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Keys to the Kingdom.note 

"There are many worlds,
but they share the same sky—
one sky, one destiny."
Kairi's Letter/Opening Credits
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For the game in the series titled Kingdom Hearts, see Kingdom Hearts.

So, a Square Enix developer and a Disney executive walk into an elevator...

Kingdom Hearts is a series of fantasy Action JRPG games, co-produced by Squaresoft (now Square Enix) and Disney, directed by Final Fantasy character designer Tetsuya Nomura, and starring characters from both companies. It's basically Final Fantasy meets Disney (along with some other Square Enix properties later on). The series is well-known for its incredibly bizarre premise and increasingly complicated plot, not to mention its increasingly absurd sequel subtitles.

Sora is a young boy living a peaceful but boring life on an island with his best friends Riku and Kairi. This is until the day his world is engulfed by The Heartless, an eldritch species that feed on the hearts of innocent people and literally consume entire worlds. Sora is sucked through a portal and winds up in Traverse Town, a crossroads world that has become the refuge of those who have lost their worlds to the Heartless. As he begins to search for his missing friends, Sora is granted the mysterious Keyblade: the only thing capable of closing the gaps that the Heartless are using to invade the worlds.

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With the aid of Donald Duck and Goofy, two royal knights searching for their missing king, Sora must travel to all of the different worlds and use the Keyblade to lock them safely away from the Heartless and those who plot to use the Heartless to further their own ends. Meanwhile Riku, having ended up in another world, becomes obsessed with rescuing Kairi at all costs and is tempted by the same power of darkness that Sora is trying to seal, setting up the two best friends for a fateful confrontation.

As Sora and Riku grapple with their newfound powers and responsibilities, an ever-expanding mythology begins to unfold around the legendary Kingdom Hearts: the source of all hearts and the goal of many an antagonist.

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    The Dark Seeker Saga 
The first phase of games detail Sora and friends' struggle against a man known as Xehanort, who wishes to unlock the secrets of Kingdom Hearts and use it for his own nefarious purposes. Detailed below is the order the games are released in, and should be played in.

The first three games, released from 2002-2005, tell a trilogy in which Sora discovers his ability to wield the Keyblade and searches for his missing friends, battling the forces of darkness and exploring the Disney worlds along the way. It would not be until the third game, Kingdom Hearts II, that it was made clear the source of the evils plaguing the worlds was Xehanort, a former scientist turned harbinger of chaos who eventually was established as the Overarching Villain of this set of games.

The next three games, released between 2008 and 2010, would see the series branch out into handheld consoles as it primarily focused on other characters besides Sora who could wield the Keyblade, and eventually had Sora learn of his connection to these new characters. The origins of Xehanort would also be detailed in this handheld trilogy.

The final set of games in the Dark Seeker Saga, released between 2012 and 2019, gradually returned to consoles as it saw Sora, Riku, and their friends learn of the true scope of Xehanort's ambitions for Kingdom Hearts, and thus the heroes prepared for a climactic final battle foretold in ancient times as they mustered any hero of light they could against Xehanort and his army of darkness. This final set of games also gave players a deep dive into the ancient lore of the Kingdom Hearts universe as it planted seeds for the future of the series.

    Post-Dark Seeker Saga 
The untitled second phase of games of the series began in 2020. After the events of III, the heroes pick up the pieces and search for answers about the questions they've been left with.

    Remakes and re-releases 
Several games of the series have received updated releases including additional content, and as the series has gone on and across several different platforms, the 2010's saw cohesive efforts to bring all of the games together into organized collections.

  • Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (2002, PlayStation 2): The first game's Updated Re-release, featuring rebalanced gameplay and a host of new content on top of what had already been added to the initial international release. Only released in Japan.
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories (2007, PlayStation 2): A 3D remake of the Gameboy Advance game Chain of Memories. Released as part of the Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ bundle in Japan and as a standalone title in North America in 2008. Features little new content other than the 3D overhaul, although the Japanese version can give/receive minor Old Save Bonuses to/from Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.
  • Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix (2007, PlayStation 2): An Updated Re-release of II. Similarly to I Final Mix, rebalances gameplay and adds new content, along with a new difficulty level. Only released in Japan. This game and Re:Chain of Memories were also released as the Japan-only bundle Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+.
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:coded (2010, Nintendo DS): A remake of coded, created for international audiences. Uses a new battle system based on the Deck Command system of Birth by Sleep.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix (2011, PlayStation Portable): An Updated Re-release of Birth by Sleep, containing new content along with what had been added to the international release. Only released in Japan.
  • Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 ReMIX (2013, PlayStation 3): A bundle containing Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Re:Chain of Memories, and a movie using cutscenes from 358/2 Days, all remastered in HD. Released in all territories.
  • Kingdom Hearts HD II.5 ReMIX (2014, PlayStation 3): A bundle containing HD remasters of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Birth by Sleep Final Mix, and a movie using cutscenes from Re:coded. Released in all territories.
  • Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ [chi] (2015, mobile phones): A tweaked mobile port of χ [chi], retelling its story for international audiences.
    • Kingdom Hearts Union χ [cross] (2017, mobile phones): The "second season" of Unchained χ [chi], following a new generation of Keyblade Masters attempting to pick up the pieces after the Keyblade War.
  • Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue (2017, PlayStation 4; 2020, Xbox One; 2021, PC; 2022, Nintendo Switchnote ): A bundle containing an Updated Re-release of 3D: Dream Drop Distance, the new 0.2 Birth By Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage-, and Kingdom Hearts χ [chi] Back Cover, an original movie following the plot of χ [chi] from the Foretellers' perspective.
  • Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 + II.5 ReMIX (2017, PlayStation 4; 2020, Xbox One; 2021, PC; 2022, Nintendo Switch note ): A bundle containing all the remasters previously released on the PlayStation 3 with further technical improvements.
  • Kingdom Hearts - The Story So Far - (2018, PlayStation 4): A bundle combining the contents of I.5 + II.5 ReMix and II.8.
  • Kingdom Hearts: All In One (2020, PlayStation 4): A bundle containing the contents of The Story So Far and III. Does not include the Re:MIND DLC.
  • Kingdom Hearts Integrum Masterpiece (2022, Nintendo Switchnote ): A bundle containing the contents of The Story So Far and III, including the Re:MIND DLC.

    Adaptations 
The franchise has had several manga and novels published.

The first four games have been adapted to manga by Shiro Amano, with Kingdom Hearts II being the final one. But not anymore he announced that Kingdom Hearts III will have a manga adaptation. Skipping the other games for some reason. While the manga itself does have some dramatic moments, it is mainly an abridged adaptation of the games with a lot of humor, typical of Japanese comedy in other manga.

The novel adaptations are written by Tomoco Kanemaki, with illustrations by Amano. They were translated and licensed for release and by Yen Press.

In 2019, Games Workshop released Kingdom Hearts themed version of their board game Talisman.

The series contains appearances by characters and locations from the following games, films and franchises.

    Disney 

Featured

  • 101 Dalmatiansnote 
  • Aladdinnote 
  • Alice in Wonderlandnote 
  • Bambinote 
  • Beauty and the Beastnote 
  • Big Hero 6note 
  • Chicken Littlenote 
  • Cinderellanote 
  • Classic Disney Shortsnote 
  • Disney Theme Parksnote 
  • DuckTalesnote 
  • Dumbonote 
  • Fantasianote 
  • Frozennote 
  • Herculesnote 
  • The Hunchback of Notre Damenote 
  • Lilo & Stitchnote 
  • The Lion King (1994)note 
  • The Little Mermaid (1989)note 
  • Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeersnote 
  • Monsters, Inc.note 
  • Mulannote 
  • The Nightmare Before Christmasnote 
  • Peter Pannote 
  • Pinocchionote 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearlnote 
  • Ratatouillenote 
  • Sleeping Beautynote 
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfsnote 
  • The Sword in the Stonenote 
  • Tanglednote 
  • Tarzannote 
  • Toy Storynote 
    • Toy Story 2note 
    • Toy Story That Time Forgotnote 
  • TRONnote 
    • TRON 2.0note 
    • TRON: Legacynote 
  • Winnie-the-Poohnote 
  • Wreck-It Ralph note 

Cameos only

  • The Aristocatsnote 
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017)note 
  • Coconote 
  • Disney Fairiesnote 
  • Disney Tsum Tsumnote 
  • DuckTales (2017) note 
  • Incredibles 2note 
  • The Jungle Book (1967)note 
  • Lady and the Trampnote 
  • Luxo Jr.note 
  • Moananote 
  • Onwardnote 
  • Soulnote 
  • Zootopianote 

    Square-Enix 
  • The Bouncernote 
  • Bravely Defaultnote 
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy (2015)note 
  • Einhändernote 
  • Final Fantasynote 
  • Final Fantasy VInote 
  • Final Fantasy VIInote 
    • Crisis Corenote 
    • Final Fantasy VII Remakenote 
  • Final Fantasy VIIInote 
  • Final Fantasy IXnote 
  • Final Fantasy Xnote 
    • Final Fantasy X-2note 
  • Final Fantasy Record Keepernote 
  • Imaginary Rangenote 
  • The World Ends with Younote 
  • World of Final Fantasynote 

Due to lengthy periods between releases and the prevalence of Late Arrival Spoilers, spoilers from installments before 2010 are unmarked. Read at your own risk.


Kingdom Hearts as a whole provides examples of:

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    Tropes # 
  • 11th-Hour Superpower:
    • The Final Form transformation in Kingdom Hearts II. Granted, it's available for a while before the final boss, but it's hard to unlock quickly. It's really, really broken too, seeing as how it automatically attacks with every movement, including flying or drinking potions.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Aqua gets the game's best Keyblade in the Final Episode, the semi-hidden true conclusion to the game's storyline. It also forces you to use it in the secret episode added in the final mix version.
    • Plus, for the final battle of the prologue section of Kingdom Hearts II, Roxas gets to dual wield keyblades for the final showdown with Axel. It plays like Sora's drive version, except there isn't a gauge, so it's basically unlimited.
    • Upon entering the final world in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Sora is given an ability called "Trinity Limit" which gives you the ability to decimate any enemies on the screen provided you obtain one Goofy and Donald card during the battle.
    • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: Roxas gains the ability to dual wield the Oathkeeper and Oblivion Keyblades during the first part of Day 358 (the last mission). His attacking speed and power increase dramatically, letting him quickly kill the Neoshadows that spawn with only one or two hits.
  • 13 Is Unlucky:
    • Organization XIII consists of thirteen members who like to walk around in Black Cloaks and do nasty things, which is ambiguously justifiable in that they lost their hearts and are trying to reclaim them. The means of trying to reclaim their hearts, however, involves the distortion of the heart of all worlds. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance reveals that the Organization's true purpose is to serve as vessels to Xehanort, who seeks to reforge the χ-blade by pitting thirteen darknesses against seven lights (the Princesses of Heart). But with Sora foiling his goals, Xehanort is trying again with a second Organization.
    • Sora is described in the Grid as Combatant 13, Foreshadowing Xehanort's plan to use him as his thirteenth vessel.
    • Castle Oblivion, which is used as a base by members of the aforementioned Organization, has thirteen floors.

—But don't be afraid.
You hold the mightiest weapon of all.
So don't forget:
You are the one who will open the door.
 
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Video Example(s):

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I'm Not Afraid of the Darkness

In the original "Kingdom Hearts" (HD 1.5 Remix), when the Destiny Islands are consumed by darkness, Riku accepts the opportunity to leave his tiny island, telling Sora he's not afraid of the darkness and offering his hand. Sora hesitates and Riku is swallowed up by the darkness.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / TakeMyHand

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