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Master of Threads

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A stitch in time saves lives.

"But the real nuisance is that woman's thread magic! It runs all through this space, interfering whenever and wherever she wants it to! It can't attack or bind me personally, but I can barely see it! It's too thin, and I can't detect its magic!"
Vetto regarding Vanessa Enoteca, Black Clover

One of the rarer abilities in fiction is the ability to manipulate fibers. This comes in three variants:

  • Thread Magic: This power allows the user to create, manipulate or even turn their body into string or thread. This power is commonly used to generate thread to bind or cut enemies, latch onto the enemies as puppet strings or sew up wounds.

  • Cloth Magic: Full on manipulation of cloth and fabrics. This includes conjuring cloth (usually done if the user is a mage), manipulating cloth in various ways like unravelling or reshaping it, altering fibers from one type into another, etc.

  • Mystical Weaving: Spinning thread into objects that aren't cloth such as light, fire, water, stars or controlling reality through weaving. This power is featured in creation myths or myths about how certain aspects of life are governed.

In the hands of a creative writer, such a power can be very creative and useful with several Masters of Threads being shown to be surprisingly deadly combatants.

Sub-Trope of Clothing Combat and Single Substance Manipulation. See Swiss-Army Superpower, Heart Is an Awesome Power and Lethal Harmless Powers. See also Prehensile Hair for when the projectile thread is part of the user's body. Compare All Webbed Up, Projectile Webbing, and Mummy Wrap. Offensive applications of this thread often crossover with Knows the Ropes and Razor Floss. Can result in Living Clothes.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Akame ga Kill!: Lubbock's imperial arms are a pair of gloves with garrote wires named Infinite Uses: Cross Tail. He can shape and manipulate them in many different ways for both offense and defense. He admits that some of the uses for the wires were inspired by the manga he reads, despite there being no prior indication of such things existing in the show's setting.
  • Black Clover: Vanessa Enoteca is a Black Bulls Magic Knight whose magical affinity is Thread Magic. Her primary use of this ability is using threads made of mana to bind or control her enemies like puppets. It is revealed that her magic is capable of manipulating the red thread of fate itself, undoing certain events as though they never happened.
  • Bleach:
    • Senjumaru Shutara of Squad Zero can create, shape, and manipulate any sort of cloth for various purposes. She uses this ability to kill the Quincy Nianzol by replacing his outfit with one she made and having it impale him with numerous spikes.
    • Urahara's Bankai can seal up wounds by creating threads to stitch them up.
  • Boogiepop Series: The titular character possesses a convoluted no-hands Razor Floss trick in all continuities, as the tricks described often come across as a bit improbable; Niitoki even states the wires move as if they were alive.
  • Bungo Stray Dogs: Akutagawa's Ability, Rashomon, enables him to control any clothes he's wearing. He often uses his powers to transform his Badass Longcoat into armor, form Tendrils of Darkness capable of slicing cars in half and create a mouth that can eat space. However, while his Ability is incredibly powerful, Akutagawa lacks the creativity necessary to utilize its full potential.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Kaori's Nanasen technique uses seven wires that she can split into thousands to strike her enemy. Aside from that, she also uses her wires to form three-dimensional magic circles through which she casts magic.
  • Death Parade: Decim is able to create and manipulate puppet strings, using them for restraining or moving people and objects. It helps that his strings can appear en-mass from unusual angles, taking opponents by surprise even when they're expecting said strings.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Rui and Mother both have thread based powers. While Rui's threads slice up opponents, Mother's threads turn them into People Puppets.
  • Parodied in Doraemon: Nobita and The Space Heroes, a Superhero Episode of the series where the gang gets superpowers thanks to Doraemon's gadgets. While Nobita's friends get stock powers like Super Strength or Making a Splash, Nobita gets the ability to produce thin strings from his hands. To play cat's cradle with. Although it later becomes Heart Is an Awesome Power when his string shooters are upgraded into an Inescapable Net to trap the Big Bad.
  • Durarara!!: Kasane's fragment of Saika takes the form of multiple steel wires that come out of her body and she uses these to entangle her targets.
  • EDENS ZERO: Ijuna's Ether Gear, Red Destiny, creates red strings made of Ether that can be used offensively and defensively in battle. Additionally, when the strings entangle two people together, it causes them to fall in love, but if the string is cut off, those affected will feel such a strong mutual hatred that they will try to kill each other.
  • Get Backers: Kazuki Fuuchouin is the last in a long line of fighters who can manipulate strings for offensive purposes.
  • Hunter Hunter: Machi can transmute her aura into threads which she can use to sew up wounds, bind enemies or cut them. The threads have been used to reattach limbs which are shown functioning afterwards suggesting they have some regenerative properties. Machi has noted that the strength of the threads is inversely proportional to their length, a thread as long as the Earth's diameter would be as strong as cotton, but a one-meter long thread could lift a ton.
  • Inuyasha: Yura can manipulate hair-like wires that she uses to cut or control people like puppets.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Battle Tendency: Lisa Lisa can manipulate her Scarf of Asskicking by infusing it with Hamon.
    • Stardust Crusaders: Noriaki Kakyoin's Stand, Hierophant Green, can turn into string. This allows it to act as rope, avoid attacks, or detect enemies.
    • Stone Ocean: Jolyne Cujoh's Stand, Stone Free, allows her to turn her body into strings.
    • JoJolion: Rai Mamezuku's Stand, Doggy Style, elasticizes his body into string-like proportions, which he can morph into weaponry among other practicalities.
  • Kill la Kill: Shinra-Koketsu is a Kamui (an article of clothing made of Life Fibers that grants the wearer powers) created by Nui Harime and the brainwashed Honnoji Academy Sewing Club to be worn by the series Big Bad Ragyo Kiryuin. It grants her the power to control Life Fibers and uniforms made out of them, allowing her to immobilize anyone wearing a Goku uniform and, with the help of her own satellite system, initiate The End of the World as We Know It by activating all Life Fibers on the planet.
  • My Hero Academia: Best Jeanist's Quirk allows him to manipulate the fibers in clothing, which he uses to restrain opponents. While it lacks raw power, Best Jeanist's training and skill with this ability has made him one of the highest ranked heroes in the setting. This also isn't limited to just clothing fibers; even steel wires used in buildings count as controllable.
  • Naruto:
    • Ninja puppeteers can use threads made of chakra to control their puppets.
    • Kakuzu is a master of a jutsu called "Earth Grudge Fear" which focuses on the manipulation of threads. These threads can be used to sew up wounds and reattach body parts. However, Kakuzu's most terrifying use of this ability is creating tentacles made of threads to tear out his opponent's hearts and integrate them into his own body, extending his lifespan. Kakuzu can store these hearts in masks attached to his body which he can detach as creatures with bodies of thread.
  • NEEDLESS: Kafka's Needless Fragment is called "Kandata String". It allows him to create and control string of enough tensile strength to cut people, rocks, metal and even entire buildings apart.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Evangeline has an ability like this, though it doesn't appear to be magic. She can string people up as she pleases and probably slice them up too if she wanted.
  • One Piece: Donquixote Doflamingo's Devil Fruit ability allows him to generate strings from his body for a variety of uses such ensnaring opponents, taking control of their bodies or stitching up wounds. He can also compress his strings into various constructs such as ropes, whips or bullets.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Mami can create ribbons which she can use in various ways such as binding enemies or creating a bridge.
  • Sekirei: Uzume fights by psionically manipulating her veil. One of her special moves involves by wrapping her target in her veil and then shredding them with thousands of tiny cuts.
  • Tai Chi Chasers: Jahara uses her 'Sa' card to create threads that she can use for manipulating her enemies moves. That's creepy enough on adults, she regularly fights children.

    Comic Books 
  • Nightwing: Sylph is the daughter of a man who was cheated out of the patent on a 'miracle fabric' named Achilloron which he had created. She clothed herself in the fabric and set about killing the men she believed drove her father to suicide. Achilloron responds to electrical impulses, allowing its tentacle-like appendages to be used as tools or weapons.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Squadron Supreme: The supervillain group known as the Institute of Evil features Remnant, a character who can control a magic piece of cloth of unknown origin. One of his capabilities is shaping it into a carpet for him to fly on.
    • Thunderbolts: Skein (formerly a Spider-Woman villain under the name Gypsy Moth) is a mutant who can telekinetically manipulate raw materials. She prefers to use this power on plant and animal fibers and used it to weave herself a large pair of wings. She also uses her powers offensively and for fashion purposes.

    Fan Works 
  • What the Cat Dragged In: The first villain in the story is a woman called the Seamstress, who has the power to animate clothing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bastard Swordsman: The practitioners of the Silkworm Technique can create silk threads with their chi. They can freely control these threads, either to entangle opponents or form a cocoon around themselves as a protective outer shell.
  • A Chinese Ghost Story: Nip Siu-sin, the titular ghost, can send lengths of cloth from her white dress flying through the air to catch and restrain people.
  • Swordsman: Asia the Invincible, the Villain Protagonist of the third movie, can unleash and manipulate fine threads, using them to grab opponents from a distance away or slice people into shreds. She uses this power to massacre an entire sect of cultists with her threads and later on slices up some samurai Mooks.

    Literature 
  • Circle of Magic: Sandry has ambient magic, which is tied to a particular craft — in her case, weaving. This gives her power over threads, anything created from threads, and anything that can be visualized as a thread, including magic, life, and human skin. She can both outright control threads and imbue threads with magical properties (such as making them glow when she's trapped in the dark). Lark shares this type of magic, allowing her to teach Sandry.
  • The Princess and the Goblin: Irene's grandmother spins a magical thread to guide her granddaughter.
  • Worm: Parian has the power to control cloth and threads. The sequel Ward reveals this to be a subset of her true power, which is the ability to control dead material, of which cloth made of plant or animal fibers barely counts as. This ability is hinted at when Foil notes that Parian's power works even better with leather than cloth fiber, which is more directly dead skin.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Baltic Mythology: Saule can spin thread into sunbeams.
  • Celtic Mythology: Due to her identification with the Roman goddess Minerva, who is the Roman counterpart of Athena, Brigantia is also considered a goddess of weaving among other things.
  • Chinese Mythology:
    • The Goddess Weaver, daughter of the Celestial Queen Mother and Jade Emperor, is said to have woven the stars.
    • Leizu, wife of the Yellow Emperor, is believed to have been the inventor of sericulture and the silk loom after figuring out that silkworm cocoons unravel when boiled.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • The Fates are a trio of goddesses who control destiny through the thread they spin.
    • Athena is also the goddess of weaving. This didn't stop her from being bested in a weaving contest by Arachne.
  • Egyptian Mythology:
    • Tayt was a goddess of weaving, textiles, and to a lesser extent mummification.
    • Hedjhotep was a minor deity of fabrics and clothes.
    • Due to her symbol being a loom, the Greeks dubbed Neith a goddess of weaving during the syncretisation of Greek myths to Egyptian ones.
  • Inca Mythology: Mama Ocllo was the daughter of the sun god Inti and the moon goddess Mama Killa. She taught women the art of spinning thread.
  • Norse Mythology: Frigg is a goddess associated with weaving among other things. Holda and Perchta were both known as goddesses who oversaw spinning and weaving.

    Video Games 
  • Bayonetta: Wicked Weaves is a spell which allows Bayonetta to summon any demon she has a contract with using her clothes as a conduit. She can do partial summons by having her clothes transform into a limb belonging to her demon. This also has the side effect of briefly leaving her naked. As her outfit is actually made out of her hair, this makes the spell a cross between Master of Threads and Prehensile Hair.
  • Filaments: The heroine Margot learn the use of threads from two of the Parcae to fight her way back to home.
  • Hollow Knight: Hornet can manipulate silk threads for various purposes. She can use it to launch her needle as an extendable weapon, release multiple threads around herself that slice through the air and use a silk string in the same manner as a grappling hook.
  • King's Raid: Yuria is known to use, manipulate, and fight with the threads of fate, which are the threads of life. This skill is also used in a more functional purpose by allowing her to create impossibly beautiful clothing.
  • Luminous Avenger iX: Rebellio conjures weapons made out of super-strong and super-sharp thread, and can even unravel and re-ravel his body to mimic teleportation. Dystnine can conjure cloth that deflects objects (including light) on contact.
  • Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story: Kanoko's innate magic is to sew things together with threads, immobilizing them.

    Web Comics 
  • Padme Anansi of Archipelago controls fabric, which is really useful, considering she's lost both her arms when she was young. So she substitutes a long scarf.
  • Setback: Ms. Ribbon can fire ribbons from her sleeves, similar to how Spider-Man shoots out his webbing. She can also control how soft or hard they are and form them into various shapes. Likewise, all fabric on her person can be manipulated like her cape allowing her to avoid Cape Snag should it ever be caught on something.
  • Sleepless Domain: Outrageous Lemon has the ability to control fabric, as befits her keen interest in fashion. Attached to her skirt are several tubes of lace ribbon which she can manipulate in battle as Razor Floss.

    Western Animation 
  • Castlevania (2017): The penultimate episode has the main trio taking on a Quirky Miniboss Squad of vampires. One of the vampires can manipulate wire-like threads which she uses to restrain Alucard.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, while Number 1 is visiting England, one member of Sector E attacks him by controlling several cloths from her scarf.

Alternative Title(s): Master Of Strings

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