What mattered the most was remembered the least.
Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days (read: Three-Five-Eight Days Over Two) is the oddly named fourth offering in the Kingdom Hearts series. It is an Interquel, taking place between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II and overlapping Chain of Memories at a few points. As the name implies, the game takes place over almost the entire year between the two main games.
A departure for the series, KH: 358/2 Days stars Roxas, Sora's Nobody, in his life as part of Organization XIII. It uses the same Action RPG format as the main games, but rather than simply exploring worlds, Roxas is sent on various missions by the Organization, and the plot unfolds as the missions are undertaken.
- All the Worlds Are a Stage: The fight against Xion is this, of the Zant Stage Rush variety.
- Anachronic Order: Thankfully, an official timeline of how the events of this game relate to those in the other games exists here.
- Artificial Human: Vexen created Xion.
- Ax Crazy: Saïx in berserk mode. Subverted for Xion in her transformed final boss state. She appears to be this, but she's actually feigning it so that Roxas will destroy her and she can return to Sora.
- Beta Test Baddie: Xion. Oh, Xion.
- Becoming the Mask: Reading the secret reports reveal that Axel's initial promise of friendship to Roxas was a lie and that he didn't really feel anything toward him. After coming back from the events at Castle Oblivion, he gradually became Roxas's friend for real.
- Big Brother Instinct: Arguably, how the relationship between Roxas and Axel began. Makes for pretty solid Character Development, and for people who Squick at the Ho Yay, a very effective Author's Saving Throw.
- Bittersweet Ending: Though more of a Downer Ending if taken on its own and with no knowledge of what transpires in KH2.
- Bonus Boss: Dustflier is an optional seventh mark in a mission near the end in which Roxas has to take out six. It's essentially just a supersized version of a normal enemy, and it spends the battle flying around. Every time it lands on the ground, it sends out a very large shockwave that can inflict one of thirteen status effects, including blinding you, reducing your defense to level one, and keeping you from jumping. The player is warned beforehand that it's one of the strongest Heartless in the game, but it's easy to go in unprepared and be killed within two hits (not exaggerated in the slightest bit) by this monstrosity.
- Bonus Feature Failure:
- The unlockable mission mode characters, with the exception of Xion, each get only five or six usable weapons, compared to the normal characters who each have more than 20.
- But when you get to directly play as Mickey, Donald, and Goofy, it makes up for it.
- Dual Wielding Roxas in mission mode. Sure, in story mode he's awesome (though you only get him for an extremely short time), but in mission mode he's arguably worse than Roxas. This is for two reasons: Mission Mode's enemies are stronger than normal, and the final mission's enemies have their levels programmed to be ridiculously low for the end of the game, so that Roxas feels as badass as he is in KHI's Secret Ending.
- The unlockable mission mode characters, with the exception of Xion, each get only five or six usable weapons, compared to the normal characters who each have more than 20.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: The game warns you about a couple of these: "Caution! A powerful enemy is near!" Living Pods are a straighter example, while Invisibles are actually harder than their boss version, Orcus, mainly by virtue of having a crapton more HP.
- Boss Remix: The theme that plays during the last stage of the fight against Xion.
- Boss Rush: The last mission before the endgame has you take out six previous boss Heartless (and the Bonus Boss, if you so wish).
- Bragging Rights Reward: Ultima Weapon and the Master's Circlet, although the latter can also make things challenging.
- Brick Joke: A sad version with Roxas and the winner stick. He keeps forgetting to give the stick to Axel as a present, and later decides to wait until he gets a second one so Axel and Xion can both have one. When he leaves the Organization, the last thing he does is give the winner stick to Axel.
- Call Forward:
Roxas: What's summer vacation?
- "What's our boss's name?"
- The Thresholder-locked door is present in Beast's Castle.
- When Roxas runs up the skyscraper and Riku jumps down past him, the scene looks exactly like when Sora runs up the same skyscraper during his fight with Xemnas at the end of Kingdom Hearts II. Xemnas jumps down exactly the same way as Riku does.
- The fact that both Sora and Riku/Ansem defeat each other's Nobodies.
- Camera Centering
- Camera Screw: The auto camera is finicky, but it won't give you too much trouble except near walls. Unfortunately, when it does, it screws you hard, making two boss fights (Leechgrave and Ruler of the Sky) much more difficult, and making many of the in-game challenges much harder than they should be.
- Captain Obvious: Roxas's first recon mission with Vexen.
Roxas: These tiles are different than the others... it's like a road...
Roxas: "There's a bridge past here."
- Cherry Tapping: The casual gear allows players to adopt joke weapons: umbrellas for Roxas and Xion, Pizzas for Axel, and a ham-and-cheese sandwich for Zexion. It is SOOOOO satisfying, after having obtained level-tripler panels, to go back and beat up early One Bosses with a Midnight Snack.
- Chest Monster: Cymbal Monkeys and Tricky Monkeys. Thankfully, there's an easy way to defeat them: if you block immediately after they appear, you'll bounce their sound bullets back at them, killing them instantly. Of course, this means you'll immediately block after opening every chest you come across...
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Damn near everybody in Organization XIII has some scheme going. In fact, out of the 14 members of the Organization, only two show no signs of rebellion.
- Cloning Blues: Xion, who's an incomplete Roxas clone made from Sora's memories, was created by Vexen as a sort of "fail-safe."
- Competitive Balance: The mission mode characters tend to fall under this.
- Jack of All Stats: Roxas, Xion, and Sora. Luxord and Demyx are slightly more magic-oriented versions, and Xaldin is a more physical-oriented one.
- Mighty Glacier: Lexaeus, to a T. Also Saïx and Xenmas (the latter being such an extreme example that many see him as near-useless.)
- Fragile Speedster: Larxene and Xigbar.
- Stone Wall: Goofy.
- Squishy Wizard: Donald Duck, of course. Also Vexen and Zexion.
- Lightning Bruiser: Axel and Riku.
- Magic Knight: Xemnas, Marluxia, and Mickey.
- Glass Cannon: Not really specific to any character, but almost everyone has lower defense than Roxas for some reason. Even Vexen, who wields a shield.
- Continuity Lock Out: Oooh boy. Days basically requires you to have knowledge of the plot of 1, 2, and Chain/Re:Chain of Memories, and some scenes like Xigbar seeing Xion as Ventus and Roxas collapsing inside Castle Oblivion make a lot more sense if you've played Birth By Sleep. Which wasn't even out at the time, which left several people wondering who the hell Xion turned into for a little less than a year.
- Copy Protection: The game won't go past choosing your difficulty.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Played the other KH games on the PlayStation 2 first? Have fun with switched jump and attack buttons as well as switched confirm/deny buttons.
- Darker and Edgier: To the three games that came before it, certainly.
- Deadpan Snarker: Usually Xigbar, but also Luxord at times.
- Axel, all the way.
Axel: See, there's this thing about chests. They have stuff in them.
- Deconstruction: Xion is one of the Mary Sue concept. At first glance, she's exactly like a self-insert character -- she's the 14th member of the Organization, she looks like Kairi, she can wield the Keyblade, and is friends with Axel and Roxas. However, it turns out her entire existence is a lie -- everyone aside from Roxas either thinks she should be destroyed or only wants her alive to further their own goals, the nature of her existence means she and Roxas cannot co-exist without one of them killing the other, and once she dies people instantly begin to forget she ever existed. Even in-universe, most characters consider her having no right to exist and it actually would be better for the sake of Roxas and Sora if she didn't.
- Defector From Decadence: Roxas, at the end of the game. The Organization had pretty much crossed his Moral Event Horizon a few days before his departure, and his final diary entry shows it: "I am DONE WITH THIS." And then he leaves, taking out everything that tries to stop him along the way.
- Demoted to Extra: Oddly enough, in a game where they get top billing, many of the Organization members themselves.
- Marluxia, Larxene, Lexaeus, Zexion, and Vexen are all Doomed by Canon thanks to a certain other game, and aren't around after the first few days or so. This is likely why they were responsible for teaching Roxas the tutorials, just to give them some role before they went.
- Although Zexion reappears for a short cameo (with a voice!) for the Snarl of Memories scene.
- Xemnas also gets surprisingly little screen time for the leader of the Organization, even if he is busy working on his Batman Gambit involving Roxas and Xion.
- And then there is Mickey Mouse, outside of his Secret Character playability. And he's on the freakin' cover!
- Let's not forget Sora, Donald, and Goofy themselves in story mode since despite being mentioned, they only get minor cameos, though it's justified that they are still in a deep sleep.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Xion, in Roxas's arms.
- Disappears Into Light: Xion. Along with ice, for some odd reason.
- The ice makes sense, when you consider the fact that Vexen created her.
- Dismotivation: Demyx is That One Boss in Kingdom Hearts II. He's also a total slacker who goes as far as bribing Roxas to do his work for him, because he's "not cut out" for fighting.
- Doomed by Canon: You've never heard of Xion in Kingdom Hearts II despite her important role in Roxas's life with Organization XIII. Roxas has no flashbacks involving Xion, so that hints at Xion being Ret-Gone. Explained in-game that as Xion's essence was reabsorbed into Roxas, there was nothing left to remember Xion with. Unlike Roxas and Naminé, she utterly ceases to exist.
- Doomed by Canon + Sympathetic POV = Get your tissues. Congratulations, all the protagonists will die and the antagonists will live. Also? "Maybe today we can finally make it to the beach". Have fun...
- The Dragon: Axel to Saïx.
- Dragons With An Agenda: Saïx and Axel are revealed to have formed a plan to overthrow Xemnas, before Saïx became the mask. However, unlike Marluxia, who wants to overthrow Xemnas to take over the Organization, Saïx and Axel sought to overthrow Xemnas to reclaim their hearts. That and the fact that Xemnas really wanted to use Kingdom Hearts's power to become a god-like being...
- Dub Name Change: Tons and tons. The problem is, a few cases make for an Inconsistent Dub.
- Dying as Yourself: Xion transforms into... some kind of creature (presumably her true form with Sora's combat abilities) in the final battle with her, but returns to normal as she fades away.
- Easing Into the Adventure: The first 20+ days.
- Early-Bird Cameo:
- Xion transforms into Ventus once. The same cutscene also shows that Xigbar knew Ventus.
- A weirder, smaller, kinda-sorta example: at one point, Saïx calls Axel "Lea", clarifying Axel's original name just in time for Lea's appearance in Birth By Sleep.
- Eenie Meenie Miny Moai: Lexaeus's "Mystery Gear" joke weapon.
- Fake Difficulty: Any Unexpected Gameplay Change segment -- the controls are set up for an action RPG, not faux stealth segments. Fortunately, it's the only part.
- Fighting Your Friend:
- Xion is the final boss -- well, one of them, anyway.
- Roxas also fights Xigbar in the Olympus Coliseum at one point, although it's mostly to maintain a charade. Admittedly, the definition of "friend" is stretched in this case...
- Xion and Axel face off twice during the game.
- Final Boss: Why is this notable? Because technically, there are actually two. The final fight against giant One-Winged Angel'd Xion in front of the Twilight Town clock tower on Day 357 has all the trappings of a typical final boss, but then the game proceeds to the Deep Dive segment on Day 358 where Roxas fights Riku -- Riku is considered the absolute last enemy in the game, though the battle is neither as difficult nor as climactic as the Xion fight.
- Xigbar nicknames Xion "Poppet" early on. His pseudo-lampshading ("What? Are you jealous because Poppet got the best nickname?") is practically Harsher in Hindsight.
- "Poppet" in and of itself just means she's a pretty young thing. It, as well as the Japanese equivalent, "puu-chan", are both derived from the French word "poupee", which means puppet.
- Xigbar also says, "Ain't Xion just a peach now? The face of an angel. Just gotta be careful -- girls her age have many faces." It can be taken as Xigbar knowing she's living off Roxas's energy, but since Xion is a Sequential Boss... It may also foreshadow the fact that Xion is seen differently by different people. Xigbar knows this, as he sees her as Ventus.
- There's also some mild foreshadowing to Birth By Sleep, because Tinkerbell is actually pretty nice to Roxas and seems to be trying to get his attention. How does this fit? She knew Ventus, the Roxas lookalike, in Birth by Sleep and probably thinks Roxas is Ven! She was probably trying to tell him to rejoin the Lost Boys.
- Gender Bender: Believe it or not, Xion is an incomplete Roxas clone created from Sora's memories. She's female because Kairi's face and personality are Sora's strongest memories, but near the end of the game, with Sora's memories nearly reconstructed by that point, she ends up looking exactly like him just before going One-Winged Angel on Roxas (where "she" looks pretty much like a fully armored Sora with an echoing female voice). Expect plenty of What Do You Mean It's for Kids? thanks to the first transgender Disney character ever.
- Get Back Here Boss:
- Multiple fights with the Emerald Serenade, which just flies around, out of reach, never attacking. Subverted in all but one such fight, as it speeds up as it takes damage and forces you to ambush it (the game even warns you that chasing it is "an exercise in futility").
- Ditto with "The Stranger" in Twilight Town, except it's played straight.
- The boss fight with Ruler of the Sky, which mostly acts like the Emerald Serenade until it Turns Red.
- Inverted in mission mode as "Get Away From Me Boss" when playing as Xigbar, Zexion, or Vexen, since they're long-range (by virtue of their weapon for Xigbar, and magic orientation for the other two).
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
Larxene: What are you looking at? ...Oh, dream on. It's not gonna happen, pipsqueak.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Zigzagged. Xion initially resists such a proposition despite the pain she feels, until Xemnas interferes in an attempt to force her to absorb Roxas. Not that he actually succeeded -- she's only feigning insanity because she needed Roxas to destroy her artificial body so she could return to Sora, where she (quite lucidly) decided that she belonged.
- Go Out with a Smile: Xion.
- Gratuitous French:
- Grid Inventory: The panel system.
- Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Due to Roxas being Doomed by Canon, the absolute final battle against Riku is this.
- How We Got Here: The game begins on Day 255, with Roxas and Axel on the clock tower. Then the game goes back to Day 7 to start the tutorial, showing the friendship of Roxas, Axel and Xion as the story moves on. Once you get to Day 255 again, things steadily go downhill...
- 100% Completion: Completing every mission and every mission 100%, respectively, will earn you Mickey and Sora as mission mode characters.
- Also, if you want the secret reports, you have to play the challenge (and special challenge) missions sooner or later.
- I Know Your True Name: Saïx pulls this on Axel as a not-so-subtle reminder of where the latter's loyalties ought to lie.
- Improbable Power Discrepancy: A certain challenge mission increases the levels of enemies by 60.
- Improbable Weapon User: Square Enix has outdone themselves with these joke weapons here. Saïx using a BANANA or Zexion holding a sandwich (cue Team Fortress 2 jokes), for instance. Plenty more hilarious weapons to view, too.
Marluxia: My spoon is too big.
- Then there's also Zexion's "Diary", which many believe contains something else besides his personal recollections...
- Infinity+1 Sword: Well, it depends on the character which one is better, but equipping the Pandora Gear+, Omega Gear+, or the Zero Gear will result in one of these for each character. Notably, those three are the only gears that actually change the weapons given to the non-Organization characters. For Roxas, the Zero Gear can even change his fighting style entirely.
- Informed Ability: Roxas's ability to command Samurai nobodies never shows up in the game. Apparently, it was intended to be included, but never completed. Instead, all the Samurai Nobodies in the main missions are at ridiculously low levels for that point in the game, making it a shock when they appear in Mission Mode as enemies that can take you out in a few hits, instead of the other way around.
- In Memoriam: Of Wayne Allwine.
- Instrument of Murder: Equipping Xigbar with the Mystery Gear makes him wield a pair of trumpets in the stead of his Arrowguns. They shoot musical notes, accompanied by the appropriate sound effects.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: A far more literal interpretation of the "puzzle" aspect. Roxas's inventory, leveling system, skills, and equipment are represented by "panels" which are slotted into a grid. Some things take up more space than others, and in various shapes. You'll need a keen eye to assemble everything efficiently.
- Quite a few members, but the biggest asshole of them all is Saïx, who is just downright cruel to poor Xion. It makes the near-endgame boss fight with him rather cathartic.
- Also DiZ, since this game takes place prior to his Character Development in Kingdom Hearts II. To his credit, his deplorable behavior is at least somewhat understandable given his circumstances of inadvertedly helping create both the Heartless and the Nobodies.
- Vexen, who flat-out calls Roxas an idiot to his face and spends most of his tutorial with Roxas insulting the kid's intelligence, even though Roxas's spaciness isn't really his fault. Though to be fair, he does have a lot to put up with in the Organization.
- While Lexaeus's status as a Jerkass is debatable, there's really no arguing with the Limit Break Incident. You know, the part in the first hour of the game, where Lexaeus demonstrates the optimal health amount for a Limit Break by punching Roxas in the face.
- Larxene. Every time you go on a mission with her, she gripes about being a babysitter. She does so in her only Secret Report, too. Jerkass she may be, some of her dialogue is funny, given that they're not allowed to swear. And to her credit, her last interaction with Roxas is surprisingly nice, by her standards anyway.
- Joke Item: Every member of Organization XIII has at least one of these. Zexion's bologna sandwich and Saïx's banana shine above the rest. Xigbar's trumpet is funny if only because it makes intriguing sounds. Same for Lexaeus's squeaky hammer.
- Justified Tutorial: Roxas is a newly-born Nobody, and new to the Organization. His senior members have the "pleasure" of showing him the ropes.
- Kneel Before Zod: Saïx yells "Grovel before me!" at Roxas while they fight.
- Late Arrival Spoiler:
- Roxas is a Nobody.
- The only Organization member to return from the Castle Oblivion mission is Axel.
- Leitmotif: Roxas and Xion each get one of their own. There's also a theme that plays whenever Axel, Roxas, and Xion eat ice cream after missions; a different arrangement of it shows up in Birth By Sleep when Ven and Lea meet in the Radiant Garden.
- Let's You and Him Fight: The Organization tries to get rid of either Roxas or Xion by pitting them against each other.
- Level Drain:
- A standard status ailment.
- Fairly late in the game there's a mission where Roxas's level is halved.... because he's having an "off day". This is justified when you learn later that Xion had drained a lot of Roxas's power at that point.
- Limit Break: The, well, Limit Breaks. Equipping the appropriate ability panel allows you follow it up with a stronger "Final Limit."
- Lip Lock: A pretty bad case of it, but it thankfully doesn't come up too often.
- Loss of Identity: Roxas.
- Lost in Translation:
- Unless you happen to know Japanese or know enough about culture, Xion being pronounced "Shion" will probably mean absolutely nothing to you. Shion is actually the name of a plant associated with memories in Japan.
- Not to mention Axel's speech about why the sky is red at the beginning. Roxas spends a lot of time wondering who the "boy in red" is. And the Japanese word for sky? Sora.
- Low-Level Run: Levels, like everything else, are panels, and thus if you don't equip any, you're reduced to level 1.
- Made of Iron: Roxas took three exploding pumpkins to the face with little to no adverse effects. Pumpkins which were later show to be able to blast holes in a stone wall.
- Marathon Boss: Pretty much all of them; whenever you're told to track down an "unidentified giant Heartless", be prepared for a very long battle. The worst offenders are by far the Leechgrave or the Ruler of the Sky. Have fun.
- The Bonus Boss Dustflier has nine and a half health bars and a ton of defense. You spend quite a bit of time running around dodging its near one-shot attacks. It helps if you equip a bunch of critical hit increasing panels, since crits ignore defense, but it's still a loooong fight.
- Meaningful Name:
- Xion's has at least two -- shio (tide), which connects her to Kairi and Naminé; and shion, which is a flower given to someone to mean "remembrance". Which is tragically ironic.
- There's also the meaning behind her original name, No. i: In mathematics, i is used to denote the square root of negative one and is often referred to as an "imaginary number" (despite the fact that people like engineers consider it no less "real" than they do real numbers).
- Lowercase Roman Numerals, like i, are also used to denote subsections or footnotes underneath the capital ones.
- Roman numeral I is one... No I... No one...
- There's also the common misconception that her name is pronounced like "scion", which is a descendant or heir... Really, there are too many potential meanings to know for sure which ones were intended.
- Mind Screw: Indeed it is.
- The existence of the protagonists themselves is based upon a vaguely defined concept of Nothingness, which is anomalous and shouldn't exist, and the plot revolves around rectifying this.
- Most of your main playthrough of the game is told from Roxas's POV. Unfortunately, Roxas is ridiculously, egregiously left out of the loop.
- The Snarl of Memories cutscene.
- My Friends and Zoidberg: Non-comedic version. 'Count the chairs. When have we ever been more than thirteen?'
- Nintendo Hard: Can very easily become this if you forget to do the Square tradition that is Level Grinding.
- Either that, or you can block all the time and study enemy weaknesses beforehand; it makes the game Boring but Practical, but it also makes the game MUCH easier.
- Obstructive Code of Conduct: The Organization is better about following their Prime Directive than Sora and co. are. 1: Do not reveal the Organization. 2: Remain out of sight of natives. 3: The mission comes before everything. Roxas eventually violates the Directive about the third time Tinkerbell needs his help.
- One-Winged Angel: As expected for Squeenix final bosses at this point. Xion is a good example.
- Or Was It a Dream?: Roxas is with Organization XIII for 358 days. However, he wakes up (in the simulated Twilight town) and considers the events a dream. The evening he goes to sleep and the morning he wakes up is over 2 days.)
- Palette Swap:
- So very many enemies get this treatment. Even a boss gets one of these...
- Mega-Shadows and Gigas Shadows don't even get a palette swap, instead just being scaled up versions of the normal Shadow model.
- Pet the Dog:
- Larxene's last interaction with Roxas is her saying that he's "almost half-competant now" and that maybe he'd make a good addition to her and Marluxia's rebellion plan. And that, friends, is just about the nicest Larxene has ever been.
- Vexen's tutorial mission gives him a more teacherly role than most other members and portrays his attitude somewhat sympathetically.
- Poisonous Friend: Axel becomes obsessed with keeping Roxas and Xion "safely" in the Organization... whether they like it or not.
- Poor Communication Kills: Roxas leaves the Organization because no one is willing to tell him who Sora is, where he comes from, and why he can wield the Keyblade.
- Power Trio: Roxas, Xion and Axel.
- Previous Player Character Cameo: Sora is mentioned multiple times throughout the game. And when you fight her, Xion calls on Sora's memories to power herself up. But Sora himself is only seen through instances of déjà vu Roxas feels as he visits the different worlds. The bottom screen shows Sora in the same pose Roxas is in through a haze of static.
- Punch Clock Villain: Demyx and Luxord are portrayed this way. Xigbar is debatable.
- Rage Against the Mentor: Roxas isn't happy when he learns Axel had been keeping the truth about Xion from him. "Didn't have it memorized, huh?"
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Axel and Saïx, respectively.
- Regional Bonus: Interestingly enough, Days has a feature in America it doesn't in Japan: In Japan, you must play Mission Mode with other people in order to get the reward, but in America, you can earn the Mission Crowns in Solo Mission Mode. You also get a varying greater-than-normal amount of them the first time you beat the mission, ranging from 3-4 with normal "kill stuff and report back" missions to 8-10 for major bosses.
- Resignations Not Accepted: Organization XIII. Also, the Trope Namer.
Saïx: We don't accept resignations.
- Ret-Gone: Perhaps the best example: Xion is absorbed by Roxas. The only thing that remains is that Xion keeps herself happy with the memories of her friends. The Ret-Gone is more noticeable with the Doomed by Canon, because you never hear of Xion in Kingdom Hearts II when Roxas should clearly be remembering her. Of course, it is also possible that the database entry where Xion learned about her past is still intact. Another possibility is that Xion's secret logs are still floating around somewhere..
- Although considering what happened to Jiminy's Journal in Chain of Memories and II, don't count on it.
- But considering what was revealed from that same journal in coded, it's already been hinted that they may be planning on going on a route similar to that.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In the end of the game, Roxas goes on a pretty heated one, with his goal being no less than the total destruction of the Organization and the release of all the hearts in Kingdom Hearts. Riku takes him out before he can even get back to the castle, though.
- Running Gag: Agrabah has a lot of sand.
- Sad Battle Music: Xion's fight theme, "Vector to the Heavens".
- Sailor Earth: A canon example. Secret reports reveal that Xion's name comes from her Organization number, No. i. As in the imaginary number.
- Secret Character: Xion, Riku, King Mickey, and Sora! Donald! Goofy! for Mission Mode. Most of them are revealed through Story Mode, but two of them can only be received after completing the game and meeting certain requirements.
- Sequential Boss: Xion, who has four different forms.
- She Fu: Larxene.
- Shipper on Deck: Xigbar tells Roxas that "No girl wants a guy who's weaker than her," before offering to help him by assigning Roxas a side quest to kill 50 enemies with his Final Limit. This side quest is long and annoying, mostly because you have to activate the Regular Limit Break before you can use Final Limit, and any enemies killed by the regular Limit Break don't count toward the total. Based on the dialogue, it isn't clear whether Xigbar was actually hinting Roxas and Xion as a pairing, or whether Xigbar is messing with Roxas. It is clear, however, that Roxas is getting as attached to Xion as a Nobody can get.
- Ship Tease: The Roxas/Xion subtext is paper-thin, and the subtext between the two of them and Axel isn't much better. Xion herself says she loves them in one of the reports, and while Axel's feelings are a bit more complex, Roxas' friendship with Xion is about as close to love as a Nobody can get. One of their mutual Keyblades is even named after a poem dedicated to parting lovers.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The protagonists can never accomplish anything, or else the Big Bad wins and the universe ends. Ouch.
- Shout-Out: If Luxord has the Casual Gear equipped, he wields a "deck" of CD(-ROM?)s called (at least in the English versions) "Finest Fantasy 13". Take a wild guess what the name sounds like?...
- Smashing Survival: The Hover Ghost's special attack quickly drains your health unless you mash a bunch of keys to escape.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Xion's final battle theme -- in stark contrast to the epic orchestral Ominous Latin Chanting-packed themes of the previous game, this one is a melancholy piano-heavy Boss Remix of her theme that truly emphasizes the tragedy of the circumstances.
- Standard Status Effects: 358/2 Days introduces a number of these, including very standard ones like Blinded and Silenced, as well as some unorthodox ones like Ignited, Frozen, Shocked, Air-Tossed, "Shoe-Glued", and Rewound Defense (sets defense to what it was at Level 1).
- The Starscream: Saïx, before the game begins.
- Tagline: "What mattered the most was remembered the least"
- A Taste of Power: Odd example at the end of the game: Day 358 is Deep Dive; you'll play as Roxas dual-wielding Oathkeeper and Oblivion, capable of killing Neoshadows in one hit. With the right panel configuration, you can use him in Mission Mode, though not with quite the same level of strength.
- Thanking the Viewer: The credits give a specific mention, along the lines 'to all Kingdom Hearts fans'.
- Title Theme Drop: During the battle with Xion's final form.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: Judging from their titles, all of Zexion's lexicons apart from his joke weapons, which consist of a sandwich and what sounds like a Secret Diary but turns out to be a laptop computer.
- Took a Level in Jerkass:
- Saïx. He was never the nicest guy around in Kingdom Hearts II, but he's just plain brutal here.
- This applies to pretty much everyone (especially Xaldin) with the exceptions of Luxord, who is the most polite member of the group, and Marluxia and Larxene, who aren't quite as nasty as they were in Chain of Memories (but then, they didn't have time to be.)
- Zexion isn't exactly mean, he just falls into the category of a harsh teacher. He only insults Roxas once when Roxas suggests returning to the castle instead of going beyond the quota he was given.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Taken to an almost ridiculous degree where roughly 30% of the cutscenes will involve watching 1-3 people sitting at the top of a clock tower and eating ice-cream.
- Author Appeal, apparently.
- Tragic Monster: Xion at the end of the game, depending on your interpretation.
- Trauma Conga Line: Xion and Roxas both get their turns.
- Troll: Xigbar, in a spectacular non-internet example. He knows everything that's going on, but not a lot of personal involvement to look forward to, so he spends most of his time trolling the rest of the organization. Cultivating Roxas's relationship with Xion so her dark secret will tear them apart all the more spectacularly, leading and baiting Saïx on about Xemnas's own dark secrets...
- Vancian Magic: The panel system works this way. You can only use whatever spells/items you have loaded when you accept a mission (you can pick up more items, but there's a limit to Backpack space).
- Villain Protagonist: Played with. Org. XIII are the villains of the series, but you're playing as their Token Good Teammate.
- Villains Out Shopping:
- So much in this game. Demyx spends his time writing songs, Luxord organizes the poker league, and the others like to lounge around in the couches in the Grey Area.
- The manga also provides a panel of Xaldin, Demyx, and Zexion playing Twister.
- The manga actually has this in spades. Even members of an evil organization are not immune to the effects of boring monologues by their superiors, it seems.
- Visible Silence
- Voice Grunting: There are a couple of totally voiced cutscenes, however.
- WAFF: Most of the game, until the Wham! Episode.
- Watching the Sunset: Quite a number of the cutscenes involve this. Well, it looks like this anyway. They're in Twilight Town, which is eternally in those few minutes between day and night, and as such the sun technically isn't setting per se. Just eternally really low on the horizon.
- What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Just one of the many emotions Roxas sees (and doesn't understand) in the Disney Characters throughout the game.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
- Saïx falls squarely into this trope with his treatment of Xion, for reasons better left unspoiled.
- So does DiZ, though that was true in the second full title as well.
- Witch with a Capital B: Demyx on Larxene.
- Wolverine Publicity: Although he did actually appear in game, Mickey Mouse's appearance of the cover qualifies. Mickey has very little screen time and has no real importance in the storyline. In fact, the cutscene where Mickey appears is so generally unimportant that it feels like it was created just to show that Mickey was in fact in the game.
- Word Salad Title: It sounds like one, especially to those who haven't played it. It's so named because the plot describes the events that happened during Roxas's 358 days in the Organization, but since Roxas is brainwashed to disregard it all as a dream once he is forced into the Twilight Town simulation, it is all experienced by Roxas over 2 days (night of day 6 of his summer vacation into day 7). Hence, 358 days over 2. Alternatively, it could be because of Roxas and Xion being 2 parts of the same person.)
- The Worf Effect: When BEAST of all people is tossed over a castle gate by an unseen Heartless, it's enough to make some players really, really scared. The fact that this boss is considered That One Boss, particularly in its challenge mission, does not help.