- "Once we step through, we might not be able to come back. We may never see our parents again. There's no turning back. But this may be our only chance. We can't let fear stop us! I'm not afraid of the darkness!"
Riku is the deuteragonist in the Kingdom Hearts series. Riku lives on Destiny Islands. He is the best friend of Sora and Kairi. Riku is five years old during Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, fifteen during the events of Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and sixteen during the events of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Riku's name is derived from the Japanese word for "land".
Riku's story begins a number of years before the night of the Heartless invasion on Destiny Islands. He and Sora have always trained and pushed each other to make one another stronger. In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Terra can already sense Riku's potential, and asks why Riku wants to leave his island. Riku tells Terra that Master Xehanort left the island long ago, and visited other worlds. Riku states that he would like to leave his world too in order to become strong enough to protect his friends and everything he holds dear. During their conversation, Terra sees a vision of a white-haired man who then transforms into Riku's future self in Kingdom Hearts II. This convinces him to choose Riku as his successor, and lets Riku hold his Keyblade to test his strength. He convinces Riku to keep their conversation a secret to preserve the world order.
He and Sora later encounter Aqua, who finds their friendship similar to that of hers and Terra's and Ven's, and asks Sora to protect Riku if he ever loses his path.
After the ending credits, Riku and Sora are seen resting on a beach under a starry night. When they are ready to go home, Riku sees Sora's sudden look of sadness and says that perhaps someone from another world is feeling sad somewhere and suggests for him to try and reach out to him. After Sora reached out to Ven, they both look up at the starry sky.
Between Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts
One night, there is a meteor shower and a mysterious girl appears on the islands from another, far off world now stuck on the Destiny Islands, with no way to return to her home. Riku, Sora, and Kairi quickly forge a powerful friendship. Soon after Kairi's arrival, Riku and Sora go to the secret place, a small cave that they frequently explored. While there, the two spot a mysterious door, though neither one can find a way to open it. The two decide to leave, but Riku manages to get a glimpse of Destiny Islands' Keyhole. In an Ansem report, this world is revealed to be Radiant Garden. From this day on Riku became obsessed with finding out what lies beyond the door, wondering if it could perhaps be a passageway to another world, such as Kairi's.
Riku appears as a cool and collected 15-year-old. He and his best friends Sora and Kairi live on the Destiny Islands. The three spend their days constructing a raft and gathering supplies, so that they might one day set out and search for other worlds. He and Sora share a fierce but good natured rivalry, competing over who is stronger in battle, among other things. Despite the fact that their arguments are of good intention, Riku is known to irritate Sora by being a bit of a sore loser and (in the original Kingdom Hearts manga, Volume 1) very pushy involving his fight over Kairi, shown when he tells Sora that, if the latter does not share a paopu fruit with Kairi soon, he will. All three of them, as well as the other children that live on the islands, spend most of their time on the smallest island, acting as their own personal playground.
However, things take a drastic turn on the night before their journey. Riku, likely unable to leave the islands without knowing the truth, opens the door in the secret place and the Heartless, beings of darkness, invade the islands, seeking out the world's heart. Both afraid that a storm would destroy the raft, Kairi and Sora each set out for the island to make sure their raft is safe. Sora finds Riku first. However, while Sora is concerned for his friend's safety, Riku is only obsessed with finally escaping the islands. Darkness surrounds the two, and Riku disappears into it, while Sora gains the Keyblade.
Riku eventually ends up in Hollow Bastion via the Corridor of Darkness, separated from his friends. There, he is found by Maleficent and she offered shelter and protection.
In exchange for Riku's cooperation in gathering the Princesses of Heart, she agrees to find Kairi and bring her to him. During this time, Riku comes to possess a blade called Soul Eater. Though Riku is provided a place to stay, Maleficent begins corrupting his mind, convincing him that Sora has replaced him and Kairi with Donald Duck and Goofy. She claims that the only way to save Kairi, who has lost her heart to the darkness, is to ally himself with her and her band of villains, while abandoning Sora. Not long after, he meets Sora in Traverse Town, takes a look at his Keyblade, holds it for a few moments, and gives it back to Sora without it disappearing from his hand - a foreshadowing of Riku's role as a Keyblade wielder. After his reunion with Sora in Traverse Town, Riku begins to agree with Maleficent and officially starts his stay with her. However, he is still highly suspicious of her motives.
As the days progress, Riku becomes steadily angrier at Sora, convincing himself to hate his old friend. He obtains a blade from Maleficent called the Soul Eater and teaches himself to use it, believing it will aid him in his search for Kairi's heart.
With his mind corrupted, Riku meets Sora once again in Monstro, intending to use Pinocchio to help him find a way to save Kairi's heart. However, Pinocchio ends up captured by a giant Heartless called the Parasite Cage, and Riku is forced (somewhat against his own wishes) to work together with Sora, Donald, and Goofy to save him. Afterwards, Riku kidnaps Pinocchio, and is pursued by Sora, Donald, and Goofy into Monstro's stomach. Riku asks Sora to join him and help him rescue Kairi, but Sora refuses, knowing that Riku's methods are wrong. When the Parasite Cage returns, Riku vanishes into a Corridor of Darkness.
Riku later appears at Neverland, traveling on Captain Hook's ship, where Kairi's body is held. Riku also now shows that he has gained the power to control the Heartless, a gift granted to him by Maleficent. He then goes to Sora, revealing that he has Kairi's body in his possession. Sora warns Riku that the Heartless will eventually turn on him and devour his heart, but Riku refuses to listen and retreats after creating AntiSora, a dark reflection of Sora, with his newly acquired dark powers. However, before he heads back to Hollow Bastion, he instructs Captain Hook that the captured Wendy is not a Princess of Heart. Riku takes Kairi and recklessly returns to Maleficent's castle via the Corridors of Darkness without a vessel, a foolish act that strains even his powerful heart. While he is drained from the trip, Maleficent unlocks the last of Riku's power and the boy's heart is plunged into almost complete darkness.
At Hollow Bastion, Sora again meets Riku, and defends the wounded Beast from a swift death by Riku's blade. But the Beast is hardly one of Riku's major concerns, as Riku reveals his true purpose for confronting Sora. He is able to wield the Keyblade. Riku explains that Sora was only a temporary recipient, telling him that he was "just the delivery boy" and that Riku is the true Keyblade master. After leaving Sora with the toy sword he used on Destiny Islands, he departs, and Donald and Goofy follow him as per The King's orders, though regretfully.
Though Sora is significantly weakened, he makes his way to the foyer of the castle with the help of Beast. Riku, having taken on a new appearance with the increasing strength of his dark powers, tells him to quit, but Sora refuses to leave without Kairi. Riku, intending to prove to Sora that he is the strongest of the two, attacks his old friend, only for Donald and Goofy to go to his aid after finding themselves unable to betray Sora after all that they had been through together. With the strength of his friends, Sora regains the Keyblade, becoming the true master, and drives Riku to fight him.
Defeated, Riku manages to escape, but is confused as to why Sora was able to regain the Keyblade. A mysterious voice somehow contacts him from the Darkness, telling him that only one with a stronger heart can claim the Keyblade, and Riku himself was weaker than Sora. However, the mysterious voice, now slowly taking a shape, presents Riku with an offer he can not resist, a Keyblade of his own. Under the influence of jealousy and rage, Riku agrees to become one with the Darkness, only to become possessed by the mysterious voice itself.
The new Riku then presents himself to Maleficent and warns her of the dangers of unlocking the Final Keyhole. When she claims not to be afraid, Riku shows a new, dark Keyblade created with six of the seven princesses' hearts. However, it doesn't react to the Keyhole. Realizing it is still needing Kairi's heart to be complete, Maleficent heads off to handle Sora and co. After Maleficent is defeated by Sora, Riku appears with his Keyblade and explains that unlike Sora's Keyblade, this Keyblade possesses the ability to unlock a person's heart, and Riku demonstrates this by piercing Maleficent's chest, allowing the immense darkness that is attracted to her to overtake her heart, transforming her into a giant dragon. While this form proved a far deadlier enemy to Sora and his friends, it still was defeated and killed. Riku reappears, commenting on how Maleficent was being used by the Heartless before disappearing again.
Riku, calling himself Ansem, the Seeker of Darkness, later confronts and battles Sora (who is cut off from Donald and Goofy) at the Final Keyhole. He hopes to release Kairi's heart from within Sora's, so that she, being the final Princess of Heart, can open the Keyhole. He fails, but Sora impales himself with the Keyblade anyway to save Kairi. With Sora gone, Ansem attacks Kairi, Donald, and Goofy, but they are saved by Riku, who is using the last of his strength to hold the dark powers of his possessor off.
Riku's rejection of Ansem leads to an internal struggle between the two, which Riku ultimately loses. This causes Riku to lose control of his body once more, while Ansem gains it fully.
A newly restored Sora, along with Donald and Goofy, eventually make their way to the End of the World, a world made of the worlds that have been destroyed by the Heartless. There they once again confront Ansem and defeat him after a series of battles at the Door to Darkness.
Riku is then restored, and appears on the other side of the Door to Darkness, aiding Sora in closing it, but unable to cross it, as only pure darkness can go back and forth through the door. Waiting to enter the Realm of Light are thousands upon thousands of Heartless, which only causes further problems for the two friends. However, King Mickey, appearing for the first time in the game, wards them off with the powerful Kingdom Key D. The King and Sora then proceed to close the door, Sora on the outside, Mickey within. Riku is stuck on the other side of the door with the King, but not before he told Sora to "take care of her," meaning Kairi.
- "Neither suits me. I'm taking the middle road."
"Do you mean the twilight road to nightfall?"
"No. It's the road to dawn."
- —Riku and DiZ
Riku awakes in the lowest basement of Castle Oblivion , being led there by his heart resonating with Sora, who also happens to be in Castle Oblivion, though on the ground floor. A dark card and a disembodied voice present themselves. The Voice offers Riku the chance to sleep and forget his troubles as well as the light, or take the card and take the first steps toward the truth. Riku takes the card confidently stating that "This looks like a boring place to take a nap anyway."
Riku arrives in none other than Hollow Bastion, though only a version of it crafted from his memories. However, though Hollow Bastion is the same as he remembered it, he is unable to find anyone. All the while he searches, the Voice speaks to and mocks the young teenager.
At long last, Riku meets someone: Maleficent. Maleficent taunts him and his refusal of the darkness, but Riku fights and defeats her, hoping to prove that he is above the darkness.
Riku leaves Hollow Bastion, only to see the true form of Castle Oblivion. The voice again comes to Riku, but this time reveals himself to be Xehanort's Heartless, who wants to take over Riku again. However, though Xehanort's Heartless is powerful, King Mickey comes to aid Riku with his light. Riku then manages to fend off Xehanort's Heartless for the time being. But before he leaves, the Heartless leaves Riku with some world cards and the ability to wield his inner darkness as a weapon.
Riku soon realizes that he has the power to detect the "smell" of darkness, and is discouraged by it, though King Mickey comforts him. However, King Mickey can only appear to Riku as a projection, for he is still in the Realm of Darkness. Still, with King Mickey's encouragement, Riku ascends the basements of Castle Oblivion in order to rid himself of his darkness. Meanwhile, as Riku travels through the lower levels of Castle Oblivion, Sora ascends the upper floors, being manipulated by Marluxia, a member of the mysterious Organization XIII and the lord of Castle Oblivion. But three other Organization members, Vexen, Lexaeus, and Zexion work to counter Marluxia by using the dark-wielding Riku against the light-wielding Sora.
To further the trio's goals, Vexen independently appears before Riku and the latter wonders if Vexen is with "Ansem" (Xehanort's Heartless). Vexen cryptically responds that he is with "another Ansem". Still, Riku fights against Vexen, seeing him as an enemy. However, the battle only helps Vexen, who uses the data he gathered from the battle to create a replica of Riku. The replica soon comes to battle Riku, mocking Riku's fear of the darkness while the replica embraces it. However, the real Riku proves victorious, and the replica runs off.
Soon, Xehanort's Heartless appears again, saying that the replica is a model of what Riku should be. But Riku only reaffirms his desire to conquer his darkness.
Passing through much of the castle (the bulk of Sora's story is complete, and Larxene and Vexen have been eliminated) Riku finds Lexaeus. Lexaeus, like the others, tells him that he should accept the darkness again, because if he doesn't, his journey will end here. The two fight, and Riku only manages to wear him down. As Riku moves in for the finishing blow, Lexaeus summons herculean strength and knocks Riku unconscious with his Axe Sword. Lexaeus decides to eliminate him since taking him down was too much trouble, but as he does so, he notices Riku becoming possessed by Xehanort's Heartless. This catches Lexaeus off-guard, and the Xehanort-possessed Riku takes the opportunity to kill him. Although Lexaeus is defeated, Riku ends up having a struggle with Xehanort's Heartless that he nearly loses. Just before the dark being can overwhelm Riku, Mickey saves him again and manages to bring him out of the darkness.
Riku comes closer to the ground level, just as Marluxia's scheme fails and Sora finishes him off. Riku senses Marluxia's defeat, and Zexion quickly arrives on the scene to explain it. But he also reveals that Sora is the one who did the deed, much to Riku's surprise. Zexion quickly asks if Riku is capable of seeing Sora, for Riku shouldered the darkness for so long, and Xehanort's Heartless still resides in his heart. Riku tries to resist Zexion's comments, but Zexion ultimately gives him a world card of Destiny Islands.
In Destiny Islands, Riku meets all of his friends, but they are all silent and they eventually disappear, even Kairi. Zexion throws all of Riku's fears at him at once, telling him he's responsible for causing them to disappear, and that he belongs to the darkness now. He finally transforms an illusion of him into a Darkside Heartless, telling him this is what he has become. Riku defeats the Heartless as Zexion disguises himself as Sora. He tells him that it's finally time to face the light.
Riku sinks into the light as he begins to fade, but Naminé appears in the form of Kairi and tells him that he can't fade, because light can't destroy him, and neither can darkness, so he should accept both to drive away his fears. He awakens his dark powers again, admitting that it's a part of him and not evil, defeating Zexion. Zexion disappears, but is quickly killed by the Riku Replica with Axel.
Riku nearly makes it to the main floor as Xehanort's Heartless appears to control him, but King Mickey defends Riku again and finally appears for real. Riku is relieved at finally having a real friend with him. King Mickey explains that he found a card which showed him Riku's heart and he followed it back to him. Riku uses the card, and ends up in Twilight Town. Xehanort's Heartless appears again, but Riku tells him that he's not "Ansem", because his scent is not darkness--but rather something else. Riku also sees that this man is the voice that presented itself at the beginning of his journey. The voice finally appears and introduces himself as DiZ . Riku asks him what he really wants from him, and DiZ tells him he wants him to choose between Light and Darkness, because he lies in-between. The decision will be decided with Naminé, whom Riku looks for.
However, the Riku Replica manages to find him, and demands another fight to prove him "worthy". The replica intends to kill Riku in order to become real, but fails. However, Riku comforts him by saying that the replica's heart will go to the same place as the real one's, before the replica vanishes out of existence.
Riku meets up with Naminé. who is with Sora in his memory pod, and explains the situation. She offers to seal away Xehanort's Heartless and Riku's darkness, so that he may forget them, but will have to sleep to do so. Riku refuses, hoping to win on his own, and leaves a satisfied Naminé. However, before he departs, he tells Naminé that he knows that it was she who appeared to him as Kairi, commenting that they smell the same.
After meeting Naminé, DiZ appears again to Riku and the King (who notes that DiZ seems familiar). Knowing his choice, DiZ gives Riku a card that will draw out Xehanort's Heartless. After DiZ leaves, Riku tells King Mickey to destroy him if he fails to stop Xehanort's Heartless, but the King refuses, saying he'll only help him regain control, and never harm him. Riku concedes.
Riku faces Xehanort's Heartless for one final battle alone. Ansem asks why he still refuses him if he accepts darkness now, and inquires if Riku is still scared of the darkness. Riku denies this and merely says, "I just can't stand your foul stench." They fight and the last of Xehanort's Heartless is destroyed, but not before he says a part of him is still in Riku, and that he shall return.
Riku and Mickey wait at the crossroads. Riku tells him that he can't go home yet, as "Ansem's" shadow still lingers in him, but Mickey says the darkness is a part of him. Darkness is not all bad, because Riku has chosen a road he never thought of before, one of both Light and Darkness. Riku, who now forms an equally strong bond to the King as Sora's friendship to Donald and Goofy, calls Mickey by his name at the King's request, making him the only character to do so in the Kingdom Hearts universe (excluding Queen Minnie).
They leave, taking Organization coats that DiZ gave them prior to confronting Xehanort's Heartless, and DiZ appears for one final question: if he shall take the "road to light" or the "road to darkness". Riku chooses neither, he'll take the middle road, "The road to dawn". Riku and King Mickey eventually made it out of the plains and separate after Riku realized he couldn't completely rid himself of the darkness festering in him. Deciding to return to DiZ and offer his help, Riku dons a blindfold, so that "his eyes couldn't lie" about his darkness which he is preparing to use and wished Mickey not to witness firsthand.
- "You could say I am...the biggest nobody of them all."
- —Riku to Xion
Riku plays an important role in the game's story and is the final boss of the game, as the game ends with the battle between him and Roxas. He also appears as a playable character in multiplayer mode. To unlock him, the player must play story mode up to day 171 and unlock the rank of Agent. He is first seen on the bridge in Beast's Castle where he fights Xion. As a defeated Xion lies on the ground, Riku pulls off her hood and pulls up his blindfold to get a good look at her. When he sees her as Sora, he is shocked and begins questioning her how she is able to use the Keyblade, calling it a sham and worthless. Angered, Xion demands what right he had to say such a thing and attacks him, only to be knocked down single-handedly. Riku then tells her to "find a new crowd." It can also be inferred that Riku still can't forgive himself for stepping into darkness when he told Xion, "You could say I am, the biggest nobody of them all."
After Xion left the Organization, the two stayed away in Castle Oblivion. As Roxas and Axel continue to search for her around the worlds, they finally make contact in Twilight Town. Xion quickly takes her leave and Riku stays behind to distract them.
While cradling Xion in his arms during her nightmare, Riku recalls his conversation with Naminé in the white room about her, discussing what has to be done for Sora to wake up. In addition to being with Xion during her nightmare, he is also in her nightmare alongside Zexion. Xion collapses in pain while hearing the hurtful speech Zexion gave Riku from Chain of Memories. She then turns into Roxas, Riku, and finally Sora. After Xion wakes upon Destiny Islands, she expresses her curiosity about "Sora and that girl he's always with", in which Riku tells her that Kairi is someone very special to Sora. He tells her that she is the reason Sora is unable to wake up because part of his memories are inside of her. Even though Xion is unsure of where she truly belongs and what the right choice is, Riku gives her some time to think about it. He is also seen conversing with DiZ next to the pod Sora sleeps in.
Riku is shown meeting with King Mickey in the forest outside the Old Mansion, where he is in his Ansem, Seeker of Darkness form. The King then calls the Keyblade to him, ready to fight, not knowing who he is. To let the King know it's him, Riku puts his blindfold on, which makes him return to normal, surprising the King. He informs Mickey that he will be fighting an Organization member soon, and may not survive, forcing the King to promise to protect Sora.
Sure enough, Riku sees Roxas in The World That Never Was as the latter attempts to free Kingdom Hearts. After he fights several Neoshadows, Roxas finally spots Riku and pursues him. Riku grabs Roxas's Oblivion Keyblade after a failed attack as he falls down from Memory's Skyscraper. As Riku falls, his memories of Xion flash through his head, becoming increasingly blurry. Riku lands, and Roxas drops down after him depicted in several scenes in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, including the secret endings of Another Side, Another Story and Deep Dive.
Roxas reveals to Riku his goal of freeing Kingdom Hearts as Xion asked him to, so that he, Xion, and Axel could return to being friends. Riku responds by telling Roxas it won't be long before his memory of Xion completely fades. Angered, Roxas fights Riku and gains the upper hand; however, Riku fights back and knocks Roxas unconscious. Roxas quickly comes to, and grabs back Oblivion. Riku then says, "Come on Sora, I thought you were stronger than that." Roxas naturally responds, quipping, "Get real! Look which one of us is winning!", but is immediately shocked by his own words. Riku confirms this as proof of Roxas's status as Sora's Nobody; angry, Roxas pulls out both Keyblades, shouts "I am me. Nobody else!", and knocks Riku back. Xion quickly tells Riku in his mind, "Riku, please! You have to stop him!" Left with no other choice, Riku realizes if he is to win in the Realm of Darkness, he must submerse himself in the same darkness. He removes his blindfold, taking the form of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. He quickly dispatches Roxas, and returns him to DiZ's base underneath the abandoned mansion in Twilight Town, introducing himself as "Ansem".
- “...I didn't want you to find me.”
- ―Riku talking to Sora.
Riku continues to ally himself with DiZ, as they have a common goal: to help Sora awaken (though Riku finds his memories of Sora fading, being a side-effect of Naminé's toying with Sora's memories). DiZ asks Riku to kidnap Roxas, the Nobody of Sora, who has been having trouble regaining his memories. If he and Roxas join, Sora should be able to reawaken. Riku enters the Realm of Darkness, and corners Roxas in The World That Never Was. In their battle, they seem to stalemate, although Roxas manages to strike him back, seemingly crippling Riku's left hand. Xion quickly tells him in his mind, "Riku, please! You have to stop him!" Riku then realizes if he is to win in the Realm of Darkness, he must submerse himself in the same darkness. As a result, Riku unleashed his darkness, taking on the form of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness as a side effect. Riku easily defeated Roxas, and returns him to DiZ's base underneath the abandoned mansion in Twilight Town, introducing himself as "Ansem".
Roxas' memory is erased by DiZ and he is placed into a Simulated Twilight Town, to live out his days until the time comes for him to meet Sora. Meanwhile, Riku watches over Roxas, periodically entering the town in order to keep Roxas ignorant to the truth, including keeping Naminé from saying anything important to Roxas. He also takes some keepsakes of Roxas' during some of his visits. With all these deeds done, Riku finally demands to know what DiZ's true objective is. Upon hearing that it is merely revenge (DiZ does not disclose against whom it is), Riku clenches his fist, shocked and disgusted at how DiZ is merely using him and Sora for selfish reasons.
Eventually, when the time comes for Roxas, Riku makes sure to prevent the Nobodies from flooding the town. Soon, the goal Riku had been searching for is finally reached: Roxas joins with Sora. Though DiZ orders him to eliminate Naminé, Riku desires no part in DiZ's prejudice revenge and hands her to the now-renegade Axel of Organization XIII before leaving DiZ.
Riku, after Roxas joins with Sora, comes into contact with King Mickey. Riku begs King Mickey not to reveal his whereabouts and condition to Sora, and the King reluctantly agrees. He then leaves the King the digital versions of Olette's munny pouch and Roxas' crystal orb that he had pilfered from Roxas earlier.
Later, Axel tries to kidnap Kairi in an attempt to use her to turn Sora into a Heartless so Roxas would be reborn. However, Riku rescues Kairi by opening a Corridor of Darkness, and takes her to Twilight Town, where she meets Hayner, Pence, and Olette, but never reveals his identity. However, Axel again appears, but another member of Organization XIII, Saïx, manages to kidnap Kairi, with the intent to use her to fuel Sora's rage. At the battle for Hollow Bastion, Sora, Donald, and Goofy end up in an empty realm, where Riku arrives. He says nothing to them, and only leaves the trio a box that contains sea-salt ice cream and a picture of Roxas, Hayner, Pence, and Olette in front of the haunted mansion.
Riku also arrives at the Land of Dragons, trying to warn the Emperor of a Heartless dragon that Xigbar created. But he ends up meeting Sora, and Sora attacks him, thinking Riku to be an Organization member. However, Sora sees that Riku is wielding the Soul Eater, and begins to suspect Riku's identity. But Riku still goes ahead with his mission, and warns the Emperor (but had to defeat Li Shang in order to do so). When Sora talks to the Emperor, the wise ruler's description of the man further cemented Sora's idea that the man he fought was Riku.
Riku later appears in the World That Never Was, after Naminé rescues Kairi. The two are faced against Saїx, but Riku quickly comes to the rescue, his Soul Eater having now transformed into a Keyblade called Way to the Dawn. Naminé calls Riku by name, and disappears. Kairi, excited to see Riku, removes his hood, but is met with the face of Xehanort's Heartless. She takes it in stride, seeing the true Riku underneath his current form.
Kairi later is attacked by Heartless on her way to see Sora, being saved by Riku. He then gives Kairi the Destiny's Embrace Keyblade so that she may fight. After Sora defeats Xigbar, he and Kairi reunite. Riku tries to take his leave, but Kairi stops him. She then reveals Riku's identity, and with some concentration, Sora also sees Riku underneath his dark appearance. The revelation makes Sora overjoyed to the point of tears. Riku explains that he did not want to be found, thanks to his appearance, and confirms Sora's suspicions of the clues they found- namely, the ice cream and Roxas' photo. Still, he and the others make their way up the castle, defeating the remaining Organization members save for Xemnas. During this time, Riku reveals the truth about Roxas to Sora, and realizes that he never had to fight him; Roxas had left Organization XIII because he had wanted to meet Sora, and would most likely have met him either way over time.
Near the top, Riku reunites with King Mickey and DiZ, his true name being Ansem the Wise, who is using a machine to try and encode Kingdom Hearts into data. Xemnas also arrives, and he and Ansem the Wise trade bitter words. The machine then explodes, unable to handle Kingdom Hearts, sending Ansem the Wise to the Realm of Darkness while causing countless hearts Xemnas had collected into Kingdom Hearts to rain down on the world, creating a slew of Heartless. The explosion also cleanses Riku's heart and restores Riku to his original form, though he is still remorseful. After some encouragement, Riku transcends the rest of the castle, abandoning his cloak and blindfold. He and the others also encounter Maleficent and Pete, who decide to hold off the hordes of Heartless that are overtaking the castle, but only so that they will eventually take the castle for their own.
Riku and the others then confront Xemnas, refusing his demand to gather more hearts. Xemnas then removes Sora from the area, fighting him one on one, with everyone else calling out to him. When Sora returns, they see that Xemnas has already reached Kingdom Hearts, and disappears into it. A door, constructed by the will of the worlds, appears, and the three wielders of the Keyblade open it up and follow Xemnas. After a tough battle, Naminé appears again, opening up a corridor of darkness that leads to Destiny Islands, as Riku can no longer use them. However, Xemnas attacks, riding on a gigantic robotic dragon, and separates Sora and Riku from the others. After a series of battles, the two of them are drawn into nothingness by Xemnas and face in a final, exhausting battle.
Towards the end after the final attack used by Xemnas, Sora is left open and Riku takes a blow intended to finish off his friend, which allows Sora to finish Xemnas off with both Riku and Sora firing a beam of light from Sora's keyblade. After the fall of Xemnas, Sora and the injured Riku face an onslaught of Dusks ready to fulfill their master's final order: eliminate the Keyblade wielders. However, the Dusks disintegrate back into nothingness, and Sora and Riku escape the realm, entering the Dark Meridian.
Having the time to finally talk, the two reconcile with each other. Riku then comes across a letter in a bottle, written by Kairi, and gives it to Sora, believing him to be the proper recipient. Sora then manages to open the Door to Light, as King Mickey predicted, and the two return home, reuniting with their friends. While Sora shares a hug with Donald and Goofy, Riku shares his own moment with King Mickey. Ironically, even though Riku was once jealous of Sora's friendship with Donald and Goofy, he ended up having a similar one with Mickey.
Some time later, Sora and Riku observe the waves of Destiny Islands, saying that it's a small world but also part of a much bigger one, then jump to discussion about the Door to the Light. Kairi then appears with a letter from the King, the contents obscured from the player's view.
A data version of Riku has a brief appearance in virtual Destiny Islands only to be like he was before anything happened after his world disappeared.
In one of the cutscenes, Xehanort's Heartless and Riku encounter each other right after Sora disappeared to Traverse Town, shortly before Destiny Islands was completely swallowed by the darkness. In the last minute, Xehanort's Heartless opens a portal for Riku, allowing him to enter and arrive in Hollow Bastion.
Later on, the mysterious black coated figure is revealed to be a Data Riku, similar to Data Sora. Riku explains that the Jiminy's Journal chose him as the vessel for the memories in the journal, and in a sense he is the Journal incarnate. In the Data Olympus Coliseum, the Data Riku/Journal says to Data Sora the reason he didn't reveal himself to him earlier is because he wanted Sora to become stronger. He discusses with Sora whether they are data or artificial but the Riku/Journal said it doesn't matter as long as they made an impact to the world and it helps their friends. It is revealed the reason the video kept showing things Jiminy never wrote about is because it shows the Journal's sleeping memories. Even the Riku/Journal incarnate doesn't know the reasons behind the mysterious messages appear in the journal, the Bug Blocks that appear in the Data Worlds, or what is happening to the Data World. When the Journal gets overwhelmed by the Bug Blocks, he falls under the control of Maleficent and fights the protagonists until Sora defeats him.
The real Riku appears at the end of the game with the real Sora and Kairi where they read Mickey's letter. This scene corresponds the final of Kingdom Hearts II.
Afterwards, Sora sits on the Paopu tree while holding the message from King Mickey, staring off into the sunset. He is then confronted by Riku who asks him if he has decided (about what is not specified), and Sora says that he has. Kairi then walks up to him and Sora tells her that everyone is suffering and waiting, and that he has to put back everything that is connected to him, or "Reconnect." She then hands him her lucky charm and tells him to hurry back.Mysterious Tower in response to a call from Yen Sid to undertake the Mark of Mastery exam in order to prepare for the coming return of Master Xehanort. Once told of the threat Master Xehanort poses, Riku does not hesitate to take the exam, seeing it as an opportunity to see whether or not he is worthy of wielding the Keyblade, especially after his past with the darkness. For their exam, Riku and Sora are sent to the Sleeping Worlds, where they are to awaken several worlds that were restored following the defeat of Ansem but remained in a state of deep sleep.
Riku and Sora's journey starts on Destiny Islands, but they soon move on, and end up in Traverse Town, where Riku ends up separated from Sora but discovers his new attire and abilities. After meeting up with Joshua and his friends, who tutor him, Riku sets off on his journey alone, venturing across several worlds, meeting new friends and battling new villains. But along the way, Riku comes into conflict several times with a mysterious young man with ties to Master Xehanort, accompanied by Ansem himself, who remind Riku of his past experiences with the darkness and try to get him to succumb again, but Riku refuses, reminding Ansem that he walks the road to dawn.
However, once all the seven Keyholes in the Dreaming Realm are sealed, Sora ends up trapped in sleep in The World that Never Was, and Riku rushes to his rescue upon realizing this. He finds Sora in a comatose state inside the Castle, his heart having been damaged by Xemnas and the young man himself. The young man turns out to be an alternate timeline incarnation of Master Xehanort in his youth, who has been traveling to different periods in time to recruit several other incarnations of Xehanort together. Riku attempts to awaken Sora, but the darkness from Sora's nightmare turns into the Anti Black Coat that engages Riku. Riku manages to defeat the Anti Black Coat and carries on through the castle, eventually coming face to face with Ansem. Ansem reveals that Riku is actually a Dream Eater, and, over the course of the exam, has been purifying Sora's dreams of Nightmares. Ansem attempts to take over Riku's body again, but remembering his secret encounter with Terra, Riku resolves to make his inner darkness his own power for good and make Ansem become part of his light. Then the two battle each other once more. Ultimately, Riku prevails and eventually makes his way to Where Nothing Gathers, where he finds Sora on an Organization XIII throne. Young Xehanort blocks Riku's way, but Mickey comes to Riku's aid by casting a Stopza spell. Young Xehanort, however, is unaffected by the spell and knocks Mickey aside to battle Riku. After a fierce struggle, Riku defeats Young Xehanort. However, the victory is short-lived, as Master Xehanort is finally revived and joined by the rest of his new Organization, among them are Young Xehanort, Ansem, and Xemnas.
Master Xehanort fills Riku and Mickey in on his past attempt to create the χ-blade by pitting Ventus and Vanitas against each other. The plan failed, but he had a backup. Master Xehanort had Young Xehanort create a new Organization XIII made of Master Xehanort himself and twelve vessels to harbor a piece of Master Xehanort's heart in order to create thirteen darkness to battle seven lights and recreate the χ-blade, the twelfth intended vessel was to be Riku but since he built a resistance to darkness, Sora was forced to replace him. Riku and Mickey attempt to save Sora, but are restrained by Ansem and Xemnas. Lea then arrives and saves Sora from Master Xehanort. Ansem summons his Guardian, who grabs Riku and Mickey, but the Guardian is defeated by Donald and Goofy, who arrive via Mickey's old Star Shard. His plans temporarily derailed, Master Xehanort retreats with his Organization.
Riku brings Sora's comatose body back to the Mysterious Tower and dives into Sora's body to mend his fractured heart. In the process, he is forced to battle Sora, clad in Ven's Keyblade Armor, which has been corrupted by a Nightmare. Riku defeats the Nightmare and uses Sora's Keyblade to enter a memory of the Destiny Islands, deep inside Sora's heart. Here he meets projections of Roxas, Ventus, and Xion, who each ask a question before disappearing. After answering the three questions, Riku finds a bottle in the surf, and a data projection of Ansem the Wise approaches him. Ansem tells Riku about the research data he hid inside Sora while he was asleep, the content of the bottle, and he talks about Sora's ability to connect with others' hearts, and how it may be able to bring back those that have been lost. He tells Riku that by defeating the Nightmare and answering the three questions, he has successfully awakened Sora. Riku returns to the real world, reuniting with Sora and the others, and Yen Sid names Riku as a Keyblade Master. Riku and the other are shocked when Lea vows to catch up with him, reveals his plan of becoming a Keyblade wielder, and successfully — albeit accidentally — summons his Keyblade.
As his first duty as a Keyblade Master, Yen Sid orders Riku to bring Kairi to him to undergo training with her Keyblade in order to counter Master Xehanort's new Organization.
- "I've always wondered why we're here on this island. If there are other worlds out there, why did we end up on this one? And... suppose there are other worlds... then that means ours is just a little piece of something much greater."
- —Riku, to Sora and Kairi
In Kingdom Hearts, Riku is a calm, cool, collected teen who is not afraid to go far beyond his limits. This shows through when he shows no fear in stepping into the dark portal when Destiny Islands was being consumed by darkness, along with his statement "I'm not afraid of the darkness!" Also, he seems to be aware of Sora's romantic feelings toward Kairi and often teases him for liking their friend, such as when he challenges Sora to a race, Sora saying that if he wins, he gets to become captain of the raft they're constructing; Riku ups the ante by saying that if he wins, he gets to share a paopu fruit with Kairi. However, he reveals that he only made that bet to see the reaction on Sora's face, which shows his awareness of Sora's feelings for Kairi.
He also shows a strong competitive streak, along with a bit of jealousy when he challenges Sora, saying that his heart is stronger than Sora's heart. It is not actually said aloud, but thanks to Maleficent, he became increasingly jealous of Sora, starting with him finding out about Sora's new friends, and his thinking that he had been replaced. The jealousy grew when he learned about Sora possessing the Keyblade, and enventually turned into rage, resulting in the battles against Sora throughout Kingdom Hearts, and his possession by Ansem, Seeker of Darkness.
Though his traits were not too favorable in Kingdom Hearts, he becomes more heroic in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Riku has many realizations. One of these was him realizing that he let his heart become weak. From that moment on, he began to shy away from the darkness in his heart. Through the scores of fights and battles in Castle Oblivion, he makes another big realization: he can't get rid of the darkness in his heart, and decides to use it without turning from the light like before. He matured immensely, and along with leaving his past behind him, he also left a lot of his unfortunate traits.
In Kingdom Hearts II, he shows a great amount of loyalty and care for his friends. To save Sora, he did everything he could to bring Roxas to DiZ to make Sora whole again, going so far as to give up his physical form for that of Ansem. As Sora journeyed on between the worlds, he dropped him some valuable clues, such as the sea-salt ice cream and the picture.
When he finally is found in the World That Never Was, he repeatedly shows regret, telling Sora that "he didn't want to be found," and almost refusing to come back to Destiny Islands because of his wrongdoings.
Ever since he was young, he had been curious with everything that is outside of his world. Over time, his curiosity became obsession and he began to think of his world as a prison surrounded by water. This obsession greatly diminishes throughout the year of Sora's slumber, most likely because he had already seen many other worlds that the curiosity disappeared. When he returns to Destiny Islands in Kingdom Hearts II, he still comments it as a small world, but agrees with Sora's remark that it is only a part of one that's much bigger. This marks that Riku has a better view of his home world than before, when he imagined it as a prison.
Another good personality trait he shows is a strong protectiveness over his friends. He never wanted Sora and Kairi to find out about the time he spent in the darkness. He nearly sacrificed himself to protect Sora from Xemnas' attacks, leaving him injured after the final battle.
Though Riku matures significantly over the course of the series, he still seems to retain some of his old Kingdom Hearts self, particularly his sense of humor; he refers to Sora, Donald, and Goofy as "wise guys" when talking to the Emperor, cracks a joke about Donald and Goofy's intelligence at their expense ("Sora never did pick the brightest friends."), and calls Sora a "total sap" when going to confront Xemnas.
Like Sora and Roxas, Riku can wield the Keyblade, though he can wield both his own and others since Terra chose Riku to inherit the Keyblade in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. In comparison to Sora's two-handed style and Roxas's dual-weaponry, Riku attacks with a fast one-handed style with his Soul Eater/Way to the Dawn. Riku attacks very quickly with either weapon in combat, and is adept with his weapons being just as able with his weapons as Sora is with his. His strength and agility are best demonstrated on Destiny Island, where he is known as the strongest child on the island (Tidus remarked that he, Wakka, and Selphie were defeated by him even after they triple-teamed him), and possesses an athletic springing kick if knocked down. Though Sora has bested Riku on several occasions, it is still unclear who is truly stronger. Riku is also shown to be skilled in hand-to-hand combat, as shown in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, in which he easily knocks down a charging Xion with a single punch after dismissing his Soul Eater weapon. Riku showed another glimpse of his strength in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days by defeating Xion with ease and holding his own against Roxas. Riku's strength is acknowledged in Kingdom Hearts II, when Roxas tells Sora during battle that he has defeated Riku - when Sora repeats Roxas's claim to Donald and Goofy, Donald exclaims "But nobody could defeat Riku!", and Sora agrees.
At first, Riku had no powers whatsoever, although he was a rather strong individual. After arriving in Hollow Bastion he gets his weapon, Soul Eater. It gave him a slight increase in power, but as seen in the battle versus the Parasite Cage, he was only slightly more powerful than on the islands.
Sometime after Monstro, Riku made a pact with Maleficent. This gave him three new abilities: The ability to summon and control Heartless, the power to traverse the worlds using Corridors of Darkness, and finally the ability to craft Anti forms. He demonstrated the first two abilities several times, and the third he used on Sora to create many AntiSoras and one complex one wielding a shadowy Keyblade.
After Sora left Neverland, Riku returned to Maleficent who gave him a large increase in his dark abilities. This allowed him to draw on dark energies to increase his physical power and clothe himself in an organic-looking suit of darkness. While in this Dark Mode he could zip around the battle field at an incredible speed and each blow from his Soul Eater dealt large damage. However, this form was taxing on his heart as seen after his battle with Sora in Hollow Bastion.
It is revealed that Riku was to be the original recipient of the Keyblade, but when he opened the Door to Darkness in Destiny Islands, plunging that world into Darkness, it instead chose Sora. However, in Hollow Bastion, Riku took the Keyblade from Sora by using the sheer strength of his heart, though when he uses the darkness within himself, his power over the Keyblade weakens and it returns to Sora who had proven the strength of his own heart.
When Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, possessed his body he gained incredible new powers, but he was now stuck permanently in dark form because of the darkness pouring out of him. In addition, he took six of the seven Princesses' hearts and used them to form the Keyblade of People's Hearts. Riku's enhanced dark powers under possession are Dark Raid, where he throws a spinning Dark Keyblade, Dark Break where he performs a powerful jump attack, Dark Firaga where he counters a spell by shooting an orb of dark energy, and Dark Aura where he dashes around the arena at high speed slashing all in his path.
When he is playable in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, he is given a preset deck in each world that cannot be changed and changes automatically during gameplay. By breaking his opponent's cards, Riku acquires "DP", which let him transform into Dark Mode. Dark Mode, along with giving him increased speed and increased strength, gives him access to sleights that mimic his special attacks from Kingdom Hearts. Outside of Dark Mode, any combination of stocked cards counts as a sleight and costs Riku a card, so he cannot perform combo attacks as easily as Sora can. Instead, he has access to a unique system of battle called "card dueling", which allows Riku to stun opponents and perform special commands by breaking their cards multiple times.
Overall, in contrast to Sora who must rely on sleights and combos to fight, Riku's playing style is more up-front, relying on card duels and breaks to acquire DP and enter Dark Mode. In this game, Zexion said his scent is very similar to the Superior's. In gameplay, it is also shown that Riku can run faster and jump higher than Sora.
At the end of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, he used the power of darkness to help him defeat Roxas. This surge of power distorted his physical form, causing him to appear identical in appearance to Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. While trapped in this form he could use Xehanort's Guardian and use some of Ansem's attacks for a limited time in addition to his other powers. Riku's power increased in this form shown when he easily defeated Roxas as well as easily overpowering Saïx, forcing the latter to flee.
Riku's Soul Eater changes into Way to the Dawn sometime between the second visit to Land of Dragons and The World That Never Was. When he turned into his "true form" in the end of Kingdom Hearts II, his powers of light increased dramatically while his powers of darkness decreased. As a party member, Riku possesses various abilities that combine his dark powers with Sora's light powers. Riku can use a new Dark Aura that fires Dark Firaga orbs that inflict a Stop effect whenever Sora completes a combo, Dark Shield to project a barrier of darkness, as well as to numerous other powers. In his Limit with Sora, Eternal Session, Riku is able to project waves of dark energy from his Keyblade in addition to unleashing fast combos and Dark Firaga barrages.
At the end, Sora and Riku toss their Keyblades together to act as a super-damaging magnet. It should be noted, though, that despite the fact that Riku is a wielder of the Keyblade, he can't use any of Sora's keychains while he is in the party. Also, Riku is one of the three only characters shown being able to summon more than one Keyblade at once, the other two being Roxas and Sora.
In Kingdom Hearts, Maleficent gives Riku the power to control the Heartless for a short time. Later, Maleficent unlocks his dark powers which he has used throughout the series. Ansem, Seeker of Darkness possessed Riku and gave him all of his power. In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Riku was able to escape the Realm of Darkness through the subconscious use of his dark powers. Riku also gained full control over his dark powers and finally defeated Ansem.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
|Dark Break||Leap into the air and attack enemies from above. Only available in Dark Mode. In Re:Chain of Memories, press when it flashes on-screen to add an attack. Pressing when it isn't on-screen will cancel the sleight.||+ + (5-15)|
|Dark Firaga||Expel dark energy in a searing blast. Only available in Dark Mode. This attack is dark-elemental, not fire-elemental.||+ + (16-25)|
|Dark Aura||Rush enemies repeatedly with blade in hand. Finish off by stabbing Soul Eater into the ground for columns of light that confuse the enemy. Only available in Dark Mode.||+ + (27)|
|MM Miracle Lv2||The king restores HP, and stuns and deals damage to all enemies, and reloads cards.||+|
|MM Miracle Lv3||The king restores a lot of HP, and stuns and deals damage to all enemies, and reloads cards.||+ +|
|Multiple shots back to back with the king. Use the left analog stick to control the direction of the tornado.||+ +|
|Multiple shots with your back against the king's. Enemies become confused when hit. Use the left analog stick to control the direction of the tornado. Only available in Dark Mode.||+ +|
|Knock foes into the air before a slam down to the ground, damaging multiple enemies.||Win a duel that requires you to break three cards.|
|Knock foes into the air before a hard slam down to the ground, damaging multiple enemies. Only available in Dark Mode.||Win a duel that requires you to break three cards.|
|Unleash a spinning attack on the enemy. Damage is concentrated to one enemy.||Win a duel that requires you to break five cards.|
|Unleash a powerful spinning attack on the enemy. Damage is concentrated to one enemy. Only available in Dark Mode.||Win a duel that requires you to break five cards.|
|Throw the Soul Eater towards the enemy. Damage is concentrated to one enemy.||Win a duel that requires you to break seven cards.|
|Throw multiple Soul Eaters towards the enemy. Damage is concentrated to one enemy. Only available in Dark Mode.||Win a duel that requires you to break seven cards.|
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Riku's Limit Break, Darkstrom, is very similar to his Dark Aura Sleight from Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. During Darkstrom's execution, Riku will rush at the enemy multiple times, similar to Sora's Sonic Blade ability. His Final Limit infuses his weapon with light energy as he wildly slashes about.
Kingdom Hearts II
As a party member, Riku is very similar to Beast from Kingdom Hearts (game), in the sense that he is the final party member, as well as the strongest. He has high strength, magic, and above-average defense. He has some of the best abilities such as MP Hastega. Also his main action abilities, Dark Aura and Dark Shield, are activated upon the player's command, which helps him conserve MP for Cure Potion, which fully heals the party. Riku's greatest asset is his Limit, Eternal Session, which is tied with Sora's Trinity as the best Limit in the game. He can equip one accessory and two armor pieces. Riku's abilities are as follows:
- Dark Aura: Riku fires multiple Dark Orbs at the enemy. Available as a Reaction command after Sora finishes a combo.
- Dark Shield: Riku creates a barrier to protect Sora. Available as a Reaction command as soon as Sora takes damage.
- Cure Potion: Riku heals the party to max HP; costs 99 MP.
- Limit Ability: Eternal Session.
Riku is also temporarily playable during the final battle with Xemnas. During this time, he has only three commands - Dark Aura, Attack, and Jump.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
When Riku and Sora enter Sleeping Worlds, Riku unknowingly enters Sora's dreams. In doing so, he takes on the role of a Spirit Dream Eater. He has the ability to fuse with Spirits in his party, letting him use Link Styles.
Unlike Sora, Riku uses many Dark-type techniques, like Dark Break, Dark Aura, and Dark Splicer. He also shares many exclusive combat commands with Terra from Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, such as Zantetsuken, Sacrifice, Limit Storm, and Meteor Crash. He uses similar action commands to Aqua, such as Dark Barrier and Doubleflight.
- Roxas's battle with Riku, as seen in Another Side, Another Story, involves him running up the side of Memory Skyscraper and passing by Riku as he leaps off. A similar scene occurs when Sora and Xemnas later battle in the same area.
- Riku is the first non-party assistance character to appear in the Kingdom Hearts universe as he helps Sora, Donald, and Goofy fight the Parasite Cage in Monstro the first battle. Riku was also the first party character that can be fought against in the same game he is fought with, followed by the Beast, Xion, and later Zack.
- It is stated in The Director's Secret Report XIII that one of the four untold stories is "the period of Riku's absence" though that has not been further delved into. The other three were about "the period of the King's absence", Roxas's time with the Organization (Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days), and Xehanort's past (Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep).
- An interesting note is that Riku wields Soul Eater and the Keyblade of People's Hearts on the opposite side of the handle, with the blade facing down when he's in his battle stance, except as a playable character in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. Even in Kingdom Hearts II and when he is playable in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, he holds Way to the Dawn on the opposite side, though the blade faces a bit to the side.
- Riku is similar to Elsa the Snow Queen from Frozen as both have been antagonized by their villains and try to cover up their mistakes (Riku: Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, Elsa: the true villain).
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