Consume the darkness, return it to light.
Riku is a life-long friend and rival of Sora, and he plays a key role in the Kingdom Hearts Series. Riku is from Destiny Islands and is a childhood friend of Sora and Kairi. Later in the series, he becomes a Keyblade master that has the power of light and darkness, and is always ready to sacrifice himself to protect his friends. Riku is the original persona of his own replica and pseudo-Ansem.
Riku was 5-years-old during Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, 15-years-old at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and 16-years-old during the events of Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.
Riku's name is derived from the Japanese word for "land" (陸 Riku?).
In Kingdom Hearts, Riku is a calm, cool, collected teenager who is not afraid to push the boundaries. This is illustrated by his lack of fear while stepping into the dark portal during Destiny Islands' demise. His exclamation of, "I'm not afraid of the darkness!", furthers illustrates this point.
I've always wondered why we're here on this island. If there are other worlds out there, why did we end up on this one? And... suppose there are other worlds... then that means ours is just a little piece of something much greater.Riku, to Sora and Kairi
During Kingdom Hearts in particular, Riku has a strong competitive streak. He shows his competitive side when he challenges Sora, saying that his heart is stronger than his friend's. Due to the influence that Maleficent has on him, Riku also becomes increasingly jealous of Sora. When he realises that Sora has acquired new friends in the form of Donald and Goofy, Riku feels that he has been replaced. His jealousy grows when he learns that Sora owns a Keyblade. This jealousy results in numerous fights with his former friend throughout Kingdom Hearts, and opens the door for Ansem, Seeker of Darkness to possess him. He eventually snaps out of it and feels tremendous guilt and remorse for all he had done.
Though his traits are not akin to those of a protagonist in Kingdom Hearts, he becomes more heroic in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. During his time spent in Castle Oblivion, Riku begins to confront the darkness which lingers within his heart. At first, he rejects it. However, as the story progresses, Riku realises that it is possible to use the darkness to achieve his goals. He matures immensely during this period, and leaves behind some of his more unlikable personality traits.
Riku had been curious about what lay outside of his world ever since his early youth in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. Over time, his curiosity turned to obsession, and he began to think of his world as a prison surrounded by water. This obsession appears to diminished throughout the year of Sora's slumber, most likely because he had by then travelled to a number of worlds. When he returns to Destiny Islands in Kingdom Hearts II, he still comments that it is a small world, but agrees with Sora's remark that it is only a part of one that's much bigger. Riku later stated that the real reason he wanted to explore outside of his home world was because of Terra.
A postive personality trait demonstrated by Riku is a strong desire to protect his friends. Examples of this would be his sacrifice to protect Sora from Xemnas' attacks during their final battle in Kingdom Hearts II, and his willingness to accept the darkness in order to subdue Roxas in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.
Though Riku matures significantly over the course of the series, he retains some of his more youthful personality from Kingdom Hearts, particularly his sense of humor; he refers to Sora, Donald, and Goofy as "wise guys" when talking to the Emperor, cracks a joke about Donald and Goofy's intelligence at their expense ("Sora never did pick the brightest friends"), and calls Sora a "total sap" when going to confront Xemnas.
Riku is a tall and muscular teenager with pale skin, bright blue-green eyes and silver hair. In Kingdom Hearts, his hair was shoulder-length, later in Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, it has grown longer, past his shoulders, reaching down to his upper back, but in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, it is cut short like when he was a child in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and certain scenes in Kingdom Hearts.
In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and some parts of Kingdom Hearts, he is much shorter, due to being a young child. Riku's bangs are also more side-swept than later on in his life. He wears a yellow vest with a large collar and blue trim which is zipped down below his collarbone. He has two blue bracelets, one on each wrist, with a yellow stripe in the middle. On his lower body he has black shorts reaching past his knees and white and blue slip on shoes with gray soles.
During most of Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, he wears a vest that has a yellow collar and is yellow in the front and black on the sides and back. The vest has two black crisscrossing straps that go over his chest and on his upper back that are trimmed with white and has a white stud on each end. Just above each of his wrists are tight black bracelets and on his hands are black and gray gloves that reach just to the base of his thumb. He wears a black belt with a silver rectangular buckle high on his waist which secures his dark blue-gray pants. His pants are mostly covered by blue wading pants held up by black straps almost identical to the ones on his vest, except they are each layered and have more studs, as well as not being crisscrossed. The wading pants are tightened at the ankle with small black belts. His shoes are white and blue, with some yellow strings on the inner sides, some of which crisscross each other. The shoes each have two black straps with white trim and gray soles.
In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, he wears a Black Coat and the Organization's boots and gloves. He also wears a black cloth over his eyes tied behind his head that reaches slightly past his shoulders.
While he is in Kingdom Hearts II, he wears a sleeveless, black, double-zippered shirt under a white vest. The shirt is zippered up to just below his neck and to just above his bellybutton. The white vest is yellow at the bottom with a blue stripe separating the two other colors. The collar is folded down to reveal the color on the inside, yellow, and is decorated with four small, silver buttons. On his left arm he wears a white wrist guard. His blue baggy pants have very large, paler pockets, and are held up by a black and silver belt. His white shoes are gray on the bottom and top, with three black stripes on each side and yellow laces.
In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Riku wears a white vest with a large black collar, a yellow back, and a black stripe along the bottom as well as around each arm hole. It is closed with a zipper that is closed just a bit below his collarbone and slightly above his belt. The back of the vest bears the Dream Eater Spirit sigil. He also wears loose fitting jeans and a black belt with a large silver buckle. On his feet Riku wears white hightops that are black on the bottom with a yellow stripe separating the two colors. His laces are black. He also has another pair of laces wrapped around his shoes at the ankle that are tied into a bow. On his wrists he sports thick black, cloth bracelets.
In Kingdom Hearts III, Riku wears a black, hooded jacket that he keeps unzipped, with short sleeves, gold buttons, and a checkered pattern at the hem. Underneath, he wears a white shirt with a V-neck. He also wears blue cropped trousers that are hemmed with the same checkered pattern as the jacket, black glovelettes on each hand, and black high-top boots. His hair remains the same length as it was in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, though it appears more spiked up in the back.
During the events of Birth by Sleep, Riku was a five year old boy who lived on Destiny Islands, along with Sora. They have always trained and pushed each other to make one another stronger. When Terra visits their home world, Riku says that Master Xehanort has already passed by Destiny Islands, which preoccupies Terra. Terra has a vision of Riku's future self, making him choose Riku as his successor, and submits him to the Keyblade Inheritance Ceremony, but asks to keep this conversation as a secret to keep the world's order.
Riku appears as a cool and collected 15-year-old. He and his best friends, Sora and Kairi, live on the Destiny Islands. The three spend their days constructing a raft and gathering supplies, so that they might one day set out and search for other worlds. He and Sora share a fierce but good natured rivalry, competing over who is stronger in battle, among other things.
However, things take a drastic turn on the night before their journey. Because Riku had opened the door in the Secret Place at an unspecified time, the Heartless, beings of darkness, invade the islands, seeking out the world's heart. Both afraid that a storm would destroy the raft, Kairi and Sora set out for the island. Sora finds Riku first. However, while Sora is concerned for his friend's safety, Riku is only obsessed with finally escaping the islands. Darkness surrounds the two, and Riku disappears into it, while Sora gains the Keyblade.
Riku eventually ends up in Hollow Bastion via the Corridor of Darkness, separated from his friends. There, he is found by Maleficent who offers him shelter and protection. However, seeing the potential in him, Maleficent begins to corrupt Riku's mind by convincing him that Sora had replaced him and Kairi with Donald Duck and Goofy. She claims that the only way to save Kairi, who has lost her heart to the darkness, is to ally himself with her and her band of villains, while abandoning Sora. After his reunion with Sora in Traverse Town, Riku begins to agree with Maleficent and officially starts his stay with her. However, he is still highly suspicious of her motives.
After Xehanort's Heartless's death, Riku regains his body as he helps Sora from the other side of the Door to Darkness. However, Mickey fends the Heartless off so Riku and Sora can proceed to close the door. Before the door is completely closed and sealed by Sora and Mickey, Riku tells the former to take care of Kairi.
"Neither suits me. I'm taking the middle road".Riku and DiZ
"Do you mean the twilight road to nightfall?"
"No. It's the road to dawn".
Riku awakes in the lowest basement of Castle Oblivion, being led there by his heart reacting with Sora, who also happens to be in Castle Oblivion, though on the ground floor. A dark card and a disembodied voice present themselves. The Voice offers Riku the chance to sleep and forget his troubles as well as the light, or take the card and take the first steps toward the truth.
Zexion and Vexen have great roles in Riku's story. Vexen independently appears before Riku and the latter wonders if Vexen is with "Ansem" (Xehanort's Heartless). Vexen cryptically responds that he is with "another Ansem". Still, Riku fights against Vexen, seeing him as an enemy. However, the battle only helps Vexen, who uses the data he gathered from the battle to create a replica of Riku. The replica soon comes to battle Riku, mocking Riku's fear of the darkness while the replica embraces it. However, the real Riku proves victorious, and the replica runs off.
When Zexion encounters Riku in Destiny Islands, he lures Riku with his illusions. He also makes Riku sink into the light as he begins to fade, but Naminé appears in the form of Kairi and tells him that he can't fade, because light can't destroy him, and neither can darkness, so he should accept both to drive away his fears. He awakens his dark powers again, admitting that it's a part of him and not evil, defeating Zexion.
Riku faces Ansem for one final battle alone. Ansem asks why he still refuses him if he accepts darkness now, and inquires if Riku is still scared of the darkness. Riku denies this and merely says, "I just can't stand your foul stench". They fight and the last of Ansem is destroyed, but not before he says a part of him is still in Riku, and that he shall return.
He is first seen on the bridge in Beast's Castle where he fights Xion. As a defeated Xion lies on the ground, Riku pulls off her hood and pulls up his blindfold to get a good look at her. He is shocked by her appearance and begins questioning her how she is able to use the Keyblade, calling it a sham and worthless. Angered, Xion demands what right he had to say such a thing and attacks him, only to be knocked down singlehandedly.
After Xion wakes upon Destiny Islands, she expresses her curiosity about "Sora and that girl he's always with", in which Riku tells her that Kairi is someone very special to Sora. He tells her that she is the reason Sora is unable to wake up because part of his memories are inside of her. Even though Xion is unsure of where she truly belongs and what the right choice is, Riku gives her some time to think about it. He is also seen conversing with DiZ next to the pod Sora sleeps in.
Riku is the final boss of the game, as the game ends with the battle between him and Roxas depicted in several scenes in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, including the secret endings of Another Side, Another Story... and Deep Dive.
He allies himself with DiZ, as they have a common goal: to help Sora awaken (though Riku finds his memories of Sora fading, being a side-effect of Naminé's toying with Sora's memories). DiZ asks Riku to kidnap Roxas, the Nobody of Sora, who has been having trouble regaining his memories. If he and Roxas join, Sora should be able to reawaken. Riku enters the Realm of Darkness, and corners Roxas in The World That Never Was.
Near the top of the Castle That Never Was, Riku reunites with King Mickey and DiZ, his true name being Ansem the Wise, who is using a machine to try and encode Kingdom Hearts into data. Xemnas also arrives, and he and Ansem the Wise trade bitter words. The machine then explodes, unable to handle Kingdom Hearts, sending Ansem the Wise to the Realm of Darkness while causing countless hearts Xemnas had collected into Kingdom Hearts to rain down on the world, creating a slew of Heartless. The explosion also cleanses Riku's heart and restores Riku to his original form, though he is still remorseful.
Towards the end after the final attack used by Xemnas, Sora is left open and Riku takes a blow intended to finish off his friend, which allows Sora to finish Xemnas off with both Riku and Sora firing a beam of light from Sora's keyblade. After the fall of Xemnas, Sora and the injured Riku face an onslaught of Dusks ready to fulfill their master's final order: eliminate the Keyblade wielders. However, the Dusks disintegrate back into nothingness, and Sora and Riku escape the realm, entering the Dark Meridian. Sora then manages to open the Door to Light, as King Mickey predicted while he read Kairi's Letter, and the two return home, reuniting with their friends. While Sora shares a hug with Donald and Goofy, Riku shares his own moment with King Mickey.
In one of the memories recovered from the journal, Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, and Riku encounter each other shortly before Destiny Islands is completely swallowed by the darkness. At the last minute, Ansem opens a portal for Riku, allowing him to escape.
The real Riku does not appear again until the end of the game with the real Sora and Kairi as they read Mickey's letter. This scene corresponds the final scene of Kingdom Hearts II.
Afterwards, Sora sits on the Paopu tree while holding the message from King Mickey, staring off into the sunset. He is then approached by Riku who asks him if he has decided (about what is not specified), and Sora says that he has. Kairi then walks up to him and Sora tells her that everyone is suffering and waiting, and that he has to put back everything that is connected to him, or "Reconnect". She then hands him her lucky charm and tells him she'll see him soon.
Summoned by Yen Sid alongside Sora, Riku learns the truth of Master Xehanort and his impending return. Riku and Sora are tasked with the mission to awaken seven different worlds from a state of sleep as part of their Mark of Mastery exam. However, as he and Sora go through these worlds deep within the Realm of Sleep in new attire, Riku encounters both "Ansem" and a younger incarnation of Master Xehanort.
Ending up in The Castle that Never Was, Riku learns that Sora was captured by the new Organization XIII. Riku faces off against Xehanort's younger self in battle before Master Xehanort reveals himself. Revealing his overall scheme and role in the events of the years before, Xehanort reveals that Riku was originally planned to be the final vessel to complete the new Organization. However, Riku's ability to resist "Ansem" and retrain his inner darkness forces Xehanort to make Sora into a suitable replacement. Restrained by "Ansem" so not to interfere, Riku is saved when Donald and Goofy arrive after Lea. After Master Xehanort and his group leave, Riku and the others take Sora back to Yen Sid's tower where he enters Sora's dream world to save him. Soon after, Riku learns that Yen Sid had deemed him to pass the Mark of Mastery and is entitled a Keyblade Master. Afterward, Riku brings Kairi to Yen Sid at his request so she may begin training with her Keyblade.
At the Mysterious Tower not long after Master Xehanort resurrection, Riku, Kairi, King Mickey are having an audience with Master Yen Sid where he explains that in order to confront Xehanort, they will need to gather the Seven Lights, among those which include the three Keyblade Wielders who befell a terrible fate over a decade ago. At Yen Sid's request, Mickey tells Riku and Kairi of the time he came across Aqua in the Realm of Darkness. Mickey finishes his retelling of his tale, at which point Riku lashes out at Mickey for not telling him that Aqua was there at the time and that she gave herself up to save him. Yen Sid intervenes and explains that neither Mickey nor Riku had the power to save Aqua, and that he had personally forbade Mickey from telling them, lest Riku, or in higher probability Sora, stage a potentially suicidal rescue attempt. However, as Riku had recently become a Keyblade Master, they now possess the means to rescue Aqua. Mickey invites Riku to assist in his rescue mission, to which he agrees. Kairi, wishing to help, is told by Yen Sid that she will need to train as a Keyblade Master alongside Lea, much to her surprise. Yen Sid bestows upon Mickey and Riku a new set of clothes that will protect them from the darkness before they leave.
During his and Sora's travels, they are contacted by Ienzo, who discovers via Ansem the Wise's research data that Sora's body contains the hearts of Roxas, Ventus, and Xion. Riku surmises that the Organization's members from the past are using artificial human replicas created by Vexen as vessels that enable their existence in the present, which inspires Sora to restore Roxas by transferring his heart into a replica body. Riku and Mickey eventually locate and battle the corrupted Aqua in the realm of darkness.
Already a strong and skillful individual as a child, Riku was always the strongest child in the Destiny Island even before awakening his ability to wield a Keyblade. Tidus remarked that he, Wakka, and Selphie were defeated by him even after they triple-teamed him and it seemed even at that time only Sora could challenge and surpass him. He is already an excellent swordsman and able hand-to-hand combatant, performing quite fast and athletic-related combos, with an athletic springing kick if knocked down. Over the years, as he acquires and continues to develop his skill with the Keyblade and gains the powers of both darkness and light, Riku's level of strength has increased greatly. What first started from him only being slightly stronger than he was with Soul Eater soon grew to levels where he became among the most powerful bosses in the first game and in Chain of Memories, his increase steadily becomes greater, at first fighting the weak Organization XIII member Vexen to a standstill before quickly becoming able to fight and exhaust Lexaeus, although he lost the fight due to his eagerness, defeat Zexion and even overpower Ansem. In 358/2 Days, he trounces Xion rather easily and even holds his own against the full-power Roxas, even eventually briefly knocking him out, but was quickly overpowered once he allowed Roxas to regain his extra blade, forcing him to use the powers of Ansem, at which point he easily dispatched Roxas, although due to him catching Roxas off-guard, and overpowered Saix and forced him to flee quickly. Although he lost the boost after the explosion of Kingdom Hearts stripped him of the darkness, Riku is still easily the strongest ally Sora can have and aids him effectively in defeating Xemnas powered by Kingdom Hearts. Riku is also shown to be skilled in hand to hand combat, as shown in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, in which he knocks down a charging Xion with a single punch after dismissing his Soul Eater weapon and while using the powers of Ansem, easily blind-sides and pins Saix bare-handed.