The Application of Kingdom Hearts Terminology

So angry...yet so happy.

Years ago, before the series has become what it is today, the primary source of Kingdom Hearts information came from two websites:  The Ansem Report, and KHWorld – the latter of which, our very own Churro created!  KHWorld focused news, information, and media – the only site at the time to have provided media on the original Final Mix.  However, the primary source for theories, speculation, and “intelligence gathering” was on The Ansem Report.  Debates in that day and age were primed on the meaning of secret videos:  Deep Dive in particular.  Deciphering the meaning of the XIII Points, the Gathering, who the men in the black hoods were.  That was the nature of debates when the series was still young.

Those eyes are covered up for a reason.

Today, on the other hand, the nature of the debates is focused not so much on the mystery that is to come, but of the answers that have yet to be explained.  As ugly as the term might sound, call them “plot holes.”  They come in all shapes and varieties, and they are the primary subjects for debates.  To keep things civil, no true plot holes will be featured here – if you guys find one, you’re more than welcome to submit for a future Guest Blog.  Today, on the other hand, the discussion will focus on something related to plot holes – the approach that is undertaken to explain them.

In the days of The Ansem Report, massive measures would be undertaken to acquire the proper evidence to support a theory.  And in that case, a heated but civil debate would ensue.  Correct predictions rarely came, but one thing it did provide was inspired productivity, and a sense of community.  Call me a “grumpy old Vietnam veteran who misses the glorious crop-dusting days”, but today that is exactly what is lacking within the community.  Proper research is rarely conducted.  Analysis is hardly solid.  And placeholders suddenly become official titles.

Sephiroth. Former hero. Expert swordsman. Poweful Somebody.

Does the Sephiroth caption strike you as odd?  Something…just doesn’t click, right?  No matter what it really is, the fact of the matter is, in today’s fandom, placeholders become official titles.  Putting aside all political correctness and incorrectness, does the term even truly fit the series?  Without proper research and analysis, one will quickly learn that when it comes to names and titles, there is most definitely a pattern.

The first tell-tale sign that something doesn’t fit?  The English language, of course.  Considered the high mark  of today’s society (trolololol), one would think that greater care would be place when interpreting the structure of a sentence.  Why not take a look at some examples?

  1. “If I had a heart…would that make me somebody?”
  2. “If I had a heart, you think I could love somebody?”
  3. “Rewrite Sora’s heart, and you can be somebody, not just the shadow of somebody.”

So, from those quotes, could you arrive at the conclusion that the figurative opposite of the Nobody…is a Somebody, from a literal interpretation?  From a literal, yes.  From an analytical one, heeell naw.  The pattern of the series terminology when it comes to the naming of, let’s call them species, is that they’re almost always exclusively preceded by count nouns and/or plurals.  Nobodies.  A Nobody.  Those Nobodies.  That Nobody.  Heartless.  The Heartless.  Those Heartless.  That Heartless.  Unversed.  The Unversed.  An Unversed.  See the pattern?  Secondly, shouldn’t the context of the sentence have some implications of the interpretation?  In the above quotes, the context of “somebody” is the same as “I want to be somebody some day!”, right?  Then what else do we have?

  • “With a capital N. It’s a name, for those of us who are missing a vital piece of who we are: our hearts.”

Spoken by the Zexion himself!  One would figure that a guy who carries around a lexicon everywhere with him would have a firm understanding of language!  Heartless, Unversed, Nobodies, and Dream Eaters are all capitalized as names!  Yet, has “somebody” even once been capitalized in-series?  Outside of first-word-in-a-sentence basis?  And what about in Japanese?  Heartless, Unversed, Nobodies, and Dream Eaters are always pronounced in Japanese by their Latin Phonetics (“Anvasu”, for example).  “Somebody”, on the other hand, is always spoken and written in native Japanese (“Dareka”, as another example).

With just a little bit of research and effort, a term that a good chunk of the fans has been using of late has just gotten debunked.  And as unfortunate as it is, “Somebody” is just the beginning.  The tip.  For reasons specific to each individual, misappropriation of misinformation has become rather rampant – to the point where even confirmations from Nomura himself aren’t evidence enough.  So, commenters!  I ask you to sound off in the comment boxes below!  Have you found yourself using “Somebody” as a term for “complete beings” in the series?  Have you used it knowing it was correct or incorrect?  Why?  Do you still believe it is correct?  Why so?  Do you know of any other rampant pieces of misinformation floating around?  Care to share?  Mind providing evidence for and against?  Do you plan to support it, or go against it?  How would you go about either?

It’s fairly easy to see my own stance on this.  And I have decided to go against it through awareness – even going as far as breaking the usual Guest Blog combo (Oy, news has been dry lately anyway…!) Just as how eager I was to share this Guest Blog, I’m also anticipating to how the community feels towards this!

37 Responses to “The Application of Kingdom Hearts Terminology”

  1. Randy B Thompson Says:

    Yeah I’ve been using “Somebody” to describe a person who is not missing their heart or body, but I use it as a quick go-to word purely for the sake of convenience. I know that it isn’t a true, in-universe term, and I never appropriate it as such — it’s only for the convenience.

  2. SeptemberTheObserver Says:

     Do you think it should be factually referenced as such?  Like a citation?

  3. Molly Hodgson Says:

    its funny because I never notice until today and I have been using it in that way. But if you’re not to call them somebodies then what do you call them?

  4. SeptemberTheObserver Says:

    Nothing, really lol.  Do you HAVE to call them something?  They’re just characters.  It’s not like this is World of Warcraft where everything is separated by race and species.

    You don’t refer to people as “humans” or “terrans”, right?  You just call them people.  So, in the same way, if they’re not a Nobody or Heartless, they’re just characters. Sora’s…just a guy. And Goofy is a cartoon character.

  5. Jack Mowat Says:

    Somebodies? How about people? Just ordinary people. That word does exist in the KH universe right?

  6. Eminai Saijin Says:

    I’ve always accepted the term ‘Somebody’ as a fanon term so while I do use the term, I would never think it’s something to credit via citation as you mentioned. I don’t think Sephiroth’s entry is entirely correct; for all we know, it can be localization team interpreting and translating a word wrong. 

  7. KingdomHeartsUltimateFan Says:

    King Mickey refers to Sora as the “human with the key.” In such meaning, “Somebodies” would not be an appropriate title. They would just be considered “people,” whereas Nobodies are referred to as Nobodies, only because they are, in fact of the series, Nobodies. They are also “people” at times, such as the Organization XIII, but because they are on the brink of existence, and empty shells without hearts, they must also be considered Nobodies. The same goes with the Heartless. We called Xehanort’s Heartless by the name of “Ansem” in Kingdom Hearts. This virtually depicts him as a “person” who has lost his heart to the Heartless, therefore making him a Heartless, as well as an individual character simultaneously.

  8. Teadrinker Says:

    I think it’s not correct to give the term the same emphasis as the official terms, but as long as no official term exists, it’s not wrong to use it, expecially not in speculations.
    Don’t you rember BHK? And it’s not only us either, what’s the new Heartless in BBS FM called? 赤目の巨大ハートレス? 赤い目の敵? Or 赤目の敵?
    We need names and we need to categorize, the official guides do it also. They call them “Other” or “Other enemies” is this better or worse? If you would use “complete being” what is a “Undead Pirtate” to you or a mechanical contraption like “The Experiment” or “Data-Naminè” or even “Bugged Data-Riku”? This is getting really messy and more and more speculation is added with every new term.

  9. SeptemberTheObserver Says:

    But that’s exactly what they are.  “Somebody” is too broad a term that’s not even really fitting, or ever even reference for the sake of terminology and categorization.  “Blond Haired Kid” still uses facts – he’s a kid, and he’s got blond hair. “Data-Namine” is Namine…made of data. So on and so forth. I mean, really, that in and of itself opens up a new pickle: How do you categorize Data beings? Exactly like that… They’re beings, and they’re made of data. No need to assign an imaginary title.

    All of those still have a semblance of facts them in.

  10. Clever4231 Says:

    I think that he is just using that as an example of how people often make assumptions. Plus it is weird how they capitalized everything but “sombody”.

  11. Josh Isaac Says:

    I NEED to ask something that’s been bothering me. When Xehanort returns what will happen to Terra? Will Terra return as well? Will he come back the way he was as Ansem’s apprentice/ Terranort? Will Master Xehanort come back without Terra? If so what will happen to Terra? Please answer.

  12. SeptemberTheObserver Says:

    Unrelated much?  lol

    Sorry dude, but nobody knows that answer.

  13. Thea Larson Says:

    I think most people have been using the term “Somebody” as a way to differentiate normal beings from Heartless or Nobodies. That’s what I was using it for, at least. I can see at least a few camps that would object to the idea that the opposite of a Nobody is their “true self” (I’m looking at you, Roxas fans), so “Somebody” is a nice way to compromise on that issue. On the other hand, the use of the term indicates that a “Somebody” is an entirely separate being from a Nobody. This would leave people to believe that the two are independent of each other, when in reality they need each other to be whole.

    In all honesty, I’ll probably continue to use the term in fiction just because it’s a whole lot easier to say “Somebody” and “Nobody” than it is to say “Nobody” and “The Nobody’s true/complete self”. 

  14. Pdeignan88 Says:

    You guys do realize that in the original usage of “somebody” and “Nobody” in Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, they didn’t use katakana? And that they use kanji phrases all the time, like with the “World of sleep” bits we’re getting from KH3D?

    Also, this website was the first place I ever heard of “BHK”, and I heard it all the time, even on the news updates. It’s kind of ludicrous to claim that you guys ever strictly avoided any placeholder names.

  15. Pdeignan88 Says:

    Actually, wait….is your entire argument for somebody not being a term based on the English capitalization?

    You ARE aware this was originally a Japanese game, right? Come on.

  16. Ousmandiallo45 Says:

    well i guess nomura has been hinting us. but no one can really say for sure

  17. Suitachi Says:

    It’s a day late, but I kinda wanna say something, too — seems fun.

    From how I look at it, when the series first came out, there were just the Heartless…and everybody else. The Heartless represented something that was once human, but had lost their heart to the darkness; which…we all know.

    Then suddenly the Nobodies came along, and, I don’t know, somewhere along the line, I started seeing the shell of a person and the person-with-a-heart version as a person. I, too, use the term “Somebody”, just because it IS a convenient way to say “person-with-a-heart” (which is how I naively think of them). Although, I just realized that we’re forgetting something.

    The Heartless, which somehow made it possible for the Nobodies to exist. It was the Heartless that took the hearts from people, and from the stronger hearts resulted the Nobodies. Ultimately, there would be no human or person or being with a heart after that. Just the Heartless and the Nobody. So, wouldn’t the Heartless and the resulting Nobody need each other in order to become whole again, along with the heart to bind them together?

    Just a thought.

  18. DaughterofLight Says:

    That’s true… if we know the character’s name. For example, I know this mystery has been solved but for many years we had no clue who Axel had been before he was a Nobody. We knew that person existed, but how were we supposed to talk about who that being was without getting him confused with Axel the Nobody? A proper term was needed then, and the fandom came up with “Somebody”. Even if that term is incorrect, there was still a need for it. 
    For a more relevant example, it’s easy to discuss Roxas’s relationship to Sora or Axel’s relationship to Lea. They’re their Nobodies. But say someone only knows who Roxas is. How do you explain who Sora is to them? That reverse relationship would be a lot easier to explain if there was some sort of term. 
    So the conversation isn’t as irrelevant as you make it out to be. 

  19. DaughterofLight Says:

    I usually use “Other” actually, taken from the line where Roxas tells Sora that he makes a good other. It’s not really official, either, but it’s what I find myself reflexively using. Sometimes, I do use “Somebody” as well. I generally understood it as a fanon term and didn’t consider whether it was accurate or not. 
    I remember all of the theorizing that went on between the first FM and KH2 and I do really miss that spirit around these games. It seems like some many people who argue points haven’t taken the time to dive into the series. Then again, there’s a lot more to dive into now, so I guess that’s more understandable than it was. Either way, it would be nice to get some of that spirit back in the fandom. 
    All the same, I feel like this argument is splitting hairs a bit. Yes, using the term “Somebody” as an official citation is probably off the mark, but as a general body we understand what the term means and it’s always used in the same way. 

  20. Sakuchan (Jackie) Says:

    Thanks, JC. That was good. I had a good laugh, too.

    I tend to use this term in quotations. And of course, when it comes to quotations, you can damn near well put anything in them.

  21. Pdeignan88 Says:

    Hey, this is cool:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20081221054952/http://www.kh2.co.uk/?kh2fm=Information

    Did you know that a full year after KHIIFM was released, KHU still claimed that the two new Keyblades were “Acrossing Two” and “Proof of Victory”?

    Despite the first being just an abysmal translation, and the second…well, the second Keyblade was in katakana?

    Y’know, there’s a saying about glass houses…

  22. Pdeignan88 Says:

    And using English, someone who has their heart, body, and soul in the KH universe could literally be called a “somebody”. It’s just that the word also appears where it is literally used that way, albeit in an informal context.

    You could always call them entelechies…that’s an English word that [i]exactly[/i] means a completed being.

  23. Riku's Hair Says:

    “Those eyes are covered up for a reason.” I don’t quite get what this caption is implying. How does it relate to the rest?

  24. Anonymous Says:

    I was under the impression that “somebodies” were actually called “Wholes” in the KH universe. But, I could be wrong…oh well.

  25. cloudy Says:

    I can completely understand and agree. That is why when I do mention the term “somebody” I try to remember to put it in quotation simply because I have never officially heard anyone involved in the Kingdom Heart production refer to people with hearts and their bodies as Somebody. I particularly use it to refer to Nobodies prior to them losing their hearts. I wouldn’t really call Sephiroth a “somebody” because he was never a Nobody. On the other hand, I would call Lea Axel’s “somebody” to his Nobody. It isn’t an official term, but in the world of Kingdom Heart with a lack of information and such huge discussions that spark up between us I feel like we need to figure out a way for us all to be able to grasp and understand what we are talking about and saying to each other in reference to the game and story line in a easy to understand manner. So if we as fans create terms to refer to characters that Normura may or may not have thought about I don’t see a problem. He does actually listen to things we say in reference to Kingdom Heart, so I don’t see why us creating our own terminology for things within the series that are not classified at this time is that big of a problem.

  26. cloudy Says:

    i can also agree that sometimes i see blogs with mixed and wrong information which kind of annoys me simply because i have played every kingdom heart game, has done quite a bit of research on the games,  and has read interviews and i hate to see false information or complaints about things that to me have obvious answers. i think people dont take the time to look into things anymore. they just write. i dont mind just writing, but i want to make sure i am right about what i am saying and have the information to back it up if im questioned or challenged about it.

  27. Kai Says:

    I understand what you’re trying to explain and I completely support it. I HATE it when people come up with their own names for things. Even when we didn’t know anything about Roxas (A Nobody), I hated it when people called it BHK as if this was, in fact, his name. I’m okay with using that term to describe who you’re referring to. I’m not okay when it suddenly turns into that character’s name. For example:
    “Look, it’s that blonde kid from the trailer!”
    In contrast with…
    “So BHK is so cool with his keyblades! BHK should totally be the protagonist.”

    I suppose it’s hard to understand what I’m getting into. and being the internet, I doubt anyone is gonna stop to think about this. I guess my pet peeve is that they turn descriptive words into names when they shouldn’t be. Quoting the internet, proof or it never happened. That means, unless I can officially confirm that such name was intended to be an official name (Nobodies, Unversed, Heartless, Chasers, etc), then it’s not valid.

    If people so wanna use the word “somebody” to describe a Nobody’s original self, then, like you said, use proper English and skip the capital S at the beginning of the word:
    “Lea is Axel’s somebody”
    And not…
    “Lea is Axel’s Somebody”

    It still bothers me but whatever. I think there are many better words to describe what people are trying to say by using the word somebody. Yeah, I suppose there is no official term for those whole beings (Lea, Sora, Braig, etc.) and that sucks, but people, at least do not capitalize it as it to give it importance or to make it official. Those names stick around forever and that’s just not right.

  28. Soralief Says:

    I never really thought much about it till i saw this, but i have to say that the way Roxas says somebody about Sora makes it definately seem like a proper terminology. I would use it as such as whenever describing a Nobodies Somebody. I mean, just from the way pretty much everyone in KH games says it the same way. They talk about a particular “Somebody”, so i would believe that if it is like that in the games, then it would be correct. Unless Nomura is wrong of course……

  29. Ivoteforthepeople Says:

    When the author first asked about the fallacy in Sephiroth’s caption, I speculated it was the missing r in “poweful”.

    This article shows a clear sign of strain. Yes, debate is good. I understand hardcore fans need to be technical, but can we afford to be right now while there is not an official English term for for this? Anyone who doesn’t know what one means when mentioning a “S/somebody” is just being pretentious or has never played KH2, plain and simple. We’ve got to tag these folks as S/somebodies when speaking in KH terms, because saying “those with unified hearts and bodies” is unnecessarily long-winded.

    Let me use an example. In Japan, Xemnas has been given the formal title of “The Superior of the In-Between”, not unlike the other members of Organization XIII, Lexaeus “The Silent Hero, Larxene “The Savage Nymph”, etc. We’ve had no official translation for that in English. However, since Vexen, Zexion, and Marluxia all refer to him as the Superior in Chain of Memories, we can deduce anyone speaking of “The Superior of the In-Between” is talking about Xemnas, though you should use the latter to get your point across as uncluttered as possible. Therefore, we can apply the same sense of logic to find that the opposite of a Heartless and a Nobody is a Somebody.Let us use our common sense and not try to make things difficult for ourselves for the sake of pious, filler news.

  30. Xagzan Says:

    I don’t really think about the Somebody business, but what really bugs me is how everyone started deciding to call him Ansem Seeker of Darkness.

    Nomura makes one offhand answer during an interview using that name and suddenly everyone takes it as the official one. For god’s sake it’s not even his name, it’s part of his title. And if you want to differentiate between the two Ansems, why not write Diz with the title instead. Ansem the Wise is shorter to type than the other one. But Ansem Seeker of Darkness is clunky and weird to look at as someone’s official name.

  31. Quatre Winner Says:

    I like that you made this point. All through the games the two have been defined as:

    Ansem – Xehanort’s Heartless.
    Ansem the Wise: the Original Ansem, aka DiZ.

    Even Mickey, when talking to DiZ, calls him “Ansem the Wise”. So that’s a good point on a fanon term becoming widespread. Yes, Nomura called him that, but did he outright state that that was his name? I tend to take Word of God only when it’s said directly. “Yes, Ansem’s name is Ansem Seeker of Darkness” would make me start calling him that. “Ansem Seeker of Darkness being emo and stupid” (I don’t know the context of the original article) is just an offhand sort of “Hey, so you know we’re not talking about DiZ” thing.

    So, if people are going to be using a fanon term, I don’t think they can argue when others use a fanon term. So long as they don’t claim that term to be “official” then everything’s fair game in the spirit of artistic license.

    ~Thea Larson

  32. Jack Mowat Says:

    I dunno. Don’t take this the wrong way but that sounds a bit shallow to me. I think if they are a character like Sora or Riku then I’d call them “complete” or “whole”. If not that then what else?

  33. Gxyoumo14 Says:

    Its not that bad. The term sombody has been used cuz there isnt an official term made for complete beings. I dont know if any one remembers but Nobodies were called NEOs (Non-Existent Ones- Ansem Report 13 [12 in Jap]) by some during the pre-kh2 days.
    But nobody (lol) has used it since. 

    Theres also been some confusion over the Ansem Seeker of Darkness/ Xehanort’s Heartless.
    Personnaly I dont think much of it. One way i see it is ASod is Xehanorts Heartless possessing Riku’s body (i think technically here hes a pseudo “Somebody”). And Xehanort’s Heartles is the hooded form that sora meets in at Destiny Island in the begining.
    But then Xehanort is a confusing mess….Ansem Seeker of Darkness, Xemnas, Xehanort’s Heartless, Aprentice Xehanort (if he is a totaly seperate identety), Terra-Xehanort, maybe The Guardian….And what ever the Xehanort copies are that Yensid talked about….

    Then theres the Unbirth/Unversed thing. The Red eyes/hunter of the dark.
    Some are mistranslations, unfixable holes in the story or merely terms used in fandom until theres an official one

  34. Fredrico Says:

    “Somebody” as the name for complete beings always annoyed the hell out of me, and I’ve never used it (and often pointed out how dumb it was that others did!)

    I’m glad to see somebody finally post a “hey look, ‘Somebody’ is just a dumb fan-term, please stop using it” article somewhere where people might actually read it.

  35. Bonzo Says:

    “You don’t refer to people as “humans” or “terrans”, right? You just call them people.”

    …wrong, because “people” can apply to any intelligent lifeform (Donald, Goofy, Mickey Mouse, etc.) while “human” refers to a specific species.

  36. Vani Says:

    i work at animal kingdom and have drawn kingdom hearts for the past 8 years but your all a bunch of nerds. what ever the artist sais goes so give up already to the people who wanna prove there point…

  37. KrisV Says:

    “It is I, Ansem, the Seeker of Darkness.” That’s what he referred to himself in KH1 as. We’re only using it to differentiate two beings with the same name. Nothing to fuss over; so long as we understand what each other is saying…

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