In the games of Goichi Suda and Grasshopper Manufacture, there are lots of recurring imagery, tropes and themes, especially when it comes to titles belonging to Kill the Past. This page attempts to catalog them.
- Kamui Uehara in The Silver Case is an assassin who is usable as a "tool" by the government and various factions. Although less prominent, Ayame Shimohira can be used in much the same way.
- Sundance Shot, although having varying roles, is referred to as an assassin at times in Flower, Sun, and Rain.
- killer7 has you playing as the US' top assassin team, the Smith Syndicate, and large swaths of the rest of the case are assassins as well, either in present or past. Examples include Travis Bell, Julia Kisugi, The Handsome Men, and many others.
- Baraishi and Gekkou in Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked are assassins.
- No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle revolve around Travis Touchdown climbing the rankings of the United Assassins Association, a listing of eccentric killers. Just like killer7, this means that most of the case has this profession.
- Killer Is Dead stars Mondo Zappa, an executioner of the government organization the Bryan Execution Firm.
- Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day is about schoolgirl Ranko Tsukigime who is secretly an assassin.
- A man met early in Moonlight Syndrome carries a briefcase.
- Sumio Mondo carries a versatile briefcase-shaped computer in Flower, Sun, and Rain.
- Garcian Smith carries the weapons of the Second Smith Syndicate personae in a large briefcase.
- In Let It Die, several items are found in briefcases, which take the role of the traditional "treasure chest".
Death and rebirthEdit
Because of Suda's original job as an undertaker, Suda began to piece together a fascination with death that permeates his games. Usually, death is not permanent in Suda's world, and many characters have opportunities to return to life, possibly reflecting the existence of extra lives in video games.
- It is eventually revealed in The Silver Case that the original Kamui Uehara (and Ayame Shimohira) are long dead, but can be revived as personalities into various other bodies, allowing them to live on. Additionally, after acquiring a Silver Eye, Tokio Morishima is able to interact with "lingering consciousnesses", which are later elaborated on in killer7 (see below).
- In Flower, Sun, and Rain, Sumio Mondo dies midway through the game, having been shot off the top of the Flower, Sun, and Rain. He returns to life after Toriko Kusabi strikes a deal with the man who killed him. It is also revealed later on that several characters have stock bodies as clones that would allow them to carry on after death.
- Harman Smith, Kun Lan and possibly Emir Parkreiner in killer7 have several incarnations, meaning that even if they die they will come back in some form. In addition, Harman's Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon can resurrect people in two different forms: one, as personas, becoming new identities that the main persona can turn into, and two, as Remnant Psyches who hang around as ghostly advisors. He also seems to possess standard resurrection abilities, later owned by Garcian Smith.
- In Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked, once Worso Tsurumaki becomes an oni, spirits of the dead arise to fight him in lieu of Lord Matsumae. Worso has to fight three bosses previously killed by Jin and Mugen - Zenbanosuke Kurata, Hanaoka and Tsubaki.
- No More Heroes character Thunder Ryu returns from the dead to advise Travis, much like the Remnant Psyches.
- In No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, Dr. Letz Shake and Destroyman manage to come back to life despite being destroyed in over-the-top manners in the first game.
- Killer Is Dead opens this way, as an executioner in the first level is killed and then immediately resurrected by the Dark Matter from the moon. Later on, Bryan Roses survives getting hit by a train by purchasing golden replacement parts for his cyborg body.
- Let It Die bases its gameplay around this concept, as when your character dies, it is uploaded onto a server and is born again in other characters' games as an enemy. If you manage to kill your own reborn character, or pay a number of Kill Coins, you can revive them back into your service.
- Although no actual hotels appear in The Silver Case, there are at least five distinct apartment complexes visited in the course of the game, as a sort of predecessor to the hotel theme.
- Flower, Sun, and Rain has a plot that mainly revolves around the Flower, Sun, and Rain hotel on Lospass Island, and its staff and guests, including the protagonist, guest Sumio Mondo.
- The backstory of killer7 ends up tying back to a series of events that occurred at the Union Hotel. Interestingly, the man working there in the present day is Edo Macalister, who was also the manager of the Flower, Sun, and Rain. Mentions of two different French hotels also appear in the backstory.
- Travis Touchdown in No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle lives in the Motel "NO MORE HEROES" instead of purchasing a real house.
- Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day
- In the manga Kurayami Dance, a Union Hotel is the setting of the second volume.
"Kamui" is the conception of spirituality or the divine in Ainu mythology. It is somewhat similar to the Japanese "kami". Most Ainu gods have the title of "Kamui" in their name.
- Rather obviously, Kamui Uehara in The Silver Case is named after this concept.
- The kamui have a major focus in Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked, as the Ainu people actually appear in the game, referred to as the old blood.
- The Liberator "Kamui" mech in Liberation Maiden.
Masks and masked wrestlersEdit
Wrestlers are another very common profession in Suda games, and just as in real life wrestling (especially lucha libre), several of those are masked. The mask concept is extended to various other kinds of masks, as well, such as cartoon character masks and general face-obscuring masks.
- Naturally, being based off of real wrestling, Super Fire Prowrestling III: Final Bout and Super Fire Prowrestling Special contain masked wrestlers.
- Although wrestling doesn't factor into the plot of The Silver Case, there are a number of references to it.
- Two minor characters in Flower, Sun, and Rain, El Crasher and Mr. Pirate, are masked wrestlers.
- One of the playable characters in killer7 is the masked wrestler MASK de Smith, who acquires Mask Upgrades over the course of the game. One of the Remnant Psyches assisting the playable characters is Yoon-Hyun, who carries a mask and dons it to become the True Mask, who drinks blood. MASK's Heaven Smile opponents, the Protector Smile and its variants, all wear armor masks. The Handsome Men, being sentai heroes, naturally wear masks, and finally AYAME Blackburn wears an animegao mask.
- In No More Heroes, Travis Touchdown learns new wrestling moves from messages from the suspiciously named M. S. stuffed in the mouths of masks. He also collects trading cards of wrestling masks, known as the Mask of the Legendary Wrestler set, which then get turned into real masks hanging on his wall. Mask Do UH wears a partial mask and also has several wrestling masks hanging in Area 51.
- There are lots of masks in Zero: Tsukihami no Kamen, including a ritual mask key to the story. The semi-unofficial English title is Mask of the Lunar Eclipse.
- If the player of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle has save data for No More Heroes on their Wii, the same masks they had in the first game will carry over. Mask Do UH returns as well. Matt Helms' battle form wears a western cartoon character mask (reminiscent of AYAME Blackburn) and Jasper Batt Jr. wears a bat-themed eye mask in his second and third forms.
- An enemy type in Shadows of the DAMNED is the Masked Demon who wears a gas mask.
- The Veiled and The Legion in Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day both wear masks; additionally, the "Masked Man" is yet another masked wrestler. In his boss fight, Ranko and the Masked Man wear several masks and the masks serve as their health bars, unmasking eachother to do damage.
- Captain Yotsuyama from Let It Die takes the form of a human head wearing a red luchador mask, attached to all manner of things, from the bodies of animals to taking the place of the olive in a martini glass. Several masks can be found as equippable items.
- Main article: The Moon.
The Moon, Earth's only natural satellite, is one of if not the most prominent theme(s) within Suda's games, so much so that it has its own page that lists appearances of the moon.
- Travis Touchdown rides his customized, high-tech Schpeltiger in No More Heroes and Desperate Struggle.
- Johnson in Shadows of the DAMNED can transform into a cruiser-style motorcycle.
- In Killer Is Dead, Mondo Zappa and Vivienne fight Hamada-Yama from atop her UK-manufactured motorcycle.
- Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day
- Kurayami Dance
- Let It Die
- Most Requests in Flower, Sun, and Rain are opened by Sumio Mondo receiving a call on his hotel room's phone from Edo Macalister.
- Most Targets in killer7 are opened by Garcian Smith listening to a message on his answering machine from Christopher Mills.
- After defeating a boss in No More Heroes, Travis Touchdown returns home and listens to messages on his answering machine; one from the United Assassins Association and one from Diane. Before going out to fight a boss, he usually gets another one from Sylvia Christel. Similar scenes appear in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. Additionally, solely in the first game, Sylvia calls Travis on his cell phone in the corridor before a boss.
- Juliet Starling in Lollipop Chainsaw frequently gets calls from her family, most of which she listens to later.
- Mondo Zappa in Killer is Dead frequently gets calls over his intercom, some from the Mondo Girls and some from the Bryan Execution Firm.
- Uncle Death in Let It Die will at times call the player over the speaker on the PS4 controller, a reference to No More Heroes and Fatal Frame IV.
When a character dies from decapitation, their head oftentimes makes an appearance on its own, often within a paper bag. Sometimes, the heads will continue to speak after decapitation for one reason or another.
- In Moonlight Syndrome Kyoko Kazan's head, in a paper bag, is delivered to her brother Ryo Kazan who keeps it with him. The head makes an appearance in the beginning of The Silver Case.
- In killer7, when a member of the Smith Syndicate is killed by a Heaven Smile or other adversary, they take the form of a severed head which quickly becomes within a paper bag. Garcian Smith, being the cleaner, can go and retrieve these bags in order to revive the personae. One of the Remnant Psyches, Susie Sumner, is also a severed head, who appears in various compartments all over the game, including in a bag. The second of the Red Gunners lost his head from a Heaven Smile as well, and Curtis Blackburn taunts Pedro Montana with his daughter's head.
- In No More Heroes, enemy heads tend to fly off when killed by Travis Touchdown. Besides random goons, Helter-Skelter, Death Metal, and Speed Buster are all killed this way.
- Similar trends continue in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. Most notably, Bishop Shidux's head is delivered to Travis in a paper bag. Besides him and random goons, Skelter Helter, Million Gunman and one of the New Destroyman are killed in this way. Skelter and Million both briefly continue to speak after being beheaded. New Destroyman also threatens Shinobu with mailing her head to Touchdown before facing her.
- Shadows of the DAMNED has various severed heads littering the overall landscape, decor and aesthetic. Johnson is a floating skull, possibly a part of this theme as well.
- In Lollipop Chainsaw, one of the main characters, Nick Carlyle, becomes a head that stayed alive after being separated from his body, due to Juliet Starling casting an incantation.
- In Killer Is Dead, Bryan Execution Firm targets Tokio, Alice, Victor, Hamada-Yama, Giant Head, Dolly and David are assassinated by decapitation.
- Day and Night in Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day can only be killed through decapitation.
- Let It Die
- The Babylon Shopping Center appears in The Silver Case.
- The Spice Shop mall appears in Flower, Sun, and Rain.
- The Santa Destroy Junction Mall appears in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle.
Three wise monkeysEdit
The "three wise monkeys" is a visual from Japan embodying the phrase "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". It depicts three monkeys, Mizaru, who covers their eyes, Kikazaru, who covers their ears, and Iwazaru, who covers their mouth.
- The protagonists of The Silver Case, Flower, Sun, and Rain and killer7 each represent one of the monkeys. Akira is mute from psychosis and thus represents Iwazaru, Sumio Mondo, being an alternate identity of Sumio Kodai, is either fully deaf or almost and thus represents Kikazaru, and Garcian Smith's third eye is closed, making him metaphorically and spiritually blind, thus representing Mizaru.
- The Mikumo Boys in The Silver Case represent this concept through the injuries they received from the parades in 1979. Hiseki, whose eyes were gouged out, represents Mizaru, Sumio Kodai, whose eardrums were smashed, represents Kikazaru, and Fuyuki, whose mouth was sewn shut, represents Iwazaru. Alluding to this further, the letter they send to Central reads "The Monkey Laughs" and Hiseki's apartment building is the 3 Monkeys Apartment.
- killer7 has another set of characters that represent this concept in the form of the Smith Syndicate's assistants, who may or may not be Remnant Psyches. They are Iwazaru, who wears a gag and holds his finger to his lips, Kikazaru, who has stitched up ears, and Mizaru who covers her eyes.
- A visual of the three wise monkeys appears in the opening to Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked. There are also three unique monkey characters in the monkey gang, although it is unclear if they relate to the saying in any way other than number.
Tigers are a recurring animal in Suda51 and Grasshopper games. They are sometimes depicted as being enemies to dragons, an element of Chinese idioms and culture.
- In the "Sayaka Baian" sequence of The Silver Case, one of the images shown is a drawing of Sayaka with a tiger.
- In Flower, Sun, and Rain, El Crasher is a wrestler wearing a tiger mask who was defeated by a wrestler named Dragon.
- Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked's character select menu uses a tiger to represent Mugen and a dragon to represent Jin.
- The No More Heroes games use the tiger as the main animal motif of Travis Touchdown, in aspects such as UI and, in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, a literal transformation. Travis can also get tiger-themed clothes, and there are tiger skin rugs lining Death Metal's mansion. In the second game, Travis fights a dragon-themed assassin named Ryuji.
- Diabolical Pitch is about a pitcher for the Santa Destroy Red Tigers.
- In Killer Is Dead, two characters, Hamada-Yama and Bryan Roses have tiger and dragon tattoos respectively. The former's tattoo begins to act on its own when the owner begins to turn into a wire.
Tsubaki is the Japanese word for the Camellia flower. In Suda51 and Grasshopper games, Tsubaki or Camellia is a named used for a number of different things.
- Camellia is the name of a street in The Silver Case. Additionally, there was once a crime syndicate in Ward 24 named the Tsubaki Syndicate (after its leader), but it was defeated by the HC Unit in the case "Royal Nine" when they arrested Tsubaki himself.
- The Camellia Smile in killer7.
- Tsubaki, a character in Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked.
- The Tsubaki Beam Katana in No More Heroes, as well as its successors the Tsubaki Mk-II and Tsubaki Mk-III.
Whisper, a text-to-speech voice on Mac computers, has been used at the end of Moonlight Syndrome episodes, in The Silver Case for Fuyuki's instructions, for the voice of Travis Bell in killer7, and for the announcement of the bosses' names in No More Heroes. In addition, several other Mac voices were used in killer7 for the other Remnant Psyches. Although its previous and subsequent appearances were mostly thematic, its appearance in The Silver Case was because the group using it, the Mikumo Boys, were disabled and had developed Internet accessibility tools for those with disabilities.