Swipe Your Blade Off
So you just stabbed, sliced, or gored in some way a few mooks
or perhaps someone more important
But wait, there's blood on your sword! Eww, gross
! No worries, just perform a swift cutting motion and all that nasty gunk will fly right off (possibly leaving a cool, dramatic splatter on the floor and/or camera
It's called chiburui
in Real Life
, but it was more common to clean the sword on a convenient piece of cloth (such as that worn by the dead enemy).
Other liquids (such as water or oil) don't usually count
, unless there's some symbolism
In many recent Japanese films, because the blood is often CGI, this method will be shown as completely effective. This leads to a case of Reality Being Unrealistic
, as the act of chiburui does not completely clean a blade. If there's enough blood on the sword, it won't even prevent rust. Samurai would often wipe their blade off after performing chiburui to ensure it was clean before sheathing it. But don't expect to see that part
Related to Finishing Move
and Victory Pose
(as part of the flair that goes with it), and while not exclusive to katanas (sometimes not even exclusive to swords
), the katana looks best for it.
This may be because it was originally a katana technique (more or less). Compare Smoking Barrel Blowout
Anime and Manga
- The scene in Samurai Champloo after Kariya Kagetoki cuts down Jin.
- Jin does this after killing some elite bodyguards who were blocking his path in the first episode.
- Rurouni Kenshin, being a Jidai Geki, has this all the time; even Kenshin himself does it a few times despite his Thou Shalt Not Kill vow and reversed sword blade. Old habits die hard.
- Averted, however, in the Tsuiokuhen OVA: as Battousai, Kenshin would clean his blade with rice paper immediately after every successful assassination.
- The titular warriors of Claymore seem to have a fondness for this. An Establishing Character Moment for Theresa of the Faint Smile was her splattering bystanders thus after a kill.
- Used extremely frequently. Usually it's done after a Single-Stroke Battle to emphasize how effortlessly the victor won.
- During Kenpachi Zaraki's duel with Nnoitra Gilga, Kenny flicks the blood off his zanpakuto after stabbing Nnoitra.
- In Soul Eater, Medusa does this to Erika and the eldest Mizune sister. It's done with drool after she shoves her hands in their mouths to make them shut up. It turns out to be a bit of subtle foreshadowing, as she later reveals she did this to implant them with snakes which allow her to kill them at any time.
- At the end of Code Geass, when Zero Suzaku kills Lelouch.
- Averted in Lone Wolf and Cub; Ogami Itto and other bushi characters wipe them off after a fight, no swiping involved. Seeing the nature of the manga, that is to be expected.
- Done in High School Of The Dead with a Baseball Bat.
- Guts does this with his BFS after killing Bazuso during the opening scene of the first Berserk movie.
- Performed by Kirito of Sword Art Online after finishing off enemies he fights in the game. This becomes a habit later after he returns to his normal life and practices kendo with his adoptive sister.
- Sheele from Akame ga Kill! does this in her first appearance with her scissor blade, Extase, after slicing Aria's mother in half.
- Standard post-fight procedure in Usagi Yojimbo. He still cleans the blade properly afterwards, though.
- Happens several times in the Crazy 88 battle in Kill Bill, as well as after the fight between O-Ren and The Bride.
- And when O-Ren deals with the belligerant Yakuza boss.
- Done somewhat by 300 where a scene shows blood being flung off a thrust spearhead.
- Referenced in The Last Samurai. After beheading his former comrade, Katsumoto's sole act of cleaning his weapon is something of a flick of the sword.
- Interestingly, the ronin bodyguard does this several times in Zatoichi, which uses CGI blood, but there's usually still blood on his sword when he sheaths it.
- In the Star Wars series, the bloodless version is part of the Makashi salute as demonstrated by Count Dooku, which is inspired by real life fencing (see below).
- In Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber, Merlin at one point finds himself in possession of a vorpal sword. He discovers while using it that swiping the air cleans it perfectly. Probably justified for a collapsible blade that "seemed to be made of moth wings and folded moonlight".
- Diagonally used in Tower of the Elephant by Robert E. Howard. Conan wipes his blade on the grass after slaying the lion guards of the tower. Noted because it serves the same purpose (symbolic cleaning of the sword) but averts the cleanliness of merely shaking it off, adding a barbaric twist to the trope.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe averts this when Peter saves his sister from a wolf by killing him with his sword. When Aslan comes onto the scene, his first comment that Peter has not cleaned his sword. Peter does so and the lion dubs him with an honorific, followed by the advice to always clean his sword.
- It's a bit of a Running Gag in the series, all the way up to The Last Battle when the King reprimands Eustace for putting his sword back in the sheath bloody. There's also a few mentions of this trope being averted when they wipe the blade on the grass.
- Galad does this in Wheel of Time, but characters usually just clean their weapons with a cloth, because the swipe is not 100% effective.
- The samurai in Deadliest Warrior's Viking v. Samurai fight does this disdainfully once he's finished.
- Game of Thrones. Various Bad Ass characters are seen doing this, either on a handy cloth or the person they've just killed (Brienne uses her own sleeve in one episode). Strangely averted the first time we see Bronn; he puts a bloody sword back into his scabbard in "The Wolf and the Lion".
- A combat feat to do this menacingly exists in in Pathfinder. Downing a foe with the Killing Finish feat, provided for use in performance combat, results in a demoralizing spray of blood against nearby enemies as you prepare for the next one. The Mythic Champion ability Clean Blade goes a step further, and involves taking a free action after a successful critical hit to swipe the blood and gore off your blade directly onto an opponent, sickening opponents and potentially blinding them.
- In the Onechanbara games, this is a gameplay mechanic where slicing through hordes of zombies (whose blood is probably well-rotted) without cleaning the blade can cause it to get stuck in the corpse, leaving the player vulnerable.
- Ryu does this automatically with all of his weapons in Ninja Gaiden 2.
- In Ninja Gaiden/Black/Sigma, he does it after using the new Ultimate Technique with the True Dragon Sword, Storm of the Heavenly Dragon.
- Tyrants in Resident Evil seem to do this after they've killed you.
- In Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn Ike's finish animation after killing an opponent includes him doing this twice.
- One of Ukyo's win poses in Samurai Shodown.
- Vergil does this quite a few times with his sword, Yamato, in Devil May Cry 3. note
- Raidou Kuzunoha does this after every battle in Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army.
- Notably averted by Ryoma from Power Stone; one of his victory poses involves him wiping off the blade with a few pieces of paper and letting them dramatically fly away in the breeze.
- Caim from Drakengard does a variation. He does the kill and the cleaning in the same swing.
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has Raiden doing a few variants on this. After an extended combo string, he simply whips the sword to the side and goes back to his Idle Animation. After defeating the RAY the first time, he does the same, then runs the sword through the crease of his elbow, before sheathing it. This would clean the blade, if it actually had any blood on it. That is also his victory pose in the VR Training missions. Considering the nature of his weapon, it might not even be necessary to begin with.
- GySgt Edward Buck from Halo 3: ODST does this with his combat knife after stabbing a Brute Chieftan to death.
- The winner of the duel in the intro video for Shogun 2 Total War does this before sheathing his sword. Right before he got shot in the back by the beaten monk's allies in the fortress. Takeda Shingen was not impressed.