Sign up FAST! Login

6 Things Movies Get Wrong About Swords (An Inside Look)

Stashed in: Weapons!, Walking Dead, Quentin Tarantino, Swords!

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

#6. Katanas Are the Greatest Sword Ever Invented

If you've spent any time talking to Quentin Tarantino or listening to the pear-shaped vitriol seeping out of comic conventions, you know that the Japanese katana is essentially magic. Not since Nintendo or hentai has some quirky Japanese perversion of a mundane invention had so much cache among doughy white people with unsettling OKCupid profiles. Katanas are sharp and strong enough to cut cleanly through bone, metal, armor, and probably even the sun, if only someone could get close enough. That's all because of one very important reason: The steel has been folded over thousands of times, creating a weapon infinitely superior to shitty ol' non-folded metal. Somehow this strange Asian tradition remained a mystery to those idiot Europeans for thousands of years, which is why Bruce Willis didn't head for the broadsword aisle when he had some serious rape-stopping to do in Pulp Fiction.

First of all, you don't need to fold good steel. Japanese swordsmiths used a metal known as tamahagane. It sounds fancy as hell, but so does anything you say in Japanese. Westerners knew tamahagane as "pig iron," which is considerably less romantic. They refused to use it in the west for weapons, not because they were stubborn morons but because it's loaded down with carbon and too much carbon will turn your sword into a brittle shower of metal shards during its first use. See, the process of folding a sword started as a way to iron out that extra carbon in a shitty alloy, turning pig metal into something more suitable for stylized murder.


Because murdering people with a machete is just crass.

Now think about folding a piece of paper -- doing it a few times is easy, but try folding it over 15 or 20 times. Likewise, you can fold steel maybe 20 times, if you were some kind of fold-crazed junkie. Real Japanese swordsmiths folded their blades about eight times. Folding much more than that would suck all the carbon out of the steel, leaving you with a soft, Play-Dohy katana that would be better suited for enemies like warm butter than anything you might encounter on a battlefield.

Srsly, read more at because there are a 5 more weapons facts to check out.

But... But... Katanas are useful for fighting zombies, right?

pandawhale katana

pandawhale katana

pandawhale katana

Dirk Pitt used a Katana in one of his books.  He was facing a Samurai with a broadsword.  The disadvantage was that with all things equal, a broadsword can wear the katana-wielder down over time, and it's just a matter of time.  The only choice you have is a lightning fast first strike or to get away fast.

Arguing is like that. 

Ah! Katana as metaphor for argument!!

You May Also Like: