"Kimi ga Shin Sangoku Musou!"
It is said that "The death of one is a Tragedy, A Million Is a Statistic
". This is the opposite of that saying. This trope is when something happens to someone who kills one thousand <whatever> or whenever such number of kills is somehow relevant.
The most common form of this is killing one thousand monsters turns you into said monster
. This is often the Origin Story
of many a Youkai
in Japanese fiction. Other times, it is a benchmark of badassery
for you to be considered World's Best Warrior
or for you to be a member of an elite group a la If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten
In Videogames, some weapon can be Level Up
by killing a thousand things with it. Sometimes, you get A Winner Is You
if you kill one thousand enemies.
When Playing With
this trope, it always becomes 100 for Downplayed Trope
and 10,000 for Exaggerated Trope
. No more, no less. Two makes A Real Man Is a Killer
, Ten is just underwhelming after that, 50's just unimpressive, 200 to 90,000 and other in-between figures are fair game though.
Anything more specific like 13,482 is actually Ludicrous Precision
. The reason being that the meaning changes from "killing a large number of things" to "killing exactly
this number of things". And Ninety Nine Cents
version of this like "Kill 99(9) zombies and one human" is close enough in spirit due to it still amounting to 100(0). Also, the meaning just gets a But More Specific
addendum, i.e. "kill large number of things, but make sure it includes a special one".
When this is merely mentioned via Discussed Trope
. as in, like there's an In-Universe
saying that goes "He who kills a thousand man in one battle
is man above all
". That's just Narrative Filigree
, and would fit better in Tropes of Ten Thousand Things
Which is about things that come in thousands in general
to Thousand Origami Cranes
which is another "1000 things are important" trope. Sub-Trope
of Tropes of Ten Thousand Things
. Related to A Real Man Is a Killer
. See also Twenty Bear Asses
for Fetch Quests
which may overlap with this if the quest explicitly involves killing for said asses (i.e. the killing is emphasized, not the ass collection). Mass Monster Slaughter Sidequest
is essentially this with non-thousand/hundred numbers. Gotta Kill Em All
is rarely applicable given the usually large number of things of Nominal Importance
to be killed.
Anime and Manga
- In Saiyuki, Cho Hakkai was a human who became a youkai by killing a thousand youkai. In Saiyuki Requiem, the villain does the same specifically in order to copy Hakkai's example.
- In the Band of Seven arc of Inuyasha, Bankotsu makes his halberd Banryuu a powerful magical weapon by using it to kill a hundred humans and a hundred youkai.
- In Nurarihyon No Mago, Aotabo was a Warrior Monk who was arrested for killing one thousand warriors. Before his execution, a Holy Man the told him that he would become a Kishin (demon god) if he fails to save one person for every sin he committed. He later became a caretaker to children, but they were attacked by bandits and he had to kill them to defend the kids so he lost hope on becoming human again and decided to accept his fate.
- In A Certain Magical Index, there is the Level 6 Shift Project. where the end goal is to Level Up a Level 5 Esper. A lengthy explanation was provided that it would normally require 250 years of the curriculum as per the Setting time to achieve it. However, it was supposedly achievable in a shorter amount of time by killing 128(being a number determined by an AI) exact clones of the strongest Level 5 esper. But since this wasn't plausible, it was determined that killing 20,000 inferior clones in 20,000 different battlefields would do the trick. the Level Upee is Accelerator, the level upper and source of the clones in question is Misaka Mikoto. The story actually covers the Mook Horror Show aspect of the project, but circumstances made the Uppee pull a Heel-Face Turn and made him a sort of a "Client" for the clone "Network", or what remains of them at least.
- In Soul Eater, In order for a Weapon to become a Death Scythe they must quest and eat 99 Souls that are on Death's list and one Witch Soul. If the Weapon accidentally eats a soul not on the list, they have to do the quest all over again.
Live Action Television
Mythology and Religion
- Believe it or not, The Bible also has this. Somehow, it always involves killing Philistines.
- In Judges 15: verses 14 to 16, Samson was about to get his ass handed to him by the Philistines because he was tied by the people of Judah, but thanks to God, he got a Heroic Spirit upgrade and a donkey's jawbone:
14He hath come unto Lehi and the Philistines have shouted at meeting him and the Spirit of Jehovah prospereth over him, and the thick bands which [are] on his arms are as flax which they burn with fire, and his bands are wasted from off his hands,
15and he findeth a fresh jaw-bone of an ass, and putteth forth his hand and taketh it, and smiteth with it a thousand men.
16And Samson saith, With a jaw-bone of the ass - an ass upon asses - with a jaw-bone of the ass I have smitten a thousand men!
- Another in 1 Samuel 18:20-30. where David was given a Twenty Bear Asses task to give Saul 100 foreskins of Palestinians as Dowry as an Uriah Gambit. But he instead killed 200 and took their foreskins. Which convinced Saul God was with him and he gave his daughter Michal to him.
25And Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king's enemies. But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.
26And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king's son in law: and the days were not expired.
27Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.
- In Japanese Mythology, people are said to become Youkai if they exterminate a thousand of them.
- In Dynasty Warriors (Shin Sangoku Musou), your Player Character will give A Winner Is You Title Drop(only in the Japanese version due to Woolseyism) if you kill one thousand enemies and no allied officer is nearby. Otherwise, your allies will give it to you. Playable Officers give unique ones if they are related, like close friends, brothers, or spouse. e.g. Liu Bei to Guan Yu and vice versa, who are Blood Brothers.
- In Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, Tyrant Overlord Zenon got his title and power from killing one thousand Overlords from different netherworlds.
- In Breath of Fire IV's Endgame Plus, you can meet a character who will give you a rusty sword. It's pretty weak and can only be equipped by Scias, but killing 1000 enemies with it will upgrade it into a significantly better weapon, The Slayer.
- Fighter pilots who achieve ace statusnote are often awarded medals for the achievement. The closest Real Life example to an actual 1000 kill milestone is arguably World War II German fighter pilots, who were awarded successive levels of the Knight's Cross after reaching specific kill numbers - typically 50, 100, 200, 250, and/or 300.