For six years, Kingdom Hearts fans have been waiting for the third game in the series. And now, with six games in total, the plot is a near labyrinthine mess of connections and revelations. It's with that in mind that I have decided to unravel the plot of the entire series for those who may have missed the opportunity to play some of the spin-offs and those who just want a refresher before diving into the new game. Today we conclude this ongoing feature with Part 28.
The new world turns out to be Castle Oblivion, but Data-Sora loses contact with Mickey almost immediately. Instead he’s greeted by someone in the Organization’s cloak, and Data-Sora demands to know who he is. The mysterious person only says that he’s nobody and in this world to find is to lose and to lose is to find. He gives him a card and tells him to find the truth that sleeps. The figure explains that the cards he finds will show him illusions of the people and places that were in Jiminy’s journal. Data-Sora doesn’t understand, but the figure explains that he will remember all of these things when he sees them. But in Castle Oblivion, there is no script. Whatever he does in here is not guided by the words that Jiminy once wrote. Data-Sora is given free reign to do whatever he likes within Castle Oblivion since everything is an illusion. However, the action he takes in regard to these illusions will affect the things he finds.
Data-Sora takes the card and enters the illusory Destiny Islands where he helps the people around him once again in the same way. As he returns to the halls of Castle Oblivion, The figure appears and says that he has something for him to see. A hidden truth from his first adventure. A scene plays in Neverland as Riku is looking at the far-off moon. Behind him sits Kairi, still in a coma-like state since she lost her heart. The figure explains that darkness had taken hold of Riku’s heart at that point. Both Riku and Kairi and were hurting so what would Sora have done? Data-Sora says that he would have done everything possible to help them. The hooded person agrees. Sora would have done that, did do that. Data-Sora asks why he showed him the scene, but the figure only says that more than one truth will come to light on the road ahead. But that same road will be the source of hurt for him. However, if Data-Sora follows his heart, he can change lives. It’s just the way he is, able to help people just by being himself.
Back outside, Data-Sora realizes he has forgotten all of the friends that he met in the Destiny Islands illusion. The cloaked figure appears again and tells him that his choices within these worlds will each lead to three possible conclusions. It can be the same as what’s written in the journal, or even an extra or alternate outcome. Data-Sora can visit these worlds as many times as he likes in order to discover all of the possible truths. Because both Data-Sora and the illusion inside the card worlds will forget things as soon as he reaches a conclusion, the figure encourages Data-Sora to be as mean to them as his heart desires since there’s no repercussions. But Data-Sora doesn’t feel that way. Even if he won’t remember what he did, the regret of doing such an action would always stay with him. The figure only responds that the reason why he would want to carry around such hurt is the real question.
Data-Sora begins working his way through the illusion worlds meeting and helping each of his friends in turn. As soon as he leaves, he forgets their names, faces, and what they’ve done together. But the pain of missing them still remains. He realizes that it’s that pain that signifies he does remember some part of them. The memory is gone, but the feeling is still there. If he can find some kind of trigger, he can remember all of his friends. After Data-Sora completes another world, the figure accuses him of taking the lost memories of his friends nonchalantly. Data-Sora informs him that it’s not the case. The pain in his chest is the proof though the figure was wrong when he said no one would be hurt. Data-Sora is feeling plenty hurt from his frustration and loneliness. It’s those feelings that are the key to getting his memories back. The figure only says that he’s right on schedule before disappearing once again.
The pain is beginning to build as Data-Sora completes another world of illusion. The figure appears yet again and laughs at his efforts. It was all just too easy in the end. He has tricked Data-Sora into both losing his memories and finding a nonstop feeling of being hurt. Most of all, by convincing himself that the hurt was the way to fix things, Data-Sora gave up all hope of ever being free from that hurt. The wound will never heal and soon he’ll be dragged into darkness. Data-Sora declares that he’ll never let it happen as the figure vanishes.
But when Data-Sora completes all of the illusionary worlds, the figure appears one more time. He knows that Data-Sora must be feeling pretty empty by now. But that’s not the case. Data-Sora is filled with the painful knowledge that he’s forgotten all of his friends, but he refuses to cut it loose. Without that hurt, there would be no proof that these people were important to him. He won’t run and will instead carry this hurt until the day that he remembers again. The figure warns him that it could lead to him becoming lost in darkness, but Data-Sora refuses to get rid of those feelings. He accepts them. The cloaked person laughs at Data-Sora’s notion and transports them to an arena within Castle Oblivion. It’s time for him to learn what real hurt feels like.
The figure challenges Data-Sora to a fight and reveals that he wields twin Keyblades. This person is Data-Roxas though Data-Sora doesn’t know that. Data-Sora is able to win the duel, and Data-Roxas tells him to finish him off. But Data-Sora can’t. Data-Roxas believes its because he’s data and not worth the effort, but Data-Sora tells him he’s wrong. He could feel the hurt emanating from Data-Roxas as they fought. It was like a never-ending sharp pain, but it felt familiar too. Almost like it was his own. If hurt can help him connect to people like that, then a little hurt can’t be all bad. Data-Roxas is speechless at his worlds before finally saying that he gives up. Since Data-Sora now knows true hurt, he can finally go find the real truth of the message.
Data-Sora wants to know what he means, and Data-Roxas explains that his role was to see if he was ready to take ownership of the hurt within him. It’s now time for Data-Roxas to go home. He merges with Data-Sora, who immediately senses memories that are not his own. He sees a sunset, sad yet comforting, and the place where he spent his first and last days. Data-Sora tells Data-Roxas to rest easy. They can share the pain together now. He then goes to enter the door to the truth as Mickey finally catches up to him.
It seems that he was taken away from Castle Oblivion when he tried to enter it the first time. He apologizes for being late, but Data-Sora tells him not to worry. Together, they take the card that will lead them to the truth and enter the door. On the other side, they discover Data-Naminé. Data-Sora feels like he knows her but cannot remember. Mickey explains how the real Sora had lost all of his memories, and Naminé was the one to put them back. Data-Sora goes to thank her, but she says that she doesn’t deserve it since she was also the one to take apart his memories. The glitches that appeared in Jiminy’s journal were also her fault.
Data-Naminé explains that it all began with memories that were sleeping deep down in Sora’s heart. But the memories didn’t belong to Sora. They belong to people connected to him, namely Ventus. It’s not something usually possible and because of that, Naminé thought she had made a mistake when she found them. But as she began investigating, she realized that they did belong in his heart, and they’ve been sleeping for an extremely long time. One day, the real Sora will have to call them to the surface. The problem is that even though they are important memories, they are extremely dangerous. If they are handled the wrong way, they could damage or even break Sora’s heart due to the sheer pain found within them.
In order for Sora to face that kind of hurt, she needed to leave the message. “Their hurting will be mended when you return to end it.” It turns out that the journal and Sora are deeply connected which is why it was erased when she unraveled his memories. When she took his memories apart, they still stayed in his heart. The same applies to the journal. Though the words were gone, the feelings behind them stayed within the pages. That’s why Mickey and the others were able to render the missing entries as data. The glitches came from the hurt that Data-Naminé was trying to convey. She believed that if he could fight the things that sprouted from these memories then he could learn to face the hurt in the memories themselves.
Data-Naminé wishes she could have told them all this in person but since her real world counterpart has merged with Kairi, it was impossible. But in the end it worked. Data-Sora learned how to face the hurt. Not all pain can be wiped away. When that happens, it must be faced and accepted head-on. And even if it’s too much for him alone, then a friend will always be there to share it. That hurt can bring friends together and make them stronger. With that, Data-Sora is ready to accept these painful memories that Naminé had found within Sora. Mickey also offers to help since he is Data-Sora’s friend. Data-Naminé thanks them both and gives them the memories.
They see visions of Roxas, Axel, and Xion. Data-Naminé explains that Ansem the Wise had hid the memories these three shared during the year he was asleep within Sora. Namine had asked why he was doing this, but Ansem only said that he was clearing his conscience. She realizes that Sora must be the key to saving them as well as the other three: Terra, Aqua, and Ventus. Mickey immediately remembers them, and how they fought together so long ago. All of these people are still connected deep down within Sora where he never even realized. Looking at the Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, Data-Sora feels as though he’s met them. Data-Naminé confirms that he indeed met two of them and though he never met the third, he shares an extremely special connection to him. Mickey wonders if its time for Sora to bring these memories to the surface, but Data-Naminé only knows that a day will come when all three of them will need to rise from their sleep. At that point, the only one who can save them is Sora. Mickey promises to pass all of this information to the Sora of the real world.
It’s time for them to go and once again allow everything to reset. But this time, Data-Naminé will disappear too since she’s been able to pass on the message that the real her wanted. She’s not worried though. As long as Mickey tells the real Sora everything that happened here, she knows she will live on his heart as well as Kairi’s. Before they leave, Data-Sora passes on the message that Jiminy left in his journal so long ago. “Thank you, Naminé.”
Back in the library, Mickey begins writing a note to Sora, Riku, and Kairi. He tells them everything that happened within the datascape as well as the memories of the past that still sleep within Sora. These memories will have a direct effect on his future as well as theirs. Sora is who he is because of Terra, Aqua, and Ventus but now they are hurting and they need his help. It’s likely possible that all of his journeys up to now have been preparing him for this great task that lies ahead. There are no such thing as coincidences, only links to a much larger chain of events. The time for his next journey is at hand. With all that said, Mickey places the letter in a bottle and sends it toward Destiny Islands. Not long after, Sora and Riku are watching the sunset like they used to. They realize that it’s a small world connected to a much bigger one. They’ve also realized that it was Sora’s heart that reacted to Kairi’s letter on the shores of the Realm of Darkness and created the door to light. Just then, Kairi rushes toward them with a message in a bottle from the King. They open it up and read the letter.
As they read, Ansem the Wise arrives on the shores of the Realm of Darkness himself. It appears that the explosion of his device did not kill him but returned him to the exile that his apprentices once forced him into. Almost as a symbol off his foolhardy quest for revenge, he now wears the same cloak of those in the Organization. All he has left is a few scraps of memory that weren’t taken away in the blast. Suddenly, the still-young Aqua approaches him and tells him that she’s been wandering for an unknown amount of time. Yet, despite the crushing loneliness of being trapped within the Realm of Darkness, she still dreams of seeing her friends again.
Her words spark a memory within Ansem the Wise, and he tells her of a young boy who has fought many times to keep the light safe. Despite all that he has faced, he has succeeded in protecting the worlds each time. When he mentions the boy’s Keyblade, Aqua hopes that it may be Terra or Ventus, but Ansem tells her that neither of those is the boy’s name. Ansem tells her of the great regret he feels over what he did to this boy and all of his friends all in the name of revenge. But he truly believes that despite all that, the boy could still save them all from the darkness they find themselves trapped in. Aqua finally asks the boy’s name and, all at once, all the people who’s heart he touched and memories he holds says his name together. Naminé, Roxas, Xion, Terra, and Ventus all happily say, “Sora.” Remembering the young boy she once met and told to protect his friends, Aqua can only shed a single tear. After ten long years, she now has hope.
His message sent, Mickey goes to see Yen Sid and tells him everything that happened in the datascape as well. It looks like they’re finally close to finding out where Ventus’s heart is. The only one they still need to find is Terra. Then they can finally save all three of the lost Keyblade wielders. But Yen Sid still wonders what Xehanort plans to do next. Mickey is confused at these words since both his Heartless and Nobody were destroyed by Sora. Yen Sid explains that while that is true, it also guarantees the original Xehanort’s reconstruction. Xehanort’s heart, once seized by his Heartless half, has been freed and his body, which had become a Nobody, has been vanquished. With both halves freed, they will now return to a whole. There’s no way around it. Master Xehanort is going to return.
Mickey promises that he, Sora, and Riku will be there to stop him no matter what he decides to try next. But Yen Sid is worried. Though the two boys are indeed strong, they are not true Keyblade Masters. Yen Sid then asks Mickey if a single one of them would be strong enough if what they faced was not a single one of Xehanort. Mickey is immediately concerned at this thought, but Yen Sid asks him to summon Sora and Riku to his tower so they may be finally tested for their Mark of Mastery.
Back on Destiny Islands, Sora and his friends have all read the message from King Mickey and learned of Yen Sid’s plan to test them for the Mark of Mastery. Riku asks if Sora’s mind is made up, and it is. He is determined to save them, no matter what. After all, without Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, he and his friends would not be who the are today. Together, he and Riku will pass Yen Sid’s test. But before they can prepare for their journey, Sora goes to Kairi and apologizes for having to leave her once again. She presses her good luck charm back in his hand and promises to see him soon.
And with that, the story of the first six Kingdom Hearts games has been told. That story is both the series' greatest strength and weakness. It has an incredible sense of continuity between games, but the release order of those games tend to muddle things up. There's no doubt that a story about key-shaped swords, the strength of a heart, and Disney characters can be extremely cheesy at times, but I absolutely love it. Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance has been released in the time since I began posting this TImeline. By all accounts, it leads directly into Kingdom Hearts 3. I cannot wait for that day and I hope, withe the help of this Timeline, that both newcomers and devoted fans will have a better understanding of the story.
Be sure to keep up by reading Parts 1-27 of the Timeline and thank you for reading!
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