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Absurdly Sharp Claws

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Scrub: Great... a real Space Hulk... I sure hope we don't run into any Genestealers.
Zael: Chin up, lad! Got Terminator Armor, after all!
Gideon: I seem to remember Genestealers having Rending Claws, Zael. This armor's about as protective as wrapping your dick with a napkin to fuck a chainsword...

What happens when your Natural Weapon is an Absurdly Sharp Blade.

In Real Life, animals use their claws for various purposes (hunting, climbing, grooming, digging, defense, etc.). However, over time, these claws grow dull and must be sharpened to maintain their usefulness.

Not so in the world of fiction. In many fictional cases, animal claws remain insanely sharp even after constant use. Moreover, these claws are so sharp that they are effectively natural swords able to slice through things that few (if any) real life animals could ever scratch. Werewolves, dragons, Mons, and other superpowered animal characters can be expected to use this trope.

Subtrope of Absurdly Sharp Blade. May overlap with Blade Below the Shoulder (the permanently-attached variant) and its subtrope Wolverine Claws, depending on whether the claws replace the entire hand (the former) or not (the latter). May have Audible Sharpness. These can end up as Cumbersome Claws if the character isn't careful about handling things.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Claymore has Rigardo. He visually resembles a werelion, but he is an Awakened Being, and fights with his claws and Super-Speed. On his first appearance, he kills four out of the five highest-ranking warriors on the battlefield faster than they can react.
  • Digimon has a few:
    • Snimon's blades are no less dangerous than his Pokemon counterpart Scyther. It comes with a Razor Wind attack.
    • Beelzemon's Darkness Claw attack has given opponents the Delayed Reaction death Diagonal Cut treatment.
    • War Greymon's gauntlets have given the Wolverine treatment to otherwise untouchable foes. They're Made of Indestructium and absurdly sharp. They're part of a group of weapons called "Dramon Killers" and like their name applies, they can kill Dragon-type Digimon. 2 of the Dark Masters were Dramon-type and when pitted against War Greymon, well you can see what happens next.
    • See anything under Digimon's BFS listing, though it could be that the physical strength of the wielder, typically a Mega Digimon, is a factor too.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
  • In Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin, Sniper kills a dog named Lloyd by clawing his head. The bears as well are often shown tearing open either a person or dog with a single strike of their claws.
  • Apparently, many youkai and hanyou have this in Inuyasha. Koga often uses his claws in combat, and Inuyasha this does also.
  • Rosario + Vampire:
    • Succubi can extend their finger nails very long and they are sharp enough to cut trees. Later on in the series, Kurumu doesn't extend them that long because of martial arts purposes.
    • This series also human hands for this trope via the Dimension Sword technique.note 
  • Ultimate Muscle: Thunder's left shoulder possesses a large lion's claw when it is used for his Lion's Authority Signature Move.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Several monsters attack with sharp finger nails.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Raviel, Lord of Phantasms. His attack name is Shimmering Scraper. Coming from a giant monster with sharp claws, it definitively hurts.

    Comic Books 
  • A storyline in Avengers West Coast #98-100 (September-November, 1993), features a Historical Domain Crossover scenario. Lucrezia Borgia serves as an agent of the Hell Lord Satannish. She is granted Absurdly Sharp Claws coated with poison.
  • Happens as a gag in Cattivik when the titular character is cut to ribbons by a lion.
  • Wolverine has shown he still has tremendous cutting power even when he just has his natural claws, which are noted to be made of dense bone rather than keratin. By extension, this also applies to Daken and X-23, although the former's natural claws are actually of some kind of metallic composition, and the latter had hers coated with adamantium before they ever saw any real use. Sabertooth is another example, with smaller, more cat-like retractable claws in his fingers that have been known to cut steel.
  • Wonder Woman villain Cheetah, from Barbara Minerva onward, has transformed into a cat person instead of wearing a cheetah skin or suit like her predecessors Priscilla Rich and Debbie Domaine. Unlike a real Cheetah, whose claws cannot be retracted, four claws which are blunt and used for grip while running with one really sharp claw for gripping prey, all of Barbara's claws are retractable and sharp.
  • The Venom and Carnage symbiotes can shape shift to form razor-sharp claws and arm-blades.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • As per canon, Wolverine, Daken, and Sabertooth have their (duh) Wolverine Claws in Child of the Storm.
  • Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger:
    • The terentatek that attacks Jaune in "Fear" has claws which can rip apart an armored human as if they were made of tissue paper. A single slash is all it took to destroy Jaune's Aura, tear through his armored chestplate, and gut him like a fish.
    • The Wyvern Grimm that attacks Vale during the Fall of Beacon is able to tear through the armored plating of a military airship and damage the ship's engines using its talons alone.
  • The Succubae in The Return, whose claws can rend through pretty much anything (that the plot requires).
  • In Zero Context: Taking Out the Trash, the human-Delcatty hybrid Callista possesses these as a superpower. They're noted as being able to slice through titanium alloys from a standing start, with their potency increasing alongside her speed. According to her, when she's at her fastest, her claws become so sharp that the fabric of reality's existence is endangered, so she makes it a point to avoid going all-out for this reason.
  • Nabiki Tendo gains razor-sharp talons that can tear through steel as if it were tissue paper upon eating her Vampire Zoan Devil Fruit in Voyages of the Wild Sea Horse.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The small stone gargoyle creatures in the horror film Curse of the Talisman have sharp claws strong enough to tear into cars.
  • In Fearless, one of the opponents Huo Yuanjia fights uses a form named "Tiger Claw" that involves him scratching his opponent with his bare nails. Apparently, he can slowly rip your shirt if you let him get close enough.
  • The monsters from Feast are described as having 'claws like Ginsu Knives'. and they can easily tear apart humans.
  • In John Carpenter's Vampires, the Big Bad vampire cuts a human cleanly in two with just his claws.
  • The claws of the monsters in A Quiet Place can cut through anything the plot demands, including metal plates, until the Rule of Drama dictates they suddenly can't.
  • Split Second (1992), the 1992 Rutger Hauer movie, is a great example for this trope. The creature uses its huge claw to shred through the roof of a subway train like a hot knife through butter. It has to be seen to be believed.
  • In Van Helsing, werewolf Gabriel leaves claw-marks on a stone statue during his brawl with Dracula.
  • In Kung Fu Hustle, one of the musical assassins sent to kill the first three kung fu masters has razor-sharp fingernails and uses them to attack the Tailor. They leave claw marks in his chest and in the wall behind him.

  • Andalite tail-blades in the Animorphs-verse are demonstrably sharp enough to cut metal and lop off limbs.
  • In Dragonback, K'da claws are sharp enough to cut through metal. And not just slash through it either; at one point Draycos uses this ability to carve a precise hole in a shuttle's hull as sabotage.
  • Sirens in Into the Drowning Deep, possess claws sharp enough to dig into metal walls, allowing them to climb sheer surfaces.
  • Played with in Holes. The warden has a habit of coating her fingernails with venom, and using them to lacerate the face of people she disagrees with, causing swelling from the venom.
  • When she's in her Cat Girl form, Danielle from Mind Games has claws on both her fingers and toes that count as System weapons, which means they're more dangerous than bullets to most System-empowered beings.
  • The One Who Eats Monsters: The protagonist, Ryn, has fingernails so sharp that they can, quote, "Kill anything that can die, and a few things that cannot".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "Gridlock", the Macra can be found at the bottom of the motorway in New New York (on New Earth). In the "fast lane" you can reach speeds of up to thirty miles per hour! (Usually taking six years to get to Brooklyn from Queens!) However, this comes with a risk: the potential of being sliced and mauled by the Macra. What's even scarier is that you only really get to see these claws above the fumes.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Vampires have razor-sharp fingernails that serve as claws, and they use them to mutilate their human prey.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: The main mode of attack of Species 8472 (the Undine to Star Trek Online players). One swipe can decapitate a helmeted Hirogen.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Heart", we learn that werewolves have thick gray claws that leave scratch marks in the side of a concrete building.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Vampire: The Masquerade has the Protean Discipline and its power of Feral Claws, which allow a vampire to grow sharp talons that do aggravated damage. Other things that do aggravated damage to vampires include fire and sunlight, so that's about the level that these things are on.
  • As mentioned in the page quote, in Warhammer 40,000, any tyranid strain from the Genestealers and up can rip open Powered Armor, and the larger monsters open tanks like cans.

    This forms the basis of a minor Running Gag/Noodle Incident in the Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF*BLAM*) series, where the first time in any book the 'nids are mentioned, Cain recalls a time he saw genestealers tear apart Space Marine Terminators as if their armor wasn't there. We finally get to see it in the seventh book.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: The Bloodluster kept by the rival tribe of The Outcasts are not only large in size, but they are able to greatly lengthen their claws to slash their targets.
  • Arx Fatalis features the Black Beast, the monster from the bowels of the earth possessing foot-long, One-Hit Kill claws. Seconds before you meet it, you have to crawl through the tunnel that is apparrently burrowed in solid rock, with Wolverine-like claw marks all over the floor and walls.
  • Dwarf Fortress has an interesting case, in that anything that has nails can cause grievous damage through scratching. While this includes obvious and reasonable creatures like tigers and badgers, this also includes things like dogs, goblins and your very own dwarves. While they can't remove limbs, dwarven nails have been known to cut through tendons, shred right through muscle and nerve tissue, and even eviscerate people. There is a popular technique among veteran adventurers that involves doing a Barehanded Blade Block with one hand and scratching their wrist tendons off with the other to steal their weapon.
    The dwarf militia commander scratches the goblin axeman in the right lower arm with his left hand and the part is ripped into loose shreds!
  • In Evolva, the Genohunters are able to get claws able to slice rock walls to pass through them.
  • Fallout features the aptly named 'Deathclaws', genetically engineered killing machines with claws the size of knifes. In each game they are one of the toughest commonly occurring enemies, and their claws can even be Macgyvered into one of the more deadly unarmed weapons in the game.
  • Iori Yagami from The King of Fighters practices his clan's ancient martial art, which entails pyrokinetic blasts and slashing with his fingertips like razor-sharp claws.
  • In Pokémon, the move Cut allows the player's Pokemon to cut down small trees with a single slicing movement. Flavor Text for various Pokémon species describes how their claw/pincer/etc. weapons are sharp enough to inflict significant property damage. Also repeatedly demonstrated in the anime, with Scyther* in particular repeatedly seen chopping down trees in a single swipe.
  • [PROTOTYPE] has this as one of the first upgrades, which is a Disc-One Nuke for crowd clearing.
  • StarCraft:
    • Fluff describes the zerg ultralisk, their equivalent to a tank (think an elephant with scythes instead of tusks), as having blades with a monomolecular edge.
    • In StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, ultralisks can be given a campaign upgrade that lets their blades deal full damage to every target they hit, meaning they cut through anything including multiple tanks without losing momentum.
  • They Bleed Pixels: The unnamed protagonist is slowly transformed into a monster with crimson two-fingered claws for hands after she reads the Book of Claws, which she uses to traverse the landscape of her nightmares and slash through enemies.


    Western Animation 
  • Gargoyles' claws are strong and sharp enough leave deep scratches in solid concrete and even solid steel. This enables them to effortlessly climb buildings and cliffs.
  • A Wile E. Coyote short in The Looney Tunes Show has Wile E. being sliced to ribbons by the Roadrunner's talons in a ninja-style battle.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Stare Master", Rarity's cat Opal cuts off a lock of Sweetie Belle's mane with a swipe of her claws.
  • El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera: The primary weapons granted by El Tigre's mystic belt are retractable metal claws capable of cutting building-sized robots into scrap.
  • Transformers: Prime: Starscream's main weapon (aside from his arm-mounted missiles) are his extremely sharp finger-claws.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Catra can trivially score a stone bartop by dragging her clawtips along it as she walks. When she puts real force behind them, she can rend armor plate and make She-Ra bleed.

    Real Life 
  • Usually, human fingernails are far too blunt to cause real damage. However, in certain sports such as netball, an important precaution is for the players to make sure their nails are short and smooth before a game, and to show them for inspection. When this is not observed, and because of the speed at which players' hands might move, there have been rare cases of players being injured by another player's nails, in some cases, needing stitches.


Video Example(s):


El Tigre

El Tigre's claws are sharp enough to cut through an impervium robot.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / AbsurdlySharpClaws

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