|This article is about Xehanort's Heartless' original form. You may be looking for Ansem, Seeker of Darkness.|
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.
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, taking on his signature form.
- 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."