My first brush with Xehanort was way back in 2012 when Kingdom Hearts was one stand alone, utterly fantastic story that blended the worlds of Final Fantasy with Disney. He was a tall, silver haired fox known as Ansem, who was really Xemnas, who was the Heartless version of Terra possessed by Master Xehanort (hereafter referred to as Terranort), who is not to be confused with Young Xehanort. Confused yet? Welcome to the Kingdom Hearts fandom! It took me quite a while to unscramble my brain and organize all the time travel so I will touch briefly on all four incarnations and then sum up on why this person is the perfect embodiment of all evil and deserves to burn on a pyre. If you haven’t succumbed to the lure of a gorgeously done, award winning game series yet, I implore you: Dig out that Playstation2 and dive in.
“Darkness rules your heart. It gives me control. Muscle and sinew that once obeyed you now rebels against you. How you can remain here at all confounds the mind.”
I’m a bit of a completionist and as such, I feel it is my duty to start from the beginning (with Kingdom Hearts I, not Young Xehanort).
Ansem is all about the Darkness. He wants to live in it, be it, and create an entire kingdom bathed in it. In the Xehanort timeline, he comes to existence due to experiments by Terranort after memory erasure. Terranort successfully rips his Heart from his body and soul before offering it up to Darkness and becoming Ansem. Before Ansem was able to gain a physical form, he floated through time and met up with Young Xehanort, who used dark magic to give him a body. After his return to his original timeline, Ansem sucks up and fuses with our hero’s childhood best friend, Riku, then proceeds to steal the hearts from all the princesses he can find in order to forge a Keyblade that will open the doorway to Kingdom Hearts itself (an actual object that is the heart of all worlds and a source of great power and wisdom). He is the hooded figure you encounter at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts and is the one who decides to open all the doors ever, allowing worlds to collide and mesh, and allows Darkness to enter each, filling it with Heartless minions. It’s a slightly sicker, more selfish version of world domination he’s interested in and when he is destroyed by the Light, we think he’s gone forever! Well, until Kingdom Hearts II.
In the second game, we get to meet Xemnas, the leader of the ominous Organization XIII, and find out he is the Nobody of Terranort, the heartless shell left over once the heart becomes a Heartless (Ansem). He also decides to absorb poor Riku in his quest for attaining a Keyblade of his own, but again, our hero and his friends are able to thwart these plans, even though Xemnas has gone one step further and blended magic with technology. He gets much closer to acquiring Kingdom Hearts, getting so far as taking its power and creating a new world. He sacrifices every member of his Organization XIII, becoming the last to fall at the duel Keyblade power that Sora can now wield.
Birth by Sleep was released in conjunction with 358/2 and while 358/2 further explored Organization XIII, Birth by Sleep went back in time to deal with Master Xehanort and his effect on events that would eventually transpire during the original games. Master Xehanort was a Keyblade Master, a teacher and all around respected guy, whose belief in the balance of Light and Darkness was so strong that his urge to conquer Kingdom Hearts and create a new, balanced universe overcame him. Frustrated at his age, he knew his time would run out before his plans were fulfilled and devised a plan to use his Keyblade to transfer his heart to a younger body. Through subtle manipulations, Master Xehanort is able to turn the character Terra from the path of Light and begins to sow seeds of discontent across the worlds, beginning with the evil fairy, Maleficent. Terra eventually faces off with the elderly Master and defeats him, but is unable to stop Master Xehanort from implanting his heart into Terra, whose hair turns white and is revealed to be the spitting image of Ansem/Xemnas.
Currently, we are waiting for Young Xehanort, who starred in the latest game in the franchise, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, to finish collecting empty “vessels” for pieces of his future heart to inhabit. He has grown up on Destiny Islands and after a visit from Ansem/Xemnas, is gifted the ability to time travel so he can allow his future endeavors to come to fruition. After failing to make Sora the thirteenth, ultimate vessel, Young Xehanort vows he will return and that his new Organization XIII will meet the “Seven Lights”, Keyblade-wielding defenders of light (possibly the seven Princesses of Heart), in a Keyblade War.
“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.”
Xehanort, apart from being a wily little time meddler, has powerful elemental magic, complete control over the Darkness, limited control over the Heartless, and he can siphon the Darkness out of another’s heart and grant it form. If you have Darkness in your heart, I recommend staying away from Xehanort, lest you become a minion. Creepy old man taking over your body? No thanks!
If you have liked what you have read and would like to learn more, you can check out the following story arcs/episodes/collected issues:
* For Ansem/Xemnas brought to life by the dulcet tones of Billy Zane, Kingdom Hearts I & II are where you can see him in his prime as he attempts to possess you.
* For Master Xehanort, seek out Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, voiced by the glorious Leonard Nimoy, at his most vile.
* The very pretty Young Xehanort makes several appearances in the Kingdom Hearts manga, so while those are a darn informative read, turn your gaming attentions to Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance.
“This… is hardly… the end… Your darkness—I gave it… all to you… My dark shadow… lingers… Someday… Someday… I will return!”
Nothing impedes a writer or journalist like finding oneself descending into writer’s block. Terrible. Awful. The. Words. Won’t. Budge. You can’t write a thing. Rubbish. Terrible. Nothing. Nope. Nope. Nada. Boring. Sheesh what even is that sentence. Oh god I hate this character. What even am I doing. How could I ever. Oh god what is this topic. No one wants to read that. What. Is. Awful. This. Writing.
Really, how does one cure it? Well, I have seen many, many guides online and in books. Most contain lots of tips to kickstart your thinking; prompts, exercises, extensive or entirely specific journaling, intense faux-mystical breathing. In and out. In and out. Walk away, come back. Throw your laptop or typewriter (oh ho we’re really going old school, let me get my inkwell and pen) out the window, retrieve it and apologize thoroughly. Fifty intense mental push-ups, five games of finger football and then building an incense altar to the Muses or for some of you dear writers, more…lascivious gods. These guides hope that once one has completed said rituals (the above is paraphrased, the true rituals can last over 5 hours depending on which methods and books you choose), one’s writing ability is would be gloriously restored. Words return and flow. The Muses (from Hercules) now appeased appear and sing gospel in your ear. Plot rolls onwards and bends to your will. Characters die beautifully. Everything is right with the world!
Well, quite frankly all that is fine. That’s dandy stuff. Really it is. But for me, yes, for me, I find they all miss the biggest piece of advice and in my opinion perhaps the best thing to do when combating writer’s block. The secret to combating writer’s block? I give three key points:
1. Accept it and succumb.
2. Accept it and succumb.
3. Accept it and succumb.
Yes. That is the key. Accepting it is the best key. Yes. Let go of trying. Let go the want, and the need to write. Plot? Who cares. Character being a pain in the ass? Pft let them be. Article not writing itself (say what?), fine let it be awful or just go unwritten. Let the writer’s block seep around your ankles, let it rise and consume your legs, and up around your entire body. Laugh as deadlines tick closer and closer. Lie back and fall into the soft, rippling dark waters of writer’s block and complete inability. Yes. Let it all go.
Once writer’s block has successfully, entirely pulled you under, filling your lungs and effectively drowning you, only then will one see the golden light of inspiration. I have died a literary death quite often in this manner, dragged down by a siren grip, only to be reborn with much better facilities. It’s always darkest before dawn and all that wonderful stuff. It’s like you are a literary phoenix, well if a phoenix was more like a fat little quail.
So yes, dear writers out there if you are ever plagued with tied up words and limp noodle inspiration or incentive; throw out all those yoga and tantric breathing whilst journaling underwater for writers and… just embrace it and let it suffocate you, entirely.
Staff Writer/The Doctor
Billing itself a convention, “by-fans-for-fans,” Sun City SciFi was inspired by the number of influential Sci-Fi actors and creators born in El Paso (aka The Sun City) including Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, “Firefly” regular Alan Tudyk, Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham (“Star Trek: Insurrection”), and Chase Masterson (best known as Rom’s girlfriend, Leeta, on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,”) to name a few.
The event welcomed several celebrity guests such as convention regulars like Peter Mayhew, Mirina Sirtis, Dana Synder, Tom Kane, Aaron Douglas, Tony Amendola, David Yost, Herb Jefferson Jr., Larry Nemecek and Joseph Gatt as well as several regional artists, cosplay groups, authors and artisans specializing in everything from horror art to steampunk props. Costume contests, a charity auction, gala dinner, panel talks and gaming room were also part of the fun.
Sun City SciFi may be the area’s newest kid on the scene, but certainly shows signs of becoming a regular fixture on the city’s sci-fi scene.
Lisa Kay Tate
Staff Writer and ihogeekmom
PHOTOS BY RICK TATE
M: Oh ho you started it [our document] this time.
J: HELL YES I DID!
M: So yes. It’s time once again, for Max and Jen’s our slightly delayed but always reflective Doctor Who episode review, recap, revelry, and other “r” words. This week we’re looking at Neil Cross’s second episode for Doctor Who “Hide”.
J: Yes. Also my nails look fresh to death in Versailles colors. But this week’s episode of Doctor Who was NOT Fresh to Death, because it SCARED ME HALF TO DEATH.
M: But it was a really, really, good episode. Definitely better than Neil’s other offering with Rings. Perhaps the best episode from this half of the series so far. I’m tough, I was really spoiled by Series 5, care for the awful Silurian two-parter, those episodes just feel so long but in a good way. The episodes are starting to get a bit meatier and more cinematic again. I’m glad they returned loosely to the Clara plot-line with the Doctor wanting to speak to the empathic psychic Emma Grayling to “check” if she was normal.
J: Yeah the Doctor is definitely manipulating the places they land. Sort of like when he checked in with the flesh when he was suspicious of Amy… something big is going on here and I like that we’re just getting tiny tidbits of information.
M: It’s a lot more subtle than some of other Moffat’s plotlines. Themes aren’t subtle though.
J: NEXT week we’ll get tons of TARDIS action. And if this week’s little tiff between Clara and the TARDIS was any indicator of what we’re going to see next Saturday…I can’t wait!
M: I think we should talk a little bit more about some of the themes we’re picking up in these episodes. Tumblr in particular is going rabid over Clara’s rose motifs; posters, boxes and floral patterns and thus literal the character Rose allusions. Like “ ROES OMG ROSE ROAAAAAAASEEEE ROSE”, I’m not really sure what to think, I feel like we’re getting a lot of intentional red herrings a la Flesh Doctor. Moffat didn’t (used to not) like Rose. (Btw Susan’s real Gallifreyan name, Arkytior meant ‘rose’ as revealed in a short story!.)
J: I don’t know how much of the rose stuff is intentional and how much is coincidence. Like the rose in her hair in Asylum was definitely a reference to Carmen, but if it turns out to be a connection to Rose and ten two… PLUS ALSO TEN AND TWO IS TWELVE AND WHEN TWELVE SHOWS UP SILENCE WILL FALL OMG BS;DLFJK;LKJCAWLRKNSZDCL;JSWAEOFIJS’LCJS
M: Yes. Again there is a lot to speculate about. But I think there are a few theories that I think we both side with a bit more. Once again FAMILY is put front and center. Mothers. Grandfathers and Granddaughters. Mentioning Susan. The reveal that the time traveler stuck in the pocket universe was the empath and the scientist’s great x granddaughter, immediately, immediately sent off bells to me. The scientist aboard the submarine talking about his daughter, the alien talking about his daughter. It’s just everywhere.
J: Yeah but I’m glad next week is a TARDIS episode, because it’s becoming almost a tedious theme at this point to have everyone related every week.
M: Well I was more thinking in regards to Clara and the Doctor shippers. MARK MY WORDS SHIPPERS YOUR SHIP WILL SINK. IT WILL SINK SO FAST. IT WON’T EVEN FLOAT.
J: Like a sinking submarine?
M: Yes. Like a sinking Soviet submarine with atomic warheads and an irritated alien on board.
J: I knew what you meant about the Doctor and Clara–their relationship is definitely that of a grumpy old man and his young whatever following him around. Like Inspector Gadget and Penny or something. But still, I’m glad next week is about the TARDIS. I can’t stress that enough. Even though we should talk about the scary stuff from this week. Hold on one second I have to build a blanket fort……
M: Ah yeah the “ghosts” and monsters in this one were fantastic. Things got a little Scooby-Doo when Clara thought the Doctor was holding her hand, but in general them NOT showing the monster thumping around the house much, or in the forest and focusing more on the character’s paranoia and sounds I think is so much more scary than throwing monsters at you that you can see.
J: I feel like that’s the kind of scary Doctor Who does best–like the Silence and the Angels are scariest when you can’t see them.
M: I wish more horror films did this more, they do, but only so they can have the pop-out scare. Also nice inversion at the end there with these so called monsters are actually pretty goofy.
J: THAT LOOKED GOOFY YOU YOU? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I ACTUALLY HATED THAT PART.
M: The reveal? They were ugly but in a really “Ohhhhh bless” kind of way, my reaction was the same as the Doctor’s. Pinhead stick monster. Hurr.
J: I was under my blanket. What was the significance of the “Hide” title this week? I don’t get it. Actually, as far as the sci-fi goes…I was kind of in Akhtan again and didn’t understand what the hell was going on through most of the episode. Obviously I understood that the woman was in the pocket universe and ——–oh crap. Tennant’s suit. We have to talk about Tennant’s suit.
M: Oh yes. These are great little throw-backs going on like this. It’s subtle but not? If that makes sense.
J: Yeah, it does make sense. I think it’s like nods to the fans that have stuck around for a really long time–but you have to have a sharp eye to catch the references.
J: Additionally, I just got a chill thinking about the day when David returns.
M: And then leave again.
J: I should probably just start crying now, save future me the trouble.
M: No, don’t. Moffat wants your tears. He feeds off of them. Never let the writers have your tears! WE SHOULD KNOW THIS JEN WE ARE WRITERS WE SHOULD KNOW THIS!
J: But…the emotional whiplash is coming. I can feel it. I can feel it right down in these stubby bow legs of mine.
M: Meanwhile OH we should probably gush about River. River’s back. In the finale. My dreams have come true. She’ll be like “Hi love, this is our granddaughter, she got caught in a machine and spread throughout the time xo”
J: **mouth gaping**
M: Well, she might know something. We’ll find Clara’s purpose/secret then too. Coincidence River showing up? Well it is the Fields. I think? NOT SURE. I think the love triangle they’re talking about for the finale will be the TARDIS, River and Clara, not the Doctor. Never the Doctor.
J: That is one ghey triangle. I have been avoiding almost all the news on this season because I don’t want it spoiled. All I can do is speculate on what I hope things will be. And all I want for the finale is like thirteen days worth of Rose and Ten Two kissing.
M: I’m wondering if it is Ten Two or not, they were filming Ten and Queen Elizabeth scenes. That might be a bummer. But Tentwoo was supposedly given a Tardis chunk too. So. I DUNNO. I hope it’s them.
J: Dun no dun care. I stand by my desires from last week for a ton of domestic Doctor Who. I feel like we’re leaving something out this week though…
M: I dunno. A good episode overall?
J: There was a lot of high fiving this week.
M: Yes. Lots. I really don’t understand how anyone can ship them. It’s too…naw.
J: Uh, I think that ends our recap of the week. Weird, since we learned some stuff about Clara. Like how she’s human and normal.
M: She hates whiskey. Eleventh most disgusting thing ever.
J: Fifth. but nice try. The Doctor did however take a selfie.
M: Pretty sure she said eleventh. He did take a selfie.
J: I’m sorry I just saw this on my sister’s tumblr and I can’t stop laughing
you are the dancing queen
young and sweet
feel the beat
of the tambourine
M: That’s the Doctor. Or Clara on tambourine for Karen & The Babes.
J: My cheeks hurt I can’t
I can’t stop laughing I’m—I legit just choked.
M: That’s it folks, we’ve lost Jen.
J: Its the jingle at the end that does it. But yes this week’s episode of Doctor Who was terrifying and if we never have an episode that scary again it will be okay.
M: For clarification I made her watch it at like 1:30 am.
J: In my room. My ATTIC. ROOM. ALONE. Anywho, I don’t think I have anything more to add except I really liked the aesthetic this week; it was a genuinely scary ghost tale, and next week looks awesome.
M: Agreed. Center of The Tardis. Bring it on BBC. Bring. It.
Tonight I embark upon a quest to play a game that critics have panned as, “an awful game” by Kotaku, “unfinished” by IGN, and “get away from this bitch” by Destructoid.
Yes. I am going to play Aliens: Colonial Marines.
A game I was realllllllllllly looking forward to, but decided to pass on after the reviews murdered it, performed a séance to bring it back to life, and then murdered it again.
Why? Because GameFly and because I can.
Tune in next Friday to see if it is as bad as they said.
– Johnny Townsend