Created By: Lyendith on March 28, 2012 Last Edited By: Lyendith on November 9, 2012
Troped

Razor Sharp Hand

When a knifehand strike can litterally cut things in two

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
There are heroes who prefer swords. Others who think Katanas Are Just Better. And then there are those who need neither. No, if they have to cut their opponent in tiny pieces they will just use their bare hands. Of course there will usually be some magic or Applied Phlebotinum behind this, but the idea is that they don't need any tool whatsoever. A swipe of their extended palm with jointed fingers, and the job is done. Alternately, the hand can be used as an unstoppable piercing weapon.

Note that an example doesn't qualify if the "hand" is an actual blade or spear. It must have the appearance of a normal fingered hand. Let it also be known that a Brick Break doesn't count as "cutting", even though it may look like it (it's just a shockwave splitting the concrete).

Compare Absurdly Sharp Blade, Laser Blade and Implausible Fencing Powers. For a defensive equivalent, see Bare-Handed Blade Block.

Examples:

Anime and Manga:
  • In Naruto the Chidori technique in its basic form consists of concentrating lightning chakra in your hand and charge very fast to make it cut and pierce through anything. The Third Raikage has a similar technique, except he takes it to ridiculous levels.
  • Tao Pai Pai in Dragon Ball has toughened not only his hands and feet, but also his tongue, to the point he can pierce through anything and effortlessly kill enemies.
  • In Bleach, all of the Arrancars can do this as they have the ability to toughen their skin. Some shinigami practise form of hand to hand combat which allows them to perform both this and Bare Handed Blade Blocks if they're sufficiently more powerful than their target.
  • That's how Fuuma prefers to kill his victims in X1999 (impaling them through the chest).
  • Shinryaku! Ika Musume: Chizuru has this ability, but only demonstrates it on Squid Girl's tentacles.
  • Alucard from Hellsing cuts through a Death Dealer card and the holders arm with his hand
  • Fist of the North Star has a whole school that generally works upon this sort of work called Nanto Seiken. Most famous among them is side protagonist Rei, whose style literally cuts people into shreds.
  • In Baki the Grappler, Shinogi Kanno practices a fighting style that allows him to sever nerves with his fingertips, allowing him to cripple or blind his opponents.

Comic Books:
  • In the DC Comics series Hero Hotline, Diamondette has this power with her hands acting like diamond-hard knives. She's part-timeing as a hero for hire to pay for medical school, as she plans to become a surgeon.

Film
  • In Casshern, there is a four minute action sequence in which the hero mows down an entire army of war robots. The first one is despatched by punching it through the heart using the artillery shell the hero has just caught in front of his own face. The second one has his head ripped off at the neck and is then bisected with a single vertical chop to the neck stump. It's as crazy as it sounds.
  • In John Carpenter's Vampires, the Vampire Lord at one point uses his bare hand to first jam it into a human's chest, then swings the arm in an upward motion to completely rip the poor victim in half.

Literature
  • Subverted in The Fifth Elephant; the assassin/aide Vimes is assigned on his diplomatic trip to Überwald appears to decapitate a bandit with his bare hands, but shortly afterwards it's revealed that he's really carrying a palm dagger.

Tabletop Games
  • D&D Epic Level Handbook includes feats that improve effectiveness of a character's (usually monk's) unarmed strike, culminating in giving it a vorpal effect.(instant kill by decapitation on a natural 20 critical hit.)
  • Forgotten Realms has the spell "Laeral's Cutting Hand", making the caster's hand work as a weapon equal to dagger +2.
  • 3rd Edition GURPS Supers. The Buzzsaw power allows the user's hand to vibrate at hypersonic speed, allowing it to cut through things and cause massive damage.
    • GURPS Supers supplement GURPS Wild Cards. The super villain Mackie Messer (AKA Mack the Knife) has this ability: his hands can cut through anything physical.

Video Games
  • This is how the titular character of Bayonetta cuts off the tentacles of Iustitia. Sadly you can't use that move during gameplay.
  • This is Yasha's weapon of choice in Asura's Wrath, by contrast to Asura's fists. As a bonus, he can even throw Sword Beams with them.
  • Devil May Cry 4: Dante did this to a slab of stone (and later, many slabs) when he acquired Gilgamesh (a set of supposedly non-sharp gauntlets and boots). Unfortunately, that only worked in a cutscene.

Western Animation
  • In Transformers Prime, Starscream kills Cliffjumper by impaling him through the chest with his hand.
  • Played for laughs in an episode of Futurama, when Bender the Do-Anything Robot makes his hand spin rapidly to mimic the function of a saw and cut a plank of wood. This is especially implausible considering that his three fingers are thick, cylindrical and wider at the ends, as poorly suited to cutting as anything imaginable.
Community Feedback Replies: 42
  • March 28, 2012
    Bisected8
    • Subverted in Thud; the assassin/aide Vimes is assigned on his diplomatic trip to Uberwald appears to decapitate a bandit with his bare hands, but shortly afterwards it's revealed that he's really carrying a palm dagger.
    • In Bleach, all of the Arrancars can do this as they have the ability to toughen their skin. Some shinigami practise form of hand to hand combat which allows them to perform both this and Bare Handed Blade Blocks if they're sufficiently more powerful than their target.
  • March 29, 2012
    Koveras
    Does it also include examples where the hand is used as a piercing weapon? Because that's how Fuuma prefers to kill his victims in X1999 (impaling them through the chest).
  • March 29, 2012
    Lyendith
    I suppose we can extend it to that. It stays within the idea of a hand used as a blade.
  • March 29, 2012
    Koveras
    I had a similar idea, actually. Wanted to call it "Digital Dagger". :D
  • March 29, 2012
    troublegum
    ^^^ Wasn't that The Fifth Elephant, not Thud?
  • March 29, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    D&D Epic Level Handbook includes feats that improve effectiveness of a character's (usually monk's) unarmed strike, culminating in giving it a vorpal effect.(instant kill by decapitation on a natural 20 critical hit.)
  • March 29, 2012
    Lyendith
    What's that book? A strategy guide or something?
  • March 29, 2012
    Bisected8
    ^^^ Ah yeah, the Discworld example's The Fifth Elephant, not Thud.
  • March 29, 2012
    Koveras
    ^^ It's a rule book, which describes the abilities of various character classes at high power levels in Dungeons And Dragons. It's to be listed under Tabletop Games.
  • March 29, 2012
    KZN02
    I forget, does 004 from Cyborg 009 have this as his left hand?
  • March 29, 2012
    SKJAM
    • In the DC Comics series Hero Hotline, Diamondette has this power with her hands acting like diamond-hard knives. She's part-timeing as a hero for hire to pay for medical school, as she plans to become a surgeon.

    • Shinryaku Ika Musume: Chizuru has this ability, but only demonstrates it on Squid Girl's tentacles.
  • March 29, 2012
    Speedball
    Isn't this how Rei kills in Fist Of The North Star? At the least, it's how Shin does.
  • March 29, 2012
    chicagomel
    The Pokemon Scyther, whose name pretty much says it all. Its forearms are all blade. (either Anime/Manga or Videogames)

    Would Edward Scissorhands count?
  • March 30, 2012
    Lyendith
    Mh no, if the hands are literal blades, it doesn't count. We're talking about cutting things with a normal-looking, flesh-and-bone hand.
  • March 30, 2012
    troublegum
    Comic Books
    • V For Vendetta: Finch notes after V kidnaps Prothero from a train, that the guard mooks chest wounds weren't caused by a knife or bullet and he has a "nasty suspicion whoever did this did it with their fingers."

    Would it count if it looks like a normal, flesh and blood hand, but is in fact something else underneath? i.e it functions as a reveal of the inhuman nature?
  • March 30, 2012
    Stratadrake
  • March 30, 2012
    TBeholder
    • Forgotten Realms spell "Laeral's Cutting Hand", making the caster's hand work as a weapon equal to dagger +2.
  • March 30, 2012
    captainsandwich
    Alucard from Hellsing cuts through a Death Dealer card and the holders arm with his hand
  • March 30, 2012
    chicagomel
    ^Oh, ok, misunderstood the premise.

    What about the stock karate move of breaking the brick or board with one's hand? I'm not sure if that's the same as cutting or not though.
  • March 31, 2012
    Lyendith
    ^x5 - That would count as a subversion I suppose?

    ^ It's not exactly "cutting", it's just hitting the bricks so hard the shockwave makes them break vertically. Although indeed, at real speed it looks like the guys cut them in two.

    As for Razor Sharp Karate Chop, I thought about it, but wouldn't that exclude the "piercing" variant?
  • April 1, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
  • April 2, 2012
    Lyendith
    Err, that's the current title X)
  • April 5, 2012
    Chabal2
    Might count: Artemis Fowl has Butler comment that his sensei's movements are so fast the air hisses when she strikes.
  • May 2, 2012
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • 3rd Edition GURPS Supers. The Buzzsaw power allows the user's hand to vibrate at hypersonic speed, allowing it to cut through things and cause massive damage.
      • GURPS Supers supplement GURPS Wild Cards. The super villain Mackie Messer (AKA Mack the Knife) has this ability: his hands can cut through anything physical.
  • May 2, 2012
    SonofRojBlake
    In the otherwise quite slow-moving, confusing, arguably even tedious movie Casshern, there is a four minute action sequence in which the hero mows down an entire army of war robots. The first one is despatched by punching it through the heart using the artillery shell the hero has just caught in front of his own face. The second one has his head ripped off at the neck and is then bisected with a single vertical chop to the neck stump. It's as crazy as it sounds. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGAJF1uoWDE
  • May 2, 2012
    Lyendith
    Your video has been blocked by copyright...
  • May 2, 2012
    TheEvenPrime
    Do very literal cases count? (EDIT: Turns out they don't, sorry)

    • In Dungeon Crawl, there is a spell that transforms a characters hands into extremely sharp razors.
  • May 2, 2012
    Lyendith
    As I said, actual blades instead of hands don't count. Unless the spell somehow makes the hand extremely sharp without changing how it looks.
  • May 2, 2012
    TheEvenPrime
    Well then it depends a bit on the players' imagination, but the official tileset does feature the hands changing so yeah, not an example.
  • June 18, 2012
    IchigoMontoya
    • In Transformers Prime, Starscream kills Cliffjumper by impaling him through the chest with his hand.
  • July 11, 2012
    kjnoren
    Probably needs to refer to Wolverine Claws and Natural Weapon for those with blades attached.

    I like Razor Sharp Karate Chop, since that makes it clear this isn't really a feature of the hands itself (those would be Wolverine Claws or Natural Weapon). Razor Sharp Karate Strike would probably also work.
  • July 12, 2012
    GeminiSparkSP
    • Devil May Cry 4: Dante did this to a slab of stone (and later, many slabs) when he acquired Gilgamesh. Unfortunately, that only worked in a cutscene.
  • July 12, 2012
    Generality
    • Played for laughs in an episode of Futurama, when Bender the Do Anything Robot makes his hand spin rapidly to mimic the function of a saw and cut a plank of wood. This is especially implausible considering that his three fingers are thick, cylindrical and wider at the ends, as poorly suited to cutting as anything imaginable.
  • September 1, 2012
    Lyendith
    ^^^ The problem with "Karate Chop" is that it doesn't include the "stabbing" variant... then again we can just say that Tropes Are Flexible and include it anyway...
  • September 2, 2012
    kjnoren
    Then use the alternative Razor Sharp Karate Strike.
  • November 5, 2012
    MrRuano
    • Fist Of The North Star has a whole school that generally works upon this sort of work called Nanto Seiken. Most famous among them is side protagonist Rei, whose style literally cuts people into shreds.
  • November 6, 2012
    Lyendith
    I wonder if I can launch this even if it has only 2 hats? Cause really, it has enough examples and I don't have much to add... the only thing it lacks is a good image...
  • November 6, 2012
    Bisected8
    Personally, I'd wait until it has at least 4 hats.
  • November 9, 2012
    m8e
    I think that we need to make it clear if this include cutting things with blunt force/shockwaves or not.

    Maybe adding something like "Doing a Brick Break isn't an example of Razor Sharp Hand as..." or "Sometimes Brick Break is depicted as this even though it doesn't..."
  • November 9, 2012
    TBTabby
    In Baki The Grappler, Shinogi Kanno practices a fighting style that allows him to sever nerves with his fingertips, allowing him to cripple or blind his opponents.
  • November 9, 2012
    Chernoskill
    In John Carpenters Vampires, the Vampire Lord at one point uses his bare hand to first jam it into a human's chest, then swings the arm in an upward motion to completely rip the poor victim in half.
  • November 9, 2012
    Lyendith
    ^^^ True.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=kxchot84h8m4ch8z0b6qfd0t&trope=RazorSharpHand