Aside from the fact that this article probably has some POSILERS
... Err, I mean spoilers, I would also like to note that I am only talking about No More Heroes 1 here. I have yet to play No More Heroes 2. It is on the backlog though.
If I had met Travis Touchdown in real life, minus the fact that he's an assassin and would probably kill me, I would want absolutely nothing to do with him. I would hate pretty much everything about him, and probably just try and act like he doesn't exist. That said, he is also one of my favorite characters in any video game. Ever. I'm talking top 10 here. The thing is, I think he's one of the greatest protagonists ever, even though he's a worthless piece of shit. Actually, I think that's part of why I like him so much.
Travis Touchdown is a killing machine who loves masked wrestling, porn, and some weird anime called Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly . That's about all we know of his personal life. As for his personality, it's crap. I understand how people can just not give a shit, but Travis takes it to the next level. He basically asks people to hate him, just look at what he does to Dianna from Beef Head Videos. Disgusting. If you rent porn movies, at least have the decency to return them on time, and for the love of god don't mix it up with your homemade tape of you humping a full body pillow with an anime girl pillowcase. It's just wrong that someone would do that in the first place.
Despite all of that though, he's actually not all that bad. I mean, sure, everything about him is crooked, but Travis knows what he wants, and will do anything he can to get it. I can respect that. He fights his way through the ten best assassins in the world just to get some tail. That's determination. And the man isn't without his morals either; after fighting “number 6,” Holly Summers, we learn that Travis is actually unable to kill women (aside from those who piss him off enough, and they pretty much asked for it). When he refuses to kill her, Holly says “the moment you hesitated, I felt your warm embrace. She saw kindness in Travis's heart that he never had a chance to show. I assume that the death of Travis's parents by his lover at the time is what caused his fucked-up-ness, but some of his morals are still with him. After Holly takes her own life for losing the fight, Travis holds her body, demands that Silvia tell him her name, and makes a point to bury her on the beach where they fought. When he places her in her sandy grave, he says “Forgive me, Holly. I was late in saying this... But I love your soul. Rest in peace.” This is the biggest sign of respect that Travis shows to any of his opponents, and you can tell simply by how he leaves the scene that he was moved by Holly, and the fact that she saw something gentle and valuable in him that nobody else did.
Another thing that I love about Travis is how he gives purpose to killing some of his opponents. Sure, some of the time it's just “I want to prove that I'm the best,” but usually Travis has more of a motive than just being number 1. Sometimes the people just deserve to be killed because of who they are, like in the case of Bad Girl (imagine the biggest bitch you have ever met, multiply that by about 12, and add alcoholism and sadism) and Destroyman (that asshole who tricks you and then laughs at your face while you're down, but this guy has lasers and machine gun nipples). The two instances that really struck me though, were with Speed Buster and Jeane. Speed Buster kills Travis's sensei, Thunder Ryu, right in front of him, and Travis immediately seeks revenge. This isn't rage revenge though, when Speed Buster is dead, Travis feels none of that hollowness that revenge is often claimed to make one feel. Instead there is a sense of justice. Killing Speed Buster was Travis's job, and the fact that she killed Thunder Ryu just adds to the fact that she needed to die. With Jeane however, she doesn't need to die, not really. Travis joined the Assassin's Association in order to kill Jeane, his secret half-sister/ex-lover/parent's murderer. This fight is all about revenge, it is entirely personal. No business. Afterward though, Travis just went back to the way he was before. There was no “searching for another purpose” or anything. Travis was content with killing Jeane, as he felt it was something that just needed to be done.
Travis is a man that knows what he wants, how to get it, and isn't afraid of following through with anything. He walks away from a victory wanting nothing less, and nothing more. He thinks “that's just the way shit is,” and moves on. Despite the fact that I hate who he is and what he stands for, Travis Touchdown has my respect.