Kingdom Hearts

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There are many worlds,
but they share the same sky--
one sky, one destiny.

Opening credits

A series of Action RPG games, co-produced by Square Soft (now Square Enix) and Disney, directed by Final Fantasy character designer Tetsuya Nomura, and starring characters from both companies.

Kingdom Hearts started out as the ultimate Crossover game: a fun, dynamic game with platforming elements and a solid plot. The first installment was followed by a number of sequels, all of which provided Retcon moments for previous games and added Loads and Loads of Characters. The series is known for its memorable scenes, its elegant fighting system and its balanced difficulty level. At the same time, more recent installments are infamous for having one hell of an intertwined plot, spread across many different games on 6 (soon to be 8) different consoles... which can get really confusing if you don't come at it systematically, and even that's no guarantee that you'll understand it.

The main story is a game equivalent of a Trapped in TV Land situation. Characters from classic Disney films (animated as well as live-action) and characters from Final Fantasy games are cast out from The Theme Park Version of their universes, and end up trapped in a joined world. There, they meet an Animesque hero in Mickey Mouse pants named Sora, who hits inky black creatures with a giant key. Joining him are two other original characters: Kairi, a sweet young girl, and Riku, a cocky teen who, despite having a good heart, decides to explore villainy. The series' first sequel, Chain of Memories, added a group of troubled people called Organization XIII, who quickly joined the main cast from Kingdom Hearts II onwards.

With a strong focus on The Power of Friendship, the game's combat is bloodless, yet action-oriented and extremely fun. The interaction between the two franchises, in particular, warmed the hearts of many gamers: for long-time fans, much of the game's fun is in seeing Disney's Merlin befriend Cid Highwind, Auron fighting Hades, and Squall working on a mission with Tron. The combat system got extremely shiny and slick in Kingdom Hearts II, adding more situational abilities, more strategy, more speed, and almost doubling the number of enemies on screen during battle. Still, the series' content is appropriate for any age—but don't underestimate the Nintendo Hardness of some games because of that.

Proving incredibly popular, it has now become one of Square Enix's and Disney's flagship series.

The series consists of the following games:

Side releases

  • Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix (2013, Play Station 3): a collection containing Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Re:Chain of Memories, and the cutscenes of 358/2 Days, all remade and remastered in HD.
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix (2014, (Play Station 3) A second collection containing "Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Birth by Sleep Final Mix, and the cutscenes of Re:coded.
  • Kingdom Hearts x; [chi] (Android, apple smartphones, PC): A Web Game set in a fairy tale version of the Keyblade War.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Union X (Android, apple smartphones, PC)
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (2017, PlayStation 4): a third collection containing Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance HD, * Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage, a short episode taking place after Birth by Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, a cinematic film.

The series contains appearances by characters and locations from the following games, films and franchises. Labeled after each is which game it appears in, abbreviated, and its role. (w) for "world" means you visit the location and can explore. (c) for "character" means only that characters from that franchise show up, whether in the form of a summon, or you meet them in person. (r) for "reference" means merely that the franchise is referenced in some way, such as art or architecture, or the world shows up in a non-interactive form.


Final Fantasy:


Kingdom Hearts is the Trope Namer for:
The following tropes are common to many or all entries in the Kingdom Hearts franchise.
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.
  • Aborted Arc: One of the main concepts of the first game was that Sora, Donald, and Goofy cannot interfere with the affairs of other worlds, since they're outsiders. This hasn't been brought up again since the first game and is mostly ignored now. Justified through, since most of the problems they fix in the different worlds are caused by other people meddling, so you could say they're fixing what was put wrong.
    • Birth By Sleep adds on that Keyblade wielders are free to travel between worlds, but are not to tell their inhabitants about the existences of worlds besides their own. However by the time of Kingdom Hearts worlds are being destroyed left and right and their inhabitants are taking refuge in Traverse Town, so this isn't an issue for Sora. Even in Birth By Sleep's timeframe though, other characters are already aware of other worlds and are implied to travel between them.
  • Achilles' Heel: Sora, Saïx, Marluxia, and Roxas may be extremely powerful, but depriving them of their weapons would render them almost powerless. If Sora is without his Keyblade, it would take many hits to take down even the weakest of enemies, although using magic is still as effective as if you still had the Keyblade.
  • Action Girl: Aqua from Birth By Sleep.
    • Mulan, Ariel, and Queen Minnie (in the one stage she fights with you) from the Disney cast. Tifa and Yuffie from the Final Fantasy cast.
    • Kairi also starts showing signs of this in KH2 once she gets a Keyblade, but at this point she's still strictly a beginner.
  • Actor Allusion: It may be unintentional, but Ansem, voiced by Christopher Lee, is often referred to as Ansem the Wise. Saruman, who was also played by Christopher Lee, is often referred to as Saruman the Wise in the book and films.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Ienzo, who follows around his mentor in an oversized labcoat, and Young Riku, who is abnormally serious and mature for his tender years. Both are definitely played for cute.
  • Aerith and Bob: You've got Sora, Kairi and Riku (distinctly Japanese names), amongst mainly English or more standard names (and the trio of Birth By Sleep have Latin names). In some cases it's understandable, though, such as with some Disney villains or Organization XIII.
  • Alien Geometries: Castle Oblivion. It exists at the very edge of light and darkness, it's far larger than it looks, its layout/inhabitants change to match the memories of an occupant, and it somehow forces whomever enters to play a card game. Only the person who created it has any idea what secrets it really hides: the body of Ventus in the Chamber of Waking, awaiting the return of its Heart.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: None of the characters are supposed to tell anyone else that there are other worlds.
    • Justifiably subverted with Sora's adventure as by that many different worlds are being destroyed and its survivors all ended up in the same place, interacting with one another. Not to forget, the villains during that time didn't care too much about stealth. So, of course come the sequels the secret of there being other worlds is out in the open.
    • It should be noted, however, that the Organization members, aside from Roxas, seem to be more serious about their "this is a stealth operation" directive.
    • Even ten years earlier in Birth By Sleep, the Keyblade wielders never seemed that concerned about concealing things. Standard Operating Procedure seemed to boil down to 'go up to the first person you meet and demand information from them'.
  • All-Star Cast: Though some of them are replaced with The Other Darrin sometimes, the voice acting credits of the series include Haley Joel Osment, David Gallagher, Jesse McCartney, Billy Zane, Christopher Lee, Leonard Nimoy and Mark Hamill. And that's just the original characters; we're not listing the Disney and Final Fantasy credits, which include Mandy Moore, James Woods and Dan Castellaneta.
  • All There in the Manual: Much of explanations for the Kingdom Hearts mysteries are in the Ultimania guides which, surprise surprise, will never see the light of day outside of Japan.
    • One of the most prominent examples being cutscenes from KH2: Final Mix+ being included in the opening for 358/2 Days, as well as mention of the Chambers of Repose and Waking. Which were also only mentioned in Final Mix+ . Which was only released in Japan. It seems a lot of the time like Square just assumes the player finds out about all this elsewhere. (Which we do, but only because they make it necessary to do so...)
    • Heck, think of the little kids who play Kingdom Hearts and have no idea that the Final Mix versions exist. Imagine how confused they are when the aforementioned events are mentioned in other installments.
  • Alternate Continuity: All characters from previous works.
    • Except possibly the characters in Halloween Town and Olympus Coliseum (Jack seems to have caused trouble in Christmas Town before Kingdom Hearts II and tells Sora it's a "long story", and Hercules has apparently already "figured out what it takes to be a true hero" and is already in a relationship with Megara).
    • And Auron. At one point, you get flashes of his memories and their quotes from Final Fantasy X.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Every character who has sought to further their own power or knowledge, no matter how just their cause is, ends up either being a villain or aligned with one. The main character, Sora, is notably lacking in ambition.
  • Anachronic Order: The (Secret) Ansem Reports. You never collect them in numerical order, leaving holes in the story for earlier entries to fill in. It either makes them confusing or deeper. Your choice.
    • The games themselves. The first three games were released in chronological order, but 358/2 Days takes place before II (with part of the story taking place during Chain of Memories) and Birth by Sleep takes place before all of them.
    • As of Re:coded, the order seems to be Birth by Sleep, I, Chain of Memories and 358/2 Days, II, Re:coded, then the unreleased Kingdom Hearts 3D which is supposed to lead directly into III.
  • Anatomy of the Soul: Everyone has a Heart, Soul, and Body. Well, every normal person. Individual worlds also have Hearts, and in-game text alludes to them being somewhat sentient.
    • Memory seems to be an important part of the soul as well. After all, Xion is made of it entirely, and Sora couldn't wake from his coma until all of his memories were restored. Xemnas's obsession with memory is meant to be a parallel to his desire to be a complete being. Even with your heart in place, you aren't whole without your memories. The fact that Terra leaves behind enough willpower to carry on the fight seems to support this as well.
    • Memories also seem to be connected between people. Sora's memory loss leads to him being temporarily forgotten by all his friends.
    • Further still, defeating an individual's Heartless (and potentially his Nobody, assuming they are of strong will) will actually restore the original. Master Xehanort is going to come back because Sora destroyed the Heartless and Nobody of him possessing Terra, exactly as he has hoped.
  • And I Must Scream: The Birth by Sleep video at the end of Final Mix+ shows Ventus being frozen completely and thrown off a cliff, and still conscious at the end of it (You can see his eyes moving.)
  • Animated Armor: The Guard Armor in the first game and 358/2 Days. The latter game also has a Palette Swap called the "Powered Armor".
  • Arc Number: Have you seen the large amount of times the number 13 shows up? That list doesn't even include the number of songs that are called "The 13th _____".
    • 7 and 3 show up a lot, as well, though with more subtlety. The recipe for Ultima Weapon in KHII has examples of both 13 and 7.
  • Art Evolution: The hand-drawn artwork has gotten much more anime-influenced, angular, and thick-lined over time, but this is less an aspect of this series and more one of Tetsuya Nomura himself. There's also a good deal of evolution in the character models, but that makes sense due to better technology. Even so, it's hard to tell Aurora from KH1 and Aurora from Birth by Sleep are the same person.
  • As You Know:
    • In KH II...

Yen Sid: If one such as you, Donald, yields to the Darkness in their heart, they too will become a Heartless. But you know this.

    • Also, recapping the end of the first game...

Sora: Then I guess we better go find the King first!
Donald: But where could he be?
Goofy: Well, we won't know 'til we look.
Sora: Yeah. And the King must know where Riku is, 'cause the two of them were together in the realm of Darkness when we closed the door. You know, after defeating Ansem.

    • Also seen in Re:Chain of Memories, though justified there, since Sora, Donald and Goofy knew they were losing their memories and wanted to make sure they still remembered what they were doing there.
  • Ascended Extra: Surprisingly enough, Cerberus. In the original movie, he shows up in the background for all of five seconds and only interacts with the hero near the climax. Despite this, he has been a recurring boss throughout the series.
    • Yen Sid was introduced in Kingdom Hearts II as Mickey's old mentor, and he only showed up to deliver some exposition at the start of the game. Birth By Sleep revealed he's a Keyblade Master, and as of Dream Drop Distance he's effectively the Big Good.
  • As Long as There Is Evil: As long as darkness exists within the hearts of sapient entities, the Heartless (and Nobodies) will continue to spawn.
  • Author Appeal: Nomura's obsessions with zippers, belts, and (after a visit to a Disney resort) sea-salt ice cream.
  • Award Bait Song: Well, it's based off Disney movies isn't it? Protip: Search iTunes for Utada, the singer, to score the Japanese-lyric versions of both songs[1]
  • Awesomeness By Analysis: Sora's universe saving feats and daring swordplay are made even more impressive when you realize that unlike his predecessors, he is completely self-taught, his fighting style developing itself over the course of the series from his sparring with wooden swords at home. This shows when you compare him to Terra, Aqua, and Ven. They all fight in their own individual styles that show they have familiarity and training with their Keyblades. Sora wields his like a club or a baseball bat, and shows little finesse. This changes in Kingdom Hearts II, where he's a bit more experienced. The year of training Roxas had that Sora absorbed probably helped.
    • It's more like a very long mallet. The backswing, the block, and especially the two-handed jumping smash, all look centered toward the very end of the Keyblade, which is less pronounced for (for instance) a baseball bat. Curiously, Kairi's Keyblade seems to be a similar weapon (though probably a smaller variety). Riku's style is definitely based on some sort of sword (probably a katana), as is Terra's.
  • Ax Crazy: Larxene definitely falls under this. Saïx is even worse when the moon is out...
  • Back from the Dead: Kill a Heartless and then the Nobody, and the original persona comes back to life.
  • Badass Longcoat: Mickey Mouse(!)
    • Pretty much anyone trying to hide their identity has this by default.
  • Bag of Spilling: Every single game does this, and every single one justifies it, at least regarding their skills and abilities (but not their weapons and items).
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Sora and co. walk into Castle Oblivion of all places, and lose their memories so that they must learn their skills back.
    • In Kingdom Hearts II, they get "restored", meaning restored back to zero, erasing their memories from the previous game and with that, most of the skills they learned throughout.
    • In Kingdom Hearts coded you play as Data-Sora, a digital copy of Sora, thus starting from scratch with a different character.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days you play as Roxas, Sora's Nobody, thus starting from scratch with a different character. The fact that Roxas gets his memory erased by the game finale also justifies the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, which takes place ten years before the original game, you play as three completely new characters, Aqua, Ventus and Terra, all fresh rookies considerably Doomed by Canon.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Monstro.
    • Arguably, this is the case of all the heroes and villains in the series, considering every major Climax Boss takes place in the middle of space.
  • Beehive Barrier: Seen in protective spells and in boss fights or event battles, locking you in the area.
  • Beta Test Baddie: Organization XIII.
  • Big Bad: Master Xehanort is the overarching antagonist of the series, acting through various alternate incarnations. Everything wrong in the game universe can be blamed on him or his allies directly or indirectly.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Halloween Town.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Lots of times, but Mickey and Hercules seem to do it the most.
    • Though in Mickey's case, it's a option when you die.
    • In Birth by Sleep, Ven is menaced by someone he trusted, and from his POV, Terra comes out of absolutely nowhere to save him.
  • Big Good: Yen Sid was probably the closest thing to this during Kingdom Hearts II, but as of recently, he's really stepped up to the plate. Ansem the Wise has shades of this as well.
  • Bishonen Line: Nobodies are stated to take forms closer to their original bodies as they grow more powerful, with the weakest looking like twitching white jumpsuits and the very strongest being physically indistinguishable from normal humans.
  • Black Cloak: Comes complete with an In the Hood function!
  • Black Magic: The ever-vague 'darkness' everyone keeps talking about can be controlled by strong people, but for those who aren't...
  • Blessed with Suck: The Keyblades. All-powerful weapons that also look pretty dang neat, but no one we've seen who has been chosen to wield one has had a good life. Even freaking Mickey Mouse can't get away from it!
    • The Heartless also constantly follow Keyblade wielders no matter where they go.
  • Bloodless Carnage: All over the place, but special mention goes to a scene early in the first game where a horde of Shadows and Soldiers cut down a civilian and tear his heart out and eat it.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Larxene definitely proves this.
    • Naminé, (arguably)Roxas, and Ventus subvert it, though.
  • Boss Banter: Pretty much every single humanoid boss does this (and a few of the non-humanoid ones).
  • Bonus Boss: This series loves this trope. Unlike most series, the most insane Original Generation bonus bosses are usually an Early-Bird Cameo for plot-central characters. To clarify:
    • Kingdom Hearts has Phantom, Kurt Zisa, Ice Titan, Sephiroth, and Xemnas (but only in the Final Mix version).
    • Kingdom Hearts II has Sephiroth again, Hades Paradox Cup Match 49, the five Absent Silhouettes, Organization XIII Data, and Terra's Lingering Will (the last three only appear in Final Mix+).
    • Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2 has Dustflier.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep has Vanitas Remnant and the Unknown. The Mirage Arena has Mimic Master and four incarnations of the Iron Imprisoner. The Final Mix re-release adds three more in the Mirage Arena - Monstro and the armors of Eraqus and Xehanort.
    • Kingdom Hearts 3D gives us Julius from Runaway Brain, a boss fight NO ONE saw coming.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Demyx is described as this. Sora has shades of it at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts, when you take into account what he eventually is capable of.
  • Broad Strokes: The events of the original Disney films are subject to this. Some worlds feature a retelling of the plot of the source franchise with Sora tagging along, others imply the events of the source franchise occurred before Sora visited, or haven't occurred yet, and many just have an original plot. That said, the relationships of characters changes as well, and in coded and Chain of Memories when the worlds visited are composed of memories and data that aren't 100% accurate, anything could happen.
  • Button Mashing: A common complaint about the series, and it's not unfounded. Arguably the worst offender is the second game, where upon entering A Drive Form like Valor Form or Master Form, you basically hit X until there was nothing left to attack. The series is growing out of it though due to better integration of special attacks and enemies starting to require more strategy. In Birth By Sleep for example, relying on just mashing attack to win and not properly building a balanced deck will get you crushed.
  • Camera Lock On: Although with the loads of enemies, it's one of the few times in a game that this trope does not avert Camera Screw.
  • Captain Oblivious: For the so-called key that connects everything, Sora, Donald, and Goofy seems to be the lone people not privy to the Gambit Pileup in a universe full to the brim with Chessmasters and Magnificent Bastards.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: How else do you explain the presence of three side story games between KH2 and 3, one of which existing just to tie up all the loose ends left by almost every other game? Given the series's enthusiastic fandom and the fact that it's made by both Square Enix and Disney, it's not surprising.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Despite many players' first impressions, only one or is it two, now? of Organization XIII is actually a girl. Good luck guessing which one!
  • Cat Smile: You may or may not notice Selphie's.
  • Cerebus Syndrome
  • Celebrity Voice Actor: Let's see... Haley Joel Osment, Hayden Panettiere, David Gallagher, Christopher Lee, Leonard Nimoy, Mark Hamill, Billy Zane, David Boreanaz, Mandy Moore... the list goes on and on; although some of the celebrities who appeared in the first game did not reprise their roles.
  • Chained by Fashion: The Shadow Stalker/Dark Thorn boss.
  • Chainsaw Good: Sora was originally supposed to have a chainsword-like weapon (Yes, really) before Nomura scrapped the idea and adopted the Keyblade design. This would probably be the first time that a weapon design was ever Too Cool to Live.
  • Chaos Architecture: Kingdom Hearts II; Same worlds, radically different layout.
    • 358/2 Days. Same worlds, just plain smaller (and entirely new in Neverland's case).
  • The Chosen Many: Keyblade wielders were a knighthood.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Organization XIII has a real problem with this.
    • Axel especially. At one point in Chain of Memories, he betrays a senior member of the Organization, killing him, to get into the good graces of another faction betraying the main Organization. However, he's actually The Mole, set to betray that faction under Xemnas's orders, while secretly planning to betray Xemnas alongside Saïx, because Xemnas is betraying the whole Organization. And then later on, during Days, he betrays that alliance when he develops friendship with Roxas and Xion, and then inadvertently betrays them, too! You need a friggin' flowchart to keep track of this dude. Lexaeus said it best:

"And then there is Axel. Who knows what that one is thinking."

    • The Organization's lack of discipline was lampshaded by Sora in a mocking way:

Sora: "Not a very organized Organization".

  • Clothes Make the Superman: Sora's drive forms in KH 2 are a function of the new outfit he receives in the game, enchanted by the Good Fairies.
  • Collectible Card Game: Both as a gameplay mechanic in Chain of Memories and as an actual collectible card game.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: The three 2008-2010 handheld games were each given a prominent color motif: Birth by Sleep is blue, Days is red, and coded is yellow.
  • Combined Energy Attack: Trinity Limit.
  • Composite Character: This happens often in the Disney worlds, usually because some of the characters are absent in their video game counterparts. These roles are usually filled by one of the original Kingdom Hearts characters. For example:
  • Cool Key: Keyblades. Doesn't get much cooler than a key that not only doubles as a sword, but can open literally any lock or barrier.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Keyholes serve this purpose for each individual world.
  • Cosmic Forces Trio: Too many examples, like:
    • Sora (Preserver), Riku (The Destroyer), and Kairi (Creator) in the first KH game.
    • Axel (Preserver), Saïx (The Destroyer), and Roxas (Creator) in 358/2 Days.
    • Ventus (The Preserver), Terra (The Destroyer), and Aqua (Creator) in Birth By Sleep.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: The series concept itself for starters. A Disney and Final Fantasy crossover where anime-esque heroes fights the forces of darkness with swords shaped like giant keys.
  • Creative Closing Credits
  • Critical Status Buff: Various abilities can boost the player's status at critical HP, like "Defender" and "Damage Control" for defense, "Berserker", "Striker", and "Grand Slam" for offense.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Sora is a big offender of this, while Goofy is not.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Near the end of Kingdom Hearts II, Sora basically turns into an overpowered action movie character. Case in point: he carves his way through entire buildings using a key. Using cuts that travel the length of said buildings. This may not count, however, depending on your definition of "cutscene".
    • And somehow appears on the other side of the buildings before they fall apart...
  • Dark Does Not Have to Be Evil: It just happens to attract a lot of bad guys, is all. Darkness, itself, is neither good or evil, and neither is light. They're just sources of power. The difference is that abusing darkness can lead to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, and you can lose your humanity if your heart is too weak or if you go too far. Riku is the only main character (and implied to be the only character, ever) to be able to use darkness without the drawbacks, but it took him three games to master and to strengthen himself enough to do it, and it was not an easy journey.
    • However, while darkness itself is not evil, most of the protagonists associate it with such, which is easy to do since they're beings from the Realm of Light, and all of the villains use Darkness to some degree as the source of their power. Due to the mentioned risk of going too far with it, it's also seen as evil for tempting others away from light and costing them their lives. Both the heroes and villains ultimately agree that there will always be a Balance Between Light and Darkness, and the two cannot exist without the other. As Kingdom Hearts II phrases it, the heroes don't oppose darkness itself, they oppose those who abuse it for evil.

Xemnas: Denizens of light, answer this: Why do you hate the darkness?
Mickey: Aw, we don't hate it. It's just kinda... scary. But the world's made of light and darkness. You can't have one without the other, 'cause darkness is half of everything. Sorta makes ya wonder why we are scared of the dark.
Riku: It's because of who's lurking inside it.

  • Deconstruction: Chain of Memories deals with a Canon Sue Relationship Sue and Fixer Sue, while 358/2 Days deconstructs the Copy Cat Sue. The characters involved are canonically clones of some sort and are considered abominations in-universe. Their Suish traits are actually plot-relevant and tend to be the reason the villains can make use of them.
    • Dream Drop Distance, of all things for the series, deconstructs The Power of Friendship and The Messiah. Sora finds out he can only wield the Keyblade because he holds Ven's heart and is only as strong as he is because of the other genuinely strong heroes he's met, and thus is only able to fight because everyone is supporting and counting on him.
  • Death Is Cheap: Pretty much every single death has been, is, or will likely be undone by the end of the series.
    • "...there is no concept of death in the world of KH...." This seems to translate to "Nomura hasn't established an afterlife in the KH-verse" and currently has no plans to. That and the majority of characters haven't "died" as defined in the Secret Ansem Reports, so much as that they've lost their hearts or something similar.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Usually at the end of the games, most notably Mickey and Riku's sudden appearance at the Door to Darkness in I and Riku randomly finding a flying motorcycle right as Xemnas summons his dragon-shaped ship in II.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Normally when one character heals another, the former shouts the latter's name. During the fight with the Guard Armor however, before they're properly introduced, Goofy shouts encouragingly to Sora "Don't give up!" instead.
    • As mentioned in the game, only a Keyblade can save a person's heart when in Heartless form. Now while in battle in the first game, if you kill a Heartless you will see a heart flying out of the heartless you slayed. However, if you let your partners kill a Heartless, no heart will show up at all.
    • In the first game, they thought of what would happen if you engaged in a bit of Sequence Breaking. If you complete Deep Jungle before Wonderland, the scene replaces Alice with Snow White. If you complete other worlds after completing Hollow Bastion, certain events with Maleficent will not play.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Rule #1: A genie can't kill anyone.[2] Other than that, the trope is surprisingly averted.
    • Sabor is referred to in the journal as "he" - the character of Sabor was actually female in the Disney movie ("Sabor" is actually the Mangani (i.e. ape-language) word for "lioness" in the original novels - the meaning was changed to "female leopard" in the Disney movie for some reason).
  • Disappears into Darkness: When Nobodies die.
  • Disney Death: Well, Disney did help produce the game.
  • Disney Princess: Five of the seven Princesses of Heart, naturally.
    • Alice (as in Wonderland) is added to this group, along with Kairi. Ariel in her original Mermaid form also appears as a guest party member. Mulan (not a princess, but often included in the franchise) too. Tiana and Rapunzel haven't appeared yet though, considering the date of their films.
  • Doomed by Canon: Try not to get too attached to ANYONE or NOBODY in the prequels, kay?
    • As of Birth By Sleep and Coded's respective Secret endings, Aqua is very much still alive but stuck wandering the realm of darkness, Ventus is still in deep sleep, and Terra's status is unknown as his body is destroyed and part of him is still in his Armor. Also, Master Xehanort is revived and is coming back more dangerous than ever.
  • Darky Darks of Darkness: The series is known for throwing the word darkness around a bit too much.
  • Dub Name Change: Some Heartless got little renames. "Bulk Vendor" to "Bulky Vendor". "Flare Globe" to "Fiery Globe". "Mad Dog" to "Rabid Dog". "Gate Guardian" to "Thresholder".
    • Conversely, very many Heartless were renamed in Days, and some renames are even inconsistent with previous renames (for example, a Heartless named "Loudness" in all Japanese games is called "Crescendo" in the English Chain of Memories but "Loudmouth" in the English Days).
    • Most of the Keyblades were renamed too, though not translated - aside from Oblivion (Sugisarishi Omoide - Passing Memories) and Oathkeeper (Yakusoku no Omamori - Oath's Charm), all the Keyblades had Gratuitous English names in the original. Some were minor changes ("Wish Star" to "Wishing Star", "Kingdom Chain" to "Kingdom Key", "Wishes Lamp" to "Wishing Lamp"), but some were changed more - "Power of Hero" to "Olympia", "Desire Lamp" to "Three Wishes", "Native Work" to "Jungle King".
  • Duel Boss
  • Dummied Out: The planned Bahamut summon in the first Kingdom Hearts.
    • And the Jungle Book world in BBS along with several keyblades.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It takes three full games for everyone to reunite and return to their home safely. And even then, Sora's job isn't done.
  • Enemy Scan: It only shows an HP bar, but it's on-off and will work on any enemy, including bosses.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Heartless are some of the cutest ones ever.
    • It really depends on how you play them out to be. Shadow Heartless jumping around? Freaking adorable. A Soldier Heartless ripping someone's heart out? Holy cow...
    • The Nobodies are worse. Even by the cosmology of the series, it's stated that their existence simply doesn't make sense. It doesn't help that most of them look and move like animated clothing or that their movements look like a video playing in reverse.
    • If you want a more specific and extreme example that doesn't involve heartless who are "cute eldritch abominations", World of Chaos fits this trope to a T. A gigantic organic battleship that's as fugly as all hell with a fugly demonic face and is also a living thing, with an pretty much just as fugly upgraded version of Ansem's Guardian mounted on top, along with ugly colors. If you see a little tan dot, that's Ansem.
    • Darkside is a much more minor example of this and is more like an ugly giant humanoid with a giant heart-shaped hole in the body and black tentacles covering/making up all of the head except for the eyes, but, like in the picture here, it's pretty unsettling.
  • Elemental Powers: Organization XIII. Most of them. Their individual powers are accurately "attributes", or themes to their abilities. This gets corrupted into "elements" by fans.
    • Some of them aren't quite what they're made out to be anyway. For example: Xemnas has "Nothing" and Luxord has "Time", but they turn out to be more like "Yin-Yang Bomb" and "Timed Mission" in practice.
    • However, the ones who indeed have traditional elements as their "attributes" (Axel, Demyx, Larxene, Xaldin, Lexaeus, Vexen, and Roxas to a certain extent) have traditional elemental powers.
  • Eleventh-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.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Keyblades
  • Essence Drop: There are several types of spheres, depending on the game.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Practically a requirement for villains.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy
  • Evil Makeover: All of Organization XIII, although Birth by Sleep shows that the vast majority of the makeovers aren't quite extensive as we were led to believe.
  • Fighting From the Inside: Riku in the first game when he's possessed by Xehanort's Heartless.
    • Terra and Ven against Master Xehanort and Vanitas respectively at the end of Birth by Sleep.
  • Flashback with the Other Darrin: Happens a lot, notably to "Ansem", Leon, Aerith, and Kairi.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: "Showdown at Hollow Bastion", replacing the usual piano chords in the Organization's Leitmotif.
  • Fragile Speedster: Anti-Form, if you know how to use it.
    • That's more of a Glass Cannon, considering your offense is maximized in exchange for your defense being minimized.
  • Free Rotating Camera
  • Funny Animal: Mickey and Co.
  • Fusion Dance: The drive forms, but only if you count the logic in the gameplay.
  • Gambit Pileup: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II, 358/2 Days...And we'll soon find out if Birth By Sleep follows this trend.
    • It does. It also ties the ones from the other games all together into one Gambit Roulette. Thanks, Xehanort.
  • Gambit Roulette: Master Xehanort. He had been manipulating Terra and Ven for years to accomplish his goals. In the end, Terra, Aqua, and Ven used The Power of Friendship to stop him, but not before getting totally screwed over in the process.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Xemnas, DiZ, and even Mickey Mouse are masters of this.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: On the one hand, the developers put a lot of thought into making the gameplay reinforce the idea of teamwork and friendship. By and large, it's not too Anvilicious and almost universally regarded as fun. You also have a lot of little tidbits highlighting Sora's growth in skill.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: It is said many times that The Heartless can only be defeated with the Keyblade... yet Donald and Goofy (and whatever guest character who happens to join for the level) can mow down tons of them by themselves.
    • 358/2 Days clarifies things: Heartless can be defeated by any weapon, but they'll just come back some time afterward. The Keyblade is the only weapon that can purify the hearts that make up the Heartless upon defeating them, vanquishing them for good.
  • Gladiator Subquest
  • Glass Cannon: Sora's Anti-Form maximizes his attack, but minimizes his defense and removes any way of recovering health.
  • Good Is Dumb: Riku's Ambition Is Evil and independence radically decreases with each game until he's perfectly content to play the Mysterious Protector and wait for Sora to finish the real work. This stems from a not inconsiderable amount of shame from failing to control the darkness and being possessed by Ansem in the first game, and from the Keyblade quite pointedly rejecting him in favor of Sora.
    • While they don't turn good, the Organization XIII members that you control in mission/multiplayer mode in 358/2 Days are a good deal weaker than their incarnations as boss-fights in Chain of Memories and KH2. Most of them have their signature attacks reduced to only being used as their Limit Break, and some abilities (Larxene's after-images, Demyx's water-clones, Xaldin's whirlwind-spear-dragon) are missing entirely.
  • Grand Theft Me: Introduced at the end of the first game, the rest of the series more or less revolves around it.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language:
    • Italian titles for the background tracks are not uncommon. 358/2 Days throws in some French.
    • In the Japanese version of 358/2 Days, Xaldin's weapons all have Chinese names. Larxene's weapons have French names in both versions.
  • Green Lantern Ring: OK, as of Birth by Sleep, Keyblade wielders can smack you up, cast magic, lock and unlock pretty much anything, teleport the Keyblade back to their hand, create portals to other worlds, generate armor, turn their Keyblades into spaceships, and create elaborate castles out of rubble. Are we forgetting anything?
  • Grim Reaper: This is actually a boss in the second game. The hidden boss Phantom from the first game also counts.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Most worlds have one.
  • Halloweentown: Halloween Town.
  • Hammerspace: Where else do you think the Keyblade goes when Sora's not carrying it?
    • The intelligent Nobodies can also call forth spiritual weapons at will, or at least most of them can.
    • Access to Hammerspace may even be the norm - Birth by Sleep shows Donald and Goofy pull their weapons out thin air, complete with pretty lights. Sure, Donald's a magician, but Goofy...
    • Averted in the manga, where Sora carries the Keyblade on his person.
  • Hartman Hips: It's kind of hard to tell under the cloak, but Larxene, the only actual female in Organization XIII (most of the time).
    • Whether Xion really qualifies as female depends on the player.
    • Hilariously, Sora gets these when he's in his mer-dolphin Atlantica form.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: This games proves this in spades.
  • The Heartless: The creatures from which the trope is named.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sora in the first game and Axel in the second game.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: In any given game, you can be sure that if some incarnation of Xehanort isn't behind everything, one of his subordinates is. The only game where this isn't true is coded, where the Big Bad is Sora's Heartless, but Xehanort still indirectly caused the being's creation.
    • In fact, the only time the Big Bad of a game turns out not to be an aspect of Xehanort is Sora's story in Chain of Memories. Although it later turns out that the Big Bad of that game is under direct orders from Xemnas...
  • HP to One: Because of the Once More and Second Chance abilities, the developers have deigned it necessary to practically require the use of them in order to survive, especially on harder difficulties and with the later/bonus bosses. Thus, rather than having bosses with HP to One-type attacks, they simply have massive attack power which will always reduce you to within an inch of your life, regardless of your defense stat. Perhaps a form of Fake Difficulty, some bosses degenerate into the pattern: attack --> get hit by one attack (hanging on with 1 HP) --> heal --> get hit by another attack --> dodge like crazy waiting for your magic to regenerate so you can heal again --> repeat.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The entirety of Organization XIII and Nobodies in general.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Beginner, Standard, Hard, Proud, and Critical.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Zippers galore, even on hats!
    • Dusks actually have zippers for mouths.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Sora's giant key, Goofy's shield, Demyx's sitar, Zexion's lexicon...
    • One of the reasons Square Enix chose a key in the first place was because it's less violent-looking.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Renames to Heartless are occasionally inconsistent.
    • A variation: all games prior to KH2 were dubbed into various European languages, but all games released afterwards only had English voice tracks for their Europe-wide releases (although text was still translated). Oddly enough, Quebec[3] only received games up to KH2 in English, and only started having French options for the game[4] at the very point where they stopped providing French audio, which just happened to coincide with a pseudo-law requiring games to be released in French in the province.
  • Infinity-1 Sword: The Oblivion keychain can be gotten in-game once you pass a certain event. While it's not Ultima, it's still pretty fantastic. Its attack power is outstripped only by Ultima and Fenrir, and doesn't have the latter's downgraded magic stats.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Ultima Weapon. Good luck hunting down all the synthesis items. Also, Final Form is an Infinity+1 Super Mode.
  • Instrument of Murder: Demyx's sitar.
  • Invisible Parents: Aside from Sora's mom having a line in KH, the main's parents are entirely absent from the story thus far.
  • I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine: Sora's interactions with Beauty and the Beast characters, since Haley Joel Osment voiced Chip in one of the direct to video sequels. Also in the Japanese version of Birth by Sleep, Terra's seiyuu voiced Zero, and Master Xehanort's actor voiced Dr. Weil. And in Re: Chain of Memories, Kairi and Naminé, are respectively voiced by Alyson Stoner and Meghan Jette Martin who played archenemies in Camp Rock.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: As Mickey says in Re:coded, "I should have known there were no coincidences--only links in a much larger chain of events." Looking at the series chronologically in-universe helps one make sense of it, but the mythos of the series is so deeply entwined that you need knowledge of the plot of every game to understand it; something not everyone can afford since the series is expanded through (so far) FIVE different game platforms. By this point it's pretty much impossible to follow the overarcing story if you just pick a random game and dive in.
    • Not helping is that there have been a couple of retcons, a Flip-Flop of God or two, and the Final Mix versions, which add in new plot points usually with the specific intent of setting up the next game, and they never make it out of Japan.
    • As of Dream Drop Distance, on top of the Mind Screw, Mind Rape, human cloning, death and resurrection, alternate dimensions and Gambit Roulette games, we're adding time travel to the equation now.
  • King Mook: Darkside.
    • Also, Twilight Thorn (Big Nobody).
  • Land, Sea, Sky: the main characters' names follow this.
  • Large Ham: "It is I, Ansem, the Seeker of Darkness."
    • SUBMIT!!
    • KingDOM HEARTS!! FILL ME...WITH THE POWER OF DARKNESS!! Yes, that is exactly what he sounds like.
    • Xemnas, for a guy who's supposed to have no emotions whatsoever, comes across as this anyway.
      • BEGONE!
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: Roxas is Sora's Nobody.
    • Axel is the only Organization member to return from the Castle Oblivion mission.
    • The prologue to the second game spoils pretty much all of the first game, including the ending.
  • Leitmotif:
    • Kairi, Sora, Riku, Roxas, Naminé, Xion, Ventus, Aqua, and Terra all have their own theme tunes, although Xion's uses riffs from Kairi's, Ventus's is a combination of Roxas's and Sora's, and Aqua's and Terra's are lifted wholesale from "Fate of the Unknown" {{[spoiler|Aqua's theme also has riffs from Castle Oblivion's world and battle themes}}].
    • Battles against Riku and/or "Ansem" in the first two games open with identical organ chords.
    • The vast majority of tunes related to Organization XIII use some part of "Another Side"'s melody.
    • Many late stages and some final boss battles use an arrangement of "Destati".
    • Several other themes also have riffs from Dearly Beloved.
    • All of the Nobodies' themes seem to be the normal characters' themes (for those that have them) slightly altered.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: See, Demyx has all the work ethic of a bar of soap. He goes above and beyond the call of Dismotivation, running and hiding at the first sign of combat. Saïx tries and fails to get Roxas to motivate him. But put a traitor in front of him, and you better run for you life.
  • Letter Motif: X for Organization XIII.
  • Light'Em Up: Sora, Roxas, Xion, Ventus, Aqua and Mickey all have powerful light spells and/or abilities.
  • Literal Change of Heart: Kairi and Sora.
  • Literal Split Personality: Sora's Nobody, Roxas and his replica, Xion. They're put back together in one being by the end, but Roxas and Xion still exist somewhere in Sora, somehow - but the games never really explore any possible future consequences of that might have. However, Birth by Sleep and coded shows that part of Ventus's [5] heart was absorbed into Sora, and that all of the people in Sora will likely get their own bodies back in a future game.
    • coded alludes to some of the issues involving clones/copies/replicas/etc. While Kingdom Hearts II put forth the idea that they should be re-absorbed with the original and don't have true identities of their own, coded seems to argue that copies who develop connections to others are deserving of their own identity.
    • Xehanort is even worse. Not counting the people he goes Grand Theft Me on, there's his Heartless Ansem, his Nobody Xemnas, and his younger self who all coexist with each other.
  • Living Memory: The Remnants; there is Vanitas's Remnant in Birth by Sleep, and the Absent Silhouettes in Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+.
  • Living Shadow: The Heartless, some varieties moreso than others.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Mostly from the Disney Animated Canon.
  • MacGuffin Location: The Chamber of Waking, which houses a comatose Ventus, and is located in Castle Oblivion. Somewhere. Only Aqua (the person who created the Castle) is capable of finding it again.
  • Made of Evil: The Heartless and their predecessors the Unversed.
  • Magic Knight: All Keyblade wielders and most of Organization XIII.
  • Magitek: All over the place, most prominently the Gummi Ship and the Hollow Bastion/Radiant Garden laboratories.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The Land of Departure lies directly between the light and dark realms. Word of God clarifies that the castle houses a mechanism that transforms it to invoke this trope should it fall into the wrong hands, and that's how Aqua made Castle Oblivion.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Between Disney and Square Enix.
  • Meaningful Name: Sora means sky, the "kai" in Kairi means sea, and Riku means land. Also, the Keyblade Knights in Birth by Sleep happen to be called Ven(tus), Aqua, and Terra. Hmmmmm.)
    • There's also Naminé. "Nami" is a word for "ocean wave". Remember whose Nobody she is?
      • The first part of Xion's name- "shio"- is the word for "tide".
      • "Shion" is also the name of a plant associated with memories in Japan.
      • Xion's name, sans the "X", is an anagram for "No i". For those who do not understand, "i" is an imaginary number.
    • To be specific, Ventus, Aqua, and Terra stand for wind, water, and earth respectively.
    • "There are many worlds, but they all share the same sky."
    • Nomura really went all out with Vanitas. Not only does it mean "emptiness" in Latin and looks like Ventus, but the kanji for emptiness is the same one as the one for sky.
      • And that's not all, folks. His name is connected to a Biblical quote, as well -- "all is vanity" and a striving after wind. Now consider what he spent most of the game doing...
  • Metal Slime: White Mushrooms and Rare Truffes to some degree, Black Fungus all the way.
  • Mighty Glacier: Goofy.
  • Mind Screw: It starts with a boy teaming up with cartoon characters to fight the forces of darkness with a giant key that may or may not be mildly sentient and a spaceship made out of gumdrops run by chipmunks. It gets weirder from there.
    • The second game opens up with characters that by definition do not exist including you. Even though they're very clearly beating the crap out of you. It gets weirder from there.
    • 358/2 Days somehow puts the above games to shame in this regard. It gets weirder too.
    • Let's face it, the series started weird, dove headlong into Mind Screw territory with Chain of Memories, and has only recently showed any signs of resurfacing.
  • Mondegreen: "Sin Harvest(ing)"? Sounds cool, but it's actually "Descend, Heartless Angel". Sephiroth's VA in Kingdom Hearts II made it much clearer.
  • Morph Weapon: Keyblades do this in two different ways: using different keychains makes them take on different looks and abilities while retaining the same basic shape, while characters from the Birth by Sleep era can morph their signature Keyblades into...well, just check out Green Lantern Ring above. The "Gear" system in Days means this also applies to the weapons of the Organization - fittingly, their signature weapons are among their most powerful.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Aqua.
  • Mushroom Man: The Black and White Fungus Heartless.
  • Mythology Gag: Seven wonders of Twilight Town, the victory poses, Sora as Christopher Robin.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: All of the X obsessed Organization XIII.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The progress the Organization has made with its plans is due to the unwitting help of Sora, Roxas and to a metaphysical extent, the player himself.
    • Probably even worse, according to Coded, is that, thanks to killing off Xehanort's Heartless and Xemnas, Sora and Riku ended up reviving Xehanort, and not long thereafter, Master Xehanort. REALLY nice job breaking it, hero!
  • Non-Lethal KO: Party members just get dazed when defeated. After a breather (or some healing) they'll be ready for action again. This doesn't apply to Sora unless it's a battle Mickey shows up in.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Applies strongly to Shiro Amano's manga adaptation. While the originals and Square Enix carryovers use his native art style, Amano goes to great lengths to imitate the art style of every Disney character's individual movie.
  • Now Where Was I Going Again?: Jiminy Cricket's Journal.
  • Numerological Motif:
    • Lucky Seven: The Princesses of heart are seven human incarnations of light.
    • Thirteen Is Unlucky: Organization XIII, of course. Dream Drop Distance introduces another example with Xehanort's ultimate plot: creating thirteen human incarnations of darkness as a direct counterpoint to the Princesses of Heart.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In KH2, Kairi and Mickey get knocked outside the door to Kingdom Hearts as Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Riku go to fight Xemnas. But at the end of the battle, all six characters are shown facing Xemnas in fighting pose, as if they HAD been fighting. Then, Square Enix... why didn't you just find a way to have them fight in the actual gameplay battle!?
  • Ominous Italian Chanting: "Destati" and all its derivatives.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: "Forze Del Male" and "Beyond the Door" from Kingdom Hearts; "Struggle Away", "The Force in You", "Revenge of Chaos", "The 13th Struggle", "Castle Oblivion", "Forgotten Challenge", "Graceful Assassin", and "Scythe of Petals" from Chain of Memories; "Tension Rising", "The Corrupted", "The 13th Dilemma", and "Darkness of the Unknown" from Kingdom Hearts II; and another boss theme from 358/2 Days.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: In the first game, Chain of Memories, and II Final Mix, overlaps with the Legion of Doom.
  • One-Winged Angel: Most final bosses do this at least once. We're talking about Square Enix AND Disney, King and Queen of this trope.[6]
  • Only Friend: During Axel's death scene, he tells Sora that Roxas was the only one he liked, and basically his only friend.
  • Overrated and Underleveled: Zig-zagged.
    • Sora restarts each game he stars in at level one when he was one-shotting enemies and soloing bosses in the previous game. However; it's explained in Chain of Memories as being forced to forget, and at the start of Kingdom Hearts II, he was spending the past year asleep, progress being hampered by Roxas and Xion. In Kingdom Hearts 3D, his and Riku's reversion back to Level 1 deals with them entering the Realm of Sleep and losing all of their abilities to learn the proper techniques for Keyblade Masters.
    • However, played completely straight with Donald and Goofy. When the court mage and knight-captain join Sora, they're at the level he is and only have a fraction of their abilities.
  • Palette Swap: Many, many enemies in Days get this treatment.
    • Even some of the Keyblade designs in Days get this treatment.
    • The coloration of most Heartless in both Final Mixes are Palette-Swapped compared to their original games for no particular reason. The original colorations are the canon ones, though.
  • Paradox Person: Kingdom Hearts II goes as far to say that Nobodies should not even exist.
    • Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2 went even further with the should-not-be aspect with Xion, her being just a puppet holding and absorbing memories of Sora.
  • Parental Abandonment: Sora's mom, Kairi's grandma, and Ariel's father are the only parental characters given any screentime.
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: Played embarrassingly straight in II on several occasions. The passwords were (the first two of these were correctly guessed on the first try): "Belle, Snow White, Aurora, Alice, Jasmine, Cinderella, Kairi," "Sea-salt ice cream," and "Sora, Donald, and Goofy".
  • Pop Star Composer: Utada Hikaru writes the theme music for the series.
  • The Power of Friendship: This concept is key to the series, but it's done in such a well-executed manner as to still feel natural, despite being idealistic. Keyblades in particular appear to be drawn to individuals who have strong hearts, and thus, exemplify this trope.
  • Power Trio: Sora! Donald! Goofy! Trinity Attack!
  • Press X to Not Die: Thrown around everywhere with KH2. You're given ample time to do this, though.
  • Power-Up Magnet: The "Treasure Magnet" ability.
  • Prolonged Prologue: The second game is notorious for this, being the Trope Maker and all. The first game is no slouch in this department, either, though most of the stuff you can do on Destiny Islands is optional. However, the spin-off games are typically a lot better at this. Birth by Sleep's prologue is both very brief and can be skipped on subsequent playthroughs (which is helpful since there are three separate storylines to get through), and Chain of Memories barely has a prologue at all.

"Wait. What am I messing around here for?"

  • Recovery Attack
  • Recurring Element: It takes some from Final Fantasy, such as Moogles, summon monsters, and the magic system.
  • Recurring Riff: No matter which series installment you're playing, the title screen will always have some variation of "Dearly Beloved". Another standout is "Destati", which has been left out of only two games.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Many examples: Sora and Riku, Sora and Roxas, Axel and Saïx, Terra and Aqua, Hayner and Roxas, the list could possibly go on.
    • Sora's Valor Form and Wisdom Form. The former uses exclusively physical attacks, while the latter relies on magic.
    • Donald would probably like to be this to Sora, but fails due to his own faults.
  • Refused by the Call
  • Retcon: The whole reveal about Ansem being evil in the first game. Come Kingdom Hearts 2? Oh, actually, that was just his apprentice. Ansem's actually good. Really.
  • Ret-Gone: A LOT of it.
    • One example of the trope occurs with Sora during the year between Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II: while Sora is sleeping and Naminé is reconstructing his memories, everyone who knew him forgets that he existed until he awakens again.
    • Another one would be the first Kingdom Hearts, every game after the first claims that only a person with a strong heart can wield a Keyblade. However, in the first game Squall picks it up in the cutscene after his introduction, implying him to be able to wield one.
    • Another example is Xion, after her death, which is devastating to watch after seeing her develop in 358/2 Days.
  • The Rival: Riku is this for Sora, at least until the end of the second game.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: For the player rather than anyone in the game. Seriously, name something from a Disney film that scared the bejeezus out of you as a kid. Maleficent, Chernobog, Ursula, Oogie Boogie... odds are good that whatever you named, you're gonna get to dish out some long overdue payback on.
    • Also played in-universe during a scene on Hollow Bastion. After defeating Demyx, a rock falls toward King Mickey. Goofy shoves the King out of the way only to catch the rock dead on his head himself. For all appearances, Goofy is now dead. After a brief mourning scene, Mickey declares that "they'll pay for this", throwing off his cloak, revealing his Keyblade and leaping into the battle, followed by one pissed-off Donald!
    • Roxas goes on one after Xion dies, but is cut short by Riku.
  • Rule of Symbolism: A huge amount of Christian imagery is built up to depict Sora as Jesus and Master Xehanort as Satan, and the realm of Kingdom Hearts as Heaven.
    • A central part of Sora's character is that he's always taking on the pains and grief of others to ease their burden, he has Chronic Hero Syndrome. Two particularly symbolic moments are when he sacrifices himself to save Kairi and comes back to life, and when he carries a wounded Riku out of the Realm of Darkness. Meanwhile Master Xehanort is The Corrupter to anyone and everyone he can, and is tied up with Fallen Angel symbolism. His Keyblade armor is bright white and silver with feathers and his Keyblade Glider is a set of wings that attached to his back, but he cast his armor and glider away when he began using the powers of darkness and felt he didn't need them anymore.
    • The Kingdom Key and Kingdom Key D which seal the door to Kingdom Hearts appear as a silver key with a gold handle and a gold key with a silver handle—the Keys of Heaven. The χ-blade appears with two crossed Kingdom Keys in its design, a common depiction of the Keys, and likewise can open the door to Kingdom Hearts. Furthermore, an alternate reading of "χ-blade" could be "Christ-Blade".
    • As a flip on the Jesus symbolism being applied to Sora, Organization XIII is lead by Xemnas as a Dark Messiah to Nobodies, and Roxas, the thirteenth member, betrays them.
    • Also a lot of Taoist symbolism, that nothing can exist without its opposite to give it proper meaning, commonly seen in the yin yang symbol. Seen in the balance of light and darkness and the belief that Dark Is Not Evil, its just misused, and the existences of the Nobodies and Heartless. Furthermore, the three realms of Light, Darkness and Nothingness, tie into the "third" element of yin and yang, wuji, nothingness, limitless.
  • Rule of Three: There are apparently three enemy types, but we only know that Nobodies are the third (Unversed and Heartless are, presumably, the first two).
    • There's so much more than that. Groups of people often show up in threes (Sora, Donald and Goofy, Sora, Riku and Kairi, etc. etc. - see Two Guys and a Girl below for more examples), there are three "alignments" for lack of a better term (Light, Darkness, and "Twilight"), as well as a representative of each (Sora for Light, Riku for Twilight and Mickey for Darkness), as well as another combination of Light, Darkness and "Nothing", three paths at the start (Sword, Shield or Staff), three ways of levelling up (journey begins at dawn, midday or dusk)...
  • Saving the World: Worlds, plural.
    • Though the worlds are collectively referred to as "The World" in Birth by Sleep.
  • Say My Name: In the Secret End of Birth by Sleep regardless of their state of existence, Naminé, Roxas, Xion, Ven, Terra and Aqua pray to Sora's name across time and space.
    • Kingdom Hearts II have Sora, Donald and Goofy referred to or greeted in that exact order practically 100% of the time.
  • Second-Hour Superpower: The Keyblade from the original. Sora starts out with a wooden sword.
    • Also, Roxas's keyblade. He starts with some type of bludgeon.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The Critical Mode (Nintendo Hard) Lvl. 1 Challenge with NO DAMAGE for scripted fights, boss fights and Data battles (more Nintendo Hard) from KHIIFM+
    • Enter Bizkit047, who meets the above description and has more restrictions for several of these fights.
      • Want to get an idea of what it takes to be this good? Watch some of these hard Lvl. 1 CM no damage fights with restrictions: Terra and Saïx Data.
      • Xigbar Data with all these restrictions is simply insane.
      • Do not forget his several hacked fights. One Sephiroth? Make it two. Watch this Xigbar x2 + Xaldin fight. Make sure to look at related videos and look at the other hacked fights from there (such as triple Sephiroth and quintuple Sephiroth/Terra).
    • In Re:Chain of Memories, Bizkit047 also takes up the no HP+ Challenge on Proud.
    • Meanwhile, apulapul2000 has some very good time attack videos.
    • 358/2 Days: Everything is equipped in the panel grid, including level ups, so it's quite easy to impose a level 1 challenge on yourself, among other things.
  • Self-Insert Fic: Literally done with the 100 Acre Wood, in which Sora inadvertently rewrites the story by finding the pages and interacting with the residents to include himself as a prominent character. It even includes him on the cover where Christopher Robin would've been when you clear the stage and find the keyhole.
  • Sequel Hook: The 100% Completion secret movies. Especially the ones in the Final Mixes.
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: The Light; among other possibilities, this is the stuff of which worlds and people are made. It's apparently also the source and distributor of the Keyblades and Sora's initial visions. Can also impart Mysterious Monologues with the best of them.
  • Sequential Boss: No self-respecting final boss in this series would be caught dead without at least three forms.
    • Except for Marluxia before the Updated Rerelease.
    • Data Roxas in Re:Coded only has one part to his battle although both Data Riku and Sora's Heartless both qualify.
      • The Virus version of Data Roxas encountered in the 13-level Sector in Hollow Bastion has four forms though.
  • Shadow Archetype: The series loves these, using all sorts throughout the games.
    • Enemy Within: Ansem Seeker of Darkness for Riku.
      • Master Xehanort for Terra.
    • Enemy Without: Vanitas for Ven.
    • Evil Counterpart: Xehanort for Sora.
      • Xehanort steals the bodies of others to extend his life. Sora lets others share his body to extend their lives.
      • Birth By Sleep goes even farther, revealing that the original Xehanort was not only a Keyblade Wielder but also from Destiny Islands.
    • Jekyll and Hyde: Sora and his Anti-Form.
      • Riku and "Ansem" in Kingdom Hearts II, in an interesting inversion.
  • Ship Sinking: Xemnas/Saïx is torpedoed in 358/2 Days.
    • It kind of sinks Axel/Roxas as well, as Axel specifically states that he considers romantic love (the kind between Belle and Beast being the topic-starter) and love between best friends to be completely separate. Whether or not he stuck to that opinion is purely a matter of opinion.
  • Ship Tease: Kingdom Hearts II in particular.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: In the original game, played straight with the Hollow Bastion fake climax fight, but subverted in the final battle (in which Donald and Goofy rejoin you gradually). Played straight at the end of Kingdom Hearts II, in which Sora and Riku are the only heroes at the final battle, but that's because Donald and Goofy had just left earlier after everyone thought that Xemnas was dead already.
  • Shoot Em Ups: With the Gummi Ships.
  • Shout-Out: The majority of Nobodies are named after the various job classes in the Final Fantasy series, and often behave as such.
    • The Darkside Heartless is named after Tales from the Darkside, an anthology horror TV series. The Twilight Thorn is called Twilight Zone in Japanese, referencing another famous horror TV series.
    • The poses Sora does when he wins a tournament round in the first game are victory poses from Final Fantasy VII, VIII and X.
    • Most of the Gummi Ship names are names of various airships from the Final Fantasy games.
    • Part of End of the World from the first game seems to have been inspired by Nowhere.
  • Sigil Spam: The Heartless emblem and the Nobody sigil both show up on pretty much anything connected to their groups.
    • And you can pretty much bet on the Unversed sigil getting the same treatment, as well the Dreameaters.
    • Curiously enough, Hayner's T-Shirt has a skull-and-crossbones designed the same way as the Heartless emblem.
    • Speaking of Hayner and friends, Roxas has an X necklace, the common letter in all Organization XIII names.
      • And also the χ-Blade, being that he's related somehow to Ventus.
  • Significant Anagram: All of Organization XIII; each of their names is an anagram of the old selves' name with an added X. Leads to Epileptic Trees about the original names of the "other" members.
    • Xehanort especially. Get rid of the X and we get both "No Heart" and "Another". Nomura says both were entirely intentional.
      • Given what happens to Terra in Birth by Sleep, we have a third one - "No Earth".
    • And Ansem can be rearranged as "Names", though this one is probably unintentional, but hilarious considering the number of characters using his name.
    • Eraqus can also be arranged as "Square." Almost a complete reversal of the name in fact, just with the "u" being placed after the "q" to follow English vocabulary rules. This is done to make him a counterpart to Yen Sid, which is "Disney" spelt backwards.
  • Signature Device: Keyblades.
  • Slasher Smile:
    • Axel displays these in KH:ReCoM during Vexen's and Zexion's deaths.
    • Ansem, when he takes over Riku after he kills Lexaeus.
    • Vanitas and Master Xehanort display them too.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Shifts from silliness towards seriousness within each game, and over the series as whole.
  • The Soulless: Well Heartless, if you want to get technical, but the Nobodies fit this like a glove.
    • It's amusing in the latter's case, considering that, according to the Secret Ansem Reports in Kingdom Hearts II, Nobodies consist of the body and soul of an individual left behind after the heart leaves.
    • And then 3D reveals that nobodies do in fact have hearts.
  • Spam Attack: Ars Arcanum.
  • Spanner in the Works: Sora and Co. have an amazing ability to tear complicated schemes to pieces by without ever fully understanding them. (Though they do have help.)
  • Speedy Techno Remake: The PlanitB remix of "Simple and Clean", used in the openings of the first game and Birth by Sleep.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Never Land or Neverland? Never Land is probably right, given that it was written as "the Never Never Land" in the original play (Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up).
  • Spiritual Successor: The Mana (series) was succeeded by Kingdom Hearts, more or less. And now it looks like Disney Fantasy Online will be a spiritual successor to Kingdom Hearts, as it's essentially Kingdom Hearts online with the Square Enix properties filed off but with the Nomura art style and core concepts retained.
  • Squishy Wizard: Donald, in spades. Aqua can be a bit like this as well.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Happens a few times to different characters, and is wonderfully subverted by Belle in KH2.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: Neither Roxas nor Xion ditch their Organization XIII cloaks after they quit the organization. It's unlikely that Roxas had time to buy anything else to wear and Xion probably was wearing it to protect her heart from darkness, like Riku does.
  • Stone Wall: Goofy, so very much.
  • Summon to Hand: Keyblades can do this.
  • Super Mode: Drive Forms.
  • Supporting Leader: Leon's role in KH2.
  • Surprise Creepy: Especially if all you saw before playing was the Disney element. And hadn't actually watched some of the Disney films featured.
  • Take My Hand: Seen a lot with Riku and Sora (especially Riku, who makes it his pose in the opening cinematics of both Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II.)
    • And Vanitas takes the same pose in the opening for Birth by Sleep, facing Ventus.
    • Axel does it in Chain of Memories to Sora, but he doesn't accept it. Seeing what we learn of Axel later, that was definitely the right choice to make.
      • Axel also does this to Kairi in Kingdom Hearts II when he offers to take her to Sora, but she also doesn't accept. So naturally, kidnapping comes next.
  • Take Up My Sword: The way someone claims a Keyblade is by performing The Rite of Succession of with a Keyblade Master.
  • Teens Are Short: Sora, Riku, Kairi, Roxas, Naminé, etc... are all shorter than almost all of the adults in the game. "Shorter than some" would be understandable, as would "slightly shorter than most", but there is a significant height gap most of the way through, at least for the males. Although Riku does hit a growth spurt after Chain of Memories and becomes "adult height" for Kingdom Hearts II.
    • Sora's growth spurt was nothing to scoff at either. The pants that reached his ankles in the original didn't even pass his knees in the sequel.
    • Not really a teen, but seeing Goofy next to some of these other characters makes you realize that he's not so tall as much as all of his friends are just short.
  • Terrible Artist: Naminé. Which may be forgivable as she is working in crayon then. In pencil, of course, she's completely amazing.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Kairi and the two Nobodies born from her from her have a theme of a Japanese word related to the ocean with an extra phoneme at the end: Kairi (kai/ocean+ri), Naminé (nami/wave+), and Xion (shio/tide+n).
    • All the names of the Organization XIII members are anagrams of the names they had before they became Nobodies with an "x" added in.
    • Some of the spinoff games have something of an internet theme (this is acknowledged by Nomura, mind): CoM, coded, BBS.
  • Theme Song Reveal: The series runs this trope as far as it can take it. Many themes are remixed and incorporated into other themes, and analysis of such can provide a glimpse into connections between characters when one of their themes incorporates snippets from the other's.
  • There Are No Therapists: Especially for Ventus, Aqua and Terra in Birth By Sleep. Aqua winds up having to put down both Terra and Ventus, Terra loses his body and kills his master, and Ventus finds out he has to sacrifice himself. Though some of Organization XIII could also use them.
  • They're Called "Personal Issues" for a Reason
  • Title Drop: In every game so far.
    • Except not quite in 358/2 Days.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Mickey is shown to have been clumsy at keyblading when training under Yen Sid in Birth by Sleep. In the present day, he's the most skilled Keyblade wielder of all.
    • Roxas gains a level in badass when he absorbs Xion, gaining his signature power to dual-wield two Keyblades.
    • Sora in Kingdom Hearts II not only gets Roxas's dual-wielding, but later on takes his own level in badass when he gets the power to use Drive Forms.
      • Drive Forms nothing, play through Kingdom Hearts and then through Kingdom Hearts II. Sora's skill with the Keyblade drastically increases, and his techniques, combos and agility are leaps beyond what he was able to do in Kingdom Hearts.
    • Riku and Kairi both get their own Keyblades in Kingdom Hearts II.
  • Tournament Fighting with Hades: Most bizarre in the original, where the Hades Cup is harmless. (Well, as harmless as a 50-round chain battle featuring lots of tough Heartless and a battle with Hades himself can be, anyway.)
  • Trilogy Creep: By the time the prophesized "Kingdom Hearts III" comes out, there will be an impressive eight preceding games sans remakes, five of which (coded, 358/2 Days, Birth by Sleep, 3D, Birth by Sleep vol. 2) will have been released between II and III.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Sora, Riku, Kairi; Terra, Ven, Aqua; Hayner, Pence, Olette (if you don't count Roxas); Roxas, Axel, Xion. Not to mention the evil, non-friendship version with Marluxia, Axel, and Larxene in "Chain of Memories". This series loves this trope.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Quite a few characters like sea-salt ice cream, which serves as a minor plot point.
  • Troperiffic: Dear God, yes.
  • Two Roads Before You: Sword, shield, wand.
  • The Unchosen One: Sora was not the initial choice for the Keyblade.
    • Pretty much spelled out when Sora meets Terra, one of the previous Keybearers. The latter flips out upon seeing the Keyblade in the hands of someone other than the one he chose. Cue Bonus Boss.
    • In contrast to Sora, both Riku and Kairi actually are The Chosen One, selected by Terra and Aqua, respectively (Although in Kairi's case, it was accidental, and in Riku's case, as mentioned above, he lost his chosen right and had to work hard to eventually transform his sword into a Keyblade instead.)
  • Under the Sea: Atlantica.
  • Updated Rerelease: Only available in Japan.
  • Unscaled Merfolk: While in Atlantica, Sora is half dolphin, Donald is half octopus, and Goofy is mostly turtle (only his head is still clearly him).
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: You'd think someone like Jack Sparrow would say something when faced with an anthropomorphic duck. (Then again, considering this is Jack Sparrow's mind...) In fact, someone would probably comment on there being several people looking like they just stepped out of a cartoon in a place that clearly doesn't have that kind of stuff.
  • The Usual Adversaries: While they are also obviously The Heartless, the Heartless and Nobodies are also this. Birth by Sleep brings the Unversed.
  • Victory Pose: By Sora. They're Mythology Gags toward Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and X.
    • In 358/2 Days everybody gets one for Mission Mode.
  • Video Game Remake: The PlayStation 2's Re:Chain of Memories, a remake of the GBA's Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded for the DS, a remake of the mobile game Kingdom Hearts coded.
  • Video Game Settings: The Disney Worlds naturally loan themselves to this in a crossover adventure. Probably one of the reasons it feels so seamless.
  • Viewers are Morons: Yuffie's role was originally going to be filled by Rikku. But Nomura decided that it would be too confusing to have two characters with similar names, so Yuffie was substituted. With a Palette Swapped version of the clothes designed for Rikku.
    • However, Rikku did make it into Kingdom Hearts II, though her name is never actually said in a voiced cutscene.
  • Villain Based Franchise: Master Xehanort (or one component of him) managed to cause every single problem in the series in some manner.
    • Nomura has basically stated that Kingdom Hearts one through three and the associated spinoffs will comprise the "Xehanort saga" of Kingdom Hearts. Yeah, EIGHT GAMES are one villain-based saga.
  • Villain Teleportation: Maleficent, Riku, Master Xehanort, Vanitas, Organization XIII Members and other Disney Villans.
  • Watching the Sunset: Have fun trying to count them all.
  • Weapon, Jr.: Sora's wooden sword, Tidus's wooden pole, Selphie's jumprope, and Lea's frisbees.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Xehanort believes himself to be this. Sure he's screwing over Eraqus and his pupils, but he's doing it to bring about cosmic balance. It's just that his idea of cosmic balance requires causing a war between Keyblade masters that will destroy the universe.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Oh so averted...
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The Nobodies. Sora in particular sticks to his "You don't exist, you don't feel anything" mantra right until the end, even after one of them pulls a Heroic Sacrifice for his sake yet comes back to life as a human, because of it... One might think he was speaking directly to Disney's censors. Meanwhile other, non-Nobody villains succumb to The Heartless, a Karmic Death, get One-Winged Angel enough to get covered by this trope or survive for a while.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Several—though two or three, depending how you count, are kinda the same person.
  • White Void Room: Most of the rooms in Castle Oblivion. Most notably Naminé's.
    • Also Naminé's room in the Old Mansion in Kingdom Hearts II, and also the Pod Room where Sora sleeps. Also, while not technically a room, the Realm of Nothingness where the final battle against the really, REALLY final form of Xemnas is fought.
    • The Chambers of Waking and Repose, in Castle Oblivion and Radiant Garden, respectively.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Several, if not most worlds—but none as strictly as Pirates of the Caribbean, seemingly reconstructed in abridged form with Sora and the Heartless slapdashily thrown in.
  • World of Ham: There are actually plenty of characters who, dialogue-wise, aren't hammy at all, but there's also the fact that everyone is constantly Milking the Giant Cow...
  • Yoko Shimomura: Has composed for every game in the series, although she had help from Takeharu Ishimoto and Tsuyoshi Sekito on Birth By Sleep.
  1. The Japanese version of "Simple and Clean" is called "Hikari", and "Sanctuary" is "Passion". And yes, the same singer (Utada Hikaru) wrote and sang both versions of both songs.
  2. This only applies to when Genie is not fighting a Heartless or Nobody, as technically killing either or both will result in the person whose heart and body were separated to become whole once again, therefore saving them
  3. and the rest of Canada and the US too, but they don't care as much and aren't affected by the pseudo-law mentioned here
  4. on the same cartridge as English and other European languages
  5. who, in turn, may have Vanitas's
  6. In case you're wondering, Sephiroth's trope-naming wing debuted here.