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The Keyhole

Ansem, Seeker of Darkness

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When you doubt the path trod thus far, when the hand you held is lost to you, gaze anew at the heart that once was... for all the answers are within.
Mickey teaching Riku magic
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Ansem, Seeker of Darkness
(闇の探求者 アンセム)
Xehanort's Heartless
Enemy Type Heartless
Role Antagonist
Origin Kingdom Hearts
Home World Hollow Bastion
Other Residences End of the World
Katakana 闇の探求者 アンセム
Romaji Yami no Tankyūsha Ansemu
English Voice
Actor(s)
Billy Zane (KH, COM)
Richard Epcar (Re:COM, KHII, KH3D)
Japanese Voice
Actor(s)
Akio Otsuka
"So, you have come this far, and still you understand nothing. Every light must fade, every heart return to darkness!"
—Ansem, Seeker of Darkness

Ansem, Seeker of Darkness is Xehanort's Heartless born from Terra-Xehanort. His physical appearance closely resembles that of a youthful Master Xehanort. He served as the main antagonist of Kingdom Hearts and Riku's "Reverse/Rebirth" story in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and as one of the main antagonists in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.

Due to him having intentionally separated his heart from his body and soul before he gave into the darkness, Ansem retained his self-hood, and intelligence after his transformation into a Heartless. Because he could think out his plans and pass for a human, he was able to destroy nearly every world in the Kingdom Hearts universe without revealing his identity, up until he confronted Sora at the Final Keyhole in Hollow Bastion. Due to his unique "birth", Xehanort's Heartless appeared to have characteristics of both the Emblem and Pureblood Heartless, though it is unclear exactly which category he falls under.

Journal entries

Kingdom Hearts

First entry

A researcher who studied the Heartless and delved into secrets of the worlds. He organized his findings into a single volume known as Ansem's report. When he inexplicably vanished, most of its pages were scattered to the winds.

Second entry

As a researcher and ruler of his world, he studied the Heartless and delved into the many secrets of the worlds. While studying the heart and the darkness within it, he was possessed by darkness and ultimately destroyed his own world. He sacrificed his body to attain great power, and later possessed Riku's to regain a physical presence. Failure to stop him means the end of all worlds.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories

Reverse/Rebirth

Pursuer of darkness.
To open the door to darkness, Ansem used the Heartless to steal countless hearts.
He enslaved Riku, but met his demise at Sora's hand.
Nonetheless, Ansem's shadow lives on in the depths of Riku's heart.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

Robed Figure
A mysterious man whose identity is masked by a brown robe.
Sora encountered him in the Destiny Islands right before his first journey began. Riku has seen him as well, though neither of them ever found out for certain who he was.

Ansem
He tried to open the door to Kingdom Hearts, but fell to Sora in the end.
Once again, Riku finds himself face-to-face with his nemesis.

Story

Prior to Kingdom Hearts

In the pursuit of knowledge, Xehanort, at the time calling himself "Ansem", willingly gave his heart to the darkness, his resulting Heartless able to retain its selfhood for uncertain reasons, though it was believed by the true Ansem that this was due to Xehanort's willing abandonment of his heart.[1] However, the separation of Ansem from the vessel that became the Nobody Xemnas had a more sinister purpose.

Devoid of a physical form, Ansem traveled to the distant past to meet the younger self of his original incarnation and give him the means to travel through worlds and time in preparation of a grand scheme. Returning to his time, acting from the shadows, Ansem oversaw Maleficent using the Heartless to ravage the worlds in search of the Princesses of Heart, whose gathering would open the Final Keyhole and lead the way to Kingdom Hearts.

Kingdom Hearts

Ansem, after nine years of waiting and wearing a brown robe to conceal his lack of a body, arrived at Destiny Islands' Keyhole to wait for Sora's arrival. There, Ansem cryptically reveals the world's eventual fall into darkness, insulting Sora for his ignorance of what was to come and completely ignoring the boy's questions. Ansem also met Riku, ensuring he ends up at Hollow Bastion where Maleficent would condition him. As six of the seven Princesses of Heart have been gathered, Ansem appeared before Riku again after his loss to Sora. From there, Ansem tricked Riku into opening his heart to darkness so he could possess him and take the youth's body as his own.

Firmly in control of Riku's body, Ansem created the artificial Keyblade of People's Hearts from six captive Princesses' hearts and used it on Maleficent when her purpose to Xehanort's plan came to an end. Upon Sora arriving to the chamber where the Final Keyhole is located, Ansem reveals Kairi as the seventh princess with the intent to take her heart from Sora's body to complete the keyhole. By then, noticing his impersonal comments and unusual nature, Sora realizes that Riku is possessed as Ansem formally introduces himself before Sora refuses to let him take Kairi's heart. Though driven off by Sora, Ansem still won when the boy used the Keyblade of Heart on himself to restore Kairi at the cost of his own heart and unknowingly complete the Final Keyhole.

Having reshaped Riku's body into one resembling his original human self, Ansem attempts to kill the obsolete Kairi when Riku's heart held him at bay so Donald and Goofy can get Kairi to safety. This leads to an internal struggle with Ansem expelling Riku's heart and sent into the Realm of Darkness. With full control, Ansem allows himself to be enveloped by the darkness flowing out of the Keyhole, and travels to the End of the World where the Kingdom Hearts created from the worlds the Heartless destroyed is manifesting.

After Sora is restored to his human self by Kairi's light, he arrives at the remnants of Destiny Islands at End of the World where he confronts Ansem. Appearing in Riku's form briefly, Ansem explained Riku's fall to darkness before assuming his true form and detailing his idealogy that darkness is the heart's true essence. Sora denies this, in words, and in battle with Ansem. During the battle, Ansem summons both Xehanort's Guardian, and a Darkside Heartless to assist him. As the battle rages on, Ansem leads the trio to the endless abyss where the Door to Darkness resides. This time, Ansem merges himself to the World of Chaos, a monstrous Heartless ship, and captures Donald and Goofy, though Sora rescues them.

After several more rounds of combat, Ansem, weakened, opens the Door to Darkness, imploring Kingdom Hearts to fill him with the power of darkness so that he can gain enough power to destroy Sora, Donald, and Goofy and shroud the universe in darkness. However, Ansem is horrified to see light pour out of the door. The overwhelming light of Kingdom Hearts envelops and destroys Ansem, allowing Riku to take back his body.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories

However, because Riku served as the host for Ansem, a piece remains, even after his destruction by the light of Kingdom Hearts. This bothered Riku greatly, who ended up in Castle Oblivion, thanks to his heart resonating with Sora's, who was also in the castle.

Guided by a mysterious voice, Riku climbs through the basements of Castle Oblivion, trying to rid himself of his darkness. However, Ansem appears early on, intending to overcome Riku, but fails. Still, Ansem remains, and even stirs the darkness in Riku's heart so that he may use it in battle, if he so chooses. The dark being remained confident that Riku would eventually give in to the darkness.

At times, Riku was almost overwhelmed by the darkness, but King Mickey's light continually comes to Riku's aid, frustrating Ansem. Eventually, Riku overcomes his fear of the darkness, intending to use it, as well as the light. He also additionally receives some guidance from the enigmatic DiZ, the true owner of the mysterious voice, who, in turn, leads Riku to Naminé. Naminé offers to seal away Riku's darkness and Ansem, but he instead chooses to face the Heartless on his own. DiZ then gives Riku a card that will give Ansem form, so that Riku can finish him off, once and for all.

Ansem again tries to turn Riku to the darkness completely, and attempts to defeat the young boy so that he can take over again. However, though he is defeated, Riku realizes that Ansem still lingers in his heart, and sets off with King Mickey in order to rid himself of the Seeker of Darkness forever.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

Though Xemnas, the Nobody counterpart of Ansem, soon becomes the main threat to the worlds, the dark being still has a presence. In fact, the part of him that lingers in Riku starts to eat away at him, even forcing him to put on a blindfold over his eyes to keep him from "lying to himself".

This comes to a head when Riku travels to The World That Never Was, at the behest of DiZ, with the intent to capture Roxas, the Nobody of Sora and a member of Organization XIII, so that the two can join and Sora can awaken from his slumber. However, Roxas proves to be too powerful for Riku to handle, so Riku is left with one option—he unleashes the darkness in himself, in order to gain the power necessary to defeat Roxas. However, this has the side effect of giving Riku the appearance of Ansem, as well as manifesting his guardian, which constricts Roxas in its fists and leaves him unconscious. In his new form, Riku mimics Xehanort before him and takes on the name Ansem.

Kingdom Hearts II

See also: Riku-Ansem

During the Battle of the 1000 Heartless at Hollow Bastion, King Mickey reveals the truth about "Ansem" to Sora, Donald, and Goofy; that he wasn't the real Ansem, but the Heartless of an impostor. While the trio are shocked and dismayed to learn this, Mickey assures them that Ansem still needed to be stopped. He also reveals that the Nobody spawned at the same time as Ansem is the leader of the Organization (as he had met the original Xehanort and been near his Nobody, it "kinda felt like bein' around the same fella.").

Riku remains like this for some time. His new appearance prompts him to refuse making contact with Sora and Kairi, despite him being able to easily do so. Still, when push comes to shove, Riku aids his friends, but never reveals himself as Riku (though Sora begins to suspect his mysterious helper's true identity), secretly leaving clues for Sora, Donald, and Goofy to find. He also took a proactive stance in aiding the people of The Land of Dragons, and briefly engaged Sora in battle before going to speak with The Emperor and informing him that Sora and his friends would be coming to help them deal with a Heartless dragon created by Organization XIII. But when Naminé chooses to use Riku's true name after he rescues her and Kairi from the Organization at The World That Never Was, things take a turn. Kairi, in her excitement, removes Riku's hood, only to see the face of the one who had endangered her a year ago. Still, she sees Riku underneath the dark form, and takes it in stride.

Riku is also forced to meet Sora when Kairi prevents him from taking his leave when Kairi and Sora reunite. At first, Sora does not realize it is Riku, refers to him as "Ansem", and informs him that he is grateful to him for Kairi's rescue while still enraged at the very thought of the evil deeds he had committed. Kairi helps him see through his altered form. They all then travel through the Nobody castle, and end up reuniting with King Mickey and DiZ, whose true name is Ansem the Wise. However, the machine that Ansem was using to encode Kingdom Hearts into data ends up exploding, allowing Riku to regain his true form. "Ansem" and his hold on Riku's heart are thought to be destroyed at this point, as the explosion's light fully restores Riku to the extent that he is robbed of his ability to open corridors of darkness.

Kingdom Hearts coded

Ansem appears in a memory from Jiminy's Journal in Destiny Islands, opening a Corridor of Darkness for Riku to Hollow Bastion.

In Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, Mickey recalls Ansem as Xehanort's incarnation that commanded the Heartless and then Yen Sid explains to Mickey that the destruction of both Ansem and Xemnas will lead to the reconstruction of Master Xehanort.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

Due to "Ansem" having possessed Riku, it provided Young Xehanort with a lifeline into the Sleeping Worlds, with "Ansem" accompanying him in confronting Riku on the roof of Notre Dame. Picking Frollo's sword and pointing it at Riku, "Ansem" tells him that he should control his darkness. Riku angrily summons his Way To Dawn and tells the Heartless that he is walking the road to dawn. Xehanort then leaves and "Ansem" follows him to darkness after glaring at Riku.

"Ansem" later appears in World That Never Was after Riku has defeated Anti-Black Coat, revealing how using Maleficent to collect the Princesses of Heart and taking over Riku's body were all part of Master Xehanort's plan. When Riku chooses to fight him, darkness around them changes into purple whirl. After a battle, Ansem refuses to accept defeat as Xehanort's Guardian grows stronger and battle area changes to area from Realm of Darkness. After this battle Ansem vanishes to darkness.

"Ansem", now wearing a black coat, then appears to Where Nothing Gathers along with the other members of the Thirteen Darknesses. When Master Xehanort attempts to make Sora into 13th vessel, Ansem subdues Riku against the floor before being distracted by Lea saving Sora. Managing to teleport away before Riku would hit him, "Ansem" summons his Guardian in order to kill Mickey and Riku, but Donald and Goofy appear with Mickey's Star Shard, landing on the Guardian and forcing it to disappear. "Ansem" then vanishes back to his time along with Master Xehanort and his new army.


Other Appearances

A fragmentary passage

Ansem is shown as the first transformation and the second incarnation after a young Master Xehanort but before Xemnas.

Personality

Ansem is, thus far, one of only three Heartless with human-level intelligence, the others being Sora's Heartless and Scar. His knowledge of the worlds and hearts shows that Xehanort's keen intellect has survived the transition into a Heartless. However, what little shreds of humanity remained in the researcher have been obliterated. Ansem is cold, calculating, and utterly ruthless. He treats people and their hearts as either tools to be manipulated and disposed of, or of nothing more than cattle for himself and his ravenous Heartless legions. He reveres power and knowledge above all things, and despises ignorance.

The only times when his voice rises above a cold, monotonous drone is when he is berating Sora for his foolishness, or reveling in his latest triumph. However, the scientific genius of Ansem was blinded by obsession with the darkness. His arrogance ultimately led to his destruction when the door to Kingdom Hearts opened, and his greatest thesis was, in the end, proved wrong.

Because Ansem was born from the heart of Master Xehanort, he appears to share most of his personality traits with the elderly Keyblade Master, demonstrated by his choice of words when facing Sora, Donald, and Goofy, and his desire to find, open, and become one with Kingdom Hearts itself.

Appearance

Before possessing Riku, Ansem was little more than a wandering heart and could only appear as a figure in a brown hooded robe. This robe has two dark brown straps crossing over his shoulders and chest with five metal studs lining either strap. Due to his lack of a body, he appears much shorter and crippled in this form and wears the robe's hood up to hide his lack of a face.

Like his Nobody counterpart, Ansem shares Xehanort's tan skin, orange eyes, and long white hair. However, his hair is smoothed back into three spikes on the top and sides of his head and lacks Xehanort's bangs and messy appearance.

Ansem wears a black, high-collared, leather coat that has a red interior and yellow lining. This coat is grey from the waist down and has several buttons lining the hips, a belt around his waist, and a second one that extends from the waist and up to the collar to connect to several smaller straps. The four shorter straps are buttoned to either side of the front of the collar while the remaining ones are buttoned to the shoulders to form spaulders. A black leather pauldron is attached to each spaulder by three buttons and two straps that button the the rim of the coat and two more that cross over his upper back. On his upper chest is the Heartless emblem in the form of a brooch that holds the outer coat together in place of a zipper or buttons. Underneath this coat, Ansem wears a white, thigh-length vest. This vest is also high-collared and exposes most of Ansem's chest, with three black buttons and two thin belts near his waist closing it up while the three remaining buttons below are undone.

In addition, Ansem wears wide-brimmed, white gloves with three buttons lining the forearms and a grey band on either wrist. He also wears black pants and black that are tucked into knee-high boots with silver trimming and high concave indentations in the top.

Because Ansem was born from the heart of Master Xehanort, his overall appearance is nearly identical to a younger version of Master Xehanort and his clothes are extremely similar to his original incarnation's standard attire.

When Ansem transforms into the World of Chaos, he becomes titanic in size-standing at approximately twenty five feet tall-and monstrous in appearance. His clothes are gone, save for an organic-looking material resembling black muscle tissue that covers his legs and feet. This material has thick yellow cords in it that outline glossier sections of the material and the soles of his feet. His eyes are completely orange, and he is connected to his Guardian by seven organic-looking cords that extend from its open torso (which co. These cords are black in color and fade into red at the base. The Heartless emblem that was originally on Ansem's chest is now attached to the cords attached to his back which he can use to seal himself when resting in the Guardian's chest cavity. In addition, he wields a staff as long as he is that resembles two Soul Eater's fused at the hilt, with the blades facing opposite directions.

Abilities

Ansem is shown to possess numerous abilities mainly with the Darkness and the Heartless. He is shown to travel through time as well as possessing people by taking over their bodies such as possessing Riku in Kingdom Hearts. He possesses the ability to open the Corridor of Darkness as well as summon Xehanort's Guardian which originally belonged to Terra-Xehanort, in conjunction with Xehanort's Guardian, he is able to transform into a huge and powerful Heartless called World of Chaos. He also can disguise himself and has shown to be able to teleport and open Keyholes. Ansem can also enter the world of Sleep.

Weapons

Dual Soul Eater

The dual-ended Soul Eater staff, wielded by Ansem in his World of Chaos form.

Ansem uses no single exclusive weapon, though, after possessing Riku to attain a physical form, he uses the Keyblade of People's Hearts created from the six captured hearts of the Princesses of Heart. However, he can only use this weapon while possessing the body of a Keyblade wielder (even through he was created by the heart of a Keyblade Master). Later, in his World of Chaos form, he wields a weapon as massive as he is, created from two Soul Eaters combined at the handle, facing opposite directions.

When fought on his own, he simply uses the power of darkness to attack from a distance while his Guardian protects and attacks for him in battle, using no physical weapon. When Riku takes on Ansem's form after the events of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, he uses Soul Eater and later Way to the Dawn, just as he does normally.

See also

Notes and references

  1. Secret Ansem Report 10: "But what if one willingly releases one's heart from one's body? Sora and Xehanort retained their self-hood even after becoming Heartless."

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