The beam katana is a fictional weapon that plays a key role in the No More Heroes series. Beam katanas are science fiction versions of their namesake, the katana, which instead of a metal blade holds an energy blade with a length which varies between models. They are based on lightsabers from the Star Wars franchise. Beam katanas differ in power based upon the specific crystal parts used in construction. They also vary between degrees of energy efficiency, which bases around whether a motherboard has been installed or not.
Though they often behave like regular swords, they have been depicted as able to penetrate and cut through most matter with little or no resistance (the receivers of models including the Blood Berry and first two Tsubaki prototypes culminate a blade attachment in the form of a pointed spike, which certainly making these inferior models no exception), and to deflect bullets and other non-explosive projectiles, as well as other beam katanas. They are also capable of launching energy projectiles, and as Travis has demonstrated with synchronizing his wrestling throws with the initial follow ups with his own katanas, they may have artificial intelligence, as hypothetically, the motherboard is not only just able to save electricity but can be used to project estimations of where and how to land when thrown into the air.
The common beam katana "blade" is made by a tight loop of highly focused energy which runs from an emitter in the handle, along with an extractable frame, and into the receiver. When activated the blade appears as a cylindrical bar. When deactivated, a beam katana appears as a metallic handle, with or without an ignition button. They can be carried a number of ways, the most seen example being Travis Touchdown's carrying of his beam katana at the waist. Beam katanas have a distinctive hum when active.
There are a number of other beam katana models that do not handle in the same manner as the common models do, however. One model designed by Orange Computers appears as a retractable cleaver-esque saber with a beam emitted along the blade, made popular by Death Metal, the tenth ranked assassin in the United Assassins Association. Another beam katana, used by former professional wrestler Thunder Ryu activates the moment it is removed from its scabbard, by which it recharges, barring no "off switch." This model is extremely difficult to use, however, as it can be a challenge to safely reinsert the blade into its scabbard.
In the series, beam katana blades are blue, green, purple, red or yellow. Blue and green are usually associated with Travis Touchdown whereas other colors are usually associated with various ranked assassins and thugs (with the exception of Harvey Moiseiwitsch Volodarskii who uses two beam katanas, one of which projects a blue beam). Another exception is Henry, who has no distinct affiliation yet uses a beam katana with a purple blade.
The Blood Berry is a seemingly primitive beam katana model that Travis Touchdown obtained through an online auction. When activated, the frame of the Blood Berry is extracted along with the blade, and the receiver is headed by a blade attachment in the form of a pointed spike. The Blood Berry is one beam katana that cannot function properly without a receiver, and so this blade attachment allows the beam katana to penetrate matter it normally cannot by having a standard, dull receiver. The Blood Berry is also the only recognized beam katana to contain a guide bar in its design. Notable wielders of this weapon include Travis Touchdown.
The Cross Sword is a beam katana model constructed by the Russian technician Wolf Vann. When activated, four stubby beams are emitted from where the guard would be, had one been incorporated in its design. As such, there is no prevention of the user's hand from sliding up onto his own blade. While similar to the Tsubaki series, the Cross Sword does not feature an extractable frame and is one of the only recognized beam katanas to emit properly without a receiver, another being the Tsubaki Mk-III. Notable wielders of this weapon include Henry.
The D.O.S. is a beam katana constructed by an infamous Japanese hitman, and one of the more dangerous models to use. The blade of the D.O.S. activates the instant its handle is removed from its scabbard, and the beam katana features no off switch in its design. This makes the process of refitting the blade into the scabbard extremely difficult, as well as unsafe. The D.O.S. bares a resemblance to a shirasaya, a plain Japanese blade mount. Notable wielders of this weapon include Thunder Ryu.
The Horse Saber is an abstract beam katana which largely remains a mystery, not only because of its use by an assassin whose identity is completely unknown, but also because of its unique nature as a beam katana like no other. Like the D.O.S., the blade of the Horse Saber is activated when the handle is removed from its "scabbard," the crown of a bascinet, and using the wire and needled attachment on the grip of the hilt, its enormous, dragon-shaped "blade" is emitted. Unlike standard beam katanas which feature stationary blade projection, the blade of the Horse Saber waves in notions which imply it may contain a certain degree of artificial intelligence greater than other weapons of its kind, as beam katanas have been known to make use of motherboards. Exactly how it is deactivated, however, is not certain. Notable wielders of this weapon include Dark Star and Ryuji.
Magic Double SaberEdit
The Magic Double Saber is a set of beam katanas which each resemble staffs. When active, the beam is entwines the Magic Double Saber, and runs between the hilt and the opposite end. Like many other non-standard beam katanas, neither Magic Double Saber features a guard, and as such there is no prevention of the user's hand from sliding up onto his own blade. Magic Double Sabers are also made to symbolize life and death. The hilt of one resembles an angel, and emits a blue, entwining beam, and the hilt of the other resembles bones, and emits a red, entwining beam. Notable wielders of this weapon include Harvey Moiseiwitsch Volodarskii.
The Orange II is a retractable, cleaver-esque beam katana model designed by Orange Computers. The brute design of the beam katana is enough to cause devastating force, let alone the emitted beam which runs along its entire blade. Though its name implies there may be a prototype design (similar to the Tsubaki series), the Orange II is the only recognized model of the Orange series in the game. Notable wielders of this weapon include Death Metal.
The Tsubaki series of beam katanas are designed by Dr. Naomi for Travis' exclusive use. The Power Up Parts and Energy Saving Parts stocked by Naomi are also only compatible with models of the Tsubaki series. The first model, the Tsubaki prototype, provides better durability than that of the Blood Berry, a beam katana this prototype is most comparable to in several ways involving structural design (both models make use of an extractable frame and receiver headed by a pointed blade attachment). One notable difference between these two models is that the Tsubaki prototype does not feature a guide bar.
The Tsubaki Mk-II is largely more complete than its predecessor, but is still referred to on occasion as "a prototype." Naomi designs the Mk-II based on the US Military Secret plans Travis obtains after his ranking match against Holly Summers. Debatably the most distinguishable model of the Tsubaki line, the extractable frame now contains five emitters and receivers which rotate simultaneously. The Tsubaki Mk-II is also one of the most powerful beam katanas ever produced, superior in strength even to its successor, the Tsubaki Mk-III.
The Tsubaki Mk-III is the completed Tsubaki beam katana model. Its design is based on that of the D.O.S., the beam katana used by Travis' mentor Thunder Ryu, acquired by Travis following the death of Thunder Ryu. Unlike its predecessors, the Mk-III does not feature an extractable frame and is one of the only recognized beam katanas to emit properly without a receiver, another being the Cross Sword. An elaborate design of the kanji used to represent "Tiger" (tora) is used as the guard of the Mk-III's hilt. While not as powerful as the Tsubaki Mk-II, the finished model has the capability to extend its range greatly when used for deathblows, decapitating dozens of close by standard thugs with one slash, and is the only standard beam katana that, with the proper motherboard attachment, operates at maximum energy efficiency and does not ever have to be recharged.
The Tsubaki Mk-III reappears in No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle, renamed the Camellia MK-III. While it is not as powerful as it once held, the Camellia is an upgrade from the standard Blood Berry.
The Rose Nasty are a pair of beam katanas Bishop Shidux willed for Travis to possess (In the first game, Bishop would sometimes say, "By the way, that thing you wanted hasn't come in yet.", (Suggesting that the katanas could be "the thing" Bishop was mentioning), which are delivered to him by a mysterious Japanese man to whom he corresponded through letters. At Bishop's gravesite, this man passes the package onto Shinobu, who sees the beam katanas are given to Travis.
The Rose Nasty are receiverless weapons with curved, red blades and differing hilts with handguards; furthermore, the off-hand beam katana has a slightly shorter blade than its counterpart making the set similar to traditional daisho. Both blades are swung, allowing versatility and a good damage radius. While the Rose Nasty is slightly faster than the Camellia Mk-III, it lacks its stopping power and its damage output is heavily reliant on the number of combo hits and stances.
The Peony is Dr. Naomi's latest beam katana invention in the No More Heroes story, becoming available in Desperate Struggle at the price of LB$300,000. Like the Tsubaki Mk-II, it is wielded with two hands, however it is unique in that its blade expands and contracts based on its user's ki, as explained by Naomi. In practice, its blade expands as the Ecstasy Gauge rises, and contracts as Travis' health gauge decreases. Also in contrast to the Tsubaki Mk-II, what the Peony lacks in speed, it compromises for sheer strength and crowd control.
- Each of Touchdown's beam katana models is named after a type of flower.
- The Blood Berry, though seemingly original, is actually another name for the edible fruiting plant known as Rivina Humilis. Found only in the Americas, its Latin epithet comes to mean "lowly" and "dwarfish" due to how short it grows, though it is an edible fruit and is important as natural groundcover against erosion. Namewise and significance wise, it is poetically representative of the "taste of blood", an acquired taste many will either find not for them, or in Travis' case, one that will get them wanting more of.
- The model series Camellia is based off of the Japonica variety of camellia, which are known to come in many shades of red, pink, and white, and already known as the Tsubaki. In samurai culture, camellias were seen as the antithesis of sakura cherry blossoms, representative of an ungraceful and pathetic death, as they usually fell whole instead of petal by petal. To commoners, they hold more positive meanings; red camellias are representative of love, while white camellias signify waiting and longing. The model is likely representative of the gains of Touchdown's first story of No More Heroes.
- The model Peony is based off of the Blaze variety of Chinese peony, the Japanese symbolic qualities of them, and the Zhanmado sword. In Japan, peonies were often associated with masculinity and are a representative symbol of China. The zhanmado is a special type of sword, made extremely large in scale to cut down cavalry from China, and inspired the Zanmato of Japan, with their legacy shown in modern fiction through Japanese entertainment. Its name in Japanese would be Botan, and a likely pun meaning roughly "Lil' Staff" (ala bo-chan, with tan being a more ditzy and cuter pronunciation) as its appearance is also like a long stick.
- The Rose Nasty is nevertheless based off of the red rose, extremely versatile and interpretative of its meanings, but ultimately that of love, compassion, and romance. As the rose means love in both East and West, this can be seen it the Rose Nasty's incorporations of Eastern katana design and detail, with Western technology and saber design. This beam katana is likely symbolic of the gains of the events of No More Heroes 2; the compassion over Bishop's death, and his eventual blossomed romance with Sylvia.
|No More Heroes 2|
|Characters||Bishop Shidux · Cat Jeane · Dr. Naomi · Henry · Mask de Uh · Mimmy · Ryan · Sylvia Christel · Takashi Miike · Talbot and Weller|
|Assassins||Travis Touchdown · Shinobu · Skelter Helter · Nathan Copeland · Charlie Macdonald · Kimmy Howell · Matt Helms · Cloe Walsh · Dr. Letz Shake · Million Gunman · New Destroyman · Ryuji · Margaret Moonlight · Captain Vladimir · Alice Twilight · Jasper Batt, Jr.|
|Locations||Iron Claw Point · Destroy University · Santa Destroy Bank · Destroy Stadium · Destroy Resort · Motel "NO MORE HEROES" · Naomi's Lab · Ryan's Gym|
|Settlements||Santa Destroy, California · Akashic Points|
|Weapons||Beam katana · Three Girl Rhumba's Sword · Earthquake Maker · Vosmir · Shapeshifting boombox · Le Croissant du Angel|
|Robots||Santa Death Parade · Glastonbury|