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Ornamental Weapon

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"That thing on your back isn't ornamental, is it?"
Rod (to Rue), Threads of Fate

There are some characters who like to walk around with their weapons out in the open, presumably to intimidate other people or to have it ready right away in the case of a monster fight. However, upon close inspection, you might find that the weapon barely has any signs of being "broken in" — no scratches, no gunpowder... it still looks as sharp as the day the guy bought it.


Some reasons for this may be that the weapon in question has a sentimental value to its holder, can only be used for certain situations, or may just be Too Awesome to Use. At times, it may make one wonder if they might just be better off leaving the damn thing at home.

Subtrope of Useless Accessory. Compare Stat Sticks, where weapons aren't so much "physically" used as they're just there to add stats. May sometimes overlap with The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. Not to be confused with Bling-Bling-BANG!, where the weapon is covered in ornamentation but (usually) still sees actual use.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Inuyasha:
    • Kouga carried a katana for ornamentation and used it only once in the whole story.
    • Naraku's dragon, Byakuya of the Dreams carries around a sword that doesn't get used until the final arc of the series, where it's revealed that it can absorb any demonic aura within the area and use its power.
  • A big shiny sword in The Familiar of Zero turned out to be ornamental and pretty useless. The rusted one, however...
  • Princess Millerna from the The Vision of Escaflowne movie carried a sword on her belt throughout the film, but she never, ever takes part in a single action scene, and never gets to draw it from its sheath, cementing her status as a Faux Action Girl.
  • In Toriko, Starjun carries a sword with him, but he's never seen using it, until Cooking Festival arc, revealing it to be a flaming special preparation kitchen knife. Lampshaded by Toriko himself.
  • In Blood: The Last Vampire, Saya steals a sword she had seen in a store window to use in a fight...only to watch the blade deform and twist on impact since it was ornamental and not functional.
  • In Slayers, one of the few things Naga wears is a large sword that seems to be purely for show. It gets stuck in the sheath the one time she tries to use it, and she tends to faint at the sight of blood (which shows up a lot around swords).
  • Meliodas of The Seven Deadly Sins carries a broken sword to deter customers from starting trouble in his bar by keeping it in a scabbard to make it look like a full sword.
  • In Berserk, people usually think this of Guts' main weapon, a huge slab of iron even taller than he is, up until they see him use it. It's justified that they'd think so since in real life, there are many examples of oversized versions of standard zweihanders being made for purely ceremonial use.
  • Subverted with the Eto Gun in Et Cetera. It looks like a toy gun and could not be used to shoot normally, and Mingchao (initially) only keeps it to intimidate others. However, when added with a proper animal extract, the gun is considered one of the strongest weapons in the West.
  • Dragon Ball: Android 17 carries a pistol on his waist, which is odd considering his punches and energy blasts do far more damage than a pistol ever could. The only time he's seen using it is for kicks after he got shot at by an old man in the Bad Future.
  • One Piece:
    • Pekoms of the Big Mom Pirates carries a sword on his left hip, but he primarily fights with his fists and Devil Fruit, making it just a decoration.
    • Sentomaru of the Marines wields a massive axe, but prefers to use sumo against weaker foes.

    Asian Animation 
  • In later seasons of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, Wolnie rarely hits anyone with her frying pan. She still carries it occasionally in later seasons but doesn't hit anyone.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix has a Celtic sword, but fights exclusively with his fists. He does use it for Flynning twice, once for cutting cake, and once as a mountaineering tool, but he's never allowed to hurt anyone with it on the grounds that it would be too violent.
  • Marvel Comics' Doctor Doom wears a pistol on his waist that he only uses for opponents he considers unworthy of facing his powered armor and other abilities, which happens rarely enough nowadays that it might as well be ornamental.
  • In The Transformers, after Optimus Prime gets rebuilt as a Power Master he gains a pair of double-barreled shoulder cannons that he never uses.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • One of the bad guys in Swamp Thing wears ammunition belts over both shoulders. He never picks up a gun during the film.
  • In Paul, an expensive replica sword is revealed to be useless when the blade snaps off upon drawing.

  • The Big Bad in the Left Behind series of books carries one of these during the war of Armageddon. The sword is constructed to appear Too Awesome to Use, so it just gets waved around a lot. The books make it clear that when the Big Bad really needs to kill somebody, he uses a gun.
  • Power Forged weapons in The Wheel of Time look like this because they have been enchanted to never break, rust, or need sharpening. One character mentions that over the thousands of years since his sword had been made his family has only had to replace the hilt.
  • In Monstrous Regiment, Maledict carries a sword he doesn't know how to use. As a vampire, he doesn't need one, but people see the sword and don't attack him.
  • One of these almost gets Captain Lawrence killed in the second Temeraire book, when he gets pulled away from a formal occasion to face combat still wearing his dress sword. It's still a live blade, but it's a lot flimsier than a service weapon and comes perilously close to breaking. Near the end of that same book, Temeraire gifts Laurence an antique Chinese dao adorned with images of dragons in gold and jewels to replace his old broken dress-sword, but this sword winds up being a subversion when Laurence swings it at a man's neck a book later, much to his reluctance, and it slices the dude's head off with almost no resistance.
  • The Hunger Games: Subverted with Katniss' bow. After all, just because it's pretty doesn't mean it can't be deadly.
  • In The Bridge Kingdom Archives a married woman from Maridrina is supposed to wear two ornamental daggers, which her husband is supposed to use to protect her honor. Lara gets her set when she gets married as a part of peace treaty and they are really beautiful, their handles and scabbards are set with famous Maridrinian rubies. Subverted in that they are only a decoration, real weapons, small throwing knives, are cleverly hidden inside their handles.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bad of Season Five of Arrow, Prometheus, carries a bow and quiver on his back. When it comes to actual killing, however, he relies on his chokuto and shuriken.

The Adventure Zone: Balance: this is how Taako intends to use the Flaming Poisoning Raging Sword of Doom after swindling it away from Garfield. In the end, he gives it to Magnus.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Ricky "The Rocket" Roberts, who has appeared in Florida branch of All Pro Wrestling, used brass knuckles as his belt buckle.
  • Dementia D'Rose caries around a rather large knife because it looks pretty. She'd rather fight barehanded and if she needs a weapon it will likely be a random object or her signature ball n'chain.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Almost everyone in Warhammer 40,000 has one, such as Chaos sorcerer staves, Tau bonding knives...
  • Many miniatures are sculpted with more weapons on them than they are actually designed to use in the game. Malifaux is a big offender here, with many figures wearing multiple revolvers but only having a few attacks to use in the game, none of which involve all, or sometimes any, of them.
  • BattleTech:
    • Sun-Tsu Laio, ruler of the Capellan Confederation piloted a blinged out Emperor Battlemech that he never actually took into combat. Any time he took it out, it was only after the battlefield had been secured and no actual threats remained. The few times that it was deployed in real combat, one of his elite Death Commandos piloted it in his place while wearing a disguise so that people thought he was in it.
    • The Flashfire, a light mech designed for use in the Gladiator Games of Solaris 7, featured a cosmetic gun housing in its right arm that had no actual to make it look more impressive and heavily armed than it actually was.
  • The Magic: The Gathering card Garrison Sergeant has the following flavor text: "In the Legion, no flagpole is merely decorative, and every ceremonial sword bears an edge." The Boros Legion, the military forces of Ravnica, are Crazy-Prepared when it comes to combat, and so when they are marching in a parade their ceremonial weapons are anything but.

    Video Games 
  • Many weapons in Second Life don't actually do anything unless they are specifically scripted. While scripted weapons are available, unless you are in a roleplay or combat sim most swords, guns, hammers et cetera are only for decoration.
  • Crisis Core:
    • Angeal Hewley from carries a gigantic Buster Sword around him on missions, but only maybe uses it a handful of times. Zack even comments on it during the mission in Fort Tamblin (dialogue not exact):
      Zack: I've never seen you actually use that thing. Don't you think it's sort of a waste?
      Angeal: Use brings about wear, tear, and rust — and that's a real waste.
    • Of course the other half of the reason is that the Buster Sword "is heavy and unwieldy", as an extra scene (in Zack's DMW) reveals. Even Zack is too clumsy to use it effectively (it pulls him off balance, he swings it slowly, and momentum is hard to stop). Crisis Core actually deconstructs some iconic elements from the sub-series for laughs like that…
    • The Buster Sword did end up getting rusted... when Cloud used it as Zack's gravestone. But not anymore; the new ending to Advent Children Complete reveals that Cloud polished and repaired it, and used it as a memorial in Aerith's church, overlooking Aerith's Lake (that contains the Great Gospel).
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Ganondorf's sword, which is only used for a victory pose in Melee and a taunt in Brawl, and is otherwise kept in Hammerspace. Finally used in Smash 4: One of his alternative special attacks is conjuring the sword and stabbing with it, instead of his insanely powerful Warlock Punch. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate also allows him to use his sword for his smash attacks.
    • Captain Falcon and Snake have guns on their person in Brawl if you look closely, but naturally they don't get any use either. Sheik also carries a short sword or long dagger on her person but it likewise isn't used.
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • In three of the Mortal Kombat games (Deadly Alliance, Deception and Armageddon) Raiden wears a saya (katana scabbard) on his alternate costumes, but he never actually uses a sword.
  • Ryu Hayabusa's sword in the Dead or Alive series. Same goes for Hayate's and Kasumi's swords. This was averted in the sixth numbered game.
  • In Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors, your partners carry weapons with them, but don't actually use them, leaving you to do all of the heavy lifting while they provide assistance with magic. At least you never have to update their gear yourself, they get better stuff as they level up.
  • Marcus Fenix of Gears of War fame carried a knife on his right boot but is never used.
  • In Tekken 6, there is a character customization feature that lets you equip your characters with sheathed weapons, only for looks or stats in campaign mode. Occasionally subverted, as there are a few weapons that do allow a character to make an extra attack if they've got the weapon equipped, but the game doesn't tell which they are or how to perform the bonus moves.
    • Most Fighting Games that focus strictly on hand-to-hand combat do this, usually when there's ninjas.
  • Speaking of which, ninja Kagemaru in Virtua Fighter can have a sword. Drunken Master Shun Di can have a hermit staff as well.
  • Halo:
    • Halo 3 has an unlockable katana that can be worn on the back. It naturally cannot be used in-game. Also, the CQB armor has a knife on the front of the chest which cannot be used.
    • Averted in Halo: Reach, where the knife on a character's shoulder can be used for assassinations. However, it's played straight with the Security armor, which has a large kukri on its right shoulder that forever remains unused.
  • In Freedom Fighters, Christopher Stone gets a knife on his left shoulder, but his only CQC weapon is his wrench.
  • In the first Samurai Warriors game, Shingen Takeda has a katana sheathed on his belt, which he never uses. Looking closely at it reveals that it's actually chained to the scabbard. This was removed from subsequent costumes. In the second and third games, Mitsunari Ishida keeps an unused dagger sheathed hanging out the front of his coat.
  • Aeolus from Mega Man ZX Advent carries a sword with him all the time, but he never uses it in combat.
    • Although, from the transformation sequence, it appears that the sword is used as the base for his transformed model's swords, hence a reason to carry it around with him.
  • Adray from Star Ocean: Till the End of Time equips and prominently carries around a katana, but most of his attacks are a combination of magic and punches and he never takes it out of its sheath.
  • Assassins from Guild Wars are extremely guilty of this. Many armor sets (including the no-armor-equipped underwear, for women) feature several daggers strapped all over their body that are only textured on, not even in model. The assassin hero Anton is even worse: he prominently wears three katanas on his back that he never uses.
  • Champions Online allows the player to customize their costume including some weaponry such as daggers on the belt or a sword slung across the back. However, because these are costume items, they merely show up on the player avatar and don't get any particular use (not even if you have the same weapon as what you're carrying).
  • In Team Fortress 2, Pyro's bandolier has napalm grenades and the Soldier's belt has frag grenades. The former are always useless and the latter are only used in the Soldier's Suicide Attack taunt. Grenades were prominent in Team Fortress Classic but were Dummied Out in TF2.
  • In Pocket Bomberman, our hero is seen in garb reminiscent of a Roman soldier. He has the sword and everything! He is even seen unsheathing it and holding it up heroically to the sky! But can he use it on any one of the dozens of monsters that are out to maul him? No.
  • In Persona 4: Arena, Akihiko has a knife strapped to his hip that he never uses. The shoulder holster is probably holding his Evoker, which isn't really a weapon.
  • In the Soul Series, customizable characters will sometimes get some. In 4, there is a pirate's belt that has a pistol on it, as well as gloves that have a claw on it. The only fighting is done with weapons.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening, some classes are guilty of this. Assassins have extra daggers strapped to their wrists and Swordmasters are carrying two extra sheaths, yet they will never use these extra weapons even if all the weapons in their inventory break.
  • In the arcade beat-em-up D. D. Crew, one of your enemies is a military-type who carries a large machine gun. At no point does he ever fire it, preferring to kick you instead.
  • Tales Series:
    • In Tales of Xillia, Alvin eventually takes a second gun that was a family heirloom, but never uses it. Averted in the sequel, where he finally gets to use it in one of his arcane artes. Aside from that, there are various decorations that take the form of weapons to be placed on your characters, which of course cannot be used.
    • Rokurou in Tales of Berseria is extremely attached to his greatsword Stormhowl, despite using a pair of daggers in combat instead and deflecting whenever Velvet tries to ask why he doesn't use the bigger weapon. It's actually broken inside the sheathe with only a few inches of blade attached to the handle. He carries it for sentimental/motivational reasons. He eventually does get an intact Stormquell that he pulls out for his level 3 Mystic Arte.
  • Jack Russell of Radiata Stories is seen carrying around his father's giant sword, the Arbitrator, as a keepsake since he himself can't use it. Unless Jack gets promoted in the Fairy Path, he will never get to use it.
  • Dios, the commander of the Harmonian army in Suikoden 3 is challenged to a duel at one point, and rather sheepishly admits that his sword is ornamental.
  • No matter what he has equipped, Dagran in The Last Story always carries a small sword at his belt. This is later explained as being the first sword Dagran ever bought, and it is, in fact, meant to be an ornamental weapon—Dagran just wears it for sentimental reasons.
  • Any equippable weapon in either Dragon Ball Xenoverse or its sequel falls into this category, as the player will either not use a weapon at all, or the weapon will materialize in their hands when needed, and vanish after use (for example, if the player is using either Shining Slash or Burning Slash, Trunks' sword techniques).
    • Android 17 also has his pistol, which is unused in the game. Since the player can equip #17s' pants that come with the sidearm (unless the players' top prevents it from appearing), it applies to them too.
  • Minfilia in Final Fantasy XIV carries a Mythril Dagger that is imbued with materia for enhanced power. However, due to her being more of a political figure than an actual fighter, she never uses the knife at all and she also doesn't use it in the times where she is captured.
  • Occasionally happens in Overwatch. Soldier: 76 has a pistol on his belt that he never uses, and Roadhog what appears to be a sawn-off shotgun (not his Scrap Gun) slung across his back. Genji has a sword that is decorative for 99% of the time, except when he uses his ultimate ability, which begs the question: wouldn't a sword be more effective than shurikens, even without the powered-up dragon that accompanies it in his ultimate?
    • Ana and Widowmaker likewise have spikes on their arm to stabilize their weapons while sniping, although they never get used in-game (because you can't rest your arm on anything to stabilize).
  • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Raiden has a knife sheathed alongside his HF Blade. You get to stare at it plenty with the game's third-person camera angle but it is never drawn; even when his sword is snapped in two, Raiden attempts to use the remaining stump instead of the knife.
  • Heroes of the Storm: Anduin wields his father's sword, Shalamayne, but leaves it on his back 99% of the time. Even when he's attacking an enemy in melee, he still shoots holy energy at them. The only animations where he even holds it involve him essentially waving it around like a Magic Wand. This does make some sense though — he's a Priest and not a Warrior, and was pretty bad at using the sword in World of Warcraft.
  • In his Guest Fighter appearance in Friday Night Funkin', Pico keeps his signature uzi in his hand at all times. But since this is a Rhythm Game, he doesn't actually use it at any point.
  • The Demon Blade sub-class from Kritika carries a broadsword on his back, but actually fights using katana.

    Web Comics 
  • Strobe from Demon Fist has that huge sword on his back, but fistfights his enemies. Apparently he swore an oath or something not to use it.
  • NJ from Electric Wonderland always carries a katana despite having no formal training on how to fight with it.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-572 is a replica sword in a fantasy style, which, when held, produces a major mind-control effect, whereupon people will become convinced of its superior balance and sharpness, of which it really has neither, being purely a decorative piece. It also compels them to perform insane stunts with it (all while convincing them they can), such as deflecting bullets with the blade, taking on trained swordsmen with real swords, and cutting moving cars in half. Due to the prevalence of unnecessary blades facing in odd directions, the slightest swing will result in injury to the user. Fortunately, upon removing the sword from the holder with tongs, the psychological effects can be instantly redacted by a smack on the head.

    Western Animation 
  • Extreme Dinosaurs: Spike and Bullzeye have blasters on their arms and T-Bone has shoulder-mounted cannons. These weapons have no function other than decoration.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: Roughly half the members of G.I. Joe are equipped with some kind of combat webbing or utility belt laden with grenades, sidearms, knives, or other equipment. Out of the entire series, they have actually been used maybe twice.

    Real Life 
  • Older-model rifles that have been replaced as general-issue might be retained for ceremonial use by certain units.
    • The USMC Silent Drill Platoon carries the WWII-vintage M1 Garand. Three reasons why: tradition, it looks awesome, and it is far more well-balanced than a modern rifle (and thus better for twirling around without accidentally smacking somebody in the face).
    • The US Army's Tomb Sentinels at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier wield M14 rifles, conspicuously missing the magazine—though the Sentinels will often have a concealed pistol locked and loaded.
    • The Simonov SKS saw only brief frontline service as the Soviet Union's standard rifle before it was supplanted by the AK, but remains a common sight at Russian parades and memorials.
  • The Lee-Enfield Mk 3/4 bolt action rifle that was the British Army's mainstay for nearly seventy years is retained by some units for neither combat nor ceremonials. Long obsolete for front line use, this rifle is used as extra weight for recruit soldiers and others detailed to take on assault courses in full kit: simply because the issue front-line rifle is too delicate (and expensive) to withstand continual bashing, battering, immersion in mud and water and frequently being dropped by ham-fisted recruits. Rather an old heavy weapon designed to be exceedingly forgiving to rough treatment, and which will never be fired in action again, takes all the impacts of hard dirty training — and it also weighs heavier than the SA-80.
  • Swords have been this for a long time and in certain situations (like a formal officers party, perhaps) to this day.
    • In the 18th century, a well-dressed gentleman was almost required to carry a smallsword on his hip, though carrying a walking stick was an acceptable alternative.
    • US Marines in full dress uniform carry swords, in respect to the sense of tradition that pervades the entire Corps. These are only for the most formal of formal occasions, however: a Marine in full dress for a party likely won't be carrying the sword. Marines have to buy their swords out of their paycheck, though at a heavy discount. Apparently they are functional though, and many jokes (like this one from Terminal Lance) have been made about actually carrying one into combat.
    • US Navy officers still sometimes wear swords with their Full Dress Whites and Blues, that is, with medals. Like the Marines, they have to buy them out-of-pocket, although some are handed down to a junior officer from a senior officer. If an occasion calls for commissioned officers to wear swords, Chief Petty Officers will wear cutlasses. Thankfully, they are only required for officers above a certain grade, and training units, like the Naval Academy or Officer Candidate School, will have a number that can be used by the students.
    • Royal regalia/crown jewels frequently include a sword. This sword is almost always heavily decorated and is rarely any use as an actual weapon of war (except perhaps as a bludgeon, since they are almost invariably very heavy). The British Crown Jewels feature not one, not two, but six swords, of which none are likely particularly sharp (none are less than 200 years old, and most date from the 17th century).
  • Ceremonial maces are a common one in government and academia. The elaborate decoration at the "top" of the mace is actually a descendant of the decorative "button" occasionally included at the bottom of historical maces intended for fighting. Today, they are most commonly found resting in the debating chambers of legislatures, where they symbolize the body's right to assemble and make law for the State; while they are heavy enough to cause mayhem if actually used as weapons, they are generally only ever picked up and swung threateningly (either by the sergeant-at-arms or equivalent, to remind a particularly unruly member that they could be thrown out bodily for being disruptive, or by an unruly member to show that they are particularly passionate about the issue at hand).
  • The Swiss Guard and their polearms. Yes, they are sharp, and yes, the guy in the ridiculous-looking Renaissance costume with the Blade on a Stick does have a modern automatic weapon tucked into those balloon pants.
  • In the Ottoman Empire it was expected that a noble be allowed to keep his personal sidearm at all times, even at formal parties. This got a bit dicey when personal weapons shifted from swords to pistols. In the end, it was compromised with highly ornamental pistols, that usually couldn't shoot (although they were heavy enough to be used as a blackjack and many had a blade under the barrel).
  • Many weapons in the Arms and Armor gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or any other art museum that displays weaponry, were probably ornamental weapons (and some are known to have been ornamental weapons, like an Ottoman sultan's investiture sword). Swords that the average person carried into battle rarely survived to be museum-quality art.
  • Several American Civil War generals never drew their swords, not even to command their men. One is said to have had his sword rust in the scabbard, while another didn't even bother taking one with him, instead strapping an umbrella to his waist.
  • Souvenir and decoration swords fall under this by definition. Weapon enthusiasts call these blades SLOs ("Sword-Like Objects"). They're vaguely sword-shaped, are ornamental, and certainly look flashy. But looking cool is all they're good for since they're too weakly built to actually use in combat. SLOs, more often than not, are horribly balanced, made from inferior materials (such as stainless steel, which is prone to shatter when used on anything longer than a kitchen knife and can't keep its edge for a long time), and either over-tempered to be too stiff or not tempered at all. One notorious "feature" common to SLOs is a thin welded-on tang attaching the blade to the handle. A quality sword suited for combat should have a tang that's integral to the blade, and preferably a full tang that extends down the full length of the handle. As a result, this small tang (derisively known as a "rat-tail tang") is very prone to snap off if the blade hits anything. Some SLOs have tangs built so badly that they can break just from swinging it through the air. Using a blade with such construction for anything other than display can be outright dangerous to the person holding it. They are purely wall-hangers and nothing else; anyone who attempts to use an SLO like a real sword would have more luck injuring their opponent if they were using a butter knife.
  • One of the five major tenets of Sikhism is that adherents must carry a dagger — as this has naturally presented problems as Society Marches On, workarounds such as this, daggers that are locked into the sheaths, and even images of daggers have been developed.


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