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|Home World||Destiny Islands|
Ty Panitz (Young Riku)
Eiji Shima (Young Riku)
- "Consume the darkness, return it to light."
Riku is the deuteragonist of the Kingdom Hearts series. He is a Keyblade master that has the power of light and darkness, and is always ready to sacrifice himself to protect his friends. Riku is usually depicted as being stronger than Sora in Kingdom Hearts fanart, and is the second most popular character for cosplay, after Sora. Riku's name is derived from the Japanese word for "land" (陸 Riku?).
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
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.
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.
However, things take a drastic turn on the night before their journey. Because Riku had opened the door in the Secret Place at an unspecified time, 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 set out for the island. 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 who offers him shelter and protection. However, seeing the potential in him, Maleficent begins to corrupt Riku's mind by convincing him that Sora had 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. 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.
After Xehanort's Heartless's death, Riku regains his body as he helps Sora from the other side of the Door to Darkness. However, Mickey fends the Heartless off so Riku and Sora can proceed to close the door. Before the door is completely closed and sealed by Sora and Mickey, Riku tells the former to take care of Kairi.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
- ""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 reacting 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.
Zexion and Vexen have great roles in Riku's story. 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.
When Zexion encounters Riku in Destiny Islands, he lures Riku with his illusions. He also makes Riku sink 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.
Riku faces Ansem 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 Ansem is destroyed, but not before he says a part of him is still in Riku, and that he shall return.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
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.
Kingdom Hearts II
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.
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.
Afterwards, Sora sits on the Paopu tree while holding the message from King Mickey, staring off into the sunset. He is then approached 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 she'll see him soon.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
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.
- "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 is being consumed by darkness, along with his statement "I'm not afraid of the darkness!"
He also showed a strong competitive streak, along with a bit of jealousy. He shows his competitive side 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. It started 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. The jealousy 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, and realizing that surrendering himself to the darkness had only made him easily manipulated and controlled, not stronger. 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.
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 rather than imagine it as a prison. Riku later stated that the real reason he wanted to see the outside was because of Terra.
Another good personality trait he showed 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.
An important character development in Riku is noted by his change in haircut from having it extremely long in Kingdom Hearts II, to returning it short again in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. Riku's hair growth symbolized his loner ways and rebellion against his friends, but his cutting of it shows he now has trust and faith in both himself and them. He is now a hero instead of an anti-hero.
He and Riku are best friends, and care very much about each other. This is shown when Riku, To save Sora, 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. However, he had his moments of jealousy towards Sora, like in Kingdom Hearts, where he shouts that his heart is stronger than Sora's, and, with Maleficent's intervention, starts to think that Sora has replaced Kairi and Riku with Donald and Goofy, increasing even more his jealousy, leading to several fights with Sora.
Also, Riku 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 and vice versa.
She, Riku and Sora spent almost all their lives in Destiny Islands. Besides their loyalty, Riku seems to be highly protective with his friends, as shown when he didn't want Kairi and Sora to discover about the time he spent in the darkness, fearing the things that could happen to them.
Xehanort's Heartless, once known as "Ansem", manipulated Riku during the period of Kingdom Hearts. At first, Ansem helped Riku to escape when Darkness overtook Destiny Islands. However, later, He took advantage of Riku's jealousy and transformed it into rage, forcing Riku to battle Sora and to fuse with him to acquire more power later on.
When both fused with each other, Riku realized that he was but using him, and started to struggle, like when he used the last of his strength to hold off his possessor so Kairi and the others can escape, leading to Ansem forcing Riku's heart out of his body.
Riku is Terra's successor. When Terra visited Destiny Islands while Riku was five years old, he chose Riku to be his successor after he saw a vision of Riku as his older self, and did the Keyblade Inheritance Ceremony with him.
Maleficent is the one responsible for all trouble Riku has passed. She offered shelter in Hollow Bastion for him, but fastly manipulated him in such way that made him believe Sora was replacing him with Donald and Goofy, and that he didn't care for him and Kairi anymore.
She also gave him the power to manipulate the Heartless and also unlocked the last of Riku's power, as a gift for his loyalty. He is also shown somehow fearing Maleficent, as in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, when he tries his best to defeat her, hoping to prove that he is above the darkness.
Mickey acts as a helpful friend to Riku while he's not with Sora. Both are close friends, calling each other usually by their first names, like when he and Riku bonded during their adventure in Castle Oblivion. They are also very close friends, making promises that by any means are spoiled.
Riku is a tall and muscular teenager with pale skin, bright blue-green eyes and silver hair. In Kingdom Hearts, his hair was shoulder-length, later in Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, it has grown longer, past his shoulders, reaching down to his upper back, but in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, it is cut short like when he was a child in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and certain scenes in Kingdom Hearts.
In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and some parts of Kingdom Hearts, he is much shorter, due to being a young child. Riku's bangs are also more side-swept than later on in his life. He wears a yellow vest with a large collar and blue trim which is zipped down below his collarbone. He has two blue bracelets, one on each wrist, with a yellow stripe in the middle. On his lower body he has black shorts reaching past his knees and white and blue slip on shoes with gray soles.
During most of Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories, he wears a vest that has a yellow collar and is yellow in the front and black on the sides and back. The vest has two black crisscrossing straps that go over his chest and on his upper back that are trimmed with white and has a white stud on each end. Just above each of his wrists are tight black bracelets and on his hands are black and gray gloves that reach just to the base of his thumb. He wears a black belt with a silver rectangular buckle high on his waist which secures his dark blue-gray pants. His pants are mostly covered by blue wading pants held up by black straps almost identical to the ones on his vest, except they are each layered and have more studs, as well as not being crisscrossed. The wading pants are tightened at the ankle with small black belts. His shoes are white and blue, with some yellow strings on the inner sides, some of which crisscross each other. The shoes each have two black straps with white trim and gray soles.
In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, he wears a Black Coat and the Organization's boots and gloves. He also wears a black cloth over his eyes tied behind his head that reaches slightly past his shoulders.
While he is in Kingdom Hearts II, he wears a sleeveless, black, double-zippered shirt under a white vest. The shirt is zippered up to just below his neck and to just above his bellybutton. The white vest is yellow at the bottom with a blue stripe separating the two other colors. The collar is folded down to reveal the color on the inside, yellow, and is decorated with four small, silver buttons. On his left arm he wears a white wrist guard. His blue baggy pants have very large, paler pockets, and are held up by a black and silver belt. His white shoes are gray on the bottom and top, with three black stripes on each side and yellow laces.
In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Riku wears a white vest with a large black collar, a yellow back, and a black stripe along the bottom as well as around each arm hole. It is closed with a zipper that is closed just a bit below his collarbone and slightly above his belt. The back of the vest bears the Dream Eater Spirit sigil. He also wears loose fitting jeans and a black belt with a large silver buckle. On his feet Riku wears white hightops that are black on the bottom with a yellow stripe seperating the two colors. His laces are black. He also has another pair of laces wrapped around his shoes at the ankle that are tied into a bow. On his wrists he sports thick black, cloth bracelets.
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 during his visit 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 just as able with his weapons as Sora is with his.
His strength and agility are best demonstrated on the Destiny Islands, 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 stronger. Riku is also shown to be skilled in hand to hand combat, as shown in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, in which he knocks down a charging Xion with a single punch after dismissing his Soul Eater weapon.
Riku is a popular character in Kingdom Hearts fan culture, appearing in the most part of the fanfics, taking important roles. Although not being the main character, he is usually depicted as being much stronger, smarter and better than Sora in many ways, much to Kairi's appreciation. As for personality, Riku is always depicted as a brave, adventurer and protective man, who prefers acting by the shadows rather than fighting alongside people, much like his KH canon self. Also, he takes on much more dynamic adventures than his original self, exploring known worlds such as Wonderland and Port Royal and other unadventured worlds such as a Sword in the Stone based one.
In fan fiction, two incredibly popular romantic pairings for Riku are Sora and Kairi. Other popular pairings include Naminé, Xion, and, occasionally, Roxas and Axel.
Riku is a popular target for cosplaying. Along with Sora and Kairi, he is cosplayed by both boys and girls, and also has a large variety of costume designs for him. For cosplaying Riku, no matter what form, one needs to have a light silver wig, generally at the shoulders' length, and also a Keyblade fitting his incarnation: Soul Eater for his Kingdom Hearts and Halloween attire, Oblivion for his Kingdom Hearts 358/2 attire, Keyblade of People's Hearts for his Dark Mode, and Way to Dawn for all other appearances, except for Young Riku, the only incarnation that didn't have the Keyblade at the time.
Cosplayers also often customize Riku, creating designs such as a world form or even a drive form, originally only taken on by Sora in Kingdom Hearts. Designs that have never seen before, such as a Port Royal themed outfit, with a pirate-based costume are often featured.
|Kingdom Hearts II|
|Theme - Riku|
|Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days|
|Theme - Riku|
|Kingdom Hearts Re:coded|
|Theme - Riku|
|Valor | Wisdom | Limit | Master | Final | Anti|
|Sora's Other Forms and Costumes|
|Dolphin | Vampire | Data | Retro | Lion | Card | Die | Santa|
|Donald's Forms and Costumes|
|Squid | Mummy | Data | Retro | Bird | Snowman|
|Goofy's Forms and Costumes|
|Turtle | Frankenstein | Data | Retro | Tortoise | Reindeer|
|Dark Mode | Ansem | Halloween|
|Lion | Retro|