Sword Beam

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

You hold in your hand
A sword that shoots laser beams.

Brentalfloss, Zelda with Lyrics

The one flaw with all swords is, of course, the obvious lack of range. How do you solve this problem? Sword Beams.

A character will make a slashing motion with their Cool Sword, but at a distance. What springs forth is a beam of Pure Energy, usually crescent-shaped. These can travel through the air or on the ground. Another version is stabbing or smashing the blade into the ground and creating a V-shaped stream of energy that may or may not actually tear through the earth as it crashes towards the enemy. If the "beam" is a shockwave of compressed air which cuts things, this is also a Razor Wind. If used with a Laser Blade, it often looks more like the blade is extending to strike the target.

Sometimes a Ki Attack. When magical this is a type of Full-Contact Magic, and when not it falls under Implausible Fencing Powers. Sometimes put on enough steroids to reach Wave Motion Gun type levels. Not to be confused with a Beam Sword, although the two are not mutually exclusive.

Examples of Sword Beam include:

Anime & Manga

  • Inu-Yasha's BFS has a number of ranged attacks, two of which (Wind Scar and Backlash Wave) clearly are instances of this trope. Sesshomaru can use the Ki of a sword like Tokijin to create a Sword Beam Attack, his reforged Tensaiga shoots a beam which is actually a portal to hell which sucks the enemy in.
  • Bleach has Ichigo's Getsuga Tensho, a blob of energy which causes anything struck by it to disintegrate or explode.
    • Kenpachi and Urahara can do similar moves as well.
    • Hitsugaya can do an ice version of this.
    • Now we also have Ichigo's father also showing off his own Getsuga Tensho, and teaching his son how to perform an advanced version of it.
    • Ukitake's shikai produces this sort of effect (-ish?) when it redirects multiple ceros.
    • Harribel has three separate sword beams, one being her fanned-out cero, one being her ola azul attack (which is yellow. It actually makes a bit of sense.), and one called la gota, which is basically an upgraded version of ola azul.
  • In the second season of Slayers, Gourry's Sword of Light gains this ability. At one point it is used to blow up a ship.
  • In Medabots, the Medaforce takes this form when used by Rokusho, as does Sumilidon's Extreme Shadow Sword.
    • In the RPG, a sword wave is the general form of Medaforces for Kuwagata types.
  • The "Celestial Slash"/"Vacuum Buddha-giri" from Shaman King qualifies, though it is depicted inconsistently as either a Razor Wind or Pure Energy.
  • From Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, we have Fate's Plasma Zamber Breaker, a massive beam fired from the blade of Bardiche's Zamber Form. It's roughly the equivalent of Nanoha's Starlight Breaker in power.
    • Before that, Fate had the "Arc Saber" attack, which basically threw the Laser Blade of her device's Scythe Form at an enemy, then regenerated it.
    • Signum, meanwhile, has the Fire Dragon Flash/Karyuu Issen, where she creates a shaft of flames and throws it at her target...such as an entire army of Mecha-Mooks.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima has the Shinmei Ryū Hidden Technique, Zanmaken: Ni no Tachi In Celebration of my First Kiss with Ojou-sama Special (spoilered part of name courtesy of Jack Rakan, natch). When Rakan demonstrated it, the crescent-shaped energy projectile it produced bypassed all of Negi's Deflector Shields and damaged the building behind him before finally slicing a giant floating rock some distance away behind that in half.
    • The attack originally comes from Love Hina, where it was used by Motoko and its development was the focus of an arc for her. The Shinmei Ryū school has a large number of ranged attack techniques, some of which have the ability to "skip" the first thing in its path and strike a target behind it.
    • Negima also has a character who successfully adapted a Razor Wind Sword Beam technique into a Fist Beam.
  • In the fairly terrible Ninja Scroll TV series, Jubei seems to be capable of this and only this attack. Granted he uses something like this once in the movie, but...
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple has shown examples of the Razor Wind off a sword stroke version. Shigure fought someone with that technique, and has done ranged attacks not only with a sword but with a wooden spoon.
  • Shannon does this in Scrapped Princess when he's using Zefiris. An interesting variation, in that the beam extends from both ends of his sword.
  • The Samurai Champloo episode "Lethal Lunacy" features an outlaw named Shoryū who has mastered the ability to attack using ki. One of the ways he does this is through a blast of wind unleashed from his sword. Unlike other sword beams, the damage done does not reflect how the wind blast struck the target; rather, it causes what appear to be completely unrelated injuries, like slashes across the palms or devastating internal damage without any exterior signs of harm.
  • Inverted and defied in Busou Renkin where one of the alchemic weapons "Sword Samurai X" takes the form of a sword that has the ability to nullify energy attacks. Nobuhiro Watsuki, the writer, stated that he gave it this power because he didn't like sword beams, as they defeated the very purpose of a sword, so he gave the sword the ability to nullify other ranged attacks instead.
  • Miaka throws out one of these in Fushigi Yuugi to fire Soi's lightning attack back at her. Justified because the sword she's using is a holy sword given to Hotohori by Taiitsukun.
  • Yaiba makes a frequent use of Sword Beam, be them Lightning, Air or Dark Powers.
  • Thymilph in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has a variation: his Alkaid Glaive fires the beam, and he calls it the Condemn Blaze. (Although it can kind of hard to tell what he's shouting.)
  • In Samurai Pizza Cats Speedy Cerviche's Cat's Eye Slash is a two-sword variant.
  • The Samurai, who appear relatively late in Naruto, are all capable of doing this, once they've channeled chakra through their swords like Laser Blades.
  • In Soul Eater, Maka's Straight Hunter used against the Clown works like this. She achieved something similar by mistake when she used Witch Hunter against Sid, and tripped up. Ragnarok's Screech Alpha attack also creates a Sword Beam.
  • Snimon of Digimon demonstrates this ability when it launches its Twin Sickles technique.
  • Tatewake Kuno in Ranma 1/2 is capable of projecting strikes of compressed air from his blade as he thrusts, which are capable of crumbling concrete.
  • Sailor Uranus's second attack, Space Sword Blaster, sends blades of energy using her talisman weapon.
  • In Tokko Ranmaru can fire powerful energy blasts from his sword. Sakura was also able to do this in the manga.
  • The "Reppuzan" attack used by Mio and Yoshika in Strike Witches is an example of this, being a beam of magical energy fired through the sky to attack ranged enemies. It's name roughly translates to "Great Gale Cut", meaning that it may be wind-based. Interestingly enough, it has several similarities to the Getsuga Tensho of Bleach: It's a Sword Beam, it has a sky/wind/heavens theme, the attack is used by a main character and a mentor/parental figure, and the True Reppuzan/Final Getsuga Tensho causes the user to lose their powers (both users, incidentally, having huge amount of spiritual/magical power that was difficult to control).
  • In Fairy Tail Erza's Morning Star Armor's special attack Photon Slicer.
  • Linebarrel's "Executor", who function as both BFS and BFG.
  • Kamika from Shikabane Hime can fire explosive blasts of energy from her dual katanas.
  • Kirby, as seen in the page picture, as well as Meta Knight on more than one occasion.
  • Ryuuji from Dragon Crisis uses these as his primary means of attack. Technically an example of 'Knife Beams'.
  • 00 Gundam and 00 Raiser have solid-state swords that can shoot GN Particle Beams. These are, however, refered to as "GN Sword Beam Rifles" in the SD Gundam games.
  • Zoro of One Piece is capable of doing this, calling it the "36-Pound Cannon" (the weight changes with the number of swords he uses and the amount of power he puts into it). It's also a standard attack for members of CP 9, except they're able to do it just by kicking their legs, no swords needed.

Live-Action TV

  • Naturally, Super Sentai and Power Rangers have featured every version of this. The most common Finishing Move, though, is an unusual version: the wielder, facing the screen, swings, and a diagonal line appears as it passes. Scene switches to the monster, slash effect appears over him, and KABOOM soon follows—regardless of how far away from the wielder the real-space shots show the monster to be. What it would look like to someone watching from nearby is a good question, like many of the show's Stock Footage sequences that just don't work in real space. Though arc effects, through-ground effects, and all the rest exist, you won't see a finisher that looks like this in Stock Footage get done in real space and prove to be one of these. Power Rangers RPM is one of few series to show what its sword-slash finisher "really" looks like, with the High Octane Megazord striking the monster as it passes by.
  • Kamen Rider Blade has the Royal Straight Flush in his King Form Super Mode. During the series it's depicted as a giant blast of energy after a sword swing, going through five cards, but Kamen Rider Decade depicts it as a wave of energy that goes through the ground.

Myths & Religion

  • In Celtic Mythology, the sword Caladbolg shot rainbow-coloured streams of energy when swung. Just one of them cut three mountains in half.

Tabletop Games

  • The Sandstorm-Wind Attack mode of the Exalted Charm Iron Raptor Technique is basically this, as is its follow-on Blazing Solar Bolt.
    • Lunars have a version of this called Wind-Wings Carry Technique, although since Lunar charms by their nature have fairly broad effects, it increases the effective range of any weapon, melee or ranged.
  • In Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition, Wizards can take the "Wizard of the Spiral Tower" paragon path, which allows the use of your sword as an implement, for things such as Magic Missile. (Thematically, the 'implement' is where your spell originates.) This also includes the swordmage, that naturally uses the sword as its implement.

Video Games

  • Bayonetta's sword beam is really Awesome but Impractical as it takes like 10 seconds to shoot. Nobody ever waits around that long so it's pretty pointless anyway.
  • The Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi series has Yajirobe, who wields a katana. His 'Ka-Blam Slicer' attack sends an energy wave at the opponent. Oddly enough, Future Trunks' Absurdly Sharp Blade does not.
    • Because it has always been made clear that Future Trunks just has a normal sword. There is nothing special about it. It is not even really sharp.
  • Mega Man X's Zero does this all this time, usually in a boss fight against him.
    • The Zero in Mega Man Zero does this as well, in an EX skill for the second, third, and fourth(final) games.
    • Protoman's Mega Man Battle Network incarnation doesn't quite shoot beams from his sword, but he does fire shockwaves from swinging his sword.
    • Model HX can do this if you alternate between the two attack buttons.
  • In some games in the Zelda series, Link can fire beams from his sword. Usually, this can only be done at full health, though The Legend of Zelda the Minish Cap (and the The Legend of Zelda Oracle Games with the right Ring of Power) also features a "Peril Beam" which can only be used at low health.
    • The Skyward Strike from The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, the first 3D Zelda game to have a Sword Beam as a regular ability, can be used at any amount of health, though the sword has to be raised to the sky to charge up for use, leaving Link vulnerable to possible injury. The beam can be shot off vertically, horizontally and diagonally.
    • The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time had the sword spin move which, when combined with magic, gave off a circle of energy that expanded beyond the range of the sword and damaged enemies. Not the classic Zelda sword beam, but still...
  • Fate/stay night has "Excalibur the Sword of Promised Victory", and Ea (often mistakenly called "Enuma Elish" after its activation phrase, though that name is cooler anyway). Excalibur is also prominent in Fate/Zero, the prequel. Both are some of the more powerful listed examples of the Wave Motion Sword; Excalibur at full power can raze several city blocks at a swing, and Ea could kill the planet if Gilgamesh ever decided to stop playing around and take his opponents seriously.
    • In addition, the attacks of the Fifth Holy Grail War's Berserker are so powerful that the wind following the moves of his gigantic sword cuts whatever is standing even a meter away.
    • The Jewelled Sword of Zelretch is one of these in the hands of Tohsaka Rin.
  • Sword Kirby has been able to do this in the anime and in Squeak Squad and Kirby Super Star (Ultra). This is also one of Kirby's attacks in Super Smash Bros.. Meta Knight has had Sword Beams in most of his appearances, as has Master/Galaxia Kirby.
    • And in the anime, Meta Knight (and later, other people such as Bun and Kirby) actually refers to it as "Sword Beam".
  • The first Custom Robo released in North America has a partial example. It has two sword-shaped guns that in turn fire sword-shaped lasers at the target with different trajectories. The swords cannot typically be used as melee weapons, though; some Robo models swing the sword while using melee attacks, but the effect is purely cosmetic.
  • Demon Fang in the Tales (series).
    • In addition to the old standard (Majinken), there's Kyle's Souhajin, Mary's Gou Majinken, Ange's Kouhajin, Shing's Kuuretsusen and Seieireppa... suffice it to say, most melee attackers in the Tales of games are required to have at least one Sword Beam somewhere. That's to say nothing of the advanced versions like Rid's Majinken Souga and Kunzite's Majinrenzan.
    • For the English speakers, they are "Double Demon Fang" {fires 2 D Fs}, "Demonic Chaos" {fires three D Fs in rapid succession}, and "Fierce Demon Fang" {which create a shockwave which hits multiple times at close range}. Variations, such as Senel's and Luke's Demon Fist, Yuri's "Azure Edge" and Estelle's "Star Stroke", and Repede's "Demonic Charge", also exist.
  • Touhou: Resident swords(wo)man Youmu Kompaku uses her sword for both melee and ranged attacks. Of course, this being Touhou, her ranged attacks take the form of scores of spirit bullets.
    • The fighting games play it straight with both Youmu and Tenshi.
  • In Armored Core, it's possible to launch the energy off an energy blade, although you need either a special sword or Human+ (or that particular game's equivalent) to do it.
    • Removed as of Armored Core 4, however.
    • Done with the Human+ and the Moonlight blade in Armored Core 2, you end up with a sort of Infinity Plus One Sword Beam.
    • In some games, like Armored Core: Nexus, it's possible to do a Sword Beam with every Laser Blade. You just have to boost mid-swing.
  • Just about every Virtuaroid in the Virtual On series has at least one of these for their melee weapon, unless they have enough guns/missiles to make them redundant.
  • Kratos in God of War 2 does this with the Blade of Olympus on the last strike of his heavy combo. Furthermore, fully upgrading the Blade allows it to be done with every swipe!
  • Vyse and Enrique use these if they attack an enemy at a distance in Skies of Arcadia. Enrique, using a foil, naturally does a thrusting motion to release a spear-like shot.
  • Kamui of Arcana Heart can do this, performing two quick slashes in the air to create an X-shaped energy projectile.
  • Ky and Sol from Guilty Gear. Ky swings his sword, while Sol stabs the ground.
  • Ryoma from Power Stone has a couple variants of this after powering up.
  • Several characters from Dynasty Warriors are capable of firing beams out of their weapon.
  • Similar but unrelated to the above, Sengoku Basara has a few characters who use blades to fire energy beams, including Yoshihiro Shimazu and Masamune Date.
  • The Peter Pan game for Sega Genesis had a power up that allowed you to do this.
  • PC game Sango Fighter did this for about half of the characters. Almost all of the characters got a fireball and half of them were armed, so in some ways, it kind of makes sense.
  • Both Square Soft's Chrono Trigger and Enix's Star Ocean contain sword-swinging attacks that produce projectiles of hardened wind (Slash, Air Slash).
  • Shinobu's Signature Move in No More Heroes is a technique called "Sonic Sword". Travis Touchdown himself gets Blueberry Cheese Brownie, one of his "Dark Side" Super Mode attacks. His sword beams make people explode.
  • Final Fantasy features this very often. Many characters have an extension attack that will often create a wave of energy to increase the sword range.
    • Squall pulls this off with shining colors. His Fated Circle, Blasting Zone and End of Heart Lion Heart techniques all have an expansion wave swing that increases your range to many times its original size.
      • Blasting Zone is really more of a Blade Extension Beam...that's roughly several thousand feet long.
      • Seifer also does the same.
      • Squall also has a delayed sword beam attack: Rough Divide involves slashing upwards, followed by a massive upwards explosion from directly below the enemy it hits.
    • Cloud and Sephiroth both feature an attack literally named Blade Beam that makes them fire off a wave from their sword. Cloud being a Blow Smasher will do this in a single giant ground based blast while Sephiroth will do so in smaller waves but in more accurate and greater quantities.
      • Cloud's "Blade Beam" attack not only does four times as much damage as a regular attack, but also dissipates after hitting the intended target, hitting every other enemy for regular damage. In addition, he also has Meteorain (or Meteor Shots, whichever you prefer) that literally throws meteors from his sword.
      • Sephiroth evidently follows the "hardened air" attack pattern, slashing so quickly with his Octaslash that it hits after he's finished slashing.
      • In Crisis Core, during the cutscene of Sephiroth's fight with Genesis, Sephiroth uses a flurry of Blade Beam attacks to neatly slice chunks off the Junon Cannon.
      • Zack Fair apparently taught Cloud the Meteorain/Meteor Shots skill, as he uses it in Crisis Core.
        • Though he himself only learns it AFTER meeting Cloud. Kinda weird when you think about it, and the other DMW Limits are actually taught TO Zack by someone else. So maybe Cloud taught Zack Meteor Shot?
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance features this with the Earth Render technique where it strikes everything in a straight line regardless of range.
      • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 features the Gria with an attack called blast wave which is an attack using a sword that hits things in a straight line. (much more limited than Earth Render)
    • In Final Fantasy XII, Gabranth uses an attack where he slashes the air rapidly to send out several energy waves from the blades.
    • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Squall, Cloud, Sephiroth and Gabranth return with their signature sword beams. Warrior of Light and the Onion Knight take it a step further with Radiant Sword and Swordshower. The latter has the Warrior swing his sword to create beams of light that look like swords, while Swordshower conjures a swarm of sword-shaped energy beams to hit the opponent from all angles. So yeah, not only do they use Sword Beams, but their Sword Beams look like swords.
  • Ragnell and Alondite, the twin BFS's from Fire Emblem 9 and 10, can do this.
    • There's also, the Wind Edge, Storm Sword, and Tempest Blade as well. And Mist has a unique weapon that shoots Sword Beams.
    • And in the earlier games there's swords that cast magic as a form of a sword beam—just wave the sword and boom, you've got a spell like a mage would with a book. Notably, in FE 4, Mages could wield swords after promotion, and since the swords were not affected by silence, unlike normal spells, and were "El"-level (Except the Light Brand, which cast the basic light spell), they were good options if you wanted to get around silence.
    • FE 6 has the "King's Lance" Exaccus—wield by the not-so Final Boss, a HUGE BFS that splits into a trident. Swinging it around launches a Sword Beam even if said Boss smashes your face with it.
      • And who can forget the Sword Of Seals, a Game Breaker that launches fire Sword Beams at range, and causes huge explosions when it critically hits.
  • Dante has this in the form of his "Drive" attack in Devil May Cry 3 and 4, which causes a shockwave to jet across the ground and damage all enemies in its path. In 4, Nero has Maximum Bet, a Devil Trigger-exclusive move where he uses his sword(s) to fire off a wide X-shaped energy wave that also pierces through targets, but the crescent beam he uses is only seen during cutscenes. Vergil in 3 (and Dante in 4) has the Yamato, which can slash enemies far outside its normal range with a delayed effect. It does this for all of its moves, but Judgement Cut is the only one that's actually a projectile.
  • In NES side-scroller The Battle of Olympus, you can do this while wielding the Divine Sword. Each beam costs HP, though, unless you have the Bracelet of Power.
  • Minazuki Zankuro's Finishing Move in Samurai Shodown V Special is a MASSIVE sword beam that completely obliterates the victim, save for their feet.
  • Pokémon has Psycho Cut and several other moves. Any "special" (non-physical) move coming from a bladed body part is an example.
  • There's this nice little semi-hidden treat on Shining Force for the Genesis: if you happen to finish off the final boss (bear in mind that it has three heads to be attacked separately) with a physical blow from main hero while having the legendary sword equipped, his usual attack animation is changed for a neat special animation involving a sword beam. This is the only moment in the game where the main character attacks this way. Also, hidden character Musashi's attack animation is a sword beam.
  • In Rocket Knight Adventures, Sparkster can fling energy beams from his sword. This was taken out in the Genesis/Mega Drive version Sparkster, but made a return in the 2010 Rocket Knight revival.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Vanitas, one of the game's main villains, has a basic two-hit combo that consists of a lunging slash and a somersaulting uppercut with his Keyblade. Towards the end of the game, he starts using the latter attack to shoot a fast-moving, short-ranged crescent beam and, later on, a slow-moving, homing one.
    • Wave Motion Sword example in the same game: In the second phase of his story mode's final boss fight, Ventus gains the ability to fire powerful energy beams from his Keyblade. His opponent, a souped-up Vanitas, can do the same, resulting in a Beam-O-War if the two characters launch their attacks at the same time.
  • Severance: Blade of Darkness had an upgrade that unlocked two Sword Beam attacks for Ianna's sword, your only ranged attacks aside from throwing your weapons (they don't come back, and you can only carry a few) and a bow which never upgrades unlike all your other weapons, and is therefore completely useless except for hitting switches. While obtaining the Sword Beam is optional, you don't stand much chance against the teleporting Big Bad without it. (And if you did get it, you'll get an extra level after it, with The Man Behind the Man in a Magitek Power Armor as final boss.)
  • The Dimension Slash attack (Which has the user focus energy into their weapon before unleashing a gigantic, battlefield-rending sword beam) is a staple of Nippon Ichi games, especially in the Disgaea series where it's first appearance was in the first game.
  • In the PC game "Little Fighter", Deep does this, while Woody does it with his ARMS
  • In Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, the True Final Boss fight against Erim in a New Game+ has the Dual Blade gain this ability as its standard attack. Unfortunately, the game doesn't tell you this, and many players were too busy engaging in close combat to notice.
  • Sonic Boom/Wave/Blast in the Saturn classic Dragon Force (video game)
  • In Too Human this effect is used when using a fierce attack with either a two handed sword, one handed sword, or dual wield sword, it manifests as a blue burst of energy flying in a straight line accompanied by the howl of a wolf.
  • The Asura subclass in Dungeon Fighter Online specializes in these.
  • The Swordsman subclass in Dragon Nest has half of its skill tree dedicated to this Trope. For the third job change (not released in NA yet), they can become Lunar Knights/Moonlords to get a move that lets them spam 5 huge Sword Beams from midair.
    • Consequently, Bleach fanboy noobs is often used as a blanket description of Swordsmen, who are vehemently hated by much of the community.
  • In Illusion of Gaia, Will's two alternate forms possess variations of this. The first is used by Freedan, and is called the "Dark Friar". By attacking once and holding down on the attack button, Freedan can charge his sword to fire off what amounts to a cross between a Sword Beam and fire magic. Later in the game, when the player gets to Euro, one of two power-ups available in a side-area allows Freedan to upgrade the Dark Friar, resulting in the player being able to push the attack button again when the Friar is either flying away or hitting an enemy. This results in the attack splitting into four smaller fire-ball beams that then spin away and increases the range of the attack. At the end on the game, meanwhile, Shadow gains the "Firebird" attack, which allows the player to attack at range by simply hitting the attack button and watching phoenix-shaped projectiles fire at the Final Boss.
  • Disgaea's strongest sword, the Yoshitsuna, has the range of a gun.
  • In Turok 2, the Juggernauts' BFS's can do this.
  • Jin Kisaragi and Hakumen have this as a super. One is actually a wave of cold from his sword (Jin), whereas the other is played straight (Hakumen).
  • Augus's blade, Wailing Dark from Asura's Wrath uses this as it's projectile, and can be curved sideways and can utilize multiple sword beams at once by default.
  • The Moonlight Greatsword in Dark Souls unleashes this as its strong attack.
  • Egg Emperor in Sonic Heroes alternates between vertical and horizontal Sword Beams as his main attack. The same boss would return in Sonic Generations 3DS, now with diagonal ones added to the mix under certain conditions.
  • Kai Leng in Mass Effect 3.
  • Shulk's Monado Purge art in Xenoblade Chronicles. It's more useful for its secondary effect of disabling the target's auras then it is for its damage, though.
  • The Valis games have this as the power of the Valis Sword.

Web Original

  • Fate Nuovo Guerra features Clarent as an Evil Counterpart to Excalibur from Fate/stay night above. It feeds on the hate and dispair in the surroundings, and will eventually feed on the Grail itself. To a lesser extent, Tizona and Colada, when Dual Wielded, create a short-range Sword Beam.
  • A common attack in Chaos Fighters, which is called slash waves. In close range, it is possible to slash enemies while launching them simultaneously.

Western Animation