Axel is a character from the Kingdom Hearts games.
Org XIII's 8th member and the only one to survive Chain of Memories. Days reveals his other's name to have been Lea, and then Birth by Sleep reveals that he was best friends with Isa, Saïx's Other. He appears regularly in Kingdom Hearts II, striving to bring Roxas out of the fake Twilight Town, and later pulling a heel–face turn and helping Sora on his quest. However, he ends up pulling a heroic sacrifice to save Sora at the end of the game. In Dream Drop Distance, Axel is revived as Lea, his original self and helps Riku and Sora throughout the story. Towards the end of the game, it is revealed that Lea has gained the ability to wield his own Keyblade.
Like other Organization members, Axel wears the basic black gloves and boots. His black coat, however, is one of the more distinctive ones in the group, as its sleeves close up tightly around his arms and emphasizes his lithe and skinny build. Axel himself is also easily distinguishable from other characters in terms of facial features, made easier by the fact that he rarely wears the hood of his coat up. Axel has fair skin with rosy hues, a widow's peak, rather small eyebrows and thick, shoulder-length, bright red hair styled into slicked-back spikes. His eyes are a bright emerald color and he has a purple reverse-teardrop shaped marking under each eye, which are similar to, although not the same as, Reno's facial markings.
When he is first introduced at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Axel has a mysterious, stoic, and calm demeanor on par with that of Marluxia. A very good liar, he makes a point of keeping himself difficult to read, coming off as fooling around when really his mind is at work manipulating the other members around him. Axel often makes witty conversation with Larxene while Marluxia is away, though is almost completely unfazed by her flirtatious behavior towards him. He also has friendly bets with Zexion as to which member will be defeated next, seeming amused at their deaths.
Eventually, Axel betrays both with no remorse. Vexen's cries for mercy only receive a cruel "Aren't you happy to die?" and a cocky "Goodbye" before Axel incinerates him without any hesitation. This cruel nature persists even when Marluxia uses Naminé as a human shield against him: Axel confidently declares he would eliminate Naminé to get to Marluxia. He is a person who does what is necessary to keep his actions, like those in Castle Oblivion, unnoticed by the rest of the Organization, so that he and his allies' goals are attained smoothly.
Axel's personality changes drastically in between Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts IIbecause of his friendship with Roxas and Xion. In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, he has a very sarcastic and laid-back, "go with the flow" outlook on many things, including missions and battles, very similar to Marluxia. He also is shown to have a very kind and protective side towards Roxas and Xion, which is ironic for a Nobody and his actions at Castle Oblivion. He acts like an older brother towards them, being their main source of advice and wisdom, shown by Roxas in a journal entry when he wrote that he thought Axel knew everything. In some cases he got them out of trouble even when it could and did earn him his own trouble, like his dismissal and eventual betrayal of Saïx to protect them both. Axel apparently does not like to talk about his past despite Saïx's insistence on its significance. Whenever Roxas or Xion asked him about it, he would give a brief or vague answer, then try to change the subject, often avoiding eye-contact when lying.
At his death, he was at least able to recall how Roxas gave him a "bizarre illusion of humanity". An important thing to note is that in Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, when Axel bids his final farewell to Roxas, it can be seen upon closer inspection that the teardrop at the end of the scene belongs to Axel, which clearly displays his unusual emotional capacity. Even during the events at Castle Oblivion, Axel displays emotion and acknowledges it when he begins laughing, but catches himself and stops. He even mocks his ability to feel during his death. Whether he, Roxas, Naminé, and Xion all seem to have something unusual in common regarding the heart, is unknown. But it has been hinted by Xemnas, and Axel himself, that by being close in contact with Sora's heart, Axel began to feel emotions of his own. Axel has also stated that Roxas makes him feel as though he does have a heart, even though he does not.
As the Flurry of Dancing Flames, Axel uses two uniquely shaped weapons called Chakrams, and specializes in Fire manipulation. He can summon pillars of flame at will and strike with rapid combos using his Chakrams. He can also surround his Chakrams in flame and throw them like boomerangs, spinning and looping them to hit opponents multiple times.
In his one on one battle with Roxas in Kingdom Hearts II, Axel also summons a circle of fire to surround them and leaps into the flames to hide, emerging to strike with rapid attacks, and then leaping back to keep his opponents off their guard. Axel is a powerful member of the Organization, arguably even stronger, or at least a better fighter, than Saïx. This is seen when Saïx is defeated by Roxas, but Axel was able to defeat Xion at the Old Mansion, who at the time absorbed much of Roxas's power. However, Axel clearly puts more effort into his battle, as he passed out after the fight, while Saïx remained conscious, though exhausted. Axel also effortlessly eliminated Vexen and dueled evenly with Marluxia.
In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Axel has a Limit Break called Explosion. During Explosion, Axel throws his Chakrams at enemies while they're engulfed in fire, creating a small explosion of fire afterwards. While not being thrown, Axel's Chakrams spin rapidly, gathering fire. However, they can be thrown at any time, and do not need to charge.
During Axel's Final Limit, Axel combines his two flaming Chakrams into one enormous flaming Chakram, easily many times larger than the two Chakrams. The explosion after the attack is also much larger.
Axel utilizes two Chakrams, named "Eternal Flames". Each Chakram is circular and red, with silver spikes and circles around the edges, and two black handles shaped in a cross in the middle. Each Chakram has eight spikes, possibly referencing Axel's rank in the Organization. Axel is very adept in the use of his weapon; he can throw them, use them as shields, or use them as melee weapons. He performs some unique attacks, including juggling them against an opponent, or throwing one across the entire battlefield continuously.
He also uses them in conjunction with his fire abilities, setting the tips or the whole on fire before throwing them. From a scene in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, it is shown that he can set his Chakrams on fire from afar, acting as a remote detonator.
The Bond of Flame Keyblade, obtained from Axel, is similar in appearance to his Chakrams. Axel's Chakrams are among the few Organization XIII weapons that do not bear the Nobody symbol (the others being Xemnas's Ethereal Blades, and Roxas and Xion's Keyblades), but the spikes on the wheel do bear some similarities to the Nobody insignia.
In real life, chakrams are actually small razor-edged throwing disks used by warriors in ancient India. Axel's Chakrams bear more of a resemblance to Chinese wind-and-fire wheels, wheel-shaped weapons that are used strictly as melee weapons.
- In the Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts II, there were flames consuming Axel's body at his death. The flames were removed from the English version. In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, despite keeping many changes made to the English version, Axel's death scene uses the flames.
- Axel is the first character to technically curse, as he says the word "hell" in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories when he exclaims, "It's about time you give me one hell of a show!" In Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, Axel uses "Try and make it enjoyable, Sora. It's the least you can do for me, you know." instead.
- Axel's catchphrase was originally translated as "Commit it to memory" in the English version of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, though it was later retconned into the more accurate translation of "Got it memorized?" as of Kingdom Hearts II.
- Axel has been resurrected twice throughout the series so far, as he is a favourite character among many fans and the creators themselves. He was supposed to die at the end of Chain of Memories, but was brought back because the developers liked working with him; he was also supposed to die at the end of Kingdom Hearts II, but, along with the other former residents of Radiant Garden, was revived as his somebody Lea in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.