[[quoteright:353:[[Anime/ReadOrDie http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/yomiko2.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:353:You're about to get reamed.]]

Paper doesn't seem like it would make too great a weapon. Yeah, a paper cut might sting for a while, and a rolled-up newspaper could possibly slay seven flies with one blow, and it could certainly [[RockPaperScissors cover a rock]], but nobody kids themselves that a sheet of paper is going to be useful in a real fight. Even the dreaded PaperFanOfDoom has much more bang than bite.

[[WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway Sounds like a pretty lame power]], right? [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower Not quite.]]

There are actually a fair number of characters in fiction that use paper in battle very effectively. These characters have near-ElementalPowers to control or even transform into paper, and usually can create a vast number of weapons only limited by their imagination and paper folding skills. Often when this happens, the paper itself seems to take on the qualities of said weapon (i.e. a paper spear piercing someone like a spear made of steel, instead of crumpling up). These characters are often weak to [[KillItWithWater water]] and [[KillItWithFire fire]] (or anything that will soak or burn their paper), but not always, especially when the writer wants to show just how powerful they are. A piece of paper in the hands of a paper master can block bullets fired almost point blank without a scratch, a dome made out of their paper can protect one from a falling jet aircraft, and a paper card thrown by one often spells death.

Be very careful, dear reader, when confronting these characters in offices, libraries, bookstores, newspaper stands, banknote mints, [[ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman or paper mills]]. And heavens help you if one such opponent is also a BadassBureaucrat.

Popular in anime as origami (the art of paper folding) is a big tradition in Japan. In a sense, this trope is OlderThanSteam at the least: according to legend, a true master of origami can [[EnlightenmentSuperpowers unlock the secrets of creation]].

Also, in the Chinese and Japanese culture, {{paper talisman}}s with supernatural powers are common. In UsefulNotes/{{Onmyodo}}, an Onmyōji uses Shikigami, which are often depicted as little paper men/creatures following orders of the Onmyōji. Also "gami" can mean god 「神」, but is a homophone of paper 「紙」.

SubTrope of ArtAttacker. Overlaps with DeathDealer, someone who favors laminated rectangular paper, aka playing cards.

Compare FeatherFlechettes and PaperPeople.

Not to be confused with PaperCutting or BlackBeltInOrigami.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/ReadOrDie'' and ''Anime/RodTheTV'', the trope-namer and the source of the picture above: Yomiko Readman and the Paper Sisters, are examples of what apparently is the most common type of superhero in their universe. In the manga, Yomiko, remembering her dead master(and lover)'s words, can control her paper to be immune to fire. In the novel, Ziggy Stardust of the Science division made various paper for her to use, like black paper with explosives that can explode at her will and highly water resistant paper that can lessen her weakness against water(and also stand on top of water with pieces of paper).
* Saicho of ''Manga/FlameOfRecca'', a fighter who can manipulate papers to act like weapons much like the ''Anime/ReadOrDie'' characters that he predates by a few years. For example, he can make a paper sword that's harder than steel.
* ''Manga/HunterXHunter'':
** Kalluto, the youngest sibling of lead character Killua. He uses a paper fan as a ''bladed'' weapon, administers the DeathOfAThousandCuts with confetti, and eavesdrops on people using paper dolls of them once they've got a bit of his paper on them. And [[LittleMissBadass he's a lethal assassin]].
** One of abilities of Nen is the ability to strengthen objects, including paper. At one point Wing tears a page out of a book, strengthens it with Nen, and hurls it at a wall, neatly slicing a metal soda can that was in the way. Also, at various points in the anime, Hisoka tends to do the same with playing cards.
* In ''Manga/InuYasha'', Byakuya uses an origami crane as his mode of flight transport. He also uses origami lotus flowers as a focus for his [[MasterOfIllusion illusions]]. These illusions are so good they can fight on his behalf. However, if they receive what would be a killing blow, they revert back to an origami lotus flower thereby revealing the illusion and also the real location of the real Byakuya.
* UsefulNotes/{{Onmyodo}}, via Shikigami or [[PaperTalisman [=Ofuda=]]], is very powerful in the ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' universe. Setsuna is a notable heroic user.
* Konan from ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', the lone female member of Akatsuki. She's made it into such things as wings, fake tree camouflage from papier-mache, and is capable of both ''turning into'' paper and making a copy of herself out of paper which she can control from a remote location (though she/it can apparently be prevented from moving if something sticks to it, like oil). This also includes the [[VancianMagic paper]] ''explosives'' that are a mainstay of the series. Her ultimate attack involves controlling '''[[NoKillLikeOverkill 600 billion]]''' of those paper explosives to create 10 minutes of nonstop explosions.
* Sailor Mars from ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' uses an AsianRuneChant and {{ofuda}}-throwing with "Akuryō Taisan!" (literally Evil Spirits, Begone!") to kill monsters. This is taken UpToEleven in ''Anime/SailorMoon R: TheMovie'', with an enormous spiral of ofuda used as a weapon (which, concidentally, is what the same attack does in [[Series/PrettyGuardianSailorMoon the live-action version]]).
* Keisei in ''Manga/CorpsePrincess'' has displayed the ability to turn a scroll of Buddhist scripture into a magical staff.
* Aono in ''Manga/{{Sola}}'' can control paper.
* [[spoiler:Curren Huckebein]] of ''Manga/MagicalRecordLyricalNanohaForce'' has this as her WeaponOfChoice. She introduces herself by having the tome she carries create a paper storm that slices up and critically injures [[spoiler:Vita and Erio]].
* In ''Manga/NatsumesBookOfFriends'', the Natori's often commonly uses them for his exorcism as the Natori clan specializes in this.
* ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventureJoJolion'':
** Tsurugi Higashikata, whose Stand Paper Moon King gives them power over origami creations. It imbues Tsurugi's origami with their "real world" counterparts abilities: a fortune teller reads minds and tells the future, a frog hops, a cicada flies, a car drives around, bananas make someone slip and fall. Paper Moon King even allows Tsurugi to turn things like cellphones into origami creations. However, the Stand's true power [[spoiler:is to steal the target's ability to recognize people and objects for what they really are, particularly if they're looking for someone or something in particular. Tsurugi has used the Stand to make two people see every other person as having the same distorted face, make all signs and labels say the same name, make a pile of leaves all look like origami frogs, and make every city bus look like his own father to a man chasing him down.]]
** Later in ''[=JoJolion=]'' we're introduced to Tamaki Damo. His Stand Vitamin C makes people malleable like putty. [[spoiler:He uses folded up banknotes to horrifically maim people he's made into puddles of human-shaped goo, such as severing limbs or piercing into internal organs.]]
* In ''Manga/ACertainScientificAccelerator'', Naru wields weapons and wears clothing made of paper. She can make paper soft as silk, harder than steel, or explode like a bomb at will.
* In ''LightNovel/NinjaSlayer'', Yamoto Koki uses origami to fight.
* In ''Anime/SpiritedAway'', Haku the dragon is attacked and hurt by what appear to be enchanted paper people.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* StalkerWithACrush [=Paperdoll=]: compressed the bodies of those she envelops and administers lethal papercuts strong enough to slice through Franchise/SpiderMan's webbing.
* Creator/MarvelComics' Thin Man has the ability to flatten himself razor thin, in addition to RubberMan powers. Again, ''razor'' thin. And he's a sadistic, bitter old man. And a good guy.
* [[Comicbook/{{Gambit}} Gambit's]] real power is his ability to force small objects to explode by "charging" them, converting their potential energy into kinetic energy. His favorite tool is playing cards and the impossible things he can do with them sometimes evoke this trope
* New Franchise/{{Flash}} villain Papercut's power is to control paper, [[spoiler: though his actual power is controlling wood. It is just easier for him to manipulate paper.]] He primarily uses his power to make razor-sharp paper shurikens.
* Franchise/{{Batman}} and ComicBook/TheCreeper once battled a foe called the Origami Man who controlled paper: killing people by blasting rolled paper through the, like a hurricane blasts straw through a plank.

[[folder:Eastern Animation]]
* ''Animation/BurkaAvenger'' is a good example, since the eponymous heroine uses books and pencils as weapons in her martial arts.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/KuboAndTheTwoStrings'', Kubo's main use of his MagicMusic is using origami paper to tell stories to his village, but later creating things like a boat while on his quest. Uniquely, the power works on dead leaves and wood, implicitly because that's essentially what paper ''is'' after all.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/CastADeadlySpell''. Tugwell uses a spell to slice a man to death with a whirlwind of cut-up pieces of newspaper.
* At one point in ''Film/WeAreTheNight'', Charlotte slices a man's throat with a page torn from a book.

* The main character of the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin appropriately titled]] book ''Paper Mage'' is...well...a paper mage; a young Chinese woman who has the ability to summon guardians by using origami.
* In one of the books of "Literature/TheAdventuresOfSamuraiCat," Tomokato (the eponymous samurai cat) faces off against another cat named "Origami Ito" (a pun on the name of the protagonist of "Lone Wolf and Cub.") Origami Ito has a huge roll of paper which he can fold into weapons, walls, soldiers, and tanks, which come to life to attack his enemy.
* In Harry Connolly's ''Twenty Palaces'' book series, the main character uses a spell to create a "ghost knife" which is basically a laminated piece of notebook paper with some magical symbols written on it in marker. It is supposed to be able to cut "ghosts, magic, and dead things," but the definition of "dead things" is broad enough to include any inanimate object, and in this universe, every living thing has a soul or spirit that qualifies as a kind of ghost. Add in the ability of the ghost knife to respond to its owner's will by flying wherever the creator mentally directs it, and you have a weapon that cuts through doors and bullets, leaves any living opponent exhausted and weak by injuring its soul, and destroys your enemies' magic, giving you a perfect all-purpose (mostly)nonlethal weapon that fits in your pocket. Even when someone else grabs it, the creator can will it to fly ''through'' the opponent's hand and back to the creator, leaving the enemy soul-drained in the process. The protagonist can even use it to [[MundaneUtility slice up meat]], and it's safe to rinse, as it's laminated.
* Lazy Dragon, a character from the ''Literature/WildCards'' universe, can create and then "possess" animals. He needs some kind of symbolic image of the animal to do it, and usually finds it most practical to make little origami tigers or snakes or birds or whatever, since he has easy access to paper and origami needs no tools.
* Though not strictly a version of this trope ''[[http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/lee_01_11/ Ghostweight]]'' by Yoon Ha Lee is worth mentioning here, set in an interstellar empire with strong Asiatic influences. The protagonist steals a mercenary 'kite' spacecraft, a DroneDeployer whose drones take the form of origami shapes that unfold into the required weaponry.
* The main character from Creator/RobinMcKinley's Shadows is into origami [[spoiler: and discovers she can use it to perform magic.]]
* ''Literature/ThePaperMagician'' series by Charlie N. Holmberg takes place in a world where mages can bond to man-made substances and perform magic with them. The main character, as one might guess, is apprenticed to a magician bonded to paper, and over the course of the series learns paper magic (known as Folding) herself.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* There was a villain of sorts in ''Series/TheAdventuresOfPeteAndPete'' appropriately named "Paper Cut".
* Tsuruhime (the White Ranger) in ''Series/NinjaSentaiKakuranger''. One of her attacks is a storm of paper cranes. This attack is occasionally replicated at a larger scale by the first HumongousMecha of the series, Muteki Shogun (Invincible General).

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', the Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style has a technique that allows you to turn [[PaperFanOfDoom paper fans]] into sharp and deadly weapons.
* In ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'', the Kitsune werefoxes have a set of Gifts that utilize ''Ju-fu'', or paper magic, using a combination of origami and calligraphy to make single-use magical items out of (preferably) natural paper.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Runescape}}'' has [[BadassBookworm Lexicus Runewright]], who summons magical books that attack with all three types of combat, shoot magical pages out of his SpellBook to attack players, and summons books that explode for incredibly heavy damage (enough to oneshot people under 500HP).
* ''ShinMegamiTensei'' games have ''two'' actual mythological examples: Shikigami and Shiki-Ouji, demons conjured into paper slips.
* Sketch Turner, the comic book artist [[TrappedInTVLand sucked into his own creation]] in ''VideoGame/ComixZone'', can tear a chunk out of the comic page he's fighting on and turn it into a lethal projectile by folding it into a paper airplane. His pet rat, Roadkill, scratches at panel borders to reveal weapons and power-ups. The villain of Sketch's comic, Mortus, draws monsters to attack him.
* ''Franchise/OnePiece - Big Secret Treasure of the Seven Phantom Islands'' has a villain who ate a Logia-type Devil Fruit that granted him power over paper and fabric.
* In ''VideoGame/PaperMario'', [[SpritePolygonMix the characters are absolutely flat]], and as a result almost every power-up Mario gets includes origami-ing ''himself''.
* Melody, one of the Portrait Ghosts from ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion'', attacks with sheet music.
* ''[[VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3 Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3]]'' has [[VisualNovel/AceAttorney Phoenix Wright]]. Most of his attacks involve paper and documents. His "Break the Witness" attack (an upgraded version of "Press the Witness" and only available in [[SuperMode Turnabout Mode]]), where he walks forward while emphatically smacking some papers, can do ''insane'' amounts of damage, and if used as an assist it becomes an InvulnerableAttack.
* In the ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' series, the paper fan is one of the most dangerous items because it can be [[DeathOfAThousandCuts used rapid-fire on the opponent without giving them a chance to break away]], along with having a [[ArmorPiercingAttack shield-breaking attack]] and absurd effectiveness when thrown.
* ''VideoGame/InFamousSecondSon'' has Celia Penderghast, a conduit who has the power to control paper and is the driving force behind the Paper Trail DLC. She can [[ElementalShapeshifter transform into paper]], use it as a weapon, and create deceptively strong armor by using mechanical compound force.
* Lailah from ''VideoGame/TalesOfZestiria'' uses paper as her weapon. She fights by scattering the sheets around her and then [[PlayingWithFire lighting them on fire]].
* Minagi Tohno from ''VideoGame/EternalFighterZero'' fights with rice tickets, whether by throwing them like shurikens, or striking directly; referencing how she likes carrying dozens of rice tickets with her in ''VisualNovel/{{AIR}}''
* In the later games of the ''VideoGame/{{Azada}}'' series, Titus appears in a cloud of paper scraps when he teleports into a realm.
* So Sorry of ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' throws balled up pieces of drawing paper at you, causing damage unintentionally.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Adventurers}}'' had Karn be one of these as a one-time gag, leading to [[MundaneMadeAwesome a shot of Karn standing on a flaming pile of monster corpses, holding a rolled up newspaper]]. Which still does more damage than Ardam.
* ''Webcomic/{{Archipelago}}'': The Listing of Names is a book. It has nothing but pages at its disposal. Lots of pages. And unless you are its designated reader, it is unsafe to approach the book without ''a flamethrower.''
* Ciocie from Webcomic/KillSixBillionDemons works her magic by summoning paper familiars.
* ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'': Gabe's alter ego, the Cardboard Tube Samurai, wields (guess what?) a cardboard tube.
* ''Webcomic/{{Paranatural}}'': [[http://www.paranatural.net/index.php?id=55 Isabel fights by manipulating paper]].
* Dino, from ''Webcomic/CincoElementos''.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* From WebAnimation/YouTubePoop, the most unusual thief, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yaj8SYXMLA8 the infamous Paper Doll Man]].
* ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'':
** Mister Origami, a [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] villain, was an expert origami artist, and could mentaly transform his folded creations into giant examples of the real thing that would attack his enemies. (For example, he would make an origami bear, then animate it into a fifteen foot tall angry bear that would attack at his command).
** Hallmark is a mutant criminal with telekinetic control over paper. For the most part he was considered a joke in the supervillain community of the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'', until he took down half the Global Guardians team singlehandedly using the contents of an office supply store.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Origami from ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'', a shape-shifting thief who could fold his body like paper.
* The sole shtick of ''[[WesternAnimation/TheTick Paul the Samurai]]'' villain Papercut.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'', Doofenshmirtz's latest -inator is one that takes paper and compacts it into extremely sharp and durable bullets and shoot it at people and give them... [[PokeThePoodle PAPERCUTS]]!
* One ''[[WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory Justice Friends]]'' short featured SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker-esque [[GoingPostal Disgruntled Postman]], who wielded razor sharp letters.
--> '''Major Glory''' (after having his face cut) "Ah! ''Bills!''
* The [[MeaningfulName Wood Forgers]] of the new ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Thundercats 2011}} [=ThunderCats (2011)=]]]''. One made monsters, one made weapons, and the leader made a very weird variety of things from wings to a MacrossMissileMassacre.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millwall_brick Millwall brick,]] a club made out of newspaper.
* Creator/DiscoveryChannel had a convict mentioning the combat potential of newspapers folded and/or rolled up tightly enough... Spears... Hammers... keep in mind that paper used to be wood, and only its thinness and flexibility separates it from that mechanically. High density cardboard (which tightly enough rolled newspaper could approximate) doesn't hold a candle to steel for ability to apply bludgeoning force, but it is a lot better than bare hands for reach.
* Policemen have been been caught using phone books to [[PoliceBrutality beat confessions out of suspects]]. Not only is it seriously painful, but it's also likely to not cause injury or leave marks which makes it difficult to prove.
* Creator/TheHistoryChannel had an episode of ''Ancient Discoveries'' that tested the validity of paper armor from ancient China. The paper armor they created was able to completely stop a crossbow bolt from 20 meters.
* ''Series/MythBusters'' found that pykrete made from newspaper pulp actually performed significantly ''better'' than the "classic" recipe made from sawdust. There was also an episode examining prison weaponry where a newspaper crossbow was made -- not much penetrating power, but [[DifficultButAwesome could be fired accurately enough to kill anyway]].
* If you work in a paper mill, paper cuts can get ''serious''. A ten metre square of freshly cut card has both a serious cutting edge, and enough weight behind it, to take of somebody's ''arm'' if it drops edge-on.
** Paper is often shipped from the mill in rolls that can weigh several tons each. If one of these gets rolling they can crush anyone and anything in their path.
* In general, there is a reason why papercuts are painful. They may look like nothing, but they are often deeper than you would think.