Sunday, February 12, 2012

Character Analysis - Master Xehanort

In a series full of nightmare inducing Disney villains, Darkness which can steal your heart and render you evil, Vanitas, and each hero has the very real chance of failing, Master Xehanort is easily one of the most terrifying things in the games.  I've already gone over his costume, but I want to talk about HIM.  (Spoilers, obviously)

Master Xehanort is the cause of everything that goes wrong in the Kingdom Hearts universe.  At some point several years (probably decades) before the game begins, Master Xehanort and Master Eraqus were students together, in fact they consider each other like brothers.  It was at this time Master Xehanort began to get interested in darkness and it's place in the universe.  He disregarded his master's advice and began to travel without the armor that keyblade wielders use to protect themselves.

(Example: Ven's armor)
Xehanort and Eraqus both passed the exam and became Masters.  But while Eraqus was allowed to take over as the main master and  to teach at the Land of Departure, Xehanort was not allowed this privilege.  He instead went off to travel and find himself.

Just before and during this time, he did a lot of research into Darkness, the worlds, and an incident known as the "Keyblade War"  He eventually theorized that 'Kingdom Hearts' existed and should be brought out for the sake of the universe. To do THAT he needed a clash of light and darkness in order to make the X-blade (pronounced keyblade) which would summon Kingdom Hearts and he could unlock it.  He would presumably gather that power for himself.  He mentioned his plans to Master Eraqus but... it didn't go well.
 (Yes, that's Spock and Luke Skywalker arguing)

The two split, Xehanort realized he was getting too old, took Ven in, and then proceeded to split him into Light and Dark (which created Vanitas).  During this time,  Eraqus took in Aqua and Terra, and then Birth By Sleep happened.

In Birth By Sleep, Master Xehanort appears in the beginning of the game.  He drops Ven off on Destiny Islands to die, then the game cuts to years later.  The next time he appears he manipulates Terra's Mark of Master Exam so Terra loses, proceeds to badmouth Eraqus to Terra before offering to be his new master and to teach him how Darkness can be used for good.  At the same time, Vanitas has been sent to drive Ven out of the Land of Departure.  Xehanort shows up a few other times to drive Terra to submit to darkness. He calls Vanitas his greatest mistake.  He arranges his own kidnapping by Braig.  And when Terra finally relents and willingly uses Darkness against his master, Master Xehanort kills Master Eraqus in front of Terra before disappearing.

Which means that Master Xehanort won at the end.  He seduced Terra towards darkness, cultivated Terra's anger then took over Terra's mind and body, giving Master Xehanort a new body of his own. Vanitas and Ven did merge to make the X-blade in a clash of light and dark.  Ven managed to break it back apart but he almost died in the process. Aqua saved Terranort before vanishing to the Realm of Darkness, but doing so caused the entire rest of the series to happen. 

What do we know?
 1)  He's inquisitive and intelligent.  The ENTIRETY of Kingdom Hearts so far started because Master Xehanort was curious about Kingdom Hearts and the Keyblade War.  He also figured out Terra would be a good replacement body for him. He managed to reconstruct a large part of the history of the worlds, Kingdom Hearts, and the Keyblade War, all of which were considered lost to history.  This is partly due to his ability to look at questionable sources, but considering how one of those sources was Maleficent and he not only survived meeting her but managed to set her up for Kingdom Hearts 1 does indicate his intelligence.

2) He's manipulative.  Master Xehanort has been missing for ten years before Kingdom Hearts 1 starts.  He almost succeeds with his plan during Kingdom Hearts 1, despite not actually being present.  Kingdom Hearts is almost unlocked.  In fact, it would have done so if not for the fact Sora (possibly because of Ven who is living inside his heart) managed to stop Ansem: Seeker of Darkness at the last minute. The entire plot of Kingdom Hearts 1 happened because ten years ago he talked to Maleficent about the Princesses of Heart.  Then other parts happened because Ansem: Seeker of Darkness (who is more Master Xehanort then Terra) talked Riku into using Darkness. Did I mention that Ansem: Seeker of Darkness didn't have a body until Riku submitted to Darkness?

And that's not touching on Birth By Sleep.  He goes through almost the entire game without using his weapon.  The only time he uses it before  the Keyblade Graveyard is when he kills Master Eraqus, and the act is hard to see while the Keyblade itself doesn't even appear.  This means he manages to doom the entire universe while only lifting his weapon twice.  He manipulated Maleficent, Braig (turning him into one of the most dangerous and knowledgeable Nobodies as Xigbar), Master Eraqus, possibly Vanitas (their relationship is... complicated and we don't get much insight into it), Terra, Ven, and Aqua.  Even if VAT managed to stop the worst of it, they still are out of commission until Sora rescues them... 12 years later.

3) He's ruthless.  He tried to destroy the universe, split Ven's heart, and killed someone he  loved as a brother in order to restart the Keyblade War just to find out what happened. 

4) He's charismatic. Maybe not quite as much as some other characters, but the fact is, the only person who knows that Master Xehanort is evil (Before he killed Master Eraqus) was Braig, who Master Xehanort had filled in on the entire plot.

I really can't wait until Master Xehanort returns.  He's so utterly evil, but that is what makes him so terrifying and so much fun to watch.  You want to strangle him, you KNOW he's the ultimate villain (partly from costumes, partly because the opening of the game used the Kingdom Hearts II FM ending which was the climax of Birth By Sleep)  and yet you can not help but watch him destroy everything.

No comments:

Post a Comment