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Talk about lethal beauty!
A naginata is a Japanese Blade on a Stick
similar to a glaive, characterized by a long, curved blade with a handguard. In Japanese works especially, naginatas are a common weapon for a female close-range fighter. In works that don't stress the relatively subtle difference between weapons, it may be generalized to simply "spear" rather than a naginata.
In practical terms, a pole weapon makes sense for a woman as its longer reach compensates for the woman's presumed shorter stature. Additionally it is effective since weight and strength are less important at a distance.
This has its roots in Japanese history. After the naginatas fell out of use by soldiers and samurai on the battlefield, they found a place as a symbol of status for samurai's wives. While advancements in firearms led to the weapon not being as useful on the battlefield, a noblewoman was still expected to be able to defend her home with it while her husband was at war. Even up to this day it's a common after school activity in Japan, even though now young girls practice kendo and archery more often, specially compared to before.
Oftentimes the naginata-user is contrasted by a man (or boyish girl
) who uses a more traditional weapon, highlighting the femininity inherent in this trope.
Often a sign of a Lady of War
and a Yamato Nadeshiko
. Subtrope to Weapon of Choice
Anime and Manga
- Kan-U from Ikki Tousen is the only character in the first season who regularly uses a weapon. In her case it's justified as she's a reincarnation of Guan Yu, a massive badass who was well-known for his skill with the spear.
- Played with in Lone Wolf and Cub. The protagonist uses a naginata (disguised as part of a baby carriage), and is on the far end of Rated M for Manly. Various female or young protagonists, however, use it.
- Satsuki Amamiya from Twinkle Saber Nova is the most feminine and graceful member of the Ally of Justice Club and her signature weapon is a naginata.
- Hideyoshi Kinoshita's Shoujanjuu from Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts wields a naginata, though he is actually a male. Given his personality, behavior and appearance, however, it still equates the naginata with femininity. His upgraded Shoukanjuu ditches the naginata in favor of a katana.
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam: The Rising Gundam, based off of the main character's Shining Gundam, is designed with a heat naginata rather than the original's beam sabers (as well as a Rising Arrow rather than a Shining Finger). While theoretically built for a male pilot, it winds up being piloted only by Domon's partner and love interest Rain Mikamura, in her and Allenby's Designated Girl Fight and is associated with Rain in merchandise and video games.
- High School Of The Dead: Rei Miyamoto uses one, as she was a member of the naginatajutsu club before Hell broke loose.
- Shizuru Fujino's Element in the Mai-HiME anime (she doesn't fight in the manga) is a large naginata whose blade doubles as a Whip Sword.
- Azumi Kiribayishi Real Bout High School, an Heir to the Dojo Lady of War with a Noblewoman's Laugh, wields a naginata. Well, okay, most of the time, she uses one with a wooden blade, but isn't averse to busting out a real one for "serious" fights.
- Played with in Shugo Chara!. Nadeshiko Fujisaki from uses one when chara changing with Temari. The twist comes into play when Nadeshiko is revealed to really be a guy. Given that Temari is born from Nadeshiko's desire to become a graceful dancer, it still equates the naginata with femininity.
- When Tenchi or his grandfather uses the weapon Tenchi in Tenchi Muyo! (... that's not confusing), it's used as a sword with a Laser Blade. When his mother Achika uses it in the first movie, its handle extends to naginata-like lengths.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Gurren Gakuen-hen, Yoko carries around a naginata in place of her rifle. No one seems to mind her pulling it out on school grounds.
- Action Girl Atena in Kamui Den is a naginata master.
- Protagonist Takiko Ohkuda aka the Genbu no Miko in Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden took naginatajutsu classes during her time as an Ordinary High-School Student. When she becomes Trapped in Another World she has a naginata made for her.
- Otae from Gintama is set up to be a traditional Yamato Nadeshiko and has several of the feminine aspects, including the naginata... but as it turns out is also violent and a poor cook.
- #87 Kaho from Sekirei is a Lady of War that uses a naginata to produce Razor Wind. She's noted to be exceptionally strong, and provides a backstory example of Tomboy and Girly Girl for her childhood friend, Musubi.
- Referenced, but ultimately subverted in Gamaran with the Tengen Ryuu of Naginata jutsu. Even if one character says that "the naginata is a weak weapon, only women use it" and another one teases his naginata-wielding opponent saying that it's a weapon for sissies, Baian Maki and his master Toujou Shungaku notes (and demonstrate) that a properly wielded naginata can become the strongest and most versatile melee weapon of all. To drive the point home it's worth mentioning that Toujou is one of the strongest warriors of the Muhou School and likely of the whole series.
- Soun Tendo of Ranma One Half is most frequently seen using a naginata, at least in the anime. This is likely a play on the fact he's the most emotional (indeed, hysterical) person in the cast.
- In Hetalia, the Gender Flipped version of Japan carries a tanto dagger. Her 2P version, however, has a naginata instead.
- Seemingly subverted in Bleach which has Ikkaku, third seat of the 11th Division and one of the manliest of the characters, who's zanpakuto's Shikai is a naginata. Turns out, however, that it's actually a bladed three-section-staff (though it can be used as a naginata).
- Risa's Shikai is a huge naginata.
- Irisviel waves around a naginata quite comically several times in the Please! Einzbern Consultation Room comedy shorts.
- Inverted in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, where the man, Zest, wields a spear while his two female opponents, Vita and Signum, wield a hammer and a sword, respectively. And he kicks as many as asses than them, if not even more.
- Inverted hard in One Piece: Whitebeard, one of the manliest men in a series that already runs on testosterone is the only named character to use a naginata.
- Y: The Last Man includes a rather ridiculous naginata duel in its Japan arc. "Ridiculous" in the sense that the Japanese attacker shows up Dual Wielding two naginatas, which gives the Action Girl defender a chance to swipe one and face off against her.
- Usagi Yojimbo's long time friend Tomoe Ame began her career wielding a naginata. She had learned the sword from her swordmaster father but could not use them because she was a lady. By saving her lord from a ninja attack she was appointed "guardian of the heir" and was allowed to again wear her swords.
- One of the protagonists of Hiroshi Aramata's classic fantasy novel Teito Monogatari is a heroic shrine maiden equipped with a naginata.
- A western fantasy example in Tamora Pierce's Tortall books, specifically the Protector of the Small books. Keladry is trained in them, and her mother once helped hold off a pirate invasion with one. They're specifically mentioned as a weapon woman train in the Yamani isles, which are based on Japan. Should be noted that Keladry is considered masculine by Tortall standards (being the first female Knight after Alanna) but is also very deadly with it. She later teaches a bunch of orphans of both genders how to use a spear improvised to be like one to fight with them. Quite a few people comment on them, particularly on how deadly they look - and how fast Kel is with them.
- In City of Ashes the second book in The Mortal Instruments series, Isabelle walks in with her trademark whip and a naginata. When Alec asks if the naginata is for him, she tells him to get his own weapon, promptly giving it to their mother.
- A cultural convention very similar to this crops up briefly in the Codex Alera, where it is mentioned that spears are the traditional weapon of females (especially those of high rank) in the Canim warrior caste. The Canim in general also have a feudal culture and martial ethos that, while not identical to that of feudal Japan, bears strong similarities to it.
- Dungeons & Dragons supplement Oriental Adventures (1985). The description of the naginata said it "is often the preferred weapon of women."
- Subverted in Legend of the Five Rings - the only group to which naginata are exclusive are members of the samurai caste. A naginata blade is forged in the same fashion as a katana or wakazashi, and thus it's a crime (more or less capital) for a non-samurai to wield a true naginata (and possibly even touch it). However, samurai men and women are equally allowed to wield it if they wish, without any stigma. Some samurai, particularly Shiba bushi, even specialize in the use of the naginata; an entire sub-group of Shiba have developed alternative techniques and kata devoted to the weapon.
- The cousin of the naginata, the bisento, is a favorite of sohei - warrior monks - especially in the Spider clan. The monks are an equal-opportunity employer, gender-wise.
- Jinx the Japanese female ninja in G.I. Joe: almost all toy versions of the character include a dual bladed naginata as her primary weapon. Strangely, she is rarely seen using one in most media appearances.
- In Drowtales, Ariel's human slave/bodyguard Vaelia wields a naginata as her primary weapon. After the Time Skip, Ariel herself starts using one as well.
- Inverted in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): Donatello's Simple Staff also doubles as a naginata in a pinch. In contrast, the female characters in the show wield weapons like metal fans and wakizashis.
- Pearl, the most feminine of the Crystal Gems in Steven Universe uses what is essentially a Naginata as her main weapon. However, she uses it more like a fencing blade than anything.