[[quoteright:300:[[Manga/{{Bleach}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ichigo_smallcut.jpg]] ]]
[[caption-width-right:300:You should see the [[{{BFS}} size of the sword]] that made that...]]

The act of making a very fine incision upon someone with an attack that cannot even remotely believably do such a thing, usually incorporating elements of ImplausibleFencingPowers or ImprobableAimingSkills. Though paper cutting is usually just the leading cause for the third item of StandardBleedingSpots, used to maintain tension in a long battle or uphold realism when HitPoints are in play, it can also effectively drive home a point about the character on either end of the attack:

* If the character who receives a papercut does not flinch or generally carries on with his business, it is a very good indication of his or her badassery.
* But if he does flinch or stop dead on his tracks, chances are the attack was a mere warning shot by the true BadAss to make you stop whatever you were going to do.
* Papercuts also trigger almost every MinorInjuryOverreaction.

Paper cutting is done with equal yet ever improbable frequency with both actual bladed weapons such as swords and knives, as well as bullets and magic projectiles. Never mind what properties have been attributed to the latter and that a bullet passing right by the skin would more likely burn and bruise it than cut it with surgical precision.

It should also be noted that it has recently become fashionable for paper cutting attacks to [[CloseCallHaircut take some hair with them]] when aimed at the face.

A subtrope of CouldHaveBeenMessy. Highly pervasive in [[ShonenDemographic shonen]] series, though thanks to the RuleOfCool, it has surfaced in nearly every form of fictional violence. Frequently seen with attacks that use PetalPower, FeatherFlechettes or a DeathDealer's projectiles. If the combatant actually used paper as the weapon in question, see PaperMaster.

Compare CleanCut.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Though ''DragonBallZ'' has paper cutting occur on innumerable occasions, it is mostly of the cookie-cutter StandardBleedingSpots variety. One memorable subversion: When Super Saiyan 3 Goku tosses a provocative little Ki ball past Super Buu, the audience expects a paper cut - but instead the tiny ball rips a horrible gash on Super Buu's face, revealing all manner of alien anatomy. Gross.
** This may have something to do with the Buus being MadeOfPlasticine.
*** There is another subversion when Vegetto punched the air to cut Superbuu's cheek. Instead of a neat, surgical precission cut, it leaves a very noticeable and wide gash that reveals the flesh below it. (If it can even be called flesh, that is)
* In ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'', Alucard underlines his badassery by not showing an ounce of effect after the Dandy Man played it straight with a razor-sharp playing card thrown by his cheek. Although this is subverted in that the wound in question is apparently magical and ''will not stop bleeding'', leading to Alucard later pausing to rest over a large pool of his blood.
** Averted in ''Hellsing'': when the Captain gives an assassin nun a warning shot, he doesn't care to carefully aim it so as to only papercut (or just not shoot at her in general) - he shoots right through her mouth. It's okay though, he tosses her a first aid kit afterward.
** For vampires in fiction in general, no excuse is too little to get a vampire's cheek cut open so it can take a provocative lick of his own blood. This practically qualifies as a trope of its own.
* In ''SamuraiChamploo'', after being deprived of his sword, Mugen is still able to provide a very fine cut across an opponent's cheek with a roundhouse kick. He's just that badass.
** The metal on the bottom of his ''geta'' sandals certainly helped.
* In ''[[Manga/RanmaOneHalf Ranma 1/2]]'', during their first battle, Ryoga strikes at Ranma with an open-handed punch, which results in a PaperCutting wound on Ranma's cheek. This indicates both Ryoga's incredible strength (especially considering he missed Ranma with the strike in question) and Ranma's badassery, since he didn't seem to think much of it and proceeded to soundly thump Ryoga.
** Much later on, Ranma does the same to Shinnosuke during a SingleStrokeBattle, and gets a small tear in his clothes in return. Particularly impressive in that Ranma had ''punched'' at Shinnosuke's face, and while the latter ''does'' get a small but consistent bruise in the manga, he gets a papercut in the anime.
* In the ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' episode ''Sympathy for the Devil'', Spike takes a paper-cut bullet to the cheek, without flinching, and proceeds to shoot his target.
* During the non-canon Christian Arc of ''RurouniKenshin'', Sanosuke learns a martial arts move that allows him to paper cut an opponent if his punches miss within a small margin.
* In ''FushigiYuugi'', during the fight between Tasuki and Tamahome, Tasuki stabs at Tamahome with a relatively [[PaperFanOfDoom blunt instrument]]. Tamahome's face is completely unscathed, but as he turns away, the very thin headband he was wearing splits apart.
** The gang fight in Episode 4, where after getting a Paper Cut, Tamahome does this: *bleeds; glares; kicks ass*
* ''Manga/{{Black Cat}}'''s Train Hartnet recieves one of these in the first volume from an old friend from Chronos. It doesn't seem to do much except piss him off.
* Happens quite often in ''OnePiece''.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' does this all the time, as seen in the picture. The attack that caused that cut was probably powerful enough to destroy a building.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' does this occasionally. The most straightforward example is probably the training exercise where Asuna does this to Evangeline using ''a PaperFanOfDoom''. Eva is [[strike:not happy]] disturbingly blissed-out by this, and [[DisproportionateRetribution encases Asuna in a block of ice as a response.]]
* ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'' does this during the fight between Ladd and Graham. Ladd fires his shotgun at Graham and Graham deflects the bullet back at Ladd with his giant wrench, causing it to graze Ladd's cheek.
* The Season 1 FinalBattle from the ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara'' anime has Nobunaga inflict a shallow cut on Yukimura's cheek...with his [[BadassCape cape]].
** In the ''Bloody Angel'' manga, Mitsunari suffers this after narrowly dodging a bullet from Magoichi.
* Pride does this to Lieutenant Hawkeye in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' using his shadows.
* In ''Manga/FairyTail'' Scarlet and Knightwalker do this to each other and it becomes a plot point later.
* When Haru and Lucia finally throw down in ''Manga/RaveMaster'', this is the first bit of damage done to Lucia.
* ''Manga/{{Holyland}}'': This being done to King in chapter 174 convinces him to get serious.
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[[folder:Fan Works]]
* The ''[[WesternAnimation/TotalDramaIsland Total Drama]]'' story, ''Fanfic/{{Legacy}}'' has a subversion. The chainsaw psycho tries to inflict a minor wound and might well have succeeded, but he is [[NiceJobBreakingItHero interrupted at precisely the wrong moment]] and so inflicts a serious wound instead, more or less by accident.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* The intro to the boss fight against Vamp in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty''.
* Kato does this to Yuri as a warning halfway through ''VideoGame/ShadowHearts: Covenant''. Yuri ignores it, but the rest of the party talks him down.
* ''[[VideoGame/TeamFortress2 Meet the Spy]]'' has the eponymous class pull one of these on the Sniper with his butterfly knife. [[SubvertedTrope Then he just stabs him in the back]].
* One of the bad endings in ''VisualNovel/SchoolDays'' has Sekai receive one of these from a saw, only for the cut to start spurting out HighPressureBlood once she reacts to it.
* Played with in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'', where the papercut effect is not deliberate from the point of the attacker, but rather to emphasize powerful magical defenses of the target. The great dragon Bahamut fires his breath weapon at Kuja, just one, normal-sized, [[DudeLooksLikeALady not very manly]] wizard who should by all accounts be [[SquishyWizard squishy]]. A whole war fleet is firing cannons at the same guy. The results? Ow, a paper cut.
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''SurvivalOfTheFittest'' version three, Maxie Dasai gets hit in the face [[AnnoyingArrows by an arrow]] and comes away with a minor wound across her cheek, somehow managing to avoid any serious harm. (By luck, rather than skill, the archer, Renee Valenti, had been ''trying'' to kill Maxie).
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