Kingdom Hearts’ Main Characters, Compared Through the Years
Sora (Kingdom Hearts)
Sora, our leading man as a prepubescent boy in oversized shorts, swinging a Keyblade almost the size of him two-handed when he debuted in the original Kingdom Hearts. There’s a lot more color and bounce to Sora’s earliest design, his shoes and pants mirroring Mickey’s, looking right at home next to Disney’s finest.
Sora (Kingdom Hearts 2)
Still all smiles, Sora matured and grew up a lot between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II for fairly spoilerish reasons. Swinging his Keyblade over his shoulder, we see his colorful design recede with maturity, his staple grin, however, remaining firmly in place.
Sora (Birth by Sleep)
Playing little more than a cameo role in Birth by Sleep, he lives on the Destiny Islands with his friends, yet remains key to the narrative. As the earliest incarnation of Sora, we see him growing his first Square-Enix certified spikes, still rocking bombastic footwear at an early age.
Sora (Kingdom Hearts 3)
From child to veritable youth, Sora’s swapped color and whimsy for battle-ready gray. There’s a lot less exaggeration in the proportions of his latest design, Sora’s now a full-fledged hero, having truly grown into the role after all these years.
Riku (Kingdom Hearts)
Sora’s edgier foil and beloved friend Riku, who similarly dons ballooning pantaloons in Kingdom Hearts. There’s a lot more color to Riku here, true for many of the characters in the first title, still just a kid despite already looking like a brooding teen. Riku soon opts for darker attire, as he’s swayed in and out of the darkness through the series, slowly learning to control it. But here we see him, innocent to the world that soon corrupts him.
Riku (Kingdom Hearts 2)
Edgier than ever and developing a piercing scowl below his feathery bangs, Riku appears an adult next to Sora. Seemingly absent from Kingdom Hearts 2, he works under the guise of another, his true appearance baring a similar affinity for sleeveless jackets. His hair’s grown wild and long during his time in the darkness, Riku more mysterious than ever, his clothing plain, his expression blank.
Riku (358/2 Days)
Riku decked in the full black regalia of Organization XIII, used as a disguise as he moves to help Sora whilst he sleeps, tackling the Organization and assisting Namine. Having fallen to the darkness and wrestling to take control, he blindfolds himself, so “his eyes couldn’t lie” about the dark power he holds within him.
Riku (Birth by Sleep)
Back when he was but an innocent babe in Birth by Sleep, Riku met Terra, who bestowed strength upon him as someone who sought the power to protect those he loves. Sporting the brightest jacket, we see these colors fade as Riku matures into a colder, darker teen – far removed from the cartoonish Sora.
Riku (Kingdom Hearts 3)
When we talk about glo-ups, Riku should really be at the top of every list. Gone are the long locks of youth, replaced with a thorny crown of spikes, resembling an albino Noctis of Final Fantasy XV fame. That new Keyblade isn’t to be laughed at either, having earned the Mark of Mastery in Dream Drop Distance, his hard-earned weapon is far removed from the same darkness his old blades stemmed from. This is a Riku who knows exactly who he is, ready to fight alongside his childhood friends, with a good handle on the darkness which once consumed him.
Kairi (Kingdom Hearts)
A Princess of Heart yet appearing to be a complete tomboy, she spent her youth adventuring with Sora and Riku on the Destiny Islands before they were eventually taken by the darkness. The driving force of the first game, she retains purple and pink hues in her designs as she ages with the series.
Kairi (Kingdom Hearts 2)
Having all but forgotten Sora thanks to Namine, she still manages to hold onto pieces of him whilst everyone else forgot him entirely. Now 15, she allows her hair to grow, removed from the boys of her youth whom she deeply misses. Out of the action for the bulk of the game, Riku gives her a Keyblade of her own, Destiny’s Embrace, allowing her to defend herself.
Kairi (Birth by Sleep)
Also appearing in a cameo role, Kairi as a little girl meets Aqua, who bestows her with her own magic and unintentionally, a Keyblade. At her youngest, she retains a short hairdo and lives with her grandmother, who raises her on stories of the battles between light and darkness. She lived in Radiant Garden which was consumed by darkness, Aqua’s charm protecting her and leading her to the Destiny Islands where she met Riku and Sora.
Kairi (Kingdom Hearts 3)
Kairi isn’t just watching anymore. Kairi’s ready to fight. With straps, a hood, and Destiny’s Embrace, Kairi isn’t just some ditzy damsel, but a Keyblade wielder in training. Reunited with her friends, she cuts her hair, a heroine garbed to be in the center of the action, no longer the fringes. She’s come a long way from the first PS2 title, they all have.
Be sure to search for Twinfinite for more information on Kingdom Hearts 3.