Created By: ShanghaiSlave on June 23, 2014 Last Edited By: ShanghaiSlave on July 3, 2014

Thousand Kill Milestone

Something happens to you when you kill a large number of things.

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Trope
"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 20 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 20 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.
Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • June 23, 2014
    Argo5
    Would David collecting 200 Philistine foreskins count?
  • June 23, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ I ...what?

    though by bringing up the bible, i was kinda setting myself up for that one.

    gimme teh verse. if he killed them, it counts, otherwise, that sounds like Twenty Bear Asses. kills is the keyword here.

    EDIT: and as expected, is IN Twenty Bear Asses.
  • June 23, 2014
    Argo5
    ^Can't remember the exact verse but he did have to kill them because Philistines kept their foreskins attached and [[Captain Obvious/weren't keen on handing them over.]] The things that guy had to do to get a wife...

    And it could still count for this since he still had to kill them to get the foreskins. He even unlocked an achievement doing that, he got a wife. And I forgot, he only needed 100 foreskins but brought back 200.
  • June 23, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ did my own research and got the verse.
  • June 23, 2014
    Argo5
    ^alright. I think it could count for this as well as twenty bear asses. And am I the only one who thinks David was being an overachiever when he brought back double?
  • June 23, 2014
    DAN004
    Compare Twenty Bear Asses.

    • One Piece: Trafalgar Law became a member of Shichibukai by sending 100 live hearts of other pirates (thanks to his powers) to the World Government.

    1000 seems to strict a number, methinks. Simply Numerical Milestone Event would suffice.
  • June 23, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ Can't say if that counts. it has to be kill. not "collect One Thousand Bear Asses".

    also, Numerical Milestone Event broadens it far too much. "person kills 1593 people" sounds more like Ludicrous Precision than anything else.

    EDIT: thinking a bit, Numerical Milestone Event is an excellent Supertrope.
  • June 23, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ It WILL count if something specifically happens if you kill exactly 1593 ppl.
  • June 23, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ Yeah, but it changes the meaning from "killed one thousand" to "the guy killed exactly this number of people and remembered it".

    also, did Trafalgar kill them or what?
  • June 23, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ well ppl who have his heart torn out by Law don't die instantly, and they can still live normally, just that said hearts are more vulnerable than before.

    "Remembered it"? Eh? I'm not sure what you meant.
  • June 23, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ he remembers how many people he killed exactly.

    also, that means One Piece doesn't count.
  • June 23, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ not sure why it has to be "kill".

    Compare Gotta Kill Them All
  • June 23, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ huh?

    Are you seriously asking that question? What do you think the meaning of this one is? does "injure 1000 people >> become a Monster" make any sense to you?
  • June 24, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Because I honestly believe it, by itself, is Too Rare To Trope. Broaden it into "do something enough times >> something happen to you" and I see it tropable.
  • June 24, 2014
    Astaroth
  • June 24, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^^ that sounds like Level Grinding in a nutshell. unless you can think of an example of "do something a thousand times >> something happens to you".
  • June 24, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Astaroth above provided it.

    Perhaps another one
    • In Elsword, some of the titles (things that adds your stats or give other additional effects) can be acquired by killing a certain enemy multiple times.
  • June 24, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ See, that doesn't sound so meaningful or relevant. and what Astaroth said involved killing [tenONE thousand things. EDIT: got confused there for a moment thanks to editing another YKTTW.

    "titles can be acquired by killing a certain enemy multiple times." it's so vague it could as well be written as "titles can be acquired by playing the game".
  • June 24, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ But it involves killing enough times as you said...
  • June 24, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ Thinking about it, "kill N number of Underground Monkey" is technically Twenty Bear Asses sans Ass collection.

    I'd call it Kill Twenty Bears, and could be an Internal Subtrope to Twenty Bear Asses. given there's not much practical difference from "kill slimes to collect 20 Randomly Drops to recieve prize" and "kill 20 slimes to recieve prize". It merely cuts the middle-man.

    EDIT: hell, we already even have it, Mass Monster Slaughter Sidequest.
  • June 24, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ well, then isn't this Mass Monster Slaughter Sidequest? (Or maybe Main Quest)?
  • June 24, 2014
    NateTheGreat
    In the Star Trek universe there is a Klingon proverb that states "Four thousand throats may be cut in one night by a running man." Or if you insist on using the original Klingon, "qaStaHvIS wa' ram loSSaD Hugh S Ijla H qetbogh loD."
  • June 24, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    Nate The Great

    so... What plot implication does it have? does it make a Klingon Worlds Best Warrior to their race? That's Zero Context Example as it is, and nobody cares about what it is in Chinese/Klingon/whatever.

    ^^ @DAN 004 No.
    1. It doesn't require it to be monsters.
    2. it doesn't have to be a specific monster.
    3. The whole point in MMSS is killing something, not killing a thousand of anything/something.
  • June 24, 2014
    NateTheGreat
    It's just a quote from a fictional warrior race. Don't include the example if you don't want. Probably the number was just chosen to be big and yet plausible given the timespan available.
  • June 24, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ then context wise, it fits better in Tropes of Ten Thousand Things. Since it's not about actually killing a thousand, but it's just a Narrative Filigree.
  • June 24, 2014
    DAN004
    Still thinking this is Too Specific To Trope. And pretty sure some gameplay tropes have narrative examples.
  • June 25, 2014
    Arivne
    • Capitalized (japanese x2).
    • Blue Linked (badassery, Subtrope).
    • Examples section formatting
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Added a space between *'s and the first word following them.
  • July 3, 2014
    GuyIncog
    Real Life and/or Truth In Television:
    • Fighter pilots who achieve ace statusnote  are often awarded medals for the achievvement. 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.
  • July 3, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ speaking of which, some Achievement System in Video Games gives you a reward for killing enough enemies.

    I can't name any of them now, tho...
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=wi792r1r0w3ehzvxzpkwb57d