All worlds begin in darkness, and all so end. The heart is no different. Darkness sprouts within it, grows, consumes it. Such is its nature. In the end, every heart returns to the darkness whence it came. You see, darkness is the heart's true essence.
~ Ansem
Behold the endless abyss! Within lies the heart of all worlds: Kingdom Hearts! Look as hard as you are able. You'll not find even the smallest glimmer of light! From those dark depths are all hearts born! Even yours. Darkness conquers all worlds!''
~ Ansem reveals Kingdom Hearts.

Ansem, Seeker of Darkness (also known as Xehanort's Heartless) is the main antagonist in Kingdom Hearts and Riku's story in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and one of the supporting antagonists in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. He is the one of the alternate forms of Master Xehanort.


See: Master Xehanort and Terra-Xehanort

Ansem the Wise started to research the Heartless with an apprentice named Xehanort, who is actually the body of Terra converted into an amnesic vessel by Master Xehanort. When Ansem decided to stop his research, Xehanort continued it with the aid of Ansem's other apprentices, including Braig, Xehanort's accomplice. Eventually, the apprentices fell so deep into darkness that they all became Heartless, though their bodies remained as Nobodies thanks to their strong wills. In Xehanort's case, his Heartless took on Ansem's name, while his Nobody called himself Xemnas.

Wearing robes to conceal his lack of a body, "Ansem" traveled back in time to meet a teenage Xehanort and orchestrated the young man's destiny as part of his previous incarnation's plans. Returning to his time, "Ansem" oversees Maleficent gathering the Princesses of Heart as part of his plan to find Kingdom Hearts and engulf all worlds in darkness.


Kingdom Hearts

Xehanort's Heartless


Ansem first appears to Sora prior to the Destiny Islands' destruction. Though he does not properly introduce himself at the time, Ansem makes a cryptic message to Sora regarding the fate of the Islands. During the Islands' destruction, Ansem appears to Riku and opens a Corridor of Darkness, sending the boy to Hollow Bastion.

Later, once Maleficent has almost completed gathering the princesses, Ansem possesses Riku's body. He acquires a Keyblade forged from the hearts of the princesses sans Kairi's and uses it to corrupt Maleficent, turning her into a dragon, but she is slain by Sora and company.

Sora then travels to the Final Keyhole, where Ansem awaits. Ansem explains that Kairi's heart is really within Sora and reveals his true identity before attempting to use his Keyblade to draw out Kairi's heart. Sora duels with Ansem, emerging triumphant, and prepares to seal the incomplete Keyhole. As Kairi is still comatose, Sora is forced to use Ansem's Keyblade to save her at the cost of the Keyhole's completion and his own transformation into a Heartless, and subsequently, the births of the Nobodies Roxas and Namine.

Ansem, having expelled Riku's heart and remodeled the boy's body, reappears and declares that Kairi's part is done. He tries to kill her, Donald, and Goofy, but Riku's heart stalls Ansem to buy the heroes time to escape. Ansem retreats to the End of the World, with a restored Sora in pursuit.

In a final battle, Ansem declares darkness is the source of all power, believing that Sora is still ignorant of the truth. Sora, though, retorts that Kingdom Hearts is light and destroys Ansem's physical form with the Door to Darkness.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, and Kingdom Hearts II

Despite his physical form's death, a fragment of Ansem remains in Riku's body and tries to tempt Riku into falling back into the darkness when the youth emerges in Castle Oblivion's basement. However, seeing that Riku has accepted darkness and not him, Ansem becomes frustrated with Riku and is defeated in battle. However, Ansem points how that he'll take Riku's body when the time comes. Eventually, while fighting Roxas six months later to help the resting Sora, Riku is forced to tap into Ansem's powers and adopts his form in the process.

While Riku helps him from the shadows, Sora learns "Ansem"'s true identity as the Heartless of the real Ansem's apprentice, Xehanort. It was only while aiding Sora in the Castle that Never Was that Riku was purged of "Ansem"'s influence and returned to normal.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

Due to Young Xehanort's travels through time, "Ansem" is among the versions of Xehanort summoned and made a member of the True Organization XIII. "Ansem" taunts Riku throughout his journey through the Sleeping Worlds until Riku defeats him and escapes into the real world to thwart the real Organization XIII.




  • Ansem is voiced by Richard Epcar in English and Akio Otsuka in Japanese. In the first game's English dub, he was voiced by Billy Zane, who also portrayed Cal Hockley in Titanic.
    • Zane would later play Commander Sam William Marshall, the main antagonist of the 2006 Turkish film Valley of the Wolves: Iraq, which became controversial because it depicted Americans as terrorists. Disney decided that since Zane was involved, they didn't want him involved in Kingdom Hearts, hence why Ansem has been voiced by Epcar from Kingdom Hearts II onward.
      • When possessing Riku, Ansem is also voiced by David Gallagher (English) and Mamoru Miyano (Japanese).
  • As a consequence of Richard Epcar replacing Billy Zane, all flashbacks of Kingdom Hearts in Kingdom Hearts II were subsequently redubbed with Epcar as Ansem.
  • Ansem's character model was altered in Dream Drop Distance to better match up with Xehanort's other incarnations and subsequently reused for HD 1.5 ReMIX.
  • Coincidentally, the name "Ansem" is an anagram of the word "names," reflecting how the name has been used by multiple characters, including Ansem the Wise, Xehanort and his Heartless and Nobody, and Riku. It could also reference how "Ansem" is not his real name, but rather an alias used to conceal his identity as Xehanort.
           Kingdom Hearts Villains

Thirteen Hearts of Darkness
Ansem | Master Xehanort | Saïx | Terra-Xehanort | Xemnas | Xigbar | Young Xehanort

Organization XIII
Axel | Demyx | Larxene | Lexaeus | Luxord | Marluxia | Vexen | Xaldin | Zexion

Disney Villains
Bo'sun | Captain Hook | Cecil Clayton | Cerberus | Chernabog | Cheshire Cat | Crew of the Black Pearl | CLU 2 | Diablo | Fates | Flotsam & Jetsam | Gantu | Glut | Hades | Hector Barbossa | Hayabusa | Hydra | Iago | Jafar | Judge Claude Frollo | Lady Tremaine | Lock, Shock & Barrel | Mr. Smee | Maleficent | Maleficent's Goons | MCP | Monstro | Neverland Pirates | Oogie Boogie | Pain & Panic | Pete | Queen of Hearts | Rinzler | Sabor | Sark | Scar | Shan Yu | Shenzi, Banzai & Ed | Titans (Lythos & Hydros) | Ursula

Braig | Repliku | Riku | Sephiroth | Sora's Heartless | Vanitas | Dream Eaters | Heartless | Nobodies | Unversed