Oddly Shaped Sword

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Dark-Dragon-Blade_2999.jpg
Useful to look cool, less to stab your opponent.

Swords are cool. That's why heroes prefer them. But for some authors, it seems that a sword with a plain, straight blade, a curved katana or scimitar, or some other exotically functional real blade like the wavy kris is still not quite cool enough. They need to invent their own special blade. So screw functionality and ergonomy! They will design swords with the weirdest shape possible, as long as it looks cool. The odd shape won't have any practical purpose other than looking special, when it isn't outright Awesome, but Impracticalnot that it will prevent the wielder from fighting perfectly with it.

Usually the "odd" shape can either being used to give the character using the sword a distinctive character or can also be used for "humour" or alternative to a family friendly weapon: seeing such an odd sword makes you think that you can't possibly harm someone with that.

Sub-Trope of Cool Sword and Impossibly Cool Weapon. Compare Improbable Weapon User, Laser Blade, Vibro Weapon and BFS. Can overlap with Serrated Blade of Pain. A defensive equivalent would be Scary Impractical Armor. Contrast Boring but Practical.


Examples

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    Anime And Manga 
  • Bleach: Nearly every Zanpakutou release that looks like a sword will have an unusual shape. During Ichigo's Bankai training, he has to retrieve his real sword among a Field of Blades. Every single sword in the field has a unique design, though the actual one is just (if a bit oversized) a regular sword. The most egregious example is maybe Izuru's sword: curved with two right angles and with no pointy end. One of his opponents even lampshades how impractical it is to fight (although shortly after he discovers one way the blade can be used)
    • Rukia and Hitsugaya's released swords (both ice element types coincidentally) are surprising aversions. Both blades still look like normal swords but they both gain accessories coming off the end of the hilt (a ribbon for Sode no Shirayuki and a crescent blade on a chain for Hyourinmaru). Captain General Yamamoto's Ryujin Jakka might also count if you could see the actual shape of the blade under all the flames. It makes them stick out in a host of oddly shaped blades and BFSs.
  • In Naruto, among the swords owned by the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist only Zabuza's BFS looks like a real sword.
    • The Kiba swords: really thin dual blades with spikes protruding from them.
    • Nuibari which is a needle-like sword that is used to sew enemies together
    • Shibuki which has a cutting edge on one side and a paper bomb dispenser on the other.
    • Kabutowari which is actually a hammer and an axe connected by a chain...
    • The strangest of all has to be Kisame's Samehada... though at this point calling it a sword seems more like Insistent Terminology. It's more like a giant club covered in spikes at every inch.
  • Beet the Vandel Buster gives us Zenon who wields the deceptively named Excellion Blade, which despite the name actually has multible blades, plural.
  • Gamaran has some examples: The Maruyama brothers have the Murder Sword Ginguruwa (Silver Wheel): a sword with a very short, knife-like blade and a long, curved blade coming out of the back of said short blade. Another example is provided by Shinsuke's Soenmaru blade: A broadsword hollow inside composed by two katana-like blades on the hilt. Last but not least, Kibe refers to his weapon as a sword, while it's actually a colossal, spiked iron club.
  • Kill la Kill features two of these, which in part serve as Swords Of Plot Advancement, that each look like the separate halves of a pair of tailor's scissors, just ones enlarged to BFS proportions. They can also change size and shape, and become even more ridiculous when in Decapitation Mode. And yes, they do, also fit together to form a gigantic, double-edged pair of scissors! Take a look, but WATCH OUT FOR SPOILERS!!!
  • Devil Hunter Yohko's title character wields a sword with a large bladed handguard; in one episode she demonstrates that she can un-dock the sword blade and use the remaining portion as a hand axe.
  • GoLion carries a strange looking sword as his main weapon.
  • Jouka from Soul Hunter wields the Shihoken: technically a sword, it's better described as a nodachi designed and forged by someone obsessed with modern art. Considering that it works by erasing things with a big Kaboom, it doesn't need to be sharp or practical by normal swords' standards.
  • One Piece:
    • Mihawk's Yoru isn't an especially odd shape - essentially a super-giant Gross Messer - but what is bizarre are its enormous crossguards that make it look like a crucifix.
    • Arlong's Kiribachi is essentially a ten-foot metal pole with lots of triangular blades attached to it.
    • Jack's two swords are helical, like an elephant's tusks, with the edge on the inside.

    Film 
  • The Man Who Saves the World has a big dumb-looking sword with a lightning-bolt blade. Behold! ("The ultimate weapon: the painted-wood saw-blade"). Even in-universe it's completely useless to the Bare-Fisted Monk hero, who reforges it into gauntlets.
  • In the film version of The Lord of the Rings, the Uruk-Hai had L-shaped blades, the better to rip your guts out.

    Literature 
  • The depictions of Shardblades in The Stormlight Archive tend towards this, with spikes, spurs, and ripples common as decorations. Justified by the fact that Shardblades cut though things with magic rather than regular physics, and thus don't need a practical shape as much.

    Live Action TV 
  • Bat'leth, the iconic Klingon sword from the Star Trek franchise, with a crescent (often complex shaped) edge on one side and multiple handles on the other side. Also less iconic mek'leth, which looks like a (backwards) scimitar with an additional knife attached under the crossguard.
    • The Bat'leth was intentionally designed to be a mix of several weapon types, the result being ergonomically sound but utterly impractical. The fighting style created to go with it is basically a form of Flynning, the weapon being great for blocking the kind of wide swings that it forces on it's user and bad at pretty much anything else.
  • The Shark Sword from Power Rangers Samurai.
  • The Sword of Demons was an oddly shaped scimitar given to the Dragon Ranger in Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. This would be translated to Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers as the Sword of Darkness, but both served the same purpose - odd, yet cool looking blade.

    Musical 
  • Don Quixote's sword in Man of La Mancha — it ends in an impressive spherical helix, though it is rather second-hand.

    Tabletop Game 
  • The Vorpal Blade, from Munchkin, is covered in spikes and curves that don't even always go in the same direction.
  • There are several in Magic: The Gathering, including the spiral-shaped Trepanation Blade, the hook-ended Pennon Blade, and the blade split down the middle seen on Sword of Feast and Famine and it's cousins.
  • Most swords -and other weapons- in Anima: Beyond Fantasy, with the bonus in quite a number of cases of being also a BFS. The epitome may be the Angelus and the similar Seoman Kephos, the Imperial Sword, both forged (and the former used) by Abel, but so cool as useless in Real Life (cue to Implausible Fencing Powers and the Ruleof Cool).
  • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar miniatures are heading this way, particularly for Chaos; wherever the shapes of Chaos daemon weapons follow a comprehensible form, the the obsession with packing on pointless detail has led to the swords sprouting all manner of spikes, tendrils, loops, hooks, serrations and excess blades, to the point where you can't see the basic shape. And they only get worse from there. This also happens to their axes. Dark Eldar blades also have strange cutouts, excess points and other details on already-strangely-curved blades, which often curve in multiple directions.
  • Epic forms of Cryx warcasters also have bizarrely-shaped blades, often with too much blade mass. Epic Asphyxious even has a really odd weapon made of a fallen rival.

    Video Game 
  • The Soul Reaver from Legacy of Kain looks odd, but this kind of wavy blade actually exists, and is called a Flamberge. However, the undulations of the Reaver's blade are more pronounced than any Flamberge, thus seeming more kriss-like. It could be best described as a kriss blade crossed with a Flamberge design.
  • The Dark Dragon Blade in Ninja Gaiden, depicted above. A fully upgraded Dabilahro also has plenty of unnecessary curves and flourish. Enma's Fang in Sigma 2 just… cannot be described with words.
  • The Seven Punishment Sword in Ōkami is another example of the "flame shaped" variant.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Link wearing the Fierce Deity's Mask wields the Double Helix Sword which has two blades that cross back and forth before coming to a point.
  • In Monster Girl Quest, Luka soon finds the Angel Halo, which is...well...there's a reason if everyone he shows it to is shocked speechless.
  • Two of Cloud's swords, Organics and Apocalypse in Final Fantasy VII.
  • The blades of both Noel's primary sword and Caius's BFS in Final Fantasy XIII-2 are odd, to say the least, with Noel's looking like flames and Caius's looking like a ratty feather.
  • Auron's ultimate weapon in Final Fantasy X looks more like a really big wrench. Most of Tidus's swords have odd shapes as well.
  • Samurai Warriors: Kenshin Uesugi's standard weapon is a seven-bladed sword. Kojiro Sasaki can summon giant blades with a really weird design. Kunoichi's best weapon is a flame-shaped dagger.
  • Sengoku Basara: Yukimura starts out with a spear. Ok, fine. His last weapon is a multi-pronged, flame like monstrosity. And he's not the only one. Hojo Ujimasa stands out too: His basic weapon is a pike with twelve blades that, in Real Life, would be a waste of wood and metal.
  • The Darksword from Dark Souls looks more rectangular than anything else, but the prize goes to Quelaag's Furysword, which looks like a ramp/wedge attached to a stick and covered in shells, bones, spikes and grey paint. Also, it glows red whenever you swing it.
    • More accurately, it's basically the segmented leg of a giant spider (that catches fire when swung). And is just a scimitar with spikes on the flat side of the blade.
  • While most weapons in the Soul series are fairly reasonable and realistic, several extra weapons you can buy/obtain tend to fall into this category, such as Siegfried's Flamberge (a zweihander with a wavy flames design, not unlike the page image). Revenant, an extra character in Soulcalibur III and IV, also uses twin wave swords known as Gatekeeper.
  • Sol Badguy's Fireseal/Fuuenken in Guilty Gear is a blunt, rectangular blade. It makes up for its supposed lack of sharpness due to its ability to generate intense flames (presumably thanks to an engine/exhaust-like mechanism installed in the sword) although the blade is still able to draw blood in-game. By the time of Overture, however, the weapon has undergone heavy modification and resembles a more traditional sword (the tip of the blade is still fairly blunt, though). Back during his days as a member of the Sacred Order of Holy Knights, Sol instead used an unnamed sword that appears to be little more than a giant slab of stone or concrete. In Xrd, Sol's trademark Fireseal is then switched out for a new sword named Junkyard Dog Mk.III, which is best described as a giant lighter (though both Xrd and Interquel pachinko game Vastedge hint that the Junkyard Dog might not be an actual sword, but merely a casing for the Fireseal that draws upon its power. Not that it makes things any less odd.).
  • In BlazBlue, Ragna the Bloodedge wields Blood-Scythe, a sword he inherited (via Jubei) from the original Bloodedge, an unsung hero of the Dark War who singlehandedly halted the advance of the Black Beast for a year (unknown to Ragna, Bloodedge is actually an amnesiac Ragna thrown back in time). The sword has a somewhat wavy, almost hook-like shape to it. In its awakened state, the Blood-Scythe holds true to its name, assuming the form of a scythe with a blade made out of crimson energy (the blade extends from the hilt and turns to resemble a scythe).
    • There's also Kagura, who uses a blade that is best described as a black, angled gravestone on a stick. Also, it's friggin huge.
  • The Sparda sword in Devil May Cry has a huge crescent-shaped blade, and the position of the handle should make it quite difficult to wield. Lampshaded in the last line of this Manly Guys Doing Manly Things comic.
  • In Fate EXTRA, Saber wields Aestus Estus, a large sword that tapers and widens somewhat randomly and comes to three points on the cutting edge... Well, see for yourself.
  • In the Kirby series of games, Meta Knight's sword, Galaxia, is this, with six spikes protruding from the golden blade. The spikes are absent in earlier games, though.
  • In Musashi Samurai Legend the first four Elemental Swords may be unusual, but otherwise fine. Then there's the Void Sword: it looks like there are two blades merged: the one in the middle is straight and squared, the other one has a wave shape and is merged with the former. In Real Life this sword would be awfully hard to use properly.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, the Silver Sword of Gith. Possibly justified by it being an Infinity+1 Sword of Plot Advancement. And by not being human-made. And being more of a focus for magical/planar energies than a sword.
  • A lot of the higher-level swords and daggers in Dragon Age: Origins have serrated, zig-zagging, and/or wavy-edged blades.
  • Given that they are carved from the bodies of the monsters the player hunts, it is no surprise that a lot of the swords—indeed, many of the weapons in general—in Monster Hunter are fairly strange looking. Examples include the Carapace Sword, Alatreon Great Sword and the Sharq Attaq.
  • Kingdom Hearts is bountiful in unusual weapons, though actual swords are rather lacking, the bladed weapons such as Lexeaus's Axe-Swords, Larxene's Knives and Xemnas's Ethereal Blades, often have concave indents, multiple prongs, and ornaments that don't appear to contribute to weapon efficiency. To say nothing of the Keyblade, which, at its most basic, is a key shaped sword. Once you get into the upgrades, you can get Keyblades shaped like buildings or ice cream or literal flames taking on a vague key-like shape.
  • In Dark Souls II, the King's Ultra Greatsword is really more of a giant statue of Vendrick's beloved queen Nashandra on a stick than a sword. It even has the moveset of clubs instead of swords and does strike damage instead of slashing damage.
  • The infamous "Pizza Cutter Sword" from the promotional artworks of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics A2.
  • Infinity Blade is choc full of swords, some badass, some ridiculous. Actually scratch that, there are a lot of ridiculous swords. Special mentions go to the thornblade (not unlike the page example) which looks more like a meat-rack than an actual sword.
  • Mace: The Dark Age has the Hell Knight, who carries a pair of scimitars that look almost like axes.
  • Swords in Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals have massive blades in the shape of a curved flame. Naturally, they typically overlap with Flaming Sword. The game's Dual Blade also possesses a curious one-edged design.
  • The Excalibur from Tomb Raider: Legend: clearly not forged by people of this world, it resembles a dark, thick broadsword built by a drunken blacksmith who, halfway through changed his mind and tried to make an axe. Then again, since the assembled sword can shoot volleys of supernatural green lightning, its design is merely to show how "alien" it is.
  • The Halo series has the energy sword and its two blades, emanating from the handle in a way that would be decidedly impractical if they were physical blades. Special mention goes to it for being both really odd and extremely well-designed to take advantage of its weightlessness in sword combat; plenty of edges designed to catch an opponent's blade while also protecting the hand.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Gilgamesh's Sword of Rapture, Ea, which isn't a sword per se but instead a lance-esque weapon made of three spinning segments. Not meant for actual melee, it charges up an attack by having the segments spin in opposite directions to create enough friction to dislocate space-time. The Fate/Grand Order material book acknowledges its odd shape, admitting it is more suited to being called a Magic Staff than an actual sword.
    • Berserker's weapon is a slab of stone that has been roughly carved into a cross between a sword and axe. Being a Lightning Bruiser, it works for him just fine.
    • From the sequel, Fate/hollow ataraxia, we have Avenger's blades Tawrich and Zarich. They're shaped more like a beast's claws than swords. It's noted that their bizarre shape actually lessens their effectiveness: a standard sword would work much better in pretty much every situation.
  • In Dancing Blade: Katte ni Momotenshi!, Momotenshi, the Super Mode of main heroine Momohime, wields a BFS with its tip shaped like a peach, as a reference to Momohime's origins (she's a Gender Flip adaptation of Momotaro, the boy born from a peach).
  • Ace Attorney: the emerald Shichishito, which literally means "seven-branched sword", its branches supposedly representing the different paths life can take before its inevitable end. The fact that it is shaped so oddly comes up when you prove that the defendant in the last case of Trials and Tribulations could not have shoved the sword all the way through the victim based on the wound and the blood on only the top branches.

    Western Animation 
  • Drew of The Secret Saturdays has a broadsword that is normal except for a sunbeam-shaped sculpture at the top of the blade.
  • The titular magiswords from Mighty Magiswords are all weirdly shaped, with their shape implying what kind of power they have (i.e., the pencil magisword is shaped like a pencil and is used like one).

     Real Life 
  • The sword depicted, along with a few other examples on this page actually take after the Seven Pronged Sword, which exists in real life, along with several replicas.
  • An Antarctic Press "How To Draw Manga" book actually states that blades like what are described here are Awesome, yet Impractical and would be better served as mantelpieces.
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