WARNING: Per wiki policy, Spoilers Off applies to Heartwarming Moments pages. All spoilers will be unmarked.
Young Eraqus and Xehanort playing chess. It's sad and tense but they really were like brothers once.
The lyrics to "Oath" sound like a wedding song, leading to fans wondering if this means Sora and Kairi will finally be an item. Especially since this song is probably one of the most happiest song that Utada Hikaru has made so far.
It's a perfect day for our oath. I don't need pretty flowers or blessings. Let's wear rings with the same color of the morning sun. Kiss me once, kiss me twice... Once is just not enough. Kiss me once, kiss me twice... Give me all of you. Kiss me once, kiss me twice... Kiss me three times, please...
Crosses into tearjerker territory when considering what ends up happening at the end of the game...
The fact that, though they claim they're "looking after" Sora at the end of 2.8, Donald and Goofy are just having fun fighting the Heartless with their best friend by their side. They've been sidelined for so long — now? Now, they're back to kick arse.
One of the social media post-type loading screens you may get is from Sora, when all the heroes gather after rescuing Aqua and Ventus: "I wouldn't be here without your help. I'm sorry we're not all together yet, but I promise we will be soon. #roxas #terra #thanknamine"
It's relatively minor, but considering how Nomura loves the little details, let's bring up Mickey and Riku's new matching outfits. Sora will always be his best friend, but after all he and Mickey have been through, it shows one of Kingdom Hearts' recurring plot points: Riku and Mickey Mouse are bros.
Mickey saying that Riku can face the darkness now because he's found the strength to protect what matters.
Some might be bummed to find that Radiant Garden/Hollow Bastion is only seen in cutscenes, considering its importance in the previous numbered games. But think about it. Hollow Bastion is infamous in the first game as a Disc-One Final Dungeon, being the headquarters of the Disney villains and the ground zero of the Heartless infestation. Even when it has been restored as a habitable place in II, it is on constant alert everyday, what with Maleficent still using it as her base, its own security system attacking it out of god-complex, and the existence of the 1000 Heartless. But now? The place has become peaceful enough that Sora has no business there — because there is no threat anymore. No Heartless, no Unversed, and the only two Nobodies shown in the place (Vexen and Demyx) are on the heroes' side. It has gone back to the Radiant Garden that Ansem the Wise envisioned: an idyllic utopia.
Hayner, Pence and Olette offer to help Sora bring back Roxas. From all we knew, the three of them were only briefly acquainted with Roxas, so it speaks heavily about their characters that they want to help someone they barely know.
Sora is looking to bring back Roxas so he can be his own person. Even better is when a later scene explains his reason for doing it:
Sora: Roxas does exist. His heart's inside my heart.
Likewise, Kairi tells Lea that she wants Namine to be real and her own person.
As a Call-Back to 358/2 Days, Kairi and Lea watch the sunset while eating sea salt ice cream after one of their training regimes, just like how Axel used to spend his time with Roxas and Xion. Crosses into Tearjerker since Kairi briefly reminds Lea of Xion when she says "Don't hold back, Lea. Promise?".
Rex squeeing over Sora, Donald, and Goofy because he thinks that they are action figures of characters from a video game he's been playing.
Woody refusing to let Sora and co. confront the bad guys alone, saying that they're gonna have to work together to put an end to these baddies and find Andy.
Andy's love for his toys is so great that Organization XIII hypothesizes that it may have brought his toys to life.
This makes Toy Story 3 even more Heartwarming. Andy has stopped playing with his Toys... but they're still alive - and remain so after he goes off to college - that boy adores his Toys so much that even being eighteen years old and about to enter the world of adulthood, they're still kicking.
It's not just Andy whose toys came to life. Hannah Phillipsnote Sid's sister, Emilynote Jessie's original owner, Amynote the girl Stinky Pete was given to, Daisynote the original owner of Lotso, Chuckles, and Big Baby, and Bonnienote who ended up getting Andy's toys when he grew up showed an equal love for their toys, giving them life as well.
Buzz saying "To Infinity and Beyond!" to Sora and co. when they have to leave, sounding less like famous words and more like the extent of their friendship.
Woody makes the deduction that should they return to their original world, they will never see Sora, Donald and Goofy again. So they don't mind waiting just a little longer going home so they can have some adventures with their new friends!
Rapunzel appears to be having several... moments.. after she realizes she's free. Flynn looks bored and annoyed. Sora just lets Rapunzel have her geek-out. Made more heartwarming right afterwards when Sora points out that he was just like her once, never having set foot outside his home for most of his life. He tells Donald and Goofy how thankfully he is that they found him and opened the way to his adventures.
Return to the Kingdom of Corona after completing the world's story, and background chatter of the citizens in town changes to have them expressing they joy that the princess is back. Of particular note is a child saying "the princess is so fun to talk to!"
Sora and Boo bonding upon meeting, which involves Boo happily jumping up and down.
It gets better later on; near the end, before sending Boo back to her room, she seemingly mistakes Donald for "Mike Wazowski", prompting an exasperated Mike to correct her. It turns out that Boo was, in fact, referring to Mike, as she runs to him and gives him a hug.
Boo high fives Mike and Sulley after defeating Vanitas.
This exchange between Pooh Bear and Sora.
Pooh: I want us to be together forever.
Sora: What matters is I'll be here (points to Pooh's chest) from now on. (Pooh smiles and chuckles)
Sora calling Elsa's ice powers amazing, even if she thinks they aren't — it's from being an islander; he finds snow mysterious and cool and very cold, especially as he's in shorts.
Sora vowing to not let Elsa fall into darkness definitely count. Especially if one realizes how similar Elsa is to Riku.
The second time the group encounters Marshmallow he's trying to track down Elsa after Hans has taken her. Seeing that he just wanted to protect her, they decide to team up with him to save her.
Marshmallow acting as a barrier to protect the group from being blown away during the snowstorm and after defeating Hans' heartless.
Sora singing "Yo-Ho (A Pirate's Life For Me)" from Pirates of the Caribbeannote the ride, that is, so happy to be back as a pirate... and dressed up as a pirate (gold tooth and all).
More awesome and heartwarming when you remember the earlier games. After defeating Captain Hook, Sora couldn't wait to tell Kairi about his adventures on a pirate ship. Then he later jokes with Donald and Goofy about stealing a pirate ship. Sora has become an Ascended Fanboy, in that he's gone from being captured by pirates twicenote first time after Riku betrays him, and second when Barbossa denies Will's demands, forcing Peter Pan and Jack Sparrow to rescue him, to being the Captain of the Leviathan and becoming a genuine threat against Davy Jones.
Sora, Donald and Goofy hanging out on the raft is pretty heartwarming to see. Despite all the dark stuff in this game going on, it's nice to see that they're having fun together as friends; clearly excited to be together again, with Donald and Goofy humoring Sora, with Goofy even mentioning how much Sora liked the world. It's a nice little reminder that, at the end of the day, despite the fact that they said they were "looking after" him at the end of Dream Drop Distance, what they're actually doing is going off on an adventure and having fun with their friend.
When the trio returns to the Caribbean, they are greeted by Will and Elizabeth and are very happy to see them. They then take notice of how different Elizabeth looks and admire her heroic appearance, noting that she is "all swashbuckly" as Goofy so aptly describes. Later when they try to convince Jack that they are in fact not hallucinations, Jack begins mocking Sora and Elizabeth shuts him down by stepping between them and making Jack realize that they have in fact come to save him. Elizabeth may not have been the one Sora bonded with the most but he still admires her and she clearly cares for him a lot.
Jack is looking for a crew in Davy Jones Locker. Immediately, he takes Sora, Donald and Goofy with him.
Adding to the above, as they head out from the Locker, Jack lets Sora take the helm of the Black Pearl; A ship Jack is (understandably) very protective of, yet he completely trusts Sora to steer her for a bit the way an older sibling might let their younger brother drive their car for a bit.
After Sora defeats the Raging Vulture Heartless that was attacking the Black Pearl, he ends up falling into the ocean and loses consciousness. When he wakes up, he sees that Donald and Goofy managed to fish him out to land, but now they're stranded. Jack then appears on the scene and reveals that he came after them, and a pan up to his leg shows a crab falling from his pant leg. Though this Jack is just an illusion made by Tia Dalma, she did it so that they wouldn't get hurt as part of the fight against Davy Jones and the armada.
If you recall, Ariel's desire throughout KHI was to be able to see other worlds, and she was disappointed when Sora told her he couldn't help her. 16 out-of-universe years later and he finally will, especially as summons remember their time with Sora, like Mushu and Simba did. Ariel is going to remember these other worlds.
Mythology Gag example: Ariel appears as something resembling seafoam. Now recall the fate of the mermaid in the original Hans Christian Andersen story. In a sense, Ariel's appearance has, in a way, given the original mermaid an even happier ending through her.
Pictured above, Lea compliments Kairi's new clothes and haircut, and the two sit down and watch the sunset together. Especially touching to fans who were afraid the two wouldn't get along after interactions between his nobody and her in II. In fact, Kairi actually forgives Lea.
Hiro saying that Tadashi still lives on in all of the team while he, Sora, Baymax and Gogo set atop the San Fransokyo bridge eating ice cream together in a similar fashion to Roxas and his friends. Sora then starts hallucinating himself as Roxas sitting with his friends from Twilight Town after Hiro brings up his brother. Sora views Roxas as his brother.
Sora gets to have a battle with a corrupted Aqua. This may not seem heartwarming but its the fact that if anyone is going to bring someone back from the brink, it's Sora.
Special mention is remembering that Hope Spot shot at the end of the 0.2 opening, the one in which Sora reaches down his hand to pull Aqua back above water? That scene gets recreated here.
Although the lead-up to it is a bit of a Tear Jerker, there is also Aqua's Tears of Joy upon realizing that she has successfully reentered the Realm of Light. Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Mickey respond by hugging her (not exactly the hugging type, Riku settles for a comforting pat on the shoulder).
According to the Ultimania, Saix rejoined the organization to atone for what he did, and he vowed to do good for Lea and Roxas.
Demyx agreeing to help Vexen to smuggle Ansem the Wise and a replica body for Roxas into Radiant Garden laboratory. He even cheerfully greets Ienzo with friendly tone and bears no ill will to his former ally.
Ienzo's reunion with Ansem the Wise is quite touching. Each apologizes to the other for their mistakes.
Aqua restoring the Land of Departure. We saw how Xehanort ruined it with darkness, how Aqua transformed it into Castle Oblivion to prevent others from knowing Ventus' whereabouts, how Naminé was born there completely alone, how the Organization XIII used it for their horrific memory experiments, and how it was then left to rot for two years. With just a swing of her Keyblade, Aqua not only reverts the building back to its former shape, but also rejuvenates the world from the ground up, complete with the sun blaring out of the clouds to light the sky. This is not Castle Oblivion or the messy building from which it was built. This is the Land of Departure, the safe haven of Keyblade wielders and the place where Aqua and Terra grew up. Aqua has truly made it home.
Once again, Ventus regains consciousness (in this case, total, 12-year-long coma, instead of Harmless Freezing) when he sees Vanitas about to kill Aqua.
Also Ventus's gratitude to Sora for letting him stay in his heart.
Ventus: Thank you for always keeping me safe, Sora...
Also the first exchange between Aqua and Ventus in 12 years. The tone in their voices and their facial expressions really sells it.
Aqua: Good morning, Ven.
Ventus: Good morning, Aqua.
Yen Sid's briefing for the Guardians of Light before the final battle has a few touching moments.
Aqua reassures Riku that she is not mad at him for not helping her come out of the Realm of Darkness sooner. She proceeds to congratulate him and Mickey for becoming Keyblade Masters. It shows that whatever hate and resentment Aqua showed during her previous boss battle did not come from her (or if they did, they are buried deep in her mind) and she is still the kind and motherly figure she has always been.
When Lea goes on his fourth wall rant about the major developments in the series, Ventus interrupts him and calls him by his name. He not only remembers their meeting 12 years ago, but also the fact that they called each other friends.
Really, the sheer fact that Aqua still remembers Sora, Kairi, and Riku after more than a decade. Ditto with Ventus remembering Lea. Each party met the other for less than an hour in Birth by Sleep and yet the memories still resonate within them years afterward.
When Sora becomes down and laments that Terra, Roxas, and Naminé are not there to join them, not a single person in the room keeps quiet about this. Especially heartwarming because Sora has never met Terra before. Riku reminds Sora that he is not the kind of person to mope about and tells him that they will save Terra from the Organization. Aqua and Ventus back him, telling Sora that they will personally take action to free Terra. Lea then tells Sora that he will bring back Roxas somehow, while Kairi reassures him that Naminé is safe with her and she will continue protecting her. Mickey joins in and says that they are in this together, followed by Donald and Goofy reminding Sora that they are part of a full pint. Finally, Yen Sid sums up to Sora that the lost guardians will come to them given time.
When Sora emerges in the Final World its noted that most people don't retain their bodies. The reason Sora's does? Kairi whose belief that he'll return is so strong it keeps him together. Kairi herself even admits in a later cutscene that she just believed that he wouldn't fade away.
Sora saying that he'll come back to visit Chirithy because they're friends now.
Sora's reunion with Naminé in the Final World, even if the latter lacks a body. Especially the bit when she says that no one will miss her like Roxas, Sora shoots this down and says that he will miss her. He promises that he will thank her properly, face-to-face, with Naminé in her own body; this meeting and the Datascape don't count. Doubles as a Tear Jerker when you watch the ending and realize that Sora's promise might never be fulfilled.
When Sora lists off the other people who want to see her. He names Donald, Goofy, Mickey, Roxas, and "someone else special" who won't let her down. In the Japanese version, he outright tells her "the person that wants to see you the most will come to get you". Lo and behold, the ending reveals that this person was Riku.
When Sora returns from the Final World after restoring himself, he sets out to save his friends, while noting that he is alone now, to which Jiminy emerges, and says that he's still here, encouraging Sora to proceed. It shows that despite his relatively minor role in the series, and his inability to fight or assist beyond logging their adventures, Jiminy is still considered one of Sora's friends, and important part of the team.
Sora looks for each of his friends hearts while fighting The Lich managing to find and save all but one; Kairi's. As Sora is traveling back to the light however he sees Kairi and, much like in Kingdom Hearts I, realises that the light that brings him home is her. Sora tells her that she makes him feel strong and she tells him that he's safe with her. The two then return back to the light while holding hands.
The original Riku Replica, who was with Riku during the game, gave up his chance of gaining a body of his own, for Namine.
There's not a dry eye both in-universe and out when the trios of Terra, Ven, and Aqua and Roxas, Xion, and Axel/Lea finally reunite. Both cases end with the respective groups huddled together, crying.
Terra, finally freed of Xehanort's control, approaches an unconscious Ven, but Aqua's a little hesitant, outright asking if it's really him this time. Terra confirms it, telling her that she was lighting his way. And then when Ven comes to, Terra informs him that he could hear him calling for him too and that Ven found him like he said he would. Then, finally, Terra hugs them tenderly. Aqua and Ven are both exhausted from their previous fight, but we can see how they all try to get as close as possible to each other.
When the seasalt trio is finally given a moment to themselves, Roxas smiles at Lea and then Xion burst out sobbing. It's especially heartwarming to see them happy to see each other after all the suffering they had to go through in Days. Then, both Lea and Roxas get very worried, and all three of them have a difficult time keeping it in after Lea jokes about how he should have brought some ice cream. The scene ends with Lea running towards Roxas and Xion, and with all the three of them on their knees, hugging each other and crying.
What makes these reunions even more heartwarming is that each trio didn't exactly part ways in good terms. But they certainly are not going to let old petty grudges overcome their joy of finally seeing each other.
Even some of the defeated Organization members get in on the action and remind us that they are, in truth, actual people under there - they're merely being used as heart tanks at the moment:
Saïx shares a joke with Lea as he fades, with the two promising to see each other again.
Luxord gives Sora one last prize for winning their "game", and the two agree that it would be nice to play again some time.
Marluxia begins to recover his previous identity, which he credits to Sora.
Larxene looks like she's going out as her usual charming self, but then admits that this fate is better than being Xehanort's vessel. Sora deduces that she went along with Xehanort's plan to stick close to someone, implied to Marluxia, who she has a long history with. Larxene declines to answer, but can visibly be seen reconsidering, then offers up the reply of "My secret!" in a legitimately playful (as opposed to mean-spirited) tone and a genuine smile as she fades.
Lastly, Ansem, the original Seeker of Darkness. He acknowledges Riku and Sora as being stronger than the darkness, and encourages them to move on and find something new to seek after.
Right before Sora heads out for the final fight with Xehanort, Xion tells Sora that she knows that Kairi is still okay in spite of her apparent death. Given that Sora might still be shaken up over what happened to her, it's nice to see a girl who was mostly born from his memories of her in the first place reassure him that she knows they will find each other again. Doubly heartwarming when you remember she's probably speaking from experience due to her own reunion with her two dearest friends despite her all but fading from existence and memory when she died herself.
Sora defeating Master Xehanort with Trinity. Goofy and Donald appear at Sora's side and aid him to repeal Xehanort's final attack, then they combine their powers to counterattack and defeat him once and for all.
If your PS4's controller speaker is on during this fight, then at each heartbeat during Sora's supposed game over screen, you'll hear Donald and Goofy calling Sora's name. The two of them brought Sora back from the brink of defeat with their friendship!
Terra, Aqua and Ven are briefly able to reunite with Eraqus before he finally goes into the light. Eraqus apologizes to them for everything he put them through.
Eraqus convincing Xehanort to finally give up and concede defeat. Even after two betrayals and all of the things Xehanort did over the course of the series, Eraqus still forgives and accepts Xehanort, even though it's possible that no one else ever will. And Xehanort accepts and gives Sora the X-blade and sincerely congratulates him. And as Xehanort is about to collapse, Eraqus is immediately there to carry him. As the two pass on, they appear as their younger selves, happy and content, finally able to put aside their differences and embrace each other as brothers again.
After so many years of waiting, everyone is reunited with their friends and get the happy ending they so richly deserve.
Ventus hugs Chirithy, who is his own Chirithy from back when he was in the Dandelions. What makes this moment sweeter is that the Chirithy are essentially the closest thing this game has to an angel of sorts. Chirithy was going to leave Ven alone since he didnt remember the past and was pretty happy with the friends he made in his new life and told Sora that it would see Ven again someday (read: upon Vens death)... but however, the Chirithy didnt want to wait that long.
Hayner, Pence and Olette join Roxas, Xion, Lea, and Isa to have ice cream on the clock tower. They can finally be friends for real!
Namines return. She wakes up in Radiant Garden just after Ansem the Wise and Ienzo placed her in her new body. As shes escorted out of the castle (with Dilan giving her polite bow) the Gummi ship touches down, and Riku takes her gently by the hand. The whole scene plays out like a princess being escorted to her chariot. A stark contrast to someone who was introduced as a "witch".
Mickey and Minnie and co reunite at Disney Castle. Donald gets a hug from his girl and Minnie is actually crying as Mickey runs to greet her.
The last scene before the credits is rather bittersweet considering what happens to Kairi and Sora. But it is a nice way to end the Seekers of Darkness arc. Just about every character thats part of a trio (and Isa) is taken to Destiny Islands. Riku, Terra and Roxas have a race across the beach. Ventus, Lea, and Isa toss a Frisbee around. Xion and Namine collect seashells. Even Hayner, Pence, and Olette get in on the trip building a sand sculpture with Donald and Goofy.
Note that Lea and Isa first met Ventus in Birth by Sleep. It looks like Lea keeps his promise to make Ventus his (and Isa's) friend, after all! Also, they play with the same frisbee that Lea used as "weapon" in Birth by Sleep.
Roxas and the Twilight Town gang finally get to go to the beach together and now, finally, Roxas has six friends in Twilight Town with him!
Even though it's bittersweet with Sora suddenly and mysteriously just vanished to thin air thanks to abusing his Power of Waking, the scene of Sora and Kairi sitting together watching a warm sunset, clutching each other's hands tightly as they share a loving gaze is very, very sweet. Though they remain apart once again, a photo of them appears in the credits of them together, bringing hope that the two may be reunited once again.
Sora and Kairi are sat together, hand in hand - it seems they've made their relationship official.
Just check out someofthe reactions to the reveal of the release date. The volume of excitement just says it all. After being the butt of jokes for so long note the since-discredited "Now in Development" meme pretty much says it all, seeing that release date is pretty much the fandom finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after 13 years of waiting.
A Disney executive named Justin Scarpone was at the Dandelions event and he spoke at it, going off-script and thanking the Kingdom Hearts fans for their dedication and patience, not unlike Jimmy Potaro at D23. During a conversation with a fan in the parking lot after the event, he said that while it took them a long time, Disney finally realizes and recognizes how much this game is worth and means to people and that they want even more of it now. He also spoke of working with Nomura and the Classic Kingdom games. He spoke of Nomura having a very strong and personal respect for Disney, Final Fantasy, and their respective fans, and couldn't be more excited for the future. He spoke of his dedication to making everything as perfect as he could, especially with the Classic Kingdom games. Despite all the rumors and criticisms about Nomura and Osaka, they do in fact care. They care even more than we imagined. (The moment also crossed over into funny territory: there is a team of about 300 people working on this game; Scarpone brings them all coffee and Red Bull, and when Nomura had the idea for Classic Kingdom, everyone thought he was nuts.)
Utada Hikaru joking that if Square Enix didn't release Kingdom Hearts III soon, she'd have to release "Don't Think Twice"/"Oath" early... which she later did. Even if she doesn't play Kingdom Hearts, it doesn't take away from the fact that she's supportive of it and the fans, and she knows how much fans love her music.
One YouTube comment on one of the trailers:
A moment of respect and silence to all the Kingdom Hearts fans that passed away before the release of Kingdom Hearts 3. May your hearts be your guiding key.
Akio Ohtsuka succeeds his father as the Japanese voice of Master Xehanort after the latter's passing in 2015. He does a spot-on impression, which shows just how much he knew his father's voice and acting style.