"His right arm transformed into a sword whose sonic-vibrations caused orgasms throughout Neo-Tokyo."A futuristic bladed weapon that has Absurd Cutting Power due to the fact that it vibrates. The idea is that high-frequency vibrations in the blade allow the weapon to cut through nearly anything, essentially making it an electric turkey carver turned Up to Eleven. Often, this results in a humming noise and the blade of the weapon visibly blurring or even glowing. Bonus points if it cleans itself — rather explosively. Potentially has great Mundane Utility: it is the descendant of real tools very closely related to the fast cleaner/washer/perfect blender. These weapons may be as dangerous to the user as the enemy. Often, the only thing that can stop a vibroweapon is another vibroweapon, although that doesn't really follow if you think about it. A variant of this is blunt weapons (sometimes even the person's own body) that are charged with high frequency vibrations; in this case it's used to deliver higher striking power, as well as giving the target a violent dose of vibrations, which can bypass defenses. Compare Hot Blade, which uses heat instead of vibrations to cut better than a mundane sword. A subtrope of Absurd Cutting Power. For lower-tech cutting weapons with moving parts, see Chainsaw Good. For another weapon that uses vibrations, see Sonic Stunner.
— Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space
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Anime & Manga
- The Union and AEU mobile suits in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 play the trope straight with their sonic blades. The first episode shows one activated during an attack on a new MS exhibition, complete with the audience covering their ears in pain. This also results in several glass-panes shattering.
- The Gundam Exia shows that its GN Sword is also capable of not only boosting its sharpness through use of GN Particles, but also increasing its cutting-power by vibrating. It only has this power during all of Setsuna's battles against the Thrones, though.
- In Guyver, every Guyver and even some Zoanoids possess high-frequency swords (though, in the later series, they look like Laser Blades).
Thancrus(the aforementioned zoanoid), after his and the Guyver's blades strike one another and everybody groans at the horrifying feedback noise: "Shit! You have high frequency swords, too!"
- Cirucci Thunderwitch uses blades that vibrate at a rate of 1.1-1.3 million times a second. They are detachable components of her wings and therefore fly through the air at tremendous speeds. The vibration makes them unstoppable as they can cut through almost anything.
- Seele Schneider is a very powerful, but old-fashioned, Quincy weapon that collects reishi from the atmosphere via the handle, concentrating it into a blade that vibrates at a rate of 3 million times a second. Although the weapon looks like a sword, it's actually an arrow. Uryuu stole five from his father's secret armoury for his trip to Hueco Mundo and easily defeated Cirucci's vibrating wing-blades due to the greater vibration rate. Using five together allows for a phenomenal explosion of power, but only if the wielder has the opportunity to set up a Quincy Cross formation around the opponent.
- Zombie Powder: Gamma Akutabi's Chainsaw BFS was originally going to be a vibrating sword. Kubo admitted it was "really just a sort of perverted weapon".
- Ophelia in Claymore wielded a non-vibrating BFS but vibrated her arm at super-speed to imitate the effect. Depending on your translation, she may or may not call it the "ripple sword" technique.
- A villain from Murciélago wields a high-frequency blade, which the protagonist yearns for.
- Similarly, it's suggested that this is one of the reasons the heroes in Samurai 7 are able to cut through the Nobuseri. This is demonstrated when Kikujiyo uses a giant Nobuseri sword to stop the falling capital. Because of the sword's size, it literally sings while he's holding it up.
- In Soul Eater, Ragnarok converts itself into a vibroweapon when it screams.
- The Progressive Knives from Neon Genesis Evangelion have vibrating blades that can cut through a fighter jet with ease.
- The Super Prototype Lancelot from Code Geass uses twin "Maser Vibration Swords", initially making it the only powered weapon-wielding Knightmare Frame in the world. In the second season, similar blades are given to the Lancelot's production model version as well as the Ace Customs descended from it. The Guren SEITEN has a dagger version. The Black Knights were also able to get a Katana version developed for use with their newer frames, referred to as a Revolving Blade Sword, ostensibly developed from different technologies (it's really a chainsaw katana) and meant as a counter to the MVSs.
- Kranz Maduke, one of the Chrono Numbers from Black Cat, has one of these as his signature weapon.
- In Elfen Lied, the vectors technically can be called a vibroweapon, as they vibrate so fast they can slice pretty much anything.
- Whitebeard from One Piece technically used this trope with his Tremor-Tremor Fruit power (which is stated by Word of God to make him a "Vibration Man"), putting a bubble of vibrations around his fist and his bisento to augment their damage potential.
- There's also the Chinjao Family, who use a martial art called Hasshouken (Fist of Eight Impacts) which teaches them to manipulate vibrations to augment their attacks and bypass an opponents' shielding and armor.
- This is described as the reason lightning chakra in Naruto has such piercing power (or at least when Killer Bee uses it): it rapidly vibrates objects it charges.
- Killer Bee gets bonus points for the fact his weapons are Super Vibrato Lightning Blades.
- In the zombie episode of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Stocking uses (what else?) an actual vibrating dildo to fight the Zombie Apocalypse.
- When Misaka of A Certain Scientific Railgun forms a crude sword out of magnetically-controlled iron sand, she describes its cutting power like this (proven when a leaf falls on the "blade" and is sliced cleanly in half), though she compares it to a chainsaw rather than a vibroweapon.
- The Dimension Sword technique in Rosario + Vampire is a combination of Vibroweapon and Telefrag. By shifting dimensions, a user can pass through objects unchallenged - and by shifting back, they will promptly destroy whatever they are currently within - from a block of wood to a suit of armour to human flesh. The most efficient form is doing this 'shift away, shift back' action one hundred times per secondnote .
- In Lyrical Nanoha, Subaru has her Inherent Skill as a Type-Zero Cyborg, the Vibration Shatter. When she activates it, anything she hits will shatter from the oscillating energies released from her punches. Examples that have been destroyed with one punch include Nanoha's Deflector Shields and the lead Mariage's nigh-unbreakable arm-blade.
- Marvel Universe:
- The Vibranium metal exists on just the right wavelength to allow it to cut through any other metal. Yes, even adamantium (Depending on the Writer).
- In New X-Men, an anti-mutant group attacked the compound and one of them managed to stab Emma Frost in her diamond form with a vibranium knife; the blade cut clean through and left her shoulder a bleeding mess.
- Weirdly, some types of Vibranium can melt metal without coming in contact with it. There are two types of Vibranium, the stuff from Wakanda (Black Panther's kingdom) and a different lode found in Antartica, they are almost identical but seem to posses different properties when put into contact with other types of unobtanium.
- The supervillain known as Klaw has a vibranium weapon that channels a destructive vibrational wave.
- Captain America's shield is partially (or in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, wholly given adamantium is exclusive to the X-Men movies) built out of vibranium. Thus it's the reason for being indestructible: everything that hits the shield just bounces off by being absorbed and reflected.
- X-Factor Shatterstar's mutant powernote is to generate vibratory shockwaves, turning his swords (which are specifically tailored to his vibrations) into vibroweapons and also allowing them to fire a Sword Beam.
- Spider-Man villain the Shocker has vibrational weapons mounted on his wrists, which he uses for both break-ins and combat.
- The Vibranium metal exists on just the right wavelength to allow it to cut through any other metal. Yes, even adamantium (Depending on the Writer).
- The Flash can do this with his entire body, as demonstrated numerous times by Wally West when he chainsawed his way through objects instead of vibrating through intangibly like Barry Allen.
- Vibe of the Justice League. Once demonstrated just how powerful and dangerous he is while talking about his powers while interrogating someone:
Vibe: I can conduct shock waves equal to an earthquake registering 8.5 in the Richter Scale. I'm holding you by the neck.
Films — Live-Action
- Star Wars is host to all sorts of vibroweapons, with some even appearing in the movies. Pretty much any time you see what looks like a normal bladed weapon, it's actually a vibroweapon. Unless it's a "cortosis woven blade", because cortosis is one of the few materials that can stand up to a lightsaber.
- More conventional vibroblades of all shapes and sizes (ranging from small knives and "vibroknucklers" - think brass knucks, but with a vibrating blade at the front - to full-sized swords and spears) can be found in numerous Expanded Universe stories. Most Star Wars citizens are mildly creeped out by the concept of a "dead" blade, since by their standards it's tantamount to deliberately dulling a knife so it hurts more.
- The Texas Vibrator Massacre, where instead of a chainsaw, Leatherface is equipped with an altered version of a vibrating power tool typically used in the laying of cement.
- After a duel, one alien visits the other in the hospital, dismayed at only injuring his foe rather than honorably killing him. He spies his foe in bed and begins this conversation:
Alien 1: I see they have tended your wounds.
Alien 2: With difficulty. You inflicted grievous injuries upon me. What was that laser you sawed me with?
Alien 1: That was no laser. That was my knife.
- The Standard Giant Robot in Gekisou Sentai Carranger, the RV Robo, uses a scaled-up version of the Ranger's ViBlades. What makes this noteworthy is that this essentially makes it the only Sentai Robo that does not use a sort of "magical energy" for its sword-based final attack — it just starts the sword up, drives towards the enemy, starts spinning, and crashes through with nothing more than blunt kinetic force.
- A common melee weapon of evil speedsters in The Flash (2014), who vibrate their hands into lethal weapons. It also lets them become intangible leading to Bloodless Carnage as they attack internal organs like hearts instead of cutting apart bodies. Barry also learns this trick and uses it to defeat Solovar, the ruler of Gorilla City, and break one of Savitar's spikes.
- Vibroblades appear in Robert A. Heinlein's 1940 novella If This Goes On—.
- Used extensively in the world of Miles Vorkosigan by Lois McMaster Bujold, to the point that the eponymous character gets sarcastic comments for carrying around a blade that's just plain steel.
- Vibrobladed cutting blades are fairly common in Honor Harrington, though the legal requirement for such blades to include an alarm sound when activated (for safety reasons) limits their usefulness as a weapon. It's rather hard to stab someone in the back when your knife is blatting away like a demented alarm clock, which is why the (highly illegal) versions issued to covert ops units lack the noisemaker.
- In Robert Asprin's Phule's Company books, they are common, starting from 3rd book. Anyone who wants to look badass has a vibroknife and one of characters even mentions it in retrospection of his hooligan childhood.
- The Eisenhorn books mention 'shivered' weapons, knocked sideways in space-time to produce a similar effect.
- Mackie Messer of Wild Cards can make his hands vibrate like this, essentially turning them into vibroknives.
- Kosall in The Acts of Caine combines this with Absurdly Sharp Blade. Its vibrating effect only triggers when a living hand touches the blade, but even quiet it remains absurdly sharp; one undead wielder exploits the fact he can wield Kosall without its distinctive rattling hiss to great effect.
- The Ur-Example is almost certainly the Diskos in William Hope Hodgson's The Night Land. (OK, the circular blade rotates rather than vibrating back and forth, but the principle is the same.)
- In Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords series, several of the Swords vibrate for various individual reasons, several of which are for cutting things (stone, dragon scales, weapons, armies, etc).
- In Lord Valentines Castle by Robert Silverberg, the group encounters and recruits a gigantic amazonian woman who wields a vibroblade.
- The Bright Spear from Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light was described as vibrating itself clean of gore before returning to the hand of its wielder.
- In Richard K. Morgan's Woken Furies, Takeshi Kovacs uses a "vibroknife" to cut the soul-containing cortical stacks out of the necks of his enemies (and one friend). They're already dead, though, and it's clear that the knife is a tool rather than a weapon.
- In Randall Garrett's Unwise Child, teenage criminals use "vibroblades" where the blade ejects and retracts into the handle from two hundred to two thousand vibrations per second. A defensive device can magnetically seize the blade part. The handle then tries to move instead, thus melting the motor.
- In The Culture book Matter, a drone vibrates a wire held by two knife missiles, cutting through the supply wagons of an army.
- Shatterpoint features vibroshields wielded by the Jedi's Chaotic Neutral Counterparts, the Akk Guards of Haruun Kal. Super-conducting metal shields with the edges sharpened and powered to vibrate so that they can slice and cut as well as block blaster-bolts, lightsabers and "slugs" note They're worn on the lower arms. Mace Windu comments that they're like twisted mirrors of Jedi lightsabers. He uses his sword as a shield, while these guys use their shields as swords. They also subvert the idea that only a vibroblade can stop another vibroblade. In the end, the vibroshield-wielding villain attempts to block another vibroshield by knocking its cutting edge away with the broad portion of his own. The edge goes right through his shields, takes off both his hands at the wrists, and goes a fair way into his upper torso.
- School Shock's Bai Hua utilizes a rather large set of these. They cut really good, especially through her lover's chest.
- SLA Industries, a futuristic role-playing game by Nightfall Games, actively encourages Players to undertake Melee combat through various means. One of these methods is to include a really cool list of powered weapons, ranging from a fairly humble vibroknife to a vibroboxing-glove and even a vibroSCYTHE. Which also has a retractable 'flick' blade. And can have a tazer built into it.
- GURPS has vibroweapons but their operational time is limited by weight. If they're made out of hyperdense materials their cutting power jumps to ridiculous levels but severely limits how long it works for.
- At least one version of Gamma World included vibroblades in the weapon list. Subverted in that it was a vibroblade In-Name-Only, the description placing it more as a hand-held force field generator configured to project an Absurdly Sharp Blade.
- Eclipse Phase has vibroblades as one of the available melee weapons. Slight subversion of the trope as it's actually a fair bit less effective than the good melee weapons (the Diamond Axe and Monofilament Sword) but it's more realistic in that when used for extended sawing, it is better than any other melee weapon (double damage and armor piercing when sawing).
- Shadowrun has various vibro blades in its arsenal.
- Cyberpunk 2020 too. For example, a vibrokatana.
- They're also favored weapons in Rifts. More like a necessity, given that everyone and their mother has body armor that can stop a tank shell. Strangely enough, depending on which book you look at (it's not terribly consistent) a vibro-blade doesn't actually shake the blade itself but surrounds it in a vibrating energy sheath, bizarrely invalidating it for this trope by making it a sort of Laser Blade with a solid core.
- BattleTech has vibroblades... usually used as practical tools, they do a fine job of carving up flesh, too, and some Battle Armor suits mount vibroclaws for hand-to-hand combat. There are also Battlemech sized vibroblades, but they're rarely seen outside of arena combat because few mechs get into melee range in real combat situations.
- Whilst Games Workshop is better known for their chainsaw-gasms, occasional characters in the fluff have had vibroweapons, including Tona Criid.
- The World of Warcraft table top roleplaying game features vibroweapons as a type of tech-mod that can be applied to swords and knives.
- Fading Suns has vibrating blades as artifact weapons, they don't do any additional damage but penetrate the setting's Dune-style Deflector Shields more easily.
- Hc Svnt Dracones has the "vibrox" enhancement that can be applied to any cutting weapon. Normal cutting weapons can't damage armor with more than 35 HP, Vibrox weapons can damage any armor.
- BIONICLE, Toa Krakua, a Toa of sonics uses a sword that sends off sonic vibrations strong enought to shatter mountains.
- Spoofed by, of course, Kingdom of Loathing, where the "Vibrating Cyborg Knife" has + 20 damage, but 3 times the chance of fumbling and injuring yourself.
- Metal Gear
- In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Raiden has a Vibroblade katana which, like an actual Katana, only has one edge. It can be flipped to be used as a non lethal weapon. All of the swords wielded by the various Cyborg Ninja in the series (Raiden included) are vibroblades, which helps explain their ridiculous cutting power.note
- In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Raiden returns with a similar blade, but vibrates to the point where the blade heats up and turns red.
- In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance they've become the standard melee weapon for cyborg to cyborg combat (since they tend to be Immune to Bullets, or at least very resistant). It's explained that normal swords can be turned into them and their cutting power is proportionate to the original blade's quality (just to make it clear that Jetstream Sam's repurposed 16th century katana is just better).
- JauntTrooper has vibra-knives, vibra-swords, and vibra-lances.
- Fallout takes this a bit too far into Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot realm as the description for the Ripper states that it is a vibroblade chainsaw knife. It's strange, but there are no other Vibroweapons, though the setting has a wild collection of melee weapons and it's a veritable Portable Power Feast (in FoT, a single mission can give enough Fusion Cells to burden 6 PCs to a crawl). Fallout 3 retreats from this and makes the Ripper just a chainsaw knife.
- It is of course entirely possible that 'vibroblade' was just used because it sounds cool, not because it actually does. In-universe marketing speak, effectively. The description of the weapons just claims that they're chainsaw knives, and makes no mention of any vibrating effect outside of the name.
- Being based on the Star Wars universe, the Knights of the Old Republic series features vibroswords as low-level melee weapons. Like most anything else, these usually become obsolete once you're able to get your hands on a lightsaber, though. The sequel has things such as the 'Sith Tremor Sword' and various Echani vibroblades which are only a little less potent than a well engineered lightsaber, even at the very end of the game.
- If the Sith Tremor Sword has all the top-tier upgrades in it, then it's on par with lightsabers, not even including the bonus Sonic damage which makes it even better.
- If the player has access to Yavin Station in the original, the Baragwin Assault Blade is actually stronger than any lightsaber. Even ones powered by the uber crystals one can buy there.
- Star Wars: Republic Commando features a small vibroblade built into your clone's knuckle plate, used as a sort of punch dagger for fast melee strikes. It makes a mess of everything it comes across: droids, organics, and occasionally parts of the local architecture. It's arguably your best Emergency Weapon; your auto-recharging blaster pistol is somewhat weak, slow, and has a low number of stored shots. Furthermore, if you're forced to use the blaster pistol, you're stuck Pistol-Whipping as your melee attack instead—the attack with the lowest damage-per-second in the game.
- X-COM's palette switch writ large, Terror From The Deep, has three of them. The first weapon is called the VibroBlade and it does what it says. The second two can be built using alien tech research and are called the Thermic Lance and Heavy Thermic Lance. These heat up the "drill" to cut through armor like a hot knife through butter. Neither of the three look particularly like ordinary bladed weapons, however. They work best against armored enemies like the Lobstermen, who are resistance to guns and bombs. Unfortunately, Lobstermen are deadlier in close-quarters combat.
- Perfect Dark Zero has the Viblade, which also has a Deflector Shield function.
- This is how gunblades work in Final Fantasy VIII according to the Ultimania guide. Whenever the wielder triggers a round, it sends a wave of kinetic energy down the blade, adding an extra "kick" to their swings. The blades are notoriously difficult to use as not only do you need a good sense of timing, it's difficult to keep the weapon under control once it starts ringing like a bell.
- Vibroblades are the top tier melee weapon in the one extant BattleTech RPG, Crescent Hawk's Inception, easily outpacing the other available options (those being daggers, one-handed swords, and lengths of wood). It does pretty impressive damage to unarmored enemies, killing in as few as four hits. The problem is that melee weapons are woefully outclassed in the game, since most engagements start at range, and there is no restriction on running and shooting in the same turn. To add insult to injury the vibroblade is the second most expensive anti-personnel weapon in the game, behind the SMG. By the time a vibroblade user can get to their target, they've usually taken half a dozen bullets en route.
- In Jedi Outcast, Luke mentions that cortosis is a very rare mineral, and Fyyar making a Power Armor out of it is considered to be a highly-expensive feat. On the other hand, everybody and their mother in KotOR has a cortosis-woven blade. This can, presumably, be handwaved by saying that it wasn't so rare 4000 years before the movies' timeline, but that would indicate that an entire galaxy's supply of a mineral could be mined out in a few millennia. Then again, it is never specified how much cortosis is needed for one blade to make it lightsaber-resistant.
- In 8-Bit Theater, Red Mage made Fighter use his swords as chainsaws - he was too stupid to realize this was physically impossible, and used it to make short work of a bunch of dragons (which exploded).
- In Pay Me, Bug!, Amys has several vibroknives. They work just as well when thrown as when wielded normally.
- Justice League Unlimited: After taking over The Flash's body, Lex Luthor threatens to use his super speed to vibrate his finger through a man's head if he doesn't comply with the villain's wishes.
- In Centurions, one of John Thunder's weapons is a Vibro Knife.
- In the 80s The Transformers cartoon, Computron is able to stop the combiner Abominus by using intense vibrations to separate him into his Terrorcon componants.
- In reality electric bone saws vibrate back and forth very quickly as a safety feature — the rapid vibration will saw through bone easily, but a person's flexible skin will just jiggle back and forth and remain uncut. Similar saws may be used to remove plaster casts.
- Accidents do occasionally happen and demonstrate why the vibration is necessary: The blade can make a long, clean cut.
- Craftsman now has a vibro-hammer, that basically lets a person press a nail into wood.
- As a step in the one-upmanship in the razors and blade wars, Gilette made a razor with five blades. That vibrate.
- Harmonic scalpels use vibration to both cut and cauterize tissue.
- Watch in awe: The Vibro Potato Peeler. No, really.
- In nature some species of leafcutter ants can vibrate their mandibles thousand times per second and use this to saw through leaves.