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On the existence (or lack thereof) of Nobodies



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Ikkin

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The true nature of a Nobody's existence (/lack of existence) is something that's hinted at, but never really said straight out, which tends to cause confusion about what they really are and how they came to be (/not to be).

However, I think I might have managed to piece together a full explanation of what they really are that fits with all of the information that we've been given (not including any 358/2 Days spoilers, since I haven't played that yet).

A Nobody, despite common belief, does not actually have a body. It's amusingly ironic to say "Heartless are Hearts, Nobodies are Bodies," but that's not really true. Nobodies' physical forms are created from the bodies of their Others, and can even prevent the Others' bodies from returning if their Heartless is killed, but they're not really the same thing.

What a Nobody really is is something more like a photo negative. When someone's heart is lost and their body fades, it releases an enormous amount of energy. In the case of a person with a strong heart, a reverse imprint of the heart is pressed into that energy, which manifests a form (the Nobody) in the realm of Twilight using that imprint. The imprint can be somewhat distorted if the heart is not strong enough, which causes the lower Nobodies to look and act less human than the numbered members of the Organization.

The reason why I say that a Nobody is like a photo negative is because of this: since the reaction starts from the inside, the personality traits of the Nobodies are like those of the Other, only reversed. The things hidden deep within the person's heart become the outer layer of personality, while the most prominent traits are hidden below. Roxas and Sora are a good example of this, along with Namine and Kairi - they have similar traits, but manifest them in opposite ways.

As for whether or not a Nobody can feel, it could go either way. Yen Sid's belief would be that Nobodies behave according to the personality imprint, but aren't really guided by an actual being - they don't really exist as a person (in the same way as an AI like an IM bot doesn't exist as a person). However, considering the fact that the Nobodies are able to compare their experience as a Nobody to their experience as a Somebody and are actually willing to do so, it seems more likely that there is a conscious being there, even if it doesn't feel as deeply because its personality is based on an imprint of a heart rather than a real heart.

When a Nobody is killed and its body fades into darkness, the energy that created it is freed, and is therefore available for the heart to use to reform its own body if it is later freed. Since it's apparently more complicated to revive a person if the Nobody is killed first, I would assume that the energy constituting the body seeks out the heart upon its release, rather than vice-versa. In any case, the reason why a person with an existing Nobody cannot normally revive even if their Heartless is killed is because they can't make a body out of nothing - Sora was an exception, but he likely formed his temporary body out of Light donated by Kairi as a Princess of Heart.

The idea of Somebodies' bodies fading and being restored is probably why the idea of Nobodies was deemed necessary in the first place. After all, the bodies have to go somewhere, and since they're able to lose their physical form in the first place, they might as well be able to reform into something else while not in use.

Concerning the fate of the Nobodies themselves, I imagine that the Nobody's personality returns to its Other along with the Other's body, but is hidden deep down and mostly inaccessible. I doubt that the Nobodies who were killed are really any worse off than Roxas is, since Roxas had to return everything to Sora anyway. The game is frustratingly unclear about what ends up happening to the Nobody's consciousness, however.

And that's just about everything, I think.
 

Key of Valor

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Ikkin said:
The true nature of a Nobody's existence (/lack of existence) is something that's hinted at, but never really said straight out, which tends to cause confusion about what they really are and how they came to be (/not to be).

However, I think I might have managed to piece together a full explanation of what they really are that fits with all of the information that we've been given (not including any 358/2 Days spoilers, since I haven't played that yet).

A Nobody, despite common belief, does not actually have a body. It's amusingly ironic to say "Heartless are Hearts, Nobodies are Bodies," but that's not really true. Nobodies' physical forms are created from the bodies of their Others, and can even prevent the Others' bodies from returning if their Heartless is killed, but they're not really the same thing.

What a Nobody really is is something more like a photo negative. When someone's heart is lost and their body fades, it releases an enormous amount of energy. In the case of a person with a strong heart, a reverse imprint of the heart is pressed into that energy, which manifests a form (the Nobody) in the realm of Twilight using that imprint. The imprint can be somewhat distorted if the heart is not strong enough, which causes the lower Nobodies to look and act less human than the numbered members of the Organization.

The reason why I say that a Nobody is like a photo negative is because of this: since the reaction starts from the inside, the personality traits of the Nobodies are like those of the Other, only reversed. The things hidden deep within the person's heart become the outer layer of personality, while the most prominent traits are hidden below. Roxas and Sora are a good example of this, along with Namine and Kairi - they have similar traits, but manifest them in opposite ways.

As for whether or not a Nobody can feel, it could go either way. Yen Sid's belief would be that Nobodies behave according to the personality imprint, but aren't really guided by an actual being - they don't really exist as a person (in the same way as an AI like an IM bot doesn't exist as a person). However, considering the fact that the Nobodies are able to compare their experience as a Nobody to their experience as a Somebody and are actually willing to do so, it seems more likely that there is a conscious being there, even if it doesn't feel as deeply because its personality is based on an imprint of a heart rather than a real heart.

When a Nobody is killed and its body fades into darkness, the energy that created it is freed, and is therefore available for the heart to use to reform its own body if it is later freed. Since it's apparently more complicated to revive a person if the Nobody is killed first, I would assume that the energy constituting the body seeks out the heart upon its release, rather than vice-versa. In any case, the reason why a person with an existing Nobody cannot normally revive even if their Heartless is killed is because they can't make a body out of nothing - Sora was an exception, but he likely formed his temporary body out of Light donated by Kairi as a Princess of Heart.

The idea of Somebodies' bodies fading and being restored is probably why the idea of Nobodies was deemed necessary in the first place. After all, the bodies have to go somewhere, and since they're able to lose their physical form in the first place, they might as well be able to reform into something else while not in use.

Concerning the fate of the Nobodies themselves, I imagine that the Nobody's personality returns to its Other along with the Other's body, but is hidden deep down and mostly inaccessible. I doubt that the Nobodies who were killed are really any worse off than Roxas is, since Roxas had to return everything to Sora anyway. The game is frustratingly unclear about what ends up happening to the Nobody's consciousness, however.

And that's just about everything, I think.
Hm... that's an interesting view on Nobodies. But about Nobodies not being composed of bodies though, that is what you said, right? That goes against what is commonly believed by the majority. It's certainly an interesting concept you're suggesting, but what about these two sentences from Another Report that seem to suggest the opposite?

Another Report said:
However, in the are case that the body changed into a Nobody and there is no container for the heart, it resorts to a state of suspension.
Another Report said:
Essentially when a strong-hearted person has their heart stolen, they change into a Heartless, and on rare occasions their body changes into a Nobody.
Anyway though, this theory introduces a lot of interesting concepts, though some of them differ from my personal views.

However, about these statements below...

Ikkin said:
since the reaction starts from the inside, the personality traits of the Nobodies are like those of the Other, only reversed. The things hidden deep within the person's heart become the outer layer of personality, while the most prominent traits are hidden below. Roxas and Sora are a good example of this, along with Namine and Kairi - they have similar traits, but manifest them in opposite ways.
Could give more specific examples of how things deep within become the outer layer of personality, and how prominent traits are hidden below. Like, could you name the specific traits that do this in Sora/Roxas, Kairi/Namine, and maybe even Xehanort/Xemnas?
 

Ikkin

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Hm... that's an interesting view on Nobodies. But about Nobodies not being composed of bodies though, that is what you said, right? That goes against what is commonly believed by the majority. It's certainly an interesting concept you're suggesting, but what about these two sentences from Another Report that seem to suggest the opposite?
It's not really contradictory, even though it seems that way; Ansem kind of reverted to a short-hand version of where a Nobody comes from because he'd already explained what he meant in full:

I became familiar with an unusual “entity” while pursuing the truth. It is the soul and body that remain when a being losses its heart. When a Heartless is born, these entities disappear from the realm of light, to be reborn as entirely new beings in a completely different realm.

Since the body and soul are reborn as entirely new beings, it wouldn't be quite right to say "Roxas has Sora's body." Roxas' body is made out of the same stuff as Sora's, but it's changed (which is what Ansem uses for his short-hand version, if you notice). The process is kind of like melting down a plastic toy, then fitting it into a similar mold to make a new toy - you can't really call it the same toy.


Could give more specific examples of how things deep within become the outer layer of personality, and how prominent traits are hidden below. Like, could you name the specific traits that do this in Sora/Roxas, Kairi/Namine, and maybe even Xehanort/Xemnas?
It's kind of hard with Xehanort/Xemnas, because Xehanort gets about one line in the whole series. XD I'll use Sora and Roxas as the example, since they're the most fleshed out.

Sora's outer personality is goofy, confident, and extremely outgoing. He throws himself whole-heartedly into whatever he's doing currently and rarely doubts that he's doing the right thing.

Roxas' outer personality is almost a polar opposite - he's serious, introspective, and often questions himself and his own perceptions.

However, both of them have elements of the others' personalities - when Sora's put under enough stress, he starts to show some of Roxas' doubt, and keeps those kinds of things to himself, while Roxas shows signs that he really does want to make friends like Sora does (with the best example being the clip at the end of Reverse/Rebirth).

Actually, it might be more like they balance each other on a sliding scale - underneath, they're not that far away, but their outer personalities differ from the inner in opposite ways. Or something. That part's the least supported of the theory, anyway.


Woah..thats a lot of long words in there that I didnt understand XD
Sorry about that. ^_^; I think I might have gotten stuck in academic writing mode.
 

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I agree with most of the things said, except it we aren't sure which being has to be destroyed first in order to become whole. However, Nomura leads us to believe it is easier for the Heartless to be deafeted first rather than the Nobody to become whole.
 
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Key of Valor

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Ikkin said:
It's not really contradictory, even though it seems that way; Ansem kind of reverted to a short-hand version of where a Nobody comes from because he'd already explained what he meant in full:

I became familiar with an unusual “entity” while pursuing the truth. It is the soul and body that remain when a being losses its heart. When a Heartless is born, these entities disappear from the realm of light, to be reborn as entirely new beings in a completely different realm.

Since the body and soul are reborn as entirely new beings, it wouldn't be quite right to say "Roxas has Sora's body." Roxas' body is made out of the same stuff as Sora's, but it's changed (which is what Ansem uses for his short-hand version, if you notice). The process is kind of like melting down a plastic toy, then fitting it into a similar mold to make a new toy - you can't really call it the same toy.
No, I wouldn't call it the same toy, but I would call it composed of the plastic from the same toy.
Just as I wouldn't call Xemnas the same as Xehanort, but I would call Xemnas composed of the same body as Xehanort

But that explanation you gave seems to go against an claim you made earlier in your theory?

Ikkin said:
A Nobody, despite common belief, does not actually have a body. It's amusingly ironic to say "Heartless are Hearts, Nobodies are Bodies," but that's not really true. Nobodies' physical forms are created from the bodies of their Others, and can even prevent the Others' bodies from returning if their Heartless is killed, but they're not really the same thing.
Could you clarify a bit? I think what has me confused is that you said that Roxas' body is made out of the same stuff as Sora's. Could you define the word "stuff", cause I think I'm mistakenly assuming that you mean vessel.

Ikkin said:
It's kind of hard with Xehanort/Xemnas, because Xehanort gets about one line in the whole series. XD I'll use Sora and Roxas as the example, since they're the most fleshed out.

Sora's outer personality is goofy, confident, and extremely outgoing. He throws himself whole-heartedly into whatever he's doing currently and rarely doubts that he's doing the right thing.

Roxas' outer personality is almost a polar opposite - he's serious, introspective, and often questions himself and his own perceptions.

However, both of them have elements of the others' personalities - when Sora's put under enough stress, he starts to show some of Roxas' doubt, and keeps those kinds of things to himself, while Roxas shows signs that he really does want to make friends like Sora does (with the best example being the clip at the end of Reverse/Rebirth).

Actually, it might be more like they balance each other on a sliding scale - underneath, they're not that far away, but their outer personalities differ from the inner in opposite ways. Or something. That part's the least supported of the theory, anyway.
That was a surprisingly good example.

Could you give another example for Kairi/Namine so that I can more easily see the trend you're suggesting?
 

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I remember Yen Sid saying something along the lines of "When someone with a powerful heart, be they good or evil, submits their heart to darkness, the empty vessel they leave behind begins to act with a will of it's own." Interesting theory though...
 

Ikkin

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No, I wouldn't call it the same toy, but I would call it composed of the plastic from the same toy.
Just as I wouldn't call Xemnas the same as Xehanort, but I would call Xemnas composed of the same body as Xehanort
The body isn't structurally the same, though. That's why I say they're not the same body.


Could you clarify a bit? I think what has me confused is that you said that Roxas' body is made out of the same stuff as Sora's. Could you define the word "stuff", cause I think I'm mistakenly assuming that you mean vessel.
Ah, I think that might be the confusing bit. I don't mean "vessel." I mean something on a far lower level - the matter/energy/metaphysical-whatever that the body is composed from.

Think of crushing a large piece of coal into a diamond. They're both made of the same "stuff" (carbon atoms), but they're not really the same thing - they don't look the same, and they've got different physical properties.

(The different physical properties are why it doesn't make much sense for the Nobody to have the same body - Sora's body certainly isn't capable of phasing through people or walking on thin air)


That was a surprisingly good example.

Could you give another example for Kairi/Namine so that I can more easily see the trend you're suggesting?
Kairi makes things difficult, because she doesn't get enough screentime, but I'll try to explain anyway. Kairi's outwardly very outgoing, active, and tomboyish, while Namine's introverted, passive, and feminine - but Kairi doesn't really act so much like "one of the boys" when Sora and Riku aren't around, and Namine's rather easily pushed to take action when she's shown that there's something she can actually do to help.
 

Key of Valor

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Ikkin said:
The body isn't structurally the same, though. That's why I say they're not the same body.
If the body structurally changes though, it' still the same body, just a different form. At least that's how I would look at it.

Ikkin said:
Ah, I think that might be the confusing bit. I don't mean "vessel." I mean something on a far lower level - the matter/energy/metaphysical-whatever that the body is composed from.

Think of crushing a large piece of coal into a diamond. They're both made of the same "stuff" (carbon atoms), but they're not really the same thing - they don't look the same, and they've got different physical properties.

(The different physical properties are why it doesn't make much sense for the Nobody to have the same body - Sora's body certainly isn't capable of phasing through people or walking on thin air)
Wait... so are you saying that the body changes into a different physical state and becomes part of the Nobody composition? Or are you saying that the body goes "somewhere else" but the energy released from the heart and vessel separation is able to produce separate physical existences for Nobodies?

Ikkin said:
Kairi makes things difficult, because she doesn't get enough screentime, but I'll try to explain anyway. Kairi's outwardly very outgoing, active, and tomboyish, while Namine's introverted, passive, and feminine - but Kairi doesn't really act so much like "one of the boys" when Sora and Riku aren't around, and Namine's rather easily pushed to take action when she's shown that there's something she can actually do to help.
Another great example.

In that case, I can see the point your theory makes about Nobodies being "photo negatives".
 

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This theory actually makes the nobodies birth make sense. You had some good examples and I can't really see any flaws. I'm keeping this one in mind :) Thanks for posting this.
 

Ikkin

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Wait... so are you saying that the body changes into a different physical state and becomes part of the Nobody composition? Or are you saying that the body goes "somewhere else" but the energy released from the heart and vessel separation is able to produce separate physical existences for Nobodies?
I think it's kind of an anime-style "conservation of matter and energy" thing (in the vein of Fullmetal Alchemist) - the disappearance of the body results in the release of energy, which travels to the realm of Twilight and becomes a Nobody. The body doesn't exist anywhere else, since it's been "used up" to make the Nobody's physical form.

If you want to call the Nobody's body the same body, I suppose you could - but whether or not you it could be said that Roxas' body is Sora's body, what Roxas has is certainly not a human body.



Thanks, everyone. I'm glad you like what I came up with. ^_^
 

Key of Valor

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Ikkin said:
I think it's kind of an anime-style "conservation of matter and energy" thing (in the vein of Fullmetal Alchemist) - the disappearance of the body results in the release of energy, which travels to the realm of Twilight and becomes a Nobody. The body doesn't exist anywhere else, since it's been "used up" to make the Nobody's physical form.

If you want to call the Nobody's body the same body, I suppose you could - but whether or not you it could be said that Roxas' body is Sora's body, what Roxas has is certainly not a human body.
Okay, I think I get what you're saying then.

This theory is pretty interesting, and makes a fair amount of sense. Well done.
 
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It's an interesting subject, isn't it?

How does a Nobody not "exist"? What does it mean to exist in the first place?
Most assume that not existing=not having a heart. But that's not the case at all. Kairi, as well as the undoubtedly many who lost their hearts before the existence of the heartless, were empty vessels, but they were not non-existent.

So there's something different about the Nobodies. They are non-existent, yet they manifest in a corporeal form.
I think you're on the right track, to say the least, with the whole idea of them not really having a body, per se. But you have to be careful with how you word that.

Of course they have a physical body. But it's not the body of the original. A body is existent, a soul is existent, but a Nobody is not. Had the vessel been the same, they would really not take on any physical changes.

I think it's easier to say, as I have suggested, that, rather than a Nobody being comprised of a body and soul, they are made from a body and soul. When all is said and done, they are not technically what one would define as the leftover body and soul, but a non-being created from them being left behind.

It's a tricky subject to be sure. When you take the word "nothing" at face value, one must wonder how we can perceive the Nobodies at all. But that may be delving into more philosophical concepts such as solipsism, which are, frankly, out of reach of the KH cosmology.
 

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I like how you went deeper into this. I actually like your explanation better than what was in the secret ansem reports. The secret reports are the only thing that really contradicts it.
 

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I like how you went deeper into this. I actually like your explanation better than what was in the secret ansem reports. The secret reports are the only thing that really contradicts it.
Thanks. ^_^

Though, could you explain where the contradictions are? I thought I took care of everything, apart for the "Nobodies have no emotions" thing.
 
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