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Sword Sparks

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The Sword Fight: man against man, clashing steel with force enough to sever a limb.

And sparks. Lots of sparks. When two swordfighters cross swords, the force of their collision will send up sparks, showing just how powerful, sharp and deadly the crossed swords are. In more extreme cases where the blades remain together as the two fighters push against each other, the cutting edges may not only spark but actually visibly heat up until they glow, usually to indicate the combatants are both ridiculously strong. This can occur even if one combatant's weapon isn't actually a sword.

In reality, it is pretty common to strike a few sparks with a sword. Generating a spark by hitting another sword is all a matter of angle and friction, not of strength or sharpness. The spark is actually a little bit of the sword breaking off, so it's a sign you are slowly damaging the sword, and an inevitable result of use for any sharp object. Even fencing swords will spark occasionally and eventually need replacement. Needless to say, this is less visually impressive because the sparks come more one at a time and only for a moment. Stage performers will use flints on the part of the blade closest to the hilt to achieve this effect consistently.

Sometimes this is used to imply a character has a kind of quasi-magical ability without going too fantastical with the show. If a sword somehow creates this when swung at someone's body, see Hit Spark.

See also Audible Sharpness and Sinister Scraping Sound. Compare with Bullet Sparks.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Used occasionally in Afro Samurai, but most noticeable in Resurrection during Afro's fight with the Number Two. Their blades spark every time they connect, even producing sustained sparks during several Blade Locks. One particularly forceful parry on Afro's part has sparks shooting everywhere for several second as the Number Two's sword travels up the length of his (Afro's) sword, with a sound effect like a lightning generator.
  • In Berserk, Godo states he enjoyed the sparks he made whenever he was working on something, which makes Guts notice how they're likewise something he sees a lot of while doing the only thing he knows to do in life.
    Later, when most of the major members of the Band of the Hawk were battling several members of the Bakiraka in a dark tunnel, Judeau puts out their lights and then uses sparks from several different weapons to reveal where their enemies are as they're attacking.
  • Sometimes happens in Bleach. When Ichigo fights Ulquiorra the first time, sparks fly when Ichigo's sword strikes Ulquiorra's arm. Ulquiorra didn't bother using his sword the entire fight. He still won.
  • Claymore: Justified. Since there is a lot of sword-fighting, but the swords are so fast that they are invisible, the sparks are a visual way to tell the audience what is happening.
  • Justified in Code Geass; the Humongous Mecha-sized swords are usually made of vibrating Phlebotinum, if not outright microchainsaw-like in operation. Specifically, the Britannian swords are vibro-swords, while the Black Knights use chainswords with heated blades.
  • Many sword fights (or with any edged weapons) in Fate/stay night. Granted, they are all Mana-charged armaments, so Power Glows are inevitable.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children plays with this trope. During the final battle between Cloud and Sephiroth, every meeting of blade on blade generates light, but it's not sparks - the light is streams that twist through the air around them. Given both combatants are mako-infused SOLIDERs, it's not unlikely that the light is magically induced.
  • Used copiously in Inuyasha, both in swordfights & when the title character sheaths his ludicrous BFS. The act of cramming the gigantic magical sword into a normal sized scabbard kicks up so many sparks that he has to wear fireproof pajamas to avoid immolating himself. The sparks when he sheathes the sword are actually the sword transforming; the sword takes two forms, a shabby katana, and an incredibly gigantic sword that's meant to evoke the fang of his demon father (mostly because it was made from the fang of his demon father). Enticing the sword to transform from the small useless form into the big powerful form was actually a major plot point early on in the series.
  • Contrariwise, Last Order: Final Fantasy VII plays this very straight in the sword fight between Sephiroth vs Zack and Cloud which has heaps of sword sparks.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha:
    • When two Devices clash in , they will send up sparks. Best seen in the opening of the second season, where Nanoha's staff and the handle of Vita's hammer produce lots of sparks during a Blade Lock.
    • Sufficiently strong shields like those used by Yuuno or Wolkenritters will produce massive amount of sparks when attacked as well (which breaks weaker shields instantly). If they're really strong (thank you, Stone Wall Ferret), it's device-on-shield lock with even more sparks.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 not only has the regular Sword Sparks, but took it another level by having intense energy discharges every time someone clashes blades, and even in a Blade Lock. Of course, beam sabers don't quite fit this trope, as they aren't solid swords, and Gundam Exia's swords are lined with GN particles, so yeah.
  • Seen in most fight scenes in Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit. Particularly obvious in the ones taking place at night, like this one.
  • In My-HiME, Mikoto's sword Miroku generates enormous quantities of Sword Sparks when she drags its tip on the ground... which is almost all the time, since it's practically bigger than she is. She has to build up speed to swing it.
  • One Piece: Downplayed during Zoro's battle against The Dragon to Sir Crocodile, Mr. 1, who can create any metallic weapon from his body, including drills. When Zoro strikes them, he's genuinely surprised that sparks kick up and wonders for a moment how fast they're really going.
  • Actually weaponized in Rurouni Kenshin: the Kyoto Arc's Big Bad, Makoto Shishio's sword has oil embedded within the blade edge as a result of its unique design, allowing any sword sparks to set it on fire.
  • Scrapped Princess:
    • Shannon and Chris have a sparktastic sword-on-axe duel in the first episode.
    • And then they have another one in a canyon made of glass. Sparks, shards, tricks with reflections, the works.
  • Turns up in Soul Eater. One example is when Crona fights first Maka and then Stein. Soul gets effortlessly cut and knocked around by Ragnarok. When Death Scythe Spirit turns up, the only effect Ragnarok has is some sparks.
  • The Vision of Escaflowne: It happens a lot when Humongous Mecha-sized melee weapons clash.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Exaggerated in New Game Plus (One Piece) when Zorro and Mihawk battle. Their swords don't just throw sparks, they throw jets of flame every time they collide.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • In Aquaman, it happens when the tridents of both Arthur/Aquaman and Orm clash during their climactic duel on the surface.
    • Zack Snyder's Justice League:
      • During the battle in the tunnels, Wonder Woman's sword produces sparkles when hitting either Parademons or Steppenwolf's armor and electro-axe. Batman's metal gauntlets also produce sparks when he punches Parademons.
      • Mera produces sparks when she vigorously draws Aquaman's trident in the Bad Future, with its non-pronged end hitting the ground.
  • In The Addams Family, when Fester and Gomez dance the Mamushka, sparks are seen from their daggers.
  • Happens constantly throughout a lot of the fight scenes in An Empress And The Warriors.
  • In Blade, Frost and Blade have a high-speed swordfight. Both Blade and Frost having vampiric strength, Blade having fed recently and Frost the corporeal form of the Blood God, the sparks are not unexpected.
  • They do this in Blades of Glory, kicking the air and meeting each other's skates to produce sparks. This was intentional on their part, due to Rule of Cool.
  • In The Butchers, the Zodiac Killer generates sparks, as well as a Sinister Scraping Sound, by dragging his sickle along the wall of the caravan while chasing Ren.
  • Happens a few times during Shu Lien and Jen's fight in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
  • Curse of the Golden Flower has an entire fight sequence devoted to this.
  • In Dragonslayer, the hero fights the king's chief enforcer with his magical dragonspear. Sparks fly whenever their blades touch.
  • The Highlander films take this to near-obscene levels, with explosions of sparks unrivaled below the point of foundry work at every metal-to-metal contact. To achieve this, swords were attached by cables to car batteries.
  • In Hook, the first two times Hook and Pan's swords meet emit enormous, ridiculous sparks for no reason. After this they disappear and are never mentioned again.
  • Crossing swords with the Slayers in Krull causes this. Sweet, enormous red ones. Actually, looks like little lightning bolts.
  • In Lockjaw: Rise of the Kulev Serpent, Alan discovers that the drawing done with the voodoo becomes physically indestructible when he tries to hack it to pieces with a knife, and the blade strikes sparks from the paper.
  • The final fight in Ninja Cheerleaders features this prominently, although the sparks in question are electric, not pyrotechnic. It's how Kinji is incapacitated
  • The Phantom of the Opera's sword fight with Raoul his rival for Christine's heart in the graveyard is full of sword sparks.
  • The first sword fight scene in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl has sparks coming from it... but since Will Turner is attacking Jack with a red-hot poker, striking it against something that doesn't burst into flames would produce sparks.
  • Lampshaded in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, when Robin looks at the camera and exclaims "Shocking!", just after the Sheriff's sword makes sparks from striking a stone column.
  • The lightsaber duels in Star Wars sometimes strike sparks, though these being energy blades it's somewhat justifiable. It might also be from minor bits of scenery being heated white hot in an instant.
  • In the final battle of Ultraviolet (2006), sword sparks are used to light oil.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • Numerous sparks fly in Wolverine's battle with Lady Deathstrike in X2: X-Men United. Notably, since sparks are made by little bits of metal flying off the blade, this should be impossible in an adamantium-on-adamantium duel, since adamantium is indestructible.
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Logan's claws have always done it some of the time, but in this movie, it's taken to unprecedented heights.

  • The Codex Alera series has this being a trait of those able to use metal furies to empower their sword-fighting; the Sword Sparks are actually color-coded with individual colors for each character.
  • In The Song of Roland when Thierry duels Pinabel to determine Ganelon's guilt, sparks fly from their swords and set the grass on fire (Laisse 284-285). This story dates back to the 11th century (and is possibly older) making this trope older than print.
  • In The Wheel of Time, whenever a Power-forged weapon strikes a similarly-forged weapon, blue-white sparks fly. In a similar case, when Perrin makes a Power-wrought weapon in one of his distinctive Forging Scenes, every hammerstroke produces a huge sheaf of sparks which ultimately result in the area around the forge being noticeably singed. This is probably impurities in the metal being magically excised.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andromeda: "And Your Heart Will Fly Away". Dylan is attacked by a swordfighter whose sword strikes sparks against everything: the deck plates, Dylan's lance, even the plastic control panels (perhaps an overlap with Explosive Instrumentation).
  • CSI: NY: The LARPers makeshift swords throw off sparks during their battle in the junkyard in "The Box".
  • Pretty much every episode of Highlander. According to the special effects director, the effect was achieved by connecting one sword to an electric line. At least among fans, this is generally considered a Power Glows effect of the franchise's Applied Phlebotinum.
  • Tokusatsu generally has this trope all over the place, with sparks indicating a direct hit on the opponent. This includes Kamen Rider, Super Sentai and Power Rangers. The Power Rangers are often said to "bleed sparks" because of excessive use of this. Sparks happen with any hit, including ridiculous examples like a Ranger being thrown through a stack of cardboard boxes with a ton of sparks.
  • Eliot and a Russian mob thug generate sparks while fighting with crowbars in "The Three Card Monte Job" of Leverage.

  • The live-action Medieval Times shows use titanium blades to cause lots of sparking during the fights. For those unfamiliar with Medieval Times, it's an American dinner theater restaurant chain that holds a joust during your meal.
  • In some nineteenth-century productions of Goethe's Faust, the swordfight between Faust and Valentin actually had electrical sparks from the swords. This was produced by having the actors stand on a conductive mat connected to a battery while wearing an electrical wire that ran from the sole of their shoe to the sword, which had been made as rough as a file. As the rough surfaces of the blades clashed, a circuit was completed and broken multiple times, making for a spectacular light show in the gas-lit theaters of the day.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, the Dragon-Blooded can weaponize their Sword Sparks with a melee (fire aspected) charm called Blinding Spark Distraction. As the name implies, it sends a stream of sparks at an opponent's eyes and can be used when either combatant successfully parries an attack.

    Video Games 
  • The Raincoat Killer in Deadly Premonition produces constant sparks from dragging his ax along the ground - even when it's on grass or another non-spark-producing surface.
  • This happens almost any time when blades clash against each other in the Devil May Cry series.
    • During their first battle in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, Dante and Vergil lock swords so hard that not only do sparks fly, their weapons start glowing red-hot from the produced friction. A similar scene happens in Devil May Cry 5 when the brothers lock swords again after Vergil re-emerged from the fusion of his two halves.
    • This happens in the lengthy Buster sequence between Nero and Dante in Devil May Cry 4, swinging their swords so hard that sparks flash upon each contact.
    • A slow-motion variant happens in DmC: Devil May Cry when Dante and Vergil lock swords near the finale.
  • Commonplace in Dynasty Warriors, where blocking an enemy attack would produce enormous iridescent sparks. Enemy officers with fast attack strings could produce a veritable shower of these if you blocked them for long enough.
  • Advent Children's sword streams from the anime section above make reappearances in Kingdom Hearts II and Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, from the same combatants.
  • The Knights of the Old Republic video games produce streams of them, with both lightsabers and metal swords.
  • This is used as a gameplay mechanic in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords. Two or more Links have to slash their swords together to create sparks and light lamps.
  • Raiden and Vamp did this with knives during their final battle in Metal Gear Solid 4, dialed up in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance every sword strike causes a massive amount of sparks. Interesting Raiden and Sam's High Frequency blades still make sparks when simply just pressed together, this probably due to molecules bouncing together as the same thing happens when Raiden tries to cut Senator Armstrong's arm which is protected by Nanomachines.
  • Almost every single cutscene fight in Sengoku Basara, which will inevitably involve a Blade Lock, causes the weapons to spew forth sparks like grinding irons. It's a wonder the characters don't get their face burnt off.


    Web Original 
  • Puella Magi Adfligo Systema: #426:
    -you release the hammer, forming a new one in the path of the sword and you catch that a moment after the ringing contact, sparks flying from the impact and why even sparks metal doesn't work that way-

    Western Animation 
  • Done spectacularly in Alucard and Trevor's sword duel in Castlevania.
  • Parodied in a classic Felix the Cat cartoon, where Felix battles a Pirate captain, and their swords not only spark, the blades start glowing white-hot, eventually fuse together and burn a hole through the wooden deck when dropped.
  • In one episode of Samurai Jack, Jack fights an Evil Knockoff created from his own anger and hatred. The sword sparks from their fight go so far as to start a forest fire. On the other hand, considering the fire vanishes when Jack realizes how deeply he was giving in to that anger and hatred, it may have just been symbolic.

    Real Life 
  • In fact swords do strike sparks quite often.
    • If one isn't careful with the speed and angle, not only are sparks likely, but sometimes may result is blades "welding" themselves together. Hilarious the first time it happens, not so much when you have to spend ages fixing the blades once you've yanked them apart.
    • It should be noted that the sparks produced from two swords striking each other tend to be so small and dim that you could only detect them in total darkness. It still isn't recommended having a swordfight near natural gas deposits, though (or in total darkness).
  • Some enterprising effect artists will wire up a sword to a battery to produces sparks. However, that makes accidentally poking your co-star (or more likely yourself), that much more painful.
  • A fencing foil, when the tip wears through, can strike sparks during coordination training that involves pinning a falling glove to a wall.