The Killer 7 (left to right): KAEDE, Con, Dan, Garcian, Coyote, MASK and Kevin.
Harman: You're awake from your dream?
Kun Lan: Harman, the size of the world has changed. It's changed to the size where you can control it with your hands just like a PDA. The world will... keep getting smaller...
In an alternate timeline Twenty Minutes into the Future
, worldwide peace has finally been achieved after a total ban on nuclear weapons and researchnote
. The remaining warheads are fired into space, where they collide and destroy each other.
However, this peace was not to last, for a group of mysterious creatures known as "Heaven Smiles" soon appear. Led by the enigmatic Kun-Lan, they began to carry out a number of terrorist attacks across the world with no discernible purpose other than to create terror for the sake of terror.
To combat this supernatural threat, the American government call on the services of the Smith Syndicate, aka the Killer7
. Led by the elderly and wheelchair-bound Harman Smith, a man who carries a history with Kun-Lan, the Killer7 are a group of specialised assassins trained to deal with high-level threats to the stability of the United States of America. And with each mission completed, they slowly draw closer to the truth behind the Heaven Smiles and Kun-Lan.
While this plot summary appears clear and concise, it only scratches the surface of the story of Killer7
. As the Smiths keep getting called in to deal with each new threat from Kun Lan, a deep conspiracy with ties to the origins of both Killer7 and the Heaven Smiles comes to light, and dozens of twists and turns follow.
With that, we depart from the realm of sensibility. Killer7
can become an exceedingly confusing game, thanks to its multiple layers of metaphor and symbolism, its vignettes and non-sequiturs, and its tacked-on plot threads that don't come together until the ending. Themes of war, religion, personal conflict, and politics all weave into one gigantic Mind Screw
, wrapping around each other like the bondage straps around Iwazaru
In contrast to the Mind Screw
storyline, the developers uniquely streamlined the gameplay of Killer7
: a character moves along a set of predetermined paths, so all a player can do is choose forks and turn around. When attacked, players hold down a button to switch into first-person view and aim crosshairs manually (similar to Resident Evil 4
). The Heaven Smiles remain invisible until players use another button to scan for them; as they approach, players can see an obvious glowing spot upon them, and while shooting this spot results in their instant death, players will find it difficult to do so. Any enemy who gets in too close to the player will laugh at the player before exploding and causing damage. Death Is a Slap on the Wrist
most of the time — as Garcian can retrieve the severed heads of the other Smiths and revive them — but if Garcian himself dies, the game ends.
While players can practically count the polygons in the characters's faces, the game makes excellent use of shading and shadows to create a unique graphical style. Two levels also feature anime cutscenes, both done by different studios.Suda 51
(who went on to do No More Heroes
) created this game, and Capcom published it on the Gamecube and Playstation 2. In 2012, Suda began work on Killer is Dead
, a Spiritual Successor
In the name of Harman...
- Abstract Apotheosis: Each of the members of the original Killer7 represents an inversion of one of the traditional Japanese values. Each one also has a moment where the irony disappears and they display their corresponding value.
- KAEDE has a bloodstain, which signifies betrayal (like the Camellia Smiles), so she represents Loyalty. She is also able to sacrifice herself for her teammates.
- Dan, who kills for fun, represents Honor (which is why the Handsome Men, who are Japanese symbols, call him a bloody psychopath). Rather than killing Curtis Blackburn straight away, he agrees to a duel with him.
- Con, who is a teenage punk, represents Respect. He is shown to have an admiration for the Handsome Men.
- MASK, who has the power of a hero but still works as an assassin, represents Benevolence. Jean DePaul refers to MASK as a hero to children.
- Coyote, who is a thief, represents Honesty. Coyote suddenly reveals some of his past to Garcian in Cloudman.
- Kevin, who can run away from battles, represents Courage. Kevin is brave enough to perfect aim and always pull out another knife.
- Harman, who is brutal, represents Justice. He kills Kun Lan and Harman (the god) for the way they treated the rest of the cast.
- Action Bomb: The Heaven's Smile.
- Adult Fear: This scene (warning: NSFW) basically sums up a most horrifying scenario for any parent.
- Aerith and Bob: On the same team, there's KAEDE, Garcian... and Kevin.
- All There in the Manual: Hand In killer7, which actually makes the story even more complicated, though mostly because its based on an early version of the game's story, which had a few differences with the final version.
- Ambiguously Gay: Travis Bell, Harman's first hit. Appears in a variety of suggestive poses with flamboyant, sometimes innuendo-laden tank tops, usually in hot pink print ('Bad Girl', 'Sexual'). In a library area in the first level, he describes himself as 'the Chief's first catch', then describes his death like it were an orgasm: 'To be honest, that shit felt good'.
- Amnesiac Dissonance: Garcian Smith, aka Emir Parkreiner, in Target 05: Smile.
- You can only process a certain amount of Thick Blood per level, though that amount is usually high enough that you can make use of SOME grinding.
- Smile, Part 2 allows a lot more blood than other areas, though it's balanced out by only having a few Camellia Smiles, as well as Mithril Smiles and Broken Smiles, the latter being incredibly hard to get blood from, as regular, respawning enemies.
- Apocalyptic Log: Hulberts cassettes in Smile Part 2 are full of exposition, and predictably, end with him being killed by the very man he was researching.
- Arc Number: Seven, in many different ways. Not only are there seven assassins in the Smith syndicate, but also seven major targets to pursue and kill, seven rings to find and use, and the game's story is divided in seven chapters.
- Arc Words
- Art Shift: The animated cutscenes in Ulmeyda's and the Handsome Men's chapters are different from the game's art style, and from each other. Handsome Men looks like an anime, while Ulmeyda's looks more like a western animation studio.
- Awesome but Impractical: Mask De Smith is the strongest character in the game, and his grenade launchers can pretty much one-hit kill almost any enemy (except for certain bosses), and later mask upgrades can make him reload faster to not reload at all. Unfortunately, killing enemies as him will grant you little to no blood.
- Bad Ass: Many characters, especially Dan Smith.
- Badass Family / Badass Crew: The Smiths.
- Badass Grandpa: Harman Smith.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Dan and Garcian both wear tasteful suits when out killing. MASK also starts off with a flashy suit, but changes into a wrestler costume later.
- Badass Normal: Andrei Ulmeyda is able to hold off on becoming a Heaven Smile for a surprisingly long time, and when he does it's far from a mundane transformation.
- Bad Moon Rising: The moon shown at the beginning of every chapter starts turning red nearing the finale.
- Beat Them at Their Own Game: That's why they call Emir the Ace of Aces:
- Kevin, the master of disguise, was identified instantly and gunned down.
- Con, the blind gunman, was taken by suprise in his own room.
- Kaede, who finds hidden paths, could not hide from Emir.
- Coyote, who can get to hard to reach places, is out flanked.
- MASK, the superhero, was struck down when he was unmasked and most vulnerable - in the shower.
- Dan, hard boiled Badass, can't beat Emir in a one on one stand off. (Doesn't help that Emir's immortal)
- BFG: Harman's rifle. He calls it the "God Killer", and it's supposed to be an anti-tank gun.
- Big "NO!": One of the the most horrifying examples, ever, courtesy of one Curtis Blackburn.
- Book Ends:
- Harman confronting Kun Lan atop a tall building; Suda 51 has identified this as representing the futile nature of war.
- A minor one in Cloudman. "The name's Andrei Ulmeyda." Crowning Moment of Funny the first time, Tear Jerker the second time.
- Boring but Practical: Kevin Smith's knives aren't the most exciting weapons to use, but using em draws more blood from your enemies.
- Button Mashing: How you revive dead Smiths. The more stamina the higher the bar you have to fill (Try not to die as Harman).
- Call Back: This scene from "Alter Ego" is notorious for not making sense, even in the game's context... unless you've played Moonlight Syndrome, a previous Suda 51 game which has never been officially released outside of Japan.
- Calling Your Attacks:
- HANDSOME WINK!
- Dan calls his "Collateral Shot" Charged Attack every time he uses it.
- Carnival of Killers: Downplayed, since it's revealed near the end of the game that the seven Smith assassins are the one and same.
- Chasing Your Tail: Fighting the Ceramic Smile.
- Catch Phrase: Everyone has a special one for when you hit an enemy in its One-Hit Kill spot, when you deliver a counter attack and when you kill a nearby enemy when he's crawling towards you.
- Cel Shading: The game uses a style that focus on shadows and silhouettes, providing the vibe of a noir movie.
- Chekhov's Gun: The screaming in Garcian's Trailerhouse. Turns out there's a Smile living under it.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Emir to a staggering degree.
- The Chessmaster: Kun Lan and Harman, since many events in the game (including the creation of the Smith syndicate, much to Garcian's surprise and dismay) were set in motion by them.
- China Takes Over the World: The ending implies that by the 22nd century, China has succeeded the USA as the world's dominant superpower.
- Cosmic Chess Game: The Smiths' different abilities and personalities are metaphors to the pieces of chess. This also explains why most problems in the game must be solved with intellectual skill instead of brute force.
- Cosplay Otaku Girl: Ayame Blackburn.
- Creepy Child: Kess and Susie. Susie especially—not only because she's a head, but because holy crap she's murdered a lot of people!
- Dark Messiah: Ulmeyda. But he's actually not that bad a guy.
- Daylight Horror: And the bright lighting emphasizes the bizarre, cel-shaded, technicolor palette, making the world around you only look that much more alien and hostile.
- Dead All Along
- Dead Man's Chest
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Dying as Dan, Kaede, Kevin, Coyote, Con or Mask simply transports you back to the last Harman's Room you visited. You can then switch to Garcian and make your way back to the place where the persona got killed, retrieve it, get transported back to Harman's Room and resurrect it by repeatedly pressing X. You even get to keep all the blood you've collected. However, this means playing through the same stretch of level at least three times: 1) the original run before dying, 2) as Garcian up to the spot where you died, 3) a third run with the restored persona. And if Garcian himself dies, it's a definitive Game Over.
- Decoy Protagonist: The Smith's aren't Harman's split personalities. They're Garcian's.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Essentially the entire point of the game: the whole game revolves around the conflict between American/Western and Japanese/Eastern values.
- Door to Before: Many.
- Downer Ending: No matter which option the player takes in the game's Sadistic Choice, it's a pretty unhappy ending, and it is implied that the entire process will begin again in another century.
- Duel Boss:
- Curtis insists upon a fair duel with Dan.
- Happens again with the Killer7 taking on the Handsome Men, one by one.
- In "Sunset Part 1" you face off against another assassin who stole your kill and the boss fight simply consists of you two pointing your weapons at each other and firing as fast as possible.
- Earn Your Title: Garcian is The Cleaner, he retrieves dead bodies and brings them back to life; Dan is the Hellion, because of how reckless and violent he is; KAEDE is named Barefoot, because she never wears shoes, and so on.
- Easter Egg: Hopper7, where the regular Smiles become HopperMen. Only the first level is available and all the enemies die in one hit.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: One of the boss fights consists of two elderly Japanese gentlemen who had their heads blown open. You have to blow their brains out, literally, to kill them...again.
- Evil Albino: Kun Lan; Kevin Smith.
- Evil Laugh: Heaven Smiles.
- Expressive Shirt: Travis has several.
- False Roulette: Benjamin Keane thinks he's won at Russian Roulette. Contender Garcian pulls the trigger on him a 6th time. It goes click. "This gun holds seven bullets".
- Fan Disservice: Samantha has one (thankfully not graphic) sex scene. It's with Harman. In his wheelchair. While he's near-comatose.
- Final Speech: Subverted; Dan kills Curtis partway through his.
Dan: Trying to die in style? Give me a break, you sick old man!
- First-Person Ghost: For some reason, the animated cutscenes in "Cloudman" work this way, with characters addressing the camera as if it were the Killer 7 (but sometimes the camera shifts and the person is talking away from you, so…who knows?) The Killer 7's dialogue is also unheard here too.
- For Massive Damage: Every Heaven's Smile has a glowing weak spot that instantly kills it. This is the easiest way to gather Thick Blood, which is needed for character advancement.
- For the Evulz: The Heaven's Smiles aren't trying to change anything - they just want to cause havoc.
- The Four Gods: At one point you have to match them to their directions.
- Friendly Enemy: Harman and Kun Lan play a lot of chess.
- Fragile Speedster: Con.
- Gainax Ending: HOO BOY. For extra Gainax points, it even has the protagonist undergo a tearful breakdown at the end.
- Gambit Roulette: The entire game, as revealed in the supplementary material, Jacob's Report. An FBI agent who lost his family to the Heaven Smiles uses a machine that predicts the future to predict the Last Smile. As the probability of the predictions happening increases with each one that comes true, he sets the events of each mission in motion. It should be noted though that much of the supplementary material outright contradicts the game - it's based on an early version of the story.
- Gangsta Style: Con does so while Dual Wielding, but Coyote has an especially bad case - he does not merely hold his gun sideways, but DIAGONALLY OVER HIS HEAD. He also has serious kickback and is one of the most difficult characters to aim with.
- Genre-Busting: Both the story and gameplay are nearly impossible to neatly categorize. In terms of gameplay, the limited movement, fixed camera angles, and light Adventure Game elements suggest a Survival Horror game (not surprising, seeing as it was produced by Shinji Mikami), while the combat resembles a Rail Shooter and the powerup system is more reminiscent of a traditional action game with RPG Elements. The plot, meanwhile, plays out like a bizarre lovechild of Hideo Kojima, David Lynch, and Quentin Tarantino.
- A God Am I: Kun Lan and Trevor Pearlharbor both have shades of this.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Harman and Kun Lan..
- Go Out with a Smile: The Heaven's Smiles don't seem to care whether or not they ever reach their target.
- Most of the deceased characters you meet don't hold grudges, even when talking to the one who made them deceased in the first place. So, really, it's after they go out. Susie seems to be the exception.
- Well it is Susie...
- Gratuitous English: The phrase "Change the Wold" is written on a chalkboard at Coburn Elementary.
- Guns Akimbo: Con and Mask (technically Grenade Launchers Akimbo for Mask).
- Handguns: what most of the characters are armed with.
- Have a Nice Death: Your player character's head rolls over, opens its mouth and bellows a bloody Kanji.
- Heal Thyself: Using the blood of their enemies, no less.
- High-Pressure Blood: KAEDE, Andrei Ulmeyda.
- Hints Are For Losers: You don't want the expanded hints. Trust us.
- If you want them, it will cost you precious blood. And Yoon-Hyun will explicitly call you a loser. While flipping you off with both hands at once.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Dan finishes Curtis off by activating the machinery in the room they fought in— Curtis is subsequently cleaned and hung up to dry.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Ulmeyda.
- In Medias Res: Target 00: Angel pretty much throws you straight into the game without a single bit of exposition. Additionally, the screen summing up the objective of it indicates it's the thirty-third job undertaken by the Smiths.
- In the Name of the Moon: "Ayame Blackburn, Survive!"
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: In the end, it's incredibly easy to miss the connections.
- Karmic Death: Oh boy.
- Dan can talk, but can't back it up. In death, he has the strength to back it up.
- Coyote is outwitted by Emir. In death, he has the ingenuity that could have saved his life.
- KAEDE tried to save herself by placing a barrier between her and Emir. In death, she can commit suicide in order to break barriers.
- Con could not hear Emir coming nor could he escape. In death, he gains super hearing and super speed.
- MASK presents the image of an invulnerable superhero with his mask, but is killed effortlessly whilst not wearing it. In death, his mask grants him incredible powers, making him the strongest of the group.
- Kevin's lackluster disguise fails to prevent Emir from detecting him. In death, he gains the ultimate means to avoid detection.
- Last but not least, Garcian (Emir) kills the others, and then commits suicide out of guilt. In death, he can revive the other personas.
- Less ambiguously, several targets including Curtis being killed by his own organ harvesting machines, and Trevor Pearlharbor having a hole blown through him by Handsome Black's Handsome Wink.
- Kick Chick: Kaede's counterattacks, despite her status as Barefoot.
- Knife Nut: Kevin Smith.
- Laughing Mad: Heaven Smiles, of course.
- Let's Play: By Chip Cheezum and General Ironicus, seen here. Ironicus's thoughts on the ending: "Nothing has anything to do with anything."
- Limited Wardrobe: Harman only ever wears Jesuit priest clothes, Garcian a white suit, and Kevin nothing but sunglasses and chinos. MASK changes his clothes exactly three times in the game, and in each case it's a plot point; on the other hand, before finding the blue mask, he wears a different mask in each level. In contrast, Dan, KAEDE, Coyote, and Con wear different clothes in each level, albeit always of the same style.
- Locked Door: And Coyote's a thief; do the math.
- Coyote's lockpicking skills are so great that he can pick a padlock by just casually manhandling it with one hand.
- Losing Your Head: Susie Summers.
- Lunacy: There're some disturbing shots of the moon quivering and pulsating to an ominous soundtrack whenever a chapter starts or a file is loaded. Plus, it starts turning red nearing the game's finale. While the moon inserts are never formally addressed, they form a sort of analogy with the Laughing Mad Heaven Smiles.
- Soul Shells, which are required to advance to the next stage. The exceptions are the chapters Cloudman and Alter Ego, which require collection of Odd Engravings and Color Samples respectively.
- The Yakumo.
- Magical Girl: Ayame Blackburn is an homage to the genre.
- The Magnificent Seven Samurai
- Mask Power:
- MASK de Smith, pro wrestling god, who even powers up by finding new masks.
- Another example: Ayame Blackburn, who wears a kigurumi mask with exaggerated anime-style facial features.
- Meaningful Name: The surname "Smith" is related to a word meaning "to hit". In Video Game/Killer7, the Smiths are assassins, i.e., "hitmen".
- Metal Slime: Camilla and Mini Smiles.
- Mercy Kill: Ulmeyda specifically hired you to kill him when he becomes a Smile.
- Mexican Standoff: Subverted; it looks like one, but then everyone opens fire.
- Mighty Glacier: MASK de Smith.
- Milkman Conspiracy: The United States government is controlled by Japan through a Seattle elementary school... really.
- Mind Screw: One of the most infamous examples to people who've played it, up there with the likes of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Imagine walking in a straight line for hours with four people talking at you about completely different things. Cryptically. And every five minutes, you have to stop and think really hard about the first thing you see. When you've finally finished that, you discover that 50% of what you just did was All Just a Dream, yet 75% was real.
- The Mole: Toru Fukushima has two: his secretary Julia Kisugi and apprentice chef Jean Depaul. Also, one of the theories spawned from the Last Shot Smile is that Iwazaru is one for the killer7.
- Mook Maker: Mother Smiles, Duplicator Smiles, and Greg Nightmare.
- Motif: Masks appear all over the game, tying in with the theme of deception.
- Mr. Exposition: Travis and Iwazaru, but only the former is trustworthy.
- Not So Stoic: Garcian has a difficult time coping with the final reveal.
- Off Like a Shot: Con's speed-up power.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Remnant Psyches, including Iwazaru and his puppet-like appearance.
- Out of Focus: After Chapter 2, main villains Kun Lan and Matsuoka (along with the whole main plot of the game) just kind of take a back seat all the way until Chapter 6.
- Palette Swap: In the battle against the Handsome Men, each Handsome is a recoloured version of one of the Smiths. This is probably symbolic.
- Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame: The end of several cutscenes.
- Pop Quiz:
- On the way to Ulmeyda's lair.
- Another, much harder one is required to get into the gym in the Smile chapter.
- Post Final Boss: Emir Parkreiner and the Last Shot Smile.
- Power of the God Hand: Kun Lan's power is referred to as the God Hand. What exactly that is is not entirely explained. He does manage to catch a bullet and use its momentum to carry him away at the end of the first chapter, though.
- The Psycho Rangers: The Handsome Men, a Super Sentai parody.
- Rain of Blood:
- Ulmeyda gives one off when he transforms into a Heaven's Smile. His blood is so full of diseases that it kills everyone present except his followers (who regularly partake of his blood) and the Smiths (who are Dead to Begin With).
- KAEDE's special ability is this, and becomes important to solve puzzles.
- The Reveal: Many in the final chapters: Garcian is actually Emir Parkreiner, who killed all the Smiths which resulted in his (not Harman's) split personalities, who really can't be manifested in real life as shown by their weapons being carried in his suitcase.
- Rule of Cool: Loaded with it. Any time one of the nonsensical and yet awesome facets of this game makes you ask "Why?", this is usually the answer.
- Rule of Seven: Harman's seven personalities, hence the name of the syndicate. The game is also divided into seven chapters.
- Rule of Symbolism: The game has several examples of this. From The Yakumo references in the early chapters, to the whole plot being subtly developed as a Cosmic Chess Game, to allusions to World War II, to the flag capture allusion in the last chapter, etc.
- Russian Roulette: "This gun holds seven bullets."
- Sadistic Choice: Presented to the player at the end of the game: kill Matsuoka, and the US will nuke Japan off the face of the planet; spare him, and Japan will attack the US, triggering World War III.
- Secret Character (Young Harman)
- Some of Travis's T-shirts are references to Tyler Durden's in Fight Club. Appropriate, given Travis's relationship to the protagonist and the Trick Twist of the game.
- The manager of the Union Hotel is apparently Edo McAllister from Flower, Sun and Rain, another Suda51 game.
- Some of Dan's suits look like Spike Spiegel's and Lupin's.
- The pulsating moon in the loading screens is a reference to Moonlight Syndrome. The little boy who appears in the church is also a reference to the game.
Old Harman: Tricks are for kids, Kun. I'm an old man...
- At one point, Suzie references Daddy-Long-Legs.
- In Target 0, How Soon is Now is written in blood on a wall. This is the name of a popular single by the band The Smiths. One of the pigeon letters is titled Meat is Murder as well, the title of an album by The Smiths which contained the song How Soon is Now on international versions of the album.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism:
Kun Lan: Harman, the world won't change. All it does is turn.
- Signature Laugh: The Smiles' laugh differently pending on their actions (hiding nearby, getting shot, blowing up...).
- Silent Bob: Kevin Smith.
- Smart People Play Chess: Harman Smith and Kun Lan play chess while not engaging in their neverending conflict.
- Sociopathic Hero: Dan Smith.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: "Greensleeves" over a murder scene, loud (and awesome) techno as you're walking down a completely ordinary hall; it goes on.
- Solve the Soup Cans: Several instances when it comes to searching for the shells that give access to the boss rooms.
- Speaking Simlish: Subverted with the Remnant Psyches. At first, it sounds like they're talking in distorted gibberish, but in the original Japanese it's instead various Synthetic Voice Actors speaking in Gratuitous English (as heard here,) and the overseas releases just slapped some extra filters over their voices to make them sound more garbled.
- Split Personality: The Smiths; it's on the box cover. But when it comes to whose personality they split from, Covers Always Lie. Samantha also counts to an extent, switching between Meido and Alpha Bitch depending on whether or not the lights are on. At least until the last chapter, when she is raped by Harman and/or dies, fully becoming his servant. To make matters even crazier about the history of the Smiths, the supplementary material makes it clear they were dead when Emir killed them, and Harman had been using them as split personalities as the Killer7 syndicate. So, they've been killed at least twice, can apparently manifest themselves seperately from one another, can be endlessly resurrected by Garcian/Emir. Supplementary material calls this Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon, rather than Multiple Personality Syndrome.
- Spy Speak: Used by Cristopher Mills, in fear of wire tapping.
- Surreal Horror: Many parts of the game.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The Steward, who replaces Samantha after she is killed by Harman.
- Terrorists Without a Cause: The Heaven's Smiles, identified by a narrator as "terrorism for the sole purpose of causing terror".
- This Is Gonna Suck: Dan's intro has him muttering this trope after he blows the head off a Heaven Smile and realizes that their intel was wrong.
: Ah Shit! There's more than 14 of 'em. (spits) Those bastards are breeding.
- Tomato in the Mirror: All the Smiths, with the exception of Harman, are actually Garcian's split personalities.
- Trailers Always Lie:
- This trailer, from way back in 2003, is particularly interesting as virtually none of the dialogue or cutscenes in it appear in the game itself.
- An article in a gaming magazine prior to the game's release stated that the characters would each have different abilities than what made it into the game:
- KAEDE was supposed to be able to kill the Smiles by raining blood down on them, like she does with the barriers. It was supposedly because she had some kind of toxin in her system.
- Coyote was supposed to be able to preform a roundhouse kick, that would clear a room full of Smiles.
- Unorthodox Reload: Con bounces empty magazines off his knees and slaps new ones in with his feet. Garcian and MASK appear to manifest new magazines/rounds from their hips. Dan and Coyote seem to use speedloaders, which is fine—except Coyote's spent casings pop right out of their own volitionnote . And instead of slapping them in like the boys, KAEDE slides her magazines into place like a good sniper—but she also fumbles with them.
- Then you get Dan and MASK's upgrades, and new rounds seem to appear as soon as the spent casings are ejected.
- Vicious Cycle: No matter who wins each time, Harman and Kun Lan begin the game again in a hundred years. Worse still, their condescending attitude towards Harman Smith and refusal to acknowledge Garcian or the Angel implies that it's not even vicious for them - they just get bored every few hundred years and decide to play with humanity.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Kurahashi and Akiba are quite a bit harder to deal with than Angel.
- The Walrus Was Paul: Many believe the entirety of the game's plot to be an extreme example of this.
- Warm-Up Boss: Angel.
- Wasted Song: "Geopolitics", the theme that plays when the player transitions between locations, is about a minute long, but the player is lucky to hear more than 10 seconds of it (and it's mostly covered up by sound effects.)
- Wave Motion Gun: "Collateral shot!"
- Weaponized Offspring: Mother Smiles lay eggs that roll towards the player. They hatch if they get close to the player, or if they're shot, turning into a vanilla Action Bomb Heaven Smile.
- Weird Moon: At the beginning of every chapter (or while loading a save file) the moon is shown pulsing and shaking to an ominous soundtrack. It also starts turning red near the game's finale.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Smile, Part 1 pulls this at the end. The whole level has various characters building up this chapter as the big climactic finish, and when you finally get to the end of the stage, instead of finding the person you were looking for, you instead find two shadowy figures ( Young Harman and Dmitri Nightmare) who just dismissively tell you he's not here and you should go somewhere else.
"You're awake from your nightmare."
"Harman. The world won't change. All it does is turn. Now, let's dance."