Top 10 Best Kingdom Hearts Characters

Best Kingdom Hearts Characters
May their hearts be your guiding key

Who Are The Best Characters in Kingdom Hearts?

As Kingdom Hearts 3 is slowly making its simple and clean (see what I did there?) way to its release date, many are going back to appreciate what the old games have taught them and provided for them as the patience for the highly anticipated addition to the franchise began. Some have gone back to the first game, appreciating the quality of characters that started this Disney/Square Enix crossover back in 2002, and how it made its way since then with a bunch of other characters that still to this very day feel shoehorned with no purpose other than to say “hey! He was there back in this Kingdom Hearts game!”. I mean the game has a convoluted storyline and adding more characters to that storyline troubles me to this very moment, but that’s not what this article is here to talk about. This article is here to talk about a list of top ten Kingdom Hearts Characters of all time throughout the franchise, including the stupid phone game that is somehow canon to the plot. Yes. A PHONE GAME. Anywho, note that this mostly a personalized list, so if you see a character that you think should be in the top ten, it doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve that title, but that it’s always an opinionated matter in the end. To each his own, right?

Now that’s out of the way, let’s get the list started!

10. Young Xehanort

Recall that one time that you played as either one of the Birth By Sleep trio and heading back to your humble home after traveling to other worlds and meeting new people and polishing those Keyblade skills by ravaging on those Unversed like a buffet, and suddenly you meet with a mysterious man with a black cloak. Now in your head, you think back to Kingdom Hearts II and say “oh crap! Organization XIII!”, while you’re also telling yourself that you’re playing a prequel to that game, so how could that be? Meanwhile the cutscene rolls in and how he’s getting ready to beat your ass with two lightsaber looking swords that reminds you of Xemnas, and once the battle begins, you wish it was Xemnas because that Mysterious Figure goes ham on you in every single chance he gets to finish the fight. That very same person is none other than Young Xehanort, the younger version of the old guy with tanned skin and shiny bald head with yellow eyes that make you scream “Xehanort!” whenever someone has the same eye color. That’s right, Young Xehanort is on this list for the primary reason that is because he is the better protagonist out of all the variations of Xehanort out there. Xemnas may have posed a threat to Sora back in Kingdom Hearts II, but Sora beat him like cake, while in Dream Drop Distance, Young Xehanort easily took our lovable protagonist down with just luring him to the very same world that he defeated back in KHII. He is also a very calm mannered antagonist, and values more on his purpose than the overall goal that his older-self wants to achieve, and his boss fight in Dream Drop Distance was actually a fun one as he uses a lot of time elements such as freezing time or going back in time to heal himself, and that was a neat mechanic that got me on my toes as I fought him. That and his teleportation, which in Birth By Sleep, was horribly overpowered.

9. Xigbar

However, there is one rendition of Xehanort that made my day in the Kingdom Hearts games. He is witty as hell, uses crossbows as his weapon, and undoubtedly knows more than that one guy with the Kingdom Hearts powerpoint and twelve-hour presentation of the plot, which again, no one will understand at the end of the day. I am talking about the one and only one-eyed Xigbar, or Braig in Birth By Sleep before he became a Xehanort vessel. Man, when I first met him back in Kingdom Hearts II, I knew I was going to enjoy him as a character, and many seem to agree when I ask them about the charismatic antagonist. We get a sense of his personality right off the bat when he introduces himself as an unknown figure in Hollow Bastion to Sora, and as the cutscenes roll in with him as center stage, he is going to deliver something you won’t regret seeing as you push forward. His presence alone is enough to make you feel amazed, and all the more satisfying when you beat him. His boss fight in Kingdom Hearts II was also very special as it was dealing with a sniper and a teleporting shooter as he went from place to place trying to snipe at you to the best of his abilities. The same went with Birth By Sleep when you fought him in Aqua’s and Terra’s campaigns. Xigbar is also the type of character that seems to know a lot more behind the scenes than what is thrown at the player, giving us that mysterious vibe to him, which is what I adore the most about him. That and his grudge with Ventus for some reason as Ventus gave him a simple glare and boy did that cause some PTSD to Xigbar ever since. Oh and have his eye be gone thanks to Terra and his Darkness. Man poor Xigbar. Leave the man alone.

8. Axel

Flaming red hair? Check. Spinning wheels that could be Beyblades and creates fire magic by using them? Check. Witty personality and lovable design? Double check for Axel has got all those traits in his deck of cards. Literally, if you remember playing Chain of Memories for the Gameboy Advance, or the 2008 Playstation 2 remake for that was his entry to the series. Unless you skipped that one and went to Kingdom Hearts II or 3581/2 days, then he showed up there as well. Point is, like Xigbar, he is the type of antagonist that is very witty and likable, and one that turns into a protagonist later on in the series after turning back into Lea, his true self. Again, this whole Nobody/Heartless mumbo jumbo is too complicated to talk about, so just bear with me and everything in this article. If you want to find out more, just look it up online. As I was saying, Axel, when you meet him, seems cold-hearted ironically as his main goal is to simply screw over Sora in Chain of Memories and to mentor Roxas into becoming an ultimate weapon of sorts for the Organization XIII, since he could also use the Keyblade. Again, complicated storyline. However, as time went on mentoring Roxas, he later became his friend and appreciated the time he was with the Nobody of Sora, which could possibly be because of Ventus since he also knew Ventus in Birth By Sleep and looks like Roxas….once again, convoluted storyline, but at least we get to have a lovable redhead that is Axel. Or Lea if you played Dream Drop Distance and how he was ranting about his real name before he gave up. Ah, what a friend.

7. Xion

A beloved character for many, and what makes that statement true is because of how tragic this character can be for the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Such of the title goes to Xion, the fourteenth member of the Organization XIII that was really a clone produced by Sora’s data that was gathered in Castle Oblivion. How one would know that, well, play Chain of Memories and you’ll find out how they gathered that data or the place I’m talking about. She was introduced in Kingdom Hearts 3581/2 and became someone that Roxas held close to his metaphorical heart since Nobodies don’t have hearts, to begin with. Xion also wielded the mighty Keyblade, which makes sense since she is a clone of Sora that looks like Kairi with black hair, which was one of the many reasons she is beloved and on this list. She is a tragic character, one that deserved to be a part of the storyline, but because of the fact that she is a clone, she can’t have that belief that she could someone like Roxas and Lea since she is data. And the final fight in 3581/2? Heart-wrenching as it was a fight against beliefs: a clone who needed to be out down versus someone who wishes to be someone with a heart. Tragedy at its finest, and bring her back in Kingdom Hearts III, please!

6. Roxas

And speaking of tragic characters, another one is Roxas, the Nobody of Sora, the other half of his heart, or whatever that means. You meet Roxas as the playable character in Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts 3581/2 Days, where he is the thirteenth member of Organization XIII, and his goal is to provide the hearts that the Heartless produce to Kingdom Hearts, the large heart-shaped moon that would provide them the hearts they needed to then gain their own hearts that Nobodies lack. Again, all of this is plot stuff and you’re going to need some research to understand it more. Now as time goes on, or as the 358 days pass on in Roxas’ life in the Organization, he starts to become more aware of his existence as he partners with Axel and later Xion, who again, was nothing than data processed in Castle Oblivion. Once Roxas learns he is truly a nobody and needs to be with Sora, he starts to agonize over it until he understands that he needs to be one with Sora until the day he gets his own heart. Something that Sora has on his to-do list of things as he continues his journey in Kingdom Hearts III. Another thing about Roxas that I love is that he can dual wield two Keyblades, primarily the Oathkeeper and Oblivion, and that has to deal with Ventus’ heart inside Sora’s heart, which is why he looks like Ventus from Birth by Sleep. That and the reason why Sora also dual wields when he is in his Drive Forms during gameplay in Kingdom Hearts II.

5. Aqua

In Birth By Sleep, we are granted with the following characters and their storyline campaigns: Aqua, Terra, and Ventus, three friends who were trained by Master Eraqus to wield Keyblades and to protect the light at all costs. Then, the three have a Keyblade Master trial where they have to fight dark orbs. Yes, DARK ORBS. How easy could such a trial be? I mean Sora and Riku had to go under five worlds and defeat Dream Eaters there, a type of enemy in the franchise, to become Keyblade Masters. Like why didn’t they go through that hell like the two dudes from an island? Anyway...Aqua, a bright pupil becomes the Master and mom of the two as later on after the ceremony, Terra and Ventus leave on a quest of their own, and Mama Aqua has to bring her ducklings back before they cause too much trouble, which they ultimately end up doing and cause her ass to be sent into the Realm of Darkness, where Heartless are crawling at every single second. Now, Aqua at first felt that it was her duty to be a Master and to scold at her friends before she realized how much it consumed her, which we see throughout the game in her storyline where she questions her true ability to be a Keyblade Master. I mean, you had to fight dark orbs to gain the title, so I think it’s reasonable to ask these things unlike Sora and Riku, who had to to go through nightmare fuel to get their titles. However, what makes Aqua a part of this list is because of her determination to bring back the light and to balance the worlds. She idolizes balance in the series and someone who practically wed off Sora and Kairi as she passed on the Keyblade to those two when she met them in both Radiant Garden and Destiny Islands. Oh, and did I forget that she was an utter badass in Kingdom Hearts 0.2, the demo for Kingdom Hearts III where she was stuck in the Realm of Darkness with Mickey and had to face off a whirlwind of Heartless while Sora was busy fighting Ansem in the first game? No? Well, I did and it shows that determination to bring her friends back and to be one with the light as she used to be long ago. If anyone has PTSD in the Kingdom Hearts franchise, it’s gotta be Aqua herself. Now about her Xehanort form in Kingdom Hearts III...

4. Kairi

The damsel in distress turned Keyblade warrior of the series. We were first introduced to Kairi in the first Kingdom Hearts game as she was commanding Sora and Riku to build a boat called Highwind and to set sail and check out other worlds. She is whom Sora loves and cares a lot for aside from Riku and as the story progresses onwards in the first game, one of the Seven Princess of Light,  meaning she is incapable of having a Heartless or a Nobody for that matter. In fact, not even the old man himself Xehanort could lay a finger on her and have her as a vessel for she is too pure. Now add a Keyblade as she obtains one thanks to the contract Aqua made with her in Birth by Sleep and that she gets in Kingdom Hearts II, Kairi is someone you don’t want to mess with at all. I mean, she looks all cute as seen in Kingdom Hearts II and recently III with her haircut and outfit, but she can kick your ass with that special Keyblade training she’s been doing for about a year in the storyline. What makes Kairi a part of this list is also because of how much she is willing to put herself in danger for Sora and the crew. I mean that was clearly shown in Kingdom Hearts II where she fought Heartless with ease despite no experience, as well as get captured by Axel to be trapped in the World That Never Was, and then gets out of there thanks to Axel’s help as well. Man, it’s like Kairi was begging for that entrapment in Kingdom Hearts II to then be saved by her best friends, Sora and Riku at the end of the day. Hope to see more Kairi in Kingdom Hearts III as well.

3. Riku

Riku, Riku, Riku. How I once hated you for being an idiot in the first Kingdom Hearts game to how much I freaking love and can’t wait to play you again in Kingdom Hearts III. How he was able to put himself out there to get rid of his darkness, and then later realize that he can control it and use it to his advantage, something not a single Keyblade warrior would have thought of doing in the first place. Except for Terra in Birth By Sleep, as he was also having the same problem with his darkness, and saw that he had a worthy successor that is Riku, thus granting him the power of the Keyblade. That and the reason for exploring other worlds in the first Kingdom Hearts game. With Riku, it’s more of a redemption arc for the kid as he was in a state of pure darkness in the first game, but later on you see him become better at controlling it and obtaining his own Keyblade since he was too consumed by darkness to wield one called the Way to Dawn, which is actually very fitting for his characters. Riku has to constantly battle his darkness and maintain the rays of light that he knows he has since he can wield a Keyblade, constantly staying in that dawn effect, never leaning to one side. This is seen more in Dream Drop Distance as we get to play as him while he is on his quest to balance light and dark and to become a Keyblade Master, which he does at the end of the game. Riku is the perfect example of maintaining a balance that again, not many characters in the franchise can do, and that is why he is on this list. Can’t wait to see you shine in Kingdom Hearts III man.

2. Sora

I know what you’re thinking: how the heck did Sora land number two? Who could be above this lovable protagonist that exemplifies the meaning that is Kingdom Hearts? Before I start answering that question once the number one entry has been shown, Sora definitely is deserving of this list.

The lovable, goofy, and always smiling protagonist of the series, Sora is always there to lend a helping hand when it is desperately needed. Sora never loses hope, and whenever he does, he throws it out and says that it’s not worth sulking for. He is always trustworthy, and for the first half of the franchise, was willing to put himself at risk like Kairi to save his friends. How he fought Ansem, and separated ways with his best pals to find himself in Castle Oblivion, where he loses his memories thanks to Namine, Kairi’s Nobody, which is really Sora’s since Kairi’s heart was with Sora throughout most of the game, and she is a Princess...anyway, Sora lost his memories, realized he had a Nobody named Roxas, got put in a one year coma to get his memories and his heart back to square one, and kick ass in the later installments with Donald and Goofy, and that is all there is to say about Sora in general. He is an open book that you will continue reading as the game progresses.

1. Masters of Masters

This guy takes the number one slot in this list because of one reason: he is the reason Kingdom Hearts came to be. What do I mean by this is very simple: he knows of all the events that will transpire in the future, so he knows about Sora, Riku, and above all, Xehanort’s big plan. How does he know all of this? Because of the very same Keyblade that Xehanort wields belonged to Masters of Masters and how that Keyblade will record all the events that will happen in the future. Master of Masters is also a very witty character, always trolling around with the Foretellers in the mobile game Kingdom Hearts Union Cross and the movie that abridges the game Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover. He dons the Organization XIII cloak and is the reason Keyblade wielders existed during his time, the idea that Dream Eaters such as Chirithy would aid them, and that a Keyblade War would happen, which is something that was covered subtly in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep as the trio went to the Keyblade Graveyard. The very same graveyard that Sora enters to beat Lingering Will in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. Portrayed by Ray Chase, voice of Noctis, Master of Masters is always forewarning his pupils and always telling them to be prepared when he disappears, which he does and not much is given as to why other than giving the Foretellers their role, Luxu his Keyblade and to pass it onto a worthy successor and to make sure no one opens this large black box that has been bugging me since its introduction. Master of Masters is the person who started the timeline that is Kingdom Hearts, and possibly someone that may return in Kingdom Hearts III since he leaves us with so many desired answers to questions we have been asking since day one.

And there you have it, a list comprised of the best Kingdom Hearts characters out there. Like I said at the beginning of the article, this is nothing more than a personalized list, and if you have someone that deserves to be on this list, feel free to include them for this is all opinionated in the end. These characters are up here because of their stories, background, and overarching personalities that made them win a spot on this list, and to be honest, this was a hard list to make as everyone is beloved in the series. Both villains, and heroes are so diverse and well written and to make a list like this one was hard, but it needed to be made. Hope you enjoyed this article, and May Your Heart Be Your Guiding Key!

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A true gentleman that climbs through the hard difficulty of the game of life. Always equipped with a quill and a journal, he is ready to channel his inner eye and transcribe all of life's mysteries.
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TheTortieDragon 4 years 7 months ago

This had to be a hard list to create because so many of Kingdom Hearts' characters are gray and most of them are so complex. I've played a good chunk of the games in the franchise, but unless I was eating, sleeping, and breathing KH, I'd have to really dig into each character's story to put them in a rankable list. I'm surprised Donald isn't number 10 (as a joke, because of the whole 'Donald never heals me' meme). Outside of fighting mechanics, he is a super fun character to watch and listen to. I would've put Kairi a little further down on the list, not out of dislike, but because the idea of her contributes more to the story than her actual character.

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