Disney and Square Enix characters
Kingdom Hearts features a mixture of familiar Disney, Pixar and Square Enix characters, as well as several new characters designed and created by Nomura. In addition to original locations, the Kingdom Hearts series features many worlds from Disney films. Sora must visit these worlds and interact with various Disney characters to protect them from enemies. Often, his actions in these worlds closely follow the storylines of their respective Disney films. The main characters try not to interfere with the affairs of other worlds, as it could negatively affect the universe’s order] Moogles, small creatures from the Final Fantasy series, are another common element in the games. They provide the player with a synthesis shop in order to create and purchase items used in the game. The main cast from The World Ends with You also makes an appearance in the series in Dream Drop Distance, and the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III will feature characters from Pixar’s Toy Story series.
In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Sora, Donald and Goofy’s search for Riku and Mickey leads them to Castle Oblivion, a fortress controlled by a mysterious group of non-existent “Nobodies” called Organization XIII, who use the power of a girl named Naminé to manipulate the trio’s memories. After defeating the Organization, the three are put to sleep for a year by Naminé to allow them to regain their memories, though they must lose the memories of their experience in Castle Oblivion. Meanwhile, Riku arrives in the basement of the castle and ascends to the surface with the aid of Mickey. Discovering Sora’s sleeping state, Riku helps Naminé keep him safe until he is awoken. In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, a snag in the plan over the year forces Riku to capture Roxas—Sora’s Nobody, who is born when Sora briefly becomes a Heartless in the first game—in order to enable Sora’s reawakening.The series starts with Kingdom Hearts, where a 14-year-old boy named Sora is separated from his friends Riku and Kairi when their world, Destiny Islands, is invaded by creatures known as the Heartless. During the invasion, Sora obtains a weapon called the Keyblade that allows him to fight the Heartless. He soon arrives in another world, Traverse Town, where he meets Donald Duck and Goofy, two emissaries from Disney Castle sent to find the Keyblade wielder under orders from their missing king, Mickey Mouse. The three band together and travel to different Disney-themed worlds, sealing the hearts of the worlds to prevent more Heartless from devouring the hearts of those worlds as they search for their companions. Along the way, they encounter a group of Disney villains led by Maleficent, who are controlling the Heartless to capture seven maidens called the Princesses of Heart, and use their power to open the door to Kingdom Hearts, the heart of all worlds. Though they eventually defeat Maleficent, the three discover a sentient Heartless named Ansem to be the true orchestrator of the worlds’ destruction. The three defeat Ansem and seal the door to Kingdom Hearts, but remain separated from Riku and King Mickey while Kairi remains home to await her friends’ return.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora and friends awaken from their sleep and resume their search for Riku and King Mickey, learning of the Nobodies and becoming re-familiarized with Organization XIII. Sora once again travels to many Disney-themed worlds and resolves issues caused by the Heartless and Nobodies, and Maleficent’s servant Pete. They reunite with King Mickey and encounter Xemnas, the leader of Organization XIII and Nobody of Xehanort, revealed to be the human form of the Heartless Ansem. The Organization’s plan is also revealed: they seek to regain their lost hearts by creating their own version of Kingdom Hearts from the sum of all the hearts released from the Heartless slain by Sora’s Keyblade. The three arrive at the headquarters of Organization XIII and team up with their friends. Ansem the Wise uses a device that dissipates some of Kingdom Hearts’ power, but it self-destructs, engulfing Ansem. At the top of the Castle that Never Was, Sora and his friends battle Xemnas. After Sora and Riku defeat Xemnas, they get trapped in the realm of darkness, but a letter from Kairi summons a gateway for them, and the two are reunited with their friends at their home.
Sometime later, Sora, Riku, and Kairi receive a letter from King Mickey. The letter, which was discovered by Mickey during the events of Kingdom Hearts Coded, describes the parts of their past that Naminé learned while restoring Sora’s memory. As they read the letter, they learn about the fates of three Keyblade wielders at the hands of Xehanort during the events of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (a decade before Kingdom Hearts): Terra is possessed by Xehanort; Ventus, whom Xehanort attempts to turn into the legendary χ-blade, sacrifices his heart to stop him and hides it within a four-year-old Sora’s; and new Keyblade Master Aqua ends up trapped in the realm of darkness after sacrificing herself to save Terra. King Mickey also discovers that the destruction of “Ansem” and Xemnas has led to the reconstruction of Xehanort. To combat the new threat Xehanort poses, Sora and Riku take an exam to attain the Mark of Mastery that will allow them to become Keyblade Masters themselves.
During the test in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Sora and Riku enter the realm of sleep, where they encounter a young version of Xehanort with the ability to travel through time. The two Keyblade wielders also learn of Xehanort’s true goal: assembling thirteen vessels and incarnations of himself (Organization XIII) and pitting them against seven hearts of pure light (the Princesses of Heart) in an ultimate battle to recreate the χ-blade. Sora is narrowly saved from becoming Xehanort’s final vessel, and Riku learns about data Ansem the Wise had implanted within Sora during his year-long sleep, which may be used to save those connected to Sora. At the end of the exam, Riku is declared a Keyblade Master, and Sora embarks on a new journey alone to train. In the meantime, to defend the Princesses of Heart from Xehanort, Yen Sid assembles any available Keyblade users to combat Xehanort’s thirteen vessels in the upcoming final battle.