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Serrated Blade of Pain

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Edges are like an exponential factor of visually-implied sharpness.

"This is an Ulgo knife, Sariss. It causes almost no damage when it goes in, but when you pull it out, it jerks out all kinds of things along with it. Now, we aren't going to make any kind of outcry, are we?"
Issus, King of the Murgos
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Bladed weapons, including swords and knives, are often used by both good and bad guys all around. One good way to make said weapon more distinct or interesting is giving it a jagged edge, similar to a saw.

Such weapons can vary from actual saws to swords or daggers with an irregular, barbed edge, which can be used to actually saw harder materials while not fighting, breaking enemy weapons or inflict nastier wounds (especially if the weapon is stabbed into someone). Sometimes, spears and arrow-tips will display a barbed design to make them hard to remove from the wound.

Usually not Truth in Television, precisely for the above reason: serrated weapons are more likely to get stuck in armor (or people), making them a lot less useful in a fight. There's a good reason no culture on Earth has relied too heavily on serrated weapons.

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Those weapons tend to be linked mainly with evil guys or chaotic warriors, usually because of the association with Spikes of Villainy, or the primitive look of the weapon, not mentioning the nasty wounds caused by said weapons. Good guys can use this kind of weaponry, but they'll usually avoid the "stabbing" part and/or rely on slashing motions, making the weapon less effective at chopping. Or else they'll be a case of Good Is Not Nice. Sometimes a Combat Medic or a Mad Scientist will wield one of these.

See also Chainsaw Good and Spikes of Villainy. May overlap with Oddly Shaped Sword.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece:
    • Arlong's strongest weapon is the "Kiribachi", a gargantuan BFS with a saw-like blade. It resembles both sharp teeth and his own nose, as he is a sawshark fishman.
    • In the Water Seven Arc, the carpenters from Galley-La use large saws as melee weapons.
  • Bleach has Renji's Zanpakutou Zabimaru, a spiked falchion revealed to be a Whip Sword. Later we find out that Hiyori's Kubikiri Orochi takes the form of a gigantic jagged cleaver.
  • In Berserk, Inquisitor Mozgus' Quirky Miniboss Squad all fight with torture tools, including serrated blades.
  • Shishio Makoto from Rurouni Kenshin wields a finely serrated sword that never dulls, and also doubles as a Flaming Sword.
  • Brought Up to Eleven in Naruto: Kisame's Living Weapon Samehada is composed of nothing but rough scales and hooks which can jut out on command to cut people to ribbons.
  • Shira from Blade of the Immortal possesses a large cleaver-like sword with barbs, which he usually uses to maim, shred and sometimes rape his (frequently female) opponents.
  • Two of them are seen in Gamaran: The first is the Murderous Sword Kurotsuji (Black Crossing), a nodachi with a serrated edge said to be very destructive when used in battle. The other one is Riko's sword Genbou, another barbed katana, though his is made for defense and its edge is completely covered in barbs (while Kurotsuji's one is plain near the tip).
  • In The Seven Deadly Sins, the Holy Knight Threader carries a BFS that resembles a Japanese saw called a ryoba.
  • Karakuri Circus, the Sword of St. George embedded in Arlequin's arm is a curved black blade with a serrated edge. Narumi later on ends up using it to slice Automata to pieces after he's given Arlequin's arm.
  • In Ronin Warriors, Big Bad Talpa gets a massive Sinister Scimitar with a heavily barbed blade after draining the powers of three of the Warriors in it. He has then the sword delivered to his servant Dala, who is tasked with capturing the heroes.
  • Inosuke Hashibira of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has a habit of fashioning his swords into saw-like blades, and once used a rock to chip the blades of a brand new pair of swords until they were as jagged as his old ones.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Gamebooks 
  • Lone Wolf:
    • The Drakkarim (Doom Troops of Elite Mooks) are very fond of weapons with a serrated blade, be they swords, axes, daggers or polearms.
    • The Barbarians of Kalte from Book 3 wield serrated bone swords in combat.
  • Fighting Fantasy:
    • In Scorpion Swamp, the evil wizard Grimslade owns a magic wand he can turn into a serrated longsword. If you manage to kill him, you can take this sword for yourself.
    • In Dead of Night, the Demon-Slaying Sword you can use against Myurr is a straight longsword with barbed edges which may make you think of a demonic sword, but is actually a good artifact.

    Literature 
  • In the Dragonlance novel The Companions, Sturm Brightblade is forced to fight in the arena against a minotaur gladiator, who uses a massive sword with a jagged edge.
  • Deconstructed in All Quiet on the Western Front. The narrator mentions that veterans on the front take away from new soldiers any sawtooth bayonets they find on them, because a) anyone captured with them is killed outright rather then taken prisoner and b) they tend to get stuck in people, making them inferior weapons.
  • In The Belgariad, Ulgos use knives with all sorts of nasty hooks to do more damage.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's The Two Towers. The yellow-fanged orc guarding Pippin has a saw-edged knife.
  • The Zombie Survival Guide mentions serrated edged knives in the chapter on anti-zombie weaponry, but notes that they have a tendency to get lodged in zombie skulls and encourages the reader to choose a plain-edged knife if one is available.
  • A new revelation, in The Complete Discworld Atlas, is that there is such a thing as Dwarf Chocolate, which shares a catering philosophy with Dwarf Bread. It is also used as a weapon of war. It takes the form of a long rectangular block, with a line of serrated triangles of rock-hard chocolate rising from it, which in combat is used as a sword or a club. It also contains nuts. There is a suspicious resemblance to Toblerone.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Games Workshop games:
    • In Warhammer, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000, the daemonic Bloodletter foot troops of the Blood God Khorne wield viciously barbed swords known as hellblades that tear at the flesh of their victims to maximise the bloodshed they inflict.
    • The Lizardmen in Warhammer use blades with obsidian teeth, based on the Aztec weapons. Also, many champions of chaos use similar weapons, including possessed ones that grow actual teeth.
    • In Warhammer 40,000, the baleswords carried by Plague Surgeons of the Death Guard Traitor Legion have viciously serrated blades that give them the appearance of a primitive and oversized bone saw, fitting with the their corrupted doctor visual theme.
  • Shadowrun. The Aztlan supplement has the macuitl sword, which has razor sharp slivers of obsidian or flint embedded in the edge. It is capable of decapitating a target with a single hit.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In early editions, the demons known as Rutterkin used sawtoothed swords, with the blade having sharp "teeth" coming out of it like a saw.
    • The Complete Adventurer sourcebook introduces the barbed dagger exotic weapon. Similar to the standard dagger, but with a curved and serrated blade that inflicts further damage on a sneak attack or critical hit. On the other hand, it's not balanced for throwing.

    Toys 
  • One of Hasbro's Spider-Man toylines features a Ninja Spider-Man, who wears samurai armor and carries a serrated sword.
  • The "Slice N' Dice Shredder" action figure from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toyline came with a sword and sickle weapons that both had large serrations along their edges.

    Video Games 
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Throughout the series, Daedric weapons tend to have this aesthetic, along with being primarily black and red in color. Daedric metal is combined by forging Ebony (theorized to be the petrified blood of the dead creator god) with lesser Daedric spirits.
    • The Forsworn weapons in Skyrim consist of hand-made weapons with loads of sharp bones and fangs to form serrated edges.
  • In one of the Knights of the Old Republic games, one of the item descriptions mentions that some Sith prefer these over lightsabers for the more visceral sensation of blade cutting flesh.
  • One of Nadia's sword upgrades from Nightmare Creatures is a silly-looking spiked sword.
  • Yoshihiro's default BFS from Sengoku Basara, though he uses it more like a club than a saw.
  • From Samurai Warriors, there's Ginchiyo Tachibana. All her weapons are barbed katana with a lightning motif.
  • Kratos' swords from God of War. And yes, he's willing to cause a lot of gore with them.
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening has Agni and Rudra, which also count as Sinister Scimitars, Dual Wielding, Empathic Weapons, and Elemental Powers.
  • The female Mad Scientist in BloodRayne duel-wields amputation saws.
  • In Team Fortress 2, the Medic class has a bonesaw as his standard melee weapon; the alternative Medic melee weapons tend to have straight blades. In addition, one of the Sniper's alternative weapons is a wooden serrated knife which does less damage but causes bleeding.
  • In War Craft III, Frostmourne has barbs on its blade, in contrast to the plain-looking runeblades of the generic Death Knights.
  • During his One-Winged Angel form, Oda Nobunaga from Onimusha 3: Demon Siege wields the serrated scimitar Genma Samonji, which can be picked up in the next sequel by Soki as an earth elemental sword named Starkiller.
  • In one of the many Samurai Shodown games, the mercenary warrior Yachi fights with a large, barbed falchion.
  • One of the weapons from Redneck Rampage is a gun that throws circular saw blades at will.
  • Dong Zhuo from Dynasty Warriors combines this with Sinister Scimitar before using a huge mace in later titles.
  • In Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine multiplayer, tactical marines can wield a serrated combat blade in close combat.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, Lorne wields a gigantic serrated falchion. After you defeat him it's given to you, though you can only use it if you're evil.
  • In NieR, Kainé Dual-Wields two serrated swords.
  • Both Demon's Souls and the Dark Souls series has its contributions:
    • The Flamberge, depicted as an undulating, wave-like blade in Dark Souls I and a serrated greatsword in every other game. It inflicts Bleed status and is a rare example of a Greatsword that scales primarily off Dexterity.
    • The Scraping Spear from Demon's Souls is a serrated spear which inflicts durability damage to the opponent's equipment when it hits.
    • Magic Sword "Makoto" from Demon's Souls is a serrated katana that inflicts Bleed. All katanas throughout the series inflict Bleed, but this one inflicts it almost twice as fast as the other katanas in the game.
    • Spiked Sword and Spiked Shield from Dark Souls. They both form a set with Armor of Thorns set. As expected, they also inflict Bleed damage.
    • Bloodlust from Dark Souls III is another serrated katana. It's Weapon Art has you stab yourself in the gut to increase the amount of damage it does and Bleed buildup it causes.
  • In Bloodborne, some weapons have a hidden "Serrated" modifier that causes an extra 20% damage against Beast enemies. These include the Saw Cleaver (saw mode only), Saw Spear, Threaded Cane (whip mode only), Whirligig Saw (saw mode only), Beast Cutter, and Church Pick (although it doesn't look like it).
  • Moredhel weapons from Betrayal at Krondor are usually serrated.
  • Prince of Persia:
  • Rodan from After The War wields a bionic Morph Weapon called Lone Wolf who's a jagged longsword in its basic form.
  • General RAAM from Gears of War uses a serrated short sword. Well, short to him, anyway.
  • The final boss of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Demise, uses a dark copy of the Master Sword with a black, serrated blade.
  • Assassin's Creed III has Captain Kidd's Sawtooth Cutlass, which as its name suggests is a sabre with a serrated back edge.
  • Almost of the Killer-type weapons in Fire Emblem Fates have serrated edges. Which amusingly includes the Killer Bow, which not only has serrated arrows, but the bow itself also has serrated edges.
  • The Diablo clone Fate has the Goblin Scimitar (a small sickle-like sword with a serrated blade) and the Orcish Scythe (kinda like the former, only on a stick) as two possible, low level weapon. In a Subversion, they're both rather weak. The fourth game adds more to the lot, mostly swords such as the Oddly Shaped Sword called "Talwar Sword".
  • The Black Knight from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow wields a massive black sword with tremendously irregular and spiked edges. One of his attacks seems to imply that is a Whip Sword too.
  • Newcomer Darli Dagger in Samurai Shodown 2019 wields a giant sawtoothed weapon. Justified in that she's a ship builder and her weapon is actually the saw she uses as the tool of her trade, which she wields like a two-handed sword.
  • Mezuki, the first boss of Nioh 2, is a monstrous horse demon wielding a huge serrated cleaver. He's introduced sawing at a huge sakura tree and his grab attack has him holding Hide still and cutting though their abdomen with his saw.

    Web Comics 
  • Kiwi Blitz brings us the villainess Gear, who has a retractable serrated shortsword built into her prosthetic arm. She likes to use it on people she finds "Offensively Boring".
  • Elegant Nova of Progression from Keychain of Creation has a huge combat form with micro-serrated claws.

    Web Videos 
  • Man at Arms:
    • As a consequence of making a blade in the cubic/pixellated style of Minecraft, the Diamond Sword forged by the team has a jagged, saw-like edge... and handle, unfortunately.
    • Naturally, the Saw Cleaver from Bloodborne.
    • The Shredder's helmet too.

    Western Animation 
  • Bloth in The Pirates of Dark Water wields a massive cleaver-like scimitar with a serrated back, which looks much more menacing than the weaponry of his men.

    Real Life 
  • The swordbreaker. Though the barbed side was used defensively.
  • The Maquahitls or Macana and many "swords" made by primitive tribes tends to be wooden blades with lots of obsidian splinters or shark teeth embedded in them, like some sort of saw. On that note, even the most well-sharpened surgical stainless steel blades used in scalpels are this in relation to obsidian; this is because steel blades have micro-serrations along the edge, while obsidian has smoother edges.
  • The legendary monk warrior Benkei Musashibo Saito was said to carry around several weapons with him. One of these was a large saw.
  • Averted by soldiers from the mid-19th century to the end of WWI, who were sometimes issued sawback bayonets (so named because they were serrated on one side to allow the soldier to use the bayonet as a small hand saw) and would often file them down before going into battle. The use of a serrated bayonet was questionably legal under The Laws and Customs of War (they were thought to cause excessive pain and suffering for soldiers wounded by them), and someone using a sawback bayonet in combat could be accused of war crimes and potentially executed if captured. Given they were never very popular to begin with (they weren't very good saws or very good bayonets), many of the troops that had them were unwilling to take the chance of carrying one openly, and preferred to file them down or trade them in for conventional bayonets.
    • On the other hand, some soldiers with sadistic tendencies carved serrations into otherwise non-serrated bayonets, precisely because they were supposed to inflict more painful injuries. Officers usually tried to curtail this practice, since it could lead to enemy retaliation if discovered.
  • The Malaysian kris is the most popular and widespread real-world example. While a narrow majority of them had straight blades like any other shortsword, the most famous and iconic kris design has a wavy, undulating blade made using a unique forging method. A kris was the standard sidearm in Indonesia for all social classes until the arrival of guns, and had a fearsome reputation due to the large, fast-bleeding wounds it caused. These days, it has about as much cultural significance there as the katana does in Japan.
  • Europeans also used wavy-bladed swords like the kris, called 'flame blades', 'flamberges', 'flammenschwert', and so on. They were never terribly popular, and were often decorative rather than practical, but some people did use them to fight with, and they had a few advantages to recommend them. In addition to causing gruesome, deadly wounds, they let you use your blade as a saw when you didn't have room to swing at someone, and redirected the energy of incoming blows in unusual ways when used to block or parry, letting you throw enemies off-guard.


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