The Unversed are lesser known Kingdom Hearts foes, appearing in only two titles — but they’re an important piece of the narrative.

Kingdom Hearts fans may be most familiar with the Heartless or Nobodies, common enemies who have appeared throughout the series, but there is a third lesser-known foe: the Unversed. The Unversed are physical manifestations of negative emotions. Understanding how they came to be fills some gaps in Kingdom Hearts III‘s story and helps players understand plot points from other Kingdom Hearts titles.

The Unversed have appeared in two Kingdom Hearts titles: Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep and Kingdom Hearts III. In some ways, they’re the progenitors to the artificially created Heartless Sora and his allies encounter in Kingdom Hearts — but only in how they’re created.

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Opposing Life

The Unversed have been described as the opposite of human life. They are physical constructs of raw negative emotion and, much like the Heartless, they seek to corrupt and devastate any worlds they come across. The Unversed are named as such because they are unversed in their own existence, hence, the opposite of life. These foes first appeared in Birth By Sleep soon after Master Xehanort leaves the Land of Departure and just before Aqua, Terra and Ventus embark on their quest to investigate the looming threat.

As the trio travel from world to world investigating the mysterious disappearance of Master Xehanort and the threat the Unversed pose to these worlds, they uncover the truth about the once Master and their new foes. Xehanort plans to use the Unversed in an attempt to locate and capture the seven Princesses of Heart, pure maidens lacking any Darkness in their hearts, for nefarious purposes. During the final battle between the young Keyblade wielders, Xehanort and his apprentice Vanitas, it’s revealed the Unversed had been flooded throughout the worlds by Vanitas himself.

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KH Vanitas Masked

Vanitas is the source of the Unversed and a being of pure Darkness created when Xehanort split Ventus’ heart in two, extracting the Darkness from within. Ventus retained the Light and his form, while Vanitas took on the form of a humanoid creature with red eyes similar to a Heartless. Once Sora and Ventus’ Hearts were connected, Vanitas began to share an appearance closely resembling Sora. Vanitas looks like Sora because Sora connected with Ventus, supplementing his heart for the part that was missing when Vanitas was produced.

After first coming into the world, Vanitas was originally much like Ventus himself. However, after years of manipulation at the hands of Xehanort, he became the cruel foil to his other half. Being created from the Darkness and negativity in Ventus’ heart, Vanitas gave form to his dark thoughts and emotions to create the Unversed. For all intents and purposes, they are extensions of Vanitas, though the Unversed are used to further Xehanort’s plans. Vanitas is also able to manipulate these negative feelings in others to spawn even more Unversed.

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When Ventus defeated Vanitas at the end of Birth By Sleep, the Unversed ceased to exist. As a direct extension of Xehanort’s apprentice, they were eliminated when he was. This remains the case until Kingdom Hearts III, where Vanitas is pulled through time to play his part as a member of Xehanort’s True Organization XIII.

He’s attracted to Monstropolis, where the residents used children’s screams as an energy source. Taking the opportunity to gather negative energy and reconstitute his own heart, Vanitas sends the Unversed forth throughout Monstropolis to obtain as much of the power source as possible. Vanitas is ultimately defeated once again during the final battle between the forces of Light and Darkness, and the Unversed again disappear when their creator does.

The Unversed may have only played a small role in the Kingdom Hearts series, but they’re an essential part of a much bigger story. Being so intrinsically connected to Vanitas, events couldn’t have unfolded as they did without their presence. Though Vanitas acted with malice and disregard for anyone but himself, he too was just a pawn in a larger game, laying the groundwork for Xehanort’s ambitions. If Vanitas and his Unversed are a reflection of his own tortured existence, it’s difficult not to view the character in a tragic light.

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