Mondo Zappa (モンド・ザッパ, Mondo Zappa) is a character in Killer Is Dead. He is a 35-year-old American assassin and the game's central protagonist. After receiving a letter of employment from a covert hitman agency, Zappa begins working for the firm, travelling the near-future globe executing other killers.
Mondo's weapon of choice is a katana named Gekkou (月光、lit. "Moonlight"), although his left arm named Musselback has been cybernetically modified. It can be changed into various forms, including a gun and drill, and can be upgraded throughout Killer Is Dead. However, Mondo has no memory of when or how his arm was modified.
Mondo shares his name and likeness with Sumio Mondo, hero of the early Grasshopper Manufacture title Flower, Sun and Rain. It is unknown as of yet whether Mondo Zappa has any connection to him. On potential links between the two characters, Suda51 remarked, "Just think of them like long distant cousins, or relatives." His last name Zappa is a reference to the famous musician Frank Zappa.
Appearance and Personality
Mondo wears a formal black suit at all times, even when conducting assassination missions. This contrasts heavily with his sword and mechanical arm. When not engaged in combat he is often seen wearing spectacles, possibly his Gigolo Glasses, further adding to his atmosphere of refinement. It is later revealed that Mondo seems to have modeled his appearance after his older brother, and erstwhile Bryan Execution Firm assassin, David.
In the field Zappa is fearless, while he is also portrayed as a man of taste and a womaniser. Zappa's favourite food is half-boiled egg, a dish which his assistant-turned-roommate Mika Takekawa is skilled in preparing. He is largely driven by his desire for companionship and sexual appetite, as the money he earns from his job is used almost exclusively to romance his various partners (Natalia, Koharu, and Betty, though Scarlett requires him to succeed in Challenges instead.)
Mondo has shown to only view his execution work as a simple job, and doesn't question the details too much. Until the end of the game, he did not have an interest in the events of the plot, and only gained one after his dreams made him realize his connection to David. Reflecting this, he killed wires without even asking what they were until halfway through the game. Suda51 has described Mondo as "an idiot."
At the end of the game, despite defeating David, he absorbs mass amounts of Dark Matter and begins to reconstruct David's castle. Although ambiguous, the ending suggests that, like David and Damon before him, Mondo will become an execution target.
Powers and Abilities
Mondo is a skilled swordsman who is able to augment his actions by expending Blood gathered from injured Wires. This gives him the ability to kill larger enemies in one shot after weakening them first, and can also be converted into health. It also powers his sub-weapons, each a different mode for Musselback: A simple bullet, a freezing bullet, a charged shot, and a large drill. He is also capable of performing a Dodge Burst by dodging just before an enemy connects, allowing him to temporarily slow time and counterattack with a flurry of sword strikes, or a Just Guard, by executing a well-timed guard, which stuns his attacker. By defeating enemies he earns a type of experience points, which can be used on the Status & Upgrades screen to purchase new moves or enhance existing ones.
In his final fight with David, he changes appearance to a powerful, glowing version of himself known as "Ultimondo". In this form, he appears to have a Silver Eye.
- Mondo was originally intended to be named Mondo Smith, but it was "a little close to Sumio Mondo so we decided to change it."
- While it will not be addressed in the context of the actual Killer is Dead game, Mondo Zappa is intended to have been a member of the team that carried out the assassination of Osama bin Laden. As a result of his execution, bin Laden's "malice" was passed onto the entire team, infecting Mondo's arm and causing him to replace it with a mechanical one.
- Mondo shares two similarities with Shinobu since they both have a cybernetic arm and wield a katana.
- Mondo also shares two more similarities with Yaiba Kamikaze since they both use katana and have cybernetic arm.
- Mondo crosses paths with Travis Touchdown at Balbonia Castle in Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, sporting longer hair and claiming to work with the Federal Mimetic Assassination Administration rather than Bryan Execution Firm. No More Heroes and Killer Is Dead were not considered to be part of a shared universe until this moment in Travis Strikes Again, so it is still unclear when this takes place in relation to Killer Is Dead.
- EGM Exclusive: Suda51 Explains Origins of Mondo Zappa. Ray Carsillo. EGM. March 28, 2013.
- Suda51 talks Killer Is Dead and how they struggled to pick Mondo Girls. Sato, Siliconera, July 12, 2013.