Due to lengthy periods between releases and the prevalence of Late Arrival Spoilers, spoilers from installments before 2010 may be unmarked. Read at your own risk.
This is a listing of Ansem the Wise and his six apprentices that appear in the Kingdom Hearts series.
Beware of unmarked spoilers.
Ansem the Wise / DiZ
Voiced by: Genzo Wakayama (Japanese), Christopher Lee (English, KHII, 358/2 Days), Corey Burton (English, Re: Chain of Memories, Birth by Sleep, Dream Drop Distance, 358/2 Days cutscenes in HD I.5 ReMIX, KHIII)
Appearances: Chain of Memories | II | Birth by Sleep | 358/2 Days | Dream Drop Distance | 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage- | III
Once the kindly ruler of Radiant Garden, Ansem was cast into the Realm of Darkness by Xehanort when he turned Ansem's followers against him and took over the land. Adopting the alias DiZ ("Darkness in Zero"), Ansem eventually returned to the Realm of Light and plotted vengeance against Xemnas and Organization XIII, and intended to use Sora and those allied with him to do it.
- All for Nothing: In Kingdom Hearts II, he realizes that for all his research into the heart, he still doesn't really know anything about it at all. He even admits it foolish of him to try and understand it in terms of data.
- The Atoner: Once he realizes the evil behind his actions. One of his last deeds before the Kingdom Hearts Encoder goes up is to apologise to Roxas for what he did. In III, he works with Ienzo to prepare a replica that Roxas can use as a new body, and then in the ending he also works on giving Naminé a replica-body.
- Badass Bookworm: Remember the library from Kingdom Hearts? That's this guy's.
- Bandaged Face: As DiZ.
- Beneath the Mask: Near the end of Roxas' prologue in II, when he sees that Riku has taken on the form of Xehanort's Heartless, Ansem laughs at the sight. As he admits to Mickey later in the World That Never Was, he was actually deeply ashamed that Riku had become a victim of his lust for revenge and his laughter was a facade to hide it.
- Black Cloak: As of Birth By Sleep's secret ending, he is wearing an Organization black coat to protect himself from the darkness.
- Brain Uploading: Dream Drop Distance reveals that he uploaded a complete version of his mind to Sora's own mind along with his research data. Data-Ansem is actually very personable and intelligent and even jokes around with Riku, having not lost its memory like the real Ansem.
- Casting a Shadow: Obtained dark powers through his festering hatred when he was banished to the Realm of Darkness, Unfortunately, like Riku, he lost them when his Kingdom Hearts Encoder exploded, leaving him trapped in the Realm of Darkness without the ability to open a dark portal.
- The Chessmaster: With Xemnas as his opponent. Most of his plotting occurs in Chain of Memories and II, though at least one of his schemes has lasted to after Dream Drop Distance, and has yet to be fully revealed.
- Clear My Name: An aspect of his motivation since the fall of Radiant Garden.
- Cool Old Guy: Once he takes off the bandages. He's even cooler in Dream Drop Distance, where he takes up joking with Riku about Sora, and reminds him of how much he's changed from his "Riku-Ansem" phase.
- Crazy-Prepared: Knowing that he needed to make sure that his data would be safe, he stored it within the one place he knew for a fact would be available and able to defend itself to the point where people wouldn't even know it would be there at all: Sora's heart. This extended to the point of him storing an entire data-copy of himself within said heart, along with his research data, so that when it was necessary, someone could retrieve it, even if he himself might not have survived to see that day.
- Even after being blown into the Realm of Darkness and losing his memory, he still managed to have a black coat on hand to protect him.
- Cultured Badass: A remarkably polite individual, especially once he realizes how much his actions have hurt people, but if you endanger the worlds he will do everything in his power to make sure you don't succeed.
- Dark Is Not Evil: He's a real jerk and a Manipulative Bastard, but, regardless of his use of Corridors of Darkness, he still refuses to submit to the darkness like Xehanort and Organization XIII's founding members and works in the interests of light, regardless of his personal reasons.
- Disney Death: The ending of Birth by Sleep shows that he survived his sacrifice and now waits for Sora to free him and Aqua from the Realm of Darkness.
- Domain Holder: Is The Omnipotent over his digital Twilight Town, and even highest-level Nobodies (e.g., Axel) and The Chosen One-level Keyblade-wielders (e.g., Roxas) can't fight him there. But without this Home Field Advantage, he's screwed against even lowest-level Nobodies (e.g., Dusks).
- Dramatic Unmask: Near the end of Kingdom Hearts II. That said, it's only dramatic to the viewers. The only other person present (King Mickey) already knew who he was.
- Easy Amnesia: He teetered on the edge of it for his entire exile to the realm of darkness by his disciples, but kept focus thanks to hatred. When he ends up there again after KHII, he quickly forgets almost everything but Sora, presumably because he doesn't have such hatred anymore. All he's holding on to is his memory of Sora, since he put his research data, all he has left to help him with, inside of him.
- Eccentric Mentor: Not nearly as much since the end of Kingdom Hearts II, but he still has a couple of quirks.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Subverted. He has the world's greatest villain's voice, but he's actually on the side of good.
- Emperor Scientist: As Ansem the Wise, his title was fittingly Sage-King.
- Fantastic Racism: DiZ justifies his actions against the Organization XIII, no matter how cruel, by noting that they have no right to exist in the first place. Although numerous other characters (up to and including Sora himself) have this point of view in II, reasoning that Nobodies possess no real emotions and thus aren't worthy of pity or mercy, DiZ is far more malicious in his hatred of Nobodies, and he learns how wrong he is to use the "Nobodies-Don't-Exist" justification as a general rule by the end of the game, when he removes his bandages.
- Freudian Excuse: Organization XIII's founders, excluding Ienzo, betrayed him, ruined his name, and trapped him in Another Dimension where he had no choice but to use The Power of Hate to survive and escape. Is it any wonder he wants Revenge?
- Fun with Acronyms: Darkness in Zero. An in-universe example that he never explains personally to anyone else in universe, and is only mentioned in his Secret Reports.
- Gentleman and a Scholar
- Gadgeteer Genius: If it's any indication, he built a machine that digitizes hearts. It did explode spectacularly, but points for trying.
- Good Is Not Nice: After being trapped in the Realm of Nothingness. He grows out of it as he enters his status as The Atoner.
- Heel Realization: He finally realizes how horrid he has become by the time he storms the Castle That Never Was with his Kingdom Hearts encoder, though this began back during the beginning of the game when he saw just how far Riku was willing to go to save Sora.
- He Who Fights Monsters: In his quest to bring down the schemes of the Organization XIII, he became racist and as immoral, if not more so in some extents, than some of the members of the group itself, making him into a Type IV Anti-Hero. He seems to have figured this out by the time he storms the Castle That Never Was.
- Impersonation Paradox: After getting his identity stolen by Xehanort, he uses the disguise of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, in Chain of Memories as a disguise while he is in Castle Oblivion. Afterwards, Riku joins up with him in a Black Coat and Ansem, under the guise of DiZ, ask who he is; when he pulls down the hood and introduces himself as Ansem, the real Ansem can only laugh about it and greets him with evident sarcasm which Riku fails to see.
- In the Hood: A standard feature, and he has not taken it off.
- Jerkass: Regarding Roxas, though he does apologize for it in the end, shortly before his Heroic Sacrifice.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: By the end of Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Ansem seems to have reverted to his selfless ways and willingly sacrifices himself to stop Xemnas from succeeding with his artificial Kingdom Hearts. He apologizes to Roxas via Sora, and expresses to Aqua his remorse for everything he put Sora, Roxas, and Riku through while they are in the Dark Margin, openly hoping that Sora will ultimately open the Door to Light and right all of his own wrongdoings during his quest for revenge.
- Kick the Dog: His manipulation of Roxas, ordering the execution of Naminé, seeing Riku (and pretty much everyone else) as nothing but a tool for his own vengeance, and actively sabotaging King Mickey's attempts to contact Riku.
- Legacy Character: His real name is taken by so many people that he actually comes across an Impersonation Paradox by accident.
- Man in the Iron Mask: Played with. Xehanort stole his original name and banished him to the Realm of Nothingness. When he escaped, he decided to fulfill the "disguised face" part of the trope himself, and occasionally used magic to impersonate the guy impersonating him.
- Mask Power
- Meaningful Name: DiZ is a corruption of the first three letters of Disney.
- Also In-Universe. It stands for "Darkness in Zero".
- Modest Royalty: Outside of his DiZ guise he is typically seen wearing a lab coat no different from his apprentices' except for some sort of red sash draped over his shoulder. While befitting his scientific knowledge, this is pretty understated attire for a world's king.
- Mr. Exposition: Provides lots and lots of plot exposition almost every time he appears.
- Non-Action Guy: Has no martial abilities to speak of and is overwhelmed by a group of low-tier Nobodies.
- Pointy Ears: His ears have slight points to them. Given they weren't present in his depictions in the past, it's probably a side-effect of the darkness.
- The Power of Hate: His rage towards his treacherous apprentices is what kept him sane in the Realm of Darkness and gave him the darkness based powers to escape it. This is what makes his Character Development backfire on him when he's thrown back into the Realm of Darkness. With no anger left he is not only stuck there but loses his memories as well.
- Revenge: Another implied motivation, especially with what he does to Roxas, who had nothing to do with the above. The power of Sora's and Riku's strong hearts cause him to think differently.Mickey: I can't help you with revenge.
Ansem: I know. Riku's told me a thousand times.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He personally storms the Castle That Never Was in an effort to stop Xemnas himself.
- Redemption Earns Life: As of Birth By Sleep's secret ending, he's revealed to have survived the explosion of the Kingdom Hearts encoder.
- Science Hero: What he does to help the heroes is typically through the use of his inventions, and not in up front combat.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: The above quote is a response to Xemnas's motive rant.
- Stealth Mentor: To Riku.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Subtle, but when Roxas confronts him at the end of the prologue right before Sora awakens, DiZ calls him a tool, using just enough metaphorical language so it's not immediately obvious.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: Due to his use of darkness.
- Teleporters and Transporters: He is capable of using Corridors of Darkness (despite the corruptive influence on his heart, seeing as he has no known protection) and teleporting himself around his data simulations at will.
- Thinking Up Portals: The mechanics of Corridors of Darkness revolve around this.
- Too Many Belts
- Took a Level in Kindness:He's actually a lot nicer after he takes off the bandages on his head, and even acknowledges that anything can grow a heart in 3D, apologizing to Roxas some time before.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Sea-salt ice cream.
- Trapped in Another World: The Organization XIII thrust him into the Realm of Darkness early in their scheming. He managed to escape due to finding out how to make Corridors of Darkness, and kept his memory due to his pure hatred. Later, as of the end of II, he was trapped in the Realm of Darkness and lost most of his memory in the process of staying there due to not having the rage he once did to keep it together. He is currently on the End of the Sea (also known as the Dark Meridian) and still with Aqua, who is also trapped. Then he got out due to Ansem the Seeker of Darkness because he was looking for Subject X, and he thinks that he knows her location.
- Villain Protagonist: DiZ in KHII, Chain of Memories, and 358/2 Days cannot truly be called a hero or even truly an Anti-Hero despite the fact he is technically allied with the main protagonists against Xehanort and the Organization. DiZ's reasons for wanting to thwart the Organization's scheme and destroy its members is initially not so much to protect the worlds as much as to exact revenge on Xehanort and his other former apprentices. DiZ himself repeatedly uses and glorifies the power of hate and darkness, only differentiating himself from Xehanort by his refusal to succumb to darkness and ostensible alignment with the heroes' goals, and he is perfectly willing to ruthlessly destroy and manipulate innocent lives, especially Nobodies like Roxas, to get what he wants. This characterization shifts into that of a Classical Anti-Hero once he realizes his mistakes.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: He can change his appearance with the power of darkness.
- You're Insane!: In III, Xehanort's Heartless confronts him about the disappearance of Subject X, still convinced that Ansem arranged it because of some secret she knew. Ansem snaps back, "You are completely deluded, Xehanort." Indeed, the Secret Reports all but confirm that Braig was responsible for moving her.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Orders Riku to kill Namine after Roxas rejoins Sora for explicitly this reason. He doesn't go through with it.
Voiced by: Yosuke Akimoto (Japanese), David Dayan Fisher (English)
Appearances: Birth by Sleep | coded | Dream Drop Distance | III
Dilan is the complete being of Xaldin. Dilan was one of Ansem's six apprentices who betrayed him by researching the Heartless.
- A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil: Surprisingly enough, in Birth by Sleep Dilan shows no signs of his eventual betrayal of his master and general douchebaggery. Instead, he is presented as both extremely loyal to his master and genuinely concerned for Ven's well-being.
- Dream Drop Distance implies that none of the apprentices (save Terra-Xehanort and Braig) willingly gave themselves over to the darkness.
- Back from the Dead: In 3D, but recovered in III and undergone a HeelFace Turn.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Very much so.
- Blade on a Stick: His lance.
- Genius Bruiser: Strong enough to serve as a guard, smart enough to do research under Ansem. His journal entry in Birth by Sleep suggests that he was a shrewd manipulator even before becoming Xaldin.
- HeelFace Turn: Upon his return, like the rest of the apprentices.
- Hot Blooded Sideburns: A trademark specialty, it seems. It carried over even when he was Xaldin, too.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In Birth by Sleep he's initially dismissive of Ventus, but worries for his safety once the latter runs off to chase after an Unversed. This is initially his default mode before he became Xaldin.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The North American release of KHII mistranslated his real name as Dilin; the PAL release and all subsequent games rectified this.
- Those Two Guys: Always paired up with Aeleus in his scenes. Unlike their Nobody selves, who have extremely different roles in the story, more fleshed out characters (albeit still minimal compared to other Organization members), unique powers and abilities, and dying very far apart in the timeline, Dilan and Aeleus are so similar and share their spotlight to such a degree that they may as well be the same character. This is the case in both Birth by Sleep and III, and was only not the case in Dream Drop Distance because Dilan spent that entire game unconscious.
- The Voiceless: Doesn't speak at all in KHIII.
Voiced by: Nachi Nozawa (Japanese), Derek Stephen Prince (English)
Appearances: Birth by Sleep | coded | Dream Drop Distance | III
Even is the complete being of Vexen. He is one of the six apprentices of Ansem the Wise who betrayed him by researching the Heartless and destroying Radiant Garden.
- A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil: In Birth by Sleep, Even seems to be genuinely kind and helpful instead of the Insufferable Genius he later becomes after betraying his master.
- The Atoner: While he initially appears to be part of the XIII Seekers of Darkness in III, it's eventually revealed that he was only pretending to work with Master Xehanort. In truth, he felt horrible for what his experiments had led to, and was using the XIII Seekers as a way to develop new replicas that Roxas, Xion, and Naminé could use as new bodies.
- Back from the Dead: In 3D as Even. He secretly performed a HeelFace Turn prior to becoming a Nobody again in Kingdom Hearts III, but ultimately returns to his original form at the end of the game.
- Deadpan Snarker: Very much so, especially as it carried over to his time as Vexen in CoM and Re:CoM.
- Insufferable Genius
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A relatively proud, friendly and rather decent guy overall.
- Parental Substitute: He was one of those responsible for raising Ienzo.
Voiced by: Fumihiko Tachiki (Japanese), Dave Boat (English)
Appearances: Birth by Sleep | coded | Dream Drop Distance | III
Aeleus is the complete being of Lexaeus. He was one of Ansem's treacherous apprentices.
- A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil: Birth by Sleep shows Aeleus to have been a loyal and honorable man, before his betrayal of Ansem the Wise.
- Back from the Dead: In 3D and has undergone a HeelFace Turn.
- Elemental Hair: Like his Nobody, he has auburn brown hair.
- Genius Bruiser: Mostly known for his exceptional strength, he's also intelligent enough to serve as one of Ansem's apprentices.
- HeelFace Turn: Since his return, still sticks as of III.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ienzo, likely a carryover from their times as Nobodies.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: That chin of his could cut through diamonds.
- The Quiet One: Always a man of few words, in the third game he doesn't even speak at all.
- Redemption Demotion: Ienzo mentions that his powers, including control of the Dark Corridors, have been lost.
- Satellite Character: More so than his Nobody.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The North American release of II misspelled his real name as Elaeus; the PAL release and all subsequent games rectified this.
- Those Two Guys: Always paired up with Dilan in his scenes. Unlike their Nobody selves, who have extremely different roles in the story, more fleshed out characters (albeit still minimal compared to other Organization members), unique powers and abilities, and dying very far apart in the timeline, Dilan and Aeleus are so similar and share their spotlight to such a degree that they may as well be the same character. This is the case in both Birth by Sleep and III, and was only not the case in Dream Drop Distance because Dilan spent that entire game unconscious.
- The Voiceless: Doesn't speak at all in III.
Voiced by: Akira Ishida (Japanese), Vincent Corazza (English)
Appearances: Birth by Sleep | coded | Dream Drop Distance | III
Ienzo is the complete being of Zexion. Ienzo was an orphan adopted by Ansem the Wise, and the youngest of his apprentices.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: His hair is much darker in the manga.
- Adorably Precocious Child: In his child form, he's shorter than Ven and his lab coat can't even fit him right.
- Adorkable: In stark contrast to his stoic child self, and his scheming Nobody self, the adult Ienzo is an adorably chatty nerd.
- The Atoner: Upon being recompleted, he seeks to make amends for his past misdeeds by helping resurrect Roxas.
- Ascended Extra: He goes from having small cameos in two games to being the Mission Control of III. Even if we count Zexion's appearances, Ienzo was never a very prominent member of Organization XIII.
- Back from the Dead: In 3D and had undergone a HeelFace Turn.
- Corruption by a Minor: Ienzo is the one that convinced Ansem the Wise to build the secret lab where they could experiment on people's hearts.
- Creepy Child: Ienzo's role in Birth by Sleep seems to be staring, and just silently staring at you, even after you just saved him from being attacked by the unversed which could have killed him. Now stop and think about the fact he was still a child when he became a Nobody.
- Cry Cute: When he is reunited with Ansem and revealing the fact the other apprentices lied to him about Ansem's banishment to the realm of darkness, he looks like he is about to cry.
- Early-Bird Cameo: He's the first apprentice we ever learned about as an individual as Ansem's notes you collect address him by name in Kingdom Hearts 2.
- Enfant Terrible: He was the one who convinced Ansem to start experimentation with the powers of darkness which escalated into forcing people to turn into Heartless.
- Evil Sounds Deep: One of the few differences between Zexion and the recently revived Ienzo is that his voice is noticeably lighter in pitch.
- FaceHeel Turn: In his backstory, giving Ansem the Wise the idea for the experimentation on the heart.
- HeelFace Turn: He is the first notable one to do so, along with the rest of the apprentices.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Aeleus, as a likely hold over from their time as Nobodies.
- Horrible Judge of Character: According to his testimony in III, Xehanort claimed Ansem the Wise had gone mad, which Ienzo believed long enough to get his heart yanked out. In fairness to him, he was a kid at the time.
- Infant Immortality: Needless to say he's an early aversion in the series, given how his nobody is the first time you meet him, but he is a case where you do actually see his body with the other apprentices after Xehanort attacked them and later see it was indeed when he initially died by seeing the reformed Ienzo in the same position when Lea wakes up.
- Magic Pants: A downplayed case but when Ienzo is reformed he's wearing essentially the same outfit he was when he died like the others, despite being the only one who aged so his clothing couldn't fit anymore. Downplayed in that with the coat itself at least as it was originally seen to be too big on the child sized Ienzo as you can see above and is later seen to have at least added a purple cravat to match the lab outfits Even and Xehanort are normally seen wearing.
- Mission Control: Serves this role in III. He keeps Sora, Donald, and Goofy up-to-speed from Radiant Garden with the Gummiphone, and analyzes Ansem the Wise's research data to help restore those who have been lost to darkness.
- Motor Mouth: While Zexion wasn't exactly The Quiet One, Ienzo is notably far more chatty than he was. A little bit ironic since he was stone silent as a kid.
- Nice Guy: The revived Ienzo is shown to be nothing but friendly, helpful and accommodating.
- Occult Blue Eyes: While not to a supernatural degree his cold blue eyes didn't exactly make him any less creepy when all he'd do as a kid is stare at you after saving him from the unversed, and he turned out to be a powerful magic user as Zexion later on.
- Parental Abandonment: Ienzo became Ansem's ward after the death of his parents.
- Peek-a-Bangs: As Zexion, it represented his secretive, scheming nature.
- A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil: For Ansem, thanks to some manipulating from Xehanort. Fortunately, they manage to patch things up quickly in III.
- The Quiet One: As a child he didn't say a word, but when the other apprentices come back after the defeat of their nobodies he's a lot more chatty.
- Quizzical Tilt: He gives one after Lea cuts him off when he sounds like he's going to start acting as Mr. Exposition to answer his question after most of Organization XIII were revived where they originally lost their hearts.
- Redemption Demotion: He mentions that he and the other recompleted Apprentices have lost their powers, including access to the Dark Corridors.
- Shorter Means Smarter: Compared to the other apprentices his intelligence isn't too clear but he is easily the youngest and smallest of them by far (even with his post revival growth spurt) and in the role of a scientist like Even and Xehanort both were.
- Spanner in the Works: Xemnas learns of his involvement with restoring Roxas after the fact, as without his help in restoring both Roxas and Namine things would've gone south really quick. The fact that Ansem the Wise helped alongside him and getting covert assistance from Demyx and Vexen certainly evened the playing field, as well.
- Teen Genius: Something that shows that he did technically age during his time as a nobody, as the reformed Ienzo is still Zexion's age, and he quickly jumps on the chance to start explaining and theorizing out loud when trying to figure out what not all of the Radiant Garden centered Organization members revived at the same place.
- Took a Level in Kindness: He's noticeably nicer after being recompleted, along with Ansem the Wise returning to him and the apprentices, as well.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Experimenting on the darkness in people's hearts? Check. Creating Heartless? Check. Helping destroy his home by accident? CHECK. While he did urge Ansem to take his experiments to the next level, he ultimately had no idea of the other machinations happening around him. III reveals that the others lied to him about Ansem, claiming that Ansem went mad and exiled himself to pursue his research. While he knows that he was just a kid at the time and was naive, Ienzo is still noticeably torn up for ever believing it for so long.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: He only gets a couple of scenes in Birth by Sleep, primarily being saved from some Unversed with Even showing up to get him and an ending scene of him and Ansem the Wise having some sea salt ice cream together, but this is the general impression.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Hard to believe he's only a few years older than the protagonists, and still younger than Lea.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: In his case, steel-blue hair.