Keyblades (キーブレード Kīburēdo) are mysterious weapons that are heavily featured in the Kingdom Hearts series. Wielded by the main character, Sora, as well as a number of other important characters, the Keyblade is a main part of the battle between Darkness and Light.
Powers and Usage
As the name implies, in combat, Keyblades are used in a manner similar to swords. Despite the fact that most possess no actual cutting edge, Keyblades still make efficient combat weapons, and are shown to be particularly effective weapons against Heartless, Nobodies, Unversed, and Dream Eaters. However, as a downside to this, the Heartless use the Keyblade as a homing beacon, and thus Keyblade wielders are at constant risk of Heartless attacks at any time.
Most Keyblade wielders are also able to extend their Keyblade's length with Light or Darkness for their ultimate attacks. This has been seen for Sora's Ars Arcanum; Roxas, Xion, and Riku's Limit Break in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days; Sora and Riku's Limit, Eternal Session; and Terra and Aqua's Command Style, Blade Charge.
The main power of the Keyblade, however, is the ability to seal or open the barriers between worlds, as well as to "lock" a world's Keyhole, preventing the Heartless from attacking that world's heart. As an offset of this ability, the Keyblade can also be used to lock or unlock any lock, allowing the user to access any sealed interior, whether it be a locked room, gate, or treasure chest. The Keyblade opens and shuts locks by emitting a bright, thin beam of light; this can also be used as an attack against certain enemies, although it is not featured in general gameplay. Keyblade wielders can usually just simply tap the surface of a treasure chest and that will be enough to open it.
In addition to its base powers, it is possible to modify a Keyblade's appearance and powers by attaching various Keychains or Gears in the wielder's inventory. However, there are many Keyblades that do not possess a keychain for reasons unknown. There are other instances of the Keyblade changing form, such as when Riku's Soul Eater becomes the Way to the Dawn and when Roxas's two Kingdom Keys transmute into the Oathkeeper and Oblivion, but the mechanism behind these transformations is uncertain.
The Keyblade has a special power that only lets a chosen wielder hold it. This is proven when Sora gives his Keyblade to Jack Sparrow, only to have it come back to his hand. In the final battle with Xemnas, Sora was able to hold Riku's Keyblade, and the same goes for Riku with Sora's Keyblade.
While there are many qualities a Keyblade wielder must have in order to harness the Keyblade's power, the main requirement is for one to have an exceptionally strong heart.
It is implied in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep that it is possible for a Keyblade Master to choose a person as their successor if they have the main qualities that allow them to hold a Keyblade, as Terra chose Riku to be his successor. Kairi inherited the same ability when she accidentally touched Aqua's Keyblade.
Aqua originally considered choosing Sora to be her successor, but decided against it because Terra had already performed the ritual on Riku and she did not want the two to fight as she and Terra would. However, Sora gained the ability to wield the Keyblade anyway when he reached out his heart to Ventus after sensing Ventus's shattered heart. By joining his heart with Ventus's he gained the ability to wield his own Keyblade, as well as Ventus's.
In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Terra, Ventus, and Aqua have the ability to turn their Keyblades into vehicles and use them to travel to other worlds. This ability has only been demonstrated by the trio, though Master Xehanort explains in his Xehanort's Report that he used them during his own apprenticeship. In addition, the Lingering Will has been shown to utilize it in combat for high-speed pursuit and ramming maneuvers.
Keyblades are natural conduits for casting magic, as seen when Sora uses his Keyblade to command his magical attacks. This is not to say, however, that magic cannot be performed by a Keyblade Wielder when they are unable to summon their weapon, as seen when Sora is able to use magic despite having his Keyblade stolen by Riku. However, in Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, Data-Sora is prevented from using magic when his Keyblade is destroyed by Maleficent. Some Keyblades have the innate ability to enhance specific kinds of magic, and many also augment the user's magical abilities on a more general level. Keyblades can also augment the holder with other powers and abilities that they would not normally be able to use.
Known Keyblade Wielders