History Main / KatanasAreJustbetter

19th Sep '17 8:15:00 AM BeerBaron
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** In the series' {{backstory}}, katanas were favored weapons of the [[{{Wutai}} Akaviri]] invaders who attacked Tamriel in the last 1st Era. Though they were defeated, they influenced Tamriellic culture and the katana stayed as a prominent weapon, especially among the Blades.

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** In the series' {{backstory}}, katanas were favored weapons of the [[{{Wutai}} Akaviri]] invaders who attacked Tamriel in the last 1st Era. Though they were defeated, they influenced Tamriellic culture and the katana stayed as a prominent weapon, especially among the Blades.[[AncientOrderOfProtectors Blades]].
18th Sep '17 10:53:25 PM ultimomant
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* In ''Film/HardcoreHenry'', when [[BigBad Akan's]] forces storm a brothel and start killing everybody, a dominatrix fights them with a katana and kills and maims several of the gun-wielding thugs. Later, after she dies, Henry picks the katana up and is able to use it to ''defeat a tank''.



* In the ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'' between [[VideoGame/NinjaGaiden Ryu Hayabusa]] and [[VideoGame/{{Strider}} Strider Hiryu]], much hype is given to Ryu's True Dragon Sword katana during the analysis, and in the battle itself [[spoiler:it proves to be the only weapon in [[WalkingArmory Ryu's arsenal]] that could withstand Hiryu's [[HotBlade cypher]] Still, the match belongs to Hiryu]].

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* In the ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'' between [[VideoGame/NinjaGaiden Ryu Hayabusa]] and [[VideoGame/{{Strider}} Strider Hiryu]], much hype is given to Ryu's True Dragon Sword katana during the analysis, and in the battle itself [[spoiler:it proves to be the only weapon in [[WalkingArmory Ryu's arsenal]] that could withstand Hiryu's [[HotBlade cypher]] cypher]]. Still, the match belongs to Hiryu]].
12th Sep '17 8:05:09 PM CaptainCrawdad
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* In ''Film/PulpFiction'', Butch Coolidge, Bruce Willis' character, chooses a katana over a variety of other weapons (including a small ''{{chainsaw|Good}}'') to [[spoiler:rescue Marsellus Wallace, the guy that previously wanted him dead, from the hillbillies raping him]]. Justified in this case, as the katana is only thing present actually made to kill people with; and it's pretty hard to sneak up on someone with a chainsaw.

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* In ''Film/PulpFiction'', Butch Coolidge, Bruce Willis' character, chooses a katana over a variety of other weapons (including a small ''{{chainsaw|Good}}'') to [[spoiler:rescue Marsellus Wallace, the guy that previously wanted him dead, from the hillbillies raping him]]. Justified in this case, as the The katana is only thing present actually made to kill people with; and it's pretty hard to sneak up on someone with a chainsaw.
12th Sep '17 2:22:54 PM Linda58
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* In ''Film/PulpFiction'', Butch Coolidge, Bruce Willis' character, chooses a katana over a variety of other weapons (including a small ''{{chainsaw|Good}}'') to [[spoiler:rescue Marsellus Wallace, the guy that previously wanted him dead, from the hillbillies raping him]].

to:

* In ''Film/PulpFiction'', Butch Coolidge, Bruce Willis' character, chooses a katana over a variety of other weapons (including a small ''{{chainsaw|Good}}'') to [[spoiler:rescue Marsellus Wallace, the guy that previously wanted him dead, from the hillbillies raping him]]. Justified in this case, as the katana is only thing present actually made to kill people with; and it's pretty hard to sneak up on someone with a chainsaw.
8th Sep '17 1:54:58 AM TheBigBopper
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** [[spoiler:The ex-President of the United States]] wields, along with tentacles, a pair of Phlebotinum swords reminiscent of katana.

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** [[spoiler:The ex-President ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'': Solidus Snake, leader of the United States]] wields, along with tentacles, terrorist group Sons of Liberty, has a pair of Phlebotinum Japanese swords reminiscent named Democrat and Republican. For most of the game he mainly relies on the SuperStrength and CombatTentacles of his PoweredArmor, and even uses a gun sometimes, but he unsheathes his swords to engage in a climactic SwordFight with the protagonist Raiden, who by this point has taken up a katana.
8th Sep '17 1:35:27 AM TheBigBopper
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[[folder:Real Life]]

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[[folder:Real Life]][[folder:Other]]
8th Sep '17 1:28:00 AM TheBigBopper
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* Creator/RLeeErmey on ''Lock and Load'' tested a katana against a traditional European longsword. He determined the katana was better at both slashing and penetrating armor, though not to a significant degree, and through very dubious methods. For instance, the longsword was blunt whereas the katana was fully sharpened.
* ''Series/MythBusters'' examines this trope when testing if one sword can slice through another. The katana gets bent sideways by a [[{{BFS}} Scottish Claymore]].



* The ''Series/MythBusters'' showed if a katana could actually decapitate a [[http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbusters-silencing-a-lamb-part-1.html sheep]] in one swing (Warning: Possible [[{{Squick}} icky]] video). This isn't particularly surprising, since the victim is stationary and braced to get the maximum effect from the swing, and many other swords from around the world do this equally well.
* Creator/TheHistoryChannel show ''Lock and Load'' has R. Lee Ermey [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDkoj932YFo attempting to determine]] whether the katana or the longsword is "better." The test, determined by damage to a metal breastplate by an untrained user, concluded katanas to be the overall better weapon. The validity of the test and the quality of the weapons tested are both dubious.

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* ''Series/MythBusters'':
** One episode examines this trope when testing if one sword can slice through another.
The ''Series/MythBusters'' showed if katana gets bent sideways by a [[{{BFS}} Scottish Claymore]].
** Another tested whether
a katana could actually decapitate a [[http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbusters-silencing-a-lamb-part-1.html sheep]] in one swing (Warning: Possible [[{{Squick}} icky]] video). This isn't particularly surprising, since the victim is stationary and braced to get the maximum effect from the swing, and many other swords from around the world do this equally well.
* Creator/TheHistoryChannel show ''Lock and Load'' has R. Lee Ermey Creator/RLeeErmey [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDkoj932YFo attempting to determine]] whether the katana or the longsword is "better." The test, He determined by damage to a metal breastplate by an untrained user, concluded katanas to be the overall katana was better weapon. The validity of the test and the quality of the weapons tested are at both dubious.slashing and penetrating armor, though not to a significant degree, and through very dubious methods. For instance, the longsword was blunt whereas the katana was fully sharpened.
8th Sep '17 1:07:15 AM TheBigBopper
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In reality, katanas have advantages and disadvantages, just like any sword, but all of those realistic tradeoffs and even [[ArtisticLicensePhysics basic laws of physics]] can be thrown out in favor of RuleOfCool. Since the katana is well-known for being a cutting-focused sword, this property is exaggerated to make it an AbsurdlySharpBlade that can slice through any material as if it were butter. Every cut with a katana is a CleanCut, passing through the object so effortlessly that you [[DiagonalCut might not immediately realize it's been cut]], until the two halves dramatically fall apart a few moments later. Also, because it is perceived as an elite weapon that requires [[DifficultButAwesome higher-than-average skill to use well]], a character distinguished by using a katana is going to be a MasterSwordsman nine times out of ten. They might demonstrate ImplausibleFencingPowers such as chopping off gun barrels or slicing swords that aren't as cool as the katana off at the hilt. In a setting where the katana is a [[ExoticWeaponSupremacy rare weapon]], it is especially likely to be proof that a character is special and formidable.

to:

In reality, katanas have advantages and disadvantages, just like any sword, sword (see Analysis page for details), but all of those realistic tradeoffs and even [[ArtisticLicensePhysics basic laws of physics]] can be thrown out in favor of RuleOfCool. Since the katana is well-known for being a cutting-focused sword, this property is exaggerated to make it an AbsurdlySharpBlade that can slice through any material as if it were butter. Every cut with a katana is a CleanCut, passing through the object so effortlessly that you [[DiagonalCut might not immediately realize it's been cut]], until the two halves dramatically fall apart a few moments later. Also, because it is perceived as an elite weapon that requires [[DifficultButAwesome higher-than-average skill to use well]], a character distinguished by using a katana is going to be a MasterSwordsman nine times out of ten. They might demonstrate ImplausibleFencingPowers such as chopping off gun barrels or slicing swords that aren't as cool as the katana off at the hilt. In a setting where the katana is a [[ExoticWeaponSupremacy rare weapon]], it is especially likely to be proof that a character is special and formidable.
7th Sep '17 8:46:31 PM CaptainCrawdad
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Of course, fiction being fiction, all of those realistic tradeoffs and even [[ArtisticLicensePhysics basic laws of physics]] can be thrown out in favor of RuleOfCool. Since the katana is well-known for being a cutting-focused sword, this property is exaggerated to make it an AbsurdlySharpBlade that can slice through any material as if it were butter. Every cut with a katana is a CleanCut, passing through the object so effortlessly that you [[DiagonalCut might not immediately realize it's been cut]], until the two halves dramatically fall apart a few moments later. Also, because it is perceived as an elite weapon that requires [[DifficultButAwesome higher-than-average skill to use well]], a character distinguished by using a katana is going to be a MasterSwordsman nine times out of ten. They might demonstrate ImplausibleFencingPowers such as chopping off gun barrels or slicing swords that aren't as cool as the katana off at the hilt. In a setting where the katana is a [[ExoticWeaponSupremacy rare weapon]], it is especially likely to be proof that a character is special and formidable.

to:

Of course, fiction being fiction, In reality, katanas have advantages and disadvantages, just like any sword, but all of those realistic tradeoffs and even [[ArtisticLicensePhysics basic laws of physics]] can be thrown out in favor of RuleOfCool. Since the katana is well-known for being a cutting-focused sword, this property is exaggerated to make it an AbsurdlySharpBlade that can slice through any material as if it were butter. Every cut with a katana is a CleanCut, passing through the object so effortlessly that you [[DiagonalCut might not immediately realize it's been cut]], until the two halves dramatically fall apart a few moments later. Also, because it is perceived as an elite weapon that requires [[DifficultButAwesome higher-than-average skill to use well]], a character distinguished by using a katana is going to be a MasterSwordsman nine times out of ten. They might demonstrate ImplausibleFencingPowers such as chopping off gun barrels or slicing swords that aren't as cool as the katana off at the hilt. In a setting where the katana is a [[ExoticWeaponSupremacy rare weapon]], it is especially likely to be proof that a character is special and formidable.



Because HeroesPreferSwords, and katanas are so special, they usually belong to TheHero. On the flip side, a villain wielding a katana is usually someone to be taken seriously. The swords are often wielded by {{Elite Mook|s}}, if not TheDragon or the BigBad himself.
7th Sep '17 8:31:24 PM CaptainCrawdad
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RuleOfCool says [[HeroesPreferSwords swords are cooler]] [[GunsAreWorthless than guns]], and tends to also hold the Japanese katana to be the coolest of all swords. This isn't surprising when you consider that Japan has produced a large number of games, movies, TV shows, myths, and legends which reflect national pride in this icon of Japanese culture. There are also a lot more media consumers outside of Japan who have learned through documentary television or pop culture that traditional Japanese swordmaking is a highly spiritual and artistic process--and that there is an elegant and deadly art for using the katana--compared to the smaller number of people who know that there are equally impressive traditions of swordsmithing and swordsmanship in other countries (most obviously the legendary Damascus Steel of India and the Middle East, to which similarly exaggerated qualities were ascribed). Because of this popular recognition, if you put a katana in the hands of a character, you're making a statement that they are cooler and more powerful than the others who don't have one.

In reality, the katana is nothing more and nothing less than a unique sword with particular advantages and drawbacks. A traditionally made Japanese sword ([[EveryJapaneseSwordIsAKatana of which the katana is only the most internationally famous]]) is defined by three things: being made of folded ''tamahagane'' steel smelted from iron-rich sand; being of laminated construction, of which the basic version is a hard outer "jacket" wrapped around a tough inner core; and being differentially hardened by applying clay to the back of the blade before heating and quenching, so that the more rapidly-cooled edge becomes harder than the rest of the sword and develops a cloud-like pattern called the ''hamon''[[note]]Differential hardening is also what gives the blade its curvature; unlike a curved sword made from a homogeneous piece of steel, which is forged in a curved shape before heat treatment, the Japanese sword is forged almost straight and actually ''bends itself'' into a curved shape when it's quenched because the edge and the body cool at different rates[[/note]]. Contrary to popular belief, ''tamahagane'' is not a particularly high-quality steel; in fact the folding process is necessary to remove impurities and reduce the carbon content to the right level, and while the traditional process does this quite effectively, it is obsolete and inefficient compared to post-blast furnace metallurgy which produces better steel in greater volumes and with more consistency. Folded ''tamahagane'' is still used in sword making not because it's somehow "superior" to modern steel, but rather because it's valued as a historical tradition, and because it gives the sword the prized aesthetic effect of a grained surface pattern. In contrast, lamination and differential hardening ''do'' still have a functional purpose: they allow the sword to have a very hard edge[[note]]Often in the ballpark of 60 HRC, which would make the sword likely shatter if it was made that hard all the way through[[/note]] which retains its sharpness longer than a softer edge would, while the tougher and more pliable body of the sword helps it to absorb stress without breaking. A "through-hardened" blade made from one homogeneous piece of steel cannot be made quite as hard-edged and will tend to dull more easily[[note]]even a soft piece of iron or steel can be sharpened to a razor edge, but it will become dull much more quickly[[/note]], but has the advantage of durability: the hard, sharp edge of a katana is more likely to chip if struck against something too hard and unyielding because it is more brittle, and the blade is more likely to bend or twist if exposed to lateral force, taking a set instead of springing back as a through-hardened blade would[[note]]taking a set is not necessarily a huge problem, as it can be straighened more easily than a through-hardened blade that has taken a set, but a twist is much harder to correct than a simple lateral bend[[/note]]. For more information about the unique properties of the katana, see the [[Analysis/KatanasAreJustBetter Analysis section]]; the point is that the katana is not categorically superior to other swords, and whether or not it will serve you better than a different type of sword depends entirely on the context in which you're going to use it.

Of course, fiction being fiction, all of those realistic tradeoffs and even [[ArtisticLicensePhysics basic laws of physics]] can be thrown out in favor of RuleOfCool. Since the katana is well-known for being a cutting-focused sword, this property is exaggerated to make it an AbsurdlySharpBlade that can slice through any material as if it were butter. Every cut with a Katana is a CleanCut, passing through the object so effortlessly that you [[DiagonalCut might not immediately realize it's been cut]], until the two halves dramatically fall apart a few moments later. Also, because it is perceived as an elite weapon that requires [[DifficultButAwesome higher-than-average skill to use well]], a character distinguished by using a katana is going to be a MasterSwordsman nine times out of ten. They might demonstrate ImplausibleFencingPowers such as chopping off gun barrels or slicing swords that aren't as cool as the katana off at the hilt. In a setting where the katana is a [[ExoticWeaponSupremacy rare weapon]], it is especially likely to be proof that a character is special and formidable. On the good guy side it belongs to TheLancer or TheHero, who may be TheChosenOne, and on the enemy side a katana wielder is likely to at least be an {{Elite Mook|s}}, if not a BigBad or TheDragon.

Since it would be [[RealityEnsues really anticlimactic]] if the katana user was [[NeverBringAKnifeToAGunFight shot dead by an arrow or bullet at fifty paces]], they will be depicted as being able to negate ranged weapons through [[DodgeTheBullet superhuman dodging]] or ParryingBullets until they close the distance. Because fencing with katanas will usually be treated as being an "honorable" manner of fighting, it will in most cases be implied if not stated outright that using firearms is despicable, cowardly or somehow "low". At the same time, [[MoralDissonance fencing won't be depicted as "low" compared with hand-to-hand combat, nor will it be "low" for a katana wielder to attack people armed with less effective melee weapons]], like knives or farming implements.

Other works might take a more critical or nuanced approach to the katana's abilities. In JidaiGeki or any work where the katana is a widely used rather than a rare weapon, the main character may be set apart by an AncestralWeapon forged by a master swordsmith which is superior to an ordinary katana, and sometimes its power comes more from being a magic sword rather than simply being a katana. Some examples show that the katana can chip or break if subjected to too much abuse, and videogames with a BreakableWeapons mechanic might depict it as inflicting more damage but being less durable than western swords as a form of balance.

Often in a ZombieApocalypse, one of the survivors will somehow get their hands on a katana, but since works about zombies are usually less about finesse and more about killing the monsters in the [[{{Gorn}} messiest way possible]], it won't necessarily work better against the shamblers than a [[BatterUp baseball bat]], [[AnAxeToGrind axe]], [[MacheteMayhem machette]], or [[ChainsawGood chainsaw]]; it just adds a bit of exotic variety to the zombie-hunting arsenal. In modern settings you might get a parody in the form of a BasementDweller who has a cheap wall-hanger katana replica that he doesn't know how to properly use, and wrongly thinks that simply having one will make him cooler when he's really just trying too hard.

to:

RuleOfCool says [[HeroesPreferSwords swords are cooler]] [[GunsAreWorthless than guns]], and tends to also hold the Japanese katana to be the coolest of all swords. This isn't surprising when you consider that Japan has produced a large number of games, movies, TV shows, myths, and legends which reflect national pride in this icon of Japanese culture. There are also a lot more media consumers outside of Japan who have learned through documentary television or pop culture that traditional Japanese swordmaking is a highly spiritual and artistic process--and that there is an elegant and deadly art for using the katana--compared to the smaller number of people who know that there are equally impressive traditions of swordsmithing and swordsmanship in other countries (most obviously the legendary Damascus Steel of India and the Middle East, to which similarly exaggerated qualities were ascribed).countries. Because of this popular recognition, if you put a katana in the hands of a character, you're making a statement that they are cooler and more powerful than the others who don't have one.

In reality, the katana is nothing more and nothing less than a unique sword with particular advantages and drawbacks. A traditionally made Japanese sword ([[EveryJapaneseSwordIsAKatana of which the katana is only the most internationally famous]]) is defined by three things: being made of folded ''tamahagane'' steel smelted from iron-rich sand; being of laminated construction, of which the basic version is a hard outer "jacket" wrapped around a tough inner core; and being differentially hardened by applying clay to the back of the blade before heating and quenching, so that the more rapidly-cooled edge becomes harder than the rest of the sword and develops a cloud-like pattern called the ''hamon''[[note]]Differential hardening is also what gives the blade its curvature; unlike a curved sword made from a homogeneous piece of steel, which is forged in a curved shape before heat treatment, the Japanese sword is forged almost straight and actually ''bends itself'' into a curved shape when it's quenched because the edge and the body cool at different rates[[/note]]. Contrary to popular belief, ''tamahagane'' is not a particularly high-quality steel; in fact the folding process is necessary to remove impurities and reduce the carbon content to the right level, and while the traditional process does this quite effectively, it is obsolete and inefficient compared to post-blast furnace metallurgy which produces better steel in greater volumes and with more consistency. Folded ''tamahagane'' is still used in sword making not because it's somehow "superior" to modern steel, but rather because it's valued as a historical tradition, and because it gives the sword the prized aesthetic effect of a grained surface pattern. In contrast, lamination and differential hardening ''do'' still have a functional purpose: they allow the sword to have a very hard edge[[note]]Often in the ballpark of 60 HRC, which would make the sword likely shatter if it was made that hard all the way through[[/note]] which retains its sharpness longer than a softer edge would, while the tougher and more pliable body of the sword helps it to absorb stress without breaking. A "through-hardened" blade made from one homogeneous piece of steel cannot be made quite as hard-edged and will tend to dull more easily[[note]]even a soft piece of iron or steel can be sharpened to a razor edge, but it will become dull much more quickly[[/note]], but has the advantage of durability: the hard, sharp edge of a katana is more likely to chip if struck against something too hard and unyielding because it is more brittle, and the blade is more likely to bend or twist if exposed to lateral force, taking a set instead of springing back as a through-hardened blade would[[note]]taking a set is not necessarily a huge problem, as it can be straighened more easily than a through-hardened blade that has taken a set, but a twist is much harder to correct than a simple lateral bend[[/note]]. For more information about the unique properties of the katana, see the [[Analysis/KatanasAreJustBetter Analysis section]]; the point is that the katana is not categorically superior to other swords, and whether or not it will serve you better than a different type of sword depends entirely on the context in which you're going to use it.

Of course, fiction being fiction, all of those realistic tradeoffs and even [[ArtisticLicensePhysics basic laws of physics]] can be thrown out in favor of RuleOfCool. Since the katana is well-known for being a cutting-focused sword, this property is exaggerated to make it an AbsurdlySharpBlade that can slice through any material as if it were butter. Every cut with a Katana katana is a CleanCut, passing through the object so effortlessly that you [[DiagonalCut might not immediately realize it's been cut]], until the two halves dramatically fall apart a few moments later. Also, because it is perceived as an elite weapon that requires [[DifficultButAwesome higher-than-average skill to use well]], a character distinguished by using a katana is going to be a MasterSwordsman nine times out of ten. They might demonstrate ImplausibleFencingPowers such as chopping off gun barrels or slicing swords that aren't as cool as the katana off at the hilt. In a setting where the katana is a [[ExoticWeaponSupremacy rare weapon]], it is especially likely to be proof that a character is special and formidable. On the good guy side it belongs to TheLancer or TheHero, who may be TheChosenOne, and on the enemy side a katana wielder is likely to at least be an {{Elite Mook|s}}, if not a BigBad or TheDragon.\n\nSince it would be [[RealityEnsues really anticlimactic]] if the katana user was [[NeverBringAKnifeToAGunFight shot dead by an arrow or bullet at fifty paces]], they will be depicted as being able to negate ranged weapons through [[DodgeTheBullet superhuman dodging]] or ParryingBullets until they close the distance. Because fencing with katanas will usually be treated as being an "honorable" manner of fighting, it will in most cases be implied if not stated outright that using firearms is despicable, cowardly or somehow "low". At the same time, [[MoralDissonance fencing won't be depicted as "low" compared with hand-to-hand combat, nor will it be "low" for a katana wielder to attack people armed with less effective melee weapons]], like knives or farming implements.\n\nOther works might take a more critical or nuanced approach to the katana's abilities. In JidaiGeki or any work where the katana is a widely used rather than a rare weapon, the main character may be set apart by an AncestralWeapon forged by a master swordsmith which is superior to an ordinary katana, and sometimes its power comes more from being a magic sword rather than simply being a katana. Some examples show that the katana can chip or break if subjected to too much abuse, and videogames with a BreakableWeapons mechanic might depict it as inflicting more damage but being less durable than western swords as a form of balance.

Often in a ZombieApocalypse, one of the survivors Since it would be [[RealityEnsues really anticlimactic]] if katana users are [[NeverBringAKnifeToAGunFight shot dead by an arrow or bullet at fifty paces]], they will somehow get their hands on a katana, but since works about zombies are usually less about finesse and more about killing be depicted as being able to negate ranged weapons through [[DodgeTheBullet superhuman dodging]] or ParryingBullets until they close the monsters in the [[{{Gorn}} messiest way possible]], it won't necessarily work better against the shamblers than a [[BatterUp baseball bat]], [[AnAxeToGrind axe]], [[MacheteMayhem machette]], or [[ChainsawGood chainsaw]]; it just adds a bit of exotic variety to the zombie-hunting arsenal. In modern settings you distance. You might get a parody in the form of impression that [[NeverBringAGunToAKnifeFight swords are simply better weapons than guns]].

Because HeroesPreferSwords, and katanas are so special, they usually belong to TheHero. On the flip side,
a BasementDweller who has villain wielding a cheap wall-hanger katana replica that he doesn't know how is usually someone to properly use, and wrongly thinks that simply having one will make him cooler when he's really just trying too hard.
be taken seriously. The swords are often wielded by {{Elite Mook|s}}, if not TheDragon or the BigBad himself.



Someone wielding a katana will usually [[SwipeYourBladeOff Swipe Their Blade Off]] before returning it to the scabbard.
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