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Characters / Kingdom Hearts: Riku

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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.

Click here  to see Riku as he appears in Kingdom Hearts and Chain of Memories
Click here  to see Riku as he appears in the 358/2 Days
Click here  to see Riku as he appears in Dream Drop Distance
Click here  to see Riku as he appears in II
Click here  to see Riku as a child in Birth by Sleep

Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano (Japanese), David Gallagher (English)
Young Riku Voiced by: Eiji Shima (Japanese), Ty Panitz (English)

Appearances: I | Chain of Memories | II | Birth by Sleep | 358/2 Days | coded | Dream Drop Distance | 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage- | III | Melody of Memory

"Once we step through, we might not be able to come back. We may never see our parents again. There's no turning back. But this may be our only chance. We can't let fear stop us! I'm not afraid of the darkness!"

Sora's best friend and rival. His desire to see something greater beyond his tiny, secluded island home led to him being seduced by the forces of darkness. But once he realizes the harm he's caused, he begins working in the shadows to assist Sora in whatever way possible, eventually wielding his own Keyblade and tempering his inner darkness to channel it for the forces of light.
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  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Becomes a playable party member in the final world of KH II. He's also briefly controllable during the final boss fight.
  • 24-Hour Armor: Riku's clothes in The Grid.
    Riku: My clothes. Is this world special?
  • Above Good and Evil: Different version of this trope. When asked by DiZ if he'd walk the road of light or darkness, Riku determinedly decided that neither roads suit him and he'd take the middle road, the road to dawn.
  • The Ace: Sora is occasionally jealous of his friend for excelling at everything he does. This is acknowledged in II when Sora and Donald express their disbelief that Riku could be defeated by anyone.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: As revealed in 3D, Riku's long-time exposure to darkness has rendered him immune to its corrupting influence.
  • A Day in the Limelight: He has his own campaign in Chain of Memories and 3D, the latter in which he's more of The Protagonist than Sora himself.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: In Birth By Sleep where he was extremely perceptive and insightful at five years old, able to immediately spot an off-worlder and give Sora outstanding advice about a complicated issue.
  • Affably Evil: During his time as a villain in Kingdom Hearts I, he's at worse a Jerkass to Sora and does has some Kick the Dog moments but even then he is the Token Good Teammate of Maleficent's group as his motivation is to rescue Kairi and not to take over the worlds. He also sincerely offers Sora to join him to rescue Kairi and is visibly disappointed and shocked after he refuses.
  • Afraid of Their Own Strength: Riku's Character Development in Chain of Memories revolves around this trope, at first he'd try to avoid using darkness at all costs over regret of his actions in the last game but as he learns and accepts that Dark Is Not Evil, he starts using the power more which allows him to Take a Level in Badass.
  • Aloof Ally: In II, Riku was on Sora's side but he helped them by giving them clues to where to go and was avoiding interaction with them. This was due to him having Ansem's appearance but once Kairi and eventually Sora realize it's him, he stays with them full time.
  • Aloof Big Brother: To Sora and Kairi, though they're not related.
  • Always Someone Better: Riku is hinted to have always been able to outdo Sora, something the latter admits at the end of Kingdom Hearts II. Unfortunately, this gets a brutal Deconstruction throughout the first game for several reasons. Riku is a case of I Just Want to Be Special and grows jealous that Sora is The Chosen One because of the Keyblade going to him, even though both are able to wield it. The two are also in a Love Triangle with their mutual Childhood Friend Kairi, who loses her heart for most of the first game but only Riku is working to save her and he believes that Sora has abandoned them for his new friends. These factors lead to him embracing the powers of darkness and taking the Keyblade from Sora to achieve all of his goals but Sora is able to reclaim the Keyblade and fight him off. By this point The Dark Side Will Make You Forget has taken effect, leading Riku to on even more power from the darkness and allowing the Big Bad to take over his body while his heart is lost to darkness.
    • The later games see a Reconstruction of this trope. Riku has become The Atoner for all the damage he caused to his friends and is frequently working separately form the other heroes. His ability to outdo Sora as a warrior means he can deal with threats the former isn't ready for yet and proves to be a Spanner in the Works for the plans of the villains. By the end of Kingdom Hearts II he admits to how he sees Sora in this way compared to himself and goes on in the later games to acknowledge that Sora is the one they need while his capabilities are devoted to supporting him.
  • Anime Hair: It's nowhere near as spiky as Sora's but his Long-Haired Pretty Boy looks in II still qualifies for this trope.
  • Anti-Hero: When working with fellow Anti-Hero DiZ in KH II. Riku is willing to use the power of darkness to achieve his goals, something most of his other allies would never consider doing.
    • Riku also has some Classical Anti-Hero traits, he repeatedly shows signs immense regret for his previous behavior and doesn't understand how Sora is so willing to forgive him and almost refused to come back to Destiny Islands because of his shame for his wrongdoings.
  • Anti-Villain: In Kingdom Hearts, where he's just doing what he feels is necessary to save Kairi. However, when Sora beats him in a fight, he loses himself in darkness while trying to become stronger.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, he serves as a major antagonist, regardless of his intentions. However, he never truly wanted any harm to come to Roxas or Xion and he is upset about the fact he's carrying out a mission that will only end in both of them ceasing to exist. He does so as kindly as he can, however. He spends most of Days explaining the situation to Xion in hopes she'll make a decision on her own rather than force her outright, and he seemed willing to do the same for Roxas until Roxas forced Riku's hand.
  • Arch-Enemy: Seems to have found one in Ansem, Seeker of Darkness after turning against him. Judging from how Ansem seemed to concentrate on only him in Dream Drop Distance after being freed from his body, the feeling is more than mutual.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Riku was arrogant and condescending towards others in Kingdom Hearts and would frequently taunt Sora during their matches when they we're kids.
  • Ascended Extra: Riku plays a larger role in the Days manga than the game; at one point, he encounters Roxas in an ice cream shop, and has to restrain him to prevent a fight in public.
  • The Atoner: From Chain of Memories through to the end of II for his fall into darkness. Part of the reason why he wants to take the Mark of Mastery test in Dream Drop Distance is even if he's forgiven, succumbing to the darkness ultimately changed him and he needs to be sure he won't fall again.
    • Within the first game, Word of God indicates that his primary motivation for save Kairi was out of guilt that he was inadvertently responsible for her condition.
  • Apologizes a Lot: He couldn't really forgive himself after what transpired in the first game. At least, not without a lot of soul searching and support. By 3D, he appears to be over this trait.
  • Apologetic Attacker: One of his battle grunts in Dream Drop Distance and III is "Sorry!"
  • Awesome, but Impractical: When you play as him in Chain of Memories you actually get to use Dark Aura. Unfortunately, it tends to fall into this category - it's unavailable for a large percentage of the game because to use it you need to A) be in Dark Mode, and B) stock three 9-cards (the rarest and strongest cards) together, and you use a fixed deck. And if you can pull it off on bosses, you'll have to get them in just the right spot for them to not dodge it or break it. Still, though, it's very useful for clearing out trash mobs.
    • Averted in 3D though where Dark Aura is treated as a regular command deck attack and has the speed and damage to be one of the best attacks available to him.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Of a sort. In Dream Drop Distance, he is named a Keyblade Master. Even Sora, who failed in his exam due to Xehanort's interference, is overjoyed for him.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: He ends up in this dilemma after being released from Ansem's control in the first game. He assumes Ansem's form and dark powers again after 358/2 Days's events in order to capture Roxas, knowing full well he may be screwing himself by doing so. Thankfully, it's resolved by the end of II.
  • Badass Biker: When riding a lightcycle in 3D.
  • Badass Boast: In 3D.
    Riku: Quality versus quantity, huh?note 
    Riku: I'm what nightmares fear!
  • Badass Driver: Of a sort, possibly coupled with Instant Expert. He seems to be extremely competent in the use of the shuttle he commandeers with Sora near the end of II.
  • Badass in Distress: Like the others, he has his heart held hostage by The Lich after being swept away by the Demon Tower and has to be rescued by Sora.
  • Badass Longcoat: While wearing an Organization longcoat In Days and II.
  • Bare Your Midriff: His outfit in II is a downplayed example, even though it does leaves his navel exposed, it's not a lot and barely noticeable.
  • Bash Brothers: Him and Sora are two of the strongest characters in the series and while they mostly fight separately, when they fight together they show amazing teamwork as Xemnas, Xigbar and Dark Riku can confirm.
  • Bastard Understudy: Towards Maleficent to a certain degree. But ultimately subverted in that Riku himself never betrays her; instead, the Heartless of Xehanort possesses him and does the job instead because Maleficent Has Outlived Her Usefulness.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: In Chain of Memories when he fights off Ansem.
    • Cranked Up to Eleven in Dream Drop Distance where it turns out he's been fighting off the Nightmares within Sora's dream imaginings of the Sleeping Worlds. His boss fight with Ansem also takes place in the "Darkness within Darkness" of Sora's dream. Then, in the True Final Boss fight, Riku fights off the Armored Ventus Nightmare within Sora's Heart.
  • Beneath the Mask: Riku had a reputation of being The Ace in the islands and seen as better in stuff than Sora, but he admits in KHII that he was always jealous of Sora, and that he wanted to be like him, someone being capable of just following his heart.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Riku always wished to leave Destiny Islands and explore the outside worlds so he can grow stronger, when he got that wish however, it didn't ended so good for him.
  • BFS: In III, instead of his signature Way to the Dawn, he wields a very large steel Keyblade shaped like an old vault security key known as Braveheart.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Is deeply protective of Kairi in KH I, and both Kairi and Sora from KH II on.
    • Used against him in KH I. this trope is the only reason he joined Maleficent as she claimed that the only way to save Kairi, who has lost her heart to the darkness, is to ally himself with her and her band of villains, while abandoning Sora. After his reunion with Sora in Traverse Town, Riku begins to agree with Maleficent and officially starts his stay with her. However, he is still highly suspicious of her motives.
    • After Ansem reappears in his true form, stating that now that the Keyhole was complete, Kairi had no further use to him. He moves towards her but begins to struggle. An aura of Riku's true form appears, stating that Ansem won't use him to attack Kairi.
    • In II he allies himself with DiZ, as they have a common goal: to help Sora awaken, Riku also spends most of the game countering the Organization at every chance he gets, as well as keeping a watchful eye on Sora.
    • In the same game, after Axel attempts to kidnap Kairi, Riku rescues Kairi by opening a Corridor of Darkness, and takes her to Twilight Town, where she meets Hayner, Pence, and Olette, but never reveals his identity.
    • Upon learning that the Organization had kidnapped Kairi to force Sora to slay Heartless for them, Riku heads to the Castle That Never Was and protects Naminé and Kairi from Saïx after Naminé has freed Kairi from her prison.
    • 3D shows this trope to full effect, after discovering Sora has been kidnapped by the XIII Seekers of Darkness he instantly goes to rescue him, unfortunely Young Xehanort blocks Riku's way, but Mickey comes to Riku's aid by casting a Stopza spell. Young Xehanort, however, is unaffected by the spell and knocks Mickey aside to battle Riku. After a fierce struggle, Riku defeats Young Xehanort. However, the victory is short-lived as Master Xehanort is finally revived and joined by the rest of his Seekers, among them Young Xehanort, Ansem, and Xemnas, though this doesn't slow them down as Riku and Mickey continue attempt to save Sora from Master Xehanort but are restrained by Ansem and Xemnas before Lea arrives and saves Sora. Ansem summons his Guardian, who grabs Riku and Mickey, but the Guardian is defeated by Donald and Goofy, who arrive via Mickey's old Star Shard. Riku brings Sora's comatose body back to the Mysterious Tower and dives into Sora's body to mend his fractured heart. In the process, he is forced to battle Sora, clad in Ventus's Keyblade Armor, which has been corrupted by a Nightmare. Riku defeats the Nightmare and uses Sora's Keyblade to enter a memory of the Destiny Islands, deep inside Sora's heart. Here he meets projections of Roxas, Ventus, and Xion, who each ask a question before disappearing. After answering the three questions, Riku finds a bottle in the surf, and a data projection of Ansem the Wise approaches him. Ansem tells Riku about Ansem's Code, research data contained in the bottle that he had hid inside Sora while he was asleep. He muses about Sora's ability to connect with others' hearts, and how it may be able to bring back those that have been lost. He tells Riku that by defeating the Nightmare and answering the three questions, he has successfully awakened Sora.
    • In general, a postive personality trait demonstrated by Riku is a strong desire to protect his friends. Examples of this would be his sacrifice to protect Sora from Xemnas' attacks during their final battle in II and his willingness to accept the darkness in order to subdue Roxas in Days.
  • Big Brother Mentor: He acts as Xion's Stealth Mentor in Days. After Xion has a intense nightmare because of her confused memories, Riku finds her and comforts her. After Xion wakes up on Destiny Islands, she inquires about Sora and the "girl he's always with", to which Riku explains that the girl is Kairi, a special friend of Sora's, and that the reason Sora is unable to wake up is that some of his memories are held within Xion. Despite needing Xion to reunite with Roxas and Sora, Riku gives her time to decide what she wants to do, with the advice that she should choose what is best for everyone. For a while, both Riku and Xion spend time together. Another day, Riku reunites with Xion at Beast's Castle again. Riku tells Xion to visit Naminé at Twilight Town so that she can make an informed decision on what she should do with herself.
  • Big Damn Heroes: After Kairi and Naminé are found by Saïx and two Berserkers, Riku appears out of nowhere before killing the two Berserkes by attacking them from behind and forcing Saïx to retreat.
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths: While he does act like a jerk and condescending towards Sora in Kingdom Hearts, He valued their friendship enough to feel completely betrayed at the thought of Sora abandoning him and Kairi, he also admitted being jealous of Sora for his ability to just follow his heart.
  • Big "WHAT?!": After Mickey tells him that Aqua is a lot like Sora in III.
  • Bishōnen: Sure. Especially true in II and Dream Drop Distance - and even more so as of III.
  • Black Cloak: He starts wearing one in the ending of Chain of Memories to protect his heart from being worn away by the darkness. He keeps it through all of Days and the majority of II, until he recovers his body.
  • Black Knight: In contrast with Sora's The Paladin. Riku's unique attacks are all Dark-based with some few exceptions, and his biggest advantage over Sora in terms of stats is his better offense.
  • Black Magic: Riku struggles with true Black Magic throughout the games. He argues that the ends justifies the means and using Dark magic for good reasons is okay, and this has different results in the different games.
    • It can be convincingly argued, however, that overall it was far more trouble than it was worth and he was much better off avoiding it, especially as he would have gotten "Light Side" powers of comparable potency for much less grief.
      • Eventually he decides to use both, which changes his rather evil sword into a keyblade. The keyblade has both "evil" and "good" symbols, like a devilish wing and an angelic one. The balance between light and dark is called Twilight.
      • It's implied that "twilight" is closer to the dark side. At the end of Chain of Memories, DiZ asks Riku if he is taking the road to twilight and downfall, after Riku refuses to take the road to light or darkness. In reply, Riku states that he is taking the "Way to Dawn" (or road to dawn in the English translation, but it was suppoed to be Way, since it worked as a double meaning with taking the actual path as well as taking the Keyblade "Way to Dawn.") As of 3D, it seems to be worth it, as his resistance to Darkness enables him to save Sora and become a true Keyblade Master first.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Riku tries to distance himself from Sora and Kairi in II out of guilt for his actions in the past game, instead choosing to secretly help them from afar and making Mickey promise to not tell Sora about him. This doesn't last and his Big Brother Instinct turns out to end all of this as when he went to The World That Never Was to rescue Kairi from Organization XIII it's when she recognizes him and is able to show Sora that.
  • Break the Haughty: Kingdom Hearts is filled with these for him. First, he loses the Keyblade to Sora after arrogantly taunting him over being the true chosen wielder of it, then he is possessed by Ansem and ends up in the Realm of Darkness, this makes him see the error of his actions in the game and he spends the rest of the series as The Atoner.
  • Bring It: In the first game, he'll often try to goad Sora into striking him with taunts and these sorts of gestures to get him to strike his blocking sword so he can Counter-Attack. Even his sword stance has his left hand facing up and reaching out in a somewhat beckoning manner. He generally drops this sort of behavior in later games particularly after much physical and mental growth to the point where even his sword stance changes with his left hand always facing downwards, giving him a much less cocky demeanor. He does end up reverting back to this sword stance when he's de-aged for Dream Drop Distance though.
  • Broken Ace: To an extent, at least in the very first game. Better than Sora and the other island kids at pretty much everything; older, stronger, cooler, more attractive, and (most importantly) seemingly "closer" to Kairi, whom he and Sora—quite awkwardly for them—both have feelings for. Riku, as a result, takes position as the leader of the group. While Sora is jealous of these aspects about Riku, it turns out later in the game that Riku is the one with a massive inferiority complex to Sora, becoming very jealous when Sora finds new friends in Donald and Goofy and Sora turns out to be the one chosen by the Keyblade; and last but not least, it gets even worse when it turns out that Riku feels as though Kairi likes Sora more despite the fact that Riku has "done more for her". The villains, naturally, exploit Riku's issues with Sora soon enough and draws him into the Darkness and have the two fighting against each other.
    • Eventually, he goes through extensive Character Development in Chain of Memories when he confronts his insecurities head on. However, the sequel mostly abandons his Ace traits altogether; the plot no longer concentrates on that aspect of Riku as Sora finally takes over the leadership role permanently.
      • And THAT gets turned on its head in 3D, though in a positive way. Sora and Riku end up taking the Mark of Mastery Exam in order to deal with issues in the Worlds in the Realm of Sleep. While Riku still harbored some feelings of self-doubt (which lead to Sora agreeing to take the exam in the first place), things play out interestingly enough. Throughout the game, it's Sora who ends up going through Mind Rape via Master Xehanort's XIII Seekers of Darkness. Riku, due to said Character Development and past experiences, actually got his body immune to any Darkness-based issues caused by Xehanort. In the end, after all hell breaks loose, it's Riku who ends up being named Keyblade Master over Sora. Good thing Sora is an all around Nice Guy and is genuinely happy for Riku, so no jealousy issues crop up again.
  • Beehive Barrier: Riku's Dark Barrier, whether just in front of him or around his entire body.
  • Berserk Button: His actions in Kingdom Hearts have become this to him, so much that he goes from his usual calm and serious look to a Death Glare and his voice has a Tranquil Fury tone when he sees Dark Riku in the Keyblade Graveyard in Kingdom Hearts III.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: He and Sora can combine their keyblades into one for their Nightmare's End/Mirage Split ability.
  • Big Good: The closest thing 358/2 Days has to one, acting as a Stealth Mentor to Xion.
  • Blessed with Suck: How Riku views his dark abilities in Chain of Memories and he spends most of the game trying to hold it back. Subverted once he learns Dark Is Not Evil however.
  • Blind Weaponmaster: Wears a blindfold willingly during the events of Days and most of II (the latter in his normal form).
  • Blindfolded Vision: He wears a blindfold during Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days and part of Kingdom Hearts II to suppress the darkness inside of him. He manages to be an excellent fighter regardless, and in some scenes acts like he can still see normally.
  • Blinding Bangs: He has these in II as part of his Long-Haired Pretty Boy appearance, no longer the case after 3D though as he cuts his hair short.
  • Boring, but Practical: Doubleflight initially feels like a Useless Useful Technique, due to Flowmotion's existence. Then you find out that Riku can execute normal commands when he double jumps, allowing him to stay out of enemy range to charge up a powerful special attack, or safely heal himself. Doubleflight essentially gives Riku more offensive and defensive options, which more than makes up for not getting Glide or upgrades to it.
    • Dark Firaga. It's just a Firaga that's blue... but it can really hurt some enemies, especially Lexaeus. Also, it might be better to trust on its accuracy than to bet on Dark Aura.
  • Bridal Carry: He holds Kairi this way in Neverland, as she has become a Empty Shell without her heart and is unable to move on her own.
  • But Now I Must Go: Throughout II, he'd help Sora, Donald and Goofy by leaving hints to them and leaving shortly after without revealing himself. He attempts this again after Sora and Kairi are reunited in The World That Never Was but the two manage to convince him to stay.
  • Byronic Hero: Has definite elements of this, though his Character Development shows him slowly growing out of it into a straightforward hero who happens to use Casting a Shadow type spells.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: Exemplified in 3D where he becomes extremely flustered when Shiki flirts with him. This seems to be the case anytime he tries having a casual conversation with a girl not named Kairi.
  • Cast from Hit Points: His Sacrifice attack in Dream Drop Distance.
  • Casting a Shadow: Riku has the ability to use dark attacks like Dark Firaga, Dark Aura and Dark Volley, to name a few. Riku, in fact, is the only Keyblade wielder thus far who has managed to completely tame the darkness.
  • Catchphrase: "I thought you were stronger than that." Downplayed since he only ever says it twice in the whole series but it's apparently a common enough phrase for Riku in-universe that it causes the Sora part of Roxas to respond to it. Not to mention his Evil Knockoff Dark Riku in III, gleefully uses the phrase as well.
  • Character Development: He goes through the most development of the Destiny Islands trio, going from an antagonist to a protagonist over the course of the overarching story. Kairi points it out in their scenes in A Fragmentary Passage.
    • In Kingdom Hearts, Riku is a calm, cool, collected teenager who is not afraid to go beyond his limits. He became thoroughly jealous of Sora after learning about his possession of the Keyblade and of his new friends. He even openly accused Sora of forgetting about him and Kairi since he was not also actively looking for a way to retrieve Kairi's heart. That envy eventually corrupted his perspective of their friendship into a rivalry, much to Sora's confusion, and resulted in his battles with Sora and his eventual possession by Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. While his traits weren't very heroic for most of the first game, Riku becomes much more noble by the end. Since Riku had done everything he had out of care for Kairi, when Ansem was about to use him to use her along with the other six Princesses of Heart to open the Final Keyhole, he finally broke free and held off Ansem long enough for Donald, Goofy and Kairi to escape. When Riku finds himself in the endless abyss near the Door to Darkness, he is on his knees, overwhelmed with guilt for what he has done.
    • In CoM Riku makes many self-realizations, one of which is that he had let his heart become weak, and some time after that, he would shy away from the darkness within it. Through his battles in Castle Oblivion, he makes another big realization: he can't get rid of the darkness in his heart, and decides to use it without turning away from the light like before, declaring his path down the "road to dawn," also signifying his effort for redemption.
    • Finally in II, he shows a great amount of loyalty and protectiveness for his friends. He never wanted Sora and Kairi to find out about his time spent in the darkness, and did everything he could to bring Roxas to DiZ to make Sora whole again, even going as far as giving up his physical form and assuming Ansem's. As Sora journeyed through the worlds, Riku left him valuable clues, such as the sea-salt ice cream and the picture of the Twilight Town gang, and almost died to protect him from Xemnas' attacks, which left him greatly injured after the battle. When he is finally found in the World That Never Was, he repeatedly shows signs immense regret for his previous behavior. He could not understand how Sora is so willing to forgive him, telling him that he didn't actually want to be found, and almost refusing to come back to Destiny Islands because of his shame for his wrongdoings.
    • His view on his home world, Destiny Islands, also changed drastically throught the series. When he was young, Riku had been curious with everything that is outside of his world. Over time, his curiosity became obsession, and he eventually opened his heart up to darkness in order to escape his "prison surrounded by water," as phrased by Ansem. This obsession completely vanishes throughout the year of Sora's slumber, most likely because of all the trouble it brought into his formerly simple life and how foolish he ended up acting once his curiosity was sated. When he returns to Destiny Islands in II, he still comments on how small a world it is, but agrees with Sora's remark that it is part of one much bigger. This shows that Riku has a much better view of his homeworld than before, making him all the more content.
  • Close-Call Haircut: When a Demon Tide swallows Riku in III he manages to escape relatively unscathed, but much of his hair got seared off by the darkness for his trouble.
  • Competition Freak: Riku is extremely competitive, and spent his childhood playing games, play-fighting, and racing with Sora. This competitiveness also made him easy to become jealous, especially during Kingdom Hearts I, where he becomes very irked that Sora received the powers of the Keyblade while he did not, though he is not immediately vocal about it. This jealousy led him to behave aggressively to the people most important to him, and he began to act recklessly and harshly in an attempt to prove himself. He loses this childish jealousy streak entirely as he grows older.
  • Coordinated Clothes: He and Mickey in III have the same outfit design only with inverted colors.
  • Child Prodigy: Is surprisingly perceptive and philosophical five-year-old in Birth by Sleep. Even acknowledged by four-year-old Sora.
    Sora: I don't know Riku, you say some weird stuff sometimes, but I'll try it!
    • As of 3D Riku is also the youngest full-fledged Keyblade Master (that we know of) in the series. At around 16 (according to the Ultimania Guide), he's near Ven's age (16), and younger than Aqua (18) and Terra (20), or Xehanort when they had the opportunity to become masters. And he's self-taught to boot.
  • Childhood Friends: At first it was just him and Sora but during one night, there was a meteor shower and Kairi appears on the islands from Radiant Garden, another world far off from Destiny Islands. Riku, Sora, and Kairi quickly forge a powerful friendship. They continued to live on the Destiny Islands together. The three work together to construct a raft and gather supplies so that they can set out and search for other outside worlds. While Riku and Sora continue their rivalry through duels and races, Riku takes jabs at Sora over his relationship with Kairi, telling him that if Sora does not share a paopu fruit with Kairi soon, he will.
  • The Chosen One: Was chosen by Terra to wield his Keyblade, but he got a bit too jumpy with the call and jumped at the wrong one in I, resulting in said keyblade eventually going to Sora instead, which it eventually accepted as its true master. Once Riku returned to sanity he eventually got his own Keyblade too.
  • The Chosen Wannabe: Zig Zagged, at Hollow Bastion, Sora again meets Riku, the two briefly talk before he forcibly summons the Keyblade away from Sora, telling him that he was "just the delivery boy" and that Riku is the true Keyblade master, however, Sora refuses to leave without Kairi. Riku, intending to prove to Sora that he is the strongest of the two, attacks his old friend, but Donald and Goofy go to Sora's aid, finding themselves unable to betray Sora after all that they had been through together. With the strength of his friends, Sora reclaims the Keyblade, and drives Riku to fight him, he loses and manages to escape, but he is confused as to why Sora was able to regain the Keyblade. A cloaked figure appears to him from the Darkness, telling him that only one with a stronger heart can claim the Keyblade, and Riku's was weaker than Sora. However, the figure tells him that plunging himself into darkness will make his heart stronger. Riku does so, and he is possessed by the dark figure.
    • At some point following his encounter with Sora in Land of Dragons, Riku gained the ability to transform his Soul Eater into a true Keyblade making him a proper Chosen One.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Riku knew he couldn't beat Roxas in a straight fight, even getting his wrist damaged after Roxas slashed it so instead he chooses to take Ansem's form and strangle Roxas with his Guardian to win.
  • Combination Attack: His Limit Break in II is a big one between him and Sora that consists of several combination attacks. The limit begins with Session, in which Sora and Riku perform a rapid flurry of attacks. Then, Last Saber, in which Sora and Riku rapidly stab an enemy with their Keyblades, and Dark Cannon, where the duo fire a barrage of dark orbs at enemies. Afterwards, Sora and Riku turn their backs toward each other, and the next phase of the Limit begins. XIII Blades has the duo summoning thirteen swords to perform a spinning slash attack. Master Hearts involves Sora and Riku coating their Keyblades in an aura and slashing opponents together. In the final phase, All's End, Sora and Riku's Keyblades float side-by-side in energy orbs that reel in enemies before exploding.
    • One of the Reality Shifts in 3D involves him and Sora to each summon half of an enormous, filigreed Keyblade, which they combine to perform several powerful slashes. They also use it once again in III once Sora arrives in the Realm of Darkness.
    • He also has two with Mickey. Inverse Burst in Chain of Memories, where Riku and Mickey stand back to back and start shooting orbs of darkness and light at enemies, and Double Duel in III, where they team up to attack with a devastating combo.
  • Composite Character: In terms of moveset - in 3D, Riku's fighting style becomes a hybrid of Terra's and Aqua's. He gains some of Terra's attack options (Meteor, Zantetsuken) but also some of Aqua's defensive and movement options (Doubleflight, Barrier, a Flash Step). Two of his Dual Link styles are also taken from Aqua's Command Styles, and one of them is shared by Terra as well. However, Riku often puts his own spin on Aqua's moves and styles, and his latest version of Dark Firaga is notably different from Terra's version, acting a lot more like one of Vanitas's attacks.
  • Cool Sword: Soul Eater from Kingdom Hearts through most of II, though he's still able to summon it in Dream Drop Distance. This sword grows more powerful with use of darkness. Also the Way to the Dawn Keyblade, which evolves from Soul Eater, is his weapon toward the end of II and doubles as a Cool Key.
  • The Corruptible: Especially the first game, he had a lot of problems revolving around corruption by darkness. Ironically, he eventually manages to master the Darkness that corrupted him, so he can no longer be corrupted by it.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Whether in the games or the manga, Riku delivers these quite frequently. Showing his reputation as The Ace back in the Islands was well earned.
    • He easily defeats and wounds Beast during their short fight in I and Sora has to intervene to stop Riku from killing Beast.
    • He also easily defeats Xion in Days, by the end of their fight she's on her knees holding her stomach in pain while he's calmly walking away.
    • In the manga from the same game, he absolutely thrashes Axel who is preventing Xion from finding out the truth in Castle Oblivion (though he used the power of darkness inside him).
    • While it's not shown, his battle with Demyx in the manga doesn't end well for the latter as he's left all bandaged up in the face.
    • A more light-hearted example happens off-screen in the first game, Tidus remarked that he, Wakka, and Selphie were easily defeated by him even after they triple-teamed him.
    • While in Mulan's world, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are looking for traces of either Riku or Organization XIII. When they speak to the Emperor to see if he's heard anything about either concern, only for the Emperor to mention a rude young man who, in short order, kicked Shang's ass. Sora and co. immediately realize it's Riku.
  • Cursed With Awesome: Became insanely powerful by tapping into the fragment of Ansem inside himself during Days and KH II, at the expense of being unable to change his physical form back to that of his own body.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Riku accomplishes amazing feats in II during the Reaction Commands of the Final Battle against Xemnas which include easily slashing skyscrapers in half and then throwing them and eflect millions of energy blasts.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Channeling the power of darkness was this for him and he pays a heavy price for its uncontrolled usage which gets him possessed by the Big Bad of the first game, thankfully, he manages to tame its power by the sequels.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: After his Heel–Face Turn. He was purified of Xehanort's darkness, but he keeps his own darkness-based abilities because they're part of who he is. In fact, he comes to embody it by 3D, in which he not only recovers most of the dark powers he'd lost, but Riku has also by that time become totally immune to corruption by darkness due to constant and repeated use and is the only character in the series that we know this has happened with. In other words, Riku is the only character to have actually mastered darkness.
  • The Dark Side: He gains a Dark Mode from Maleficent in Kingdom Hearts, he loses said mode after having his body taken by Ansem but is given it back by him in Chain of Memories after he manipulates the darkness in Riku's heart, the form gives Riku the ability to use darkness without the worry of being taken over by Ansem as well as a boost in speed and feeds Soul Eater's abilities, he hasn't used this mode after Chain of Memories.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: He goes through this in the first game. Riku starts out using the darkness because he wants to retrieve Kairi's heart. This eventually takes second place to his jealousy of Sora — after taking the Keyblade, losing the Keyblade and getting his ass kicked, he's willing to open himself completely to the darkness if it means he can be stronger than Sora. Big mistake.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments, especially in Dream Drop Distance.
    Ansem: So sad. The cost of yielding to the darkness.
    Riku: You could write a book about that!
  • Deal with the Devil: His deal with Ansem, Seeker of Darkness for enough power to beat Sora in Kingdom Hearts.
  • Declaration of Protection: As of 3D, his primary motive seems to be to protect Sora and Kairi, aside from protecting the worlds. In fact, it is his concern for Sora that leads to him accidentally traveling into his dreams in 3D, rather than traveling the worlds alongside him.
  • Demonic Possession: By Ansem, Seeker of Darkness in the latter parts of Kingdom Hearts and once to destroy Lexaeus in Re:Chain of Memories. In fact, as of Dream Drop Distance, this was revealed to be an attempt to turn Riku into one of thirteen vessels for Xehanort's heart; after Riku gained the ability to reject the darkness in his heart, Xehanort turned his sights to Roxas and then Sora to take his place.
  • Deuteragonist: Of the series as a whole; he serves as the protagonist along with Sora in Chain of Memories and Dream Drop Distance.
  • Diagonal Cut: He gains Zantetsuken, which is basically this trope, in Dream Drop Distance.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: During the Country of the Musketeers world in Dream Drop Distance, he gets tripped, then is victim to the "tapping someone on the shoulder and disappearing" trick. When it is revealed that the Holey Moley was the one doing it, Riku responds by killing it. More blatant when you realize that this is one of the easiest bosses in the game.
  • Don't Look at Me!: Riku spends most of KHII avoiding coming into contact with Sora and Kairi because he doesn't want them to see him with Ansem's face after he was forced into assuming Ansem's appearance. He even tries to run away after he helps them directly. Neither Kairi nor Sora care about it when they find out, as they are just happy to have been reunited with him.
  • Double Jump: His "Doubleflight" skill, which uses a burst of darkness under him as a platform for a new jump.
  • The Dragon: To Maleficent in the first game. He plays an anti-heroic version of this to Diz throughout Days and the beginning of II.
  • Dream Walker: Unknowingly travels into Sora's dreams when he sees a robed Ansem for the majority of 3D.
  • Due to the Dead: After Riku Replica sacrifices himself by removing his past self's heart from the Replica anchoring him to the present, leaving the vessel behind so Naminé can have it, Riku allows Demyx to take it back to Radiant Garden while asking him to be careful with it. Not just because the vessel will be used to provide Naminé a body, but also because it holds important memories of Riku Replica.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: After the Demon Tower appears and transforms into a powerful tornado. Though Riku, Sora, and Aqua attempt to make a stand against it, Aqua hesitates and the Demon Tower sweeps her, Ventus, Lea, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Kairi up. Losing them sends Sora into a devastated state, unable to fight back, believing that without them, Master Xehanort has already won. Riku attempts to convince Sora if he truly believes that, before making a defiant last stand against the Demon Tower, managing to hold it off for several seconds before he is consumed by it as well and it goes for Sora.
  • Dynamic Character: Probably the best example the series has to offer as can be seen under Character Development above. Just about every new game involving him showcases some new facet of his characterization making him come across as one of the more rounded characters in the series.
  • Easily Forgiven: During the first game, he does such things as ally with Maleficent, kidnap Alice, Jasmine, and Kairi, try to kidnap Pinocchio, steal Sora's Keyblade, and try to murder Sora outright, all of which was done of his own free will, before Ansem possessed him... and both Sora and Kairi are quick to Turn the Other Cheek and accept him back immediately after Ansem is defeated; in the end, the only person who really takes any issue with Riku's heinous actions is Riku himself.
  • Elemental Powers: He has access to every element in some form or another.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: At first, Riku had no powers whatsoever, although he was a rather strong individual. After arriving in Hollow Bastion he gets his weapon, Soul Eater. It gave him a slight increase in power, but as seen in the battle versus the Parasite Cage, he was only slightly more powerful than on the islands. Sometime after Monstro, Riku made a pact with Maleficent. This gave him three new abilities: The ability to summon and control Heartless, the power to traverse the worlds using Corridors of Darkness, and finally the ability to craft Anti forms. He demonstrated the first two abilities several times, and the third he used on Sora to create many AntiSoras and one complex one wielding a shadowy Keyblade. After Sora left Neverland, Riku returned to Maleficent who gave him a large increase in his dark abilities. This allowed him to draw on dark energies to increase his physical power and clothe himself in an organic-looking suit of darkness. While in this Dark Mode he could zip around the battle field at an incredible speed and each blow from his Soul Eater dealt large damage. However, this form was taxing on his heart as seen after his battle with Sora in Hollow Bastion. Riku's Soul Eater changes into Way to the Dawn sometime between the second visit to Land of Dragons and The World That Never Was. When he turned into his "true form" in the end of II, his powers of light increased dramatically while his powers of darkness decreased. Riku possesses various abilities that combine his dark powers with Sora's light powers. Riku can use a new Dark Aura that fires Dark Firaga orbs that inflict a Stop effect whenever Sora completes a combo, Dark Shield to project a barrier of darkness, as well as to numerous other powers.
  • Enemy Summoner: Through Maleficent, Riku possessed the ability to control and create Heartless. This was demonstrated when Riku made a Heartless replica of Sora in Neverland.
  • Enemy Within: The remnants of Ansem SoD from CoM until the explosion of the Kingdom Hearts Encoder near the end of II. It acts more like an Enemy Without by 3D.
  • Entitled Bastard: One of his biggest character flaws in the original game, as he was aware that he was meant to have the Keyblade and became insanely jealous when it went to Sora instead, ultimately leading to a Deal with the Devil. It didn't go so well for him, and his sense of entitlement is naturally absent afterward.
  • Evil Costume Switch: His Dark Mode armor in KH I, though he still uses it after his Heel–Face Turn in Chain of Memories.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Sora in the first game, the two came from Destiny Islands and wished to leave and explore other worlds but while Sora was motivated by a love of adventures, Riku hated the islands and saw it as a prison, once they left the islands, Sora teamed up with Donald and Goofy to find King Mickey and save the worlds while Riku joined Maleficent and helped her with her plans to kidnap the princesses just so he could save Kairi. This is the reason why Riku's Keyblade went to Sora in the first place as Riku had given into the darkness which in turn made him unworthy to wield one.
  • Evil Former Friend: Although more of a Anti-Villain, he's this to Sora in KH I after Maleficent manipulates him into thinking he abandoned him and Kairi.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: He gives himself over to the Darkness at the very beginning of the game, thinking it's an easy way off his world and into the adventure he craves. It ends up separating him from his friends, destroying his homeworld, and apparently devouring the heart of the girl he and his best friend like. Oh, and it also denies him a glorious destiny as the wielder of the Keyblade, but he doesn't learn that until later. He only blunders worse from there on. Having not yet learned his lesson, he makes a deal with Maleficent so he can try and find his friends, and he actively dives into the power of darkness to try and find Kairi's missing heart. When that doesn't work, he makes another deal with some figure he can't even see for more power, which winds up costing him possession of his own body. He finally starts saying "No to Drugs," but it takes him the rest of the first game, all of the next, and most of the third to deal with the consequences.
  • Evil Smells Bad: Tracks Ansem and The Organization by the stench of their darkness, and notes that Naminé completely lacks that stench which is why he can tell that Naminé is related somehow to his friend Kairi.
  • Evolving Weapon: By the time he came to The World That Never Was in II, it had evolved into his Keyblade, Way to the Dawn, though he still calls it Soul Eater nonetheless, and, as shown in Dream Drop Distance, can summon either weapon.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: The length of Riku's hair is directly proportional to his angst level. It's at its longest during his phase as a wandering, blindfolded Atoner. After II, he gets an off-screen haircut to reflect him being more comfortable in his own skin and it gets even shorter again after the Demon Tide swallows him.
  • Expy: The protagonist's rival both in battle and for the affections of his love interest, turned evil and was controlled by the villain in part due to his love for her, broke free and fought alongside the hero to redeem himself, and eventually renounced his inner darkness and returned to the light. We're talking about Riku, not Kain Highwind. Likely a case of Author Appeal, as Tetsuya Nomura is a big fan of Kain. And in an amusing recursive instance of the trope, when Final Fantasy IV got a sequel, Kain got an Enemy Without called Dark Kain that is himself an Expy of the Riku Replica.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Riku spends a long period with a blindfold on so as "not to deceive himself". It is never made clear whether he can see through it, although the fact that he has lifted it on occasion suggests that he can't. Some of his more badass moments involve the blindfold. As Roxas found out the hard way, if he takes it off, you're on for a major beatdown courtesy of Xehanort's Heartless.

  • Fighting from the Inside: He does this against Ansem when he decides to go after Kairi, leaving his body as a spirit to physically block Ansem's way.
    Riku: No! You won't use me for this!
  • Fighting Your Friend: He fights against Sora twice in I, the first time was by his own will, but in the second time it was Ansem using his body to fight against him.
    • Their fight in II is a subversion, Sora attacks Riku thinking he's a Organization member, but Riku directs his attacks towards the Heartless around them rather than towards Sora.
    • Once again in 3D where Riku is forced to fight against Sora as the Armored Ventus Nightmare, so he can save Sora from the darkness Xehanort placed in his heart.
  • First-Name Basis: Is one of the few characters in the series to be on this with Mickey Mouse.
  • Flash Step: The Ghost Drive Link Style allows Riku to move fast enough that he leaves after images of himself.
  • Foil: He and Sora contrast each other very well, Riku is calm and collected while Sora is impulsive and extroverted, they both share a zest for adventures but Riku is due to a sense of ambition while Sora's is driven by a sense of wonder, Sora has more natural charisma to interact with others but Riku is more focused and goal-oriented, how they handle with their emotional problems also contrast, they'll both get the job done regardless but Riku is more prone to showing Angst while Sora will put up a brave face and a smile.
    • This contrast also extends to their fighting styles. In comparison to Sora's two-handed style, Riku attacks with a fast one-handed style with his Soul Eater/Way to the Dawn and he attacks very quickly with either weapon in combat in one-handed strikes ranging from thrusts to wide strikes focusing on more on slashing motions as opposed to Sora's clubbing/pummeling style. In the end, both are just as adept with their weapons as the other.
  • Foreshadowing: His outfit in Dream Drop Distance has the Dream Eater symbol on it's back which foreshadows him becoming a Dream Eater himself so he can save Sora from the nightmares.
  • Friendly Rivalry: With Sora as kids on Destiny Islands, as well as once they truly reunite near the end of II.
  • Fusion Dance: He has the ability to Link Style with Dream Eaters in 3D which can give him a variety of Power Ups and Super Modes. This incidentally serves as Foreshadowing for The Reveal that, in this game, Riku is a Dream Eater.
  • Glass Cannon: Riku has no reliable source of healing in Chain of Memories, just a few enemy cards and the Mickey Friend Card, and his reliance on Sleights in Dark Mode makes him liable to wear his deck out fast. However, he can quickly rack up a lot of damage and his Dark Mode attacks are devastating.
  • Gleeful and Grumpy Pairing: The Grumpy to Sora's Gleeful. Riku is calm and composed, but also very troubled and brooding due to his past experiences, as such he doesn't smile very often and uses dark-related abilities. Sora, on the other hand, is energetic and more kindhearted and caring when it comes to his heroics and is always with a bright smile.
  • Godlike Gamer: A downplayed example in that he's the one controlling Data-Sora in the Limitcut scenario, meaning he's able to beat all of the bonus bosses without having played Kingdom Hearts III before.
  • Godzilla Threshold: He hits it during his fight with Roxas in Days, to the extent that he unleashes the dark powers he had been trying to hold back because it was the only way to beat him; he ends up trapped in Ansem's form for most of II as a result, but he was willing to pay that price to ensure Sora's restoration.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Xehanort wanted Riku to embrace darkness in order to turn the boy into a Soul Jar. Instead, when Riku fully embraces darkness he becomes immune to Xehanort's influence.
  • Good Armor, Evil Armor: When Riku tries controlling the darkness (and in-turn allowing Ansem, Seeker of Darkness to possess him), he gains a suit that would later be labeled his "Dark Mode" form. In this form, his torso, arms, and legs are covered in black and purple material that resembles muscle tissue. On his chest is a symbol of the Heartless, except that the cross is not there, and he has a white cloth around his waist.
  • Good Weapon, Evil Weapon: From its look to its characteristics, Soul Eater is most definitely an Evil Weapon. It helps that it was implied to have first been given to him by Maleficent. However, Way to the Dawn, with its angelic wing toward the end, is more of a Good Weapon. Then it's subverted horribly with certain revelations about the eyeball motif it carries, thanks to the release of Kingdom Hearts χ.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Soul Eater featured demon wings, signifying a closer alignment with the corruptive nature of darkness. On the other hand, Way to the Dawn features both a large demon wing and a smaller angel wing, signifying his redemption.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Riku (partly thanks to Maleficent) became thoroughly jealous of Sora after learning about his possession of the Keyblade and of his new friends. He even openly accused Sora of forgetting about him and Kairi since he was not also actively looking for a way to retrieve Kairi's heart. That envy eventually corrupted his perspective of their friendship into a rivalry, much to Sora's confusion, and resulted in his battles with Sora and his eventual possession by Ansem, Seeker of Darkness.
  • Guardian Entity: Riku unknowingly becomes Sora's guardian Dream Eater during the events of 3D.
  • Guile Hero: When Riku is surrounded by six members of Organization XIII in the Days manga, instead of fighting them all, he tricks them into attacking each other so he can escape.
  • Hades Shaded: While on Castle Oblivion's Halloween Town floor, Riku's skin takes on an ashen and slightly decayed look. Unlike Sora, Donald, and Goofy's drastic costume changes, Riku's outfit remains otherwise the same as normal. These changes also apply to his Soul Eater and Dark Mode as well.
  • Handicapped Badass: Roxas slashed his left wrist during their fight in Days. In KH II he wears a bandage around it for support and doesn't move his left arm much unless casting dark magic. As shown in his brief time in the waking world with Sora in DDD, he is still wearing the cast, meaning he never got it set properly. The injury is even indicated in the opening of DDD, when in the recap of the final fight with Xemnas in II after the laser spam attack, Riku is shown very gingerly flexing his left hand, as the flipping and deflecting the lasers apparently agitated it (and jamming it into Xemnas' hand to stop the latter's Agony Beam from ripping Sora's heart out probably didn't help, either). As of the DDD and 0.2 secret endings which lead into the scenario for KHIII, Riku is still wearing the brace on his wrist. By Kingdom Hearts III, he's moving his left arm normally, implying that it has, finally, been fixed.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Starts off as a heel when Riku is a Rival Turned Evil to Sora in Kingdom Hearts I. In Chain of Memories, Riku turns semi-face as an Anti-Hero, and slowly comes around to a full face by the time of Dream Drop Distance, even though he still has a harder edge than Sora does.
  • Hero of Another Story: Has an entirely unique story campaign all to himself in Chain of Memories, exploring his own experiences in Castle Oblivion.
  • The Hero: Finally takes a main role in Dream Drop Distance alongside Sora, though as noted above he was earlier the hero of Reverse/Rebirth in Chain of Memories.
  • Hero Antagonist: Despite being a good guy by that point in the story, he is still Roxas's primary obstacle throughout 358/2 Days, repeatedly hounding him. The game culminates with him being the Final Boss.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Is prone to this in Dream Drop Distance even long after he earned his Heel–Face Turn. For instance, after giving a pep talk to Quasimodo about not letting his fear of the outside world hold him back, he quietly adds "Wish I could take my own advice."
  • Heroic Willpower: After Sora stabs himself with the dark Keyblade and turns into a Heartless to save Kairi, all hope seems lost for his companions, as Ansem is likely going to kick their asses and kill them anyway... until Riku's spirit leaps out of Ansem's body, holding him off for just long enough that Kairi and the others can escape to Traverse Town.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: His best friend Sora is the primary example as Birth by Sleep shows the two have been friends for at least a decade by the time KH I happens, long before Kairi ended up on Destiny Islands, and Dream Drop Distance really highlights how close the two are.
    • He also developed a similar bond with Mickey after he helped Riku deal with his problem over his inner darkness, to the point he trusted him enough to reveal who he was after being stuck as Ansem and trusted him not to tell Sora and Kairi.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: In the first game, he trusts the Obviously Evil Maleficent, believing her words that Sora has abandoned him and Kairi for Donald, Goofy, and the Keyblade, and believing that Maleficent would let him rescue Kairi and leave.
  • Human Aliens: Like all human protagonists, Riku can be considered one. Though it's played completely straight in The Grid, as he's a program there.
  • Hunk: Riku is a tall, muscular and handsome young man with more masculine body features than other of the male heroes in the series such as Sora, Roxas and Ventus. Out of the heroes, he only loses to Terra in this department.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the KHII manga, after reuniting with Sora, he tells Sora that he shouldn't cry because it's pathetic. Cue the shot panning to Riku (while he looks like Ansem) who is a wibbling snotty mess.
  • I Am What I Am: Riku spends most of Reverse/Rebirth trying to fight his inner darkness. When he finally decides to use it to save himself, he's called out on it by one of the antagonists—and responds with a reworded version of this trope:
    Zexion: Heh... After all your protests you're still just another darkling.
    Riku: I know who I am.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: In Days, Riku spends the entirety of the scenario chasing after Xion and Roxas and essentially trying to either convince them or force them to destroy themselves because they're made up of pieces of Sora that are needed for Sora to be conscious. Riku does so without hesitation, although it's also clear he's not happy with the situation.
  • If I Can't Have You...: Platonic example,but this is what Maleficent uses to manipulate him to turn against him Sora by saying he replaced him and Kairi with Donald and Goofy,Riku even takes it as far as saying Sora doesn't care about Kairi anymore when asked about her by Sora.
  • I Hate Past Me: Riku has nothing but regret and contempt for his actions in KH 1, to the point that he avoided Sora and Kairi throught the entirety of KH 2 because he felt he didn't deserved to be their friend anymore after his horrible actions and he didn't want to go back to the Islands as he couldn't bring himself to face the others due to being responsible for the world destruction.
    Dark Riku: I'd say that was our finest hour!
    Riku: No, my hour of weakness!
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: Riku swung this way in his younger days. He just wanted to be strong enough to protect his friends. Ten years later, growing dreams of glory and adventure made him swing more towards I Just Want to Be Special.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Spent his entire life — literally ever since he was a toddler — dreaming of adventure and power, utterly convinced his destiny absolutely must lie beyond his little island town. When his best friend, Sora, turns out to be the hero instead, it gives Riku his Start of Darkness.
    • He actually was intended to get the Keyblade first instead of Sora; rather, he was rejected because he unwittingly made a Deal with the Devil with Xehanort, so he lost out on his chance just because he leapt at the call too soon.
  • I Just Want to Be You: Riku was always the cool one, the strong one, the popular one, and the special one, but, in a little twist, he's spent his life intensely jealous of his best friend, Sora, for his simple mind and easy-going personality. And when it becomes clear that Sora, not Riku, is the hero of the story, Riku's envy finally drives him off the deep end.
  • In the Hood: Spends most of II like this, as he didn't want Sora and Kairi to see what he has become after using the power of darkness.
  • Ineffectual Loner: After he returns to normal in II, he gets told by Sora that he doesn't has to do everything by himself as he has his friends to help him.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: As of 3D, he can't be corrupted by the darkness anymore, as he's mastered it. Unusually, this is not due to being without darkness, but rather being able to control it due to repeated use.
  • Instant Expert: He completely masters the Keyblade in an extremely short time-span. It helps that he already had access to some extremely potent dark powers and an immunity to darkness to back him up.
  • Irony: He wore bright shades of yellow during his struggles with the darkness and his more brooding phases. Come III, representing overcoming those and representing the good aspects of darkness and overall Character Development, he
  • Invisible Parents: Riku mentions his parents a few times, but they are never seen.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: "Take care of her."
  • Jekyll & Hyde: In an interesting inversion, with "Ansem" in II. Riku took on the appearance of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, in order to more freely travel between the worlds and keep himself beneath suspicion.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's not exactly "nice" to people who aren't named Sora, Kairi or Mickey, and even teases Sora a little bit in the first game. However, when the chips are down, he's willing to give up everything just to save his friends.
  • Jumped at the Call: Wanted more than anything to leave Destiny Islands in the first game, however , Riku's attempt to do so are what ended up making him miss it in the first place.
  • Kick the Dog: He does lots of these in the Monstro world of Kingdom Hearts, from taking Pinocchio from Gepetto to even accusing Sora of not caring about Kairi twice.
  • Kirk Summation: Subverted. In Dream Drop Distance, when Riku asks Esmeralda if Claude Frollo was always an evil bigot and requests to know where he could be located so that he could speak to him, it is subtly implied that Riku intends to try to reason with Frollo, having fallen into the darkness once himself. However, when Riku sees Frollo trying to burn down a villager's home because the inhabitant was suspected of harboring gypsies, he concludes the man is so deranged that he will ultimately have to stopped by force.

  • The Lancer: To Sora.
    • The Leader: However, in many ways, he acts as the leader of the Guardians of Light during III. He is the only guardian to meet the heartless swarm head on, he pulls Sora out of despair, stops Mickey from casting a spell that would drain him too much to continue the fight later on and explains the plan to defeat Xehanort to the others. He also acknowledges that Master Xehanort has a very real chance of achieving his goal, but vows that the Guardians of Light will not take it lying down and will undo his victory as they already done in the past. In Re:Mind he is the one leading the Guardians' fight against the Replica Xehanorts, as well as spearheading the search for Sora in Limitcut.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Riku suffers for his deal with Ansem with a Trauma Conga Line that lasts up till the end of II.
  • "Leave Your Quest" Test: Subjected to a brief one at the beginning of Reverse/Rebirth. He awakens in an empty void described by an unseen voice as being between Light and Dark. He's told that he may remain in safety and security of eternal sleep in the void forever, but is then offered a card depicting Hollow Bastion. By taking the card, he will end the sleep and "take the first step towards the truth", but it will bring him pain.
    Riku: This seemed like a boring place to take a nap anyway.
    ???: That was very well said, Riku.
  • Leitmotif: "Riku" in II.
  • Le Parkour: Only in certain areas, such as The World That Never Was (which has questionable physics at best) and the Sleeping Worlds where it's Flowmotion allows Riku to traverse their surrounding environments with great ease when he interact with certain environmental elements. Using Flowmotion, Riku can jump off of walls, grind rails, leap great heights, and dynamically attack opponents.
  • Let X Be the Unknown: In KH I, the straps on Riku's chest form an X. KH3D suggests that this was a Recusant's Sigil, considering how Riku got turned into a Xehanort vessel in the first game and how Sora almost became one himself in 3D.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Fast, strong, and has great offensive and defensive options, both as a boss and a playable character.
  • Limit Break: Riku has "Darkstrom" on the debatably canonical Mission Mode-only. It allows him to perform a dash within strands of darkness to attack enemies in the way. In the Final Limit, Riku's weapon is enveloped in light, which he uses to swing at enemies, similar to Roxas's and Xion's Event Horizon Limit Break, although Riku's swings are noticeably slower.
    • We also have Limit Storm in Dream Drop Distance, which allows Riku to perform a spinning attack that deals additional damage if he is low on HP.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy. In all games till Dream Drop Distance, when he cuts it short. This includes his almost-Peek-a-Bangs, meaning his eyes are now always clearly seen.
  • Love Makes You Evil: An arguably platonic example, Riku's big brother love to Sora and Kairi in Kingdom Hearts ended up what lead to him to turn evil. He desired to save Kairi after she lost his heart and felt betrayed by Sora after being tricked into thinking that he "abandoned" him and Kairi for new friends.
  • Love Redeems: However, it is when Ansem is poised to finish Kairi who had served her purpose that Riku sees the error of his ways.
  • Magically Inept Fighter: Riku rarely ever uses magic outside his unique Dark Firaga spell, this is averted in his playable appearance in 3D and in his playable appearance in III he can use Thundaga and Curaga but as a party member will go back to only using Dark Firaga as usual. This is also his stat distribution in 358/2 Days being above average in most stats but with poor magic.
  • Manly Tears: During his reunion with Sora in the KHII manga, he's crying and snotting, he says that he just has a runny nose.
  • Master of Unlocking: His Keyblade lets him open pretty much anything.
  • Master Swordsman: Is extremely skilled with both a sword and a Keyblade. Even in his youth on Destiny Island he could easily trounce the other kids wielding a wooden sword one-handed. For more, see Awesome Moment of Crowning above.
  • Meaningful Echo: Three times in Dream Drop Distance.
    • After defeating Ansem, he says "Strength, to protect what matters". In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Riku tells Terra that he's searching for strength to protect the things that matter.
    • During his conversation with the digitized Ansem the Wise, this one was intentional on the part of Ansem the Wise, and acknowledged with a grin by Riku. Compare the lines below.
      Ansem the Wise (as DiZ) in Kingdom Hearts II: But first, perhaps you could tell me your true name?
      Riku, in the form of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness: It's Ansem.
      Data-Ansem the Wise, in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance: Young man! I do not believe you told me your name.
      Riku: It's Riku.
    • He also repeats his "road to the dawn" line from Chain of Memories to Ansem SOD and Young Xehanort.
  • Meaningful Name: "Riku" is Japanese for "land" and his personality is as strong as it. He is very strong-willed and confident, at times being arrogant. He values his friends deeply and puts protecting them above all else.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Riku sort of accidentally-on-purpose doing this to his own world triggered the plot of Kingdom Hearts I. Apparently all he was trying to do was get out and see the universe, and while destroying his world wasn't his intent, calling the darkness forth that did destroy it was a deliberate action so that he could escape his world, which he viewed as a prison.
  • Missed the Call: Riku was so eager to rush into adventure that he jumped too soon, and at the wrong opportunity. How soon? The second after Riku disappears into darkness, Sora gets the Keyblade that Terra had promised for Riku in Birth By Sleep.
  • More Than Mind Control: Embraces the trope wholeheartedly. Supplemented with plenty of scenes detailing his friend Sora's apparent betrayal. Also an example of Not What It Looks Like.
    • He also continues this in Kingdom Hearts II by fully embracing the dark control in order to put Sora's mind back together. So not only does he stay under the mind control, but ends up reversing it and using it for his and Sora's benefit. Without the other occupant of his mind knowing that. Nice job man.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Riku is well-built, never wears a shirt with sleeves, and his KHII outfit gives the viewer a peek at his naval while his 3D outfit leaves a very noticeable gap between his top and his trousers. When it comes to Kingdom Hearts III, well... just try not to drool when looking at him!
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Clashes with Sora in the first game, largely because of his obsession with saving Kairi.
  • Mutual Envy: At the end of II, he and Sora have a heart to heart and come to the understanding that they were both always jealous of each other, each wishing to be like the other.note  When they both realize that they're fine the way they are, this conversation ultimately repairs their friendship for good.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ever since CoM, Riku lives with immense regret over his actions in the first game and believes he doesn't deserve to be forgiven by Sora and Kairi, going to the point he was hesitant to return to Destiny Islands because he couldn't face everyone after what he did.
  • My Greatest Failure: He is so ashamed of allowing his heart to be consumed by darkness that he spends an entire game avoiding Sora and reluctant to return home even after Xehanort's shadow is removed and his form returned. Then, in a journey through dreams, he notes that the results of his failure (namely, having his body stolen by Ansem) just keeps coming back to haunt him.
    Riku: I gave in to the darkness once. And ever since, it's haunted me in some form or another. The Heartless of the man who stole my body, a puppet replica of the shadows within my heart, and now I'm facing myself.
  • Mysterious Protector: In II for both Roxas and Sora.
  • Not Good with People: Claims this in 3D when talking to Shiki. It might be because Kairi is the only girl he really got to know.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Becomes more an Aloof Big Brother to Sora and Kairi than a love interest by II.
  • The Nose Knows: He has the ability to smell darkness and light, and can differentiate between the light or darkness of different individuals, to the point of being able to distinguish Kairi from Naminé, or to sense Ansem, Seeker of Darkness at a distance. However, this only comes up in Chain of Memories.
  • Not Quite Flight: When in his Rising Wing Link Style in Dream Drop Distance, Riku descends slowly towards the ground, allowing him to glide through the air for a limited time.
  • Not So Above It All: Though Riku humbles significantly over the course of the series, he still retains a lighthearted and jokingly arrogant side, referring to Sora, Donald and Goofy as "wise guys" to the Emperor, cracking a joke about Donald and Goofy's intelligence, and calling Sora a "total sap" before joining forces to confront Xemnas.
  • Now It's My Turn: This is Riku's specialty in the first game when you challenge him during the prologue. If you land too many combo hits on him without thinking, he'll rebound with a spring attack and take off a nice bit of your HP in the process. He even says "my turn!" before countering.
    • Makes a reappearance in 358/2 Days in the final boss fight against him. In this case it can happen any time, at random, and the only warning you get is a slightly different sound effect and a flash, before any further hit trips the counter. God help you if you habitually mash the buttons from trying to pull off long combos...
  • Oh, Crap!: His reaction when he finds himself surrounded by six members of Organization XIII in the Days manga, four of whom just pulled a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: Braveheart, Riku's new keyblade in III is a fair bit larger and heftier double edged blade compared to his earlier light one handed swords. He still wields it in one hand at all times.
  • One Head Taller: He's always around a head taller than both Sora and Kairi. It's a non-romantic example towards either of them though that hasn't stopped the fans.
  • Older Than They Look: In KH3D, Riku is 16-17, but spends most of the game in his 15-year-old body.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Riku is almost always with a serious expression and he rarely smiles, the scenes where he does though are quite heartwarming.
  • Personality Powers: A Byronic Hero who primarily wields darkness.
  • Playing with Fire: Every Keyblade wielder has fire magic and Riku is no exception,however,he also has a different variation of said magic by mixing it with his control over darkness, creating Dark Firaga.
  • The Poorly Chosen One: It is revealed that Riku was to be the original recipient of the Keyblade, but when he opened the Door to Darkness in Destiny Islands, plunging that world into Darkness, it instead chose Sora. However, in Hollow Bastion, Riku took the Keyblade from Sora by using the sheer strength of his heart, though when he uses the darkness within himself, his power over the Keyblade weakens and it returns to Sora who had proven the strength of his own heart.
  • Post-Final Boss: In Days for Roxas to Xion's more traditional Final Boss.
  • Power Limiter: Throughout Days, he wears a blindfold to suppress his dark powers and Ansem's influence. When fighting Roxas and losing, however, he was forced to remove the blindfold; doing so traps him in Ansem's form, but he nonetheless manages to one-shot Roxas.
  • Powers via Possession: The first time you fight him (which is optional), he's Badass Normal and is mostly hard because he keeps jumping around and when you knock him down, flings back at you and it hurts. The second time you fight him (which is not optional), he is using the powers of darkness and puts up a fight before going down but isn't a hard opponent... partly because it's 3v1 in your favor. The third time you fight him, however, he becomes That One Boss because he is possessed by Ansem SoD. And it's not just because it's a Duel Boss...
    • Averted in the later games; however—he later learns to use these powers without being controlled.
  • Pride Before a Fall: His attitude in the first game indicates that growing up he saw himself as The Reliable One, feeling that he was responsible for Sora and Kairi's protection. Sora having a Keyblade suddenly leaves Riku without anyone to protect, in addition to his jealousy over Sora's status as The Chosen One. He does not handle it well.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman: Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix reveals that his heart was sent to the Realm of Darkness after Sora defeats Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, who was possessing Riku's body, in Hollow Bastion. Sora's defeat of Ansem SoD allowed Riku to prevent Ansem SoD from corrupting his heart, but that heart was expelled from his body because Ansem fully controlled Riku's body. Therefore, Riku essentially became a benign sentient heartless like Sora did after Kairi restored the latter's heart until Sora reunited with Roxas. He later unwittingly became a Spirit Dream Eater in 3D.
  • Promoted to Playable: He had an entire campaign to himself in Chain of Memories, and later in Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, there are also three sections in III where you play as him. He is also temporarily playable in II during a certain stage of the Final Boss, though with a limited moveset.

  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: He's the Byronic Hero, calm and thoughtful Blue Oni to Sora's All-Loving Hero, impulsive and extroverted Red Oni. Sora is also much more of a straightforward Action Hero that directly takes on any threat to the worlds and his friends while Riku is more of a Aloof Ally that works behind the scenes, leaving clues to his allies and protecting them from afar. this is reflected in their clothing.
  • Refused by the Call: Seems like he refused the Keyblade, which caused it to choose Sora as its wielder instead.
  • Required Party Member: During the final battle against Xemnas in II, Riku will be Sora's only remaining party member after the first stage. Like with Jack Sparrow before against Barbossa, it's game over if Riku's HP hits zero.
  • Revenge by Proxy: When Sora rejects his We Can Rule Together offer in Monstro, he dedicates himself to saving Kairi first to prove his superiority.
  • Reverse Grip: In II, he wields Way to the Dawn this way when chasing after Xemnas's dragon in The World That Never Was in an emergency shuttle and driving, and also wields the Keyblade this way in Dream Drop Distance when he attempts to strike Ansem, Seeker of Darkness when Riku's pinned down by him. It is unknown if he can actually fight this way, however.
  • The Rival: To Sora. They're friendly rivals throughout the whole series. The two would actually keep score of how many wins they had in their competition. But for most of the first game, Riku's jealousy of Sora and his own ambition for strength serves at the catalyst of him falling to the Dark Side, becoming distrusting of Sora and fighting against him due to succumbing to the darkness, being manipulated by Maleficent and eventually possessed by Ansem. He spends the majority of the next few games atoning for it. After Riku's Heel–Face Turn, the rivalry in general started to die down and the two were more Bash Brothers.
  • Rival Turned Evil: He was Sora's rival in Destiny Islands, both in fighting and when it comes to Kairi's affections but after the Islands fell to darkness, he joined Maleficent and became a enemy to him, taken even further after he's possessed by Ansem. Being freed from the possession at the end of the game makes him deal with the consequences throughout CoM and II.
  • The Sacred Darkness: While usually Dark Is Evil and Light Is Good, some parts of the story regarding Riku have felt like this, especially in Chain of Memories, where he's told to accept his darkness and uses it to beat Zexion.
    • By Dream Drop Distance, while the corruptive aspects of darkness are still in full play here, Riku himself has become the living proof of this trope, having become immune to said corruption from so much exposure to it, thus freely able to wield dark powers while being more of a good guy than he has ever been, showing where Terra and Sora have failed to conquer, and making Xehanort's use of darkness rightfully look worse by comparison.
  • Sanity Slippage: Even from the start, there are signs Riku has darkness in his heart, with him sometimes acting like a jerk for no real reason, and even Kairi mentions he's changed as of late. However, after joining with Maleficent and letting darkness into his heart, the influence of darkness starts to warp his mind more and more, making him delusional and violent, and ultimately leading up to his attempts to kill Sora.
  • Satellite Character: As "Ansem" in KHII's prologue, presumably to hide the obvious twist that it is Riku. All he does is repeatedly ask questions of DiZ in a monotonous voice, allowing DiZ to exposit at him.
  • Save the Villain: While there is no instance of this applying to the real Riku in the series, Data-Riku from coded, who currently does not have his own entry on this character page, saves Maleficent and Pete from getting killed by Data-Sora's Heartless.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Through out the first game, he repeatedly ignores all of the obvious evidence that Sora didn't abandon him and Kairi for the Keyblade, Donald, and Goofy, and is spending every waking moment trying to find them. It isn't until he's possessed by Ansem, as well as Sora's Heroic Sacrifice to save Kairi, that he finally realizes the truth. It seems to be the influence of the darkness, for the most part, that's twisting his mind and making him delusional.
  • Self Deprecating Humour:
    "Sora never did pick the brightest friends." -Riku, Sora's best friend.
  • Shadow Walker: In 3D Riku gets the unique Dark Roll dodge which has him transform into a shadow to dodge, for his brief playable appearance in III he retains this ability.
  • Shock and Awe: In his playable segments in III, the only offensive spell he has access to is Thundaga.note 
  • Shout-Out: Riku's design in Kingdom Hearts III is literally one big shout out to Noctis.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Just before the final boss when Ansem tries to tell to him that he's irrational for accepting the Darkness in his heart but not Ansem... His response? (Foreshadowed by the fact that Riku has constantly shown an ability to actually smell people's auras).
    Riku: Wrong. The truth is... you just really stink.
    • In Re:Chain of Memories, courtesy of voice acting cutscene and Riku drawing his blade halfway through.
      Riku: That's not it. The truth is... *summons Soul Eater* I just can't stand your foul stench!
    • Riku delivers another Shut Up, Hannibal! in that scene when Xemnas asks the heroes why they considered Organization XIII to be an enemy: "That's simple. It's because you mess up our worlds."
  • Signature Move: Dark Aura, It allows him to rush enemies repeatedly from all directions in Teleport Spam fashion, finishing by plunging their weapon into the ground, releasing columns of energy radially.
    • II has a different version of the attack where Riku launches spheres of dark flame at the opponent, a technique similar to Dark Firaga.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Dispatches Rinzler this way in 3D.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: To Maleficent's group in Kingdom Hearts, after he's possessed by Ansem.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: He only wears them when he's in Dark Mode or an Organization cloak. The jacket he wears in III does have sleeves, but just barely.
  • Smug Smiler: Practically all of Riku's smiles in Kingdom Hearts are done in a smug and condescending manner, it's not until the end of the game where we see a genuine smile from him, this does not apply to the later games though.
  • Smug Super: After Riku takes Sora's Keyblade for himself, he's quick to taunt Sora over it and rub salt in the wound by giving him his wooden sword, when Sora confronts him later, he taunts him once again over not having a weapon and after Sora says his heart is his weapon, he scoffs it as weak, the Keyblade goes back to Sora shortly after.
  • The Snark Knight: In Dream Drop Distance where nearly all of Riku's interactions with the Organization members have him being painfully sarcastic with them.
    Young Xehanort: Once again you performed predictably, although on a grander scale than I imagined.
    Riku: If you're feeling so chatty, let's skip to where you reveal what this is all about.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: He can talk down to villains any day of the week, but when a cute girl like Shiki Misaki starts flirting with him, he's at a loss for words.
    Shiki: Aren't you my knight in shining armor? Well? (winks)
    Riku: K-knight? You've got the wrong idea.
    Shiki: (exasperated) Ohmigosh, I was so just kidding. You get out much?
  • Spin Attack: The Maelstrom attack in Chain of Memories, and various attacks in Dream Drop Distance. He can use the vertical variant too, like "Shadowbreaker".
  • Stealth Mentor: He acts as one to Xion in Days. After Xion wakes upon Destiny Islands, she expresses her curiosity about "Sora and that girl he's always with", in which Riku tells her that Kairi is someone very special to Sora. He tells her that she is the reason Sora is unable to wake up because part of his memories are inside of her. Even though Xion is unsure of where she truly belongs and what the right choice is, Riku gives her some time to think about it.
  • Stock Shōnen Rival: He fits the archetype in the first game. At the beginning of the game he's the stronger, prettier, aloof best friend who competes with Sora constantly and ends up pulling a Face–Heel Turn out of resentment. He mellows out considerably in later installments of the franchise, but remains Sora's angstier foil.
  • The Stoic: After II, Riku is a downplayed example, his emotions are clearly shown but not nearly to the same extent as the others as he's usually straight faced and serious, he does has his Not So Stoic moments though.
  • Storm of Blades: Riku demonstrates this by shooting copies of his sword Soul Eater at the enemy with his Dark Impulse sleight in Re:Chain of Memories.
    • One move in Sora and Riku's Eternal Session is XIII Blades, where swords revolve around them.
  • Strong and Skilled: Riku attacks very quickly with either weapon in combat in one-handed strikes ranging from thrusts to wide strikes focusing on more on slashing motions. His strength and agility are best demonstrated on Destiny Island, where he is known as the strongest child on the island (Tidus remarked that he, Wakka, and Selphie were defeated by him even after they triple-teamed him), and possesses an athletic springing kick if knocked down. Riku is also shown to be skilled in hand-to-hand combat, as shown in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, in which he easily knocks down a charging Xion with a single punch after dismissing his Soul Eater weapon. Riku showed another glimpse of his strength in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days by defeating Xion with ease and holding his own against Roxas. Riku's strength is acknowledged in II when Sora and Donald express their disbelief that Riku could be defeated by anyone.
  • Summon to Hand: Like all Keyblade wielders, he can summon his Keyblades at will.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Plays this trope straight in four of the gamesnote , but primarily in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories when you can play as him and "Dark Mode" is one of his key abilities. Interestingly, he no longer has one as of Dream Drop Distance, but only because his control over his dark powers has improved to the point where he can use them freely without transforming.
  • Super Mode: In Chain of Memories. Once Riku gets 30 Dark Points (obtained by taking damage or breaking enemy cards), he enters Dark Mode, where he is faster, stronger and capable of using an array of special abilities. His regular combo is heavily upgraded as the finishing attack has the opportunity to stun enemies. A quick, clean dash takes the place of his tumble. Additionally, the Holy Burst sleight is replaced with a more powerful Inverse Burst that has a longer duration. Most importantly, Riku has the ability to use three new sleights in Dark Mode by stocking together three attack cards.
    • Riku loses access to Dark Mode by the end of Kingdom Hearts II, due to Ansem the Wise's attempts to convert Xemnas' fake Kingdom Hearts into data failing as the machine explodes which purifies Riku of any of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness's presence.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Literally in Volume Four of the Days manga, Riku is ambushed by six members of the Organization, and winds up surrounded. His way of escaping? Tricking four of them into attacking each other.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Even after everything Ansem put him through, Riku shows sympathy for him in his last moments, going as far as saying he thinks he'll miss him, as strange as it sounds.
  • Take a Third Option: Chose "The road to dawn" between darkness and light, instead of wielding just one.
    DiZ: Will you take the road to light — or the road to darkness?
    Riku: Neither. I'm taking the middle road.
    DiZ: You mean the twilight road to nightfall?
    Riku:'s the road to dawn.
    • This statement is pretty much Riku's character arc in a nutshell.
  • Take My Hand: Does this a lot, he makes it his pose in the opening cinematics of both Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. Also, during I proper, Riku reaches his hand out for Sora, but Sora and Riku are both swallowed by darkness, and Sora can't reach Riku's hand before he vanishes.
  • Take Up My Sword: After Terra meets him and sees his determination to leave the islands so he can grow strong enough to protect his friends and everything he holds dear, Terra chooses to perform the Bequeathing ceremonies with Riku having effectively passed on their roles in the story to them.
  • Teleport Spam: In Dream Drop Distance, his Dark Splicer attack and Shadow Slide/Shadow Strike abilities let him do this. His Dark Aura attack is also this as well as his Darkstrom in Days.
  • Thinking Up Portals: From his siding with Maleficent to the destruction of the Kingdom Hearts encoder, he had the ability to form Corridors of Darkness. He is no longer able to do this due to not being that in tune with darkness.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Barrage in Chain of Memories with the Soul Eater, and Strike Raid and some variants in Dream Drop Distance. It works because of the Summon to Hand characteristic.
  • Token Good Teammate: To Maleficent's group in the original Kingdom Hearts, as he only joined her group in order to help Kairi regain her heart, not to take over any of the worlds like the rest of group.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Riku was a very arrogant Smug Smiler in the original game, his experiences after though it left him as a Broken Ace that lives in guilt over his past actions. the only reason he even accepted the Mark of Mastery in Dream Drop Distance was to see whether or not he is worthy of wielding the Keyblade after his past with the darkness. Sora even Lampshades Riku's cynical attitude in II.
    Sora: Aw, c'mon, Riku. You've been hanging around darkness for too long. You gotta try and think positive.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In the original Kingdom Hearts, until the Laser-Guided Karma he receives brings him back to his senses.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After much Character Development Riku is a pretty nice guy to the people he cares about. Especially apparent in 3D.
  • Too Slow: In Re:Chain Of Memories where an Ansem-possessed Riku flash-step kills Lexaeus after the latter sent the former flying into the ceiling.
    • Riku sometimes says the quote while using his Shadow Slide counter ability in Dream Drop Distance, which teleports him behind an attacking enemy.
  • Toyless Toy Line Character: Despite being a main character since the beginning, he's usually pressed for merch — especially after KHII, which saw Roxas and Axel get stuff before him, often multiple times in the same line. The articulated figures take this to the extreme — even Ursula got a KH-branded figure before he did!
  • Trash Talk: He used to do this a lot when he and Sora were younger, he'd constantly taunt him when they're competing on race or swordfighting.
    Riku: Giving up already? C'mon Sora, I thought you we're stronger than that!
  • Troubled, but Cute: A Broken Ace with a tendency to try to do things alone that's also a Bishōnen Mr. Fanservice.
  • True Companions: Riku may not be Sora but he also has made similar bonds throughout the series.
    • The most obvious examples are Sora and Kairi, his two best friends since childhood and this was shown when they we're both capable of seeing him even after he was stuck in Ansem's appearance.
    • He also has this relationship with Mickey, he's the only one he entrusted with telling who he was after he took Ansem's form, Mickey was also the one that helped Riku with his struggle over his inner darkness in Chain of Memories.
  • Turns Red: During the battle against Riku-Ansem, he shows three examples.
    • After Riku's first life bar has been drained, he will start using a new attack; he'll spin around while swinging his Keyblade, similar to Sora's Vortex. He uses this attack very often, mostly to break Sora's combos.
    • Eventually, Riku will cloak himself with darkness and a purple aura will surround him. During this period, his speed and agility increase and he gains two new attacks; one involves throwing his Keyblade at Sora, similar to Strike Raid and his infamous Dark Aura.
    • When Riku's health bar drops to his final one, he'll become more aggressive and uses Dark Aura very often, telegraphed by him announcing, "Behold the power of darkness!" or "Open your heart to darkness!".
  • Two Roads Before You: At the end of Chain of Memories, this is asked to him by DiZ. He says that he'll Take a Third Option and walk the road to dawn.
    Ansem: Will you take the road to light, or the road to darkness?
    Riku: Neither. I'm taking the middle road.
    Ansem: You mean the twilight road to nightfall?
    Riku: No... The road to dawn.
  • The Unchosen One: Had to go through a lot to become a Keyblade wielder again.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Scoffs Sora's heart as a weak little thing and taunts him before their fight in Hollow Bastion because of him having taken the Keyblade from him, he ends up both losing the Keyblade to him and is defeated in their fight.
  • The Unfettered: A tragic example, but Riku was this in Kingdom Hearts, when he had a goal in mind, he'd do anything to reach it; He called upon the darkness to leave Destiny Islands, destroying it in the process, he joined Maleficent to rescue Kairi's heart and when he wanted to become stronger than Sora after losing to him, he opened his heart to darkness allowing Ansem to possess him. Thanks to his Character Development, this is no longer the case in the later games.
    Hook: What is Maleficent planning, anyway?
    Riku: Who knows? As long as it means getting Kairi's heart back, I couldn't care less.
  • Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: His death cry in II is to call out for Kairi indicating he isn't quite over her even if he is not actively pursuing her.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: This trope is the reason why Yen Sid puts Riku, as well as Sora, through the Mark of Mastery Test in the first place. While their self-taught styles have served them well to this point, the Keyblade has further secrets they haven't discovered and need to know to prepare for Master Xehanort's return, finishing the exam allows Riku to become Strong and Skilled.
  • Unwitting Pawn: All of his actions in KH 1 were due to manipulation from either Maleficent or Ansem.
    • Maleficent turns Riku against Sora, telling him that Sora has abandoned him and Kairi for traveling with Donald and Goofy. However, Riku is still highly suspicious of her motives. During Sora and Aladdin's fight with Jafar in Agrabah, Riku takes Jasmine to Hollow Bastion under Maleficent's orders. Maleficent reveals the whereabouts of Kairi's body. She claims that the only way to save Kairi, who appears to have lost her heart to the darkness, is to gain access to Kingdom Hearts.
    • After Riku is defeated by Sora, Donald and Goofy, he manages to escape, but he is confused as to why Sora was able to regain the Keyblade. A cloaked figure appears to him from the Darkness, telling him that only one with a stronger heart can claim the Keyblade, and Riku's was weaker than Sora. However, the figure tells him that plunging himself into darkness will make his heart stronger. Riku does so, and he is possessed by the dark figure.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: He and Sora have a bit of this together.
  • Villain Teleportation: Riku significantly loses the ability to summon Corridors of Darkness once he completes his journey back to being a good guy. 3D shows he still has all his old darkness-based attacks, plus some new ones, but this ability is still off-limits.
  • Villain Respect: After Ansem's death in III, Riku admits he'll miss him and Ansem acknowledges Riku and Sora as being stronger than the darkness, and encourages them to move on and find something new to seek after.
  • Vocal Evolution: His voice changes subtly over the course of the series.
  • We Can Rule Together: A variant, he offers to join forces with Sora and find Kairi, being confident they can find and save her together, Sora is having none of it and chooses to fight him while blatantly saying Riku is on the wrong side.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Sora and Riku we're best friends and rivals as kids for 10 years or probably more but after Riku is tricked by Maleficent into thinking Sora abandoned him and Kairi, the two become enemies, thankfully they manage to set things straight by the end of the game.
  • Weapon of Choice: Once he gets the Soul Eater, he only ever changes weapons once, when he manages to steal Kingdom Key from Sora. Otherwise, he has always used some permutation of Soul Eater. Eventually, he winds up with a new keyblade called Braveheart.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: In the first game, Riku just wants to save Kairi, despite committing evil deeds to do so.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Subverted, he seems to have this opinion in I, scoffing it as a "weak little thing" when Sora refers to it as his weapon but in II he reveals that he was always jealous of Sora's ability to just follow his heart.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Riku is baffled at Sora choosing to fight him over Pinocchio, coldly referring to him as a puppet with no heart.
    • This is averted in CoM after he defeats his replica as Riku tries to comfort the dying Replica, even promising that his soul will go to the afterlife just like his own's eventually will.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After Mickey reveals to Riku that Aqua was with him back when they sealed the Door to Darkness, but she stayed behind to stop a swarm of Heartless which were chasing Riku, he is outraged by the story and demands to know why Mickey kept this secret. He calms down after Yen Sid explains why he didn't told them though.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: Riku saw Destiny Islands as a prison surrounded by water and wanted more than anything to leave it and explore other worlds, this ends up calling the Heartless at the beginning of the series, causing Destiny Islands to get destroyed.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: A villainous version in Kingdom Hearts, but an Anti-Hero one from Chain of Memories through Dream Drop Distance.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He sees no problem in tag teaming Ursula with Sora in Dream Drop Distance.
  • Wrecked Weapon: In Kingdom Hearts III, Way to Dawn is broken from the top portion of the blade when facing a Demon Tower, requiring Riku get a new blade. Riku plants the ruined Keyblade in the sand of the Dark Ocean.
  • Yandere: To Kairi and, to a far lesser degree, Sora in the first game. He wants to save Kairi by any means necessary, and was very upset when Maleficent made him think Sora deserted him for newer friends, to the extent that he tried to kill him. A lot of his actions come off as him wanting to keep Kairi for himself as a friend in order to spite Sora for allegedly replacing him with Donald and Goofy.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: On his own he doesn't typically use much light oriented abilities with his darkness ones, but teamed with Mickey or Sora he can do Combination Attacks combining their prowess with the light with his with the dark.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: He receives a lot of this from Sora and Mickey to help him deal with his struggles over his past actions and his inner darkness.
    • III turns it around, having Riku give one to Sora after his breakdown about him being nothing without his friends after everyone besides the two are dragged by the Heartless in the Keyblade Graveyard.
  • You Are Worth Hell: Feels this way about both Kairi and Sora. He's perfectly content to walk the path of darkness if it means keeping them safe, and at the end of II he seems to accept dwelling in the Realm of Darkness with relative ease, seeing as how Sora is there with him.
    Riku: If the world is made of light and darkness...we'll be the darkness.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Riku has silver hair. He is notable for being the only character to have this hair color without being a incarnation of Xehanort.
  • Younger Than They Look: After embracing the power of darkness to defeat Roxas at the end of 358/2 Days, he gets Shapeshifter Mode-Locked in the form of "Ansem", Seeker of Darkness and ends up looking like a ~30-year old man when he's actually a 16-year old boy.
  • You Remind Me of X: He gets this with both Xion and Roxas, which especially hurts his conscience given that he's trying to wake Sora, and they can't exist if Sora's to be woken. Xion is a double whammy for him since not only is she part of Sora, she physically resembles Kairi, and they are both people Riku holds dear. Roxas only resembles Sora facially, but Roxas's fight with Riku gets more personally charged when Roxas ends up quoting something only Sora would say.


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