I have returned and I’m here to dive into more of No More Heroes content about violent media and before getting right to the next character I think it’s time to talk about some of the settings points about No More Heroes. Literally the city Santa Destroy is full of violent media and that soon starts inspiring people to become fighters or even killers, sound familiar? So far many bosses I have talked about before represent a standard in violent media. So with all of these people just becoming murderers is there any possibility of anyone keeping their sanity?
Well there was easily one character that was close to keeping their sanity and that person is Holly Summers. First of all, Holly was my favorite boss from the first game and even though I love Dr. Peace’s character more because of how awesome he was, Holly is someone you can really respect as a person. The thing with Holly is that she actually doesn’t really show much about violent media; the most I can say is that she could represent the military stories in the media. Her main focus though is about death and some of her scenes carry some of the most important lines of the game. The first thing you see about Holly is that she has a prostatic leg which is a big battle scar, meaning she had near death experiences before. Holly then begins to talk to Travis about if he likes to fight and kill, have any fears, and accept death. Of course a man like Travis says yes to the first two things, but he clearly goes on about he has no fear and never thought about his own death. Holly then proceeds to say this, “Death is the only truth. You are still just a mere bud."
Now here is the thing about Suda 51, before he was known as a game designer he was actually an undertaker, a man that prepares funerals. A man like that easily has seen many things and the motif of death presented from Holly could be Suda’s thought on death. So for a man who has clearly seen many people dead before his eyes it probably lead to him finding the only truth about life, death. The whole point of Holly Summers was to give Travis a wakeup call since he needed to fear death since it will always be around the corner. Then for a funny little joke, Holly's main weapon was a shovel and she had hidden holes in the battlefield. What’s interesting to note here as well is that Travis acts differently around Holly and actually says some lines that are not really insulting her. Again this was Travis mostly reacting to this new fighter and he actually felt something for her. Travis then couldn’t even kill her in the end as we find out he just couldn’t kill women which is something we do see in violent media. Sure there are deaths of female characters, but it doesn’t happen that often compared to male characters. Remember Travis is a victim of the violent media as well so he carries along some archetypes with him, like how he can’t kill women. To make sure that Travis then understood what Holly was talking about she decides to kill herself to finally give him the real image of death. Travis beforehand only saw that death was fun because of what influenced him, but in reality it’s scary and could happen to you or anyone you know at anytime.
Then there is even more to highlight here because the scene with Holly is why I started to think about how No More Heroes has this satire about violent media. After Holly tells Travis off about death being the only truth, Travis says this line as it perfectly describes the whole meaning of fighting Holly and the game itself. “That’s not a good thing you know; seeking meaning in everything. Especially killing…” That line really shows the whole motif of the game. Travis is straight up saying that there is no meaning to killing and death and for him it’s just fun. The idea of killing can be shown to be a fun thing in many violent shows, movies, or games and sometimes the real truth of death never gets focused on. To end things off then I will talk about Holly’s last moments. The whole time she felt like she never had fun with fighting and easily have some regrets like Dr. Peace and probably more. This is easily implied because of her fake leg as I bet her back story is something that people wouldn’t take lightly. So if she lives in regret why does she fight? Now she wasn’t blood thirsty as Dr. Peace, but she still had to feel escapism. Her final line to Travis is, “Academics like to fantasize too you know.” Even someone like Holly had to find a way to escape her problems and soon it leads her to find the only truth. No matter who you are, everyone will try some form of escapism so that they don’t have to deal with their real world problems; it’s just part of living. Then when all things end, Travis decides to bury her and now remembers her name only. This was really the first time Travis felt something more than pleasure, again he finally saw what death really is and it ended up happening to someone he could respect for once. Now does Travis still continue to have fun with his fights later on, yes, but he clearly knows what death really is and later on that carries along with him.
Now we are skipping to number four because number five doesn’t really get anything since he gets killed by someone else. Still I will have to point out that Letz Shake does have some punk elements to him, but high chance this was more of the fact that Suda is a punk fan. Anyways let’s move onto Harvey Moiseiwitsch Volodarskii, what a name! Now his theme is very easy to pick up as he is a magician, but is there really any violence with illusions? Well yes there is. Many magicians always perform life risking stunts and sometimes not every performer makes it out alive. Heck there are even times that the performer could even kill someone by accident. Then there is also the idea of how tricks are used and sometimes animals could be killed in the process. Along with that though, showing magic in this game is easily pointing to how people are amazed by violence. I mean if you hear someone could die performing a trick, why would you watch? Wouldn’t a natural reaction be to try to stop it? I mean why watch something that could end up scarring you in the end?
In today’s age, violence can make money and this is proven with how Mortal Kombat got started or even movie franchises like Saw and Hostel are even a thing. This is really another big indication of the theme here as it really just gathers everything in. Usually people would blame the news, video games, and movies, but in reality there is violence everywhere and people love it. Racing fans love to see cars crash, there are some people who want the daredevil to fail, and then there some who want to see the blood spew out of others. Now there is nothing wrong with enjoying violence (especially when it’s a well done piece of work, again No More Heroes itself is a violent game) or the fancy tricks that could persuade someone to think it’s real violence, Suda 51 is just bringing up a criticism about violence and more asking the question of why violence attracts people in. In real life there are laws against murdering each other so why is it fantasized in fiction? Then in the end, Harvey also shows that if you were the one who was harmed in the stunt or trick, it wouldn’t be as fun then.
Now we get onto the ranked third assassin as she is Speed Buster, a witch from a city called well Speed City. Her inclusion of the game confused me for a long time since her fight was more of a stage extension and when I think about violent media, what does she even show about that? In the end I would have to think it’s not really her, but what happens during her scenes. In the beginning Speed Buster kills Travis’ mentor called Thunder Ryu and Travis swears revenge for his master. Now doesn’t this sound familiar? How many stories are there about a hero avenging his master? Also the idea of revenge itself is portrayed in violent stories. Two wrongs never make a right and in real life that is true, but why would it be a good thing in fiction? One can bring up about the idea of the ends justify the means, but is Travis avenging someone really worth it. Thunder Ryu was an optional NPC you could talk to and get some boosts from, is avenging him really worth it. Would you go out for vengeance when your gym instructor gets killed? So really in the end one person got killed so is piling another body really the right thing? Finally, the idea of revenge comes later in the game so I think that Speed Buster was used to foreshadow the future events of the game.
Well I’m going to stop there as I was going to get to the second ranked boss, but I will save that for part three. Anyways she has a great parallel with Travis so I will start with her. So in the third part I will discuss about sexual fantasies, Travis himself, the final bosses of the game, and the whole message No More Heroes is trying to get across.