Not this trope exactly - actually a case of a sequel enriching its predecessor. I found very little to like in Kill Bill Vol. 1 and actually never intended to watch Vol. 2. I did anyway when it hit network TV, and I enjoyed it so much that I actually liked Vol. 1 better as a result. I see it this way, whether or not it's what Tarantino intended: Vol. 1 is a typically glorified Hollywood approach to violence, with over the top battles against legions of opponents and typically clean "boss" fights. Vol. 2 twists this around completely, rarely giving the Bride a straight stand-up fight, making the battles short and brutal, nearly killing the protagonist in a completely unceremonious manner, and making her final revenge bittersweet. - Tarsus
Word of God confirms, actually, so you can sleep well tonight knowing you got the point.
Note in Vol. 1 the Bride kills at least 92 people (assuming 88 Crazy 88's). In Vol. 2 she kills only 1 person.
There were a little less than 88 members of the Crazy 88 — one guy accounted for 82 members altogether, 67 of whom died — but pointing that out is probably Comically Missing the Point...
I found the comical revelation of the Bride's real name ( Beatrix Kiddo) to be entertaining enough, but to have no actual relevance to the plot. I mean, why bother concealing it in the first place? Later on it stuck me: throughout the films, Bill has always referred to the Bride as "Kiddo". Throughout the first movie, the entire audience no doubt assumed that it was merely an affectionate nickname. Instead he was addressing her formally, like a ranking officer speaking to a subordinate. Likewise, the silly "Trix are for kids" line between O-Ren and the Bride is a reference to her real name. Since they said it simultaneously, it was probably a running gag between them. To me this (and the fact that the Bride gives us a full origin story for O-Ren, something she does for no other character) suggests that they were once quite close. She also seems to have once gotten along well with Vernita Green, considering their mostly amicable conversation. Now I believe that Tarantino was implying that the Bride was stalking her targets by order of her closeness to them, possibly to get the hardest part of her task out of the way sooner. She was friends with O-Ren, seemed to like Vernita fine, was ambivalent about Budd, hated Elle, and of course blamed Bill for everything that had happened to her. - Elan
Orrrrr, the Bride went after O-Ren first because she felt most betrayed by her actions, being as they were friends. Although O-Ren was the only attacker not to speak the Bride during her beatdown at the wedding chapel, indicating that she was not happy to be doing what she was doing.
I think, considering the banter between the two, along with the the fact that the Bride seems on the verge of tears right before the finish of their duel, it's not unreasonable at all to assume she had mixed emotions about what was soon to come. "Suppress all human emotion and compassion," indeed.
Or it could be that she wants more revenge against the people she hates like Elle and Bill. She wants to not only kill them but also to make them sweat with the foreknowledge that she's coming to kill them.
I seem to recall that her list was by order of how easy it was to actually find each of them. O-Ren is the biggest crime lord in Japan, so tracking her down wouldn't be hard. Vernita and Budd were living relatively normal lives, and might have even been listed in the phone book. However, Elle and Bill would be much hard harder to find since they were still "active" in all that spy/assassin stuff.
She went to Okinawa first anyway to get her Hanzo sword, so it seems reasonable to get your Tokyo business taken care of while you're in Japan. Why fly across the Pacific and back another time for no good reason?
Taking out O-Ren first also allowed her to use Sophie — the only associate of Bill's who'd witnessed the wedding massacre without actually participating in the bloodshed, hence the only one Beatrix could leave alive — to carry her promise of vengeance to the others. And O-Ren probably had the most resources available to protect herself, if forewarned, so she's the one who had to be targeted first to deny her that chance to prepare.
Throughout both volumes of Kill Bill, every duel the Bride has with one of her major targets serves as a metaphor for her relationship with them prior to the wedding/rehersal massacre. O-Ren's battle is the most honorable, as the two had been close friends. Green's battle is "friendly", but on a more superficial level (accounting for the attempted cheap shot at the end). The battle with Budd is indifferent (to wit, she never actually speaks a single word to him). Elle's battle is the polar opposite of O-Ren's: no honor, no respect and no holds barred. Finally, the Bride's battle with Bill ends just like their relationship: premature, somewhat anti-climatic and with Bill's heart broken.
Also worth noting that that the Bride and Bill are the only two characters who choose to kill in single combat. The Bride (who describes herself as "better than Annie Oakley") has a chance to gun down each of her targets from a distance, but never uses a gun except with Bill, who knew she was coming. She attacks each of them in person and fights to the death. By contrast, each of them tries to kill her by any means available (hidden guns, bodyguards, ambush, while she's in a coma). Bill has at least one chance to shoot her, but instead fights her to the death. Interesting, because they are all explicitly assassins, but the two of them have enough of the warrior ethos to want to kill in combat, at least when it's personal.
Bride's dialogue during the Green sequence, especially in the kitchen, seems remarkably formal, especially compared to Green's rather foul-mouthed drawl. In fact, it sounds a lot like she's being dubbed from Japanese-oh. Ohhh. —Jonn
(Partly cribbed from the movie's page) O-Ren's little speech to the Yakuza seems a little odd at first. She's in a room with almost-exclusively Japanese speaking people, yet she starts by saying, "This is important, so I'm going to say it in English." There's two bits of Fridge Brilliance here: First, she's saying it in English not so they understand it, but to show dominance over them. Second, she's not just talking to the Yakuza bosses. She's talking to us. This is her Establishing Character Moment. She wants to make sure we're listening and watching her instead of the subtitles. - Mr Death
Not just that. For most people, English is the official business language. She was basically telling them this was Serious Business.
To expand, O-Ren is speaking to a bunch of powerful, old school Japanese xenophobes for being a 'half-breed'— addressing them in a foreign tongue. Does it get much more disrespectful?
At the chapel, the Bride and her fiance, when asked, say they don't have a favorite song. It wasn't until the third time I watched Kill Bill vol. 2 that it occurred to me how odd it was that a record store owner and his fiance (who also works at the store) don't have a favorite song. Then I realized that ties in to Bill's Clark Kent/Superman speech in the end—the Bride could pretend to be a record store employee, but in her heart she'd still be an assassin. - Devil's Advocate
Fridge without the Brilliance (on my part): Is there any significance to the prevalence of doubled letters in DVAS? Bill, Budd, Elle, Kiddo, Ishii, Green? (and of course, B.B., the double-luck of 88, etc.) I can't tell if I've found something, or if it's just a Fridge Coincidence. - Katherine
Interesting! And the known civilian aliases also had double letters—Jeannie Bell and Arlene Machiavelli. But the Bride's married name, Arlene Plympton, does not.
Adding to that! O-Ren's bodyguard, Gogo Yubari, doesn't have any repeated letters... from the Western alphabet. Her name has two repeated syllables from the Japanese hiragana alphabet, however - ごご. Hattori Hanzo's name counts in both instances - two T's in English and two あ's in the Japanese. Johnny Mo, another member of the Crazy 88, has two N's in his name. The Bride's attempted fiance, Tommy, has two M's. The owner of the bar where Budd works is Larry - two R's. The only people who don't fit the naming scheme are Pai Mei, Sofie Fatale, the McGraw policemen, Charlie Brown, Esteban and, well, Buck — though Buck owns the Pussy Wagon. Two S's. Something could be said for the double-letter characters having bad sides, perhaps, but that might be looking too far into it.
Then again, the majority of these people are assassins.
B.B.'s name- one might not think much of it at first, but her father is Bill and her mother is Beatrix.
In Kill Bill 2, when they were showing the full series of events, the preacher claims "Rufus is the man." When the Bride asks Bill how he found her, he said, "I'm the man." At first, I thought it was just a comment, until I saw it again recently, and it hit me. Bill just proved he's been hanging around from the beginning!
If Bill's Full name is Bill Gunn, and assuming she kept his name... Then that makes B.B.'s full name...
At the wedding rehearsal, Bill insists that he pay for everything. In the end, he does indeed pay for everything he's done.
Here's a little Fridge Horror for you. The Corrupt nurse Buck gets paid to allow a cop to rape the comatose Bride. The Bride has been comatose for four years.
Also a bit of Fridge Brilliance, albeit a tacky one: the reason the Bride's not catheterized when she wakes up is that Buck removed it in preparation for her rape.
At the meeting with the Yakuza leaders, O-Ren wears a black kimono similar to (if not) kurotomesode. In Japan, this kimono is the most formal attire worn by married women. Being a garment meant for married women, it has short sleeves. O-Ren's black kimono has long sleeves, which are worn by unmarried women. In a subtle way, O-Ren breaks traditional Japanese clothing conventions to show that she doesn't need to be married to have power.
Sofie Fatale also breaks convention (perhaps) for a similar purpose by wearing a male cheongsam. And since she has worn Chinese clothing on more than one occasion, it's possible that through this she's showing support for her part Chinese friend O-Ren.
The opening song of the first volume is "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" as sung by Nancy Sinatra. In the second volume, the bride is "shot bown" by her baby, who also shouts "Bang Bang!"
So... why does Budd bury The Bride alive instead of killing her on the spot? Hate? To make her suffer? No... he simply believes what he told his brother a couple of scenes earlier: "That woman deserves her revenge. And we deserve to die... But so does she". He fulfills everything in those sentences by "killing" her, but letting her take her revenge if she really wants it.
On that note, why would Budd lie to Bill about his sword? It makes sense when you realize that Budd was trying to lure Ellie out of hiding and was offering the Bride an even playing field.
Even though The Bride didn't kill Bud herself, it was still a Black Mamba that killed him.
I believe that's what Elle was actually going for. She saw herself as the Only One Allowed to Defeat the Bride, so naturally her favored outcome was the Black Mamba doing Budd in. Since she believed the Bride was dead, the only way that could happen was symbolically, so Elle made it happen.