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Swipe Your Blade Off

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So you just stabbed, sliced, or gored in some way a few mooks or perhaps someone more important.

But wait, there's blood on your sword! Eww, gross! No worries, just perform a swift cutting motion and all that nasty gunk will fly right off (possibly leaving a cool, dramatic splatter on the floor and/or camera)!

It's called chiburui in Real Life, as there's enough blood on the sword, it'll rust faster, but it was more common to clean the sword on a convenient piece of cloth (such as that worn by the dead enemy).


Other liquids (such as water or oil) don't usually count, unless there's some symbolism to it.

In many recent Japanese films, because the blood is often CGI, this method will be shown as completely effective. This leads to a case of Reality Being Unrealistic, as the act of chiburui does not completely clean a blade. Samurai would often wipe their blade off after performing chiburui to ensure it was clean before sheathing it. But don't expect to see that part.

Related to Finishing Move and Victory Pose (as part of the flair that goes with it), and while not exclusive to katanas (sometimes not even exclusive to swords), the katana looks best for it. This may be because it was originally a katana technique (more or less), as well as katanas having a thin blade for their length thus making the action much simpler than with a European broadsword.


Compare Smoking Barrel Blowout and Licking the Blade.


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     Anime and Manga  
  • Sheele from Akame ga Kill! does this in her first appearance with her scissor blade, Extase, after slicing Aria's mother in half.
  • Guts does this with his BFS after killing Bazuso during the opening scene of the first Berserk movie.
  • Bleach
    • Used extremely frequently. Usually, it's done after a Single-Stroke Battle to emphasize how effortlessly the victor won.
    • During Kenpachi Zaraki's duel with Nnoitra Gilga, Kenny flicks the blood off his zanpakuto after stabbing Nnoitra.
  • The titular warriors of Claymore seem to have a fondness for this. An Establishing Character Moment for Theresa of the Faint Smile was her splattering bystanders thus after a kill.
  • At the end of Code Geass, when Zero Suzaku kills Lelouch.
  • Done in High School Of The Dead with a Baseball Bat.
  • Averted in Lone Wolf and Cub; Ogami Itto and other bushi characters wipe them off after a fight, no swiping involved. Seeing the nature of the manga, that is to be expected.
  • Parodied in Nichijou, where Yuuko swipes blood off of her fingers after her hard-fought victory against a mosquito.
  • Rurouni Kenshin, being a Jidaigeki, has this all the time; even Kenshin himself does it a few times despite his Thou Shalt Not Kill vow and reversed sword blade. Old habits die hard.
    • Averted, however, in the Tsuiokuhen OVA: as Battousai, Kenshin would clean his blade with rice paper immediately after every successful assassination.
  • The scene in Samurai Champloo after Kariya Kagetoki cuts down Jin.
    • Jin does this after killing some elite bodyguards who were blocking his path in the first episode.
  • In Soul Eater, Medusa does this to Erika and the eldest Mizune sister. It's done with drool after she shoves her hands in their mouths to make them shut up. It turns out to be a bit of subtle foreshadowing, as she later reveals she did this to implant them with snakes which allow her to kill them at any time.
  • Performed by Kirito of Sword Art Online after finishing off enemies he fights in the game. This becomes a habit later after he returns to his normal life and practices kendo with his adoptive sister.

  • Standard post-fight procedure in Usagi Yojimbo. He still cleans the blade properly afterward, though.

    Fan Works 

  • Done somewhat by 300 where a scene shows blood being flung off a thrust spearhead.
  • Happens several times in the Crazy 88 battle in Kill Bill, as well as after the fight between O-Ren and The Bride.
    • And when O-Ren deals with the belligerent Yakuza boss. Realistically, however, the sword is still clearly bloody as she sheaths it right after.
  • Referenced in The Last Samurai. After beheading his former comrade, Katsumoto's sole act of cleaning his weapon is something of a flick of the sword.
  • A trademark of Ghostface in the Scream movies is to wipe off their knife on their robe after stabbing someone with it. In the fifth film, Sam doing this after brutally killing Ghostface highlights her similarity to her birth father Billy Loomis.
  • In the Star Wars series, the bloodless version is part of the Makashi salute as demonstrated by Count Dooku, which is inspired by real-life fencing (see below).
  • Interestingly, the ronin bodyguard does this several times in Zatoichi, which uses CGI blood, but there's usually still blood on his sword when he sheaths it.

  • In Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber, Merlin at one point finds himself in possession of a vorpal sword. He discovers while using it that swiping the air cleans it perfectly. Probably justified for a collapsible blade that "seemed to be made of moth wings and folded moonlight".
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe averts this when Peter saves his sister from a wolf by killing him with his sword. When Aslan comes onto the scene, his first comment is that Peter has not cleaned his sword. Peter does so and the lion dubs him with an honorific, followed by the advice to always clean his sword.
    • It's a bit of a Running Gag in the series, all the way up to The Last Battle when the King reprimands Eustace for putting his sword back in the sheath bloody. There are also a few mentions of this trope being averted when they wipe the blade on the grass.
  • Diagonally used in Tower of the Elephant by Robert E. Howard. Conan wipes his blade on the grass after slaying the lion guards of the tower. Noted because it serves the same purpose (symbolic cleaning of the sword) but averts the cleanliness of merely shaking it off, adding a barbaric twist to the trope.
  • Galad does this in The Wheel of Time, but characters usually just clean their weapons with a cloth, because the swipe is not 100% effective.

     Live Action TV  
  • The samurai in Deadliest Warrior's Viking v. Samurai fight does this disdainfully once he's finished.
  • Game of Thrones. Various badass characters are seen doing this, either on a handy cloth or the person, they've just killed (Brienne uses her own sleeve in one episode). Strangely averted the first time we see Bronn; he puts a bloody sword back into his scabbard in "The Wolf and the Lion".
  • "Intothe Badlands": Averted multiple times in the Season 2 opener. Both The Widow and Tilda think nothing of sheathing bloody weapons.

     Tabletop Games  
  • A combat feat to do this menacingly exists in Pathfinder. Downing a foe with the Killing Finish feat, provided for use in performance combat, results in a demoralizing spray of blood against nearby enemies as you prepare for the next one. The Mythic Champion ability Clean Blade goes a step further and involves taking a free action after a successful critical hit to swipe the blood and gore off your blade directly onto an opponent, sickening opponents and potentially blinding them.

     Video Games  
  • Vergil does this quite a few times with his sword, Yamato, in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening. In the climax, he does it intentionally to spread his blood on a mechanism after cutting his palm in an attempt to undo the Blood Magic spell that Sparda cast on Temen-ni-gru.
  • Caim from Drakengard does a variation. He does the kill and the cleaning in the same swing.
  • A non-Player Character version occurs in Far Cry 3. South African slaver Hoyt Volker has just beat Jason Brody in a game of poker and decides to cut off one of Jason's fingers every time he loses. His men restrain Jason, and Hoyt pulls a knife out of Jason's dead friend Sam's neck and shakes it over the table, spraying it with Sam's blood.
  • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn Ike's finish animation after killing an opponent includes him doing this twice.
  • In Ghost of Tsushima, the player can have Jin sheathe the blade manually by swiping right on the Touchpad, and if the sword is bloody, Jin will enact this trope. There are several variations, including the classic swipe-to-the-ground, pulling the blade back quickly towards the elbow, running the katana through the crease of his left elbow, and in the Director's Cut, giving the sword a quick spin.
  • GySgt Edward Buck from Halo 3: ODST does this with his combat knife after stabbing a Brute Chieftan to death.
  • Yasuo in League of Legends is an Iaijutsu Practitioner who always does this motion before sheathing his sword. He even has two animations for doing it; one when standing still, and a second when on the run.
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has Raiden doing a few variants on this. After an extended combo string, he simply whips the sword to the side and goes back to his Idle Animation. After defeating the RAY the first time, he does the same, then runs the sword through the crease of his elbow, before sheathing it. This would clean the blade, if it actually had any blood on it. That is also his victory pose in the VR Training missions. After performing a stealth kill ("Ninja Kill") on a humanoid cyborg from behind, Raiden whips the sword to the side, the blood noticeably flying off the blade and splattering onto the nearby surface. Considering the nature of his weapon, it might not even be necessary to begin with.
  • Ryu does this automatically with all of his weapons in Ninja Gaiden 2.
    • In Ninja Gaiden/Black/Sigma, he does it after using the new Ultimate Technique with the True Dragon Sword, Storm of the Heavenly Dragon.
  • In the Onechanbara games, this is a gameplay mechanic where slicing through hordes of zombies (whose blood is probably well-rotted) without cleaning the blade can cause it to get stuck in the corpse, leaving the player vulnerable.
  • Notably averted by Ryoma from Power Stone; one of his victory poses involves him wiping off the blade with a few pieces of paper and letting them dramatically fly away in the breeze.
  • Raidou Kuzunoha does this after every battle in Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army.
  • Tyrants in Resident Evil seem to do this after they've killed you.
  • One of Ukyo's win poses in Samurai Shodown.
  • In the intro video for Total War: Shogun 2, the winner of the duel does this before sheathing his sword. Right before he got shot in the back by the beaten monk's allies in the fortress. Takeda Shingen was not impressed.
  • One of the Ranger's sheathing animations in XCOM 2 is a flick before placing their machete back in its scabbard.

     Western Animation  

     Real Life  
  • A variant of this with no blood finishes off the modern fencing salute: holding one's sword to their face, Stab the Sky and Swipe Your Blade Off.
  • In fact, the cutting motion in the air is only one type of chiburi; other known motions include twirling the sword in one hand or audibly smacking the wrist of the hand holding the sword (in the case of wakizashi).
  • There's some discussion and debate amongst modern iaido and kenjitsu practitioners as to whether the chiburui's primary purpose was to get the blood off at all. While it will shake some of the blood off if it's a particularly messy cut (or if you just killed multiple people), the use of a cloth to wipe off the rest is more or less essential for anyone who doesn't want a rusty sword. Other interpretations of the chiburui include a signal to any surviving opponents that hostilities were over (while still keeping the sword in a position where it could be used if said opponent didn't agree) or to ingrain a habit for the samurai to take a moment to check his surroundings for any additional threats before sheathing his blade.

Alternative Title(s): Chiburi, Swipe Your Blade Clean