Thousand Kill Milestone
Something happens to you when you kill a large number of things.
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(permanent link) added: 2014-06-23 20:22:50 sponsor: ShanghaiSlave (last reply: 2014-07-03 19:35:29)

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"Kimi ga Shin Sangoku Musou!"
— Any nearby allied officer in Dynasty Warriors/Shin Sangoku Musou, after you kill 1000 enemies.

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.

Sister Trope 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.


Examples

    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.

    Comic Books 

    Film 

    Literature 

    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.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • 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.
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