Posts Tagged ‘anime’

Straight swords, plain swords, and sword canes…

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Most of my regular readers will know at this point that I am somewhat partial to sword canes, Shikomizue, or “Prepared Canes” as they are called. The reason is twofold. First because they are simple canes, and I’ve always enjoyed using “sticks” as some like to call them, or staff weapons. So throwing a blade into the mix for me, pretty much makes them completely and uncompromisingly awesome. It’s like bringing a sword to a stick fight. Dirty, but full of WIN. 😛

Blind Fury

Blind Fury

For similar reasons, I am also a great fan of Chokutō. Chokutō (or “Straight Sword”) are, as the name might suggest, just simple straight swords. But while Chokutō and Shikomizue are similar in appearance, the designs are not the same. And while they may both share structural similarities with Shirasya, (I have actually confused these designs on numerous occasions in the past) the three are actually very different in terms of design focus, so I thought I’d talk a little bit about them (I.E. go grab a cup of coffee or tea or whatever, and get comfortable, before you continue reading. 🙂 )

Shirasaya, (or “White Sheath”) swords, regardless of form factor, were designed initially as a storage format for sword blades, and are generally distinguishable from other designs by a very simple, generally unadorned saya and tsuki. Compared to the complex tsuka furniture, mountings and lacquered saya finishes of traditional Japanese swords, shirasaya were stored, lightly pinned, in plain, un-lacquered saya, so that both the saya and tsuki could “breathe” and prevent the build up of moisture that could cause corrosion and or deformation of the blade and tang.

White Double Shirasya

White Double Shirasya

Shikomizue, or “Prepared Canes”, are just that. Walking sticks or canes, designed to conceal a sword blade. The design focus here was the covert carry of a sword, without arousing suspicion. Featuring a featureless straight saya and tsuki, generally cut from the same piece of wood, or cut and finished to look like it was, this was a popular choice for ninjas and other warriors who did not wish to arouse suspicion, but still wanted to be able to carry a sword about them for offensive or defensive purposes.

Zatoichi - Blind Fury Shikomizue

Zatoichi - Blind Fury Shikomizue

Chokutō, or “straight sword” design, on the other hand, was focused on neither conceal-ability nor storage. It was a design born in an age prior to that of differential tempering, and, in fact originated outside of Japan, in places like China and Korea. Differential tempering is a process that produces a hard edge, but flexible spine on a most traditional Japanese swords. It also imparts the characteristic curve to the sword, which was found to be a much more efficient sword design, when used correctly.

However before the discovery of the benefits of curved swords and differential tempering, swords were generally straight, and is here that the Chokutō design came from. A simple straight sword, intended for practical use, with no differential tempering, and no need to conceal the blade. The form of the sword simply followed it’s function and the limitations of the technology of the time. Or so the legends say…

So I’ll bet you’re wondering why I decided to bring all of this up. Well, here’s the thing. I am a fan of anime, one of them being Naruto. Or at least I used to be a fan of Naruto. Been a while since I watched any anime. But at least the first and second seasons were acceptably entertaining. If you are willing to disregard the many annoying filler arcs. :/

Anyway, In the anime, one of our eventual anti-heros, Sasuke Uchiha, wields what can only be called a monstrous black Chokutō called the Kusanagi Grass Cutter. As I mentioned in an earlier post on the topic, there is some disparity between the Anime version of the sword, and the Manga (comic book) version of this sword. In the comic, the sword is white, with a black stripe. In the anime, however, the sword is dark gray with a black stripe.

Sasukes Kusanagi No Tsurugi (Kusanagi Grass Cutter)

Sasukes Kusanagi No Tsurugi (Kusanagi Grass Cutter)

Personally, I prefer the animated version of the sword. But, nonetheless, the most common versions I am seeing are the manga versions, a replica of which was the inspiration for todays post:

Sasuke Uchiha's Chokutō

Sasuke Uchiha's Chokutō

As you can see this is the Manga version of the sword, but despite it’s white saya, it actually looks pretty nice. And it has a sweet black blade. And it appears to of a much higher quality construction than the last one I posted about. So just thought, after my long winded post, that I’d share. 🙂

Now if only someone would make it in black… Actually never mind. I’ll probably just get this one, sand it down and give it the traditional Japanese black lacquer treatment…

Yeah… Go me! 😀

Sasuke Uchiha Chokutō – [King of Swords]

Another Funky Sword…

Friday, September 25th, 2009

I’ve seen my fare share of funky and freakish swords, so nothing surprises me any more, but I still have to ask myself how people come up with some of the designs I see. Like this one, for instance:

Dark Dragon Blade

Dark Dragon Blade

The loop, pommel, and black cylindrical grip is normal enough. Not great, but OK. As is the guard. Simple but effective. But then it all goes down hill from there.

I like black blades more than most, but this one looks like someone was sitting there, looking at the thorny stem of a rose, and thought to themselves… “Hey, this might make a good sword design…!” I mean seriously. Look at the point on it. Doesn’t exactly look like it was designed to be a thrusting weapon, that’s for sure. the reverse points kinda give that away.

And sure, this thing will cut, as the outer edge of each one of those “thorns” have been sharpened, but it won’t exactly allow you any long continuous cuts. just a series of short ones. Not exactly what you want out of a combat blade. Of course it may not be a combat blade. Who knows. But i’m pretty much positive this is from an anime, though I have no clue which.

If any of you do, please feel free to let me know. I’m curious to see where this came from. 🙂

Dark Dragon Blade – [True Swords]

Another Copycat Blade…

Monday, September 21st, 2009

I am a big fan of shirasaya patterned swords, even though the design was originally developed for storage, rather than actual use. I find them such simple, clean designs. No muss, no fuss, no ornate furniture, no complex tsuka-maki, etc. I just really like the clean lines of the design.

However there are tactical disadvantages to using shirasaya styled sword furniture when compared to traditional sword designs. Obviously, without tsukamaki, your grip on the tsuka will not be as good. And without a guard, you are limited in the number of ways you can parry a strike. However these issues can be mitigated via training, and in the end, they become no more or less difficult to use than the purpose built shikomizue.

But I’m rambling. The real reason why I brought up the subject is because I ran into another shikomizue styled blade:

Custom Ninja Sword aka Sasukes Kusanagi Grass cutter

Custom Ninja Sword aka Sasukes Kusanagi Grass cutter

This interesting little blade, modestly called a Custom Anime Ninja Sword, bears a striking resemblance to a sword from a previous post. None other than Sasuke Uchihas’ Kusanagi Grass Cutter (aka Kusanagi no Tsurugi) from the anime Naruto! Obviously this is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that a sword company decided to make a copy of a cool anime sword. But as cheap rip offs go, this one is a pretty good likeness.

About the only differences between this and the original is that this one lacks the signature Uchiha clan fan symbol on the Tsuka, it has a cheap cast habaki, and the point is a sharply angled tanto point, as opposed to a traditional katana point. But it has a straight black blade, just like the orignial, a feature that I absolutely love, and the long, straight white saya with the rectangular cross section with the black racing stripe down the middle.

I think that black stripe adds like 9000 points to the hit strength of the sword, but I could be wrong. 🙂

Sasuke’s Kusanagi Grass Cutter (aka Kusanagi no Tsurugi) rip off – [True Swords]

Another Wonderfully Impractical Anime Humongoblade!

Friday, May 29th, 2009

I was just looking through my archive wondering what to post about next, when I ran into a prop/replica of another great anime sword I’ve always found rather cool looking, if not really, really, over the top, like Clouds massive cleaver from Final Fantasy (aka Buster), or Ichigos over sized kitchen knife from Bleach (his zanpakutō Tensa Zangetsu) , or Inuyashas rather impressive doggie tooth (Tetsusaiga), or…

Well you get my point. The list of over sized anime swords is endless. You almost get the impression they are overcompensating for… Err… something. Or not. OK never mind.

Anyway, today I found another interesting example of over-the-top black smithing. This time from the anime Beserk:

Gattsus (aka Guts) Dragon Slayer

Gattsus (aka Guts) Dragon Slayer

Ain’t it a beaut? Now I do not remember where this pic came from, it’s been in my gallery for a while, and I thought I had even blogged about it before, but apparently not.

Basically, this thing, in the anime Beserk, is a good 6 foot or so slab of wide, massive steel with really, really sharp edges, wielded by this crazy black knight called Guts. Or Gattsu, if you want to use the Japanese pronunciation. Bad ass guy, big ass sword. And, of course,  completely and totally unusable by anyone but a fictional hero, a genetically enhanced human, or a cyborg. Or something along those lines.

And before you say “Pfft… I can wield that mate!” Let me remind you that the ability to swing a sword around is not the same as wielding a sword. This sword, like so many other anime weapons, would, in real life, wield you, not the other way around. I kid you not. Probably pop your arms out of their sockets too.

But It is still a very mean, and no nonsense looking sword. Just love it and had to share. What can I say. I have this thing for large pieces of dark, sharpened, pointy steel. Especially those with this kind of presence… 🙂

Gattsus Dragon Slayer – [Unknown]

Slicing The Moon…

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

I will admit it. I have been known to watch Japanese Anime every now and then. I can’t help it. I’m always up late at night, when the cartoon network shows Adult Swim. And before I even realize what’s happening, I’m watching some random anime. And no, I’m not going to try and explain why I watch the cartoon channel. Except to say that anime characters (especially the ninjas) are cool. And they have cool swords. There. I said it. Whatchagonnadoboutit?

Ok, so there are maybe one or two anime series I catch. Surprisingly, the topic of this post is from one of those shows I’ve never watched, namely Bleach. Randomly surfing a few sword sites, I came across this… er… pole arm of a sword. The Zangetsu Bankai Long Sword, AKA Slicing Moon from the Bleach Anime Series.

Tensa Zangetsu - Bankai - Ichigo

Tensa Zangetsu - Bankai - Ichigo

Ok, that’s an appropriately long name for a very long, black sword. This sword is a 68″ overall, with a honkin’ 50″ worth of razor sharp black steel for a blade.

Tensa Zangetsu - Bankai - Guard

Tensa Zangetsu - Bankai - Guard

Now these things always raise questions in my mind. Like, how do you wield a sword that is so close to your own height? My answer? Very carefully, lest you inadvertently end up parting ways with some bodily extremity that you were actually quite fond of…

Tensa Zangetsu - Bankai - Pommel

Tensa Zangetsu - Bankai - Pommel

And then there’s the name. Slicing Moon? I don’t know ’bout all that. It’s certainly long enough to slice at the moon. Dunno if it would make any significant cuts on the moons surface though. But with these things you never know.

Tensa Zangetsu - Bankai - Hilt

Tensa Zangetsu - Bankai - Hilt

Perhaps if it went up with a ninja astronaut…

Ichigo’s Tensa Zangetsu Bankai Long Sword – Slicing Moon – [TrueSwords.com]

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