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Video Game: Killer Is Dead
Yep, that's Suda51 all over.

Killer is Dead is an Action Game directed by the Cult Classic video game creator Suda 51, of Killer7, No More Heroes and Lollipop Chainsaw fame. The game was released in Japan by Kadokawa Games on August 1, 2013 while XSEED Games released an English version in North America on August 27, 2013.

Set Twenty Minutes into the Future, the game follows 35-year-old Badass in a Nice Suit Mondo Zappa: a professional "executioner" commissioned to kill supernatural criminals with his trusty katana and cybernetic swiss-army-arm. As the lead operative of the Bryan Execution Firm, Mondo embarks on a psychedelic story of seduction, revenge and lunacy.

This game has examples of:

  • Action Bomb: The Red Eyes if damaged enough with melee attacks.
  • Alice Allusion: The first "real" execution mission is to eliminate a girl named Alice, who is dressed like the character and whose house is full of allusions to Wonderland.
  • All There in the Manual: Suda revealed the origins of Mondo Zappa's mechanical arm in an interview, and has stated that it won't be revealed in the game proper.
  • Arc Number: It's a Suda 51 game, so the number "51" makes its obligatory appearance: one stage takes Mondo to "Area 151", and the DLC level is labeled "Episode 51".
  • Armor Is Useless: Played straight with Mondo and some of the bosses but averted with the Wires as their armor actually helps protect them from Mondo's lethal Adrenaline Bursts.
  • Artificial Limbs: Mondo's Musselback is the first and most obvious, but befitting his role as a Retired Badass, Bryan's got both an arm and a leg.
  • Author Appeal: An oddly shaded assassin using a katana with heavy emphasis on the moon as a symbol? That's Suda 51, all right.
  • Awesome McCoolname: MONDO ZAPPA
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: Bryan Roses, head of the assassin agency.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Suda intentionally made Mondo's appearance to look "so frail you question whether he can actually kill anyone".
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Naturally, being a Suda 51 game.
    • "I guess I am the main character of this game."
  • Bishonen Line: David, in the last boss fight.
  • The Cameo: Juliet Starling, hiding in a barrel for some reason in the Limited Edition DLC.
  • Camera Abuse: Blood splatters on the camera twice in the trailer.
  • Casual Lunar Travel: Lunar tourism is a reality in this game.
  • Cel Shading: Much like Killer7.
  • Character Tic: Mondo slicking back his hair, even though it doesn't seem to do much.
  • Charged Attack: A few:
    • With no upgrades, holding down the attack button will make Mondo charge up for a Spin Attack. Upgrades will increase the number and speed of spins and add a finisher where Mondo leaps into the air and slams the ground with his katana, causing a huge shockwave that greatly damages any enemy near him.
    • One of the Musselback's optional alternate modes is the Charge Cannon, which is a much more powerful, chargeable blaster.
    • An optional upgrade for the Musselback is a charge punch, which will break a guard in one hit.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Kind of. Throughout the game, the various beauties that Mondo has a Gigolo mission available for will call him in the middle of missions to remind him to go see them. Played with in the sense that the Gigolo missions are entirely optional. It doesn't make it any less irritating though, when the same beauty can call you three times in one episode, sometimes even with the same quote!
  • Counter Attack: Dodge Burst, Counter Smash, and Counter Shot. Counter Smash works after doing a Just Guard (pressing block when a Wire flashes red) and pressing the button prompt that appears (Y on 360/Triangle on PS3). The Counter Shot works by doing a Dodge Burst on gun wielding Wires. The last two counters you have to buy with your upgrade points.
  • The Corruption: Dark Matter
  • CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): Redeeming a Mika Ticket summons Mika to pound on Mondo's chest, kickstarting his heart.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than Suda 51's previous game, Lollipop Chainsaw.
  • Downer Ending: After spending the entire game fighting off the corruption within his arm, Mondo is corrupted at the last second by David's blood and becomes evil. The ending shows what seems to be his profile from the back repairing David's wrecked mansion with immense dark powers, both arms restored.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Most of the Execution Targets that have been "gifted" with Dark Matter.
  • Elite Mooks: First, you have your basic, unarmored Wires. Next, you have your gold-armored ones that can take more damage. Afterwards, there are the hardier and more vicious enemies that wear headdresses. Finally, there are the Wires that are protected by a high-class alloy who can only be killed via Adrenaline Burst decapitations.
  • Fingersnap Lighter: One of the many uses of Mondo's artificial arm.
  • Finishing Move: Lots of them. The aforementioned Counter Shot always kills any Wire in a single hit as it's an automatic head shot and Adrenaline Burst can be use to instantly kill any non-protected enemy and is often used to finish off stronger ones when you damage them enough. There's also Judgement, which becomes available when you kill an enemy with maximum sword level and allows you to pick which type of Power-Up they drop afterwards, with a different animation for each one that also varies depending on enemy size.
  • Gainax Ending: As per Suda norm.
  • Gatling Good:
    • Mondo can transform his left arm into a fast and deadly-powerful machine gun.
    • Bryan can link up with his Bryan Turret to form a gatling gun that the player can control. It's considered the ultimate execution weapon.
  • Guide Dang It: Some of the additional mission bonuses required for high ranks are extremely vague in their description, and their name is the only form of ingame help you'll get.
  • Handsome Lech: Mondo during Gigolo Mode.
  • Hot Coffee Minigame: The Gigolo Missions.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: A major plot point is how killing Wires and Execution Targets releases varying quantities of Dark Matter. Most of it is sent to the Moon but a good quantity of it engulfs the general area, possibly infecting everyone therein if they aren't adequately shielded. Large levels of infection result in the afflicted gradually turning into Wires, gaining vast physical enhancements, but ultimately robbing them of their humanity.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Mondo doesn't actually remember getting his cybernetic arm. He also doesn't remember Takeru that well.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Or rather, Mondo, I am your brother.
  • Magical Realism: An excellent example, demonstrating all the hallmarks the genre has in other media. The world is populated by various supernatural effects from mad science to aliens that mystify some but are treated casually by most others. The magic provides the setting for the physical and emotional conflict but is in itself merely a part of the natural world. Therefore, the nature and details of the magic are mostly assumed as background and mood without interrupting the story.
    • One instance occurs at the end of the mission with the giant that somehow "stole the world", even though the level takes place in America, on Earth. At the end of the level, Mondo actually finds a scaled down but otherwise perfect and realistic replica of Earth. Aliens arrive and also "steal Earth", leaving behind a similar model of the sun instead. Even though it's patently impossible, the implication is that those globes were the actual Sun and Earth. The world Mondo is on is completely unaffected and everyone seems to accept what just happened at face value without caring much, but all the characters have a sense that there has been an immense change or paradigm shift (the story is shifting into the endgame at this point, and Wham Episodes are imminent) as if the Earth has been shaken, figuratively speaking. Yes, this is perfectly exemplary of Magical Realism.
  • Meaningful Name: Maybe. Mondo Zappa is Italian for "world" and "hoe." His last name is a Shout-Out to Frank Zappa, as Suda confirms here.
  • Mood Whiplash: The second trailer features a dying assassin having one last drink with Bryan before cutting to the Execution Agency having to contend with a grotesque and goofy alien invasion.
  • Mook Maker: Alice and the Dark Eyes.
  • Morality Pet: In the second trailer, it's said that due to all the darkness an executioner encounters in his profession, this is a must if one is not to be consumed by it.
  • More Dakka: Both Bryan and Vivienne can occasionally provide support for Mondo, and both of them provide it using this trope in different ways:
    • Bryan uses his Bryan Turret, which links up to his mechanical arm for a Gatling Good turret.
    • Vivienne provides cover fire with her pistols. 16 of them.
  • Mundane Utility: Bryan lights a cigar with his cybernetic arm.
  • Musical Assassin: Victor desires to accumulate enough of the world's sound to destroy the Earth itself and battles you using weaponized static.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Vivian sprouts 7 pairs of additional, natural looking, arms, each holding a handgun.
  • My Death Is Only The Beginning: Before he's killed, Victor tries to nail Mondo with a powerful beam of evil energy only to hit the moon instead, corrupting the satellite.
  • Naughty Nurse Outfit: Scarlett, who also rides a giant syringe
  • One-Winged Angel: Both David and Mondo undergo transformations during their final battle. After beating this form of David, both he and Mondo assume their human forms.
  • Osama bin Laden: Mondo was one of the assassin's responsible for the killing of his world's Osama Bin Laden. The resulting evil energy released from killing him infected Mondo's teammates and his arm, resulting in his need to have it altered into a bionic one.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Wires are mindless beasts that either come from or were infected by the Moon.
  • Power Limiter: The upgrades for Mondo's katana, Gekkou, involve removing these: the more limiters are removed, the higher the katana's power will increase with higher combos and the less hits it takes to reach lower power levels. In gameplay terms, this translates to more damage and more elaborate combos, with lv4 adding glowing blue Sword Lines to all of Mondo's strikes and lv5 changing most of his attacks to elaborate flips.
  • Recurring Riff: Snippets of Dvorak's New World Symphony appear often throughout the game's soundtrack, including (but not limited to) the music box in Alice's house, the BGM for Episode 8, and most obviously the final battle with David. Very apt, considering a recording of New World Symphony was one of the items taken to the moon by Neil Armstrong during the first moon landing.
  • Relax-o-Vision: This happens when Bryan gets hit by the TM-551 train.
  • Retired Badass: Bryan has retired from carrying out executions in the field, but still runs the agency (and will occasionally help Mondo out).
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: When he's wearing them, Mondo's glasses are almost always reflective to the point of looking opaque.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Moon is a giant repository of the Earth's evil energy that is only kept in check by several massive blood gems.
  • Serial-Killer Killer: An assassination agency (state-sponsored, mind you) that only targets killers, hence the name of the game.
  • Shout-Out: When confronting Hamada-Yama, Mondo tells him that he became an executioner because he woke up one day with a mechanical arm. Hamada responds that it's a good thing he didn't become a poisonous insect.
    • The vampire Sebastian from the DLC mission turns into a demon that greatly resembles Dracula's final form from Castlevania: Bloodlines, with the main difference being that his torso consists of an entire face instead of just the crotch-mouth and he has an additional pair of wings.
    • One of Scarlett's hiding spots in Mission 7 which takes place in Japan is inside a glowing stalk of bamboo admidst a field of them, much like Princess Kaguya in the old Japanese story Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.
    • In Episode 11, the Russian Ministry of Defense requests that the crew execute a dark matter-tainted steam engine nicknamed "Tommy".
    • Mondo has an epic one on one duel with David on the moon, with Dvorak's 9th blaring in the background. Y'know, that sounds awfully familiar..
  • Spiritual Successor: Builds on some of the ideas and themes of many of Suda 51's earlier works, despite sharing no continuity with them:
    • First and foremost, the art style, many themes, and quirky state-sponsored assassination squad is reminiscent of Killer7. Many shots of the moon are also reminiscent of the loading screen in the game.
    • The Hack and Slash gameplay, however, is largely similar to No More Heroes, down to the system with one button to attack, another to break guards, and general Katanas Are Just Better attitude.
    • Finally, Mondo's left arm works very similar to Johnson in Shadows Of The Damned.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: David's gold eyes, in contrast to Mondo's red eyes.
  • Swiss Army Appendage: Mondo's left arm is cybernetically enhanced, and can be changed and upgraded to suit your fighting style.
  • This Is a Drill: One of the weapons Mondo's left arm can be transformed into.
  • Title Drop: Whenever completing a mission, Mondo says "Killer is dead," as the goal of every mission is, well, making various killers dead.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future
  • Unicorn: One appears throughout the game. Its name is Takeru. He claims Mondo is his master.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Becoming a Wire makes you pretty powerful, ditto if you were pretty strong before you got turned into one. However, the evil energy will corrupt you, robbing you of almost all sense and empathy.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Downed Samurai Wires will immediately strike you if you attack them.
Liberation MaidenCreator/Suda 51 Let It Die
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