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Characters / Kingdom Hearts: Xehanort's Incarnations

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Main Character Index | Sora | Riku, Kairi, and Data-Sora | Mickey, Donald, and Goofy | Roxas, Axel, and Xion | Terra, Aqua, and Ventus | Party Members and Summons | Xehanort's Incarnations | Organization XIII | Xigbar | Disney Villains | Independent Villains | Enemy Creatures | Ansem and his Apprentices | Kingdom Hearts X(chi) Characters | Supporting Original Characters | Supporting Square Enix Characters | Supporting Disney Characters

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.

Xehanort is the overall antagonist of the series (well, the "Dark Seeker Saga," anyway). With the exceptions of Sora's story in Chain of Memories and coded, a Xehanort is always the main enemy of the individual games. And if he doesn't fill the position, his actions are helping drive the plot somehow. It is important to specify "a" Xehanort, because there are several characters that use the name Xehanort, as well as alternative incarnations of Xehanort that go by different names. However, they are ultimately all different aspects of the same original man, and they all aspire to more or less the same goal: to claim the power of Kingdom Hearts and unravel the mysteries of the universe, even if they have to destroy that universe to find the answers they crave.


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  • 13 Is Unlucky: His incarnations have been trying to form a group of thirteen of themselves for more than the past decade to have the "Darkness" half of the χ-blade.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Nearly every incarnation's final words in KHIII are tragic in one form or another, implying that each of them regret the connections they had severed and the choices that they had made.
  • Alliance of Alternates: The true Organization XIII is composed of thirteen incarnations of Xehanort drawn from across space and time, although the majority of them are merely pre-existing people with a piece of Xehanort's heart plugged into them.
  • Ambiguously Brown: All of Xehanort's incarnations share the original's dark skin and silver hair. However, there are minor differences between each incarnation, with Xemnas having the lightest complexion overall while "Ansem" has the darkest (no doubt due to actually being a Heartless). This of course is all Depending on the Artist, III shows all of the main incarnations with the same skin tone.
  • Arc Villain: Because Word of God states that Kingdom Hearts III will not be the end of the series, only the Grand Finale of the "Xehanort Saga" (or "Dark Seeker Saga"), this is what Xehanort will ultimately end up as. Of course, Xehanort is still of vital importance to the current (and long-running) Story Arc and most fans assume his presence will continue to influence events in the greater cosmology of the series regardless of his state of being after KHIII.
  • Badass Baritone: Always has a very deep voice. His incarnation in 3D has a softer voice, but only in the Japanese version, the English voice plays the trope straight.
  • Badass Longcoat: Variably wears a white, red and black trench coat, or a Black Cloak. Both look very cool on him.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: According to the press release blurb for Kingdom Hearts III, Xehanort(s) believes the scales are too tipped in light's favor, motivating his darkness-based plot.
  • Big Bad: Xehanort is the central antagonist of the series, and individual incarnations are frequently this trope for separate games.
  • Black Magic: Prefers using dark magic, though certain incarnations lean on it more heavily than others (like Xemnas possessing Power of the Void). Averted only by Young Xehanort, who hasn't given into the darkness like his older incarnations.
  • Body Surf: Xehanort has transferred pieces of his heart into over a dozen different bodies including Terra, most of the members of the XIII Seekers of Darkness and temporarily Riku. He can also surf between the bodies of the XIII Seekers at will, owing to the mechanics of Time Travel.
  • Casting a Shadow: Almost all of the Xehanort's have some dealings in darkness and have dark elemental attacks as components to their boss fights.
  • The Chessmaster: He's very good at setting up over-arcing schemes.
  • Chess Motifs: In III, they're associated with 13 chess pieces.
  • Classic Villain: All the Xehanorts are defined by their all-encompassing Ambition to seize the power of Kingdom Hearts and remake the universe In Their Own Image, and in contrast to our heroes who fully believe in The Power of Friendship, never view others as anything more than tools or pawns. They usually prefer Black Cloaks or Red and Black and Evil All Over type clothing.
  • Co-Dragons: Ansem So D, Xemnas and Young Xehanort collectively exist as The Dragon to Master Xehanort himself, all three being the only incarnations of his remaining after the Seven lights defeat the rest in III.
  • Dark Is Evil: While the series as a whole explains Dark Is Not Evil, Xehanort is a practitioner of dark powers, tempts others to darkness to weaken their hearts, and considers darkness a source of true power and knowledge.
  • Darth Vader Clone: Not as obvious as some, but it's there. Young kid who wanted to leave his quiet little home to explore other worlds? Check. Delved too heavily into darkness and became a Fallen Hero? Check. Wears a black cloak and has a booming voice? Check. There's also the blue Ethereal Blades wielded by Young Xehanort while Xemnas's blades are red, just like Anakin's change in lightsaber color upon becoming Darth Vader. Master Xehanort in turn takes some cues from Palpatine with his manipulations of Terra and masquerading as a benevolent old man when he's really the villain behind everything. Also just like Palpatine in the expanded universe, Xehanort attempts to prolong his own life by transferring his spirit to other bodies. The XIII Seekers of Darkness being groomed to hold his fragmented heart further calls to mind Palpatine's clone bodies.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Though Master Xehanort is calm and collected, his other incarnations are far more prone to fits of rage and total insanity.
  • Evil Mentor: If a Xehanort ever tries to help you or give advice, never, ever, listen. Terra and Riku had to learn this lesson the hard way.
  • Evil Sorceror: Regularly uses both machines and magic to experiment on and learn to control people's hearts. Each incarnation leans more to one or the other on an individual basis, Master Xehanort being a pure sorcerer while his alter-egos combine the two in their own ways.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: As mentioned under Badass Baritone, all of the Xehanorts are given deep voices, with the exception of his 3D incarnation's Japanese voice.
  • Evil Counterpart: To both Sora and Riku, in different ways.
    • Like Sora, Xehanort was a Keyblade wielder from Destiny Islands who dreamed of seeing other worlds and in his travels has spawned multiple incarnations. Also, like Sora, Xehanort came from a humbler background. Xehanort was an islander while Eraqus descended from the survivors of the Keyblade War. Sora was an ordinary boy while Riku was chosen by the Keyblade. But while Xehanort works to create new incarnations to further his goals and corrupts others to darkness, Sora's incarnations come about as a result of his selfless altruism and he tries to help those he meets.
    • Like Riku, Xehanort is a Keyblade wielder who lost himself in darkness in pursuit of his ambitions. Riku however pulled himself back and reformed, while Xehanort kept going deeper into the darkness and was lost for it. Ansem shifting to being Riku's Arch-Enemy/Enemy Within exemplifies this.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Even in a cast full of Disney villains, the Xehanorts stand out for how over-the-top they are. There's also an interesting inversion. Young Xehanort is a younger Master Xehanort who has not yet turned evil and he's comparatively muted and calm, making him a case of Ambiguously Evil Is Not Hammy.
  • Evil Plan: Always wants to get his hands on Kingdom Hearts by sacrificing a bunch of innocent people.
  • Expy: Like Sephiroth, he wants to find an ancient land of infinite power and knowledge and is willing to destroy countless lives and worlds to accomplish it. He's also forcibly turned a large number of people into copies of himself and has shed his human form in order to Body Surf between them.
  • The Faceless: His face is always hidden behind a hood or a turned back or a shadow the first time you see him.
  • Faux Affably Evil: His incarnations are all seemingly polite and well-spoken, which makes their highly manipulative natures that much creepier. His new incarnation in 3D particularly acts friendly and personable, even while planning to make Sora his 13th and final vessel.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three most-important incarnations — "Ansem," Xemnas, and Master Xehanort — have this dynamic.
  • Foil: At the end of the day, he's practically a male Maleficent, right down to the Dark Is Evil powers and the multiple comebacks. However, while he tries to justify his actions as For Science!, Necessarily Evil, etc., she's a straightforward Card-Carrying Villain.
  • For Science!: The key trait of Xehanort is that he isn't interested in power and conquest just for the sake of power and conquest, he wants to understand the mysteries of life and the universe, even if his pursuit of these answers would cause The End of the World as We Know It. The Ansem Reports in the first game particularly emphasize this, being written in the form of a researcher utilizing proper scientific method of testing: gather data, make observations, formulate a hypothesis, perform experiments to test hypothesis. Eraqus sums it up well in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep:
    Eraqus: You would risk an apocalypse out of sheer curiosity?!
  • Flight: Master Xehanort, Ansem and Xemnas all can fly and spend much of their boss fights hovering and soaring through the air.
  • A God Am I: Wants the power and knowledge of Kingdom Hearts to become a Physical God and remake the universe in his image of balance.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: The Evil to the Seven Light's Good and Maleficent's Bad, Xehanort and his various incarnations posing a far bigger threat than Maleficent and her cronies ever could.
  • Grand Theft Me: A common ploy among his various forms involve plans that require stealing people's bodies or identities. His ultimate plan in Dream Drop Distance goes even further and has him wish to do this 13 times.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He was initially just a boy on Destiny Islands with ambitions of exploring other worlds. He then became the universe's biggest threat since the Keyblade Wars.
  • Hades Shaded: The Xehanorts all have dark skin as a result of their descent into darkness. Ansem and Xemnas, being the deepest divers as a Heartless and Nobody, are Ambiguously Brown in some depictions.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: He rivals the Trope Namer for this. Pretty much every single game, either the villains are servants of or are being manipulated by Xehanort, or they are Xehanort in some way. The only game he has no direct hand in is "coded" but his Heartless "Ansem"'s actions in the original Kingdom Hearts game is what led to the existence of Sora's Heartless, that game's Big Bad in the first place so Xehanort is indirectly responsible for the events in that game too. Chain of Memories has the villains working to overthrow Xemnas, but they are still members of the Organization that Xemnas leads.
  • I Have Many Names: Xehanort, Master Xehanort, Xemnas, Ansem, No Heart. Via his alternate incarnations he's also Terra, Braig, and Isa.
  • In Their Own Image: Their ultimate goal is to trigger a second Keyblade War, then use the power of Kingdom Hearts to wipe out the current worlds and remake them in their image of balance.
  • Ineffectual Loner: In the end, in spite of all his offshoots and copies, he was ultimately always outnumbered by Sora and his friends who were each their own person rather than reflections of singular deluded wizard who trusted no one but himself.
  • Invincible Villain: Despite appearing in numerous games in the series and always getting defeated when he does, Master Xehanort is so Crazy-Prepared that his defeats never stick or just help him, and he always bounces back. His state as this trope is elevated due to Retcons being required to explain why his defeat in the previous game was not permanent, making it seem like a case of Joker Immunity; no matter how many times players have defeated Xehanort, the developers refuse to just let him die.
  • It's All About Me: He really, really, really likes to think of himself as the hero of the story and the only one who knows what's best for all worlds.
  • Just Between You and Me: Inevitably explains his entire plan to the heroes. Unfortunately for the heroes, this quirk has yet to work against him. He even starts exploiting this in later titles to Mind Rape and screw with his enemies.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Whenever a Xehanort shows up, the current game tends to become much darker in tone. Master Xehanort naturally reigns as this within the Xehanorts, his arrival to the franchise in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep began an Arc Welding that has tied the stories of the series together as a Gambit Roulette of his to enact a plan more ambitious than any of his previous ones.
  • Lack of Empathy: Although this seems to have been augmented by corruption by darkness, all Xehanorts have issues empathizing with others. Ironically, the original Master Xehanort is the only one to show the slightest hints of compassion and caring; he thinks Eraqus was once as close to him as a brother, and pities Ven nearly losing his heart and takes him to Destiny Islands so he can know peace before he dies.
  • Large Ham: Master Xehanort even provides the page image. Every Xehanort is prone to grandiose, long-winded speeches, often complete with dramatic hand gestures, and in battle they spout over-the-top Boss Banter at the top of their lungs. Choice topics for the two include the nature of darkness, power, hearts, nothingness, and SUBMIT and similar commands. Here's a sampling of each of them.
    Ansem: Darkness conquers all worlds!
    Xemnas: Anger and hate are supreme!
    Master Xehanort: You see how powerless you are to save them? Savor that rage and despair! Let it empower you!
    Terra-Xehanort: I will guide you to the depths of darkness!
    • Richard Epcar, of course, takes the cake with the following:
  • Legacy Character: The Xehanorts all share very similar appearances, outfits, personalities and goals, while fighting style varies but there are definitely repeated themes. Justified in that they're all the same person in various alternate incarnations.
  • Let X Be the Unknown: Uses X in his names and iconography, including the names given to the members of the Organization XIII. This stems from Master Xehanort's obsession with the χ-blade. They're also a "Recusant's Sigil" that marks the bearer as Xehanort's property and a potential vessel for his heart.
  • Mad Scientist: His sole motivation for trying to unlock Kingdom Hearts is simply For Science!.
  • Magic Knight: Every incarnation is very skilled with both melee weapons and magic.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He is a master at getting other people to help him whether they know it or not.
  • Me's a Crowd:
  • The Man Behind the Monsters: Many of the generic enemies (specific Emblem Heartless, Nobodies, and Unversed) are either directly created by Xehanort, or exist because of something he did.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Every time Xehanort speaks, he can never seem to keep his arms or hands still. Master Xehanort and Xemnas are the worst offenders.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The name "Xehanort" is an anagram of "No Heart" with the letter 'X' thrown in (although a different, less sinister anagram is possible with "Another" + 'X').
  • Obviously Evil: Between the silver hair, yellow eyes, and black and red clothing, it's pretty clear that the Xehanorts are the villains of the series from the moment one pops up.
  • Off-Model: Applies to some of their character models when they're hooded and/or had their identities hidden when they debuted, such as:
    • The Mysterious Figure's character model in Birth by Sleep is taller and slightly more buffed up than Young Xehanort's in Dream Drop Distance and III.
    • The hooded members in Dream Drop Distance have the same character model with exact same body shape and size. As seen in III, this is not the case with some of their members like Vanitas, Dark Riku, and Xion who have short teenager body; and Larxene who has slender feminine body.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: To varying degrees, from Master Xehanort aiming to spark a second Keyblade War (which is basically Armageddon for the Kingdom Hearts universe) to "Ansem" outright wanting to seize the power of Kingdom Hearts and consume everything in DARKNESS.
  • One Steve Limit: Played with back and forth. Early in the series there were several people with the name "Ansem" and "Xehanort", but it's now known that all of the latter are the same person in different forms, while with the former, a few people have just stolen the name as an alias and there is only one actual Ansem. This has lead to a few of them being given in-universe titles or Fan Nicknames to refer to them separately.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Has created and cultivated three separate races of monsters that have terrorized the universe, and has threatened an apocalypse on several occasions. Not to mention the personal tragedies he brings to the heroes...
  • Pointy Ears: Every incarnation, due to corruption by darkness, other than the uncorrupted Young Xehanort.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Xehanort's plans to get Kingdom Hearts revolve around sacrificing others in horrible ways.
    • Ansem uses the pure hearts of seven young women to try and create a portal to Kingdom Hearts.
    • Xemnas makes a fake Kingdom Hearts by combining the hearts from thousands of Heartless.
    • Master Xehanort tries to summon Kingdom Hearts by splitting a single person into pure light and pure darkness, and then making one consume the other.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Master Xehanort's black and red cloak, passed on to Ansem, and Xemnas's Black Cloak and red Etheral Blades.
  • Satanic Archetype: He was once one of the many defenders of the Realm of Light, but fell victim to darkness and became its worst enemy. He often corrupts people to darkness and manipulates their emotions to turn them evil, uses Demonic Possession when mind games don't work, and wants to take over the universe. The symbolism is completed by his Keyblade Armor and Glider; his Armor is silver and white with feathers while his Glider is a set of wings that attached to his back. When he began using the powers of darkness, he cast away his armor and stopped using his glider because he didn't need them anymore, creating Fallen Angel parallels. His new Keyblade Armor in III carries a particularly heavy Satan influence: a red and black cloak with a horned helmet shaped like a goat's head, clawed gauntlets, and boots that resemble hooves.
  • Seeker Archetype: A villainous example. All his incarnations seek to understand the true nature of their world, only to cross the Moral Event Horizon in search of it. They even go by the moniker "the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness".
  • Significant Anagram: Nomura chose the name Xehanort because without the X it was an anagram of both "Another" and "No Heart," referring to Xehanort's many alter-egos and his lack of morality and empathy. And although this one isn't officially acknowledged like the others, there is also "No Earth," relating to his Grand Theft Me of Terra.
  • Social Darwinist: He gives off shades of this in III, during a Motive Rant to Sora.
    Xehanort: The World needs someone to stand up and lead. Someone strong, to stop the weak from polluting the World with their endless darkness. Someone to dictate their destiny.
  • The Sociopath: Ticks all the boxes. He's an excellent liar and manipulator, feels no shame or guilt about all the suffering he's caused, pursues his goals out of a need for scientific curiosity regardless of what the consequences to the universe and civilization might be, has a massive ego and only cares about himself and his desires, and pretty much nothing gets to him; even when his plans are foiled, he'll just come up with a new one.
  • Soul Jar: Every Xehanort holds some fragment of Master Xehanort's heart.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Thanks to the darkness, his eye color is amber-orange, which is also given to his assimilated hosts. III reveals his natural eye-color is actually silver.
  • Superior Successor: What the XIII Seekers of Darkness are, having been made of 13 more suitable hosts for Xehanort, compared to the first version of Organization XIII.
  • Teleport Spam: Always makes use of Flash Step or dark portal teleport attacks.
  • Thinking Up Portals: All of Xehanort's incarnations have access to Corridors of Darkness.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Because of Retcons and his own memory shifting as he moves between forms, his reports are of questionable value in actual expository value.
  • Visionary Villain: He may have some roundabout and cruel methods, but everything Xehanort does is in the name of finding Kingdom Hearts and recreating the universe as he sees fit. 3D reveals that even Ansem and Xemnas were just working on a very complex scheme laid out by Master Xehanort that ultimately leads back to this goal.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: If someone has silver hair, they either (a) have some relation to/contact with Xehanort, or (b) are Sephiroth. The only exception is Master Xehanort, as he's bald from age; even then, he still has a silver goatee.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Has no qualms about physically or psychologically assaulting youngsters such as Ven or Sora (though to be fair, these are Keyblade wielders and not exactly helpless).
  • "X" Makes Anything Cool: Xehanort's X is a recurring motif for him, passed on to the Organization.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Whenever Xehanort or his many incarnations are defeated, they are viewed as minor setbacks at least. When individual members end up being slain before they could push their master plan into action, they can either use what little they had gained to call it a win or they become active members in another incarnation's machinations.

Master Xehanort

    Master Xehanort 

Master Xehanort

Voiced by: BBS, DDD: Chikao Ohtsuka (Japanese), Leonard Nimoy (English); III: Akio Ohtsuka (Japanese), Rutger Hauer (English)

Appearances: Birth by Sleep | Re:coded | Dream Drop Distance | III
"Destiny is never left to chance."
"We know so little about the Keyblade War — only that it was just the beginning. Amidst that crisis a precious light was found. It is a curious tale — and one worth exploring. They say ruin brings about creation. So what, then, would another Keyblade War bring? When the darkness falls, will we be found worthy of the precious light the legend speaks of? I must have these answers."

The original Xehanort, an elderly Keyblade Master. He was once a noble and wise man, if somewhat shifty, though in his quest to unravel the mysteries of the Keyblade and its role in the fate of the worlds, he delved too deep into darkness and now seeks the power of Kingdom Hearts to cause an apocalypse For Science!. He's effectively the Big Bad of the franchise, as his schemes and his various incarnations fuel the main conflicts behind almost every game. As of III he's the leader of the XIII Seekers of Darkness.
  • Abusive Parents: Toward Ventus, his original apprentice; he acted as a Sink-or-Swim Mentor by pitting him against a dozen Heartless and watching them almost kill him. In the novelization he's also this to Vanitas, putting him through Training from Hell. In a sense, he is also this to his other selves, the ones directly created from him, as they were born solely to serve him, and he sacrifices all of them without a second thought.
  • All for Nothing: His final battle cathartically reeks of this. All those stolen bodies and extra vessels? He's reduced to his hated "real" form as a frail old man. The X-Blade he worked and schemed so hard to get? The Kingdom Key is able to keep up with it. Kingdom Hearts, the soul of the multiverse that was supposed to give him infinite power? The collective heart of all worlds loses to the three truly united ones of Sora, Donald, and Goofy. This is illustrated best by the juxtaposition in his final scene: while Eraqus and Sora are each seen with their friends and allies, happy to just be together, Xehanort is shown alone, in the darkness, and rather miserable, well aware that his state is all his own fault.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Xehanort's Heartless specializes in being The Corrupter, normally lacking a body and acting primarily by influencing others to darkness, while his Nobody is a powerful direct physical and aerial threat who specializes in being The Chessmaster. Xehanort himself demonstrates both the skill at influencing and corrupting others of his Heartless and the intellect of his Nobody, while the No Heart battle shows that at his prime he was a truly terrifying wielder of the Keyblade on the battlefield. Even in his old age he's a Kung-Fu Wizard.
  • Ancestral Weapon: His Keyblade was originally wielded by Luxu from Kingdom Hearts χ. The secret ending for Re:coded HD calls it the oldest Keyblade, or at least the oldest one that still exists, and Back Cover elaborates that the Master of Masters gave it to Luxu to pass down in a Master-Apprentice Chain so that the eye embedded in it will let the Master of Masters see the future, allowing him to write the Book of Prophecies. After he's defeated, the Keyblade returns to Luxu, or as he's now called, Xigbar.
  • Animal Motif: His Keyblade has a distinct goat motif, due to its connection with Lust. Befitting a man who lusts for the Keyblade War and Kingdom Hearts. His beard goes further to evoke this, resembling the characteristic scruff on a goat's chin. The new armor he wears in III features a large goat’s head on its helmet just to drive the point home. The secret reports also add another aspect to the motif, when Luxu refers to him as a scapegoat.
  • Apocalypse How: His true plan, as revealed in III, was to pull a Dimentio and cause a Class X-5 before rebuilding the universe in his own image.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Xehanort is a Keyblade master and the leader of the new Organization XIII and he shows to definetly have the strenght to back up both these titles, he is an extremely skilled Keyblade Master and magic user. His magic skills are some of the most advanced seen in the series so far, as he is able to create massive rock formations and pillars, encase Ventus's body in ice, project a gust of wind powerful enough to send Ventus and Mickey flying from his hand, block Braig's Arrowgun shots without raising his arms, and telekinetically control the Keyblades covering the Keyblade Graveyard to attack Terra and Aqua.
  • An Axe to Grind: His Keyblade has a curved blade for the "teeth" part and a spiked shaft to give the impression of a Keyblade-axe. Impressive, considering his age and bodily weakness, though it works well to convey his evil and brutal nature.
  • Back from the Dead: Is resurrected in 3D after the destruction of his Heartless and Nobody in the previous games that allowed his heart and body to rejoin.
  • Background Boss: Serves as this during the fight with Ansem, Xemnas, and Young Xehanort in III. He will occasionally conjure up a massive storm of Keyblades to attack Sora.
  • Badass Boast: Has one in III.
    Sora: Yeah, sure. And what makes you think there'd ever be any way we'd help you with that?
    Xehanort: You forget I plan for every eventuality.
  • Badass Bookworm: During his journeys, Xehanort obtained vast knowledge concerning Keyblade lore, the Heartless, and the mysteries of the Keyblade War and Kingdom Hearts. Master Xehanort's greatest asset is his intellect and capacity for manipulation. For over a decade, he has, directly or indirectly, influenced many of the hardships and suffering the worlds have gone through, and always has backup plans ready in the event his initial schemes fail.
  • Badass Grandpa: While his old age somewhat hampers his mobility, Xehanort is still by far one of the most powerful characters in the series, being both an extremely skilled Keyblade Master and magic user. Master Xehanort's magical prowess is shown when King Mickey tries to confront him in Kingdom Hearts III; Mickey attempted to wipe him out with an Ultima spell, but Xehanort countered with a Stopza spell so powerful, it reached far enough to immobilize Riku. He also possesses physical strength sufficient to grab a fully-armored Ventus by the back of the head and lift him into the air with one hand.
  • Bald of Evil: Has gone bald from age after descending into darkness.
  • Beard of Evil: His only hair left is a silver goatee.
  • Beware the Superman: As a Keyblade Master, Xehanort is supposed to be a hero who protects the worlds. Instead, he's become Drunk on the Dark Side and uses his power as a Master to spread darkness and chaos wherever he goes.
  • BFS: His Keyblade is one of the larger ones.
  • Big Bad: Overall, As the original Xehanort, he's the true catalyst of all the events in the series so far, having been responsible (either directly or indirectly) for converting Terra into the first of his many vessels, arranging his younger self's quest through time, the Disney Villains' hunt for Kingdom Hearts, the creation of Vanitas, the Unversed, and the original Organization XIII, the release of the Emblem Heartless and Nobodies, and the plaguing of the Sleeping Worlds with the Dream Eaters. While he's usually the Greater-Scope Villain for most of the games, he takes the center stage in Birth By Sleep and III.
  • Blow You Away: His Storm of Blades in the Keyblade Graveyard in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep seems to be through the use of wind and the Keyblades littering the battlefield. During the fight with Ansem, Xemnas, and Young Xehanort in III, he will occasionally conjure up a massive storm of Keyblades to attack Sora.
  • Broken Pedestal: As a young boy, Riku idolized the legendary "boy who left the island", and planned to follow suit not only in leaving the island, but in becoming stronger as well. Boy did that pedestal break...
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: His reaction in Dream Drop Distance when Mickey calls him out for what he did to Terra, Ven, and Aqua in Birth by Sleep.
    Xehanort: Ah, but destiny is never left to chance. I merely guided them to their proper places. The broken boy who failed to be the blade... the misguided master who sacrificed herself for a friend... and the feckless youth who became my new vessel.
  • Cain and Abel: He mentions several times in his writings that he considers Eraqus a brother. In their youth, the two would spend time playing chess in between training sessions. And yet he murders Eraqus in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. In the end, it takes a conversation with Eraqus' spirit to finally convince Xehanort to give up his mad ambitions and come with him peacefully to the afterlife.
  • Character Tics: Xehanort has a few unusual tendencies and quirks, such as turning away from the people he speaks to, or over-dramatizing his hand gestures when delivering a speech, even flexing his fingers in a peculiar grasping motion.
  • The Chessmaster: Plays everyone in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep to his own ends. Everything Ansem and Xemnas did was also part of his plan to create 13 avatars of darkness, combine them with the 7 Princess of Hearts' light, and start a second Keyblade War. In 3D, Yen Sid outright describes him as a "devious tactician," and that there's nothing they can do that Xehanort won't be able to predict to some degree.
  • Cold Ham: In III (or at least the English version), he hardly ever raises his voice, but is still prone to the same speeches about darkness, and introducing himself by going "behold!"
  • Cool Old Guy: Xehanort used this trope as a façade to trick Terra, acting as a grandfather figure to the young warrior in order to trick him into embracing the darkness. After Terra accidentally channels his darkness, scarring Braig's face and forcing him to flee, Xehanort consoles the distraught Terra, offering to take him under his wing so that they may pursue a balance between light and darkness together.
  • Complexity Addiction: That Kudzu Plot throughout all the games? All According to Plan... somehow... for this guy. Best demonstrated with the Time Travel method he has his incarnations use: Its conditions and limits are so complicated, you can only create a Stable Time Loop at best. The method that characters such as Maleficent, Merlin, and Pete use? A straightforward trip to the past or future — with the ability to change history, on top of it.
  • The Corrupter: To Terra and Braig, though Terra never falls completely until Xehanort possesses him. And Braig had ulterior motives for supposedly working with Xehanort.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Managed to plan for his various incarnations' defeats in every single game of the series.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget:
    • He started out as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, believing that the universe is too full of light and that a perfect balance between light and darkness is needed; his plan to trigger a second Keyblade War was so he could acquire the power of Kingdom Hearts and remake it in his image of balance. Of course, he's long since become Drunk on the Dark Side, and now just wants to cause an omniversal Apocalypse How on top of it. However, III reveals that this is a Subverted Trope. His goal all along was to bring balance to the universe, but as long as there was darkness in all human hearts, balance could never be achieved in the long term, so he decided to use Kingdom Hearts to wipe out the old universe and start anew. He sincerely believed his rhetoric, to a horrifying degree.
    • He set out on his journey during his life to one day stand as an equal to Eraqus, who was descended from Keyblade nobility. Eventually Xehanort's journey to prove he was worthy to stand as his friends equal degraded until it was all about how he knew better than everyone else and believed he alone could lead the world.
  • The Determinator: He will do anything to obtain the power and knowledge of Kingdom Hearts. Even when beaten by Sora in their final, climactic battle in III, he still insists he can succeed. It ultimately takes a heart-to-heart with Eraqus' spirit to finally convince him to give up.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Can raise massive pillars of earth to launch opponents into the air or separate them from their allies. Best exemplified during his battle with Terra: That plateau they're fighting on? He created it in seconds. Taken even further in III, where he creates an entire labyrinth for the Seven Guardians and Thirteen Seekers to fight in.
  • Dying as Yourself: In his final moments, his heart is purified by light which restores him back to his youngest, most innocent self, as he and and equally young and innocent Eraqus Go into the Light together.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • He exploits this by feigning guilt for damaging Ventus's heart, allowing him to gain sympathy from Eraqus and Terra. As such, they fail to notice that he has even worse plans until it's too late.
    • At the end of Kingdom Hearts III, despite the previous instance of him exploiting Eraqus's forgiveness, Xehanort is Easily Forgiven again by Eraqus after he is defeated for real, and he gets to peacefully Go into the Light with him.
  • Evil Counterpart: To fellow Keyblade Master Eraqus, as well as Sora and Riku. Notably, he's the first Big Bad in the series to wield a Keyblade much like the heroes (aside from when "Ansem" possesses Riku in the first game).
  • Evil Is Petty: As pointed out by Eraqus in Birth by Sleep, Xehanort intends to bring forth the Keyblade War and essentially bring about The End of the World as We Know It for no other reason than to simply satisfy his own personal curiosity.
  • Evil Laugh: As a battle quote and in cutscenes, both laughing out loud and chuckling evilly.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: Downplayed. He is supposed to be the same age as Eraqus, yet unlike the fit Cool Old Guy Eraqus is, Xehanort is a bald old man with a hunching back and declining health, but he is not that deformed unlike the common examples of this trope. Not to mention, this trope only applies to this specific incarnation, and as you can see from other folders on this page, the other incarnations play the trope Evil Is Sexy straight.
  • Evil Mentor: Toward Ventus in the backstory, and toward Terra during the course of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
  • Evil Old Folks: The oldest-looking character seen so far is one of the most sinister and evil.
  • Evil Sorcerer: He typically uses his free hand to cast spells while he keeps his Keyblade ready in the other. his feats of sorcery include: Summoning pillars of earth, storms of Keyblades, calling down black lightning, freezing Ven just by grappling him, his summoning of Kingdom Hearts in Birth By Sleep manifests as a dark energy orb he generates and fires without the Keyblade, and he is shown enchanting the blade with his other hand in Dream Drop Distance before attempting to body snatch Sora. He can even cast Stopza this way.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: In both the Japanese and English versions of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, where he is voiced by Chikao Ohtsuka and Leonard Nimoy, respectively. Likewise, Rutger Hauer gives him a sinister and raspy voice as well.
  • Fallen Hero: He was once a great Keyblade Master, but he's become one of the most dangerous foes to the worlds that Keyblade Masters are supposed to protect.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: How does he repay Eraqus for his post-scarring Forgiveness? By hurting him even more — sabotaging his students, then killing him.
  • Faux Affably Evil: In KH3D, he acts very laid-back and rather friendly with Mickey and Riku (though this may be because he feels so self-assured that destiny will work his way no matter what). Despite this, he is far from being nice. His other incarnations hold various if not worse shades of this, too.
  • Final Boss: Of Kingdom Hearts III.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: In the final battle one of his combos is to cast Firaza, Blizzaza and Thundaza in sequence.
  • Flash Step: Uses short range Super Speed for his form of Teleport Spam.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Hard to believe that such a major threat to the entire universe started out as just a bored kid from Destiny Islands.
  • Fusion Dance: For the final battle with him in III, he merges with his 13 Xehanort clones and creates a new set of armor to fight Sora and Co.
  • Gambit Roulette: Everything Ansem and Xemnas did was planned out in advance by him. Further, Maleficent, Sora, Riku and most of Organization XIII were all Unwitting Pawns in his plans.
  • Genius Bruiser: One of the smartest people in KHVerse and a very capable combatant despite his old age.
  • Glacier Waif: Male example. Being an old man, he's rather slow and prefers to use magic from afar while teleporting to avoid you. But he still hits hard, nonetheless. Notably, he's a veritable Lightning Bruiser as Terra-Xehanort and Young Xehanort, so he always has raw strength and durability and only lacks speed as an old man. Of course when fighting Sora after absorbing his heart fragments, he throws off his physical frailty and slowness.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Master Xehanort IS one. His very return inspires fear and dread in all who know of his legend and in order to stop him are willing to try anything, as things that would have been taboo less than ten years ago such as granting the title of Keyblade Master to someone who uses darkness are suddenly shredded because of sheer desperation for anything that could give the forces of light an edge.
  • Gone Horribly Right: His manipulations of Terra to make him stronger and tempt him to darkness were to groom him to be a suitable vessel for Xehanort's new body and make his heart vulnerable enough to darkness for Xehanort to commit Grand Theft Me on him. The problem is it works too well; Terra's powers and hatred are so strong, they reanimate his armor as the Lingering Will and he kicks Xehanort's ass.
  • Good Armor, Evil Armor: Keyblade wielders are traditionally given access to what is called Keyblade Armor, a suit of Instant Armor that is shoulder mounted and can be used as both protection in battle and protection from the corrosive darkness that exists between worlds, acting as a type of protective space-suit. Aqua, Ventus, Terra and Eraqus all have their own sets of armor that reflects their own specific motifs are predominantly built for practicality. Master Xehanort on the other hand possesses armor that is meant to either emphasize his inflated sense of importance (his "No Heart" armor done in an elaborate monarch motif) or his affinity to the darkness (his armor after forging the x-blade emphasizing his Satanic Archetype role in the story).
  • Graceful Loser:
    • Xehanort treats his failure in Birth By Sleep as a learning lesson, openly admitting he was "hasty" with his plans. He also took his failed attempt to gather the XIII Seekers in 3D fairly well. Of course, the fact that he plans on trying again helps.
      Xehanort: I acted rashly; I can see that now. In my eagerness, I lost sight of the proper way to achieve my goal...
    • After Sora defeats him at the end of III, and after Eraqus is able to convince him that he won't be able to fulfill his ambitions, he surrenders the X-Blade and sincerely congratulates Sora before departing to the afterlife with Eraqus.
  • Gravity Master: In his armored form, he can rotate the orientation of Scala ad Caelum’s gravity with a wave of his hand.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Of the earlier games, through his incarnations carrying out his plans while Master Xehanort exists in shadows, if he's mentioned at all.
  • Humanoid Abomination: As revealed in III, his abuse of his Complexity Addiction Time Travel method has essentially made him into a living temporal portal, a state that the Seven Guardians use to cast him through Kingdom Hearts itself to avoid him going through with his plan's final stages.
  • Hypocrite: For all his dark alliances and talk about how a balance between dark and light can produce a mightier Keyblade Master, he ultimately winds up a fanatic for light, hoping that by purging the universe that a better one free of the weaknesses that create Heartless will take its place. He also bemoans how in the old times, darkness born of evil in the hearts of men spread across the World like a plague, and states his desire to "prevent weak hearts from polluting the World with their endless darkness." Which is exactly what he'd been doing that whole time; plaguing the worlds with darkness via the Unversed, the Heartless, his various incarnations, etc. all because his heart had succumbed and turned evil.
  • An Ice Person: Has a preference for ice magic — he freezes Ven, tosses out Blizzard attacks in battle, and ends his Keyblade combos in a blast of ice.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: One of the most notable examples of the series. He's the Big Bad of the "Dark Seeker Saga," but he did not appear until Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, the series's sixth installment, and he did not meet Sora, The Protagonist, face to face until Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, the seventh.
  • I Need You Stronger: Keeps forcing Terra to use the power of darkness in order for it to corrode Terra's heart enough for Master Xehanort to take over his body.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: It's heavily implied that his initial experimentation with Darkness and eventual fall into megalomania were motivated by a worry that he wasn't Eraqus's equal and thus a worthy defender of the worlds. Xehanort stressed Eraqus's 'blue-blood', his own humble beginnings in Destiny Islands, and his frail body both in his youth and to his elderly years. Before relinquishing the X-Blade, he weakly attempts to assure Sora and Eraqus that he is the strong leader capable of guiding everyone's hearts.
  • Informed Ability: The other characters regard him as the ultimate schemer, leaving nothing to chance and being skilled in long-term plans with multiple back-ups just in case. However, this status of his only comes about due to 3D retconning the actions of Maleficent, Ansem, and Xemnas as them acting in accordance with Master Xehanort's plans, and everything that happened in the prior games was All According to Plan. Also, his Manipulative Bastard successes frequently and noticeably involve his targets holding the Idiot Ball until it's too late (which certainly isn't helped by his Obviously Evil-ness). Further, all of Xehanort's incarnations are rather frequently blindsided or make mistakes, which Master Xehanort even admits in 3D. He's really not so much a great schemer as he is lucky at playing Gambit Roulette. Appears to have been deliberate, as painting him as The Chessmaster enabled Luxu to use him as an Unwitting Pawn with nobody out of the heroes having any idea whatsoever.
  • Informed Kindness: His Reports look like they were written by a genuinely Affably Evil Anti-Villain. His actually onscreen persona is a Faux Affably Evil and Obviously Evil Jerkass (and his seeming Pet the Dog moment with Ven in the flashback quickly turned into a Yank the Dog's Chain moment when Master simply decided to continue abusing and exploiting him after his survival). The morally questionable Young Xehanort lends some credibility to this, as he's essentially a Punch-Clock Villain with no real trace of evil in his demeanor. Ultimately subverted during his final, Graceful Loser moments in Kingdom Hearts III, where he showcases what's likely the most kindness he is capable of at that point.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Balance Between Good and Evil? Fine and dandy there. Problem is, the universe was already balanced — with the Realms of Light and Darkness being rich in their respective namesakes. Oh, and he's been trying to balance the two elements in the Light Realm alone, which has predictably thrown everything out of whack. Goes even further with his claim that "Destiny is never left to chance", which flies in the face of the very concept of destiny in the first place. Subverted in the ending of Kingdom Hearts III; turns out that he really believes that since darkness comes from human hearts that balance can't be sustained in the long term. As such his real goal is to open Kingdom Hearts and purge everything so that a newer, possibly better, world can come about.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Despite being a pretty boy and Tall, Dark, and Handsome most of his life, he ends up a creepy old bald man.
  • Irony:
    • Became the very imbalance between Light and Darkness he wanted to prevent.
    • After being a villain Sora has fought a number of incarnations for the entire Dark Seekers saga, Xehanort's last act towards Sora is to bequeath him a keyblade, the very X-Blade itself, to the boy and congratulate Sora for his hard work in foiling his own schemes.
  • It's All About Me:
    • He wants to possess Terra so he can live to see the results of his global machinations, the life of another be damned. While Master Xehanort is generally a Visionary Villain, this act of evil is nothing but pure selfishness.
    • The prophecy calls for 13 darknesses, but Xehanort has no intention of sharing power with anyone in the long run, which is why he makes sure all 13 members are him and his incarnations rather than other darkness-associated villains. Taken to its logical conclusion in 3 where he announces his intention of merging with his vessels to become one, defeating the whole point.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: What his final actions in III amount to. When Eraqus calls "Checkmate", Xehanort accepts his failure like a Graceful Loser but without outright admitting defeat, much like he always would whenever he lost one of his and Eraqus' childhood games of Chess.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Even as an old man possesses Super Strength and a vast array of dark magic. His Animated Armor, No Heart, relies on martial arts by attaching his Keyblade to his body as weapon or armor, rather than fighting with the Keyblade itself.
  • Lack of Empathy: Feels no remorse for all the evil he's done or lives he's destroyed. Case in point: when Mickey chews him out for what he did to Terra, Ven, and Aqua in 3D, he brushes it off as a case of Because Destiny Says So and that he merely helped them reach their destinies that much quicker. Rrrright...
  • Leitmotif: "Xehanort".
  • Light 'em Up: He makes use of powerful light magic during the last phase of III’s final boss fight after literally ripping it from Sora's body.
  • Light Is Not Good: While he is still dressed in black He can also use the power of light in the last phase of his battle, as mentioned in Light 'em Up.
  • Living Legend: As the one person who left the Destiny Islands for other worlds prior to Sora, Riku, and Kairi.
  • The Man Behind the Monsters: He created Vanitas, the source of all Unversed.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Knows exactly how to push Terra's buttons to lure him further into the darkness. Even when he finally reveals this to Terra and that he's Evil All Along, he's still pushing Terra toward the darkness--Terra just doesn't know it.
  • Master Swordsman: As shown when he's a full-memory Terra-Xehanort in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, and when he performs a Villain Override of his younger self in 3D he wasn't named a Keyblade Master on magical prowess alone. His No Heart self is also based on his fighting style when he was at his prime, and it puts up a hell of a fight.
  • Meaningful Name: The "Master" title, as the original version of Xehanort, a Keyblade Master and leader of the Thirteen Seekers of Darkness.
  • Me's a Crowd: One of his final phases has him slouching on a throne while he attacks you with twelve living shadows that resemble him.
  • Morph Weapon: As seen with No Heart, he has greater mastery over this element of the Keyblade than the other characters. His Keyblade can become a floating shield, body armor that attaches to his arms or legs, and a set of wings. As of 3D it can even be used with different Keychains by different members of the Thirteen Seekers to have different Keyblade variants.
  • Motive Decay: He started out as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wanted to cause a Keyblade War to remake the universe and create a balance between light and darkness. Nowadays, he just wants power and knowledge for their own sake. Except not, as III reveals he never truly strayed from his original goal all along, only sought different means to achieve it.
    • There also seems to have been a shift in how he viewed the World's dilemma at some unknown point - in his reports he writes that he desires to tear down the "tyranny of light" and recreate the World around darkness that shall be everlasting and in balance with the light. But in III, he views darkness in the hearts of men begetting the darkness that plagues the worlds to be what needs to cease in order for the World to be in balance. It's possible he didn't realize the horrible effect darkness could have until he experienced int for himself.
  • Morton's Fork: He and Vanitas invoke this on Terra and Ven, forcing them to go for the obvious trap at the Keyblade Graveyard or else they will kill the other two members of the trio. They don't say anything to Aqua, but she comes as well to save Terra and Ven.
  • Neck Lift: One of his attacks in his boss battle in III is to grab Sora by the throat and then throw him hard into the ground.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: His appearance is quite likely based on executive Disney film producer Roy Conli. Parodied and acknowledged out-universe in the Tangled world trailer.
    Greg Coleman: And I am joined with my dear friend here... Master Xehanort.
    Roy Conli: *does Finger-Tenting* *playfully chuckles* No, actually, I am Roy Conli, and I am a producer here, at Walt Disney animation studios.
    Greg Coleman: *points to Roy Conli* But he looks a lot like Master Xehanort.
    Roy Conli: I like Master Xehanort. He's a nice guy.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Certainly reinforces Eraqus's negative views about Darkness.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: He constantly claims that the worlds are too full of light and he's trying to ignite a new Keyblade War in order to remake the worlds and provide a perfect balance between light and darkness, but considering the various atrocities he's committed, not the least of which include ruining Terra, Ven, and Aqua's lives, and his complete lack of remorse for any of them, it's clear he just wants power and knowledge for the sake of having power and knowledge. Best displayed in KH3D when Mickey calls him out on what he did to Terra, Ven, and Aqua during Birth by Sleep; rather than make an I Did What I Had to Do speech about them, Xehanort casually invokes But for Me, It Was Tuesday and claims Because Destiny Says So as a justification for what he did. In Kingdom Hearts III, he tries to reassert his noble intentions, but shows no remorse for the fact that his plan would require all life in the World to be wiped out by darkness before all can be reborn in light, and states his desire to lead the Next World in order to dictate all destinies, making himself appear like a would-be tyrant looking for a rationale to justify his tyranny.
  • Obviously Evil: Unsurprisingly for the Big Bad of the series, his character design is a mix of not just the Pointy Ears, Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness, Psychotic Smirk, and Dark Is Evil clothes of the other Xehanorts, but Bald of Evil, Beard of Evil, and a Spikes of Villainy weapon to boot.
  • Old Master: In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep he's a Magic Knight who prefers to attack with magic from afar. However, it's only because he's just held back by his old and feeble body. As shown by Terra-Xehanort and Young Xehanort, when he's at his full physical potential he has as much power and skill as you'd expect from a Keyblade Master with decades of experience.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: As mentioned before, his plan in a nutshell is to kick off Armageddon. So he can see what happens next.
    • Even prior to his Graceful Loser moment, he unrepentantly admits that his plan would have wiped out all life in the universe, which he sees as being worth it if it will give the World a new start.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite his overweening malice, Xehanort has been shown to have some slight sympathy for his victims.
    • His reports show he was a far cry from an evil mastermind even a few years before the events of Birth by Sleep, and that he seriously considered just quietly living out his final years in peace.
      Report VIII: Ordinarily, Keyblade Masters take pupils under their wings, malleable minds in which to impress the precepts of the Keyblade wielder and keep our profession alive for generations to come. Was my time drawing to an end, then, after all I had accomplished since casting away the place of my birth? Surely waiting for a quiet death would not do, not when there was still so much I needed to see for myself. Powers help me, I thought, my body is so old...
    • He also took Ven to Destiny Islands after the creation of Vanitas to let him live out his final days peacefully before falling into an eternal coma. However, when Ven survived, Xehanort proceeded to subvert this moment by continuing to manipulate and torment him, albeit now from behind the scenes.
    • All of Xehanort's other seeming virtues are a subversion as they are revealed to have sinister intentions behind them, demonstrated when he only took Ventus as an apprentice and cared for him solely with the intention of making the boy his vessel once he was strong enough, and when he only accepted Master Eraqus's invitation to witness the Mark of Mastery exam to win back Eraqus's trust following their falling-out and sabotage the exam to put Terra on the path to darkness so as to make him his new vessel after deciding to instead use Ventus for the χ-blade.
  • Playing with Fire: He makes heavy use of fire magic in his armored form, creating delayed explosions, making pillars of fire erupt from the ground, and launching spreads of fireballs like shotgun blasts.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The calm and calculating blue to Vanitas' Ax-Crazy red.
  • Reverse Arm-Fold: His default pose, if he's not sitting or moving his hands around.
  • Satanic Archetype: His goat motif, the prevalence of black with red and silver accenting in his clothes, his powers over darkness, summoning of monsters, his penchant for possession, and the power he ascribes to symbols and names are all very telling.
  • Shock and Awe: Calls down lightning strikes in battle.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Deconstructed. He acts this way during his tutelage of Ventus, and it's made perfectly clear that everything he is doing is completely and utterly evil and self-serving.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Gets a magnificent one in Dream Drop Distance, complete with propping his hand on his fist and folding his leg up onto his knee. This exact same pose returns during a powerful attack he uses during the Final Boss fight of Kingdom Hearts III.
  • The Sociopath: Began as Well-Intentioned Extremist, but suffered Motive Decay till he became only interested in acquiring knowledge and power by whatever means, including restarting the Keyblade War.
    • It is clear that while he himself feels zero attachment to others, he completely recognizes that others do feel empathy and deep friendship, as he exploits these feelings to further his plans.
    • Ultimately averted by the end of III. While he showed no remorse over killing Eraqus and is even ready to strike him down again should he get in his way, once Eraqus touches him and makes him remember the bond they shared as boys, Xehanort's friendship with Eraqus proves genuine enough for him to accept that it was time to give up his goals and place hope on the next generation. Doing this, he looks past his massive ego and sincerely admits that Sora surpassed him, awarding him the X-Blade in doing so.
  • Space Master: He uses a more powerful version of Xigbar’s abilities to fold part of Scala ad Caelum into a cube while in his armored form in III.
  • Start of Darkness: Xehanort would have been just another youth looking for an escape from his home much like Riku if not for the intervention of his Heartless Ansem who had traveled back in time to facilitate his escape... which also means that it was Xehanort himself who was responsible for his own Start Of Darkness.
  • The Stoic: In Dream Drop Distance, anyway. He says nothing nor changes the expression on his face when his plan to implant a part of his heart in Sora is foiled by Lea, and in the confrontation that ensues. This is in stark contrast to his other selves who are far more upset.
  • Storm of Blades: Can summon a barrage of Keyblades to launch at opponents.
  • Super Strength: He's strong enough to damage Ven's Power Armor and hold off Terra's attacks with one hand.
  • Teleport Spam: He enters and exits keyholes to teleport and attack you for his final battle's melee combos.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Terra beating him into submission is a Secret Test of Character to see if Terra is strong enough to be a worthy new body for him to take.
    Xehanort: Only now, have I truly won...
  • This Cannot Be!: His boss battle banter in III has him surprised when Sora is able to fight back against him.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: In III, he’ll fling the χ-blade at Sora to initiate a deadly spell combo during the final boss fight.
  • Time Master: In III, he casts Stopza to counter Mickey’s Ultima spell.
  • Treacherous Advisor: This is what separates him most from Palpatine, who genuinely wanted a dark apprentice. Xehanort, on the other hand, is lying to Terra to steal his body.
  • True Companions: To Eraqus in his youth. The connection is strong enough to survive two betrayals and redeem Xehanort at the end of his life.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Despite the fact that Sora has personally thwarted more than one of his Evil Plans, Xehanort openly dismisses him as a "dull, ordinary boy" in 3D, which is straight up played with. While Xehanort does openly dismiss him, he also notices how Sora tends to foil the plans of villains he encounters, which is why he wants to use him as one of his vessels.
  • The Unfettered: Xehanort is shown to be a cunning, callous, and pragmatic being with the sole goal of merging with Kingdom Hearts and obtain ultimate knowledge, the lives of innocent people and even those who care for him meaning absolutely nothing to him. To this end, he is willing to put whatever he pleases on the line or destroy anything in his way, demonstrated when he manipulated several characters such as Terra, Aqua, Ventus, Braig, and even Maleficent, created Vanitas, a sentient being born for the sole purpose of forwarding his evil plan, and slew his old friend Master Eraqus in cold blood after tricking Terra into defeating him in battle. He even shrugged off ruining Terra, Ventus, and Aqua's lives by telling Mickey and Riku that they were destined to fall, and went as far as to refer to Sora as a "dull, ordinary boy".
  • Unwitting Pawn: Master Xehanort's ultimate plan to start the second Keyblade war was merely part of Luxu's plan to fulfill the Master of Masters' prophecy. Xehanort dies before he ever finds out.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • While he's hardly a reliable source of information and was just trying to manipulate Terra for his own ends, his statements in Birth by Sleep that Master Eraqus only thinks in absolutes regarding light and darkness aren't entirely wrong, considering the fact that Eraqus failed Terra in the Mark of Mastery Exam for showing a mere spark of darkness in his fighting style, accidental or otherwise.
    • He's also right that Terra would actually be a better Keyblade Master than Aqua; Terra is like Riku - a mix of light and dark that he's able to use and control to stop it from hurting people. Aqua is too much like Eraqus, thinking in absolutes of light and dark. As 3D shows, Riku's balance of light and darkness made him a very skilled Keyblade wielder, while Sora's lack of darkness made it easy for him to be corrupted by the darkness when he wasn't prepared. Yen Sid himself even supports this, citing Riku as a good candidate. Everything Xehanort says is true, he is just going about it entirely in the wrong way.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He once believed that the universe was too full of light and believed a balance between light and darkness was the way for a perfect world to exist. His solution — begin a Keyblade War to engulf the worlds in darkness, and when he wins and claims the power of Kingdom Hearts, he can remake it in his image of balance. However, he's since become Drunk on the Dark Side, and his only goal these days is power and knowledge for the sake of having them. By the end of his life in the ending of III, he seems to have come back around to this mentality, though tainted by his experience with darkness, and as such he now sees darkness as the greater threat to balance than light and wants to bring back the original light of Kingdom Hearts in order to purge the World so that it can be in balance again, and he, as it's leader, can keep the darkness in the hearts of others in check while safeguarding the light from ever being consumed again.
    Master Xehanort: The World began in darkness. And from that darkness came light. From the light came the people, and the people had hearts. Evil burgeoned in those hearts, begetting more darkness. And the darkness spread across the World like a plague. The light, the symbol of the World's hope, was devoured by shadow. Leaving nothing but ruin... an utter failure. But, the first light — the light of Kingdom Hearts — it can give us a new start. An empty World, pure and bright...
    Sora: It wasn't your decision to make.
    Master Xehanort: Then who's was it? The World needs someone to stand up and lead. Someone strong, to stop the weak from polluting the World with their endless darkness. Someone to dictate their destiny.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Considers Mickey Mouse this, instead of just another tool for him to use.
    • For Sora, while in the same breath, he begrudgingly states him as a "dull, ordinary boy" yet also calling him a sort of Keyblade wielder unlike any he'd ever seen before. Something Riku can attest to. He evidently believes Eraqus to be one as he describes him as a "sly fox" when in Terra's heart.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: In-game, he'll occasionally chokeslam Terra (while trying to make him a Human Popsicle — just like Ven earlier).
  • Xanatos Gambit:
    • If "Ansem" or Xemnas find the real Kingdom Hearts through their plans, they accomplish what he wants in the first place. If they're killed instead, he gets to come Back from the Dead and finish the job himself. Sora kills them both, so Master Xehanort does indeed revive during 3D.
    • Master Xehanort sets up a particularly diabolical gambit at the end of 3D: He needs to forge a perfect χ-blade, which can only happen through a clash between seven hearts of light and thirteen of darkness. From what we can tell, Xehanort is on the cusp of gathering his thirteen. As for the lights, several candidates are imprisoned, comatose, or too green. Xehanort wants the heroes to get their act together, but if not, he can always attack the princesses of heart...
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Plays everyone and everything within his plans like a boss. He's virtually a god of it considering his incarnations are nearly if not on the same level of scheming he has.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: One of his Armored form's attacks is to conjure a ring of green orbs and have them converge on Sora. If successful, Sora will be warped to Xehanort's position, where the Keyblade Master will greet him with a Keyblade to the skull.

    Young Xehanort 

Young Xehanort

Voiced by: Takanori Okuda (Japanese), David Gallagher (English, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep), Ben Diskin (English, 3D: Dream Drop Distance)

Appearances: Birth by Sleep | Re:coded | Dream Drop Distance | III
"You haven't the slightest idea where you actually are."
"I will be led wherever it is I am destined to go."

A younger version of Master Xehanort that first appears in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep as a Bonus Boss that appears in the Land of Departure. Despite the encounter being optional, Word of God is that it's canon that he battled one of the heroes there.

He later acts as the main antagonist of 3D: Dream Drop Distance, sabotaging Sora and Riku's Mark of Mastery exams and instigating a mysterious plan that involves somehow summoning Ansem and Xemnas to confront them. He is distinguished by somehow having the ability to manipulate time, which is a critical plot point. He is one of the thirteen vessels of his older self's heart in the XIII Seekers of Darkness.

  • Ambiguously Evil: His moral standing as of 3D is rather unclear - mostly because he doesn't fully understand what he's doing, and he believes he wouldn't have any control over his actions even if he did. III makes it clear his morality is purely selfish, knowing that even if he is defeated he will return to the past and go on to live a long full life and become his elderly self and achieve his goals anyway.
  • The Assimilator: His goal was to travel to different time periods to gather appropriate vessels to become Xehanort clones.
  • Badass Baritone: In the English version, at least compared to his very youthful Japanese voice.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Not even his older self is above his manipulations — Young Xehanort says that although he'll forget what he's learned of the future when he returns to his own time, the knowledge will remain in his heart and he will inevitably live out the life he is meant to lead to bring everything to this point. He also comments that a rule of time travel is that you cannot change events that are meant to happen, implying this to be in effect for the entire series.
  • Berserk Button:
    • In his Birth by Sleep fight, trying to attack him while he's in the middle of his Beam Spam is a bad idea. He usually stands there and lets his beams do the work, but if you try and attack him when he attacks you again while the beams are still happening, this will likely get you killed.
    • In 3D he breaks his Creepy Monotone when Riku tries to rescue Sora before he can be made into Xehanort's 13th and final vessel. However, Word of God reveals that this may be more a Berserk Button of Master Xehanort, who imposed Villain Override on his younger self and caused the personality change and enhanced power set.
  • BFS: The Keyblade associated with him, No Name, is pretty big. His variation of No Name in 3D is even larger.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: His laser blades can connect into a Double Weapon, but he usually wields them separately, only connecting them during his combos.
  • Big Bad: He's the main antagonist of Dream Drop Distance.
  • Bishōnen: While Ansem and Xemnas also apply, this one has the youthful face to go with it.
  • Black Cloak: His only attire, as a throw-back to Xemnas's Bonus Boss appearance.
  • Blow You Away: In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep he can use Whirlwind to the Void and knock away your commands.
  • Bonus Boss: In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
  • Call-Back: In 3D, as he attempts to rewind time, you will be bombarded with attacks from his Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep battle.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: First appears as a Bonus Boss in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep; his next appearance in Dream Drop Distance sees him as The Heavy.
  • Climax Boss: He is fought at the end of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon at the height of Dream Drop Distance's Wham Episode and is powerful enough to be a Final Boss. There is still one more boss after him but it is much easier and only there so we can have 3D end on a feeling of hope, instead of another Downer Ending.
  • Cold Ham: Uses Xehanort's typical overdramatic lingo, but doesn't seem to understand it well enough yet to become a true Large Ham who is Milking the Giant Cow like his future incarnations.
  • Cool Key: The No Name is a Laser Blade Keyblade with a clock motif. His Keyblade variant in 3D adds demonic faces to the mix.
  • Creepy Monotone:
    • He never raises his voice or shows much any emotion outside of facial expressions. Except in a few flashbacks in III, showing his apprenticeship alongside Eraqus.
    • He breaks this during his defeat, laughing maniacally as he taunts Sora that defeating him meant nothing because he's already lived a full life but Sora's own efforts in saving his friends have doomed himself.
  • Crosshair Aware: Try to charge up your Shotlock and he teleports to avoid your targeting cursor.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: Summons four copies of himself in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep to attack you all at once. The clones vanish in one attack, if you can manage to get one in, because they're all going to attack at once and will not let up. The second phase of the fight in 3D is a doppelganger battle — you can't actually damage Young Xehanort himself, but you have to attack the clock emblem which is producing a constant stream of doppelgangers to attack.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: This is Xehanort from before he was chosen by the Keyblade and long before he gained dark powers as Master Xehanort. Lacking a Keyblade does not keep him from putting up a fight against full-fledged Masters or near-Masters like Aqua and Terra. The "Empowered" comes in because he was taught how to control time from his later incarnations, and thus he probably didn't have that power at first.
  • Establishing Character Music: He first appears as a fully-cloaked Bonus Boss whose theme combines nearly all of Xehanort's Leitmotifs with no other context to identify him. He reappears in 3D with the same theme, working for Xehanort. Turns out he's a younger Xehanort who's time traveling to unite his many incarnations, hence the reuse of all their themes.
  • The Fatalist: His attitude regarding the Because Destiny Says So entry above.
  • Final Boss: In 3D. The story hits its climax with his battle, the boss after is just a Post-Final Boss to tie up a final loose end, and is much easier to defeat while this guy is still up to Birth by Sleep levels of power.
  • Hate Sink: In III. Unlike almost all the other members of the Seekers of Darkness, Young Xehanort is constantly portrayed as a cruel, sociopathic villain who loves gloating and hurting people, all because he is aware that he'll return to his time and not remember any of the events of the game. Notably, he is the only incarnation of Xehanort without a Pet the Dog moment; even Terra-Xehanort was revealed to have sympathetic moments at times. Young Xehanort's final words are more or less laughing at Sora as he returns to his proper place in the past.
  • The Heavy: In Dream Drop Distance. He's the one driving Master Xehanort's plot in his stead.
  • Help Yourself in the Future: This is essentially what he's doing, helping his older self form the XIII Seekers of Darkness and advancing his Me's a Crowd plot.
  • An Ice Person: In 3D he can fire huge ice shards at Riku.
  • Interface Screw: He can actually knock commands off of his opponent, who is forced to scramble to pick them up off the ground while dodging his attacks.
  • Invisibility: Has a penchant for going invisible and pulling out an instant KO combo.
  • Jerkass: Due to his lack of remorse, combined with Troll. Solid as of III.
  • Karma Houdini: Downplayed example in III. Unlike the other incarnations of Xehanort, he does not experience a final death or sobering epiphany upon his defeat, since Sora accomplished nothing but further his future self's plans and send Young Xehanort back to his own time unharmed. Master Xehanort is ultimately defeated by the end of III, so his confidence and bravado will ultimately fail him, but he won't remember any of it.
  • Laser Blade: Dual wields two laser blades as his weapons. The Keyblade you get from him, No Name, is a Laser Blade Keyblade. In 3D he wields a variation of it over his laser blades for the first part of the battle with him.
  • Leitmotif: His character theme is "Xehanort -The Early Years-". He also has two battle themes exclusive to him, "Dark Impetus" in Birth by Sleep and "L'Impeto Oscuro" in 3D. Both qualify for Awesome Music, regardless.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He moves and teleports rapidly and hits with combos powerful enough to drain you from full health to critical.
  • Magic Missile Storm: Can shoot barrages of darkness that will afflict you with Slow.
  • Mind over Matter: He force-pushes both Riku and Mickey at different points.
  • Mind Rape: Subjects poor Sora to this in 3D.
  • Mirror Boss: Has many of the same commands as you such as Meteor, Raging Storm, Mega Flare, Collision Magnet, Restore Barrier, Sonic Blade, Vanitas's X-shaped Sword Beam, Marluxia's Doom and Whirlwind to the Void, Laser Blades like Xemnas, can clone himself like Xemnas, and in Dream Drop Distance he even wields a Keyblade. Dream Drop Distance also justifies how he can do this since he's a younger Xehanort that has visited multiple time periods to gather alter-egos of his older self. Notice most of those attacks can be used by people that Xehanort has or HAD corrupted, so presumably this version of Xehanort is privy to All Your Powers Combined.
  • Morph Weapon: Combines his separate blades into one, throws them out as orbs of light to shoot out like projectiles, elongates them to stab forward, and can fling them through the air like a whip. He also does many of the same tricks with his Keyblade in 3D.
  • Mythology Gag: He's a thematic retraux of the Unknown Bonus Boss from Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, wielding similar weapons and appearing in a similar fashion, and like it foreshadowing the Big Bad of the next game.
  • Nerf: The Final Mix version of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (and by extension the 2.5 HD port) allows players to escape from his Collision Magnet attack by dashing away in midair, and as it's his most infamous and deadly attack, it's a welcome relief.
  • One Steve Limit: Technically averted. In side materials his Birth by Sleep appearance is called "Unknown", the same not-really-a-name given to Xemnas' Kingdom Hearts Final Mix appearance.
  • The Quiet One: He's very soft-spoken and calm, especially compared to your typical Xehanort. Even in battle, he doesn't use attack calls like most bosses and only lets out the occasional grunt with a handful of actual dialogue. The one time he raises his voice is when Master Xehanort performs Villain Override and takes over his body, but then that's not even Young Xehanort doing it.
  • Painting the Medium: He can knock the commands out of your menu, when he reverses time the music goes backwards too, and he teleports to avoid your targeting sensor when you try to use a Shotlock. And then in 3D he can replay cutscenes.
  • Playing with Fire: He uses powerful magics like Mega Flare and Raging Storm in Birth by Sleep, while in 3D he uses a fiery variation of Whirlwind To The Void in the clock phase of his battle.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: In a certain sense of the word — as far as he's concerned he's just doing what's destined to be done, and while such acts are evil, there's no malice in his demeanor. Given that this is a teenage Xehanort from before he Jumped Off The Slippery Slope, how evil he was before Ansem told him about what he's going to end up becoming is up for discussion.
  • Reverse Grip: Holds his laser blades like this. His Keyblade, however, not so much.
  • Retcon: Originally was portrayed as Xehanort before he began his apprenticeship as a Keyblade wielder and only able to wield the Keyblade when his future most self possessed him, III instead treats him as the version of himself after his apprenticeship had finished, able to freely wield the Keyblade and a younger in-training Xehanort is shown via flashback
  • Shout-Out: During his Desperation move, he yells out "Toki yo, tomare!" In addition to this, he has an attack where he conjures a bunch of ice shards around him that, after a sudden flash of light, are inexplicably surrounding and about to converge on Riku.
  • SNK Boss: He can clone himself, with all five clones able to attack individually; his "Collision Magnet" attack stuns you so the follow-up attack doesn't trigger Second Chance; he can blow your command cards across the arena, forcing you to pick them up; any time you land a hit on him he may decide to rewind time to undo the damage and recover from the blow. This is in addition to his lightning-fast, powerful attacks. When his HP gets low he turns invisible, preventing you from targeting him and begins to use multiple attacks at once, in addition to all of the previous.
  • Sore Loser: Although he knows he doesn't have to win in the final battle in "III", he doesn't want to lose either. After his defeat, his response is to laugh in spite and wish death upon Sora.
  • Speed Echoes: During his battle in 3D he'll teleport just as you initiate an attack, leaving an afterimage.
  • Stable Time Loop: It's implied he became able to move through the worlds and leave Destiny Islands because of Ansem, and though his memories of what he's learned regarding what his other incarnations will do will be erased when he returns to his own time, the knowledge of the events will remain embedded in his heart and draw him to live them out.
  • Start of Darkness: His meeting with Ansem SoD sent him forward through time to help himself, ingraining his destined path into his heart.
  • Sword Beam: Can fire them in 3D.
  • Theme Song Reveal: According to Word of God, his theme "Dark Impetus" contains a clue to his identity. It takes elements from "Rage Awakened" (Terra's Lingering Sentiment), "Darkness of the Unknown" (Xemnas' final battle theme in Kingdom Hearts II), and "Lord of the Castle" (Marluxia's final battle theme in Re:Chain of Memories). Which mostly all fits together when you learn he's a younger Xehanort that orchestrates the forming of the XIII Seekers of Darkness within the halls of the Castle That Never Was.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Does this during one of his combos.
  • Time Master: He averts No Cure for Evil by rewinding time to before you hit him in Birth by Sleep. It even makes the background music go in reverse for a few seconds. His desperation move in 3D is this on a larger scale — he only rewinds the battle to the start of the fight if you fail to defeat him in the battle to destroy the clock, even replaying the intro cutscene over again to complete the illusion, but he only recovers two bars of health. He's able to resist Mickey's fourth-level Stopza spell, which even Ansem and Xemnas are halted by - only because the older Xehanort was taking control of his body, given the fact that it's shortly after this that his version of No Name appears.
  • Time Travel: Xehanort's younger self who has traveled forward in time from the past.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Young Xehanort is a lot more of a malicious dick in III then he was in Dream Drop Distance as can be shown in his defeat scene. While most of Xehanort's incarnations are remarkably graceful about their deaths, or even given moments of sympathy, the previously calm Young Xehanort spends his final moments spitefully taunting Sora about how he'll be victorious through his future self. Whether his change in attitude is due to being around his older self or he is just revealing his true colors is left unexplained.
  • Troll: Most of his appearances throughout 3D are him just appearing to taunt Sora and occasionally Riku before vanishing. Turns out this is precisely the idea, since he's luring Sora deeper into his dream world in order to Mind Rape him... he also acts as this to the player while it's Riku, constantly rewinding time to reset the battle with him and keep the fight going on longer and longer.
  • Turns Red: When low on health in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep he'll turn invisible and will begin using multiple attacks at once. And then in 3D, he gets faster, teleports more often and his attacks are harder to avoid.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: He was very similar to Riku in his youth - just a boy tired of being stuck on Destiny Islands and wanting to see the world.
  • Villain Has a Point: Prior to being returned to his own time, Young Xehanort claims that Sora will have a huge price to pay for misusing the Power of Waking to return hearts by traveling to worlds, rather than to return worlds by traveling to hearts. His claims are validated when Sora seemingly disappears without a trace after he, at some point after defeating Master Xehanort, uses the Power of Waking to revive Kairi.
  • Villain Override: According to the Ultimania for 3D, Master Xehanort did this to him for the battle with Riku in Where Nothing Gathers so as to be able to override the Stopza imposed by Mickey.
  • Whip Sword: Can extend and lash his weapons out to ensnare opponents.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: In a conversation with a young Eraqus in III, Xehanort says he believes that the future has "already been written", likely due to him subconsciously remembering his time travel in 3D.
    Eraqus: Who's to say I can't change it? And maybe light will prevail. There is more to light than meets the eye. You might be surprised.
    Xehanort: Oh, I hope so.

    No Heart 

No Heart

Appearances: Birth by Sleep Final Mix

A person wearing a suit of armor wielding Xehanort's Keyblade, heavily implied to be the Keyblade Armor that Xehanort used in his youth. It's armor first appears (sans Keyblade) being worn by Xemnas in Kingdom Hearts II and later appears as its own entity in Birth by Sleep Final Mix as a Bonus Boss. It can be fought in the Mirage Arena once the player has completed every other Arena Mode challenge to achieve an arena rank of 30.

Unlike the other entries on this page, it is not a member of the Seekers of Darkness.

  • All Your Powers Combined: Its attack patterns take cues from every other Xehanort incarnation.
  • Bonus Boss: It's the ultimate challenge in Birth by Sleep Final Mix, making even the other bonus bosses look like warm-ups for it.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Defeating him earns the Royal Radiance, the most powerful Keyblade in the game bar-none. However, being that No Heart is the most difficult enemy in the game, getting that Keyblade means you clearly don't need it.
  • The Brute: It appears only to fight in the Mirage Arena, this is an incarnation of Xehanort less interested in pontificating and scheming and more interested in completely obliterating anyone who dares to face it - and it's more than capable of doing it, too.
  • Call-Forward: It's the same suit of armor Xemnas wore in II.
  • The Corrupter: While Xehanort in general fits this trope, No Heart uses it as a gameplay mechanic. One of its attacks replaces your own commands with "Wrath of Darkness," which launches a single dark projectile (even for Aqua and Ven, who normally can't use darkness) at the cost of having increasingly-severe Standard Status Effects inflicted on you. Cast it four times, and you're doomed — literally.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: No Heart has a crown built into its left shoulder, and a white feathery wing in its right.
  • Flying Weapon: For the first part of the fight with it, it creates a wall of darkness anchored by its floating Keyblade. You have to destroy the Keyblade to disperse the wall so No Heart itself will fight you.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Surprisingly, it prefers to turn its Keyblade into attachments for its armor and then beat you up with punch and kick combos, rather than use the Keyblade directly.
  • Leitmotif: Its boss theme, Forze dell'Oscurità, is a combination of both Forze del Male and Darkness of the Unknown, boss themes for Ansem and Xemnas respectively.
  • Lightning Bruiser: It moves ridiculously fast, has the most HP of any enemy in the game, is Nigh Invulnerable to most attacks, and can deplete your HP in one combo.
  • Light Is Not Good: While its actual powers are obviously darkness-related, the armor's silver and gold coloration and white feathers give it a rather holy appearance, despite it being Xehanort.
  • Magic Missile Storm: It can fire Dark Volley shots in waves.
  • Morph Weapon: It can transform its Keyblade into various different forms, such as gauntlets, greaves, or wings.
  • Motif Merger: Its boss theme, Forze dell'Oscurità, is a combination of both Forze del Male and Darkness of the Unknown, boss themes for Ansem and Xemnas respectively.
  • Nerf: Since the 2.5 HD release removed the multiplayer element, it was nerfed with slightly reduced HP to make it easier for players to challenge alone.
  • Significant Anagram: No Heart is a rearrangement of the letters found in Xehanort, sans the "x".
  • Storm of Blades: It continually assaults you with storms of darkness-imbued Keyblades.
  • SNK Boss: It can do things no other enemy in the game can do, such as replace your deck commands with decoy darkness commands, create pillars to inflict Slow on you, deplete the recharge timer of all your deck commands, and is generally very fast and very powerful.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: In 2.5 HD it was given a heavy weakness to Shotlocks; a full charge can deplete a full HP bar and then some, and even a partial charge can do heavy damage. Thankfully for its sake, it rarely holds still long enough for a full charge.



Terra-Xehanort / "Ansem"

Voiced by: Akio Ohtsuka (Japanese), Richard Epcar (English)

Appearances: II | Birth by Sleep | 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage- | III
"That's not my name. I'm not Xehanort. My name... is Ansem."
Click here  to see Terra-Xehanort before he's Ansem's Apprentice.
"I will guide you to the depths of darkness!"

"The Heartless feed on other's hearts, and they yearn for that energy core. That thing beyond the door must be a heart, too—the heart of this world. There is no proof, but, having felt that immense energy, I am certain. That was the heart of the world."
Ansem Report 6
A young man that was found in Radiant Garden in the aftermath of a great battle between several Keyblade wielders, bearing no memories but his name. Ansem the Wise nursed him back to health and took him on as an apprentice, but he quickly became obsessed with The Heartless and Kingdom Hearts, and cast Ansem the Wise into the Realm of Darkness, before taking up his victim's name.

Seeking further knowledge, he became a Heartless and Nobody to delve deeper into the powers of darkness than his human form would allow. As "Ansem" (Seeker of Darkness, Xehanort's Heartless) and Xemnas (Xehanort's Nobody), his two new selves went on drive the plot of most of the series, though both would be defeated by Sora and his friends.

He is actually Terra, one of three Keyblade Warriors training under Master Eraqus. When Master Xehanort manipulated Terra into allowing darkness into his heart, he stole Terra's body for himself, transforming Terra's body into a younger incarnation of himself. Terra fought back against Xehanort's control and attempted to expunge him from his body, but the attempt failed and sealed their memories, creating the amnesiac young man that Ansem the Wise took in.

  • Badass Armfold: His pose when commanding the Guardian.
  • BFG: Uses Terra's Ultima Cannon to create a giant Keyblade cannon.
  • BFS: Retains access to Master Xehanort's large Keyblade.
  • Blade Spam: Uses long Keyblade combos based on Terra's Ars Solum and Dark Impulse.
  • Broken Ace: Despite retaining his original self's abilities as Keyblade Master in addition to having a younger and faster body, he's very unstable due to Terra's will being strong enough to beat him. Not even his creating the Guardian Heartless out of Terra's heart enough to purge Terra from his body, as Terra keeps defying him from inside and causes him to be beaten by Aqua as well.
    • When his memory returns in the flashback opening of Dream Drop Distance, he becomes unstable again and mindlessly attacks his ally Braig and declares his name to be Ansem. And unlike his original self, he's VERY prone to Villainous Breakdown.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Once his memories and keyblade are locked away after battling the Lingering Will and Aqua, there's no evidence he even has any combat abilities anymore whatsoever, at least until he splits into Ansem and Xemnas.
  • Death of Personality: Xehanort tries to do this to Terra, but Terra is consistently able to barely hold on, Fighting from the Inside albeit usually not in control likely with help from Eraqus' heart, which also rests in Terra. Ironically, Terra ultimately subjects Xehanort to this, with Sora's help, when he finally reclaims is body in III.
  • Demoted to Extra: Gets this treatment among the XIII Seekers of Darkness in III, as far as being a Xehanort goes. Ansem, Xemnas, and Young Xehanort collectively act as Co-Dragons to Master Xehanort, but Terra-Xehanort doesn't seem to have the same ranking or influence that they do, being sidelined until the final battle and then being grouped with the lower-ranked members below those three.
  • Dash Attack: Rapidly dashes around the arena with Dark Haze, which replaces Terra's Slide-Sonic Impact as his dodge technique.
  • Deceptive Disciple: Perverted the research of his mentor Ansem for evil purposes.
  • Dishing Out Dirt:
    • He can send a shockwave of stone at you based on Terra's Rising Rock command style, though it also resembles Quake.
    • His Desperation Attack against the Lingering Will involves tearing boulders out of the ground and launching them as flaming meteors. Against Aqua, he swaps this out for the same version of Meteor as Terra.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: His experiments on the The Heartless helped turn them into an entire army of darkness.
  • Faking Amnesia: A side effect of Terra's heart vying for control is Terra-Xehanort outwardly displaying amnesia. However, it's implied that at some point he regained his full memories as Xehanort, but kept up the act. Braig accuses him of this in the flashback that opens 3D. Ultimately averted, as III brings up his amnesia several times: once by "Ansem" as he talks about the experiments to return his memory, and again in the Secret Reports documenting those times. It's also hinted at a third time, when Terra-Xehanort doesn't recognize the Lingering Will when it attacks him in the climax of the game.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Ansem the Wise took him in and gave him a home when he found him amnesiac on the streets. Terra-Xehanort thanks him by manipulating his other apprentices into helping him follow his plans, stealing Ansem's identity, and destroying Radiant Garden.
  • Fusion Dance: Terra-Xehanort is Master Xehanort's heart controlling Terra's body.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: He dashes around and becomes immune to damage after you use a special attack like magic or a Shotlock. This makes him very hard to pin down without relying on physical attacks or a block-counter strategy. Aqua particularly has problems with this since her best attacks are spells.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Of I, Chain of Memories, and II, being the origin of both Ansem, Seeker of Darkness and Xemnas.
  • Guardian Entity: The Guardian, a special Heartless born from the darkness in his heart. This is actually a container for Terra's heart.
  • Iconic Outfit: He only ever appears in the typical Organization black coat when he is hooded, although a journal entry has him in the outfit with the hood off. For actual confrontations he is always in Terra's outfit as usual.
  • I Have Many Names: Terra-Xehanort, Xehanort, and Ansem.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: When the Guardian finally turns on him.
  • Karmic Death: In a sense. Terra-Xehanort was created by Master Xehanort shoving his heart inside Terra's body, with Master Xehanort in control. So it's only fitting this version of Xehanort is destroyed by Terra returning the favor.
  • Large Ham: Given free reign as Terra-Xehanort, Richard Epcar chews, swallows and regurgitates all of the scenery around him, consumes the entirety of the pork provided for him to chew on and manages to make the impossible possible by nearly out-hamming Leonard Nimoy. Terra-Xehanort doesn't do any overtly cartoony gestures, however, so they're roughly on the same level.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Had his memories locked away by Terra at the end of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep to prevent Master Xehanort from controlling his body. Unfortunately, some memories eventually start coming back. Also Lampshaded by Braig.
    Braig: Please tell me the amnesia was just a sick joke. Boy, this is some cliché.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He moves very fast even without his teleportation, uses devastatingly powerful Keyblade combos, and has a lot of HP compounded by access to Curaga. Makes perfect sense, since he has Terra's power and vitality combined with Master Xehanort's experience and training.
  • Literal Split Personality: Was eventually split into "Ansem" and Xemnas. Ansem is much more like Master Xehanort than Terra, keeping the dark magic, the Guardian, and Master Xehanort's outfit; Xemnas is more Terra than Master Xehanort, using a more hands-on combat style, he has a hairstyle close to Terra's, and he retains Terra's preference to use Keyblade Armor in pitched battle (though he uses Master Xehanort's armor since Terra's armor was lost to him). Additionally, Ansem champions the power of darkness, while Xemnas relies on The Power of Hate, also reflecting Master Xehanort and Terra.
  • Living Shadow: His Guardian Entity manifests as a shadow projecting behind him.
  • Loss of Identity: Originally, he was said to be motivated to understand the nature of hearts by his own lack of memories of who he is. 3D revealed that he was also subconsciously following the plans Master Xehanort had set in place in case he had to seal his heart.
  • Magic Knight: Uses both Keyblade combos and magic with no preference for either, though his Keyblade strikes are stronger.
  • Magic Missile Storm: Shoots out a flurry of dark energy bolts with Dark Volley.
  • The Man Behind the Monsters: Created the crest Heartless and brought countless wild ones into the Realm of Light as well.
  • Meaningful Rename: Changed his name to Ansem after banishing his former mentor and taking over his kingdom.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Despite Master Xehanort using an entirely different style of fighting from Terra, once he takes over Terra's body he exclusively uses Terra's attacks, and even uses the same battle stance as Terra. May be due to him not having time to become accustomed to this new body so he goes with what's familiar to it. Not that it doesn't work
  • Mirror Boss: All of his attacks are ones you have access to when playing as Terra: Block-Counter Hammer, Curaga, Ars Solum, Dark Haze, Dark Volley, Ultima Cannon, the Dark Impulse combo, a tremor similar to Quake and Rising Rock, and variants of Meteor. It's entirely likely that you have some of the same attacks equipped come the end of the game, and save for him having both Dark Volley and Ultima Cannon, you could potentially have an identical moveset.
  • Monster Sob Story: Became obsessed with the workings of the heart because of his lost memories, and it lead to him doing increasingly amoral experiments to try and understand them. However, in Dream Drop Distance, it is revealed this was also because he was subconsciously acting on Master Xehanort's plans.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: He purposely turned himself into a Heartless and a Nobody so he could acquire more power and further Master Xehanort's plans.
  • Mysterious Past: His past was unclear till Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
  • Neck Lift: Tries to choke Aqua to death at the end of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
  • No Cure for Evil: Averted, he has Curaga and is not shy about using it.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Right before Aqua begins to fight him, he teleports exactly behind Aqua, who immediately jumps away from him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Pulls an excellent face that screams this in III, when The Guardian, who was revealed to be a container for Terra's heart, finally has enough strength to properly rebel against Terranort. It works well enough that Terra's able to finally reclaim control of his body and shove Xehanort out for good.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: "Dismiss", his second battle theme in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, features a dramatically chanting choir. It's also a Boss Remix that samples assorted character themes, the most obvious one being Guardando nel Buio, the final boss theme from the first Kingdom Hearts.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: "Dismiss" also features organ rifts in its structure.
  • One-Man Army: In III, Terra-Xehanort takes on and severely weakens almost every Guardian of Light by himself when they first arrive at the entrance to the Keyblade Graveyard. Even after Donald repels him with all his magic, the beatdown is so brutal it allows the Demon Tide to finish the job. At least, the first time...
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In III, he briefly passes himself off as Terra in the Keyblade Graveyard. It'd be more convincing without any Dull Eyes of Unhappiness, but it's enough to work on Ven, though Aqua sees through it.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: After running out of test subjects, thanks to Ansem the Wise forbidding it, he decided to just test his theories on himself.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Played with. He's already deceptive enough, but it's heavily implied that he only decided to banish Ansem the Wise to Realm of Darkness after Ansem ordered him to cease his experiment, destroy his research, and release his experiment subjects. He seems especially pissed when he believed Ansem also released the amnesiac girl that he took interest in to the point that he sarcastically called Ansem "wise" for releasing such a precious subject. Unbeknownst to him, this last one isn't correct, as the girl was taken by Braig.
  • Sadist: He seems to get a thrill out of tormenting Terra's friends with Terra's body. Best displayed in III, where he chains Aqua and Ven up and tortures them while gleefully Laughing Mad.
    "You'll never be able to break these chains. They're our bonds. You have no power over me!"
  • Shadow Archetype: To King Mickey, in an odd way. He's introduced as a rogue apprentice of the wise Ansem who defied his master and tried to use his magic for personal gain, much like Mickey was once a mischievous apprentice of the wise Yen Sid, and famously used his magic irresponsibly at least once.
  • The Sociopath: After all, he is Master Xehanort, just in a different form. Even with his memories sealed he shows an astounding Lack of Empathy for his test subjects.
  • Start of Darkness: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep depicts his "birth", but the conflict between Terra and Xehanort's hearts renders him an amnesiac, leaving the "Ansem Reports" of Kingdom Hearts I to detail the process of him becoming a villain in his own right.
  • Super Strength: As shown in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, he's strong enough to effortlessly bodily lift Aqua off of the ground by the neck with one hand.
  • That Man Is Dead: After Aqua calls out to him as "Terra".
    "Terra's heart has been extinguished! Smothered by the darkness within him!"
  • This Cannot Be!: His reaction in III when his Guardian, revealed to be Terra's Heartless, rebels against him and saves Aqua and Ven before attacking him.
    "How?! You fell to the dark-" [gets grabbed by the face]
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Inverted — when it comes time to fight him, the music for the fight is your character's battle theme. After seeing what Terra went through at Xehanort's hands before he transformed into the Lingering Will, you'll understand why the Will's battle theme is called "Rage Awakened".
  • Transformation of the Possessed: Upon possession, Terra's hair turns white and his eyes gold. As Terra already bears great resemblance to Master Xehanort in his youth, Terra-Xehanort essentially becomes a dead ringer for his original incarnation.
  • True Final Boss: In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, he's the boss of the Final Episode after the three character stories are completed. Averted in Final Mix though, where the story continues after the fight and there's another boss waiting.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The only time he loses his cool in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is when the Lingering Will forms, prompting a snarl of disbelief. In the subsequent battle he begins by walking towards you slowly, taking the time to block and counter your attacks and attacking back carefully. As the battle continues he starts teleporting rapidly, attacks more aggressively, and breaks out Meteor as his Desperation Attack. Best summed up by this quote:
    "Your body submits. Your heart succumbs! So why does your mind resist?!"
    • He has two phases of this in III. The first time, upon after he was beaten by Sora, Aqua, and Ventus he gets so mad that he stops using the Gazing Eye and uses the darkness version of Terra and Eraqus's binding chains to restrain Sora and torture Aqua and Ventus. When he attempted to kill the duo on the other end of his chains, the Guardian emerges from the Xehanorts' control over it to save Aqua and Ventus, causing him to go into the second breakdown.
  • Voices Are Mental: Xehanort is voiced by Akio Ohtsuka in the Japanese version, the son of Master Xehanort's voice actor Chikao Ohtsuka. The intended effect is presumably to be that the two characters have the same, but age-affected, voice.
  • Walking Spoiler: Talking about his presence in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep spoils The Reveal that he's Terra under the control of Master Xehanort's heart.
  • Walking Wasteland: His presence in Radiant Garden causes an aura of darkness around the world, and while it may just be the time of day there, it's also nighttime when the player investigates.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Ask Aqua, whom he wails on without mercy.

    The Person Behind You / The Guardian 

The Person Behind You / The Guardian
Appearances: I | Chain of Memories | II Final Mix | 358/2 Days | Birth by Sleep | Dream Drop Distance | III

A shadowy entity that heavily resembles a Pureblood Heartless. It serves several incarnations of Xehanort as his familiar and muscle, though its strongest ties are with Ansem, Seeker of Darkness.

  • All There in the Manual:
    • The Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania clarifies the relationship between the Guardian and Terra: the Guardian is a container for Terra's heart.
    • Its true name, "The Person Behind You", is only ever mentioned in the Kingdom Hearts III Ultimania. It's otherwise just referred to as "Guardian".
  • And I Must Scream: Terra has been trapped inside the Guardian for over a decade, forced to serve as the attack dog for the man who ruined his life and stole his body, unable to fight back or even speak until III.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Breaks free from Terra-Xehanort's control right before he can kill Aqua and Ven, then teams up with Sora to restore Terra's control over his body.
  • Blow You Away: When merged with the World of Chaos, it will generate strong gusts of wind to blow Sora and the party back. The wind gusts don't deal damage, thankfully.
  • Bound and Gagged: The Guardian has bandages over its mouth. III reveals that this is because Terra is trapped inside of it and the bandages keep him from speaking. Once Terra exerts his own will, he rips the bandages off.
  • Casting a Shadow: Like all Heartless, it mainly uses darkness-based attacks.
  • Dash Attack: Its Dark Rush attack has it charged at the opponent several times while wreathed in dark energy.
  • Deadly Disc: Its Shock Slash attack has it toss several dark energy discs at opponent.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Terra's been enslaved by Xehanort for over a decade, forced to fight and serve him. Naturally, in III, after he saves Aqua and Ven he wastes no time in strangling Terranort before returning to his own body.
  • Elemental Punch: Its main attack is usually a darkness-enhanced punch.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Guardian's true name is "The Person Behind You", which is exactly how it fights with Ansem and Terra-Xehanort.
  • Familiar: The Guardian's existence is seemingly tied to Ansem as his servant. When Riku accepts the Darkness in his heart during a confrontation with Roxas and takes the form of Ansem, the Guardian comes under his control, and Terra-Xehanort first created it to help him fight Aqua. This is due to the fact it's actually a container for Terra's heart, still bound to Ansem even in this state.
  • Foreshadowing: The Guardian being a container for Terra's heart is hinted at a few times in series:
    • When Riku defeats "Ansem" in Dream Drop Distance, the Guardian briefly strikes the same pose Terra once did when summoning his Keyblade.
    • "Ansem", despite being made from Terra-Xehanort, is always exclusively referred to as Xehanort's Heartless. He acts like a younger, hammier Xehanort without any of Terra's influence or mannerisms. This implied Terra's heart was actually somewhere else.
  • Guardian Entity: It protects its master from any harm. At least until Terra finally exerts his own will.
  • Hand-Hiding Sleeves: Wears these when merged with the World of Chaos.
  • Interface Screw: One of its attacks in its initial appearance has it attach itself to Sora or a party member and periodically grab them when they try to attack. When it does so to Sora, the Attack command is replaced by "Freeze" at regular intervals, which causes it to grab Sora when used.
  • It Can Think: It seems to be able to act on its own, such as when it seems to reach towards Riku when Ansem is unconscious after beating him in Dream Drop Distance. Then we learn later on that it's a container for Terra's heart, and might've been sentient the whole time like Ansem was when it begins speaking with Terra's voice.
  • Living Shadow: Like all Pureblood Heartless, it takes the form of its master's shadow, emerging from it when its time to fight. Its Signature Move, Dark Shadow, has it emerge from the ground as a shadow to attack opponents from below, creating shockwaves as it does.
  • Living Weapon: What the Guardian serves as to Ansem and Terra-Xehanort, having no will of its own and existing merely to attack and defend at his command.
  • Mana Drain: When merged with the World of Chaos, it will occasionally drain Sora and the party of their MP.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, there is another type of Heartless called Guardian.
  • One-Winged Angel:
  • Playing with Fire: The battle with Terra-Xehanort in Birth By Sleep has the Guardian toss fireballs of darkness.
  • The Reveal: III reveals that the Guardian is actually a container for Terra's heart.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: III reveals that the Guardian is actually a container for Terra's heart.
  • Shadow Archetype: Puns aside, it is arguably one to Sora's Heartless, representing the worst case scenario for what could have happened to Sora had he remained a Shadow permanently.
  • Shock and Awe: It can fire surges of electricity.
  • Spikes of Doom: During the fight with Terra-Xehanort in III, one of its attacks is to punch the ground, creating a ring of spikes made from shadow.
  • Taking the Bullet: It will jump in front of its master to take hits from foes. It doesn't have its own HP bar, so it doesn't get hurt. That said, whoever it protects is generally vulnerable to attacks from behind when it does this.
  • Tainted Veins: The guardian has purple veins on its forehead like a Neoshadow.
  • Torso with a View: It has a heart-shaped hole in its chest like most Pureblood Heartless.
  • The Voiceless: It never speaks, even in battle, but it does roar occasionally. III reveals that the Guardian is actually a container for Terra's heart and the bandages over his mouth prevent him from speaking. Once he regains his will, he rips the bandages off and begins speaking.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: When using its Dark Shadow attack in Birth By Sleep, if it successfully grabs Aqua, it will perform a suplex and slam her into the ground.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: During the fight with Terra-Xehanort in Birth By Sleep, it will lash out and try to grab Aqua, holding her in place for Terra-Xehanort to attack. Though this will sometimes trigger a chance for Aqua and Terra use a special command to inflict massive damage.

    "Ansem", Seeker of Darkness 

"Ansem", the Seeker of Darkness (Terra-Xehanort's Heartless)

Voiced by: Akio Ohtsuka (Japanese), Billy Zane (I and Chain of Memories, English), Richard Epcar (II onward, English)

Appearances: Kingdom Hearts I | Chain of Memories | II | Re:coded | Dream Drop Distance | III
"So, you have come this far, and still you understand nothing. Every light must fade, every heart return to darkness!"
"All worlds begin in darkness, and all so end. The heart is no different. Darkness sprouts within it, grows, consumes it. Such is its nature. In the end, every heart returns to the darkness whence it came."

Xehanort's Heartless who uses the alias "Ansem" that Terra-Xehanort took from Ansem the Wise. He was the driving force behind the Disney villains' search for the Princesses of Heart, and uses Riku as a vessel to try and obtain the power of Kingdom Hearts. Uniquely for a Heartless he retains the memories, appearance, and personality of his original self.

He is voiced by Billy Zane in the first game, but replaced with Richard Epcar from Kingdom Hearts II onward. This led to more Flashbacks With The Other Darrin in Kingdom Hearts II. He is also the first major character of the series to be recast. Zane's performance was still retained for 1.5. As of 3D Ansem is also one of the vessels of his creator's heart in the XIII Seekers of Darkness.

  • A God Am I: Wishes to access Kingdom Hearts to use as a source of ultimate knowledge and power.
  • Air Jousting: His Dark Rush Attack has him rush Riku to attack.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Like all the Xehanorts. However, Ansem has the darkest complexion of them all, no doubt due to actually being a Heartless as well as arguably the Xehanort who spends the most time in pure darkness.
  • Arch-Enemy: Is treated as Riku's after the first game. He's a living reminder of both Riku's biggest regret and the fear of losing control of his powers again.
  • As Long as There is Evil: Ansem was able to remain alive due to his control of Riku, allowing him to continue to exist as long as Riku held darkness in his heart. However, he was destroyed when DiZ's machine at the end of II purified Riku's heart.
  • Attack Drone: As the World of Chaos he summons spheres of darkness that fire lasers at you, this attack returns for his second form in 3D and his boss battle in III.
  • Back from the Dead: Almost to Joker Immunity levels.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: His default posture while fighting with his Guardian is to float in the air with his arms crossed.
  • Badass Longcoat: The original example of the series, before all the Xehanorts began wearing them. Also qualifies as No Shirt, Long Jacket, his chest bared under the coat.
  • Barrier Warrior: Uses both his Guardian and magical barriers offensively.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: He gets what he wants and obtains Kingdom Hearts's power in the end of I. However, it turns out to be light and not darkness like he thought it was and he basically implodes as a result.
  • Big Bad: With Maleficent, one half of the Big Bad Duumvirate of Kingdom Hearts I, though Ansem is The Man Behind the Man. He's also the Big Bad of Chain of Memories' "Reverse/Rebirth" mode.
  • Bishōnen Line: The most powerful Heartless in the series (so far) appears completely human and is fully intelligent instead of being a creature of instinct.
  • Black Cloak: After destroying Radiant Garden he unlocked his own heart to traverse worlds and gain more knowledge. Until he possessed Riku, he could only appear as a hooded figure in a brown cloak with a creepy voice. It turns out Ansem's journey also involved Time Travel, which required him to give up his "physical existence".
  • Brought Down to Badass: In III when you get to face him Terra has been turned back into himself so he no longer has his Guardian, leaving him to rely entirely on his own magical merit instead.
  • Celestial Body: His Guardian in his second form in 3D.
  • The Chessmaster: Masterminded the entire plot of Kingdom Hearts
  • Chewing the Scenery: Good Lord, once he gains a body of his own, every scene he's in feels like it's being torn apart between his teeth, even the ones where he doesn't have a face!
  • Co-Dragons: He and Xemnas seem to be this in Master Xehanort's XIII Seekers of Darkness, being his left and right hand men. Strangely it's also a case of Demoted to Dragon.
  • Continuity Snarl: His Ironic Death doesn't mesh with what we learn in 3D and many of his other actions in the original game are downright against Master Xehanort's master plan. Possibly justified, given Young Xehanort's Reveal that his version of Time Travel invokes Laser-Guided Amnesia on the user upon returning to their own time or the possibility becoming a Heartless has warped his view of how the world works.
  • The Corrupter: Manages to not only be this to Riku for Kingdom Hearts, but also to Young Xehanort, through the use of Time Travel to impose his own Start of Darkness.
  • Creepy Monotone: Earlier in the first game when he was wearing a brown cloak and wasn't wolfing down scenery.
    "This world has been connected... tied to the darkness, soon to be completely eclipsed. There is so very much to learn... You [Sora] understand so little..."
  • Creepy Twins: He and Xemnas act this way in III now looking identical sans haircut and at times speak in unison and finishing each others sentences.
  • Deadly Disc: His Shock Slash attack in almost every game involves shooting discs of dark energy at you.
  • Deadly Force Field: In Kingdom Hearts he would ram you with a barrier made of lasers while the guardian held you down, in III he brings this attack back as a melee attack.
  • Demonic Possession: Of Riku in part of Kingdom Hearts and once in Chain of Memories.
  • Despair Event Horizon: At the end of his final battle in III, he reveals he hit it somewhere around the start of that game, having already figured out that his original self was going to use him as a sacrifice, that this wasn't going to go any better for him than all his previous attempts at claiming Kingdom Hearts, and just being tired of the whole thing but feeling obligated at that point to see it through. The half-assed way he deals with Hayner's group and the fact that he doesn't bother notifying anybody else about Vexen's betrayal are early signs that Ansem is past the point of thinking he can win, or even really wanting to.
    "Ansem", Seeker of Darkness: I knew I never stood a chance. Part of me wanted to defy my fate... but when the others betrayed us, I found I did not care. And then, nothing else seemed to matter anymore.
  • Double Weapon: His final form in the first game uses a lance resembling two huge Soul Eaters fused together.
  • Dramatic Irony: The audience (and Riku) know that the man in the brown robe and Ansem are one and the same; however, it's not until towards the end of Dream Drop Distance that Sora learns this.
  • Duel Boss: The first time Sora fights Ansem as possessed Riku in the original Kingdom Hearts, he has to face him alone. The second, third, fourth and fifth stages of the Final Boss scenario (a meeting with Darkside, Ansem in his true self, the first phase of the World of Chaos Ansem fight, and the first room core) also take place with Sora alone.
  • Enemy Within: To Riku from Chain of Memories through the explosion of the Kingdom Hearts encoder in Kingdom Hearts II.
  • Enemy Without: Acts like this to Riku in Dream Drop Distance.
  • Energy Ball: Another common attack of his Guardian is to batter you with orbs of darkness. In 3D he uses a very powerful version for his desperation attack.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Being a Heartless and all. However, he's more of a Humanoid Abomination than them, as he's the only intelligent, fully-sentient Heartless we've seen thus far, and the only one to maintain a human form.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He's furious at Ansem the Wise's apparent mistreatment of Subject X.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Averted as both he and the Organization are operating independently during the time frame between Birth by Sleep and the end of Kingdom Hearts and never oppose each other, though the Organization's members are aware of his existence and nature as Xemnas' Heartless self. Ansem and Xemnas never oppose each other because they're literally working for the same goal in summoning Kingdom Hearts and if one succeeds, great, Master Xehanort wins.
  • Evil Mentor: Always trying to advise Riku to give into the darkness, be it his or his original incarnation. In Dream Drop Distance he almost sounds Faux Affably Evil when giving him a final lecture and offer on it. It backfires on him because Riku begins to weaponize darkness and use it against him.
  • Face Death with Dignity: In III, he spends his last moments calmly reflecting on how Sora and Riku have grown stronger than him, and encouraging them to move on with their lives and seek out new experiences, before fading away and going back to face his original death in the first game.
  • Fighting Spirit: The guardian itself is invincible and more or less a this for Ansem.
  • Final Boss: This version of Xehanort, "Ansem, Seeker of Darkness", is the final enemy fought in the first Kingdom Hearts game, encountered as "Ansem" after passing the game's last point of no return. He's also the final enemy in Riku's Chain of Memories scenario.
  • Flanderization:
    • The first game presented Ansem as a misguided scientist that Jumped Off the Slippery Slope when his curiosity went too far. His experiments, while horrifyingly amoral, were done in the name of genuine scientific curiosity, and led him to believe that all beings are born from darkness and darkness is the source of all power and knowledge. He encouraged Riku and Sora to accept this and open their hearts to darkness to become stronger, and was disappointed when Sora refused to believe him, declaring him ignorant. Kingdom Hearts II Retconned that the kindly leader of Hollow Bastion that Leon and Aerith spoke off was someone else and this Ansem was an impostor who had delved into darkness knowingly. This, coupled with other revelations on Xehanort as the series continued, cast "Ansem, the Seeker of Darkness" as a Card-Carrying Villain who uses darkness to corrupt and control others, in contrast to Xemnas's Tragic Villain and Master Xehanort's Visionary Villain.
    • While Ansem possessed Riku near the end of the original Kingdom Hearts, it was mostly just a means to an end, using Riku as a vessel to complete his plan, and they had never even met before he took control of Riku in Hollow Bastion. Subsequent games heavily play up Ansem and Riku as archenemies, Ansem focusing his machinations on tormenting Riku and tempting him back to darkness, while Riku sees Ansem as a symbolic embodiment of the weakness in his heart.
  • Foil: To his Nobody, Xemnas.
  • Flunky Boss: In the Final Boss fight with him in I, he has his Guardian behind him, and Ansem will try to have the Guardian possess Sora. After doing a Fusion Dance with the Guardian to create the World of Chaos, the room cores in the ship have Heartless inside them.
  • Fusion Dance: With the Guardian for his final forms.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Summons Energy Balls which fire them.
  • Genre Blind: He thought darkness was the true source of all power and knowledge from which everyone and everything was created. In a Disney game. The in-game Kingdom Hearts set him straight.
  • Gloved Fist of Doom: Even makes the usual pose with it a few times.
  • Graceful Loser: When he finally dies in III he ends up congratulating Riku and Sora for conquering the darkness, and tells them that there’s much more to seek in the world.
  • Guardian Entity: "Come, Guardian!" His entire fighting style involves floating around letting the Guardian fight for him and defend him. His final form in the first game is the only time when Ansem himself fights. Until the Guardian abandons him to regain its true form as Terra, and he is forced to use his own magic to fight instead.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Kingdom Hearts, which he thought was the ultimate darkness he was searching for, turns out to be light, which ends up doing him in.
    • He also tried to corrupt Riku with darkness, only for Riku to turn that darkness into a weapon and become immune to corruption from it.
  • Iconic Outfit: He wears the Organization's black coat for most of the cutscenes in III but when it comes to battle he goes back to his original outfit for nostalgia's sake.
  • Insistent Terminology: Is always referred to Xehanort's Heartless, not Terra-Xehanort's Heartless. This is because the Guardian is a container for Terra's heart.
  • It Can Think: Unlike all other Heartless, which are explicitly described as being mindless creatures who function on instinct, Ansem retains all of his intelligence and higher reasoning. The real Ansem theorizes that this is because Xehanort willingly became a Heartless. That version of Xehanort also being a Fusion Dance character with multiple hearts probably helped, too.
  • It's All About Me: He constantly advocates to others the boons of using darkness, but only because other darkness users tend to be easy pawns or extra bodies for his Somebody counterpart. He's definitely not pleased when Riku finds a way to use darkness on his own terms.
    "Why do you accept the darkness—-but still refuse me?"
  • Jerkass: Singularly acts like this whenever Riku is around him... or Sora, doesn't matter which. He defines it for all the other Xehanorts after him, too.
  • Karmic Death: He believed that the true essence of the heart is darkness. To his surprise, he was proven wrong when Kingdom Hearts, instead of granting him the power of supreme darkness, vanquished him with its light.
    • He's finally destroyed in III by the same boys he's been tormenting since the very first game.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Declares this to Riku when trying to tempt him back to darkness.
    "You are weak. You need darkness. Surrender. Bow to darkness. Bow to me."
  • Leitmotif: With the exception of the first game's final battle, any battle theme involving him opens with a series of seven organ chords. He's always got some variation or reprise of Forze del Male or Guardando nel Buio.
  • Large Ham: By far the largest within the entire series.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The big reveal about him being Xehanort's Heartless and not actually Ansem was a major spoiler back in II that entirely cast the events of the first game in a new light. That was back in 2006; by this point the existence of Xemnas and Xehanort is so integral to the storyline of the franchise that this guy's true identity is basic knowledge.
  • Living Shadow: The Guardian, which in some renders is shown to literally extend from his feet like a shadow.
  • The Magnificent: Seeker of Darkness. This becomes far more relevant as the games go on.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Played both the villains and Riku through their darkest desires.
  • The Man Behind the Man: To Maleficent, manipulating her to gather the Princesses of Heart.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: In his One-Winged Angel form, his eyes turn solid orange, with paler points where the irises should be.
  • No Name Given: Sort of. This is the only Xehanort incarnation to not be given a proper name of his own, he's only ever referred to as Ansem or Xehanort's Heartless by other characters. His original title "the Seeker of Darkness" was discarded after the first game, but persisted in the fandom for the sake of differentiating him from the other "Ansems" including the real thing, and then became Ascended Fanon as a title for Xehanort in general, to the point where an alternate title for "the Xehanort Saga" that Word of God has given is "The Dark Seeker Chronicle".
  • Omnicidal Maniac: He was out to use the Heartless and the Disney Villains to destroy the universe with darkness.
  • One-Winged Angel: His "World of Chaos" form - a colossal, seemingly-organic battleship topped by a monstrous version of his Guardian, with a giant version of Ansem himself growing out of its ribcage.
    • He does this again in DDD merging with the Guardian and creating a gigantic version of it.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Even after being destroyed by Kingdom Hearts, a small piece of himself was still alive in Riku. It got purged in II.
  • Power Floats: He's always floating around in combat, and is usually only shown standing on the ground in cutscenes.
  • Powers Do the Fighting: Ansem's Guardian Entity does pretty much all the heavy lifting while he floats around with his arms folded. The only time he takes up an actual weapon is in his gigantic One-Winged Angel form in the first game. Even with the absence of his Guardian in Kingdom Hearts III, Ansem will attack purely with magic, usually with his arms folded.
  • Recurring Boss: Ansem is fought twice towards the end of Kingdom Hearts. First, Sora duels him as he is possessing Riku in Hollow Bastion, and then he's fought in The End of the World as the Final Boss of the game.
  • Red Baron: The Seeker of Darkness. It's not all that exclusive to him at this point.
  • Sequential Boss: When Sora, Donald and Goofy confront Ansem in the crumbling Destiny Islands after passing the original game's Point of No Return, they get a lengthy series of connected boss fights to close the game. First you fight Ansem floating on the beach, then you get a last break to refill items and customize (after this, you're locked into battle mode for the rest of the game), then Sora fights a Darkside alone in a crater, then he fights Ansem alone, again, then you fight Ansem attached to the World of Darkness with just Sora before going through a series of stages to dismantle the ship itself, then finally Ansem attached to the ship one last time.
  • Significant Anagram: Probably unintentional, but "Names" is surprisingly relevant to anyone with the name Ansem; they all have more than one name.
  • Size Shifter: He grows to absolutely enormous size for his final battle in the first game.
  • Shirtless Scene: As the final boss of the first game. What a body.
  • The Slow Path: According to an early cutscene in III, after Ansem went back in time to Xehanort's youth, he actually waited out all the decades in hiding on Destiny Islands instead of returning to the present.
  • The Sociopath: Literally heartless, not to mention it comes with the territory as an incarnation of Xehanort.
  • Sphere of Power: In his new battle phase in 3D his Guardian becomes one.
  • Sphere of Destruction: His new attack in 3D is to trap you in one.
  • Starter Villain: For the entire franchise. Though he does return in later entries as well, alongside other villains, and suffering no Villain Decay in the process.
  • Stealth Mentor: He feels this way towards Riku upon his final defeat in III, with Riku admitting that he'll actually miss him this time. Makes sense with his Graceful Loser attitude afterwards, as well.
  • The Stoic: Prior to possessing Riku, after which all bets are off and no scenery will be left unchewed
  • Straw Nihilist: "All things begin in darkness, and all so end." Yeah, Sora basically tells him this is complete bull, and guess who turns out to be right.
  • Teleport Spam: Ansem does this with his Guardian for his Dark Shadow attack, sending him into a portal into the ground and rising and uppercutting the enemy.
  • Time Travel: Dream Drop Distance reveals this is why he now lacks a body of his own, because after he was spawned from Terra-Xehanort he cast off his body to be able to travel through time.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Ansem was not a terribly difficult final boss in Kingdom Hearts. For his return in Dream Drop Distance, on the other hand, he becomes far more powerful, both as a boss and in a case of Cutscene Power to the Max, where he effortlessly subdues Riku, who not ten minutes before beat the snot out of him.
    • In III he no longer needs to rely on the Guardian to do his fighting for him, weaponizing his own darkness and magic.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: After possessing Riku in the first game, he morphs Riku's body into one resembling a long-haired Young Xehanort wearing Master Xehanort's outfit.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Gets a rather subdued one in KH3D when Riku rejects his offer to embrace the darkness. This is what triggers the boss battle.
  • Vocal Evolution: Richard Epcar's voice acting improved a lot between KH2 and Re:COM, although it's more like the vocal director gave him some breathing room instead of forcing him to try and out-ham Billy Zane with unsuccessful results. He's also significantly better in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. Akio Ohtsuka himself was actually over-the-top hammy to an annoying level in the original Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts, but also sounded a lot better in Re: COM. In Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance onward, Ansem sounds more gravelly and closer to Billy Zane's portrayal to differentiate from Terra-Xehanort.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Borderlines with Villain Has a Point. He pulls one on the actual Ansem the Wise as of III, saying how he used Roxas and Namine and threw them away when they were no longer useful.
  • Worthy Opponent: He acknowledges Riku as this (and Sora to a lesser extent) upon his final defeat in III, with Riku returning the sentiment.
  • You Don't Look Like You: As of 3D, he was given a completely new face to better resemble his other incarnations.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Kairi completes the Final Keyhole Ansem says this to her, which unfortunately for him was the one thing Riku wasn't willing to go through.
  • Younger Than They Look: From what we know about the series chronology, he's somewhere around 10 years old in Kingdom Hearts I, but looks (and sounds!) quite older than that.


The Superior of the In-Between (Original Name: Terra-Xehanort / "Ansem" (initial anagram formed from Ansem))

Voiced by: Norio Wakamoto (Japanese), Paul St. Peter (English)

Appearances: I Final Mix | II | 358/2 Days | Re:coded | Dream Drop Distance | III
"I'm creating a brand new world, one heart at a time."
"Very good. You don't miss a thing. I cannot feel... sorrow... No matter what misery befalls the worlds. No matter what you think, what you feel, or how you exist."

The leader of Organization XIII, the Nobody of Terra-Xehanort, Ansem the Wise's first apprentice, and the Big Bad of Kingdom Hearts II. He does not appear in Chain of Memories, but he is referred to by others as "the Superior", and showed up in the first game's Final Mix as a taste of things to come. Despite being destroyed in Kingdom Hearts II, he returns in Dream Drop Distance to torment Sora about his ties to the Organization. As of 3D Xemnas is also one of the vessels of his creator's heart in the XIII Seekers of Darkness.
  • A God Am I: Creator materials state his public mission to use Kingdom Hearts to bestow hearts on himself and the other members was a lie; his true intent is to absorb its power to reshape the universe. Even in-game, he tells Ansem the Wise that he intends to "create a brand new world, one heart at a time".
  • Alas, Poor Villain: While he's disintegrating after he's beaten by Sora, Riku, and Mickey in III; he feels remorse over what he's done to his own Organization and admits that he abused and took them for granted and now that they're all gone he has nothing.
    Sora: I know that you have a heart. What do you feel? Was it worth it?
    Xemnas: I feel... the emptiness where my companions once stood. I took them for granted. And now, I have... nothing. My first surge of emotion in years... for as long as I can remember... and it's... loneliness.
  • All Your Powers Combined: In the first stage of his final boss sequence, he can use the weapons of various other Organization members (namely, everyone who died in II). Word of God states that he may even have a Keyblade, as he is the Nobody of Terra-Xehanort but may have chosen simply to not use it. It was likely to keep up the appearances of the false goal of the Organization, though it also may have been due to his — and, by extension, Terra-Xehanort's — amnesia issues.
  • Anti-Villain: Subverted. He certainly tries to present himself as a person who simply wants to be able to experience emotions again. However, behind that sorrowful mask is a sociopath that wants control over Kingdom Hearts and the worlds beneath it. That's not even getting into what he does to Xion, nor does it account for the fact that he was preventing his underlings from attaining hearts in the first place so his alternate selves could have more potential Seekers Of Darkness at their disposal.
    Xemnas: I cannot feel sorrow. No matter what misery befalls the worlds. No matter what you think, what you feel, or how you exist.
  • Arch-Enemy: Treated as Sora's from all the way since the first game. While Ansem SoD sees Sora as just an obstacle in his way, Xemnas seems to take personal interest in him time and again. Sora in turn not only interacts with Xemnas more than any other Xehanort incarnation, he definitely takes a personal dislike of the man after learning how he manipulated the former members of Organization XIII.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He's the leader of the Organization, and far and away the most powerful member.
  • Bad Boss:
    • 3D reveals just how far he went in manipulating the Organization. Not only was he directly responsible for several of them becoming Nobodies, but he purposefully concealed from them the fact that Nobodies naturally develop a new heart over time.
    • Even before Dream Drop Distance, there was plenty of evidence to disqualify him for boss of the year. He's apathetic toward an unconscious Axel, he twice tried to get two of his subordinates to kill the other, threatens to punish Organization members who might fail him by transforming them into Dusks, and he's only known to have authorized one day off a year for the Organization members.
    • Deconstructed by III. His abuse and manipulation of the rest of the Organization has led to them all abandoning him, betraying him, or simply no longer being around when he needs backup the most. By the time of his final death, his other selves are no help, and do not lift a finger to aid him as he dies. He finally regains his own heart, and all he can feel is agony from being alone.
  • Back from the Dead: As with Ansem, he's back in 3D via the time travel powers of Young Xehanort. They fade back to their original times when Master Xehanort's scheme fails, though Xehanort claims they're still on track for the "seven vs. thirteen" showdown.
  • Barrier Warrior: One of the few recurring bosses in the series to regularly block your attacks, throwing up a barrier of energy and then attacking while you're staggered. In 3D he extends this into trapping Sora in a cube of energy barriers and firing laser shots at him while he's trapped.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Twice over in III:
    • Tells Sora that nothing would please the Organization more than Roxas' return... Guess who foils his attempt to kill Xion and Lea.
    • For all that Xemnas claims throughout II to want a heart, actually getting his own leaves him shocked that anyone can withstand the weight of feelings like guilt and loneliness.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: In his truly final fight, his attacks are structured like Sora's Limit Attacks: a series of various quick alternating close- and long-range attacks while moving around quickly, leaving very few gaps between those attacks, followed by a longer finishing move.
  • Berserk Button: In III, he reveals how much he hates betrayals, but really can't get over Lea's "betrayal" by his being part of Team Sora. Ever so much the hypocrite, Xemnas...
  • Big Bad: Of Kingdom Hearts II.
  • Bishōnen: He's undoubtedly very manly, but is quite a bit more handsome than your typical Evil Overlord.
  • Bonus Boss: In the first Final Mix.
  • Boring, but Practical: His ultimate weapon in 358/2 Days, Interdiction, is also his most simplistic in design, as it's just a red bar of light compared to the intricate blade-like shapes of his previous weapons.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: He appeared in the first game's Final Mix, dropped loads of cryptic foreshadowing, and left Team Sora to wonder what the heck just happened.
  • The Chessmaster: Especially in 358/2 Days.
  • Climax Boss: He serves as Sora's Final Boss in 3D, coming after some major revelations about the heart, the Heartless and the Nobodies, while beating him signals the end of Sora's story but not the end of the game.
  • Co-Dragons: He and Ansem occupy this position in Master Xehanort's XIII Seekers, being his left and right hand men. Also counts as Demoted to Dragon.
  • Cold Ham:
    • A Trope Codifier. Xemnas manages to both be stoic and hammy in equal measure. Being that he's voiced by Norio Wakamoto in Japanese, the hammy part is pretty unavoidable. The reason is two-folded; on the one hand, unlike the other Organization members he has few memories of his human life to tell him how to emote, so he overacts to try and hide that he feels the least of all of them. On the other hand, his human counterpart Xehanort was a Large Ham, so Xemnas inherited his personality traits in that manner without a heart to actually put any emotion into it.
    • Goes full on Large Ham in his boss battle in Dream Drop Distance, particularly during the phase when he's throwing buildings at you, having dropped all pretense of being emotionless now that it's revealed that he HAS had a heart all along, though not necessarily his original's. Sticks to a lesser degree post-battle, when his reaction to Lea's Big Damn Heroes elicits a subtle but clearly shocked "You!?".
  • Companion Cube: Towards Aqua's discarded armor, though it was due to Master Xehanort's plans to find Ventus, as it was revealed in 0.2.
  • The Corrupter: He's been playing a pretty mean game of it too for a long time, if 0.2 and 3D are any indication.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Even more so than his own Somebody, in order to succinctly play some major-level Xehanort Speed Chess.
  • Creepy Twins: He and Ansem act this way in III now looking identical sans haircut and at times speak in unison and finishing each others sentences.
  • Dance Battler: His combo strings with his ethereal blades are long sequences involving a pirouetting flurry of slashes, kicks, and even gravity-defying airborne breakdancing. And he does it all with the utmost grace. Essentially, Xemnas' attacks are just as much a beauty to behold as they are a symphony of pain the player had best avoid.
  • Darth Vader Clone:
    • He's got the all-black wardrobe, red energy weapons, discarded identity and a few vaguely sympathetic moments, but not the redemption. It gets really weird if you think of Terra as Anakin and Master Xehanort as Palpatine, and all of Terra's story in Birth by Sleep to be exactly like the third Star Wars movie.
    • When he fights with dual red sabers in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix in particular, his graceful, lighting-fast fighting style and nigh-indomitability remind one of Palpatine himself during his fight with Darth Maul and Savage Opress in The Clone Wars.
  • Deceptive Disciple: His betrayal of Ansem the Wise was what caused him and the rest of the apprentices to turn into Nobodies in the first place.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: He summons clones of himself during his final battle in II. When he traps Sora in a health-draining beam, he continually sends out clones to keep Riku at bay.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Appears as a boss in the Final Mix version of the first game, though he remains hooded for the entire encounter, and at the time no one had any idea who it was meant to be. It wasn't until KHII was released that it was made apparent that it was him.
  • Evil All Along: 3D reveals that and confirms it, rather than being the Tragic Villain as Kingdom Hearts II (and Birth by Sleep) suggested. He was manipulating the Organization and by extension all of the Nobodies into believing that they were nothing more than heartless monsters, when in reality they could have easily grown a new heart.
  • Evil Counterpart: Just as Master Xehanort is one to Sora, Xemnas is one to Roxas. Both are Nobodies of shocking power, born from Keyblade Wielders. Both are dual wielders of their signature weapons. Both tend to have anger issues: Roxas was bent on revenge towards Xemnas at the end of Days and threw several tantrums in II, while Xemnas is a firm believer in The Power of Hate. However, Roxas is also kind to his friends and loyal to them, and his anger is genuine. Xemnas is a sociopathic tyrant who sees the other Organization members as mere pawns and cares about no one save for himself.
  • Evil Laugh: When he throws the mother-of-all-beam-spams at Sora and Riku, although the sound of the blasts actually makes it harder to hear. Easier to catch when he throws buildings at you in 3D.
    • His usual monotonous drone of a laugh is replaced with a rather bombastic one, which would be OOC for him except that this is justified, as 3D finally shows some of his real colors.
  • Evil Sorcerer: He commands the "Sorcerer Nobodies", if you needed a hint.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: His voice, both in the Japanese and North American versions, is very deep, to the point where some think it simply doesn't match his Bishōnen face.
  • Feels No Pain: Subverted and ultimately turned on its head in III. He is heartbroken about the failure of Kingdom Hearts but does not show any sign of sadness.
  • Final Boss: In Kingdom Hearts II.
  • Final Boss Preview: Two entire games in advance. How punctual of him.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Despite being the most powerful member of the Organization (and even having, on paper, a straight up unfair stat distributionnote ) in 358/2 Days, his average attack speed combines with the only reduced movement speed to make him the biggest nuisance to control at a basic level.
    • With glide he has full movement speed in the air, however, and his airborne attacks are often much quicker and more aggressive. Practice can turn him into a very good flying attacker.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Of Chain of Memories and 358/2 Days.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: He ultimately suffered from loneliness, as his final moments in III reveal.
  • I Let You Win: Twice actually, the first time is Sora's fight against him in the first game where he merely wanted to test his strength. The second is when he faces Sora in Dream Drop Distance so that he'd be weak enough afterwards to be put to sleep and made into a Xehanort vessel.
  • Jerkass: On the level of Xigbar's but not so much above Master Xehanort due to being The Stoic.
    • It really shows in II during his encounter with Ansem the Wise, when he clearly enjoys tormenting his former master by mocking him, changing his tone of voice to sound like his younger Terra-Xehanort self. It's also on cruel display in 3D when Sora is suitably outraged by him withholding the fact that Nobodies could grow new hearts. Then there's III, where he tortures Lea with Beam Spam and directly orders Xion to kill him because she was his friend; when she resists, he kicks her to the ground and calls her a "useless puppet."
  • King Mook: To the equally fearsome Sorcerer Nobodies — and, of course, Nobodies in general.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Yells "KNEEL!" when casting Invitation to Nothingness.
  • Laser Blade: His ethereal blades. In 358/2 Days he has an assortment of them with several different shapes and colors, but his usual ones are Interdiction, which are straight blades of red energy.
  • Leitmotif: 358/2 Days gives him one named "Xemnus." Besides that theme he usually has the theme of the organization play during his scenes.
  • Nerves of Steel: He's hard to faze, due to over-emoting all the time anyway. He drops the act in Dream Drop Distance, but comes off as even more stoic as a result. Even when he's surprised that Sora is momentarily able to control the deep-dream he's trapped in, he merely grins and gets ready to fight while Xigbar turns tail and runs.
  • Never My Fault: During his Motive Rant near the end of II, he calls Ansem the Wise "the source of all Heartless" for inspiring Xehanort with his original research on hearts. Yeah, and YOUR experiments with darkness had nothing to do with it, huh, Xemnas? Of course, revelations in 3D mean he might not actually believe it.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: An Evil Overlord Nobody with pseudo-lightsabers who pilots a gigantic Humongous Mecha-dragon-ship while wearing a massive suit of Keyblade armor.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • During one of the final battles with him, he has growls of rage.
    • When he's finally defeated in II he angrily reaches toward Sora and Riku as he fades out of existence. In 3D he looks slightly unnerved (though not to the degree Xigbar is) when a vision of the protagonists (including Terra) appears behind Sora when he's giving his speech about his connection with the true Keyblade wielders.
    • Then there's his Alas, Poor Villain moment in III....
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: He acts like he only wants to help his fellow Nobodies gain hearts but 3D makes it very clear that he only wants them as extra bodies for Master Xehanort's Grand Theft Me plan.
  • Oh, Crap!: Xemnas can usually handle a wrench in the works of his ambitions with calm retort and merciless return of favor, but in III he was not expecting a wrench as tremendous as the triumphant return of Roxas.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Hinted several times that his objective in absorbing Kingdom Hearts' power was to reduce the universe to nothingness and then remake it completely in his image. It is later retconned that he was actually intending to do this in a roundabout way rather than a literal way by subconsciously helping complete Master Xehanort's master plan to restart the Keyblade War.
    Xemnas: I shall devour all... the light and the darkness.
  • Perpetual Smiler: It's difficult to notice beyond his usual Death Glare, but he often is making a small smirk.
  • Personality Powers: A Straw Nihilist that has power over Nothingness.
  • Physical God: The scale of his powers can only be described as this. He's able to warp The World That Never Was to fit his wishes and can destroy the entire city at will. That said, such displays are only seen in said world, so may be limited to that place.
  • The Power of Hate: Anger, rage and hatred are the only emotions of the heart Xemnas appears to value, believing them to be the true source of a heart's power and they're also the only emotions he seems able to express himself when he isn't being The Stoic. It's likely another carryover from the Terra side of the fusion, who took this trope to the point of Unstoppable Rage against his enemies, including the other half of the fusion, Master Xehanort.
    Xemnas: (after his second defeat): I need... more rage... I need more... hearts..."
    Xemnas: (before the Final Battle): Anger and hate are supreme.
  • Rated M for Manly: He's a very manly, imposing and powerful Nobody overlord, complete with Norio Wakamoto's voice in Japanese.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: With his red ethereal blades.
  • Scary Black Man: In certain production art.
  • Sequential Boss: Turned Up to Eleven. First you fight Xemnas, then you have to work through several layers of defenses on his battleship, then fight Xemnas himself again, then fight his battleship again, then fight Xemnas again, then finally fight Xemnas in his final form.
  • Shadow Archetype: Xemnas is all of Terra's anger and hatred manifested, combined with Master Xehanort's manipulative nature and greed, without any of the redeeming qualities.
  • Shock and Awe: He has a penchant for lightning magic and his hands are crackling with electricity when he's fighting, most notably his Shock Bombs and Spark Barrier attacks deal lightning element damage and can be reduced with the appropriate equipment.
  • Signature Move: His iconic moves—throwing skyscrapers and and making lasers come out of nowhere.
  • The Slow Walk: Seems to have taken a page out of Vergil's book; unless he's graciously abusing his teleportation or flight abilities, Xemnas will approach with a coolly unfazed (if not eerie) gait at the speed of molasses, but when he finally makes it to his intended destination, he will do all in his power to end you.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Misspelled "Xemnus" on the Birth by Sleep/Days soundtrack.
  • Stationary Boss: During his boss battle in II, Xemnas's armored form never stands from his throne, instead creating barriers and swinging his sword to knock you back and otherwise letting his Flying Weapons do his work for him.
  • The Stoic: Very much so. Most of his lines are spoken in an unemotional drone.
  • Straw Nihilist: Though it's sort of justified, since he's a Nobody and therefore every natural force in the universe wants him to not exist.
  • Sword and Fist: He is liable to just hit you with a swooping Roundhouse Kick as much as he is to attack you with his laser blades.
  • Taking You with Me: His final battle has shades of this. He's lost all his minions, his artificial Kingdom Hearts has been destroyed and the heroes have cut off his last attempt at an escape... so he brings Sora and Riku to the World of Nothing with him, intending to finish them once and for all. Even as his body disintegrates, he keeps reaching for them with a murderous expression.
    Xemnas: We shall go together.
  • This Cannot Be!: His near word-for-word reaction in III when Roxas returns, Just in Time to stop him from killing Xion.
  • Tin Tyrant: One of his multiple forms involves donning a suit of armor and attacking from his throne. It's actually Master Xehanort's Keyblade Armor, No Heart.
  • Theme Naming: His weapons in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days have names in the theme of dictatorship.
  • Tragic Villain: Zig-zagged all over the place during the course of the franchise.
    • II implied he's incapable of seeing hearts as anything but burdens filled with negative emotions to be removed and fed into his god-maker-machine, due to not having one of his own and not having any memories from Xehanort to tell him otherwise. Connecting Final Mix+ with Birth by Sleep also implies he has some of Terra's memories and is trying to reunite with Ven and Aqua.
    • However, 3D revealed that Terra-Xehanort regained at least some of his memories before he became a Heartless and Nobody and that Xemnas was going along with Master Xehanort's plans, implying Xemnas knew what he was supposed to do and was never misguided at all. Then 0.2 confirms that his desire to locate Ven actually came from Master Xehanort as opposed to Terra, since Xehanort hopes to use Ven's vacant body as a vessel for one of his XIII Seekers of Darkness.
    • Then, near the end of III it’s implied that he ultimately does take after Terra when it came to regrowing his heart, and the first emotions he felt when his heart grew back? Loneliness and guilt over failing to help Ventus and Aqua, making Xemnas consider regaining his humanity not worth the pains of emotion. On top of that it's implied he regrets the way he manipulated the rest of the original Organization, as by the end they've all abandoned him. A shame then that in his 'death' here he is sent back in time to before his death in II, meaning this revelation is forgotten.
  • Tranquil Fury: In III, Xemnas's emotionless state he likes to project shows it's cracks whenever Lea is around, who he holds a special level of seething hatred towards for betraying the Organization. He ends up putting Lea through Cold-Blooded Torture at the hands of Saïx and Xion in retribution, all while still trying to keep his appearance as being emotionless.
  • Troll: He's as bad as Xigbar in that regard, if not worse. He pretends to die a couple times, questions Riku's loyalty to Sora during his Boss Banter, and he outright asks the heroes to do his bidding while playing the victim card, and then acknowledging that he was telling Blatant Lies. The biggest example would probably be his multiple impassioned entreaties for a Heart to his artificial Kingdom Hearts and to the heroes, when he does not in fact give two shits about gaining a heart.
  • Verbal Tic: "Indeeed..."
  • Vocal Evolution: His voice gets deeper in subsequent games.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Sora asks this of him after defeating him for the last time in III. Xemnas admits that no, it wasn’t.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Comes with the territory of being a Xehanort.
  • Wistful Amnesia: The only part of his human life he remembers is the time he spent in Ansem the Wise's care and he wants his memories back about as much as he wants to become a "higher existence." Final Mix points that he regularly visited Aqua's lost armor in the Chamber of Repose and talked to it, calling it "friend." The truth comes out in 0.2 though, when it's revealed that Master Xehanort knew of Terra's link to Aqua and capitalized on it within Xemnas, but thankfully Terra severs the link before he's able to find anything further due to heavy Fighting from the Inside.
  • Worthy Opponent: Seems to finally judge humanity as such instead of useful pawns at his defeat in III.
    Xemnas: Do you see? A heart is just pain.
    Sora: Pain is being human, Xemnas.
    Xemnas: Really? It must take... incredible strength...
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Excels at this much more than his own Somebody. Saïx lampshades it in one of his reports in 358/2 Days, about how Xemnas's plans are clearly falling apart and yet he remains so frustratingly cool and collected, as if he's still somehow in control of the situation... which he clearly was, of course.

Xehanort's Accomplices



Voiced by: Miyu Irino (Japanese), Haley Joel Osment (English)

Appearances: Birth by Sleep | Dream Drop Distance | III
"Oh grow up. Is that what you call friendship? You'll never learn the truth unless you go out and look for it yourself. Come on, what could you possibly know when you're stuck here, looking at nothing but what's in your tiny world?"
Click here to see him unmasked. 
"This χ-blade will open a door — one that leads to all worlds! Then, Keyblade-bearing warriors will flock here from each and every one of them, to battle for the light within Kingdom Hearts! And just like the legend says, the Keyblade War will begin!"

The mysterious masked apprentice of Master Xehanort. Master Xehanort claims he's running around worlds creating chaos and attacking people with Unversed, but the reality is that he's doing so under orders as part of a larger plan. He appears to antagonize Ven and Aqua several times, alluding to a plan for the two of them that he has in motion. It's revealed that Vanitas is actually the darkness within Ven, extracted from his heart and given humanoid form. He returns in Kingdom Hearts III by Young Xehanort collecting his heart from the past from the time Ventus defeated him, wearing a black coat like the members of the Organization and is once again chasing after Ventus, even if he has to go through Sora to do it. He is also a core member of the XIII Seekers of Darkness.
  • And I Must Scream: Implied to be his fate for the twelve years between Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts III. If Vanitas wasn't aware of what was happening outside while the Unversed rebuilt his heart, the experience would have been akin to The Nothing After Death.
  • Anime Hair: It's the same spiky hair as Sora's, but black.
  • Arch-Enemy: Could be considered one to Ven. He is his Enemy Without, after all.
  • Artificial Human: Spawned from the darkness of Ven's heart.
  • Ax-Crazy: Case in point: at the end of Aqua's episode, while gloating to Aqua and Mickey about his and Xehanort's endgame, he spouts a big Slasher Smile.
  • Back from the Dead: In Kingdom Hearts III, and with him have returned the Unversed.
  • Badass Baritone: Has a deep voice. It's Sora's voice with a deeper inflection.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: With Ventus.
  • BFS: The Void Gear is huge. So is the χ-Blade.
  • Black Knight: Has the appearance of one with the outfit and helmet.
  • Black Magic: As a being of darkness and an apprentice of Xehanort, it's a given.
  • Blood Knight: He seems pretty excited about the idea of a massive war starting up, especially after he gets his hand on the χ-Blade.
  • Broken Faceplate: His helmet's right side shatters at the end of his fight against Sora and Ventus in III, revealing his face to Sora for the first time.
  • The Cameo: Shows up with Young Xehanort in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance confronting Sora in one cutscene and nowhere else for the rest of the game. Tetsuya Nomura says that this is meant to be a representation of Ventus's heart reacting to Master Xehanort's darkness.
  • Cain and Abel: The Cain to Ventus and Sora's Abel. Bonus points because he actually refers to Ventus and Sora as being his brothers.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Subverted and then played straight; he initially makes a snap decision to kill Ven after finding him too weak for their plans, but after Mickey helps Ven gain the upper hand, he decides to leave Ven alone for a while.
  • Charge Attack: His Dark Spiral attack, where he dashes multiple times in the air.
  • Classic Villain: Representing Envy, Pride, and Wrath.
    • Lust and Greed as well, for both Ven and the X-blade.
  • Collapsible Helmet: At the end of Ven's story, the glass on his helmet melts away to reveal his face.
  • Cold Ham: In cutscenes he's stoic and icy; in battle he's loud and boisterous.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Don't expect a fair fight from this guy. Aqua learned this the hard way.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: His in-game battle quotes largely consist of such gems as "Suffer!" and "Show me anguish!" And let's not forget that he cracks up laughing after Aqua kicks his ass in Radiant Garden.
  • Compressed Hair: Given that he has Sora's hairstyle, one has to wonder how that hair stays in his helmet.
  • Cool Helmet: Although it's called a "mask" in Birth By Sleep.
  • Counter Attack: If struck too many times, Vanitas will leave a shadow clone of himself while teleporting to strike from above.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: He never uses his power to created Unversed in battle, only in cutscenes.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Considering he was "raised" by Master Xehanort to be a powerful weapon, it's safe to say he never had a chance at a normal life.
  • Dark Is Evil: In the novels, while Vanitas is a being of Darkness, he didn't start out as evil. However, after four years under Xehanort's "care", he became the cold sociopath he is today.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He's prone to some pretty cruel, but still sarcastic, one-liners, such as:
    Vanitas: What's wrong? Giving up already?
  • Demonic Possession: Does this to Ventus. It doesn't last though.
  • The Dragon: To Master Xehanort during Birth By Sleep.
  • Dramatic Unmask: After Ven beats him, he unmasks himself to reveal he has the exact same face as Ven (and unlike Ven, the same haircut of future series protagonist Sora).
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: A male version of the trope.
  • Eldritch Abomination: He is a being of pure darkness (basically a pure Heartless) whose existence unbalances the laws of the worlds, and he is the source of all Unversed. Before Ventus's heart joined with Sora, Vanita's true appearance was that of a faceless wraith - not too dissimilar from the Anti-Black Coat in Dream Drop Distance. Lampshaded by Master Xehanort,
    Master Xehanort: He has no control over the darkness in his heart. The Keyblade is not his to bear. He's an abomination beyond hope of salvation.
  • Elemental Powers: He can use fire, ice, and lightning based attacks.
  • Emotion Eater: Using the scream power in Monstropolis, Vanitas is able to reconstruct his heart.
  • Emotional Powers: Has the ability to spawn the Unversed from his negative emotions.
  • Enemy Without: To Ventus, spawned from the dark half of his heart.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Constantly ridicules Ven's belief in The Power of Friendship. This ends up being his downfall, as while he managed to successfully manipulate Ven into fighting him, he didn't anticipate the sheer lengths that Ven would go to in order to keep him from hurting his friends.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Ventus. Though the two have no direct relation or interaction as of yet, he also seems to be this for Xion. Looks like a member of the Destiny Islands trio with black hair? Artificial Human? Get screwed over by Xehanort? These two are living the same life with a different X.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: At the end of Birth By Sleep, he possesses an unlimited army of evil underlings and a nigh omnipotent weapon capable of bending reality and plunging the worlds into never-ending war. This is especially distressing because 1) he's a maniac and 2) earlier in the game he had no qualms against disobeying Master Xehanort's express orders. In all likelihood, he would have just killed his "master" and wreaked havoc all over the universe had Aqua and Ventus not stopped him.
  • Evil Twin: To Ventus, and to Sora, kind of. The latter he even hangs a lampshade on in III.
    Vanitas: I'm the piece of Ventus that was taken away. And you're the piece Ventus needed to be whole again. So... why shouldn't you and I look exactly the same?
  • Evil Laugh: He loves doing this.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: It's Sora's voice, only deeper and more sinister.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: His voice is noticeably raspier when he returns in III.
  • Expy: Well let's see, his outfit is similar to Riku's Dark Mode, he takes the same battle stance as Riku, and he even dons Riku's iconic pose in the opening cinematic. Yet it's Sora he has a connection to, through Ven, and he looks like Sora with black hair and gold eyes and an epic Slasher Smile. He even has Sora's voice.
  • The Faceless: Until part way into the final battle against Ventus.
  • The Fatalist: In III, after his defeat to Ventus and Sora, Vanitas turns down Sora's offer at redemption and essentially resigns himself to being the bad guy. In his view, he represents darkness while Sora and Ventus represents light.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Tries to be this, but is too much of a Jerkass to pull it off. Especially shown with his first encounter with Aqua. At first he tries to be polite, but when Aqua asks him a question, he gets irritated and attacks her.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Can wield potent dark variations of Fire, Ice, and Thunder spells and can combine the former two with melee attacks.
  • Flash Step: His Counter Attack mentioned above. Gains a variation of it called Dark Splicer during his final fight with Ventus.
  • For the Evulz: It's indicated that he doesn't really have or need a reason to restart the Keyblade War; he's just excited by the idea of a universal conflict, especially now that he's the guy with an Infinity +1 Sword. The novels provide the idea he wants to rejoin with Ventus. However, this isn't exactly reflected in his actions; early in the story, he was perfectly willing to annihilate Ventus for being too weak, and considered Aqua a decent backup plan for forging the χ-Blade.
    • A possible explanation for the discrepancies between his motivation in the novels and actions in the game: the reason why he tried to kill off Ventus could be an early belief that the latter was beyond hope of growing strong enough for the reunion, which resulted in a snap decision of despair to end it all right there, until Mickey's timely arrival changed his mind. However, if he was initially right and the reunion was impossible, he would want both the χ-Blade and the outbreak of a second Keyblade War as a sort of consolation prize. Aqua likely factored into the 'backup plan' by being a satisfactory candidate for either the Guardians or the Seekers.
  • Fully-Embraced Fiend: In III, he fully accepts his nature as a dark creature and turns down Sora and Ven's offer for redemption.
  • Fusion Dance: With Ventus, creating Ventus-Vanitas. However, the fusion is incomplete enough so that Ventus is ultimately able to regain control of his body, though he becomes comatose after succeeding.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Subverted. He has eyes as large as Ven's because he's a Sora look alike.
  • Go Out with a Smile: As he vanishes in III after his defeat to Sora and Ventus, a smile crossing his face as he disappears and accepts his defeat with dignity.
  • Grand Theft Me: Not nearly as successful as Xehanort, though, but manages to possess Ventus.
    • His Supernatural Gold Eyes and being part of the XIII Seekers of Darkness suggests that Vanitas himself has already been on the receiving end of this trope from Master Xehanort, assuming his already-pure heart of darkness didn't make such a thing redundant.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: In the novels, he is shown to be extremely envious of both Ventus and his two friends for their bond with each other.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: His first encounter with Ven.
  • I Am What I Am: In III, this is his explanation for why he gives his Redemption Rejection. He is darkness, so why would he not side with it? Notably, Ventus seems to accept that, though Sora is the one who objects.
  • I Need You Stronger: He's always going around telling people whom he fights to get stronger, and to show him their power. Why exactly is one of the key points of Birth By Sleep.
  • Iconic Outfit: Despite having the black coat on for a few cutscenes he will ditch it to fight in his Dark Mode suit for battle because it is the iconic look for himself.
  • Just Between You and Me: Does this without shame, confident the heroes cannot do a thing about it.
  • Kick the Dog: Breaking Ven's toy Keyblade that Terra gave him in front of Aqua.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Though to a lesser extent than Master Xehanort, but he's played dead serious with little to no comedic elements to him.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: After Ventus awakens and stops Vanitas from finishing off Aqua, Vanitas quickly retreats, knowing that he's powerless to fend off three Keyblade wielders by his lonesome.
  • Lack of Empathy: Doesn't care about anything but himself.
  • Laughing Mad: In Japanese and English. Not all the time, granted, but he does have his moments, such as after his battle with Aqua in Radiant Garden.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He is as fast as Ventus, and as strong as Terra, and can hit like a freight train. This trope is the main reason why fighting him as Aqua is a living hell.
  • Literal Split Personality: He is the personification of the darkness that Master Xehanort ripped out of Ventus's heart.
  • Magic Knight He slings spells and swords in equal measure, having a few Fire, Ice, Lightning attacks along with his sword.
  • Made of Evil: He's quite literally made from Ven's darkness.
  • The Man Behind the Monsters: Is the source of the Unversed.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Though nowhere near Xehanort's level, he manages to coax Ventus out of the Land of Departure.
  • Meaningful Name: His name is derived from the Latin word for emptiness, indicating his state of existence. Also, it sounds similar to Ventus, hinting at a connection between the two. It's also similar to "vanity", reflecting his smug, self-absorbed nature. And, as mentioned above, the Japanese character for emptiness can also mean sky, hinting at his connection to Sora.
    • His name is also connected to a Biblical quote — "all is vanity and a striving after wind". Now consider what he spends most of his time doing...
  • Monster Progenitor: He is essentially the original Unversed and they all trace back to him. Once he dies, they die too. However, unlike most versions of this trope, he is not millennia old. As it turns out in III, No Ontological Inertia is subverted, as he reveals in his appearance in Monstropolis that the Unversed were drawn to the world that harvested negativity as a fuel source and exploited its system in order to reconstruct his heart after it was destroyed, which allowed him to return.
  • Mook Maker: He can create the Unversed from his negative emotions, and if an Unversed is destroyed, then he can absorb their negativity to spawn new Unversed. This gives him an endless supply of Mooks. However, this is only in cutscenes, not gameplay.
  • Multiple Reference Pun: "Ventus" (Latin for "wind") and "Vanitas" ("emptiness") sound similar, and both can be defined with the kanji 空, which means both "sky" and "emptiness". And could also, due to one of those meanings, be read as "Sora".
    "Empty creature from Ventus riven,
    "to you, the name 'Vanitas', shall be given."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: His helmet bears a striking resemblance to the one worn in public by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo.
  • No Sneak Attacks: Averted, as Aqua learns the hard way.
  • Not So Different: Before the final battle with Ventus, Ven declares he's willing to risk losing his heart forever by destroying the χ-Blade and saving Terra and Aqua. In his Desperation Attack, Vanitas shatters the station they're on. Keep in mind the platforms in the Dive to the Heart are implied to be reflections of the heart, indicated here by Vanitas appearing opposite Ventus on it — in other words, Vanitas is willing to take the same risk as Ven.
  • Obviously Evil: At no point could this guy pass for a good guy. Even Terra immediately knows he's a villain who must be stopped.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Heavily implied to be this in the game, but never outright stated. By the end of his backstory in the novels, he wants to make everyone, in every world suffer. In the game, he gets really excited by the prospect of the Keyblade War, and the legends about its catastrophic, universe-ending consequences.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Is the source of the Unversed, who inhabit and terrorize the entire World.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He'd like to just kill his enemies straight-off, but he's smart enough to know that this won't get him anywhere and bides his time accordingly.
  • "Psycho" Strings: During one or two notes at the beginning of his theme, "Enter the Darkness".
  • Psychotic Smirk: His default expression when unmasked.
  • Pure Is Not Good: He's made of pure darkness. This seems to be the root of the Unversed.
  • Recurring Boss: For Aqua and Ventus in Birth By Sleep. Although he's the reason why Terra went out to the worlds, however, he is only fought once in his story, and never speaks aside from their shared prologue. He's also this to a lesser extent in Kingdom Hearts III, being the only member of the True Organization XIII that is fought in a boss fight prior to the heroes going to the Keyblade Graveyard, though he is faced there as well.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: His outfit is identical to Riku's, just recolored red and black.
  • Redemption Rejection: Sora and Ven try to get him to join their side in III, but Vanitas has no interest in doing so. He is born of darkness, accepts his nature, and sides with those who also embody darkness of his own free will.
    Ventus: But I didn't ask for this. We should be free to choose. Not just light, not just darkness. We decide what we are.
    Vanitas: But... Ventus, I did decide who I am. You see?
    Ventus: And what you are is darkness?
    Vanitas: What I am is darkness.
    Ventus: ... Okay.
  • Red Herring: At first glance, he has a lot of similarities to Riku, wearing an outfit similar to his Dark Mode and using the same battle stance. But then the mask came off, and his appearance seemed to be essentially a darker clone of Sora's.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The bloodthirsty red to Master Xehanort's blue, at least in Birth by Sleep.
  • The Resenter: In the novels, to the Wayfinder trio.
  • Sadist: His in-game battle quotes consist of such gems as "Suffer!" and "Show me anguish!"
  • Sarcastic Confession: He told Ventus that Terra would be a different person, but in a tone that would make Ven absolutely refuse to believe him.
    Ventus: "Alright! What do you mean about Terra being a different person!?"
    Vanitas: "Exactly what I said, idiot. The Terra you know will be gone forever."
    Ventus: "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!"
  • Shadow Archetype: Coupled with Redemption Rejection as he ultimately defines himself as the shadow to both Ventus and Sora. He makes clear during their final fight in III that he is the part that defines the darkness of both his brothers, so he naturally is fine with being darkness and siding with it, because it's what he is, a fact that doesn't satisfy either Ventus or Sora, though Ventus at least tells him it's okay if that's what he has chosen for himself. Notably, he says all this without a hint of maliciousness and only with peaceful acceptance of what he is.
    Vanitas: You define me, Sora, the same way that Ventus does. We are brothers who, together, make a greater whole.
    Sora: Then why won't you stand by our side? Instead of with darkness?
    Vanitas: Because I am darkness. And I do stand by your side. I'm the shadow that you cast. How much closer could I be?
  • Significant Double Casting: In both Japanese and English, he shares Sora's voice actor.
  • Slasher Smile: When he's possessing Ventus, he can give some pretty creepy ones.
  • Smug Snake: Though he's a dangerous threat, he's not as powerful as he claims to be.
  • The Sociopath: Fits all the criteria of one, but the Unversed make him a rare subversion. Instead of feeling only shallow emotions, Vanitas is composed of nothing but negative emotions and he creates a new Unversed with each negative emotion he feels. A true sociopath could not feel deep enough to create them in the first place.
  • The Starscream: It's hinted he planned to take the power of Kingdom Hearts for himself once he got the χ-Blade.
  • Storm of Blades: He can conjure a whirlwind of Keyblades from the Keyblade Graveyard to fly around and while riding will launch ice magic from his perch. In III this is his Desperation Attack and he will surround himself with them as a shield.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Although he has gold eyes in all of his appearances, according to an interview from Nomura, Vanitas resembled a heartless-like creature with red eyes before Ven joined his heart to Sora's to give Vanitas Sora's general appearance. The change in eye color makes more sense after the reveal that he's part of the XIII Seekers of Darkness and thus presumably carries part of Master Xehanort's dark heart.
  • Sword Beam: Fires crescent wave of energy from his blade as a combo finisher. Also during the final battles with him, he'll fire an x-shaped Sword Beam as well.
  • Theme Song Reveal: His battle themes borrow from Sora's leitmotif.
  • Too Slow: One of his stock lines.
  • Vocal Evolution: In III his voice is notably more gravelly compared to his appearance in Birth by Sleep.
  • Villain Has a Point: While it's intended as a taunt, his page quote above ultimately proves to be foreshadowing a central theme of the Wayfinder Trio's tragic downfall, that their friendship is weaker than it should be and this, along with their lack of worldly experience and emotional maturity to go with their immense power, is what causes them to meet their ends.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After being defeated for the final time by Ventus, he's reduced to panicking and attempts to grab the floating χ-blade before dying. It almost makes you feel sorry for him.
  • Wave Motion Gun: His Dark Cannon attack, which fires a large beam of dark energy from his Keyblade.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Is portrayed as such in the novelization, in stark contrast to the unrepentant sociopath in the actual game. He's unable to control his ability to spawn Unversed, which are created autonomously every time he feels a strong emotion, and he hates them as a sign of his lack of control and a reminder of the true nature of his existence. Furthermore, Master Xehanort forced him to train by fighting the Unversed, and Vanitas felt the emotions and physical pain they did upon being killed every time, which in turn fueled his dark emotions more and spawned stronger Unversed. And while all this Training from Hell was going on, he was still connected to Ven and felt all the friendship and happiness Ven was experiencing training under Eraqus.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Or rather, Would Stab a Girl While She Is Down.
    • Twice as of III
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Master Xehanort's plan was to have Vanitas and Ventus fight and forge a powerful weapon called the χ-Blade.
  • Younger Than They Look: A strange, double case. He is only four years old during the game, but has the physical body and mentality of a fifteen year old. And at the same time, that fifteen year old body just so happens to look a few years older on account of him being tall and muscular. His deep voice does not help matters much.

    Dark Riku 

Dark Riku

Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano (Japanese), David Gallagher (English)

Appearances: III

The XIII Seekers of Darkness's eleventh revealed member is a replica of Riku, and he is Riku Replica's time traveling heart from the past.

  • Casting a Shadow: Like the real Riku he wields vast dark powers in battle.
  • Cloning Blues: Technically, he is not just Riku's clone, but also Ansem's.
  • Death from Above: He uses the Dark Break skill still, leaping in the air and coming down sword first on you and generating blasts of dark magic for good measure.
  • Evil Weapon: Wields Riku's old Soul Eater.
  • Hate Sink: He has absolutely no sympathetic qualities that could make him redeemable, unlike Riku, who started out as a villain but have a loved one whom he strive to protect, hence his eventual redemption. While this can be attributed to a lack of screen time, regardless, Sora and Riku have no regrets letting his heart extracted from his present self in the end.
  • Large Ham: Particularly hammy in his appearances.
  • Mirror Match: Downplayed. You still control Sora in your boss fight against him, but Riku is in your team. Played straight in Re:Mind, in which you're playing as Riku against Dark Riku.
  • Mook Maker: The great Darkness in his heart is able to generate a colossal amount of heartless, enough to create a massive Demon Tide.
  • Moveset Clone: He shares a few attacks with Ansem such as the dark mines and shadow pincer.
  • Red Herring: We are lead to believe that this Riku is Riku from the past. Then it was later revealed that he is Riku Replica's time traveling heart from the past.
  • Teleport Spam: He can do the infamous Dark Aura as his desperation attack.

    Replica Xehanorts (Unmarked Spoilers Ahead) 

Replica Xehanorts

Appearances: III

A group of twelve masked replicas representing Xehanort’s other selves. Sora encounters them after transporting himself and Xehanort into Scala ad Caelum, where they make up the first phase of the final boss fight.

  • Combat Stilettos: Their boots include high heels.
  • Cowardly Boss: They vanish right after their introductory cutscene, forcing Sora to hunt them down. Whenever he finds some of them, they will only fight him for a short time before disappearing again.
  • Devour the Dragon: Master Xehanort absorbs the replicas to empower himself after Sora defeats them.
  • Instant Runes: They form a magic circle vast enough to fill the sky from horizon to horizon as part of their Signature Move.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: They wear horned, face-concealing helmets.
  • Moveset Clone: Each Adversary has a couple of attacks from the Seeker that hosted their heart.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: They wear black robes with red trimming over black armor with red gauntlets and boots. If that wasn’t enough to convey their evil nature, their Signature Move turns the sky pitch black and fills it with a red magic circle.
  • Shared Life Meter: They share a common set of health bars, and will drop dead as a group once those bars are depleted.
  • Signature Move: After they’ve taken enough damage, the replicas form a magic circle in the sky that begins raining down laser beams. The Adversaries then rush Sora in several increasingly large waves, culminating in one of them trying to launch Sora into the air before all twelve of them attack him at once.
  • Silent Antagonist: They never utter a sound during their boss fight, not even to grunt in pain.
  • Spectral Weapon Copy: Eleven of the twelve wield a copy of a Seeker's weaponnote . Ansem, Seeker of Darkness's replica instead uses dark magic.
  • Walking Spoiler: They don’t appear until the final boss fight of III, so it’s difficult to talk about them without mentioning endgame spoilers.
  • Wolfpack Boss: Sora must fight all twelve of them. Mercifully, they have a Shared Life Meter and will only attack him in groups of three to six.

Alternative Title(s): Kingdom Hearts Xehanort


Example of: