|This article is about Xehanort's Heartless. You may be looking for Ansem the Wise.|
So, you have come this far, and still you understand nothing. Every light must fade, every heart return to darkness!
Ansem, Seeker of Darkness is Xehanort's Heartless via Terra-Xehanort. His physical appearance closely resembles that of a youthful Master Xehanort. He serves as the main antagonist of Kingdom Hearts, Riku's "Reverse/Rebirth" story in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Rank II of the real Organization XIII in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance and Kingdom Hearts III.
Due to him having intentionally separated his heart from his body and soul before he gave into the darkness, Ansem retained his selfhood, and intelligence after his transformation into a Heartless. Because he could think out his plans and pass for a human, he was able to destroy nearly every world in the Kingdom Hearts universe without revealing his identity, up until he confronted Sora at the Final Keyhole in Hollow Bastion.
Gaining a body after his time as the Robed Figure, he gains the Heartless Emblem, becoming an Emblem Heartless.
Ansem is, thus far, one of only two Heartless with human-level intelligence, the other being Sora's Heartless. His knowledge of the worlds and hearts shows that Xehanort's keen intellect has survived the transition into a Heartless. However, what little shreds of humanity remained in the researcher have been obliterated. Ansem is cold, calculating, and utterly ruthless. He treats people and their hearts as either tools to be manipulated and disposed of, or of nothing more than cattle for himself and his ravenous Heartless legions. He reveres power and knowledge above all things, and despises ignorance.
When possessing Riku he presents a cocky, confident and self-proud demeanour, even openly smirking at Maleficent as she departs to confront the heroes.
His voice rarely rises above a cold, monotonous drone, but occasionally he displays near human like emotions. such as when he is berating Sora for his honesty and foolishness, or gleefully reveling in his latest triumph. He is smug and boastful at times, and sports a near feral grin when confronting Sora at the Destiny Islands. Ansem is prone to self-indulgent, bombastic, and flowery speeches about the nature of darkness and the status of all worlds. However, the scientific genius of Ansem was blinded by obsession with the darkness. His arrogance ultimately led to his destruction when the door to Kingdom Hearts opened, and his greatest thesis was, in the end, proved wrong.
Because Ansem was born from the heart of Master Xehanort, he appears to share most of his personality traits with the elderly Keyblade Master, demonstrated by his choice of words when facing Sora, Donald, and Goofy, and his desire to find, open, and become one with Kingdom Hearts itself.
In Kingdom Hearts III, Ansem shows a level of respect for Ansem the Wise lacked by Xemnas, referring to him "master". After being defeated, Ansem display emotions that he never had prior. He seemed to show a level of a bond with Riku, fondly addressing the journey they had together and acknowledging his strength as being greater than the Darkness. Ansem also revealed his disdain for his ultimate fate, revealing that he tried to circumvent it, only to find he did not care after the others betrayed him. Showing no hostility at those who defeated him, Ansem even comforts them when they show sympathy at him, asking them to move on and seek out what is left to seek.
Before possessing Riku, Ansem was little more than a wandering heart and could only appear as a featureless figure in a brown hooded robe. This robe has two dark brown straps crossing over his shoulders and chest with five metal studs lining either strap. Due to his lack of a body, he appears much shorter and crippled in this form and wears the robe's hood up to hide his lack of a face.
After Ansem possessed Riku, Ansem gained the ability to formed his own body, which, like his Nobody counterpart, shares Xehanort's tan skin, yellow eyes, and long white hair. However, his hair is smoothed back into three spikes on the top and sides of his head and lacks Xehanort's bangs and messy appearance.
Ansem wears a black, high-collared, leather coat that has a red interior and yellow lining. This coat is grey from the waist down and has several buttons lining the hips, a belt around his waist, and a second one that extends from the waist and up to the collar to connect to several smaller straps. The four shorter straps are buttoned to either side of the front of the collar while the remaining ones are buttoned to the shoulders to form spaulders. A black leather pauldron is attached to each spaulder by three buttons and two straps that button the rim of the coat and two more that cross over his upper back. On his upper chest is the Heartless emblem in the form of a brooch that holds the outer coat together in place of a zipper or buttons. Underneath this coat, Ansem wears a white, thigh-length vest. This vest is also high-collared and exposes most of Ansem's chest, with three black buttons and two thin belts near his waist closing it up while the three remaining buttons below are undone.
In addition, Ansem wears wide brimmed, white gloves with three buttons lining the forearms and a grey band on either wrist. He also wears black pants and black that are tucked into knee-high boots with silver trimming and high concave indentations in the top.
Because Ansem was born from the heart of Master Xehanort, his overall appearance is nearly identical to a younger version of Master Xehanort, and his clothes are extremely similar to his original incarnation's standard attire.
When Ansem transforms into the World of Chaos, he becomes titanic in size-standing at approximately twenty five feet tall-and monstrous in appearance. His clothes are gone, save for an organic-looking material resembling black muscle tissue that covers his legs and feet. This material has thick yellow cords in it that outline glossier sections of the material and the soles of his feet. His eyes are completely orange, and he is connected to the Dark Figure by seven organic-looking cords that extend from its open torso. These cords are black in color and fade into red at the base. The Heartless emblem that was originally on Ansem's chest is now attached to the cords attached to his back which he can use to seal himself when resting in the Dark Figure's chest cavity. In addition, he wields a staff as long as he is that resembles two Soul Eater's fused at the hilt, with the blades facing opposite directions.
As a member of the real Organization XIII, Ansem wears a black coat, wearing it in all of his appearances starting after Riku's battle with him in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance up until the start of the Keyblade War in Kingdom Hearts III.
Ansem is shown as the first transformation and the second incarnation, after Young Xehanort, but before Xemnas.
Prior to Kingdom Hearts
In the pursuit of knowledge, Xehanort, at the time calling himself "Ansem", willingly gave his heart to the darkness, his resulting Heartless able to retain its selfhood for uncertain reasons, though it was believed by the true Ansem the Wise that this was due to Xehanort's willing abandonment of his heart. However, the separation of Ansem from the vessel that became the Nobody Xemnas had a more sinister purpose.
Devoid of a physical form, Ansem traveled to the distant past to meet the younger self of his original incarnation and give him the means to travel through worlds and time in preparation of a grand scheme. To ensure the plan reached fruition, Ansem remained in the past for the next 75 years, thus allowing Young Xehanort the means of accessing any point in time between his departure from the Destiny Islands and the present day at will, as Ansem, a version of Xehanort, would always be present in those times.
Now having finally caught up to current day events, Ansem arrived at Destiny Islands' Keyhole to wait for Sora's arrival. There, Ansem cryptically reveals the world's eventual fall into darkness, insulting Sora for his ignorance of what was to come and completely ignoring the boy’s questions. Ansem also met Riku, ensuring he would end up at Hollow Bastion where Maleficent would condition him. As six of the seven Princesses of Heart have been gathered, Ansem appeared before Riku again after his loss to Sora. From there, Ansem tricked Riku into opening his heart to darkness so he could possess him and take the youth's body as his own, resulting in Ansem taking on his own form.
Firmly in control of Riku's body, Ansem created the artificial Keyblade of People's Hearts from six captive Princesses' hearts and used it on Maleficent when her purpose to Xehanort's plan came to an end. As Maleficent headed off to confront Sora and his compatriots in battle, Ansem simply smirked in self-indulgent triumph.
Upon Sora arriving to the chamber where the Final Keyhole is located, Ansem reveals Kairi as the seventh princess with the intent to take her heart from Sora's body to complete the keyhole. By then, noticing his impersonal comments and unusual nature, Sora realizes that Riku is possessed as Ansem formally introduces himself before Sora refuses to let him take Kairi's heart. Though driven off by Sora, Ansem still won when the boy used the Keyblade of Heart on himself to restore Kairi at the cost of his own heart and unknowingly completing the Final Keyhole.
Having reshaped Riku's body into one resembling his original human self, Ansem attempts to kill the obsolete Kairi when Riku's heart held him at bay so Donald and Goofy could get Kairi to safety. This leads to an internal struggle with Ansem expelling Riku's heart and sending it to the Realm of Darkness. With full control, Ansem allows himself to be enveloped by the darkness flowing out of the keyhole, and travels to the End of the World where the Kingdom Hearts created from the worlds the Heartless destroyed is manifesting.
After Sora is restored to his human self by Kairi's light, he arrives at the remnants of Destiny Islands at End of the World where he confronts Ansem. Appearing in Riku's form briefly, Ansem explained Riku's fall to darkness before assuming his true form and detailing his ideology that darkness is the heart's true essence. Sora denies this, in words, and in battle with Ansem. During the battle, Ansem summons both the Dark Figure, and a Darkside Heartless to assist him. As the battle rages on, Ansem leads the trio to the endless abyss where the Door to Darkness resides. This time, Ansem merges himself with the World of Chaos, a monstrous Heartless ship, and captures Donald and Goofy, though Sora rescues them.
After several more rounds of combat, Ansem, unable to endure anymore punishment, desperately opens the Door to Darkness, imploring Kingdom Hearts to fill him with the power of darkness so that he can gain enough power to destroy Sora, Donald, and Goofy and shroud the universe in darkness. However, with Sora’s convicted urging, Ansem is dumbfounded and outright horrified to see a warm light pour out of the door. The sheer overwhelming light of Kingdom Hearts envelops and destroys Ansem, allowing Riku to finally take back his body.
Chain of Memories
However, because Riku served as the host for Ansem, a piece remains, even after his destruction by the light of Kingdom Hearts. This bothered Riku greatly, who ended up in Castle Oblivion, thanks to his heart resonating with Sora's, who was also in the castle.
Guided by a mysterious voice, Riku climbs through the basements of Castle Oblivion, trying to rid himself of his darkness. However, Ansem appears intending to overcome Riku, but fails. Still, Ansem remains, and even stirs the darkness in Riku's heart so that he may use it in battle, if he so chooses. He remained confident that Riku would eventually give in to the darkness before warping away. Later, he would contrast the Riku Replica's willingness to accept darkness to Riku's lack of, telling him to see the replica as a model.
At times, Riku was almost overwhelmed by the darkness, but King Mickey's light continually aided Riku, frustrating Ansem. Eventually, Riku overcomes his fear of the darkness, intending to use it alongside the light. He additionally receives some guidance from the enigmatic DiZ, the true owner of the mysterious voice, who, in turn, leads Riku to Naminé. Naminé offers to seal away Riku's darkness and Ansem for good, but he instead chooses to face the Heartless on his own. DiZ then gives Riku a card that will give Ansem form, so that Riku can finish him off once and for all.
Ansem again tries to turn Riku to the darkness completely, and attempts to defeat the young boy so that he can take him over again. However, though he is defeated, Riku realizes that Ansem still lingers in his heart, and sets off with King Mickey in order to rid himself of the Seeker of Darkness forever.
Though Xemnas, the Nobody counterpart of Ansem, soon becomes the main threat to the worlds, Ansem still has a presence. In fact, the part of him that lingers in Riku starts to eat away at him, even forcing Riku to put a blindfold over his eyes to keep him from "lying to himself.
This comes to a head when Riku travels to The World That Never Was, at the behest of DiZ, with the intent to capture Roxas, the Nobody of Sora and a member of Organization XIII, so that the two can join and Sora can awaken from his slumber. However, Roxas proves to be too powerful for Riku to handle, so Riku is left with one option - to unleash the darkness within himself in order to gain the power necessary to defeat Roxas. However, this has the side effect of giving Riku the appearance of Ansem, as well as manifesting the Dark Figure, which constricts Roxas in its fists and leaves him unconscious. In his new form, Riku mimics Xehanort before him and takes on the name 'Ansem.'
Kingdom Hearts II
During the Battle of the 1000 Heartless at Hollow Bastion, King Mickey reveals the truth about "Ansem" to Sora, Donald, and Goofy; that he wasn't the real Ansem, but the Heartless of an impostor. While the trio are shocked and dismayed to learn this, Mickey assures them that Ansem still needed to be stopped. He also reveals that the Nobody spawned at the same time as Ansem is the leader of Organization XIII (as he had met the original Xehanort and been near his Nobody, it "kinda felt like bein' around the same fella.").
Riku remains like this for some time. His new appearance prompts him to refuse making contact with Sora and Kairi, despite him being able to easily do so. Still, when push comes to shove, Riku aids his friends, but never reveals himself as Riku (though Sora begins to suspect his mysterious helper's true identity), secretly leaving clues for Sora, Donald, and Goofy to find. He also took a proactive stance in aiding the people of The Land of Dragons, and briefly engaged Sora in battle before going to speak with The Emperor and informing him that Sora and his friends would be coming to help them deal with a Heartless dragon created by Organization XIII. But when Naminé chooses to use Riku's true name after he rescues her and Kairi from the Organization at The World That Never Was, things take a turn. Kairi, in her excitement, removes Riku's hood, only to see the face of the one who had endangered her a year ago. Still, she sees Riku underneath the dark form, and takes it in stride.
Riku is also forced to meet Sora when Kairi prevents him from taking his leave when Kairi and Sora reunite. At first, Sora does not realize it is Riku, refers to him as "Ansem", and informs him that he is grateful to him for Kairi's rescue while still enraged at the very thought of the evil deeds he had committed. Kairi helps him see through his altered form. They all then travel through the Nobody castle, and end up reuniting with King Mickey and DiZ, whose true name is Ansem the Wise. However, the machine that Ansem was using to encode Kingdom Hearts into data ends up exploding, allowing Riku to regain his true form. "Ansem" and his hold on Riku's heart are thought to be destroyed at this point, as the explosion's light fully restores Riku to the extent that he is robbed of his ability to open corridors of darkness.
In Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, Mickey recalls Ansem as Xehanort's incarnation that commanded the Heartless and then Yen Sid explains to Mickey that the destruction of both Ansem and Xemnas will lead to the reconstruction of Master Xehanort.
Dream Drop Distance
At some point prior to his final demise, Ansem's heart was collected by Young Xehanort and brought to the future to serve as a member of the real Organization XIII. Due to Ansem having possessed Riku, it also provided Young Xehanort with a lifeline into the Sleeping Worlds, with Ansem accompanying him in confronting Riku on the roof of Notre Dame in La Cité des Cloches. Picking Frollo's sword and pointing it at Riku, Ansem tells him that he should control his darkness. Riku angrily summons his Way to the Dawn and tells the Heartless that he is walking the road to dawn. Young Xehanort then leaves and Ansem follows him to darkness after glaring at Riku.
Ansem later appears in The World That Never Was after Riku has defeated the Anti Black Coat, revealing how using Maleficent to collect the Princesses of Heart and taking over Riku's body were all part of Master Xehanort's plan. When Riku chooses to fight him, the darkness around them changes into purple whirl. After a battle, Ansem refuses to accept defeat as the Dark Figure grows stronger and changes the battle area to an area from the Realm of Darkness. After being defeated for a second time, Ansem vanishes with the Dark Figure.
Ansem, now wearing a black coat, then appears to Where Nothing Gathers along with the other members of the real Organization, sitting in Xaldin's former throne. When Master Xehanort attempts to make Sora into his thirteenth vessel, Ansem subdues Riku against the floor before being distracted by Lea saving Sora. Managing to teleport away before Riku would hit him with his Keyblade, Ansem summons the Dark Figure in order to kill Mickey and Riku, but Donald and Goofy appear with Mickey's Star Shard, landing on the Dark Figure and forcing it to disappear. With their allotted time now up, the real Organization is forced to withdraw, their numbers remaining incomplete.
Kingdom Hearts III
With their time up as corporeal hearts, Ansem and the other time-traveling members of the real Organization are forced to return to their original times, though they soon regather in the future once more, this time with refined replicas from the early batches of the Replica Program waiting for them to use as vessels for their hearts, thus allowing them to remain anchored to the present.
Ansem appears with Xemnas outside the gates of the Old Mansion in Twilight Town, questioning Sora on his plan to bring back Roxas. After taunting the boy and leaving him confused, Ansem summons a swarm of Neoshadows, accompanied by Xemnas summoning a few Dusks. Ansem soon teleports away with Xemnas, both telling Sora to set his heart free and to surrender it to darkness. Soon after, Ansem and Xemnas observe Sora and his friends from atop a rooftop as he prepares to leave Twilight Town. Xigbar soon appears, questioning the duo if they were making things too obvious for Sora; Xemnas tells him that they were instructed to guide him, and Ansem explains that the heroes would be lost if they didn't spell it out for them. When Xigbar reminds the two of Sora's previous victories over them, Ansem responds that they would simply destroy him should he waver off of the Organization's set path.
Ansem later travels to the Dark Margin in the Realm of Darkness with the intent of securing Ansem the Wise. Upon revealing himself, he explains to his former master that he seeks to locate an amnesiac test subject of theirs from the past known as Subject X. When Ansem the Wise refuses, Ansem attempts to grab him, but is slapped away by Aqua. Recognizing her as one of the lost guardians of light, Ansem summons the Dark Figure to attack her. After the Dark Figure subdues Aqua, Ansem the Wise yields, offering to go with Ansem in exchange for sparing Aqua. Releasing Aqua, Ansem uses the Dark Figure to blast Aqua into the ocean, where she becomes corrupted into Anti-Aqua by Ansem's darkness.
Returning to the Old Mansion with Ansem the Wise in search of data that could help with the Organization's goals in locating the lost test subject and retriggering her lost memories, the two are interrupted by Hayner and Pence. While Ansem is distracted, Olette is able to help Ansem the Wise escape. Hayner attempts to attack Ansem while his back is turned, but the latter summons the Dark Figure, who subdues the boy. As the Dark Figure throws Hayner towards a brick wall, he is caught by a Dusk. More Dusks soon arrive, surrounding Ansem and the Dark Figure while giving Hayner and Pence enough time to escape. Ansem tells the Nobodies that he is with the Organization and that their actions are treason, but soon realizes what was going on: Vexen had betrayed them in exchange for helping Ansem the Wise in order to atone.
Ansem later appears in the Keyblade Graveyard, appearing next to Master Xehanort as the latter explains his goals of re-enacting the Keyblade War to the Seven Guardians of Light. After Xemnas, Young Xehanort and Vanitas soon appear, the five darknesses unleash a massive swarm of Heartless, Nobodies, and Unversed to attack the guardians. Ansem later walks with the rest of the Organization as they confront the guardians at the crossroads of the Keyblade Graveyard prior to Master Xehanort creating the Skein of Severance. Ansem, having reverted to his original outfit, fights alongside Dark Riku and Xigbar against Riku in the Trail of Valediction until Sora arrives. Knowing he was outmatched, Ansem soon unleashes darkness upon their arena before teleporting away, much to Riku's annoyance.
Once nine of the thirteen darknesses had fallen, Ansem joins Xemnas and Young Xehanort atop the Tower of Endings, where he fights against Sora, Riku and King Mickey. After being defeated, a spire of darkness emerges from Ansem, leaving him weakened as Riku approaches him. Ansem recounts his relationship with Riku, the latter telling his nemesis that he would miss him. Ansem commends Riku on his growth and his vast strength before admitting that he knew he never stood a chance. Ansem reveals that a part of him wished to defy his fate, but explains that he did not care after the Organization was betrayed by Vexen and Demyx. When Sora tries to comfort Ansem, he tells the boy that it was time to move on, saying that there was more to seek, encouraging him to go forth and seek it as his replica body fades away, leaving Ansem's heart to return to its proper place in time as he becomes the tenth member of the real Organization to fall.
One year after Master Xehanort’s defeat and Sora's disappearance, a data recreation of Ansem, along with the rest of the real Organization XIII, is fought by a digital copy of Sora with the hopes of uncovering the real Sora's location from the encrypted data they possessed. After defeating all thirteen data recreations however, the results proved inconclusive.
A distored apparition of Ansem is among the few incarnations of Xehanort's heart that appears before Kairi in The Final World.
Ansem, as Xehanort's Heartless, remains the most powerful Heartless in the whole series. Due to his surpassing power, Ansem is easily capable of controlling all other lesser Heartless, able to summon and command them to do his bidding at whim. Wielding tremendous powers over darkness, Ansem is easily capable of opening a Corridor of Darkness and he makes use of his dark powers liberally to great effect, which he can do with or without the Dark Figure. Capable of performing numerous formidable maneuvers, such as firing a series of energy disks and blasts of darkness, unleashing a shock wave of dark energy, creating a shield of darkness and cloaking himself in an aura of darkness capable of protecting him from any attack, unleashing large amounts of dark tentacles in a burst of energy, creating spheres able to project dark energy at foe, manifesting a pool of darkness that homes on targets, projecting exploding crests of darkness, generating a large damaging cage of darkness and summoning violet orbs of energy capable of firing lasers, as shown in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts III. He is even able to manipulate light to an extent, generating violet light around himself while moving to damage those he touches and also manifesting violet orbs of light. His Limitcut Replica expands on his moves, being able to use stronger versions such as conjuring more violet orbs and lasers, even raining down omnidirectional barrages of them, projecting homing crests, firing homing arrows and shields of darkness and can cloak the entire arena in darkness as he manipulates two spheres capable of firing dark elemental projectiles that deal elemental status effects and trapping Sora before exploding as well as merging them to unleash multiple blobs of darkness.
While lacking a body, he can travel through time and bestow others with the same power, doing so to entrust Young Xehanort with the task of gathering thirteen vessels of darkness. With darkness, he can remove the heart of a person and is even able to use the hearts of the Princesses of Heart to forge the Keyblade of People's Hearts. He is capable of possessing others, as he possessed Riku and greatly enhanced his dark powers, allowing him to become even faster and stronger than he was in his Dark Mode and giving him the power to fire a blast of dark energy in the form of Dark Firaga as well as further power himself in darkness. Ansem was also able to use Darkness to resurrect Ursula to use as a phantom for Sora and Riku to face. His possession can leave strong impacts of himself, as shown by how Ansem, after being destroyed, is still able to maintain consciousness due to still having part of himself inside Riku, which remains even after Riku had defeated him.
He can summon the Dark Figure which originally belonged to Terra-Xehanort; in conjunction with the Dark Figure, he is able to transform into a huge and powerful Heartless called World of Chaos. From which he can summon Bit Snipers and create large whirlwinds, his mouth can emit energy capable of taking MP and summon a black hole. He can merge with it to form an organic sphere of darkness where he resides and has the Dark Figure fire dark-charged shots and numerous Dark Firaga, unleashing shock waves. Ansem himself can cloud the entire arena in darkness and summon gravitational torrents of darkness.
Ansem can also disguise himself, and has shown to be able to teleport and open Keyholes, as well as being able to enter the world of Sleep.
Although scarcely displayed, Ansem displays considerable fighting skill in Kingdom Hearts when fighting as Riku, where he showcases great swordsmanship, capable of performing many powerful maneuvers and unleashing devastating counterattacks, and being capable of throwing the Keyblade he wields accurately. He also displays proficiency in using the dual-ended Soul Eater staff he manifested in his World of Chaos form, able to perform powerful swinging attacks.
Ansem uses no single exclusive weapon, though, after possessing Riku to attain a physical form, he uses the Keyblade of People's Hearts created from the six captured hearts of the Princesses of Heart. However, he can only use this weapon while possessing the body of a Keyblade wielder (even through he was created by the heart of a Keyblade Master). Later, in his World of Chaos form, he wields a weapon as massive as he is, created from two Soul Eaters combined at the handle, facing opposite directions.
When fought on his own, he simply uses the power of darkness to attack from a distance while the Dark Figure protects and attacks for him in battle, using no physical weapon. When Riku takes on Ansem's form after the events of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, he uses Soul Eater and later Way to the Dawn, just as he does normally.
- Secret Ansem Report 10: "But what if one willingly releases one's heart from one's body? Sora and Xehanort retained their selfhood even after becoming Heartless."