During a recent interview, Grasshopper Manufacture CEO Suda “Suda51” Goichi was asked whether he plans to produce apparel for No More Heroes 3, the superbly absurd hack-and-slash his studio released two weeks ago. His answer? No, but feel free to grab bootleg tees wherever you can find them.
“The shirts you see behind me were shirts that we actually made at Grasshopper,” Suda said through his interpreter. “We’re not really selling [them] officially. I’m not sure if it’s okay to bring this up, but there’s a site called Red Ribbon, and they appear to be selling these shirts on their own without permission. Since we’re not doing it, if anyone out there wants a shirt, check out Red Ribbon. They got ‘em there.”
“Red Ribbon” in this instance is almost assuredly Redbubble, which lets artists upload their own work and sell it on shirts, coffee mugs, pillows, phone cases, and all kinds of other goodies. A quick Redbubble search shows a lot of unofficial No More Heroes-branded items across various independent storefronts, including stuff from No More Heroes 3, so go forth and buy them with Suda’s blessing.
Apart from Grasshopper Manufacture’s overall “Punk’s Not Dead” ethos, Suda’s laissez-faire attitude toward bootlegs likely has to do with the fact his company really only owns a small portion of the No More Heroes property. When your publisher (in this case, Marvelous Inc.) possesses a 90% stake in the franchise, it’s probably pretty hard to muster up the energy to care about lost merchandise sales.
Which is a shame, because No More Heroes is a series ripe for a dedicated clothing line. Each game features hundreds of shirts for franchise protagonist Travis Touchdown to wear, many of which I would be more than happy to add to my own wardrobe. That said, mining No More Heroes for merch doesn’t feel very Grasshopper Manufacture either, so maybe it’s better that other sellers stepped in to pick up the slack.
What’s more punk rock than screen printing your own shirts for bands who can’t and/or won’t do it themselves?