With the third installment of Suda51’s beloved No More Heroes series, No More Heroes III, out this week, we thought, “What better way to celebrate infamous otaku Travis Touchdown than by suggesting some great anime that No More Heroes fans would love?”
Travis and his exploits pull influence from all types of stories, but there’s no denying the anime inspiration in the No More Heroes series, from samurai storytelling to cool futuristic tech and much, much more.
If you’re waiting on your copy of No More Heroes III (or maybe you already beat it!) and need some anime to scratch that Santa Destroy itch, we’ve got some great recommendations for you!
Travis Touchdown fancies himself something of a samurai, so first up, we have the legendary Samurai Champloo. The series follows Fuu, a young girl who enlists the help of Mugen and Jin, a rogue and a ronin, to help her find “the samurai who smells of sunflowers.”
Mugen is a hot-headed swordsman and Jin is a pompous, cool-headed samurai, making for something of an odd-couple pairing that rings similar to Travis and Henry’s dynamic in No More Heroes.
The series is also great for No More Heroes fans because it gets real weird in the best way possible—from the bonkers baseball episode to a rapping samurai and all the insane adventures the trio gets into, we’re sure that any fan of Travis Touchdown’s wild exploits will find something to love in Samurai Champloo, especially since it has some fantastic sword-fighting sequences.
Watch Samurai Champloo on Funimation!
Combatants Will Be Dispatched!
Though Six is a great agent, he is also a greaseball who turns nearly every triumphant or emotional moment into an opportunity to do something pervy, which is hilariously rewarded by Six getting “evil points” for his dirty deeds.
Fans of No More Heroes will find a lot to love about Combatants Will Be Dispatched! not just from Agent Six’s hilariously pervy ways, but also because he, like Travis, is kind of unlikable, but in a likable way, if that makes sense. Both are haphazard, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants fighters with great skill who are also immature and hilarious and damn compelling to watch run around.
Watch Combatants Will Be Dispatched! on Funimation!
Cool, action-movie-inspired setting, a wide range of unique antagonists, bounty jobs…these are things that No More Heroes and Cowboy Bebop have in common. Though they are both on opposite ends of the tonal spectrum, there is plenty for No More Heroes fans to love about Cowboy Bebop…plus there’s never a bad reason to recommend the series.
In No More Heroes, Travis takes odd jobs and one-off bounty jobs to pay for each assassin-ranking fight, jobs that ring similar to the bounties and exploits of Spike Spiegel and the Bebop crew, especially considering both protagonists are always strapped for cash and scraping to get by.
Add to this the colorful cast of characters, cool, unique vehicles and Spike’s tendency for wise (if a bit cheesy) speeches, and No More Heroes lovers will find a lot to like about Cowboy Bebop.
Watch Cowboy Bebop on Funimation!
KILL la KILL
The No More Heroes series focuses on Travis fighting his way up the ranks of the United Assassin’s Association, taking on ridiculous enemy after ridiculous enemy, each with their own motivations, unique abilities and challenges.
This rings very similar to the first half of TRIGGER’s KILL la KILL, which follows Ryuko Matoi as she challenges her way through Honnouji Academy’s Elite Four in order to get to class president Satsuki Kiryuin and the secrets she holds.
The variety of powers, skills, fights and visuals of each and every showdown Ryuko undergoes throughout KILL la KILL has the same bonkers, over-the-top energy of the boss fights and cutscenes of No More Heroes, so fans of the game series will find a lot to love in KILL la KILL.
Add to this the excessive but artful use of blood and violence, the well-wielded pervy sense of humor and the overall dynamic energy of KILL la KILL and it almost seems like it was made for No More Heroes fans.
Watch KILL la KILL on Funimation!
Love Travis Touchdown’s pervy energy? Love his mercenary lifestyle? Love his encounters with weird, powerful opponents? Then you’ll love Desert Punk. This post-apocalyptic series follows Kanta Mizuno, a desert mercenary known as The Desert Punk who takes various dangerous jobs for the right price.
He is also a huge perv who is constantly chasing after women (mostly one in particular) and going to great lengths for his perviness, for a quick buck or for any other number of petty reasons. Yet, despite it all, he manages to sometimes drop some stubborn, idiotic wisdom and is actually incredibly skilled at what he does.
This read a lot like Travis Touchdown, especially considering both him and Desert Punk also have a young apprentice who ends up taking their place for a brief time. The anime also has a similar progression to No More Heroes—what starts as different jobs/missions, each episode eventually becomes a dark overlying plot that unfolds in an increasingly upsetting and compelling way. Truly, No More Heroes fans will love what Desert Punk has to offer.
Watch Desert Punk on Funimation!
The common theme among these recommendations are less-than-perfect protagonists, characters with rough edges but a lot of skill, and Gene Starwind of Outlaw Star fits this bill perfectly.
Gene is a womanizer with a troubled past and an odd journey. He carries a weapon that gives him powers via technology, so fans of Travis Touchdown are sure to dig his style and energy. Add to this the series’ blend of samurai storytelling, old west elements and a mix of magic and sci-fi, and Outlaw Star presents a similar energy to Santa Destroy and Travis’ adventures in the No More Heroes series.
No More Heroes players who love Travis’ signature Beam Katana might also be enamored with Gene Starwind’s signature weapon, the Caster Gun and its Caster shells—bullets that literally shoot magic meant to be used by those who don’t actually know any spells themselves. The Caster Gun and shells are incredibly cool metaphorical monkey wrenches added to the world of Outlaw Star that serve a similar role to Beam Katanas in No More Heroes.
From the rad weapons and setting to the unique journey and characters, Outlaw Star is a perfect anime for No More Heroes fans.
Watch Outlaw Star on Funimation!
Lastly, we couldn’t recommend No More Heroes-like anime without mentioning AKIRA, which No More Heroes very likely took inspiration from. Specifically, both Travis and Kaneda drive big sci-fi motorcycles, wear red leather jackets and have punk attitudes that make them scrappy and lovable protagonists.
There’s not too much beyond these similarities that connect the two, so this is more of a bonus suggestion, but there’s never a bad reason to watch or rewatch AKIRA!
Watch AKIRA on Funimation!