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Heroes Prefer Swords

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"I'm pretty sure I'll be the main character. The people with swords usually are."

Want to know who is The Hero and The Leader of a group? Look for the guy with the sword!

The sword is a sign of the mighty warriors and nobles. It's a central part of codes of honor like chivalry and bushido, symbolizing nobility, leadership, justice, and power. In a group of fighters, the one wielding the sword will be the leader, with his subordinates wielding axes, spears, bows — all weapons more associated with the commoners.

This trope can take two main forms:

  • The leader or hero of the group carries a sword, while other characters carry other weapons.
  • A character receives a sword as a symbol of their status as hero, similar to a Knighting ceremony. Inversely, losing their sword signifies the loss of that status, similar to a Sword-breaking ceremony.

In European settings, it will usually be an arming sword or an Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age. Larger two-handed swords, smaller daggers and short-swords, and curved swords like scimitars will be given to other characters (scimitars especially have an evil reputation, although some heroes do still carry them). In Japan, it will be a Katana. An especially heroic sword will likely be a named weapon.


May or may not be fully justified in-universe with tropes like Firearms Are Cowardly and Guns Are Worthless and outside; see The Analysis page for more on historical justifications in Real Life. (Short version: Historically, until the late 13th century if you were worth training or could afford it, the sword was your primary weapon. 14th century and later the evolution in armor started to make other weapons more effective and at that point, the sword began its transition into a secondary weapon. This was also the period of time most corresponding to the popular image of a 'knight in shining armor'. This lasted until repeating pistols showed up, but until then they were an effective, easily carried sidearm if your polearm was lost or broken.)

Sometimes The Lancer will be armed with a different weapon to differentiate him from The Hero, or just a more unusual type of sword (i.e.: if the Hero uses a broadsword, the Lancer may wield a rapier or katana). The Big Bad and The Dragon are nearly as likely to use swords as The Hero, but will also sometimes use more "evil-looking" weapons such as morning stars, battle-axes, or maces, especially with spikes.


Compare Weapon of Choice, Red Is Heroic and Heroes Fight Barehanded. Sub-trope of Group-Identifying Feature.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Asterisk War: Ayato Amagiri wields the Ser-Veresta, a sentient Laser Blade previously used by his sister. Its base form is a broadsword, but over time he learns to shape it like a katana. Other characters wield sword-type weapons as well, such as Julis, Claudia and Kirin.
  • Attack on Titan: The traditional weapons of the anti-Titan soldiers are a pair of swords with blades that can be replaced if they get broken or go dull. The soldiers gradually obtain new and more advanced weapons, which coincides with the Graying Morality of the story.
  • Banished from the Hero's Party: Red's weapon of choice is a standard sword. When he still went by Gideon and was part of the Hero's party, he wielded the treasured sword, Thunderwaker. As Red, he still uses a sword, but it's a cheap one made of bronze.
  • Black Clover: Asta is the main character who wields large, mysterious swords that contain Anti-Magic energy. Interestingly, while Asta himself is a heroic individual his swords' powers come from a demon inside his grimoire.
  • Inverted in Cowboy Bebop, where the villain Vicious insists on using a sword while other characters use high-tech weapons or ordinary guns. It marks him as particularly bloodthirsty compared to other criminals.
  • Cutey Honey: The titular heroine's iconic weapon is a rapier. She's the only one of her series to wield one.
  • Laios of Delicious in Dungeon is the series' heroic lead as well as being the only member of the current Team Touden to fight with a sword.
  • Gamaran: the main characters and the Big Bad are members of the Ogame School, which teaches Kenjutsu, and thus employ sword. Most of the other Schools in the series tend to focus on different weapons, such as spears, naginata, ninja weapons, martial arts and even foreign weapons.
  • GoLion (Voltron in America) uses a huge sword as a finisher.
  • Great Mazinger: Hero Protagonist Tetsuya Tsurugi uses two long, double-edged swords. He is the only character on the heroes' side that wields swords, and in fact he is is the only hero of the Mazinger Z trilogy that does so.
    • This changes in Mazinkaiser, where the titular mecha also carries a sword. Two in the movie, which given that they emerge from different parts of the mecha's body (chest and shoulders respectively), means it carries at least three.
  • The Gundam series tends to show this as well, with most mobile suits piloted by the Hero packing a Beam saber. However Beam sabers quickly started becoming the standard about halfway through the original series, and continued through subsequent series' as well. Later works would often differentiate the hero's mobile suit by giving it a more unique sword, sometimes even going back to a physical one.
    • Averted by Mikazuki Augus of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, who actually prefers maces over the katana-like sword that was made for his Gundam Barbatos. He does discover its good points when he's forced to use it in the climax of the first season. In the second season Barbatos is given a mace-sword, which is essentially just a mace shaped like a sword and possessing no cutting edge.
    • Played more straight by Setsuna F. Seiei from OO than by any other Gundam-protagonist. His Gundams generally have more swords than actually needed in a battle. Exia started with three and was upgraded to seven (in the episode titled "Seven Swords", where Exia got the Seven Swords upgrade). Gundam OO had eight swords, including the 5000km long Raiser Sword. OO Qan[t] only had 2 swords, though: GN Sword III and Quantum Sword (although it also had 6 Sword Bits). Setsuna even lampshades it in the final battle with Ribbons, saying "This is the range I excel at!" when charging in to melee range.
  • In Day Break Illusion, a flaming rapier is Akari's weapon of choice.
  • Itto Ohgami of Lone Wolf and Cub primarily uses a dotanuki sword, a heavier, shorter version of the katana. His opponents are often armed with a wide variety of more unusual Japanese weapons.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • In Only Sense Online, swords are very popular weapons in the titular game, and are the weapons of choice for quite a few major characters, such as Myu and Taku, and it is implied that both of them are trying to invoke this trope by using swords. Even Sei, who plays as a mage, has a spell to generate a sword she can wield with her Staff Sense.
  • Sayaka Miki of Puella Magi Madoka Magica subconsciously invokes this trope, believing that a Magical Girl should fight for truth and justice, and only use their powers to help others. While not the main heroine, she's the only main character to wield swords, a symbol of her idealism put to the test.
  • In Record of Lodoss War, Parn, the first main character of the series, uses a sword. When the next generation of heroes takes over as the main cast in Chronicles of the Heroic Knight, their main character (Spark) uses a sword as well.
  • Sailor Moon examples:
    • In the manga Sailor Venus, leader of the Inner Senshi, sometimes carries a sword. She was also the only one who could extract the Holy Sword from its stone prison.
    • Sailor Uranus, leader of the Outers, has a sword as her weapon.
    • In the anime the legendary Sailor Senshi who sealed Chaos had one. To everyone's horror, she's actually Sailor Galaxia.
    • In the anime, Sailor Moon wields one when fighting Galaxia as the last hero standing.
    • In the live action series Princess Sailor Moon has a sword.
    • Having been the generals of the Golden Kingdom, the Shitennou are often armed with swords, with their leader Kunzite being the one using it most often.
  • In Seraph of the End, the weapons used among Yuu's team are a Sinister Scythe, a bow, a polearm, dual swords, and a single sword. Guess who wields the last one?
  • Sword Art Online: Kirito's preference for swords is so strong that when he plays the VRMMO shooter Gun Gale Online, he buys a Photon Sword and uses it extensively, to the point where he can deflect bullets with it.
    • It should also be noted that in the game SAO itself, players could only use swords. Hence the name.
  • Voltes V: Kenichi Go is both his team's leader and swordsman, and nearly always uses a sword attack to finish the Monster of the Week.

    Comic Books 
  • Chevalier Ardent: In "Le Prince Noir", in the climactic duel the hero's father uses a sword; the titular Black Prince, who is a bad guy, uses a morningstar.
  • Superman:
    • Subverted in Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow. A little girl named Ruthye seeks to hire Supergirl's services in exchange for an expensive sword, believing everybody wants a sword, but Kara insists that she has no use for them.
    • The Day The Cheering Stopped: Subverted when Superman is given an ancient sword which grants him godlike power. Superman uses the Sword to defeat the Big Bad, but in the aftermath of the battle he throws the sword away, fearing losing his humanity. Ironically, by doing so, he proved he was its rightful owner.
  • White Sand: Kenton uses a sword — though that's mostly because it serves as a crutch to augment his pitiful Sand Mastery, and it's uncertain whether he can actually use it as a weapon.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • In Kingdom Come, Diana uses a sword forged by the god Hephaestus which is sharp enough to shave atoms. This is more a subversion as Diana using a sword is meant to reflect her losing sight of her heroic goals.
    • Diana had used a sword on occasion but it didn't become a part of her primary arsenal until the New 52.
  • Emma/Gemini is the team leader of Zodiac Starforce, and her weapon is a sword.

    Fan Works 
  • Towards the end of Child of the Storm, Trelawney's second prophecy includes the words, in reference to Harry, 'a sword of fire waits for his hand'. This after an earlier tarot reading by her (with magical cards changing their faces to suit the subject of the reading) showed a sword buried in obsidian - volcanic glass.
    • In the sequel, he ends up getting a sword that, forged by Uhtred under the supervision of Tony Stark, with a few enchantments from Loki, resembles a shashka - the sabre of the Russian Cossacks. It's effectively 'reforged', by a combination of Harry being stabbed through the shoulder with it, then it being used as a lightning rod, by Dracula during their first fight. Combined with a couple of extra spells from Doctor Strange, and the result is a very dangerous weapon that Harry dubs Curtana. No one's quite sure what it does yet (Loki suspects that it might "bite" anyone other than Harry), but it cuts through most things like butter.
    • The trope is also played straight when Jason Todd is offered the Sword of Faith, becoming at least temporarily one of the Knights of the Cross in a culmination and confirmation of his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Downplayed in The Good Hunter. The sword is not an exclusive weapon for the main characters, as there are mooks who use them other than axes, cleavers, maces or polearms. Regarding the main protagonist Cyril, his Holy Moonlight Sword is his secondary melee weapon, while the Saw Cleaver is the primary one. He does opt for a normal steel sword as Klaus, though.
  • The Night Unfurls:
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Sword usage is Night Blade's special talent, and his personal weapon, a gift from his brother Deep Blade, is named Determined Point. After it breaks, he gets a replacement from the Questioning Order's vault, made by the legendary swordsmith Masamane.
  • Directly acknowledged in the Power Rangers fanfic series Personality Conflicts, when former White Blaster Beetleborg Josh Baldwin explicitly observes that every team leader or solo hero on this Earth- the Red Rangers, the White Morphin Ranger, VR Trooper Blue, Masked Rider, and even the Blue Stinger Beetleborg- has a sword as their primary weapon, with the exception of Chromium Gold's Lancer.
  • Luso in The Tainted Grimoire is the hero of the story and he uses two swords.
  • Valkron in Warriors of the World uses a longsword most of the time compared to other melee characters despite the longsword being an "unconventional" choice in-universe due to his lack of height. The other character who carries a sword is more likely to weaponise her shield instead. Everyone else who shares the same profession as he does utilises spears.
  • The Chapter Master of the Crimson Crusaders, as featured in Glory Or Death, has the title of Sword-Saint thanks to his immense skill with a blade.
  • Children of an Elder God: Asuka used two swords to fight.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aquaman (2018): Defied. Young Arthur most definitely would prefer a sword, but Vulko tells him point-blank that the customary weapon of Atlantean royalty is the trident, so that's what he's training with.
    • Probably justified, as anyone who has tried to swing a sword underwater can tell you.
  • In the Biopic Lafayette about the US Revolutionary War general of the same name, he rallies his troops (who, due to supply shortages, are only given six bullets per soldier) with the following short speech:
    You only have six cartridges, but I have only my sword! Follow me!
  • Early in The Great Race, we are shown that the hero, "The Great Leslie", is an expert fencer. This comes in handy later in the film.
  • In The Last Witch Hunter, while Kaulder isn't fussy about what to fight with, he takes his sword to both fights with the Witch Queen. Justified, as Hexenbane is a Cool Sword all around.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
  • In Pacific Rim, Gipsy Danger's "Sword" (no fancy names, just "Sword") is remarkably effective against class 4 Kaiju compared to other complicated weaponry.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman: Snow White is the only important character who wields a sword. Everyone else uses axes, bows, daggers, a cane, and so forth. The only exception is her father, the King.
  • Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and other Jedi Knights wield lightsabers, in contrast to the blasters used by everyone else. Lucas noted that the nature of a lightsaber makes it a defensive weapon, meant to show that Jedi use force as a last resort.
  • The War Lord: Norman warlord Chrysagon de la Cruex (Charlton Heston), who's the main protagonist, always uses his sword, while his Older Sidekick Bors prefers blunt weapons and their Frisian enemies use axes.


  • Black Crown averts or plays this straight depending on who you define to be the 'hero'; in 'Black Crown', King Valerius fights with a sword, but his rival King Marion fights with an axe.
  • Hal, protagonist and leader of the Heron brotherband in Brotherband, wields a sword, while most of the other boys fight with axes. This is actually justified in-universe, as he's smaller and more agile than many of the others, meaning that a sword fits him better. Edvin and Ulf and Wulf also fight with swords, for the same reason. Thorn, as a Master of All, seems to be more or less equally proficient with a sword, axe, or his club-hand. Gilan, as always, uses either his bow or his sword as the situation demands. This trope is subverted as well with the villainous characters, as the Shurmel and Zavac both use swords.
  • In The Braided Path Tsata uses special blades adapted for close combat called "kntha".
  • Conan the Barbarian almost always uses a sword, although never the same one since they tend to break on him or get lost. Occasionally, however, he also uses spears, hammers, and axes.
  • Not surprisingly, given the setting, this comes up in the Deryni works:
    • While the heroic characters can and do use other weapons (Morgan's stiletto is practically an extension of his arm, and he, Kelson, and Dhugal are among those shown shooting bows), the heroic characters are shown to use swords often. Even Duncan McLain keeps in practice, despite having taken holy orders.
    • In the short story "Trial", Morgan uses his powers to find the real culprits in a rape/murder case, freeing a foreign swordsmith who was falsely accused of the crime. In gratitude, the smith offers to make Morgan a custom sword and asks to join his service.
  • Orson Gregory in The Dreamside Road is well known for his sword of fire. By his own admission, he is mediocre, at best, with ranged weapons.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • This is played straight with the three Knights of the Cross, who are Paladins and wield a Holy Sword with one of the Nails from the Crucifixion in its hilt. While some might use other weapons to aide them, their primary weapon is their Sword.
    • This is invoked with Wardens of the White Council. They are the police officers of Wizards and their frontline soldiers too. Captain Anastasia Luccio creates for each one in her ranks an anti-magic sword that will cut through enchantments. When fighting Warlocks, human wizards gone evil, they will generally use their swords to kill the person because if they kill using magic, it taints their soul and pushes them to the dark side and becoming warlocks themselves.
    • This is averted with Harry Dresden. While he is a had basic training in fencing, using his long reach to his advantage with his sword cane early in the series, the author has stated clearly he won't ever use either of the above blades.
      Jim Butcher: What's he gonna do with a sword? He'll cut himself. Honestly, if he had a sword he'd fall on it, you know he would. Somebody would take it away from him and hit him with it. That's the kind of thing that happens.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: Audric is the most powerful sunspinner to be seen in decades, if not centuries, and his main casting- Illumenor- is a sword. In Lightbringer, he uses Illumenor in order to drive off a Gate-induced storm from destroying Quelbani, the capital of Mazabat.
  • In Fengshen Yanyi: nearly all the good Immortals helping Zhou can use jian (the standard, straight Chinese arming sword), including the hero Jiang Ziya, who wields the precious Three-Ringed Sword when not using his situational God-Beating Whip, contrasting normal warriors and generals who usually employ spears or polearms. Tellingly, both traitorous princes Yin Hong and Yin Jiao are given magic swords by their masters but, upon betraying Zhou, switch to using halberds instead. Downplayed in that the jian seems to be the Weapon of Choice of all taoists, even the evil ones such as the Ten Heavenly Lords of Jinao Island.
  • Used several times in The Heirs of Alexandria, in various ways, even though gunpowder weapons are starting to dominate the battlefields.
    • When Benito and Marco gets introduced into the Venetian upper circles, they have to wear swords and are trained with them. However, they never use them in anger.
    • Duke Dell'Este signals his alliance with House Dorma of Venice by sending one of his honour-blades to Petro Dorma.
    • Justified in the case of the Knights of the Holy Trinity, since Cold Steel is effective against supernatural forces, and swords can be used as a cross in a pinch.
  • Funnily deconstructed and Reconstruction in the Inheritance Cycle. The dragon riders have swords made of Thunderbolt Iron. They are far superior to any other weapons, so it makes sense to always use them. But one of the smiths makes a long lecture lampshading how stupid it is, always using the same sword. Even if you may have a favorite weapon, using the same regardless of the kind of battle is far from optimal.
    • In addition, Eragon seems to be at least subconsciously aware of this trope as one of his main through-lines in the book Brisingr (which is what he eventually names his sword) is trying to get himself a proper Riders' sword, as he feels he can't be a real Rider (read: hero) without one.
  • Lampshaded and deconstructed in The Last Hero, when Carrot faces down Cohen the Barbarian and the Silver Horde. "One simple sword in the hands of a truly brave man would cut through a magical sword like suet." Elsewhere in the series, the narrative discusses Carrot's Ancestral Weapon — nothing magical, just a simple steel sword so utterly mundane that it has a kind of power all its own. It's somehow more real than everything around it.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn goes from being a ranger among others and someone fighting a losing fight to the man who will be King of Gondor and a member of the party that will win the war. This transfer coincides with the re-forging of Narsil and him claiming it as Andúril.
    • For that matter, in The Hobbit, the first step in Bilbo's transformation from helpless Everyman to brave adventurer is when he receives the blade Sting from a troll hoard. By the time he uses it to kill a Great Spider, he's accepted by the Dwarves traveling with him as a hero.
  • In The Lost Redeemer, many of the Aeons fight with swords even as the humans develop more modern weapons like firearms.
  • The Camp Halfblood Series:
    • In the Percy Jackson and the Olympians novel(la) series, the titular character Percy Jackson is unskilled at nearly everything, minus sword-play and canoeing.
    • In the sequel series The Heroes of Olympus, this is embodied in the chosen seven who are supposed to save the world: The two main heroes/leaders of the group are Big Three demigods Jason and Percy, who use swords. The only other main character who uses a sword is Hazel, and its unwieldly unless she's on her horse.
  • Prophecy Approved Companion: Swords are the perfered weapon of the warrior-type of The Chosen Many, as his stated weapon in the first chapter.
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, swords are by far the favorite weapon of the protagonist, Daylen Namaran. Given that Tellos is a World of Badass, almost everyone trains with swords at one point or another, in preparation for the coming apocalypse.
  • In The Silent War Serdra insists that swords are the best weapons for Redcloaks. They draw less attention that carrying a polearm around, and demons are hard to kill with anything other than slashing damage.
  • Nearly all of the important, heroic characters in A Song of Ice and Fire use swords, and many of them are named. Axes, maces and polearms are generally relegated to mooks and characters who don't fit the heroic mold. Tyrion uses an axe, as do many of his highland bandit henchmen.
    • An exception is King Robert Baratheon, who in his heyday was famous for his skill with his warhammer, and used it to kill crown prince Rhaegar Targaryen during his rebellion. This fits his Boisterous Bruiser personality, but is also a symptom of the series' fondness for Combat Pragmatists — a warhammer is a rather better choice of weapon for a strong fighter facing an opponent in plate armour.
    • Brienne of Tarth also prefers a mace for this reason, but she's very much aware of this trope when given a Cool Sword and sent on The Quest to find Sansa Stark. She finds it effective enough against the lightly-armored outlaws she's confronted with.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, the ruling lighteyes caste of the Alethi use swords (most mundane swords, a handful the famed magical shardblades), and certainly consider both themselves and the weapons heroic. However, it's made plain that the majority of the lighteyes have fallen far from their ideals, while The Hero is Kaladin, a lowborn darkeyes who uses the weapon of his caste, the spear, and is very good with it.
    • On the other hand, back in the time of the Desolations, all of the Knights Radiant carried Shardblades, immensely potent magical weapons which are the only practical way to fight some of the monsters they faced.
    • Averted once Syl turns into a Shardblade for Kaladin, and then adapts to optimally fit his personal fighting style by morphing into a shard-spear!
  • The Sword of Truth. In universe, the Seeker of Truth is this, leading to a Mass "Oh, Crap!" when everyone figures out that Richard has control of the magic of the titular sword even without having the sword itself.
    "You don't even have your weapon."
    Richard: I am the weapon.
  • Deconstructed in Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. The nobles of the city take lessons in swordsmanship and carry swords, but they are never expected to use them themselves. Instead they hire professional swordsmen to fight duels and entertain for them. These swordsmen are usually common-born, and treated like disposable celebrities.
  • In Trail of Lightning the legendary monster hunter Neizghání uses his signature lightning sword in combat. His apprentice Maggie prefers her long Böker hunting knife. Everyone else is using either firearms or simple melee weapons.
  • Trapped on Draconica: Daniar carries Truthbringer, a Ancestral Weapon that belonged to her father, the king. She leads Team Good. Everyone else uses a lance or their bare hands.
  • Villains by Necessity: Played straight in a weird way. Sam has a short sword that he carries with him, but prefers daggers, as he's a villain. None of the other members of the party use swords save Blackmail (who, as it turns out, is actually a fallen hero). Prince Finwick, the hero pursuing our villains, uses a holy sword of truth.
  • In The Wheel of Time, all three members of the Power Trio are proficient archers, but The Hero Rand al'Thor receives a sword as he leaves home. When this sword is melted in his fight with Ba'alzamon at the end of the second book, he uses a blade made of fire until he gets his signature weapon ''Callandor'' from the Stone of Tear. Of the other two, The Trickster Mat Cauthon subscribes to the Knife Nut, Simple Staff and Blade on a Stick schools of combat, while The Blacksmith Perrin Aybara has either An Axe to Grind or can Drop the Hammer.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Inverted in Arrow, where Oliver Queen uses a bow but many of the main villains, such as Slade Wilson, Ra's al-Ghul, and Prometheus use swords. Thea Queen has a sword as a backup weapon to her bow, but that's due to having been trained by her natural father, supervillain Malcolm Merlyn.
  • According to Word of God the Liberator guns used in Blake's 7 were meant to evoke this trope (though they look more like curling tongs). Apparently a sonic lance, they are worn in a cross-draw holster on the hip.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In Season 2, Buffy's given a sword blessed by the virtuous knight who first slayed the demon Acathla. She has to use it to stop him from awakening a second time, by killing Angelus, her former-lover-turned-evil. However Angelus also happens to have a sword, so this trope is just an excuse to set up a cool Sword Fight between the two.
    • In "Selfless" Buffy has to kill Anya against the objections of her friends. She selects a sword as her weapon, after making a reference to the above incident, where her duty as the Slayer meant she also had to kill one of their own.
    • Throughout the series Buffy is given a number of different weapons to use, including stakes, axes, daggers, and a axe-like weapon called a "Scythe" for some unknown reason. In Angel, they also fluctuate between swords, axes, and other weapons. Angel himself tends to favor swords, presumably because much is made of his role as The Champion who will save the world (or maybe destroy it).
  • Several characters in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance:
    • Rian, one of the three primary protagonists, is a swordsman, and favorable picks up a new sword over any other weapon if he ever loses his. He's also ultimately the wielder of the legendary Gelfling sword, the Dual Glaive.
    • Princess Tavra, the warrior of the three daughters of the All-Maudra, carries a sword as her favored weapon.
    • Played with by Hup, who wields a spoon. While about as far away from being a sword as you can get, the manner in which he treats and wields his spoon nonetheless fits the imagery associated with this trope. Deet directly associates the spoon with a sword on their first meeting.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Most combatant characters wield swords whether they are heroic or not, but heroes Ned, Jon, Arya, and Brienne all play it straight with their swords Ice, Longclaw, Needle, and Oathkeeper. Ned sports Ice a lot in his promos. Meanwhile, Joffrey invokes this trope as propaganda by wearing elaborate swords even though he constantly runs from combat.
    • Queen Visenya Targaryen's sword, Dark Sister, is probably actually more famous than she is, due to the marginalization of her martial attributes in the histories.
  • Super Sentai / Power Rangers:
    • Usually played straight. If a given group has personalised weapons, odds are good that the Red Ranger's will be a sword. This can even apply in series where everyone gets a short sword or dagger as a sidearm.
    • Lampshaded in Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger vs Super Sentai. Yuusuke lectures Gaku on the sword-wielding heroes in the series, and most are the Red or Sixth Ranger. (Gaku is a rare case in that he has a sword while being neither; he's GaoYellow.) Afterwards, Yuusuke tests Gaku in a sword fight.
  • While Showa Kamen Rider heroes were for the most part bare-handed fighters (with a few notable exceptions like Kamen Rider X and Kamen Rider BLACK RX), most Heisei Riders have had swords in one way or another, be it a late-game upgrade (Perfect Zecter, Prism Bicker, Barizun Sword), Weapon of Choice for one specific form (Titan Sword, Flame Saber, Garulu Saber), one of the many forms of a Swiss Army Weapon (DenGasher, DJ Gun, GanGanSaber), or just an early-introduced normal use weapon (Medajalibur, Daidaimaru and Musou Saber, Handle Sword). Hell, one of the main Riders is called Kamen Rider Blade, who has two different swords he uses depending on his form. Kamen Rider BLACK also kinda inverts this, with melee focused hero Black fighting against sword-wielding foes like Birugenia and the Shadow Moon. And then there's all of the heroes in Kamen Rider Saber; they're part of an organization of swordsmen, so expect them to appear with their swords at the ready.
  • King Arthur from Merlin (2008). His sword, including Excalibur, is Arthur's Weapon of Choice.
  • In Once Upon a Time, it's all over the map. Emma would rather whip out her revolver, even when facing a dragon. This being a world populated by fairy-tale folk, it doesn't usually work. Her father, Prince Charming, prefers a broadsword. And young Henry insisted on learning to be a hero, which means sword lessons from Grandpa Charming.

  • Gloryhammer: Subverted. The only named character in the Gloryhammer-verse who carries a sword is Proletius, and that is only mentioned in passing. The McFife kings carry the titular Gloryhammer. The Hootsman carries the scarred battle-axe that won him the throne of California, and the king of the Astral Dwarves wields the Crystal Laser Battle Axe. Ralathor is primarily The Strategist, and uses magic or artifacts of various stripes when he is forced to get close and personal. The Goblin King of the Darkstorm Galaxy uses a magic crystal as his primary weapon, and the dark sorcerer Zargothrax wields the Knife of Evil. The exact armaments used by the Questlords of Inverness are not elaborated on.

    Myths & Religion 
  • King Arthur received a sword twice. When he pulled the sword from the stone he proved he was the King, and then he received Excalibur after his first sword was broken.

    Tabletop Games 
  • It's not unusual at all for tabletop RPGs to err on the side of making swords the de facto best melee weapons available, period, which then kind of naturally leads to this trope among player characters. For example:
    • In GURPS, swords and knives are the main class of melee weapons that can actually be used to both attack and defend every turn. Something like an axe will likely have to be used in conjunction with a shield because it is "unbalanced" and requires a Ready action after each use before it can be used to either attack or parry again, while a sword can freely do both at once turn after turn.
    • In Dungeons & Dragons, across all editions, swords tend to be among the weapons with the best stats for the most situations. Depending on the edition, they do more damage to large opponents, have more favorable critical hit rules, use preferable damage types, or simply weigh less than comparable weapons. Being common in the world is also a bonus unto itself, as sword-wielding characters are more likely to find magical weapons that fit their abilities. Some of the most powerful magical items, such as the Holy Avenger, are swords.
    • At least in early editions of The Dark Eye, swords — and specifically one-handed ones at that — were essentially the only type of weapon that didn't come with an inherent penalty to attack, parry, or both.
  • Of the many equipment cards in Magic: The Gathering, seven of the nine most powerful and expensive equipment are the swords of opposing concepts, such as Sword of Feast and Famine.
  • Stanton, a self-styled neo-knight in the fluff of Nuclear Rennaissance, is fascinated by modern technology (rides a charger of iron) but when he fights, he sees anything but a sword as for "lesser men" and guns as dishonourable. Wearing scrap-metal armour, he seeks out the lost technologies of the past, marvelling at ingenuity and invention, but no matter how he covets technology, he refuses to fight in any other way other than up-close-and-personal with a sword.
  • In Warhammer, dwarves defy this trope. They believe that all melee weapons should double as tools, which means axes and hammers are seen as the superior weapon. Swords, which are purely weapons of war with no other use, are considered "Umgak": bad craftsmanship. Other races don't hold the same beliefs. Of course, no Dwarf smith worth his hammer doesn't know how to make one, and Dwarf forged swords are far and away the best of their kind. The absolute top end would be Alaric the Mad's Runefangs, wielded by the Electors of the Empire.
    • Elves prefer swords. The best sword of Elf make is probably Tyrion's Sunfang which while being a pale shadow of its former glory is still one of the deadliest mortal made weapons.
    • The sole exception to the no sword rule for the Dwarfs is the priesthood of Gazul, God of the Dead, who all wield swords in imitation of their Ancestor God Gazul, who was the only Ancestor God to wield a sword.
    • The army books note that this trope holds true for humans in-universe; Empire swordsmen regiments are "often romanticised by Imperial poets as tall, dashing figures, often bravely engaging the best enemy regiments with only their bravery and combat skill." The spearmen and halberdiers who make up the bulk of the front line are far less romanticised, and ditto the handgunners and artillery crews who usually end up doing the bulk of the killing. This is enforced on an official level as the Empire's most elite soldiers are the Greatswords, so named because of their very hard to master weapons (in real life, soldiers with greatswords were basically replaced by halberdiers which were about as effective with less training). They're recruited from the best and most proven men, put through rigorous training with their Zweihanders, and assigned as shock troops and noble bodyguards. The Bretonnians take this to the next level, as not only does the nobility prize the sword (and lance) as the most chivalrous of weapons, but they'll flat-out refuse to touch polearms (don't even ask about guns or bows).

  • In the Revolutionary War drama Horn In The West, Dr. Geoffrey Stuart (the protagonist) carries a sword at the end when he leads the American settlers against the British in the Battle of Kings Mountain. He is the only one carrying a sword; all the others have guns or clubs.


    Video Games 
  • Averted in Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, where Klein the alchemist (and hero) wields canes and maces, as well as being a powerful magic-user and healer. The most "hero-like" sword-user is Arlin, who turns out to be more of a taciturn Ineffectual Loner.
  • Borderlands usually averts this with its melee loadouts, with the sword-wielding characters being Mordecai (a Friendly Sniper but not really the most motivated person) and Zer0 (a cold, calculating assassin who wields a katana); the most heroic ones are Roland (combat knife) and Maya (power-enhanced punches). In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, though, sword-wielding Athena is the most heroic of Jack's Vault Hunters — the other reasonably nice characters (Claptrap and "Jack") both use bare hands, as does haughty and cruel aristocrat Aurelia, Wilhelm just pistol-whips people, and Nisha favours a whip.
  • Chantelise: Elise, the girl you play as, wields a sword.
  • Chrono Trigger does this twofold. Crono, the player character, uses Katanas, which fits this trope and Katanas Are Just Better. However, Frog, the hero of Guardia in 600 A.D., and the only one able to equip the Hero Badge, which is tied to a prophecy of a hero wearing it coming and saving Guardia in a time of strife, uses Broadswords.
    • Chrono Cross averts this, however, as the main character, Serge, uses Swallows, which look like a shorter, double-bladed polearm.
  • Crystal Story: Across multiple games:
    • The first game has the protagonist Tristam use a sword.
    • Crystal Story II: The first playable character, D, is shown in the menus wielding a sword.
  • Dante of Devil May Cry uses his father's sword Force Edge in the first game and gets a sword of his own named Rebellion in the other games. Nero, his nephew and successor as series protagonist in the fourth game also makes use of a fiery blade named Red Queen as well as Yamato which belonged to his father Vergil.
  • The main characters of Disgaea games always start out with either a sword or fists, although most of them have equal weapon proficiency with other weapons.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Heroes always wield swords, which is given a twist in Dragon Quest V. There, the protagonist is always depicted as wielding a staff. Yet the Zenithian hero's equipment you spend much of the game looking for includes a sword, and it's said that the legendary hero will wield one. This is your first clue that the protagonist is not the Hero in questionthat's his son.
    • Dragon Quest II: The Prince of Midenhall is the hero and leader of the group, and swords are his primary weapon.
  • Taiga in Duel Savior Destiny gets a shortsword (though it can change shape) while his allies get a staff, tonfa, a book, nothing, a magic glove and a bow respectively. Of course, it turns out the girl who had nothing also has a sword, but then she seems to have been the leader of her group originally as well!
  • Dynasty Warriors has pretty much every important leader using a sword/swords. Sun Ce is the only leader of the three kingdoms who doesn't (Tonfas) and Meng Huo is the only important leader outside of it to have not used a sword at some point in the series (Zhang Jiao used a sword in his first appearance,Dong Zhuo used a sword up to 5, and if Sima Yi is counted, he used a sword in his first appearance).
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Depictions of Talos, the Aedric Divine God of War and Good Governance (and the ascended god form of Emperor Tiber Septim, possibly along with some others), depict him wielding a sword. His Nordic depictions make it a BFS to boot. Additionally, his shrines are in the shape of a sword hilt. Talos is considered a "god-hero to mankind" and a Greater-Scope Paragon within Mundus, the mortal realm.
      • Tiber Septim, even before becoming Talos, was associated with swords. According to the heretical tales of his life, he studied with "the sword masters of Alcaire", the supposed place of his birth in High Rock.
    • Trinimac was a prominent deity among the early Aldmer and served as the champion of Auri-El, the Aldmeri aspect of Akatosh. Trinimac was a warrior spirit, said to be the strongest of the et'Ada ("original spirits"), and in some places was even more popular than Auri-El. According to Aldmeri religious tradition, it was Trinimac who led the Aldmeri armies against Lorkhan's supporters, the races of Men. Trinimac slew Lorkhan and removed Lorkhan's heart from his body. At least the races of Mer, this was a very heroic act. Trinimac is associated with "the blade". The end of the Almderi veneration to Trinimac reads:
      "By the blade of Trinimac I swear, and call for his aid."
    • The Blades have long served the emperors of Tamriel as bodyguards and spies, and are almost always found using swords, particularly their namesake katanas. In Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, the Blades contribute directly to the defeat of the game's Big Bad, confirming their heroism. (Though Skyrim introduces some significant Gray-and-Grey Morality between them and the Greybeards...)
  • Eternal Senia: Senia, the protagonist, uses only swords as her actual weapon, performing Grievous Harm with a Body only occasionally:
  • Epic Battle Fantasy: The usual first character of the player's party, is Matt, who uses swords and owns many of them.
  • Allegretto, the on-screen avatar Standardized Leader in Eternal Sonata and Jazz, the leader of Andantino, wields a massive broadsword.
  • Fate/stay night could very well be called a story about swords. Saber wields a sword, and Shirou has his entire existence revolving around swords. And of course, we could never forget—
    • Exploited|Trope}} in-universe. Class of Sabers (swordsmen) is considered the strongest class of the seven, so some of participants specifically aim for getting a hero precisely of this class. Since Servants are summoned from different mythologies, and sword-wielding individuals often happen to be Heroes and Aces of their respective stories, this is completely Justified.
    • The two Archer class Servants to feature in the story (one known as "the King of Heroes" and the other Shirou's future self) both use swords as their primary weapons, just in unconventional ways.
  • The Final Fantasy series uses this trope a lot:
    • In the first game the strongest weapons, Excalibur and Masamune, are both swords. Unlike most swords, Masamune can be wielded by all twelve classes. The representative of FF1 who appears in Dissidia, the "Warrior of Light", is also a swordsman.
    • While any party member can use any weapon type, Firion of Final Fantasy II starts with a sword, is typically depicted wielding one, and his exclusive Infinity +1 Sword in the PSP remake is the Ragnarok sword. The other sword-wielding party member, conversely, ends up becoming The Dragon.
    • Final Fantasy IV: Cecil, as captain of the Red Wings, uses swords, which don't exactly seem suited for aerial combat. Interestingly, after his job switches to Paladin, he can equip a larger array of weapons such as staffs and bows, but his best weapons are still swords, including the Sword of Plot Advancement.
    • Final Fantasy VII: Despite how technologically advanced and futuristic the setting is, the heroic characters always prefer a sword. A specific sword, in fact.
      • In the original game, Cloud can only equip swords, while his initial weapon, the Buster Sword, is a Tragic Keepsake from his deceased friend, Zack.
      • Crisis Core has Zack starting the game with a sword, which seems the preferred weapon of 1st class SOLDIER members. His dream is to become a hero. At some point, he inherits the Buster Sword from his mentor, Angeal. In this context, the Buster Sword seems to symbolize dreams and honor passed down from one man to the next.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Squall's gunblade is a Vibro Weapon looking like the combination of a gun and a sword, a weapon only usable by the elite SEED members. Along with his perpetual lion motif, it symbolizes his status as a heroic and proud figure. Squall's gunblade is actually an in-universe example of this: Gunblades are Difficult, but Awesomenote  and so not used very often; however, it's also said that one day a hero will save the world wielding one. Most gunblade users chose the weapon in hopes of being this hero, though with Seifer, it's a bit more complicated.
    • Even Final Fantasy IX, which stars a thief as the leading man and thus has Zidane initially specialize in daggers, manages to squeeze in this trope by giving Zidane thief swords, which are two daggers merged together into a double-bladed staff. Said swords eventually overpower the daggers, making them the Weapon of Choice.
    • Lightning of Final Fantasy XIII wields gunblades, though unlike FFVIII they're weapons that transform between blade and gun modes. Serah follows her sister in Final Fantasy XIII-2 with her bowswords (as does her partner Noel with two swords that combine into a javelin), and the majority of Lightning's weapons in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII are traditional swords.
    • Final Fantasy XIV plays with this trope, to some extent. The main promotional character has been depicted using an axe, lance, and fists. In practice, tanks are typically at the front of the group, giving the appearance of a leader, and three of the four tanks use swords (Paladin uses one-handed swords; Dark Knight uses two-handed greatswords, and Gunbreakers use Gunblades). However, several leading antagonists do use swords, including Gaius van Baelsar and the surprise antagonist of Heavensward, King Thordan. Raubahn Aldynn, leader of the Immortal Flames and probably the most capable NPC fighter in the Eorzean alliance, uses two swords. Meanwhile, the members of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn tend to forgo swords; Minfilia and Alphinaude are non-combatants, Thancred uses daggers (before Shadowbringers, in which he switches for a Gunblade), Yda uses fists, Urianger uses a grimoire, and Y'shtola and Papalymo use magic wands and rods.
    • Noctis of Final Fantasy XV doesn't carry a sword around, but instead has the ability to summon and dismiss swords instantly from his hand.
    • Ramza in Final Fantasy Tactics gains the ability to wield Knight Swords in his unique Squire class in Chapter Four. All of the noble knights who join Ramza's squad, as well as the Knight Job itself, wield standard swords and Knight Swords (and typically can't use their Game-Breaker abilities without them).
      • Both protagonists from the Advance games are depicted with massive swords in their artwork, but what they'll actually use is up to the player.
    • Benjamin of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest starts off with a sword, and his strongest weapon is the Excalibur.
    • Yuri in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates is the protagonist of the game, leading even his older mentors. Although his first weapon is a hatchet, the weapon he adopts after the Time Skip is his father's sword and all weapons scrolls thereafter give him swords.
    • Although it's a job class game, the protagonist of Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, Brandt, is depicted with a sword. He also has high natural growths in Strength and HP, giving him a natural inclination to swordwielding jobs.
    • Jack of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin can wield a variety of weapons, but—at least in the demo—he starts out with a greatsword.
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
    • While there are a few exceptions, the series as a whole tends to feature main characters who use swords. Their respective Infinity+1 Weapons will also invariably be swords.
      • Marth, Leifnote , Roy, Eirika, Path of Radiance Ike, and Alfonse all exclusively wield swords.
      • Sigurd, Seliph, Eliwood, Chrom, and Lucina prefer swords but can use lances as a backup; Sigurd can uniquely do so right out of the gate since he's a pre-promoted unit, while everyone else needs to promote to do so.
      • Radiant Dawn Ike prefers swords but can use axes as a backup.
      • Alm and Lyndis prefer swords but can use bows as a backup.
      • Corrin prefers swords but can use dragonstones just as well, and can also pick up either magic or staves as a backup.
      • Rowan and Lianna prefer swords but can use staves as well.
      • Byleth prefers swords but can use any other weapon in the game. Their unique class can use brawling and faith magic just as well as swords.
      • Itsuki wields swords, but the mechanics of his game allow him to use magic just as well; which part of his kit he specializes in is determined by which way he promotes.
      • Celica (magic), Robin (magic), Edelgard (axes), Dimitri (lances), and Claude (bows) all specialize in various other weapons, but can use swords as a backup. It's also worth noting that in Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Celica's personal weapon is a sword, while Robin can mechanically use swords just as well as magic in Awakening and became more directly associated with magic in later entries in the series. Also note that the last three entries are from Three Houses, where, with the exception of magic, any class can use any weapon.
      • Hector specializes in axes, but gains swords upon promotion.
      • The only total aversions in the series are Ephraim (lances), Micaiah (light magic and later staves), Sharena (lances), and Anna (axes).
    • In a series-wide example, the class named "Hero", promoted from Mercenary, primarily uses swords.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, the game discusses and attempts to defy it briefly: Sain insists early on that "the lance is more heroic. A knight should look heroic, don't you think?" and so refuses to use a sword against the axe-wielding bandits they're fighting. It doesn't last.
  • In For Honor, sword-wielding heroes are disproportionately represented opposed to heroes who use other weapons. The Knights have their Vanguard class the Warden who wields a heavy longsword, their Assassin class, the Peacekeeper, a knight-ninja-nun who dual-wields a pairing sword and dagger, and their first DLC hero the Centurion, a Roman-inspired hero who wields a gladius and his fists. The Vikings have their Heavy, the Warlord, who like the Centurion uses a short-sword and shield for superior defense, as well as their first DLC hero the Highlander who wields a Scottish claymore to switch between offensive and defensive stances respectively. The Samurai sword-users are the Vanguard the Kensei wielding a nodachi, and their Assassin the Orochi and their katana. The Warden and the Orochi are also the heroes of the Knight and Samurai chapter as well, fitting this trope even more.
  • Fortune Summoners: Arche, the girl that you start the game as, and whose story you follow, wields a sword.
  • The Glory of Heracles series typically goes with this. In the third game, while anyone can learn to use swords, it's the Protagonist who begins as a sword-user. An inversion of this trope is a major clue to the Protagonist's identity.
  • In the original Golden Axe, the two playable human heroes use swords, while Gilius Thunderhead uses an axe. Also, those two characters are the only characters in the game to use the typical straight-bladed, one-handed European longswords, other than the giant Knights: the skeletons wield scimitars while every other enemy wields either a mace, a club, an axe or a hammer.
  • Gran and Djeeta from Granblue Fantasy: Their canonical appearances, and promotional artworks are depicted using a sword and they have exclusively been using swords in the anime adaptation.
  • Subverted in .hack: the usual indicator of the main hero is dual shortswords (or long knives) held in a Reverse Grip, not a single larger blade (that's usually carried by The Lancer, oddly enough). Primary protagonists in the series have also wielded spears, staffs, and scythes.
  • Inverted in Infernax, where Alcedor wields a mace and shield combo normally and only swaps to a longsword if he becomes evil. Played straight however if you input "Swordcedor" as your name, which gives you the longsword right away and allows you to use it on a good playthrough.
  • While none of the three player characters of Kamiko really count as its de facto main character, the sword-wielding Yamato can be considered the game's "face," being the one who normally appears on the title screen and appearing at the forefront of the physical release's boxart.
  • The heroes of Kingdom Hearts all end up wielding a specific kind of sword called a Keyblade, which allows the wielder to combat the forces of evil, seal away the hearts of worlds for their protection, and open any kind of lock. One of the main requirements to wield one is a strong heart, although at least two villains have also wound up with them (Master Xehanort and Vanitas).
  • In The Legend of Dragoon only Dart and Rose use swords. Of the eighteen dragoons in the game, the only one to use a sword who isn't either the hero or lancer is the Disc-One Final Boss Doel.
  • In both Legend of Legaia and its In Name Only sequel, Duel Saga, the hero and main character of the story uses a sword as his weapon of choice.
  • The protagonist of every game in The Legend of Zelda series has a sword. He's usually given one at the start of his quest, coinciding with learning he's the Chosen Hero. It's replaced with the Master Sword, his fated weapon, in time to fight the Big Bad. In some games, he gives up the sword at the end, signifying that a hero is no longer needed.
  • The red-haired heroes of the Lufia series, with the Dual Blade as the games' Sword of Plot Advancement. Aside from the Hero of the first game being able to equip axes and spears, all of the main characters have been sword-wielders.
  • While swords are a common party member weapon in Lunarosse, main character Channing uses knuckle weapons. He was originally to play this straight, but the game's creator felt he was more of a face-punch kind of guy.
  • In Luxaren Allure, the Chosen One, Karuna, uses a sword, while her companions use axes and knives.
  • In the Mary Skelter franchise, Alice and Otsuu, both of which are protagonists and primary Action Girls for their respective games, wield swords in their basic classes (heck, the only class in which Alice doesn't use one is Marshal). In Mary Skelter 2 specifically, Hameln, who tries to play up her whole hero shtick as much as possible, has the same class set and starting class as Alice in order to invoke this trope.
  • Inverted in Mass Effect, where Villains Prefer Swords. Though melee combat has not gone away, the Player Character and his or her True Companions avoid using swords. No swords appear in the first two games. The characters will use pistol whips and smash with the stock of their guns, punch, headbutt, and in the third game, use bayonets and a technological Hard Light blade that is formed for a slashing sweep of the arm, then disappears. Only Cerberus, a villainous group, makes heavy use of swords, and only in the third game. The only named character using a sword is the villain Kai Leng, and it would take a few Mass Effect 3 multiplayer DLCS before any of the "good guys" would be seen carrying a sword.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network, if there's a chip that only works at melee range, a good 95% of the time it's some variant of a sword. The Life Sword Program Advance is also probably the first one you will be able to actually use, which is itself made of three other swords.
  • Neptune is aware that she's the protagonist, and uses two-handed swords, such as katanas or broadswords, in all incarnations. Noire, who was the first character to get an A Day in the Limelight spinoff, also uses swords, specifically one-handed short-swords and rapiers. Nepgear and Plutia, the protagonists of mk2 and Victory, respectively, also use swords, though Nepgear uses a Laser Blade (that becomes a sci-fi Bayonet in HDD) and Plutia only uses a sword when in HDD, specifically a Whip Sword (to go with her being a Dominatrix, although this feature of her sword was not explicitly shown in her first game, and was added in later games after appearing in the anime adaptation). Fittingly, Vert uses a Royal Rapier in her A Day in the Limelight spinoff, Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online, when she usually fights using a spear or lance.
  • In Odin Sphere, though three of the five main characters, including the one you start with, use a spear, crossbow, and chain, the two male heroes do in fact both use swords.
  • Parameters: Implied. The symbol for ATK increases is a sword.
  • Defied in Planescape: Torment in its quest to subvert, invert or avert as many classic RPG tropes as possible. The game contains only two swords. One is the signature weapon of a companion and can't be taken off him because that would cause it to cease to exist. The second is Celestial Fire, the sword of a deva. You can only wield it if you're Lawful Good and he's not about to hand it to you, but if you kill him, you've very likely just ceased to be Good. If you can wield it, it changes shape and ceases to be a sword!
  • Played with in Rakenzarn Tales. Swords are a common weapon, but they're more the Jack-of-All-Stats. Since Kyuu can equip many weapon types, he can play it straight or avert it, depending on your needs.
  • Albert from Revenant Saga plays this straight for the most part, but is one of the few heroes who uses a two-handed sword instead of one-handed.
  • In Rusty Hearts, Frantz and Angela both use swords, though they get axes and scythes respectively as secondary weapons.
  • The hero in each Sakura Wars game uses dual katanas. And in all but one of the games, the primary female hero uses a katana as well, including the titular Sakura.
  • Scarlet Nexus: One of the protagonists, Yuito, uses a sword that he can propel with his psychokinesis. When he's asked why he chose the sword as his weapon, he replies that he thinks that swords are cool.
  • Shadow of the Colossus subverts it: while Wander does carry a sword, and while the sword is the only thing that can kill Colossi, one look at how he wields it demonstrates that he has no idea what he's doing. It is heavily implied that he stole the sword, so it makes sense he has no training with it. His actual weapon of choice is his bow, which he shoots like a master.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei, this trope is almost universal, though in most games the characters have the option of a gun as a side arm.
    • Downplayed in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. Unlike most protagonists, his gun is his primary weapon and his sword is his backup.
    • Played with in Persona 2 Eternal Punishment. The protagonist Maya uses dual pistols but the actual hero of the story — namely Tatsuya — uses a katana. The same goes for the Persona veterans Kei Nanjo and Eriko Kirishima, who use a broadsword and a rapier respectively, just like they did back then.
    • Also played with in Digital Devil Saga. Everyone uses a gun of some sort when in human form, but Serph's demon form has a Blade Below the Shoulder in each arm, and he primarily uses those for combat.
    • Averted in Persona 3 Portable with the female protagonist. She uses a naginata.
    • In Persona 3, other characters who use swords are Heroic Wannabe Junpei and the former leader of SEES Mitsuru.
    • Also averted in Persona 5. Gentleman Thief Joker uses a Devious Dagger, and various swords are distributed to the other party members; Morgana uses scimitars, Yusuke favors katanas, Akechi wields Laser Blades, and Kasumi has rapiers.
    • Also averted in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, where the Demi-Fiend is bare-fisted the entire game, instead gaining his powers from various Magatama.
  • The Star Ocean series alludes to this in every game:
    • Star Ocean has our medieval hero Roddick use swords, even though he comes from an isolated small village. The remake elaborates on this by explaining that he learned from his late father.
    • Star Ocean: The Second Story plays with this. Rena believes in the prophecy of a hero holding a sword of light. When Claude uses his Phase Gun to vanquish a monster that attacks her, she takes it to be the prophesied sword. After his gun is broken, Claude is forced to equip swords, as he's stuck on an underdeveloped planet. The rest of the journey has him overcoming his father's shadow and becoming a real hero.
    • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has Fayt using a sword because he is stuck in a medieval planet, and that in the battle simulator video game he always prefers a swordsman avatar.
    • Star Ocean: The Last Hope has two examples discussed in the story. Edge chooses a sword-type weapon because it was the only thing he could reach for to defend himself against a group of alien bugs. He noticed beforehand that blasters and laser guns were useless against them. Later on in the story, Edge is asked about it and says he's gotten used to using swords at that point. There's also the fact that, as a Seed of Hope, his reflexes are so good that he does very poorly with ranged weapons because he'll instinctively aim for where his target is going to be, rather than where they are. However, his reflexes work perfectly with a melee weapon.
  • Suikoden:
    • Suikoden III has all three main characters wielding swords. Hugo's is closer to a dagger/main gauche, since he's younger than the others and requires a smaller weapon, but a sword it still is. To top it off, Thomas, star of an optional secondary scenario (and who as the Tenkai Star is actually the counterpart of the main heroes of each other the other games in the series), wields a sword too.
    • Suikoden IV hero Lazlo wields two swords.
    • The heroes of the first two games, however, avert the trope. Tir McDohl wields a Simple Staff, while Riou wields Dual Tonfas.
  • Played with in Summon Night Swordcraft Story 2. The hero can use any weapon with equal proficiency, including drills. However, when they need to make a special weapon to exorcize an evil spirit, the Holy Man Toumei says he will only cast the spell on a sword. When the heroes question if there is a reason for this, he states "Because I only like swords."
  • This trope has an effect on the Super Smash Bros. series: With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the game's roster consists of heroes from fantasy series like The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Fire Emblem, and even Dragon Quest, among others. This has led to a number of fans complaining about the sheer number of sword-wielders in the game, especially from Fire Emblem, which has eight fighters, all of whom use swords (although one of them is primarily a spell-caster who uses a short sword as a secondary weapon, another's moveset revolves mostly around shapeshifting into a dragon, and the last one uses various weapons along their sword).
  • In Sword and Fairy series main characters always use some kind of sword (or two swords), with the only exception so far occurring in a Gaiden Game. Some other party member also use swords, often with some kind of twist, like using a flying sword (Yue Qi from 6) or a BFS (Xiu Wu from 7) instead of classic jian.
  • The main character of each game in the Tales Series always uses swords, with two notable exceptions: Senel from Tales of Legendia, and Jude from Tales of Xillia, both of whom fight with their fists. In Jude's case, you can choose to pick Milla as the main character instead of him, which would play this trope straight since Milla uses swords.
  • Thief: Subverted. In the first two games, Garrett carries a sword, but the combat system is unreasonably complex and difficult, and it's likely that the player will never be as good with the sword as the basic enemy Mooks. This fits with the theme of the game: you're supposed to avoid combat at every opportunity; the sword is generally a weapon of last resort. Nevertheless, the most important weapon story-wise that Garrett gets to wield is the Sword of Constantine.
  • Rean Schwarzer from Trails of Cold Steel is the first protagonist of the Trails Series to use a sword, specifically a tachi.
  • The Treasure Hunter Man series: A sword is the first weapon available in each game.
  • Geralt in The Witcher is trained from his youth to use a sword to fight man and beast. Sure, he can use other weapons, but it's the sword that he utilizes most of the time, with devastating (and flashy) efficiency.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Meta-example. In Legion, most of the artifact weapons are swords, at least for classes that can use them. When a fan asked why this was at a Q&A, Blizzard responded that swords were far and away the most popular weapon type used for transmog (at least for melee -casters tended to gravitate towards staves).
    • Humorously referenced in Shadowlands. In the expansion's preliminary quests in the Maw, Thrall states that he agrees that swords are good weapons, but he doesn't understand why the Alliance is so fascinated with them. "Too much blade, not enough haft."
  • Averted in Wynncraft; none of the five classes wield swords as their Weapon of Choice.
  • Xenoblade series:
    • Xenoblade Chronicles is built around the Monado, a bright-red Laser Blade that's the only weapon capable of reliably destroy the Mechon. It was wielded by Dunban, the "Hero of Homs", and later falls into the hands of Shulk, the protagonist of the game. Later it's revealed that the Monado is actually an Unholy Holy Sword, and its real owner specifically chooses Shulk to become his vessel, inverting the trope in a sense.
      • Speaking of Dunban, even after losing the Monado, he fights with various swords (with his left arm, no less), and has a closet full of katanas at home.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles X: Elma is the closest thing that the game has to a protagonst, and she wields dual swords. She's no slouch with guns too, though.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 takes it to an almost absurd degree. The Hero Rex wields the Aegis sword, the Blade weapon of… well, the Aegis. Two of the other party members' Blades provide their Drivers Morag and Zeke with a pair of Whip Swords and a BFS respectively. The former also gets a Blade who has a katana. The wannabe-Driver Science Hero of the party can modify his artificial Blade in a sidequest to wield a Laser Blade, clearly based on the Aegis sword. Finally, when Nia reveals her Blade nature, she gives Rex her Blade weapon - a Sinister Scimitar. In other words, the entire party can use some form of a sword.
      • Torna ~ The Golden Country expansion gives us Addam, who fights with a sword, and Hugo, who has a shortsword and shield combo. Jin from the main game also returns, showing him before his Start of Darkness.
  • Meanwhile Xenoblade's predecessors Xenogears and Xenosaga seemingly go out of their way to avert this trope, with a single playable character at most (plus the Humongous Mecha they pilot) getting to wield a sword.
    • Xenogears' Fei Fong Wong is a martial artists who fights exclusively with his bare hands, while the Deuteragonist Elly fights with a pair of batons. This ends up being played straight towards the end by Citan, another Bare-Fisted Monk who originally swore against weapons before taking one up in the climax as a sign of his dedication to the heroes' cause.
    • Given that Xenosaga is a Space Opera set in the far future, most of your party sticks to guns or other futuristic weaponry. The main protagonist Shion makes use of an arm-mounted cannon, while Episode II's protagonist Jr. fights with a pair of revolvers. The only member of the main party who wields a sword is latecomer Jin Uzuki, who is noted to be particularly old-fashioned.

    Web Animation 
  • Subverted in Bee and Puppycat, Bee can summon a sword in times of need but she evidently favors her teeth and when she does use the sword she doesn't use it properly when she fighting a monster.
    Puppycat: Aw, siiick. Use the sword!
    (Bee starts bludgeoning the monster with her sword)


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): He-Man is given his Sword of Power by the Sorceress of the Castle, and uses it when leading his fellow warriors into battle. Even though Teela is seen teaching Adam how to use a sword, she often uses wrist-blasters, a ray gun, or hand-to-hand in battle. The other Masters frequently use their... natural abilities. This is actually an invocation of the trope: the original toys for He-Man and Skeletor each came with a half of the sword, which served as an Artifact of Doom. The He-Man toy also came with An Axe to Grind, implied to be his normal weapon. It was the cartoon that gave him the Power Sword as his signature weapon, which carried through to all subsequent works.
  • Samurai Jack wields a magical katana, the only weapon in existence that can actually injure Aku. Notably, he loses his sword with no known way to get it back when he attacks and kills innocents with it, which is when he stops being a hero. He only gets it back, 50 years later, after cleansing his spirit of hatred and proving his worthiness to the gods that created the sword in the first place.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has Leonardo, who uses two katanas.
    Jesse Cox: He's the leader, he has swords. You know he's the leader because he has two swords.
    • Invoked in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): when Splinter makes the turtles switch weapons around as a training exercise, Michelangelo gets Leonardo's swords and starts claiming that means he's the leader now.
  • Thunder Cats: Lion-O receives the Sword of Omens from wise Jaga when he becomes leader of the Thundercats and ruler of the Thunderians. His companions use a whip, staff, nunchucks, slingshots and capsules, a hammer, and hand-to-hand. His allies the Warrior Women use archery and short knives.
  • Thundarr the Barbarian: Thundarr uses the Sun Sword that can slice through or damage just about anything. He is usually the leader, decided where to travel and who to fight. His friend Ookla uses his massive strength, while his other friend Ariel uses her magic, learning, and brains.
  • In Transformers: Prime, Optimus Prime and most other Transformers primarily use built-in weaponry (guns, blades, saws, etc.) but about half way through the series he acquires the legendary Star Saber. This is especially noteworthy, as Optimus is most often associated with axes in other series. It's so legendary it's a borderline Story-Breaker Power, and the plot conspires so that Optimus only gets to use it a couple of times.

    Real Life 
  • Swords became a weapon of the elite during the Dark Ages/The Low Middle Ages in Europe, when knighthood and heroic legends developed after The Roman Empire fell in the West. Swords were both expensive and required a lot of training in comparison to spears, which were the primary weapon of the rank-and-file. Because they were a sidearm that easy to carry, the elite could also wear their swords all the time, which went further in solidifying them as a status symbol.
  • From roughly the 15th to 17th centuries, nearly every European soldier carried a one-handed sword as a sidearm, with a firearm or polearm as their primary weapon and the sword reserved for the rare bout of hand-to-hand combat. The Spanish rodeleros were a brief experiment in trying to field troops with swords as their primary weapons, but were quickly withdrawn from service and replaced with halberdiers who did their job better. However, by the end of the 17th century, the sword's place as the melee weapon of the infantry had been subsumed by the bayonet. Thus, the sword was largely only used by cavalry, grenadiers, and officers in most European armies from then on, solidifying its place as a status symbol despite being dirt cheap to actually buy.
  • As cultures moved into the gunpowder era, swords were often given to officers leading troops, and officers were expected to be upper crust. This extended into the modern era, with pistols joining the sword and often replacing them as the officers' sidearm. As a result, swords came to signify an officer's honor and position. Parade dresses often include a sword, and sword-breaking ceremonies, when an officer is stripped of their rank, also draw on this trope.

Alternative Title(s): Swords Are Heroic, Heroines Prefer Swords