Organization XIII debuted in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, as Xemnas was a secret boss at Hollow Bastion. The group officially debuted in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, then known as simply, the Organization. In Sora's story, the player was introduced to Marluxia, Axel, Larxene, and Vexen. In Reverse/Rebirth, Riku's story, Zexion and Lexaeus were added to the cast.
The Organization's remaining members appeared in Kingdom Hearts II as the main antagonists. In this second installment, the player meets Xigbar, Xaldin, Saïx, Demyx, Luxord, Roxas, the returning member, Axel, and the leader Xemnas. Another "member" of Organization XIII was added in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, when Xion was added to the group.
Because all the members are Nobodies, they lack hearts, meaning they also have no emotions (though it is revealed that many members eventually did gain hearts of the own). The Organization yearns to discover the secrets of the heart and fill the empty void inside themselves by gathering hearts to form Kingdom Hearts so they can become full beings again. However, the real objective, one only known to Xemnas, is to use the members as vessels to become 13 Xehanorts replicas. Each member is aware of their lack of emotions, and many of them pretend to have emotions, for example, Saïx's enraged battle style and Larxene's giggling and winking. The Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories manga and several other media forms provide an alternative view, saying that they do have emotions, but are plagued by a feeling of uncertainty and emptiness due to not having hearts. The manga further displays this "plagued" feeling by showing the members engaging in tasks like jigsaw puzzles, cooking, and reading to try to fill their emptiness. Despite this, most of the members begin demonstrating true emotions as time goes on, and it is eventually revealed that while they lacked their original hearts, Xemnas's plan revolved around filling the hole with replicas of his own heart, essentially turning each of them into copies of himself. Despite lacking normal emotions, or perhaps because of it, many members of the group are remarkably disloyal to its head, and much of their story revolves around key betrayals or attempted coups. This made many of the members unfit for becoming Xehanort clones.
This group's inclusion to the Kingdom Hearts storyline marks the more mature nature of the Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II storylines, as they introduce the concepts of duplicity among the villains, minor physical abuse, manipulation of sentimental matters and, on some level, real death (the Heartless invasion of Hollow Bastion, which was Organization XIII's doing, inadvertently incapacitates Goofy for a short time, leading even the player to falsely believe that he is dead).
While Dilan, Even, Aeleus, Ienzo, Isa, and Lea appear in the game in minor roles, Braig serves as a major player in Master Xehanort's ruthless ambitions, acquiring his signature scars and eyepatch following a battle against Terra. Of Ansem's apprentices, Braig plays the largest role overall in the story until the appearance of Xehanort. Axel, Roxas and Xion also appear in the game's secret ending.
Between Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts
Organization XIII was formed by a group of scientists working under a man called Ansem the Wise, the ruler of Radiant Garden, and worked from Ansem's castle, Hollow Bastion. The head of this group was Ansem's apprentice, Xehanort, with the others being Braig, Dilan, Even, Aeleus, and Ienzo. Ansem the Wise began initiating tests about the human heart, focusing mainly on Xehanort, with the hopes of recovering his lost memories. At the urging of Ienzo, he constructed a massive laboratory under the castle. However, Ansem the Wise soon ceased his experiments, for he feared that going too deep would have grave repercussions, also noting Xehanort's apparently-superhuman abilities.
However, his six apprentices, still seduced by the desire for knowledge, conducted their own dangerous experiments on countless subjects. Eventually, they discovered the beings called Heartless, those that are born from the darkness in a heart and seek others as well. Xehanort, having taken on Ansem's name and writing his findings under it, opened a door he discovered, breaking down the barriers between worlds and allowing travel between them. When a king named Mickey arrived, the six men's desire for knowledge eventually caused Xehanort to abandon his body, becoming a Heartless (though he was unusual in that he had a human form and retained his memories), with the other five soon following. Thus, the first six members of Organization XIII were born, and they banished Ansem to a Realm of Nothingness.
The Organization make their first appearance in the series (apart from Xemnas' appearance in Kingdom Hearts Final Mix). The neophytes - Marluxia and Larxene - tried to take control of the Organization by using Sora as their puppet, while the senior members - Zexion, Lexaeus, and Vexen, tried to oppose them by using the darkness in Riku. However, all of them, save Axel, were eliminated.
The story largely focuses on Roxas's time as a member of the Organization XIII, and thus, all the members are present here. This and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep are the only installments to date where the fourteenth member, Xion, is ever mentioned.
Only eight members (Xemnas, Axel, Demyx, Xaldin, Xigbar, Luxord, Saïx, and Roxas) of the Organization remained at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II. Sora and his friends took every single remaining member down, so that Sora and his friends could save Kairi. In the end, Organization XIII is ultimately destroyed when Sora and Riku defeat Xemnas.
Following the Organization's defeat, Dilan, Even, Aeleus, Ienzo, and Lea are revived, though the other members' original selves are not shown. However, the threat of Organization XIII turns out to be far from over, as Sora learns through his confrontations with Young Xehanort, Xemnas, and Xigbar that the true purpose of Organization XIII was to create an Organization of thirteen different incarnations of Xehanort himself, though this plan initially failed due to the members' unforeseen independence. Under the leadership of the newly reformed Master Xehanort, the new Organization XIII is formed by Master Xehanort himself, Young Xehanort, Xemnas, Xigbar (who claims to already be "half-Xehanort"), Ansem, Saïx, and six other hooded figures. Master Xehanort almost succeeds in making Sora into the final vessel for the Organization, but Riku, Mickey, Lea, Donald, and Goofy succeed in saving Sora and driving Master Xehanort to retreat. In the game's secret ending, Yen Sid implies that Master Xehanort has successfully formed his new Organization XIII.
Each member in the Organization dons the same uniform, regardless of whether they are male or female. The uniform consists of a single black leather hooded coat. It is plainly adorned with a silver zipper and seemingly pointless silver beaded pull strings for the hood that form a semi-circle in the middle. Each member wears their zippers at differing points.
Not much is known about the under garments of the Organization. It is known, however, that they all wear hakama-esque black pants and knee high silver trimmed boots, with the exceptions of Roxas, who wears sneakers of the same color, and Larxene and Xion, who wear a more feminized version of the boots with heels. In addition to this, they all wear black leather gloves of some unknown length, as they disappear under bell shaped sleeves. Some members have different looking coats, for example Axel, whose sleeves are tight around his wrists. Upon closer inspection, it can be seen that the hems of each cloak are each slightly different, as well as the shoulder pads (such as those of Demyx and Xigbar, which seem to be slightly pointed).
Other known characters to wear the cloak are King Mickey, Riku, and Xehanort's Heartless. Riku obtains his cloak from DiZ and it is presumed Mickey also obtains it from him. It is unknown how DiZ obtained it.
The reason that Organization XIII wears black cloaks is because Master Xehanort, one of Xemnas's original beings, once wore one. As Xemnas regained his memories, he remembered the black cloak that was worn by Master Xehanort, and incorporated the cloak into Organization XIII.
Ranks within the Organization have little to nothing to do with power. While Xehanort's Nobody, known as Xemnas, is the strongest as well as the leader, the rest fall in the order they joined. Thus, their numbered rank is not necessarily representative of their status and power within the Organization. As the group's name describes, one would assume that there are a total of thirteen members. Until the announcement of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, this was true. Besides having a numerical rank, each member also has an assigned title. The only exception to this is Xion, who is not actually a true member of the order. The ranks and titles are as follows:
First Organization XIII
- Xemnas; "The Superior of the In-Between;" Controlled Sorcerers, used the attribute of Nothingness and weapons called Ethereal Blades.
- Xigbar; "The Freeshooter;" Controlled Snipers, used the attribute of Space and Arrow Guns.
- Xaldin; "The Whirlwind Lancer;" Controlled Dragoons, used the attribute of Wind and six Lances.
- Vexen; "The Chilly Academic;" used the attribute of Ice and a Shield.
- Lexaeus; "The Silent Hero;" used the attribute of Earth and an Axe Sword.
- Zexion; "The Cloaked Schemer;" used the attribute of Illusion and a Lexicon.
- Saïx; "The Luna Diviner;" Controlled Berserkers, used the attribute of Moon and a Claymore.
- Axel; "The Flurry of Dancing Flames;" Controlled Assassins, used the attribute of Fire and twin Chakrams.
- Demyx; "The Melodious Nocturne;" Controlled Dancers, used the attribute of Water and a Sitar.
- Luxord; "The Gambler of Fate;" Controlled Gamblers, used the attribute of Time as well as Cards.
- Marluxia; "The Graceful Assassin;" used the attribute of Flower and a Scythe.
- Larxene; "The Savage Nymph'" used the attribute of Lightning and eight Knives.
- Roxas; "The Key of Destiny;" Controlled Samurai, used the attribute of Light and wielded up to three different Keyblades (due to being Sora's Nobody). He initially wielded the Kingdom Key but soon acquired the Oathkeeper and Oblivion, which represent Kairi and Riku, respectively.
- Xion; used the attribute of Light and the Kingdom Key Keyblade. Although she is referred to as the fourteenth member, she is not actually considered to be part of the Organization, and she is not a Nobody. She is an imperfect replica of Roxas created from Sora's leaked memories.
There is also the Org Moogle, a Moogle who serves Organization XIII by selling them items, and making weapons for them. Though he is not an actual member, he is seen wearing the Organization's trademark uniform.
Each of the titles correspond to whichever element the particular member controls, a particular trait, or the type of weapon they have.
There are a few major differences between the Nobody within the Organization and the ones that Sora frequently encounters throughout the game. The average type that Sora fights often have strange features, enhanced speed, metallic skin in shades of white, silver, and blue, and the trademark Nobody symbol (which doubles as the logo for the Organization). The Nobodies that make up the Organization have human forms with limited special powers, revolving around thirteen different elements. One ability shared by all the members is the power to summon an oval, obsidian portal of darkness that leads to the unseen paths of darkness. These portals are known as Corridors of Darkness. The Organization makes use of the paths to move to and from worlds unseen without fear for their well-being compared to those who are attuned with darkness and still have hearts.
A few select members of the Organization have control over the other, weaker Nobody, though this is only shown in Kingdom Hearts II. The members from Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories may also have had that ability, or rather, would have, had they all survived to the second game. Like their titles, each member's lesser Nobody has some similarity to them. These lesser Nobodies are called Sorcerers, Snipers, Dragoons, Berserkers, Assassins, Dancers, Gamblers, and Samurai. Sorcerer Nobodies are under the command of Xemnas. They float over the ground constantly, possessing a grace much like that of Xemnas, and utilize large cubes of nothingness in several ways. They are the most powerful and rarest of the lesser Nobodies. Sniper Nobodies are controlled by Xigbar and, like him, carry spiky guns that shoot small red crystallized lasers. Dragoon Nobodies are controlled by Xaldin because of his affinity with wind, and possess a singular lance that mirrors the six that he fights with. Berserker Nobodies are under Saïx's power and, as with the previously mentioned lesser Nobodies, hold a weapon identical to that of their master. An observant player will also notice that Berserker Nobodies go through random surges of anger, much like Saïx when he draws upon the power of the moon. Next are the Assassin Nobodies. This group is under Axel's control, capable of becoming a circular form similar to Axel's weapon, hiding away for short periods of time before attacking, and causing powerful explosions. Dancer Nobodies are the most colorful of all the lesser Nobody, featuring bright colors such as orange and pink. They are Demyx's servants and relate to him due to his musical nature. The Gambler Nobodies are under Luxord's rule. Luxord, being a gambler of many things, fights with cards, which they use as well, along with several dice. The final of these lesser Nobodies are Samurai, which Roxas controls. Samurai wield two katana just as Roxas wields two Keyblades, Oblivion and Oathkeeper. The Lesser Nobodies are named after recurring Final Fantasy job classes and share similar traits with them such as the Dragoons ability to jump.
NamingA common thread between all of the members is the "X" that appears within each of their names. As revealed by Tetsuya Nomura, the director of the game, by removing the "X", the remaining letters form an anagram of the members' original names from when they were humans. For instance, "Roxas" is an anagram of "Sora", and "Xemnas" is an anagram of "Ansem". Xemnas's true name is Xehanort; his name is an anagram of 'no heart' or 'another' with an X added. Xion, being an artificial Replica, had no original name. The name "Xion" came from her label as Replica No.i of the Replica Project.
Such thoughts made many fans anxious to try and figure out for themselves the rest of the Organization's members' names. The name of the Nobody' "other" appears before them in translucent, rainbow colored font (similar to the one shown at the intro to "The World That Never Was"). Then, an "x" drops down and the letters re-arrange themselves until they form a new name. It is also suggested that Xemnas is the one who performs this ceremony. Many have suggested that this isn't true, as Xigbar was the one who found Marluxia and named him, but if one listens to the dialogue between Zexion and Xigbar in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, it is apparent from the way Xigbar does not know how to pronounce Marluxia's name that he was not the one to name him, rather just found him.
Despite this, however, the reason for the placement of the "X" in the naming process of a new Organization XIII member has to do with Master Xehanort, one of Xemnas's original two personas, and his fascination with the legendary X-blade. As Xemnas regained memories of Master Xehanort's past, he remembered the χ-blade, and incorporated the "X" into Organization XIII.
Somewhere in The Castle That Never Was, inaccessible to the player, is the meeting room of the Organization. This area can be accessed with a cheat code, though - the platform with the Organization symbol can be walked on, but none of the thrones can. The game calls the area "Where Nothing Gathers" - suggesting it may have been in the final game as a full area, but was dropped later. It is a white cylindrical room with thirteen extremely tall white thrones. The height of these thrones is determined by the amount of missions the respective members complete and the height tends to change depending on the success or failure of those missions. However, Xemnas's throne is always the highest as he is the leader and therefore has completed the highest amount of missions. To his left are the odd-number ranked members while to his right are the even-numbered. Starting from Xemnas, clockwise: Xaldin, Lexaeus, Saïx, Demyx, Marluxia, Roxas, Larxene, Luxord, Axel, Zexion, Vexen and Xigbar.
Ironically Vexen, Lexaeus, and Zexion have the lowest chair heights out of the whole Organization.
In the new cutscenes of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, every time a missing member is referred to during a meeting, the camera's focus will shift briefly to that said member's throne (such as when Xaldin reminded Axel that, indirectly, he eliminated the traitors Marluxia and Larxene, the camera briefly shifts to view their thrones. The conversation concerns Axel's orders to destroy Roxas and fittingly enough, Roxas's throne is between theirs).
In the central tower of The Castle That Never Was, the room is something of a graveyard or a place where beings who can't use the portal to darkness use the doorway-like portals to reach other members of the organization. This chamber has thirteen portals which lead to a certain area throughout the castle, the portals are placed simultaneously along the walls and glow blue if that specific member is alive but red when that one is dead. Starting from Xemnas's which is actually a path to the The Altar of Naught, going downwards are two more, then below them are four and after them are eight with a path cutting half way between the portals. The portals lead to large chambers which are areas that the Organization dwell when they are resting. So far only three are known which are the Altar of Naught, where Xemnas resides and the highest point in the castle, Havoc's Divide which is a large slanted balcony were Luxord resides, and Addled Impasse where Saïx lives, which is a large circular room with a balcony made of glass and looks up towards the moon. Note that for gameplay purposes, the gates to Havoc's Divide and Addled Impasse remain active even after Luxord and Saïx are felled. Also, for the same reasons, Roxas's still-active gate (since he still exists within Sora) is broken and rendered unusable, although it still maintains its blue glow. It may be broken, though, due to the fact that while Roxas still exists in Sora, he does not exist physically. Note that Zexion's tombstone was especially broken to hide his weapon's image, (which was not revealed until the release of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix), although its lettering can still be read. It is unknown if Xion has or ever had a tombstone and portal.
By the time of Kingdom Hearts II, the actions of Sora, Axel, Riku, and the Riku Replica, in addition to the departure of Roxas, reduced the Organization's roster to eight, which were then slain by Sora one-by-one (with the exception of Axel) until only Xemnas remained. Ultimately, Xemnas fell at the hands of Sora and Riku, but he and two other members (Xigbar and Saix) are revived by Master Xehanort. By the events of Dream Drop Distance, the surviving members are: Xemnas, Xigbar, Saix, and Roxas.
- Xemnas - Defeated by Sora and Riku at the end of Kingdom Hearts II. He was trying to dispose of the only threat standing between him and Kingdom Hearts. Disappeared in Darkness in what appears to be a black variation of the white Nobody thorns. He was the thirteenth and final member to fall, but since both his Heartless and Nobody have been slain, his whole being is now able to return from the darkness. As with Xigbar and Saix, Xemnas has been revived by the time of Dream Drop Distance to serve as a member of the new Organization.
- Xigbar - Defeated by Sora, Donald, and Goofy in the Hall of Empty Melodies in The World That Never Was. He started the fight to try to prevent Sora and company from ascending any farther up the castle but disappeared into Darkness. He was the ninth member to disappear. In Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, though he was "destroyed", Xigbar is now revived (alongside Xemnas, Saix and the heartless Ansem) to serve as a member of the new Organization.
- Xaldin - Defeated by Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Beast at Beast's Castle. He was on a mission to turn the Beast into a Heartless and Nobody. Disappeared into Darkness and wind. Xaldin was the seventh member subject to elimination.
- Vexen - Defeated by Axel as a way to gain Marluxia's trust. Vexen opposed Marluxia's plot and Marluxia wanted him eliminated. Disappeared by incineration into Darkness. He was the first member to fall.
- Lexaeus - Defeated by Riku while possessed by Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. He was trying to make Riku use the Darkness inside him. From what is shown in the cutscene of his elimination, he was helpless against Ansem, Seeker of Darkness due to his weakened condition after his brutal fight with Riku. He disappeared into Darkness, and was the third member eliminated.
- Zexion - Defeated by Riku Replica and Axel. Axel wanted no evidence of his actions in Castle Oblivion, so when Zexion was extremely weary from his battle with the real Riku, Axel had the Riku Replica absorb Zexion. He disappeared into gaseous Darkness while engulfed in the Replica's energy. Zexion was the fifth member to fall.
- Saïx - Defeated by Sora, Donald, and Goofy. He was confronted simply to try to eliminate the last of the Organization. He disappeared into gaseous Darkness. He disappeared eleventh, but is eventually revived to serve in the new Organization alongside two other original Organization members.
- Axel - The only Organization member not killed by anyone. He was eliminated in a sacrificial attack to save Sora from an army of Dusks. Similar to a fire, he seemed to "burn out" into Darkness, resembling ashes. Axel was the eighth member to fall.
- Demyx - Defeated, by Sora, Donald, and Goofy. He was one of the few mentionable people destroyed in the Battle of 1,000 Heartless. He confronted Sora and company just for the sake of battling in the war. He disappeared into Darkness and appeared to have boiled up and evaporated. He was the sixth member to disappear.
- Luxord - Defeated by Sora. He captured Donald, Goofy, Riku, and Kairi, forcing Sora into one of Luxord's "games." Sora was able to beat him by "winning the game" and slashing through his shield of cards. He disappeared into gaseous Darkness. Luxord was the tenth member to be eliminated.
- Marluxia - Defeated by Sora. He was trying to destroy Sora since he couldn't control him. Marluxia himself is never actually fought, but after Sora destroys a clone, a machine-like Nobody and an angel-like, feminine reaper, all Marluxia's energy is gone and he is beaten. He disappeared attempting to grab Sora in gaseous Darkness in a flurry of flower petals. Marluxia was the fourth member to disappear.
- Larxene - Defeated by Sora, Donald, and Goofy. She was on a mission to kill Sora after her plan fell apart. She would have succeeded, but an attempt to save Sora by Naminé, Donald, and Goofy gave him the strength to fight back, and Larxene eventually met her end. She disappeared into Darkness. Larxene was the second member to fall.
- Roxas - Roxas permanently sealed himself within Sora just before the final battle with Xemnas, willingly giving up his physical existence. Although he is not gone, he was the twelfth member to "fall".
True Organization XIII
The true Organization XIII (真のXIII機関 Shin no Jūsan Kikan ), also known as the thirteen seekers of darkness (13人の闇の探求者 Jūsannin no Yami no Tankyūsha ) is a group consisting of thirteen different incarnations of Master Xehanort that debuts in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. It was created by Xehanort in case the first Organization had ever failed in its true purpose - to have each of the Nobody members host a fragment of Master Xehanort's heart, turning them into clones of Xehanort. Because of the original's failure from the members' treason and independence, Master Xehanort had arranged for Young Xehanort to be sent by Ansem, Seeker of Darkness to travel to different periods of time and gather different incarnations of Xehanort to become part of the new Organization. Twelve of the Organization's seats were successfully filled and Master Xehanort was revived. When the group tries to make Sora its thirteenth member, however, the boy is rescued by Riku and his friends, forcing the group to retreat to their proper times.
There are currently twelve seen members of the true Organization XIII, but only six have been identified:
- Master Xehanort
- Young Xehanort
- Ansem, Seeker of Darkness
- Xemnas and Roxas are the only members shown wearing something other than the Organization's signature Black Cloak: in Xemnas's case, he had a suit of armor with the abilities of his defeated subordinates and a modified black-and-white cloak in his last stand against Sora and Riku; in Roxas's case, he wears a black, white and grey outfit slightly resembling Ventus's, but not baggy and with longer jeans, no armor on the shoulder or hips, & no black side of the jacket.
- After Sora obtains the password for the DTD, the Journal entries for the Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories Organization XIII members are obtained. It is unknown why this is, as Sora had lost his memories of them, although it is believed that this information was obtained from Ansem's computer in Hollow Bastion. In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, this is changed: the Journal entries for the Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories Organization XIII members are obtained only after defeating their respective Absent Silhouettes, before or after the Battle of 1000 Heartless.
- When an Organization member falls, they usually fade into darkness without visibly demonstrating the wound that "killed" them. However, Vexen, Lexaeus, Zexion, Axel and Luxord do in fact demonstrate their fatal wounds. Xemnas may or may not be included as he is shown suffering normally fatal wounds but is still shown (barely) alive afterwards.
- Roxas and Xemnas are the only Organization members whose weapons are not designed after the Nobody sigil.
- At least eight of the Organization members were citizens of Radiant Garden, and Sora released his heart, creating Roxas, within the Hollow Bastion.
- Xemnas, Xigbar and Saix were the only members to achieve the real goal of the Organization.
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