WARNING: Per wiki policy, Spoilers Off applies to Tear Jerker pages. All spoilers will be unmarked.
"Only when your hopes have been broken by battle upon battle can the key to Kingdom Hearts be claimed."
- The new theme song, "Oath"/"Don't Think Twice," doesn't have the same hopeful feel like "Simple and Clean" and "Sanctuary" before it. Given that KHIII is the Grand Finale of the "Xehanort Arc" and the nature of this game, it's likely that the song will be a precursor to the saddest Kingdom Hearts game yet.
- Early on in Twilight Town, Sora recalls moments in his life where he felt hurt such as losing his friends, losing the keyblade, and Donald and Goofy having to go on without him afterwards. Judging by the facial expressions on the latter two, it's easy to see that they still feel remorse over abandoning Sora in the first game.
- Also in Twilight Town, Sora constantly voices some variation of "it's been forever" when seeing various things or people again, only to get a reminder they were there not all that long ago. It doesn't take long, thanks to some information from Ienzo, for the main trio to realize that it's Roxas expressing these sentiments from inside Sora. But due to Roxas mostly knowing only a data version of Twilight Town, the real Hayner, Pence, and Olette don't even know who Roxas is.
- Lea and Kairi's first scene together. He appears with two ice creams, trying to start a friendly discussion with her, and Kairi being happy with his company, but she takes notice that he can't stop staring at her and asks if he still has a hard time trying to remember something important. He says yes and Kairi talks about going against him in the practice, saying "Don't hold back, Lea. Promise?" and, for some seconds, Lea sees Xion instead of Kairi. The result? He drops his ice cream and starts crying a lot. He doesn't know why, but it's clear that Xion's demise still hurts him until now.
- Buzz Lightyear's reaction to having to fight the toys possessed by Heartless. He's faced hostile toys in the past, but never has he had to kill a fellow toy, let alone toys who have absolutely no will of their own. Add the Kingdom Hearts elements to it, and his whole perspective of the world is, like in the first movie, turned upside-down.
- Toy Box is split in half, with Woody, Buzz and co in one world and their friends and Andy, etc in the other. This means that, in one world, Andy is running around in a mess looking for his beloved missing toys.
- Eugene's Disney Death, just like in the movie. Not helping that Sora, Donald and Goofy have tears in their eyes as it's happening.
- Elsa's solemn reaction to Sora's amazement over her ability to control ice, believing herself to be a monster who has no control over her powers.
- Marshmallow really does act like a lost child without his mother after Elsa is kidnapped by Hans.
- Xemnas revealing to Marluxia, Larxene, Luxord, and Demyx that they were chosen because of their pasts as ancient Keyblade wielders from the Keyblade War. This surprises them, meaning that they forgot who they used to be.
- For Marluxia, it means that he forgot about his sister Strelitzia, even though his weapon and one of his Nobody forms are references to her.
- Davy Jones fatally stabbing Will Turner in the heart is kept in. Sora stares in utter shock for a moment, then outright screams, and charges Jones head-on, with Donald and Goofy right behind him. They don't even draw their weapons; they're that infuriated that they're outright clobbering Jones with their firsts. And when Jack declares it's time to leave the Dutchman, they can only sadly watch as Elizabeth is torn away from her dying husband and mournfully flee with Jack. Sora also has a muted, sad reaction to learning of Will's curse, lamenting that, much like Will and Elizabeth, he and Kairi never have time.
- The Big Hero 6 world takes place after the events of the movie, where the Heartless possess the Baymax that was left behind inside the portal near the end of that film. This understandably causes a lot of reluctance for Hiro when they are forced to fight him. It's especially Ryan Potter's delivery that really conveys Hiro hating the idea of having to defeat the first Baymax.
Hiro: Tadashi...wouldn't want there to be a Baymax that hurts people.
- Aqua succumbing to the darkness after Ansem casts a spell that plunges her into the sea. This is a culmination of the 12-year-long suffering inside the Realm of Darkness, during which Aqua, as she herself states, waited year after year for help to come, but no one ever came to rescue her.
Aqua: "Mickey... you're too late."
- Anti-Aqua then trash talks Mickey for never considering staging a rescue for her. In return, Mickey silently accepts it and apologizes, stating that everything that happened was his fault. He doesn't even try to fight back, hence why the subsequent boss battle (aside from Mickey initially being held back by the Demon Tide) doesn't feature him as an assist character.
- The fight itself also tugs at the heart-strings. It's an Ironic Echo of the battles with Phantom Aqua in the Realm of Darkness in 0.2. However, Aqua's clones don't taunt you this time. Instead, they seethe with Tranquil Fury as they reinforce her lonely 12-year journey and her feelings of abandonment.
- When Sora finally expels the darkness from inside her, Aqua slowly floats down the sea, where she calmly states that it is the end. It isn't, but that doesn't stop the fact that Aqua truly, fully accepts that nothing good will ever happen to her.
- Even after she is brought back into the Realm of Light, she asks the others whether Destiny Islands (where the team brought her to) has succumbed to the Realm of Darkness. Right, she has a hard time believing that she actually had a chance to escape the Realm of Darkness. Which just makes her subsequent Tears of Joy and the team's Group Hug even sweeter.
- The scene between Demyx and Vexen, where the former says that he's useless and a chicken. Really makes you think about who he is (or in his case, was) as a person underneath his laidback personality.
- When they arrive in Land of Departure, Aqua is quick to caress Ventus's face and hug him, all the while apologizing that it took so long for her to return to him. Then she pleads for him to wake up, but he doesn't respond.
- The day before the final battle, Lea sits by himself in Twilight Town clock tower where he used to eat ice cream with Roxas there. If him looking sad because he wished Roxas was there isn't enough, then him buying three instead of two looks even more sad as he subconsciously remembers Xion. Then Saix arrives, which startles Lea until the former assures him that he's not there to fight, only to talk about their past. Saix begins the conversation with, "Back when we were still friends..." Ouch.
- In the Keyblade Graveyard, all of Sora's friends are swept away by Heartless or otherwise spirited away, culminating in a shot of Sora letting out an anguished scream and slumping to the ground as if in despair. Things must really be set to go horribly horribly wrong if it leads to our typically happy hero breaking down completely.
- The scream is what makes it worse: Seeing Sora, the All-Loving Hero and determined to save the day, literally breaks and falls to his knees. What broke him completely however? Seeing Kairi being taken away by the Demon Tower.
- It's even more bleak as Riku rushes to Sora's side, even shocked at the idea that he's reached his limit, and all we see is Sora crying and admitting defeat.
- If you take the game into account, who's to say Sora hasn't been undergoing Sanity Slippage? Considering the trauma he endured in KH1 with losing his friends, gaining Goofy and Donald and the Keyblade only to lose them after Riku (who was manipulated by Maleficent) took said Keyblade away; the events of Chain of Memories (almost becoming a brainwashed puppet), KHII (Kairi being kidnapped by Axel) and Dream Drop Distance (almost being Xehanort's thirteenth vessel); and the events of this game of worrying about Riku and King Mickey as he couldn't join them in the Realm of Darkness (yet) and witnessing Davy Jones fatally stab Will and attacking him fists on, it's a surprise Sora stayed completely peppy until this very moment.
- It's brief, but Aqua's reaction upon seeing the Demon Tornado clearly shows how spending over a decade in the Realm of Darkness gave her a lifelong PTSD. The poor girl has just come out of a hellhole not even a day ago and now she is about to be swallowed by the darkness again.
- Then there is Ven, who has just woken up from his 12-year-coma and is barely trying to put his life back together. He is the first to be struck down by Xehanort, who takes the form of his beloved brother figure no less.
- Donald burns his own life energy up to save his friends.
- The Final World. For all intents and purposes, it's basically the afterlife (or more specifically, the last stop one makes after death before passing on to the real afterlife). Sora almost died and was talking with stars that were dead people, all of whom have reasons for not being ready to pass on yet. One of them is even a kid "following" a light to find their dad - highly implied to be dead as well - again.
- Theres also another star who was once very close with their friend to the point that theyre practically joined by hip. But when the star arrived at the Final World, their friend was nowhere to be seen, and they just felt...empty.
- The second star in the Final World doesn't even say her name, claiming that her heart is no one's anymore. All she can do so far is waiting for someone to find her. Sadly, that someone's heart has been replaced by another's that he might've forgotten her.
- Even worse? The star says "somebody" killed her. This means it is Strelitzia, who didn't see who killed her and hence why she uses the term "somebody", from Union X, and the person she's waiting for, the one whose "heart has been replaced by another", is her brother, Marluxia.
- In the Final World, the player can finally hear Naminé again, outside of a flashback. She says she will do her best to help and Sora tells her that he still needs to thank her. Properly, face-to-face, and the datascape doesn't count. Naminé also tells Sora that, unlike Roxas, no one will miss her, but Sora assures her that everyone misses her, Roxas included. It's only her voice, but we can notice how happy she was with such simple words.
- The reason why Chirithy was in the final world is because it was waiting for someone, who is implied to be Ventus, though he doesnt remember his past. And it wants that person to be happy with his friends. They finally do reunite in the Earn Your Happy Ending scene, with Chirithy jumping into Ven's arms.
- As Sora jumps to attack the giant storm of Heartless, he is enveloped by light and encounters Ephemer, who calls on hundreds of Keyblades from around the Keyblade Graveyard, Keyblades of wielders from the past, to assist Sora in fighting the Heartless. What makes it such a powerful moment is that the reaction commands to use each Keyblade have the usernames of real players from Kingdom Hearts χ.
- Goes the opposite way that, by being referenced in this way, all of those listed players were confirmed as Killed Off for Real as only one Keyblade wielder survived the First Keyblade War. Being listed means that survivor was NOT your character.
- Defeating each member of the True Organization XIII at the Keyblade Graveyard:
Roxas: I owe my return to many. Some of them people you knew.
Xemnas: Ansem the Wise. Zexion...
(Roxas raises his keyblade at Xemnas, but the angle makes it look like he is pointing it at Saix.)
And others, too.
- The sad part? Saix doesn't react or say anything the while scene. Not when Axel is about to be killed, or when Xion is revealed. He just seems to be staring vacantly forwards, a heavy contrast to his reveal at the end of DDD when he at least looked conflicted when attacking Axel. Considering Saix wanted Axel to win and Roxas to come back, it's heavily implied he had little control before being defeated.
- The reveal that Terra's heart was trapped inside the guardian this whole time. It's more sad when you remember his lines from Fragmentary Passage, about 'only being able to see darkness' when Aqua said she could see Ven next to him. So all these years Terra has been switching between being a heartless, forced to serve his own body-snatcher, and being alone in a dark void fighting a battle of wills with said body-snatcher. Special mention goes to Terra struggling to talk in his heartless form for the first time, after years of silent enslavement.
- When the penultimate showdown happens, Young Xehanort manages to escape back to his timeline after he's finally beaten. Ansem and Xemnas aren't nearly so fortunate. Ansem reveals he knew he was marching to his own final death, being unable or unwilling to rebel against his original self. Xemnas's demise is even worse. Remember, he's half of Terra as well as Xehanort's Nobody, and as a result feels remorse over what he's done to his own Organization. He admits he took them for granted, abused them and now that they're all gone he has nothing. His first genuine emotion in years? Loneliness. Xemnas states that the reason he valued the heart only for its power was because he felt like otherwise to have a heart - to be human - was to be in pain, remarking that living on with a heart and feelings must take "exceptional strength" right as he fades away for good.
- Xehanort killing Kairi. Sora begins screaming "WHY HER!? WHY!?" as he attacks Xehanort, with tears streaming down his face. Not only that, but both Riku and Mickey throw caution to the side and blindly attack him, no doubt being just as surprised as Sora.
- Seeing Kingdom Hearts, the literal embodiment of all light and hearts within the game's universe become tainted and lose its signature beautiful glow into a dark purple shade as it fires darkness into the Keyblade Graveyard is both this and a bit of Nightmare Fuel.
- It's almost impossible to feel any sympathy for Master Xehanort after all he's done, but seeing him in a weakened, pitiful state after he's been beaten in the final battle, barely able to stand and barely able to hold the X-Blade, even as he points it at the spirit of Eraqus and insists "No! I can do this!", is actually rather sad, especially when we see how close and brotherly he and Eraqus used to be when they were kids. That it takes Eraqus having to simply tell Xehanort "Enough", along with "Checkmate" as a Call-Back to their boyhood chess games, to get Xehanort to finally give up his ambitions, relinquish the X-Blade, and wait for death to claim him casts a rather somber light on the end of the series' Big Bad to this point.
- While Eraqus gets to have a tearful and heartfelt farewell with his three students, all Xehanort can do is watch the parting with envy and regret as he's burned so many bridges that there's no one left on the material plane to see him off.
- In the last "chess as kids" flashback, Xehanort admits that Eraqus will surpass him and be chosen as the world's defender, but declares he would still be there for Eraqus regardless. Yeah, we know how THAT ended. One of the Secret Reports that can be found post-game further describes how Xehanort went on his own pilgrimage after that, determined to remain Eraqus's equal, and turned to harnessing the darkness in order to accomplish this, and everything went down-hill from there. In the same way that Riku's past obsession with one-upping Sora was a shadow of his original desire for the strength to protect what matters, Xehanort's insane quest to change the entire world was a shadow of his desire to stand by his friend... and unlike Riku, Xehanort remains consumed by this shadow until the very end of his life.
- Somehow in a big helping of tragic irony, Sora manages to save nearly everyone, from Aqua and Terra who were fully corrupted by darkness, to Roxas, Namine and Xion who didn't even have bodies. The one person he misses? Kairi, of all people, again, which Sora bitterly lampshades. Sora has to leave to use his power of Waking to find Kairi's heart, and while he does manage to get her back, it means that he may never be able to return to this world.
- The ending for Sora and Kairi. The two inexplicably return and at first, it seems like everything is going to be okay with the reunited. The two share a loving moment together, staring into each other's eyes warmly, with Sora squeezing her hand as if to show how he cares. Then Kairi starts crying, evidently aware of what is about to happen. Sora suddenly and mysteriously vanishes into thin air, leaving Kairi alone. Whatever he did to bring Kairi back, it cost him his very existence. It's apparent she probably knew that Sora would disappear and is saying her last goodbyes. Before he disappears, Sora gives Kairi's a hand a tight squeeze and he smiles at her. He's probably reassuring her before his tragic vanishing act.
- There's a soft moment right after Sora vanishes of Kairi's reaction. As the clouds cover the sun as it sets, the scene gets visibly darker, making her seem a lot more lonely. You can see the exact moment Kairi winces as she realizes Sora is no longer by her side, indubitably crying before the screen cuts to black.
- Adding to the sadness is the fact that in the moment where Kairi starts crying, immediately beforehand the ending song "Don't Think Twice" has the lyrics "I want you for a lifetime," heavily implying that is never going to happen.
- If you think about it, Sora didn't lie when he said that he would bring both him and Kairi back, and that she wouldn't be alone anymore. For all intents and purposes, he did. He was on Destiny Islands long enough for the others to acknowledge him and Kairi back. He managed to stay in his form long enough to fulfill that promise before he faded away.
- Sora still hasn't thanked Namine. Not in the way he actually wanted to, face to face, with Namine as her own person. With how the game ends, it's hard to say if he'll ever be able to.
- As soon as Donald saw Sora sitting on the tree with Kairi, he looked about ready to sprint over to greet Sora, meaning that it's the first time they've seen Sora since the Final Battle, but Mickey stops him to allow him and Kairi a moment together. Everyone was watching Sora and Kairi share a moment together with smiles on their faces, but it also meant that they also watched Sora inexplicably vanish out of existence.
- And imagine being in Riku's shoes, watching as your best friend of over a decade simply... vanishes. Especially after everything Riku did, particularly in Days and DDD, to bring Sora back from the brink of oblivion. At least the secret ending seems to imply Riku's going to get Sora back once again.
- The only consolation the player has, with Sora disappearing, is that Nomura said that Sora will still be the protagonist of future games, meaning that he is not truly gone. But fans have to deal with the bittersweet ending for who-knows how many years. After all, it took 6 years for III to come out, so who knows how long it'll be until IV does?
- Sora and Kairi have apparently made their relationship official. Sure, it doesn't last long as Sora fades away, but, finally, finally, they've acted on their feelings.
- Sora fell to darkness in the last game, albeit unintentionally and only for a very small portion of time... yet this is enough to "do something" to him to make Winnie The Pooh lose him in his heart. When the small bear full of fluff and honey forgets you, it's a real bad time!
- And with Sora now faded away into nothing, Pooh might never see him again ever. Let's hope that bear holds Sora tight into his heart.
- One subtle detail that becomes worse after the ending - Sora on the cover on Pooh's book in sitting next to Pooh in the exact same position he'd be seen sitting next to Kairi in the final scene. And prior to completing the 100 Acre Woods games, Sora has disappeared from his spot on the cover. Just as he would disappear from his spot next to Kairi in the end.
- When Mickey and Minnie reunite in the credits, Mickey runs to his wife and Minnie is actually crying in happiness at being reunited with him!
- After the vist to the 100 Acre Wood, Sora expresses sadness over his connection to Pooh becoming weaker, admitting to Merlin that he doesn't want his lose his friends. It makes the ending 10 times more sad in hindsight.