An Axe to Grind

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
This is why nobody tosses a dwarf!

I'm gonna make me a big sharp axe
Shining steel, tempered in the fire
I'll chop you down like an old dead tree

The Pogues, "Dirty Old Town"

Useful for chopping wood and heads alike, axes are often pressed into service as weapons. An axe's wide, cleaving head is effective against armor, making it a slower and more powerful weapon than a sword, though not quite as massive as a hammer.[1] Smaller axes, such as the tomahawk or the francisca, can be used as throwing weapons. In certain media, they may even return to the user's hand like a boomerang, though they have the tendency to stick in enemies if they score a hit.

Historically, due to being somewhat easier to manufacture, their general familiarity to the peasant population and mobility (real-life combat axes were small and rarely weighed more than one kilo), they used to be the close combat Weapon of Choice of the common foot soldiers, as opposed to the officers and nobility, who wore swords (which were generally too expensive for commoners). While military weapons were often illegal for peasants to own, axes are tools, and avoid the prohibition. Franks used them extensively (lending their name to the francisca), and nowadays in fiction, axes are associated with dwarves, Orcs, Vikings (and other members of proud warrior races), barbarians, woodcutters, firefighters, and psychopaths (giving Ax Crazy its name and meaning). If the Big Guy of a Five-Man Band isn't using a hammer or his bare fists, he'll generally use a gigantic axe as a weapon. For extra comedy, the Cute Bruiser may be given a head-chopper bigger than the rest of her body.

May also include halberds and other poleaxes, which combine the chopping power of an axe with the range of a Blade on a Stick.

Not to be confused with Author Filibuster or Author Tract.

Examples of An Axe to Grind include:

Anime and Manga

  • Asuka of Neon Genesis Evangelion, with her excessive use of melee weapons, has Unit-02 equipped with a massive battle axe when the Evangelions fight Leliel. After Unit-01 is absorbed into the Angel's body, Asuka sinks her axe into the side of a building and promptly uses it as a foothold for Unit-02 to avoid being absorbed by the Angel.
  • Bui from Yu Yu Hakusho. A typical Big Guy example at first blush. In fact , as he's not really a Big Guy. All that armor he wears is not for protection, but rather to keep his immense power in check, and as you can expect the fight only really begins once he takes it off and he starts using his inherent powers instead of axes.
  • Fate's Bardiche from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, whose basic form is, well, a bardiche, a long poleaxe.
    • Force introduces Deville of Huckebein, whose Divider is a massive battleaxe.
  • Flora and Schierke spend some time forging a giant axe for Guts to wield against the Trolls that are attacking their village in Berserk, but Guts turns it down because he's already doing just fine with his big whacking Dragon Slayer, thank-you-very-much.
  • Midori Sugiura from My-HiME uses one as her Element.
  • Dinoking in Transformers Victory uses an axe.
  • Zeon mobile suits (particularly those of the Zaku bloodline) are often equipped with 'Heat Hawks,' axes with an extremely hot blade that can cut through armour, in the original Gundam continuity. Presumably easier to make than beam sabers.
    • Eventually they split the difference and make beam versions, too. These also are used by the Zaku Expys in Gundam Seed Destiny.
  • Utu from The Tower of Druaga had a regular axe that he exchanged for a beam axe in the second season.
  • Denmark from Axis Powers Hetalia is drawn with an axe in the trading cards. Since he hasn't officially showed up, we don't know if it's just decoration or if it really is his Weapon of Choice.
  • Chris Armalite from Scrapped Princess carries a large axe with a chain attached to it for extra reach.
  • Bleach's Jidanbou uses not one, but two enormous axes. Or at least he did, until Ichigo smashed them.
    • And then there's Espada #2 Barragan Luisenbarn, who sports a very huge axe for a weapon/zanpakutou.
  • Kyo Aguri in Weiss Kreuz Gluhen had an axe he could also shoot a chain out of. Didn't help him much.
  • Akumetsu has used axes a few times.
  • Yuno of Mirai Nikki often uses an axe precisely because its easy for her to get her hands on one. She has been know to use other weapons however.
  • Lind from Ah! My Goddess carries a halberd as her Weapon of Choice.
    • Actually a powerlimiter for her native power.
  • Korikkakumon from Digimon Frontier wields a pair of axes.
    • In Digimon Xros Wars, Starmon and the yellow Pickmon can combine into one for Shoutmon X2.
      • Also from Xros Wars, who could forget the far superiorSkullKnightmon Big Axe Mode? That's... quite the axe.
      • And as a homage to Getter Robo, Olegmon has a pair of axes. When he tosses them he shouts DUAL TOMAHAWK BOOMERANG!
  • Gaiking has an axe, simply called the "Gaiking Axe".
  • Starter Villain Morgan from One Piece. He has an axe for a hand.
    • A later character, Sentomaru uses a large Battle Axe, making him similar to the real life folk hero Kintarou.
    • In the Little Garden arc, "Red Oni" Brogy wields a massive axe as his weapon of choice. However, over one hundred years of ceaseless fight have dulled the axe
    • Curly Dadan, Luffy and Ace's caretaker/foster mother, uses a long-handled axe in combat.
  • In Legend of Galactic Heroes, axes are the weapon of choice for infantry in close quarter combat.
  • The Transformers Cybertron incarnation of Metroplex (who is giant in comparison to the ordinary giant robots) has his shovel/bucket wheel assembly become an axe called Sparkdrinker in robot mode. He brutally smashes Megatron through two floors (in a building for giant Transformers) with it. Things get even more awesome when Optimus Prime wields it.
  • In Naruto one of the hereditary weapons of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist is Kabutowari, or "Helm Splitter". Called a blunt sword, it consists of an oversized axe and hammer joined together by a cord. The tactic employed by its wielder was to wedge the axe blade into an enemy and then drive it in further by hitting it with the hammer. And yet, is called "sword".
  • Axes are the weapon of choice of Yaiba's Gerozaemon . Also the Rock Soldier and Ruby in the Pyramid Arc.
  • In Black Lagoon, the Hansel personality uses an axe as his main weapon, it fits his personality too.
  • Two assassins from Gamaran come from a Ryuu specialized in Dual-Wielding axes. One of their opponent points out how dangerous such weapons are, as they can easily smash a katana blade and break the defense.
  • Noda from Angel Beats! uses a giant halberd most of the time, though he sometimes fights with guns.

Comic Books

  • The odd weapon used by Buffy (see below) originally appeared—will appear? -- in the future, wielded by Fray.
  • A double edged battleaxe is the Weapon of Choice and insignia of the Marvel Comics villain Skurge the Executioner.
  • The "Atomic Axe", which can cut through anything (even abstracts like time itself), is the weapon of choice for the Persuader, foe of The Legion of Super Heroes.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog makes a predictable pun when he faces the Mushroom Hill boss in the Sonic and Knuckles special of the Archie comic.
  • Part way through the first Sin City story, "The Hard Goodbye", Marv acquires a hatchet and uses it to kill a bunch of people.
  • The Headsman of the Thunderbolts wields a giant axe and has a disturbing fixation with cutting heads off. This is implied to have something to do with his Aloof Older Brother using a logging axe to behead his beloved dog.
    • Later 'Bolts member Troll wields an ancient Asgardian war axe, which can only be lifted with super-strength.
  • Ares, the God of War in the Marvel Universe, could use whatever weapon he pleased. He chooses to use a savage axe.
  • During the Incredible Hulk's time as a gladiator and rebel leader in the "Planet Hulk" storyline, he favored axes as his main weapon. He dropped them for a sword(that he made himself) in "World War Hulk", but promotional art shows him with an axe as well.
    • After the Hulk left Sakaar, his son Skaar was left to contend with the aptly-named Axeman Bone.
  • The title character in 2000 AD's Sláine has an impressive axe.
  • Badd Axe, best known as one of The Hood's Initiative recruits during the Dark Reign. He sleeps with the damn thing! Thor has speculated that it was forged by Hephaestus himself, making it nearly as formidable as Hercules' mace or his own hammer!
  • Butcher, the embodiment of the Red Lantern Corps, uses an axe when he's inhabiting the body of a lifeform capable of wielding it properly. True to his name, he also has a belt full of cutlery tools, including a rather menacing cleaver.
  • Calie, from Zenescope's Escape from Wonderland, literally and figuratively has an axe to grind. With her daughter kidnapped, Calie takes up a woodcutting axe that mutates into a BFA in her quest to rescue her daughter and get revenge against the Eldritch Abomination that cursed her family line.
  • Tricerachops from Super Dinosaur has an enormous axe as her weapon of choice.

Fan Works

  • Samuel D. Axe, the protagonist of one of the best-known One Piece OC fanfictions, uses a diamond axe as his main weapon, and is even named after said weapon.
  • One of Stalkkus' weapons in humanoid form in the Godzilla fanfilm Godzilla vs the Kaiju Killer
  • Ash uses a fire axe to take down Tentagator in Carnage Necropolis. What's impressive is that he did it with ONE arm, as the other was ripped off by Tentagator (though it loses some impact when you remember Ash is being boosted by the L-Ject he was infected with, and he dies soon after killing the thing).


Donatello: Good thing these guys aren't lumberjacks!
Michaelangelo: No joke! The only thing safe in the woods...would be the trees!

  • They do succeed, however, in collapsing the floor and dumping everyone down into the basement turned junk shop, where things get worse for the Turtles.


  • Gimli from Lord of the Rings. Not to mention countless other dwarves from fantasy fiction (both Tolkien and those inspired by him). Strangely enough, all the main dwarves in The Hobbit fought with swords, and Dain Ironfoot's army carried mattocks and short swords.
    • Korgan Bloodaxe in Baldur's Gate II.
    • Discworld plays with the idea of Dwarfs being commonly portrayed with axes. There, it's their cultural weapon so Dwarfish officers of Ankh Morpork can carry them around, and in Dwarfish mines carrying a huge axe strapped to one's back is perceived as more of being properly dressed rather than heavily armed.
      • The particular axe preferred by these dwarfs is mentioned to be a multipurpose tool: It's got a pick on one side, for prospecting, and an ax on the other in case anyone tries to stop you.
    • The dwarves with axes thing is so common that in the webcomic DM of the Rings, the person playing as Gimli mentions how there are only hammer dwarves and ax dwarves, and in one scene wishes he had chosen a hammer when there is a barrier to smash through.
    • Also lampshaded in Battle for Wesnoth where Tallin was shocked by the revelation that some dwarves are proficient in swords (and bows).
  • In The Silmarillion, Hurin (a Man) used an axe to great effect in his heroic last stand. He took down seventy trolls with it before being taken alive.
    • Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs, has a massive, black one made of fire.
  • Gotrek of Gotrek and Felix is not only a Death Seeker but also carries a double-headed magical axe. Over the course of the series he has unsuccessfully tried to get himself killed fighting dragons, demons, hordes of undead; you get the picture.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms has quite a few users of both axes and halberds.
    • For modern adaptations, the best-known is probably Dian Wei from Dynasty Warriors and his enormous axe.
  • Li Kui, from The Water Margin, was well known for his twin axes and, not surprisingly, being a little Ax Crazy.
  • A moon-bladed hand axe was Perrin's Weapon of Choice for some time in The Wheel of Time.
  • Fitz from Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy.
  • In the original Stephen King novel The Shining, Jack Torrance goes after his family with a roque mallet when he finally goes over the edge. But in the movie..."Heeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny!"
  • Raskalnikov in Crime and Punishment and Caderousse in The Count of Monte Cristo both murder people with axes.
  • Several of the Church Knights from Dave Eddings's Elenium and Tamuli series were axe-users. Three examples: Boisterous Bruiser Ulath, Badass Bookworm Bevier and Only Sane Man Sidekick Berit all wield axes of varying sizes and types. Ulath uses a double-headed axe, Berit an infantry axe and Bevier a lochaber axe.
    • Adus, a brutal Psycho for Hire also resorts to an axe during his final confrontation with the heroes, despite having used a sword in his previous appearances.
  • The Valerian footsoldiers of the Lensman series use the space axe as their Weapon of Choice. It's functionally identical to the Medieval poleaxe, but in SPACE! As Valerians are canonically Dutch Heavyworlders, this essentially makes them "space dwarves".

The space-axe, a combination and sublimation of battle-axe, mace, bludgeon, and lumberman's picaroon.

    • 6 to 7 foot tall space dwarves. Unlike many versions of Heavyworlders, the Valerians aren't described as short.
    • The space axes were extremely massive, on the order of 35 pounds, so that even a slow swing was deadly. This was because the Deflector Shields in the Lensman universe provided resistive force proportional to the cube of the impacting item's velocity. As in Dune, the slow blade penetrates the shield.
  • While Conan generally uses swords as his weapon of choice, he has used the battleaxe from time to time in Howard's stories, such as in the first Conan story, "The Phoenix on the Sword," which has King Conan taking one to the assassins trying to kill him in his bedchamber after breaking his sword. King Kull, another Howard creation, famously used the axe, with his catchphrase being "With This Axe I Rule!"
  • David Gemmell's Druss the Legend was also called "Druss the Axe" because his signature weapon was Snaga, a powerful axe that had a demon inside.
  • An axe is the weapon of choice of the titular Green Knight in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an axe with a four-foot head.
  • Older Than Feudalism: Some variations of the Trojan War have Achilles wielding an Axe just before he's killed.
  • Averted in Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun ... despite Severian being a Journeyman of the Torturer's Guild and therefore (amongst other things) a public executioner, his beheading weapon is a sword rather than the more iconic axe.
  • Kaz the minotaur of Dragonlance fame. His weapon of choice was a magic axe, Honor's Face, that could be returned to his hand at will (among other awesome abilities).
  • Jean Tannen from the Gentleman Bastard Sequence series is skilled with a large variety of weapons, but prefers to fight with two axes he calls the Wicked Sisters, and considers to be family members rather than weapons. Jean does not conform to the usual axe-fighter tropes, though, being a well-educated and well-read cat burglar and con man.
  • In The Hunger Games (well, the sequel) Johanna Mason from the lumber district is quite adept with an axe.
  • Captain Kotov in Night Watcher uses a huge butcher's axe (practically a BFA) as his signature vampire-hunting weapon, because it was the best weapon he could find when he first had to confront a vampire, and it turned out to be surprisingly good for the job. He's a bit Ax Crazy, yeah.
  • Norbert the Nutjob in How to Train Your Dragon is one hell of an Axe Crazy.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Kull/Bran Mak Morn story "Kings of the Night", the Vikings use axes.
  • Action Girl Neeva from The Prism Pentad use a large axe made of steel as her favourite weapon.
  • The Tin Woodman from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Used it more extensively in the books than in the film.
  • Ex-Con Keith Blackwell in Idoru (Literature) uses a collapsible war axe not dissimilar to the US army tactical tomahawk.

Live Action TV

  • Garrett's "Twin Timber Axes!" from The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog.
  • Axes frequently show up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, usually in one of two forms:
    • In addition to fire extinguishers, Sunnydale High School is also equipped with fire axes. Joyce uses one of these when she goes Mama Bear on Spike.
    • Giles (and later Angel) owns several medieval battleaxes, and they seem to be the preferred weapon for fighting demons.
    • The "Scythe" found near the end of Buffy is clearly an axe (though it includes a short straight blade on the head and a sharpened wooden stake for a base).
    • Which crops up again in the comics, which shows a... extremely fit looking Buffy nursing it as though it were a guitar. [dead link]
    • Then there's Gunn's battle axe made out of a hubcap.
  • In Kamen Rider Den-O, Kintaros wields an axe, as does his version of Den-O, which is actually named Axe Form. This is because Kintaros is based on the Japanese myth of Kintaro the Golden Boy, who himself used an axe.
  • In Kamen Rider OOO, OOO's ultimate form, Putotyranno specialises in the use of an axe named Medagabyuru. His other forms can use it too, but only Putotyranno can use it's alternate mode.
  • In Kamen Rider Ryuki, this is Kamen Rider Tiga's Weapon of Choice. His Kamen Rider Dragon Knight counterpart is even named Kamen Rider Axe.
  • At the end of Serenity, River dual-wields a scimitar and an axe while fighting the Reavers.
  • The various iterations of the Super Sentai / Power Rangers are also fond of axes. The latter includes Zack, TJ, Danny and Ziggy, among others. It's actually quite common among Green and Black Rangers (and green and black are considered 'the same,' because most teams have the primary colors, pink, and either black or green.)
  • The villainous Mordred in the 1998 adaptation of Arthurian Legend, Merlin, wields an appropriately sized axe as his main weapon.
  • The Salamanca cousins in Breaking Bad carry a silver fire axe as their weapon of choice when preparing to kill Walter White.
  • Cindy and her little sister Gladys in Flanders Company use them. Cindy's is made of Adamantium.
  • Will Scarlett in the BBC's Robin Hood fought with an axe and a hatchet, on account of him being a carpenter.
  • The Lizard Folk Hargrod from Shadowkeep.

Newspaper Comics

  • Time-travelling caveman Alley Oop's weapon of choice is a stone axe.


  • A guitarist may refer to his instrument as an "axe" and few will question him. Typically, the louder the music he plays, the more likely and more acceptable this is.
  • Iron Maiden's mascot Eddie uses one in the iconic cover of Killers, and also on the "Run to the Hills" single.

Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle (in fact, they're much more popular than the hammer of the title, which is mostly limited to Dwarfs and a few humans) and Warhammer 40,000. The latter with chain-axes.
    • Said chain-axes are favored weapons of one of the franchise's evil deities
  • Hatchets were the first close-combat weapon to be used in BattleTech. One mech in particular, the AXM-2N Axeman, was the first mech used by Adam Steiner in the animated series.
  • Although it's not required per se, the traditional barbarian stereotype in Dungeons & Dragons is waving an axe about as large as himself. They're also a popular Dwarven weapon along with warhammers and crossbows.
  • In In Nomine, it's the favored weapon of Michael, Archangel of War, the local incarnation of badass. In fact, even though the game has rules for adding miraculous powers to angels' weapons and entities of Archangelic power levels are kept deliberately vague, Michael's axe is explicitly statted in a player supplement: its only power is to teleport in on command. He doesn't need any others.
  • The Munchkin card game has a whole expansion called Unnatural Axe, and the card by that name is a very big axe indeed. With spikes.
  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the labrys was the signature weapon of the Black Furies.
  • One of the titular Iron Kingdoms is the Empire of Khador, whose gameplay is often summarized in three words : "Axe to face !" This unofficial motto is made incarnate in Kommander Orsus Zoktavir, the Butcher of Khardov. He calls his Lola.


Video Games

  • Hexen II has the Paladin use throwing axes as his green mana weapon.
  • Rock and Astaroth from the Soul Series. Their weapon sets often include hammers as well.
  • Bloodline Champions has the Vanguard use a scythe-like axe for their default weapon. The Harbinger's default is a crude weapon with a sharp edge curved inward described as a 'hatchet'. The Guardian uses large two-handed axes.
  • One of the three basic weapon types from Fire Emblem (along with swords and lances). Axe users have a tendency toward Big Guy archetypes: the pupil-class Journeymen, then the Fighters and Warriors, Brigands, Pirates and Berserkers, and certain types of Armor Knights and Generals. In a subversion, the axe is also the secondary weapon of the Hero, which is less of The Big Guy and more like the Jack of All Stats.
    • Axes also frequently show up as special weapons that only some characters (generally with S axe use rank) can handle. The below mentioned Swanchika is only one of them: we have Durbans and Basilikos in the Elibe continuity, Garm (Sacred Relic of the Grado Empire) in Sacred Stones, the Pugi in Thracia 776 (which, in a variation, can be used only by Othin).
    • In Blazing Sword, Hector of Ostia is actually a Lord who specializes in axe use. He even gets to use the aforementioned Durbans after the Sacred Weapons are unlocked ( and it was formerly wielded by Durbans the Berserker, ine of the Twelve Legends).
    • In Radiant Dawn, Ike can do the same. (And the axe was Greil's Weapon of Choice before he handicapped himself willingly, and later died, and is among Titania's arsenal.)
    • In Fire Emblem Jugdral, the sacred Weapon of Choice of the Crusader Neir (founder of House Dozel) was his BIG FRICKING AXE Swanchika. This one is the heaviest FE weapon period: it gives insane bonuses to strenght and hits from two spaces away, but is also insanely slow and only avaliable to people with major Neir blood.
      • House Dozel in general is specialized in axe use, whether their members can use the Swanchika or not. From there alone we have Duke Langobalt, King Danan, anf the princes Lex, Burian, Johan and Johalvier: out of them, three (Lex in the first generation, Johan and/or Johalvier in the second) join your group.
  • The Fighter class from Final Fantasy I can use a few axes as weapons. However, he likes swords better. (Technically, the Fighter should use swords instead of axes because axes have a lower inherent accuracy, reducing the possibility of multiple hits, which is the big source of damage multiplier in the game.)
    • Both The Beast Master and Warrior classes in Final Fantasy XI use axes as a Weapon of Choice. While Warriors use giant axes to the best ability, halberds are still considered polearms, and thusly Dragoons are best at them.
    • Axes appear periodically in other Final Fantasy games, but not at the same frequency as swords, spears, and some other weapons. They tend to be used by Viking or Berserker-type classes.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade Redemption, halberds give the most bang for the buck in early stages. The drawback is requiring a heavy investment in strength.
  • The arcade game Golden Axe, where the dwarf Gilius Thunderhead wields the titular axe (he's stuck with a boring old steel one in the home versions, though).
  • Axes and Polearms are both prominent, of course, in the Total War series of games, with barbarian factions and units tending to be the biggest users of the former, and militia-class units the biggest user of the latter.
  • The Pyro from Team Fortress 2 uses a fire-axe as his melee weapon.
    • Also, the unlockable melee replacement, 'The Axtinguisher', is a different fire axe wrapped in barbed wire. It inflicts critical hits on burning targets - for those times when fire simply isn't enough.
    • A community weapon update gave the Demoman the Scotsman's Skullcutter, a bloodstained two-bladed great ax with 20% more damage. It's so huge and heavy it actually slows the Demoman down, however. It also easily lops off heads on a killing blow.
      • The marines from Quake used Axes as their melee weapons. When the original Team Fortress was developed as a mod for that game, the Medic used an axe to heal.
  • Presea from Tales of Symphonia is a prime example of the "Cute Bruiser with implausably huge axe". They do justify how she can even lift the thing through Applied Phlebotinum, though.
    • They aren't quite as big, but Presea is predated by Cless Alvein, Mary Argent, Loni Dunamis, and Rid Herschel as far as axe-users go. She's also succeeded by Innes Lorenz, whose weapon is described as an "axe blade" which can probably rival Presea's Gaea Cleaver for raw size and power (especially given that Presea is a Token Loli while Innes has large breasts). Cless and Rid are technically swordsmen, but they both can swing axes and halberds as well. In Tales of Vesperia, Yuri and Karol are both axe users.
  • Kaeli from Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is a White Mage in nature (definitely not squishy), but her standard weapon is an axe (later the mighty Giant's Axe).
  • The Axe Knights from Castlevania.
    • There's also a fair few examples of Axes as primary weapons. They're slow and even stronger than the slow two handed swords, but often have a blind spot where enemies can be just about missed. The main example though is the Axe subweapon, present throughout the entire series. For some reason, the character just lobs the axe into the air in an arc. Nonetheless, it's really useful for those flying enemies!
    • In Curse of Darkness, Axes and Clubs form one of the five weapon classes Hector can forge and use. One handed axes have a very limited moveset (the same as one-handed swords) but deal better damage overall, while two-handed versions are very slow and clumsy, but deals tons of damage and can be used to inflict Earth Damage to enemies with one of their special attacks. Notably, the strongest Two-Handed Axe weapon is nothing less than Death's own scythe, the most damaging weapon in game.
  • The Warrior class from Gauntlet (1985 video game) uses an infinite supply of magical throwing axes.
  • Tomahawk Man from Mega Man 6, Mino Magnus from Mega Man Zero 4.
  • Most Orcs in Warcraft III. True, there are sword users, but orcs are mostly associated with axes in the series. The Tauren Chieftain even says "I have an axe to grind." upon training.
    • In World of Warcraft Orcs have a racial ability that increases their skill with axes.
      • And its cousin, the Arcanite Ripper.
      • And then there's the legendary Shadowmourne from Wrath of the Lich King.
  • City of Heroes has a Battle Axe powerset for Tankers and Brutes, which may be ported to the other melee classes at some point (if you can get your head around the idea of a stealthy Stalker with a giant axe). As of a recent update, said axe can be customised between different colours and different models, including a fireman's axe, an energy axe and a shovel. (the edge of the shovel; the blunt end is an option for the War Mace powerset) Notable NPCs with Axe powers include the Greek Mythology styled street gang known as the Warriors, and the heroic yet demonic Infernal. (and his Evil Twin)
  • Gremio from Suikoden, among many others.
  • Hulk Davidson from Viewtiful Joe.
  • Barbatos Goetia of Tales of Destiny 2 has a mean axe, and a hidden special move called World Destroyer where he slams his axe down and kills everyone in one hit. Talk about cheap.
  • The best Melee weapon in Urban Dead. Also, the same in Dead Frontier - until you get your hands on a katana.
  • Axes show up in Persona 3, possessing the greatest damage potential, but the worst accuracy rating. They are part of a group of weapons called Bludgeons, which also include hammers, maces, and a bus stop sign. And for a short while he's with your group, Shinjiro Aragaki uses an axe.
    • And in the first Persona, the axe user is Mark/Masao Inaba.
  • Axes are a weapon option in Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, popular with dwarves and orcs. High damage, slow, but also capable of hacking open a door or stubborn chest without being damaged.
    • Playerwise Axes are poor choices as attack speed is more important in Arcanum than damage.
      • Except for the Pyrotechnic Axe, which does more than enough damage to make up for its below-average speed.
  • Axes are one of three weapons usable by Warriors in Guild Wars, AoE attacks for Player Versus Environment gameplay. (Though hammers have the ability to knock foes down and swords have some really good skills like Dragon Slash, so they're fairly even.)
  • In Age of Wonders, the dwarves use axemen as their basic melee infantry rather than the swordsmen most races have, and their berserkers and boar riders also go into battle with axes.
  • A new executioner miniboss from Resident Evil 5 appears to be following this trope. His axe is so large he has to lug it around and takes huge swings at Chris, even knocking out some of his fellow Majini in the process.
  • There are multiple types of axe ghosts (the kinds that charge found swinging an axe on seeing him) in Wario Land 4, with Hotel Horror especially having a freaking ton of them (about four to every door in the hotel).
  • Axes are a popular weapon choice in Dwarf Fortress, partly because they're considered "dwarfy" but mostly because there is currently only one "axe" item that's used both in battle and for felling trees. (Truth in Television up to a point, as touched upon in Real Life below.) Falling slightly out of favour after the massive combat mechanics overhaul that finally enabled swords to thrust as well as cut, however, whereas previously an axe and a sword were roughly equivalent in battle.
  • In Dynasty Warriors, Dian Wei used a giant axe which was later replaced with a flail in 6 before returning to his axe. Starting from the seventh game, more axe-like weapons are avaible, including the one-handed axe (which can be toss midcombo like a boomerang), the giant two-handed axe (from the seventh game can drag hit enemies along to juggle them), dual poleaxes (for powerful and balanced comboes), throwing axes and the long axe (which is used more like a polearm).
  • Brutal Legend: "Touch not this awesome axe, or suffer the wrath of the Tainted Coil!!"]]
  • Choosing the Barbarian from the character select screen in Diablo II will prompt him to let out a yell and start grinding an axe while you choose his name. His starting inventory includes an axe.
  • Shania from Shadow Hearts 3 dual wields them.
  • Lexaeus of the Kingdom Hearts series uses an over-sized weapon referred to as a tomahawk in Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II, and as an Axe Sword in 358/2 Days.
    • Some of the keyblade designs are rather axe-like in design, usually being a decorative pole that ends with a blade-like attachment at the end.
  • Takeda Shingen from Sengoku Basara carries a double-headed battle axe as big as he is (and he's pretty big). It can also create tornadoes.
  • The Axem Rangers from Super Mario RPG.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 has a fire axe as one of the melee weapons. The opening cutscene shows Rochelle using the pointy end on an infected mook.
    • It's also the most common melee weapon in the game.
  • Axemen feature as early melee units in Civilization 4, with a bonus against other melee units (spearmen and swordsmen, mostly).
  • Axes have been one of the staple weapon types in the Disgaea series, with hammers, scythes and even maces being grouped into this class as well. Though explicitly shown to be stronger than swords (and even lowering enemy defense as well), they suffer from low accuracy and a lack of multi-target skills. Both were remedied in the third game, though axes now lower speed, reducing your chance to dodge an attack.
  • In Deadly Premonition, an axe is the signature weapon of the Raincoat Killer.
  • The Alsignos uses an axe.
  • The knight enemies in The Haunted Mansion.
  • Gitaroo Man plays with this with the very first stage. Since all the characters are Musical Assasins, the first enemy is a demon wielding an axe. Not a guitar, an actual axe. He charges it up by strumming it like a guitar, but attacks you with unusually musical chopping of air.
  • In Mitsumete Knight, this is the signature weapon of enemy General Borankio the Unshakable.
  • Pokémon Black and White has the pure Dragon-type Haxorus who has axe blades for teeth. Unsurprisingly, it has a whopping attack stat of 147.
  • One of the melee weapons (the best one, in fact) that can be found in Odium.
  • Ermac and Nightwolf from Mortal Kombat. Ermac has a plain old axe, while Nightwolf uses a tomahawk.
  • Axes are a usable weapon in the Dragon Quest series such as being the weapon of choice for Yangus in Dragon Quest VIII. It's also used by some enemies.
  • In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, an axe was left beside the sedated Captain, in order to lure Ace to kill him. And, in the "Ax" ending, Clover goes Ax Crazy and slaughters the other characters including the protagonist.
  • Warriors of Might and Magic includes several powerful axes of magical nature, including the, hard-to-build Meteoric Axe and the Axe of Vim.
  • The Rusty Axe is overall the best weapon in Silent Hill 4: The Room, as it's comparatively fast, deals good damage, has a good range, and its charge attack, a vicious overhead swing that Henry performs with his whole body, is the most damaging attack in the game (save for the swings of the Pickaxe Of Despair and revolver shots, both Awesome but Impractical either because of slowness or little ammo), and the one that keeps you invulnerable the longest. Subverted in that it's a relatively small one-handed model (a better term for it would be a hatchet, actually).
  • Firefighters in Liberal Crime Squad come equipped with fire axes (except at C+ Free Speech law, when they come equipped with M-2 flamthrowers and torch to the ground any building publishing the Liberal Guardian).
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, the fire axe (available in Los Angeles, the second city) is the first weapon that does more damage than an ordinary punch. Although weaker than the sledgehammer (from Hollywood, the third area), it's also faster, making it a good choice until you pick up a katana in Chinatown (the fourth area).
  • Axes of the single handed, two handed, polearm, and throwing variety are available as weapons in Mount & Blade. Most notably, the expansion, Warband, included the powerful and extremely rare (and not on merchant sale lists) Two Handed Sarranid Battle Axe, an all-metal weapon which could only be acquired by attacking high level Sarranid units and hoping it Randomly Drops from the one unit class that has a chance of carrying it.
  • One of the weapon types in Dark Souls, and the larger ones, the Great Axes, are some of the strongest weapons in the game.
  • The Chigo great axe in Onimusha 3. It can also summon magma bursts within quake range.
  • Frantz from Rusty Hearts has axes as his secondary weapon.
  • In Vagrant Story, axes come in single-handed and dual-handed ("great axe") varieties.
  • The new protagonist in Assassin's Creed III uses a tomahawk as his signature weapon.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, players under the Avatar of Boris challenge path are restricted to using Boris's trusty axe, Trusty.
  • Evil Marie from Carn Evil is an Axe Crazy Boss who attacks the player with an actual axe.
  • Nioh and its sequel feature Axes as one of the weapon types: they are all long-handled with massive blades and a pretty strong attack that's excellent for an offensive style of gameplay. The sequel introduces "Hatchets", which are always used in pairs and can often be thrown and returned like boomerangs.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Transformers Animated Optimus Prime has the "Boomerang Tomahawk" version with an energon axe with an extendable handle and a rocket attached. It also fits in with the firetruck theme (his other weapons are grapples and fire-retardant foam).
  • This is based on an axe made of energon that G1 Optimus could turn his hand into. It became somewhat of an iconic weapon for the character (thus why the Prime above carries one), despite the fact that it only appeared in one episode.
  • On The Fairly OddParents, Vicky, as well as a few other characters, have used axes. One of Vicky's more common gags is preparing various horrors when Timmy's parents aren't looking, including grinding her executioner's axe. (When they look over, she promptly kicks the grindstone aside, holds the axe behind her back, and whistles innocently.)
  • Harry, King Hugo's right-hand man in Potatoes and Dragons, wields one.
  • Millie's Weapon of Choice in Helluva Boss, usually used on victims who piss her off the most or threaten Moxxie. Ironically, she once used it to slaughter a group of lumberjacks.

Real Life

  • Axes symbolized power among the ancient Mediterranean peoples. The labrys was a double-headed axe which served as a religious symbol of power for the Minoans and Etruscans. Later came the fasces, a Roman invention that consisted of a bundle of rods with an axe projecting from it. Lictors and other higher-ups carried these. The rods were used for whipping—the axe for more permanent punishment.
  • Common wood axes and hatchets were in the early days of warfare used when swords were unavailable, especially among peoples like the vikings who were generally short of a well-funded military in the vein of the Greeks or Romans. When the The Dung Ages rolled around, the popularity of armored infantry and knights rendered swords terribly impractical for slaying an armored opponent in any manner other then a precise, well practiced stab to a vulnerable joint, and the axe experienced a resurgence in popularity: it and the mace had the momentum to dent or even crack armor, and poleaxes gave the added bonus of being able to catch annoying horsemen with the hook end and bring them down to be finished off with the axeblade.
    • The Anglo-Saxon Huscarls at the Battle of Hastings were reputed to be carrying two-handed daneaxes, whirling them around above their heads in a show of strength. This terrified the Normans, who didn't use axes. Earlier that year, at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, it is said that a single Viking warrior with a similar weapon stood on the titular bridge and held off the entire Saxon fyrd (army) on his own for some time. Never mess with a daneaxe!
    • Actually, while common wood axes and hatchets could be pressed into service as weapons in a pinch, most axes used in warfare were specifically made for combat and had heads with an edge that is much thinner and more sword-like to better cut flesh (thicker wedge-shaped edges being better for cutting or splitting wood). Also, Germanic peoples (including the Vikings) had semi-professional armies and tended to be very well-equipped. While not all Vikings were wealthy enough to carry swords or wear mail armor, even a poor Viking raider wouldn't go into battle with the axe he used for chopping his firewood. Finally, while axes were better for dealing with an opponent wearing mail, they were no more effective against the rigid metal plate armor of the late-Middle Ages than were swords.
  • The axes of the Gauls were well known to the Romans—they would throw them at the enemy like javelins with the intent of splitting some shields, then charge in with melee weapons. The Fransisca got its name from its popularitiy among the Franks in particular.
  • The Tactical Tomahawk has become popular among American military since the war in Vietnam. Much more versatile than the standard combat knife, it can be used in close quarters as a weapon or thrown in desperate situations. It can of course chop through wood if needed, or even be used as a hammer, as well as for any of the number of things—opening a can, breaking through something, excavation, or just nudging something difficult out of the way—that fall in-between.
    • It's also quite useful in areas that have been in civil wars (or any war) that a person with a gun is no longer automatically the authority figure they would be in much of the western world. Even in those societies though, a naked blade still says "do what I say".
    • Speaking of tomahawks, these were a quite popular tool/weapon among white men as well as Indians especially along the frontier. During the American Revolution many Patriots and presumably Loyalists took a tomahawk to war with them both as a weapon and as a utility tool. This was especially the case as Patriot forces were slow to get enough bayonets to equip them all. In a way the Tactical Tomahawk, hearkens to the traditions of the US army.
    • Trade Tomahawks were dispensed by the fur cartels. Essentially they were a combination of White and Indian technologies by reproducing tomahawks in iron and selling them for furs. They were naturally in high demand.
  • The Varangian Guard, Rus' Vikings permanently hired to guard the throne of the Byzantine Empire, were noted by multiple sources firstly for their height and secondly for the very large Danish axes which served as their primary weapons. To the Greek-speaking Byzantines, they were known as pelekyphoros phroura—literally, the axe-bearing guard.
  • Rukhsana Kauser in a daughter bear moment used this to kill a terrorist who was threating her parents.
  • Lizzie Borden was a suspect in the axe murders of her parents in the 1800s. She was tried and acquitted, but many people still think she was the one that did it; some people today think she had a form of schizophrenia, but there are dozens of alternate theories attempting to explain the murders.

Lizzie Borden took an axe
and gave her father forty wacks
and when she saw what she had done
she gave her mother forty-one

    • There have been quite a few axe murders in the modern day. This is however due to the availability of the axe compared to purpose-made weapons and the same can be said of other potentially lethal tools like knives, machetes and ice picks.
  • The last criminal to be executed in Finland from civilian crimes was Toivo Kirves Koljonen, a fugitive prisoner who killed a family of six with an axe - the father of the family had been conscripted in the army. He was executed by firing squad along with Soviet infiltrators in 1943. The word kirves means "axe" in Finnish.
  • Tong enforcers were famous for carrying this as a weapon. As a result, a political fixer who is known (usually metaphorically) for intimidating people in a similar way is referred to as a "hatchet man".
  • In ancient China, axes were used as a symbol of military power and authority, with the Emperor handing a golden/yellow jade axe to a general tasked with carrying on an expedition against rebels or enemies. Battle axes, with both short and long handles, were often used by warriors and generals alike in combat, the former being often dual-wielded.
  • One of the less-known and used Samurai weapons was the Masakari (Battleaxe in Japanese): often depicted with a fairly oversized head and blade, the real ones had smaller, more serviceable blades, often in a peculiar shape, and employed to break down barricades and doors. Another rare weapon was the Onoyari or Fusou, a short, double-edged spear with an axe head right below the spearhead itself, resembling a simplistic halberd. It is however believed that the Onoyari was never intended as a true melee weapon and instead was used for ceremonies.
  • For a different kind of "fighting", the ax is an essential tool of firefighters: used to hack through doors and debris, break padlocks, etc.
  • According to James Billington's The Icon and the Axe, the axe was the national tool of Russian peasants and they would treat it as reverently as American frontiersmen did the long rifle. That is, it was the thing that they would hang over their fireplace next to the icon. It was nicknamed The Thunderer and was used not just for chopping trees but for planing wood. And of course for fighting off enemies both lupine and human.
  1. except in Real Life