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The story is not over.
Released in early 2006, it follows Sora and his friends after the events of Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories. They're confronted by a group of "Nobodies" — including thirteen new adversaries (or the remains of them), known as Organization XIII. As Sora unlocks new powers within himself, he also comes to realize that Ansem wasn't quite what he seemed in the first game, that Riku wasn't quite done with his quest, and that Kairi still needs him to be a hero.
The group re-visits many of the Disney worlds from the first game, often experiencing more of the familiar plotlines (and, in case of Aladdin, the straight-to-video sequel) or exploring different parts of the settings. Most of the minor gameplay complaints from the original were handily addressed, and the combat system was much improved.
It also, however, saw a rapid growth of Kudzu Plot and a lot of Retcon. Even though it becomes more and more convoluted over time, the story remains internally consistent. The game was followed by two prequels (Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days) and two sequels (Kingdom Hearts coded and Kingdom Hearts 3D).
Just like the first game, the game was a massive success, both critically and commercially. Like many Square games, it was re-released in Japan with English voices plus extra content, known as Final Mix. (The game itself is properly Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. The collection of that and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories is Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+.)
This game contains examples of:
- Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Subverted with Groundshaker, Living Bones and Shaman Heartless.
- Played Straight with the Strafer Heartless.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: The keyblades (which are usually rather blunt, if not rounded) can cut through buildings.
- Action Commands: Used in the form of Reaction commands.
- Actionized Sequel: The combat system's improvement allows for much more impressive battles, especially with some of the Reaction Commands.
- Adaptation Explanation Extrication: How Prince Eric knows Ariel's name even though she's mute at the time.
- Akashic Records: The Bookmaster Heartless drops this as a shield that Goofy can use. May also be a Genius Bonus.
- All Your Powers Combined: Armored Xemnas uses all of the weapons used by Organization characters in KHII.
- Animated Armor: Final Mix's secret boss, the Lingering Will.
- Anime Hair: Lampshaded: when the party meet Tifa, she tells them that she's looking for someone with spikey hair. Donald and Goofy immediately stare at Sora, who self-consciously tugs on one of his spikes.
- Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: The end of the first Land of Dragons quest features the verbatim quote from Mulan (also that trope's page quote), with Sora thinking that everyone is in trouble and interrupting, "We get the picture..."
- Awesome Yet Practical: The Reflect spell creates a sphere of light around Sora, which if struck by an attack, explodes and heavily damages all enemies in range while shielding Sora from damage. It is also tied with Fire for the cheapest spell cost in the game. Particularly effective against non-physical and elemental attacks, proper application of Reflect can slaughter damage-sponge enemies and drastically reduce the difficulty of the game's That One Boss(es).
- Trinity Limit: The normal attack tends to be buggy and may or may not work, but does a ton of damage when it does. The imperfect attack (when one of the trio isn't present) does a ton of damage, juggles the enemy, and can be repeated up to three times.
- Ax Crazy: Saïx in berserk mode, Sora's AntiForm.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Leon and Cloud during the Heartless invasion. Sora does it with a few different people over the course of the game (it's even a part of his Combination Attack with some of them).
- Bag of Spilling: Sora has forgotten all of his magic, something Merlin is happy about. This is Justified in that he recently had his memories wiped and put back together.
- Bash Brothers: Sora and Riku
- Sora and pretty much everyone.
- Battleship Raid: The Phantom Storm and Dreadnought gummi missions, and part of the final boss sequence.
- Beta Couple: Maybe not romantically, but Roxas and Namine's relationship is similar to Sora and Kairi, as their Nobody counterparts.
- Beam-O-War: The "Session" reaction command's final move, "All's End."
- Beam Spam: Xemnas's final attack.
- Big Bad Ensemble: Xemnas and Maleficent.
- Big "What?": Sora, Donald and Goofy's reaction to the "Xehanort" reveal.
- Bishonen Line: Xemnas' final form.
- The entirety of Organization XIII crossed the Bishonen line. They're the only human form nobodies; all the other nobodies are grey monsters.
- Blade Run: Sora can stand on Barbossa's cutlass as part of a reaction command. Unlike most examples, he does this to pin it to the ground — Barbossa doesn't hold him and the sword aloft in midair.
- Blessed with Suck: AntiForm. As others have noted, it's quite lethal in the right hands... but the complete inability to heal or earn experience while it's active leaves much to be desired.
- Word of God from Nomura Tetsuya says that he wanted to create something that was powerful, but difficult to use.
- Blind Idiot Translation: The Canadian release of the game comes with a French instruction manual that translates "Nobodies" as "Personnes", which literally means "Persons". For those interested, the (European) French dub translated it as "Simili".
- Bonus Boss: Sephiroth again, Organization XIII Data, and Terra's Lingering Will. Note that the last two are only available in Final Mix .
- Bowdlerise: Mostly things to do with guns and Pirates of the Caribbean. In a near-replica of a Pirates scene, Will doesn't hold a gun to his head. All of Barbossa's pirates wield... er, crossbows...that still bang, and they don't burst into flames upon contact with Fire magic. Jack stabs Barbossa off-screen! Additionally, the Hydra bleeds smoke instead of green goo (the only change out of these that was retained for Final Mix). Xigbar doesn't combine his gun-arrows into a sniper rifle, and his sight looks a lot less sniper-y. Axel doesn't light himself on fire, either. All of this was because Disney was hellbent on securing an E rating. The change to the Hydra was even weirder as it was faithful to the original kids' movie BEFORE the change.
- And it still got E10+ rather than just E. Even funnier, in the UK it got a 12+ — the exact same rating as the Pirates movie!
- And the only real important ones, Xigbar's rifle and Axel's lighting himself on fire, actually appeared in later American games. 358/2 Days had the rifle, and Vexen's death in Re: Chain of Memories had the flames. The "Ignited" status effect in Days brings back the flames missing from the Pirates world, except now everyone can catch fire!
- Brainwash Residue: When Sora bids farewell to Hayner, Pence and Olette, he sheds a single tear but doesn't know why. Little does he know that he has Roxas' memories within him, and he remembers them as his friends in the virtual world.
- Breather Episode: The Hundred Arce Wood, same as before. Atlantica is also turned into one in this game, for better or for worse.
- British Stuffiness: Diz.
- Call Back: To Days, which hadn't been released yet. Axel's surprise at Roxas having two keyblades was confusing to some fans, because it stands to reason that he would know this, what with Roxas being in the Organization. It's revealed in Days that Roxas didn't have two keyblades the entire time, as many fans thought. He actually got the second one after Xion's death awakened his ability to use Ven's Keyblade. Axel never saw it, explaining his later confusion in KH2.
- Similarly, Axel's line of "What's our boss' name?" to Roxas. In Days, the name of their boss is one of the first things Axel insists the then zombie-like Roxas familiarize himself with.
- A smaller example: When visiting The Land of Dragons and The Pride Lands, Mushu and Simba remember the time they spent fighting alongside Sora, Donald and Goofy as summons.
- Chained by Fashion: Shadow Stalker/Dark Thorn.
- Cherry Tapping: The Sweet Memories Keyblade is perfect for this. What better way to humiliate the Final Boss than to kick his ass with something that produces adorable cartoon bees whenever you hit him with it? It's also possible to kick Luxord's ass while you're stuck as a die.
- Colossus Climb: The Groundshaker.
- Combination Attack: Every party member, and a handful of the summons can do a Limit Attack with Sora. Donald and Goofy get two each, plus Trinity Limit.
- Cool Starship: The Gummi Ships, moreso than before — just check out the Falcon Peak.
- Coup De Grace Cutscene: Subverted during the final battle: it leaves him at 1 HP and permanently stunned, so the player can finish him off however they choose.
- Crazy Prepared: Xemnas is either this, or playing some serious Xanatos Speed Chess.
- Credits Medley: Combines "Sora", "Dearly Beloved", "Destati", and "Another Side" with an original theme.
- Critical Existence Failure: Averted for bosses (and with certain abilities equipped, Sora), who can only be finally killed with a decisive blow like a combo finisher or a magic hit--otherwise they'll continue attacking at one HP with impunity.
- Crosshair Aware: Xigbar.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Demyx.
- Deadly Upgrade: AntiForm.
- Deadpan Snarker: Auron puts the "Dead", literally in his case, into Deadpan Snarker in his first scene with Hades:
Hades: Do you know who you're talking to? I'm the LORD OF THE DEAD!!!
- Deceptive Disciple: Xehanort and the other five founding members of the Organization. All of them worked for the real Ansem before they betrayed him and exiled him to the world of nothingness.
- Decoy Protagonist: Roxas.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Timeless River — the only colour is in the HUD, and even that's muted.
- Demoted to Extra: Hey, remember Axel and Naminé, major characters from Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories? Don't expect to see much of them here. Also, Riku and Kairi aren't given very big roles until the last level of the game. But it's worth the wait. But that doesn't mean that any of them aren't important, it's a series with Loads and Loads of Characters after all. The only characters who're getting huge chunks of screen time are Sora! Donald! And Goofy!
- Determinator: Subverted with Hercules.
- Deus Ex Machina: It's mentioned that if Ansem's Kingdom Hearts Encoder explodes, anything could happen. It transforms Riku back to his true self, weakens his dark powers, and teleports Ansem into the Realm of Darkness.
- Difficulty Spike: The second visit to The Land of Dragons for II ups the ante for Proud Mode. Mulan will die so many times. This assumes you got past Demyx and the rest of the surprisingly difficult bosses, though.
- Distressed Damsel: Kairi and Naminé, though both subvert it at the end.
- The Dragon: Pete to Maleficent. Saix and/or Xigbar to Xemnas.
- Dual Boss: Volcanic Lord and Blizzard Lord.
- Dub Name Change: Like the first game, some of the Keyblades had different (yet still English) names in the Japanese version. Mostly it seems they were changed because the originals sounded too Engrishy: "Wonder of Abyss" (changed to Mysterious Abyss), "Wishes Lamp" (changed to Wishing Lamp). Some of the Heartless also got their names changed: Dark Stalker to Shadow Stalker, Black Thorn to Dark Thorn, Gate Guardian to Thresholder, Surveillance to Surveillance Robot, Armour Knight to Armoured Knight, Volcano Lord to Volcanic Lord, Creep Plant to Creeper Plant, Loudness to Crescendo, Terminator to Devastator, Eraser to Strafer, Magna Roader to Magnum Loader, Axe Statue to Gargoyle Warrior, Sword Statue to Gargoyle Knight, Ice Cube to Icy Cube, Flare Globe to Fiery Globe, Mole Drill to Driller Mole, Aiming Cannon to Cannon Gun, Bulk Vendor to Bulky Vendor, Hammer Body to Hammer Frame, Mad Dog to Rabid Dog.
- Duel Boss: Sephiroth, Hercules, Luxord, Roxas in Final Mix...
- Dull Surprise: Mena Suvari's performance as Aerith is often seen as this.
- Dumb Is Good: A lot of people complained that Sora seems much less intelligent in this game, as opposed to the first.
- Although averted at the end, when Sora has just beaten down Xemnas, he ask Sora why Nobodies should be destroyed. He then gives an entirely convincing lecture about what measure a non-human is, regarding their hearts and emotions. This speech was good enough to fool some of the players themselves! And what does Sora do? He instantly dismisses it, because he knows that Xemnas has no emotions to speak of. Good is not dumb indeed.
- Dummied Out: A Notre Dame world and a Woody & Buzz summon were planned but scrapped. The former seems to have made it into Kingdom Hearts 3D.
- Models for the Wyvern and Behemoth from the first game were also made at some point,as they can be seen in one of the early trailers.
- Models from Re:Chain of Memories are reportedly on the disc as well. The Final Mix version seems to support the idea that the missing members of Organisation XIII were originally made to be Bonus Bosses in the original version.
- Easing Into the Adventure: The "Longest Prologue Ever" (which ranges around three hours normally, and five hours on Proud Mode.)
- Eldritch Location: The World that Never Was.
- Eleventh-Hour Superpower: During the final battle, you have access to the fully leveled versions of all Growth abilities (High Jump, Glide, etc), regardless of the status of your drive forms or what you actually have equipped.
- They're not just fully leveled. Your growth abilities have 4 levels, and your maxed out Drive Forms will make use of a secret 5th level that's a lot more powerful than the 4th. The final level will grant you a secret secret 6th level of each Growth ability. At that point, it just pulls out all the stops and gives you infinite duration for the double jump and glide, which gives you complete and infinite mobility in the air.
- Enemy Mine: A villainous example — though the Heartless and the Nobodies seem to be natural enemies, they will nonetheless team up in order to take out Sora, although at one point Sora is "saved" from an onslaught of Nobodies by a bunch of Heartless jumping in to fight the Nobodies instead.
- Maleficent is also an example of this trope, as she saves Sora, Donald and Goofy at Hollow Bastion because she wants Organization XIII gone just as much as they do.
- Axel and Sora briefly teaming up on the way to The World That Never Was could be considered as this as well.
- Era Specific Personality: Referenced with The Timeless River
- Escort Mission: A few, although none of them are nearly as bad as you'd expect, particularly Minnie's.
- Evil Makeover: AntiForm.
- Evil Sorcerer: Xemnas.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Xemnas again.
- Evil Versus Evil: Maleficent returns to command the Heartless again, and she isn't pleased to hear of some other group throwing their weight around. So naturally, most of her scenes have her, Pete, and the Heartless taking on Organization XIII and the Nobodies. They don't tend to fare very well, until...
- Exclusive Enemy Equipment: In Heartless and Nobody flavours: the former give you the Akashic Record and Shaman's Relic, while the latter drop the Nobody Guard and Lance.
- Fake Difficulty: So, in order to finish off a boss or special enemy, you have to hit it with the finishing move of a combo. Makes sense, considering Sora is the only one who has said moves, and you want him to dispatch the big guns. But then, in the Hades Paradox Cup, you get pitted against Leon, Cloud, Tifa and Yuffie. Four major enemies, each tricky in their own way. Now, taking them down to the edge of defeat? Tricky, but, with a bit of discretion and tactical use of magic, not too difficult (though complicated by the fact that Cloud is apparently immune for some reason; another, smaller example of Fake Difficulty). However, trying to get a full combo so you can finish one of them off? Near IMPOSSIBLE, because you have to get in close to do so, and the other three characters won't let you get a combo going, much less complete one. And it's not like you can take them all down to 1 health, since they maintain full ability until hit by a finisher. This is the ONLY reason this boss is so difficult (it would be difficult anyway, of course, but not THIS difficult).
- Averted if you do actually use magic attacks, as they also count as finishers.
- Fandom Nod: In addition to all the Disney/Final Fantasy references, there is a literal fandom nod during Cloud and Leon's snark-fest in the sequel. As they do their Back-to-Back Badasses moment, it echoes the rivalry between fans of their respective games.
- Field of Blades: The Stingers take place in one.
- Fighter Launching Sequence: The gummi ships.
- Filler: Several worlds don't progress the story at all; notably Agrabah, Halloween Town, Pride Lands, Atlantica and Land of Dragons (even the second visit to that world, which tried to not be filler, ended up pointless, with Xigbar's unhooding and Riku's appearance there never brought up ever again; Xigbar's appearance in the final world even continues off of his first one at Hollow Bastion, completely ignoring his unhooding scene.) 100 Acre Woods also has no story-relevance, but it was always a Breather Episode level in the past two games so that's more excusable.
- On the whole, much less story progression takes place in the Disney-based worlds in KHII than in the first game, chiefly because the game goes out of its way to awkwardly follow the plotlines of the movies to the letter, even when — such as in the case of Atlantica — these events make no sense whatsoever in the context of the games. Pretty much the only Disney-based worlds that avoid this are Beast's Castle, Olympus Coliseum, Disney Castle/Timeless River, and Space Paranoids.
- Five-Bad Band:
- Five-Man Band: The heroes form one at the end of the second game.
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: Bell strikes replace the usual piano in Organization XIII's Leitmotif in "Showdown at Hollow Bastion".
- Foreshadowing: Xigbar mentions that there were Keyblade wielders before Sora, and most of the extra scenes from Final Mix also hint at plot points from Birth by Sleep, not to mention the implications of Xemnas having a really strong negative reaction to being referred to as Xehanort, foreshadowing the dramatic conclusion of Birth by Sleep.
- Forced Tutorial: Almost anything in the infamous prologue is either this or a cutscene.
- Gambit Pileup: Ansem and Xemnas stand tall plotting against each other. Riku, Naminé, Mickey, Maleficent and Axel also pull their own small-scale gambits.
- Get Back Here Boss: Damn it, Xigbar, stop teleporting!
- Can't forget Demyx and his love of shooting across the screen with giant water jets, all the while tossing you up in the air so you can't follow.
- Xemnas' very final final form, where thorns of doom burst out of the ground, and he also possesses Sora and you, as Riku, have to save him... and he's totally out of range
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Two Words: Obvious Trope: Kairi's panties
- Glamour Failure: Whenever something happens that interferes with artificially created memories, and the simulated Twilight Town, the whole screen flickers like The Matrix going haywire.
- A Glitch in the Matrix: To the point where it crosses into Fridge Brilliance in some of the more mundane bits of weirdness — those not covered by Glamour Failure below.
- Everyone in the virtual Twilight Town thinks the theft of a word is unusual, but perfectly possible, in order to preserve the illusion of a normal town.
- Seifer and his group immediately take up arms against some random Nobodies, without having any clue what they are or what they want, likely as a defense mechanism for the fake town.
- Or that could just be what the real Seifer does on a regular basis. Somebody has to protect the town from the Heartless infestation that occurred on a regular basis while Organization XIII wasn't fighting them. He doesn't know what it is or where it's from, but it's a monster, so he's going to fight it. He is the head of the Disciplinary Committee after all.
- Vivi's Took a Level In Badass moment during the Struggle in the prologue hints toward that Twilight Town being a simulation made of data.
- But more importantly, both virtual!Hayner and virtual!Seifer inadvertantly (or perhaps not) cause Roxas to question his reality with lines like, "Make the most of the time we have," and, "I don't feel like cooperating with destiny." Other characters do the same, and the hints increase as time goes on.
- Grave Humor: Zero's grave in Halloween Town; though the grave itself is just a grave, Sora will say that Zero is usually sleeping here.
- Half Arc Season: While all Disney worlds of the first game pushed the plot forward in some way, big or small, only half here actually contribute to the overall Organization XIII storyline.
- He Was Right There All Along: The Tresholder Heartless is part of a set of double doors in Beast's Castle, and announces itself by taking a swing at Donald once he gets close enough.
- Hijacked by Ganon: Played with: Xehanort is behind everything, always, but it's not apparent from the start that the new villain of the game is still some version of him.
- Hold the Line: The game is fond of using this for the 'smack around waves of enemies' sections, except the Heartless / Nobodies are rarely a serious threat to whatever you're protecting (even when you're at level 1).
- Holy Hand Grenade: Queen Minnie's magic spells all fit in this category.
- King Mickey has several variations on the Pearl spell, a reference to the rename of Holy used for Final Fantasy VI.
- I Like Those Odds: Leon and Cloud do this during their Back-to-Back Badasses moment while surrounded and vastly outnumbered by Heartless.
Leon: Think you can handle this many?
- The Imp: Pete.
- Infinity-1 Sword: The Decisive Pumpkin and/or Sleeping Lion--the former has the same strength as the Ultima Weapon (which makes Xaldin easier if you go and get it first) but its side-effects aren't as helpful.
- Infinity+1 Sword: The Ultima Weapon has great strength and magic, but requires a whole lot of synthesising. The Fenrir is the single strongest Keyblade in the game, but requires you to beat Sephiroth.
- There is a ingredient that increases a synthesized items rank by one. It is necessary for the creation of the Ultima Weapon and can be applied to Goofy and Donald's highest level weapons making them Save The King/Queen+.
- Final Mix adds a third variation. Winner's Proof. It has the highest magic in the game, but it can only be gotten by beating the twelve Organization Mushroom mini-games. Plus its ability is EXP Zero, which isn't that useful outside a low level challenge.
- Inside a Computer System: Space Paranoids and the alternate Twilight Town
- Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Played straight.
- Especially grating if you play it just after playing the first game, where the worlds were fully navigable and you could jump down mostly anywhere and where you couldn't there was a physical or magical barrier to explain it — in Kingdom Hearts II sometimes (especially in Radiant Garden) you feel like you are in a really squiggly but decorated tube and you wonder in amazement why a strange force field is preventing you to jump over a hedge to take a shortcut as was standard procedure in Kingdom Hearts.
- Invisible Parents: Roxas and his friends (just like Sora and co.). Of course, Roxas himself doesn't have any "parents", unless you count Sora.
- Ironic Echo: When Maleficent intervenes between Sora's confrontation with Saix and Sora tries to stop her, she tells him, "I don't take orders from you!" When Maleficent saves Sora and company from the Nobodies, telling him to find a way to get rid of the Nobodies, Sora repeats the same line and tries to help her to no avail.
- It's All Upstairs From Here: The Organization's castle.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Past Pete.
- Large Ham: Ansem again. The new guy, Richard Epcar, seemed to try pretty hard to out-ham Billy Zane, resulting in:
'KINGDOOOOM HEEEAAAAARTS! FILL ME, WITH THE POWER OF DARKNESS!
- Epcar has since stated in a podcast interview that the voice directors kind of forced his performance then and that he was free to have more restraint in Re:Chain of Memories.
- Xemnas manages to pull this off in spite of lacking emotions of any kind.
- Unlike the other members of Organization XII, who can call on their own memories to fake a passable semblance of humanity, Xemnas has no memories to speak of. He simply can't understand emotions enough to emulate them properly. His overblown persona can be seen as either a desperate attempt to recapture his humanity or a sign that he cares less about restoring his soul than the other Organization members. Justified in Kingdom Hearts:Birth By Sleep, in which it is made clear that Xehanort loses his memory of his past after merging with Terra.
- Larynx Dissonance: Played a bit well with "Ping" when "he" fights alongside Sora and his companions in battles... before "he" is accidentally revealed to be Mulan who later fights alongside them for the remainder of the game.
- Late Arrival Spoiler: A peril of the of Intercontinuity Crossover; the visit to Olympus Coliseum spoils a major plot point of Final Fantasy X (that Auron was already dead.)
- Limit Break: Every character gives Sora a "Limit". Donald and Goofy have two each.
- Limited Special Collectors Ultimate Edition: Final Mix+
- Lip Lock: Averted.
- Lotus Eater Machine: At the end of the prologue Roxas learns that the Twilight Town he was in was one of these.
- Low-Level Run: Only possible in Final Mix's Critical Mode, where you have access to an ability called "EXP Zero", allowing you to play the entire game with Sora at Level 1.
- Mage Tower: Yen Sid's home, the Mysterious Tower.
- Magic Versus Science: Merlin and Cid.
- Make My Monster Grow: The MCP does this to Sark.
- Meaningful Echo: When Saix confronts Sora over how important Kairi means to him, Sora replies, "Yeah. More than anything." Kairi replies similarly later when Saix questions her if she wants to see Sora.
- Mercy Mode: A handful of boss fights can have Mickey bail you out if you lose.
- Only I Can Kill Him: Mickey is completely incapable of killing bosses, though. You'll have to get Sora back on his feet to do that.
- Message in a Bottle: Kairi sends one, and because A Wizard Did It, Sora and Riku find it in an alternate shadow dimension.
- Mind Screw: The opening, and much of the prologue. Though the opening makes more sense if you played both the first game and Chain of Memories.
- Missing Trailer Scene:
- Donald freezing himself with a ricocheting Blizzard after waking up from his memory-restoring sleep. Not to mention that said scene looks like it would be in a world from Atlantis.
- A scene of the trio beating off a gaggle of Neoshadows and chasing after a black-coated man on the outside wall of Hollow Bastion, not to mention the world looked exactly like how it was back in the first game.
- Axel comes across as more of a rat bastard and delivers one hell of a Slasher Smile before fighting Roxas.
- Deep Dive is not a scene from Kingdom Hearts II. It's a scene from Days.
- Mythology Gag: Ansem's study in the basement of Hollow Bastion looks suspiciously similar to the basement library in Final Fantasy VII where Sephiroth discovered his history. It's appropriate, considering the nature of the experiments there.
- Never Say "Die": Averted by Saix: when he says "I want to see you die fighting," you know he's not messing around.
- Played straight by Sephiroth: "Only Cloud can eliminate me." Probably a Justified Trope as this version of Sephiroth is implied to be a physical manifestation of Cloud's inner darkness and as such, isn't really alive in the first place.
- Never Split the Party: One of the mini-games in the Hundred Acre Wood involves keeping all the characters together through a spooky cave.
- No Sidepaths No Exploration No Freedom: One of the main differences between this and Kingdom Hearts.
- Non Dubbed Grunts: The Chain of Memories Organization members in Final Mix, whereas the rest of the game reuses the North American version's English voice track.
- Nonstandard Game Over: You get sent to the continue screen if Jack Sparrow dies in the battle against Barbossa.
- Or if Pumbaa and Timon are killed by the hyenas, or if you can't defeat Demyx's water clones in 10 seconds.
- Losing to any of the Struggles in the prologue causes a static effect to black out the screen and reset you to before the fight started.
- Noodle Incident: "I'm sorry about the ice cream!" Just what was the "ice cream" incident? We may never know.
- Also, Jack Skellington apparently caused some sort of trouble when first discovering Christmas Town, but it's not elaborated on other than "It's a long story."
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Implied with Demyx.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: According to Sephiroth, Cloud is the only one capable of truly defeating him.
- Pivotal Boss: The MCP
- Point of No Return: The Altar of Naught
- Power Floats and Glows: Final Form.
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: From Mickey Mouse, of all people: "They'll pay for this." Followed by Flung Clothing and a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. This, along with very powerful music, makes the King a force for kicking ass!
- His cry of "Sora!" whenever he appears during a boss battle too.
- Pretty much all the bosses get one before the fight begins. Sora tosses one out whenever he enters Drive mode.
- Press X to Not Die: An interesting variation in the form of the Reaction Commands, which don't necessarily kill you, but can sometimes lead to a battle turning against your favour if not followed. They are taken to an extreme level, and to an extent played straight, during the final battle with Xemnas, to the point that a portion of it is practically a flashy cutscene powered by hammering the Triangle button.
- Played completely straight with Sephiroth; his first attack can potentially kill you immediately if you're not quick enough.
- Prolonged Prologue: The former Trope Namer for Longest Prologue Ever.
- Radial Ass-Kicking: In the Battle of 1000 Heartless this is how Sora, Donald, and Goofy begin the fight.
- Rank Inflation: The gummi ship missions. Once you go past "A", it switches to "S" and then starts adding numbers after that, reaching S++10.
- Retraux: The level "Timeless River", which is one big homage to the oldest Disney shorts.
- Ret-Gone: A minor variation on the trope occurs when all the photos owned by the residents of Twilight Town are stolen. Everyone remembers the photos, but the theft is so complete that even the word "photo" is stolen, and is blanked out of the characters' dialogues when they try to say it.
- A more major example — ever heard of a girl named Xion? No? Hmm ...
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: God Bless the King.
- Sadistic Choice: Xaldin takes the Beast's rose and kidnaps Belle. He makes Beast choose which one. Beast chooses Belle, rather she be safe even if the curse isn't lifted. Belle then elbows Xaldin, saving herself and the rose.
- Sanity Slippage: Roxas in the prologue definitely has trouble coping with Twilight Town's Mind Screw, his dreams' Mind Screw, and the Organization's Mind Screw. He also has some weird emotional responses and zones out constantly. Reviewing the game after beating Days would seem to imply a kind of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder bleeding over.
- Saving Christmas: The Halloween Town/Christmas Town world visits.
- Say My Name: Hayner! Pence! Olette!
- "Sora, Donald, Goofy!"
- Played with when every Organization member addresses Sora as "Roxas!"
- "Sora, Donald, Goofy!"
- Self-Deprecation: DiZ/ Ansem The Wise calls Xehanort the "foolish apprentice of a foolish man" in one of the ending scenes.
- Self-Imposed Challenge: The game was regarded as way too easy by many fans, so it's natural that these would arise, but the most epic of these is the No Abilities, No Summoning, No Pride Lands, No Level Grinding, No White Magic run. You are not allowed to use any form of cure spell, get saved by Mickey, use any abilities not linked to equipment (including drive forms), use any summons and you are underleveled.
- Series Fauxnale: Wraps damn near everything up and, aside from a post-credits Sequel Hook, feels like a finale for the series' story. Of course, it's not.
- Sequel Difficulty Drop: Which makes whichever one's your personal That One Boss even worse in comparison.
- Shout-Out: Scrooge McDuck tries to make a business out of selling Sea-Salt ice cream.
- The giant Nobody that Roxas fights is called Twilight Zone in the Japanese version, obviously a reference to the TV series of the same name. This ties in with the Darkside from the first game, a reference to Tales from the Darkside, another anthology horror series.
- The role Yen Sid takes in the opening is pretty much based on the Wizard from Captain Marvel. Running a ghost train that takes the heroes to his home so he can give them new powers?
- Shown Their Work: The plan of Chang'An, as visible from the mountain in the Land of Dragons, is entirely accurate.
- Single-Stroke Battle: The Samurai Nobodies have a Reaction Command that triggers one of these: winning it depends on hitting the right button.
- Smart Ball: Goofy has it at some points, like when he saw through Mulan's disguise while Sora and Donald couldn't.
- It's said in his journal entry for one of the games that he often notices stuff that others miss.
- The Soulless: The Nobodies.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: During the battle against Roxas in Final Mix, a remix of his melancholic theme called "The Other Promise" is used. A stark contrast with your average KH frantic battle theme.
- Spanner in the Works: Both DiZ and Xemnas attempt to use Sora for their own plans, but Sora doesn't act in the way they envisioned him to and ultimately derails everything for them without really knowing it. Lampshaded by DiZ:
While I was trying to bring Sora back, I had so many plans in store, but one Sora was an acting force, they fell apart."
- Spell My Name with an "S": A minor example in-game — The Lion King world's name shows up as "Pride Land" when it comes up on screen the first time you go there, but is referred to as "Pride Lands" in the dialogue and in Jiminy's Journal.
- Another example is the Heartless known as Magnum Loader in the English translation — its original Japanese name was Magna Roader (Maguna Rōdā), and "Roader" does make more sense based on the way the Heartless looks and moves, to the point where it seems that "Loader" was a mistranslation. It's also a Shout-Out to the enemy of the same name from Final Fantasy VI.
- Spoiler Opening: To those who haven't played the first game or Chain of Memories yet.
- Shoot'Em Up: The Gummi ship levels.
- Stationary Boss: Thresholder, Xemnas' armoured form, Genie!Jafar
- Standard Female Grab Area:
- Averted in Beast's castle; when Belle is grabbed like so, she elbows her assailant in the gut, steals the rose back, and runs back to Beast to the cheers of not only Sora, but the players, too. The fact that the "assailant" is one of the game's many one bosses made it even more awesome. That exchange had many wishing that Xaldin would grab Sora's arm, so he could get rid of him as easy.
- Played straight when Axel kidnaps Kairi, although she "got away from him" later, so this example might have not worked out so well in the end.
- Stock Footage: At the end of every world's first story run typically, where Sora opens a new Keyhole to travel to further worlds; the only differences are where the scene starts and what item is used to make the respective Keyhole appear. Everyone else present even conveniently disappears during these scenes and then reappears right afterwards.
- Storming the Castle: Sora and company must fight through Organization XIII's castle in order to reach Xemnas.
- Story to Gameplay Ratio: Set incredibly high, even during playable sections because of all the mandatory Action Commands.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The Gummi ship levels, especially when you have enough power in your weapons.
- Summon Backup Dancers: Justified, Demyx can create water "clones" that float around and play the sitar.
- Surprisingly Easy Mini Quest: The need to kill 1000 Heartless. The horde consists of two enemy types that both have reaction commands that take out about a dozen other enemies each. Plus the Play Station 2 CPU can't actually handle that many enemies at once so most are just background, gradually disappearing as you take the heartless down.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Roxas asks Naminé what's going to happen to him if Sora awakens. Her answer?
Naminé: You won't disappear!
- Technically they still exist within their other halves, so she's not totally lying.
- Sword Drag: Roxas during his cutscene fight.
- Taking the Bullet: Goofy shoves King Mickey out of the way as a rock from a Nobody/Heartless fight falls towards him. The rock proceeds to hit Goofy instead. King Mickey gets very angry and several Heartless wish they'd never been born.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: "Just thinking about all the things you did makes me really mad."
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Simba and Scar, at least when they're on an even playing field. Once Scar comes back as a Heartless, Sora and co. decide Simba could probably use a hand.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: When Saix enters his berserk, he starts attacking so violently that his sword gets flung at you repeatedly. Fortunately, he seems to carry around a limitless supply of them.
- The Time Traveller's Dilemma: Merlin alludes to it before the gang goes to the Timeless River; Donald's the only one who seems more than the slightest bit tempted.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Roxas.
- Took a Level In Badass:
- Sora, Riku, and Kairi all get to do this. Riku and Kairi get Keyblades and Sora gets to wield two Keyblades. Potentially three if you fight a certain Final Mix boss.
- Mickey. He had minor roles in I and Chain Of Memories, but here? Proficiency with a sword and mastery of white magic? Mickey is a freaking Paladin.
- Totally Radical: Seifer's undeniable proof of owning the lamers.
- Triang Relations: Sora, Riku and Kairi are pretty close to a (non-sexual) type 8 by this point.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: Gummi Ship levels, most of the minigames, Hundred Acre Wood, Atlantica, etc.
- Updated Rerelease: Final mix 2+. For all the people who don't know, Nomura doesn't hate everyone else — People higher than him in Square-Enix and Sony (The people who MAKE the Playstation) don't like to send updated-rereleases overseas because they fear it won't be profitable. Sony also forbids rereleases, too.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The World that Never Was.
- Video Game Flight: Final Form.
- Villain Based Franchise: This game pretty much solidifies that just about everything that happens was caused by Xehanort in some way or another.
- Villainous Breakdown: Saix sheds his calm personality near the end of the game, and becomes seemingly insane as he attacks Sora like berserk, which is fitting seeing though he controls the Berserker nobodies.
- His character profile in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days reveals that he is usually calm except when the moon is full.
- For the Disney villain version, here comes Hades. When his plans failed, he turned the entire Underdrome into a firestorm through sheer animalistic rage alone.
- The War Sequence: You get to mow down 1,000 enemies. And it's still one of the easiest battles in the game, provided you abuse Reaction Commands and finishers.
- Weapon Tombstone: There is a room in The World That Never Was that houses graves with pictures of the weapons that each Organization member used.
- Weirdness Censor: Pence, Pence, Pence. Investigating the seven wonders with him during the week in Twilight Town can get infuriating because he's so willing to come up with a "sensible" conclusion and totally ignore the Fridge Logic. This could be DiZ's fault though, since Pence is a simulation.
- Whole-Plot Reference: The scenario in Agrabah takes quite a few plot points from The Return of Jafar which was the direct to video movie that preceded the Aladdin TV series. Points include Iago's Heel Face Turn, Jafar manipulating someone in order to gain his freedom and destroying Jafar's lamp to stop Jafar.
- Wistful Amnesia: Kairi, before Sora wakes up, due to everyone's memories of him being altered. Sora experiences this himself immediately after waking up, when he meets Hayner, Pence and Olette and doesn't quite get what's so familiar about them...
- Xanatos Gambit: Organization XIII's plan to create a false Kingdom Hearts. If Sora kills heartless, it helps their plan. If he doesn't kill heartless, than they'll collect hearts on their own.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: Xemnas by the end of the game. Sora and Riku when using "Eternal Session," and Sora himself in Final Form.
- You Fool!: Xemnas is fond of this. "Cursed FOOOOOLS!"
- DiZ does it to himself, saying that it was foolish of him to think that he could ever hope to understand the essence of a heart in terms of data.
- This is because the manual was based on the English version of the game (as the only language available on the disk). "Nobody" (as in "nobody there", rather than "no body" as was intended) translates as "personne" in French, so they just took the plural.