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Combat Hand Fan

A subtrope of Improbable Weapon User, this is about a character using a handheld fan in combat. Often wielded by a Lady of War, as a folding fan is about as literal as Silk Hiding Steel can get. The fan is usually associated with grace, class, and elegance. Given the normal use of fans is to blow air, it's often taken to its logical extreme and used to boost wind-based abilities.

Compare Paper Fan of Doom, a comedic trope where a Dope Slap is performed with a paper fan. The two tropes can sometimes overlap, when the paper fan is used as a viable weapon. Nothing to do with the Deadly Rotary Fan.


Anime and Manga

Comic Book

  • In Drunken Master II, Jackie Chan's character Wong Fei Hong brings a folding fan to the final battle, which he uses to great effect against a Giant Mook, and then becomes inspiration for him in the fight against the Big Bad.
  • A triad assassin from the third Rush Hour movie carries one that is loaded with knives that she can also remove and throw.
  • Madame Blossom from The Man with the Iron Fists also carries a fan with several knives hidden in it for the Final Battle.
  • Sylvia from Brotherhood of the Wolf slits a woman's throat with a serrated fan.
  • In From Dusk Till Dawn, one of the vampire prostitutes opens a guy's throat with a razor fan in the first wave of everything going to hell.


Live Action TV

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Basic D&D supplement The Book of Marvelous Magic. The Fan Club is a magical fan that damages creatures it hits as if it were a plus 2 club.
    • 1st Edition supplement Oriental Adventures. The gunsen is an iron war fan that can do a couple of Hit Points of damage to an opponent and can also act as a small shield, thus improving the user's armor class. It is normally considered an emergency weapon.
  • In the tabletop game Exalted, the martial art Dreaming Courtesan Style gives combat bonuses if the player uses this to attack.
  • Pathfinder has the "Fighting Fan" (essentially a tessen) and three types of enchanted fans; Black (magical gusts of wind), Red (suppresses magical light or darkness effects) and Wind (a weaker version of the black fan, which can break if it's overused).
  • Legend of the Five Rings has fans - both folding metal tessen and broader gumbai - as weapons. In the game's Fourth Edition, being moderately skilled in war fan use allows the wielder to ignore multiweapon penalties when using one in the off-hand. The weapon is more commonly used by generals and commanders to coordinate troop movements; however, those skilled in the use of the weapon often use it as a defensive device as well.
    • One group of ronin, titled "the Tessen" after their weapon of choice, actually wield the fans as they patrol the city of Toshi Ranbo. A decree by the Crane Clan forbids any swords but their own to be carried openly in the city; the ronin who have appointed themselves to patrol the town therefore wield the fan, since it can easily be disguised as just that.
    • The Gunsen of Water is a magical item, or nemuranai, crafted by the Oracles to counter the creation of the Elemental Terrors by the Dark Oracles. It could take the form of any fan, as appropriate for the situation, and aided the user in commanding units. It also offered protections against spells of the water element.

Video Games
  • These are the Weapon of Choice for The Ojou Yukiko in Persona 4. They\'re exactly as powerful as the other weapons in the game, including swords, claws, and even a GUN.
  • A common weapon in Dynasty Warriors. Usually wielded by NPC strategists or Damsels in Distress.
    • In games where everyone has their own weapon, the folding fan will most likely be wielded by Xiao Qiao (or her sister Da Qiao in older installments) and the feather fan by Zhuge Liang. Also Sima Yi wielded one in most appearances except 6 and 8. Zhuge Dan also wielded one in his first appearance. Pang Tong gains a Shadow Fan in 8.
    • Fans are also available as weapons in sister series Samurai Warriors to Shingen Takeda who wields an open fan and Mitsunari Ishida who wields a folding fan.
  • Princess Kitana of Mortal Kombat uses a pair of fans both for attacking and the occasional Blow You Away moment.
  • Guilty Gear: Anji Mito's weapons of choice are the Zessen, large fans that compliment his dancer fighting style. They are one of three known pieces of the Outrage set of weapons, representing the wind element, and the only one not in the hands of a main character.
  • Mai Shiranui of Fatal Fury / King of Fighters fame is known of using folding paper fans in combat. And two other things.
  • The War Fan from Super Mario RPG, accompanied by a satisfying "newspaper smack" sound when used.
  • A few examples from Phantasy Star Online:
    • There's a joke weapon called the Harisen Battle Fan
    • There's also the Plantain Fan and the Plantain Huge Fan, which are actually weapons for Mages based off of Journey to the West. Their description says that swinging them creates a great wind gust, which carries over to gameplay as a unique special ability.
  • The tengu Aya Shameimaru from Touhou wields a fan in battle which she uses to control wind.
    • Hata no Kokoro from Touhou uses fans along with naginata in battle, fitting with her noh dance theme.
    • Yuyuko also uses folding fans to smack around her opponents, in most of her melee moves in the fighting games.
  • Leblanc, the diva-ish antagonist from Final Fantasy X-2 wields one of these as well with the customary Tornado Move included.
  • Gunbai fans are available as with the Samurai DLC as Magic Staff style weapons in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
  • Arle uses one of these in the Mega Drive port of Madou Monogatari I (the Dungeon Crawling predecessor to Puyo Puyo). Since she's a Squishy Wizard, her basic Fire spell costs no mana to cast, and the fan is an ordinary paper one with no enhancement, it's pretty much useless.
  • Fans are a weapon class in Dragon Quest IX. Putting skill points in it allows you to gain a free healing spell and reflect some attacks.
  • Parodied with Team Fortress 2 with the Scout's unlockable weapon "The Fan-O-War". It deals only 4 damage, making it the weakest weapon in the game. Its only upside is that it "marks the enemy for death", meaning they take 35% more damage for a brief period.
  • Imagawa Yoshimoto from Sengoku Basara wields one of these. Surprisingly (given the series' penchant for being incredibly over-the-top) he doesn't have any wind attacks. Instead, he beats people with it, and he can also throw it.
  • In .hack, specifically the G.U. games, the Macabre Dancer class uses massive fans as their weapon of choice. When they're not busy cursing you to hell and back.
  • The fourth ranked boss in MadWorld, Rinrin, uses pair of fans with blades hidden in the fan part. She uses them Anarchy Reigns as well, only this time they're flaming fans

Western Animation

Real Life
  • In Real Life, weaponised fans did exist. Examples include;
    • Korean war fans, which were usually normal fans converted into concealed weapons, with reinforced frames and hidden blades or compartments containing toxins or irritants to waft in people's faces.
    • Japanese officers would sometimes carry a large, rounded fan called a gunbai as a shield and sign of office.
      • These can still be seen in use at sumo matches where they are used by the gyoji or referee and used to indicate both the start of the match and to declare a winner.
    • A tessen was a metal framed fan that could make a handy club when folded (or sharpened at the end). Like the Korean fans, they were used as concealed weapons.

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