- "This is what lights the darkness. A chance to make everyone happy!"
- —Sora in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.
Keyblades (キーブレード Kīburēdo?) are mysterious weapons that are heavily featured in the Kingdom Hearts series. Wielded by the main character, Sora, as well as a number of other important characters, the Keyblade is a main part of the battle between Darkness and Light.
According to an interview with Tetsuya Nomura, the original weapon shown during development was actually a chainsaw-like weapon. This was eventually scrapped in favor of the Keyblade.
Weapons fashioned in ancient times in the image of the χ-blade in order to fight back the darkness and maintain order in the World. Keyblades can only be wielded by chosen individuals who are strong of heart.
Shaped like keys, they operate any lock in existence and are imbued with magic and other unique capabilities. Keyblade wielders may "bequeath" their powers to the next generation upon meeting worthy individuals.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep features eight people who can wield Keyblades: Ventus, Aqua, Terra, Master Eraqus, Mickey, Master Xehanort, Vanitas, and Yen Sid. Near the end of the game, Master Xehanort explains to Terra, Aqua, and Ventus that the Keyblades at Keyblade Graveyard are the remains of the Keyblade Wielders after the Keyblade War between the battle of Light and Darkness.
Following the game, the only active Keyblade wielders left in the Realm of Light are Yen Sid and King Mickey; Xehanort lost his memory, Aqua fell into the Realm of Darkness, Ventus lost his heart, Eraqus was slain, Vanitas was destroyed, and Terra was possessed by Xehanort.
Terra also performs the Keyblade Inheritance Ceremony on Riku, passing the ability on to him. Aqua also does this accidentally with Kairi. When Ventus's wounded heart seeks a place to rest until it can regain its strength, it merges with Sora's giving the ability to wield a Keyblade of his own.
When the worlds first started to disappear, King Mickey realized that Kingdom Hearts was going to be opened, and went to the Realm of Darkness to find its Keyblade, with which he could seal the door. However, he would also need someone to use a Keyblade from the Realm of Light in concert with him, so he left a letter for Donald Duck and Goofy, asking them to find the chosen wielder of that Keyblade and assist him in saving the worlds.
When the Heartless invade Destiny Islands, Sora rushes to the small island to save his friends, but finds that Kairi and Riku have already been swallowed by darkness. It is at this point that the Keyblade which Terra had promised Riku finally appears on the island, but because Riku has already given himself to darkness, the Keyblade falls to Sora's ownership. When Sora first arrives at the Traverse Town, he meets Leon which later gives him shelter and some insight about the Keyblade and Heartless. Yuffie and Leon have to get the Keyblade off Sora since it's the only way to "conceal his(Sora's) heart," this is due to the Heartless fear of the Keyblade and they will stop at nothing to eliminate the wielder of the weapon.
On Atlantica, King Triton is enraged when he finds out that Sora is the key bearer and he tells him that as a key bearer, one must not meddle in the affairs of another world and that Sora had violated the principle. He also thinks that the Keyblade and its wielder can only shatter peace and bring ruin.
Sora uses this Keyblade to seal the Keyholes of the worlds he visits, but when he arrives at Hollow Bastion, Riku reveals that the Keyblade was intended for him, and takes it back as Sora's heart falters. However, Sora soon confronts Riku, and the strength of his heart proves greater than Riku's, allowing him to steal the Keyblade back.
Confused and angry, Riku runs off and is found by Ansem, who convinces Riku to give Ansem his body in exchange for more power. This new "Dark Riku" summons the Keyblade of People's Hearts from the Princesses of Heart, in order to unlock the Final Keyhole, but it remains incomplete due to it lacking Kairi's heart.
When Sora tracks down Dark Riku and confronts him, Dark Riku reveals that Kairi's heart is in fact within Sora, and attacks Sora in order to steal it. Sora defeats Dark Riku, but in order to restore Kairi's heart and fully seal the Final Keyhole, he uses the Dark Riku's Keyblade on himself, completing the keyhole and restoring all of the Princess's hearts at the cost of his body and soul.
Later on, after Sora, Donald, and Goofy defeat Ansem and attempt to close the door to Kingdom Hearts, King Mickey finally reappears with the Kingdom Key D, the Keyblade of the Realm of Darkness that he had gone to search for. With their help, as well as that of the restored Riku, they close the door, saving the worlds from the imminent flood of darkness.
Marluxia planned to use Naminé to enslave Sora through his memories so he could use the Keyblade against the rest of Organization XIII. This plan was thwarted, however, thanks to the manipulations of Axel.
Though Sora is stuck with the Kingdom Key, the card battle system allows him to use other versions of his weapon he used in his previous adventure for special moves.
Both Roxas and Xion are used by the Organization to collect hearts from Emblem Heartless using their Keyblades. Riku and Mickey are also seen in cutscenes with their Keyblades.
It is revealed that Xion's Keyblade is a copy of Sora's Keyblade and that it drains Roxas' strength. Xion also lost her ability to summon it for a few days, forcing Axel to manipulate Saix into sending Roxas and Xion to the same mission, so the organization wouldn't punish her for losing the ability. During this mission, Roxas let Xion use his Keyblade while he used a stick instead. Xion eventually regained her Keyblade thanks to this plan.
After Xion's disappearance following the final battle with her and Roxas, Roxas gained the ability to dual-wield two Keyblades.
Sora, Riku, Kairi, Roxas, and King Mickey can use the Keyblade. Sora uses the Keyblade to open new paths to new worlds through Gates. While King Mickey comes out occasionally to assist Sora, Riku receives his own Keyblade shortly before reuniting with Sora and Kairi in The World That Never Was.
Kairi's use of the Keyblade is limited to the Heartless surge in the Castle That Never Was.
Data-Sora can use his digital version of the Kingdom Key to fix the World source of Bug Blox and to seal the data Keyholes. His digital Keyblade was destroyed in Episode 5, but gained a new Keyblade in Episode 6. King Mickey explains that this Keyblade is tightly connected to the Power of the Heart, implying that his Keyblade is genuine.
King Mickey also uses his own Keyblade to defeat the Heartless that attack his castle.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Master Yen Sid tells a more historical revelation of the Keyblade and its original purpose in this game. Originally, the χ-blade was the counterpart of Kingdom Hearts. However, a group appeared one day and removed the light from the world, causing darkness to be born and swallow the universe. An epic battle was fought and as a result, the χ-blade was split into seven fragments of pure light, which are the hearts of the seven Princesses of Heart; and thirteen shards of darkness. The Keyblades were originally created in the image of the χ-blade by those who intended to use the darkness upon the world, but some chose to use them to protect the worlds of light.
Sora and Riku undergo the Mark of Mastery Exam in order to learn how to use the power of the Keyblade properly and become Keyblade Masters. At the end of the game, only Riku becomes a full-fledged Keyblade Master while Sora decides to retake the test. Lea also obtains a Keyblade of his own, and Kairi is invited by Master Yen Sid to learn how to harness the power of the Keyblade.
- "The Keyblade. A truly marvelous weapon...were it only in more capable hands."
- —Xemnas during first Hollow Bastion visit in Kingdom Hearts II
As the name implies, in combat, Keyblades are used in a manner similar to swords. Despite the fact that most possess no actual cutting edge, Keyblades still make efficient combat weapons, and are shown to be particularly effective weapons against Heartless, Nobodies, Unversed, and Dream Eaters. However, as a downside to this, the Heartless use the Keyblade as a homing beacon, and thus Keyblade wielders are at constant risk of Heartless attacks at any time.
Most Keyblade wielders are also able to extend their Keyblade's length with Light or Darkness for their ultimate attacks. This has been seen for Sora's Ars Arcanum; Roxas, Xion, and Riku's Limit Break in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days; Sora and Riku's Limit, Eternal Session; and Terra and Aqua's Command Style, Blade Charge.
The main power of the Keyblade, however, is the ability to seal or open the barriers between worlds, as well as to "lock" a world's Keyhole, preventing the Heartless from attacking that world's heart. As an offset of this ability, the Keyblade can also be used to lock or unlock any lock, allowing the user to access any sealed interior, whether it be a locked room, gate, or treasure chest. The Keyblade opens and shuts locks by emitting a bright, thin beam of light; this can also be used as an attack against certain enemies, although it is not featured in general game-play. Keyblade wielders can usually just simply tap the surface of a treasure chest and that will be enough to open it.
In addition to its base powers, it is possible to modify a Keyblade's appearance and powers by attaching various Keychains or Gears in the wielder's inventory. However, there are many Keyblades that do not possess a keychain for reasons unknown. There are other instances of the Keyblade changing form, such as when Riku's Soul Eater becomes the Way to the Dawn and when Roxas's two Kingdom Keys transmute into the Oathkeeper and Oblivion, but the mechanism behind these transformations is uncertain. In addition, Keyblade wielders can also transform their keyblades into other objects, vehicles, and weapons though it is hinted that Keyblade wielders can only do this after a certain amount of training. Terra, Aqua, and Ventus seemingly have this ability as they transformed their keyblades into vehicles they use to travel to other worlds. Sora also acquires this ability after his Mark of Mastery exam as he was shown to transform his Keyblade depending on the type of Keyblade he is using. Sora was shown to be able to transform his Keyblade into dual guns that fire magic bullets, a huge bazooka like weapon, and a chariot with a flying Pegasus.
The Keyblade has a special power that only lets a chosen wielder hold it. This is proven when Sora gives his Keyblade to Jack Sparrow, only to have it come back to his hand. In the final battle with Xemnas, Sora was able to hold Riku's Keyblade, and the same goes for Riku with Sora's Keyblade.
While there are many qualities a Keyblade wielder must have in order to harness the Keyblade's power, the main requirement is for one to have an exceptionally strong heart.
It is implied in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep that it is possible for a Keyblade Master to choose a person as their successor if they have the main qualities that allow them to hold a Keyblade, as Terra chose Riku to be his successor. Kairi inherited the same ability when she accidentally touched Aqua's Keyblade.
Aqua originally considered choosing Sora to be her successor, but decided against it because Terra had already performed the ritual on Riku and she did not want the two to fight as she and Terra would. However, Sora gained the ability to wield the Keyblade anyway when he reached out his heart to Ventus after sensing Ventus's shattered heart. By joining his heart with Ventus's he gained the ability to wield his own Keyblade, as well as Ventus's.
In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Terra, Ventus, and Aqua have the ability to turn their Keyblades into vehicles and use them to travel to other worlds. This ability has only been demonstrated by the trio, though Master Xehanort explains in his Xehanort's Report that he used them during his own apprenticeship.
Keyblades are natural conduits for casting magic, as seen when Sora uses his Keyblade to command his magical attacks. This is not to say, however, that magic cannot be performed by a Keyblade Wielder when they are unable to summon their weapon, as seen when Sora is able to use magic despite having his Keyblade stolen by Riku or when Xion is able to use an array of spells before obtaining her Keyblade. However, in Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, Data-Sora is prevented from using magic when his Keyblade is destroyed by Maleficent. Some Keyblades have the innate ability to enhance specific kinds of magic, and many also augment the user's magical abilities on a more general level. Keyblades can also augment the holder with other powers and abilities that they would not normally be able to use.
Keyblade wielders are also able to wield a second Keyblade using the Synch Blade ability. After Roxas defeats and absorbs Xion, he uses this ability at almost all times, generally with the Oathkeeper and Oblivion Keychains, while Sora only uses this ability while in his Valor, Master, or Final Drive Forms; however, Tetsuya Nomura has confirmed in interviews that Sora is able to dual-wield Keyblades in his base state, as Sora and Roxas share all of the same abilities.
Riku also exhibits this ability when he and Kairi meet up at The Castle that Never Was, and he hands a second Keyblade to Kairi to allow her to help protect Sora. Keyblade wielders are also able to allow others to wield this second Keyblade, or have it taken by the other wielder. When Roxas encounters Riku at Memory's Skyscraper he throws his Oblivion at Riku. Riku catches it and actually wields it in battle against him; when Roxas and Sora fight within the Awakening, Sora is able to steal Roxas's Keyblades and use them against him, though only temporarily. Also Sora is able to wield Riku's Keyblade in the final fight against Xemnas for a short time.
All Keyblades shown have the same distinguishing features that are modeled after a key: a guard with a handle, a shaft, and a head at the end of the shaft that resembles the teeth of a skeleton key (with the exception of Fenrir, which is instead modeled after a pin tumbler lock key). Most Keyblades also have some theme, usually a world or a person associated with that world, that will reflect in its appearance.
Each Keychain has a unique animation for when the Keyblade is summoned, and these animations usually symbolize a specific aspect of its respective Keyblade. For example, when Oblivion is summoned, a dark aura and violet sparks form around Sora's hands before the Keyblade actually appears. The particle effects that appear when the Keyblade is used to hit something also change with each Keychain. For example, the Keyblade Two Become One conjures black and white checkered crowns when a solid object is hit.
The origins of the Keyblades is, thus far, unclear. Each game references the special qualities of the wielders and some give vague explanations of the Keyblades' power, but none have shown where the Keyblades originated, how they are created, or what their original purpose might have been. One legend mentioned in Kingdom Hearts states that the Keyblade master saved the world, while another said he wrought chaos and destruction upon it.
While these legends may appear to contradict themselves, it can be assumed that the Keyblade master chooses how to use the Keyblade, whether for good or evil. The Keyblade is known throughout the worlds as a unique and powerful weapon. In Atlantica, King Triton and Ursula both knew of the Keyblade and its powers. King Triton did not want Sora to seal the Keyhole because he thought that the Keyblade would send his world into chaos, while Ursula knew that it gave the ability for the one who wields it to travel around the worlds.
One of the pieces of text in the hidden ending video for Kingdom Hearts II, "the Gathering", mentions a Keyblade War. Hundreds of Keyblades can be seen stuck into the ground during this cinematic, as well as the extended "Birth by sleep" cinematic at the end of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.
It should be noted that none of these seemingly abandoned Keyblades, nor those of protagonists Aqua, Terra, or Ventus, have Keychains, although the significance of this detail is currently unknown as the history of the Keyblades is unknown and the trio have been shown later to have Keychains attached to their Keyblades in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep. Master Xehanort also stated that the thousands of Keyblades left are the ruins of the Keyblade War.
A Keychain (キーホルダー Kīhorudā?, lit. "Key Holder") is a magical piece of equipment that modifies the appearance and abilities of a Keyblade. In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, the Gear Panel function replaces Keychains. Likewise, the Card system replaces Keychains in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Cards, however, do not affect the Keyblade's appearance, only ability.
Sora's Keyblade is known as the "Keyblade of Worlds' Hearts", and nearly all of his Keychain tokens represent some important item from a world he has saved. Usually, Sora is not actually shown to be given the Keychain from one of his many friends, so it is possible that after saving a world, or completing a major step in that direction, the world itself rewards him with the ability to access its power in the form of a unique Keychain.
Keychains that Sora receives from his friends, or from defeating challengers in the Olympus Coliseum, always use a token that is somehow intimately symbolic of that person. While Riku's Keyblade is not specifically a Keyblade of human hearts, like the explicitly named Keyblade of People's Hearts, it is likely that the connections between his heart and those he meets allow him to sometimes access their power as well.
Sora and Roxas' Oathkeeper and Oblivion are said to specifically embody Sora's memories of Kairi and Riku and Roxas's oath to Xion before her death (Oathkeeper) as well as her demise (Oblivion) and so it is extremely likely that for "people-Keyblades" like these, the Keychains act as a physical embodiment of the memories Sora and Roxas have of those that are important to them.
The Keychains have the ability to change a Keyblade's stats, grant it special abilities, and give it a new appearance. While most Keyblades have a basic form, like the Kingdom Key, a Keyblade wielder can upgrade and change the form of the Keyblade with a Keychain. In other words, when Sora or another wielder is equipping a "new" Keyblade, he or she is equipping a different Keychain to the Keyblade, changing its form.
It has not yet been explained exactly what a Keychain is and why it has the power to transform the Keyblade. A wielder usually receives a Keychain after "completing" the events that transpire within a world. These Keychains are often modeled after elements of the world from which they are received in some way.
The Keyblade wielder is not shown receiving the Keychain from anyone, save for when Tifa hands Sora the Fenrir Keychain after defeating Sephiroth, Aladdin gives Sora the Three Wishes Keychain, Jack Skellington gives Sora the Pumpkinhead Keychain, when Ariel gives Sora the Crabclaw Keychain from her collection, when Tarzan gives Sora the Jungle King Keychain after he locks Deep Jungle's keyhole, and when Kairi hands Sora her Wayfinder, which turns out to be the Oathkeeper Keychain. There are also a few Keychains that are found in chests, such as the Gullwings Keychain or the Oblivion Keychain.
Sometimes, a Keyblade does not possess a Keychain. Some examples of this are the Keyblade of People's Hearts, the Keyblade created by gathering seven hearts of pure light, and Soul Eater. The Keyblades Ends of the Earth, Wayward Wind and Stormfall did not possess Keychains in the Kingdom Hearts II secret video Birth by sleep, as they were not designed yet. The broken Keyblades from the Keyblade Graveyard do not possess Keychains either. The actual reason for the lack of a Keychain is unknown.
Prominent Keyblade wielders
- This is a list of the Keyblade wielders most important to the storyline of the series. For a complete list, see List of Keyblade wielders.
The most prominent character in the series to use a Keyblade is Sora, who has used them successfully in the two main games in the series (with one minor incident). His ability to use and possess the Keyblade was a major plot point in the first game. He has used more Keychains than anyone else in the Kingdom Hearts series; the variations are created through various keychains attached to his original blade, the Kingdom Key.
The King of Disney Castle, King Mickey's Keyblade is known as "Kingdom Key D". It looks the same as Kingdom Key, but its colors are inverted compared to the Kingdom Key. In Kingdom Hearts coded and Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, he uses the Star Seeker, the Keyblade he used in his days as an apprentice under Yen Sid.
Sora's best friend and rival, he wields the Way to the Dawn Keyblade, though in Kingdom Hearts he briefly took possession of Sora's Kingdom Key. In Kingdom Hearts, he stayed behind with King Mickey in the Realm of Darkness. In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, he explores the basement of Castle Oblivion and struggles in resisting the darkness in his heart, Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, while in Kingdom Hearts II, he helped Sora defeat Xemnas. In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts, he used the Soul Eater as his main weapon until it transformed into the Way to the Dawn Keyblade.
Sora's Nobody and the thirteenth member of Organization XIII, Roxas also possesses the ability to wield the Keyblade, an ability which Xemnas uses to his advantage by ordering Roxas to gather countless hearts to complete Kingdom Hearts itself. Upon the absorption by Roxas of his Replica, Xion, Roxas regains the ability to wield the two Keyblades, Oblivion and Oathkeeper.
Terra, Aqua, and Ventus
Three Keyblade wielders before Sora, apprentices under Master Eraqus. Sharing a common foe, Master Xehanort, they each suffer horrific fates due to Xehanort's doing at the end of the game: Terra is possessed by Master Xehanort and becomes the new Xehanort who becomes Sora's archenemy; Ventus is rendered comatose after his heart is damaged following a victorious confrontation with his dark side, Vanitas; and Aqua is stranded in the realm of darkness. All three currently await for Sora to rescue them from their fates.
The primary antagonist of the entire series. As his original persona, Master Xehanort, Xehanort is a Keyblade Master with plans to unleash the secrets of the Keyblade War onto the worlds and engulf the universe in darkness. To this end, he steals Terra's body by transferring his heart into the latter's body and becomes the new Xehanort, much younger and agile, combined with the ability to wield the Keyblade with both Master Xehanort's and Terra's powers.
However, following confrontations with the Lingering Will and Aqua, he loses his memories, except for his name, thus losing his ability to wield the Keyblade, as his Heartless, "Ansem", is shown using a double-ended version of Riku's Soul Eater, and his Nobody, Xemnas, uses Ethereal Blades in battle, though Nomura hints that Xemnas possibly chose not to use a Keyblade.
- In Kingdom Hearts, the Keyblade disappears until Sora starts attacking, while in Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, it reappears as soon as the player approaches an enemy. In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, the Keyblade appears when Roxas takes damage. In the manga, Sora keeps his Keyblade behind him, strapped to his belt.
- The Keyblade seems to appear to its chosen wielder for the first time when they are in some kind of danger. Examples are when Sora is being engulfed by darkness in Kingdom Hearts or when Roxas is fighting a Nobody in Kingdom Hearts II.
- The Keyblade has been parodied in many pop culture outlets. For example, in the RoosterTeeth Production Series Red vs. Blue, one of the characters, Private Tucker, obtains a Great Weapon which is a sword that also turns out to be a key, just like the Keyblade.
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