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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Phartman: You know, it's worth mentioning that severing a human head with a single stroke isn't nearly as difficult as cutting off an arm or leg, on account of the rather flexible vertebrae in the neck (as opposed to the thick, solid bones in the limbs). Not to mention that an arm or leg is going to be knocked away as the blade strikes it, whereas the neck doesn't have many places to go to if struck with a foreign object, facilitating a cleaner cut.

Don't try to guess how I know this...

Katanas Are Just Better is a trope, not a fact! Having one doesn't make it any more likely that limbs will be severed...

Phartman: Nobody here said anything about katanas, but I'll go ahead and school you anyway. For unarmored targets, katanas (along with kukris, tulwars, scimitars, and other curved blades) are just better; they're made specifically for cutting through soft tissue. Against European plate armor, however, these weapons weren't nearly as useful as a sword with a straight edge and a reinforced point. That's because you can cut through a body with pretty much any edged weapon (check with The Straight Dope before you try to argue), but metal armor could only be pierced.