Kill the Past is the collective term for a number of related video games directed by Goichi Suda, also known as Suda 51. Not only are these games often thematically similar, but they also feature a number of recurring trademarks, for instance: severed heads (sometimes in paper bags), the death and resurrection of playable characters (as well as the meaninglessness of death in general), the Moon, assassins, the medium of television, and occasionally even recurring characters. The main theme in "Kill the Past" titles is the necessity for their protagonists to destroy relics of their past that burden and prevent them from moving forward. Oftentimes, characters find themselves at odds with previous events in their lives that must be confronted head-on for them to be at ease.
Although each game in the series can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story, if taken as a whole, "Kill the Past" builds an overarching plot that does not end so much as it carries on where the last title left off. Characters seem to be expendable and serve only to advance the plot; once they have lived out their purpose, it is common to see them killed or simply dissipated from the story.
The literary trend and style known as postmodernism features heavily in "Kill the Past". The nature of the work as a game is not only brought up for comedic value, but also to support the underlying themes, some of which have to do with video games themselves. It is a recurring theme for the protagonist to mirror the player in some way.
The earliest games essentially considered to be a part of the "Kill the Past" collection are Human Entertainment's Twilight Syndrome and Moonlight Syndrome, titles Suda helmed early in his game director career. However, some sources choose not to include these games in their interpretation of the "Kill the Past" line, despite their concise connections to related games published in later years, particularly The Silver Case. This is largely because the events of "Kill the Past" are not considered canon to the Syndrome series, which continued even after Suda's departure from Human. The main "Kill the Past" titles form something of a trilogy, with Grasshopper Manufacture's The Silver Case, Flower, Sun, and Rain and killer7. At the time of release, Suda reported that the No More Heroes franchise was a body of work separate from the "Kill the Past" titles. Despite this, the Lovikov Balls sidequest and other minor elements seem to suggest a connection; later on, references to Santa Destroy and Lospass Island in Diabolical Pitch retroactively connected it and No More Heroes to "Kill the Past"'s universe by association of Flower, Sun, and Rain. Killer Is Dead has thematic ties with "Kill the Past"; however, it is not connected on a narrative level.
While thematic elements are what originally established Kill the Past games, a growing number of recurring characters, objects and references suggest new titles are building a shared universe. The strongest components of the Kill the Past body appear in bold lettering.
- Towairaito Shindoromu: Kyuumeihen (1996) and Towairaito Shindoromu: Tansakuhen (1996)
- Moonlight Syndrome (1997)
- The Silver Case (1999), the first chapter containing an epilogue to Moonlight Syndrome, and its mobile sequel Shirubaa Jiken 25 Ku (2005)
- Flower, Sun, and Rain (2001), which shares characters with The Silver Case
- Michigan: Report from Hell (2004) introduces the recurring television station ZaKa TV
- killer7 (2005) continues the trends of The Silver Case and Flower, Sun, and Rain, culminating what is often seen as a trilogy
- No More Heroes (2007) and by proxy No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (2010) and No More Heroes: World Ranker (2012), mostly thematically but with some vague plot connections, particularly in the first game
- Diabolical Pitch (2012) stars baseball pitchers from Santa Destroy and Lospass Island, drawing itself and No More Heroes into the existing Kill the Past narrative, though without the trademarks of earlier titles
Killers of the pastEdit
The titular element of these stories is protagonists first having a past that has been "killed" through repressing memories or ignoring it, but then having to properly acknowledge and confront it in order to truly "kill" it and move on.
- In The Silver Case, Sumio Kodai and the other Mikumo Boys were disabled as children due to riots provoked by the actions of the Yukimura Group. In case#3:parade, Sumio and the other boys finally have their revenge.
- In Flower, Sun, and Rain, Sumio Mondo has to confront his past as a clone of Sumio Kodai, and Kodai's history with the events of The Silver Case; on an even higher-level sense, Mondo confronts the fact that his game is a sequel.
- In killer7, Garcian Smith has to confront his past as Emir Parkreiner.
- In No More Heroes, Travis Touchdown has to remember his motivations for joining the United Assassins Association and his memories of his dead parents.
- In Killer Is Dead, it seems as though Mondo Zappa has to confront his history living on The Moon and about David being his brother, but it is never quite made clear how true the former is.