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From Kingdom Hearts Database
A chessboard makes for a small world. Now imagine it expands slowly, one fairy tale at a time...
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Character Theme
Voice Actors
Hayden Panettiere (KH, KHII, BBS)
Alyson Stoner (RECOM, 358/2 Days, 0.2BBS, KHIII)
Ariel Winter (Young Kairi)
First Appearance
"I want to be a part of your life no matter what. That's all."

Kairi is a young girl from Destiny Islands, and one of the Seven Princesses of Light with ties to the Keys and Keyholes. Originally born in Radiant Garden, she mysteriously arrived on the Destiny Islands after a meteor shower, and is best friends with Sora and Riku.

Story[edit | edit source]

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep[edit | edit source]

Kairi was born in Radiant Garden.

About four years later, Kairi, who had been picking flowers, was chased by the Unversed and ran into Aqua. Kairi hid behind Aqua, who sensed a strong light within her. In fear, Kairi touched Aqua’s Keyblade, inadvertently causing the Keyblade to be inherited to her. Just as they're about to be attacked, King Mickey appears and tells Aqua to take Kairi away. She does so and returns to help the King.

After the battle, the King and Aqua discuss the light that they both sense within Kairi, and are about to team up when the King’s Star Shard goes off and takes him elsewhere. Kairi runs up to Aqua then and gives her the flowers she had been picking, which becomes the Destiny's Embrace keychain. Aqua, in turn, puts a protective charm on her necklace, promising Kairi that if she's ever in trouble, he light would lead her to the light of another who would protect her. Kairi thanks Aqua and returns to her grandmother, who begins to tell Kairi the story of the light and darkness, while Aqua contemplates on the chance meeting.

Later, after Xehanort’s defeat, Kairi, while picking flowers, looks up to the sky, as if sensing something.

Between Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts[edit | edit source]

A year later, having recovered his memories, the apprentice Xehanort, posing as Ansem the Wise, learns of Kairi’s light. Fearing a potential danger to his plan from the Keyblade wielder, and suspecting a connection between the light in such a wielder and the light in Kairi as a Princess of Light, the now-turned Heartless Ansem sent Kairi off into the worlds. However, it was the protective charm Aqua had put on her the year before that actually brought Kairi to Sora and the Destiny Islands. During the same time, Kairi’s home Radiant Garden, became shrouded in darkness. Kairi arrived on the islands the day after a meteor shower on the Islands.

Kairi was taken in by the mayor, and grows up with both Sora and Riku, becoming close friends with both, who compete playfully for her attention. She grows up not having any memory of where she had come from, sparking interest in both Riku and Sora about the world beyond their own.

Kingdom Hearts[edit | edit source]

Interest about Kairi’s forgotten past lead the trio of friends to build a raft, hoping to make it across the vast sea surrounding their islands to whatever worlds may be out there. The evening before they are set to sail, however, Kairi spontaneously suggests to Sora that they should take the raft together, implying they should leave Riku behind. After Kairi’s “joke”, which surprised Sora, she tells him to never change. That night, a storm attacks the islands, and Kairi rows over to their play island, presumably to secure the raft. However, Sora finds her in the Secret Place when he arrives later, standing in front of the door in the back of the cave. She turns towards Sora, looking somewhat ill, and says his name, at which point the door bursts open, throwing her towards Sora. Sora attempts to catch her, but she vanishes before he is able to. Likely during the Heartless invasion of Destiny Islands, Kairi loses her heart, causing her to slip into a comatose state, unable to wake up. Finding Kairi becomes a major focus of both Sora and Riku’s journeys, and Sora on multiple occasions seems to see her. She first sees Kairi instead of Yuffie when waking up after fighting Leon. He later sees her when first surveying Merlin’s House, where she remarks that the stone house reminded her of the Secret Place. Later, Sora sees Kairi in Deep Jungle after crash landing there.

Kairi, however, is captured by Maleficent, who is seeking the Seven Princesses of Light in order to open Kingdom Hearts and take over all the worlds. Maleficent then recruits Riku to help, promising that by doing so, he would find Kairi’s heart and awaken her.

Sora, Donald, and Goofy finally catch up to Captain Hook's pirate ship, where Riku and Maleficent are making their way to Hollow Bastion with Kairi. There, Riku chides Sora for caring about Donald and Goofy instead of Kairi before locking Sora in the brig. With the help of Peter Pan, they make their way through the ship to a level below where Kairi and Wendy, another kidnapped girl, are. Sora reaches out towards Kairi, who just barely moves her hand, before Riku takes both Wendy and Kairi from the room. By the time Sora and company make it to the deck, Riku is already gone with Kairi. After defeating Captain Hook, Goofy questions whether Kairi had really lost her heart, while Sora marvels about being able to fly and wonders if Kairi would believe him.

Riku takes Kairi to Hollow Bastion, where the other princesses already are, and takes the Keyblade from Sora once he and the others arrive at the Castle Gate. After retrieving the Keyblade from Riku, Sora finally catches up to him in the Grand Hall, where Riku, now possessed by Ansem, reveals that Kairi’s heart had been inside Sora the entire time. He attempts to take Kairi’s heart from Sora, but Sora defends himself and defeats Riku again. However, when attempting to seal the Keyhole that both Maleficent and Riku had been trying to complete, Sora finds he is unable because the keyhole remains incomplete, a result of Kairi’s heart still being within him. Sora decides then to take Riku’s Keyblade and sacrifices himself in order to release Kairi’s heart. This act also releases Sora’s own heart. As Kairi recovers her heart and awakens, she sees what happened to Sora and runs to him just as he disappears.

Kairi refuses to accept that Sora is gone, but soon thereafter, her life is threatened by Ansem, who has gained greater control of Riku. Riku, however, is able to regain control long enough to tell Kairi to leave, and she follows Donald and Goofy out of Hollow Bastion. In the entrance hall, Sora’s Heartless catches up to the group as they make their way out. There, while Donald attempts to reprimand the Heartless, Kairi recognizes the shadow as Sora. When they're attacked by other shadows, Kairi turns and hugs Sora’s Heartless, which causes his heart to return to him, restoring Sora. Together again, the group escapes Hollow Bastion and return to Traverse Town.

In Traverse Town, Kairi joins Sora, Donald, and Goofy in explaining to Leon what had happened. Later, as Sora prepares to depart to rescue Riku, he finds Kairi in the Secret Waterway, where she first attempts to convince him to take her along. After Sora refuses, noting she'd get in his way, Kairi gives Sora her lucky charm and makes him promise to bring it back. She then tells him that no matter where he went, she would be with him.

After defeating Ansem and closing the Door to Darkness, Sora turns and finds Kairi nearby, and runs to her. And the sand around her begins to expand and pull her away from him, Sora grabs her hand and tells Kairi he will always be with her, too, and promises to return to her.

Sometime after returning to Destiny Islands, Kairi makes he way to the Secret Place, where she contemplates the drawings she and her friends had made before. She then finds the cave drawing of herself and Sora, and the Paopu fruit drawing Sora had recently added, causing her to tear up.

Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories[edit | edit source]

Though Kairi is on the islands, waiting for Sora and Riku to return, Sora ventures to Castle Oblivion, where he first runs into Organization XIII. Marluxia, in his plot to overthrow the Organization's leader Xemmas, uses Kairi’s Nobody, Naminé, to manipulate Sora’s memories in order to control him. She does this by replacing Sora’s memories of Kairi with fake memories of herself on the islands. However, when, with the help of Axel, Naminé refuses to help Marluxia anymore, she tells Sora to try and remember the girl who means so much to him, referring to Kairi. His memories of Kairi are what ultimately help him begin to recover all his altered memories.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days[edit | edit source]

Kairi continues to wait for Sora and Riku’s return.

In their effort to obtain Kingdom Hearts, the Organization recruits Sora’s Nobody Roxas, and create another replica named Xion. Xion begins to absorb Sora’s memories leaking through Roxas, particularly Sora’s memories of Kairi, a result of the events in Castle Oblivion. As a result, Sora’s recovery comes to a complete halt, while Xion begins to acquire a physical resemblance to Kairi. This also inadvertently causes everyone else who knew Sora to forget him, including Kairi. In order for Sora to wake up, Naminé explains to DiZ that both Xion and Roxas must return to Sora. Riku attempts to convince Xion to leave the Organization, and during one of these attempts, she takes on an exact resemblance to Kairi.

Kingdom Hearts II[edit | edit source]

While in a simulated version of Twilight Town, having been captured by Riku, Roxas begins to have dreams of Sora and his first adventure. In all of these dreams, Kairi tends to be blurred out, and her name is regularly cut off.

On Destiny Islands, during Roxas’s fifth day in the simulated Twilight Town, Selphie runs up to Kairi and asks whether she wants to go to the play island. Kairi refuses, and when asked why, asks Selphie if she remembers the boys they used to play with. Selphie only remembers Riku. Kairi, however, knows there had been another boy with them, but she can no longer remember who he is. In that moment, Kairi faints. At the same time, Roxas, who had been with his friends at the top of the Twilight Town clock tower, slips and seems to fall off. While falling, Roxas calls out to Naminé, whom he had recently met, and instead, his heart contacts Kairi’s. In their semi-unconscious state, Roxas recognizes Kairi’s voice from his dreams as belonging to the girl Sora likes, and Kairi asks for Sora’s name. This exchange affects the sleeping Sora, who's heart also responds and playfully scolds Kairi for forgetting his name before giving her a hint with the first letter of his name.

When Kairi recovers, she looks at Selphie momentarily before heading down to the shore. There, Kairi pulls out a bottle with a letter in it. She explains that the letter is one she had written yesterday to the boy she can't remember, and tells Selphie that after writing it, she remembers having made a promise with him. Selphie marvels and expresses hope that he gets the letter, to which Kairi replies confidently that he will before repeating Sora’s hint and then finally remembering his name.

Sometime later, Kairi stands on the shore looking towards the play island, and begins to wonder if she should do something more than just wait. She then hears a voice telling her that she should instead act on her dreams, at which point Axel appears and introduces himself as an acquaintance of Sora’s. Pluto also then appears and runs up to Kairi, who is then surrounded by several Dusks as Axel offers to take her to see Sora. He then explains that they both have someone they care about, and claims to feel as if they could be friends. After a corridor of Darkness appears and Pluto beckons to it, Kairi firmly refuses to accompany Axel and runs into the Corridor of Darkness. While there, she wonders aloud where they are, before another corridor mysteriously appears. As she begins to disappear in it, she turns around to see someone in a black hood. She awakens on the ground in the Usual Spot, surrounded by Hayner, Pence, and Olette.

Kairi tells her story to the group of friends, at the end of which Olette replies by noting how romantic it was. Hayner and Pence offer Kairi to stay with them, noting Sora had promised to return. However, Axel then appears, and grabs Kairi, noting how brave she was for jumping into the darkness. He then abducts her, Hayner and Pence unable to stop him, as she tries unsuccessfully to pull away. At some point after Axel kidnaps Kairi, she is taken by the Organization, which Axel had long left in search of Roxas. The Organization then puts her in the castle dungeon, and Saïx later uses her capture in an attempt to provoke Sora into fighting the Heartless.

Throughout his journey, Sora on multiple occasions wonders about Kairi. In Halloween Town, while watching Jack Skellington and Sally dance in the Town Square, he visualizes himself dancing with Kairi, albeit a younger Kairi, as he last saw her.

When Sora and company finally reach the Organization's stronghold in The World That Never Was, Saïx visits Kairi in the dungeon. She asks him what they will do to her, to which he replies that her capture feeds Sora’s anger. Kairi, distraught at the thought that Sora might be in danger because of her, falls to the ground as Saïx leaves. In that moment, Naminé appears through a corridor of darkness, and tells Kairi to hurry so they can escape. When Kairi reaches out to Naminé’s stretched-out hand, it creates a light that forms a path for Sora and company to go from the dark city to the Organization’s castle.

While Sora, Donald, Goofy, and King Mickey fight their way up the castle, Naminé and Kairi try to make their way out. On the way, though, they are confronted by Saïx. Saïx offers Kairi to take her to Sora. She hesitates, but when asked if she doesn’t want to see him, she firmly replies that she does, but not with Saïx around. Suddenly, another with a black hood appears and, summoning his Keyblade, attacks Saïx. Saïx is able to escape via a corridor of darkness once the hooded being pins him to the wall. Once Saïx is gone, Naminé turns Kairi over to the hooded man, whom she identifies as Riku. Shocked and confused, Kairi walks up and removes the hood to expose an Ansem-looking being.

Once reunited, the two make their way down to the Hall of Empty Melodies. There, Kairi jumps ahead when seeing Sora, but is attacked by the Heartless. She's rescued by Riku, who gives her a Keyblade to fight. Determined to do her part, she joins Riku in fighting the Heartless while Sora makes his way up to where they are in the upper level. Sora finally arrives on the higher level of the Hall of Empty Melodies, where they find Kairi. Kairi, upon noticing them, walks up to Sora and tells him that when neither he nor Riku had returned, she chose to leave the Islands in search for them. As Sora attempts to apologize, she runs to Sora and hugs him. Afterwards, as a still-disguised Riku attempts to leave them, Kairi runs to him and stops him, calling him by name. Kairi then makes Sora close his eyes when he questions her assertion, and helps him recognize Riku through his disguise as Ansem.

Kairi and Riku both join Sora, Donald, and Goofy throughout the remainder of their journey, though Kairi never actually fights despite her desire to do so. When the group attempts to infiltrate Xemnas’s Kingdom Hearts, Xemnas throws a large building at the party which causes both Kairi and King Mickey as they try to avoid being hit. Through unknown means, they later catch up to Sora and company.

After Naminé secretly opens a corridor of darkness to help the group escape and King Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto go through, Kairi and Sora face apparitions of their Nobodies. During their discussion, Kairi promises that she and Sora would be together everyday, and both Naminé and Roxas return to their original selves. However, while attempting to go through the corridor to return home, only Kairi is able to make it before the corridor closes.

After defeating Xemnas, while sitting on the shore of the Dark Margin, Riku picks up a bottle that washes ashore, containing Kairi’s letter. He hands it to Sora, and while Sora reads her letter, the Door to Light appears, taking them home. Kairi is the first to see Sora and Riku when they finally make it back to the Islands. As Sora pulls out her Wayfinder and tells her they're back, Kairi welcomes him home and reaches out to pull him up from the water.

Sometime after their return to the Islands, Kairi finds a bottle with a letter from King Mickey, and hurriedly takes it to Sora and Riku.

Blank Points[edit | edit source]

Kairi gives Sora her Wayfinder charm again when Sora makes the determination to leave the Islands again to help those the King mentioned in his letter, telling him she'll see him soon.

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance[edit | edit source]

Riku, at the behest of Master Yen Sid, brings Kairi to the Mysterious Tower. Once there, Master Yen Sid remarks the she, too, can wield the Keyblade, and is grateful she has arrived.

2.9 - The First Volume[edit | edit source]

Kairi, after learning about Aqua in the Realm of Darkness, asks Master Yen Sid how she can help. Master Yen Sid and King Mickey tell her about Lea, formerly Axel, who is training under Merlin to wield the Keyblade, and that she will train with him.

Kingdom Hearts Orchestra -World Tour-[edit | edit source]

During her training under Merlin, Kairi writes a letter to Sora. In her letter, she talks about Merlin’s ability to alter time, and her growing friendship with Lea. She also notes that Lea has a best friend he wants to save, and a memory he needs to remember. Finally, she tells Sora to keep being who he is, and that his smile will help save many hearts.

Kingdom Hearts III[edit | edit source]

While visiting The Mysterious Tower to share updates, King Mickey and Riku are asked by Master Yen Sid to rendezvous with Kairi and Lea, who are training with Merlin. He gives Riku and Mickey two suitcases which he explains contain darkness-shielding outfits that he would like them to deliver to the trainees.[1]

Kairi and Lea train in a mysterious forest under Merlin. While there, Kairi writes a letter to Sora, in which she explains her progress and encourages him to keep smiling. Lea finds her and asks if she wants Merlin to send the letter, but Kairi refuses, explaining that the letter is more for her than for Sora. Afterwards, she asks Lea if he's ready for a challenge the next day, and when Lea looks at her, he briefly sees someone else.

Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory[edit | edit source]

While she sleeps and Ansem the Wise, Ienzo, and Even examine her heart, Kairi begins to relive and recount Sora’s previous journeys with the Keyblade. She relives Sora’s first journey to defeat Ansem and rescue her, his journey through Castle Oblivion to rescue Naminé, and Roxas’s friendship with Xion and Axel in Organization XIII during Sora’s time asleep. She then retells Sora’s second journey to defeat the Organization in his search for King Mickey and Riku, King Mickey’s journey in the datascape with Data-Sora where he learns of the plight of Roxas, Xion, Axel, Naminé, Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, and the latter three’s effort to stop Xehanort in a battle ten years before Sora’s first journey. Finally, she recounts Sora and Riku’s journey through the realm of sleep as part of their Mark of Mastery exam and the return of Organization XIII, Aqua’s journey through the realm of darkness two years prior, and Sora’s most recent journey to gather the guardians of light and put an end to Xehanort’s plot to trigger the Keyblade War and end the world. Kairi finally dives into the Final World, where she begins to have flashbacks of her own childhood memory, when Xehanort, as apprentice to Ansem the Wise, captured her and sent her out from into the worlds.

Recovering from her flashback, Kairi confronts a hooded man who is revealed to be Master Xehanort. She attacks Xehanort, who commends her skill as a Keyblade wielder, but mocks her and her search for Sora, declaring her answer long lost in memories. Kairi continues her assault on Xehanort, but he ultimately defeats her. Just as he prepares to end her, his attack is parried by Sora, who manifests himself without a word within Kairi and defeats Xehanort before disappearing. Xehanort, conceding defeat, produces for Kairi the answer she seeks, declaring that he is only a manifestation within her heart. He then transforms through various forms until becoming Terra-Xehanort and reveals to Kairi the words he said to her when he cast her out from Radiant Garden in his search for the Keyblade wielder ten years before Sora’s first journey.

Confused by this saying, Kairi awakens and relays everything to Ansem the Wise, Ienzo, and Even. As they discuss Xehanort’s words and what they might mean, Riku and the Fairy Godmother appear and reveal to Kairi that the things she learned from Xehanort in her memory are one of the clues to finding Sora’s whereabouts. They journey together to The Final World, where Kairi learns of the various hearts gathered there. They find one who reveals that Sora had been there before, then reveals the city of Quadratum as a potential location for Sora. Kairi instinctively wants to go with Riku but understands that she needs to finish training and become stronger. She decides to return to Master Yen Sid and King Mickey and explain what has happened, then watches as Riku disappears in a portal in search of Sora.

Kairi returns to The Mysterious Tower and relays her experiences and what they’ve learned. She also accepts Master Yen Sid’s invitation to continue her training, but asks to study under Aqua, which Yen Sid approves.

Abilities[edit | edit source]

Prior to receiving her Keyblade, Destiny's Embrace in Kingdom Hearts II, Kairi had little in the way of fighting abilities. As such, she usually relied of Sora or Riku to rescue her was was kidnapped easily by other people.

Upon receiving her Keyblade, Kairi, despite her lack of training, proved to be a natural with it, striking down several Shadow's with ease and defending herself from them with Riku until Sora arrived. As such, her potential as a Keyblade wielder was noticed by Yen Sid, who called for Kairi to begin her own training.

After completing her training, she is shown to be relatively competent with her Keyblade. She possesses a mastery over light and fire magic, and has great strength. She is able to go toe-to-toe with much more experienced foes like Xemnas, Xion, and Master Xehanort. Despite this, she lacks reaction speed that more experienced fighters possess and as such, is struck down by Terra-Xehanort and kidnapped by Xemnas after being overpowered by her. Her growth as a Keyblade Wielder is noted by her memory's fabrication of Master Xehanort.

Despite her skills with the Keyblade, Kairi has low self-confidence in her fighting abilities, and her doubt in her own abilities often leads to her downfall in battle.

Development and Design[edit | edit source]

Kairi is a tall, slender girl, just slightly shorter than Sora. She has dark red hair, which reaches just past her ears in Kingdom Hearts and grows past her shoulders by Kingdom Hearts II, but is cut to a shoulder-length bob in Kingdom Hearts III. Her hair is a slightly brighter red in Kingdom Hearts. She has dark blue eyes, and often wears a necklace with a silver bead.

In Kingdom Hearts, Kairi sports a white tank top over a black one, which comes slightly above her waist. She also wears a purple-tinted skirt above purple bike shorts, with a darker purple belt, and White slip-on shoes. She also has a black choker and yellow wristband and purple armband on her left arm, and several bracelets on her right wrist.

In Kingdom Hearts II, Kairi is taller, and wears a pink strapless mini dress with three zippers and a white tank top underneath, with the middle zipper down to just below her chest, and a dark gray hood. The dress has a black belt around her waist, with another two belts hooked from it, holding up a bag attachment, and pale purple sneakers. She has three bracelets on her left arm. Her school uniform consists of a white button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up to her shoulders and a blue plaid tie. She also wears a blue, plaid skirt, knee-high navy-blue socks, and dark shoes. She's often has a brown bag with her uniform. When she wears her school uniform, it is the only time she's seen without her necklace.

In Kingdom Hearts III, Kairi is around the same height as she was in Kingdom Hearts II. She wears a sleeveless pink button-down dress with a zipper on the top and a hood with black ears. The dress has a black belt around her waist, with two large black pockets, pink and black plaid design around the shoulders, and a ruffled skirt with one side black and another side pink and black plaid. Under her dress, she wears a white, sleeveless shirt with a pink trim around the chest, and black athletic shorts. She wears black calf-length boots with brown trim and a buckle, and three bracelets on her left wrist and a jeweled wristband on her right.

In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, a young Kairi is seen wearing a white sleeveless dress with a pink hem and purple flowers at the bottom, and a pair of white slip-on shoes.

Kairi is four in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, fourteen in Kingdom Hearts, and fifteen in Kingdom Hearts II. Her name is derived from the Japanese word kai, meaning sea.

References[edit | edit source]

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