Created By: Attilargh on June 7, 2008
Nuked

Razor Floss

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Trope
Ever gotten a paper cut while handling particularly thin wire or string? Yeah, me neither. Still, in the wonderful world of anime, yards and yards of really thin wire is one of the most dangerous weapons one can encounter, equally capable of slicing boulders neatly in two, decapitating zombie hordes and picking pockets. What the audience sees amounts usually to Sword Lines sans the sword.

Examples:
  • Walter C. Dornes of Hellsing, a scanlation of which woould be the Trope Namer for me.
  • Yashamaru of Basilisk.
  • Yura of the Hair from Inuyasha.
  • I recall monomolecular trip wires appeared in William Gibson's Count Zero.
Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • June 7, 2008
    Bisected8
    The Simpsons had an episode where Snake (the convict guy) tried to kill Homer by setting up a fine wire across the road as Homer drove past in a Sports car. He only succeeded in cutting off Kirk Va Houten's arm.
  • June 7, 2008
    BobbyG
    Probably based on cheese wire.
  • June 7, 2008
    arks
    Many traps in the movie Cube are like this.
  • June 7, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    A team of two villainous brothers in Rurouni Kenshin did this so well that the local townspeople thought they were using magic. Kenshin defeated them easily once he recovered his sword- he just cut the strings off.

    One episode of Card Captor Sakura had Eirel (or whatever his name is) manipulate Shaoran like a puppet using well-placed strings. This is also stopped with Sakura using the Sword card.

    You know, in terms of swords, floss and guns, swords always seem to beat Razor Floss.
  • June 7, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    A fine wire set across a road can do some real damage; I think there was some recent thing in the news in the UK about someone setting wires across cycle paths to hurt cyclists. It really can be dangerous, like wire through cheese :/

    Fictional example of monomolecular wire in the Stainless Steel Rat books, where people use them to abseil down so others can follow down the rope without slicing their fingers off and falling to their doom. Doesn't explain how the equipment survives, if I recall...
  • June 7, 2008
    SchrodingersDuck
    Also from Gibson is the monomolecular filament of Johnny Mnemonic. An assassin has a wire 1 molecule thick embedded in his thumb, which he can use to garrotte people.

    Speaking of monomolecular filament, Wikipedia has a good list of examples: monomolecular wire#Use and variants in fiction.
  • June 7, 2008
    stm177
    I seem to remember that the Dune series of books had mono-filament weapons.
  • June 7, 2008
    binaroid
    Chocolate and Tira from Sorcerer Hunters both use this. I think the Phantom Of The Opera used some of this, too (although just for garden-variety strangling.)
  • June 7, 2008
    Nate the Great
    One of Ranma's enemies uses this. It's amazing how much of his clothes get cut by the closing loops, but how little of his SKIN actually breaks.
  • June 7, 2008
    RobertBingham
    Bishonen Benten from Cyber City Oedo 808 used this as his weapon of choice, slicing through bad guys quite stylishly.
  • June 7, 2008
    Cube B
    • The third demon encountered in Inu Yasha is Yura of the Hair. Her main attack? Razor Sharp Hair.
    • Kurenai, from Red Ninja: End of Honor uses a tetsugen, or an iron wire. I can't remember if she simply strangles the enemies with it, or decapitates them. I know decapiation is possible, but I'm not sure if the blade attachment to the tetsugen is used or not.

  • June 7, 2008
    Servbot
    Kazuki Fuuchouin of Get Backers, who's also known as Kazuki of the Strings due to his fighting style.
  • June 7, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    Razor Floss is quite possibly the best tropename ever.

    And it's used instead of barbed wire around the robotic nursery in the novel version of Logan's Run
  • June 7, 2008
    hawthorn
    I personally have predicted that if monofilament is ever invented, a new phobia will instantly be born. It's really horrible stuff - the idea that you could simply walk between two points and suddenly not have your head attached.

    It was used as a spaceship weapon in the Deep Space Nine novel Objective: Bajor, where the enemy ships flew out in pairs with a monofilament net between them. The net was so fine it couldn't be seen or blocked by shields, but any ship that was netted simply crumpled to atoms, occupants and all. They also had a net pulled by torpedo, for when the paired ships were split up.
  • June 7, 2008
    SchrodingersDuck
    @hawthorne: you might be pleased to know that actually, even if you were cut by a monofilament, it would probably not hurt, or at worst, possibly screw up the DNA and other delicate structures of cells it passed through. At these scales, the thread would not push molecules far enough apart to sever bonds, and bonds that did sever would be close enough to fix themselves - it would pass through, almost ghost like. If, however, you could make the wire expand suddenly...
  • June 7, 2008
    Tinweasel
    Razor Floss is one of Amagumo's many, many weapons in Desert Punk.
  • June 7, 2008
    Radioactive Zombie
    Fibre Wire in the Hitman series, but not necessarily used for cutting.

    There's also a scene in Stormbreaker where a pair of AT Vs try to slice apart our hero with razor wire in between the two vehicles.
  • June 7, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    there's a Chekov's Razor Floss in Arthur C Clark's "The Fountains Of Paradise", made of the carbon filament formulated for the space elevator.
  • June 8, 2008
    FalconPain
    @binaroid: Chocolate has the wire. Tira has a standard whip.
  • June 8, 2008
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG: Shadowrun had monofilament swords and whips and used monofilament in traps.

    Larry Niven

    In the film version of Force 10 from Navarone, Force 10 used the old "wire strung across a road" trick to decapitate a Nazi officer.
  • June 8, 2008
    Mith
    Also from Ringworld: a variable sword is monomolecular wire in a Slaver stasis field (making it rigid and essentially indestructible). Goes through metal like butter.
  • June 8, 2008
    Patsy
    The Warp Spider eldar in Warhammer40000 have big guns that shoot clouds of Razor Floss. In the edition I played many years ago, it was something of a Game Breaker, being both an instant kill and an area-affecting attack.
  • June 8, 2008
    Heliomance
    Nao in Mai Hime and Mai Otome
  • June 8, 2008
    RealSlimShadowen
    Featured in a Tom Swift III novel, though I can't remember the name of it. Tom wore diamond-coated gloves to handle it. It was the one where they got shrunk.

    In Real Life and fiction alike, there is the use of wires not to decapitate, but as a garrote. (For example, the first-season Sopranos ep College.) A version of the actual trope, meanwhile, appears in the Johnny Mnemonic movie, where the one dude has a laser-garrote that actually can decapitate people.
  • June 8, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    In one episode of Dads Army Captain Mainwaring describes the use of cheese cutters as a garrotte, causing Corporal Jones to become ill. Sgt Wilson suggests it's because Jones hates cheese.
  • June 8, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    Yoji in Weiss Kreuz uses this.
  • June 9, 2008
    Attilargh
    Wow, so many examples. Going to launch this sometime later today, so if someone doesn't like the name Razor Floss, now's the time to say it.
  • June 9, 2008
    Andyzero
    L.A. from El Cazador De La Bruja uses this.
  • June 9, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    There are urban legends about people's heads being severed as a result of an encounter(accidental or arranged) with a thin, sharp wire.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=cmk19ut1&trope=RazorFloss