If there’s one fierce redhead you should know by now, it’s Kingdom Hearts’ Axel. This fabulous, fiery fighter made such an impression on the developers and the fanbase as a whole that Square Enix simply couldn’t wait until the next life to see him rise from the ashes once again. So let’s grab a sea salt ice cream as we look at his personality, keyblades, and more.
Here’s everything you need to know about Kingdom Hearts Axel.
Axel, also known as the Flurry of Dancing Flames, is the Nobody of Lea and Number VIII of Organization XIII. He wields powerful fire magic, along with his Eternal Flames chakrams, and controls the assassin Nobodies.
Axel plays an integral role in 358/2 Days, in which he takes both Roxas and Xion under his wing. Beyond that, he appears in several other games, often straddling the line of friend and foe as he struggles with his role within the Organization, his status as a Nobody, his goal of reclaiming his heart, and his intense loyalty to his friends.
On a turbulent journey of betrayal, rebellion, and desperation to save Roxas and Xion, Axel makes many enemies and causes a whole lot of ruckus. But, as he progresses through the story, he joins Sora and the gang in their fight against the Heartless. He ultimately ends up redeeming himself, returning to his original persona and continuing to fight alongside his closest friends.
Lea is Axel’s original persona, otherwise known as his ‘Somebody’. He’s a close friend of Isa, Saïx’s original persona, and appears as a teenager alongside Isa in both Birth by Sleep and Birth by Sleep Final Mix. After the destruction of both Lea’s Heartless and Axel (Lea’s Nobody), Lea reforms, taking on an aged-up appearance nearly identical to that of his Nobody form.
Motivated by his love for Roxas and his other friends, he trains to become a Keyblade wielder alongside Kingdom Hearts’ Kairi, and later takes up the mantle as one of the Seven Guardians of Light. What a great guy.
Axel has a fiery personality befitting his fiery attacks and appearance. Though he initially appears as mysterious, stoic, and manipulative during his time in the Organization, as Roxas and Xion grow closer to him, he shows his true colours as a witty, sarcastic, and laid-back guy. He tries to appear cold and indifferent in front of others but is fiercely protective of Roxas and Xion, often acting as an older brother to them.
Despite him highly valuing his friendships, he also shows himself to be merciless, remorseless, and cocky, displaying a truly cruel streak and a lack of empathy for those he defeats. However, with Roxas providing him with a ‘bizarre illusion of humanity’, Axel thaws out over time, showing far more emotion than Nobodies are supposed to be capable of, and displaying traits closer to those of his Somebody.
When it comes to Lea, he first appears to be childish and competitive, dodging responsibilities and trying to spar with Ventus. Beneath the surface, he seems somewhat insecure, with his main wish being that everyone he meets will remember him – a trait so strong that it manifests in Axel’s catchphrase of ‘got it memorised?’
Lea also shows himself to be a fiercely loyal friend who values his closest pals dearly, and is dedicated to keeping the promises he makes to them. When he reforms, he showcases a true sense of personal growth, taming his fiery temperament and forgiving those he had grievances with.
Above all, Axel (and, in turn, Lea) is a genuinely cool guy, and it’s surprisingly hard to summarize his personality and depth unless you experience it for yourself. On a personal note, I feel his character arc and personal development make him one of the strongest out of all of the Kingdom Hearts characters, and he will always be one of my favorite fictional guys – alongside Resident Evil’s Leon, of course.
Kingdom Hearts Axel’s age is a bit of a blind spot, and Square Enix has never given us a straight answer. As mentioned above, Lea appears as a teenager in Birth by Sleep but is older in his Nobody form, leading us to believe that Nobodies age as any normal person would, and maintain the age of their Nobody once they reform into a Somebody.
Generally, the community estimates Axel’s (and later, Lea’s) age to be around 18 to 25, and though we don’t know for sure, we believe early 20’s is a pretty reasonable guess.
Kingdom Hearts Axel’s weapon of choice is usually his twin Eternal Flames chakrams. However, he does manage to make it as a keyblade wielder after reclaiming his heart. He summons a fiery keyblade called Bond of the Blaze, Flame Liberator, or simply Lea’s Keyblade, which maintains some of the key design motifs of the Eternal Flames chakrams, with a spiked, circular guard, and a flame-like blade.
Lea first obtains his keyblade in Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance. He requests to become a keyblade wielder under Yen Sid in hopes of aiding Sora and Riku in their battle against Master Xenahort. With a bit of work, he learns to summon his keyblade voluntarily and continues to use it through Kingdom Hearts III.
To find out more about the different keyblades across all the games, check out our Kingdom Hearts keyblades guide.
Axel makes appearances in many of the Kingdom Hearts games, as does his original persona, Lea. Here are all the games you can find him in:
- Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
- Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
- Kingdom Hearts II
- Kingdom Hearts: Coded
- Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep
- Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance
- Kingdom Hearts III
In the Japanese version of the games, Keiji Fujiwara voices both Axel and Lea. In the English dub, Quinton Flynn portrays him. Unfortunately, Keiji Fujiwara passed away in 2020, voicing his last role as Axel (Lea) in Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind. We currently have no information on whether Axel (Lea) will make an appearance in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts IV and, if so, who will take over for the brilliant Keiji Fujiwara.
That’s all we’ve got on our boy Kingdom Hearts Axel. We hope you’ve got it memorized because, after all, all he wants is for everyone he meets to remember him. Oh no, we’re gonna make ourselves cry again – to wipe away those blues, head over to our list of the best Disney games and get lost in a world of magic.