The Heroic Comedic SociopathAnti-Hero of the game, who is out to go from loser Otaku to would-be Badass assassin. Begins the game as the 11th ranked assassin in the United Assassins Association. His life becomes significantly more complicated by becoming an assassin, including running into several levels of Squick and family he didn't even know he had.
Animal Motifs: Tigers. Several of his shirts have tigers on them, and his Cool Bike is named after them. The name is transliterated in Japanese as "Torabisu", and "tora" means tiger. Also, he can transform into a tiger for a short period of time in the second game. And his wrestling moves include the Tiger Suplex and Tiger Driver.
Anti-Hero: Starts out bordering on Villain Protagonist. This changes a bit in the sequel, where thanks to deaths of the latter assassins in Desperate Struggle, he swears to destroy the UAA because of how it destroyed the lives of his fellow assassins. He falls under Classical Anti-Hero now.
Badass: He's basically some average joe who bought a lightsaber off the net. Doesn't stop him from killing tons of mooks, as well as several experienced assassins.
Character Development: Hoo boy, does he get this in Desperate Struggle. While he did change a little bit in the first game, it's nothing near the growth he went through in the second. In the beginning, he's the same immature otaku that he had always been, but some of the battles throughout the game (namely Ryuji being heartlessly gunned down by Sylvia when he considered him an honorable man and a Worthy Opponent, his decision to leave Captain Vladimir's body unharmed by Sylvia's goons, and the outcome of his battle with Alice Twilight) completely alter his view on life, and by the end of the game, his goals have shifted from screwing Sylvia to being a hero in his own way.
Cheshire Cat Grin: Particularly whenever he enters a fight while in a good mood. The loading screen for the second game even shows a small picture of him sporting one.
Determinator: Becomes a gameplay mechanic in the second game. If you run out of health, you can furiously shake the Wiimote and nunchuck to come back from the brink with a few units of health (the number of times you can do this before dying for real varies on the difficulty.)
Even Evil Has Standards: Throughout both games, Travis never takes his weapon up against a civilian, killing only in UAA battles, events or assignments, or for revenge in the second game. In the first game, he expresses disgust at those who do (Shinobu, Destroyman, and Bad Girl, the latter two being shown as being irredeemable psychopaths). He's also really iffy about Shinobu's crush on him in the second game because he doesn't want to feel like a Dirty Old Man.
Genre Savvy: Travis becomes increasingly so as the game goes on.
Idiot Ball: That said, he has his moments of this early on. Particularly in the battle against Destroyman.
Heel-Face Turn: Of sorts—after his battle with Alice, Travis resolves to become a true hero, starting with his vow to end the mindless bloodshed of the UAA. In an interview given to Nintendo Power a few months before Desperate Struggle was released, Suda expressed how he loved to picture Travis as a wrestler, and uses the terms heel and face to describe his career.
Jerkass: So much. By the end of Desperate Struggle though, he seems to have developed into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold as the result of his increasing unease with killing.
Legendary in the Sequel: Held in high regard by some of the assassins in Desperate Struggle, including Nathan Copeland, Kimmy Howell, and Alice Twilight. In fact, it's implied in the opening narration in Desperate Struggle that his actions in the previous game led to the UAA going from just a fake organization to an actual one.
Katanas Are Just Better: It doesn't matter how much his first three weapons look like fluorescent bulbs with a handle, they're called beam katanas. Played straight by his ultimate weapon, which really is a curved beam of light.
Made of Iron: Lets just say that were this real life, the man's organs would be paste.
My Greatest Failure: If only for a moment, but he felt bad for not letting Holly Summers die by his hand and instead resort to killing herself in front of him with a sweet smile on her face.
Nosebleed: When seduced by Silvia in Desperate Struggle, although it's hard to notice as she's simultaneously positioning his Beam Katana by his crotch and then proceeds to kiss it. Travis' nose erupts in a geyser of blood and his Beam Katana turns on.
Pre Asskicking One Liner: Par for the course for Travis to deliver this against rival assassins, but one that definitely takes the cake is against Jasper Batt Jr.'s final form.
"Come on, Prez! Unleash your anger, your hate, everything! I'll take it all and fucking kill you with it!"
Red Baron: The manual of the second game, and at least two opponents, call Travis "The Crownless King" in reference to the events of the first. Later on, Travis starts calling himself "the No More Hero".
Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Travis can't bring himself to perform a finishing blow on a woman, as seen in his fights against Shinobu and Holly. Though as his fights against Speed Buster, Bad Girl, and Jeane show, he gets over it. By Desperate Struggle, he's completely over it. The only female he spares is Kimmy Howell, and it's somewhat implied that her being a female had little to do with it.
Wrestler in All of Us: It helps that his beam katana keeps landing in mooks' chests after he does a wrestling move on them.
Suplex Finisher: Most of his wrestling moves are actually different suplex variations.
Voiced by: Paula Tiso
No More Heroes
No More Heroes 2
Trust your Force... And head for the Garden of Madness.
The mysterious woman who is supporting Travis through his endeavors, using the cash he brings from part-time jobs and small hits to arrange his fights to progress in the UAA rankings. She toys with Travis' affections, offering to sleep with him if he should become #1 on the list. As it turns out, though, she's playing Travis for a fool. Then, in the second game, she does it again. And makes good on her promises.
Happily Married: Subverted with Henry, as the two have divorced since the events of the first game. In fact, Sylvia hooks up with Travis in the sequel. They finally make good on Sylvia's promise, and in the epilogue, she affectionately calls him "my No More Hero".
Hot Mom: If the epilogue from the first game is to be believed, Sylvia has a daughter, alsosharing a name with Travis' half-sister and cat. The identity of Jeane's father (most likely Travis or Henry) is unknown to this date.
Karma Houdini: For someone who sets up a bunch of hits, nothing bad happens to her and Travis ends up glad that she set up all those fights, even after he learns he's been cheated by her. It later turns out that she did give Travis what he wanted, which was a chance to get revenge for what happened to his parents, which he drunkenly said to Sylvia when he first met her. Subverted in the events after the sequel, where she is shown to be miserable and working at a strip club, being paid to recount the events of the game to a mystery client—Travis.
Male Gaze: Played almost to the point of satire during the "Phone Speak" segments in Desperate Struggle
Split Personality: Sylvia tends to swing violently between personalities. In the second game, she starts off nice and sweet to Travis, seducing him back into the ranking battles, then she acts somewhat cold, then a few cutscenes afterward, she's violently screaming at him that she doesn't have time for a scrub of Travis' low rank at the time, and gunning down Travis' opponents when he doesn't finish them off quickly enough. Other times she'll be somewhat mean to him, but it's Played for Laughs, such as making Travis try to jump into her helicopter, reaching out to grab his hand, only to pull it away and saying "Oh yeah, there's no more seats." Other times she'll at least try to be nice, such as copping that she would prefer if Travis and Henry didn't kill each other.
Tsundere: Travis is sick of it by the second game. "How many personalities do you have?!"
Yandere: How much she cares is never quite established, but she does threaten to kill Travis if he makes her jealous.
Jeane (the kitten)
Travis' pet Scottish Fold kitten, who can be played with between missions. In the second game, she's grown up... and apparently eaten a bit too much.
All There in the Manual: Jeane's breed. Also, her name comes from being a replacement for the other Jeane, who dumped him.
Death by Newbery Medal: Toyed with. During the Speed Buster fight leadup it totally looks like the game is going to kill Travis' cute kitten to make it personal instead it happens to Ryu and Jean toddles back home without a scratch.
Cute Kitten: She's even cute after growing up and gaining about fifteen pounds too many.
Morality Pet: How bad can Travis be? He's got such cute widdle kitty!
Spanner in the Works: Jeane's random decision to follow along to the third ranked battle is what ends up keeping Travis alive for Speed Buster's initial volley. However, it also ends up in Thunder Ryu's death.
Take That: In the trailer, he looks and acts an awful lot like Dante from Devil May Cry, and the trailer seems to play him up as the protagonist until Travis decapitates him with little effort.
Travis: "I couldn't tell if he was the shit or just plain ol' shit."
We Hardly Knew Ye: Especially in the game, where he only appears for a few frames in the introduction.
Voiced by: J. Grant Albrecht
Quite beautiful, wouldn't you say? Paid for with the lives of many. When you have the strength to take life for yourself... That is true wealth. I am free of desire. So long as I have this scenery to look upon. I need nothing more. Please, leave me be.
The 10th ranked assassin, who awaits Travis in his opulent estate. He's apparently quite disgusted with his own lifestyle, and eagerly awaits his fight with Travis. He also sees himself as a bit of a rival to Travis, as he also uses a beam katana. Real name: Count Townsend.
Lonely at the Top: Death Metal's monologue suggests this is the fate of all successful assassins. Not that Travis pays attention.
Red Baron: Another nickname of his is "Holy Sword".
Shout-Out: Count Townsend: Count Grishnack and Devin Townsend, a pseudonym for Black Metal artist Varg Vikernes (Burzum), and Devin Townsend, leader of Extreme Metal band Strapping Young Lad, respectively. Though the "Count" part is definitely debatable.
The 9th ranked assassin, a crooked cop with a long and sordid past, who apparently spent Travis' entry fee to have a nice dinner with his daughter and have center stage at the local baseball stadium to sing. He uses twin gold-plated revolvers. Real name: Pastel Brankino.
The 8th ranked assassin, a cold-blooded schoolgirl living a double life. She's out to kill Travis just as he's out to kill her - she believes that he killed her father. He didn't. By far the most frequently cited to mess you up if you're not ready for her. Returns in the sequel as a self-proclaimed apprentice of Travis and to score some kills in his place. Real name: Scarlet Jacobs.
Artificial Limb: Her right hand is mechanical in the second game. Travis cut the real one off in the first game rather than kill her.
Big Damn Heroes: Perhaps in exchange for sparing her life, she rescues Travis in the end of the final battle.
They Know Too Much: She kills her classmates after they learn she's an assassin. Travis calls her out on it.
Wake Up Call Boss: The first one who can kill you in a single hit (it's not really an instant kill, but it does enough damage to kill you if you're even slightly wounded), the first one to emphasize the importance of wrestling moves and the first one where it's practically required to know how to Dark Step on Bitter. Not to mention that her ridiculous speed and aggressive combos make direct combat a suicidal effort.
You Killed My Father: She doesn't seem to care about the fight... until Travis turns on the beam katana. Then she goes ballistic and starts yelling this. For the record, he didn't. Fanon favors Henry.
The 7th ranked assassin, an actor in indie films that uses his character's superhero gimmick suit to hide deadly weapons. In really questionable places. He's initially taken by surprise by Travis, but is able to prepare thanks to quickly tossing Travis an Idiot Ball. Secret identity: John Harnet.
Ascended Fanboy: The financier and star of the independent "Destroyman" movies.
No One Could Survive That: After taking advantage of Travis' stupidity, he basically says this, including surprise on not being killed himself. Also, he came back for the sequel. Despite being bisected down the middle at the end of his fight in the first.
Psycho for Hire: The first real crazy "assassin" you fight. Illustrated by the game itself before he reveals his True Colors—the screen shakes and pulses wildly as he cheerfully talks with Travis, hinting at his mental instability. And note his day job as a mail carrier, a profession widely believed to be the domain of complete lunatics in the United States. There's a reason they call it "going postal"...
Smug Snake: Despite mocking Travis for falling an obvious trick (the length of one would qualify for a "The Reason You Suck" Speech if not for the fact that he kept more paraphrasing the same thing), he's not nearly as clever as he seems to believe.
Split Personality: In the first game, it seems he's simply putting on a facade. In the sequel, it is a more literal split.
A bud that will never blossom...farewell, my sweet seventh.
The 6th ranked assassin, a former model with a prosthetic leg. She takes full advantage of Travis' unwillingness to hurt a woman, setting up pit traps for him and using the rocket launcher in her fake leg on him when he slips up.
Face Death with Dignity/Graceful Loser: She notes that the loser has to die in a ranked battle. Rather than await what the UAA has in store for her, she puts a grenade in her mouth after giving Travis the pin.
What makes it even more heartwrenching is that she states that she could 'accept defeat from the likes of you [Travis]. She even thanks for hesitating to kill her.
Famous Last Words: "Academics like to fantasize too, you know?" (smiles and puts a grenade in her mouth)
The 5th ranked assassin, an immigrant from Singapore who made off with an experimental military earthquake generator. He awaits Travis quite far out of town. Turns out the earthquake generator survived the encounter and makes a return appearance in No More Heroes 2, as the 10th ranked assassin, and you actually get to fight him this time.
Bait-and-Switch Boss: The battle isn't going to be you against that hulking monstrosity. Nor is it going to be you against its wielder to stop said monstrosity. In fact, Travis doesn't have to fight at all, not even against the guy who bogarts the kill. At least, not until the end of the game.
The Unfought: To Travis's chagrin. Dr. Shake (the machine) and Travis get a proper duel in the sequel, however.
Harvey Moiseiwitsch Volodarskii
Voiced by: James Horan
Let's see what you're made of, country boy!
The 4th ranked assassin, an illusionist and escape artist that prefers using both death traps and Dual WieldingLaser Blades (although smaller than the ones Travis uses). Also gives Travis an Idiot Ball before the fight, although Travis wises up much faster this time. Tends to be the most forgotten fight, for some reason.
Affably Evil: Played mostly straight. Even though he nearly tricks you into being sawn in half for the magic act, he doesn't seem all that mad when you escape. He never directly insults Travis in their fight, and even apologized for accidentally touching upon Travis' dead parents. And even after Travis sliced his eyes out, his Villainous Breakdown is more concerned with "the lights going out" rather than Travis being the cause of it.
Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Travis throws his beam katana boomerang style to cleanly slice out Harvey's eyes. Even more unbelievable, it only took out his eyes, as opposed to the rest of his head!
Wave Motion Gun: Let it hit you and it's bye-bye. You'll survive two or three hits on the lower difficulties (although it will burn out the Beam Katana), but on Bitter you have to get out of the way.
Voiced by: Kathryn Fiore
Pop quiz. Why am I such an angry bitch? Seriously, no matter how many I kill, it's all the same. They're all. Going. To pay. Yeah. With their fucking lives.
The 2nd ranked assassin, who is an overly made-up woman in a pink baby doll dress and carrying around a bloody baseball bat. While all of the assassins, including Travis, are obviously unhinged to some degree, Bad Girl is out-and-out psychotic. Easily the most unnerving of the opponents.
Diabolus Ex Nihilo: Throughout the first No More Heroes, the assassins Travis faces at least have some explanation as to who they are. Death Metal has a mansion and a life of luxury, Dr. Peace has an estranged daughter, Harvey is a stage magician, Speed Buster is an old woman who hates men but seems to have an odd friendship with Thunder Ryu... with Bad Girl, you get nothing. There's no Freudian Excuse, no mention of friends or family... she doesn't even seem to have an occupation other than being a killer. Travis does not expect this and the fact that there is literally nothing else to her character beyond murder just disgusts him. He even drops his few shreds of chivalry for the fight with her.
Drunken Master: It's not so subtly implied that she's totally hammered during the fight, but she will kick your ass into next week with that bat.
Establishing Character Moment: Even more so than the other assassins in their cutscenes-in her first thirty seconds, she kills five gimps, swears like a sailor, and downs a beer in only a few seconds.
Gray Eyes: Would fit Type Five (she certainly is dangerous) but doesn't have the cold, professional demeanor that those types have. Instead, Bad Girl is gleefully psychotic.
Lady Drunk: A rather young example, yet the most insane of them all.
To demonstrate: during the cutscene before the fight, Bad Girl downs a whole can of beer in under five seconds. She does it again in less time later-in between a cut to Travis and her throwing a beer can, Bad Girl emptied it entirely (you can tell by the clinking on the ground).
Knight of Cerebus: Is the only assassin in the original that has no comedic quirks to her, is by far the most violent.
Nietzsche Wannabe: Arguably the most disturbing example in the franchise. Unlike the other assassins, there is nothing truly that could be considered "humane" about her. She kills people For the Evulz and doesn't even seem to take pleasure in that. What's more, she's Genre Savvy to know that she's a nihilistic killing machine and has more or less resigned herself to it.
Not So Different: During the prefight cut scene Travis says "You're no assassin, you're just a perverted killing maniac." Her response: "In essence, they're the same."
Perfect Play AI: In battle, she'll usually just saunter towards Travis very slowly and go ballistic when he's actually within attack range. If the player tries to stay away, she'll resort to her gimps instead.
Taking You with Me: She tries her damnedest to do this to Travis. He actually does concede to her, and he goes unconscious from her blows as she dies. Travis doesn't so much win this fight as much as he just loses last.
Welcome to my castle. I heartily receive you, my son.
The number one ranked assassin of the UAA, and Travis' ultimate target. Lives way out of town in a large castle, and awaits Travis' approach for a very special reason... to start messing with his mind before he kills him, of course. He's a guy that enjoys that sort of thing.
Unknown Rival: He bursts into Travis's bathroom, also with a beam katana, out to take Travis' position. Travis has no idea who this guy is, and particularly why he won't respect the sanctity of the restroom.
Fragile Speedster/Glass Cannon: Her health is actually quite low for a boss for the point in the game she's fought, but (as said below) she has a nasty habit of dodging/countering everything. Oh, and she Flash Steps all over the place.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Her life completely sucked. Her response was to kill the man responsible for ruining it. Given that she became an assassin afterwards, it seems that this wasn't enough for her and she's now making a living out of killing. By the end, it's little wonder she's perfectly fine with dying.
You're a disgrace to yourself and all those you've killed...
A mysterious man with an Irish accent that first runs into Travis when the latter is the 6th ranked assassin and the one who actually kills Letz Shake. He promises to meet Travis again and go into more detail next time. It turns out that he's Travis' long-lost twin and Sylvia's husband of ten years. Their battle is technically unresolved, but both brothers return in the sequel as playable characters.
All In The Manual: His last name was revealed as "Kuurudaun" on the japanese Desperate Struggle site.
Badass Longcoat: In the first game. Noticeably missing in Desperate Struggle.
Big Damn Heroes: Showing a small part of his Big Brother Instinct and perhaps as even more thanks for Travis' hospitality while he was recovering, Henry saves Travis from Pizza Batt, Jr.'s after the attempted Mind Screw. He then distracts some Attack Drones and later sits on the sidelines before leaving.
Duel Boss: With him being Travis's non-evil twin and fighting with the same weapon and style as him, this one's a given.
Dynamic Entry: How he takes out Letz Shake and his earthquake generator.
Former wrestler and Yakuza member who now runs a gym. There, Travis can train to become stronger, learn new moves, and get hit on by his mentor. He has a history with Speed Buster and is eventually killed in a duel with her, transforming into Travis' Spirit Advisor.
Engrish: Played with. While Thunder Ryu has Surprisingly Good English in cutscenes, his words in text (when you meet with him for training, for example) tends to be very insanely broken English.
Red Herring: The manual mentions some kind of dark secret of hers, even though she experiences no character developement and never leaves the lab. Not addressed in NMH 2, but still a possible Chekhov's Gun. The Japanese website states that she's actually 63—she apparently uses her science to make herself younger.
Tsundere: Though she's dismissive of Travis' Otaku lifestyle, she still flirts with him. Though that could be just to get him to buy more stuff (not that there's anyone else selling beam katanas nearby).
Welcome to Corneria: Where's that "new toy" you keep promising, Naomi? May refer to the Glastonbury introduced in the sequel. Of course, after you've bought everything available in the sequel, she refers to another unnamed new toy.
Zettai Ryouiki: Only noticeable in the sequel when she stands, but it is there (though only around a Grade B).
A drunk who hangs out in a bar down a side street, he'll offer to teach Travis extra moves if he can be presented with seven "Lovikov balls." Given that his training involves beating Travis up, he might be the fastest at putting someone through Training from Hell ever.
The owner of the video place near Travis' apartment, and also he's Travis' only friend. He only generally appears if you're far from your bike, as he's the one who drops it off when you call. He'll also rent new wrestling videos to Travis to teach new moves.