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Katanas Are Just Better
aka: Katanas Are Better

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"There's nothing more reliable than a Japanese sword, is there?"
Saito Hajime, Rurouni Kenshin

Rule of Cool says swords are cooler than guns and tends to also hold the Japanese katana to be the coolest of all swords. Japanese media often lionize the katana, and Westerners with a Foreign Culture Fetish or belief in Exotic Weapon Supremacy take this reputation even further. Because of this widespread cult of katana supremacy, putting one in the hands of a character is often a statement that they are cooler and more powerful than the ones who don't have one.

The katana is usually characterized as an Absurdly Sharp Blade that can make a Clean Cut straight through just about anything, maybe even so clean that the object doesn't fall apart until a few seconds afterwards. A character with a katana is usually a Master Swordsman with Implausible Fencing Powers. Even more so than other heroes wielding swords, shooting at this guy is usually pointless unless you want your bullets parried. Basic laws of physics need not apply.

Of course, in reality, katana are no better or worse than most any other type of sword. They were designed to function best within their own time period and culture, just as any sword. See the analysis page for more on that front. We also have a Useful Notes page on Swords for more information, as well as a Kenjutsu on the real martial arts associated with their use.

It seems possible that this will eventually become a Discredited Trope. Since the 2010s or so it has become far less universal in popular culture, and excessive boasts about the katana are frequently debunked or parodied online. However, despite the fact that its physical performance is not exaggerated as frequently, the katana is still pretty widely considered to be especially cool and stylish. See also Suave Sabre which is a western variation on curved swords.

A Super-Trope to Wooden Katanas Are Even Better (the ultimate sign of a Master Swordsman in Japan is being able to defeat a steel katana using a wooden one) and Iaijutsu Practitioner (who strikes with lightning speed by drawing their katana and slashing with it in a single motion).


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  • One Japanese-based cutlery smith, KAI Industries (who release their kitchen knives under the brand name "Shun"), uses this trope in advertising their wares, claiming that usage of katana forging techniques makes their knives the best in the world.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The titular charter of Afro Samurai is a Master Swordsman who can pull off a number of improbable feats with his tachi, like slicing a musket ball in such a way that it fragments into pieces and taking out a number of enemies behind him.
  • The titular character of Akame ga Kill! wields Murasame, a cursed katana with a poisoned blade that can kill her targets with a single cut.
  • Discussed early in Bakuman。, as Moritaka and Akito discuss what to have in their manga. Akito helpfully points out that many of the most successful manga that are currently running (some of which already cited here) use katana in them, be they the main focal point of the overall story (as is the case with Bleach) or not (as in One Piece).
  • Creed from Black Cat used to wield a katana he called "Kotetsu." Later, although still in the form of a katana, it becomes a blade formed from Creed's Chi. Still, the sword gets broken by a gunshot.
  • Ginji Matsuzaki from Black Lagoon, underboss of the Washimine Group, takes a shirasaya katana to a mess of gunslinging yakuza goons and performs feats like slicing bullets in half and slicing one cocky yakuza's gun (and his hands!) to pieces. He's even badass enough to take on Revy herself on equal footing in a one-on-one battle to the death, even though he ultimately throws the fight and loses.
  • The eponymous character of the Black★Rock Shooter franchise wields one called the Black Blade, which is... well, a pitch-black katana, alongside her Rock Cannon. While it is typically subverted, as the Rock Cannon is shown to have insane firepower and occasional capabilities as a Morph Weapon, whereas the Black Blade is functionally just a normal sword (not even taking the OVA into consideration, where she ends up losing the thing in a fight against Black Gold Saw), the anime series in particular gives it the luxury of dishing out most of the killing blows in the other world (it's still just a regular sword though).
  • Subverted in Blade of the Immortal where this trope is at the base of the story. All the main characters are out to prove that katanas are not the best and use weapons designed to counter them.
  • Saya from Blood+ uses a modified katana that channels her blood to the groove in which slashing the Chiropterans cause them to crystallize.
  • Used interestingly in Buso Renkin. The Sword Samurai X Buso Renkin is noted to be abnormally fast and accurate (along with the ability to absorb energy attacks) but is otherwise played as the equal counterpart to the main character's European-super-lancey-thing Buso Renkin, itself excelling in overpowering the opposition. It doesn't necessarily help matters that the character holding the sword had previously been training in kendo, and a bokken is very different in weight to a katana. It's also totally useless against European Victor's axe-type Buso Renkin, Fatal Attraction.
  • Code Geass:
    • The show has Humongous Mecha wielding katana with superheated chainsaw blades. Their superiority comes from the fact that they're one of the two types of powered melee weapons in the show's universe, with The Empire preferring to use vibro-swords as introduced on the Lancelot Super Prototype.
    • Turning it up a few notches, Kyoshiro Tohdoh, CG's Manly Japanese Guy has a Chainsaw Katana with rockets on it. To make it hit harder, of course. And change directions, letting him hit you, even if you dodge. And a rocket-powered spiked pommel modification on the bottom of the handle, just in case you can dodge that, too.
    • But among all these super-advanced mecha with their fancy fancy swords, Li Xingke carries around a traditional sword. You know, just in case anyone needs humiliating.
  • Cowboy Bebop's Vicious, in a world where most characters are gunmen or martial artists, uses a katana as his weapon of choice. And he is damn good with it, good enough to match his rival, The Gunslinger Spike Spiegel, in no fewer than two one-on-one duels. It helps that he was probably hopped up on Red Eye.
  • In the Digimon Next manga, near the end, there is a battle between the gun-wielding RiseGreymon and the katana-wielding Zanbamon. RiseGreymon takes a few potshots at his enemy, only for him to deflect the shots and give us a quote that damn well embodies this trope:
    Zanbamon: The gun is mightier than the sword, but the katana surpasses the gun.
  • Dragon Ball: Yajirobe, a rotund samurai, uses a katana. His one main moment of fame was using his sword in a surprise attack on Ōzaru Vegeta, which revealed that Yajirobe's katana was the only thing that could penetrate Vegeta's armour and actually hurt him. In his first appearance, he effortlessly slices one of Piccolo Daimao's offspring to pieces. At the time the Daimao's offspring were feared and considered extremely powerful, capable of killing seasoned martial artists without breaking a sweat, so it was quite the surprise to see one of them being killed.
  • Dr. STONE: In the first major conflict between Senku's Kingdom of Science and the Tsukasa Empire, Senku arms his people with katanas. While he does talk them up as "the blades of science" and "the finest blades in the world", their superiority mainly comes from the fact that their opponents are still using stone-age weapons, and Senku actually debunks one of the legends surrounding katanas by revealing that they don't need to be folded "thousands of times" — two foldings is enough to get nearly all of the impurities out.
  • Inverted in Fullmetal Alchemist. Dolcetta has a katana, but he's not shown winning any fights. The Master Swordsman of the series, King Bradley, uses straight-bladed sabres.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • In her battle during the Tower of Heaven arc, Erza has to fight Ikaruga using a katana. The woman destroys every one of her armors, and all her weapons except two. At the end, Erza wins using that pair of weapons. Which weapons did she use? You guessed it!
    • Ikaruga, as well as Totomaru and Yomazu, are villainous examples.
    • The similarly-named Kagura uses one to slice Ophiucus to pieces...without unsheathing it.
  • Sort of subverted in Gamaran: true, most of the greatest warriors in this setting (including the protagonist, his school, and the main villains) are all katana-wielding swordsmen, but certain weapons (like polearms or chains) are shown to best swords. Plus, they tend to break against very powerful attacks, and generally speaking is not a matter of weapon, but rather technique: A good example is when Gama, using a katana and his strongest attack, is beaten silly by Iori who uses an empty scabbard and the very same technique against him.
  • In Gangsta. Nicolas has carried his katana around like a Security Blanket ever since he was a child. It's even strong enough to both shatter a kukri and embed into concrete, without showing any real damage to itself.
  • In Genzo, the Warrior Monk Kyokai boasts about the quality of katanas, though he doesn't talk about their effectiveness in battle, but rather about their value as masterworks and artistic objects. In the same story is also explained that, because of the constant wars, katana of low quality were mass-produced, while the most precious ones are harder to find.
  • Gundam:
    • Lowe Guele in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray prefers the Humongous Mecha-sized katana Gerbera Straight to the Beam Swords his mecha comes with. Partially justified in that Beam Swords are rather power-intensive and the mobile suits of the Cosmic Era typically use finite batteries rather than nuclear reactors as in past series (not that this helps Lowe, as his fighting style tends to drain Red Frame's battery very fast).
    • Played very straight in Astray R, where the Gerbera Straight is portrayed as being much, much better than the Western-style swords used by the GINN and CGUE mobile suits. Moreover, in what may be the ultimate example of this trope, Old Master Un No uses his normal, human-scale katana to do a Clean Cut on a mobile suit's beam rifle, twice.
    • Subverted in Gundam 00: Graham Aker's Susanowo uses two solid katanas when he tries to finish off the 00 Raiser with an overhead swing, but Setsuna just grabs the blade with the 00's hands and shatters the sword by bending it backwards. His earlier Ahead Sakigake and Masurao wield beam saber versions of the daisho (the paired katana and wakizashi typically carried by samurai), but there's no indication that they're anything other than standard beam sabers with a slight curve to the blades.
    • ∀ Gundam, features eventual villain Gym Ghingham who carries a katana and insists he is a samurai.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: Mikazuki and the Gundam Barbatos get a mecha-sized katana after the suit is upgraded by Teiwaz. Unusually, Mika's not exactly good with it: he's used to really heavy clubs as his main weapons and doesn't quite know how to use a precision cutting tool like a katana. He gets a new club later but keeps the katana as a backup weapon which serves him very well against the Graze Ein in the first season finale.
  • Knight Hunters:
    • Aya, the primary protagonist, uses a katana as his weapon of choice even against enemies wielding guns and pulls off a couple of Diagonal Cuts throughout the original series. On the other hand, the trope is also subverted several times throughout the series:
    • In the Radio Drama Endless Rain, several characters discuss the idea that Katanas Are Just Better, with one of them remarking that the katana is just a weapon like any other and, all things being equal, he'd just as soon have a gun. In another scene, Aya, wielding a katana, is defeated effortlessly by another character who wields only a paper fan.
    • After a katana vs. katana battle by at the conclusion of another Radio Drama, Dramatic Precious, Aya finally defeats his former swordmaster by shooting him with the gun he carries as a backup weapon.
    • In the manga sequel Weiß Side B, Aya is provided with his pick from another character's collection of katanas before going into battle, and takes all of them, correctly expecting all of them to break before the fight is over. One of them is broken by Chloe's rose.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In Ataru Cagiva's adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, under the impression that Link is a servant of Agahnim, Zelda picks up a katana and actually manages to catch the hero off guard. Link is unable to defeat her directly, and takes advantage of Agahnim's sudden appearance to bring her to safety.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1999), Impa gets a chance to show off her skills with the kodachi she carried in the original game. She agrees to tutor Link in swordsmanship and is the only opponent he's unable to beat.
  • Justified in Lupin III; Goemon's katana is made from a specialized metal hard enough to cleave steel. In the manga, it's meteoric iron; in the anime, it's an unearthly metal or alloy. Early stories for Goemon actually have him searching out a sword durable enough for his Implausible Fencing Powers. Subverted in that there are rare objects and materials in the franchise that are not affected by the sword or actually break it. It also can't cut Konyaku jelly.
    Goemon: Once again, I have cut a worthless object...
  • This is Colin's weapon of choice in Highlander: The Search for Vengeance. It is actually one of the Big Bad's swords and Colin only keeps it around because all his other swords broke. So in this universe, it seems that Katanas really are just better.
  • In the manga Katana, though the protagonist is descended from a long line of Japanese swordsmiths, and can see the spirit of any sword, he doesn't want anything to do with them. Later it's played straight when he's introduced to a collector of Japanese swords, and the strongest sword spirit is a katana.
  • Katana Maidens: it's even in the title! Girls known as Toji wield mystical katanas to fight around otherworldly beasts called aradama, and each o-katana has its own name and power.
  • Micaiah's Seiran in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid. In contrast to the more hi-tech swords of the Lyrical Nanoha franchise, Seiran is just a normal physical katana. However, it makes up for it by proving to be an Absurdly Sharp Blade capable of slicing a falling bus into fours in an instant with minimal magic enhancement, a feat that the Cyborg swordswoman Deed had doubted was possible to do with an ordinary blade.
  • In My-HiME, Shizuru uses one with expert skill to disable a gang of gun-wielding yakuza mooks.
  • Naruto:
    • Orochimaru's Kusanagi has a number of abilities the usual kunai and shuriken don't have, such as its capacity to be controlled telepathically and an edge that can cut almost anything. This is not the case in the anime adaptation, where it is depicted as a straight, double-edged tsurugi.
    • Mifune is so fast and skilled with his katana that he can strike ninjas before they finish their hand seals.
  • Sort of present in One Piece. Many of the series' prominent swordsmen (Zoro, Tashigi, Ryuuma, and Kin'emon) wield katana or similar swords. However, Mihawk, known as the world's strongest swordsman, uses what seems to be an enormous Großes Messer called "Yoru". Plenty of other master-level swordfighters in the series use only western-style blades too, such as Vista, Cavendish, Rayleigh, Cracker, Whitebeard, and Kyros such that the series either depicts Japanese blades and western blades as equals or the katana is a rare and specialized weapon.
  • Psyren: This is Sakurako's weapon of choice, though she proficient in wielding several different weapons.
  • Rebuild World: The Ninja Maid Shiori uses a Katana made of Lost Technology that is extremely good at penetrating armor and designed to be responsive enough to use with compressed time (a more grounded equivalent to Bullet Time she can use thanks to stimulants). It can be set to Going Critical mode to turn into a Laser Blade for a few seconds, which lets it cut pretty much anything no matter how big or strong but destroys the blade. Her blades are considered consumables. Akira eventually trades in a favor for one of Shiori’s swords and he uses it to cut several hunters into Half the Man He Used to Be but ends up overloading it to cut down an assault aircraft.
  • Saitō Hajime of Rurouni Kenshin preferred the katana above all other types of swords, even going so far as to seek out and receive permission to use one when all the other police officers authorized to carry swords used Western sabres note . One major factor in this decision is that his Signature Move is intended to be used with a katana rather than a blade of a different design - the one time he tries to do it with a Sword Cane, the blade breaks.
  • In Saiyuki Gaiden, Tenpou Gensui is a soldier who fights with a katana, interesting because as a god and an agent of Heaven, he's not permitted to take a life (even the gunslingers in his group of soldiers only have stun guns), although when he throws all rules out the window, he's shown to be pretty damn good with it. Also interestingly, katanas are rare in the Saiyuki universe (other than the cannon fodder opponents at the end of Gaiden, Tenpou is the only character shown using one), possibly because it's set in China rather than Japan. His reincarnation, Cho Hakkai, uses no weapon and is, instead, a gifted martial artist and manipulator of chi.
  • Samurai 7; samurai armed with katana are able to take on powered armor, cyborgs, and more. One enemy samurai turns to using a BFG; he is looked down upon for it, as are the former samurai cyborg bandits, who have given up their bodies and, according to Kambei, their honor as well. He insults them, doubting they were ever samurai.
  • Spy X Family: The katana-wielding assassin is by far the most dangerous of the assassins from the cruise arc, knocking out the Director and getting pretty close to killing Yor.
  • Yoh from Shaman King is a good example of this trope. Every form of his various Oversouls feature some form of a katana, and all of them are increasingly awesome. The main katana he uses is Harusame, the sword Amidamaru used in life, made by his best friend Mosuke.
  • In Soul Eater, Tsubaki has a katana as one of her several forms; Mifune had many katanas; Ragnarok has been shown in a katana form, a departure from his usual shape as a decidedly Western sword design. Becomes a subversion when you remember Excalibur surpasses all of them.
  • The Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest villain Haguro Dou is able to use his katana to go toe-to-toe with otherwise unstoppable supernatural creatures, like the hero Akira and the ogrefied Chiba.
  • Zoids Generations has Liger Blue Souga, a lion mecha that wields a katana with its mouth.

    Card Games 
  • Lampooned in the non-collectible card game Let's Kill. One of the weapons available to the serial-killer players is a 'Cool Oriental Sword', whose flavor text cited all the work the smith put into forging it just so 'you can play this card and Whack (kill) a couple of other cards.'

    Comic Books 
  • Blade is so named because of his signature katana he uses in his war against the undead.
  • Deadpool kills loads of people using katana-style ninja swords, frequently Dual Wielding them; he alternates between the swords and a pair of Desert Eagle pistols wielded Guns Akimbo. It's totally in character for him to choose the most stereotypical Rule of Cool weapon combo for the fun of it, and turn it into a viable fighting style because he's just that good. In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Deadpool can fight his equivalent, Dante. In other words, Dante, a character made in Japan, will use his broadsword against Deadpool, a character made in America, who uses two katanas.
  • The appropriately named Captain Katana from Empowered had his arms and legs replaced with 'em. He also has a magical one stuck in his head.
  • Green Arrow: In spite of modeling himself after Robin Hood, the character takes up the katana under Judd Winick's authorship rather than a more theme-appropriate longsword. By all accounts, he's fairly good with it, although this is more out of a tremendous amount of life-or-death training than the weapon itself. Many Green Arrow fans find the use of a katana somewhat pandering.
  • Groo the Wanderer fights with two katanas, one in each hand. A "swords origin story" in the Epic run established that his skill in combat is due to them. The first time he uses them, he is stunned by how well they work.
  • Hybrid Force: Thorn's main weapon is a pair of katanas that he uses in combat.
  • The DC heroine named Katana wields a magical katana called "Soultaker". It cuts through just about anything. It completely resists melting. And yes, she can deflect bullets with it. But it also has a curse: those killed by the sword may have their soul taken into the world within it, and can subsequently be summoned to do the wielder's bidding. And it makes an evil person who holds it even more malevolent.
  • In Lucifer, the god Kagutsuchi wields the "three-named sword," the slightest nick from which kills instantly.
  • Elizabeth Braddock a.k.a. Psylocke can manifest a telekinetic blade composed of raw psi-energy at will, which at its lowest intensity, functions to disrupt neural pathways, and at its highest level, her blades can slice an armored opponent and cut through the armor, but leave the attacker physically unharmed. After she took the Psylocke name, the blade definitively looked like a katana.
  • Knives Chau's father uses a katana in Scott Pilgrim, at one point even slicing clean through a street car!
  • Miho in Sin City often uses a katana in concert with a wakizashi. She's one of the deadliest characters in the series.
  • Justified in the Taskmaster mini-series, where Taskmaster states that he began using a katana so he could duplicate the moves (his power) of Silver Samurai.
  • Michonne's main combat attribute in The Walking Dead is slicing zombies' heads off with her katana. She's one of the most efficient zombie killers in the series.
  • Surprisingly for a series about samurai, downplayed in Usagi Yojimbo. Usagi, a Rōnin, favors his personal daisho for fighting and is shown to be nearly unstoppable as long as he has them, but he's the first to concede that swords are ill-suited against weapons with superior range. Like, say, spears. Which would be less of a problem were it not for Jei being a master of that weapon. In fact, it is actually the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi that is the only weapon capable of permanently putting down one of Jei's bodies, although Usagi instinctively wields it in a katana-like fashion.
  • Zealot of the Wildstorm Universe uses a Kherubim warsword that can absorb large amounts of energy and is sharp enough to cut atoms (makes you wonder what it is made of, a super-sized neutron or something?) It is, incidentally, often drawn as a katana.
  • Wolverine:
    • In an early issue of his first ongoing run, Wolverine states that "in the hands of a master, there is no deadlier single-combat weapon in the world, in all history... than the Dai-Katana, the Japanese samurai sword."
    • One of Wolverine's villains, Silver Samurai, uses his katana to deflect bullets from a semi-automatic gun. Although Silver Samurai is using his mutant ability to channel energy into the sword, the attitude of the comic makes it clear that the katana's awesomeness is doing some of the work.
    • The Muramasa Blade is a katana occasionally used by Wolverine (and others in related stories) and is one of the few weapons that is stated to be capable of killing him on its own, without otherwise negating his healing abilities. This weapon was used to kill Sabretooth. Thus, while not necessarily stronger than adamantium (itself Unobtainium), it is still better. Of course, this being the Marvel Universe, there are many Western-style weapons that are superior to it, including Thor's Mjölnir, Namor's Trident, and of course Hulk's fist.
  • Toyota, the female ninja mercenary in Y: The Last Man, uses a katana in combat in spite of the presence of firearms. However, she prudently vanishes when her sword is shot in half by one revolver-wielding opponent.

    Fan Works 
  • Aoi Myoujin from the The Blue Stranger The Red Curtain uses a dragon scale katana that is sharp enough to cut through most common metals as well as lesser dragons. Despite this, he goes against this trope somewhat by using a modified CZ 75.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Why else would Japan use a katana when Germany has a gun—a Browning Hi Power—on him? Not that Japan would use the word "cool" to describe the reason, but still.
  • Ulrich Stern uses a real katana to great effect in the beginning and end of I Will Remember You
  • In the J-WITCH Series, Caleb picks up a katana while the heroes are in Japan researching the Oni Masks, which quickly becomes his weapon of choice from then on.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Sage of Darkness: Invoked and subverted. Davik presents Link with the White Sword, a katana that he claims is the strongest blade he's ever seen. Not only does the much more powerful Master Sword exist in the setting, but Davik is The Mole for Ganondorf's spirit and the White Sword corrupts the souls of its wielders, including Link.
  • In Loyalty's Vengeance, Rainbow Dash eventually gets a katana as her primary weapon of choice. When asked why by a fan, the author basically said it was because of this trope.
  • MLP Next Generation: Know Fear!: Starburst creates a katana light construct during her duel with Valiant after hitting her Rage Breaking Point. Afterwards, it becomes her primary weapon of choice.
  • The Night Unfurls: Whenever he feels like dishing out damage, Hugh would brandish his katana, named the Chikage, to blur through his foes. It is the most frequently used melee weapon among his arsenal. Considering the blood rite it possesses, it's not nicknamed "the Murder Sword" for nothing.
  • Justified in Project Tatterdemalion. The Hollows' incredible regenerative abilities make them practically Immune to Bullets, but the shinigami can channel their Psychic Powers through metal, allowing them to charge their katanas with energies that disable Hollow regeneration. (They could do the same with their claws, but they try to avoid reminding the untransformed that they have those). As for why they use katanas specifically instead of some other edged metal weapon, two of them already practiced kenjutsu as a hobby, which 1) means they can teach others, and 2) let them get the katanas classed as "exercise equipment" and delivered to them.
  • In The Rainbow Connection, Stormy goes around killing others with a katana. She's quite adept at using it.
  • Rise of the Minisukas: When she sees Unit-01 getting equipped with a katana, Asuka wonders whether they couldn't afford a normal sword. Ritsuko retorts the Weapons Department determined a katana was the superior choice after careful testing.
  • Sonya from Sonic X: Dark Chaos wields a custom katana made of focused plasma. Espio also carries two wakizashi that he uses during the final episodes. Somewhat fitting, as Sonya is ethnically Japanese (or the Sonic universe equivalent) and Espio is a ninja. And even then, Sonya prefers guns and only uses her sword as a backup.
  • Ryou Asakura from Suzumiya Haruhi no Seitenkan has this as his weapon of choice when he attacks Kyonko.
  • Xephos in Yognapped uses a diamond katana, and he kicks ass with it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played straight and subverted in 300, where the Persian army's elite Immortals dual-wield katana-like swords for some reason, but they prove useless against the Spartans.
  • In Big Tits Zombie, Ginko grabs a katana from the yakuza bathhouse and uses it as her primary weapon for fighting zombies. It can parry almost anything and can cut zombies in half lengthways.
  • Double Subversion in Blood and Bone. The finale has James using a katana to attack Bone, who easily fends him off with nothing but the scabbard of a jian. However, the katana is apparently so sharp that Bone is able to make James cut his own hand off just by lightly redirecting the blade with the scabbard.
  • The Kevin Costner flick The Bodyguard uses this trope. Costner demonstrates the implausible sharpness of the katana by tossing a silk cloth into the air... which lands on the katana blade and is cut in half just from its own weight. This scene is probably taken from an apocryphal story celebrating the sharpness of Damascus steel.
  • Older Than They Think? In the 1974 Hammer Horror Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, the title character carries a katana as well as a cavalry sabre, and at one point kills three bravos who try to pick a fight with him in two quick slashes. However, since it's still an Unbuilt Trope, it turns out not to be the ultimate vampire-killing weapon.
  • The Crow: Eric Draven briefly acquires one from Top Dollar's collection and gets more kills with it than any other weapon (he's supernaturally Immune to Bullets thanks to the titular crow, so the obvious problem of bringing a sword to a gunfight doesn't apply). Interestingly, the weapon of choice for Top Dollar himself is a rapier.
  • DOA: Dead or Alive shows the katana's sharpness when it slices a kimono discarded by Kasumi just by it landing on the blade!
  • Elysium: Kruger has one in addition to his other weapons. He even keeps it after acquiring his own Powered Armor.
  • G.I. Joe:
    • Subverted in GI Joe The Rise Of Cobra. Snake Eyes is very good with his katana, until Storm Shadow breaks it. Then Snake Eyes pulls out the Bladed Dual Tonfas and wins.
    • Played straight and slightly subverted in G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Snake Eyes uses his katana to chop Storm Shadow's shuriken to pieces. Storm Shadow uses his dual katanas to block incoming automatic weapons fire from prison guards. Subverted when Storm Shadow breaks a katana that he allegedly used to assassinate the Hard Master by striking it against Snake Eye's own sword to prove that the broken sword was not his — "Arashikage steel would not break" — and that it was a copy Zartan used to frame him for the Hard Master's death.
  • In Hardcore Henry, when Akan's forces storm a brothel and start killing everybody, a dominatrix fights them with a katana and kills and maims several of the gun-wielding thugs. Later, after she dies, Henry picks the katana up and is able to use it to defeat a tank.
  • The original Highlander finds an unlikely way to arm its eponymous highlander, MacLeod, with a katana, receiving it from his world-traveling master. The sword is actually a proto-katana, having been created about five hundred years before katanas as we knew them were even invented. The swordsmith is spoken of as if he's the greatest swordsmith in history. Various spin-offs generally carry on the custom of giving their hero a katana to set them apart as special. Funnily enough, the sequel's villain is named General Katana but does not wield a katana.
  • In the epic swordfight in the James Bond film Die Another Day, at one point Gustav Graves gets hold of a katana and promptly chops James Bond's sabre in half with a single blow. Curiously, they both pass up katanas in favor of broadswords for the final duel.
  • In Kill Bill, The Bride and several of her adversaries wield katanas crafted by Hattori Hanzo, the greatest swordsmith to ever live. The Bride's sword in particular is said to be his finest work. But the film also averts the katana's overpowering superiority: The Bride is helpless against the only two characters who have her at gunpoint, and she gets beaten up with a meteor hammer for a little while. And, of course, the katanas not forged by Hanzo break like dry twigs.
  • In The Matrix Reloaded, Neo wields a western broadsword and doesn't do anything super impressive with it. Morpheus however, arms himself with a katana to cut through a moving car.
  • Monster Party: After he takes Elliot's katana from the trophy room, Casper (who has demonstrated no previous training in swordsmanship) is able to effortlessly cleave people's heads from their shoulders, or slice the top of their skulls.
  • My Way: Tatsuo and other Japanese officers used these to great extents during the battle at Nomohan against tanks.
  • In Ninja in the Dragon's Den, a Chinese sorcerer proves completely immune to a Chinese sabre, but a katana neatly slices his leg off. However, the katana only defeats the sorcerer because it's foreign, and therefore not affected by Chinese magic.
  • In Pixels, the prime Action Girl, Lady Lisa, fights with two katanas.
  • In Predators, a yakuza scavenges a katana and faces a predator in a Duel to the Death, managing a Mutual Kill. The other humans had a harder time getting a kill with their automatic weapons.
  • In Pulp Fiction, Butch Coolidge, Bruce Willis' character, chooses a katana over a variety of other weapons (including a small chainsaw) when preparing to ambush some baddies. The katana is only thing present actually made to kill people with, though, and it's pretty hard to sneak up on someone with a chainsaw.
  • The Western Red Sun is about a samurai (played by Toshiro Mifune) trying to retrieve a gold katana, meant as a gift to the US President from Japan, that was stolen by the leader of a band of train robbers. He teams up with an outlaw (played by Charles Bronson) to get it back.
  • Inverted in The Twilight Samurai, where Seibei is a Master Swordsman but sold his katana long ago to support his impoverished family. He defeats one samurai with only a short stick. He's then sent to kill another samurai, who becomes enraged when he realizes that Seibei brought only a wakizashi to fight him, believing that it's an insult to his katana swordsmanship. Seibei defeats him anyway.
  • X-Men Film Series:
  • Yakuza Apocalypse: At the start of the film, the Boss goes all One-Man Army on a rival group with naught but a katana.


  • 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 takes the shape of a katana when it unleashes its full power. Curiously, this happens when Ayato and Julis Riessfeld touch it at the same time.
    • Played with in the case of Kirin Toudou. She starts out with Senbakiri, an actual steel katana, which means the weapon can't stand up to an Orga Lux, so she has to rely on evasion in her first match with Ayato (in the Animated Adaptation he uses his Emergency Weapon instead so they can actually cross swords). And while she's the first fighter of the Phoenix Festa to actually strike the robot AR-D's body, the damage is purely cosmetic. Ultimately Senbakiri is broken, and she replaces it with a katana-style Orga Lux called Fudaraku.
  • Adam R. Brown's Astral Dawn. Drawing from his years watching anime and reading manga and other comic books, Caspian chose his personal weapon to be a katana. Though it appears solid, his katana isn't a physical sword. It actually made out of pure energy, more specifically his own energy, forged within his center. Caspian's sword goes from having a silver blade to bearing a golden blade after he experiences several upticks in power.
  • Niko, the Badass Normal of Rob Thurman's Cal Leandros series, is proficient with a variety of edged weapons, but his favorite is the katana. Interestingly, his brother Cal fares as least as well or better when he just shoots monsters with a gun.
  • Played straight and subverted in Chrome Shelled Regios. Almost every single character used a weapon other than a katana, and they aren't really being shown as inferior to those that do use katanas. However, the protagonist, Layfon Alseif, who has been using a standard sword the entirety of the series, gets a better one by fusing two different kinds of Infinity Plus One Swords together. Partially justified in that all of his training focused on katana-using, and it was just a personal vow of repentance that kept him from using it the whole time.
  • The vigilante in Dance of the Butterfly has a katana in their vast arsenal of weapons. It gets used in the climactic end battle against two of the most dangerous foes yet faced.
  • A meta-example in Dora Wilk Series: the cover of the last book features Dora wielding a katana with Let's Get Dangerous! look on her face, even though in-story, her angelic sword has a European-styled blade. Presumably, the publisher decided to go with a katana to create a "cool" look.
  • Subverted in Dragon by Clive Cussler, where Dirk Pitt uses a 19th century Italian dueling sabre against the Big Bad who's wielding a katana. The katana is played as being more powerful, but too specialized to match Dirk's defensive tactics.
    Kamatori's two-handed katana strokes cut the air slightly faster and carried more power than the saber in Pitt's single hand. But in the hands of a skilled fencer, the old duelling blade could reverse angle a fraction more quickly. It was also nearly thirty centimetres longer, a benefit Pitt used to keep Kamatori's slashing attack out of range of a mortal injury. The sabre combined the point with the stroke, while the katana was all slash and cut.
  • Both played straight and subverted in The Golden Age series by John C. Wright, as a katana is used to finish off an enemy after he has been hit with hard radiation, nanotech poison and disruptive supergravity. On the other hand, said katana is only still a sword in the loosest sense, being stuffed so full of hyper-tech that it almost bursts at the seams. Poked fun at by the protagonist, who at one point internally ridicules the soldier for still "carrying a sharp bit of metal made for poking people."
  • The hero of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Hunters Of The Red Moon is abducted by aliens and ends up being chosen for a Most Dangerous Game-type reality show. He is given the choice of a wide range of hand-held weapons from across the galaxy and is happy to spot a Japanese katana which he uses to be one of the rare survivors of the game.
  • In Rick Cook's Limbo System, Dr. Takiuji practices with one — and uses it to impressive effect later in the novel.
  • The Lost Redeemer: Despite the setting being more European-inspired than Japanese, katanas are the primary weapon of choice for Aeons. Many katana-wielding Aeons are able to hold their own against their gun-wielding opponents.
  • Eric Lustbader's Nicholas Linnear novels (The Ninja, The Miko, and White Ninja) tend to use katanas. A lot. At one stage the protagonist cautions his Love Interest against touching the blade of a katana because if she did it would sever her finger. Lustbader goes on to suggest that a bigger katana is even better: Iss-hogai, Linnear's weapon, is a dai-katana, or literally "big katana".
  • The Riftwar Cycle: In Talon of the Silver Hawk, Tal goes up against an assassin armed with a katana in a fencing tournament. His footman comments that badly made katana are useless against armor, and well-made ones so expensive very few people can afford one, but they're wicked when it comes to cutting flesh. It's a sign that his opponent is out to actually kill him and Tal only manages to win thanks to Dual Wielding a dirk with his sword.
  • The Sacred Blacksmith runs wild with this trope. Luke Ainsworth uses a katana to cleave cleanly through a giant claymore, with the novel's heroine fawning over the exotic super-blade that chops through everything other swords can't. Then said katana breaks when blocking ice. So... yeah. It is worth mentioning that part of the plot revolves around how magically-forged katanas will never be as durable as an actual forged blade. When Luke actually forges a katana by traditional methods, the end result slices any sword in half that strikes at it while it is resting still on a tabletop.
  • In David Weber's first Safehold book, Off Armageddon's Reef, Nimue Alban manufactures a katana and wakazashi for her "Merlin" persona specifically because there is no specific counterpart in Safehold society and her intent is to give Merlin as exotic an image as possible (And because that's the style he was trained in). The weapons do prove to be superior, but only because they're made from advanced alloys that make them much sharper and stronger than ordinary steel, and are wielded by someone with literal superhuman strength.
  • Surprisingly subverted in Snow Crash. Although the katana-wielding Hiro turns out to be an amazing swordsman even outside of the Metaverse, it's the Big Bad's glass daggers with their monomolecular edges that do all the improbable cutting. Hiro also makes a point to compensate for the fact that his sword won't slice clean through bone like in the movies.
  • In the middle section of Special Circumstances: Princess of Wands the heroine uses a magically-imbued katana against the demon in the middle section of Princess of Wands. The sword is later seen (but not used) in the last part of the book.
  • As a fanboy of ancient cultures, Valerian Mengsk in StarCraft: The Dark Templar Saga novels has quite a collection of ancient weapons. In itself, perhaps not so strange. But he's also a master swordsman who regularly practices with his trusty katana.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • In The Thrawn Trilogy, part of the A fleet of two hundred dreadnoughts called the Dark Force was also called the Katana fleet after its flagship. However, the Katana Fleet was a dismal failure in the eyes of the Republic, having lost the entire thing.
    • The Jedi used katana before lightsabers were invented. They were even used sometimes afterwards, but to a much lesser extent than the Sith used their broadswords after they had lightsabers.
  • Sword Art Online: Zigzagged. Katana is a second-tier weapon skill in SAO (unlocked by raising the user's proficiency in Sabres) and is notable for Special Attacks like "Iai" - one of the few high-level moves which unleash a single strong hit rather than a sequence of lesser ones. However, out of the main cast only Klein actually expresses a preference for katana (and more for aesthetics than anything else), with the implication that many players don't find the extra bonuses good enough to spend a second skill slot on. However, by Word of God one of the Purposely Overpowered Unique Skills which SAO's developer had planned to release in the endgame was the katana-based "Battoujutsu".
  • Katanas are the weapon of choice for the samurai in Tale of Yashima.
  • The Big Bad of The Thief, Kizaki, believes in this trope when it comes to robberies. He rules out giving his burglary team guns and equips them with katanas to hold the marks at swordpoint with.
  • In The Zombie Survival Guide, the author states that a katana can very effective against a katana, considering it's sharp blade and two-handed hilt. One character in the book's Alternate History is Lieutenant Tomonaga, who helped suppress a zombie attack in 1942 and killed eleven of them with his issued sword. However, the machete is still recommended as the overall best blade for close combat.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Águila Roja, the titular hero effortlessly pierces a tree with his katana.
  • In Auction Kings, Katanas are popular items. Especially if they come with a rifle and are from World War II.
  • In Black Sails, Joji the Japanese pirate of the Caribbean is introduced watching his katana being sharpened. He inspects the blade and passes it back for further sharpening. The other pirate's exasperated reaction implies that Joji's standards for sword sharpness are exceptional.
  • In the Criminal Minds episode "True Night", a delusional man on a vendetta imagines himself in a Badass Longcoat and Dual Wielding katana, while in the real world he's wearing a hoodie and wielding hardware store machetes.
  • The CSI: Miami episode "Die by the Sword" features the sekiru (Yakuza with the serial numbers filed off) wielding katana that can cut a person in half, literally.
  • The CSI: NY episode "Corporate Warriors" features a businessman beheaded by a katana-wielding rival from his firm. The cut is so clean, the head stays in place and, during autopsy, appears almost cauterized. Also inserted are obligatory scenes of Mac Taylor looking sexy while testing a katana.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Girl Who Waited", Amy wields a katana and a staff against the Handbots after the Doctor abandoned her for 36 years.
  • The Highlander TV series carries on the film's tradition of arming its Scottish Highlander main character with a katana as his default weapon; justified as well by the sword' sentimental importance. Duncan was versed in a variety of weapons, however, and would occasionally wield other weapons — one episode had him refreshing his memory with a rapier and dagger when preparing to fight a duelist on equal terms — and sometimes switched back to his old Scottish claymore when things get very personal. In one notable episode, Duncan is able to quickly dispatch a foe after they swap weapons — while Duncan was proficient in his opponent's weapon, his enemy was totally unfamiliar with the katana.
  • A number of reality shows implicitly or explicitly reference the trope when they dedicate an episode to comparing the capabilities of the katana versus other swords and its own mythology:
    • MythBusters:
      • One episode examines this trope when testing if one sword can slice through another. The katana gets bent sideways by a Scottish Claymore.
      • Another tests whether a katana could actually decapitate a sheep in one swing (Warning: Possible icky video).
    • The History Channel show Lock and Load has R. Lee Ermey attempting to determine whether the katana or the longsword is "better." He determined the katana was better at both slashing and penetrating armor, though not to a significant degree and through very dubious methods. For instance, the longsword was blunt whereas the katana was fully sharpened.
    • On Weapon Masters, in a comparison between a traditional katana and a sword made of modern alloys by Chad Houseknecht (albeit in the same shape so it could be used by a Japanese sword expert in tests the same way), both swords performed equally well.
    • Welt der Wunder: An episode compares the katana versus the German longsword in a range of tests, ultimately judging the longsword to be superior over the katana.
    • The Nova episode "Secrets of the Viking Sword". A swordsman demoing various types of swords uses a katana for the stereotypical Clean Cut through a rolled-up bamboo mat (long used in Japan to imitate the consistency of the human body), but then does the exact same cut with a European broadsword. The trick has more to do with the skill of the swordsman than the weapon.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In the episode "Mindreacher", a woman is attacked by a monster in a dream. After realizing that she's in a dream, she wills a katana into her hand and kills the monster.
  • Penn & Teller note that of the sillier claims often made is that it is in some way impressive that a katana can split a bullet, as if it is the only sword able to do so: in fact, this is simple physics. If a remedy is required for this belief, here is a butter knife splitting a .45 caliber bullet.
  • In Smallville, General Slade Wilson is skilled with a katana and takes to wearing one instead of the traditional saber. He manages to face off against and defeat the super strong, mace-wielding Hawkman with it.
  • Star Trek: Picard: Elnor's tan qalanq, a Romulan sword, looks distinctly East Asian in design, especially when compared to the European-style swords being carried by the other Romulans on Vashti. In combat, he deftly beats anyone equipped with the latter type of blade (e.g. Tenqem and his fellow ruffians) or an energy weapon (e.g. Narissa and her minions). Not only is Elnor victorious, he also emerges unscathed, so his rivals have failed to even lay a scratch on him.
  • Super Sentai gets to use more katana, due to Rangers being more weapon-savvy than Riders. In particular, Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger, DekaMaster from Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, and Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. Other seasons (in fact, other toku as well) sometimes employ kendo technique to non-katana swords. The Megazord is also not a katana.
  • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger: Dekaranger's'' DekaMaster is a particularly prominent example compared with the others listed above, as while all the others are ninja/samurai, DekaMaster, the head of his branch, is a Master Swordsman in a department of laser-pistol-wielding space cops, that fully subscribes to Rank Scales with Asskicking.
  • The Walking Dead (2010): Michonne is the most effective survivor at killing walkers at close range. She uses a katana to effortlessly decapitate zombies, often two at a time.
  • Westworld: In Season 3, Maeve arrives ready to do battle with Dolores. The only weapon she brings with her (other than her ship) is a katana. In the opening exchange, Dolores fights her with a pistol and comes out the worse.
  • The Xena: Warrior Princess finale took place in Japan, and featured numerous references to the superiority of the Katana, even depicting Xena's sword being sliced in half by a katana. After her first experience with the katana (seen via flashback) warlord Xena says, "Oooh Gimme, Gimme!" She also uses a katana upon her second trip to Japan (the non-flashback material of the finale), to fight Yodoshi, the Lord of The Darkland.

  • The Doobie Brothers' 1973 hit "China Grove":
But every day there's a new thing comin'
The ways of an Oriental view
The sheriff and his buddies with their samurai swords
You can even hear the music at night

    Tabletop Games 
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy makes not just the katana, but all Japanese weapons superior to western counterparts. They all have a higher presence(coolness factor basically) than western weapons. Mechanically, however, it's not really any different from a longsword in combat and its higher presence score only means that it's very slightly more resistant to being — for example — magically transmuted into a rubber chicken. It's also slightly less durable physically.
  • In Chaosium's Basic Role Playing system, a multi-genre game based on the rules used in Call of Cthulhu and RuneQuest among others, the Katana does the same amount of damage as a bastard sword but it has a higher "base" value, meaning that people who train in the use of a Katana start out with a higher chance to hit — and it can be used one-handed by weaker and less dexterous fighters, as well!
  • In BattleTech, the Draconis Combine features battlemechs equipped with mech-sized katanas. However, melee for mechs are typically Awesome, but Impractical and the sword is no exception, dealing only a single point of damage more than the mech could have inflicted just by punching the target. The trope is completely avoided by the Katana Battlemech, which is just a variant of the Crockett with inferior armor and heatsinks, making it a worse mech. In the Battletech RPG, katanas are superior to generic swords as melee weapons, but they're identical to scimitars, so the difference is probably meant to just be in quality of manufacturing.
  • d20 Modern has the katana as the best sword in the core rules, but it requires the Exotic Weapons Proficiency feat to use. Fifth Edition does not include them in the final release at all.
  • Played straight to the point of parody in Dudes of Legend, which lets you give special abilities to katanas like "Armor Ain't Got Shit Against This Blade."
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In first and second editions, katanas were pretty much the ultimate one-handed weapon by a fair margin and a solid contender as one of the best two-handed weapons.
    • Third edition toned katanas back, giving them the same stats as bastard swords, though with the caveat that katanas are automatically considered masterwork.
    • Fourth edition weapons are more formulaic and balanced in design. Using examples from the existing weapons table, a flavorful yet fair 4E katana shouldn't be hard to improvise... a bastard sword with a lower proficiency bonus and the high crit property, for example.
    • Pathfinder's katanas and wakizashi are essentially longswords and shortswords that can land critical hits more easily and have a property that makes it easier to execute helpless opponents. Wakizashi also have the minor but sometimes useful bonus of being able to do slashing and piercing damage. This makes both weapons more powerful than their western equivalents. For game balance purposes, they are rated as "exotic" weapons, meaning that characters need special training to use them effectively. They are about on par with the other, mostly fantastical, exotic weapons.
  • In GURPS 3rd Edition, a katana wielded two-handed did more damage and was better at defending than any comparable western blade. After many "Magical Sword of Ethnic Badassery" jokes, the katana was rendered slightly inferior to comparable western swords, since it does an equal amount of slashing damage and less stabbing damage.
  • In GURPS Fantasy Tech, the Legendary Katana is included in the list of Awesome Cultural Weapons, along with the Welsh Longbow, the Gurkha Kukri, and so on. However its cinematic abilities can only be used by someone with the wildcard skill Katana!; in the hands of an ordinary swordsman, it's just a katana.
  • Katanas And Trenchcoats implicitly states that Katanas are so amazing that there is no point in using any other weapon, therefore no rules are included.
  • Legend of the Five Rings:
  • Zig-zagged in Mutant Chronicles. Mishiman katana are better than all other readily available swords. However, there are several varieties of swords, such as Brotherhood Violator-swords and claymores made by Imperial's clan Gallagher, which are significantly better but are extremely rare, custom-made, and not available to the public. One Mishiman house make katana which have properties similar to Gallagher claymores as well, but they are explicitly stated to be made using stolen and imperfectly understood Gallagher smithing techniques, and are both more rare and significantly worse than Gallagher swords (even though they beat nearly everything else). The Mortis-patterns swords used by Brotherhood Mortificators are also better than standard Mishiman swords, but only superficially resemble katana (Mortis-swords have a prominent false edge, among other differences) and are closely guarded.
  • Very much used in the Old World of Darkness, where statistically the katana was undoubtedly the best weapon you could use. However, this changed over time. In the Revised (third) edition of the old WoD, all swords have the same stats. In the New World of Darkness, katana have the same stats as all other swords, but extremely expensive "genuine" katana are more durable.
  • In Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution katanas give you improved attack rolls and do damage based on Speed, not Strength. They're also the strongest-bladed weapon in the game.
  • The Riddle of Steel, a highly intricate game with a largely accurate depiction of historical European martial arts, added Eastern swords and Kenjutsu to its repertoire in one of its supplemental books. Katanas are quite weak against plate armor and require some work to set up their best moves due to a poor reach, but their proficiency contains several excellent maneuvers with which to accomplish this, and if you DO land its draw cut on an unarmored or poorly armored part of your opponent? He's probably a goner.
  • Savage Worlds has a statline for katana, but also states outright that this statline is intended to make katana work the way they do in action movies. It also states that if you want realistic katana, you should use the longsword statline instead, and you should use the laser sword statline if you want katana to work like they do in shonen anime.
  • Shadowrun:
    • 4th edition takes this trope in a weird direction, with the katana being better than the generic sword, as good as the mono-filament sword, but worse than the combat axe and claymore. It returned to this position for Fifth Edition, as the katana has the highest Accuracy (the limit for attack roll successes) of all core melee weapons.
    • As of the 5e Run & Gun supplement, the katana remains a top-tier weapon, but is relatively more balanced with some of the new offerings. While less accurate, the combat axe and claymore beat it in terms of reach, damage, and armor penetration, but reach can actually be a drawback in tight quarters, and it's also significantly less restricted and expensive than those weapons. The rapier matches it in terms of accuracy, reach, and armor penetration, but doesn't do quite as much damage, and while just as restricted, is only half the price. The monosword matches it in reach, damage, and armor penetration, but is less accurate, and also (slightly) less restricted and pricey.
  • In the Stick Guy Role-Playing Game, most equipment provides either a +1 or +2 bonus on a roll. Katanas always provide a +3, whether the situation makes the use of a katana logical or not.

  • Invoked in BIONICLE. Lewa's swords are called "Air Katana", despite not resembling katana in the slightest.

    Video Games 
  • 99 Spirits zig-zags this a bit. The main character, Hanabusa, starts out wielding a Katana - but it's entirely worthless since her enemies are all immaterial spirits and thus Immune To Swords. When you get the mystical Gokon Sword, which CAN defeat the evil spirits, it turns out to be a double-edged bronze-age sword. However, when you later on gain the ability to capture Tsukumogami for your own use, you'll find that the Katana-spirit is one of the most useful, if not THE most powerful offensive spirit around, due to the way its 'Yin' skill enables you to use its potent 'Yang' skill more frequently.
  • In 10,000,000, once fully upgraded your sword becomes a katana.
  • It's a hard-to-find secret weapon, available at the very end of Action Doom 2: Urban Brawl. It's powerful enough to slice every Mook in half with one swing. There's also a bonus level where you have nothing but an infinitely durable katana and have to defend yourself against waves of enemies (and it's still Nintendo Hard).
  • In Alien vs. Predator (Capcom), Linn Kurosawa carries a katana into battle. It's so much better, in fact, that it doesn't melt on contact with the Xenos' highly corrosive Alien Blood.
  • In Baldur's Gate II katanas are one-handed and deal d10 damage, as much as a two-handed sword. The first game also has Celestial Fury, a +3 sword acquirable with minimal effort which stuns opponents, sometimes deals bonus damage, and can shoot lightning. This is balanced by the fact that high-end magical katanas do not exist in the game. Katanas top out at +3, which is not enough to defeat some enemies' magic resistance. Other weapons can be found in +4 or sometimes +5 versions somewhere in the game.
  • In the first Bayonetta game is the 修羅刃 Shuraba, a demonic katana said to beat with the heart of an Ashura. It's one of the earlier weapons gained in the game, and also one of the best-balanced melee weapons, making it very popular for combos. It was so popular it's one of two of the original game weapons that are brought back in the sequel, Bayonetta 2.
  • Blazing Warriors (also known as Mystaria) on the Sega Saturn reversed the rule; the "Western" characters were good guys with better powers and weapons, and with the exception of a couple of ninja allies, the "Eastern" characters were evil and with lesser but still respectable powers.
  • Balanced by Brave Fencer Musashi's title hero, who wields both a katana and a large, double-sided sword. Technically the double-sided sword was more powerful, to the point of being the only weapon that could damage certain bosses. The double-edged sword was also statistically superior. In fact, the only drawback of the huge weapon was that it was huge, and therefore took a lot longer to swing than the katana. Comparatively, the katana didn't do much damage, but could it could be swung three times in the time it took to swing the huge sword. Once the player learns combos that combine the power of both swords, mooks just don't match up. Ultimately, it is the katana that proves crucial to defeating the tricky Final Boss.
  • Bloodborne has a katana weapon, the Chikage (which scales with Bloodtinge, damage increasing the higher you go).
  • In Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Katanas have the highest number of learnable techniques out of any weapon class by far, though their normal attack is a bit slow and has a weird hitbox. By the end of the game, this probably won't matter since you'll probably have enough MP and MP regen to spam techniques as much as you want.
  • The katana is the most balanced and easiest weapon to master in Bushido Blade. There's also a pretty good subversion with the characters Katze and Tsubame, who both wield guns. Oh, but you have a katana; with such a superior weapon, you can simply deflect their bullets and then effortlessly glide in for the kill, right? Nope, they just shoot your ass, and you die.
  • Zig-zagged throughout the Castlevania games. For example, in Curse of Darkness, the nodachi (A larger cousin of the katana) is both slightly more powerful and much faster than the comparable Western sword, the Zweihänder, while in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, the katanas are actually among the weaker weapons, with what advantage they have being entirely in attack speed and angle. They are actually overall slower than longswords even in Dawn of Sorrow due to the gaping lag time following each swing. Katanas only hit sooner because Soma uses them in a quick-draw style. You can cancel out of the lag with a backstep, though. This is also because the Katana is a weapon type. It is one of the weaker weapons of that type, but with souls, can be upgraded. Even at the highest stage, the katana-esque weapon is one of the less useful ones compared with the highest stages of, say, the great sword (Claimh Solais), normal sword (the intense multi-hit wind attacking Valmanway) or the spear (Gunger).
  • Katanas are some of the best melee weapons in Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead. Unfortunately, as the game takes place in a semi-futuristic New England, most of the ones you find are cheap replicas that break easily, but if you are lucky enough to find a real one, much carnage will ensue for the zombies.
  • Chrono Trigger: Crono, the main character, wields a katana as his weapon, and his ultimate weapon, the Rainbow Sword, is the most powerful PC weapon in the game. (However, the random damage multipliers of Lucca's Wondershot can sometimes best it.) Note that Chrono lives in a European-esque ye olde medieval kingdom. That said, in-verse, it's the European-styled Masamune that serves the series Legendary Sword of Plot Advancement because it can literally cut through magic.
  • Civilization:
    • In Civilization III, the advantage of using a Japanese build is the ability to make Samurai troops, which are pictured as katana-wielding foot soldiers in kimonos. They have a higher attack stat than most other Medieval-era units, able to outmatch the Knight, Swordsman, and even the War Elephant in combat. The Samurai makes the Medieval era the best time to be a Japan player.
    • In Civilization IV, the samurai remains as a unique unit for the Japanese but it replaces macemen. It has the ability to deal damage before the enemy gets to attack, in a similar way to archers. This is arguably logical, though, since historically samurai were archers on the battlefield, the sword being a sidearm. The order of favored arms for a battlefield-era samurai would have gone from bow, then to spear/polearm, then to sword.
    • In Civilization V, the Samurai is still a Japanese unique unit, replacing western longswordsman. Has more combat strength than its counterpart and generates more points for great generals, but its main advantage, Bushido, is shared by every other Japanese unit (Bushido allows Japanese units to fight as though they were at full strength all the time).
  • In Combat Arms, the ninjato, while technically not a katana, (but close enough) is one of the most effective melee games in the game, being able to kill at a farther range. Considered to be a Game-Breaker for this reason and for the fact that it can can only be bought with NX points, which can only be obtained with real money.
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, the Empire of the Rising Sun's basic infantry normally uses laser rifles...but activating their secondary ability causes them to ignite laser katanas and charge the nearest enemy infantry for an instant kill. The Empire's Shogun Executioner has three lightning katanas that don't just slice through tanks (literally), but can create base-destroying earthquakes.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day: As demonstrated, Conker selects the katana from a wall of weapons to kill the alien at the end of the game. In actual gameplay, they are capable of one-hit kills as long as the user gets close enough and keeps the user from showing up on the enemy's radar.
  • Contra:
    • In Neo Contra, Jaguar can use his katana, which can kill enemies and bosses in a few swings. He is a Human Alien samurai, after all.
    • In Hard Corps: Uprising, Sayuri eschews the massive death-dealing rifles of her comrades in favour of a samurai's sword. Considering that, properly upgraded, can slice through bosses like straw and can allow for Sword Beams, it's not entirely unjustified. Tiberius also wields one.
  • Daikatana. Not only a powerful melee weapon in its own right, but it has random powers of time travel. The trope is hilariously (and frustratingly) inverted when grates that can be knocked open with a mere pistol cannot be opened with the most powerful sword in history.
  • All three of the Dark Souls games include a variety of different katanas. They're faster than other swords due to being in the dexterity category of weaponry, and many of them also have a small number of other abilities.
  • The Dark Spire has an example similar to Baldur's Gate above, where it deals d10 damage. Thing is, it only has a natural 1d10 on it, inverting this early on since the 2d6 estoc does more damage on average. Later on, when you have more innate attacks on your characters, having a mere 1 on the weapon compared to a 2 or 3 doesn't mean as much when you have five rolls in addition to what the weapon provides. Katanas obtained by drops are similar - they give only one additional attack die instead of the two or three other weapons give, but they have such a high die roll that they end up outclassing the other ones. Lastly, they're the only weapon type that provides an instant kill on crit regardless of the class using it.
  • Dead Island has these as a rare weapon, with one being obtained for killing The Butcher of Banoi. High damage, fast strikes, long range, and effective at slicing apart anyone in the game, only offset by low durability and high repair and upgrade costs. In the hands of Xian, it's a Game-Breaker, with even more damage, high stamina, a One-Hit Kill skill, and buffs including more experience for slicing off limbs.
  • In the Devil May Cry series, Dante, the main character, wields as his primary weapons a broadsword and twin pistols. He amasses numerous other weapons, both melee and firearms, in each game. His brother and Worthy Opponent, Vergil, uses a katana and has eschewed firearms as being beneath him. When Dante does get his hands on a katana, incidentally his brother's old "Yamato", he is less competent with it than with any of the other weapons, demonstrated as a tiny moveset. Nero's Devil Trigger spirit uses a version of Vergil's with considerable reach and grants moves superior to those Nero can do without it. Heck, Yamato itself is a plot device in the fourth and fifth games. It's just that awesome. Not to mention a whole lot of people are 'handed' the sword throughout the course of the series and get a taste of its awesomeness.
  • In the original Diablo, greatswords are modeled after the katana. They're the most powerful swords in the game, on paper, but generally ill-advised to wield nonetheless, because they're two-handed weapons and as such you cannot have a shield with one... which fits the imagery of katana, to be fair. On the other hand, the unique greatsword called The Grandfather, which can be wielded one-handed, is seen as one of the most powerful weapons in the game.
  • DOTA 2:
    • Juggernaut uses a katana and is very effective with it, able to spin around, do critical damage, and even enter an invulnerable state. He is one of the best "carries" at getting kills in the early game. However, other sword-wielding carries, such as Phantom Assassin and Chaos Knight, deal higher critical damage and can potentially hit much harder than Juggernaut with the same amount of late-game farm.
    • You also have the Yasha, a katana one can build. It gives a good boost to agility and speed. However, it's only really a transitional item that builds into other items, most of which AREN'T katanas.
  • There are two katanas in Drakengard, Nobuyoshi and Takamasa, and they both do good damage, have decent range, and have useful magic attacks, qualifying them as among the best weapons in the game. They are outclassed by certain other swords though.
  • In Dungeon Crawl the Katana was a decent weapon, but not the best even in its class (double swords being a better 1-handed long blade, demon whips/scourges, and demon tridents/trishulas best 1-handers, ...). However, due to this very trope katanas were removed as ordinary item, leaving just a mediocre fixed artefact.
  • Parodied in Dungeons of Dredmor. The description of the Katana claims "All the best stuff is made in Japan" but there are better swords for raw damage. The Katana is still the best one you can craft and the hardest for enemies to dodge, however, so it's good for some characters.
  • In a very weird case of Anachronism Stew, Zhou Tai of Dynasty Warriors is often shown carrying what is a katana in all but name, in 2nd-century China. His weapon has, among other things, great speed, good reach, a wide area of effect, and respectable power, making him something of a Lightning Bruiser among the other characters in the game. This carries over to Warriors Orochi, where he manages to outdo the Japanese warriors who would be expected to use katana.
  • Samurai Warriors downplays this. While a few characters do use Katanas, they're only a small fraction of the game's playable cast.
  • Teddy of EarthBound Beginnings is the only one able to equip the Katana, the game's most powerful weapon. The Japanese version of the game even goes to the lengths to call it "KATANA" in English, all-caps, in a sort of roundabout Gratuitous English.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In the series' Backstory, katanas were favored weapons of the Akaviri invaders who attacked Tamriel in the late 1st Era. Though they were defeated, they influenced Tamriellic culture and the katana stayed as a prominent weapon, especially among the Blades.
    • Malacath, the Daedric Prince of the Spurned and Ostracized and patron deity of the Orcs, is typically depicted as wielding a large two-handed blade, like a dai-katana. Despite this, the artifact weapons most associated with him are the mace Scourge and the warhammer Volendrung.
    • What's the strongest one-handed melee weapon in Daggerfall? The Katana, which is lighter than all three weapons that come close. What's the strongest two-handed melee weapon? The Dai-Katana, which is significantly lighter than all two-handed weapons (except the staff, which is easily the weakest two-handed weapon).
    • Morrowind plays this trope straight, as the strongest non-unique swords in the game are Daedric dai-katanas. There is also an enchanted artifact sword Goldbrand, which, along with its hard to find upgraded version, Eltonbrand, is a one-handed katana.
    • Oblivion also plays this straight. Akaviri katanas are lighter and do more damage than regular steel swords, making them a great lower-tier option. Goldbrand makes another appearance as one of the strongest one-handed weapons in the game.
    • Played straight in Skyrim with Dragonbane, an Akaviri katana which is the best weapon against dragons (+40 damage), with a power that scales depending on the level you find it at, reaching Daedric stats at high levels. The Ebony Blade, a legendary Daedric artifact weapon, can be powered up and becomes one of the strongest weapons in the game. It is a two-handed katana.
  • Being the Spiritual Successor of Dark Souls, it comes as no surprise that Elden Ring has a nice selection of katanas as well.
  • Fable:
    • A katana is more powerful than any other melee weapon of the same material. One-handed weapons anyway. The greatsword does more damage, has greater range, and can hit multiple enemies with one swing, but it moves much slower.
    • The sequel completely reversed this, making the Katana class the weakest melee weapons in the game (and the fastest). Although the katana among the legendary weapons does more damage than any other one-handed melee weapon.
  • Fallout:
    • In the Fallout 3 add-on "Mothership Zeta", you can find a katana that belongs to a samurai that was kidnapped by the aliens. If you give it back to him, he'll slaughter the advanced aliens. If you keep it, it is easily in the top tier of melee weapons in terms of damage, only falling behind for lack of perks boosting its power.
    • Fallout: New Vegas brings back the Katana in the "Gun Runner's Arsenal" DLC and it is still regarded as the king of one-handed melee weapons as it have a double critical rate, limb damage bonus, and has a special VATS attack that does 250% damage
  • Your reward for finding letters of mutinying Japanese WWII soldiers in Far Cry 3 is a tanto knife that replaces your normal machete. Unsurprisingly, it is more than just a normal sword: it does double damage, meaning it's easier to chew through the later-game super mooks with.
  • The only justifiable reason is that the spirit of Lord Himuro from Fatal Frame was able to attack you with a ghost katana.
  • Subverted trope in Final Fantasy Tactics; the samurai class and katana become available fairly late compared with basic western equivalents, but are nothing special in gameplay or narrative terms. The top of the heap are the Knight Swords (higher attack and powerful passive benefits) and the special character Knight classes that use them. Either that or a Monk using their bare fists.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 doesn't have Katanas as a stronger weapon type in general (although the Hyakushiki-masamune is tied with the Tournesol for the best Attack, not counting the Sequencer), but the skills learned from them, most notably Dual Wield, are much more powerful. And by extension, the katana-wielding Paravir is easily the most physically powerful close-range class. Ninjas less so, but they have the best speed growths of any hume class (they are both Glass Cannon classes, though). Although the Samurai and Ninja are very powerful classes, that can overpower the rest when properly utilized, katanas and ninja swords are atrociously weak. The game's Infinity +1 Sword (the Javelin II) is a polearm, and Knight Swords and Fell Swords are stronger and more versatile than even the highest-level katana.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, katanas are the weapons of choice for the Samurai job, archetypal 'selfish DPS' who focus on peerless personal damage at the expense of team buffs and utility. In other words, the Warrior of Light can match or exceed any of their more flashy and exotic DPS options simply by becoming really good with a medium-sized (but extremely sharp) sword. For a villainous example, we got Stormblood's main villain, Zenos yae Galvus, whose main weapons are Doman-made katanas (because he's part of an Un-Sorcerer race, and the katana arts of Doma and Hingashi are notable for prioritising technique over magical power). And he uses them to whoop the Warrior of Light's ass.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The series goes back and forth with the Killing Edge; it is a katana in some games, but not in others. In addition, the Killer Lance in Fire Emblem: Awakening is a naginata.
    • There's a recurring weapon known as the Wo Dao which is slightly weaker or equal in Might to a Killing Edge, with a slightly higher crit rate.
    • Lyndis' personal swords in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade are katanas.
    • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, there's the Vague Katti. In Path of Radiance, it essentially takes the place of the Wo Dao. In Radiant Dawn it's the strongest sword in terms of raw power, but gives a lower stat bonus and lacks extra bonuses like Ragnell and Alondite's ranged attacks or Amiti's extra attacks.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, katanas became their own weapon subtype. Compared to regular swords, they provide a small boost to user's speed at the cost of lowering their defense, making this trope either played straight or averted depending on the individual characters, rather than as a whole. Ryoma's legendary sword Raijinto and the S-ranked sword Hagakure Blade are both katanas, and while the Avatar's Yato doesn't look the part, it is classified in-game as one.
  • Fossil Fighters has Mihu, a vivosaur based on a Japanese ceratopsian. It resembles a small Triceratops with katanas for horns. And it's considered part of a special "Japanese vivosaur" set that can use one of the most powerful (and expensive) team skills in the game.
  • Ghostrunner: The Architect refers to the katanas the Ghostrunner wields as Tsuru-GR weapons, the pinnacle of engineering, and instruments fine-tuned to the Ghostrunners' systems. It's also implied that the Architect choose this form of weapon for his creations because he actually doesn't really know a lot about fighting.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City: Chainsaw Good, because it can kill in one hit. But Katanas Are Just Better because Tommy can run with them and still kill in one hit. However, the chainsaw does much more damage to objects (like cars) than the katana.
  • Gungnir actually inverts this. Katanas are not only the worst weapon in the game, but they can only be used by two classes, and even then only to counter, assuming you figure out how to even do so. Even the joke weapons on Nightmare difficulty are better than them.
  • In Hotline Miami, a katana is one of the better melee weapons you can find, having both good reach and speed (damage being unimportant since everything dies in one hit).
  • In Kirby Super Star, the Katana found in The Great Cave Offensive is the most valuable item in the game (990,000 G to be exact).
  • In La-Mulana the Katana deals good damage, is about as fast as the whip, and has a very effective hit area. Unless you figure out how to completely power up the whip, you'll be using the katana as your main weapon (with some Axe thrown in for overhead enemies) once you get it.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 features melee weapons including the katana, which slices zombies up quite well (only the machete and police baton can be swung faster, and alongside the golf clubs from The Passing that share its stats it has the widest reach). It might seem odd at first to find katanas all over the Deep South, but they're probably one of the most common swords around thanks to their popularity as bric-a-brac. On the other hand, the characters don't know what to make of all the cricket bats they find.
  • Katanas appear a few times in the The Legend of Zelda series, though with varying effectiveness.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, each of the Garo ninjas dual-wield a pair of kodachi. Link can easily block the blades of the rank-and-file members with his shield, but the Garo Masters can channel fire and ice magic through their swords and will quickly overwhelm unwary players.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Ganondorf menaces Link with a katana, and later pulls out two of them in the final battle. Appropriately, he is a Lightning Bruiser who can take on both Link and the bow-wielding Zelda at once.
    • Inverted in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The only character who has a katana is Peater, who has undergone severe Badass Decay and doesn't use it for anything except cutting bamboo. Link carries the knightly longsword known as the Goddess Sword throughout the game and derives several magical abilities from it. It becomes the Master Sword later on.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild subverts this in terms of plot and gameplay. It is mentioned that Hylians could not become accustomed to the katanas wielded by the Sheikah, who had to learn new smithing techniques. The katanas that Link can use in the game, such as the Eightfold Blade, also have limitations. They are advertised in their descriptions as having the sharpest conventional blades and they are a step up from the initial weapons, but they can be outclassed by future ones. There is also the Windcleaver, a two-handed katana dropped by high-ranking members of the antagonistic Yiga Clan. Although each swing unleashes a Razor Wind, which can be handy for fighting foes from a distance, it's fairly brittle compared to other weapons of similar strength.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, in his days before becoming the Demon King, Ganondorf was the World's Best Warrior in terms of pure combat ability, and his personal weapon was a katana. He is one of the very few enemies able to match Link in skill, even discounting his Gloom-based powers.
  • In the roguelike game Liberal Crime Squad, this trope is subverted by the identical damage and accuracy of the katana/wazikashi combo and European fantasy sword, both of which have lower damage values than the weakest firearm (a .22 revolver). It is saved from complete uselessness by the game treating all combat as point blank.
  • In Lords of Xulima katanas are hands down the best weapon type in the swords category, with good speed, massive bleed damage, and solid hitting power.
  • In MapleStory, the Red Katana weapon is regarded as one of the fastest weapons in the game.
  • In Marvel vs. Capcom 3 both Vergil and Dante are in the game. Vergil is a far more powerful character compared with Dante. His katana slashes do far more damage than Dante's guns, and it requires far more combos by Dante to dominate a character compared with Vergil who uses all kinds of Katana-based special attacks. In the hands of a good player, Vergil can be just as powerful as Phoenix, especially using X Factor, hence most pro gamers using Vergil as part of their main team when competing.
  • In Mass Effect 3, Cerberus Phantoms and Kai Leng wield katanas, and Phantoms are incredibly agile and hard to hit while Kai Leng has the strongest shields in the game, making them both very formidable enemies.
  • Played straight in Mega Man X6 where Zero's Z-saber becomes shaped like a katana post-resurrection. Later inverted with the same character in Mega Man Zero: the katana shape remains the same until halfway through the series, where it becomes a more triangular shape.
  • Metal Gear Solid:
  • In Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae, Misa fights demons and monsters with a katana. The katana however runs on a Katana Meter which is not only used for basic blade strikes (upgrades reduce its consumption rate) but also special attacks such as Iai Strike and Divine Wind techniques. Suzuka, Misa's friend and former classmate, however, is possessed by an evil artifact known as the Demon Blade, a katana that steals the blood and life-force of its wielder.
  • The katana is the single most powerful melee weapon in Mother Russia Bleeds, capable of killing multiple enemies in a single swing. The only downsides are that it's found in only one location in the game kept at the government HQ in a glass case and the game ups the ante immediately after you get it by throwing dozens upon dozens of mooks at you at once.
  • Katana, wakizashi, and nōdachi are secret weapons in Mount & Blade. Subverted because comparable buyable weapons are statistically better, and can even have positive modifiers, which the secret weapons can't have, due to being unbuyable. Due to being free, relatively easy to locate, and more powerful than most gear that can be found at low levels, they make fine Disc One Nukes, but fall well short of late-game gear.
  • In Neon White, White's default Soul Card weapon is a katana; other characters gush at him about how cool his "freaking anime sword" is (and bemoan how lame their own cards are in comparison).
    The attached note reads: "According to our records, White's ideal weapon is a 'totally sick samurai sword'."
  • In NetHack, while the Katana is certainly the strongest vanilla longsword, the Artifact katana Snickersnee is outclassed by more impressive traditional longswords like Fire and Ice Brand, as well as the special longsword Excalibur, as it only offers bonuses to hit and minor damage, as opposed to automatic improved searching and level drain resistance like Excalibur, or the double damage against non-resistant enemies like Fire and Ice Brand. However, the Samurai quest Artifact, the Tsurugi of Muramasa, is indeed a fearsome weapon that can bisect non-gigantic creatures, its only drawback being that it is a two-handed weapon (specifically, a broadsword-type).
  • Both Neverwinter Nights games have katanas, but they are just as powerful as other swords in their tier. However, possibly a nod to Baldur's Gate, a certain katana called Divine Fury does electrical damage. The names of the special katana also tend to be a bit cooler and more exotic than the other special weapons, i.e. "Divine Fury, Kaga-To, Naught Katana, Enchanted Papyrus Blade, Shishi-O, Master Li's Way, and of course, the Sword Saint Legacy.
  • In Ninja Blade, one of the three weapons available to you is a katana. Also the eponymous Ninja Blade is also a katana. A katana with a blade made of the protagonist's own blood.
  • The aptly named Dragon Sword in the Ninja Gaiden series is Ryu's default weapon. This unassuming (though still legendary) Katana is the Jack of All Stats, which in the context of the series makes it an incredibly reliable weapon in every situation. There are plenty of weapons that hit harder or faster, but the Dragon Sword will never be rendered obsolete due to its versatility. It helps that the sword gets a plot-driven boost in most of the games.
  • No More Heroes:
    • Travis' best Energy Weapon is a beam katana, stronger than all others, never running out of energy with the right upgrade, and somehow curved despite being a beam of light emitted from a single point. It also has the ability to split into three blades to hit a wider arc during one of his Finishing Moves. All of Travis' weapons are called beam katanas, though admittedly the Tsubaki/Camellia Mk. III is the only one that resembles the name. Also, the Mk. II is more powerful than the Mk. III. The game is close to the ultimate example of this trope given you play a loser who becomes an assassin simply because he won a beam katana on the Internet. The game especially reinforces how great katanas are given the diversity and craziness of your opponents' weapons.
    • Thunder Ryu is at one point shown using a weapon called the "D.O.S.", to which the name "beam katana" is a pretty apt description - it even gets a scabbard in concept art that it plugs into like a regular katana. While the player doesn't get to see much awesomeness from it in-game (Thunder Ryu blocks one or two of Speed Buster's Wave-Motion Gun-type attacks with it, but then gets hit and killed by another one), it's the weapon you get to make the aforementioned Mk. III out of after Travis retrieves it at the end of the stage it shows up in.
    • Shinobu uses a classical katana in both games. She definitely plays the trope straight in the first where she is frequently considered one of the hardest fights if you don't know how to handle her. Of course, the game is pretty much satirising this trope, given that even Death Metal's giant straight razor thing is classified as a "katana".
  • Nuclear Throne actually averts this, but later plays it straight. Chicken's beloved katana is actually one of the weakest melee weapons in the game, but if the player leaves it behind and loops the game, it can be upgraded into the Black Sword. While it's still not the most powerful thing around, it still packs a decent punch and gets much stronger during Chicken's Time-Delayed Death.
  • Amusingly true of things named Katana as well. The Katana HAR of One Must Fall 2097 is considered one of the best robots in the game, being fast, powerful, and with good reach as well possessing tons of invincibility frames and an enormous damage radius because of the huge monomolecular blades it has instead of hands. In the face of robots with rocket launchers, grenades, flamethrowers, Eye Beams, Hard Light clones, intangibility, and the ability freeze time itself, a Katana's blades are demonstrably superior—it has the second highest tier rating in the game.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2:
    • Zig Zagged by the Katana weapon class. Not only are they quick and powerful, but they can be used to block and counter foes. However, some Katanas more closely resemble rapiers or longswords (and some even have scabbards resembling shields,) and those weapons may be better in quality than the weapons that actually look like katanas depending on the player's current gear. In addition, the available Weapon Camo options allow the player to invoke or avert this trope.
    • In-story, Regius of the Council of Six wields the Genesis Weapon Yonohate. Despite being a decidedly ordinary-looking Japanese katana in stark contrast to all of the futuristic sci-fi weaponry in the game, it's rumored to have enough power to destroy a planet and is kept sealed at all times. He uses it to one-shot Dark Falz Loser.
  • In Princess Maker 2 katanas are better than Mithril swords!
  • Sorta subverted in the MMO Ragnarok Online where the basic Katana has the lowest base attack and weapon level of its weapon class (unless you use the card system to power it up a certain way then it becomes formable) however some other swords of Japanese origin are quite powerful weapons.
  • Record of Lodoss War, an anime influenced almost entirely by Dungeons & Dragons and other Western role-playing tropes, featured no Eastern swords at all, but the Dreamcast game based on it includes a folded-steel "Oriental Sword", which has an absolutely absurd critical-hit rate and deals eight times normal damage on a critical strike (the average weapon's critical deals double damage or less). Needless to say, that makes it one of the game's best weapons, especially when you can customize a weapon to give it a 100% critical chance.
  • Played straight in ''Robo Pit". The slashing class of weapons includes axes, scythes, and swords, but the 'Blade' is the best of them all. While it has a lower Power rating than the rest, it has insanely high speed and allows for four heavy slashes before an enemy is knocked away (whereas the other slashing weapons only allow two heavy attacks before knocking your opponent back). This makes for -much- faster K.O.'s, not only out of the slashing weapons but probably ALL of the melee weapons in the game. In case there was any doubt the 'Blade' was modeled off of a katana, the only enemy bot you can obtain it from is the Special Robot named Samurai.
  • In Rogue (at least some versions, such as iRogue for Palm), the katana is the most powerful stock weapon available and is essentially a necessity in the deeper dungeons. The easiest way to get one is with a "create object" scroll, as actual katanas on the dungeon floor are very rare.
  • Romancing SaGa: There is only one technique exclusive to the Katana: Gust Blade. It involves dashing past the opponent while cutting them and then they fly up into the air. Its stronger versions are The Surge and Surging Headwind, the latter of which incorporates ice into the attack. Sadly, these eat up a lot of Battle Points (which are required to use techniques).
  • Rune Factory Frontier has katanas classified as double-handed weapons. They have a slightly better range than other Two-handed swords, and they can stun enemies.
  • In the original Gameboy SaGa games (Final Fantasy Legend) katanas (and knives) are Agility-based weapons and European swords are Strength-based. While the Agility-based weapons sort of win out because they increase Agility and thus your chances of hitting faster late-game opponents, the European sword Excalibur ("XCalibur") is the only weapon in the game that will never break. In the third game, which follows a more traditional inventory system, the Excalibur is simply the strongest "Mystic Weapon", with the katana Masamune in second place.
  • Zigzagged in SaGa Frontier. The strongest katana is only the fifth-strongest sword in the game, and it is only available as a rare drop against certain enemies except in a couple scenarios, but there are sword techniques only available to those using a katana and many sword techniques are slightly easier to learn with a katana rather than a regular sword.
  • Katanas are favored by the Ronin in Saints Row 2, and it's one of the better melee weapons The Boss can wield. Good thing, since there are two fights where he/she is forced to use one. Although, the end of the second battle subverts the trope quite nicely:
    Kazuo Akuji: Did you really think you could match my skill?
    The Boss: No... (pulls a pistol and shoots him) I'm gonna cheat.
  • In Sakura Wars, Sakura Shinguji and Gemini Sunrise both wield katanas. Player Characters Ichiro Ogami and Shinjiro Taiga do them better by duel-wielding katanas. To top it off, their Kohbu/Stars wield them as well.
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice:
    • Katanas hardly stand out in Sengoku-era Japan, but Wolf's katana, Kusabimaru, seems virtually unbreakable, considering the kind of stuff he can block with it (it may actually be unbreakable, as it is noted to be a Hirata heirloom). Other than its apparent indestructibility, however, it is still a normal katana and, while it can slice through most enemies thanks to Wolf's great skill, it is utterly useless against the Armored Warrior, who's decked out in plate armor.
    • The Mortal Blades are a straighter example of this trope, being magical katanas that can kill even immortal beings. Granted, their magic has little to do with them being katanas.
  • In Shadow the Hedgehog, you can find "samurai swords" in special weapon boxes. Although they are close-range melee weapons as compared with the guns, they are still extremely powerful and can destroy almost any robot or thing with one swing, as well as shoot out shockwaves.
  • Both versions of Shadow Warrior feature the katana as Lo Wang's personal weapon. The Katana is more than capable of taking apart lesser enemies in the 1997 original game, but in the 2013 remake, Lo Wang's katana can be used extensively given the proper upgrades and skills, and he can even assemble and wield a katana called the Nobitsura Kage that at full power can rip enemies apart with Sword Lines and even kill the immortal Ancients of the Shadow Realm.
  • Shadowverse: Interestingly enough, Erika's sword resembles a katana, even though the kingdom she serves is European-centric.
  • A Justified Trope whenever it crops up in the Silent Hill series — katanas, where present, are generally among the best melee weapons in the game. They're also one of the few melee weapons appearing in the series that were actually intended to be weapons, rather than just being a random object you could conceivably hit or stab someone with.
  • Every game in the Siren Games features a katana as a weapon. In the first game, it's the Homurangi, the traditions-old blade in Jun's real family, obtained after killing a shibito-turned Jun during the final battle and used against Datatsushi. This is same for the game's remake/reimagining, Siren: Blood Curse. In the second game, the blades in the final boss fight are actually transformed versions of artefacts that are from the body of the deity that created Mother and Otoshigo.
  • In South Park: The Stick of Truth, the Sweet Katana is the most powerful melee weapon in the game, by virtue of it being one of the few you can use that was actually intended as a real weapon, rather than being a toy or a repurposed tool.
  • In SUPERHOT, katanas are the only bladed melee weapons in the game. They have an advantage over other melee weapons in that they're unbreakable, are lethal when thrown, and if you aim it just right, can slice incoming bullets.
  • The Infinity +1 Sword in Super Robot Wars: Original Generation is a katana for Humongous Mecha called the Shishioh Blade. It's not the most powerful weapon in the game, but it's the most generally useful melee weapon since it deals as much damage as many Limit Breaks yet has no energy or morale requirements.
  • Tales of Phantasia is mostly based on Norse Mythology. So it's no surprise that the best weapons for the protagonist are based in Norse and Arthurian myth, with the katana trailing far behind. If you visit Japoni at the earliest opportunity, the Muramasa is the best slash weapon for a while. Just not forever.
  • Team Fortress 2 has a katana that can be used by the Soldier and Demoman. Killing an enemy with it heals you fully, but when you pull it out in combat, you can't switch weapons until you've killed an enemy with it, leaving you vulnerable to your enemies' guns. It can also kill other katana users in one hit. It is a bit of an aversion. Barring the one-hit kill potential against other katana users (and being the only sword weapon the Demoman can use that still gets random crits) it does the same damage as most of the other melee weapons in the game, and the other Demoman swords also have the same extra melee range, plus other abilities that can be more useful for the "Demoknight" playstyle. In the end, it's playstyle-dependent. One has to keep in mind that by equipping the aforementioned katana as a Demoman armed with one of the shields and a pair of boots, you effectively get a weapon that has no drawbacks. It provides health on kill and benefits from random critical hits (which other swords trade for additional range). The only drawback is the lack of extra range. The katana is the weapon of choice for when you want to berserk; thanks to the random crits and health on kill, killing sprees become quite common!
  • Yoshimitsu from the Tekken games is for some reason allowed to bring a katana to a fistfight. Naturally, he's got a lot of manoeuvres that you can't block with your bare arms. Realistic in a way — a katana really would be better in most situations than a bare hand, that's why people like weapons.
  • Subverted in Total War: Shogun 2: The Fall of the Samurai trailer. It shows all the work and training that goes into making and mastering a katana. The charging line of katana-wielding samurai then get mowed down by an American Gatling gun which is made in factories and takes a few days of training to use.
    • Even in the normal Shogun 2, the Katana samurai is only a Jack of All Trades. They have good attack, armor, and morale, but other more specialized units beat the Katana Samurai in one or multiple regards. Just about every unit has a Katana on their model, but many just have it there for a backup weapon, and sword does not make, say, a ashigaru archer any good in melee. On the other hand, the Portuguese Terços, whose primary weapon are matchlock guns, aren't all that bad in melee with their sabers.
  • Two Worlds: Katanas and other Eastern-style swords are among the most powerful 2-handed swords in the game. You don't start finding them until you're near endgame character levels (about 35-40+).
  • In Unturned, the katana is a very good weapon: light-weight, fast, and powerful, but rare.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, the katana, while faster, is not as good as the bush hook, a modified gardening tool used like a polearm. The PC's own claws are also superior if your Protean is high enough. However, the Special Katana owned by a certain sect of psychotic vampires has the rare ability to pierce the defensive ability of Vampires and other Supernatural Enemies, making it possibly the most effective weapon for almost everyone thanks to its combination of range, speed, damage, and armor-piercing properties.
  • Warframe's Nikana and upgraded Dragon Nikana are among the most powerful melee weapons in the game, only being outclassed in damage-per-second by clumsy BFSes and hammers. The Nikana is fast, attacking almost instantly as it is drawn from the scabbard. It has the widest selection of Melee Stance mods available; the Reverse Grip "Blind Justice", single-handed "Tranquil Cleave", and twin-handed "Decisive Judgement". Later on, we get the two-handed Nikana weapon type, which are effectively nodachi in all but name. And after spending a lot of time being usable only by the Dax Super-Soldier Teshin, we finally get access to the Dual Nikanas weapon type after The Duviri Paradox, starting with Teshin's signature blades the Sun and Moon.
  • WarioWare has the twins Kat and Ana, who wield katanas.
  • WET: Rubi combines this trope with Guns Akimbo to devastating effect.
  • In early Wizardry games, the "Muramasa Blade" (exclusive to the unlockable Samurai class) serves as an Infinity +1 Sword three times more powerful than the next-strongest weapon in the game. Given the Wizardry series's massive popularity in Japan and laying the foundations of the Eastern RPG, Japanese fans often consider it the Trope Maker for this concept as it appears in video games.
  • Dunban from Xenoblade Chronicles 1 uses these as his weapons of choice. He's also the first character to get a weapon that's capable of piercing the armor of Mechon without the aid of the Monado.
  • Referred to as 'Chroma Katanas' in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, weapons of this type can be provided by Tank-class Blades, whose role is to Draw Aggro in battle. Drivers that use these Blades in battle are invariably Iaijutsu Practitioners. Notable examples of Blades that confer a Chroma Katana to their Driver include Aegaeon, Perceval, Newt and Theory.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles X, the Longsword weapon type varies from mechanical straight swords to laser-chainsaws. However, the traditional katanas dropped by endgame bosses severely outclass every other weapon in the game.
  • Citan Uzuki of Spiritual Predecessor Xenogears was capable of taking down mech-scale enemies with his katana. Then again, this was Citan. Jin can slice Mechs and aliens in half with one slash. And his own mech is equipped with a BFS version of a katana too. It's worth noting that despite being a swordmaster, Citan chooses to spend half the game fighting with his fists specifically because using his katana would be overkill. He only brings it out when things start to really get serious.
  • Jin Uzuki of Xenosaga II and III wields a katana forty-seven thousand years in the future when everyone else is using massively tech-y weapons. And he's effective.
  • Subverted in Yandere Simulator. While the katana looks cool, it looks suspicious as all hell to carry around, you can't conceal it like you could a knife, and its large size makes it impractical for close-quarters combat with teachers or heroes.
  • Some of the translations of the Ys games have a katana as a weapon. When it does, it's either the best or second-best weapon that money can buy. Of course, there are also much better swords out there that money can't buy, which are generally needed in order to beat the final boss.
  • Zombieville USA has the katana as the final upgrade in the melee line, and it is one of the more useful weapons since you can never run out of ammo and it will knock back the zombies, assuming it doesn't kill them first.

    Visual Novels 
  • Assassin from Fate/stay night uses an extremely long-bladed katana (nodachi, really). The weapon's great reach, his excellent skills, and a nigh-undodgeable ultimate technique make him a very difficult recurring opponent to the Western swordswoman protagonist, Saber. This technique isn't even really a special, unique skill like the other Servants have — He's just that good. Unusually, the story does point out a weakness in katanas/nodachis when compared to heavy Western blades: they get chipped and bent easily. When he duels Saber and her magic Western longsword, he can only parry her blows, since blocking them would damage his nodachi while leaving Saber's own sword undamaged. When he's forced to block one of her attacks anyways, the resulting bend on his sword leaves a fatal opening in his strongest sword attack, which Saber naturally exploits to defeat him.
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, the Killer Peach's weapon of choice, which she uses to decapitate her victims, is a katana. It belonged to one of her victims, and she took it up to emulate a hero from one of her child's fairytales.

    Web Animation 

  • Backward Compatible cites this very site and page in a strip about Left 4 Dead 2, but then suggests that a swung guitar is even better.
  • Boxer Hockey: Daisuke, who is Japanese, defends his honor with a katana when he was promised a win (with pay) by Skip, and lost the game.
  • In Corgi Quest, Kousuke Shiba's weapon of choice is a katana, to go with his role as a Samurai.
  • Cyanide and Happiness: Barack Obama wants to take away your guns... and replace them with GODDAMN KATANAS.
  • Demon Hunter Kain: Kain's abilities include conjuring a Tanto out of thin air, and upgrading it into a katana.
  • Electric Wonderland has two characters with katanas: NJ (who doesn't use his that often) and Natasha Wing (whose katana doubles as a Laser Blade).
  • In a flashback scene in Everyday Heroes, Jane's mother (a former ninja) protests that Jane is old enough to get a katana for Christmas (which is the cue for a shout-out to A Christmas Story).
  • In Harkovast, a battle is looking dire for one side until an ally shows up and defeats the enemy with little effort. Of course, unlike the other combatants that were losing their lives on the battlefield, he wields a katana!
  • In Homestuck, several characters use swords regularly and all use katanas, though it's usually subverted:
    • Dave's katana breaks during a fight with Bro. His stronger swords are based on European ones.
    • Jack's own sword, despite being a katana when Jade prototyped the crow, is more of a generic sword shape than anything else, and he beats Bro by killing him with his own sword.
    • Played straight with Bro's sword, which is unbreakable and capable of slicing meteors in half. This also applies to his post-scratch self, who wields the same katana.
  • Deconstructed in Latchkey Kingdom, in the "Clover Towers" patron-sponsored arc. Holden insists on being the one to take on an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy swordsman from the equivalent to Japan purely to prove a point. He blocks with his shield, which cracks the blade because it has an eighth inch of pot steel nailed to the edge. Holden then explains the lore of katanas being folded over 10,000 times is actually to compensate for poor quality iron and not heating ore hot enough to fix that. He then pulls away and bends the sword with his axe, splintering it, then offers to help pick out a more durable replacement sword.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Azurites and the Sapphire Guard paladins fight with katanas (justified by Azure City being the Stick-verse's Wutai setting). Subverted by Belkar and Nale, who've both fought with katanas they stole from Azurites, but who switch to their weapon of choice at the first opportunity.
    Nale: I prefer longswords, actually.
  • Ronin Galaxy: The main character uses a samurai's traditional katana-wakazashi combo, despite the setting being in the future where guns are still widespread. This is justified by the swords having a function that can allow them to deflect incoming blows automatically, with a margin of error...
  • Zigzagged in Thunderstruck. A traditionally made katana contains some of the forger's faith, making it dangerous to supernaturals. Then a vampire picks up a metal pipe.
    Vampire: But it's still just a katana. They're surprisingly fragile weapons.
  • Hatz from Tower of God dual-wields Katana, though it is not as simple as you think. One is a Flying Weapon, the other shoots Sword Beams. So these Katana actually are better. To contrast that, Hong Chunhwa's Narumada is a European longsword that also can fire Sword Beams. Both Narumada and The Sword That Flies Lower Than Any are known as ignition weapons.

    Web Original 
  • Weapon of choice of the strongest in Greek Ninja. Played straight.
  • Hero House has the katana as Deathstroke's weapon of choice. He uses it to devastating effect, killing even Batman.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Dokubaraken is a special katana that has been used by Kagetsu I, various Distreyd Thanadars and most recently Geraden Aurelac. Yamatians and the Akai Tora also prefer katanas as their main weapons.
  • The Katanas are Underpowered in d20 meme is based on mocking this. There was a post from a guy (who may or may not have been trolling) who argued that katanas were underpowered in the d20 system, accompanied with some staggeringly bad research on katanas, metalworking, and military history. Among the claims are that katanas are thrice as sharp and hard as European swords (they aren't; really sharp swords are also really brittle swords), that katanas could bisect a fully-armored knight in one slash (it's physically impossible to swing a sword with enough force to do that, and even you could, the knight himself would have a few objections to the idea), and that the medieval Europeans never tried to conquer Japan because they were scared of the katanas (Europeans had no idea Japan existed until Marco Polo's expeditions; even after they were made aware of it, Europe had no reason to conquer Japan, and trying to stretch a medieval supply chain across half the world would haven been outright impossible).
  • Kickassia: Phelous and President Baugh both have fake katanas, with varying degrees of realism between the two.
  • Heavily disputed by Lindybeige. Not only does Lloyd argue that katanas are nothing special, he goes a little far in the other direction by calling katanas "sharpened iron bars with handles on the end" that are only good for hitting people and nothing else.
  • Shadiversity took a look at katanas, and he didn't find much to classify a katana as "better". Sometimes he jokes about the pop culture perception of the katana as a nigh-mythical weapon that can cut through "space and time", and the romanticizing of its forging method. Ultimately, his opinion is that the forging process and design of the katana are an ingenious way of getting the most out of Japan's generally imperfect traditional steel... but that just helps it be competitive with swords made from good steel in the first place. He notes the design is quite good and that it's a well-engineered sword for the purpose it's made for, but there are European swords that do the same jobs just as well, are just as well-engineered for them, and there are numerous types of sword specialized in various areas (thrusting or chopping, mainly) that far outperform the katana in those areas (and far outperform any non-specialized sword in that task, for that matter).
  • Mall Fight: Tox's choice weapon, Epsilon, is a katana.
  • Defied by Cracked in their article about famous "zombie apocalypse" weapons that would suck in a real zombie apocalypse. According to this article, katanas are best suited for quick draw — something totally useless against zombies — and are way too fragile and high-maintenance to be of any use in a survival situation.
  • In Noob both Decklan and Omega Zell have upgraded from their earlier weapons to katanas over the course of the story.
  • Sapphire: Especially when it's the detonator for a bunch of exploding throwing stars.
  • Parodied by SCP-572 of the SCP Foundation: it's a poor-quality katana intended exclusively for display, but anybody who holds it becomes convinced of its amazing balance and cutting power, as well as their own invincibility. They then attempt the feats commonly seen of this trope (such as cutting a car in half) with predictable results.
  • Subverted in Survival of the Fittest; while people have been assigned katana as weapons before, the people with katana are not shown as any more skilled than anyone else for the most part, and rarely accomplish much. In fact, the person assigned a katana in V1 was quickly killed off in their debut thread, and to add insult to injury their killer discarded the sword as useless. Adam Dodd would later use the weapon near the end of V1 to pin his nemesis Cody Jenson to a tree before carving the word "rapist" into his chest, a reference to one of the acts that drove Cody over the Moral Event Horizon.
  • This was mocked in Sword Art Online Abridged episode two.
    Kirito: While both of them are slashing weapons, a talwar was favored by cavalrymen, while a nodachi was mostly used for dick measuring.
  • Post-Mission That Dude in the Suede. He's using one in Suburban Knights, notably.
  • Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG has numerous katana jokes, none of them flattering.
    87. There is no such thing as a dwarven katana.
    1408. Even if the rules allow it, I cannot fence with a katana.
  • CJ on We're Alive uses a Katana as her weapon of choice.
  • So popular in the Whateley Universe that when sensei Tolman sees that Bladedancer wields a jian, she makes note of it. Swordmaiden wields a katana, as well as a couple other types of sword, and her own manifested-matter sword.
  • Both parodied and played straight in zOMG. In the introductory comic, the guard's weapons all shatter on the hides of the Animated. When a heroic-looking guard steps in to save the day with his katana, the other guards express awe at the sheer awesomeness of his weapon... only for them to scream in horror as his Katana is shattered and he gets attacked by Animated Buzzsaws. Despite this, the Mantis Ring generates a G'hi Katana that actually can harm the Animated. Even then, the Katana isn't the ultimate weapon, as the Hack and Slash rings (which summon cutlasses) deal more damage in exchange for speed and energy consumption.

    Western Animation 
  • Ulrich Stern from Code Lyoko is certainly a victim of this trope. The Lyoko forms are hypothesized to be created from the subconscious of the virtualized persons... and seeing himself as The Hero, his avatar is quite naturally a samurai with a katana. Since this is a virtual world, he can get away with things like Reflecting Laser, Throwing Your Sword Always Works, or Sword Dragging. But in "A Bad Turn", he uses an authentic katana in the real world with just as much skill.
  • On Frisky Dingo, Killface imagines that his epic showdown with his nemesis Vegas will be "probably with katanas!" In his imagination, he slices Vegas in two with his katana, but things don't go so smoothly in reality.
  • Samurai Jack; Jack's katana can cut through any material, be it stone or steel. It helps that it's magical, forged by the gods out of the pureness of his father's soul.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) makes it pretty clear that the skill of the wielder is more important than the blade itself, and a Martial Arts Staff or a pair of sai are just as good. However, that doesn't stop Leonardo's swords from cutting through robots and metal garage doors like a chainsaw through butter. With katanas he made himself.
  • Transformers:
    • In the Transformers: Generation 1 episode "The Burden Hardest to Bear", a Japanese man is able to use a katana to hurt a Matrix-powered Scourge.
    • In Transformers: Prime, Wheeljack has two katanas that have kicked liberal ass of enemies wielding what should be much more powerful weapons whenever he shows.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Katanas Are Better


Ace Destroys Doragory

With his power renewed by the light of the Sun, Ace has dealt with Doragory's master, Alien Metron Jr., and now it's the Terrible-Monster's turn to face his demise. First, Ace punches a hole straight through Doragory's torso. Then he summons the Ace Blade, a Katana formed out of a combination of Ace's own willpower and sunlight to cut Doragory's head off, and finally blows up his body with the Metalium Ray for good measure, showcasing a pretty good selection of just a small number of his attacks.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / SpontaneousWeaponCreation

Media sources: