- “I know the Keyblade didn't choose me, and I don't care. I'm proud to be a small part of something bigger - the people it did choose. My friends. They are my power!”
Sora (ソラ) is the protagonist of the Kingdom Hearts video game series. He is a teenager who originates from the Destiny Islands but obtains the Keyblade, a weapon used to fight creatures known as the Heartless. In order to find the King Mickey, Donald Duck and Goofy recruit him in their journey across various worlds to save them from darkness, as well as find Sora's friends. Throughout the games, Sora journeys throughout worlds, interacting with various Disney characters as he gains experience with the Keyblade as well as his growth as its wielder.
Sora was designed by Tetsuya Nomura as the protagonist of Kingdom Hearts. However, he was not originally slated to be the protagonist, as Disney wanted Donald Duck to be the protagonist of the game, while Square wanted to have Mickey Mouse as the protagonist. Nomura wanted neither as the protagonist of the game, and went on to design his own protagonist with the concepts of the Disney characters in mind, which resulted in the creation of Sora. Sora originally wielded a weapon resembling a chainsaw; however, the weapon was not well received by Disney which led Nomura to redesign the weapon into a Keyblade. Sora's original outfit in Kingdom Hearts was also designed with Mickey Mouse in mind with Mickey Mouse's trademark white gloves, red shorts and giant yellow shoes due to Square's original preference to have Mickey as the main character of the game. The tail was removed because the staff found his design to be similar to the one of the Final Fantasy IX protagonist Zidane Tribal who also had a tail. After a talk with the Disney staff, the design was further reworked, and Nomura finished it after a night's worth of work.
One of the main concepts of Sora's character in the series is that, according to Nomura, he is a normal boy instead of a supernatural being even though he is deeply connected with other characters from the series. With Sora, Nomura wants to give players the message that even though they are not important people, they can have the opportunity to accomplish notable actions. This was emphasized in Birth by Sleep's secret ending, game in which he hoped players would like to see him. In early versions of development of Birth by Sleep, Nomura thought that Ventus would actually be Sora before being reborn, but due to overseas opinions, such portrayal was discarded. Nomura has stated that Sora's name can be interpreted as "sky" as his name, means sky in Japanese and was also chosen by Nomura to symbolize his role as well as personality in the story.
Sora is a brave and heroic boy who is extremely loyal to his friends, valuing his friendship with them above all else. He is an optimist and has a strong sense of justice, enabling him to take charge of his group when no one else can. However, he is rather oblivious at times, and is often quick to anger whenever he's confused, and is quite childish at times. He is also quite impulsive, as he tends to jump into things without thinking them through beforehand.
In addition, a recurring trait Sora possesses is competitiveness, which has often pitted him against fights with those stronger than him, to the point this has grown to a level of arrogance witnessed in Dream Drop Distance when Sora claims that he is already unbeatable even after the threat of Xehanort has been explained to him. When Sora is captured and nearly converted into a pawn of Xehanort, Sora remembers his humility and learns of his limits that he humbly accepts his failure of the exam.
Despite his flaws, Sora is dedicated and kind, making up for his weaknesses with his benevolent and endearing personality. As such, his ability to forgive is incredible along with his ability to connect to others and quickly befriend them. As the series progresses, Sora learns from his past mistakes and becomes less selfish over time as he learns how powerful the heart can be and fight with this in mind.
In most of his appearances, Sora is a slender teenager with spiky brown hair (later becoming a caramel color), peach skin, and blue eyes. When he was fourteen, Sora's attire was based around Mickey Mouse's; he had a red jumpsuit with puffy shorts with a long zipper, white gloves with blue, black and yellow straps, and large black-and-yellow shoes. In addition, he wore a black hoodie with white sleeves and a blue inside over his jumpsuit and a loose blue belt with a crown-chain hanging on the left side of his shorts. He wears the crown pendant around his neck.
At age fifteen in Kingdom Hearts II, Sora undergoes a growth spurt, but his appearance does not change that much other than having more matured looks. Sora wears a new outfit that is a black edition of his previous clothing, with the exception of the undershirt; the hoodie is completely black with white lining, but has silver patches on his shoulder. His black pants have yellow straps across them along with a patch of navy blue and silver edges. His undershirt is navy blue with a red patch in the center with a black belt under it. Red pockets appear on the sides of the pants with a black cross over them. His gloves, now black, have a white inside with a yellow line running around them. His shoes remain with a similar color scheme to his previous outfit, but with a few modifications: the black-and-yellow pattern is reversed and now has a zipper running across the top with white edges along the rim. This change of clothes has magical properties, and can make him into the stronger Valor Form with the help of Goofy, which turns his clothes red, the magic-stronger Wisdom Form with the help of Donald, turning his clothes blue, Master Form or Final Form with the help of all his friends in battle, both forms much stronger with magic and physical strength. His clothes turn yellow in Master Form and white in Final Form, where he floats in the air. He can also go Limit Form with the help of distant friends. This reverts him to his KH 1 clothes. However, if he Limit Drives too much (with the exception of Final Form), the darkness in his heart overpowers him and turns him into Anti-Form, a black, Heartless-like version of himself who can only attack with speed and claws. This also uses the power of both friends in battle. He is extremely strong, which is depicted by his appearance. In fact, he is so strong that he can withstand several gunshots and can destroy Heartless with a single hit.
Sora's appearance can vary on the world he visits. He becomes a Merman when visiting Atlantica, a classic black and white anime character in Timeless River (where he also wore his KH1 outfit despite it being KH2), and more drastically, a brown furred lion cub in the Pride Lands. He sometimes wears an appropriate outfit as well, such as a Data armor in Space Paranoids, and a Halloween and Christmas outfit in the Nightmare Before Christmas world.
Powers and Abilities
Sora's primary strength lies in his ability to use the Keyblade, which not only allows him to vanquish the Heartless and other Darkness-based beings, but also acts as his primary weapon against foes big and small. Unlike other Keyblade wielders, Sora did not inherit the ability to use the Keyblade from someone else. Instead, it chose him over Riku, it's true owner, due to the darkness in Riku's heart when the two of them were being absorbed by the darkness engulfing Destiny Islands. Over the course of the series, Sora becomes a skilled fighter and has triumphed in various feats against the most dangerous of the game's enemies. He is extremely strong, as he can crush rocks and some extremely powerful Heartless with a strike of the Keyblade. (His strength affects the Keyblade's strength).
Sora is also knowledgeable with magic, which allows him to cast various spells to aid him or cause damage onto foes. He can also use spells to heal himself and his allies or revive them whenever they fall in battle. Applying magic with his fighting skill, Sora can access other magical abilities that affect his own physical prowess, such as Drive Forms. However, these abilities only last for short periods of time.
Sora is also able to fight in combined attacks with allies or other characters. With allies, Sora can perform special attacks known as Limits in combat. In cases when the character is not physically available, Sora has the ability to summon them via Summon Gem, card, or charm for a temporary time.
In the Destiny Islands, Sora and his two friends, Riku and Kairi, begin work on a raft, hoping to leave the island and sail to new worlds. One day while exploring, Sora rediscovers the "Secret Place" he and Riku found when they were young. On the wall, he draws himself giving a paopu fruit to Kairi. Suddenly, an unknown figure in a brown hooded cloak warns Sora that the world will be consumed by darkness before vanishing when Sora looks away at the strange door in the rock wall at the back of the cave.
That night, when a great storm hits the island, Sora checks the raft. He sees a dark cloud in the sky and notices that the islands are being overrun with Heartless. As the island is being devoured by the darkness, Sora searches for his friends and finds Riku near the paopu tree. Although Sora wishes to get Riku to safety, Riku refuses, and tells Sora that the door to other worlds has been opened and that he does not fear the darkness on the other side. As Sora reaches towards his friend, they both sink into the darkness. Before Sora is consumed, he receives the Keyblade, which chooses him as it wielder and frees him from the darkness. Using the Keyblade, Sora fights the Heartless and reaches the Secret Place, finding Kairi. Before he can help, the door flies open. Kairi disappears and Sora is blown outside where he disappears into the darkness after defeating the large Pureblood Heartless Darkside.
Thanks to Pluto licking his face, Sora comes to in Traverse Town. After Pluto runs off, Sora meets Leon and Yuffie. The two explain the Keyblade and the Heartless to him. Next, he meets Donald and Goofy. The three fight numerous surrounding Soldier Heartless alongside their leader, the Emblem Heartless Guard Armor. After they introduce themselves, Donald and Goofy invite Sora to travel to other worlds with them, because of King Mickey's request. Hoping to find his friends, Sora agrees to accompany them.
Sora begins traveling through many worlds, becoming good friends with Donald and Goofy and making other friends also. Sora encounters Riku, who is being manipulated by Maleficent, numerous times and each time he sees Riku, his old friend becomes increasingly more aggressive and hostile. Riku eventually turns against Sora, leaves him alone to fight off Heartless, and takes Kairi with him.
Fighting courageously, Sora goes on to Hollow Bastion, where Maleficent set up her headquarters. Again, he encounters Riku, who has just defeated the Beast, who had come to rescue Belle out of sheer willpower. Defending the Beast, Sora stands against Riku. However, Riku takes control of Sora's Keyblade, claiming that he is the true master of the Keyblade. Reluctantly, Donald and Goofy go with Riku, because of the King's instructions to stay with the Keyblade. Sora is left alone with the Beast, but the two join forces and go into the castle. When they are separated by Beast falling for a trick regarding Belle becoming a Shadow Heartless, Riku, along with Donald and Goofy, confronts Sora again, but Sora will not give in to Riku. Donald and Goofy choose to abandon Riku and go with Sora because of their friendship with him. Because he has his friends, his heart finds new strength, allowing Sora to take the Keyblade back, to Riku's disbelief and shock that the Keyblade abandoned him so shortly after claiming it, and brings down Riku, who retreats in disgrace and shame.
When the group find a comatose Kairi with the rest of the princesses in the Great Hall, Sora rushes to her to wake her up. Riku (now possessed by Ansem) appears and reveals that Kairi is asleep because her heart was within Sora the whole time, and proceeds to extract it from Sora, but Sora refuses to let Ansem take it so easily and faces him in combat. After defeating Ansem, Sora stabs himself with Ansem's Keyblade in order to release Kairi and the rest of the princesses' hearts, causing Sora to fade away and turn into a Heartless. Although confused in his new form, Sora follows Donald, Goofy and Kairi back to the Entrance Hall, where Kairi is able to recognize him and manages to turn Sora back to normal. However, the group is forced to flee as Heartless begin to flood Hollow Bastion from the unsealed Keyhole, placing Kairi in the safety of Traverse Town while the trio returns to close the final Keyhole, being aided by the awoken Princesses with holding back the darkness coming from the Keyhole, and the Beast, who refused to leave Hollow Bastion so long as he was reunited with Belle and could protect her from the Heartless.
Although successful, they discover that Ansem has departed to open Kingdom Hearts itself. Sora and company proceed to track Ansem down to the Door to Darkness in the End of the World and defeat him after he transforms himself and his Guardian into the World of Chaos in a final attempt to defeat them and claim victory. Ansem, severely weakened and in desperation, tries to open the door, but Sora states that behind the door is light, which vaporizes Ansem.
Unfortunately, with the door opened, Heartless begin appearing. Sora, Donald, and Goofy attempt to close the door before the Heartless can come through, and receive help from the other side by Riku and King Mickey, where Sora and Mickey use their Keyblades to seal the Door to Darkness, leaving Riku and Mickey on the other side.
As the End of the World breaks apart, Sora finds Kairi and promises to return to her before they are separated, with Kairi returning to Destiny Islands. The game concludes with Sora, Donald and Goofy ending up in a grassy field when Pluto appears with a letter from Mickey, causing the trio to chase after the dog, believing he will lead them to King Mickey and Riku.
Continuing from Kingdom Hearts, Sora appears alongside Donald and Goofy chasing after Pluto. After losing the dog, the group stumbles upon the mysterious Castle Oblivion. After entering it, the trio finds themselves trapped in it and have forgotten their abilities. In order to restore them, they will need to go through the castle and pass every floor. On each floor, figments of Sora's memories are used to create memory-based duplicates of worlds they have visited in the past, interacting with the facsimiles of all the characters they meet in the first game.
As they journey, Sora begins to "remember" a girl named Naminé, and becomes obsessed with finding her. However, when he finally meets Naminé, Naminé tries to remind Sora of Kairi, but the Riku Replica interrupts. In order to stop him from fighting, Naminé breaks the memories in his heart. Larxene arrives and reveals that the Riku that Sora was fighting is actually a replica created by Vexen and that Naminé has been manipulating both his and Sora's memories as part of Marluxia's plot to take control of the Organization by controlling Sora.
After the defeat of Larxene, Naminé explains her wrongdoings to the group, but Sora forgives her.
On the thirteenth floor, the group comes to face Marluxia, so that Naminé can restore their memories. When the trio confront Marluxia, they find aid from the Riku Replica, who protects Naminé from the final battle while Sora takes on Marluxia. Although Sora succeeds in destroying Marluxia's decoy and the real one, Naminé has Sora, Donald, and Goofy enter Memory Pods where they will sleep in order to restore their memories.
Although the process will cause them to forget Naminé, Sora promises that her memory will stay in his heart and he will find her again.
Sora awakens from his year-long slumber in the basement of the Old Mansion in Twilight Town following the merging of him and Roxas, his Nobody. After visiting Master Yen Sid (and a brief encounter with Mickey and Pete beforehand), Sora embarks on a new quest to defeat the Heartless remaining in the worlds and meet friends old and new. As the journey progresses, Sora vows to find both Kairi and Riku after learning that Kairi was spotted in Twilight Town with Hayner, Pence, and Olette, but was then kidnapped by Axel with her whereabouts after that unknown.
In Hollow Bastion, Sora, Donald, and Goofy reunite with Mickey, who reveals to them that the "Ansem" they defeated in End of the World was a Heartless who had been impersonating Ansem the Wise, and that his Nobody counterpart heads Organization XIII, whom they had fought members of back at Castle Oblivion. As the realization dawns upon the group, and Sora is initially angry at what Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, put him and his friends through, Organization XIII begins a massive invasion of Hollow Bastion at the same time as Maleficent and Pete, and the residents start taking on waves of Heartless and Nobodies. Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Mickey enter the battle until Sora confronts the Organization's leader, Xemnas, who Mickey realizes is the Nobody of Ansem's apprentice, Xehanort. Xemnas retreats, with Mickey following after him. Saïx informs Sora that he has custody of Kairi, and that the goal of the Organization is the formation of Kingdom Hearts, which Sora is helping to complete by slaying so many Heartless. Sora is conflicted by this, but is able to escape the battle with unlikely help from Maleficent. Afterwards, Sora becomes determined to find Riku and Kairi and stop the Organization, despite Sora's worries about using the Keyblade to fulfill exactly what Xemnas wants with adding more hearts to the Organization's Kingdom Hearts and allow them to realize their goal.
Eventually, the group encounters Axel in Twilight Town, who sacrifices himself to wipe out the Nobodies ambushing them. As he lays fading away, Axel apologizes for kidnapping Kairi and opens a portal to the Organization's world, The World That Never Was.
Once inside the Organization's castle, the group fights their way through the castle until Sora reunites with Kairi and Riku, the latter in the form of Xehanort's Heartless, on the castle's upper level. Together, the group continue onward and destroy the remaining Organization members, including Luxord and Saïx. When they reach Mickey and Ansem, Ansem tries to seal Kingdom Hearts by encoding it as data, only to be confronted by Xemnas, who taunts Ansem over his past mistakes. The encoder explodes, severely damaging Kingdom Hearts, which restores Riku to his true form, but causes Ansem to disappear. The damage causes Heartless to spawn, but Maleficent and Pete hold them off while everyone heads for Xemnas.
At the top of the castle, the group confronts Xemnas, who begins to fight Sora. After being defeated, Xemnas merges with the remains of Kingdom Hearts, forcing Sora and company to pursue him and manage to defeat him. After Xemnas' apparent death, Roxas and Naminé appear before Sora and Kairi before returning to them. While everyone begins evacuating from the world through Naminé's Corridor of Darkness, the portal suddenly closes on Sora and Riku before they can follow Kairi, and Xemnas reappears to them, forcing them into battling him. After many battles, the duo finally destroys him for good.
Trapped in the Realm of Darkness, Sora and Riku wander until they finds a bottled letter from Kairi. Reading the letter, the Door to Light appears before them and sends them back to Destiny Islands, where they are reunited with Kairi, Donald, Goofy, and Mickey. Sora returns Kairi's Lucky Charm to her, happy to be back.
Sora himself does not appear in the game, but a data version of Sora created by Mickey is sent into Jiminy's Journal to discover the source of the mysterious message and rid the journal of countless bugs. Eventually, Data-Sora and Mickey find Data-Naminé, who reveals that she was responsible and the message is for the real Sora, who must venture out on another quest to save those connected to his heart, namely the real Naminé, Roxas, Xion, Axel, Terra, Aqua and Ventus. In the real world, Sora is seen receiving the bottled letter from Mickey that had appeared at the end of Kingdom Hearts II.
Set during the year after Kingdom Hearts, the game follows Sora's Nobody Roxas and his time in the Organization XIII. Sora himself appears as a silent character and referenced by other characters. While sleeping, his Memory Pod is moved to Twilight Town's Old Mansion by Naminé and DiZ. When Xion, a replica of Roxas, absorbs Sora's memories through Roxas, she eventually takes on Sora's form until she is absorbed by Roxas. To complete Sora, DiZ sends Riku to capture Roxas with the intention of merging him with Sora, which begins the events of Kingdom Hearts II.
In the prequel set ten years before Kingdom Hearts, Sora appears as a 4-year-old found in the Destiny Islands along with a young Riku. During this time, he saw Terra and Aqua, two Keyblade wielders, though he does not communicate with Terra. When Aqua met Sora and Riku, she senses that their friendship parallels that of Ventus and Terra, and she tells Sora to protect Riku if he ever falls into darkness, to which Sora agrees to. It is later revealed that when Sora was born, his heart had joined with Ventus' when the Keyblade wielder was damaged by the creation of Vanitas, enabling Ventus to later contact the young Sora when his heart was lost after the destruction of Vanitas. Wanting to make Ven feel better, Sora accepted the heart and allowed it to merge with him.
Sora and Riku are first seen in the Destiny Islands in this game.They are attacked by Ursula, but manage to defeat her in a quick battle. Then, in response to the imminent return of Xehanort, they are summoned to the Mysterious Tower in order to take the Mark of Mastery exam and become Keyblade Masters. Sora boasts that he can take down Xehanort without the need of a test, although he follows the task when Yen Sid presents their test to enter the Sleeping Worlds which were left submerged in sleep following Ansem's defeat and awaken them.
At the beginning of his journey, Sora is given a new attire and abilities, including the ability to summon Dream Eaters. After meeting Neku Sakuraba in Traverse Town, Sora begins venturing across more sleeping worlds and sealing their keyholes.
After Sora seals all seven keyholes, he finds himself in The World That Never Was and is confronted by Xigbar, who explains that he and his companions had orchestrated Sora's journey. Eventually, Sora approaches both Xemnas and Xigbar, who explain that the true purpose of Organization XIII was to create thirteen vessels to harbor pieces of Master Xehanort's heart, with Sora being their intended thirteenth vessel. Sora refuses to give in and, motivated by those connected to him, he fights and defeats Xemnas. However, Sora's heart is badly weakened and he falls into a deep sleep, and is taken to the Castle That Never Was.
Riku and Mickey locate Sora in the castle and save him with the help of Donald, Goofy, and Lea. However, Sora is still comatose when he is brought back to the Mysterious Tower, so Riku must dive into Sora's heart and battles Sora enveloped by Ventus's heart, which has been possessed by a Nightmare. Riku defeats the Nightmare, allowing Sora to wake up. Yen Sid concludes the exam with naming Riku as a Keyblade Master.
Despite failing, Sora congratulates Riku and decides to embark on a new journey, ending the game by traveling to the sleeping Traverse Town, where he is reunited with the Dream Eaters he had befriended.
Sora only makes a minor appearance in the game's ending where he returns to Mysterious Tower from his journey after Mickey, Riku, and Kairi had left. Sora is informed by Yen Sid that he lost most of his powers due to Xehanort's attempt to take control of his body and he needs the help of someone who lost their strength but later learned to regain it to help provide the necessary advice on where he might go to in order to get his powers back with Donald and Goofy accompanying him.
Despite some initial trouble in getting the Gummi Ship to work due to the closed lane, remembering Yen Sid's advice about "let your heart be your guiding key", Sora is able to open a pathway to his next destination with his Keyblade, Olympus Colosseum.
Sora briefly appeared as a walk around character at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party when Chain of Memories was first released at the Magic Kingdom. The costume was used for other promotional events for the series around that time in Japan.
A statue of Sora was viewable for a month to promote the release of Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded at Tokyo DisneySea.
Appearances in other media
Sora makes a guest appearance as a Free DLC Summon champion in the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita game World of Final Fantasy. This mark's Sora's first appearance in a mainstream Final Fantasy title. In this title he sports his outfit worn in Dream Drop Distance.
- Sora's name is Japanese for "sky" (空), as part of the name theme he shares with Riku and Kairi. Together, their names make up "Land, Sea, Sky".
- In English, Sora is voiced by Haley Joel Osment, who has also voiced the following Disney characters:
- It is possible the Darkside Heartless that constantly attacked Sora in the first game is a reflection of Sora's inner darkness. Evidence supporting this includes Sora's shadow turning into Darkside in Sora's Awakening, and Sora's Heartless transforming into Darkside after collecting enough data in Re:Coded'. Also, the Darkside Heartless is currently the only Heartless to appear in every game in the series so far, possibly alluding to the fact that Darkness is never far from the Light. In this case, Sora is Light, and Darkside is Darkness.
- It was initially believed that Sora was in the Tapper scene in the 2012 film Wreck-It Ralph, though it was later discovered to actually be a cowboy from Tapper. Had he appeared, Sora would've been the only Disney character originating from a Disney game to appear in the film, though a graffiti of his crown necklace appears in the portal to Hero's Duty.
- Although none of the parents of the characters on the Destiny Islands are shown on screen, Sora's mother can be heard calling him for dinner during the calamity in the first game. Also, in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Sora mentions both his mother and father while reminiscing about Naminé, and Riku mentions Sora's father to Terra in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.
- According to Santa Claus, when Sora was eight, he told everyone that he did not believe in Santa Claus. However, it was hinted that Riku told him not to.
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