opposite in terms of personality.
  • How We Got Here: Sort of—the cinematics before the final battles in the three storylines are the same as the original trailer for the game at the end of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, with some scenes changed up and voices added. Birth By Sleep is the story of how things built up to this battle.
  • Hypocrite: Sure, Xehanort has a point about Eraqus being too Light-biased, but Xehanort himself is clearly too Darkness-biased. In particular, he initially mentions that "Darkness cannot be destroyed", but much later ultimately vows that "the last Light within {Terra} will die!" — a clear double standard.
  • If I Can't Have You: Cinderella's evil stepfamily would rather have her murdered than married to a prince, but only because they hate her.
    • The journal entry for the Symphony Armor claimed that it was created from the Tremaine family's hatred towards the "unknown girl" at the ball. This implies that the trio were going to use the Unversed to murder everyone at the ball because neither Drizella or Anastasia were picked.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Aqua vs. both Ventus (possessed by Vanitas) and Terra (possessed by Xehanort).
  • I'm Crying, but I Don't Know Why: Young Sora in the ending. It's actually because of his connection to Ven's heart.
  • Incoming Ham: The moment that Terra-Xehanort talks and you hear those familiar tones of Richard Epcar, you immediately understand that he is going to be hamming it up... and is going to do it with aplomb.
  • Informed Kindness: Xehanort's Obviously Evil Kick the Dog streak certainly calls into question whether or not he really is the Fallen Hero that both the narrative and his Reports keep painting him as.
  • Infinity–1 Sword: Chaos Ripper (Terra), Bright Crest (Aqua), Lost Memory (Ven). Sweetstack also qualifies for all characters, being easily obtained if you know how and providing a 100% Critical Hit rate.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The protagonists get a third version of the Ultima Weapon, which includes nods to both of its previous (future?) designs. There's also the Void Gear and No Name, both rewards for defeating one of the Bonus Bosses. Between them the Ultima Weapon has well-rounded stats, the Void Gear has a higher Strength boost but lower Magic boost, the No Name has a higher Magic boost but a lower Strength boost. In the Final Mix, defeating No Heart gives you the Royal Radiance; the supreme Keyblade, with Void Gear's attack and No Name's magic.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence / Broken Bridge: Out in full force, with certain areas in worlds being blocked to exploration from certain characters or until certain conditions are met. Sometimes there's a barrier, other times the character just decides "there's nothing important this way" and won't go any further.
  • Interface Screw:
    • The Confuse status effect flips controls.
    • The Blind status obscures most of the screen in darkness and prevents auto-locking onto enemies.
  • Invisibility: Vanish makes the user invisible for a short period of time, preventing enemies from being able to get a lock on the player.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Master Xehanort is a bad guy who uses darkness for evil. But he does make sense saying that light isn't automatically good just for being light. This leads to the downfall of Eraqus.
  • Jiggle Physics: Aqua has some, but it's not too noticeable unless you look closely. Apparently, it was enough for the ESRB as they label the game having "Mild Suggestive Themes" because of this. (Or maybe a few things that got listed as "getting past the radar" didn't quite do what we thought it would).
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: You have to play as all three characters to get the whole story.
  • Joke Character: The Final Mix exclusive Illusion abilities let you turn into the various Unversed that you win them from and they're all next to useless in battle.
  • Just Between You and Me: Vanitas does this without shame, confident there's nothing the heroes can do about it. And he's right, more or less. Well everyone except Aqua who proceeds to kick his ass and derail Master Xehanort's scheme, but even then she winds up becoming inadvertedly responsible for Xehanort being able to make his ''other'' schemes work.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Master Xehanort. Past major Kingdom Hearts villains tended to be portrayed as formerly benevolent people who became villainous as a result of accidentally delving into darkness and/or wanting a heart, only to be defeated by the hero in the end. While Master Xehanort is also a formerly benevolent character who became corrupted by darkness and still threatens a global apocalypse like past villains, the sheer degree of personal cruelty he inflicts on the heroes goes way beyond characters like Ansem or Xemnas, while pretending to have their best interests at heart only to betray them, culminating in subjecting them to horrific fates and essentially getting away with it all.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: No Heart, who turns his Keyblade into armour and kicks / punches you with it.
  • Lampshade Hanging: When Braig confronts Terra in Radiant Garden, he comments on his Keyblade, saying that "it seems like everyone has one of those things these days."
  • Large Ham:
  • Laser Blade:
    • The Blade Charge Command Style (Aqua, Terra) forms a huge one around the Keyblade, Squall-style. Ven's Wingblade style gives him SIX of these, which by default float at his back like wings.
    • Aqua, via the lucky charms she made for herself and her friends, creates one to destroy the χ-blade.
    • Defeat the Unknown and you'll get yourself a Laser Keyblade called "No Name", akin to the laser blades it wields.
  • Last Lousy Point: Looking for a Focus Block to complete Terra's Command Collection? It's only found on the Castle of Dreams Command Board, either as one of the Bonus Panels (which don't appear if you're playing from the Mirage Arena), or as one of the Commands Cinderella can lay down.
    • Several of the Shotlock commands that you can only obtain on the Command Board can be this (ex: Ragnarok).
  • Leitmotif:
    • Terra, Aqua, and Ven all get their own. One shared between Xion, Roxas, and Axel from 358/2 Days also makes an appearance when Ven and Lea meet for the first time.
    • Nomura has stated that Mysterious Figure's battle theme is also this. It takes cues from Rage Awakened (Terra's Lingering Sentiment), Darkness of the Unknown (Xemnas's final battle theme in Kingdom Hearts II), and Lord of the Castle (Marluxia's final battle theme in Re: Chain of Memories).
  • Lethal Joke Item: Sweetstack, an ice-cream-themed Keyblade that just so happens to have a 100% critical rate.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Terra briefly becomes one during his Sonic Shadow Shotlock.
    • Terra-Xehanort. The physical prowess of Terra plus the dark powers and Keyblade of Master Xehanort equals one very imposing opponent.
  • Like a Son to Me: Eraqus, to Terra - and probably Aqua and Ventus as well, though he never says it out loud.
  • Limit Break: Filling up a meter in gameplay allows each character to unleash one of these. More can be learned as the game goes on.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: A Final Mix, of course.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Only partially played; while everyone can learn some really powerful magic like Meteor (Terra), Tornado (Ven), and Glacier (Aqua), it's Aqua who gets the best and most practical ones like Triple Blizzaga, Triple Firaga, Seeker Mine, etc. Also, everyone is technically really powerful, but Aqua's the most due to story purposes and this trope. As you can bet, Terra's final boss is super hard, especially if you didn't take the time to find out all the useful abilities like Second Chance and EXP Walker. Aqua meanwhile is VERY fragile in the beginning until you get her some useful early-game abilities (like Barrier Surge and Wishing Edge) or even the Disc One Nuke (Which is naturally deadliest in Aqua's hands thanks to her magic stat) Course everyone is powerful at the end though; just at their different things.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: You're going to spend a lot of time staring at that spinning blue heart. The game also frequently freezes to load when you activate a Command Mode or D-Link. You can install the game onto your PSP Memory Stick to help with this, which drastically lowers the loading times, and removes it all together in some places. The PS3 2.5 port, however, has no such install option.
  • Lost Forever: As Terra and Aqua, be sure to return to Land of Departure as soon as you can. Though you can still pick up any lost chests after Xehanort sends it to the darkness. You just have to beat the Unknown first.
  • Magic Knight: The three protagonists qualify, although Aqua is the straightest example.
  • Magic Missile Storm: There are generally three types of Shotlocks — fire several projectiles in waves, fire a barrage continuously, or perform dash attacks. Many of the former two categories fit this trope.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: The game's very odd title is spoken by Ansem the Wise in the "true" ending, but the line itself is still quite difficult to narratively interpret:
    "So many are still waiting for their new beginning, their birth by sleep. Even me...and even you.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The Land of Departure lies directly between the light and dark realms. It was later clarified 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 Castle Oblivion.
  • Manly Tears:
    • Eraqus sheds a single tear before locking blades with Terra.
    • Terra also when he almost kills Master Eraqus and realizes what he has done.
  • May the Farce Be with You: More of a homage than a parody, the story outside of Ven and Vanitas has significant parallels to Star Wars Episode III of the saga, with several character parallels; Aqua is Obi-wan, Terra is Anakin, Xehanort is Palpatine, and Eraqus is Mace Windu.
    • Terra, a Keyblade apprentice, is refused the rank of Master due to his pursuit of power and lack of discipline in spite of outstanding talent. Xehanort plays on his insecurities about his skills and his master, tempting him to use the powers of darkness to his advantage instead of rejecting them as he has been taught. At this time a crisis ensues that forces Terra and Aqua to depart from Eraqus, and Terra begins to trust Xehanort over Eraqus and see him as a mentor.
    • Xehanort is kidnapped by Braig and Terra channels dark powers to rescue him, but it turns out Braig is working with Xehanort and the kidnapping was staged to lure Terra to darkness.
    • Xehanort tricks Terra into fighting Eraqus, who takes drastic actions to stop Xehanort's plans that cause Terra to turn on him. Terra stops from killing Eraqus, but Xehanort finishes him off, and reveals his true colors as he destroys the Land of Departure.
    • Aqua hears from Yen Sid about what's become of Terra and sets out to locate him. She finds him consumed in darkness and under Xehanort's control, and the two do battle. Though Aqua is victorious, she is lost in the Realm of Darkness while Terra is "reborn" as the new Xehanort.
    • Their final hope resides in the young children/babies who will later on play an important role in the "sequels".
    • Additionally, Eraqus advises Terra "Fear leads to obsession with power, and obsession beckons the darkness," mirroring Yoda's famous advice to Anakin about fear lading to the dark side of the Force.
  • Marathon Boss: No Heart from the final mix. Nine hit point bars and nonstop attacks.
  • Medium Awareness: The Symphony Master boss seems to conduct in time with the battle music.
  • Mighty Glacier: Terra swings his Keyblade in slow, wide arches. He hits like hell.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Master Xehanort does this even more than the modern one—watch those fingers coil.
  • Mind Screwdriver: This game is this for the previous ones, but the effect doesn't last.
  • Mirror Boss:
    • After possessing Terra, the new Xehanort uses his fighting style instead of that of his old body. He can even block, counter, dodge, and heal.
    • The Mimic Master can summon copies of the player by (non-leathally) absorbing their energy into its book. These copies can use basic combos and some Deck Commands.
  • Mood Whiplash: Terra and Aqua enjoy a peaceful break at Destiny Island before things go bad: After she leaves the islands, Aqua finds a weakened Mickey and heads to meet Yen Sid who tells her Eraqus is dead. As for Terra, he leaves the islands only to be contacted by Xehanort, who sets him up to kill Eraqus shortly after. Ven avoids this—his visit to the islands is just as traumatic as the events that occur after and before it.
  • Mook Maker: Vanitas is the source of all the Unversed. They spawn from the "negative emotions" that resulted from his unnatural creation.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Opening of large treasure chests comes with swinging camera angles and dramatic Keyblade swings to open the chest.
  • Musical Assassin: The Symphony Master, though it has nothing on Demyx.
  • Musical Spoiler: Vanitas' battle theme is a remix of Sora's and Roxa's respective themes. Ventus looks like Sora. Put those two together, and you'd realize the fact that the music's spoilering The Reveal that Vanitas is Ventus' evil counterpart.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Both Terra and Eraqus do this after fighting each other to near death, and the latter additionally for nearly killing Ven. Then Xehanort finishes the job.
  • My Name is Master Aqua. Now return my friend's heart Or pay the price!
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Yen Sid experiences this throughout the game. Sora and Riku also experience this, during the ending. This leads to Sora accepting Ven's damaged heart into his own.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Zack asks Aqua on a date, like he did when he first met Aerith in Final Fantasy VII.
    • Whenever Zack gets excited or pumped up about something, he starts doing squats, a reference to his habit of doing so in Crisis Core which was in itself a reference to his characterization in Final Fantasy VII, as seen in the Nibelheim flashback. They're also not proper squats, but rather what counts as a squat in said game.
    • Xehanort's speech when he first appears is the same speech Ansem gives at the end of the first game.
    • In Sleeping Beauty, Aurora fell under Maleficent's spell of sleep when she was drawn into the pathway Maleficent created behind the fireplace in the castle. In this game, you can go through the fireplace in the Enchanted Dominion's castle to find... the Sleep spell. Appropriate.
    • In the Dwarf Woodlands as Aqua, you can also find Poison near the cottage.
  • Necessarily Evil: Master Eraqus really doesn't want to kill his student, but he sees no other alternative to keeping Xehanort from getting the χ-blade.
  • Nemesis Weapon: Ventus's Keyblade, Wayward Wind, and Vantias' keyblade the Void Gear, Ventus is part of an elemental theme with his peers and friends, Terra and Aqua, while Vanitas' Keyblade represents emptiness. Given that they both were once the same being and Ventus' belief in The Power of Friendship, there is a definite connection there.
  • Nerf:
    • The base reload time of Mega Flare was doubled from 25 seconds to 50 in the international release.
    • The Unknown has had some of the hitstun removed from his Collision Magnet attack in the Final Mix version, allowing players to escape it before being hit again.
    • Aerial attacks are slowed down considerably compared to the previous games.
  • Never Say "Die": Unusually for this series, completely averted. Master Xehanort and Vanitas say die and use synonyms for death often (Vanitas threatens to "choke the life out of Terra and Aqua" for instance), and the Disney characters also use, such as the Three Fairies chanting "evil die and good endure." It's played straight by the three protagonists, but when they talk about death late in the game, it's concerning Terra killing Eraqus and Ventus feeling he has to die to stop Xehanort's plans, so it's only because they don't want to say the word outright.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Master Eraqus' attempt to kill Ventus fuels the final part of Terra's corruption, leading to Xehanort being able to use his body as his own.
    • Aqua saves the amnesiac Terra-Xehanort from becoming trapped in the Realm of Darkness during the Final Episode, allowing him to roam free and eventually redo his plans.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Eraqus was based off of Hironobu Sakaguchi, the former president of Square.
  • No Cure for Evil: Averted
    • Vile Phials will often heal themselves or other Unveresed.
    • Terra-Xehanort can use Curaga to heal himself, though unlike the player's version it doesn't completely heal him.
    • Vanitas Remnant will fully heal himself if the player uses a Cure spell (and variants) at any time.
    • The Unknown's guard will heal him for a small amount of HP if you hit him during it. Occasionally, he may undo one hit you just dealt to him by rewinding time, healing back the damage from that hit in the process.
  • No Flow in CGI: The game's pre-rendered previews in Kingdom Hearts II depicted the protagonists' Keyblade Armor with capes, but they were removed from the game itself because rendering them caused FPS issues. Averted for one cutscene in the HD 2.5 ReMIX version; the Lingering Sentiment suddenly acquires a cape after beating Terra-Xehanort.
  • No Sell: Braig, angry about losing his eye to Terra, shoots at Master Xehanort from behind during a cutscene. An invisible barrier prevents the uncaring Master Xehanort from taking any hits.
  • Non-Combat EXP:
    • The EXP Walker ability grants 1 point of experience every time a step is taken.
    • Deck Commands can be leveled up by playing the Command Board minigame instead of entering combat.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Each character has to do a different minigame in Disney Town. Doing poorly means getting sent automatically to a Game Over screen.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Sure, Xehanort, flat-out tell your Heterosexual Life-Partner about your Apocalypse How-worthy desire to force Balance Between Good and Evil, then permanently scar him with a Casting a Shadow blast just for good measure. Surely that will get him to reconsider his stance on Light and Darkness, right?
  • Obviously Evil:
    • Master Xehanort. Just look at him. It wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't a well respected character by the good guys.
    • His apprentice, Vanitas is even worse. And worse still, Terra allies himself with The Evil Queen, Maleficent, Hades, and Captain Hook (though he does at least plan to double-cross a few of them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't).
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The Final Episode boss theme "Dismiss".
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Same as above. Also used in "Beyond the Door".
  • One-Winged Angel: Averted in all three storylines, which may be a first for this series. Unless you count Terra-Xehanort calling the Guardian in the Final Episode.
  • Paint It Black: Vanitas falls into the Evil Twin variation, being a black-haired, pale-skinned Sora.
  • Palette Swap: The Unversed get different color schemes in Final Mix for the sake of variety, and and Unversed forms assumed by theIllusion spells have a yet another palette.
  • Parental Abandonment: Despite that the three see Eraqus as a replacement father, and he even sees himself as one, Terra, Aqua, and Ven don't seem to have mentioned any of their parents. Even Sora had his mom... sorta appear in the first game.
  • Pinball Zone: Pete's Rec Room
  • Poor Communication Kills: The primary source of the heroes' troubles come from the fact that nobody can talk straight to anybody, allowing the villains to sow discord and turn them against one another. By the time the truth finally comes out, it's too late to do anything about it.
    • One notable example is the climax, in which Master Xehanort and Vanitas respectively lure Terra and Ven to the Keyblade Graveyard by telling them that they will kill the other two members of the Power Trio there. Aqua herself winds up there when she locates both Terra and Ven there thanks to Yen Sid. Effectively, it's a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: The True Final Boss battle, which takes place in the town square of a darkened Radiant Garden (where Aqua had previously fought Vanitas), and comes after the climax in The Keyblade Graveyard.
  • Power Copying:
    • This is roughly how the new Dimension Link system works. The protagonist makes a personal connection with another character, and this allows them to temporarily shift their moveset to something approximating what that other character uses. Terra, notably, gets to D-Link with Maleficent (and all three heroes can D-Link with Pete in the PAL / Mix versions). In his final boss battle, Ventus has a one-off D-Link with Vanitas.
    • The Bonus Boss Armor of Eraqus is implied to be doing this, changing its arsenal of attacks depending on who you fight it as, said arsenal resembling a cross between the current player character's fighting style and Master Eraqus'.
  • Power Gives You Wings: One of No Heart's attacks involves turning his Keyblade into a pair of wings which he uses to fly around.
    • The Exclusive Wingblade Command Style for Ventus. It's considered one of his strongest Command Styles, and it gives him 6 Blades of Light that act like Wings for him, and he attacks with them relentlessly.
  • The Power of Friendship: Quite possibly the definitive example of this trope in this series is the powerful bond between Terra, Aqua, and Ventus. Aqua might be more of a Friendship Freak than Sora. Expect tears to flow like the Nile and hearts to be warmed... sometimes in rapid succession.
  • The Power of Hate: This is how Lingering Sentiment comes to be in order to battle Xehanort for Terra's body.
    • Also, Lady Tremaine and her daughters hate Cinderella so much, that said hatred created two Unversed; one to kill everyone in the ball because the Prince danced with an unknown girl; the other to directly murder her because she is now freed from their tyranny.
  • Power Up Letdown: Terra's Sonic Impact, which adds a second dash to his normal Slide ability that carries him farther and can deal damage...which is actually not helpful at all, for several reasons: it does little damage, the second slide doesn't provide temporary invincibility like the first one does (which is the whole point of the dodge abilities), and the recovery from it is longer than the first Slide. Just to throw some Guide Dang It into the mixture, you get it right before Terra's battle with Zack; he has an attack that is extremely difficult to dodge any other way than just mashing Square to keep dodging — which you can't do if Sonic Impact is equipped. This isn't to say it is completely useless (it's good in the "Defeat countless Unversed" sections, for instance), but leaving it unequipped will allow you to dodge a far greater number of deadly attacks with ease.
    • That said, it is quite amusing to take out the first two of Terra's three final bosses by headbutting them.
    • In fact, all of the powered up dodge moves seem to be hit by the same issue in that while they do let you deal damage, it comes at the cost of the invincibility frames you had with the originals which are FAR more useful.
  • Practical Taunt:
  • Precision F-Strike: Though not the kind you're thinking of—Aqua snaps "You freak!" when Vanitas breaks Ven's wooden Keyblade. Considering this is Disney, that's about as extreme as the language can get so the effect is the same.
  • Properly Paranoid: Sure, Eraqus is a Knight Templar whom firmly believes in Black and White Morality, but given nearly all instances of Casting a Shadow in the series being Dark Is Evil — with only a handful of rare exceptions — he doesn't exactly have any real reason to believe in the Balance Between Good and Evil that Xehanort keeps trying to sell. Xehanort himself being a textbook example of Not Helping Your Case really doesn't help matters, either.
  • Pun: Hades remarks that Terra's name is a bit "earthy".
  • Punny Name:
    • "χ-blade". As in, the Greek letter. Chi Blade. And Chi is pronounced as "Key" in Japanese.
    • Vanitas was picked not only because it means "Emptiness" in Latin, but also because it sounds like "Ventus" and the kanji for sora (空) means both "sky" and "emptiness".
  • Pure Is Not Good: Despite being born of pure "darkness" Vanitas still has the ability to wield a Keyblade and, more specifically, the χ-blade.
    • Master Xehanort explained this when he told the trio that Keyblades of Light and Darkness fought during the Keyblade War. So, ignoring the fact that he started out using a Keyblade of light, it is just as possible for pure darkness to wield a Keyblade. They don't seem to be very picky.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The 3 heroes stop Xehanort from getting to Kingdom Hearts, but they all meet terrible fates. Terra's body was stolen by Xehanort and what's left of his mind is trapped in his armor at the Keyblade Graveyard, Ventus' heart was shattered by Vanitas' defeat and his body is comatose, and Aqua gets trapped in the Realm of Darkness after she saves the amnesiac Xehanort from being trapped there himself.
     R - Z 
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Terra takes on Eraqus when he catches him trying to kill Ven. It goes too far, but that's mostly Xehanort's fault.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: The game's narrative method.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: As in the Stitch movie, the Grand Councilwoman is extremely reasonable. She may still want Stitch locked up, but she has more than blind rage to back up her reasons, like Gantu, and she's willing to hear Aqua out.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Terra to Xehanort at the end. "You will pay, Xehanort! Was my Master—no, my father, Eraqus not enough for you? Leave my friends alone!"
    • And then there's Ven's speech to Vanitas immediately preceding their battle. "At least I have some [friends]! I've become a part of their heart, just as they've become a part of mine. My friends are my power... and I'm theirs!"
  • Recurring Boss: Expect to fight Vanitas in every story mode.
  • Recurring Riff: Bits of "Rage Awakened" can be heard in a few other songs.
    • Fate of the Unknown (KHII Final Mix Secret Ending Music) is heard multiple throughout the game, most noticably in Terra and Aqua's themes
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Terra is red, Aqua's blue.
    • An evil variation occurs with Master Xehanort and Vanitas: MX is the Blue, Vanitas is the Red.
  • Regenerating Mana: Spell uses restore themselves.
  • Regional Bonus: The international version features a new Crown Stickers sidequest, a new Bonus Boss, the Critical Mode difficulty, the EXP Zero ability, more cutscenes, more songs for the Ice Cream Beat mini game, 2 new Keyblades, more types of enemies, altered battle balance, and additional multiplayer options. As per usual with the Kingdom Hearts series, this was expanded to a Japan-only Final Mix.
  • Retcon:
    • Donald and Goofy know about the Keyblade, which isn't the case in Kingdom Hearts I.
    • In Kingdom Hearts II, Donald does not recognize the Mysterious Tower and is surprised that Yen Sid lives in it. Here, Donald and Goofy are seen hanging out at the completely identical Tower while waiting around for King Mickey.
  • Retired Badass: Master Yen Sid is a retired Keyblade Master, with Mickey taking his place, but he still keeps in contact with Master Eraqus and Master Xehanort.
  • The Reveal:
    • The last leg of the game shows that Castle Oblivion was created by Aqua from the remains of the Land of Departure to protect Ven's sleeping body inside the Chamber of Waking.
    • Terra and Master Xehanort merge to become the Xehanort that caused the events of the first and second games
    • Terra chose Riku and Aqua accidentally marked Kairi as future Keyblade wielders.
    • At the end of the game, Ven's heart enters Sora's body and resides there which causes the Keyblade to choose Sora over Riku in Kingdom Hearts 1 before Sora gained the power to wield his own keyblade in Hollow Bastion, and having Ven's heart also allows him to dual-wield the Keyblade, and is also why Roxas looks like him and has the same skill.
    • Within the game's story itself, Master Xehanort revealing his true intentions directly after killing Eraqus, as well as Vanitas's true identity: a physical form of the darkness within Ventus that looks like a black-haired Sora.
  • Reverse Grip: Ventus and the Unknown.
  • Rocket Tag Gameplay: Near mid to late parts of each characters story become this. Even Terra can't take all that many hits from a lot of late game story bosses, but in turn, bosses in this game have the far lowest HP of any KH game, as well as the main characters themselves. As a result, it often comes down to a match of who can kill who quicker, especially if you haven't figured out how to synthesize leaf bracer, once more, or second chance yet.
  • Rubber Band AI: Very apparent in Rumble Racing. If you pull ahead of your opponents, they'll speed up until they're on your tail again, and often even get a burst of speed to pull out in front of you. You don't get any such mercy if you fall behind, but fortunately the rubber band is removed on the final lap. If you don't fall behind too much before then, that's your chance to secure your victory.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • The keychain for the χ-blade as well as the crest on the lower half of its blade mirror the symbol for the "Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven". Also, χ, pronounced as "Chi", is often used to substitute Christ. That's where "X-Mas" comes from! This leads to some awesome Fridge Brilliance: the Kingdom Key and Kingdom Key D (read: Mickey's Kingdom Key) are a silver key with a gold handle and a gold key with a silver handle, and together they can open the door to Kingdom Hearts. The Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven are often shown as a gold and silver key crossed over each other.
      • That's not even the weirdest part: Read this. Gold keys and silver keys are possessed by St. Peter, and the former are representative of the gate to Heaven, silver it later states, are associated with birth. That is, silver represents gates to the physical world and gold represents the spiritual world. Think of the implications for Sora and Mickey.
    • Adding to the Christianity symbolism: Ven (as a result of having a heart of pure light) is the only character that has access to a version of the Holy spell. And his exclusive Command Style, Wing Blade, can be seen as a reference to the seraphim, six winged angels who were closest to God; each sword of light that floats behind Ven's back can be considered a wing.
    • In The Bible death is said to be simply a deep sleep, and that the dead will only awaken when Jesus returns for his Second Coming. Basically, Sora and by extension, Ven is KH!Jesus.
    • On the lighter side, the Million Dreams Award is a unique flavor of icecream that is customized to best represent whoever wins the award. Terra's is reminiscent of the series staple Sea-Salt ice cream, while Ven's and Aqua's resemble Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, respectively. Note that you would have to play through two character's storylines twice to see all of them in the game.
  • Save the Villain: Justified. Aqua saves Xehanort, who is possessing Terra. Since Aqua's not going to leave a friend to die and Terra is showing signs of Fighting from the Inside, this was the logical choice. Too bad it blew up in her face and caused the events of the rest of the series to occur.
  • Say My Name: In the Secret Ending of Birth by Sleep: regardless of their state of existence, Naminé, Roxas, Axel, Xion, Ven, Terra and Aqua pray to Sora's name across time and space. Can be a strong Tear Jerker or complete, utter Narm.
    • This may be a case of Lost in Translation. Roxas, Xion and Axel suddenly look up as a group to watch the sunset, and Terra and Ven are just noticing a shooting star when they say Sora's name. So, for those two groups, it's possible they were calling attention to the sky (sora) in the Japanese version, which loses its double meaning in English.
  • Scenery Gorn: The Keyblade Graveyard.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: The only part of the game dependent on what order you play each of the three characters as is the cutscene where the Million Dreams Award is given out within Disney Town - the cutscene will only play for the third character you play as within the town, with it altering accordingly depending on who said character is (with The canonical version of said cutscene being Aqua's).
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Aqua gives up her armor and her Keyblade to save Terra. While she turned out fine, she has to spend the next decade stuck in a hostile world at a serious disadvantage and saving Terra turns out to set most of Xehanort's evil deeds in motion.
  • Sentai: Pete is dressed like a reject from a Toku series. Two of 'em, actually!
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: After the other games had begun to rely on Button Mashing, Birth By Sleep takes a step back to make things more strategic. The game does not hand overpowered attacks and abilities to you in progress with the story, you need to use Command Meld to get them. You have to construct your Command Deck with a strategy in mind because which commands you use affect when Command Styles you can use, which significantly changes how the characters fight, and thanks to reload time you can't spam your Command Deck attacks continuously. Further, bosses can blink out of stunlock combos, they're smart enough to just avoid finishers and Shotlocks, and most bosses are immune to effects that would stun them. The game is not all that difficult, but it is significantly more challenging than previous Kingdom Hearts games.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • The series is known for this with their secret endings, but this time really takes the cake. Sora's ready to go on another journey to save all the hearts connected to him—including this game's main trio, Roxas, Xion, Axel, and Namine.
    • The Final Mix adds a nightmarrific one for Birth by Sleep -volume two-, but that project was unfortunately scrapped.
  • Sequence Breaking: There's several items that normally the characters need advanced movement commands to get, like High Jump, Glide, etc. Hpwever, the basic Sliding Dash command, a Dash Attack, lets players bypass this need by using Sliding Dash in midair to get to these places.
  • Set Bonus: Collecting all of the tiles in a color block in Command Board results in a 50% increase in all tiles of that color's value.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Aqua, so much so that the designers covered her up more because they thought it was too revealing.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: The protagonists' efforts only delay Xehanort's plans and teach him to be more patient. Meanwhile, all three heroes are put out of commission: Ven is rendered comatose due to his damaged heart, Terra loses his body and his possessed armor is implied to not be able to leave the Keyblade Graveyard, and Aqua is trapped in the Realm of Darkness.
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam: Used in the Secret Episode's boss battle.
  • She-Fu: Aqua's version of the Dodge Roll has her doing cartwheels. It works, making her completely invincible once the skill is maxed out as long as the player is spamming the square button.
  • Shirtless Scene: Ventus in his awakening.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Upon accessing the Trinity Archives after unlocking the Dairy Devotee trophynote , the game proudly proclaims "You are a WINNER!"
    • Terra's first Shotlock command is called "Sonic Shadow".
  • Significant Anagram: In addition to Yen Sid being Disney backwards, Eraqus is an anagram of Square.
    • Xehanort without the X can be re-arranged to become "No Heart, and Another". note  With the X, his name can be rearranged to "X No Heart", the X being a staple in the names of the Organization.
  • Single Tear: All over the place. Master Eraqus sheds one before fighting Terra, Aqua does as well in the secret ending when she is given her first glimmer of hope and recognition that all she did wasn't entirely in vain after eleven years lost in the darkness, and Sora is completely baffled by the sudden appearance of one when he unconsciously picks up Ventus' heart, getting hit vicariously by the full force of the Tear Jerker ending.
  • Sky Surfing: Ven's Keyblade Glider.
  • Slasher Smile: After Aqua battles the hybrid Ven and Vanitas, Ven-hijacked-by-Vanitas flashes a surprisingly eerie one at her. Twice.
  • SNK Boss: Any Bonus Boss, leaving players very little time to move, less to heal, and even less to attack.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The opening cinematic of the game uses the shortened PLANI Tb remix of Hikari/Simple And Clean (just like the first game, a sad and emotional track, which plays over some pretty horrific events that take place during the game, including Master Xehanort crushing Ven's helmet and freezing his body solid.
  • Spanner in the Works: Again, the entire trio, although Aqua did the best job of screwing with Master Xehanort's grand schemes. However, Xehanort is Crazy-Prepared, so...
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Maleficent's crow, Diablo, isn't turned into stone by Merryweather like in Sleeping Beauty.
    • Due to being one of the primary antagonists of Kingdom Hearts I, Maleficent isn't slain when stabbed in the chest by Prince Philip's sword like in Sleeping Beauty.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Due to differences in Japanese pronunciation, fans in the western world initially believed the Unversed were going to be called the "Unbirths". Erakwusu was also instantly recognized as a counterpart to Yen Sid by the fandom and a fair-sized faction assumed it'd be a straight Sdrawkcab Name (Erauqs); turns out it's Eraqus (the slight scrambling might be a parallel of the space in the middle of Yen Sid).
  • Standard Status Effects: You can inflict blindness, poison, confusion and sleep upon enemies, and they can inflict a few of these on you as well. Doesn't work equally though (see "Useless Useful Spell"). Hilariously enough, Vanitas is affected by Sleep.
  • Start of Darkness:
    • This game explains how Xehanort became Ansem's apprentice. He took Terra's body to regain his youth and (apparently) lost his memory after being defeated by the Lingering Setiment and later Aqua. Ansem finds him in the Radiant Garden after the fight with Aqua, setting the later games into motion.
    • Pete started working for Maleficent because he was banished from Disney Town and she finds him in the realm he was banished to.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Master Xehanort has yellow eyes. Braig's remaining eye becomes golden after being blasted in the face with a beam of darkness (and around the same time, he's developed darkness-related powers to back up his gun skills). Not to mention Terra's turned yellow at the end of the secret movie in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. And Vanitas has them as well. Gold eyes are usually associated with someone who's been exposed to the power of darkness and/or uses it (in his guise as DiZ, even Ansem the Wise had them). As do The Heartless (the ones that aren't The Faceless anyway,).
  • Superhero School: The Land Of Departure, where the main trio seem to have spent most of their lives training for the Keyblade.
  • Super Mode: Filling up the Limit Break meter with certain attacks transforms your character, changes your movelist, and grants a new Limit Break. Filling the new meter a certain way grants a higher tier super transformation and all that it entails.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Yeah their backstories are different, but could you really tell the difference between an Unversed and a Heartless if they didn't have symbols on them?
  • Swiss Army Hero: The "Illusion" set of spells to be added in Final Mix allow the player to transform into various Unversed, such as a Tank Toppler, a Mandrake, or a Shoegazer.
  • Sword Beam:
    • Vanitas. Friggin' Vanitas. This extends to Vanitas Remnant too.
    • The Unknown uses both his blades to perform a crossed one, similar to Vanitas' Sword Beam.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The χ-blade, a BFS that is the ultimate Keyblade and can open the door to Kingdom Hearts. Unfortunately, it's wielded by Vanitas who acquires it by fusing with Ventus, merging Ven's heart of pure light with Vanitas's heart of pure darkness. Ven faces Vanitas wielding an incomplete version of the Keyblade, while Aqua and Mickey face him with the completed version.
  • Sword Plant: The Lingering Sentiment drives his keyblade into the ground after he wins his battle.
  • Take Your Time: Nothing ever starts until you get there. There's a part early in Aqua's campaign where Cinderella is attacked by a massive Unversed. No problem; just head to the save point and play on the Command Board until you're ready, she's not getting burned up! That said, this particular instance comes after several scenes and another sequence where you have to escort Jaq to a mouse hole. You can skip the cutscenes, but not that. This may be slightly justified at the end of Terra's story, given that Master Xehanort needs him to be the vessel for his Grand Theft Me scheme.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: Terra.
  • Team Dad: Terra. While he's more of a Big Brother Mentor to Ven (this relationship later escalates into a Knight Templar Big Brother complex during the last fourth or so of Terra's scenario), there are quite a few times when the dynamics between Terra, Aqua, and Ven resemble that of two parents (Terra and Aqua) and a child (Ven). More mature and reserved than his friends, Terra can come across as strict, while still intending the best for them. And his Big Damn Heroes moment to save Ven and the subsequent battle against Master Eraqus definitely qualifies Terra as a Papa Wolf.
    • It's even lampshaded in the Japanese version of the game, where Ven hands Terra and Aqua the Disney Town passes and says that he was told to bring "his parents" ("two grown-ups" in the American version).
  • Team Mom: Aqua to her friends and also to Peter Pan and the lost boys.
  • Tears of Joy: Aqua sheds one and then smiles during the aforementioned "Say My Name" bit.
  • Theme Naming: The trio's names mirror the "sky, sea, and land" theme of Sora, Kairi, and Riku (ventus/wind, aqua/water, terra/earth)
  • Theme Song Reveal: Vanitas's battle theme takes cues from Sora's AND Roxas's themes. As well as Ven's, although such to be expected, considering The Reveal. There's also a small snippet from Xion's theme.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Terra, Aqua, and Ven.
  • Tiered by Name: Bonus Boss Vanitas Remnant in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix has more attacks than the original, all of which One Hit Kills you if you did not set your abilities up right.
  • Time Travel: It's implied that the Unknown is a time traveler due to its strange "fade into existance" entrance, utilizing a technique that rewinds time to undo a powerful attack inflicted onto it, and the prize for beating it being a Keyblade with a clock motif. 3D: Dream Drop Distance confirms that this is true, as it's Xehanort from the past.
  • Title Drop: Yen Side muses that Ventus is waiting for his "birth by sleep".
    • There's another one after 100% completion.
  • Title Theme Drop: What is probably the most poignant arrangement of "Dearly Beloved" yet plays during the scene detailed under "Say My Name".
  • Took a Level in Badass:
  • Tornado Move: Ventus creates a huge tornado called Tornado that sucks his opponent into the tornado but leaving him vulnerability to upcoming attacks.
  • Tragic Hero: Terra.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The opening movie borrows a few scenes from the original "Birth by sleep" video that played at the end of Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix. This scene is actually of the trio's final confrontation with the Obviously Evil Xehanort and Vanitas. How things got to that way, though, and what lies beyond, are thankfully unspoiled.
    • On the other hand, a few trailers did contain lines from the secret ending, including the page quote and some descriptions of Sora as the savior of people's hearts.
  • Transformation Trinket: The chunks of armour on their shoulders.
  • True Final Boss: Completing the three scenarios, as well as collecting all the Xehanort Reports, unlocks the Final Episode, in which Aqua battles Terra-Xehanort which in the Final Mix unlocks the Secret Episode where Aqua fights an "alpha heartless."
  • Tsurime Eyes: Aurora's got 'em. So does Terra.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: The above trio, in a parallel to Sora, Riku, and Kairi.
  • Ungrateful Bastards: The Seven Dwarfs in Ventus' story. He saves Snow White's life and is responsible for bringing her to them in the first place, but they still treat him with scorn and distrust, telling him to get out. By the time Aqua comes around, the time they've spent with Snow White has mellowed them out considerably though (especially Grumpy, as in the original movie.)
  • Updated Re-release: Birth By Sleep Final Mix, with new bosses, a new Keyblade, and a new epilogue story with Aqua.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Ienzo, Lea, and especially Isa, which has made several fans wonder why Saïx's eyes are yellow in 358/2 and II. And where he got the scars...
  • Useless Useful Spell:
    • Many bosses are immune to Magnet, most Standard Status Effects, and the One-Hit Kill spell Warp.
    • Ultimate Tier Deck Commands are fine to use against normal enemies, but most have long animations that force you to stay still and are thus impractical against bosses.
  • Vague Age: Terra, Aqua, and Ven are never given official ages, unlike Sora, Riku, and Kairi. Though if you take some things into consideration, such as Ventus being physically identically to fifteen-year-old Roxas and information that Xemnas is about thirty, it's not that much of a stretch to assume that Ven is fifteen and Terra is nineteen. All we get for Aqua, though, is that she's younger than Terra and older than Ven.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Keyblade Graveyard (though, while it is ominous, it's actually pretty short). Oddly, though, Terra and Ven visit it multiple times for cutscene purposes (and, in Ven's case, to fight Vanitas the first time) before the endgame. However, they don't actually visit the titular graveyard itself, but part of the world surrounding it, which is apparently called "The Badlands".
  • Villainous Breakdown: The one time Master Xehanort loses his cool, by all appearances, he's already won, having taken Terra's body. But then a force-field surrounds them, Terra's armor rises up to face him, and he snaps. "Your body submits, your heart succumbs—so why does your mind resist?!"
  • Voices Are Mental: A variation; see this game's section on the "Fridge Brilliance" page.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • Vanitas for both Ven and Aqua's stories, who is significantly more difficult than previous enemies. In comparison for the same point in the game, Terra faces Braig, who while annoying, is not nearly as tough to tackle.
    • The Wheel Master for Terra. Part of its difficulty is the fact that you're generally around level 4 when you fight it, but by figuring out the strategy behind it (no you can't bruteforce it at that level, he's much stronger than you), it teaches the player about timed blocking and dashing out of otherwise unavoidable attacks.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Unknown Bonus Boss is very vulnerable to Thunder Surge, a comparatively weak command. What makes it so effective is that it deals multiple hits and makes the user invincible for the duration, allowing the player to not only do decent damage but allowing them to attack through the Unknown's own attacks, potentially halting them, and it hits all around the user so any doppelgangers he has out will be dispersed. And to boot it recharges fairly quick and has fair range for a melee attack. With Terra especially since he's a Mighty Glacier and Thunder Surge is a physical command, he can knock off half an HP bar with one Thunder Surge if all potential hits land.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Once he realizes Ven's importance to Xehanort's scheme, Eraqus tries to kill Ven to save the universe.
  • Wham Shot: If you skipped the intro and have failed to otherwise put two and two together, then it comes when Terra first punches his pauldron in the last cutscene of the Land of Departure. That muscled armour figure in gold and bronze is unmistakable to anyone who has fought the KHII Final Mix Bonus Boss: this is the poor, unfortunate soul who ends up as the Lingering Will.
    • There's also Vanitas' reveal: He's basically a copy of Sora. Granted, he has black hair and yellow eyes, but he has the same face, the same voice.
  • Wham Episode: The Secret Ending qualifies as one not just for the game, but turns the whole franchise on its head.
    • The Final Mix Secret Ending qualifies as well... as it shows that the worlds aren't quite destroyed when consumed by the darkness...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never see the Dwarf Woodlands' Queen's final fate. Her profile in Aqua's episode implies she met the same end as her movie counterpart, but off screen.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Happens several times. During the trio's reunion in Radiant Garden, Aqua calls Terra out for his alliances with Malificent and the Evil Queen. Later, when you get to Disney Town, Terra is greeted by this for stepping on the racing track.
  • When Trees Attack:
    • Ven's Dwarf Woodlands boss, the Mad Treant. It's basically a thematic combination of the evil queen's poison apple and the trees Snow White believed were attacking her.
    • And also, When Pumpkins Attack, when the Unversed combine with the Wicked Stepfamily's hatred to create a twisted version of the pumpkin carriage that lobs pumpkin bombs. That didn't go well for the Tremaines.
  • Who's on First?: In the Dwarf Woodlands, Terra is hired by the Queen to kill Snow White and bring back her heart in a box. This causes Terra to think that the Queen is also after the Hearts of Light when in reality, she really means her heart, no metaphors. When Terra asks her if she is after the Hearts of Light, the Queen clearly has no idea what he's talking about and just claims that she had enough of Snow White's light.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Jellyshade swarm.
  • Women Are Wiser:
    • Aqua is the only one of the trio who qualifies to become a Keyblade Master. Ventus is too inexperienced to apply, and Terra has too much darkness in him, partially because of circumstances outside of his control. As a further example, take the Deep Space world. Both Terra and Ven have to constantly evade detection by the ship's inhabitants as they clear out unversed and help Experiment 626 (better known as Stitch) escape, which includes being attacked by the ship's defensive turrets. Aqua, on the other hand, simply walks up to the nice lady in charge and explains why she's there. Of course, that could have been just luck; if the Grand Councilwoman wasn't there and it was just Gantu in charge, Aqua would've gotten herself tossed in the brig even faster than Terra.
    • Inverted with Queen Minnie, See Disproportionate Retribution above.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: The χ-blade can only be created when pure light and pure darkness clash, which is why Master Xehanort ensures that Ven and Vanitas are set up against each other from the start.
    • During Terra's story, Master Xehanort preaches the virtues of this idea to him, telling him that Eraqus's complete opposition of darkness is as bad as succumbing to darkness, and that the proper way to protect the worlds is to wield both in equal measure. He's full of crap. He just wants to get Terra to give into the darkness and feeds him this line of thought to encourage him down that road. There may be some truth behind what he's saying, but as they say, the best lies are the ones made out of truth.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Aqua.

''Sad to say, the worlds nearly fell to darkness more than once. But at every turn, that boy arrived with Keyblade in hand to save the day. In fact I would like to believe maybe he can set things right. A boy like him who touches so many hearts, he could open the right door, and save all those people whose lives I managed to ruin. His name is...
Ansem the Wise
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep