Revenant: Turn away... before it's... too late...
Still trying to protect the sword
, are you?
No... trying to protect you
... from it
Some weapons are people, complete with names
. And some people are evil. This is about them.
Obviously, weapons are made to hurt and kill. These weapons enjoy it too. And some will try to talk the wielder into it, with strange voices of all kinds. Some are heard with the ears
, some sound in the mind
These weapons might kill everything in their way, rather than just what they need to. Some refuse to go back into the scabbard without killing. Some just don't activate the awesome magic
without the wielder killing a kitten.
Some kill not the body, but the soul. Some kill their wielders as well
, whether directly or indirectly, instantly if they're hungry enough or over time by draining Life Energy
. Some don't. Because, you see, they wield the wielder, instead of the other way around. And they are prone to being hard to get rid of
How did they come to be like that? Some were deliberately enchanted, or rather cursed
. Some are imbued with the evil of their maker, some indeed, are the Soul Jar
of an evil human, if not something even worse
. With some, it's the material they were made of, and some were corrupted by deeds done with them, even worse than the usual cruelty of the battlefield. Some may be Forged by the Gods
- but not by any of the nice
ones. If It Was a Gift
— do not
trust the giver thereafter.
The "personality" of the evil weapon often varies according to the traits associated with it.
A dagger is insidious, an axe encourages brutality, staffs are subtle and sophisticated in their corruption... Swords are the most common evil weapon. Most other weapons have a peaceful purpose: bows and spears for hunting, hammers for hitting nails, axes for chopping wood... The sword and mace are the only medieval weapons that cannot serve any purpose except war. Because they are so common they also vary much more in how they are evil.
Subtropes of Empathic Weapon
and Artifact of Doom
and supertrope of Draw Sword, Draw Blood
and Hungry Weapon
. Compare and contrast Unholy Holy Sword
. See also Good Weapon, Evil Weapon
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Anime and Manga
- The swords made by the man who made Kenshin's sword were all like this, save for his last two.
- In this case the swords weren't evil in and of themselves, they were just more likely to attract bloodthirsty users due to the way they were made.
- Toukijin was forged from the fangs of Goshinki, which shattered Tessaiga, by a blacksmith who makes extremely powerful swords due to a forbidden process of forging swords that are imbued with hatred and malice (and Toukijin already possessed Goshinki's hatred and malice to begin with). The completed sword is so insanely powerful it possesses its forger, hunts down Inuyasha (who killed Goshinki) and tries to kill both Inuyasha and Miroku. Even when Miroku kills the possessed blacksmith, Toukijin animates the corpse and keeps trying to fight. Its evil will is so great even Ultimate Blacksmith Toutousai doesn't know what to do about it. When the sword attempts to possess Sesshoumaru, however, Sesshoumaru effortlessly suppresses Toukijin's power and destroys the sword's independent will so completely it never again causes any trouble.
- The third movie features Sou'unga, which is so nasty that not only does it take over its user (like Tokijin, but with more Body Horror), it eventually grows its own body from Sesshoumaru's severed arm and tries to cause The End of the World as We Know It.
- Slayers has a few examples. The anime has a cursed knife which possesses its wielder and turns them into a maniac berserker (but this somehow can be undone by an angry wife), which Lina attempts to pawn off to an unfortunate shopkeeper. The novels have Doolgofa, the Cursed Sword of Bezeld, which is actually a disguised mazoku who will fuse with any poor fool who picks it up.
- In Slayers Try the Sword of Light is revealed to be another dimension's Dark Lord equivalent — and there are four others just like it.
- The Weapons of Light — at least those in the regular Slayers universe and not the sentient starships of the Lost Universe alternate universe are a bit of a subversion, however, in that they don't seem to possess any sort of will of their own, nor do they influence their users in any way, excepting possibly giving them an opportunity to go mad with power. In fact, they were used as intergral components of the spell to destroy their creator, with no resistance or side effects on their part.
- Love Hina had an evil katana that possessed Naru, Keitaro and a monkey. Played mostly for comedy.
- Anubis in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a sword with its own Stand, which possesses whoever picks it up. Even a piece of it has this effect.
- Soul Eater has Dark weapons, the evil counterpart to the Demon Weapons. Both are good and evil in their own right. The main difference being the latter powered themselves up by eating corrupted souls and the former were more indiscriminate.
- The Nakatsukasas' Uncanny Sword seem to be one of these; corrupted, possesses the wielder and destroys their soul...but can be turned to good use with the right influences. Apparently many, many previous members of the family had missed out on the last part before Tsubaki decided to have a meister in Black Star (probably significant she was the first of the family to have a meister, given this is a series that favours loners being freaky.
- The Anathema Scythe from Tetragrammaton Labyrinth. At one point it was described as enjoying the pain it inflicted on its wielder; it was so evil it was able to convince an Angel, a being that by definition does not know death, that it had been murdered. The source of its power and root of its evil is the nail from the Crucifixion that was used in its construction.
- In Mai-HiME, Mikoto's sword Miroku is an aspect of a very malevolent demonic entity, and it rarely ever leaves her sight because Mikoto's family had trained her to use it ever since she was little, and it and the pendant she wears possess mind-controlling powers.
- In One Piece Zoro gets a cursed katana. It encourages the owner to seek conflict and kill, but Zoro was able to overpower it. Occasionally it delivers a serious blow when Zoro tries to hold back, like on Whiskey Peak. It is not sentient, nor does it ever "communicate" in any way- we only have Zoro's reactions and sense to go on.
- It's also the youngest, and thus weakest, of three swords of the same class by it's forger. The oldest is also said to be in the strongest category of swords, and is likely to be much more evil.
- Sacrifar, the ninth form of the Rave Master's Ten Commandments sword, is actually a subversion. When Haru used it, it increased his bloodlust and tried to forcefully merge with his body, causing Musica to wonder why his grandfather had created the sword with such a form. The answer: He hadn't. What the elder Musica had done was create a sword for the specific use of Haru's predecessor which, in its more powerful forms, would not work properly, if at all, when Haru himself tried to use them.
- The Decologue, Lucia's sword, is a more straight example. As a Dark Bring, it constantly tries to corrupt its wielder, and since Lucia's other Dark Bring turned out to be sentient, it's not too great a leap of faith to think that the sword might be as well.
- Cards that can corrupt, brainwash, possess, harm, or kill their wielder are a common occurrence in the Yu-Gi-Oh!-verse, such as:
- The Seal of Orichalcos during the Doma Arc.
- Hell Kaiser's Dark Cyber Deck in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, though Shou gets a good grip on it later.
- In Durarara!!, the truth of the cause of the Slasher attacks was caused by a group of mind-controlled crazies around town, courtesy of a sword called Saika, which wants to love, but cannot do so properly, therefore attacks people to "love." After all, it's a sword. Cutting people is the only thing it can do. The true sword of Saika is revealed to be inside Anri Sonohara.
- Romy the Silver from Vamp!, which is part of the same universe as Durarara, has a massive collection of Demonic weapons of a variety of types with various effects.
- In a Bleach anime filler arc only appearance there are the Bakkōtō swords that - unlike Zanpakutō who are borne of their users souls - are more akin to parasites that will become increasingly powerful with their wielder, but also devour their user eventually. They're outlawed for that very reason.
- Miramoto Musashi's bokken from Ranma ˝.
- Silent Mobius has Medium, an evil sword that takes over anyone who wields it.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, the Blade of Chaos corrupts both Joey and a Red-Eyes Black Dragon.
- In The Warlord, Machiste found an ancient cursed axe containing a demonic entity which took possession of his mind. The demon's will prevented Machiste from letting go of the axe. Seeing that the axe's influence was making Machiste more and more tyrannical as well as violent, Travis was forced to remove his friend's right hand, thus severing the axe's spell.
- The Ebony Blade, sword of The Avengers member the Black Knight, was afflicted with a blood curse due to all the blood the original Black Knight had spilled. Dane Whitman eventually purged the Blade of its curse at Doctor Strange's behest by plunging it into the Brazier of Truth while Strange bathed them both in magic fire. The curse returned, however, when the Sub-Mariner used it to kill his wife Marrina. The curse seems to affect different people in different ways. It turned Dane into a statue, it amplified Proctor's gann'josin-based powers, and it granted Sean Dolan great physical powers as Bloodwraith.
- Carvin' Marvin from Knights of the Dinner Table.
- In an early Transformers comic. Megatron is damaged and becomes stuck in gun mode with no free will. A petty criminal picks up the super-powerful gun and uses it to become a highly successful criminal, but the experience ends up pretty much ruining his life anyway. To cap it all off, after screwing up the crook's life beyond repair, the gun wakes up, turns into a giant robot, insults him, and leaves.
- In one issue of Justice League International, a teenaged delinquent breaks into Barda Free's car and steals her mega-rod, an incredibly powerful weapon forged in the firepits of Apokolips and issued to her when she led Darkseid's furies. The mega-rod can be wielded safely by someone as strong-willed as Barda, but quickly possesses the teenaged thief, sending him on a rampage through New York, decrying his loyalty to Darkseid, even though he doesn't know who that is; the rod also drains his life-force. Barda tries desperately to get the rod away from the kid to save him, but Huntress kills him first.
- Blackfire in With Strings Attached. It's a bit of a Stormbringer Expy. The four hate it when the Hunter first displays it, and realize it's evil when they see the very similar Heart of Evil. In fact, it's so obviously evil that they're a bit startled when the Hunter claims it's not. When he asks to accompany them back to C'hou so he can give up his adventurous life, they point out that the natives (at least the skahs) have no concept of good or evil, and if he brings Blackfire with him they'll learn what evil is. (Though John mutters that the skahs “might not mind.”)
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: While not evil per se, Yukari falls prey to one briefly in Act III; Ruby, Apoch, and Astreal make her a new wand after her original one broke, but Apoch and Astreal misread the instructions while doing so and give the wand a Zeta-line seal instead of a Beta-line seal. As Ruby explains, Zeta-line seals are specifically designed to harness a witch's natural power and amplify it, and can prove difficult to wield if the user is not trained to handle it. In Act III chapter 13, the seal initially gives Yukari increased Blood Knight tendencies and makes her more irritable to the point where she drops three consecutive washtubs on Kurumu's head without provocation, but by chapters 14 and 15, she ends up going insane with power and attacking the others in a psychotic rampage; the wand actually starts to physically damage Yukari's body before Tsukune manages to bypass her defenses and destroy it.
- In the movie Asoka, Asoka's grandfather tells him to put his sword away because it's a demon that desires bloodshed.
- The laser cannon in Laserblast, which has a corrupting influence on Billy.
- The Violin that Kills Demons from The Laundry.
- The Lone Wolf series features several very powerful and very evil weapons, a few of which Lone Wolf can wield.
- The Dagger of Vashna is Darklord Vashna's weapon and is claimed by Lone Wolf after he foils an ambitious warlord's attempt to revive Vashna with it via maiden sacrifice.
- Helshezag, the sword of Darklord Kraagenskűl, compels its wielder to butcher its enemies while draining its wielder's lifeforce (represented by a loss of Endurance), and Joe Dever even stated that it was inspired by Stormbringer.
- The Nyras Sceptre is empowered by the Doomstone of Darke, the most powerful Doomstone created by Agarash the Damned. An ambitious Drakkar warlord named Magnaarn rediscovered both and used the Sceptre in a bid to conquer the good kingdom of Lencia. The Sceptre granted him vast power and allowed him to cow the Nadziranim and their armies into serving him, but he paid a terrible price. By the time Lone Wolf catches up with Magnaarn, he is little more than the Sceptre's frail undead puppet.
- The Deathstaff is a powerful weapon forged by Naar himself which he sent to his servants so they could revive Darklord Vashna with it. If Lone Wolf wields it in battle it provides a Combat Skill bonus even greater than the one provided by the Sommerswerd but steadily drains his soul (leading to a major loss of Endurance).
- Showed up in "The Encounter" episode of The Twilight Zone. It's heavily implied to be a Muramasa blade.
- One episode of Mahou Sentai Magiranger featured the evil samurai Shichijuro, a Monster of the Week with a sword that could cut anything (including non-physical concepts like the bonds between the team.) Eventually, he's taken down, but the sword remains. When Magi Green picks it up, the armor of the monster appears around him and he attacks the others, revealing that the real Shichijuro was the sword, posessing its wielder. (Which, in hindsight, means the "monster" who just got Humongous Mecha-ed to death was probably a perfectly innocent whatever-he-was before touching the sword...)
- VR Troopers had the Millennium Saber. Fortunately, it only activates once every thousand years, hence the name. The rest of the time, it's old and rusty.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers has the Sword of Darkness, which Rita used to sustain her control over the Green Ranger. The name says it all. And it looked so awesome, too. Of course, the weapon on Power Rangers you most want to stay away from is the Dino Thunder White Ranger power gem, which drove its user mad. To be fair, that was after Mesagog had it soaking in evil energy for a long while. Once that was gone, the White Ranger was an okay guy.
- Discussed in NCIS with a certain handgun that has apparently been used in several unrelated crimes.
- The Lance of Longinus (a.k.a. "Spear of Destiny") in the short-lived TV series Roar.
- The Outer Limits (1995) episode "The Gun" has a gun that fuses to its holder's hand and causes him to become filled with murderous bloodlust. It was sent by aliens to test how Humans Are Warriors and see if they will be valuable allies in an interstellar war. The aliens are disappointed when one man uses The Power of Love for his daughter and grandson to break free and let go of the gun, but decide to just send more guns to different people.
- Subverted in "The Day of the Doctor", the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who. Previously, the Moment (the weapon the Doctor used to destroy both the Daleks and the Time Lords) was referred to as a fearsome device that no one in their right mind would ever use. However, in this story, we discover that it actually has a conscience. Further, it tries to convince the War Doctor not to use it and is clearly happy when he, and Doctors Ten & Eleven, come up with an alternate solution.
- On Supernatural, the First Blade and the Mark of Cain influence their bearer to think that Murder Is the Best Solution. The current bearer is Dean Winchester. That situation is going about as well as can be expected.
Mythology and Religion
- Kullervo from The Kalevala had a rather nasty sword that talked to him before his suicide. It also inspired Michael Moorcock and Tolkien.
- There is also an attempt by Ilmarinen to forge the Sampo, where a failed attempt results in:
From the fire arose a cross-bow,
With the brightness of the moonbeams,
Golden bow with tips of silver;
On the shaft was shining copper,
And the bow was strong and wondrous,
But alas! it was ill-natured,
Asking for a hero daily,
Two the heads it asked on feast-days.
- The swords made by the Real Life swordsmith Sengo Muramasa are sometimes portrayed like this. Folklore tell of him competing against his master Gorō Masamune - who actually lived some 300 years before Muramasa, making this impossible - to see who was the better swordsmith. They placed their swords in a river, to see if they could cut the passing leaves and fish without effort. Muramasa's swords cut everything indiscriminately, while Masamune's did not. A mark of their sharpness, yes, but also their complete lack of restraint or recognition of innocence. Other tales state the blades can only be sheathed once they have drawn blood (and aren't picky about where it comes from), and that they can drive their wielders mad with bloodlust.
- Norse Mythology:
- In Irish Mythology, Lugh's spear, variously called Areadbhair, Luisne, and Brionac (the first is the most likely), had the advantage of being able to fight on its own. The bad news: it wouldn't stop, not even when the battle was over. Solution: Immerse the spear's head in poppy juice, keeping it in Snoozeville until it was needed again.
- Dungeons & Dragons: there are every variety of magic swords that can be thought of, including swords that cause greater injuries if used against those of certain Character Alignment.
- Bonus points to the magic axe "Lifedrinker", which drains Life Energy from anything it hits, and half as much from the wielder at the same time, and to intelligent magic items in general, which come with an Ego score that scales with their power. If their Ego is substantially stronger than your Will save, they take over your body. Using a magic item with a similar alignment and goals can be an interesting choice, but often comes back to bite you. Using an intelligent evil weapon? Not so good...
- It is rumored the Ba'al Verzi daggers in the Ravenloft setting cannot be sheathed before having killed someone.
- Several cursed katanas in Legend of the Five Rings RPG, including the blades such as Ambition (which does Exactly What It Says on the Tin and also is more deadly against those of higher position than the user.)
- Several in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. For starters, every single daemon weapon ever. Notable one's include Kingslayer, the sword of Archaeon, the Lord of End Times (Warhammer Fantasy), Gorechildnote , the chain-axe belonging to Kharn the Betrayer (40k), and Drach'nyen, the sword of Abaddon the Despoiler (40k). The Primarch Fulgrim in 40k got corrupted by a powerful daemon weapon. The weapon slowly caused him to turn to Chaos, and in the end, when he refused to obey it, it possessed his body, turning him into a daemon.
- Soulsteel weapons and armor in Exalted fit the bill—while they can technically be used for any purpose, including opposing evil, the soulsteel that composes them is exactly what it sounds like, and their bonuses work by draining the life and vigor out of their victims (in the case of weapons) and attackers (in the case of armor). Meanwhile, hell-forged weapons and armor may have still-living demons bound to them as part of their creation...
- One of the Deathlords favours a daiklave crafted from the soul of one of the few pure heroes of the Old Realm...who was driven violently insane as part of the forging process. In fact, a whole lot of Deathlords favor soulsteel weapons that work upon these principles; one soulsteel daiklaive will eat the soul of anything it slays, restoring a measure of its wielder's health. Then there's Princess Magnificent's Parasol of Pain, made from the skin and bones of five First Age Solars. Even their umbrellas are evil.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG: Word of God says the equip spell Wicked-Breaking Flamberge - Baou holds the dark power of Baou, its Gaurdian spirit. When Warrior Dai Grepher later wields it, he is overcome by the dark energy and later becomes Dark Grepher.
- The glaive known as the Whisperer of Souls in an example in Pathfinder mythology. It is the weapon of the Love Goddess Shelyn and is an inherently evil weapon that delights in drinking souls. Once the glaive eats 100 powerful souls, it will supposedly become a god and create an era of strife and death. Luckily, Shelyn has been freeing the souls trapped in the glaive with a combination of heroic deeds and Incorruptible Pure Pureness, keeping the evil weapon in check.
- Komiyan from Darken acquired a Morph Weapon called Blackshard, also a particularly chatty one. Before he got it he was warned to be wary of it by a Devil's consort. Currently it's possessing the body of one of his enemies, and is thrilled to have limbs. And is acting increasingly sinister. It's eventually revealed that the sword is an evil shapeshifter trapped in a gem and affixed to the sword, and was trying to drive Komi mad so it could take over his body. After fleeing it started working for Baal.
- One of the Order of the Stick strips from its brief run in Dragon Magazine featured a glowing black talking sword that Elan wanted Vaarsvuius to identify. When the elf told him to come back later, the sword said that it was cool, no problem, and hey, want to go kill some people while we wait?
- Tarquin's axe, as revealed in a bonus strip in the printed book, is an intelligent weapon that seeks blood and destruction, and can possess Evil characters. Tarquin was simply strong-willed enough that he could overpower it and force the axe to obey him. It briefly possesses Belkar, but Roy grabs it before it can do any damage and chucks it down a pit, where it is forgotten and buried.
- The Axe of Prissan in Goblins is an inversion on this trope; it contains the soul of a powerful demon lord and emits an aura of evil. However, the axe is intended to be wielded by a good person (preferably a paladin), who must use the axe to do good deeds in order to keep the demon imprisoned.
- Keychain of Creation has Cluivnarihe, the (unpronounceable) soulsteel weapon used by Secret. To be frank, Cluivnarihe is kind of a jerk.
- Penny Arcade had a Genre Shift story in Japan where a man was possessed by an evil katana and forced to slaughter. When he briefly broke free of its control he drove a dagger into his eye, but it didn't let him die.
- Sluggy Freelance: The talking sword Unholy Evil Death Bringer, aka. Weeping God or Chaz, is something of an instant subversion in that in spite of its name, its personality immediately turns out to be morally neutral and it only does what its wielder wills. Still, it continues to fit the trope in being powered by the blood of the innocent. The innocent person doesn't actually have to die to power it — though since it's a god-killing weapon, trying to nick someone with it to get a small blood sample might not be a good idea.
- The Water Phoenix King has recently given us "Malice," the most powerful blade ever forged by an archangelic servant of the titular Yamra known as "The Torture Lord" to replace Our Heroine's original sword after it's broken by one of her nemeses. Genre-Savvy Anthem objects rather strenuously when discovering what her Mentor is giving her — "You're giving me an evil sword?" — but he's confident that it won't be a problem. The blade itself, which cleaves supernatural beings with ease, looks a little bit like a straightened katana with an extra hook cut from a redshifted nebula, and was made from Kawunei's agony during the time that he and Gilgam were POWs so essentially she's carrying around a piece of his soul; he is apparently resigned to it, but not terribly happy about this.
- In The Gamers Alliance, the Sword of Darkness grants its wielder immense power but also actively corrupts him or her into becoming a dark knight. Once the sword is drawn, it can't be sheathed until it has tasted blood.
- Perhaps inevitably, the Whateley Universe has one definite, and one possible:
- The cursed longsword Imalris from Ill Winds definitely qualifies. Just summoning it devours the soul of the summoner.
- In Atop the Fourth Wall, it is averted. The soul trapped in Linkara's magic gun destroyed her parents when they tortured her to death in order to forge her into a weapon, but she considers Linkara a friend and protected him from Silent Hill's influence.
- Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword featured a katana called the Sword of Doom which was created by a dark forger, and thus, imbued with his evil ambitions. Upon unsheathing it, a samurai was cursed and became known as the Black Samurai. Fortunately, when Scooby-Doo battled the samurai and destroyed the sword using the Sword of Fate, the Sword of Doom's opposite, the samurai was freed from his curse and his spirit was able to rest in peace.
- Rubilax from Wakfu is a Sealed Demon In A Sword whose greatest desire is for absolute carnage and happens to be able to possess people.
- Mumm-Ra's Sword of Plundarr from ThunderCats (2011) is outright said by Lion-O to be evil, and we find out that it was created through the destruction of a galaxy, meaning it's powered by the deaths of billions of lives lost. Interestingly, while the Sword of Omens was forged from the same metal, it is not considered evil, presumably because it was only made from fragments leftover, and was not imbued with the spell that the Ancient Spirits seemed to cast on the Sword of Plundarr.