- “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. A teenager from the Destiny Islands, Riku is the cool and confident best friend of Sora and Kairi. When the heartless raid their peaceful island and separate them from each other, Riku's curiosity compels him to take an unknown path, eventually falling into the Darkness by the influence of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. He then becomes an antagonist for much of the game.
Eventually learning the error of his ways and returning to his friends, Riku becomes good once again, and now uses his gifts to aid his friends wherever possible. He is voiced by David Gallagher in the English version and by Mamoru Miyano in the Japanese version.
Riku's personality is as strong as the land for which he was named. He is very strong-willed and confident, at times being arrogant. He values his friends deeply and puts protecting them above all else.
Riku is very competitive, and spent his childhood playing games, play-fighting and racing with Sora. This competitiveness also made him easy to become jealous, especially during Kingdom Hearts, where he becomes very irked that Sora received the powers of the Keyblade while he did not, though he is not immediately vocal about it. This jealousy led him to behave aggressively to the people most important to him, and he began to act recklessly and harshly in an attempt to prove himself. He loses this childish jealousy streak entirely as he grows older.
He has a had an intense curiosity about the world he lives in (and what lies beyond it) ever since he met the foreign Terra as a child. His desire to know more became to consume him somewhat negatively over time. He has no qualms with going through the unknown to earn this knowledge, willingly stepping into a dark portal with an unknown destination, simply because he knew it may be his only chance to leave. After he does finally see other worlds, this desire subsides, and he finds comfort in his once-restricting island homeworld.
After the events of Kingdom Hearts, Riku becomes humbled, learning from the reckless mistakes he had made, and seeks to make amends. He becomes much more affable and mellows out. He has learned well from his mistakes in siding with darkness, and becomes wise and well-versed enough to become a Keyblade Master that Yen Sid can rely on.
Riku has striking cyan eyes and silver hair that he tends to wear rather long.
In the prequel game Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Riku is a barely more than a toddler at 6 years old; as such he is extremely short and small. He has shorter hair, and wears a sleeveless yellow vest with a high collar (lined with blue), and black shorts. He wears large blue and white shoes, and two blue wristbands with a yellow line through the center, one on each arm.
In Kingdom Hearts, Riku is 16 years old. His hair reaches just above his shoulders. He is more muscular and taller than Sora, and has paler skin. He wears a vest that is yellow in front and black on the back, and blue jeans under large blue wading pants, secured by black straps at the ankles. He wears stylistically large blue and grey shoes, with two straps, and yellow accents.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Riku is now 17 years old. He has grown up both mentally and physically, becoming much taller and more muscular. His hair has grown right past his shoulders; it is unkempt and in his eyes. He now wears a sleeveless unzipped beige vest with a a white collar, over a sleeveless zipped black vest. He wears very baggy blue jeans with large pockets, secured by a black belt. He now wears more realistically sized grey shoes with two yellow straps.
For part of Kingdom Hearts II and throughout Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Riku wears a standard Organization XIII uniform, a long, black, hooded zipper coat that reaches his ankles. He ties a strip of grey fabric across his head to cover his eyes, though this does not prevent him from seeing.
In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Riku is still 17, and has decided to cut his hair drastically -- it now reaches his his ears and looks much like it did as a child. He wears another zipped vest -- white in the front, yellow in the back, with a black collar. He wears blue jeans that fit him properly, and grey shoes that he ties by wrapping the laces around a couple times. He also wear two black wristbands, one on each arm.
For the majority of Dream Drop Distance, he and Sora spend time in "dream worlds", which temporarily reverts their bodies back age-wise. Riku now appears to be 16 years old again, but he still wears the same Dream Drop Distance clothing.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Riku is revealed to have taken on Ansem's dark form, which he kept hidden under an Organization XIII cloak for the majority of the game. As such he is identical to Ansem: he appears to be in his mid-to-late twenties and is very tall. He has a darker skin tone, amber eyes, pointed ears, and long silver hair. His facial features are much sharper than his normal physical appearance.
Powers and Abilities
When Terra approached Riku during Riku's childhood, Terra gave Riku the ability to use the Keyblade. Before leaving Destiny Islands, he has trained himself, along with Sora, to use a weapon, more specifically a sword. As the island was being engulfed in shadows, Riku was about to receive the Keyblade. However, he left too soon, and it came into the possession of Sora. Before the two crossed paths again, Riku gained the ability to manifest a sword called the Soul Eater, pictured to the left.
Through Maleficent, Riku possessed the ability to control and create Heartless. This was demonstrated when Riku made a Heartless replica of Sora in Neverland. In Hollow Bastion, Maleficent gave Riku the ability to use the darkness within him, further weakening his heart after he teleported to Hollow Bastion using the darkness. After losing to Sora and being possessed by the Seeker of Darkness, he saw the error of his ways, and swore off his dark powers. He struggled with the darkness within him for a time, but with
encouragement from Naminé, he regained control, and was able to wield the darkness along with the light. Late in the events of Kingdom Hearts II, his Soul Eater evolved in form to the Way to the Dawn Keyblade, pictured to the right.
Riku is next seen in Traverse Town, where he finds Sora with Donald Duck and Goofy. They have a pleasant reunion, though both are disappointed that neither knows where Kairi is. Sora proposes that Riku comes with them, but Donald argues against it. Sora turns away to argue, and finds Riku gone when he turns back. He grumbles about it briefly, but finds solace in the fact that he's OK. A short time later, Riku looks on while Sora talks with Donald, Goofy, Leon, Yuffie, and Aerith, with Maleficent beside him. She tells him that while he, Riku, had been working so hard to find his friends, Sora had simply replaced them with other friends, and requests him to come with her.
Ultimately, Riku yields in order to find Kairi himself. Maleficent promises to lead him to her in exchange for kidnapping Jasmine, one of the Seven Princesses of Heart, upon seeing that Jafar was unlikely to prevail against Sora. He does so, and she subsequently has Captain Hook use his Jolly Roger to lead him to where Kairi is. Riku, suspicious of Maleficent's motives, asks her what the catch is. She replies that Riku is like a son to her, and that she only wants his happiness. Riku expresses his skepticism, and Maleficent says that he can believe what he wants, but reminds him that she kept her word.
Riku next meets Sora within Monstro, where he lures Pinocchio away into the depths of the whale. When Sora manages to catch up to him, he questions him as to how much he cares about Kairi, saying that his motives have been mixed up. Their conversation is postponed when Pinocchio is captured by the Parasite Cage Heartless, and they work together to free him. Upon his liberation, Riku promptly runs forward to catch him, and disappears through the hole in the room. Upon seeing Geppetto, he denies his request to return Pinocchio, thinking that a puppet with a heart may be the key to helping someone who had lost theirs. Sora questions if he means Kairi, and Riku accuses Sora of not caring about her before vanishing back into the depths of the whale. Sora pursues him to the stomach, and tells him to let Pinocchio go. Riku ponders aloud that the puppet may hold the key to helping Kairi, and proposes to Sora that they join forces to save her. Sora instead takes a fighting stance, saying that Riku was on the wrong side. Before Riku can fight against him, however, the Parasite Cage reappears, and Riku departs through a dark portal, leaving Pinocchio behind.
Upon the Jolly Roger, Riku learns from Maleficent that Kairi's heart had been taken by the Heartless, and tells Riku of the Seven Princesses of Heart, who can open a door to the heart of all worlds, where he will surely find a way to restore it. She then gives him the power to control the Heartless, and Riku promises Kairi that he'll find the way to help her soon. When Sora, Donald, and Goofy find their way to the Jolly Roger, Riku confronts his friend on the deck. Sora asks where Donald and Goofy are, and Riku says that instead of wondering about them, he should be asking about Kairi, who he steps aside to reveal behind him. He reveals his new powers to Sora, who says that the darkness will swallow his heart sooner or later, but Riku dismisses this, stating that his heart is too strong. He then drops Sora into the brig. Some time later, after discovering that Wendy, who had been kidnapped by Captain Hook, was not one of the Seven Princesses, Riku tells Captain Hook to hoist anchor as soon as possible, leaving all the dead weight behind, including her. But upon learning that Sora and his friends had escaped, and that Peter Pan was with them, the pirate orders Smee to bring the hostages to his cabin. As Sora arrives, Riku summons a Heartless to attack him, then takes Kairi's body and returns to Hollow Bastion using the powers of darkness. He is exhausted upon his arrival, and Maleficent tells him that it was reckless not to use a vessel, and reminds him that relying too heavily on the powers of darkness could cost him his heart. A roar then sounds from outside the castle, and Maleficent informs him that it was a castaway; though his world perished, his heart did not. He had followed the princess that Maleficent stole away from his castle to Hollow Bastion through sheer force of will. She then informs Riku that his power was far greater, and uses her magic to awaken that power to help him reach his full potential.
When Sora arrives at Hollow Bastion, he finds Riku before the castaway Maleficent spoke of, revealed to be the Beast. Riku asks him how he managed to get there without a vessel or help from the Heartless. The Beast replies that he simply believed; when their world fell into darkness, Belle was taken from him, and he vowed to find her again no matter what the cost. He believed he would find her, and that brought him to Hollow Bastion. He finishes by saying that he will have her back. Riku provokes him, and then knocks him back with his dark powers when he attempts to attack. Sora stands up to him, and Riku states that he had been waiting for him. He touches on their past, how they had always been rivals pushing each other to do better, but states that it ends there, and that there couldn't be two Keyblade masters. He extends a hand out, commanding the Keyblade to choose its master. To everyone's astonishment, it leaves Sora's hands and appears in Riku's. He states that Maleficent was right, and Sora didn't have what it took to save Kairi. At Sora's protest that he had fought his way there with the Keyblade, Riku replies that he was just a delivery boy, then throws him the toy sword that he had used at Destiny Island as a replacement weapon. Disheartened, Sora falls to his knees, and Donald and Goofy reluctantly leave him to follow Riku, in conjunction with their king's command to follow the Keyblade.Sora fights his way to the castle with the Beast's help, and finds Riku in the entrance hall, who commands him to quit while he can. Sora responds that he won't leave without Kairi, and Riku takes on a dark form as he states that the darkness will destroy Sora. Sora retorts that while it could destroy his body, the darkness couldn't touch his heart, that it would stay with his friends and never die. Riku says that they'll see about that, and launches a Dark Firaga at Sora. Sora flinches, but the blast is diffused as it impacts Goofy's shield, the knight saying that Sora wasn't going anywhere. Riku questions if he's betraying his king, and Goofy says that while he'd never do that, he wouldn't betray Sora either after all they'd been through. He then requests Donald to give the king his apologies, but Donald responds that they'll tell him together, and then rejoins Sora. Riku asks how Sora will fight without a weapon, and he replies that he knows that he doesn't need the Keyblade, and that his heart is a better weapon. Riku scoffs, asking what "that weak little thing" could do. Sora replies that his heart may be weak, but it's not alone. It had grown with all of his experiences and friends, they had become part of his heart as he became part of theirs, and if they thought of each other, their hearts would be one. "I don't need a weapon. My friends are my power!" he finishes. To Riku's astonishment, the Keyblade leaves his hands, and returns to Sora. Riku fights Sora, but is defeated, and runs away into the castle.
He questions aloud as he returns to the castle chapel why the Keyblade left him, and is then confronted by a robed figure, who informs him that the heart that was strong and true would win the Keyblade, and that for that instant, Sora's heart was stronger than Riku's. He offers him a way to become stronger, surrendering his heart to darkness and becoming darkness itself. Riku submits to the stranger.
Riku, in his darker form, is next seen meeting with Maleficent at the world's Keyhole. In a warped voice, he informs her that unlocking it would result in the Heartless overrunning that world. Maleficent states that she does not care, and that she will not be controlled by the darkness, but use its power to rule all worlds. "Riku" remarks on her confidence, and then summons a Keyblade forged from the hearts of the princess. There is no reaction, however, and Maleficent turns to Kairi, the seventh princess of Heart, realizing that without her heart, she could not unleash her power. At that point, Sora and his friends near them, and Maleficent goes to fight them. Upon her defeat, she stumbles away, heavily damaged, and "Riku" appears next to her, asking if she needs help. Sora and his friends then appear, and Donald sees the Keyblade "Riku" holds. "Riku" says that his Keyblade has the power to unlock others' hearts, and demonstrates by stabbing Maleficent, forcing her to open herself to the darkness. She reacts in ecstasy to feeling the power of the true darkness, and takes on her dragon form. Ultimately, however, she is slain by Sora, and "Riku" appears to remark on how ironic it was that Maleficent was just another puppet of the darkness before leaving.
When Sora arrives at the Keyhole and finds Kairi's comatose form, he attempts to wake her, but is informed by "Riku", sitting nearby, that "that girl" had lost her heart and could not awaken. Hearing this, Sora realizes that he's not Riku. "Riku" ignores this, jumping down from his perch while stating that the Keyhole could not be completed while the last princess of heart sleeps. He confirms to Sora that Kairi is that princess, and states that without her power, the Keyhole would never be complete, and it was time that she awakened. Sora tells him to release Riku and give him back his heart. "Riku" ignores this as well, and states that Sora must return the princess's heart. Sora's heart flashes, and he falls down in pain and confusion. "Riku" informs him that Kairi's heart had been there all along, within Sora. He then states that he knows all that there is to know, and Sora asks who he is. "Riku" then reveals himself as Ansem, the Seeker of Darkness, and approaches Sora. Donald attempts to stop him, but is knocked aside with a casual punch. Standing before Sora, Ansem states that he will release the princess's heart, completing the keyhole, opening the door, and leading him into everlasting darkness. He prepares to strike Sora, but at the last moment, Sora hears Kairi call out to him, and blocks the blow with his own Keyblade, stating that Ansem will not take Kairi's heart. The two clash, and Sora proves victorious. Ansem vanishes, leaving only his Keyblade, and Sora then attempts to seal the Keyhole. However, without Kairi's power to complete it, it proves unable to be sealed. Understanding what has to be done, Sora takes the Keyblade that Ansem left and stabs himself, unlocking his own heart. The Keyblade breaks apart into the hearts of the other six princesses, which return to their owners, while Kairi's heart emerges from Sora's body and returns to her. Sora manages to smile as he sees her awaken, even as his form begins to break apart into light. Seeing Sora fall, Kairi runs forward to catch him, but his form dissolves into pure light, and vanishes.Moments after this, Ansem reappears in his true form, stating that now that the Keyhole was complete, Kairi had no further use to him. He moves towards her, Donald and Goofy standing before him to guard Kairi, though not confident that they can win against him, but Ansem begins to struggle. An aura of Riku's true form appears, stating that Ansem won't use him to attack Kairi. He holds him back long enough for Kairi, Donald, and Goofy to escape.
Sora is later restored thanks to Kairi, and departs safely from Hollow Bastion. In his absence, Ansem is absorbed into the darkness flowing from the Keyhole, while Riku's spirit is imprisoned within the realm of darkness. He wonders if it is the afterworld, and he states that he's not ready, not before he sees Sora and Kairi again. A voice calls out to him, informing him that his heart had won the battle against darkness, but it was too late for his body, which was why he was where he was. The voice informs that he has the other Keyblade, the one that belongs to that realm, and that the Door to Darkness will open soon, and must be closed from both sides, with two keys and two hearts. The voice remarks that perhaps Riku was there for the same reason he was, and that it may be fate. Riku remarks on this, and asks the voice if Sora and Kairi are all right, since he knows so much. The voice replies that Riku already knows the answer, and tells him to look into his heart. Smiling, Riku confirms that he's right.
When Sora, Donald, and Goofy succeed in defeating Ansem, who opened the door to the realm of darkness as his last act, they attempt to close the door. Riku appears on the other side as Sora loses hope, and encourages him to keep trying. They try more to close the door, but as Heartless appear on the other side, hope seems to be lost, until the Heartless are suddenly slain. The one who destroyed them with the dark realm's Keyblade then reveals himself to be none other than King Mickey, and encourages Sora to help him close the door for good, stating that there will always be a door to the light. Thus encouraged, they successfully close the door, and Riku's last words to Sora before the door closes are "Take care of her." Sora nods, and then closes the door before he and King Mickey seal it from both sides.
After Riku escaped the Realm of Darkness he was sleeping in a white space then hears a voice that calls out to him, revealed to be Mickey Mouse.
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. He is shocked by her appearance 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 singlehandedly.
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 the final boss of the game, as the game ends with the battle between him and Roxas depicted in several scenes in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, including the secret endings of Another Side, Another Story... and Deep Dive.
He allies 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.
Near the top of the Castle That Never Was, 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.
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.
Sora then manages to open the Door to Light, as King Mickey predicted while he read Kairi's Letter, 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.
In one of the memories recovered from the journal, Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, and Riku encounter each other shortly before Destiny Islands is completely swallowed by the darkness. At the last minute, Ansem opens a portal for Riku, allowing him to escape.
In another memory, revealed to Data-Sora in the digital version of Castle Oblivion, Riku stands on top of the Clock Tower with an unconscious Kairi, looking out at the moon.</p>
The real Riku does not appear again until the end of the game with the real Sora and Kairi as they read Mickey's letter. This scene corresponds the final scene of Kingdom Hearts II.
During the events of Birth by Sleep, Riku was a five year old boy who lived on Destiny Islands, along with Sora. They have always trained and pushed each other to make one another stronger. When Terra visits their home world, Riku says that Master Xehanort has already passed by Destiny Islands, which preoccupies Terra. Terra has a vision of Riku's future self, making him choose Riku as his successor, and submits him to the Keyblade Inheritance Ceremony, but asks to keep this conversation as a secret to keep the world's order.
Summoned by Yen Sid alongside Sora, Riku learns the truth of Master Xehanort and his impending return. Riku and Sora are tasked with the mission to awaken seven different worlds from a state of sleep as part of their Mark of Mastery exam. However, as he and Sora go through these worlds deep within the Realm of Sleep in new attire, Riku encounters both "Ansem" and a younger incarnation of Master Xehanort.
Ending up in The Castle that Never Was, Riku learns that Sora was captured by the new Organization XIII. Riku faces off against Xehanort's younger self in battle before Master Xehanort reveals himself. Revealing his overall scheme and role in the events of the years before, Xehanort reveals that Riku was originally planned to be the final vessel to complete the new Organization. However, Riku's ability to resist "Ansem" and retrain his inner darkness forces Xehanort to make Sora into a suitable replacement. Restrained by "Ansem" so not to interfere, Riku is saved when Donald and Goofy arrive after Lea. After Master Xehanort and his group leave, Riku and the others take Sora back to Yen Sid's tower where he enters Sora's dream world to save him. Soon after, Riku learns that Yen Sid had deemed him to pass the Mark of Mastery and is entitled a Keyblade Master. Afterward, Riku brings Kairi to Yen Sid at his request so she may begin training with her Keyblade.
- Riku's name is derived from the Japanese word for "land".
- 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.
- Riku is similar to Elsa the Snow Queen from Frozen as both have been antagonized by their villains, and both try to cover up their mistakes (Riku: Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, Elsa: Hans and The Duke of Weselton). Also, they ultimately manage to control the powers that they view as a curse by accepting them and guiding them to help their friends. However, Elsa never really intended to harm anyone, unlike Riku, who attacked Sora and his friends multiple times (especially in the first game) simply out of jealousy.
- In Kingdom Hearts, Riku wears a garment called "wading pants". These are used by people that walk in high water regularly, like fisherman, suggesting that Riku spent a lot of time walking in the ocean.
- Riku's cutting of his hair after the events of Kingdom Hearts II can represent a major change in his life, and is likely why he cut it. It can symbolize cutting away his mistakes and starting over, as his hair had grown very long while he was aligned with the darkness.
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