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Weapon Across the Shoulder

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You should know not to mess with a dude who rests his sword this awesomely.

A popular pose for swordsmen, gunslingers, or any other title that is describing a specific weapon user. This is when someone who forgoes carrying a sheath or holster and instead lets their weapon rest lazily slung over their shoulder when not in use. This is often invoked by characters whose weapon diagonally Sticks to the Back. It carries the I-Don't-Give-A-Damn effect while making the weapon look cooler. It does have some level of practicality: a particularly large blade or gun is difficult to hold in any other way.

This can be safely done in real life if you're careful and have the proper training or just have the right weapon. A single-edged blade has a blunt back which can be harmlessly rested on the shoulder; the popularity of this trope in Japan is probably related to the katana and other single-edged blades being the most common there. A double-edged sword can add danger, but that depends on exactly how sharp the sword is, what clothes or armor you're wearing, etc. The flat of a double edged blade provides a side to rest it on as long as you watch out for the edge that's facing your head or neck. Polearm and blunt-weapon users usually don't have to worry about such problems however.

Related to Stab the Sky.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ichigo of Bleach loves this. The sheer size of his sword make accidentally cutting himself unlikely, as the sharp edge is above his head level.
    • Kenpachi will often be seen with his shikai, a rusty old katana with a heavily chipped edge, slung across his right shoulder and his little pink-haired girl lieutenant Yachiru on his left.
  • Zelgadis of Slayers does this sometimes. Having skin like rock, he can let the sword rest on the sharp end if he likes (probably damaging the blade).
  • Eishun Konoe of Negima! Magister Negi Magi has been seen doing this. Also Jack Rakan on the photo of Nagi's group Ala Rubra.
  • Guts of Berserk is also fond of doing this. The Dragon Slayer isn't sharp like most BFS's, and mainly generates cutting power through its mass and the blinding speed with which the freakishly strong Guts swings it. Parodied in the English outtakes for the 1997 anime, where Guts places his large "Leader of the Hawks Raiders"-era sword on his back when he's still recovering and topless, making Marc Diraison scream in agony at how a bad of an idea it was.
  • Mimiru from .hack//SIGN.
  • Zabuza Momochi of Naruto, like anyone else using a BFS and carrying their sword diagonally, is partial to this.
    • Kisame Hoshigaki, another BFS user, also does this. Though as his sword doesn't so much cut as shred there's less risk of decapitation.
  • Rena Ryuugu from Higurashi: When They Cry does this with her cleaver.
  • Inuyasha has done this, but rarely, since his BFS transforms back to a normal sized katana when sheathed. So he only does it when he's taking a wait-and-see attitude towards the action being over.
  • Kayin and Eiji from the Battle Arena Toshinden OVA do this.
  • The iconic shot from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann depicts Kamina resting his katana on the shoulder like this.
  • Nicholas D. Wolfwood from Trigun carries his Cross Punisher BFG in this fashion, often holding it by a strap slung over his shoulder.
  • Alto in Macross Frontier does a different version: instead of fully resting his weapon on his Valkyrie's shoulder, he only puts the muzzle onto it; he's an ex-Kabuki actor and does a pose from thatnote , prompting Bobby to remark that he looks beautiful even in Battroid mode.
  • Early in the series, Sanosuke carries his massive zanbatou sword over his shoulder as he heads to face Kenshin.
  • In the final chapters of Claymore, Teresa of the Faint Smile briefly slings her blade over her shoulder as she heads towards her Awakening and the Final Battle.
  • In Snow White with the Red Hair Zen briefly rests his blade back on his shoulder like this when trying to stall to give backup time to arrive during the fight with Touka at Sereg since he's been poisoned and is outnumbered.
  • Balsa the spear weilder in Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit commonly carries her spear over her shoulder. Probably the only practical way with this weapon.

    Comic Books 
  • Snow White does this in one issue of Fables. With the Vorpal Blade. Sheriff Bigby promptly tells her why that's a bad idea.
  • Groo the Wanderer: Chakaal the warrior-woman. Since her neck is drawn quite thin and her sword is very thick it's surprising that she didn't manage to decapitate herself accidentally.
  • Gennosuke from Usagi Yojimbo carries his katana like this. A better idea than most examples, since his sword has a sheath, but one still wonders why he doesn't tuck it into his belt along with his wakizashi.
  • Robin (1993): Tim Drake will casually rest his staff over a shoulder while talking to allies after a fight on occasion, but collapses it back down and stashes it before leaving the scene.
  • Harley Quinn has a habit of doing a pose involving this with her wooden mallets or baseball bats.



    Live Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: Hobb, the Castle Black cook, slings his enormous cleaver over his shoulder while strolling through his kitchen and killing wildlings.
  • During the roll call for Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, Shinken Red and Shinken Pink do this when they announce their names. (To a lesser extent Shinken Yellow too.)
  • The title character of Angel often has his sword slung over one shoulder like a baseball bat, or resting behind his neck across both shoulders, while he and the rest of the gang are doing a Team Power Walk.
  • Highlander also has occasional use of this stance, rather naturally, though sometimes Duncan would also bring his up so it was resting against his arm, pointing upward, but still ready to bring into use if he had to.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: After beheading the demon Lagos with his own axe Buffy does this with the axe as she and Willow walk away.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy VII:
    • Cloud Strife is often pictured doing this in official artwork, including the original game's US boxart.
    • Sephiroth often holds his impossibly long sword this way, probably because it would scrape grooves in the ground if it was held in any kind of sheath, and lop off the knees of anyone standing next to him every time he turned a corner.
    • Cid also does it with his spear when casting magic.
  • This is essentially Squall's victory pose in both Final Fantasy VIII and Dissidia Final Fantasy.
  • In the DS remake of Final Fantasy IV, Edge holds one of his two katana this way.
  • In Final Fantasy X, this is how Auron carries his sword (when it's not in Hammerspace) as well as his victory pose. Justified, given how big it is.
  • This pose is the combat stance for Gunbreakers in Final Fantasy XIV. It's also an idle stance for male Dark Knights.
  • Sora from Kingdom Hearts. He tends to default to doing this when he's running around with the Keyblade out when there are no enemies around, but only from Kingdom Hearts II onward. In Kingdom Hearts and Chain of Memories, running like this was the visual cue that Sora was in battle mode.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Dante does this very often... on the sharp side of the blade. He never seems to notice, even though extra material says his sword is sharp enough to cut through anything in human existence. It's implied that Rebellion is an Empathic Weapon, so it may be a case of it simply not wanting to cut its own master; the times Dante is injured with Rebellion, it's from someone else taking it from him and stabbing or throwing it at him.
    • Devil May Cry 4 has non-sharp variants for both player characters; Nero rests his sword across his shoulder like Dante does in multiple cutscenes, but is in no danger of cutting himself because it's a single-edged blade. Dante likewise rests Yamato across his shoulders during a late-game cutscene, which is again no danger because A) it's a katana, and B) it's in its sheath
  • In the Fire Emblem games for Gameboy Advance, this is the battle pose for mercenaries, berserkers, fighters, journeymen and post-promotion Hector, though mercenaries are the only of these to wield swords; the rest do it with axes.
    • Post-promotion Hector can use swords too (Though in his case they look like BFSs).
    • In the Tellius games (Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn), Greil carries his axe like this. His son Ike will pick up the habit upon promoting to Vanguard, for both swords and axes. He also has it as one of his idle animations in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. And to complete the cycle, Priam, Ike's descendant is shown resting Ragnell on his shoulder in official artwork.
  • In the The Secret Of The Cursed Mask for the PlayStation 2, BFS over shoulder is Inuyasha's battle pose.
  • Played with in Muramasa: The Demon Blade with Kisuke, as he has the blade sheathed when carrying it over his shoulder.
  • The idle animation for two-handed weapons in Age Of Decadence has them rested on the shoulder.
  • Yuri Lowell from Tales of Vesperia does this in the opening movie, his character artwork, and a few victory poses.
    • Alvin from Tales of Xillia as well as Tales of Xillia 2 holds his BFS like this with one hand, regardless of if he's equipped with a single edge sword, and lets his gun dangle in his other hand. He does this whenever he's not using the sword: even when he's firing his gun and thus assumes a less relaxed pose, his sword rests on his shoulders.
    • Xillia 2 also has the protagonist Ludger Will Kresnik do a two-handed variation as a victory pose if he defeats an enemy with his Sledgehammer.
  • Any class that can equip the Sword class weapons in Phantasy Star Online can do this if you walk instead of run.
  • Motochika from Sengoku Basara carries his enormous bladed anchor like this. Keiji does this too, though his sword is normally sheathed across his shoulders, and Yoshihiro rests the blunt edge of his gigantic sword this way sometimes.
  • All of the three Agarest Senki 2 protagonists do this trope. Doesn't matter what kind of weapon it is.
  • Dan Smith in Killer7 rests his massive revolver on his shoulder.
  • In reference to the above, Leon in Resident Evil 4 is shown in the inventory screen to hold the Hand Cannon in this manner.
  • Angela from Rusty Hearts.
  • Large weapons like the Greatswords, Greataxes, and Great Hammers are held this way in Dark Souls.
  • In Demon's Souls, any large sword being only one handed will be held on the shoulder, which makes more sense as it would be dragged across the ground otherwise.
  • Kratos of God of War regularly carries weapons that are bigger than himself in this fashion.
  • Travis Touchdown does this in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle with the third blade. Death Metal also does this with his blade in the first game. Justified with Death Metal since it was the non laser side, while Travis most likely angles his off of his body.
  • King Dedede does this with his hammer while idling in the Super Smash Bros. series. Fire Emblem's Ike also does this with his broadsword.
    • In his reveal trailer, Shulk does this with his Monado.
  • Darunia in Hyrule Warriors carries the Megaton Hammer this way.
  • Brewmaster Monks in World of Warcraft are the only class specialization to do this with their artifact weapon, both out of and during combat, where it's primarily used for balance.
  • In For Honor, the Highlander normally rests his claymore across his shoulder in his defensive stance. When he switches to his offensive stance, he drops it down to his side in preparation to attack. The Shugoki will also rest his kanabo across his shoulder while in guard mode if his guard is set to overhead.
  • Karim holds the Ram Dao this way in Eternal Darkness.
  • Inklings and Octolings using a Roller in Splatoon and Splatoon 2 will strike this pose on the victory screen after a match. This also serves as one of their victory poses in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  • Warcraft III: Paladins will occasionally heft their giant sledgehammers over their shoulder, but only when standing still, other wise carrying them one-handed.
  • Pokémon: Farfetch'd are bird Pokémon that carry leeks that they use as weapons in various manners of swordplay. Farfetch'd in Galar carry leeks as large (compared to them) as the Buster Sword is compared to Cloud, and carry it the same way. Unsurprisingly, they're not Flying-type; Galarian Farfetch'd are Fighting-type Pokémon.
  • One of the unlockable menu screen stances in Doom Eternal has the Doom Slayer resting his Super Shotgun on his shoulder.
  • The Trails Series seem to love this trope for a few characters. These include Agate Crosner, Randy Orlando, Aurelia LeGuin, and Van Arkride.


    Web Original 
  • Zohbugg, a.k.a. "the Uruk-Hai sword girl," carries her sword like this when she's not using it to reach the remote or make coffee.
    I don't know how I survived life without it.

    Western Animation 
  • In the season 2 and 3 opening of Steven Universe, Connie holds Rose's sword this way.

    Real Life 
  • Machine gunners started carrying their machine guns on the shoulder when they started becoming lighter (they were way too heavy up until the late 1930's). The World War II German army's MG-34 and MG-42 are famous early examples.
  • During the Columbine High School massacre of April 20, 1999, when shooter Dylan Klebold was not firing his shotgun, he would rest it on his shoulder.
  • Renaissance Landsknechte are often depicted this way, with their Zweihaender slung over their shoulders.
  • In Real Life a pose very much like this is an actual stance in Joachim Meyer's German school of swordsmanship, known as the guard of wrath or zornhut. This actually more of a reactionary pose than an example of this trope.
    • A less extreme example in vom tag, with the hilt generally held much lower, but the blade still resting against and point over the shoulder.
  • With large claymores and other 4'+ weapons, they generally were not carried in complex sheathes on the back. Instead, they were carried resting against the shoulder while marching, similar to a soldier's rifle in later times. Just don't trip over anything, OK?
  • In Italian longsword fighting, the standard posture is called Posta di Donna (guard of the woman), which consists of holding the blade across your shoulders at such an angle that you can see the tip and far third out of the corner of your eye.
  • Telescopic batons are often used this way. It's generally from a passive stance and its intent is to conceal the weapon's length from an opponent.

Alternative Title(s): Blade Above The Shoulder, Blade Across The Shoulder, Blade Behind The Shoulder