- Alternate Character Interpretation:
- Many characters of No More Heroes, and especially Travis, have an even greater mixed reaction spectrum than what you can find in a 51 ingredient mixed salad. Most of the cast (i.e. the enemy Assassins) get limited screen time and backstory, leading the viewer to fill in the gaps or to interpret their actions.
- Reactions to Travis range from "I WANNA BE THE GUY WHO KILLS PEOPLE FOR ANIME" to "what a loser", with plenty of variations in between. Some claim that he's an outright psychopath who mows down anyone for cash while espousing To Be a Master, while others state that he's just some lost fool like any other person on the planet, only armed with a lightsaber bought off eBay and put between a rock and a hard place before he realizes what he got himself into. Some claim he didn't learn anything from his climb up the ranks in No More Heroes, while others say that he did. It's not easy to pinpoint a clear consensus here.
- Anvilicious: The sequel is decidedly less subtle about its message against violence in the name of entertainment, especially the glorification of revenge. Then again, the original game's message flew over many gamers' heads.
- Awesome Music:
- With an equally awesome name, Mach 13 Elephant Explosion.
- A redeeming feature of Shinobu's ranked battle is that her 10-minute epic of a theme-tune, Season of Samurai, is indeed 10 minutes of sheer, unadulterated awesome.
- "We Are Finally Cowboys", the music for the first game's boss battle against Henry.
- Dr. Peace's theme Steel Python. The song he sings counts as well.
- Jeane's theme: Rocket Surgeon.
- The real ending theme just might be the crowner.
- Best Boss Ever: Henry is a Duel Boss with an outrageous amount of health on Bitter who is extremely deft with a blade and has what is perhaps the most awesome One-Hit Kill Meteor Move ever. And to top it off, the stellar Boss Remix known as "We Are Finally Cowboys" is blaring in the background. He's also the pinnacle of "Real Difficulty" in the game. Your standard dodge-and-counter tactics will work, but it will take forever. His attacks are telegraphed just enough to be fair, depending on how much damage they do. He can be dizzied, but it takes a suitably large number of consecutive hits to do it, but he also offers very small windows for guard breaks. And of course, he can take close to a thousand hits, not counting any wrestling moves you land on him. A Marathon Boss if there ever was one.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Travis' dream on the train to the Rank 4 fight, based on his favorite Bullet Hell game.
- Breather Level: The Letz Shake stage is merely a long corridor filled with easy-to-dispatch enemies. And there's no boss.
- Breather Boss: Destroyman, despite being a fan favorite, is a fairly easy boss to take care of and his stage is nothing special either. And it comes right in between Shinobu and Holly, who are considered two of the harder bosses in the game.
- Broken Base: Santa Destroy being almost deserted and there being nothing to do in it besides drive between the motel, sidequests and missions, and pick up money, cards, and Lovikov Balls. Some claim that it's a deliberate Take That! to Wide Open Sandbox games that are only sandboxes to hop on the current gaming trend, while some counter that defenders that pulling a Deliberate Flaw Retcon, or that even if it is deliberate, it's still problem because it adds needless filler to the core gameplay loop. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle removing the sandbox entirely was even more contentious even among detractors of the original sandbox, some liking that they just cut it out entirely, and some feeling that they took the lazy way out instead of putting more things to do in it.
- Crosses the Line Twice: Jeane's backstory. It contains many details that would have raised the game's rating to AO had it not been intentionally sped up.
- Demonic Spiders: While Goddamned Bats under normal circumstances, gun Mooks become this in Free Fight challenges. Not only do they attack you from long-range, they're really difficult to draw away from other enemies that might attempt to get a cheap shot in on you. Handgun mooks in particular will try to run away from you as soon as you close in on them.
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Some argue that Travis isn't portrayed as enough of a loser for the message about him and the league of assassins in general to actually land.
- Ensemble Dark Horse:
- Mister Sir Henry Motherfucker himself is a parody of this trope. It still didn't stop him from actually becoming one to the point of becoming playable in the sequel, although only for one boss battle.
- Destroyman proved to be one of the more popular assassins in the first game due to his memorable boss battle and Large Ham tendencies, even if he was basically a Breather Boss. He got enough of a reception to get brought back in the sequel.
- Bad Girl in spite, or possibly because of, how Ax-Crazy she is, and her memorable theme song. This might be why her father shows up as a playable character in Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, and ended up a playable character herself in the DLC for the game.
- Letz Shake despite being The Unfought in this game.
- Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: From the standard "is the hero imagining the whole thing" to fairly interesting examinations of the way the game links sex and violence, particularly in Travis' interactions with female opponents.
- Fanon: Many believe Dr. Peace's estranged daughter is Bad Girl. Jossed in No More Heroes: Travis Strikes Again, when Bad Girl's actual father, the equally crazy leather-masked Bad Man, shows up hunting down Travis for revenge.
- Fan-Preferred Couple: Travis and Shinobu is a popular pairing, with still others preferring Travis and Holly Summers, for Travis loving Holly for her soul.
- "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The game has Bishop's ex-girlfriend texting him once in a while to tell him to go die. That's what happens in the sequel.
- Game-Breaker: The Tsubaki Mk. III is listed as the game's Infinity +1 Sword for a reason. What makes it break the game is its charged low attack, which is a three-hit combo that deals massive damage even when not fully charged. Getting the opportunity to spam this once the infinite battery is unlocked makes the rest of the game a cakewalk.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The original game bombed in Japan but was a huge hit in the U.S., which is why the sequel was released there first.
- Harsher in Hindsight:
- The Pizza Butt missions in the first game become a lot harsher once you discover the consequences in the sequel.
- Holly Summers' suicide as well carries more weight after seeing Ryuji's fate in the sequel.
- Jeanne's "No More Heroes Forever" line - which at the time of release, was taking a pot shot at Duke Nukem Forever's Development Hell history - can take on a much harsher second meaning after the game actually was finished and released in 2011, but critically flopped, with one of the criticisms being that many of the gameplay mechanics and jokes became outdated as a result of the delays.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- "Too bad there won't be a sequel!" There is.
- No More Heroes was already chock full of Star Wars references, including the use of lightsabers. In a more original design, Henry wields a beam katana with a cross-guard made up of four laser blades. Nearly eight years after the game's release, The Force Awakens introduces Kylo Ren, who also wields a lightsaber with a cross-guard similar to Henry's (albeit made up of two blades instead of four).
- The Last Jedi goes a step further by having "kill the past" as a theme; you know, Suda's signature theme that he puts into everything he writes, including No More Heroes.
- Another Star Wars connection: A later Suda51 game, Let It Die, actually has Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) in the English cast, officially making Suda an Ascended Fanboy.
- No More Heroes threw a Pokémon reference on having a Nintendo 64 in Travis' room. Come Pokémon GO, also having characters designed by Yusuke Kozaki, the same character designer for both No More Heroes games, the team leaders are really prone to Travis-style swearing in Appraisals with fully-customizable Pokémon nicknames being made. Also like the game sequel, Pokémon Go was released in USA first before reaching Japan.
- Misaimed Fandom: Believe it or not, there are many fans who revere Travis and aspire to be like him. You know, despite him being a loser otaku who spends all of his money (which he earns mostly from killing people) on anime stuff rather than improve his life and move out of a hotel room. Suda51 must be laughing his ass off at that.
- Most Wonderful Sound:
- Travis' beam sword, as well as Henry's. Your ears will have an orgasm during the fight against Henry at the end of the game.
- Within the second game, having the game pair up an This Is for Emphasis, Bitch! and Cluster F-Bomb whenever Travis cuts down/spinally fractures and impales some of the more annoying mooks throughout the game, especially the Kung Fu-Proof Mook katana and beam katana thugs and the Personal Space Invader meatheads. Up to Eleven when killing a fat chainsaw thug yells out "This is a no-fuckhead zone!"Travis: FUCKHEAD!!!!
Fat Thug: MOMMA-!
*insert method of death here*
Travis: Fuck you.
- One-Scene Wonder: Technically speaking, most of the Assassins. The match is set up, they appear out of nowhere, some character development here and there, boss battle, then BOOM! Dead and gone. A few of them get a rather touching sendoff. This is grimly noted in the sequel.
- Shocking Swerve: Played for Laughs in the final cut-scene of the real ending, when Henry reveals he's both Travis' long lost twin and Sylvia's husband.Travis: What the hell? That's the craziest shit I've ever heard! Why would you bring up something like that at the very last minute of the game?
Henry: I would have thought you and the player would have at least expected a twist of fate of some kind.
- Spiritual Licensee:
- No More Heroes feels like an adaption of Afro Samurai and Afro Samurai: Ressurection set in the modern day. Both stories involve reaching the No.1 assassin/the No.1 headband, the cycle of revenge, and a sequel about the former No.1 getting back his title after falling out.
- The concept of eccentric assassins competing over arbitrary ranks as satire appeared years earlier in Seijun Suzuki's Branded to Kill and Pistol Opera.
- That One Boss:
- Bad Girl is guaranteed to kill you at least once unless you already know that she's going to pull a Wounded Gazelle Gambit (and even then, just getting close enough to check to make sure she's not holding back will probably get you killed anyway). Then she's... still very hard, having great damage output, health and mobility.
- Shinobu is one of the more reviled bosses, especially on Bitter. She's extremely dodgy and evasive, she'll outright make you lose every weapon clash, and she has that damn Gengoken (nearly instant-kill) and multi-shot Sonic Sword that will make you beg for mercy. Doing nothing but low charged attacks and some occasional sword swipes can make the fight easier, though.
- Holly Summers. Take Shinobu's speed, add a tendency to run away whenever you get close, pits all over her arena that will interrupt your game flow and wear out your thumb, and unblockable butt rockets that seem to hit at least 50% of the time assuming your timing's average. Which she loves to spam. It may get to the point where you're purposefully falling into the pits just to dodge the rockets, because it's easier to dodge the grenade she throws into the pits, but that'll also give her plenty of time.
- That One Sidequest: The graffiti cleanup side job is not only difficult as-is, but it's impossible to actually complete it without the Memory of Child ability from Lovikov (as Travis has very little time to find all ten graffiti drawings, and they happen to be very far in-between). The worst part is that the reward (up to 20000 LB$, 2000 per graffiti removed) is too low by the standards of the moment when it's unlocked (past the game's first half).
YMMV / No More Heroes