At the edge of the central district in the City Over, a dark-haired girl in a faded shirt and ripped jeans kicked open the back door of a club and stormed out into the night.
I like to come back and watch this one every now and again – it's probably one of my favourite uses of first-person perspective in a parkour video. The lines are nice and long, the editing is slick, and it's got a good vibe to it. A pretty cool piece of work from both a parkour and filmmaking perspective, all in all.
No More Heroes isn't a dystopia, so running from law enforcement isn't as much a thing as it is in Mirror's Edge, but the thrill of the chase, and the intersecting of flow and fighting is something I can draw inspiration from for sure.
A yet-to-be introduced character in the universe of No More Heroes is an adrenaline-loving Vigilante who has a disability in common with 5% of the world's (that is, our world's) population. He's a big music junkie who loves post-rock and electronica the most., I imagine this would be one of his jams for when he's out on his nightly runs, looking for some action.
Official Site | Amazon | Kobo
The peaceful nights are kept under the clandestine and watchful eye of young, gifted vigilantes the world over. But a sudden rash of vigilante deaths heralds the arrival of a new and unfamiliar enemy - one whose motive is as unclear as their identity. Someone or something seems determined to disturb the peace, and they're going straight for the watchmen to do it. In a city where those who are gifted make up their own rules, who will step forward when the threat of a swift end is real and there stands so little to gain?
Soundtrack: 'CELESTIAL BODIES (feat. Jovani Occomy)' – GHOST DATA
Audio samples from Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heaven's Door (2001), Chocolate (2008), Righting Wrongs (1986), Dissidia: Final Fantasy (2008), Devil May Cry 3 (2005), Final Fantasy X-2: International + Last Mission (2003)
At one stage I could very vividly picture an incredibly dynamic cinematic film trailer for No More Heroes every time I listened to this song. Talk about powerful music.
As someone within the local parkour/freerunning community, I never have to look very far for inspiration when it comes to movement. Even just within our local scene we have so much talent and diversity in style – it makes for a wellspring of creative stimuli, whatever you're doing. My repeated yet-unsuccessful attempts to do B-kicks and Aerials aside, I'm definitely more a parkour than freerunner practitioner, but if it's one thing I am pretty practiced at, it's observing others. Though my (currently) limited skillset probably begs to differ, watching others train at jams or gatherings has been both really helpful on a technical level, and extremely interesting from a creative standpoint. It's natural then with my love of dynamic action in fiction that I incorporated parkour and freerunning elements into No More Heroes... specifically, in writing characters who practice the discipline in their nightly escapades.
The characters I speak of make up the secondary team of Vigilantes in the novel, and within their group they encompass some of the 'types' of practitioners you'll often find within the parkour and freerunning community. One is primarily a parkour practitioner; another is well-versed in both practices, but tends to incorporate more tricks into their movements; the third is learned in aspects of both, but is more casual in their approach and their use of either discipline. These three incorporate their practices into their Vigilante duties not just in terms of urban exploration and chase sequences, but also into their fighting styles, which – even in having three 'parkour superheroes' – made for some nice diversity within the team and their dynamics with each other.
I drew from many different sources (both real and fictional) when it came to writing the action scenes and moments in No More Heroes, but one of these aforementioned secondary Vigilantes I largely modelled after a practitioner I know, who regularly amazes and inspires me with their skill and approach to training. Their style of movement in particular is one I really love to watch – it's a strong, clean and confident way of moving, purposeful and steadfast. While there's a pretty clear distinction between their personalities, this practitioner was definitely a pretty strong influence on the way I ended up shaping and writing the Vigilante in question, just through their style of movement.
But that's enough of that for now! Below is a short playlist I created with some parkour and freerunning videos I like – in particular, I aimed to include ones that had some good examples of flow. If your parkour terminology is a little lacking, that's okay – you'll probably have a pretty good idea of what I mean after watching some of these. After you've had your fill of sweet moves, don't forget to check out the link to the excerpt of Chapter 3 of No More Heroes at the end of this post!
Thanks for reading, folks. If you're interested in seeing some of the parkour and freerunning action in No More Heroes for yourself, don't forget you can get it in print and digital editions either on this website, or from Amazon or Kobo. Enjoy the rest of your weekends!
READ IT NOW
I've been creating playlists by the handful for the No More Heroes YouTube channel lately, and yesterday I was looking up parkour/freerunning, longboarding and fixed gear etc. videos that would 1. Be useful research/inspiration material, and 2. fit the aesthetic of The City for a playlist of the same name. Specifically, I was trying to find videos of the aforementioned at night, since most of No More Heroes is set during the dark hours. While I was trying to look for aggressive inline/freeskating videos (also set at night) I found out that LED wheels are a thing. Oh yes.
As a parkour practitioner I spend a lot more time on my feet than on wheels – but I guess I should have figured(?). Folks have light up wheels for their bikes nowadays, why not something similar for small wheels too? Sure made my search for nighttime videos a lot easier anyway. You can check out some of the freeskating videos I found at the playlist below!
(By the way – some of those wheels can spark as well. Hella yeah.)
There aren't any freestyle inline skaters in No More Heroes, but there's definitely one who will be making an entrance in the next instalment. After this very educational research session, methinks I'll be giving them some of those LED wheels too. In the meanwhile, if you'd like to see any of the other movement disciplines I mentioned in literary form, don't forget to check out No More Heroes either on this website or on Amazon or Kobo. Have a good weekend, everyone!
One of the best-matched songs to a fight scene in RWBY, I feel. This one's definitely going in my writing playlist for future fight scenes.
As well as posting content on the things that Inspired me past-tense while I was writing No More Heroes, I'm also going to be posting some of the things that I come across as I continue planning and writing more stories from the Vigilante universe. I haven't touched my second book draft since the end of NaNoWriMo last year, but the ideas have definitely still been flowing, moreso recently as I push my way through some plot issues I've been having. I've been gradually filling up the pages in the notebook I use to slam out ideas, and I'm feeling hype and hoping to be able to get back to writing proper soon!
In any case, onto the point of this post. I first listened to Lauren Shippen's The Bright Sessions a couple of months ago at the recommendation of a friend and (to use a Night Vale-ism) I fell in love instantly. Framed as a series of recordings largely from the office of the enigmatic Dr. Bright, it follows the lives and therapy sessions of a number of youths with unusual abilities. Not only is it a thoroughly engaging and all around damn-well produced podcast, but the youths-with-abilities aspect is particularly neat for me, as the writer of a story about youths-with-abilities myself! It's always awesome seeing how other creators with similar-yet-different ideas shape their stories and characters, and the way they choose to utilise, treat and describe superpowers within their respective universes.
For example – in the universe of The Bright Sessions, people with unusual powers are classed as Atypicals; in the universe of No More Heroes, those with Abilities (capital A), and specifically ones who choose to take to the night with them, are called Vigilantes. The Bright Sessions focuses on the influence of these abilities on the personal, day-to-day lives of its principle characters; No More Heroes focuses on the cast's use of their talents in the concrete jungle at night. But similarly, The Bright Sessions and No More Heroes both look at the way that the possession of these abilities/Abilities can affect the characters' psyche/mental wellbeing and personal principles, and both deal with the theme of learning to control one's powers and learning more about yourself as a person. Sure, No More Heroes might have a lot more parkour and punching, but in some aspects (even if they are small) there are some parallels, haha.
Real talk though, even if I had chosen to write a completely different novel (ie. sans the inclusion of superpowers), I'm honestly just really glad that this series exists. It's well-written, well-acted and my god if Lauren Shippen doesn't know how to craft tension and a good cliffhanger. If you haven't listened to it, here's the playlist for Season 1 below – you can also listen to them all on YouTube. And hey, if you already know and like The Bright Sessions and are looking for more youths-with-abilities content, then think about checking out No More Heroes – you can buy print or digital editions through this website (and get some bonus wallpapers with your purchase), or you can buy it from Amazon or Kobo.
This was a soundtrack I listened to during a lot of late-night editing sessions. A friend gifted me Dustforce for Christmas, and honestly, all y'all should play it because it is magical. ★
No More Heroes
An Action/Adventure YA novel. Vigilante action, rad fights & a mystery to be solved. Care to join the fray?
Michelle Kan is a filmmaker, videographer and writer based in Wellington, New Zealand.