Introducing the new Keyblade wielder.

ICYMI:

Chi
Back Cover
Union Cross
Birth by Sleep

This time, we’re covering 358/2 Days, released waaay back in 2009 for the DS, and remastered in 2012 for the PS3 (and later PS4, for the collected edition), for Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix, as a cutscene movie. This game covers Roxas’ time in Organization XIII, spanning from the tail end of the first Kingdom Hearts, running alongside Chain of Memories, and overlapping with the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II, concluding in the playable section of the prologue where you play as Roxas.

After releasing his heart to free Kairi’s heart, Sora turned into a Heartless (and for some reason, acquired another body after being hugged by her… just roll with it), and his separate body, turned into a Nobody. He is born in Twilight Town, and subsequently picked up and named by Xemnas, inducted into Organization XIII, aka those weird guys in the black coats you’ve been seeing. His role is to aid in the effort of completing Kingdom Hearts, by killing Heartless and releasing their hearts when on various missions. Once Kingdom Hearts is complete, all the Nobodies will become complete beings, since at the moment, they’re empty bodies without a heart, who can’t feel any emotion at all. Not nice.

So, since Roxas is little more than a shambling zombie, Axel’s assigned to keep him out of trouble, where they quickly become friends and spend time after each mission sitting atop the clock tower in Twilight Town, eating seasalt ice cream. Not long after Roxas arrives, there’s a new, fourteenth member introduced – Xion, and her appearance varies depending on who’s looking at her, and their relationship. Confusing, I know, but bear with me. After this, several members of the Organization are sent to Castle Oblivion (which is where the plot of Chain of Memories kicks off), and in Axel’s absence, Roxas and Xion are paired up together for missions.

They start to become friends, and Roxas eventually sees Xion as a black-haired girl who resembles Kairi, and that she can also wield a Keyblade. Not long after this, though, Roxas falls into a coma that lasts for several weeks – roughly about the same time Sora is put to sleep by Naminé to regain his lost memories (where Chain of Memories ends), and when he wakes, Axel is back, but all of the other dispatched members are dead. The three start to become friends as a trio.

As we all know, trios never end well…

However, Sora’s memories are starting to bleed through, and no one will answer Roxas’ questions about them – in particular, why he can use the Keyblade, and what the Organization is truly up to. Xion, in the meantime, clashes with Riku, who is working with DiZ and Naminé in Twilight Town to restore Sora’s memories; Xion’s been sent to kill the “imposter wearing their robes.” Riku points out that her Keyblade is fake, and questions who she really is, suggesting she go and merge with her other self – Sora, which Xion isn’t sure if she wants to do, or if she wants to stay with her friends, and falls into a coma.

After she wakes, through some snooping around at Castle Oblivion, she finds out she’s a defective replica of Roxas, much like the Riku Replica in Chain of Memories. Vexen created her from the memories Sora is losing, as a back up plan in case Sora is no good to their plans. Her default appearance as the black-haired girl is because Sora has such strong memories of Kairi, but as Naminé fixes Sora’s broken memories, this also has an effect on Xion’s appearance – she starts to look like Sora. Understandably distraught, she argues with Roxas and Axel, and leaves the Organization, to try and become a whole person.

Xigbar and Axel eventually track her down in Wonderland, and Xigbar wonders “Of all the faces, why do I look at her and see yours?” because he’s seeing her as Ventus – yes, that Ventus from Birth by Sleep, as his wounded heart is still sleeping inside Sora’s, hence why Xion and Roxas resemble him (and why Vanitas looks like Sora). Xion attacks Xigbar, and Axel lets her go, and Roxas defects from the Organization shortly after, to find answers, after losing trust in the Organization and Axel. Xion, meanwhile, has found Naminé, and wants to return Sora’s missing memories, so he can finally wake up. Axel shows up to drag her back home, but collapses from his wounds, and Xemnas takes Xion away.

Roxas returns to the clock tower, where he meets Xion, who reveals her true face – Sora’s face, and explains that she’s a replica containing Sora’s memories. She’s still missing a few, which are trapped in Roxas, and upon killing him, she’ll absorb the last of Sora’s memories, becoming whole. They fought, and Xion lost, dying as she wished to, and her memories returned to Sora. As she herself was made up entirely of memories, once her physical form and Sora’s memories were gone, she ceased to exist in the memories of everyone who knew her. Enraged, Roxas leaves the Organization for good, fighting several of the members, and finally clashing with Riku, who has been sent out by DiZ to retrieve him, and thus the last of Sora’s memories, so he can finally wake up.

During this fight, the trauma of trying not to forget Xion activates the ability for Roxas to use two keyblades – one of which belonging to Sora, the other belonging to Ven, as Roxas is harbouring Ven’s heart, which remained in his (or Sora’s) body when Sora and Kairi’s hearts were released back in the first game. To clear things up, Sora’s heart was the Heartless, which regained a new body, Kairi’s heart went back where it belonged, and Sora’s body reanimated as a Nobody, with Ven’s heart inside.

The fight is brutal, and to win, Riku has to call on the powers of darkness, which give him extra strength, yet also alter his appearance to that of Ansem Seeker of Darkness, who is still lurking in Riku’s heart (as we see him for most of Kingdom Hearts II). Roxas is taken back to DiZ, and then placed in the virtual Twilight Town while the last of Sora’s memories are replaced. Roxas then wakes up in the digital town, remarking upon his strange dream, and wondering if he’ll get to go to the beach during his last week of summer vacation, leading into the prologue of Kingdom Hearts II.

Brutal, isn’t it? Days gave Roxas and Riku the character development they needed to fully flesh them out in Kingdom Hearts II, and definitely gave Axel more likable motives. Will this continue in III? Only time will tell.