Let’s Talk Character Designs: No More Heroes 2 Desperate Struggle

I had so much fun with the first No More Heroes post that I just want to get right to it again. High chance these will be the posts I could be doing the most. I just enjoy character designs when they are extremely good. It will be interesting when we get to bad character designs, I wonder who will get the chopping block? Either way I had talked about Kozaki and his work on the first No More Heroes and now we get to his work on the second game.

Travis Touchdown (NMH2)

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So here is the second design of Travis Touchdown. Now there are many common elements from the previous design. Travis still looks the same which means the Johnny Knoxville similarity stayed around. The ripped jeans are present and they look even more ripped. What is interesting in the second game, Travis is regarded as a legend of Santa Destroy, so I bet he did more fighting before the events of the second game. He is sporting a new jacket which I personally love more than the first one. The stars acting as the buttons does point to the idea of Travis being a legend of some kind. The best part of the jacket is the “X” on the top of the backside where below that you can see the tiger skin pattern of the first jacket design. It has that new vibe and yet still rings of the original so it is like Travis sees himself in a new light, but still remembers how he got here. The biggest change would have to be his insane belt! It wraps around his leg and in the game when you get new weapons, Travis keeps all of them on him. So even if Travis still has that chaotic look, he is starting to look more of a professional and the belt shows that off well. Also in this picture we see the Rose Nasty the final weapon in the game to get and showing this off in the character art was a smart move. Back then Travis stuck to one Beam Katana and now things have changed where he needs to unleash his chaos at twice the power. Overall, this is a great new design for the main character as it clearly shows how much he has changed while still keeping the characteristics that we loved about him before.

Sylvia Christel

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This time Sylvia can be mentioned since she keeps this design for the majority of the game. There are still some other outfits or hair styles, but for the most part this is the design they stuck with for a majority of the game. With the first design for her, it was a simple black outfit with some nice white frills. The second design sports a tan jacket and you thought her mini skirt from the first design was showing off her legs, the short shorts Sylvia wears in this design just shows off every aspect of her legs. She still has the high heels and exposing cleavage. The shades are a nice touch giving off the feel this girl is a model on her day off. Sylvia has always kept the beauty that can kill look and that is done with showing these business looking outfits on her and yet she spices it up in her own ways. Sylvia baits people with her looks and I saw this design has the work ascetic done better. The previous one mostly had beauty while I feel the second design still keeps the sexy look while having more of a business feel. Still in the end, Sylvia is a woman you do not want to be acquainted with because her looks can drag you into a deeper ring than seven.

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Skelter Helter

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Who remembers Helter Skelter? Well we get his younger brother in the second game and if you want to learn more about these two there is a cool mini comic called “No More Loser.” Anyways the first thing to mention is that like his older brother, Skelter keeps the grey tone of color. Just like with the previous brother, this means they are just nothing in the end which for the younger brother means something a bit different. Before his death, Helter would warn his brother to not get involved with a woman named Sylvia, but sadly the young brother wanted revenge and became an assassin just like the other. Before becoming the assassin he was going to college and even graduated, but when he took revenge it all went away into nothingness. The final tidbit to go on would be how this character has a huge resemblance to Cloud Strife. This was made because this character just became a near spitting image of his brother and is living his life. Sort of like how Cloud was with Zack Fair. It is easily showing off how crazy this man has gone for the sake of revenge and tried to have Travis remember his brother.

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Nathan Copeland

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Nathan Copeland took some time for me to really appreciate. Again during the early days of enjoying No More Heroes, I simply loved him for his death scene. Now thanks to learning more about literature and playwriting, I just adore how this character speaks in a Shakespearn tongue. This guy will go on about the divinity and deliverance and while his design still shows off the rapper, there are so many great designs that establishes his religious angle. They can be hard to see, but for both his hat and necklace they have a skull and a cross. The skull shows death obviously and seeing the cross behind it does have some sting. Nathan followed the divinity all the way even through death itself. Another nice tidbit is that on the back of his jacket says “Father” This is an obvious reference to God and in a nice little draft piece we can see he could have had one more thing that establishes this with it literally saying “I love God.” Even his color scheme really helps with this as the yellow shows hope and enlightenment while the overall black leads to a mystery. Nathan is a surprising character where he may seem excited and joyous, but in the end Nathan has talked about how unsatisfied he has been before. Nathan just keeps making me enjoy him more and more I look into him, his personality and lines always got me to remember him and now even his obvious rapper look has just been a diversion to his religious angle, simply amazing work.

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Charlie Macdonald

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Charlie and his groupies are pretty simple, but there is a nice use of color scheme again. First off, Charlie is huge! This is easily a joke towards steroid use. Also I feel like the cheerleaders soon lead to Lollipop Chainsaw, but even this girls beat Juliet in showing skin. Simply all of this over sexual and over muscular designs are making fun of American football culture. Now for color scheming there is yellow again which shows off excitement and these guys are excited for violence! The new color here though is green which shows balancing. Green is usually used for a peacemaker, a man who can unite others. Charlie easily has done that since in his team he holds ranking numbers 49-25! Another design to talk about though would be his giant mech, the Santa Death Parade! It is a giant robot that still keeps the green and yellow color scheme which this team literally are working together to pilot it so that is an obvious sign that the color scheme angle is true. Yet the overall color of the robot is black which is probably showing in the end they are still hiding things, high chance is that they are just secretly blood lusted as everyone else and that drove them insane to the point where it became their motivation. Also it could be to show even with their teamwork, they just found the easy way out of a fight because a giant robot could easily stomp a person to death. Some interesting ideas presented with such three simple designs. (PS. The robot is straight up a Gurren Lagann reference)

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Matt Helms

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There are many obvious design aspect for Matt Helms and that would be horror! His body type being a large overweight man with a bloody outfit easily references Leather Face. The helmet Matt wears is similar to an old school hockey helmet which easily points to Jason and his hockey mask. The use of the axe/flamethrower are probably references to Evil Dead and The Thing. Then there is the actual head of Matt Helms and what really makes it creepy is that in the concept art, he has rosy cheeks! This doll face easily points to how horror films love to use dolls. There are so many horror franchises that use this as the biggest one would be Child’s Play. The overall color scheme Matt has is white and orange, again white is perfection and the orange is showing joy and creativity. Knowing what Matt actually is, a child who swore revenge with hell fire and now simply haunts the living it is eerie knowing he just has joy with it. I bet Matt even created this large husk of a body which points to the creative aspect. Overall, if you are a big horror fan, you will love Matt Helms design. It has many references and really creates its own image at the same time, I would watch a movie with him as the killer.

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Cloe Walsh

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Credit to this amazing cosplay done by Blast!

Cloe Walsh is such an amazing design. It is so sad she has the easiest fight of the entire series. This design just gets my attention in many ways. I really love the fish nets she wears as it is a sexy design while still wearing actual clothes. Cloe really works with sexual themes which is not new to No More Heroes. Bad Girl had an odd way of showing the dominatrix, Cloe easily has many BDSM aspects. Again the obvious ones would be the fishnets, high heels, and the small use of leather around her body. Personally I do find her quite attractive as I do like the aspect of a woman having a bit of a bite to her. Again Cloe easily has the strong aspect done thanks to those interesting straps around her leg that give more focus to the high heels. The chained armlets she also wears which consists of leather belts makes me think she could smack you around with them. The final piece here would be the tattoo she has on her arm. It is a little hard to see, but it is a snake and roses. Knowing that Suda 51 is a big Batman fan, Cloe is a huge reference to Poison Ivy as both use poison and their looks to kill. Both have that sexy appeal and the dangerous approach too. Cloe is simply a great revision of Poison Ivy.

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Kimmy Howell

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Shinobu gets a completely new design in the second game so the team decided to do a new school girl design with Kimmy. Now what makes Kimmy different is that she is a reference to the Yandere trope. Someone who is in love with a man and that soon leads to them thinking of murder. The trope works extremely well when the girl looks innocent and Kimmy is as innocent as they come in terms of looks. The freckles and glasses, the cute bunny, the recorder, the neatly braided hair with hair bands in it, and the overall outfit she wears. The sweater vest really works well because who ever felt scared by a sweater vest? Kimmy even has calming blue eyes and with glasses they can make eyes seem a bit larger at times, which could be a Moe~ reference. Then her dual blade’s color is red which has been brought up time and time again. For Kimmy it is clearly passion as Kimmy is motivated to kill her idol, Travis the Great. Even her little bunny is in a little dress with ribbons on the ears, Kimmy makes some desserts look bitter in comparison! In the end though, in the world of No More Heroes, everyone is out for blood!

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Dr Letz Shake

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Well I got to talk about Letz Shake from the previous post, so it is time for the machine itself. Dr Letz Shake is a cool robot design. My favorite part of his design would have to be that 8-bit face he has. It has many emotions and it is a cute and easy way to express his emotions during his countdown. Compared to his previous design, I love that he got more width to him. It is a drastic change to his overall size and with those hammers having big caution colors really gives the dangerous vibe off. Even just looking at the wires with how it all connects is good attention to detail. Since these four parts are new for him, seeing the wires shows off how these parts got added. The overall color change from green to black was also a good decision as well since the colors of yellow and orange stand out thanks to the black. Then to finish things off, on his right you can see Henry as a statue and I do love how you can still see that during the fight. Sure we finally get to fight Letz Shake, but still seeing Henry just reminds me of the time he stole that first fight.

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Shinobu Jacobs

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Shinobu makes her return in the sequel as a playable character and with this new design. this girl is no longer in school so she ditches that outfit. It is fun to see what has retained from the original design though. Shinobu still has those flower stockings and on the hilt of the sword is the little tail, but the Bizarre Jelly key chains are gone. Funny enough for Shinobu’s new look we actually get to Gothic Lolita again. Shinobu is wearing a black dress that has many frills on it. I also do love how the hilt is on her back this time with a complete strap and everything, it really shows how more of professional she has become compared to her original design where the hilt was just tucked in with the school outfit. I even adore the scarf she has because that is so a Kamen Rider scarf to extreme lengths. Shinobu shows off a new look and her reasoning for the Lolita look could be to get Travis’ attention, again this style of fashion can be a fetish for some and for anime loving Travis, we know that would be one of his things. Another possibility is to show that Shinobu is more mature and not a school kid anymore so she feels free to be herself. Finally, the last tidbit to bring up is that she wears a glove over the hand that was sliced off from the first game, I wonder what that could be a reference too (insert sarcasm here)?

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Million Gunman

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While this character does remind me of Dr. Peace, the only big reason why that is would because of his age and the golden gun. Other than that, Million Gunman has a sweet rich man design. He does look rather different in the concept art compared to the actual game render. The render really made him look way older, in the art he looks like a forty year old man. My favorite part of his design would be the half glove he has, it is on his gun hand which really shows how much he has used that gun. The sweet scarf is a nice addition with the lion emblems on it. It is a lion with a crown and sword and the lion is considered the king of the jungle, quite easy symbolism there. What also helps show this demeanor would be the face, quite a mad old man he is which fits with the opposing lion emblem. Overall, he may not a memorable boss in the franchise, but the design is still top-notch.

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New Destroyman

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Destroyman comes back to fight Travis once more, but he gets a different foe this time around, or I should say him and his partner. I will say the choice to have two of him was just genius. Each one of these men have robotic halves which clearly shows how he died in the previous game. When looking at the robotic sides they are quite freaky! Just seeing the face itself really gives away the superhero vibe which shows that Destroyman is quite a monster. Back then his first design was just making fun of superheroes, now we are just seeing the monster he truly is now. A fun design choice is that both of them have a different color of energy. The vulgar one has red which shows the passion he has and that he is ready to take action whenever. The blue side though shows trust which is what Destroyman loves to do to trick his foes. Also for the red side of Destroyman, having that red-eye really just makes that half of the look like a new type of Terminator and knowing Suda 51, that is probably him having fun with referencing the franchise.

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ryuji

Remember when I talked about Jeane with the color scheme of red and white? Well Ryuji is simply a new way to use that scheme. White is perfection and the red is showing passion. A samurai would easily want to establish the sense of perfection since they are a true warrior in their minds. Now the passion side of things is because this is not Edo Japan here, this is modern-day with assassins killing each other. Ryuji is just showing that he is like everyone else, out to kill with some sort of pleasure with it. The other reason for the white and red color scheme is because of the samurai garb and to show off the dragon aspect as we can see the flames of the dragon on his logo. A very interesting design choice would have to be the X-shaped scar on his mouth which could show his silence as this man does not talk all that much. It also could be a reference to the new sword Travis gets since one of the motions he does his finishing slashes is a “X” formation. Then there his is weapon which is a long beam katana, but what is interesting about the weapon is that it looks like two hilts put together. There is a dragon holder in the middle which really makes it look like Ryuji put two hilts together to make a longer weapon. Finally, the biggest reason why he is the dragon is because Travis is the tiger, it is literally an Yin and Yang concept.

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Henry Cooldown

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Onto Henry who also became a playable character loses some of his old clothes as well. First off I loved the coat he wore for his first design, it perfectly fit his professional look. Well things have changed for Henry and it does feel like he is more of a rogue now than anything. Henry was just kind of around and all we really know is that Slyvia and him had a divorce. Henry probably quit that job of his and has just become like Travis, a legend roaming about. The first design really makes sense for Henry since he was not fighting in the ranks and kept hidden and with that big coat it is hard to really describe him. Now Henry has more distinct qualities with this design as my favorite part would be those chains on his pants. They really make a cool pattern with his pants that already have that big belt buckle. You can tell that Henry has some sort of pocket watch via the concept art and the skull he wears on his tie gives off that little vibe of an assassin. The second design for Henry is still classy and I am glad he can have this look, but his first design was more of my taste still.

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Mimmy

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This is the boss fight Henry has to deal with as he was resting in Travis’ bed. Henry has one crazy dream during that time and Mimmy is a clear representation of what Henry probably had to hear in his subconscious the whole time. Travis loves his magical girl anime and with Bizarre Jelly 5 having way more moe~ elements to it, Mimmy is clearly a representation of that style as well. If you want more proof of moe~ she is wearing a white school swimsuit. Then the final proof of moe~ would be the kanji on her back, it literally says moe~! The giant mech hands could also be from Travis’ entertainment since he did have a giant mech of his own which was in the original Bizarre Jelly. Now the biggest thing people love to talk about Mimmy is that she has the number “42” on her swimsuit. For those who do not know the meaning of “42” it is supposed to be the answer to the ultimate question of life which comes from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” No one knows the question or even how the answer even works, but it is supposed to be about life itself. So for a man like Travis who loves his shows, Mimmy is showing how absorbed Travis became with them. These shows have become apart of Travis’ life and this delusion Henry has is showing that. Or maybe Mimmy is actually a god!

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Margaret Moonlight

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Now I get to my overall favorite boss in the entire franchise. Margaret has the best of everything, her fight, her music, and even her design are just the best! Gothic Lolita was mentioned before with Bad Girl as she shown a sweet look off, but this girl is showing a different side of it. She is showing the gothic side of it as she sports a white and black color scheme. Along with that she does have more of the classic side as well since she has frills with her clothes. I do love how they show the iron bars because it is showing the framing of those dresses while not having the dress cover them. Now the reason why she has more a gothic look is because she sees herself as the reaper, the angel of death. How the design shows this off along with her outfit would be her weapons. The scythe/gun weapon perfectly shows both the aspect of repear and angel. The reaper part of it is simple enough with the scythes being used. Margaret can also change this weapon into a sniper rifle or two guns and when they fire, crosses appear. On the weapon itself are angel wings. Everything about Margaret is just perfect and I am still hoping she has another appearance in the upcoming No More Heroes project.

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Captain Vladimir

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Captain Vladimir is a basic design of a crazy astronaut, but there is easily some odd tidbits in it. I have to say I love seeing the wires all around untangled and in a mess. It gives this eerie vibe to the character as even if they are plugged out of something, seeing them float around makes it feel that they still work. Then there are the many symbols on his suit and they are just so random. First off they are everywhere which just adds to the randomness because they never seem to be that close to each other at times. In the middle of his chest, it looks like an old school video game controller, kinda like a SNES controller. There are many star symbols around him which makes sense he is a spaceman and then there is just random science symbols around. This design sounds simple on paper, but Kozaki just found his ways to make even a spacesuit strange.

Alice Twilight

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Onto another fan favorite and there is a lot to enjoy with this design. The easiest aspect to get from Alice is the spider motif. She uses six beam katanas and I bet someone is going to say that spiders have eight legs. Yes, but there is something to Alice’s character that helps this design aspect. Alice is ranked second of fifty-one assassins, she easily had many fights and since she wants to get out, I bet she had some close calls before. Alice could have had more beam katanas and simply lost them in battle before the one with Travis. Many spiders go on fine with missing a leg or two. Another pointer for this design choice is the skull on her outfit, skulls like that can appear on spiders and it usually tells you they are dangerous. The closest one would be the Black Widow Spider funny enough Alice is a widow so the design choice just speaks more and more here. Now the use of pink mixed with the sorrowful black does show the softer side of Alice. She speaks philosophy that even Travis starts to ask and even though she was about to die, she went off with some strong lasting words that really makes things sad for Travis killing her. Alice is similar to Jeane where there is a back story that is hidden within the game and Alice sadly got trapped in the violence since black is a color of mystery and even death.

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By the way I adore the concept art with her in a dress, a nice connection to the widow aspect.

Jasper Batt Jr.

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Well we get to the boss that for me makes the original game better than the sequel. Now while I did not fully enjoy the boss fight in general. I will not lie on the fact that Jasper works as a character and design choice. A big thing to get out right now would be his color scheme. There is not too much point going through the meaning of colors with Jasper since he is a combination of the Joker and the Riddler. Suda is a big Batman fan as I said before and this is just him making his references again. Jasper in his kid form is quite shocking because the last time we saw a kid was with Matt Helms, but that was like a spirit of the damned, this time it is just a kid. Sure Jasper has done his shares of murdering, but getting to number one and seeing that it is a child is quite daunting. Travis just sliced through many challenging fights and now we just get to a kid in a giant toy car. That pizza tattoo is also really big and funny enough that is not on Jasper when he enters his giant form. So far though the person we are getting revenge on is a kid and even when Jasper buffs up he now just looks like a wrestler which is sometimes a child’s obsession, even Travis’. It is amazing how silly this all gets and I hate to repeat myself, but this is the person we are getting revenge on! Then in giant form he looks like a blimp you see during parades and the whole time fighting this guy, nothing feels right. Things would feel fine if the fight was with a grown man, but no it is this kid and no matter how many times he changes he cannot hide his youth. In the end Travis killed a child and even for how evil he was, it just leaves a bad taste. Overall, Jasper is a great design and works for what Suda was trying to do with the concept of revenge, but that does not excuse for how the fight plays out.

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Well this took a lot of time to get done. I am sorry if anyone reads this whole thing in one go. I will make sure for next time that I split a post like this into parts. I better do that next time because high chance I will be taking a look into a fighting game roster and those have a lot of characters. Either way, No More Heroes has my all time favorite designs for their characters. The designs speak a lot about the characters and they are all radically strange in their own ways.

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Yusuke Kozaki, I cannot wait for your work in the new game!

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