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News ► KH Character Files: Short Stories - Terra, Ventus & Aqua



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The Kingdom Hearts Series Character Files released on February 20, 2020. This handy book contains information about more than 200 characters and highlights memorable scenes. It also features nearly 50 short stories written by Tomoco Kanemaki, revolving around characters who are deeply involved in the overarching plot.

We'll be sharing translations of all of the stories, and you can read the first three today.

Big thanks to goldpanner for her hard work in translating!


Terra Story: Dark and Void

It was dark.

There was nothing but darkness.

No, not even darkness... it was just nothing.

If the place Aqua fell was the Realm of Darkness, then where had I been? Had I even existed? Surely I… well, I probably had. I just have no idea where. I did exist as the being behind Xehanort, but my sense of self—my heart—was sealed away. My heart was somewhere in this realm.

Perhaps it was a Realm of "Nothing," devoid of even darkness. A realm without light or dark. Darkness cannot exist without light, nor light without darkness. That's what that place was like.

I wasn't asleep like Ven. It wasn't the Realm of Sleep—or a dream—it was a realm that existed in “nothing.” And so, pain, sadness, and hatred all became an onslaught to oblivion. I was writhing in pain in the middle of it. Perhaps that place is something like the realm of the Unversed. A void that swallows all, even sadness and pain. A realm where hope and joy never existed to begin with.

But despite their similarities, a void is not darkness. Nothing is born from it. And so in that world, I could do nothing but endure. I could no longer remember my actions, which had manifested in a lingering will. Well, maybe that proves that I wasn’t just waiting. I was believing, holding on to a promise.

Sometimes I still think about it. Is the power of darkness truly something we ought to revile? Right before my eyes, the boy I once bestowed with a Keyblade grew up, and now he controls the darkness while following the light. Why wasn't I able to do that?

And, there was a heart that nestled close to me. It quietly kept encouraging me. It is thanks to that heart that I stand here today before this grave.

Master, were you able to forgive me? Or should I spend my life atoning? I don't expect an answer to that question, and I know that forgiveness is not to be expected for my sins. It's presumptuous of me to even think I could already have earned forgiveness, the definition of weakness.

"Terra, Ven! Let's have some tea," Aqua says with a smile, and Ven turns to me. I think these two have probably forgiven me. I still can't forgive myself, though.

"Terra?" Aqua looks at me, seeming slightly worried. I let out a breath carefully, so it doesn't sound like a sigh, and smile.

"...I'd like some cake, so long as it's not sweet."

"Galactic Caramel Pound Cake, then," Aqua replies. "I haven't made that in forever."

"I want a preserved strawberry tart," Ven says with a grin.

"The Master loved that one… and Terra didn't," Aqua says with a little smile. Her expression turns slightly sad.

We will always carry the sadness over our Master. But we aren't alone.

The three of us will go stargazing again.

We'll look for shooting stars.

We'll never be apart again.


Ventus Story: Fragments of the World

I really didn't remember anything.

A part of me has always been missing. It's because of what Xehanort did to me. That missing half is Vanitas—I already know that. I think a bunch of memories came back to me that time, but they feel like they belong to somebody else. I’m not sure what to make of it.

I have memories from before I woke up in front of Aqua and Terra, but they're hazy.

Aqua and Terra meant everything to me. I wanted to fight for their sakes. But, in the end I fell asleep, and the two of them fought for me instead. When I finally woke up, I felt like… there was a lot I never understood.

Maybe I still don't really understand.

But I do know that Aqua and Terra are by my side. That they're protecting me. And that because of this, I want to protect them too.

At this point, I'm used to not understanding things. Frankly, I don't even know what I don't know. I can’t shake the feeling that I’m still missing something. But then again, maybe it's just that I'm not understanding things and I'm actually not missing anything at all. But even that seems like it’s beyond me.

Just...put an end to me.

They didn't do it in the end. 

They couldn't. 

That's why I'm standing here now. When the χ-blade was formed, I thought I'd fade away with Vanitas. I still don't think that would have been wrong.

Maybe the Master knew more about the real me than he ever let on, all the things I don’t know about myself. But now he’s gone, so I guess we’ll never know.

"Terra, Ven! Let's have some tea," Aqua says with a smile. Her saying that here, at the Land of Departure, feels like being back in time. She'd bake cakes, the Master would eat them happily, Terra would grimace at the sweet ones, and I'd eat myself full because anything Aqua made was delicious and made me happy. 

We can't go back to those days, we have to keep moving forward. I turn to find Terra giving a pained smile, just like he used to.

"...I'd like some cake," he says, "so long as it's not sweet."

Aqua beams at him. "Galactic Caramel Pound Cake, then. I haven't made that in forever."

She's so strong, smiling like the old days.

"I want a preserved strawberry tart," I say. It's something our Master liked.

"The Master loved that one… and Terra didn't," Aqua says with a little smile. Her expression turns slightly sad.

In our hearts we carry sadness over our Master, and I know it won't fade for a long time. Whatever is missing from me most likely won't fill in for a long time yet either.

But, I'm not alone now.

I don't want to be alone any more.

The three of us will go stargazing again.

We'll look for shooting stars.

We'll never be apart again.


Aqua Story: A Piece of Cake

When I was in the darkness, I'd think back to those peaceful days of training, when we were protected by our Master. I was calm and content during the time spent training alone with Terra, but I feel Ven's arrival added a different kind of warmth.

Ven held his wooden sword in his left hand. 

"Yes, that's the defense stance. There's no offense without a good defense."

The Master was giving Ven lessons as Terra and I faced off nearby, hearing without listening. The sound of clashing wooden swords, breaths getting ragged, pattering sweat, the Master's voice. 

"Master! How about we take a break?" I directed this at everyone with a smile. That day I baked… oh yes, a preserved strawberry tart. The Master's favorite. "Ven, come help me get the tea ready."

Back then, it hadn't been long since Ven had woken up, and it seemed like he wasn't entirely there. He didn't reply when spoken to, and he never smiled. He could follow instructions, and it was obvious he had held a sword before. 

He didn't wake up properly until a practice match with Terra. 

"You're trying too hard to move your body. You need to learn to let your body move you. Right?"

Terra raised his wooden sword. Of all the imitation Keyblades he had made, this was the best by far. He even carved his name into it. 

He stood up, and cleared his throat. 

“In your hand, take this blade. And so long as you have the makings, then through this simple act of taking, it's wielder you shall one day be made."

He raised the Keyblade, mimicking the Rite of Succession.

"Being a Keyblade Master is all I've dreamed about."

"Well, you're not the only one," I corrected. It was our dream—our goal. 

Terra knelt in front of Ven, holding out the wooden Keyblade. 

"I know. You, me, and Ven all share the same dream. Here, Ven, this is for you."

Ven reached out silently and gripped the wooden Keyblade. It seemed as though he was smiling faintly, the first time I'd ever seen it. 

"Huh? Then what are you going to use, Terra?" 

"I'll take the one Ven was using for now. Then I'll make a new one."

Terra took the wooden sword Ven had been using, and ruffled his blond hair with the other hand. 

"Isn't that nice, Ven?" 

"...Thank you."

Those were Ven's first words. 

"Ven!" Terra and I cried out in near unison. 

"What's with you two?" Ven looked back and forth between us, puzzled. I pulled him into a hug automatically. Terra continued to ruffle his hair from beside us. "Stop it, Terra, Aqua. Come on already—I'm not a baby, okay!" 

We looked at each other, and burst out laughing. It drew an embarrassed laugh out of Ven.

It was the first time the three of us had ever laughed together. 


And then, after a long, long journey, we've returned home.

I understand now that this land—and Master Eraqus—protected us. The Master was always with us.

I wonder, can we ever return to those peaceful days? Yes, I'm sure we can, if we create them.

"Terra, Ven! Let's have some tea," I call out. Just like me, they’ve completed long journeys. We’ve come home together.

"Terra?"

A sliver of worry creeps in. Terra hasn't said anything. But, then he turns to me.

"...I'd like some cake," he says, "so long as it's not sweet."

That's right. I'd like to bake something. I haven't done that in a long time. "Galactic Caramel Pound Cake, then. I haven't made that in ages."

"I want a preserved strawberry tart," says Ven.

"The Master loved that one… and Terra didn't," I say with a smile.

We've lost our Master, but we aren't alone.

The three of us will go stargazing again.

We'll look for shooting stars.

We'll never be apart again. 

 
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AdrianXXII

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Oh I love these short stories! it's nice how we get the three different perspectives of the characters. It's also cool to learn that Aqua bakes, if these are Game canon.
 

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Oh I love these short stories! it's nice how we get the three different perspectives of the characters. It's also cool to learn that Aqua bakes, if these are Game canon.
Novel canon has always been accepted as third-tier canon, but oddly enough, everyone is just accepting these stories as full on fact. So I'm not really sure where we stand on this anymore lol
 

AdrianXXII

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Novel canon has always been accepted as third-tier canon, but oddly enough, everyone is just accepting these stories as full on fact. So I'm not really sure where we stand on this anymore lol
Yeah the novels and mangas are often talked about as 3rd-tier Canon. I guess because this is a book to accompany the games it is more like a ultimania 2nd-tier canon?
It definitely seems to mesh with the novel versions of the characters, at least form what I know of the novels.
 

*TwilightNight*

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The novels are nice tidbits of what the characters' thoughts can be, but fans need to remember that this is the author's interpretation and there is author bias. Nomura, contrary to popular belief, isn't overseeing everything concerning this. He's too busy. He probably discusses certain plot points and plans and scenes he wanted in the game, and likes Tomoco's understanding of the characters. That's as far as it goes though to me.

I take it like the manga.

The fans that utilize it as some holy bible and canon are, personally speaking, fooling themselves a bit.

Nonetheless, I heard there are interesting tidbits of possible lore with Naminé's character file, like a quote that resonates with Ava and wording like "long, long ago" and misc. We got a fan translation(s), but I'm waiting for you guys to see if it coincides with them.
 

Sephiroth0812

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These are so nice, why can't TAV be portrayed like this in the games themselves?

In terms of canonity, I'd hesitate to put them on par with actual game and thus 1st tier canon, but perhaps they are more akin to 2nd tier aka interview/ultimania tier.
Did Kanemaki write those?

Oh Terra you shouldnt be asking Eraqus for forgiveness. If anything he should be asking it from you and his other two students
Indeed, Eraqus has had a lot more to be sorry for than Terra imho. That he's still so upset about everything that happens just shows how much of a good guy Terra is after all. Aqua and Ven really should drive it home that they all made errors and the responsibility isn't solely on Terra's shoulders.
 

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In terms of canonity, I'd hesitate to put them on par with actual game and thus 1st tier canon, but perhaps they are more akin to 2nd tier aka interview/ultimania tier.
Did Kanemaki write those?
Kanemaki's only responsible for the novels. Somehow it became common knowledge that she consults with Nomura and often receives additional information, but I don't know if we've ever been able to verify that? Like as far as I know there's no official record of this being confirmed anywhere by a reputable source lol. But that's why her writings are placed in third-tier, below the interviews.
 

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LSomehow it became common knowledge that she consults with Nomura and often receives additional information, but I don't know if we've ever been able to verify that?
I think it's assumed because the KH2 novels included scenes that were later added to Final Mix+, so she must have received that information from somewhere...
 

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I think it's assumed because the KH2 novels included scenes that were later added to Final Mix+, so she must have received that information from somewhere...
That makes sense! I'd forgotten about that.
 

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Kanemaki's only responsible for the novels. Somehow it became common knowledge that she consults with Nomura and often receives additional information, but I don't know if we've ever been able to verify that? Like as far as I know there's no official record of this being confirmed anywhere by a reputable source lol. But that's why her writings are placed in third-tier, below the interviews.
To give an example. I have a feeling both Kanemaki and Nomura have completely different views on vanitas’ character.
 

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Kanemaki's only responsible for the novels. Somehow it became common knowledge that she consults with Nomura and often receives additional information, but I don't know if we've ever been able to verify that? Like as far as I know there's no official record of this being confirmed anywhere by a reputable source lol. But that's why her writings are placed in third-tier, below the interviews.
I see, so these tidbits from the character file book aren't from her?
But then from whom are they? Nomura himself? Yasue? 😅

Aha, so the whole "Kanemaki consults with Nomura" or "She gets insider info from Nomura" takes are yet again only widely accepted fandom headcanon?
Interesting.
One is tempted to say to take only in-game stuff as canon facts then and yet when it comes to actual characterisation many characters fall flat.
Things like these short stories are what give most of the characters some more depth the games tend to forget or ignore because they are more concerned with flashiness and surprising twists.
 

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I think it's assumed because the KH2 novels included scenes that were later added to Final Mix+, so she must have received that information from somewhere...
Those scenes were in the novel first? I didn't know that. There must be some communication then.

As for the character files, they were good. Felt like novel quality writing which I prefer to the games writing of characters anyway so works for me.
 

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At this point, I feel like we know more about Terra’s taste in food than some important plot points lol

jokes aside, these stories warm my heart
 

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These are so cute~ I wish we had little stuff like this more often, especially in game.
 

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I see, so these tidbits from the character file book aren't from her?
But then from whom are they? Nomura himself? Yasue? 😅
Oh whoops, thought you meant besides this stuff. No, Kanemaki wrote the short stories in this book xD

Aha, so the whole "Kanemaki consults with Nomura" or "She gets insider info from Nomura" takes are yet again only widely accepted fandom headcanon?
Interesting.
One is tempted to say to take only in-game stuff as canon facts then and yet when it comes to actual characterisation many characters fall flat.
Things like these short stories are what give most of the characters some more depth the games tend to forget or ignore because they are more concerned with flashiness and surprising twists.
As goldpanner explains, we can assume it's valid since scenes from KH2FM appeared in the novels before the game released and the only explanation is if Nomura gave her info, but yeah we lack an exact confirmation.
 

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Oh my god I love these these are so precious!! Ven being happy after eating Aqua’s cakes, Terra not liking them too sweet, Eraqus liking strawberry tarts, and Aqua making tea and cakes. It’s perfect.
 

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Interestingly enough, Kanemaki isn't just credited for the novels specifically, but also the Editing/Writing for the book in general, amongst others.

As for the canonicity of the novelizations (and these short stories), I believe there are a lot of ways someone can approach an understanding of what the canonical/"authentic" level the writings are at in regards to the canon of KH (games). It's typically tricky with Kanemaki's novels because rather than being a separate context that would simply add to the continuity of the canon (e.g. Jun Eishima's novels for FFXIII), they're an adaptation of the same events that, unlike the manga, don't change or present anything drastically different than what could be understood as supplemental information to what is already established. (As far as I'm aware unless anyone has any specific examples of conflicting information/contradictions) A funny take, but the novels are kind of like a "Final Mix" but in novel form, I guess. Though, I would agree there are different dynamics at play in certain novels, but not enough to where I'd call it, like, its own continuity/canon or anything. I too would like to see a more factual implementation of Nomura's involvement with her writings for the novels (interview anyone?), considering that maybe there are other ways she could've had access to certain information without the full intent of her novels being a canonical, supplemental representation of the series in novel form.

Either way at this point, though, I believe by the content of her novels, including the additions of even these short stories and the involvement she has had in the game series (notably Days)—I don't believe there's any reason to not take these writings in "good faith" of being intended, authentic supplemental additions to the canon. This wouldn't simply be negated by an author's style of writing unless it came across as a contradiction, as far as I'm concerned. But it's definitely open for other reasoning, I'm sure.
 

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Oh whoops, thought you meant besides this stuff. No, Kanemaki wrote the short stories in this book xD
Also whoops as I just realized I read only the actual stories and not the introductory paragraph where it clearly says Kanemaki, lol.

As goldpanner explains, we can assume it's valid since scenes from KH2FM appeared in the novels before the game released and the only explanation is if Nomura gave her info, but yeah we lack an exact confirmation.
I see. Well, besides all that there is also the question if Nomura feels beholden to anything established at all or if he's willing to throw things away just for his "surprising twist"-tick he has which is now apparently mixed with buckets full of Versus XIII-salt.

Ventus said:
At this point, I'm used to not understanding things. Frankly, I don't even know what I don't know.
After reading all three stories a second time this part of Ven's made me unironically think of the KH fandom as a whole, especially since the whole time travel and worldline stuff was added to the universe's lore.
 

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“I already know that. I think a bunch of memories came back to me that time, but they feel like they belong to somebody else. I’m not sure what to make of it.”

Vanitas said the same thing in the kh3 light novel 👀


I love their stories! I can’t wait for more translations.
 
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