Stock Ninja Weaponry

Matt: Sais are cool, Chris. Iím just going to say it: Raphael had the coolest weapon. Thatís right. COOLER THAN NUNCHUCKS.
Chris: Wow. Whatís it like to be so objectively, demonstrably wrong?
Chris Sims and Matt Wilson on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

Ninja are cool, which is why fiction writers love them. They're masters of stealth and deception and use exotic moves and techniques to trick their opponents. Part of their coolness tends to come from their unique weaponry; seeing a certain weapon in the hands of a warrior usually gives away his identity as a ninja, which would have been counter-productive to their covert activities in real life, but works well for Highly Visible Ninja because the audience has to know that they're a ninja. Some of these weapons were actually used by ninja, others weren't but are erroneously attributed to them, and many are Shrouded in Myth regardless. In the hands of fictional ninja it is common to see Implausible Fencing Powers and Improbable Use of a Weapon. Some weapons associated with Ninja in popular culture are:

  • Shinobigatana or Ninjato: A special ninja sword, similar to a short, straight katana and often depicted being held in Reverse Grip. No authentic straight ninjato are known to exist, and the idea of a unique sword that only the ninja used is probably a modern invention. Sometimes wakizashi or tanto (shortswords and daggers) are used instead. More outlandish depictions of ninja may portray this as any kind of sword, even if it's distinctly non-Japanese in origin/design, like a sword taller than a grown man and wider than his torso.
  • Kunai: Pointed gardening tools used as daggers for stabbing or throwing. They're often depicted being thrown en masse or used for a Knife Outline. Their utilitarian purpose supposedly made them good weapons for ninja in disguise.
  • Shuriken: Probably the most popular and recognizable ninja weapon, these are throwing blades that take various shapes such as stars or darts. Like the above mentioned kunai, you might see fictional ninja throwing a lot of them at once. A ninja who's a show-off might use the Fuuma Shuriken, which is a shuriken of extra-large proportions.
  • Kama and Kusarigama: The kama is a small one-handed agricultural scythe that can be wielded singly or in pairs, and the kusarigama is a version attatched to a small weight on the end of a chain that can be used for tangling or as an Epic Flail. Less realistic examples might show the ninja swinging the scythe around by the chain. Variations include the Okinawan kusarigama, which has sickles on both ends.
  • Nunchaku: Basically two short sticks connected by a rope or chain, this is actually an Okinawan weapon that ninja didn't use in real life. It got put in the hands of ninja because of the Interchangeable Asian Cultures trope, and for Rule of Cool.
  • Claws and Hidden Blades: Both of the Wolverine Claws and Blade Below the Shoulder variation are sometime seen. In Real Life, ninja did use a claw-like weapon called Neko-te, but mainly only for climbing.
  • Makibishi: Caltrops, small devices with spikes all over, so that when they're dropped one spike is always pointing up. Often used to hobble a pursuing foe, since either a human or a horse can be seriously injured by stepping on one.
  • Nageteppo: Low-tech smoke and/or flash bombs.
  • Sai: A short, tapered metal baton with two forward-curved prongs for a handguard. It is not a dagger and has no edges, but is used for parrying, bludgeoning, and thrusting with the usually blunt tip. This version of the weapon comes from Southeast Asia and spread to Okinawa, so ninja didn't actually use it in that form; instead the Japanese used a derivant called the jitte, which has only one prong. Ninja using the Okinawan sai is also a common artistic license.
  • Naginata: A pole weapon with a curved, sword-like blade on the end of a shaft. A traditional samurai weapon that ninja may also be depicted using. Other kinds of Japanese pole weapons such as the yari (spear) may be substituted, whether bladed or not.
  • Senbon: Needles, some of them long, while others were small enough to be carried in the mouth and then shot using the tongue as a blowpipe. Often Poisoned Weapons.
  • Manriki Kusari or Kusari Fundo: Chains with heavy weights to the ends, used for disarm people or entangle and trap them.

For more info, see The Other Wiki's page on it.


Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  
  • Naruto has used almost all the above mentioned, being a series about ninjas, examples include: Kunai and Shuriken are used as the default weapon for many Ninjas, the ANBU use Ninjato, Sasuke has his Fuuma Shuriken and Gai can use Nunchaku in battle. Resurrected!Hanzo use a Kusarigama, and so did Madara Uchiha.
  • Mazinger Z: Blazas S1 and S2, two robotical ninjas showed up in episode 46 used shuriken and kunai.
  • The Tamagakushi Ryuu from Gamaran employ shuriken, kunai and shortswords in battle.
  • Kotaro Fuuma from Yaiba use a lot of ninja weapons, including a Shinobigatana, kunai, shuriken and even a Kusarigama. Later, Ishikawa Goemon is shown using kunai, smoke bombs and sai.
  • Sui Feng from Bleach is basically a Ninja, and at least once she use a volley of kunai in order to pin Ukitake to a tree (It Makes Sense in Context). Furthermore her Zanpakuto takes the form of a wakizashi when sealed, and a Blade Below the Shoulder weapon when released.
  • The one-shot villain Murasaki from Dragon Ball claims to be a Ninja. His weapons include a ninja sword and various knives amongst other things.
  • Tsubaki from Soul Eater isn't just proficent with "ninja" weapons; she transforms into them (more specifically she has smoke bomb, kusarigama, tanto, giant shuriken and katana forms). Her partner BlackStar wields her. Interestingly Black Star's mentor Sid (despite being ninja themed) averts this trope by specialising in knives (his partner takes the form of a modern, Western survival knife).
  • There's a two-part Lupin III (Red Jacket) episode where our heroes are challenged by a group of four ninjas and a kunoichi (actually a Villainous Crossdresser) who take a great pride in using old-school weapons, including swords, daggers and kusarigama. They also add axes and bows to the lot.
  • In Basilisk many characters employ kunai daggers and tanto. We also have Gennosuke and Tenzen (katana), Nenki (a long nunchaku that can turn back into a pole), Jubei (an Aikuchi dagger hidden in his esophagus), Koshiro (two kama) and also Danjo Koga (needles).
  • Recca Hanabishi in Flame of Recca, being a ninja Fanboy, collects a bunch of ninja weapons and uses his dad's firecracker balls as either weapon or substitute for smokebomb. He's also known for using makibishi on his attackers. This gets dropped very fast as Recca's real power is Playing with Fire.

     Comic Books 

     Literature 

     Live Action Television 
  • Ninja Sentai Kakuranger: Shuriken show up, wielded by all of the rangers. Most are of them are small. Each ranger has unique shuriken which resemble their ranger symbol. NinjaRed also has a Fuuma Shuriken, with his first Humongous Mecha wielding a bigger version that it rolls at enemies to kill them. The rangers also use Caltrops on a few occasions. Each of them has a wakizashi in Ranger form, and finally NinjaRed's second personal Humongous Mecha, God Saruder, wields a pair of ninjato.
  • Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger: Shuriken show up as part of the Hurricaneger's Transformation Trinkets, with the ninjato being used once again as the sidearms of the heroes, only these ninjato, the Hayatemaru, can combine with their sheaths for a rifle mode. The Gouraiger's sidearms, the Ikazuchimaru, can take the form of Fuuma shurikens, but that's not the only forms the Ikazuchimaru can use.
  • Shuriken Sentai Ninninger: Shuriken are the most prominent ninja weapons used by the Ninningers, going so far as to have a shuriken change into a bow, a claw, and a blade. Ninjato are also used, mainly for the team to transform and use their ninjutsu by placing a shuriken in them, then spin the shuriken to activate said jutsu. A few of the Ninningers' mecha, mainly Nagi's Dumpmaru and Kasumi's Byunmaru, use shuriken and makibishi as well.
  • Hailing from Kamen Rider Fourze, the Dustards, which are formed from the Horoscopes. Since these guys are based on ninja, they have a ninjato, smoke bombs, regular bombs, and shurikens.
  • Rather bizarrely, when Benjen Stark finally reappears in Season 6 of Game of Thrones he wields a kusari-gama against a pack of undead wights, with the added ability to set the weighted end on fire. Uncommonly for the weapon, he wields it from horseback.

     Tabletop RPG 
  • Dungeons & Dragons Oriental Adventures supplement (1985) gave the following as ninja weapons. Some are already in the trope description and are not repeated here.
    • Kawanaga. A length of rope with a grappling hook at one end and a hook on the other. Used for climbing walls and in combat to damage or entangle an opponent. The Other Wiki has this as Kaginawa.
    • Kumade. A long wooden shaft with a rake head at one end. Used to climb walls or attack others in combat.
    • Kyoketsu-shogi (AKA Kyoketsuogi). Similar to the Kawanaga, but with an sharp hooked blade at one end and a heavy iron ring at the other. Can be swung to strike with the blade or ring, to entangle an opponent or be thrown like a bola. According to The Other Wiki it's spelled Kyoketsu-shoge.
    • Eggshell grenades. Filled with fine pepper, thrown into an opponent's face to blind them.
    • Mitsubishi. A small box containing powder with a hole on one end and a blowing tube on the other, used to administer a cloud of poison or irritating material to an opponent's face at close range.
    • Needle. Held in the mouth and either spat at or blown at (using the tongue as a blowpipe) an opponent at close range.
  • In Legend of the Five Rings, all of these weapons are statted and in theory available for use; however, it would be dishonorable for a samurai to use one (with the exception of the wakizashi, of course.)
    • In addition, many of the typical ninja weapons are also considered, to put it bluntly, crappy. The ninjato shatters if it inflicts too much damage, and other ninja weapons are far inferior to the equipment other samurai could use.
      • This is actually part of a ninja's training. The last year before their gempukku, ninja candidates run around in typical ninja garb, as popular culture defines it - black pajamas and mask - and wielding typical ninja weapons like ninjato and blowdarts. These are the distractions for the actual ninjas. Once you've spent a year "running the gauntlet" with the worst equipment possible, you're ready to do it right, and are allowed to use proper weapons.

     Video Games 
  • In Shinobido Goh can use a Ninjato and also shuriken, makibishi and smoke bombs.
  • Sengoku Basara has the three main ninja (Sasuke, Kasuga and Kotaro) using appropriate ninja weapons, namely Fuuma Shuriken, kunai attached to Razor Wire, and two ninjato.
  • In Samurai Warriors Hattori Hanzo wields a Kusarigama in battle. Other ninjas include Kunoichi and Nene (daggers) and Kotaro Fuuma (clawed gauntlets that somehow allow his arms to stretch roughly 3 times their original lenght).
  • In Samurai Shodown both Hanzo and Galford wields Ninjato and can throw shuriken or kunai, while Earthquake uses a massive Kusarigama.
  • Ryuu from Ninja Gaiden, whose massive arsenal includes some ninja-related weapons. Ditto for the other playable ninja characters (Ayane, Momiji and Kasumi) to different degrees.
  • In Onimusha ninja characters like Kaede and Kotaro Fuuma are armed with kunai-like daggers and can use shuriken as distance weapons.
  • In The Adventures Of Willy Beamish of all people the terribly stereotypical Japanese tourists will give you a smoke bomb and a shuriken as a gift. It's later revealed that they actually are ninja in disguise.
  • Greninja from Pokťmon X and Y learns moves based on these, such as Spikes, Smokescreen, Haze, Night Slash and Water Shuriken.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons Online, the Ninja Spy's stock includes Ki Attacks, shortsword prowess, a flash bang that stuns and blinds, shuriken, poisons, invisibility, assassination moves, and stealth.
  • Nunchaku is the first melee weapon which can be obtained in Yo! Joe! Beat the Ghosts, and there are shurikens available in some levels.
  • In Batman Begins, Batman starts out with shuriken during the training level and then upgrades to Batarangs. He also uses smokescreens and flash-bang grenades.
  • In Warframe, the Tenno - masters of gun and blade - have a wide choice of low-tech ninja weapons to choose from: kunai, shuriken, kamas in both single and dual flavors, nunchaku, claws, naginatas and other forms of Blade on a Stick. The Ash warframe specializes in ninja attacks, possessing smoke bombs, armor-piercing guided kunai, teleportation, and Teleport Spam combined with gratuitous stabbing with his twin Blade Below The Shoulders.

     Western Animation 
  • In a late episode from The Simpsons the Comic Book Guy tries to win back his clients by offering them "Ninja Weapons" to buy. We get glimpses of katana, kusarigama and shuriken among other things.
  • The South Park episode "Good Times With Weapons" sees the boys buy ninja weapons and run amok with them.
  • In addition to their standard weapons, the Ninja Turtles in the new series also regularly use shuriken and grappling hooks. Also, Donnie and Mikey have retractable blades in their weapons, so Donnie's staff can convert to a naginata, and Mikey's nunchucks can convert to a kusarigama.

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