|“||If you remain bound by the chain of memories and refuse to believe what is truly found inside your heart... then throw it away. You are not a Keyblade master—just a slave to twisted memories. Yes... Exactly like my Riku. Your existence is worth nothing!||„|
|“||I'm a scientist. Experiments are what I do, yes.||„|
|“||No... Please don't! I don't want to—||„|
|~ Vexen's last words before Axel incinerates him|
Vexen, the Chilly Academic (いてつく学究, Itetsuku Gakkyū?, lit. Freezing Scholar), is a major antagonist in the Kingdom Hearts video game franchise..
Vexen is the fourth member of Organization XIII and wields a shield and ice powers. Originally planning on using Riku's power of darkness to eliminate the traitorous Marluxia, he later attempts to confront Sora with a replica of Riku before engaging Sora himself.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Vexen was originally Even, one of Ansem the Wise's apprentices along with Braig, Dilan, Ienzo, and Aeleus.
When Ventus arrives at Hollow Bastion, he is accosted by Dilan and Aeleus, but the Trinity Armor's arrival forces Ven to leave. As Dilan and Aeleus attempt to follow the young Keyblade wielder, Even arrives and muses on what would become of the castle. Aeleus realizes that Even is right, but as they return to the castle, Even notes that Ven's heart is devoid of darkness.
Sometime later, Even, who is looking for Ienzo, encounters Ven, who had rescued Ienzo from a swarm of Unversed. Grateful of Ienzo's rescue, Even explains Ienzo's story to Ven and directs the Keyblade wielder to the Outer Gardens to find Terra.
Between Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days
Sometime after Aqua's defeat of Terra-Xehanort, Xehanort is inducted into Ansem's ranks and becomes Ansem's favorite pupil. However, Xehanort wanted to delve deeper into the mysteries of the heart and darkness and convinced Even and the others to aid him. Their research eventually caused them to banish Ansem to the Realm of Darkness. At some point, Even's heart was consumed by darkness, giving birth to Vexen.
Years later, after Marluxia's induction, Vexen confronted Zexion and demanded to know where Xemnas was. Zexion simply informed Vexen that Xemnas was at the Chamber of Repose, causing Vexen to storm away while pondering why Xemnas was always hiding.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
Vexen plays a relatively minor role in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, but it should be noted that this role plays a major contribution to the game's central plot. Advisor and leader of the Castle Oblivion-based Replica Program that created Xion, he was present when the Sora replica joined Organization XIII. Vexen then was assigned on Day 12 to teach Roxas the art of reconnaissance in Twilight Town, and was later getting sent away to Castle Oblivion, where he used his Replica Program to create the Riku Replica in order to challenge Sora.
The Chilly Academic was later exterminated by Axel at the Castle, for the purpose of raising Saïx through the ranks. All Vexen had left behind after his demise was knowledge, Axel later discovering a document he had composed about Naminé in the Castle That Never Was's library. This Nobody's only other mention in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was when Xemnas revealed the truth about Xion before the surviving members of Organization XIII in Where Nothing Gathers.
Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories
In Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, Vexen appeared as an antagonist in both Sora's and Riku's storylines. He assists Lexaeus and Zexion in their efforts to stop Marluxia (whom Vexen loathed) and Larxene (whom he's not too fond of either) from overthrowing the Organization (Axel, the other Organization member residing in the castle, is deemed too unpredictable to be anything other than a liability). To do this, Vexen and his cohorts intend to use Riku's darkness to counteract Sora's light.
Vexen engages Riku in a cautious battle and uses the data he obtained from the fight to create a copy of Riku. The replica is completely aware of his status as a fake, but unlike Riku, is not afraid to use the darkness. However, even with darkness on his side, the replica fails to defeat Riku.
Even with the failure, Vexen has other plans for the replica, and goes to Marluxia and Larxene. He offers the replica to test Sora, though first he would have to have his memories changed around. They then have Naminé manipulate the replica's memories until he thinks he is the real Riku. He also believes that he made a promise to Naminé like Sora had, and because of this conflict, the replica confronts Sora multiple times, saying that Naminé no longer needs Sora.
However, the replica soon spirals out of control, and Marluxia deems Vexen's experiment a failure. Vexen is insulted, saying that a neophyte like Marluxia has no right to speak to an elder like Vexen. However, Marluxia makes the threat of reporting Vexen's failure to "the Superior", and Vexen's fear of the Superior's power overrides his previous elitist attitude. Now with Vexen under his grip, Marluxia orders Vexen to eliminate Sora, much to his surprise.
Vexen then confronts Sora, saying that Sora is in debt to him for reuniting him with Riku. Sora is angered, and the two battle. However, as they fight, Vexen delves deep into Sora's heart, and creates a world card forged from the memories on the other side of his heart. Vexen tells Sora that if he wants to truly defeat him, then he must enter that world.
Meanwhile, Marluxia, Larxene, and Axel note that Vexen is jeopardizing their plans, for if Sora discovers the other side of his heart, then he will no longer be of any use to them. They then decide to have Axel eliminate Vexen before permanent damage can be done.
Sora discovers that the new world is Twilight Town, which is strange because Sora has only visited places in his memories, and he has no memories of Twilight Town. Even so, Sora feels a sense of familiarity from this place. He explores the town until he arrives at the gates of a mansion. Vexen makes his appearance there, asking Sora if the familiarity of this place or his memories of Naminé is true. Sora doesn't understand what he means, and Vexen sees that he is but a slave of his memories, just like "his Riku". Sora is again angered, and battles Vexen one more time.
Vexen loses again, and seeing that Sora is too dangerous, plans to tell him of Marluxia's plot and, by extension, Roxas's existence. Before he can fully explain, however, he is struck by Axel, who embeds a Chakram into Vexen's body. Vexen begs to be spared, but Axel tells him he can be "nothing instead of just being a Nobody" and snaps his fingers, detonating the Chakram and incinerating Vexen, making him the first member of Organization XIII to die.
Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
Vexen's spirit returns as an Absent Silhouette in Agrabah after Sora examines the Peddler's revived shop. If Sora investigates the Silhouette, Vexen challenges the Keyblade wielder to a rematch, but is eventually slain. Sora can also challenge a data replica of Vexen in the Garden of Assemblage.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Even is resurrected following the destruction of his Heartless and Vexen. Though conscious again, Even is unstable, so Aeleus has him rest.
Kingdom Hearts III
Following his revival, Even wanders around Radiant Garden, regretful of his actions as Vexen. When Saïx arrives and recruits him to finish his work on the Replica Program, Even seizes the chance to atone for his actions and becomes Vexen once more. Under Master Xehanort's orders, Vexen refines his past replicas to be vessels to the past versions of Xehanort, as well as other time-traveling vessels. However, he is quickly benched and deemed a reserve member. Following Xehanort's failure to turn Sora into the thirteenth vessel, Vexen also creates another replica for Xion and for those wh truly need them. In the Caribbean, Vexen assists Luxord in researching how Davy Jones retains his existence despite lacking a heart. Upon seeing the Dead Man's Chest and finding out that Jones's heart is the physical organ, Vexen takes his leave,
However, Vexen later saves Ansem the Wise from Xehanort's Heartless and reveals his desire to atone. Later, he has Demyx (who has also been benched) deliver a replica body and escort Ansem the Wise to Ienzo in Hollow Bastion, giving them a vessel to place Roxas's heart in.
Following Master Xehanort's defeat, Even regains his humanity and assists Ansem the Wise and Ienzo in restoring Naminé, with Sora and Kairi providing Naminé's heart.
- In the Japanese version, Vexen is voiced by the late Nachi Nozawa in Re:Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, and Birth by Sleep and by Shigeru Chiba (who also voiced Buggy the Clown in One Piece and Raditz and Garlic Jr. in the Dragon Ball series) in Kingdom Hearts III. In the English dub, he is voiced by Derek Stephen Prince.
- In Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, Vexen was stabbed from behind by Axel and then struck down with another blow from his Chakrams. In Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, Axel throws a flaming Chakram, snaps his fingers and a large burst of fire sets him ablaze. Lexaeus' and Zexion's death scenes were altered as well.
- In Where Nothing Gathers, the room hosting the Organization's thrones, Vexen has the lowest of all thirteen seats.
- Vexen's first Japanese voice actor, the late Nachi Nozawa, also voiced Professor Hojo of Final Fantasy VII, another scientist character who worked on creating people. His second Japanese voice actor, Shigeru Chiba, would go on to voice Hojo in Final Fantasy VII Remake.
- Vexen is one of five Organization members who are shown suffering the wounds that kills them rather than just fading into darkness outright. In this case he was impaled through the torso with a Chakram and then immolated by Axel.
- Vexen's Limit Break from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and a Sleight in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is called Diamond Dust, named after the attack Shiva (a summon from the Final Fantasy series) performs. The name is also shared with a Command Style from Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, one of Sora's Keychains from Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, and a variety of Heartless from Kingdom Hearts Union χ.
- Three of Vexen's weapons are named after glacial periods.
- In Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, Larxene mockingly called Vexen "Vexie." This, however, was changed in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories. A similar case occurred with Zexion.
- It is incredibly ironic that Vexen's Absent Silhouette is located in Agrabah because not only is he ice-elemental, which goes against Agrabah's hot environment, but he was himself slain by a pyrokinetic.