Kill the Past
Kill the Past is the informal designation for the series of works by Goichi Suda and Grasshopper Manufacture that tell a continuing story in a connected universe. Kill the Past is not officially marketed as a series on the surface level; however, if one looks into the games and plays them in sequence, they will see recurring characters and plot points that tell a bigger story than the individual stories of each game.
Exactly what counts as "Kill the Past" is a matter of some debate among fans. In the past, it was common to see Kill the Past referred to as a trilogy, consisting either of Moonlight Syndrome, The Silver Case and Flower, Sun, and Rain, or alternatively the latter two and killer7. Kill the Past was also sometimes referred to as merely a thematic series, under the idea that the recurring themes were the key linking point and not a continuing story. In modern fandom, it is more understood that Kill the Past is more like an indefinitely continuing story; however, what counts as Kill the Past is still up for debate due to the number of references Suda includes to works that are not part of the Kill the Past "series", but may still be interpretable as canonical links.
The name comes from the recurring phrase and its many variations (such as "kill your past", "kill the life"), as well as the general recurring theme of characters having to confront their past instead of ignoring it in order to truly kill it. In-universe, the quote is attributed by KamuiNet to Kamui Uehara.
List of Entries
Note that supplemental material for each work can be generally assumed to be "part of the series" as well.
All of these games connect from one to the next in a linear sequence.
- Twilight Syndrome: Search
- Twilight Syndrome: Investigation
- Moonlight Syndrome
- The Silver Case
- Flower, Sun, and Rain
- The 25th Ward: The Silver Case
- Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes
- No More Heroes III
Non-linear important entries
These works do not follow in the linear sequence, but are still understood to be legitimate entries of the series. More information is provided on a case by case basis.
- killer7 - Takes place in an alternate timeline, but shares many characters and plot points with the other games. Usually considered just as much of a "main entry" as the linear sequence.
- No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle - Initially mostly unrelated, but they lead to Travis Strikes Again which is part of the linear sequence, retroactively making them more important.
- Kurayami Dance - Exactly how Kurayami Dance fits in is currently unknown, but it and the main series share characters and cross-reference frequently.
- Let It Die - Takes place several years in the future, but there are many hints in the main series regarding how it could possibly lead to the world portrayed in Let It Die.
These works are not considered part of Kill the Past, but are still connected in some way which is understood to be canon.
- michigan - The backstory of the ISZK group in Hand in killer7 matches up with michigan, among other minor cross-references.
- Shadows of the DAMNED - Only exists as a video game in-universe, but is discussed extensively in Travis Strikes Again.
- Diabolical Pitch - Protagonist Nigel McAllister appears in Travis Strikes Again, among other minor cross-references.
It is also common Suda and Grasshopper practice to reference past works even in situations where they may not have story implications. For example, versions of the protagonists of Killer is Dead and Lollipop Chainsaw appear in Travis Strikes Again; however, these appear to be different versions of the characters than the ones in those games, so those games can't necessarily be considered "canon" as of yet. As the series is not branded as such officially, exactly how much a reference can be ascribed significance is open to fan interpretation. This wiki's understanding is based on a large volume of discussion and analysis, and is hopefully defensible, but is not necessarily definitive.
Behind the scenes
The phrase "kill the past" likely originates from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray: "It would kill the past, and when that was dead, he would be free." The book in question appears in killer7 as a means for Christopher Mills to pass information to Garcian Smith.
In the book Hell by Henri Barbusse, there is also the line (in the English translation), "I saw that they wanted to kill the past. When we are old, we let it die; when we are young and strong, we kill it.", which is notable for containing both "kill the past" and "let it die" as contrasting phrases.