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|Role||Neutral (Birth By Sleep)|
Keyblade Wielder (Dream Drop Distance)
|Origin||Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep|
|Home World||Radiant Garden|
- "I just couldn't get mine to materialize. Must be in the snap of the wrist or something."
- —Lea to Sora about his Keyblade
Lea is the original persona of Axel, and a close friend of Isa, Saïx's original persona. He appears in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, as a teenager, alongside Isa, and then in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance as an adult.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
A likable, upbeat boy who tends to jump into things without consulting anybody else---sometimes with disastrous results. He seems to be hung up on other people remembering him, and taught Ventus the importance of making friends.
He and his own best friend, Isa, have bigger plans.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
While Ventus is in the Radiant Garden, Lea walks by, picking up the Wooden Keyblade that Ventus had dropped on the ground. He asks Ventus if it's his. When Ventus responds that it is, Lea says it's cute how he still plays with wooden swords despite his age, and takes out his Frisbees. The two introduce themselves, and then Lea calls for a one-on-one fight, finally prompting a smile from Ventus.
After the battle, Lea calls Isa out for not trying to make up excuses for his loss and cheer him up, causing him, Ventus, and Isa to laugh. He then tells Ventus that they'll meet again someday, since they are now friends. After that, Lea tells Isa of how he wants everyone he meets to remember him, that way, he'll become immortal through their memories, though Isa jokes that Lea will be immortal for being obnoxious. The two walk off and look up at the castle, apparently 'ready.' For what it is they are ready for is never actually specified.
Sometime after Terra-Xehanort is defeated, Lea and Isa's plan is revealed, as both were seen being thrown out of the castle by Dilan with Aeleus looking on nearby. In the next scene, Lea buys sea-salt ice cream from Scrooge McDuck and gives one to Isa as they stare up into the sky.
Lea's and Ventus's newfound friendship makes many possible references to the subsequent friendship between Axel and Roxas.
Between Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
At some point, Lea broke into Ansem the Wise's castle again with Isa, unfortunately making his way to the computer room, where the no-longer-amnesiac Xehanort was unlocking the hearts of others for his plan to gather twelve empty vessels to house fragments of his heart. Lea had his heart removed, leading to the creation of his Nobody, whom Xemnas, Xehanort's Nobody, named Axel. He joined the ranks of the Organization as Number VIII. Along with Saix, Axel formulated a plan to get their lost hearts back.
Sometime after Axel's sacrifice, with his Heartless counterpart defeated at an unknown time, Lea has a dream of Roxas reminding him that he promised to always bring them (himself and Xion) back before coming to in Ansem's computer room in Radiant Garden. Lea wonders what happened to him before noticing his reflection in the window facing the Heartless Manufactory and realizing he is a complete being again due to lacking the marks below his eyes he had as Axel. Also realizing that Dilan, Even, Aeleus, and Ienzo are also normal again, Lea notices that aside from Xehanort, both Braig and Isa are missing.
Later, Lea talks with Aeleus and Ienzo in Ansem's study after searching the castle for the other revived members of the Organization. Ienzo, who is surprisingly not angry with Lea for using the Riku Replica to kill him as Zexion, says that the others could have awakened in other worlds between the realms of light and darkness, like Traverse Town. Reading Ansem the Wise's notes about the Door to Darkness, Lea says he will go look for them, stating how he dislikes "always being stuck with the icky jobs."
From within a Corridor of Darkness, Lea saves Mickey and Minnie from Maleficent and Pete with his Chakrams in Disney Castle. After Pete and Maleficent leave, he proceeds to introduce himself, saying "My name is...Lea" along with his trademark "Got it Memorized?" In the Mysterious Tower, Lea meets with Yen Sid and asks to undergo the training to become a Keyblade Wielder, regardless of the latter warning him of the dangers that might befall him. In a special area where time flows differently, Lea undergoes hastened training with help from Merlin and the Three Good Fairies.
Later in Where Nothing Gathers, though unable to utilize a Keyblade at the time, Lea shows up just in time to save a comatose Sora from Master Xehanort's attempt to convert the youth into his final vessel. After answering Braig that he made a promise to Roxas and "would always be there to bring him back," Lea finds himself in a brief confrontation with his ex-best friend, Isa, seeing he's been turned into one of the twelve vessels for Master Xehanort. Tired of having to constantly correct everyone who calls him Axel, Lea finally gives up when Riku calls him by the name of his Nobody, being fine with either name.
Back in the Mysterious Tower, Riku decides to go into Sora's heart to awaken him, and Lea says he will help Riku should he fall into the darkness again. After Yen Sid announces that Riku and the awakened Sora have respectively passed and failed the Mark of Mastery Exam, Lea claims that he will catch up to Riku soon while revealing to them his intent to use a Keyblade. Trying to manifest it once more, Lea gets astonished when his Keyblade appears, shocking everyone else as well. Soon after, Lea departs to check up on things at Radiant Garden.
Weapons and Abilities
In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Lea's weapons and abilities are virtually identical to those of his Nobody counterpart, Axel. He still wields his Eternal Flames and has mastery over fire. Later, Lea acquires a currently unnamed Keyblade with a handle similar to his chakrams and a blade that resembles a flame. It looks like a combination of the Frolic Flame and Bond of Flame Keyblades.
In Birth by Sleep, Lea looks about the same age as Ventus, with short spiked hair with the spikes styled upward. Lea has a slight widow's peak though more noticeable. Lea's eyes are also more of a turquoise color than Axel's striking green. He wears a sleeveless orange jacket with a white, sleeveless shirt underneath, and tan, baggy pants with red and white sneakers and black socks. The pockets of his jacket are a much darker shade of orange than the rest of it. He lacks Axel's purple, upside-down teardrop facial marks in the actual game, but curiously they are present in his official artwork.
He also wears a yellow and brown keffiyeh around his neck. The pattern of this keffiyeh changes abruptly near Lea's neck, from stripes to a very organized checkerboard pattern. Similar to Braig's scarf, the tip of Lea's keffiyeh is frayed slightly. He bears a curious resemblance to Hayner.
Lea carries around two red Frisbees with black edges, each adorned with a Bomb design, which later influence his choice of weapons when he becomes a Nobody: Chakrams.
In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, other than missing the teardrop facial marks, Lea is identical to his Nobody, Axel, donning a Black Coat and wielding the Eternal Flames, and later, an unknown Keyblade.
In Birth by Sleep, Lea is both childish and competitive, willing to disrupt Isa's schedule for his fight with Ventus. This is also evident during the ending credits when he is seen trying to escape from Dilan's grasp by flailing around his limbs, unlike Isa, who realized they couldn't escape and barely moved.
He wishes for everyone he ever meets to remember him, so he can live on forever through people's memories. Like his Nobody, he uses the phrase "Got it memorized?" on multiple occasions.
In Dream Drop Distance, Lea retains his memories of his time as Axel and acts similarly to the way he did in 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts II. He seems to consider loyalty and keeping promises he made to his friends as his highest priorities and is willing to boldly confront Xehanort in order to save Sora (and by extension, Roxas) from becoming one of Xehanort's vessels, stating that he had "promises to keep" and that he would always be there to get his friends back, the same speech that he had said to Xion in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days.
- In an issue of Famitsu PSP+PS3, Lea's name is misspelled "Lia". It was also once misspelled on the Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep official website, though it was later corrected.