- “You don't even know the first thing about it. You're too clouded by darkness to see that there's something greater. Try all you want, but you'll never defeat a heart filled with light.”
- ―Aqua's response to Maleficent's disdain for true love.
Aqua is one of the protagonists of the Kingdom Hearts series who made her debut in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. She is one of the Keyblade Wielders, along with Terra and Ventus, who came before Sora. On her journey to become a Keyblade Master, she was the only of the three to become one at the cost of her freedom and her friends' safety.
Aqua is the most headstrong of the trio of protagonists in Birth by Sleep. She displays true elegance while fighting, and will do anything to protect her friends. When relaxed she can be very friendly and comedic, but when angered, she can become aggressive.
Aqua bears some similarities to Kairi and Sora, primarily in her sisterly affection for her closest friends. This is displayed by when she makes lucky charms for them, does everything in her power to protect Ventus (despite his apparent discouragement whenever she tells him to go home), her confidence that Terra will overcome the darkness, and when she strands herself in the Realm of Darkness in order to save him. Aqua is also shown to be very sociable with children, quickly befriending Kairi, Sora, and Riku. Aqua is remarkably calm and dead-set on her goals, and only threats on her loved ones seem to make her lose her composure. Although, like Sora, Aqua is comedically insecure in a romantic sense, so when Zack asks her out on a date, she shakes her head, wildly waves her arms, avoids eye contact, stutters, and blushes, desperately trying to compose herself. She also quickly changes the subject when Hercules asks why her face is red.
Aqua is typically modest, referring to herself as a trainee (only calling herself "Master Aqua" before she fights Terra-Xehanort, even then only as an intimidation tactic) and acting very respectful toward elders and authorities such as Master Eraqus, Queen Minnie and the Grand Councilwoman. However, like Eraqus, Aqua is also strict, stubborn, and overprotective, which sometimes makes her seem condescending. She always worries about Ventus because of his age and lack of experience, ordering him to go home whenever she finds him without giving him a chance to prove himself.
However, despite her flaws, when the situation demands it, Aqua's overall skill, determination, intelligence, and kindness make her the most reliable and competent out of Eraqus' apprentices, and unquestionably worthy to be a Keyblade Master.
Aqua has a tall and slender figure, about as thin as Ventus and standing a few inches shorter than Terra. She has blue eyes and medium-length icy blue hair, mostly parted to her left. She wears a black and navy blue, high-collared halter top, a black corset with two pairs of white laces, and black shorts. She has two pink straps intersecting over her chest, with a silver badge similar to badges also worn by Ven and Terra over the intersection. On Aqua's arms are white bell-sleeves and tan, fingerless gloves. She also wears a small, segmented piece of armor on each of her upper arms. She wears black stockings reaching about halfway up her thighs, leaving a small area of bare skin. There are two strips of blue cloth draped over each of her hips, along with a smaller, white strip of cloth tied around her waist and draped in the same manner. Her silver boots are pointed and armored, with a sharp "hook" on the outer side of each. When under the corruption of darkness from the attack by Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, her clothes become tattered and frayed, are in shades of purple and black, her fingers now look to be stained in blood, similar to the red fingers on Soldier Heartless, and her eyes and hair now sport coloration similar to Master Xehanort's with being golden and silver-white respectively. When the corruption is expunged, her appearance returns to normal.
Powers and abilities
Aqua is a skilled magic user and is a Keyblade user who has proven herself to be a formidable combatant while in battle. The Keyblades she uses all focus on magical strength. Out of the trio, she is the most balanced in terms of strength and speed, making her a capable physical fighter.
She has the most expertise in magic compared to Terra and Ventus, utilizing a barrage of spells as her style, and can use Barrier to completely protect herself. Aqua's magic also gives her access to elemental spells, including special variations of Fire, Ice, and Thunder. Aqua's mastery of magic is almost comparable to Master Xehanort in the Kingdom Hearts series.
- “It's been a long time, my friend.”
- ―Xemnas to Aqua's armor.
Aqua's armor and Keyblade reside in the Chamber of Repose, a room constructed by Ansem's Apprentices under Radiant Garden for an as of yet unknown purpose. Xemnas visits the armor often, calling it "friend" and talking to it for long periods of time. This has piqued the curiosity and suspicion of Xigbar, who often eavesdrops on his conversations, and once shared this story with Zexion, stating that one time he heard "another voice" respond to Xemnas. In The World That Never Was, Sora encounters Xigbar, who mentions "other Keyblade bearers", referring to Terra, Aqua, and Ventus.
When Data-Naminé gives Data-Sora the extra memories that were implanted in Jiminy's Journal, an image of Aqua appears, along with images of Terra and Ventus. She tells him that Terra is among those that Sora must save from their hurt.
Later, King Mickey and Yen Sid speak about their search for Terra, Aqua, and Ven, and how only Terra's location remains unknown.
One night, Aqua, Terra, and Ventus watch a meteor shower together and she gives them each a good luck charm and saves one for herself. She goes on to say how these charms are inspired by a star-shaped fruit in a particular world. The trio simultaneously comments in their various narratives on how that was the last time they ever spent together as friends.
Four years after Ven's arrival, Aqua and Terra undergo the Mark of Mastery exam in order to become Keyblade Masters. Though their first trial takes an unexpected turn when the orbs of light Master Eraqus conjures suddenly go berserk (thanks to Master Xehanort infusing them with darkness), Aqua and Terra quickly dispatch the orbs with Ventus' help. The second phase of the test was having them face off against each other; true natures are revealed when equal powers clash. During the fight, Terra grows annoyed by Aqua getting the better of him, causing darkness to emanate from his hand. Noticing, Terra quickly banishes it and resumes his test. Once Masters Eraqus and Xehanort have finished with discussing the results of the exam, it is explained that though both Terra and Aqua are deserving of the title of Keyblade Master, only Aqua has succeeded in earning the title; Terra failed due to not being able to keep the darkness within himself in check. Unbeknownst to them, Master Xehanort is responsible for Terra's darkness flaring up during the exam.
After Aqua receives her title as Keyblade Master, Master Eraqus takes her to one side and confidentially elaborates upon a looming threat in various worlds. He also tasks Aqua on keeping an eye on Terra to ensure that Darkness does not steer him in the wrong path. Before she covertly follows Terra, Ventus makes haste in following Terra to tell him about the Masked Boy. Aqua is then further tasked of bringing Ventus back safely.
Aqua's first world was the Castle of Dreams, where she informed Terra about Ven's running away from home. She also learned about a masked boy controlling the Unversed, and that Master Xehanort was looking for the seven Princesses of Heart. Deciding to remain to investigate further, Aqua sensed a dangerous darkness coming from Lady Tremaine, and was prepared to confront her. However, the Fairy Godmother advised her against it as no matter how strong light is, darkness would always be born. Saving Cinderella, Aqua wondered how she was to truly fight darkness if light wasn't the right weapon.
Once Aqua arrives at Dwarf Woodlands, she is in awe of Snow White's beauty but is saddened to hear about her slumber from the poisonous Apple from Doc. After encountering the Magic Mirror, and letting the Prince know about the news of Snow White, Snow White is revived. This moment brings back memories for Aqua as she remembered the time when Ventus first came to stay with her, Terra, and Eraqus. She realized that every waking was a new beginning, believing that it was perhaps Ven's time to journey out and see the worlds. In Enchanted Dominion, Aqua reassured Ven of Terra's character when Maleficent claimed that he embraced his darkness. Aqua helped Prince Phillip defeat Maleficent, who only mocked her because so long as there was darkness, others like Terra could be bent to her will. Aqua was left worried about Terra. Catching sight of him in the Lanes Between, Aqua follows Terra to a new world.
Eventually, Aqua ends up at Radiant Garden and meets a young Kairi being swarmed by Unversed. Out of fear and a need for safety, Kairi touches Aqua's Keyblade which unintentionally bequeaths her as a Keyblade wielder. With the help of Mickey Mouse, they are defeated and Aqua introduces herself to Mickey and Kairi. Mickey explains that Kairi is a special individual (referring to her unbeknownst status as a Princess of Heart). With this knowledge in mind, Aqua casts a protective charm on her for the future and proceeds to tell her that it may have been destiny that led to their paths meet.
Aqua eventually meets both Terra and Ventus in Radiant Garden but the reunion is interrupted by an Unversed. After defeating it, Aqua questions Terra's motives after hearing whisperings of the questionable deeds he's done in the various Disney world's he's visited. Terra is insulted by this and comes to realize that Aqua has been sent by Master Eraqus to watch over him. Insulted by this revelation, Terra leaves in bad terms, and Ventus scolds Aqua for letting her status as Keyblade Master fracture their friendship. As Ventus follows Terra, Aqua sticks around for a while longer to self-reflect on her actions.
After visiting Merlin, Aqua travels to the central hub of Radiant Garden and happenstances on the Masked Boy, Vanitas. He introduces himself to Aqua by enquiring about Ventus and as to whether he became stronger from their previous encounter. Aqua wonders what Vanitas means by this only to have him be defiant and attacks her to which a battle between the two occurs. Aqua is victorious, and before she has the opportunity to reveal who is behind the mask, Vanitas taunts her and escapes through a corridor of darkness. Determined to put a stop to Vanitas' antics, she attempts to track down where he is for Ventus and Terra's safety. Once Aqua sees Ventus in Radiant Garden again, she declines Ventus request to go with her and he becomes upset over the answer. She then reassures him by stating that she doesn't want to place him “In harm's way” and departs to continue her objectives.
Her search for them leads her to Deep Space, where she encountered Experiment 626 who knew Terra and had copied his Wayfinder. Dr. Jumba let Aqua know that the Wayfinder was valuable to Terra because it was a gift from a friend; this news reassured Aqua that Terra still valued their friendship. After settling differences with Captain Gantu, Aqua seen that 626 was trying to find friends since Terra had sparked an interest in friendship, Aqua offered to make him part of her circle of friends.
In Olympus Coliseum, Aqua learned Terra had won the previous tournament. Zack, who had placed second, saw Terra as the embodiment of what makes a true hero since Terra saved him from being controlled by Hades; this news showed Aqua that Terra was fighting against his darkness. When Hades insulted Terra by calling him a coward for not using darkness, Aqua faced him in the finals and defeated him, saying not using darkness was a show of true strength.
In Neverland, Aqua gets introduced to Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, and the Lost Boys. After accomplishing a treasure hunt with them: Aqua opens the treasure chest and finds Ventus's wooden Keyblade (which was given to him by Terra as a gift). Peter Pan informs Aqua by telling them that Ventus placed it in there as a treasured monument that he no longer needs to use. Aqua senses a potential threat nearby and wanders alone to determine what it is. Once she finds that it is Vanitas toying with Ventus's wooden Keyblade. The masked boy boastfully insults Aqua and snaps the Keyblade in two. Angered by this act, Aqua engages in a battle and defeats Vanitas again. However, the battle was too strenuous for her body and passes out. During her moments of unconsciousness, she reminisces of the first starry night she spent with Terra and Ventus. Once she recovers, she leaves Neverland.
Aqua wanders to Destiny Islands and meets two young boys known as Sora and Riku. Commenting on how Sora and Riku are similar to Ventus and Terra respectively, she identifies the strong friendship that binds them together and tells Sora to guide Riku if he ever wanders a lost path. As Aqua is about to bequeath Sora as a Keyblade wielder, she ultimately decides not to go through with the process as she realizes that Terra has already performed the same process on Riku as she did not want to place either of the two children to suffer the same frictions she faced with Terra.
Once she leaves Destiny Islands, she encounters Mickey Mouse who is unconsciously drifting into space. She takes him into the Mysterious Tower in which she meets Yen Sid, Donald Duck, and Goofy. Yen Sid delivers the grievous news that Master Eraqus has been struck and anticipates an inevitable conflict occurring. She then travels to the Keyblade Graveyard to rendezvous with Terra and Ventus. After arriving at the Keyblade Graveyard, Aqua reunites with Terra and Ventus. Terra explains what happened to their master and admits that he did have to be watched, vowing never to go astray again. However, Aqua warns him that darkness is based on hatred and rage, and that if Terra had come for revenge, then Xehanort has already won. Xehanort arrives with Vanitas, and he declares his intention to create the χ-blade. In the ensuing fight with Master Xehanort and Vanitas.
After battling Braig and a Ventus under Vanitas's influence, the X-Blade is destroyed. The impact sends Aqua flying to the Lanes Between in an unconscious state. Mickey identifies Aqua and Ventus in the Lanes Between and transports them both to the Mysterious Tower for recovery. Yen Sid evaluates Ventus condition and concludes that he has lost his heart, and as a result, he is in an eternal coma until his heart has recovered. In order to keep him protected, Aqua takes Ventus to the fractured Land of Departure and transforms it to Castle Oblivion. She then proceeds to place Ventus body on a throne, and after giving her goodbyes to Ventus and promising to be back for him, she leaves to travel to Radiant Garden to hunt down the possessed Terra.
Once Aqua meets the Terra possessed by Xehanort, Aqua demands that Master Xehanort lets go of his hold on Terra. Realizing that the will of Xehanort was more influential than Terra, Aqua battles Terra-Xehanort and defeats him. In order to prevent Terra from being the primary influence of the body, Xehanort stabs himself in the chest with his Keyblade to release Terra's influence. As Terra-Xehanort falls down a portal to the Realm of Darkness as a result of this action, Aqua tries to save Terra-Xehanort. After inevitably realizing that she cannot save both herself and Terra-Xehanort, Aqua makes the brave sacrifice to send Terra-Xehanort back to the realm of light whilst she dives into the abyss of the realm of darkness. While Aqua is wandering in the Realm of Darkness, she is attacked by a variety of Heartless and loses motivation to defend herself after wandering in the realm for so long, however, she is saved by Terra's and Ventus's Keyblades. After being reminded of the various people that she has a connection to, Aqua continues forth with a glimmer of hope.
Whilst traveling deeper within the depths of The Realm of Darkness (which this entire segment is exclusive to the Final Mix version), Aqua comes to the realization that something is pursuing her. Initially identifying itself with glaring red eyes, Aqua retaliates against the creature by casting a fire spell on it only for it to dodge it and reveal itself from the shadows. Aqua is shocked to realize that it is not an Unversed and continues to battle it. After defeating the Heartless, Aqua continues traveling only to freeze in shock to see the Castle of Dreams being engulfed by the Realm of Darkness.
When Sora arrives at The World That Never Was, he is caught by the Organization and placed within a nightmare in which he chases after memories of Riku and Kairi. When he catches up to them at the Contorted City, the phantoms suddenly take the form of Aqua and Terra, while Sora himself takes on Ventus' appearance. Sora is confused, but the phantoms grasp his hand before turning back into Riku and Kairi and walking off again. As Riku attempts to wake Sora on his own side of the dream, Sora recalls when Aqua came to Destiny Islands and nearly wakes up.
However, Ansem appears within Sora's dream at the last second and thrusts him back into the nightmare. Xigbar and Xemnas reappear within the nightmare to taunt him and lead him into despair by explaining the inevitability of their plan and playing on his insecurities, but a defiant Sora proclaims that while he may not have been chosen by the Keyblade, he will always be proud to be there for his friends, including Aqua and all the others.
Immediately after Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, as Sora and Riku are preparing for the final battle that awaits, King Mickey reveals that he has a few secrets to confess. The subsequent story of Aqua, the one left behind in the realm of darkness, is finally told.
Aqua appears along with Terra and Ventus. At the beginning of the game, Aqua still waits with Ansem the Wise at the Dark Margin, confident that Mickey and the others will rescue them. However, the two are accosted by Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, who has need for Ansem the Wise's knowledge. Despite no longer having her Keyblade or armor, Aqua tries to fight Ansem off, but to no avail and is eventually subdued by the Heartless. Against Aqua's protests, Ansem the Wise agrees to go with him if he promises to spare Aqua. As Ansem departs with Ansem the Wise, Aqua attempts to strike him one last time, but annoyed with her stubborn refusal to just give up, Ansem shoots her into the Dark Margin's ocean with a blast of darkness that begins to corrupt her heart. When Riku and Mickey trace the location of the clash and are incapacitated by Heartless, including the Demon Tower, from the Heartless, the clouded figure of Aqua emerges and reveals that she has fallen to darkness, with her eyes and hair now matching Xehanort's due to Ansem's meddling, and her clothes having taken a darker, tattered appearance. After taking Mickey's discarded Keyblade, Anti-Aqua accuses the two of leaving her to suffer a decade in the Realm of Darkness and enters a duel with Riku, who is forced to avoid her attacks while he tries to rescue Mickey from the Demon Tower.
Sometime later, Sora enters the Dark Margin to rescue Riku and King Mickey, helping Riku destroy the Demon Tower and frees Mickey from it. Afterward, when Anti-Aqua charges across the water to attack Riku, Sora confronts her and realizes that the only way to purge Aqua out of the darkness that's corrupting her was to fight her. After a difficult and hard-fought battle, Sora is able to completely purge the darkness Ansem had corrupted Aqua with from her body, restoring her to normal, but she collapses onto the Dark Margin's ocean surface and sinks underwater, only for Sora to dive after her to rescue her from oblivion and bring her back to the Destiny Islands. When Aqua comes to on the beach of the Destiny Islands, she initially believes to still be in the Realm of Darkness after being stranded there for well over a decade. It is only once Sora and Riku reveal they've brought her home that Aqua realizes they did it and brought her back to the Realm of Light and bequeath her with Eraqus' Keyblade to Aqua's long-awaited elation. She then travels back to Castle Oblivion and restores it into the Land of Departure to revive Ventus with Sora's help, only to be confronted by Vanitus as he tries to stop them. Vanitus is about to strike down Aqua when Ventus finally awakens and forces him into retreat. Once Ventus is awoken and reunited with her, they join Sora as he heads to the Keyblade Graveyard to confront Master Xehanort and his True Organization XIII.
However, before they can, Terra-Xehanort appears, and strikes down both Ventus and Lea before they can retaliate, before being repulsed by Donald, but leaving everyone at the mercy of a huge Demon Tide Heartless tornado. Aqua prepares to face it with Sora and Riku, but seems to hesitate, allowing the Demon Tide to devour her, Ventus, Lea, King Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Kairi, leaving Sora devastated. Riku makes a defiant last stand against the Demon Tide before it claims him as well, and moves in to devour Sora next. However, Sora's refusal to succumb to the darkness and cling to the Realm of Light while in the Final World allows him to use his power of waking to find and rescue everyone and reset time to moments before the encounter with Terra-Xehanort. When they encounter Terra-Xehanort again, history appears to repeat itself, but before Terra-Xehanort can strike down Ventus like before, the Lingering Will appears to intervene and confront him, forcing him into retreat, leaving everyone to face the Demon Tide tornado when it appears, only for Sora to destroy it for good with the support of the Keyblades of fallen Keyblade Warriors from around the Keyblade Graveyard.
As everyone makes their way through the labyrinth that Master Xehanort creates to have them do battle with his thirteen darknesses, Aqua and Ventus soon confront Terra-Xehanort. With Sora's help, they are able to defeat him, but Terra-Xehanort is able to bind Sora, Aqua, and Ventus in chains, before preparing to kill Aqua and Ventus for good. Before he can deliver the killing blow, his own Guardian Heartless intervenes, saving Aqua and Ventus and freeing them and Sora from their chains. Before Terra-Xehanort can argue how this is possible, the Guardian grabs him by the face before ripping the straps over its mouth off to speak, revealing itself to be Terra's Heartless, much to Terra-Xehanort's horror. With Sora paralyzing his possessed body, Terra releases his heart from the Guardian, causing the Guardian to disappear, and reunites his heart with his body, exorcizing Master Xehanort's possession of it for good. Once back in control of his body again, Terra rushes to check on Aqua and Ventus, who are both relieved to see Terra again, back in control of his body at long last, while Terra is happy that they did not give up on him. Sora leaves Terra to tend to his fellow Keyblade wielders while he goes to help Kairi, Riku, and the others.
Aqua later arrives with Ventus and Terra, meeting up with Roxas, Xion, and Lea, only to see that they are too late. Master Xehanort has succeeded in reforging the X-blade after provoking Sora, Riku, and King Mickey into attacking him by striking down Kairi in cold blood, allowing him to gain access to Kingdom Hearts. However, when Sora refuses to give up, and volunteers to deal with Master Xehanort himself, Aqua lends her support alongside Ventus, Terra, Lea, Xion, Roxas, Riku, and King Mickey, with paralyzing Master Xehanort long enough for Sora, Donald, and Goofy to take Master Xehanort into the world within Kingdom Hearts to deal with him once and for all.
They arrive in the world, revealed to be Eraqus and Xehanort's former home of Scala ad Caelum, sometime later, to find Sora has defeated Master Xehanort, before Eraqus' spirit appears from Terra to convince Xehanort to surrender. Finally realizing his mistakes, Xehanort entrusts the X-blade to Sora, and prepares to depart to the afterlife with Eraqus, who spends one last moment with Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, apologizing for everything they've been put through, before joining his old friend with heading into the afterlife, while Aqua joins everyone with supporting Sora with using the X-blade to seal Kingdom Hearts for good.
Back in the Keyblade Graveyard, Sora prepares to depart to find Kairi and bring her home to the Destiny Islands, despite Mickey's warning that if he uses his power of waking again, it could be too much for his heart to endure. However, Aqua and everyone else support Sora's decision and wish him good luck.
In the epilogue, Aqua, Ventus, and Terra return to the Land of Departure to erect a memorial for Master Eraqus outside the castle, before traveling to the Destiny Islands to spend some quality time with all their friends and allies in Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Lea, Isa, Roxas, Xion, Namine, Riku, and Kairi, while also seeing Sora spend one last moment with Kairi before he vanishes to parts unknown.
Aqua ends up at the Dark Meridian, where she meets Ansem the Wise, who was cast into the Realm when his machine exploded. He reveals that in the Realm of Light, it has been almost eleven years, and he explains the events that have occurred in Aqua's absence, including the actions of Sora. Knowing that Sora will rescue her and her friends, she sheds a single tear while uttering Sora's name with renewed hope.
- Aqua's name is Latin for "water", connecting to Kairi's name meaning "sea" in Japanese.
- The official Japanese website refers to Aqua as the "Dancing Waters Forming Bonds" (絆繋ぐ舞水 Kizuna Tsunagu Busui ).
- Aqua's outfit was changed during production because it was thought to be too revealing to show her exposed back. Her eyes and hair were also originally darker.
- Artwork of Aqua from promotional artwork shows her hair spiking near the back of her head and falling just past her neck, as opposed to the spikes being splayed to the side in-game.
- Aqua, Ven, and Terra all complete different tasks (mini-games) in the DisneyTown world, which results in all three of them winning the Million Dreams Award. A cutscene is shown in each story where they all receive it, but just missed each other. Logically, this doesn't make sense to hold the Award ceremony 3 times to equate for them all missing each other. However, the cutscene only plays the first time after playing as two of the other characters first, meaning if Terra and Ventus are played first, the cutscene would first play during Aqua's story. However, because it does not force the player to play as Terra, then Ventus, and finally Aqua (as suggested by Nomura), it will unlock whoever's story the player finished last. Subsequent replays, however, play the scene no matter what, due to it being unlocked already.
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