Kingdom Hearts: the story so far

It seems a lot like Disney and Square-Enix are on different wavelengths as far as developing games goes, what with a Warren Spector project in the works and Final Fantasy XIII well on the way. But there was a time when these two juggernauts of adolescent entertainment teamed up to make sweet, sweet video game love in the form of Kingdom Hearts.

Far from being some tender romp in Japanese role-playing game land, the lovechild of Disney and Square-Enix is heavy stuff. There are epic battles, tragic betrayals and more dramatic plot twists than you could shake a DualShock controller at. To keep you on top of it all and get you up to speed on the story behind the upcoming prequel, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep for the PSP, we’ve put together as many of the plot points as we can comprehend in this handy primer. (Note: This guide will be even handier if Square-Enix and Disney surprise us all with a Kingdom Hearts 3 announcement this year. It could happen!)

Read on at the risk of spoilers and migraine-inducing confusion.

SPOILER WARNING: Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts II

The Story So Far… Part One

Gather ‘round, children and let me tell you a tale about a kid named Sora. He lives on a peninsula with his buddies Riku and Kairi, plus some de-aged Final Fantasy characters. Every day the six of them run off to an island where they try to build a raft to run away farther from home and discover some uncomfortable facts about adolescence.

Then a guy in a Jedi robe shows up babbling about doors and darkness. Soon after, the planet implodes amidst an invasion of creepy black insect things called Heartless. Kairi vanishes in Sora’s arms and Riku hits puberty a little too soon. Sora wakes up in a dark alleyway near a bar getting his face licked – which would be a problem if it were anybody other than Pluto! Then a ton of Final Fantasy and Disney characters show up and eventually Sora meets Goofy and Donald Duck.

Goofy and Donald are out looking for Mickey Mouse who was promoted to King of the Universe sometime after Fantasia. His Majesty ditched his responsibilities to fly around in a spaceship looking for an explanation about imploding planets. Because Sora has no place better to be, and because he now has a magic key-sword thing, he accompanies Goofy and Donald on their quest.

Eight Disney-themed worlds later, Sora, Goofy and Donald begin to suspect that something is really wrong. For one thing, several villains from various Disney films have formed a league to kidnap “Princesses of Heart,” which consist mostly of Disney Princesses plus Alice and minus Ariel. For another, Riku turned evil and made off with a catatonic Kairi to join up with said villains. And finally, Cloud from Final Fantasy VII is wearing Vincent’s clothing – which is probably as close as a Disney-themed game will ever get to addressing homosexuality.

It turns out that this guy named Ansem (who’s not really Ansem, but we’ll get to that later) – has been manipulating the Disney villains to gain access to something called Kingdom Hearts (we’ll also get to later). After possessing Riku, who is now devoid of fashion sense and willing to kill his best friend, Ansem escapes to the place where planets go to die. While all of that goes down, Sora rescues Kairi, turns into a Heartless, turns back into himself and then goes after the possessed Riku.

Sora, Goofy and Donald eventually find and confront him, whereupon Ansem first turns into himself (i.e.  Sephiroth plus Fabio divided by orange contact lenses) and then later into a boat with teeth. A smackdown ensues and after Ansem gets the boat beat out of him, he opens the door to Kingdom Hearts and explodes. Sora, Donald and Goofy try to close the door because it’s chockfull of Heartless. Riku shows up, now no longer evil and significantly better-dressed, as does Mickey Mouse and they close the door to Kingdom Hearts with Sora on one side and themselves on the other.

Now shit gets weird.

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  • KHfan - September 22, 2009 6:49 p.m.

    why isnt it just called "kingdom hearts week" lolz loving week of disney so far btw
  • FalconMbuster - September 22, 2009 8:09 p.m.

    Oh, Kingdom Hearts. Mix Disney morality with Japanese story telling and you get... a confusing ball of what-the-f__. Recaptcha: I somehow got "five and one half" written numerically. Just refreshed that, XD
  • secretsearcher - September 22, 2009 8:22 p.m.

    WHAT. THE. HELL. This is the most convoluted story ever. Quoting Sora "I'm so confused already." I loved the video though.
  • Terro - September 22, 2009 8:42 p.m.

    Is it weird that I find this story easy to follow?
  • V13Dragongal - September 22, 2009 9:04 p.m.

    I love kingdom hearts and didn't kno that there was a chacter named Ventus. I think you could have explained it better but still good articale.
  • Amnesiac - September 22, 2009 9:11 p.m.

    Jesus Christ, my brain.
  • Cyberninja - September 22, 2009 9:19 p.m.

    i just dont get how birth by sleep fits in the story line. @cyberninja4 imitation is the most sincere form of flatery
  • BenL98 - September 22, 2009 9:22 p.m.

    "That's no moon."
  • Conman93 - September 22, 2009 9:24 p.m.

    WOOO. kingdom hearts week!! That story is probably as confusing as metal gear solid. Maybe. I havent played metal gear solid Axel is really cool!! Love his catchphrase. 'Got it Memorized'. LOVE THESE GAMES SOOO MUCH!!!
  • Charley235 - September 22, 2009 9:24 p.m.

    oh and save riku and the girl
  • G1drake - September 22, 2009 9:49 p.m.

    kingdom hearts is confusing thats why i love the series(i wish it could be on wii, i mean they released for gba and ds)
  • Bobbety - September 22, 2009 10:40 p.m.

  • FALLINGINFIRE - September 23, 2009 12:09 a.m.

    That's no moon xD ReCaptcha: fromairportinn suet
  • ShotgunEric374 - September 23, 2009 3:19 a.m.

    um i think it was clearer before i read this.... good start for those in the dark tho ReCaptcha: ridgely course an oman?
  • Life - September 23, 2009 3:33 a.m.

    That's no moon... I laughed so freaking hard.
  • mertor3190 - September 23, 2009 7:53 a.m.

    LOL. "THAT'S NO MOON" Freaking random. I followed the story well though and understood it. But i just spoiled the "358 days" one for me. CANNOT wait for Birth by Sleep
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - September 23, 2009 3:16 p.m.

    Thats no moon.Ok I have never played a Disney game and I've never played a Final Fantasy game why should I play kingdom hearts some one convince me!
  • Corsair89 - September 22, 2009 6:58 p.m.

    I've played all the Kingdom Hearts games at least 3 or 4 times each(with the exception of 358/2 Days) and I can't explain the story very well. But, it is one of my all-time favorite series, and I will continue to get every game with it's name on it. Unless they ever spawn "Kingdom Hearts: Hannah Montana"
  • flare149 - September 22, 2009 7:01 p.m.

    Kingdom Hearts...Kingdom Hearts...Kingdom Hearts.... That's no moon! .....Kingdom Hearts Lol, after all the Kingdom Hearts stuff that was so awesome. Also one thing that may help some poeple, there's Ansem and Xeonort. Ansem is the old guy with the voice of Coutn Dooku and Xeonort is the guy in the painting, the "Ansem" Hearltess from the first game and the "Xemnas" Nobody from the second game. The real Ansem (old dude) has no Heartless of Nobody, Xeonort just beat his ass and stole his name and research
  • peace4me - September 22, 2009 7:07 p.m.

    What is kingdom hearts? They never explain it well in the games.

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