The Keyblade of People's Hearts (人の心のキーブレード Hito no Kokoro no Kīburēdo?), sometimes referred to as Riku's Keyblade, is a synthetic, artificial Keyblade created by Ansem, Seeker of Darkness from the Hearts of the Princesses of Heart, with the exception of Kairi. In addition to being a combat weapon like Sora's Keyblade, this Keyblade has the unique ability to unlock a person's heart, releasing the Darkness within. Its name, if it has one, is currently unknown—it has only been referred to by its type. Few refer to it as the Keyblade of Darkness. But this, of course, is not the official name of the keyblade.
"Keyblades of People's Hearts" are one of the three types of Keyblade, alongside the two kinds of "Keyblades of Worlds' Hearts"—"Keyblades of the Realm of Darkness", which King Mickey uses, and "Keyblades of the Realm of Light", which the other Keyblade wielders use. Unlike the other two types of Keyblade, this type of Keyblade did not exist until the Realms were altered by the Keyblade War. As part of this development, it was no longer possible to open the door to Kingdom Hearts without using a Keyblade of People's Hearts, which could only be completed by gathering seven hearts of pure light.
It has a simple design of red and black, akin to the Kingdom Key, with its teeth forming the outline of a heart. It has a rather dark design, despite being created from hearts of pure light. As it lacks Kairi's heart, this Keyblade is incomplete, and has never been seen at full power. It also lacks a Keychain.
After Sora retrieves his Keyblade from Riku and manages to defeat him, Riku stumbles around Hollow Bastion, and eventually runs into Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, who convinces Riku to give Ansem his body. At the same time, Maleficent has used the seven captured Princesses to open the Final Keyhole, but without Kairi's heart, it is incomplete. With Ansem in control, Riku summons the Keyblade of People's Hearts, created from the six available hearts of the Princesses. Without Kairi's heart, the blade is also incomplete, and could release the stolen hearts if actually used.
Later, after Maleficent loses to Sora and his friends, Riku appears and "helps" her by unlocking her heart, releasing its darkness and transforming her into Dragon Maleficent. Sora and his friends defeat Maleficent again and she is consumed by the darkness within her.
He reveals that Kairi's lost heart has been within Sora all along, and that it must be released in order to complete the Keyhole. He moves to release Kairi's heart by using the Keyblade on Sora, but Sora parries at the last second, and eventually defeats the possessed Riku.
Despite this, Kairi is still catatonic, and Sora is unable to seal the incomplete Keyhole. In order to save Kairi, Sora turns Riku's Keyblade on himself. This releases both his and Kairi's hearts from Sora's body, reviving Kairi, but also completes the Keyhole and casts Sora into the darkness. Unbeknown to anyone, this act also produces Sora and Kairi's unique Nobodies, Roxas and Naminé.
The Keyblade itself dissolves, releasing the Princesses' stolen hearts. Sora fades into a Shadow just as Kairi awakens, and the Heartless rapidly emerging from the Keyhole force Kairi, Donald, and Goofy to flee.
In Kingdom Hearts II, the Keyblade appears when Roxas is dreaming one of Sora's memories.
Notes and References
- Director's Secret Report XIII, p. 28; Tetsuya Nomura: "Keyblades have two different constitutions, either from the Light side or the Dark side. This is merely the exterior key, the inner key can act from either side and its abilities won't change. There is no clear division between good and evil. Usually the door to each world is closed and the keyhole itself is not visible. By bringing a Keyblade nearby, the Keyhole appears. But the lock is not actually closed itself. Indeed, the Heartless were able to find the door and easily open it and in this way steal hearts. In the previous game, Sora turned the locks and closed these doors. Furthermore, about the opened door of the integrated heart of worlds "Kingdom Hearts" itself, to prevent the outflow of the darkness within hearts the intent and reasons were different so the Keyblade was used for a different purpose. In order to work, the door needs to be closed from both the Dark side and the Light side and both a dark and light realm Keyblade are needed. The King needed a Keyblade opposite from the realm of light Keyblade that Sora had, so he went to the realm of darkness to obtain one."
- Riku: What should I do? / Hooded man: "It's really quite simple. Open yourself to the darkness. That is all. Let your heart, your being, become darkness itself".
- Riku: "The Keyhole cannot be completed so as long as the last princess of heart still sleeps."
- Riku: "Yes. A Keyblade. But unlike yours, this Keyblade holds the power to unlock people’s hearts. Allow me to demonstrate...Behold! Now, open your heart, surrender it to the darkness! Become darkness itself!"
- Director's Secret Report XIII, p. 28; Tetsuya Nomura: "The Keyblade constructed from the Seven Princesses' hearts that Riku obtained in the previous game allowed for the Keyhole in Hollow Bastion to appear. For the plan to cause darkness to overflow from hearts, the special hearts held be the Princesses were used to artificially make this Keyblade. So it is different from a proper Keyblade. There are further suggestions that this Keyblade is artificial as well."
- Riku: "It’s no use. That girl has lost her heart. She cannot wake up...The Keyhole cannot be completed so as long as the last princess of heart still sleeps...Yes, and without her power, the Keyhole will remain incomplete. It is time she awakened...But first, you must give the princess back her heart...Don’t you see yet? The princess’s heart is responding. It has been there all along. Kairi’s heart rests within you!...So, I shall release you now, Princess. Complete the Keyhole with your power. Open the door, and lead me into everlasting darkness!"
- Leon: "That’s right. You have one more friend to worry about. Riku’s Keyblade must have been born of the captive princesses’ hearts—just like that Keyhole you saw. Of course, without Kairi’s heart, it remained incomplete. Once that Keyblade was destroyed, the princesses’ hearts should have been freed. Don’t worry, Sora. If anyone can save your friend, you can."