We’re finally nearing the end of our Kingdom Hearts journey but let’s take a little break here to talk about DiZ, at least before we head onto Kingdom Hearts 3DS.
I haven’t mentioned him much up to this point, because let’s face it, this has been long winded enough but he has a big part to play in the story. DiZ used to be Ansem the Wise. He was the king of Radiant Garden and took in Terra-Xehanort as a pupil after Birth By Sleep. He had others under his tutelage too, such as Ienzo and Braig. Throughout the years Ansem began to fear that the darkness of peoples’ hearts would consume his entire world and so began his studies into hearts and the like.
During his studies he intended to reawaken Terra-Xehanort’s memories but became weary of harming him. Regardless, he built a lab to continue the studies but found his other pupils were using it to conduct inhumane experiments on people’s hearts. He ordered them to stop and locked the laboratory up. His own heart became heavy with grief but King Mickey soon travelled to Radiant Garden and met with Ansem the Wise. They spoke much of his studies and became fast friends. This brought Ansem back to his usual self. Ansem went back to studying and discovered the Ansem Reports. These were reports into the study of darkness but they were not written by him.
His apprentices had been dabbling in the darkness, which led to Terra-Xehanort creating his Heartless (The Evil Ansem) and his nobody (Xemnas). His apprentices banished Ansem the Wise to the Realm of Darkness. Once there he decided to use the power of darkness to get his revenge and gave himself the name DiZ, short for Darkness in Zero. He found a way out and ended up in the mansion in Twilight Town where he began research into the Heartless and Nobodies while also keeping an eye on Sora’s attempts to take down Ansem the Evil. Basically DiZ was helping this whole time because the Organization is made up largely of the Nobodies of his former apprentices and he wants to get back at them for their evil deeds.
With all that out of the way, let’s get onto Kingdom Hearts 3DS, or Dream Drop Distance… clever.
We begin KH triple D in Radiant Garden where Braig wanders into Hollow Bastion’s computer room to fiend Even and Ienzo unconscious on the floor with specks of darkness emanating from them. Terra-Xehanort is also there and Braig asks what’s going on. T-Xehanort summons Xehanort’s Keyblade and stabs Braig, thus extracting his heart. Terra-X announced he is the new Ansem. This takes place after Birth By Sleep.
A long time later, more than ten years, Yen Sid puts Sora and Riku through the Mark of Mastery exam for them to become official Keyblade Masters so they can stop the return of Xehanort. Many worlds have been restored after having been attacked by Heartless previously. They’ve gone into a “deep sleep” that disconnects them from other worlds. They are infested by Dream Eaters; creatures born of the dark that seek the Keyholes of sleeping worlds. Naturally Sora and Riku must travel to each world, kill the evil Dream Eaters, called Nightmares and unlock the worlds’ Keyholes to connect them to other worlds. They set off separately but neither takes Donald and Goofy with them. This time they recruit the help of friendly Dream Eaters, known as Spirits that they catch on these worlds. I guess that makes them the literal Dream Team them.
In the meantime back in Radiant Garden Axel wakes up. Except now he’s not Axel, he’s Lea, which was his human form. He finds that other members of the Organization, Dilan, Even, Aeleus and Ienzo have been revived but he can’t find any of them. Ienzo explains that when a person’s Heartless and Nobody are defeated the person becomes human and wakes up in the place they lost their hearts. If their world was destroyed, they awaken in Traverse Town. Lea recalls that Braig and another companion, Isa were in Radiant Garden when they became Xigbar and Saïx, so he goes to find them.
Back at the tower, Yen Sid, Mickey, Donald and Goofy are hanging out when Maleficent’s pet raven Diablo pops in with a message, as well as Queen Minnie’s crown. The King and his two servants hurry back to the castle by Gummi Ship and confront Maleficent and Pete in the library, where they’re holding the Queen hostage. Maleficent tells them of her first meeting with Xehanort and demands access tot he Data Worlds but Mickey says no and Maleficent goes on the attack. All of a sudden a corridor of darkness appears and the Eternal Flames )Axel/Lea’s weapon) burst through, one blocking Maleficent’s attack and the other distracting Pete so Minnie can escape. With their only bargaining chip gone the terrible twosome flee. As they make their escape Lea comes out of the dark corridor and joins Mickey’s entourage on the way back to Yen Sid’s tower. There, Lea has a request for Yen Sid that we aren’t able to hear. Whatever it was, Mickey, Donald and Goofy are outright against it.
Back in the Sleeping Worlds, Sora and Riku meet a resurrected Ansem and Xemnas, as well as a young man in a black coat who says he has ties to Xehanort. Eventually the lads get the Keyholes sealed and Sora ends up in The World That Never Was instead of the Realm of Light, where he’s supposed to appear after his quest. There he encounters Xigbar and young black coat man again. Sora discovers that the young man is actually a young Xehanort, who was visited by evil Ansem (Terra-Xehanort’s Nobody) through the magic of time travel because this plot couldn’t get convoluted enough without it. Young Xehanort is granted the ability to travel through time and goes through different time periods to gather up different incarnations of himself. Sora does his best to get out but is haunted by visions of Naminé, Roxas, Xion, Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, leaving his heart more vulnerable.
After a while he meets Xemnas and Xigbar again who explain that young Xehanort is collecting other Xehanorts to form another Organization XIII. So far it consists of Xehanort, Young Xehanort, Evil Ansem, Xemnas and Xigbar. This was the plan for the first Organization XIII, as well as Xehanort placing a piece of his heart into each Nobody, who were decieved into believing they had no hearts, to ensure their loyalty. However he didn’t expect them to act independently and that screwed up his plans. They want to make Sora one of his vessels but of course he doesn’t want to so he fights Xemnas. He wins but his heart is damaged and he falls into a coma. Young Xehanort takes him to Castle Oblivion. Sora falls into the darkness but his broken heart is enveloped by Ventus’ Keyblade armor.
Riku comes to the Castle where he finds Sora’s body floating in a force field. He is attacked by an enemy born of Sora’s nightmare and after the fight Ansem drags him into the darkness. He explains to Riku that he’d been in Sora’s dreams this whole time. Once he noticed that Riku had accepted his dark side Ansem asks him to join forces. For some reason this causes Riku to become instrospective and he explains that he doubted he was even worthy of wielding a Keyblade after seeing Xehanort lose his when he became a Heartless. However he remembers what Terra told him as a child and accepts that he can have some darkness in his heart and be a Keyblade Master. So he refuses to join Ansem, which leads to a fight. After the fight Riku is taken out of Sora’s mind and into the actual Sleeping Worlds where he goes to look for Sora.
Riku finds Sora in the Castle’s throne room and must fight Young Xehanort. He defeats him but the older Xehanort is revived when Mickey arrives, just in time as usual. Xehanort explains his time travel stuff and his Master plan of creating Organization XIII to clas with the seven Princesses of Heart to create the χ-blade, thus beginning a new Keyblade War. Ansem and Xemnas restrain Mickey and Riku as Xehanort prepares to place a fragment of his heart within Sora. However, Lea arrive just in time (guess he learned a thing or two from Mickey) and saves Sora. Xehanort sicks Saïx on him. In the meantime, Ansem summons his Guardian but Donald and Goofy arrive just in the fucking nick of time and defeat it. The bad guys flee but Xehanort swears he’ll get revenge!
Sora’s body is brought to Yen Sid’s tower, where Riku enters him and restores his heart by gathering up all the broken pieces and fighting Sora inside Ventus’ Keyblade Armor, which is possessed by a Nightmare. Moral of the story, sometimes all it takes is a strong man to come in a pick up all the broken pieces, some day… Anyhow, Sora is freed of the evil armor and Riku stumbles upon a digital representation of Destiny Islands where he meets virtual version of Roxas, Ventus and Xion as well as Ansem the Wise ho explains that Rike has somehow managed to access the research data the good Ansem hid inside Sora when he was asleep in the memory egg back in the mansion.
With Sora back to life it’s time for the the pair to get their exam results. Since Sora failed in this one quest he doesn’t get to be a Keyblade Master but Riku does. Sora sets off on a personal journey to become a better Keyblade wielder. Then Lea summons a Keyblade of his own and it is revealed that his request to Yen Sid earlier was to become a Keyblade wielder.
Sora later returns to Traverse Town in the Realm of Sleep. He is alone but is reunited with his Dream Eater Spirits. In Castle Oblivion’s Chamber of Waking, Ventus sleeps but moves slightly and smiles.
Finally at the end of the game Yen Sid sets in motion a plan to gather seven Keyblade wielders to stop the new Organization XIII. He sends RIku to fetch Kairi so she can be trained in the ways of the Keyblade.
TL;DR: Sora and Riku take the Mark of Mastery exam to become Keyblade Masters. Gotta go into the dreamworld and reconnect those worlds to the real world. Sora fucks it up, Riku becomes a Keyblade Master. Xehanort does time travel to get lots of Xehanorts together to make a new Organization XIII. Yen Sid decides to train a bunch of Keyblade Masters. Axel is now a human called Lea and is in training. Yen Sid sends Riku to get Kairi so she can be trained in the ways of Keyblades too. Sora goes away to get stronger.
We’re nearly there! One more to go and it’s only a little one. It even says so in the title: Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage-
Back to Yen Sid’s tower. He tells Riku, Kairi and Mickey that they’ve gotta rescue Terra, Ventus and Aqua. Mickey says he last saw Aqua in the Realm of Darkness. Remember she’s been in there since the end of Birth By Sleep. She learns that in the Realm of Darkness time is convoluted, in the sense that it doesn’t flow at all when exploring the Castle of Dreams. In the remains of the Dwarf Woodlands she defeats Phantom Aqua, a ghostly facsimile of herself. She then chases illusions of Terra and Ventus through the ruins of the Enchanted Dominion and leans that Xehanort is trying to find the Chamber is Waking as she is pulled deeper into the darkness.
Mickey finds her and reveals that it’s been ten years since they last met. They team up to find the Keyblade of the Dark Realm which will let them close Kingdom Hearts. This is taking place during Kingdom Hearts I. They arrive on Destiny Islands which has been swallowed by the darkness. There they find the Key that Mickey needs and proceed forth. In the Realm of Darkness they find Riku trying to close Kingdom Hearts but a horde of Heartless called the Demon Tide attacks and drags Aqua away to Destiny Islands. After defeating it she looks up at the sky and sees droplets of light raining down, indicating that Kingdom Hearts has been sealed. As Destiny Islands is being restored to the real world it disappears around her, leaving her to sink back into the Realm of Darkness. Later on she meets Ansem the Wise at the Dark Margin.
Back at the Mysterious Tower Mickey finishes telling them about his run in with Aqua. Riku is surprised and angry as he didn’t know Aqua helped them seal Kingdom Hearts and is mad at Mickey for not telling him. The King says he didn’t mention it because there was nothing they could do and he didn’t want Sora risking his life to go and save her. Of course since Riku is a Keyblade Master now they might be able to do it. Yen Sid gives Mick and Rik new clothes that will protect them from the darkness. Kairi wants to go to but he tells her she must stay behind to train as a Keyblade Master alongside Lea.
Some time later, Sora comes back with Donald and Goofy after going off to train. He finds that everyone else has left except Yen Sid, who explains that even though Sora failed and lost all his powers they still need him in the quest to stop Xehanort. He informs them that Sora needs to obtain the power of waking and should seek help from Hercules, another hero who lost his power and had to get it back. Naturally, Donald and Goofy have to go with him, probably to make sure he doesn’t screw up again.
The trio are in their Gummi Ship but can’t get to Olympus Coliseum because many of the worlds are no longer connected as a result of the events of Kingdom Hearts II. Sora is dismayed but Goofy tells him “Let your heart be your guiding key.” He claims Yen Sid always said that before important missions but I bet he was just too embarrassed to say he thought of it himself. Anyway Sora points the Keyblade into space and it opens a portal which they fly through. End.
TL;DR: Gotta go find Aqua, Terra and Ventus. Mickey tells the story of how Aqua was in the Dark Realm and helped him and Riku seal Kingdom Hearts in the first game. Sora gets sent to Hercules for training.
And that’s it so far for the Kingdom Hearts series, in terms of the plot at least. If you’ve never played them and still want to, check out our other guide for best ways to get into the series.