Xehanort / Ansem
Kingdom Hearts Kingdom Hearts

Xehanort / Ansem

Comparision of the voice over actors who have been the voice of Xehanort / Ansem with sound clips and images.
Franchise: Kingdom Hearts

Xehanort is a former apprentice of Ansem the Wise, the sage-king of Radiant Garden. Having a great curiosity about the true nature of the heart, especially the darkness that lingers within it, Xehanort, along with five other apprentices of Ansem, conducted horrible experiments on abducted people, resulting in the creation of the creatures now known as the "Heartless". Xehanort eventually took his master's name and wrote a detailed report on his findings. When Ansem the Wise discovers these inhumane experiments, Xehanort banishes him to the Realm of Nothingness with his newfound dark powers and used the Heartless to ravage other worlds.

His ultimate plan is to collect enough hearts to form Kingdom Hearts, the heart in which all that exist are evolved from. With Kingdom Hearts, he would obtain ultimate power, control and knowledge.

Xehanort gave in to the darkness and split into two beings: "Ansem", the main antagonist of the first game, and Xemnas, the leader of Organization XIII and the main antagonist of the second game. Xehanort, as "Ansem", is voiced by Billy Zane in the English version of the first Kingdom Hearts game. In all other appearances, he is voiced by Richard Epcar.
Created by CatsTuxedo on Jun 11 2010
Kingdom Hearts (2002)
AnsemBilly Zane
Billy Zane
Kingdom Hearts II (2006)
AnsemRichard Epcar
Richard Epcar


I think Billy Zane delivers a more memorable and believable performance than Richard Epcar does; Epcar's performance sounds more like a typical "anime villain". [Cat's Tuxedo]



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Vocal Evolver
said at 4:15 PM on Fri Apr 13 2018
 1 Shout Out!
"SUBMIT!" Billy Zane FTW!
Lion's Edge
said at 8:49 AM on Fri Mar 16 2018
 2 Shout Outs!
"There is so much to learn. You understand so little."

Now, the fascinating part about"Ansem" has always been, for me, the way in which he was crafted to be a blend of both a Square Enix RPG antagonist and a Disney villain. Aesthetics-wise and in terms of motivation, the Final Fantasy in him shone through; when it came to his personality and performance in the first game, however, Billy Zane was truly playing a Disney villain. Say what one will about Billy Zane's career, as "Ansem", I feel he gave the role a gravitas and resonance that - years on - is still one of the most memorable video gaming performances I've ever experienced first hand. There is a mystique and supernatural charisma with which he proclaims and monologues, and that, to me, is the key.

Even Richard Epcar's best performance thus far in 3D... still feels like he hasn't yet fully captured the role. He can deliver the lines and he does so well enough, but I feel his voice and performance lack the mystique of Billy Zane's performance. It feels, at times, a little indistinct and lacks the same level of charisma and is just.. .nowhere near as ethereal.

Gotta give my vote solidly to Billy Zane for this one!

CASTING CALL: Right off the bat, Neil Kaplan and Jamieson Price - invoking their Zzarkon and Skull Knight voices - would be perfect successors for Ansem; the same goes for Clancy Brown. I feel they'd all be able to retain the mystique of Billy Zane's original take and develop it into their own more smoothly overtime, with that similar vocal quality. Troy Baker is also someone I'd recommend for this role, going off of roles such as Pain as a basis, or Travis Willingham with his Mastermind voice. Chris Jai Alexx, even, I'd recommend; first time I watched OPM, his Boros almost made me think it was somehow Billy Zane.
said at 6:04 AM on Fri Mar 16 2018
Billy Zane was absolutely brilliant in the first and gives a very solid performance.

Richard Epcar had a very shaky start in 2 (as you can hear in the clip) but later on got mot comfortable in the role and is now pretty good in the role.
8000 Saiyans
said at 12:09 PM on Sun Mar 4 2018
I honestly prefer Epcar more than Zane, although neither are anything special.
said at 11:06 PM on Sat Apr 22 2017
 1 Shout Out!
It ultimately boils down to character interpretation for me. There's a smugness to Zane's performance that I really like... until his character is pushed to his limit, in which you can really sense his desperation. Epcar is a good actor, and does a solid job with what he's given, but when I think Ansem, I think Zane.
EPA Deane
said at 1:50 PM on Fri Apr 7 2017
 1 Shout Out!
Billy Zane's more Eerie and 'Disney Villain' Ansem voice is Wonderful. It actually reminds me a little of Jay Goede's Mewtwo voice at times. There's such a Deliciously Chilling and Snide Resonance in the voice that works so perfectly that I happily give him my vote.

Richard Epcar is REALLY Solid..... in Dream Drop Distance, but his Take here? ..... YIKES.... I Don't think a more Hammy version of his Batou voice was really the Best Call for Xehanort's Heartless.
said at 12:47 PM on Sun Dec 11 2016
They both sound kinda forced when they yell out "KINGDOM HEARTS!!!" but other than that they both sound really good.
said at 4:41 PM on Thu Jul 21 2016
 2 Shout Outs!
Zane's ok. Epcar's emotional parts sound kinda silly, but his serious parts sound great. Have to go with Epcar here.
said at 8:26 AM on Mon Aug 24 2015
 3 Shout Outs!
I've got nothing against Richad Epcar but something about his performance as Xehanort's Heartless just didn't sell it for me, it came across as a tad generic and forgettable at times.

Billy Zane easily wins this part, his version of the character was something that not only left an impression but managed to make his character at times seem deeper into a level of great sadness at times.
said at 9:54 PM on Sat Jan 30 2016
@Skullgrin140 I wish they'd cast Clancy Brown to take over the role from Zane. Listen to Clancy's Uatu the Watcher and Lex Luthor voices.- he could sound remarkably similar to Zane's performance.
Songbird Rebel
said at 8:00 AM on Wed Mar 18 2015
Both of them are really good with their role of Xehanort's Heartless. However, there are some cases where Epcar doesn't sound right, such as in the Kingdom Hearts II. Don't get me wrong, Epcar did a remarkable job in Dream Drop Distance. But Zane gave Ansem a strong, first impression with a Disney Villian-esque flare.
said at 9:53 PM on Sat Jan 30 2016
@Songbird Rebel Yes, I agree with this EXACTLY.
said at 1:14 AM on Sun Dec 7 2014
Epcar sounded VERY bland in KHII, however, I believe he's gotten better with time. His performance in Dream Drop Distance was marvelous. However, Zane still pulls of the better and more memorable performance.
said at 9:53 PM on Sat Jan 30 2016
@LJ7117 It's funny how I really, really (to put it mildly) disliked Dream Drop Distance and this character's part in it, but I agree that Epcar's at his best as of that game.
said at 7:05 PM on Sat Aug 23 2014
 1 Shout Out!
Billy Zane isn't half bad a fairly solid performance but I love Richard Epcar's performance here its quite different from what he usually does when it comes to his voice work. Richard simply stands out more in a positive manner if he could apply this type of gravitas to his anime voice work he would be a much better actor for it.
said at 10:07 PM on Mon Jan 19 2015
@IAMTHEVASTUNIVERSE "Isn't half bad" "Fairly solid" "Implying Epcar performed better." Huh?????
said at 12:38 PM on Tue Jan 20 2015
@Galactic_Cyrus It should be obvious from my original comment that I liked Richard Epcar's performance more.
said at 12:15 PM on Thu Jan 22 2015
@IAMTHEVASTUNIVERSE I know and that's your preference, but I just find your wording to be strange since it goes against how I, and the majority, feels.
said at 8:06 PM on Sun Jun 8 2014
Richard sounds better in ReChain of Memories, he sounds really bland in KH2

Zane seems unlikely to return(why did Square hire so many celebrities in 1 for anyway, they have a pretty pricey fee) and while he's memorable, Epcar sounds a lot darker
said at 10:05 PM on Mon Jan 19 2015
@HienFan Richard's work in Re:Chain of Memories and Birth By Sleep was good, but it's at it's best in 3D, which is ironic seeing as I didn't enjoy the character as he was written there like I did the other times.
said at 10:10 PM on Mon Jan 19 2015
@Galactic_Cyrus I don't have that game yet and I don't normally watch footage of cutscenes since I don't want to spoil myself if I want to get the game in the future
said at 10:42 AM on Tue Jan 20 2015
@HienFan Well the gameplay is mostly better than the cutscenes there, I can tell you.
said at 11:16 AM on Sat Oct 19 2013
 1 Shout Out!
I have finished Kingdom Hearts HD and watched a little of Richard in CoM, and I pretty much have to go with the consensus that Billy Zane completely mastered this character while Richard struggles to find his footing in the role..

Even when Epcar isn't hamming it up for all it's worth like in this clip (which was according to the others here due to bad direction), he doesn't have an ounce of charisma in comparison, he sounds absolutely generic. When I listen to Billy Zane, he's charismatic, mysterious, wise, and powerful. He practically lives and breaths this character. He gives Ansem a presence that's just perfect.

Billy Zane is a no-brainer, but Richard does at least manage to sound passable.
said at 11:17 AM on Sat Oct 19 2013
@PsychicVoiceSpy *breathes
said at 10:04 PM on Mon Jan 19 2015
@PsychicVoiceSpy I think Richard has finally got a firm grasp on this role as of 3D. He's still no Zane, he never can be. But he sounds less generic anime villain than he used to.
said at 5:58 PM on Thu Oct 3 2013
 2 Shout Outs!
I said it before but it's worth repeating. Billy Zane gives the character much more of a malevolent and theatrical "Disney Villain" flare, whereas Richard Epcar gives him the vocal performance he gives to many of his anime villains. And it's a really good vocal performance (though the one in the clip is atrocious, but that was the voice director's fault, not Epcar's) but it doesn't fit Ansem the way Zane did. I can hear Zane's voice coming from a villain in a major Disney movie!

Of course, Richard Epcar is fine at doing his own thing rather than try to copy Zane. But if they wanted a better Zane impression, I wonder why they didn't cast Jamieson Price?
said at 3:13 AM on Sun Nov 3 2013
@Galactic_Cyrus Ironically enough, even though Richard Epcar did his own take from Re: CoM onwards, in DDD, he ends up, to me, sounding (completely unintentionally) pretty damn close to Billy Zane.
said at 1:03 PM on Tue Nov 5 2013
@MilanTheVillain01 I haven't heard much of him in 3D (haven't played it, probably never will), but that's a sign that he has improved at making the character his own, even if he'll never be Billy Zane.
said at 4:38 PM on Tue Nov 5 2013
@Galactic_Cyrus That's the point I'm trying to make here.
The more Rchard Epcar does his own thing, the more it, ironically, sounds like a Billy Zane impression.
said at 1:03 PM on Sun Nov 10 2013
@MilanTheVillain01 And that's good!
said at 9:46 PM on Sat Sep 28 2013
 1 Shout Out!
It was nice hearing Billy Zane as Ansem again in the KH 1.5 HD ReMix, although I honestly would've liked to have heard how Richard Epcar would've done, if he were given the chance.
said at 9:44 AM on Mon Sep 23 2013
Brilliant performance from both though I've got 2 go with Richard as Billy Zane only did 1 game but most of u think KH 1.5 counts but it's really just a re-release of old KH games & to me that doesn't count.
said at 10:13 PM on Mon Jan 19 2015
@Ross123 Though from what I see it depends on what type of villain you like that affects the overall vote, Billy sounds more like a Disney villain, Richard sounds more like a Japanese villain though I kinda like his Richard darker take myself
said at 11:42 AM on Tue Jan 20 2015
@HienFan Even though they sound like different types of villains, that's not it for me actually. As mentioned in my comment, I enjoyed both but I prefer Richard as I've gotten used to him as Xehanort/Ansem's voice.
said at 10:05 PM on Tue Jan 20 2015
@Ross123 Yeah I get you, though the way I see it, the darker voice works since he was this guy who sees darkness as the right path so...
said at 12:27 PM on Tue Jan 27 2015
@HienFan Hmm, that's a good point. Richard's darker voice seems even more fitting when you put it that way.
said at 11:37 PM on Tue Aug 27 2013
 4 Shout Outs!
I think Clancy Brown woulda been a great Ansem/Xehanort as well
said at 10:02 PM on Mon Jan 19 2015
@Dark_Fiction YES. His Lex Luthor voice would be a PERFECT stand-in for Zane.
said at 3:12 AM on Sun Mar 24 2013
Yes and Zane also sounds far more like a younger Leonard Nimoy than Epcar does .
said at 4:15 PM on Mon Mar 25 2013
@Azrael99 Not only that they are at least keeping Billy Zane's voice for 1.5 so we get to hear him in HQ!
said at 5:27 AM on Wed Mar 27 2013
@5glitchers5 No way! Are you serious? That's awesome!!

Although it's going to be really jarring hearing him again, after I've gotten so used to Epcar. But, it will be a change for the better, at least for now.
said at 8:47 PM on Thu Feb 21 2013
 1 Shout Out!
Another thing is ever time I hear Richard Epcar the first thing that comes to my mind is the Joker, and I loved Billy Zane as Ansem, his skin-ton, appearance, and his voice just added creepy-ness and truly sounds like a man obsessed with darkness, and he should've voice Ansem in all other appearances.
said at 2:54 AM on Tue Sep 11 2012
It's close, it's really close, but I went with Zane because he's not quite as hammy as Epcar.
said at 12:37 AM on Fri Sep 7 2012
 2 Shout Outs!
Young Xehanort in BBS (David Gallagher) sounds like Richard Epcar, only younger.
While Young Xehanort in DDD (Ben Diskin) sounds like Billy Zane, but younger.
Does anyone else find that weird, or is it just me?
said at 10:55 PM on Sun Mar 24 2013
@MilanTheVillain01 I wouldn`t exactly say " weird " . It only makes sense one of the younger VAs would have been directed to sound like one of the older VAs and the other younger VAs would have been directed to sound like the other older VA .
said at 11:27 PM on Sun Mar 24 2013
@MilanTheVillain01 I only say weird because I thought I'd be the only one to make that connection.
said at 9:55 PM on Mon Jan 19 2015
@MilanTheVillain01 You're right, that is strange and ironic!
said at 2:49 PM on Tue Aug 7 2012
 1 Shout Out!
Zane is a lot more neutral, epic, and passionate than Epcar, but he has gotten better in Re:COM, while in KH2 she sounds very forced. I would rank them as:

Zane < Epcar (Re: COM, all other later games.) < Epcar (KH2)
said at 10:38 PM on Sat Oct 27 2012
@Torak so you rate Zane as the worst and Epcar in KH2 as the best?
said at 4:45 AM on Sun Oct 28 2012
@GothamRed Oops, no it's the other way around sorry! (Can't do crocodile clips lol!)
said at 2:44 PM on Tue Aug 7 2012
 2 Shout Outs!
Wow, Epcar really improved in KH3D. It won't change my vote, but wowzers.
Dark Kuja
said at 11:58 PM on Wed Aug 1 2012
 2 Shout Outs!
Persoanlly, I think Clancy Brown would make the perfect voice for Heartless Ansem, but out of the two, I have to go with Billy Zane.
said at 9:57 PM on Mon Jan 19 2015
@Dark Kuja Agreed. His Lex Luthor voice isn't all that different from Billy Zane's voice here. This is also why I was REALLY hoping for Billy Zane as the next live action Lex Luthor, not Jesse freaking Eisenberg...
EPA Deane
said at 3:35 AM on Thu Nov 24 2016
@Galactic_Cyrus Me Too. DC Should cast Billy Zane as Lex Luthor in their current DTD Animated films.

Jesse Eisenburg would have been a better fit for a modern version of Jimmy Olsen.
said at 1:59 AM on Tue Jul 31 2012
 1 Shout Out!
Kh one is when the event was actually happening and kh2 is the flashback. so i like both but because of the different use of the scenes its hard to say. both are good regardless tho
said at 1:57 AM on Tue Jul 31 2012
 1 Shout Out!
I honestly think both were great but its hard for me to say because the background music makes the lines hit me different or I should say the mood is different.
said at 2:17 AM on Tue Mar 20 2012
 1 Shout Out!
While I prefer Billy Zane as Ansem/Xehanort, I believe Richard Epcar does a far better job with the role in later games than he does in his debut in KH2, where he is clearly trying to find his footing while being expected to replicate Zane's performance, thus causing his own performance to suffer.
said at 9:43 PM on Wed Feb 1 2012
I managed to extract absolutely everything that Billy Zane says as Ansem. I put it all into a five minute Youtube video compilation that you can view here:


Since it is taken directly out of the game, the quality is the greatest possible and there is no music to interfere. I highly recommend that you switch his clip to an excerpt from this.
said at 12:52 AM on Sun Jan 15 2012
 3 Shout Outs!
Richard Epcar does a great anime villain voice, but Billy Zane's more powerful and theatrical performance sounds more fitting for a Disney villain. Which, despite the "anime-esque" design, is what Ansem is. Epcar played the role MUCH better in "Re:Chain of Memories" than he did in KH2 (his forced performance in the sound clip was TERRIBLE due to bad direction and he admitted it) but still doesn't capture Ansem as well as Zane did.
said at 7:31 PM on Wed Jan 11 2012
Zane's performance is nuanced. Mr Epcar's just lucky that big, wooden guys came into vogue.
said at 5:55 PM on Sat Oct 15 2011
 4 Shout Outs!
Honestly Billy Zane wins because of not only his amazing regular performance, but also his amazing battle quotes delivery which you can hear here.

said at 4:23 PM on Wed Sep 7 2011
 4 Shout Outs!
Gonna go with Billy Zane. His voice is just...so...epic sounding. It has so much passion to it, you can tell he had a lot of fun with it.

I love Epcar. He got better with time, but it can get forced at times. Not to mention, going from Zane to Epcar...it's a bit too big of a change.
Music Meister (Moderator)
said at 10:28 PM on Sun Jul 31 2011
 2 Shout Outs!
I dunno, I like Ansem with a much deeper voice and Epcar does provide that. Zane is very good though
said at 1:28 PM on Fri Jun 24 2011
Billy Zane was amazing he's known for being a villain except in Pocahontas II in which he is John Rolfe
said at 8:00 PM on Sat Mar 19 2011
 1 Shout Out!
@Tomi: HUH? BBS revealed that Xehanort was an old man with a penchant for incredibly hammy delivery of his lines and actions. Billy Zane fit that MUCH better than Richard Epcar.
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Who do you think has been the best from these Xehanort/Ansem voice actors?
Billy Zane
Richard Epcar