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Blade on a Rope

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One of the more interesting weapons seen in media is a rope, chain, string, or wire with a bladed weapon attached to it. This blade is usually a knife although other types such as hooks, claws, darts, and sickles are also common. These types of weapons are incredibly difficult to master in real life so a character wielding such a weapon is bound to be very skilled with it in order to be a threat. They also tend to look damn cool.

The weapon can sometimes invoke the image of a striking snake or a scorpion's stinger, hence why it's of common use among villains and antiheroes.

In video games, such a weapon is often used either to close the distance from an opponent (by pulling yourself to them or pulling them closer to you) or as a movement/traversal option like a grappling hook.

Compare Epic Flail, where a heavy object is attached to a rope or chain. Not to be confused with Whip Sword or Razor Floss. A kusarigama is likely to be included in Stock Ninja Weaponry. Very often this trope overlaps with Variable-Length Chain.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Lagoon: Shenhua uses a pair of kukri knives attached together by a rope, which she can use as modified rope darts.
  • Bleach:
    • In it's Shikai form, Hisagi's Zanpakuto takes the form of two double-bladed scythes connected by a long chain.
    • In Bankai form, Ikkaku's Zanpakuto becomes a monk's spade and a guandao which are connected to a center section which is shaped like an axe blade.
    • The Bount Yoshi wields a weapon called Nieder which consists of a jian sword and a Combat Hand Fan connected by a chain.
    • In Shikai form, Ichigo's Zanpakuto is wrapped by bandages, and when he grasps it before battle, the bandages unravel from all of it save the hilt. During a Battle in the Center of the Mind against his Hollow self, the Hollow begins swinging it by the bandages and throwing it as a ranged weapon. Ichigo is surprised as this is something he never thought of doing before then.
  • Brave10: Yuri Kamanosuke, Brave of Wind, fights with a kusarigama.
  • Digimon: One of MetalGreymon's attacks is launching his metallic claw white attached to a tether from his cybernetic arm.
  • Gamaran: Shinobi master Saizo Fujibayashi uses a kunai tied to a cloth rope to assassinate Hakuryuu before he spills the beans on who hired him and his associates. Averted when it comes to Kusarigama users, as none of them actually swing the sickle part of the weapon around.
  • Hunter Hunter: Kurapika's "Judgment Chain" has a blade attached to it that can pierce the victim's heart if they refuse an order Kurapika gives them. His "Steal Chain" is attached to a syringe that can drain the aura and steal the Nen powers of anyone it pierces.
  • Inuyasha: Kohaku wields a kusarigama made from purified demon bones as a weapon. This leads to a Running Gag where Bankotsu frequently mistakes him for a ninja.
  • Kengan Ashura has a skilled martial artist using a dao saber with a tassel long enough he can use it to spin the entire weapon, giving him an abnormal range. Two more examples appear in Omega, with one of the users even boasting about his skill spinning the sword with such mastery it doesn't make any sound.
  • Magi: Labyrinth of Magic: Ja'far's Household Vessel takes the form of two rope darts which he uses to ensnare or stab his enemies.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: The GuAIZ's Extensional Arrestors are waist-mounted rocket anchors with beam spikes that connect to the mobile suit with wires to reel in a grappled enemy. The beam spikes are actually the shots of very short-ranged beam guns. The odd nature of the weapons make them unpopular among all but the most skilled pilots who are able to use them effectively.
  • Naruto:
    • Hidan's triple-bladed scythe is attached to a long metal cable, wound around two spools on his hip. This allows him to use it is as both a short and long-ranged weapon.
    • Several characters have used a kusarigama in the manga and anime. Tenten used one in her fight against Temari during the Chūnin Exams. The anime-exclusive character Jiga used one in conjunction with Magnetism Manipulation to steal weapons from the opponent.
    • In an anime filler, Gaara shows some competence with the roped dart and teaches his personal pupil on how to wield it in combat.
  • One Piece: Vivi's weapons of choice are her "Peacock Slashers", a pair of small sharp jewels attached to thin wires.
  • One-Punch Man: Chain'n'Toad fights with a kusarigama, true to his Punny Name.
  • Ronin Warriors: The Dark Warlord Anubis carries a kusarigama with a Variable-Length Chain. Many of Lord Talpa's ordinary armored mooks also carry this weapon.
  • Soul Eater: One of the forms Black Star's Morph Weapon can take is a mutant kusarigama with scythes on both ends of the chain. The upgraded form, Rengoku, takes the form of a single massive scythe-like sword on a chain with a handle, so that Black Star can also use it in melee like a sword when he's not swinging it around like a flail.
  • Transformers: Robots in Disguise: Tow-Line's alternate mode is a tow truck. In robot form, his towing cable can be used as a weapon to restrain opponents.
  • Trigun: One of the first villains Vash faces is a hulking brute whose weapon of choice is a huge boomerang with sharp edges; only the ends of the boomerang can be gripped safely. The weapon is attached by a cable unreeled from a winch on the villain's hip. One smack of the retract button will spool his boomerang back to him.
  • Yaiba: Kotaro of the Revived Seven Swordsmen uses a kusarigama, though he mostly employs the flail part and later uses the weapon to drop a lightning bolt on Yaiba.
  • Yasuke: The first episode has the titular character fighting a Quirky Mini Boss Squad of mercenaries while armed with a trident attached to a rope.
  • Zatch Bell!: One of Rops's spells, Rigrosen, fires multiple ropes with arrowhead blades about as big as a person's head.

    Card Games 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The artwork for Kunai with Chain depicts a razor-sharp boomerang attached to a metallic chain. The card can either grant a power boost to your monster or stop your opponent's monster from attacking. Or both.
    • The Red-Eyes Fang with Chain card depicts a stylized, dragon-shaped shuriken attached to a metallic chain. Its effect enables the player's monster to either attack twice in the same turn, symbolizing the blade's long reach and destructive power; or "steal" one of the opponent's monsters, referencing how its anime counterpart was often used to immobilize the target.
    • The artwork for "The Six Samurai - Yariza" depicts the Warrior monster holding a spear attached to its armor by a cable.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • Batman vs. Robin: One of the weapons used by the Talons is a rope dart. It is employed against Nightwing during the battle at Wayne Manor, though Batman manages to free him before the Talons reel him in for a final blow.
  • Kubo and the Two Strings: One of the two evil Sisters wields a kusarigama, a chain with a sickle-bladed kama on on end and a set of steel talons on the other.
  • Kung Fu Panda 3: Kai's go-to weapons are a pair of a jade daggers attached to chains which extend and abbreviate mystically from around his wrists.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Deadly Duo: Hsiao, one half of the titular duo, uses a rope flail ending with a curved blade. This weapon allows him to pull off a One-Hit Polykill on at least five mooks standing in a row in the final battle.
  • Flying Guillotine is a kung fu movie based around an alleged weapon of the same name — it's a hat-like device on a chain that can be thrown over an opponent's head, at which point sharp blades will decapitate them.
  • One of Shih's eight lieutenants from Hand of Death uses a rope flail as a weapon, and he's among the deadliest Elite Mook enemy in the film.
  • House of Flying Daggers: An improvised version is briefly used in the film. During the "echo game" with Leo, one of Mei's long twin scarves whips around the handle of his sword and yanks it out of the sheath. Mei attacks him with it, swinging the sword on the scarf while Leo dodges.
  • Kill Bill Vol. 1: The meteor hammer Gogo Yubari uses in her fight with The Bride can release hidden blades around the sphere making it a cross between this trope and Epic Flail.
  • While the titular character of Machete: The titular character usually kicks ass with a machete. However, one scene has him take down enemies using a set of curved blades tied to a rope.
  • Magnificent Warriors: Fok Ming-ming is an expert when it comes to using a rope dart in battle, defeating two elite agents who tied up her grandpa and attempted to ambush her. Later in the film she used the rope dart to restrain Sky and beat up numerous mooks. The weapon is also featured on the film's DVD cover.
  • Ninja Assassin: One of Raizo's weapons is the kyoketsu-shoge, a chain with a curved blade attached to it.
  • Prey (2022): Naru wields a tomahawk with a rope tied around the hilt to allow her to pull it back to her.
  • Priest (2011): Priestess uses a chain with a blade at the end during her fight against the bikers in the movie's climax.
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: Xialing uses a dragon-scale rope dart as her weapon of choice during the Battle of Ta Lo, given to her by her aunt Ying Nan. As the young Shang-Chi is shown to have trained in the rope dart, it is no surprise that Xialing is shown to be already proficient in it, having secretly trained herself by watching and imitating her brother's and soldiers' lessons.
  • Twin Blades of Doom: The hero Chang Qi-Lang uses a rope flail as his backup weapon. Being a Combat Pragmatist, he usually unleashes the flail as an ambushing weapon after drawing his enemies close to him during a Sword Fight. This is notably how he defeats the the Ghost King.

  • Absolute Duo: Tomoe's Blaze manifests as a Variable-Length Chain with a sickle on one end and a dagger on the other.
  • The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School: Sterlyng's weapon is her own extremely long hair, braided into a rope with sharp hooks woven into it.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: An evil Wizarding School requires all its students to complete a lethal obstacle course before they can become full students. On the day of the competition, the death traps in the course are changed out from the practice ones, and some of the new traps include blades swinging on ropes and chains which the rookie witches must evade.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: 3rd Edition had the Scythe Flail, which was a two-handed flail that had a large sickle-shaped blade attached to the chain instead of the normal heavy flail head. It somehow gave a bonus to hit on Cleave attempts (never mind trying to figure out how that would work), but as it was an exotic weapon it was not considered worth using. The same game also has Kusarigama, treated as a double weapon able to hit with the sickle and the weight in a single attack.

    Video Games 
  • Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits: Paulette fights with a garrote with a blade at the end and is constantly swinging it around in battle as her idle animation.
  • Assassin's Creed III: This installment introduces Conner's rope spear, a vicious little gadget he can use to yank unsuspecting opponents towards him. Even nastier is that, while up in a tree, he can use the rope spear to yank a victim up into the tree, effectively removing them as a combatant. Note that it will not work on the larger heshian soldiers.
  • BlazBlue: Hazama possesses a weapon called Snake Pair: Ouroboros, a chain of green and black energy with a hook shaped like a snake's head. He can use it to attack opponents from afar, reel them towards him or zip around the battlefield.
  • BloodRayne: Rayne's arsenal includes the Chain Harpoon, a dart-tipped chain given to her by Mynce as a gift. it is housed in a device worn on her wrist and is used to pull enemies to her so she can feed on them or throw them in another direction. Rayne can also use the Chain Harpoon as a Grappling-Hook Pistol.
  • Darkest Dungeon: The Bounty Hunter has a grappling hook which he swings around in his hand when idle during combat. He can use it to pull an enemy in the backlines closer to the front, and mark them for the next turn, both of which set the enemy up nicely for his Collect Bounty attack (which both deals extra damage to marked foes and only strikes the first few enemy positions). As a nod to Mortal Kombat, the name of the skill using the hook is "Come Hither."
  • Darksiders: The Abyssal Chain is an enchanted gauntlet that fires a spear-tipped chain. It can be used to close the distance between War and his enemies or swing across chasms too large for him to jump over.
  • Dauntless: The Chain Blades are a pair of blades similar to Kama that can manifest Aether chains. Many abilities use the chains either spinning the blades around or using them to pull the hunter towards the monster.
  • Dusty Revenge and Dusty Raging Fist: Boris fights with dual meat cleavers attached to chains. He can even use them to block bullets fired at him.
  • Dynasty Warriors: The seventh game introduces the Chain and Sickle weapons. They resemble a kusarigama with a handle where the weight should be, allowing the user to swing around the bladed part.
  • Fire Emblem: The General Class in the GBA games have chains connected to their axes and lances, but it is used to retract the weapon back during direct combat.
  • God of War:
    • The Blades of Chaos are permanently linked to Kratos' arms by magic chains, a symbol of his servitude to Ares. The chains enable Kratos to strike at enemies from a distance and deliver slashes that cover a wide range, by throwing the weapons and performing fluid motions with his arms. The Blades of Chaos are later replaced by the Blades of Athena and the Blades of Exile, which are granted to him by the goddess of wisdom and function in the exact same manner.
    • The Blades of Chaos return in God of War (PS4). After going without them for most of the game, Kratos eventually decides he needs them again to complete his new goal, revealing he had them locked away in the house.
  • Guilty Gear: Axl Low fights with a dual chain sickle which factors heavily into his keepaway/zoning-based gameplay.
  • Heavenly Sword: The range stance involves launching the sword at the end of two chains for ranged combat. This is most useful for dealing with weaker enemies and defending from projectile attacks.
  • Knights Of Valour: The Tiger's Claws are a pair of nasty-looking hooks connected by a long chain. They can be used for ranged attacks.
  • The Legend of Tian-ding: One of your default equipment, the spiderwire, is a set of hooks on a fine chain you use for grappling enemies or ledges to swing around.
  • Mega Man Zero 2: The Chain Rod is a modification of Zero's iconic Z-Saber, which turns it into one of these. It lets him pull items towards him (including the shields of certain enemies), as well as use it as a grappling hook when aimed at a ceiling or wall.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Scorpion's signature weapon is his "spear", a kunai attached to either a rope or chain which he uses to drag the opponent towards him while yelling "Get over here!". Sometimes he can enhance it with Hellfire for more damage.
    • Human Smoke can use Scorpion's Spear in Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3 mostly due to being a palette swap in those games..
    • Zombie Liu Kang wears chains with hooks attached to them. However, they can't be used in gameplay and he only (yet memorably) uses them as weapons in the cinematic opening of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon on Shang Tsung, the person who killed him.
  • New Legends grants you a Chinese rope dart as one of the last weapons you can obtain. It has the furthest range amongst various melee weapons, and is useful for taking out enemy archers and riflemen.
  • Ninja Gaiden: The kusarigama is a weapon consisting of a long chain with a sickle on one end and a heavy weight on the other. It is available to Ryu in Ninja Gaiden II, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge. In the game's lore, it was crafted by a blacksmith named Shishido Tessai.
  • Samurai Shodown: Basara the Executioner's weapon is a Fuuma Shuriken attached to a chain.
  • Samurai Warriors: Hanzo has a crowd-clearing attack which has him standing stands still and swinging the sickle-part of his kusarigama in growing circles. He normally uses the kama in close combat and, in another combo, actually use the weight.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night: Rider, aka Medusa, fights with a "Nameless Dagger", a long chain with a large spike on each end.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Blake Belladonna's weapon, Gambol Shroud, is a blade attached to a ribbon that she can swing and throw to attack from long range or grapple through the environment. Befitting the series it originates from, it can also transform into a gun.
    • Emerald Sustrai's weapons, Thief's Respite, are a pair of sickle-bladed Kusarigama on chains that also have short-ranged melee and pistol modes.
    • Sienna Kahn's Cerberus Whip is a long chain with dagger-like blades on the end. The blades are detachable and can channel elemental Dust for long-range elemental attacks.
    • Clover Ebi's Kingfisher is a weapon resembling a fishing pole; it is a bladed hook on a long cord and rod that Clover uses to grapple enemies and his environment.
    • Ivori's whip is a brown whip tipped on either end with ice dust blades.
    • Downplayed with Roman Torchwick's cane Melodic Cudgel. While primarily a short-range melee weapon, it can fire a hook on a cable; while not particularly sharp, he can use it to snare enemies or attack from a distance.
    • Penny Polendina fights with eight swords connected to wire cables deployed from her backpack.

    Web Original 
  • Fen Quest: The Dragon Knight at Lady Apanya's court appears to be using a blade on a wire to "duel"/execute Lord Bardo and Lady Cati after they're framed on Apanya's orders.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Some chain whips have a metal dart on the end.
  • The flying claw is another flexible weapon originating in China. It is used to ensnare a foe and throw them off balance.
  • The harpoon is a spear attached to a rope, designed for marine hunting. Original versions of harpoons were found in Africa dating back to 90,000 years ago, making this trope Older Than Dirt.
  • The kusarigama is a Japanese weapon usually associated with ninja that consists of a scythe and a heavy weight connected by a long chain. However, it was actually used more as an Epic Flail, using the weight at the end of the chain to whip and flail the enemy from a distance or to ensnare his sword or limbs, while the kama itself wasn't meant to leave the user's hand (in fact, certain models had handguards) and was used to attack up close or to deliver an attack when the opponent was tangled up by the chain. Still doesn't stop fictional examples from having the user swing the sickle around instead of the weight.
  • The kyoketsu-shoge is thought to be the predecessor to the kusarigama and is quite a versatile weapon. The blade could be used for slashes and stabs. The chain or cord, which was sometimes made from human hair or horsehair for strength and resiliency, could be used for climbing, ensnaring an enemy or binding them.
  • The rope dart is a Chinese weapon consisting of a long rope (usually 3-5 metres or 10-16 feet) with a metal dart attached to one end. The first written description of the rope dart is dated from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD).