Kingdom Hearts is a huge series, with heaps of world-building, lore, and loads of characters. As you progress through your exciting journey, you bump into plenty of friendly (and not-so friendly) faces, both familiar and brand new. But, with the notoriously complex plot present across all games, it can be pretty tough to get your head around what’s going on, and who stands for what.
With our Kingdom Hearts characters guide, we’ll take you on a tour of all the quirky individuals you encounter along the way, from original characters, to those you’ll likely recognise from iconic Disney properties and other Square Enix games. We also take a look at their personalities, and the types of roles they play, so you can keep on top of this wildly lore-rich universe.
If you’re a fan of Kingdom Hearts and looking for more adventures on the Switch, be sure to check out our lists of the best Switch RPGs and the best Switch adventure games. And if it’s the Disney themes that pull you in, you can take a look at our Disney Twisted Wonderland tier list and Twisted Wonderland cards.
Kingdom Hearts characters
Original Kingdom Hearts characters
Kingdom Hearts may feature plenty of familiar faces from other franchises, but it also has a host of brilliant original characters that stand at the core of its world and massively complex lore.
Sora – the main protagonist of the Kingdom Hearts series, and the sole playable character in the first game, Sora is a bright, optimistic young man. He lives on Destiny Islands with his closest friends, Riku and Kairi, but is torn away when his home is engulfed in darkness. He finds himself in possession of a weapon of light, called the Keyblade, and embarks on a journey with Donald and Goofy to protect other worlds from the heartless, hoping to find his friends and Mickey in the process.
Riku – a cool, calm, and collected young man who often comes across as fearless and competitive, Riku is Sora’s childhood friend and rival. Despite being good natured and having a deep love and desire to protect his friends, his heart is open to darkness, and he fights a long, arduous battle within himself, especially after being manipulated by Maleficent and spending time in Castle Oblivion. However, he eventually redeems himself, and gains the power to wield his own keyblade.
Kairi – born in Radiant Gardens, Kairi moved to Destiny Islands when she was young, becoming very close to Riku and Sora. She’s caring, kind-hearted, brave, and is said to have a heart filled with pure light, despite every heart containing darkness. Kairi is strong-willed and sometimes stubborn, and doesn’t hesitate to put herself in harm’s way to protect her friends. Near the end of Kingdom Hearts II, she gains a keyblade of her own, and begins to study under Aqua.
Roxas – Roxas is Sora’s nobody – the shell that remains after a person of strong heart loses themselves to the Darkness. He was born after Sora released his heart to save Kairi, and soon became a member of Organization XIII, as the main playable character in 358/2 Days. Unlike other nobodies, when Sora’s heart is restored, Roxas continues to exist, mostly oblivious to Sora’s existence. He can be short-tempered and fiery, and is fiercely rebellious, which leads him to bordering the line of minor antagonist at times. He wields a keyblade, but longs to be a normal kid – as shown in the prologue to Kingdom Hearts II, when he’s spending time with Hayner, Pence, and Olette. While in the Organization, he makes close friends with Axel and Xion.
Terra – one of the main protagonists of Birth By Sleep, Terra was an apprentice under Master Eraqus at the Land of Departure. He’s a close friend of Aqua and Ventus, and his main mission in life is to become a Keyblade Master. Despite his calm exterior, he’s passionate and driven, and would do anything to protect his friends. However, like Riku, he’s constantly tempted by the darkness in his heart, and sometimes struggles to stay on the right path.
Aqua – like Terra, Aqua is one of the main protagonists of Birth By Sleep, and was one of Master Eraqus’ apprentices, striving to become a Keyblade Master – a title which she manages to earn. She’s motherly and protective of her closest friends, Terra and Ventus, often making them good luck charms, and is shown to be serious, responsible, and strong willed, as well as exceptionally kind.
Ventus – the youngest of the three protagonists of Birth By Sleep, Ventus is very similar to Sora and Roxas. He was an apprentice to both Master Eraqus and Master Xenahort. He’s a cheerful young man, who shows himself to be cheerful and curious, but can also be stubborn and short-tempered. He’s brave and willing to fight for his friends no matter what, even if it results in the loss of his heart.
- Xehanort – the keyblade master that taught Ventus and the creator and master of Vanitas, Xehanort believes that light and darkness should exist in perfect balance. He and his multiple incarnations (Ansem and Xemnas) play the role of the main antagonists in the series, and will stop at nothing to gain complete power. He’s callous and cunning, and is shown to be exceedingly malicious and manipulative.
- Naminé – Kairi’s nobody, Naminé has the power to control the memories of Sora and those close to him, leading her to be known as a witch. She’s quiet, fragile, and forgiving, though she rebels against her captors when she realises what they’re doing is wrong.
- Riku Replica – a replica of Riku created by the data gathered by Vexen, Riku Replica is more aggressive and protective than his counterpart, and embraces his darkness.
- Ansem the Wise – the sage king of Radiant Garden during Birth By Sleep, Ansem the Wise spent much of his time studying the heart and trying to protect his people from the darkness. However, he was eventually banished to and consumed by that same darkness, later renaming himself DiZ (Darkness in Zero), harnessing the power of darkness and setting out to avenge himself. Originally, he was peaceful, kind, and compassionate, but later became consumed by hatred.
- Vanitas – created by Xenahort, Vanitas (also known as the masked boy) is a keyblade wielder extracted from the darkness in Ventus’ heart, and the progenitor of the Unversed. While he was originally much like Ventus, through Xehanort’s torture he became proud, cunning, cruel, and ruthless.
- Eraqus – Eraqus is a Keyblade Master, who mentored and took care of Aqua, Terra, and, later, Ventus, as his own children. He’s entirely opposed to darkness, and is a stern leader and strategist, but cares deeply for his apprentices.
Kingdom Hearts’ Organization XIII is a group of Nobodies led by Xemnas, seeking to reclaim their hearts and become whole again. However, it’s later revealed that Xehanort had ulterior motives for them. They feature prominently in 358/2 Days, and later appear as boss battles in Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts III.
- Xemnas (The Superior of the In-Between) – Number I of the Organization, Xemnas controls sorcerers, the power of Nothingness, and weapons called Ethereal Blades which he refers to as Interdiction. He’s the remorseless, power-hungry Nobody of Master Xehanort through Terra-Xehanort’s body
- Xigbar (The Freeshooter) – Number II of the Organization, Xigbar controls snipers, space, and arrowguns called Sharpshooters. He’s the confident, laid-back, and cocky Nobody of Braig
- Xaldin (The Whirlwind Lancer) – Number III of the Organization, Xaldin controls Dragoons, wind, and six lances called Lindworm. He’s the sadistic and independent Nobody of Dilan
- Vexen (The Chilly Academic) – Number IV of the Organization, Vexen controls ice and a shield called Frozen Pride. He’s the intellectual but somewhat unhinged Nobody of Even
- Lexaeus (The Taciturn Stalwart) – Number V of the Organization, Lexaeus controls earth and an axe sword called Skysplitter. He’s the intelligent but tight-lipped Nobody of Aeleus
- Zexion (The Cloaked Schemer) – Number VI of the Organization, Zexion controls illusions and a lexicon called the Book of Retribution. He’s the enigmatic and secretive Nobody of Ienzo
- Saïx (The Luna Diviner) – Number VII of the Organization, Saïx controls berserkers, the power of the moon, and a claymore called Lunatic. He’s the cold, emotionless Nobody of Isa
- Axel (The Flurry of Dancing Flames) – Number VIII of the Organization, Axel controls assassins, fire, and twin chakrams called Eternal Flames. He initially comes across as cocky and unfeeling, showing himself to be a good liar, but his personality drastically changes when he befriends Roxas and Xion, becoming playful, sarcastic, and laid back, but also a caring mentor and big-brother-like figure. He plays an integral part in the plot of 358/2 Days, and has important appearances in Kingdom Hearts II and III, betraying the Organization in favour of helping his friends. He’s the Nobody of Lea
- Demyx (The Melodious Nocturne) – Number IX of the Organization, Demyx controls dancers, water, and a sitar called Arpeggio. He’s a casual, lazy, and sometimes cowardly guy, who loves music. His original persona is unknown.
- Luxord (The Gambler of Fate) – Number X of the Organization, Luxord controls gamblers, time, and cards called Fair Game. He’s the master of rhetoric, and passionate about games and luck. His original persona is unknown
- Marluxia (The Graceful Assassin) – Number XI of the Organization, Marluxia controls reapers, flowers, and a scythe called Graceful Dahlia. He’s the arrogant, vain, and deceptive Nobody of Lauriam
- Larxene (The Savage Nymph) – Number XII of the Organization, Larxene controls ninjas, lightning, and eight knives called Foudre. She’s the cold, ruthless, and uncaring Nobody of Elrena
- Xion – Number XIV of the Organization, Xion controls light and the Kingdom Key. While she’s presented as the fourteenth Organization member, she’s not officially considered part of the Organization. Xion is an imperfect female replica of Sora, created from his memories of Kairi. She’s emotionally fragile, but expresses happiness when around Roxas and Axel
- Hayner, Pence, and Olette – three teenagers that live in Twilight Town. They appear as three replicas of Roxas’ friends in DiZ’s simulated Twilight Town that you explore at the start of Kingdom Hearts II. Their real counterparts help Sora infiltrate Organization XIII’s stronghold through the digital town. They’re friendly, playful, and constantly on the lookout for fun
- Chirithy – a cat-like species of Dream Eater, created by the Master of Masters and sent to help Keyblade wielders become stronger
- The Master of Masters – a mysterious cloaked Keyblade Master, responsible for training the five Foretellers (characters from Kingdom Hearts X) and gifting them with the Book of Prophecies, The Master of Masters is intelligent and wise, but can sometimes behave unpredictably
- Yazora – an enigmatic character of unknown origin, Yazora looks much like a dark version of Riku. He’s featured prominently in advertisements for Verum Rex, a game featured in the Toy Story world of Kingdom Hearts III
- Mickey – the King of Disney Castle, Mickey travels the world battling Darkness. Though he follows the path of light, he’s the chosen Keyblade wielder for the Realm of Darkness. He’s kind, brave, dedicated, and noble, despite being mischievous in his youth
- Donald and Goofy – members of Mickey’s royal court, Donald and Goofy befriend Sora and accompany him on many of his adventures, though their main goal is to find and aid King Mickey. They can be a little hapless and disorganised, and Donald is often stubborn and argumentative, but they have strong morals and fight for what they believe is right
- Merlin – the ancient, wise wizard from Disney’s Sword in the Stone, Merlin helps Sora develop his magical powers, and also mend the 100 Acre Wood book, allowing you to visit Whinnie the Pooh and friends
- Maleficent – one of the big bads of the series, Maleficent is the villain from Sleeping Beauty. She’s cruel, selfish, and calculating, and her main goal is to capture the Princesses of Heart and conquer all worlds
- Pete – originally from the early Disney cartoon Steamboat Willie, Pete is Maleficent’s bumbling henchman who was banished to another dimension by Queen Minnie after consistently causing trouble around Disney Town
- Yen Sid – the wizard from ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ segment of Disney’s Fantasia, Yen Sid is Mickey’s old mentor, and a retired Keyblade Master who resides in the Mysterious Tower. He’s seen as a wise and stern mentor, who offers guidance and training to Sora and the other Guardians of Light
- Princesses of Heart – maidens whose hearts are made of pure light, untainted by darkness. The original seven Princesses of Heart consist of Alice (Alice in Wonderland), Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves), Jasmine (Aladdin), Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Cinderella (Cinderella), Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), and Kairi. The new generation, introduced in Kingdom Hearts III, is known as The New Hearts, and adds Rapunzel (Tangled), and Elsa and Anna (Frozen) to the ranks
- Leon, Yuffie, and Aerith – three Square Enix characters from Final Fantasy, Leon, Yuffie, and Aerith help Sora and friends along their journey by shedding light on the situations at hand, and helping them train, as well as fighting alongside them when needed
- Cid – another Final Fantasy mainstay and a persistent presence in many of the Kingdom Hearts games, Cid is an expert in air travel and mechanics. He is the first to befriend Sora when he lands in Traverse Town, helping him get his Gummi Ship up and running, which is needed to travel between worlds
As well as the usual team you grow accustomed to throughout your adventure, as you travel around different levels, you sometimes gain the ability to add unique characters to your party, dependant on which world you’re in. They’re AI controlled, so you can’t actually play as them, but they join you on your adventure and fight alongside you in battle, showing off a range of fun, themed moves. Here are all the special party members you can encounter, and the worlds and films they come from.
|Tarzan||Tarzan||Kingdom Hearts I||Deep Jungle|
|Aladdin||Aladdin||Kingdom Hearts I, Kingdom Hearts II||Agrabah|
|Jack Skellington||Nightmare Before Christmas||Kingdom Hearts I, Kingdom Hearts II||Halloween Town|
|Ariel||The Little Mermaid||Kingdom Hearts I||Atlantica|
|Peter Pan||Peter Pan||Kingdom Hearts I||Neverland|
|Beast||Beauty and the Beast||Kingdom Hearts I, Kingdom Hearts II||Hollow Bastion|
|Mulan||Mulan||Kingdom Hearts II||Land of Dragons|
|Auron||Final Fantasy X||Kingdom Hearts II||Olympus Coliseum|
|Jack Sparrow||Pirates of the Caribbean||Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts III||Port Royale/The Caribbean|
|Simba||The Lion King||Kingdom Hearts II||Pride Lands|
|Tron||Tron||Kingdom Hearts II||Space Paranoids|
|Prince Phillip||Sleeping Beauty||Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep||Enchanted Domain|
|Hercules||Hercules||Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, Kingdom Hearts III||Olympus Coliseum/Olympus|
|Zack Fair||Final Fantasy 7||Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep||Olympus Coliseum|
|Stitch (Experiment 626)||Lilo and Stitch||Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep||Deep Space|
|Woody and Buzz Lightyear||Toy Story||Kingdom Hearts III||Toy Box|
|Rapunzel and Flynn Rider||Tangled||Kingdom Hearts III||Kingdom of Corona|
|Sulley and Mike Wazowski||Monsters Inc||Kingdom Hearts III||Monstropolis|
|Marshmallow||Frozen||Kingdom Hearts III||Arendelle|
|Baymax||Big Hero Six||Kingdom Hearts III||San Fransokyo|
In addition to party members, you also gain summons throughout your journey. A summon is a special character that you can magically call to your aid in battle. You obtain them in different ways across the games.
Kingdom Hearts I summons
In Kingdom Hearts I, you obtain summons by finding special stones called Summon Gems in the different worlds you visit. Take the gems to the Fairy Godmother at Merlin’s house in Traverse Town to restore their spirit forms and unlock them as summons.
|Character||Origin||How to obtain|
|Simba||The Lion King||From the Earthshine Gem Leon gives you during your second visit to Traverse Town|
|Genie||Aladdin||After you seal Agrabah’s Keyhole|
|Bambi||Bambi||From the Naturespeak Gem you obtain after returning the first set of torn pages to Pooh’s book|
|Dumbo||Dumbo||From the Watergleam Gem you can find in Monstro|
|Tinker Bell||Peter Pan||After you seal Neverland’s keyhole|
|Mushu||Mulan||From the Fireglow Gem you obtain after defeating Maleficent in her dragon form|
Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories summons
In Chain of Memories, summons appear as cards instead of characters to fit in with the battle style of the game. You obtain them during your ascent through Castle Oblivion.
|Character||Origin||How to obtain|
|Simba||The Lion King||From Leon after you complete the tutorial|
|Genie||Aladdin||After you complete the Agrabah floor|
|Bambi||Bambi||After you complete the 100 Acre Wood floor|
|Dumbo||Dumbo||After you complete the Monstro floor|
|Tinker Bell||Peter Pan||After you complete the Neverland floor|
|Mushu||Mulan||From a chest found in the Hollow Bastion Room of Rewards|
|Cloud||Final Fantasy VII||From Cloud after you beat the Olympus Coliseum floor|
Kingdom Hearts II summons
In Kingdom Hearts II, summons come from special Summon Charms you find on your journey. You can immediately use them without having to unlock them.
|Character||Origin||How to obtain|
|Chicken Little||Chicken Little||From the Baseball Charm you get from Merlin after learning about Pooh’s book|
|Genie||Aladdin||From the Lamp Charm you get from Genie after your first visit to Agrabah|
|Stitch||Lilo and Stitch||From the Ukulele Charm you find in a chest in Ansem’s Study during your second visit to Hollow Bastion|
|Peter Pan||Peter Pan||From the Feather Charm you find in a chest at the Ship Graveyard during your second visit to Port Royale|
Kingdom Hearts III summons
Kingdom Hearts III summons are also referred to as Links, which come from Heartbinders. Heartbinders enhance your gift for connecting with others, allowing you to summon friends from other worlds.
|Character||Origin||How to Obtain|
|Meow Wow||Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance||From the Dream Heartbinder you get from Yen Sid after returning to the Mysterious Tower|
|Wreck-It-Ralph||Wreck-It-Ralph||From the Pixel Heartbinder you receive for clearing Verum Rex for the first time|
|Simba||The Lion King||From the Pride Heartbinder you receive for putting out the fires at the Tank Yard in Monstropolis|
|Ariel||The Little Mermaid||From the Ocean Heartbinder found in a chest in the Underwater Cave in the Caribbean after you defeat the Lightning Angler|
|Stitch||Lilo and Stitch||From the Ohana Heartbinder you obtain after clearing the Flash Tracer minigame for the first time|
There are multiple Disney characters that appear throughout the Kingdom Hearts series, playing a variety of roles. From Queen Minnie (King Mickey’s wife), to the 101 dalmations you need to find scattered around the worlds of the first Kingdom Hearts, to the recurring Winnie the Pooh gang you visit through the book in Merlin’s study as you gather its pages in both I and II, they all aid in expanding the intertwined worlds of our favourite Disney films.
Naturally, as Kingdom Hearts is published by Square Enix, you also get to rub shoulders with some iconic Square characters. Many come from the beloved Final Fantasy universe, as you encounter many Moogles, battle Cloud in Olympus Coliseum, go toe to toe with the formidable Sephiroth in a boss battle, and face off against Heartless versions of Shiva, Ramuh, Ifrit, and Leviathan. We also get some cameos from World Ends With You during Dream Drop Distance, including Neku, Yoshiya, Shiki, and more. Keep an eye out for familiar faces!
And that’s it for our Kingdom Hearts characters guide. We hope this helps you wrap your head around this wonderful but complex series. If you need a break from the dizzying amounts of exposition and lore you’ve just exposed yourself to, head over to our list of the best Switch games to find something new to play.