Q. What is Leon’s Deal? When did he change his name from Squall? Why?
A. It’s not confirmed anywhere in the mythology, but it is confirmed that Squall did it in response to some mysterious tragedy. A lot of people believe it was the tragic death/deheartening of Rinoa, given Leon wears a coat with Rinoa’s signature wings motif.
“Leon” is Final Fantasy 8 Squall + Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Angel – Selphie (as she’s on an entirely different planet). Those of you that are good at math may recognize this as the equation for OMEGA ANGST. As such, I have always assumed that Leon’s tragic past involves being suspected of shoplifting at Hot Topic, and, unable to live with the ACCUSATIONS, SHAME, and DESTRUCTION OF HIS FREQUENT SHOPPER CARD, Squall was forced to change his name.
Q. Why do the heartless have hearts and the nobodies have bodies?
A. There’s a stupid explanation for that!
Heartless devour hearts. Heartless come from the Realm of Darkness (Space. It’s just space.) so they desire hearts (hearts are pure
muscle tissue light), kind of like how bats long to consume the sun . Heartless reproduce like the undead: anyone who has their heart devoured by a heartless BECOMES a heartless, a byproduct of the (indigestible) darkness in the victim’s heart. Yes, the heartless are basically heart-poop. This is why Mickey Mouse wears gloves.
So, heartless are generally full of hearts in the same way that most people are full of hamburgers, or how this plot is full of a different digestive consequence.
Nobodies are another heartless byproduct: When a heartless devours a heart, they don’t give the tiniest damn about the body around it, and, as heartless are all skilled cardiologists, the body is pretty much unaffected. Just like during the Metro City incident of 199X, a heartless body will flash and disappear to parts unknown. But, thanks to Kingdom Hearts 2, we now know where that body goes! The answer is… somewhere. Usually Twilight Town, but apparently any other “inbetween world” will do, and as the Kingdom Hearts Universe used to be produced under some kind of deadline, Twilight Town is the only modeled location that fits the bill. Anyway. It’s a commonly held belief that most people suck, and the concept of Nobodies all but proves this: most people, like everybody in the universe except a whole 14 guys (excuse me, 12 men, 2 women) becomes a freaky spandex zipper creature based on whatever Final Fantasy 5 class Gilgabot randomly chooses. Given most nobodies are basically animated, empty robes, the name does make sense.
However there are a whole fourteen “Nobodies” that have such strong wills, they kept their bodies looking like… well, bodies. These nobodies are pretty much indistinguishable from normal humans, except they don’t have hearts, and thus cannot experience emotion, and, on a whole, they feel bad about that.
Over the course of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts 2: Nobody Cares, Sora (with a little help) slaughters a murmuration of the twelve main nobodies, absorbs his own nobody, and lets his girlfriend eat up #14. As a result, all of the known bodied-nobodies are now gone, so all we have are the hollow zipper creatures wandering around.
So heartless are digesting hearts and nobodies don’t have bodies. Everything makes sense all over again.
Q. Why is King Triton the only person who knows about the Keyblade in Kingdom Hearts 1?
A. The events of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, wherein Keyblade users are plentiful and combing the universe, only occurs about a decade before the events of Kingdom Hearts I, and it seems to be implied through Old Man Xehanort’s extreme oldness that keyblade users had been zooming around for decades before that. So it seems completely within reason that a keyblade user would have dropped by and met King Triton before Ariel was even born, and since keyblade users are supposed to be a stealthy lot when it comes to interfering in the events of other worlds, it’s also likely Atlantica was the only world where a “good guy” met a keyblade user.
And Triton is a wise-old king archetype, so it’s also possible King Mickey, keyblade master, stopped by at some point to confer on kingly matters. It’s basically how the mouse hooked up with another wise, old king, Ansem the Terminally Stupid.
Either that or Atlantica used to have a bitchin’ space program that failed under Triton’s rule, and that disaster is what has caused Triton to be so adamant about Ariel sticking to the ocean.
Q. Why don’t the giant heartless fleets Sora is always fighting via gummi ship just invade the worlds?
A. It’s pretty straightforward: The entire point of Kingdom Hearts 1 is that Sora is locking keyholes to prevent that exact thing from happening, as each planet is protected by some kind of magical o-zone bubble (actually made of gummi ship materials, for whatever reason) that only allows in human-sized or thereabouts heartless that bleed through the keyhole. Once the keyhole is unlocked and the “world is connected to the darkness” all bets are off. Basically, the fleet invasion is exactly what happened to Destiny Islands at the start of Kingdom Hearts 1. You didn’t think a million cat sized heartless just gnawed the planet to dust, did you? … Though that would be rad.
Also, goes without saying, but the reason for the “Heartless Bleed” through the keyholes is, of course, Labcoat Xehanort mucking things up. He’s really accomplished at universal destruction, intentional or not.
Q. Where are all the parents?
A. Canonically, Riku’s parents have never appeared, though he makes mention of leaving his parents, so they likely at least exist in the present.
Kairi had a grandmother, we’ll call her Steve, back when she was a lil’ child in Radiant Garden. Kairi was shipped off from that planet when she was a young’un and Labcoat Xehanort was wrecking up the place. Steve’s fate is unknown.
It’s worth noting that Kairi is a “Princess of Heart”, which would imply she’s actual Radiant Garden royalty. And the only king in Radiant Garden is… Ansem the Easily Bamboozled. But no one, not a single person, has ever inquired about this possible connection in Kingdom Hearts. Kairi isn’t remotely curious about the parents she apparently never knew, which is kind of a thing in this universe…
Sora, coincidentally the hero of the piece, is the only member of the Destiny Islands crew that has had a parent appear on screen. Actually, she didn’t appear on screen, but Sora’s Mother can be heard calling Sora for dinner shortly before her entire planet is flushed down the darkness toilet at the start of Kingdom Hearts I.
Come to think of it…
Kingdom Hearts I opens with the entirety of Sora and Riku’s planet being destroyed by the heartless. Other planets that have been confirmed to be destroyed are The Lion King’s Pride Lands and Mulan’s The Land of Dragons; however, like Sora, both Simba and Mushu are refugees from their respective worlds, and aid Sora during Kingdom Hearts I.
Thanks to Sora’s efforts, all of the destroyed worlds are reformed during the finale of Kingdom Hearts I. When Sora reencounters Simba and Mushu, they both remember Sora from their previous adventure. So, they must also remember the destruction of their worlds; however, no one else is wandering around shell shocked at the thought of having been plunged into hell for an indeterminate amount of time, so it’s assumed that everyone else on the “destroyed” planets simply doesn’t remember the heartless invasion/annihilation.
So, Sora’s mother calls Sora for dinner, but he’s already left to visit Destiny Island, on a boat, in a storm. He and Riku are sucked off planet, the heartless destroy the world, nothingness, then the world gets undestroyed, and Sora and Riku stay off planet. Everyone is back and fine and normal on Destiny Islands, except Sora and Riku are just… gone.
Kairi is back on Destiny Islands at its reformation, though, so it’s possible she tells Riku and Sora’s parents about the fact that, yes, your sons are missing, but they’re on a magical journey through space on a ship made of gummi with a talking dog and duck on the search for a warrior king mouse. And they saved our world! With a key!
The parents would have to assume their kids are dead, right? Drowned in the storm, most likely? Never going to find a body.
A week later, the events of Chain of Memories occurs, and Sora is erased from everyone’s memories throughout the entire universe. So Mr. and Mrs. Sora’s Parents look longingly at their lost child’s room, still grieving, trying to muscle through funeral arrangements and talking to the police and then, poof, no more memory of ever having a child. What’s all this teenager stuff doing in this room doing here? No idea. Weren’t we going to have kids? No, I guess that never came together. Why are we such close friends with Riku’s parents? I guess we just like hearing stories about their kid. A shame we never had one of our own…
And then, nearly a year later during the opening of Kingdom Hearts 2, as recounted by Kairi and Leon on two separate planets, everyone just suddenly remembers Sora again. By Zeus! We have a son! And we forgot about him for a year! And he’s missing! What is going on!?!
And then, a few weeks later, Sora and Riku triumphantly return to Destiny Islands for the first time in at least a year to find… Kairi, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy waiting for them. Sora’s parents are probably “resting” at the Destiny Islands Home for the Mentally Unsound.
Sora is just a kid with a lot of heart.