The Kingdom Hearts Series, Explained > BbS / BbS: FM
Let’s face it: the Kingdom Hearts Series seems to get more and more confusing and complicated with each new installment. Well we here at Destiny Islands would like to simplify it for you. Our “Kingdom Hearts Series Explained” pages are designed to help clarify plot points that are confusing and hard to follow. These pages use an easy-to-follow question and answer format with images to to help explain concepts even further.
This Article Contains Spoilers!
Before reading the rest of the article below, you should know that some of the topics discussed may spoil plot points in the Kingdom Hearts Series. If you do not want to spoil anything for yourself, we advise you not to read this article. Both the text and the images in this article could potentially give things away about important plot points. Read this article at your own discretion.
The Kingdom Hearts Timeline So Far…
The Kingdom Hearts series was not released chronologically. Some of the games released after the initial titles in the series actually go back and fill in timelines from before games that were released before them. The timeline below shows the overall time frame in which the entire Kingdom Hearts story (so far) takes place.
Birth by Sleep / Birth by Sleep: Final Mix
Birth by Sleep is set 10 years before the events in the original Kingdom Hearts, and tells the story of those who wielded the Keyblade long before Sora was ever chosen. It also sets up many of the plot points for later installments in the series. However, it certainly raises many questions of its own. We’re going to try to answer the big questions below.
Isn’t There Already a Xehanort?
In terms of game releases, we’ve already met a Xehanort character from Kingdom Hearts II. We learn that the “Ansem” Sora fights in the first Kingdom Hearts is not actually Ansem at all, but the Heartless of Xehanort, who is the real Ansem’s apprentice. This Xehanort lost his heart and became the Heartless who called himself “Ansem” in the first game of the series, and also created the Nobody, Xemnas, who leads Organization XIII in Kingdom Hearts II.
The Master Xehanort introduced in Birth by Sleep is actually the same person as the Xehanort we meet in Kingdom Hearts II, in a manner of speaking. At the end of Terra’s Story in Birth by Sleep, Master Xehanort’s heart leaves his body and inhabits Terra’s, much like “Ansem” did with Riku in Kingdom Hearts. The result in this merge was the Xehanort that goes on to become the real Ansem’s apprentice, and later, “Ansem” and Xemnas.
Why Does Ventus Look Like Roxas?
Actually, the more appropriate question would be why does Roxas look like Ventus, seeing as how Ventus came first chronologically. At the very beginning of Birth by Sleep, we witness a scene in which Master Xehanort is leaving an unconscious Ventus on the Destiny Islands. During this scene, we experience Ventus’s Dive to the Heart, in which we learn that Ventus’s heart is fractured (it is revealed later in Ventus’s Story that Master Xehanort is the one who fractured Ventus’s heart after ripping Vanitas from it). A mysterious voice offers to lend Ventus his light so that his heart may be whole again in hopes that Ventus can reclaim the pieces of his heart that he had already lost.
At the end of Ventus’s Story, Ventus and Vanitas clash, and Ventus destroys Vanitas, thus destroying the other half of his heart (since Ventus and Vanitas are two halves of the same heart). The same mysterious voice from before offers Ventus’s heart refuge until it is strong enough to return to Ventus. We learn during the extra scene after the ending credits that this mysterious voice was actually a young Sora’s heart, which now houses Ventus’s fractured heart.
Throughout all of the events in Kingdom Hearts, Ventus’s heart remains inside Sora’s, though Sora doesn’t really know it. When Sora uses the Soul Eater Keyblade to release Kairi’s heart from his own, he lost his own heart, and as a result, a Nobody was created (Roxas). Normally, Nobodies look like their original selves, but Roxas took the form of Ventus, whose heart was also released when Sora unlocked his own heart. You could almost say that Ventus’s heart fled into Roxas, which is why Roxas is capable of feeling emotions unlike the rest of the Nobodies, and also why Roxas is able to wield the Keyblade.
In fact, the only reason Sora was able to claim the Keyblade as his own was because Ventus’s heart was inside of him. You see, the Keyblade that Sora acquires at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts was actually Terra’s Keyblade, meant to be passed on to Riku (Terra performed the Passing Ritual with Riku during Terra’s Story in Birth by Sleep), but since Riku had opened his heart to darkness to escape to the outside worlds, the Keyblade turned to Sora, who was able to use it because Ventus was once able to wield the Keyblade.
Whatever Happened to Aqua?
At the end of Aqua’s Story in Birth by Sleep, Aqua learns that Master Xehanort has corrupted Terra’s heart, and she journeys to Radiant Garden to find him and confront him. After the battle, Terra’s body is flung into the Realm of Darkness, but Aqua dives after him to save him. When she realizes that she doesn’t have enough power to save them both, she sends her armor with Terra back to the Realm of Light while she floats down into the Realm of Darkness.
The events in the Secret Episode in Birth by Sleep: Final Mix cover Aqua’s journey through the Realm of Darkness, and when she arrives on the shoreline, she encounters a man in a black coat. This man is actually the real Ansem, who was brought to the Realm of Darkness after his machine exploded in Kingdom Hearts II. Ansem tells Aqua of a boy who has saved the worlds on numerous occasions with Keyblade in hand. When Aqua asks him if that boy’s name is Terra or Ventus, Ansem replies that the boy’s name is Sora.
Now, the important thing to realize about the Realm of Darkness is that time does not pass, which is why Aqua is able to meet Ansem 11 years after the events in Birth by Sleep and still be as young as she was.
Who is Vanitas?
Vanitas is the dark half of Ventus’s heart, ripped from Ventus by Master Xehanort and given physical form. Vanitas tries to coax Ventus into rejoining with him so that the ultimate X-Blade can be forged.
The Unversed that terrorize all of the worlds come from Vanitas, as they are creatures of pure negativity and hatred. Vanitas unleashes them into the worlds in the hopes of providing enough of a challenge for Ventus to make him ready to rejoin with Vanitas.
Why Does Vanitas Look Like Sora?
At the very beginning of Birth by Sleep, Sora’s heart filled in the missing piece of Ventus’s heart. Because of this connection established between Sora and Ventus, and because Vanitas is the other half of Ventus’s heart, Vanitas began taking the form of Sora (whose heart was filling the half of Ventus’s heart that was once occupied by Vanitas). This connection may have also gone both ways, as part of Vanitas may still live on in Sora. After all, Vanitas is the other half of Ventus’s heart, which now rests within Sora’s.
What is the X-Blade?
The X-Blade (pronounced “Keyblade”) is the ultimate Keyblade, capable of opening the door to Kingdom Hearts. The X-Blade can only be forged at the Keyblade Graveyard, and only when a heart of pure light joins with a light of pure darkness. The reason that Master Xehanort ripped the darkness from Ventus’s heart and created Vanitas was so that one day, Ventus’s heart of pure light could rejoin with Vanitas’s heart of pure darkness and forge the X-Blade. Creating this weapon is Vanitas’s sole purpose for being, and reason behind the entire Keyblade War of legend.