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File:Heartless hires.png

The Heartless are beings of darkness which manifest in two forms, "Pureblood" and "Emblem". While most Heartless are in fact manifest hearts, they behave entirely devoid of emotion, and were thus named "Heartless".[1]

OriginEdit

According to legend, the people of the universe once lived in harmony on one world, with their hearts full of light. Unfortunately, they began to selfishly fight over the light, and darkness grew within their hearts, covering everything and destroying the world. The light survived in the hearts of children, who were able to rebuild the broken fragments of the one world into many, smaller worlds. However, the true light was still hidden in the darkness, so the worlds remained separate.[2]

At least a decade before the events of Kingdom Hearts, Ansem the Wise, king of Radiant Garden, took it upon himself to study the darkness within human hearts, so he and his apprentices, Xehanort, Braig, Dilan, Even, Aeleus, and Ienzo, conducted experiments on the heart beneath his castle, the Hollow Bastion. Ansem Report 1 While these tests began with simple psychological tests on willing subjects like Xehanort Secret Ansem Report 1, they quickly snowballed and eventually caused their subjects' hearts to collapse, producing the first Heartless. Ansem Report 2 Unable at first to determine what they were, Ansem named them "Heartless" due to their apparent lack of emotion. Ansem Report 3 After finding that the Heartless were naturally drawn to the worlds' Keyholes Ansem Report 5, he invented a machine within the Heartless Manufactory which recreated the conditions which naturally spawned Heartless in order to create artificial Heartless. In order to differentiate the natural and artificial Heartless, Ansem set the machine to mark its creations with the castle's emblem, and named the two types "Pureblood" and "Emblem", respectively. Ansem Report 8 After a visit from King Mickey Mouse of Disney Castle, Ansem ceased his experiments Secret Ansem Report 2, but they were taken up by his apprentices, and he was exiled to the Realm of Nothingness. Secret Ansem Report 3 To further their research into Heartless, as well as the Keyblade and the Princesses of Heart, the apprentices cast off their bodies and surrendered their hearts to darkness, giving birth to their Heartless and Nobodies. Against expectations, Xehanort's Heartless retained his human form Ansem Report 12, as did the apprentices' Nobodies. Eventually, the witch Maleficent learned of the Heartless and began using them in her quest for power, and gave the power to lead the Heartless to those who joined her in her quest. Nine years before the events of Kingdom Hearts, she sent a swarm of Heartless to conquer the Radiant Garden, causing it to be lost to darkness so completely that only the castle of Hollow Bastion remained, even in the survivor's memories.[3]

NatureEdit

Pureblood Heartless are the natural Heartless, born when people's hearts are normally consumed by darkness. They are ink-black in color, with yellow beady eyes. They are more common in places that are close to or saturated in darkness. Upon their destruction, they simply disappear in puffs of darkness.

Emblem Heartless, on the other hand, were originally created from machines that reproduce the process of a heart being consumed by darkness. Afterward, stolen hearts can become Emblems. They have more varied shapes, colors, and are branded with Xehanort's symbol to differentiate them from the Pureblood ones. They are more common on the worlds within the Realm of Light, and usually mimic the shape of creatures or objects within that world.

Heartless, Emblem or Pureblood, possess several key characteristics that define them as Heartless. All Heartless are created when the darkness that resides in a person's heart consumes him or her, thus giving the darkness shape and form (this process occasionally forms Nobodies, which are born from the body and soul left behind when the heart is lost). Being born from darkness, they are mindless and act on instinct, their only goal to find hearts, and consume them to create more Heartless. But what they desire above all are the hearts of worlds, and thus they enter worlds in search of the way into the hearts of the worlds. When they consume these colossal hearts, the remains of the world form new worlds, such as Traverse Town and the End of the World.

At the same time, Heartless seek out the users of the Keyblade, since the Keyblades are able to vanquish Heartless very effectively. In order to stop the users of the Keyblades, the Heartless use the Keyblade itself as a homing beacon, but ultimately desire to take the heart that commands it. Because of this, Keyblade wielders are under constant attack.

Heartless, being formed from darkness, have varying strengths, depending on the amount of darkness in a person's heart. The darker the heart forming a Heartless, Emblem or Pureblood, the more powerful and more monstrous the resulting being will be. An exception to this is Xehanort's Heartless, who retained his human appearance for unknown reasons. This is a direct contrast to Nobodies, which determine rank according to the strength of the heart, and whose appearance becomes more human as they increase in power.

The Heartless, being mindless, usually have no master to direct their actions and instead act on the instinct to gather more hearts. However, there are some higher beings who can command them. Heartless will obey those with an affinity for darkness and a strong will. If many people attempt to control them, the Heartless will side with whomever is most powerful. Those with hearts, such as Maleficent, endanger themselves however, as the Heartless are attracted to their hearts. If they show weakness, the Heartless will not think twice of consuming their hearts.

On the other hand, higher ranking Heartless, like Xehanort's Heartless, can fully command other Heartless without endangering themselves. Also, Organization XIII is able to command them as well with their strong wills, but are not endangered of being consumed by them for their lack of a heart.

Heartless make use of the "corridors of darkness", inter-dimensional pathways that connect the many worlds. These pathways are located in the Realm of Darkness, and thus are very dangerous to use if one is not accustomed to the darkness.

The Heartless InvasionEdit

While the Heartless were not researched with the intent of creating a fighting force, their very nature as manifestations of the destructive force of darkness made them naturally suited for conquering and destroying the various worlds. Their natural ability to travel to various worlds through the use of Corridors of Darkness makes it virtually impossible to fully defend a world from Heartless, and the method in which they are created and exist make it practically impossible to cut them off at the source. Even fighting them once they appear is made difficult due to their immunity to standard weaponry. While sealing a world's Keyhole will save the world itself, it is still possible for the Heartless to appear on the world and hunt the people themselves. For example, even though the great Door to Darkness at The Radiant Garden was sealed by Sora in the first Kingdom Hearts, the Heartless were able to remain on that world even after the destruction of the End of the World and the restoration of the worlds, and propagated to form a gigantic siege engine of over a thousand Heartless.

The Heartless's natural danger is only increased due to the many villains who seek to harness the creatures' power for their own goals. Many of these villains, such as Pete and Organization XIII, specifically seek to create abnormally strong Heartless by forcing beings with strong hearts to succumb to darkness.

The primary weapon for destroying the Heartless is the Keyblade, as it is both specially suited for manipulating the bonds between heart, body, and soul which create Heartless, and it is the only object able to thwart the Heartless in their goal of devouring a world's heart. However, in the absence of the Keyblade there are several other options. Magic, especially light-based magic, is effective against the Heartless, as are magical weapons. In either situation, invading Heartless can be made disorganized by defeating the major Heartless which leads them, or the dark heart which attracted them to that world. While this does not by any means purge the world of its Heartless, it gives no small respite from their threat.

End of the World and Kingdom HeartsEdit

The Heartless reside wherever darkness is abundant, especially the Realm of Darkness. However, they also reside in places such as the End of the World, a collection of the remnants of worlds that is located near the darkness. Another area that the Heartless live in is the World That Never Was, the world of the Nobodies that rests dangerously close to the darkness upon which the Heartless thrive.

Heartless, as they seek and consume hearts, also desire to return to the greatest heart, the heart of all worlds, Kingdom Hearts, that resides deep within the Realm of Darkness. And because of this, Heartless seek immense darkness, enough to completely consume the Realm of Light. The entryway into this place of great power is the Door to Darkness, the door that separates the realm of light and the realm of darkness. However, with the efforts of Sora and the King, the door is closed, which causes the worlds lost to the darkness to be restored, and preventing a massive army of Heartless from pouring into the realm of light.

The forces of the Heartless were extremely weakened after the door to Kingdom Hearts was sealed off, though there were still many left. At the end of Kingdom Hearts II, it is unknown what exactly happened to the Heartless and if they still pose a threat. It should be noted though that Yen Sid has mentioned that the only true way to destroy all Heartless is to have all people have light filled in their hearts and no darkness, leaving nothing to create a Heartless or something for them to thrive for.

TypesEdit

Pureblood HeartlessEdit

File:Shadow.jpg

Emblem HeartlessEdit

OtherEdit

Note: See Trivia.

TriviaEdit

  • Xehanort's Heartless appears to have characteristics of both Emblem and Pureblood Heartless, in both his human and world forms. In both forms, he carries the Heartless emblem on his chest, though in human form it could possibly be an article of clothing. Notably, though, the similar outfit worn by Master Xehanort does not possess the emblem. Furthermore, the shadowy symbiote attached to him in both forms possesses the "hollow heart" shared by many other Pureblood Heartless. Though it is uncertain what the situation of this Heartless is, it is possible that this makes him both an Emblem and Pureblood Heartless.
  • The Shadow and the Soldier are the only types of Heartless which have appeared in every released game. If the Final Mix games are treated as versions of their original games, then the Neoshadow has appeared in every game as well.

Notes and ReferencesEdit

  1. Ansem Report 2: "One thing I am sure of is that they are entirely devoid of emotion."
  2. Kingdom Hearts, Kairi’s Grandmother: "Long ago, people lived in peace, bathed in the warmth of light. Everyone loved the light. Then people began to fight over it. They wanted to keep it for themselves. And darkness was born in their hearts. The darkness spread, swallowing the light and many people’s hearts. It covered everything, and the world disappeared. But small fragments of light survived...in the hearts of children. With these fragments of light, children rebuilt the lost world. It’s the world we live in now. But the true light sleeps, deep within the darkness. That’s why the worlds are still scattered, divided from each other. But someday, a door to the innermost darkness will open. And the true light will return. So, listen, child. Even in the deepest darkness, there will always be a light to guide you. Believe in the light, and the darkness will never defeat you. Your heart will shine with its power and push the darkness away. Do you understand, Kairi?"
  3. Kingdom Hearts, Leon: "[Maleficent's] the reason this town is full of Heartless. Don’t take her lightly." / Aerith: "She’s been using the Heartless for years." / Leon: "We lost our world, thanks to her." / Cid: "One day, a swarm of Heartless took over our world!" / Leon: "That was nine years ago."
  4. Kurt Zisa did not appear in the original Japanese Kingdom Hearts, but was inserted into the Final Mix re-release.
  5. While the Red Armor appeared in Kingdom Hearts, it was incorrectly named "Guard Armor" until the Final Mix re-release.
  6. While the Sneak Army appeared in Kingdom Hearts, it was incorrectly named "Stealth Sneak" until the Final Mix re-release.


See AlsoEdit

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