Villain Spotlight: The Heartless and Nobodies
Welcome back my shadowy compatriots! I am your eater of hearts, and connoisseur of the arts, Arthur Harkness. I bring to you another villain, or shall we say group of villains, to your lovely eyes. Hailing from the far off and wonderfully crafted worlds of Kingdom Hearts, the Heartless trample, dominate, and steal everyone’s hearts at the command of their master in hopes of opening up the fabled door to Kingdom Hearts, the heart of all worlds. Interested yet? I knew you would be. So let’s get this train moving.
The Heartless first appeared in the stunning Playstation 2 game Kingdom Hearts and its following sequels and side stories. I am using the Heartless as a whole, and not including any of the Disney villains, mainly because they form a different group of antagonists along with Organization XIII , but the common theme is that they all use the Heartless to achieve their goals. It is almost akin to a mindless race of slave drones doing whatever their master commands, but it is much more than that, and much more horrifying than most people give it credit for. The Heartless are born after the “door” is opened. They are creatures devoid of emotion and are created when a heart is swallowed by darkness. I will not say which door so as to prevent spoilers, but there is a door, and someone opens it, and shit gets crazy real quick. I’m talking like worlds becoming connected when they shouldn’t be, and people coming together from different places in space and time to form one solid adventure crew, even though they should never and have never met. The Heartless travel through all of these worlds, causing havoc and robbing people of their hearts. It is why they are more dangerous than their masters, and why they are able to survive and thrive when their masters are either defeated or have no more use of them, which is rare.
We first encounter the Heartless on the Destiny Islands, only you don’t know who they are at first. They come in all shapes and sizes, but the most common are grunt versions that appear en masse but are more easily dispatched than the larger varieties. The thing about the Heartless is that they were once humans, but they had their heart stolen and corrupted into the shape of a Heartless, and that is how they continue to multiply and swarm. It’s rather scary to think of in general, mainly because most people do have darkness in their hearts, but you never know just how much until you see their Heartless forms. It’s also sad because these people used to have lives and be real, but when the Heartless took over their world, they turned into Heartless as well. The only way to permanently get rid of a Heartless is to kill it with the Keyblade, which not too many people are capable of wielding. Only a handful of people in the entire Kingdom Hearts universe are capable of using the weapon, but it doesn’t mean they cannot be killed by more conventional means. We see Squall (Leon) taking care of some Heartless with his Gunblade, but those will just come back as Heartless after they return from the realm of darkness. It’s a very daunting task that our heroes are thrown into.
There are multiple versions of Heartless, such as stated above, but the Heartless aren’t the only form of enemy encountered. I know I have already said that this would focus on the Heartless, but the Nobodies are essentially reverse Heartless, and still fall into the same category I would say. A Nobody is sort of the photo negative of the Heartless. Where Heartless are mainly black, shadowy creatures, the Nobodies are white, almost digital in appearance, and are the result of what happens when a person loses his heart to the darkness, but the body still lives on. An example of this would be Axel (one of my personal favorites) , who acts and behaves almost like his former self, albeit with a more sinister and emotionless side to him. The thing is though, Nobodies can act, and portray themselves to look and talk like they have emotions and hearts, but they do not have them, and they are desperately searching for them. I won’t get too far into story elements here, but we’ll just say that certain people can create Nobodies if they become Heartless, and we are shown what happens if those two halves meet up again. It’s a rather sad yet emotionally fulfilling event. The thing about Nobodies though is that they are able to form plans, collaborate with other Nobodies, and wield weapons more akin to their former selves, whereas the Heartless have a more hive mentality and do not work in solitude, but more of a swarm. It makes it slightly scarier to be dealing with Heartless, but at least you know they aren’t necessarily planning anything sinister besides taking your heart. It gives them more of a sense of focused malevolence rather than an all consuming need to devour hearts. You cannot deal with most of them without some sort of plan of attack, or without trying to reason with them at least.
Nobodies, or at least the stronger varieties, are controlled mainly by Organization XIII, but that doesn’t mean they won’t act of their own accord. There are grunt varieties of them as well, but it doesn’t seem to be anywhere near the amount of Heartless flavors. Nobodies are more graceful, and like mentioned above, if the people they used to be are strong enough, they will keep the same appearance, albeit with a lack of memories and feelings. That doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of redemption, which I will not get into here as it will deprive you of a pretty serious story revelation later on. To be honest, I appreciate the Nobodies a bit more than the Heartless, mainly because they have more in depth and less chaotic plans, although that is not to say they are good plans. However, there is still something in an all consuming and mindless race of shadowy creatures that want nothing more than to steal the best part of you and run away with it. Shit, when I put it like that, it almost sounds like an ex-significant other. The soul sucking creature from the black depths that cares nothing for your feelings…..yup, we’ve all had one of those.
I have to be honest with you all for a bit right now…I had originally chosen to do the spotlight on every villain in the Kingdom Hearts universe, but after taking a look at the sheer scope of it, I would have you all reading for days and days (not that that would be a bad thing, but we all have things to do and Arthur doesn’t want to keep you from them). I hopefully plan on including so many villains and character from Kingdom Hearts, as once again, it is one of my all time favorites, possibly even the most favorite. The reason that I chose to go with this is due to the fact that Kingdom Hearts 3 was officially announce at this year’s E3 conference, and it got me so excited, I had to visit a doctor because it persisted for more than 4 hours (wink) . I have been waiting years for this game to come out, and my excitement was so high that I almost passed out. I can’t wait, and you can all trust me when I say there will most likely be a shortage of Arthur articles for the first week to two weeks of the game’s release. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed and hope the world doesn’t end before it is released. Otherwise, I will haunt the shit out of SquareEnix and Disney until they make a ghostly version of it for me to play in the afterlife. Until then, I’ll just listen to the Traverse Town theme and dream of the future.
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