Useful for chopping wood and heads alike, axes are often pressed into service as weapons. An axe's wide, cleaving head is effective against armor, making it a slower and more powerful weapon than a sword, though not quite as massive as a hammernote except in Real Life where hammers designed as weapons were surprisingly small compared to their fantasy versions. Smaller axes, such as the tomahawk or the francisca, can be used as throwing weapons. In certain media, they may even return to the user's hand like a boomerang, though they have the tendency to stick in enemies if they score a hit.
Historically, due to being somewhat easier to manufacture, their general familiarity to the peasant population and mobility (real-life combat axes were small and rarely weighed more than one kilo), they used to be the close combat Weapon of Choice of the common foot soldiers, as opposed to the officers and nobility, who wore swords (which were generally too expensive for commoners). While military weapons were often illegal for peasants to own, axes are tools, and avoid the prohibition. Franks used them extensively (lending their name to the francisca), and nowadays axes are associated with the following character archetypes:
However it should be noted that axes made specifically for warfare were fundamentally different in design from the common sort of axes a commoner might have lying around, with thin and almost sword-like edges designed for slicing flesh, rather than the deep wedge typical of axes used for chopping wood, making the latter type a case of Improvised Weapon. A proper battle-axe would not be a good choice for menial labor, any more than would a sword.
If the Big Guy isn't using a hammer or his bare fists, he'll generally use a gigantic axe as a weapon. For extra comedy, the Cute Bruiser may be given a head-chopper bigger than the rest of her body.
Sometimes axes are the most logical weapon simply because they're available as an escape tool in almost every public building. See Deus Ax Machina.
May also include halberds and other poleaxes, which combine the chopping power of an axe with the range of a Blade on a Stick.
Not to be confused with Author Filibuster or Author Tract.
Each version of Getter 1 has this. From a fairly standard-sized tomahawk (relative to the mech itself) in the original to twin, double-bladed ones for G, a massive one for Shin Getter that's actually more of a halberd than a tomahawk and a GIANT, double-bladed, double-ended ax for Shin Dragon (which is already absolutely gigantic to begin with). And then there's the above "Final Getter Tomahawk"; it is to axes as the Goldion Crusher is to hammers.
Great Mazinger: Some War Beasts also were axe-wielders. General Juuma -one of the Co-Dragons of Ankoku Daishogun- wielded one in the Mazinger-Z vs Great General of Darkness (and nearly skewers Mazinger's head -and Kouji- with it). In the proper series, Garalya (in the episode 2) was the first War Beast in using an axe (a huge double-headed axe with no handle).
Asuka of Neon Genesis Evangelion, with her fondness of melee weapons, has Unit-02 equipped with a massive battle axe when the Evangelions fight Leliel. After Unit-01 is absorbed into the Angel's body, Asuka sinks her axe into the side of a building and promptly uses it as a foothold for Unit-02 to avoid being absorbed by the Angel.
Bui from YuYu Hakusho. A typical Big Guy example at first blush. In fact , as he's not really a Big Guy. All that armor he wears is not for protection, but rather to keep his immense power in check, and as you can expect the fight only really begins once he takes it off and he starts using his inherent powers instead of axes.
Force introduces Deville of Hückebein, whose Divider is a massive battleaxe.
Flora and Schierke spend some time forging a giant axe for Guts to wield against the Trolls that are attacking their village in Berserk, but Guts turns it down because he's already doing just fine with his big whacking Dragon Slayer, thank-you-very-much.
Midori Sugiura from Mai-HiME uses one as her Element.
Zeon mobile suits (particularly those of the Zaku bloodline) are often equipped with 'Heat Hawks,' axes with an extremely hot blade that can cut through armour, in the original Gundam continuity. Presumably easier to make than beam sabers. Eventually they split the difference and make beam versions, too. These also are used by the Zaku Expys in Gundam SEED Destiny.
Utu from The Tower of Druaga had a regular axe that he exchanged for a beam axe in the second season.
In Naruto one of the weapons of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist is Kabutowari, or "Helm Splitter". Called a blunt sword, it consists of an oversized axe and hammer joined together by a cord. The tactic employed by its wielder was to wedge the axe blade into an enemy and then drive it in further by hitting it with the hammer. And yet, is called "sword".
Axes are the weapon of choice of Yaiba's Gerozaemon . Also the Rock Soldier and Ruby in the Pyramid Arc.
Two assassins from Gamaran come from a Ryuu specialized in Dual Wielding axes. One of their opponent points out how dangerous such weapons are, as they can easily smash a katana blade and break the defense.
Noda from Angel Beats! uses a giant halberd most of the time, though he sometimes fights with guns.
Part way through the first Sin City story, "The Hard Goodbye", Marv acquires a hatchet and uses it to kill a bunch of people.
The Headsman of the Thunderbolts wields a giant axe and has a disturbing fixation with cutting heads off. This is implied to have something to do with his Aloof Older Brother using a logging axe to behead his beloved dog. Later 'Bolts member Troll wields an ancient Asgardian war axe, which can only be lifted with super-strength.
Ares, the God of War in the Marvel Universe, could use whatever weapon he pleased. He chooses to use a savage axe.
Badd Axe, best known as one of The Hood's Initiative recruits during the Dark Reign. He sleeps with the damn thing! Thor has speculated that it was forged by Hephaestus himself, making it nearly as formidable as Hercules' mace or his own hammer!
Butcher, the embodiment of the Red Lantern Corps, uses an axe when he's inhabiting the body of a lifeform capable of wielding it properly. True to his name, he also has a belt full of cutlery tools, including a rather menacing cleaver.
Calie, from Zenescope's Escape from Wonderland, literally and figuratively has an axe to grind. With her daughter kidnapped, Calie takes up a woodcutting axe that mutates into a BFA in her quest to rescue her daughter and get revenge against the Eldritch Abomination that cursed her family line.
Tricerachops from Super Dinosaur has an enormous axe as her weapon of choice.
A log-splitting handaxe is the signature weapon of Dead@17 heroine Nara Kilday. She doesn't seem to keep one on her, though, so she's always picking up new ones.
In the "Supergirl" arc of Superman/Batman, Batman wields a battle axe when he, Superman, and the denizens of Themyscira fight against the forces of Darkseid.
Revolutionary War hero Tomahawk took his name from his skill with his namesake axe.
Time-travelling caveman Alley Oop's weapon of choice is a stone axe.
Samuel D. Axe, the protagonist of one of the best-known One PieceOC fanfictions, uses a diamond axe as his main weapon, and is even named after said weapon.
One of Stalkkus' weapons in humanoid form in the Godzilla fanfilm Godzilla vs the Kaiju Killer.
Ash uses a fire axe to take down Tentagator in Carnage Necropolis. What's impressive is that he did it with ONE arm, as the other was ripped off by Tentagator (though it loses some impact when you remember Ash is being boosted by the L-Ject he was infected with, and he dies soon after killing the thing).
In A Growing Affection, Sakura's axe is her primary weapon, until about the middle of book 3. Gouki Namikaze is an axe-wielder, too. Both learned the weapon from Tsunade (who is never seen wielding one), and the latter received his unique weapon from her.
A pack of Foot Soldiers try these on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in their first film, with typical results. They do succeed, however, in collapsing the floor and dumping everyone down into the basement turned junk shop, where things get worse for the Turtles.
Donatello: Good thing these guys aren't lumberjacks! Michaelangelo: No joke! The only thing safe in the woods... would be the trees!
Plays with the idea of Dwarfs being commonly portrayed with axes. There, it's their cultural weapon so Dwarfish officers of Ankh Morpork can carry them around, and in Dwarfish mines carrying a huge axe strapped to one's back is perceived as more of being properly dressed rather than heavily armed. The particular axe preferred by these dwarfs is mentioned to be a multipurpose tool: It's got a pick on one side, for prospecting, and an ax on the other in case anyone tries to stop you.
Some of the more progressive female dwarfs eschew the traditional dwarf armor in favor of dresses. They retain the axe, though, because, as one of them puts it, "I said I was female. I didn't say I wasn't a dwarf."
The elite personal guard of the Low King of the Dwarfs are worthy of special mention. Each is armed with a single axe. While other warriors may bristle with weapons, they bristle with one weapon.
Thud! has a climactic moment when a reformist Dwarf priest uses a hand strike to the throat to silence a conservative Dwarf priest. He describes it as "like using an axe, but without the axe".
In The Silmarillion, Húrin (a Man) used an axe to great effect in his heroic last stand. He took down seventy trolls with it before being taken alive. Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs, has a massive, black one made of fire.
Also in The Silmarillion the Dwarves of the First Age use much-oversized axes and armos with full helmets and masks to fight Dragons at close range.
Gotrek of Gotrek & Felix is not only a Death Seeker but also carries a double-headed magical axe. Over the course of the series he has unsuccessfully tried to get himself killed fighting dragons, demons, hordes of undead; you get the picture.
The Valerian footsoldiers of the Lensman series use the space axe as their Weapon of Choice. It's functionally identical to the Medieval poleaxe, but in SPACE! As Valerians are canonically Dutch Heavyworlders. The space axes were extremely massive, on the order of 35 pounds, so that even a slow swing was deadly. This was because the Deflector Shields in the Lensman universe provided resistive force proportional to the cube of the impacting item's velocity. As in Dune, the slow blade penetrates the shield.
While Conan generally uses swords as his weapon of choice, he has used the battleaxe from time to time in Howard's stories, such as in the first Conan story, "The Phoenix on the Sword," which has King Conan taking one to the assassins trying to kill him in his bedchamber after breaking his sword.
King Kull, another Howard creation, famously used the axe, with his catchphrase being "With This Axe I Rule!"
David Gemmell's Druss the Legend was also called "Druss the Axe" because his signature weapon was Snaga, a powerful axe that had a demon inside.
Older Than Feudalism: Some variations of the Trojan War have Achilles wielding an Axe just before he's killed.
Averted in Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun ... despite Severian being a Journeyman of the Torturer's Guild and therefore (amongst other things) a public executioner, his beheading weapon is a sword rather than the more iconic axe.
Kaz the minotaur of Dragonlance fame. His weapon of choice was a magic axe, Honor's Face, that could be returned to his hand at will (among other awesome abilities).
Jean Tannen from the Gentleman Bastard series is skilled with a large variety of weapons, but prefers to fight with two axes he calls the Wicked Sisters, and considers to be family members rather than weapons. Jean does not conform to the usual axe-fighter tropes, though, being a well-educated and well-read cat burglar and con man.
In The Hunger Games (well, the sequel) Johanna Mason from the lumber district is quite adept with an axe.
Captain Kotov in Night Watcher uses a huge butcher's axe (practically a BFA) as his signature vampire-hunting weapon, because it was the best weapon he could find when he first had to confront a vampire, and it turned out to be surprisingly good for the job. He's a bit Ax-Crazy, yeah.
Ex-Con Keith Blackwell in Idoru uses a collapsible war axe not dissimilar to the US army tactical tomahawk.
The Keldara from the Paladin of Shadows series are very good at using axes for throwing and melee.
In A Song of Ice and Fire, the hill clans favor axes, particularly Shagga, who wields one in each hand. Tyrion uses an axe because his dwarfism makes a sword unwieldy. Loras, in spite of being a slender youth, wields an axe during Renly's tournament. In the Tales of Dunk and Egg, Gentle Giant Dunk carries a sword, but believes that he's virtually peerless with an axe or mace. Victarion Greyjoy favors a battle axe.
Honor Harrington and her fellow Probationary Rangers keeps a Pulaskinote A fire axe with a horizontal hoe blade on the back of the head for clearing brush nearby whenever they travel into the woodlands of Sphinx in Fire Season.
Black Crown sees King Marion fighting with an axe in the first short story, perhaps because he knew he would be fighting the armoured King Valerius.
Fellow Man by Norwegian author Olav Duun has a Gender Flip version of the trope. Ragnhild, the female protagonist is out to chop some firewood, and has to look for the axe in the smithy. When she gets there, she is threatened by the antagonist of the book, a jerkass and Magnificent Bastard of a father-in-law, and she is pushed so far by him that she eventually chops him down. After that, she proceeds to chopping firewood.
A lot of characters on The Oathsworn series fight with bearded axes, great axes, throwing axes, and when nothing more is available, blunt wood axes.
In the How to Train Your Dragon Books, Norbert the Nutjob has a HUGE double headed axe, with one head black and one head gold, that he sharpens lovingly all the time.
Axes frequently show up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, usually in one of two forms — In addition to fire extinguishers, Sunnydale High School is also equipped with fire axes. Joyce uses one of these when she goes Mama Bear on Spike. And Giles (and later Angel) owns several medieval battleaxes, and they seem to be the preferred weapon for fighting demons. When Gunn joins Team Angel, he uses a home-made axe created from a hubcap.
The Council thought to train Buffy with an axe. Blindfolded. The attacking Watcher was lucky not to be killed, the training dummy Buffy was meant to be protecting...not so much.
And now Willow's gone a little Ax-Crazy and stolen it, thinking it will help restore magic. She absconds to England and goes to Angel, who threatens her (he'd just fought a horde of demons and thought she was another one before answering the door,) she's broken off the end in case she needs to stake him. She later goes ahead with the ritual she had planned, by using the ax on Conner.
In Kamen Rider Den-O, Kintaros wields an axe, as does his version of Den-O, which is actually named Axe Form. This is because Kintaros is based on the Japanese myth of Kintaro the Golden Boy, who himself used an axe.
The various iterations of the Super Sentai / Power Rangers are also fond of axes. It's most common among Green and Black Rangers (which are generally considered 'the same,' because most teams have the primary colors, pink, and either black or green.)
The villainous Mordred in the 1998 adaptation of Arthurian Legend, Merlin, wields an appropriately sized axe as his main weapon.
The Salamanca cousins in Breaking Bad carry a silver fire axe as their weapon of choice when preparing to kill Walter White.
Will Scarlett in the BBC's Robin Hood fought with an axe and a hatchet, on account of him being a carpenter.
The old History Channel show Conquest had the host discuss the benefits of axes in one episode. Before starting a sparring session, he gives a protracted warning to his partner that once he starts swinging his axe at the man, it can't be stopped. He then lunges forward screaming and swinging his axe wildly, causing the overwhelmed sparring partner to break and run without putting up a fight.
Not surprisingly, the main characters of Vikings often carry axes.
On Bitten the final attack by the werewolf "mutts" begins when one of them, in wolf form, rushes Jeremy from the woods. Jeremy grabs an axe that he earlier used to chop wood and tosses it at the wolf. The axe hits wolf in the head and kills him instantly.
A guitarist may refer to his instrument as an "axe" and few will question him. Typically, the louder the music he plays, the more likely and more acceptable this is.
Hatchets were the first close-combat weapon to be used in Battletech. One mech in particular, the AXM-2N Axeman, was the first mech used by Adam Steiner in the animated series. The axe in this case weighs five tons, being designed for use by Humongous Mecha. Vibroaxes are one of many types of melee weapons available in the RPG Spin-Off, Mechwarrior
Although it's not required per se, the traditional barbarian stereotype in Dungeons & Dragons is waving an axe about as large as himself. They're also a popular Dwarven weapon along with warhammers and crossbows.
In In Nomine, it's the favored weapon of Michael, Archangel of War, the local incarnation of badass. In fact, even though the game has rules for adding miraculous powers to angels' weapons and entities of Archangelic power levels are kept deliberately vague, Michael's axe is explicitly statted in a player supplement: its only power is to teleport in on command. He doesn't need any others.
Yu-Gi-Oh! has Artifact Labrys, a sentient axe that can summon herself when a fellow Artifact is destroyed.
Yu Gi Oh also has the Axe of Despair, an Equip card that boosts ATK by 1000 points, and features a horrific, ghoulish head as part of the handle in the original Japanese artwork. Notably, the rules have no provisions against equipping the aforementioned Artifact Labrys with the Axe of Despair, resulting in a situation where a futuristic space axe is wielding a demonic flesh axe.
In Zombicide, set after a Zombie Apocalypse, the group of 4 to 6 survivors player take charge off start with a weapon each, from the following list, distributed randomly: a pistol, a crowbar, 1 frying pan per survivor beyond the 3rd, and a fire axe. The fire axe can be used to breach doors, though it makes quite some noise while doing so.
Several BIONICLE characters use or have used axes such as Lewa in his original form, Gali as a Toa Nuva, and Axonn.
The Transformers "Power Core Combiners" toyline's first wave of releases features Smolder, a Decepticon fire engine whose weapon of choice is an axe, and Chopster, who transformes into Smolder's axe. They're both Ax-Crazy, to boot.
Hexen II has the Paladin use throwing axes as his green mana weapon.
Bloodline Champions has the Vanguard use a scythe-like axe for their default weapon. The Harbinger's default is a crude weapon with a sharp edge curved inward described as a 'hatchet'. The Guardian uses large two-handed axes.
One of the three basic weapon types from Fire Emblem (along with swords and lances). Axe users have a tendency toward Big Guy archetypes: the pupil-class Journeymen, then the Fighters and Warriors, Brigands, Pirates and Berserkers, and certain types of Armor Knights and Generals. In a subversion, the axe is also the secondary weapon of the Hero, which is less of The Big Guy and more like the Jack of All Stats.
Axes also frequently show up as special weapons that only some characters (generally with S axe use rank) can handle. The below mentioned Helswath is only one of them: we have Armads and Basilikos in the Elibe continuity, Garm (Sacred Relic of the Grado Empire) in Sacred Stones, the Pugi in Thracia 776 (which, in a variation, can be used only by Othin).
In Blazing Sword, Hector of Ostia is actually the first Lord who specializes in axe use. He even gets to use the aforementioned Armads after the Sacred Weapons are unlocked ( and it was formerly wielded by Durban the Berserker, one of the Twelve Legends). One type of axe is used as a ranged boomerang, though it doesn't do much damage.
In Radiant Dawn, Ike can do the same. (And the axe became Greil's Weapon of Choice after he handicapped himself willingly so that he could not use a sword again, and is among Titania's arsenal.)
In Fire Emblem Jugdral, the sacred Weapon of Choice of the Crusader Neir (founder of House Dozel) was his BIG FRICKING AXE Helswath . This one is the heaviest FE weapon period: it gives insane bonuses to strength and hits from two spaces away, but is also insanely slow and only avaliable to people with major Neir blood.
House Dozel in general is specialized in axe use, whether their members can use the Helswath or not. From there alone we have Duke Langobalt, King Danan, and the princes Lex, Burian, Johan and Johalvier: out of them, three (Lex in the first generation, Johan and/or Johalvier in the second) join your group.
The Warrior class from Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy III can use a few axes as weapons. However, he likes swords better. (Technically, the Warrior should use swords instead of axes because axes have a lower inherent accuracy, reducing the possibility of multiple hits, which is the biggest source of damage multiplier in the game.)
Lani from Final Fantasy IX. In her first scene in the game, when she learns that she doesn't need to spare any of your party members on her mission to obtain Garnet/Dagger's pendant, she speaks as though her axe has a mind of its own.
Lani: "My axe is pleased to hear that."
Axes appear periodically in other Final Fantasy games, but not at the same frequency as swords, spears, and some other weapons. They tend to be used by Viking or Berserker-type classes.
The arcade game Golden Axe, where the dwarf Gilius Thunderhead wields the titular axe (he's stuck with a boring old steel one in the home versions, though).
In Terraria, there are plenty of axes that make surprisingly good weapons for their ability to be automatically swung and decent damage. One of them, literally called The Axe, is actually a "Flying V" guitar that functions as an actual axe AND a hammer. It also takes "an axe to grind" even more literally, perhaps too much so, as it requires an average of 200 boss kills against Plantera, with only a .5% chance of dropping, and Plantera being a fairly difficult boss.
Magic Rampage: There are a few of these, notable the Umbranian Cutter and the Lightning Axe.
Axes and Polearms are both prominent, of course, in the Total War series of games, with barbarian factions and units tending to be the biggest users of the former, and militia-class units the biggest user of the latter.
Also, the unlockable melee replacement, the Axtinguisher, is a different fire axe wrapped in barbed wire. It inflicts critical hits on burning targets - for those times when fire simply isn't enough.
The Third Degree is an axe that copies damage against an enemy to the Medic healing them or vice versa.
A community weapon update gave the Demoman the Scotsman's Skullcutter, a bloodstained two-bladed great ax with 20% more damage. It's so huge and heavy it actually slows the Demoman down, however. It also easily lops off heads on a killing blow.
The Demoman may also employ the Horseless Headless Horsemann's Headtaker, a giant, haunted axe with a demonic face in the blade. It also decapitates enemies on a killing blow and powers up the Demoman at the same time with each head taken.
The marines from Quake used Axes as their melee weapons. When the original Team Fortress was developed as a mod for that game, the Medic used an axeto heal.
The Axe Knights from Castlevania. There's also a fair few examples of Axes as primary weapons. They're slow and even stronger than the slow two handed swords, but often have a blind spot where enemies can be just about missed. The main example though is the Axe subweapon, present throughout the entire series. For some reason, the character just lobs the axe into the air in an arc. Nonetheless, it's really useful for those flying enemies!
The Warrior class from Gauntlet uses an infinite supply of magical throwing axes.
Most Orcs in Warcraft III. True, there are sword users, but orcs are mostly associated with axes in the series, grunts even having a victory animation where they flip it in the air and catch it. The Tauren Chieftain (who has a poleaxe taller than himself) even says "I have an axe to grind." upon training.
In World of Warcraft, orcs have a racial ability that increases their skill with axes.
And then there's the legendary Shadowmourne from Wrath of the Lich King.
In Defense Of The Ancients Allstars, Mogul Khan is better known as Axe, and Axe uses his axe to counter-attack blows with a quick whirl of his axe or execute a low-health enemy, even through effects that can normally negate death.
Moraxus in Heroes of Newerth is a demon who loves axes, whether he's hitting things with one, throwing several of them at enemies, or creating a barrier that's made of axes.
City of Heroes has a Battle Axe powerset for Tankers and Brutes, which may be ported to the other melee classes at some point (if you can get your head around the idea of a stealthy Stalker with a giant axe). As of a recent update, said axe can be customised between different colours and different models, including a fireman's axe, an energy axe and a shovel. (the edge of the shovel; the blunt end is an option for the War Mace powerset) Notable NPCs with Axe powers include the Greek Mythology styled street gang known as the Warriors, and the heroic yet demonic Infernal. (and his Evil Twin)
Axes show up in Persona 3, possessing the greatest damage potential, but the worst accuracy rating. They are part of a group of weapons called Bludgeons, which also include hammers, maces, and a bus stop sign. And for a short while he's with your group, Shinjiro Aragaki uses an axe.
And in the first Persona, the axe user is Mark/Masao Inaba.
Axes are a weapon option in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, popular with dwarves and orcs. High damage, slow, but also capable of hacking open a door or stubborn chest without being damaged.
Axes are one of three weapons usable by Warriors in Guild Wars, AoE attacks for Player Versus Environment gameplay. (Though hammers have the ability to knock foes down and swords have some really good skills like Dragon Slash, so they're fairly even.)
In Age of Wonders, the dwarves use axemen as their basic melee infantry rather than the swordsmen most races have, and their berserkers and boar riders also go into battle with axes.
The executioner miniboss from Resident Evil 5 follows this trope. His axe is so large he has to lug it around Pyramid Head-style and takes huge swings at Chris, even knocking out some of his fellow Majini in the process. It also has a spiked hammerhead.
There are multiple types of axe ghosts (the kinds that charge found swinging an axe on seeing him) in Wario Land 4, with Hotel Horror especially having a freaking ton of them (about four to every door in the hotel).
Axes are a popular weapon choice in Dwarf Fortress, partly because they're considered "dwarfy" but mostly because there is currently only one "axe" item that's used both in battle and for felling trees. (Truth in Television up to a point, as touched upon in Real Life below.) Falling slightly out of favour after the massive combat mechanics overhaul that finally enabled swords to thrust as well as cut, however, whereas previously an axe and a sword were roughly equivalent in battle.
In Dynasty Warriors, Dian Wei used a giant axe which was later replaced with a flail in 6 before returning to his axe. Same goes for Xu Huang, who gets another Blade on a Stick of sorts in 6 but returns to a great axe in 7. Jia Chong in 8 gets a pair of throwing axes. Zhang Liao goes for the gold in this trope, having been given twin long axes since 7.
Brutal Legend: The Seperator "Touch not this awesome axe, or suffer the wrath of the Tainted Coil!!"
Choosing the Barbarian from the character select screen in Diablo II will prompt him to let out a yell and start grinding an axe while you choose his name. His starting inventory includes an axe. Diablo II also introduced one-handed axes that the Barbarian can use with a shield or in each hand, while the first game only had two-handed axes. Axes have more consistent damage output, with higher minimum but lower maximum damage than swords and maces.
Lexaeus of the Kingdom Hearts series uses an over-sized weapon referred to as a tomahawk in Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II, and as an Axe Sword in 358/2 Days. Some of the Keyblade designs are rather axe-like in design, usually being a decorative pole that ends with a blade-like attachment at the end. Special mention goes to Master Xehanort, the Big Bad of the series, who swings around a massive Keyblade with an axe design as himself despite possibly being the oldest known Keyblade wielder in the series, bar maybe Yen Sid.
Left 4 Dead 2 has a fire axe as one of the melee weapons. The opening cutscene shows Rochelle using the pointy end on an infected mook. It's also the most common melee weapon in the game, with wide range but the slowest attack rate.
Axemen feature as early melee units in Civilization 4, with a bonus against other melee units (spearmen and swordsmen, mostly).
Axes have been one of the staple weapon types in the Disgaea series, with hammers, scythes and even maces being grouped into this class as well. Though explicitly shown to be stronger than swords (and even lowering enemy defense as well), they suffer from low accuracy and a lack of multi-target skills. Both were remedied in the third game, though axes now lower speed, reducing your chance to dodge an attack.
Gitaroo Man plays with this with the very first stage. Since all the characters are Musical Assassins, the first enemy is a demon wielding an axe. Not a guitar, an actual axe. He charges it up by strumming it like a guitar, but attacks you with unusually musical chopping of air.
Pokémon Black and White has the pure Dragon-type Haxorus who has axe blades for teeth. Unsurprisingly, it has a whopping attack stat of 147. Several Bosses use this Pokemon, including Drayden and Iris.
One of the melee weapons (the best one, in fact) that can be found in Odium.
Mortal Kombat III, when they brought him back in UMKIII, Scorpion was the first to use a weapon in a chain combo. Prior to that, characters only used weapons as special moves such as Kano's Knife Throw. Scorpion's weapon? A big, double-bladed battle axe. Since then Scorpion has dropped the axe and has since stuck to using swords to fit with his Japanese ninja origins.
Axes are a usable weapon in the Dragon Quest series such as being the weapon of choice for Yangus in Dragon Quest VIII. It's also used by some enemies.
A weapon class in Dragon Quest IX as well, that deals bonus damage against plant-type enemies. However, it's not very useful as there are no high-end monsters to use it on.
In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, an axe was left beside the sedated Captain, in order to lure Ace to kill him. And, in the "Ax" ending, Clover goes Ax-Crazy and slaughters the other characters including the protagonist.
The Rusty Axe is overall the best weapon in Silent Hill 4: The Room, as it's comparatively fast, hits pretty hard, has a good range, and its charge attack, a vicious overhead swing that Henry performs with his whole body, is the most damaging attack in the game (save for the swings of the Pickaxe Of Despair and revolver shots, both Awesome but Impractical either because of slowness or little ammo), and the one that keeps you invulnerable the longest. Subverted in that it's a relatively small one-handed model (a better term for it would be a hatchet, actually).
In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, the fire axe (available in Los Angeles, the second city) is the first weapon that does more damage than an ordinary punch. Although weaker than the sledgehammer (from Hollywood, the third area), it's also faster, making it a good choice until you pick up a katana in Chinatown (the fourth area).
Axes of the single handed, two handed, polearm, and throwing variety are available as weapons in Mount & Blade. Most notably, the expansion, Warband, included the powerful and extremely rare (and not on merchant sale lists) Two Handed Sarranid Battle Axe, an all-metal weapon which could only be acquired by attacking high level Sarranid units and hoping it Randomly Drops from the one unit class that has a chance of carrying it.
The Minecraft axe, though primarily a tool for chopping wood, can be used as a weapon. It deals more damage than a pickaxe or shovel, but less than a sword.
Most of the Psychos in Borderlands and Borderlands 2 wield axes. In the first game, they're made of scrap metal. In the second game, they've been upgraded to Buzz Axes, which have buzz saws for blades. Krieg, a playable(though DLC) character who is also a Psycho, uses one for his melee attack and action skill.
In the first game, Gala uses axes as one of his primary weapon types, along with clubs and maces.
In Duel Saga, Ayne wields a massive axe as big as the other party members. As his Variable Art finisher, he spins and throws the massive axe at the target.note As he is 9-10 feet tall and extremely muscular even for his height, it's more reasonable than it sounds
In the SNES game The Firemen Your AI-controlled partner Danny not only puts out fires with his axe but also uses it to destroy killer robots.
Fallout 3 has the Auto Axe(a modified concrete saw) from The Pitt, the standard Axe from Point Lookout, and the unique Dismemberer.
Michael Edwards of Eternal Darkness is a fireman, and he starts his chapter carrying his trusty fire axe. Unfortunately, shortly afterwards, he finds an OICW, effectively limiting how much use the axe will see in practice.
The Ravager class in Aura Kingdom is restricted to greataxes as weapons. Predictably they're slow, but because they're so long they deal powerful damage to both the target and enemies within their range.
In Surgeon Simulator 2013, among your surgical tools is, inexplicably, a hatchet. Said hatchet's intended use? Slicing the brain stem. Though it works pretty well for getting through that pesky skull, too. The Meet the Medic level has the Pyro's axe.
Unturned gives you a choice of two: a basic axe and a fire axe. The fire axe is less common but also a complete upgrade from the axe. Both can be turned against trees to get lumber for crafting.
InThe Matrix Path Of Neo the, sometimes, last wave of enemies in a training level use throwing axes as their only weapons.
Monster Hunter has the Switch Axe and the Charge Blade, two Swiss-Army Weapon-classes. The former is huge axe that can change into a huge heavy sword which can trigger explosions, while the other is a sword and shield set which combines into a huge axe (also triggering explosions).
Cry of Fear has one monster in the "Psychopath" variety that uses them: the patients at the asylum. They lurk in corners before jumping out and attempting to chop you into pieces.
In the game Afraid Of Monsters, made by the same team as Cry of Fear, David Leatherhoff uses an axe. The axe is the most powerful melee weapon in the game and falls neatly into the "Psychopath" variety, as David is hallucinating and killing real people while he's chopping up "twitchers".
Red from the webcomic No Rest for the Wicked has a woodsman's axe, and she's made a hobby of hunting wolves with it.
Axe Cop. He has a whole school of martial arts devoted to its use; it can also be used as a skateboard and an electric guitar, and I think it can sometimes shoot fire, lasers, other axes, etc...the comic was written by a six-year-old, after all.
In Homestuck, the Alpha-session incarnation of the Hegemonic Brute wields one against Dirk that is appropriately called "AXETO GRIND" due to the times he's been killed off before in previous incarnations. Needless to say, he gets killed off again.
Shorty from Skullkickers uses Dual Wields them. Notably, his axes aren't cartoonishly oversized; in fact, they aren't much bigger than hatchets.
Transformers Animated Optimus Prime has the "Boomerang Tomahawk" version with an energon axe with an extendable handle and a rocket attached. It also fits in with the firetruck theme (his other weapons are grapples and fire-retardant foam).
This is based on an axe made of energon that G1 Optimus could turn his hand into. It became somewhat of an iconic weapon for the character (thus why the Prime above carries one), despite the fact that it only appeared in one episode.
On The Fairly OddParents, Vicky, as well as a few other characters, have used axes. One of Vicky's more common gags is preparing various horrors when Timmy's parents aren't looking, including grinding her executioner's axe. (When they look over, she promptly kicks the grindstone aside, holds the axe behind her back, and whistles innocently.)
In the Gravity Falls episode "Headhunters", Dipper and Mabel find someone has vandalized a wax dummy of their Grunkle Stan by chopping off its head with an ax. The culprit turns out to be a bunch of vindictive living wax sculptures who were after the real Stan.
In the season 1 finale "Gideon Rising", the contents of Lil' Gideon's pockets include an axe.
In the season 2 episode "Into the Bunker", Wendy uses one to great effect while helping explore the bunker.
Axes symbolized power among the ancient Mediterranean peoples.
The labrys was a double-headed axe which served as a religious symbol of power for the Minoans and Etruscans. Today it is also a symbol of female empowerment and lesbianism due to its association with the Amazons.
The Romans had the fasces. The fasces was a bundle of reeds, symbolizing the republican principle of strength through unity (a single reed breaks easily; a bundle does not) and thus the imperium (civil and military power) of the officials whose lictors (bodyguard/policemen) carried them. Outside the Pomerium (the sacred inner precincts of Rome), the fasces contained an axe blade, possibly derived from the labrys; the blade represented the imperium-holding official's power to impose the death penalty (which power he did not have in the Pomerium; only a dictator had such powers).
The fasces later became a popular symbol of republics that saw themselves as successors in spirit to the Roman Republic, such as the United States of America (e. g. in the Capitol in Washington and on old coinage) and the French Republic. Later also of the Fascist movement in Italy (which actually took its name from fasces). The Vichy régime in France instead of the republican fasces used a francisca as its symbol: a double-headed axe with red-white-and-blue blades and a marshal's baton as its handle.
Norsemen wielded their axes in battle and in personal quarrels all the way up to the 19th century (mentioned in folk songs, local legend, and even in the national anthem: "Farmers honed their axes where an army advanced..."). The axe is present in the Norwegian coat of arms, and Telemark county weapon shows a battle axe.
The Anglo-Saxon Huscarls at the Battle of Hastings were reputed to be carrying two-handed daneaxes, whirling them around above their heads in a show of strength. This terrified the Normans, who didn't use axes. Earlier that year, at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, it is said that a single Viking warrior with a similar weapon stood on the titular bridge and held off the entire Saxon fyrd (army) on his own for some time. Never mess with a daneaxe!
The axes of the Gauls were well known to the Romans—they would throw them at the enemy like javelins with the intent of splitting some shields, then charge in with melee weapons. The Fransisca got its name from its popularitiy among the Franks in particular.
The Varangian Guard, Rus' Vikings permanently hired to guard the throne of the Byzantine Empire, were noted by multiple sources firstly for their height and secondly for the very large Danish axes which served as their primary weapons. To the Greek-speaking Byzantines, they were known as pelekyphoros phroura—literally, the axe-bearing guard.
The Tactical Tomahawk has become popular among American military since the war in Vietnam. Much more versatile than the standard combat knife, it can be used in close quarters as a weapon or thrown in desperate situations. It can of course chop through wood if needed, or even be used as a hammer, as well as for any of the number of things—opening a can, breaking through something, excavation, or just nudging something difficult out of the way—that fall in-between.
Rukhsana Kauser in a daughter bear moment used this to kill a terrorist who was threating her parents.
Lizzy Borden was a suspect in the axe murders of her parents in the 1800s. She was never found guilty, but most people think she was the one that did it; many people today think she had a form of schizophrenia. (Note that the murder weapon was never found. Whether it was actually an axe or a hatchet is unclear.)
Lizzy Borden took an axe
and gave her father forty wacks
and when she saw what she had done
she gave her mother forty-one
The last criminal to be executed in Finland from civilian crimes was Toivo "Kirves" Koljonen, a fugitive prisoner who killed a family of six with an axe - the father of the family had been conscripted in the army. He was executed by firing squad along with Soviet infiltrators in 1943. The word kirves means "axe" in Finnish.
For a different kind of "fighting", the ax is an essential tool of firefighters: used to hack through doors and debris, break padlocks, etc. Also, in most civilized countries, authorities will always frown when people use or carry in public implements like the machete, kukri or Bowie knife and other stuff which looks too martial, even for mundane woodcutting purposes. Axes and hatchets on the other side are regarded as just tools.
Symbolic in ancient imperial China. An axe is given to a general and used to perform rites signaling that a fight is about to start.
Wanderlai "The Axe Murderer" Silva is a Mixed Martial Arts fighter so named because his ferocious attacking style reminds fans of a frothing axe murderer. He's apparently a nice guy outside of the cage.
On July 13, 1941, Red Army soldier Dmitriy Ovcharenko was hurrying back to his unit with a cart full of ammo and supplies, when he was intercepted by two German trucks containing about 50 soldiers and three officers. One officer knocked his rifle out of his hands and began to interrogate him. Suddenly, Ovcharenko grabbed an axe he had in the cart and decapitated the officer in a single blow. As Germans froze in shock and horror, he immediately produced three grenades from the cart and tossed them at the trucks, killing 21 more and making the survivors, including both officers, scatter and flee. Ovcharenko then pursued a fleeing officer, lopped his head off as well (the third officer escaped), took all their documents, plans and maps and delivered them to his commander along with supplies. He was made the Hero of Soviet Union◊ for that.
The Hutsul culture of Ukraine is strongly identified by the type of axe that men traditionally carried everywhere, called a bartok. It has a small double-head and a long handle.
When Sweden entered the 30 Years War, all soldiers were required to have a sword. However, since the equipment was paid for by the village in which the soldier lived, many skipped the sword for economical reasons and rocked a Musket/Axe combo instead. Since most of the soldiers were peasants, axes were cheap and easy to come by.