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Vanitas' Novel Backstory



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Ikkin

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I saw this linked on TV Tropes forums yesterday, and I thought some of you might find it interesting: Dark Memory.

The novels aren't fully canon, of course, but it's still pretty good fodder for personal-canon if you don't mind a more sympathetic portrayal of Vanitas. (He's still not anywhere near nice, fortunately, but it's hard not to feel bad for a being who's in constant pain, tormented to the point of homicidal fury by the existence of the Unversed but left in physical agony when he destroys them)
 
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This is pretty neat.

Not sure how official it is (given that someone could have just wrote that up on fanfiction.net), but it's a very interesting interpretation of Vanitas, one that confirms a few things I had thought about him. At the very least, it makes him less of a one-dimensional ham-fest.

Makes sense too. Vanitas IS essentially Ven, so you have to wonder how he became so different.
And his obsession with being strong and how weak Ventus is in the game really supports this. Usually the ones who are obsessed with being strong are the ones with the greatest fears.

I always felt an odd sense of pity when Vanitas is desperately grasping at the X-Blade, looking so pathetic. That it means more to him than just power, that it's a means of salvation, and a way of validating his very existence, well, suddenly the look he gives says a lot.

In particular:
At the time Vanitas was just born, he did not have a human face. He was basically like a humanoid Heartless, with pure black skins but with red eyes instead of the yellow eyes that Heartless possess. If you have noticed from the game, all Unversed have red eyes, so he was just like an Unversed himself at the time. But then MX took the unconscious Ven to the Destiny Islands, planning to leave him there to rest in peace. And then the newborn heart of Sora's came in contact with Ven's fractured heart as you see in the game. Surprisingly, that time Sora did not only touch Ven's heart, he also directly contacted Vanitas' heart. After feeling a sharp pain in his chest, Vanitas' body fell to the ground of the wasteland near Keyblade Graveyard and almost lost his consciousness, feeling being engulfed by absolute Darkness. That was when Vanitas heard Sora's voice and then he saw Light. The Light eventually surrounded his whole body. Then he heard the voice saying "Let's open the door" (if you remember from the game, the line was voiced by both HJO and Jesse McCartney at the same time, and now you can say it could be Vanitas' voice instead of Sora's). Vanitas then opened his eyes and found out that now he had a normal boy's face. He also realized that someone, probably also a newborn heart like himself, had saved Ven's heart from completely fading away.
That is pretty damn interesting.
It's a shame we couldn't have seen any of this in the game.

And I find it funny that, if this is the case, of all the characters in KH that are meant to be saved, the two with some of the most torment will not be. Vanitas and Repliku.
 

Sign

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Oh wow. That's... pretty incredible, and makes a whole lot of sense once you think about it.

Thanks for the link, Ikkin.
 

Oracle Spockanort

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My entire perspective of Vanitas has changed drastically. I never want to kill an Unversed again. It seems like Vanitas killing an Unversed was like cutting himself; momentary relief and euphoria that quickly changes to pain.

Him crying seems highly plausible considering how lost he looked as he tried to grasp for the X-Blade. It was one of the only things that could being him close enough to having a reason for existing and being "one" with Ventus.

Like Grass said, it is pretty sad that out of all of those that need saving, the two who need it the most won't. Repliku is dead and Vanitas is practically non-existant.

And wow...Why was none of this in the game. BBS would have been 100x better if this information was in the canon.

Here is to hoping BBSv2 sheds some light on this extremely saddening story, and that maybe in KH3 Ventus and Vanitas can properly be one again. ;A;
 

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Well damn, not it makes sense. I always wondered why Vanitas followed MX, but now we know (well, if this is real, have a really good sub-canon explanation) about why Vanitas was doing what he did. He didn't care about MX's goals, he just wanted to be his own person...

Kinda sounds like how Roxas hated Sora for a while, but it's much for sadistic.

Quite unfortunate for him, as I mentioned above, every time he felt an emotion, it created an Unversed. Looking at the Unversed was like looking at his own weakness that he did not want to admit, which made him feel very unhappy and wanting to kill. So Vanitas started to keep killing the Unversed with his own hands, which, as you can imagine, only brought more physical pain and emotional agony to himself as the defeated Unversed return all the pain and negativity back to him, which in turn spored more Unversed to born. Being the incarnation of "negative emotion", the more negative emotions Vanitas received and felt, the stronger he would become. And he wanted to become strong because he hated being so weak, killing the Unversed was the only way he knew at the moment to get stronger, plus killing the Unversed could bring a momentary relief even though it only felt worse after he killed them. So he never stopped the killing.
His killing of the Unversed was like how a person cuts themselves, its seems. Finding relief from the action, even though you feel pain afterward. So insanely good and thought up.

And now I feel bad for killing so many Unversed. :(

Here is to hoping BBSv2 sheds some light on this extremely saddening story, and that maybe in KH3 Ventus and Vanitas can properly be one again. ;A;
I'm really hoping for a Vanitas scenario in BBSv2 now. Something short that just goes through the events of his 4 years between his creation and BBS, and then to the ending of BBS so we can hear his thoughts as he dies.

If this is all canon, Vanitas is the best villain in KH ever.
 

Oracle Spockanort

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I'll say what I said to Sign, but now I can just imagine Vanitas doubled over in pain for most of BBS and just before he goes to tease Ven or attack Aqua, he would try and compose himself. Then he'd travel back to the Badlands, gasping deeply and more anger just flowing off of him because he hates being weak and takes his aggravation out on the Unversed because that is what he is so used to.

I'm really hoping for a Vanitas scenario in BBSv2 now. Something short that just goes through the events of his 4 years between his creation and BBS, and then to the ending of BBS so we can hear his thoughts as he dies.

If this is all canon, Vanitas is the best villain in KH ever.
Me too. If anything, it would be the best scenario and probably one of the most emotional.
 

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Me too. If anything, it would be the best scenario and probably one of the most emotional.
I'm really hoping we'll get a lot more emotion (and information) from all the characters in BBSv2. It's supposed to cover the whole series up until KH3D, so to keep fans who did play every game, they gotta give us something. And, well, stuff like this will attract a low of people.

I imagine a Vanitas scenario to be really short though. Something similar to the Secret Scenerio in BBSFM, but with importance and a lot of story.
 

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O.O Oh my God *Runs and hugs Vanitas* It's okay, I had no idea you were going through that. I'll be your friend, Vanitas!
 

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I really want those novels in English. I haven't found a good book in quite a while, and a Kingdom Hearts novel would just be over-the-top.
 

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When Tokyopop had dropped the novels, Disney press had taken them up to translate. Alas, that has been lost in limbo. Think it is time to start emailing Disney Press about the books? Start a campaign with a ton of fans requesting the books be translated and sold outside of Japan?
 

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Am I the only who hates MX even more now? Seriously this bastard killed his child hood friend, Eraqus, without any remorse. Possessed Terra and put him through God only knows what torture with the whole Xemnas and XH seperation thing. Screwed Ven up. Made Vanitas into the villain he became in BBS. Was indirectly responsible for Aqua getting trapped in the dark realm. As apprentice Xehanort he ruined Ansem's name, destroyed his kingdom, as a heartless destroyed countless worlds and lives, as a nobody he screwed up Roxas, Axel, and Xion's friendship. Not to mention screwing up Riku and make him all emo from the end of KH1 until the end of KH2. And constantly has Sora having to go on an adventure that ends up with him stoping Xehanort's evil plans.

I really hope Xehanort gets what's coming to him in KH3.

But poor poor Vanitas. He was so alone, and the only one near him was MX, but MX just treated him like a tool and abandoned him. All Vanitas wanted was to be free from the pain and be his own person. And now I can never watch the scene where Vanitas loses his grip on the X-Blade in his final battle with Ven without looking at that sad painful expression on his face, without wanting to reach out to him and save him.
 

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Makes sense too. Vanitas IS essentially Ven, so you have to wonder how he became so different.
.
I was thinking that as well. This is just Ven's darkness and yet acts absolutely nothing like him, almost like he is someone else.

Also, it is interesting about Vanitas' goals in BBS. During his first fight with Ven in the Badlands, he pretty much says to hell with MX's plans and decides to kill Ven. And yet, once the fusion happens and he yields the X-Blade, he's very focused on restarting the Keyblade War and Kingdom Hearts. I wonder if something happened inbetween those two events, where he goes forget the X-Blade to 'The X-Blade shouldn't be broken and should be forged.'

Maybe he did want to be his own person and saw that Kingdom hearts could possibly help him with that goal.

But, the thing about Vanitas that annoys me is that he is a small chunk from Ven's heart (if we take Ven's Awakening Pillar as a scale measurement), but Ven nearly dies until Sora supports him. What was happening to Vanitas and how could he exist by himself? The Sora idea would explain it that Sora was now supporting Ven AND Vanitas. However, what if Vanitas got support or something from the Keyblade Graveyard, like the past wielders? What if their dark fragments combined with Ven's darkness to form Vanitas?
 

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No, you aren't the only one, but I also like characters who cause mayhem and ruin the lives of many. If anything, I think MX is even more of a successful villain than ever. At first it just seemed silly that he wanted to take control of KH, but what is usually the villain's second goal? Ruining people's lives so theirs can seem infinitely better.

Just you wait. There is going to be something that makes you feel for Master Xehanort and will make you feel conflicted because you hate him so much for everything he has done, but in the end he was just way too curious and idealistic.

Anyways, I can honestly never look at Vanitas or play BBS the same now. And I'm starting to hate Master Eraqus as much as I hate Master Xehanort. He was so determined to destroy everything that was Darkness, which would have included Vanitas...and that is one thing that boy didn't deserve.
 

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If that is canon and not fake, Vanitas better damn well come back in the next games.

Or I'll.....do nothing.


Seriously though, his characterization easily surpasses Ven and Aqua in my eyes if every word of that is true. I honestly wish the KH games had this level of backstory.

Unfortunately, Disney, UMD space and Square management+time constraints give us:

 

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Sickening, isn't it? I would ride my bike 40 miles to the nearest city to buy those novels.
 

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This is why BBS should have been called KH Zero and put on the PS3 to begin with. They would have had tons of space to put all of this in the game and all the worlds people wanted for BBS, as well since it would be called KH0 and on PS3 it would have shut the KH3 beggers up for awhile.
 

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But poor poor Vanitas. He was so alone, and the only one near him was MX, but MX just treated him like a tool and abandoned him. All Vanitas wanted was to be free from the pain and be his own person. And now I can never watch the scene where Vanitas loses his grip on the X-Blade in his final battle with Ven without looking at that sad painful expression on his face, without wanting to reach out to him and save him.
I'd be wary of humanizing Vanitas too much; pitying him is one thing, but it's way too easy for that pity to go too far.

What I find most compelling about the novel's portrayal of him is how incredibly dysfunctional he is. He isn't a good person who turned bad because he was abused by Master Xehanort (though he was, of course, abused by Master Xehanort). He's utterly consumed by his own hatred -- for Ven, for the Unversed, and for himself -- and driven into a murderous and self-destructive rage in their presence.

The strongest images for me are these: Vanitas, standing over a whimpering, semi-conscious Ven, face twisted in rage, kicking him over and over and over again until Xehanort pulls him away to keep him from ruining his plans. Vanitas, lying on the sands of the Keyblade Graveyard, injured and in pain and rejected for being weak, feeling the love Ven's found in the Land of Departure secondhand and wanting nothing more than to destroy everyone there for what they have and he doesn't. Vanitas, hands wrapped around the throat of a Flood, choking the life out of it in a blind fury even as his own body is wracked with the same pain he's inflicting on it.

And, in the end, he's twisted to such a degree that even that degree of sympathy is impossible. He isn't crumpled over, trying to compose himself in between fights with Aqua and Ven; if the deaths of the Unversed still hurt him, he's long gotten used to it. His hatred drives him to kill, and to enjoy killing, anyone who has what he doesn't. He's sadistic and irredeemable and utterly, utterly pitiable, and he needs to be put down as much for his own good as for the good of the worlds.
 
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