Vexen, the Chilly Academic (いてつく学究, Itetsuku Gakkyū?), is the Nobody of Even and the Rank IV member of the original Organization XIII. He controls ice and uses it to command storms and blizzards, freezing his opponents solid, while defending himself with his massive shield.
Vexen was the highest ranking member of the Organization inside Castle Oblivion, but ironically he is the first Organization member to be eliminated. He creates the Riku Replica and uses the Replica to carry out several experiments on Riku and Sora. Vexen appears in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days as a playable character in Mission Mode.
Between Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
During the course of experiments into the nature of the hearts and its darkness, Terra-Xehanort resolved to cast off his body and become a Heartless himself, choosing to bring the other former apprentices of Ansem the Wise with him, including Even. Having regained his Keyblade, he steals their hearts. This splits them into Heartless and Nobodies, and those Nobodies became the founding members of Organization XIII. Even as a Nobody, Vexen only cared for research, and was assigned to duplicate the Keyblade wielder's memories and powers via the Replica Program. Through this program, he created a Replica of Roxas he named Xion, as well as an inferior Replica of Riku.
Some time before Marluxia's official recruitment, Vexen urgently questioned Zexion at Twilight's View about Xemnas's whereabouts, and was told that Xemnas was secluded at the Chamber of Repose. Frustrated, Vexen walked off.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, prior to Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories
On Day 7, Vexen is present at Xion's induction into the Organization.
On Day 12, Vexen is assigned to train Roxas in reconnaissance at Twilight Town. Vexen asks Roxas to examine the Tram Common and report on anything unusual. He is unamused with Roxas's initial lack of insight, and prods him to draw conclusions from his observations. If Roxas takes to long to inspect the area, he will mock the younger Nobody's guesses. Disappointed in the results, Vexen gives Roxas permission to RTC, but the indignant Roxas asks for a second chance. Vexen allows it, and congratulates him on being able to identify a side lot as the area's tram yard. As they return to the castle, Vexen informs Roxas of the existence of other worlds, as well as that he will be tasked with performing more reconnaissance every time he is sent to a new world.
On Day 23, he files a report postulating that Replicas should be considered a type of Nobody and notes that Xion has proven to be a great success. Afterward, he takes Riku Replica with him to Castle Oblivion.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
When Marluxia and Larxene begin manipulating Sora through Naminé's ability, Vexen, Lexaeus, and Zexion decide to try use Riku, who has appeared in the castle's basements, to counter Marluxia's plot. Vexen engages Riku in battle, hinting towards the nature of Nobodies and the existence of Xemnas and taunting Riku about his nature as a being between darkness and light. Sensing a formidable darkness growing within Riku, Vexen decides that he has gathered enough data and returns to program it into his second Replica. Once completed, the Riku Replica is sent to challenge the real Riku to test its powers. Despite freely using the darkness, the replica loses to the original Riku due to being recently finished and thus having less control over its abilities.
Even with the failure, Vexen decides that an obedient Riku is better than trying to gain control of the original. He decides to take him to the upper levels to help deal with Sora. He offers the replica's services in testing Sora to Axel and Larxene. However, they insist on changing his memories; Vexen rejects that idea, as he believes the replica would be strong enough to wipe out Sora even with different memories. They have Naminé manipulate the replica into thinking he is the real Riku and that he made a promise to Naminé, something that Sora also remembers doing. The Riku Replica confronts Sora multiple times, but he is defeated each time.
After the replica loses twice to Sora and fails to confront him a third time, Vexen is taunted about his replica by Axel and Larxene. However, they are interupted by Marluxia, who deems Vexen's experiment a failure. Vexen is insulted, but when Marluxia makes the threat of reporting Vexen's failure to "the Superior", Vexen reluctantly agrees to face Sora himself. He meets Sora at the entrance to the 11th floor and states that Sora is in debt to him for reuniting him with Riku. Sora is angered, and the two battle. Having been pulling his punches, Vexen instead gives Sora a world card of Twilight Town, claiming to have delved into Sora's heart and found the memories locked in the other side of it. Vexen tells Sora that if he wants to truly defeat him, then he must enter that world, before fleeing.
Meanwhile, Marluxia, Larxene, and Axel note that Vexen is jeopardizing their plans to overthrow the Organization; the scientist intends to reveal the existence of Roxas as well as Marluxia's plan to rewrite Sora's memories to turn him into his puppet. As a result, Axel is sent by Marluxia and Larxene to assassinate Vexen, not only to prevent Vexen from revealing their plan, but also to gain their trust.
After exploring the memory-Twilight Town, Sora encounters Vexen at the gates to the Old Mansion, where Vexen inquires whether Sora's memories of Naminé or of the town feel more real. Vexen informs Sora that his familiarity with the town is because the "other side of his heart" remembers it, referencing Roxas. Sora again denies that his memories of Naminé are false, and when Vexen mocks the boy for falling for Marluxia's trick, the two fight.
Vexen is again defeated, surprised that Sora has such strength even with his memory confused. Upon being told to restore Riku to what he was before, Vexen tells Sora that the replica is fated to sink into the darkness, and that Sora will share that fate if he continues to seek out Naminé. However, right before Vexen can give proper warning about Marluxia messing with Sora's memories, Vexen is knocked down by Axel's chakram. Axel explains that he came to keep Vexen from talking to much by eliminating him, claiming that he can now be nothing instead of a Nobody. Despite Vexen's pleas for mercy, Axel snaps his fingers and incinerates Vexen.
Axel's Secret Reports in 358/2 Days would later reveal that he killed Vexen to keep the Replica Program from falling into Marluxia's clutches.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, after Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories
On Day 51, the rest of the Organization XIII learns of the deaths at Castle Oblivion.
Between Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
After Vexen's destruction, Even's body and soul were swallowed by darkness to await his heart. At some point, Sora and his friends slayed Even's Heartless,[please confirm] allowing Even to be reborn at the Heartless Manufactory.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories manga
In the manga, Vexen creates a set of Vexen Replicas (failed replicas, according to the replicas themselves) and has a grave, which the Riku Replica visits before leaving Castle Oblivion.
Vexen wears the basic Organization uniform of a black coat with like-colored boots and gloves, though the sleeves of Vexen's cloak are a bit longer than normal and partially cover his hands. His cloak is also the longest out of all the members having it almost like a gown that covers his boots. Vexen sports platinum blond hair (which was a somewhat brighter shade of yellow in the Gameboy Advance version of Chain of Memories), worn long with two slightly shorter (but still long) bangs that frame his face. He also has rather large, bright green eyes.
Vexen approaches problems like an intellectual, with a hypothesis and a method to test those hypotheses. Appearing very much like a stereotypical "mad scientist", Vexen views life as a grand experiment. More than any other member, save Xemnas, he considers his numerical rank a literal one and often derides members with lower numerical rankings than his, such as when he reminds Marluxia of his superior rank, when Marluxia orders him not to "disappoint us" again, and later Zexion when he laments Vexen's impatience. Vexen is often chastised by others for this behavior. Ironically, Vexen's throne is the lowest of the Organization in their meeting chamber known as Where Nothing Gathers. This is mostly due to his recurring incompetence and preference of not sullying his hands, like Zexion, though the latter can easily hold his own in battle.
Vexen is also very cowardly, and displays a fear of Xemnas, immediately bowing to Marluxia's demand to destroy Sora when Marluxia threatens to tell Xemnas of the failure of the Riku Replica. He also fears approaching Xemnas in the Chamber of Repose, dismissing Zexion's suggestion thereof as a joke. In the Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories manga, Vexen is portrayed as a character who thinks that he doesn't get enough respect from the aboveground members.
Vexen is one of the most prolific Organization members in battles, appearing as an opponent three times during Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. He fights with a large blue shield, which he uses to fend off frontal attacks, making it necessary to attack him from behind. He is also able to use the shield offensively, akin to Goofy, but further enhances the style with the spikes lining the edge of his shield. He can use his cryokinetic abilities to blast his enemy with ice from his hand, and can call forth large chunks of ice from the ground to freeze his opponent solid. He also has the power to create slippery ice patches on the ground, or summon icicles that rise from the ground and follow their target for several seconds. Finally, he can create an unavoidable blizzard that can be resisted only with a card break. In the remake, Vexen can conjure up a sword out of ice and whack his opponent several times with it before performing a final shockwave which destroys the sword and ends the sleight. Like several other members of Organization XIII in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Vexen moves by levitating, sometimes several feet into the air.
In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Vexen, as well as other members of the Organization that have already been eliminated, can be fought. Vexen's shield makes him completely invincible in this game, but the shield has an HP bar of its own and can be temporarily destroyed, allowing Sora to attack Vexen directly. Vexen has the additional power in this battle to create a copy of Sora's AntiForm to aid him in battle. Vexen still has his "freeze" attack when a blizzard freezes Sora, immobilizing Sora while Vexen gains data, but it can be stopped by a Reaction Command. He also has the icicle attack from before, but also returns with a new attack when he makes two spinning blades of ice and throws them at Sora. In the data battle against Vexen, he has a new attack when he throws giant chunks of ice at Sora.
Vexen also has the ability to collect and manipulate Data. This ability allows Vexen to create Replicas, such as the Riku Replica, and his numerous Vexen Replicas. Not much else is known about this ability. It can be assumed that he uses his shield, Frozen Pride, to absorb attacks, and collect data simultaneously.
In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Vexen has a Limit Break called Diamond Dust, which causes ice glaciers to protrude from the ground.
Initially appearing as a powerful foe to Sora, Vexen is revealed to be one of the weaker members of Organization XIII alongside Demyx. This is indicated by the fact that no one in the Organization seems to show Vexen any respect despite his high rank. Marluxia and Larxene seem to frequently poke fun at him with jokes and sneers, with Larxene going as far as to call him a "half-baked good for nothing". Vexen is also easily eliminated by Axel, who fought evenly with Marluxia. In Riku's story, Vexen seems to be below Zexion and Lexaeus in terms of authority as he is the one doing all of the work while the other two hide in the basement and direct him.
Vexen, like Goofy, carries a shield into battle. His shield Frozen Pride is pointed, and is colored blue and silver. He can use it to block attacks, but it is also used to slash foes. If turned upside down, the shield has the vague shape of the Nobody symbol. In Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories it can be changed during the sleight "Slide Break," where he freezes ice onto the shield to form a gigantic ice sword that he wildly slashes with before smashing the blade onto the foe. However, his Absent Silhouette does not use it to attack, instead relying on his data replicas and ice magic for his offense, and uses his shield to block any attacks during battle. However, the Silhouette's shield has its own small health bar, and breaks after a while, and leaves him vulnerable until another shield is summoned. In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Goofy can obtain a similar shield through synthesis.
Notes and references