Throwing Your Sword Always Works
We've all seen it a dozen times in the vids. Some hero's just about to lose the climactic battle. Out of desperation, he throws his sword. It flies end-over-end (usually with the camera right behind it) and plunges through the villain, skewering him like a Morrocan shish kebab.
—The Last Crusaders sourcebook for Deadlands: Hell on Earth
In Real Life, the sword is not designed for throwing. Its shape and weight is optimized for swinging, thrusting, and other movements driven mostly by the user's arms, not for aerodynamically moving through the air on momentum alone. In addition, throwing your sword leaves you unarmed, so even if you do score a hit, if you do not kill your opponent, you are still in a great deal of danger. If you do throw your sword, you can rule out trying to impale anyone as if it were a spear, especially if it's a curved blade slashing sword like a sabre; your best bet is to throw it overhand like a hatchet.
But in fiction, Throwing Your Sword Always Works! Whether it's used by a hero as a last-ditch display of valiance or by anyone else just for Rule of Cool, the prospect of combining deadly blades and high speeds is just too good to pass up. Best of all, it allows for a tense, dramatic wind-up AND a dramatic payoff. The fact that logically there should be an at least fair chance of hitting your target with the wrong end is casually ignored.
Some times the character will throw his sword more like a boomerang: horizontally and with a spin on it. While this certainly does make it more likely to cut the opponent, it does raise other questions about the logistics of such an act...
Compare (or contrast) Throw-Away Guns. See also Throwing Your Shield Always Works too. This almost always results in The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In, although that can also result from accidental falls as well as deliberate throws. When the thrown sword is used as a ladder, stepping stone, or perch, it will also be Stepping Stone Sword. Contrast Give Me a Sword, where the character may throw the sword but is not intending to commit any damage, just trying to get it to someone who can use it.
- 1 Played straight
- 2 Exceptions/Subversions
Anime & Manga
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Used in a modified form in an early chapter: Kenshin, having lost the use of his right arm, launches his sword hilt-first at his opponent (a move called the Hi Ryuu Sen, or Flying Dragon Flash). It nails his opponent between the eyes for the win.
- One of Shinomori Aoshi's techniques, Onmyo Hasshi, involves throwing both of his swords straight at his opponent, with one sword directly behind the other so as to obscure it from the opponent's line of sight, leaving them vulnerable when they parry the first sword. Even then, Aoshi is a skilled Kempoist in his own right (and in fact uses said hand-to-hand skills in tandem with his sword skills), so he can afford to disarm himself.
- Saitou throws his broken sword at Kenshin knowing it is a bad move and at best a distraction. His opponent sees this and chooses to take the small cut rather than break his stance. This is still enough for Saitou's unexpected followup to work.
- Common in the Nasuverse. Here's a few, and there are probably more where that came from:
- Tsukihime: Ciel, an Executor, fights using the standard-equipment Black Keys, literal throwing swords; she only carries the small hilts (reputedly hundreds of them), and materialise the blades as needed. Kotomine Kirei also uses them briefly in Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero.
- Fate/stay night: Servant Archer's favoured pair of Chinese dao have a special boomerang-like property that makes them perfect for throwing. Whenever he actually uses his bow, he also fires swords, which then explode. His ultimate attack involves recreating and launching large quantities of them (though this isn't really him 'throwing' them). This style of attack is also used by Gilgamesh, with the main difference being that Gilgamesh actually uses the originals. Archer's swords work like this because of the yin/yang quality they possess which works like magnetism, always drawing the opposite sword back to it. So if he throws them to the sides of an opponent, they'll pull themselves to cut it. Or if he throws them and then makes more, the ones he threw will continuously fly back at him and give his opponent more targets to fend off. It doesn't really matter how good his aim is or isn't. Also, it's magic.
- Tetsuya Tsurugi from Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger sometimes uses his robot's sword like a spear (the first time he used that move was in his first appearance!). However, he holds it overhead like if it was a real spear when he does that, so it may seem more verosimile.
- Allen from D.Gray-man does this twice. One at Road, another with a Level 4, but that was more like summoning the sword to fly to him.
- Clare first does the spinning sort in the second chapter to take down a flying demon trying to escape, and that certainly isn't the last time. And considering all the other wacky sword techniques the series employs, this can get downright plausible in comparison.
- In one incident where Miata did this to save Clarice, the ramifications (the former promptly getting dogpiled by Yoma) were comparativly realistic. Of course the fact that Miata promptly tore them apart with her bare hands...
- Lampshaded recently when Yuma throws her sword to take out an Awakened Being to help Galatea, and upon feeling proud of her projectile skills Cynthia states it isn't the best technique since it pretty much disarms her.
- Speed Racer managed to throw a sword perfectly enough to knock a gun out of a guy's hand. Yeah.
- While not seen in the anime adaptation, Guts of Berserk once did this, though as he is a master swordsman, had superhuman strength at the time, and wields a sword that would crush you to death even if it was just the hilt that hit you, it's well justified.
- In the Lone Wolf and Cub manga series, Ogami Itto throws his sword a few times.
- In the second film as well, really surprising his opponent, because now he is unarmed against the last one. But to be fair, he always thows it like one would throw a spear, and usually it works because he is perceived as a ronin/samurai with at least some shred of honor, which he is not (he's an assassin), thus catching his opponents completely off guard. Also, because of the nature of samurai martial arts, their duels where mostly over after a single attack.
- In the very last episode, Mugen of Samurai Champloo does this during a battle with his Evil Counterpart in what turns out to be one of his many crowning moments of sheer awesomeness. It's more of a subversion though: Mugen wasn't actually throwing the sword at his opponent, but into the ground behind him to both distract him while he ran up close and to use to make the chain of his opponent's kusarigama snake around so he could pull on the chain and cut Umanosuke's head clean off.
- Near the end of Sword of the Stranger, Nanashi saves Kotaro from afar by throwing his sword at an enemy. Soon, though, he finds himself at a disadvantage because of this and has to retrieve it.
- Ryoma from Getter Robo does this with a mafia assassin's katana, and he throws it by the blade too.
- Alexander Anderson of Hellsing fame loves this. He carries around a nigh-infinite number of one-handed thrusting swords—enough to throw ten or twenty at a time and still go Dual-Wielding. As it turns out, he's extremely accurate; at one point hitting a target to disable from around a corner at least a dozen times in about three seconds. Then again, they are holy swords, and Anderson is the best monster hunter in the Catholic Church.
- One Piece
- Alvida throws her spiked club at some of her mooks in the first episode.
- In the most recent arc, Van Der Decken IX has the ability to mark someone as his target by touching them. After that, any item he throws will home in on them no matter where he throws it from (unless another person or barrier blocks it). So, throwing his sword (or literally anything else) will always work.
- Star Saber manages to defeat Deathsaurus twice in Transformers Victory by throwing his sword through the villain's chest plate.
- At the height of the war between Konan and Kutou in Fushigi Yuugi, Tasuki hurls a sword at Nakago, but misses. He does manage to kill Soi, though, and this pretty much pissed Nakago off too.
- Barragan Luisenbarn tries to fulfill his vow of killing Aizen Sousuke, and with his last breath he throws his axe in hopes of reaching his target. However he was too slow, as his weapon decayed from his own power meters away from his target. Moments later, he died, leaving only his crown behind.
- This is to say nothing of Uryu's Chainsaw Beam Katana Launcher.
- Hollow Ichigo loves to do this.
- Ichigo himself picks up this trick after fighting his hollow self. Recently, he tried to do this with his representative badge, which he's using to regain his shinigami powers. It didn't work because that weapon apparently deactivates as soon as he lets go of it.
- In Code Geass, Suzaku manages to throw the Lancelot's sword through an enemy mech when surrounded. Something of a subversion as, despite being impressive, he failed to any notable damage and lost the sword in the process. Near the end of the series, Gino Weinberg (also in a Humongous Mecha) throws one of the halves of Waldstein's Excalibur at Lelouch's Shinkirou, impaling it in the back and causing it to explode seconds later.
- The Gundam franchise gives us a few examples:
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Justified in that the fight takes place in zero-g; and that there is a rack of swords available.
- Victory Gundam this was used once as a desperation move before the opponent (gira) could strike the titular gundam with his beam saber, and works.
- Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Shenlong Gundam throws its shield at some enemies once. It also throws its melee weapon once, but that kind of makes sense, seeing as it's a beam javelin.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Setsuna's fighting style in the Gundam Exia typically involves him chucking swords at his targets. Luckily, he has seven of them.
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny: A Humongous sized combat Knife isn't enough, let's throw in Mk.315 Stilleto, anti-armor grenades shaped like knives, able to break the crap out of Freedom's Shield, talk about minor awesomeness here.
- Earlier in the anime, there's a battle where Shinn takes out a powerful beam cannon emplacement by disabling an enemy mecha with his Gundam's combat knives and then uses it as a giant grenade. The video game Generation of C.E. takes this Up to Eleven, changing the scene so Shinn throws the knife into the mecha's face, flies up past it, and then performs a back kick that sends it flying into the cannon.
- The trope is actually subverted in Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, during the fight between the 08th Team and Norris. While Norris and Shiro are squaring off, Norris bluffs by throwing his sword with no intent to actually hit anything - but while Shiro is distracted by the sword, Norris takes the opportunity to fry Shiro's mech with his Heat Wire.
- Lampshaded in Fullmetal Alchemist, when Ling throws his sword at Envy to save Lan-Fan, but then frantically starts yelling for her to throw it back to him because doing so left him unarmed while getting chased down by Gluttony.
- Done by Cypha in Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force as a finishing blow on the already downed Signum, impaling the latter through her torso. Not that even that can kill her.
- Digimon Adventure: Piedmon's trademark move, "Trump Sword", involves throwing a quartet of blades at his enemy, usually to devastating effect.
- Jack Rakan from Negima! does this several times. Sometimes as a warning, sometimes as a powerful attack (as Kotarô can personally attest), and once, with a BFS, as a way to reach his targets at Mach 3.2. Justified in that his swords are part of his Pactio, and thus highly magical. Also, he's got hundreds of swords to use, so even if he went with a Storm of Blades, he'd still have a pretty large selection to choose from.
- Jagara form Wolf's Rain at one point throws her sword (like a javelin) and hits a running wolf.
- Erza of Fairy Tail can throw 200 swords at once. But it's magic, so no big deal.
- Mifune from Soul Eater definitely counts.
- Madoka Magica: Sayaka tries this in episode 5. Then the fight gets interrupted and we never see her try it again.
- The anime of Devil May Cry has Dante throwing his sword around a few times. One such instance impaled a mermaid-demon through the neck against a wall in the episode "Mermaid Rock" (WITHOUT harming the possessed human victim at that!).
- In an early episode of Inuyasha he's fighting against the Raiju brothers. When Kagome is about to be killed by the younger sibling, Inu Yasha throws Tessaiga at him, killing him. Much more later, Sesshomaru gets rid of Suikotsu by tossing Tokijin at him. Bonus points for doing that without looking directly at him.
Comics -- Books
- Deadpool uses this as a brilliantly timed anticlimax in an issue of Cable and Deadpool.
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles do this all the time. Raphael throws a sai (which works), Donatello throws his staff, and Michelangelo sometimes throws a nunchaku!
- Travis Morgan uses this tactic multiple times in The Warlord. It is almost always successful.
- In his Stand Alone Episode of Midnight Sons Unlimited, Blade throws his sword to kill Angela, who was coming at him from behind. As if anything else could be spoiled, she was trying to avenge her brother, who was also trying to kill Blade.
- In Frank Miller's comic miniseries, Ronin, the main character throws his samurai sword early in the first issue with his master even commenting on how the move is not a very intelligent one. Then again, the main character is a fictional person even within the comic itself.
- Psylocke wounds Archangel this way in Uncanny X-Force, though even she admits that it's a one-in-a-million shot.
- Thor gets a pass with his hammer, since it returns to him when he throws it.
- It would've worked for Storm Shadow in his debut in the Marvel G.I. Joe series, to Scarlett's detriment, but Snake-Eyes catches it between his hands, from behind Scarlett, who was wearing a rocket-powered glider at the time.
- In the World of Warcraft Fan Movie Tales of the Past, Alexandros Mograine is attacked by a giant voidwalker during the battle at Blackrock Mountain. While he's shielding himself with Light powers, he sees the orc warlock controlling the voidwalker, then hurls his sword at the orc. It goes right through the warlock's head. The voidwalker, no longer bound to the warlock's will, dissipates.
- Ryan vs. Dorkman 2 ends this way.
Films -- Animation
- An old classic, Disney's Sleeping Beauty, features a sword-throw at the climax which may have inspired some of the others. This is how Prince Phillip kills Maleficent after she has transformed into a dragon. However, in this case the effectiveness of the attack is justified by the magic Flora, one of the Fairy Godmothers, uses to enchant his sword so it would "Fly swift and sure, that Evil die and Good endure."
- In the Chuck Jones animated version of The Phantom Tollbooth, Milo defeats the assembled demons by throwing the Mathemagician's pencil like a javelin. This is even odder because the weapon in question didn't work by physical contact in the first place.
- Occurs in The Secret of NIMH where a character (who admittedly had been uneasy about the morality of his situation from about halfway through the movie) pulls himself up with great effort and flicks a small dagger through the air—where it lands squarely in the back of the villain—before falling down dead himself. Redemption Equals Death again...
- Nine: 8 manages to pull this off during the fight against the Winged Beast. He never gets the sword (actually half of a pair of scissors) back, though.
- The extended re-release of the Final Fantasy VII movie Advent Children features Cloud arriving at the Midgar EDGE battle by hurling one of his swords several hundred feet, where it flies in a wide lateral circle and slices through three monsters along the way before he catches it. Of course, by this point in the movie, it's pretty clear you can bugger physics all you like as long as you're doing it awesomely. Not only does he throw it, it splits in two in mid-flight. And he catches the second sword with the blade of the first one. Justified as this is a setting that has active magical abilities via materia.
Films -- Live-Action
- The scene in Freddy vs. Jason where Jason throws his machete (which is on fire) through the fat guy's chest is a great example. It also doesn't seem too hard for Jason, a super-strong guy who seems to know how to properly use any form of weaponry.
- Star Wars
- In Revenge of the Sith, Yoda kills a clone trooper this way. An especially noteworthy example, as Yoda is still surrounded by blaster fire. This is probably covered by Rule of Cool, though, plus he's goddamned Yoda. Justified as a lightsaber's blade has no weight so the only source of mass and balance is the actual hilt and every "side" of it is an Absurdly Sharp Blade. Further justified because Jedi can manipulate the lightsaber's trajectory with The Force to make sure it hits blade-first.
- In Return of the Jedi, conversely, Darth Vader cannot reach Luke, so he cuts down the catwalk Luke's standing on and effortlessly retrieves his lightsaber offscreen. Of course, it helps a lot in retrieving your weapon if you're telekinetic.
- The fact that a Jedi has telekinetic abilities and can normally recall the blade back to him makes this a bit more plausible.
- Azeem does this in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, just to show how righteous he is. Interestingly, the scimitar he throws is actually better suited to throwing, given the way it is designed.
- In Shogun Assassin, our hero kills one of the Brothers of Death by throwing his katana. His respone before dying: "I did not think you would throw your sword."
- Played for Laughs in Monty Python and the Holy Grail: the Black Knight kills the Green Knight by throwing his sword into his helm's eye slot.
- Etienne Navarre (Rutger Hauer) throws his sword twice in Ladyhawke: once to stop Philipe "the Mouse" Gaston, and once to kill the Bishop of Aquilla. Impressive since this is a full-length great sword. Navarre throws his sword like a javelin, as well.
- In Predator, Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) tosses his machete at a guerrilla sneaking up from behind—killing him and pinning his body to a neighboring post. "Stick around", Dutch quips.
- The captivating cult classic 1980s fantasy film The Sword and the Sorcerer featured a variation: the title sword had three blades, two of which the wielder could launch like rockets (complete with flaming exhaust!) at his enemy.
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Will Turner does this twice in the first movie. Since he seems able to do it so reliably, one wonders why he didn't just aim it a bit higher and cut the noose, instead of letting him use the blade like a miniature platform.
- On the more realistic side, Jack reacts to the first incident with appropriate surprise that it worked (and, probably, that the sword landed literally an inch from his face), and then points out that Will has left himself unarmed. But they're in a room full of swords at the time, so it's only a temporary setback.
- Played straight and subverted in Kenneth Branagh's version of Hamlet. Hamlet throws his sword at Claudius, and it flies really well - it just misses Claudius and sticks into the throne instead.
- Double Subverted in Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers 1973, where Porthos invents a move involving throwing his sword at the enemy. Aramis, unimpressed, ask Porthos to perform this move on him and easily parries the thrown blade, pointing out that Porthos is unarmed now. Later however, Porthos uses this move anyway, and it does work as intended.
- In the sequel The Return of the Musketeers, Porthos throws his sword at Justine de Winter during the climactic battle. He misses, but it does provide a crucial distraction.
- D'Artagnan also uses this move in The Man in the Iron Mask (the one with Leonardo DiCaprio).
- Nathan Algren kills Bagley with a katana using this method in The Last Samurai, presumably in order to ensure Bagley's death before everyone is cut down by Gatling gunfire.
- Used ridiculously in the climactic scene of Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, in which Hamlet skewers his uncle with a thrown fencing foil (which not only impales him, but pins him to his throne) before dropping a chandelier on him and finishing him off by forcing him to drink poison.
- The famous/infamous critic John Simon commented that he hadn't noticed Circus Skills 101 on the syllabus of Gottingen University (Hamlet's alma mater).
- Maximus throws his sword and kills a Praetorian Guard from about twenty meters away(!) in order to escape execution. Being the smart guy he is, he kept a backup sword to deal with the remaining Praetorian.
- Averted later when he throws a sword into a crowd of people during the "Are you not entertained?!" scene and injures... a coffee table.
- In Yor, the Hunter from the Future, the title character throws a flaming longsword at a purple caveman. Oh, and he does it underhand.
- Done far too much in Braveheart. The unrelated instance of sword-throwing at the end, however, makes up for it tenfold.
- Done with less killing and more lifesaving in Enchanted.
- In order to save Robert from plummeting to his doom, Giselle throws Edward's sword. It catches on his sleeve and pins him to the wall, catching him.
- It was done twice; Edward did the same thing in the Cartoon World to save Giselle.
- In the 2004 "historical" remake of King Arthur, at the very end after Lancelot is shot by The Dragon, he chucks one of his short swords at him, neatly impaling him dead center of his chest. This is slightly more realistic, as they WERE short swords, and the bad guy WAS pretty close, but still...
- In The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse, Hilary Briss kills the giant homunculous with the heads of the three league members by throwing his halberd at it.
- Highlander the Source. Duncan manages to throw his sword into The Guardian's neck.
- In The Mummy Returns, during the battle with the Anubis Warriors, Ardeth throws his sword at one of them. Yes. He throws a scimitar at something that will not die unless decapitated. And it works.
- Conan the Barbarian
- Arnold's Conan throws his axe at one of the Vanir warlords in the battle of the Mounds.
- And then tosses his sword at (and halfway through) the sorcerer Thoth-Amon, without even seeing him, in Conan the Destroyer.
- The Dragon in the 2003 Zatoichi movie likes using his wakizashi (the short sword paired with the katana) as a throwing weapon. It works well for him against various mooks, but Zatoichi is able to block it.
- The Fellowship of the Ring
- Aragorn hurls his sword at Lurtz, captain of the Uruk-hai, and suceeds in impaling him with it. Subverted; Lurtz just pushes it in deeper, just to spite him. Aragorn finally kills him by pulling his sword out and decapitating the Uruk-hai.
- He didn't throw his sword at Lurtz, he just stabbed him. Lurtz did throw Aragorn's own knife at him (which could reasonably be thrown), but Aragorn deflected it.
- In the Extended Edition, Aragorn non-ironically kills an Orc in Moria this way. When seeing Boromir prone and at the mercy of his opponent, he picks up an Orc's sword and throws it. Improbable Impaling Skills, yes; but made less egregious by the fact that it's an orc-sized sword which he doesn't need to retrieve (and, it's the goddamned Elessar we're talking about).
- Aragorn hurls his sword at Lurtz, captain of the Uruk-hai, and suceeds in impaling him with it. Subverted; Lurtz just pushes it in deeper, just to spite him. Aragorn finally kills him by pulling his sword out and decapitating the Uruk-hai.
- The finale of the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans ends this way, with Perseus chucking his Olympian sword at Hades. Thankfully, Zeus helps out with some lightning assistance, otherwise it probably wouldn't have succeeded.
- In Stardust, Prince Septimus effectively lobs a sword near the end of the film during the big battle, which hits and kills one of the Lilim.
- In Alice in Wonderland, Mallymkun uses this principle at least twice.
- Sword of the Barbarians. Strangely, the sword is dropped and it still works.
- Played straight and subverted in Jumanji. When confronted with Van Pelt, Alan throws the family sword. It's played straight in that it hits Van Pelt in the shoulder and pins him to a column. It's subverted in that Van Pelt, being a spirit of the game, is unharmed. He simply walks through the blade.
- Yang does it while battling the ninjas in the laundry in The Warrior's Way. But Yang is The Greatest Sworsman In The World. Ever.
- Played egregiously straight in Hawk the Slayer, where the eponymous hero impales a bad guy through the stomach by throwing a massive two-handed sword at him.
- In the 1983 Hercules, Lou Ferrigno's Hercules kills Sibyl Danning's Queen Ariadne with a thrown sword that impales her through the stomach.
- Happens three times in Sucker Punch. Babydoll throws her katana as a distraction so she can get close enough to shoot the second samurai in the face. Babydoll throws a bayonet to pin the courier's shoulder to a wall. The German general throws his rapier at Babydoll, and uses the time it takes for her to dodge to close the gap and punch her into a wall.
- Legend. Jack throws the unicorn horn at Darkness and impales him in the chest, wounding him and helping to drive him back.
- In the Lone Wolf series, the opportunity to throw your sword is very rarely given, since the hero has usually plenty better opportunities, like using a bow and arrow or even offensive magic in the later books. There is however one noteworthy occurrence in Book 12, The Masters of Darkness. If you draw the Sommerswerd before Darklord Kraagenskûl to fight his Crypt Spawns, Lone Wolf is forced to throw the Sun Sword at his back before he'd alert Darklord Gnaag. It never miss and Kraagenskûl is badly wounded either way, but on a low roll he's still able to warn his master, making "your life and your mission end here."
- In G. K. Chesterton's epic poem The Ballad of the White Horse Colan of Caerleon kills the Danish Prince Harold with a thrown sword—the problem of not having a sword is then fixed as his fellow commanders compete to give him their own swords to replace it.
- Apparently this is also part of the battle of philosophical allegories that make up the subtext of the piece and symbolizing GKCs rejection of the racial destiny theories that were popular around that time.
- Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian occasionally engages in this, most notably at the climax of the story "Black Colossus" (pictured above in comic form), where the Cimmerian hurls his sword through the torso of evil sorcerer Thugra Khotan, who was about to sacrifice princess Yasmela upon a demonic altar.
- Lampshaded heavily in Mercedes Lackey's By the Sword when the Empathic Weapon Need forces Kerowyn to throw it at a villain. Kerowyn is shocked both at being made to do it and at the fact that it works, and the more experienced fighter Tarma is frankly disgusted at the boneheadedness of the move. "Never, ever, under any circumstance throw your sword." is the second thing Herald weapons masters teach their students in the same universe, right after which end to hold.
- It's also lampshaded in the Mercedes Lackey book Burning Water when Mark Valdez remembers how he met Diana Tregarde for the first time.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom novels:
- In Llana of Gathol, during a duel John Carter tells his opponent that he will kill him at a specific time. After toying with him for a while, he throws his sword and impales the opponent's body, killing him at the precise time he predicted.
- Used again in A Fighting Man of Mars. Hadron of Hastor throws one of his swords at a large reptile. He comments that it was not a good throw.
- There's an attempt at justification in the very first Barsoom book, A Princess of Mars, where hero and narrator John Carter's jaw drops the first time he sees the move, and Burroughs makes it clear that a) some Barsoomian swords are designed for throwing, and b) only the low gravity on Mars makes it practical. (a) is a justification, (b) is a Hand Wave. Low gravity won't make the sword any less clumsy or awkward as a throwing weapon, so a throwable sword that works on Earth should work on Mars, and vice versa.
- Subverted in Terry Pratchett's The Carpet People. Before the climactic battle, one of the heroes throws a sword to kill a bad guy. It works. Seconds later, enemy forces attack and he asks whether anybody can lend him a spare one.
- This is the explicit magical property of Farslayer, one of the swords from the Tales Of Swords series. Sort of. Yes, you activate the magic by throwing Farslayer, but you don't have to throw it at the intended victim, or indeed be in the same country as said victim. It just performs a nigh-unblockable Tele Frag. No, it doesn't return. Yes, the victim's relatives now have Farslayer. Oops.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe:
- In The Thrawn Trilogy, Luke is cornered by a group of extremely deadly commandos. Since he has no blaster or other ranged weapons and they have really cool ranged incapacitating weapons, he has some trouble. Deciding there is no other way to resolve the situation, he throws his lightsaber, slicing open the wall and spacing them.
- Throwing a lightsaber is more or less justified in that the people who wield them also have the power to psychically manipulate objects. The TK theory is reinforced in The Last Command: Luke tries saber-throwing while within range of ysalamiri (which block out the Force in the surrounding area), is a horrible shot, and misses both troopers entirely—but distracts them long enough for Mara to shoot them.
- There aparently used to be a group of Jedi who specialised in doing just this.
- The Inheritance Cycle: Paolini seems to be very fond of this trope, as it is used extensively throughout the series.
- Justified in Lioness Rampant; the sorcerer Roger is using Alanna's sword (with which he has a magical connection) to drag her into his reach. So she does something completely foreign to her personality and just... lets go. The sword goes straight through his chest.
- Happens at least once in the Kushiel's Legacy series. Celibate Hero Joscelin successfully nails a guy from throwing range having already thrown his daggers, using his broadsword. He follows up by saying "They don't even train us to do that!" or words to that effect.
- Happens in David Weber's first Safehold book, Off Armageddon Reef. Bonus points for taking the time to point out that the knife wasn't very fit for throwing, and the thrower was out of practice and just coming off a drinking binge, yet still nailing the shot.
- In The Wheel of Time, Elanye is saved during an assassination attempt by a guardsman throwing his sword. Of course, the fact that it actually works is considered an incredible feat....
- In one of the Saga of Recluce novels several characters can reliably use swords as a thrown weapon, since they use magic to make sure it works. It also helps that each of them carries around two swords, so they can throw one and still use the other one for hand-to-hand combat.
- In Harry Connolly's Twenty Palace Society, main character Raymond Lily often uses this with his Ghost Knife. Because he made it, it's like the Ghost Knife is a part of him, so he can call it back to him after throwing it, which tends to have it pass through the victim a second time. Of course, the fact that it's magic helps him alot.
- At the tag end of Prayers for the Assassin, Rakkim kills Darwin by throwing his Fedayeen knife, something that he was expressly forbidden to do during his Training from Hell. Justified in that his opponent had received the same training and so an off-the-wall move was the only way to kill him.
- In The Rescuers (the novel upon which the Disney film was based), it is Bernard's desperate, last ditch throwing of his dagger that causes the villain to lose his grip on the ladder, leading to his ultimate defeat.
- In the final battle of Villains by Necessity, Sir Fenwick throws his sword at Sam and misses - he hasn't trained in throwing blades and longswords aren't really suited for that kind of thing in the first place. Sam takes the sword and throws it at Mizzamir, and hits. He had trained in how to throw a sword and actually hit something, and had magically enhanced throwing skills on top of that.
- Justified in Warbreaker the sword being thrown is an Artifact of Doom that tempts people into killing each other over it, and then the last one standing t kill themself, it's owner has weaponized this by tossing it into groups of enemies and letting the carnage run its course, it doesn't always work though as those without greed can't be tempted to pick up the sword.
- Subverted in The Paths of the Perambulator, when Colin throws his sword at a quartet of demonic spellsingers and they knock his blade out of the air with a burst of music.
- In the cold open of the second book of the Kingpriest Trilogy, the hero's squire kills the High Priest of an evil cult by skewering him on a thrown sword. Though the squire gets knighted for it, it's pointed out to him imemediately that he was incredibly lucky that worked, he gets the derisive nickname "Swordflinger" from the other knights, and never pulls the move again.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy has done it on occasion. In Season 5, it was her "seriously don't interrupt me" move, while laying the verbal smackdown on the Watcher's Council.
- Also subverted; see below.
- Would have worked in the first episode of Merlin had Merlin not pulled Arthur out of the way in time.
- Farscape had an example in Liars, Guns, & Money. D'argo's Qualta Blade runs out of power (or whatever phlebotinum it uses to work—Qualta Blades aren't ever really explained) and, in frustration, he wings it at the guard he was targeting. It skewers him right through the sternum and, giving the obligatory shocked stare, the guard slumps over dead. This exchange follows:
Aeryn: Nice shot, D'argo.
- The Firefly episode "Shindig" has a variation of this in the duel between Mal and Atherton Wing. At the fight's climax, Wing breaks Mal's sword, and when he gets distracted, Mal punches Wing in the face, grabs the broken half of his blade, and throws it into Wing's shoulder. This wounds him long enough for Mal to hit Wing again with his handguard before snatching up his opponent's weapon and ending the duel.
- Arthur manages to kill a cockatrice this way in Merlin.
- The Community episode "Advance Dungeons & Dragons" has Fat Neil's character Ducane throws his sword at Pierce Hawthorne as a desperate attack in their epic battle.
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
- In the season two episode "The Song of Guitardo", Kimberly borrows Tommy's Dragon Dagger and fires it from her bow to slay the titular monster. By the way, this was after Kimberly used her multi-stringed bow as a harp, because the monster could be harmed with music. And, as this episode pointed out, the Dragon Dagger can also be used as a flute.
- A better example involves Tommy's final battle under Rita's control. Jason ultimately got the upper hand on him by throwing the Power Sword. Then again, all he was aiming for was to knock Tommy down and separate him from his Artifact of Attraction, which Jason then destroyed with his Blade Blaster.
- Super Sentai also used this trope a few times. For example; in both Battle Fever J and Dai Sentai Goggle Five, the Humongous Mecha uses this technique to finish off the Big Bad.
- Ned in Pushing Daisies pulls off a trick version—rather than throw the sword to hit the villain (who's running away anyway) he throws it to lodge in the wall so that the villain trips over it.
- The first episode of Robin Hood had him throw his sword from the ground and it knocked out two guards on the roof so Much could go free.
- A subverted example occurs the series two episode 'Get Carter', when the titular character throws his two swords at Robin. The first one Robin ducks and avoids, the second Robin catches and immediately whips back at him.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Menagerie" (during the flashback to the pilot episode "The Cage"), Captain Pike throws a sword to stop a big hairy giant from threatening the girl. The sword sticks in its back and causes it to fall fatally.
- In the Japanese Spider-Man TV series, this served as Leopardon's standard Finishing Move. In fact, outside of a couple promotional photos, this was the only thing Leopardon ever used its sword for.
- The 2007 Flash Gordon series has Barin attempt to assassinate Ming by throwing a morning star at him.
- In the Season 1 finale of Once Upon a Time, Emma throws the sword to slay Maleficent in dragon form, in order to retrieve the true love potion.
Myths & Religion
- The Norse hero Sigurd is stabbed in his sleep by Gutthorm. Before he dies, Sigurd flings his sword after the fleeing Guttorm, cutting him cleanly in half. This incident is told identically in Prose Edda, Poetic Edda and Volsunga Saga.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Basic D&D provides rules for rarely thrown weapons in the Master Set. Targets may get a saving throw to halve damage, making it a less-than-perfect tactic.
- There is a feat called "Throw Anything" that allows a character to throw melee weapons (swords included) without the ridiculous penalties that it would normally entail. There's even a Prestige Class (the Bloodstorm Blade), dedicated to this... whose feats include not just throwing anything, but having it return.
- 4th Edition has the swordmage, with several abilities in this style; justified in that he has magical control over his sword, including the ability to summon it back to him. One is he throws his sword at the enemy. If it misses, the sword looks for a second enemy and throws itself at him. If it misses again, it will seek a third enemy, and then a fourth at which point it gives up. Either way the sword comes back. Another power coats the sword in fire and then causes it to explode. The pieces reform in the swordmages's hand.
- 4th Edition fighters also have a single ranged weapon attack called Coward's Reward, where you throw your weapon, whatever it might be, at a retreating enemy. Somewhat justified in that it has lousy range for a ranged attack, and is only available at the highest levels, when the character is already firmly established as having superhuman powers.
- The 3.5 source book Tome of Battle has the 8th level maneuver Lightning Throw. You throw your weapon to deal damage in a 30 ft line (meaning that it theoretically over-penetrates), dealing normal weapon damage plus 12d6. The save is Reflex for half; the DC of which is the results of an attack roll, and the one class that can get it has full BAB progression. Your weapon even returns to your hand at the end of the round.
- And several magical melee weapons (such as the Dwarven Thrower) are specifically enchanted to be able to be thrown at an enemy.
- GURPS has the Throwing Art skill, which lets the user accurately throw anything he can lift.
- The Leaping Storm fu power "Loyal Steel" in Feng Shui allows a character to throw his sword at an opponent and deal full melee damage before having it return to him like a boomerang.
- Similarly, the Solar Exalted of White Wolf's Exalted can use the aptly named "Iron Raptor Technique" to throw any weapon (but mostly swords) at a target, after which the weapon will return. It acts as a normal melee attack.
- In Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time, the character Vallery wields a throwing sword as his ring weapon of choice.
- Fire Emblem:
- Ike's mastery skill, Aether, consists of him throwing his sword upwards, then jumping to pick it and coming down hitting the target For Massive Damage. Considering how broken both Ike and the skill are separately, never mind together, in this case throwing your sword really does always work.
- The Hero and Mercenary classes as interpreted by the Game Boy Advance instalments also do this for their critical hit animation. The Hero even throws his massive shield along with his sword.
- Generally averted series-wide from a gameplay perspective, in that swords have never had a throwing variation like Lances and Axes do. The ranged swords are instead imbued with magic and use that to attack at a distance.
- In the Super Smash Bros. series, you can throw the Beam Sword item at opponents and do damage with it. (You can do the same with any other weapon.) In fact, most weapons are better thrown than swung.
- The prime example of this is the Home Run Bat; the bat has an Awesome but Impractical instant-KO "home run" smash swing... or you can just throw it to deal a heavy amount of damage and knockback.
- Ike also carries over his signature skill Aether, as above, and takes both the skill itself and the throwing Up to Eleven with Great Aether.
- Dygenguard from Super Robot Wars Original Generation uses the Colossal Spinner Attack: Throwing the sword in a horizontal spin.
- In Gauntlet (1985 video game), Thyra the Valkyrie throws her sword at monsters when she isn't using it for close combat.
- In the latter two 3D Prince of Persia games, you can throw your secondary-weapon swords at enemies. They aren't terribly good weapons for this—the secondary-weapon daggers and some axes are generally better—but you always connect with the right end of the weapon.
- Rune allows you to throw any item you hold. Most weapons don't work very well for this, but some (hand axes and lit torches, most notably) work quite well. Since you have a ton of weapons most of the time, this is an excellent first move. One of the runic powers even allows you unlimited ghost weapons to throw for a short time.
- Eternal Darkness
- One feature of the secret enchanted gladius is that it can be thrown at distant enemies and will immediately teleport back to the user's hand upon striking.
- One Coup De Grace is to throw your sword into a downed enemy, then pull it back out. Justified in that, well, they're down and your foot's on their chest—no worries about dodging.
- Kingdom Hearts
- The first game features this as one of Sora's special moves, Strike Raid. Of course, Sora is required to have locked onto an enemy to perform this, so it never misses (and, with correct timing, can be aimed flawlessly at several Heartless in succession). Also, the Keyblade always teleports back to his hand to be thrown again, multiple times. Strike Raid also appears as a Sleight in Chain of Memories, and as one of Limit Form Sora's special moves in Kingdom Hearts 2: Final Mix+.
- It shows up elsewhere in the series: Riku throws his sword, Soul Eater, for certain attacks in Chain of Memories, including his Limit Break after winning a card duel in Re:CoM. Roxas also has "Break Raid" as a reaction command during the boss fight against Twilight Thorn. Keyblade users Ventus, Terra and Aqua all have Raid attacks Birth by Sleep.
- It shows up again in Kingdom Hearts Recoded, where you have the standard Strike Raid, along with variants from the four elements (Fire, Ice, Lightning, Air). These versions of Strike Raid fly straight forward and come back, and can only be used on the ground. Late in the game, though, you get Triple Raid, where the Keyblade splits into three homing blades upon being thrown, whether in midair or on the ground.
- Devil May Cry
- One of Nero's most badass moments in Devil May Cry 4 occurs in the cutscene after the final showdown with Sanctus, when he hurls Yamato in the direction of the Big Bad as he's about to kill Kyrie, and then uses his Devil Bringer hand to grab the sword in midair and Hookshot himself over to him, slice through the membrane holding Kyrie, reverse the blade and run Sanctus through with an Offhand Backhand, and then catch Kyrie on the rebound. However, this could be counted as a subversion since the sword isn't thrown offensively, but as a distraction and to free up his Devil Bringer.
- In addition, he uses the tactic TWICE in his opening fight with Dante, first with a GIANT stone carving of a sword, then with Dante's own sword. Then again,
the fightthe entire series defies physics every two seconds...
- Also Dante's "Round Trip" ability, which somehow works as a boomerang. Used twice against the Bloodgoyles in DMC 3, in the beginnings of Missions 5 & 8.
- It's subverted at the end of Devil May Cry 2, when Dante sends his sword flying through the air, shoots The Despair Embodied through the head, and the demon disperses on the spot where the sword falls a few seconds later.
- Alastor of Viewtiful Joe is a Shout-Out to Dante who mimics his "Round Trip" attack, among other things....
- In Crusader of Centy, this is the main character's primary means of attack (it's a magic boomerang sword that flies back after traveling a certain distance). Not only attack, but also for triggering switches. And your thrown sword rebounds off of walls. And certain ability combinations from your animal companions will make it fly faster and farther, make it rebound indefinitely, or let you remotely control its flight path.
- In the ending of Diablo 2, Tyrael throws his sword to destroy the corrupted worldstone. At least his target is frigging huge. Tyrael is also an angel. When a being of pure energy and magic throws something, it will probably "strike true".
- Final Fantasy
- One of the special abilities of the Ninja class in the Final Fantasy series is to throw items, including swords and other weapons. Needless to say, The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In.
- Even worse: in Final Fantasy V, you can obtain the Excalipoor sword, that does absolutely ridiculous damage; however, there are two ways to do as much damage as the real Excalibur with it. The first is throwing it, and the second can only be described as punching the enemy while holding it.
- The Throw command is reintroduced in later Final Fantasy games as a command for Thief and Monk characters.
- In Final Fantasy VII, the characters need a command materia to allow them to throw weapons and Gil in battle. The Materia contains the knowledge of the skill to ensure that throwing your sword always works. Presumably without it the characters would be prone to missing, or the sword hitting its target hilt-first.
- The second Boss Battle in Crash Bandicoot 2 sees you facing the Komodo Brothers, Joe and Moe. They are shown to have been training by throwing swords towards one another, before they see that Crash has arrived. Once the fight is started, Joe is spun at Crash, while Moe tosses his magically respawning blades at him.
- The 2000s version of Sid Meyers Pirates! does this every time you win a duel with an enemy captain. The player character backs the enemy to the stern of the ship, throws his sword... and misses. The enemy captain starts to advance, only for the hero to smirk as the bundle of crates held by the rope he just cut knocks the captain off the ship. When you get to the last few Famous Pirates, they'll notice the crates and duck, only to get hit by them anyway on the return swing. The last famous pirate will jump on the crate, swing his sword over his head in triumph...and sever the rope himself.
- In Symphony of the Night Alucard can find the "Heaven Sword", which exists only for the sake of this trope. Justified perhaps by magic, since the weapon flies straight out, striking enemies, and then hits them again as it flies back to the thrower.
- There's also the Runesword, which even larger, thrown in a vertical arc and has the word "verboten" written within its Sword Lines.
- And then there's the Gurkha soldiers that are usually stated in the bestiary to be siblings with the Blade monsters described far below. They have some sort of strange giant kukri that flies back to them like a boomerang when they throw it.
- Order of Ecclesia has done us one better with the Weapon Master, who carries the Blade monster's swords, the Gurkha monster's kukri, and a hammer from their other bro. The hammer is used for close-range combat, the kukris work as described above, and the swords...are thrown in a hard-to-avoid spread pattern. During a spinning jump.
- In pretty much every Star Wars game where you wield a lightsaber, you can throw it, and expect it to return because, as mentioned above, the Jedi can just yank it back with the Force. Occasionally, though, the return trip is interrupted, as in Jedi Outcast and Academy: if you throw it at a Dark Jedi and he blocks it, the hilt just falls to the ground, and you have to either go over and grab it, or just force pull. If you switch weapons while it's in flight, it'll also drop to the ground. It also has three levels, level one just throws it in a direction before returning, level two allows you to change the direction of where its flying and can hover it around for a bit, level three just simply works faster.
- In Masters of Teras Kasi, Luke does this as an unblockable and undodgeable super move that takes off half the opponents life bar.
- In Knights of the Old Republic, throwing your lightsaber is a Force power. Taking the second level of that power enables you to hit multiple targets with it before it comes back.
- In Deadly Towers, Prince Myer throws his sword to attack. Unlike Link, however, he can't stab enemies with it, leaving him defenseless until the sword disappears.
- The Orc careers in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning have a Throw Choppa ability, lobbing a large orcish sword at an enemy and usually getting the best results if it hits them in the back. Seeing the slightly non-aerodynamic design of said implement, this possibly makes them the best shots in the entire game.
- High-Level Warriors in World of Warcraft can learn two different weapon-throwing attacks: Heroic Throw, which simply chucks your main-hand weapon at your foe; and Shattering Throw, which has a slight cast time, but can actually break through otherwise-impenetrable defensive techniques, such as a Mage's Ice Block.
- In Hellgate:London, a skill for the Blademaster class called Cross Cutter allows them to throw their sword (the right-hand one if Dual-Wielding). The effective range of this skill is the same as an assault rifle's. They also get a passive skill later on that increases their thrown sword damage.
- In the third Quest for Glory game, Paladin characters must defeat the Demon Wizard by throwing their sword at him.
- In Cave Story, the Blade weapon (unless you have leveled it up to maximum, in which case you throw King's spirit instead). Which is kinda odd, because the credits artwork show the protagonist swinging the Blade instead of throwing it.
- In the classic ascii game Rogue and it's descendants such as Nethack, pretty much any item in your inventory can be thrown. However, if it's a standard melee weapon, don't expect it to be particularly effective.
- Subverted in Warcraft 3 (and a miniaturized version in World of Warcraft). Thrall tosses his hammer at Mannoroth at the very beginning of the fight, and it is easily deflected.
- You can throw anything in Dwarf Fortress. It might not be perfect, but there's a very good chance it will do some serious hurt if you do hit. This leads to some "interesting" fights. It is possible to gouge out eyes with thrown sand, and decapitate/dismember/destroy organs and bodies with thrown vomit. You can kill a dragon by throwing a sock THROUGH its head.
- Not only that, but with a high enough Throwing skill (which is much, MUCH less time and ammo consuming than training in using a ranged weapon) you can throw arrows and crossbow bolts by hand, doing more damage and with a much higher speed than you would by firing them with their appropriate weapon.
- Lost Odyssey (made fun of here) has armies that do this instead of using archers.
- The Dude from Postal 2 throws sledgehammers, smashing the head of whatever they hit. He can also throw a scythe that cuts people in half, but starts to drop off after some distance. He later picks up a machete that not only can be thrown with accuracy, but ricochets off walls and always comes back to him. The sledgehammer has to be retrieved each time however, and if you happen to through it at the back end of a cow, well, lets just say it's less fun to retrieve.
- In the Chinese RPG Chinese Paladin/Legend of Sword and Fairy, throwing weapons is a very good way to do damage to enemies, and everyone can do it. Many guides will suggest spending all one's money on the last weapon shop the player can visit and throw them all at the boss fight. The Game Breaker potential of this is mitigated by shops being the only source of expendable weapons, and those being somewhat expensive.
- In Chinese Paladin 4, the main character special move is to shoot his sword at his enemy with a bow.
- In Colossal Cave, this is the only way to destroy the ogre. Attack it with the axe, or by hitting it with your sword? You die.
- Blade Man from Mega Man 10 throws swords at Mega Man (or Proto Man) in threes (two on Easy, five on Hard). He never runs out of them. To make things worse, he does this while jumping all over the damn place, making him a very irritating boss to fight against.
- In Dead Rising, you can get a sword which (like every other weapon except the guns) you can whip at an enemy.
- Oblivion had this in an in-game novel about the nordic legend of the snow king. The titular riekling has proceeded to cut through hundreds of nords like a hot knife through snow, but when he kills a little girl's father, she decides to take a potshot at him with her father's sword. Sure enough, Throwing Your Sword Always Works.
- The Legend of Zelda
- Twilight Princess has the Darknuts throwing their huge swords at you.
- Meanwhile, The Wind Waker features Link throwing their swords at the Darknuts (or any other enemy in reach). Amusingly, throwing that sword is actually the most effective way of using it, considering how slow and awkward actually swinging the damn thing is.
- With Skyward Sword, the first boss is with Demon Lord Ghirahim (out of three battles with him). He can do a Barehanded Blade Block on your sword, and if you don't get it out of his hands in time, he takes it for himself and starts swinging it at you. Oh, you get it back quickly, but not without him throwing it at you first, pointy end first. Throwing your opponent's sword always works, too.
- In Rise of the Kasai, none of the playable characters throw any of their melee weapons. However, while fighting unarmed, it's possible to disarm enemies and kill them with their own weapons. For enemies with swords, they're headbutted, knocked away and the sword is thrown into their throats. So throwing your enemy's sword always works.
- A technique in Tales of Destiny allows Stahn to throw your sword forward. It has the obvious drawback of leaving him unarmed until you pick it back up.
- In Tales of Vesperia, Zagi throws his sword forward for one of his artes, which proceeds to return to him after reaching the end of its trajectory. It leaves him about as open to abuse as you might expect.
- Alexei also throws his sword to trace a glyph for his Brilliant Cataclysm mystic arte, which definitely works. It also returns to him afterward.
- In Tales of Graces, Malik uses this as his primary means of physical offense. His swords are called bladerangs, but visually, they don't vary much (If at all) in shape from swords of the standard RPG fare. As the name implies, they return to him after being thrown, but he can also manipulate their trajectory to make them strike the enemy multiple times.
- One of the items in Companions Of Xanth is a sword that you pick up fairly early. You never use it at all throughout the game until the very end, at which point you throw it at the Prize you have been seeking all game to stop your rival from getting at it
- Alice Twilight of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is equipped with five regenerating beam swords which she throws at every opportunity. It's an effective attack. VERY effective.
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood has this for all two handed weapons. If the player holds down the attack button Ezio, the player character,throws the weapon. The recently thrown weapon will then decide to make friends with the skull of person it encounters, no matter the current trajectory of the pointy bits. Granted, no matter it doesn't matter if your weapon makes a new skull buddy, the weapon is lost and has to be manually retrieved, unless the player goes to the nearest fabbro (Blacksmith) and re-equip it.
- Kenshi in Mortal Kombat 9 starts his x-ray special by throwing his sword at his opponent. He is a telekinetic however, and the opponent can avoid it by simply holding block.
- Done to ridiculous extents by Rubi from Wet. At one point during a Car Chase, she makes a Wall Jump off the side of a moving truck onto a car, from which a mook is about to shoot her point blank, and while still in the air, throws her katana at him, lands, and pulls it out of his chest before he can fall out of the car window.
- In Dead Island, throwing your sword, axe, knife, hammer, baseball bat, wrench, crowbar, pointed stick or whatever other weapon you have (except for guns and knuckle-dusters) always works. Logan has skills specifically to exploit this.
- Sho and Kane in Silent Scope 2 throw their blades as a ranged attack.
- Several characters do this with lightsabers in The Force Unleashed. The second game has a scene where Darth Vader throws his lightsaber at Starkiller, but Starkiller catches it and throws it back, severing Vader's hand.
- MAG-ISA -- Claudita throws her sword to finish off a demon.
- The Other in Girl Genius throws a sword to kill off an enemy holding up a delicate piece of machinery.
- Order of the Stick
- Played with in one strip, where Roy throws a broken sword to save his friends from being hanged by a group of bandits. The sword cuts through the nooses of Elan, Haley, and Vaarsuvius, but misses Belkar's. Then it stabs the hangman... who falls over onto the lever in his death throes. Fortunately, the next strip reveals Belkar is too lightweight to be hanged.
- Played again in another strip, where Thog kicks away Roy's greatsword to disarm him during a gladiator fight, and it lands in the public, beheading one of Thog's fan.
- This page of Cheshire Crossing.
- In Gunnerkrigg Court two last Defenders of the Court did it. Mr. Eglamore (Chapter 7) and Mr. Thorn (in Chapter 22) opted to throw some sort of a glowing sword... thing to save time. In the former case it's still a bit too late.
- In Terinu Space Pirate Mavra Chan throws her sword and not only hits her target but manages to pierce Mama Bear Leeza's fully modern clamshell torso armor.
- Errant Story plays with this trope (with a little magical help) in these two strips.
- Happens all the time in Hitmen for Destiny, but the sword in question is magical and is able to find its target.
- Taken to ridiculous extremes in the Kate Modern episode "The Wedding Video". Ninja Charlie fights off a bunch of monsters with a katana, which gets bent out of shape when one of the monsters blocks it. She then throws it like a boomerang, which slices through all the monsters in the room—apart from Demon Rupert—before embedding itself in the wall, right next to where Charlie is standing. Charlie pulls it out of the wall (bending it back into shape in the process) and throws it directly at Rupert, skewering him.
- In Zeon Quest, then-rookie Zolomon Ringo kills not one, but two Federation jets by throwing his Zaku's Tomahawk at them. He hasn't stopped being awesome since.
- Code Lyoko
- The hero does this in the short Australian CGI spoof Samurice.
- In one episode of Batman the Animated Series, Batman is dueling with Ra's al Ghul, and decides that the best use for his sword would be to throw it at Ghul's Doomsday Device which was seconds away from blowing up half the planet.
- Batman in the "Birds of Prey" episode of Batman the Brave And The Bold with a pair of daggers. Not only does he throw them both at once, but one of them cuts through a rope to drop a Falling Chandelier of Doom, while the other deliberately hits Two-Face in the head with the blunt end.
- Hawkgirl and her mace in Justice League.
- In The Secret of the Sword, where He-Man meets She-Ra for the first time, at one point He-Man disarms She-Ra by throwing his sword at her gun (which she's holding in front of her, pointing at him). How he was capable of knowing that it would not physically harm her is anyone's guess.
- When Tom and Jerry are trying to have a duel with swords, Jerry accidentally bends his epee while showing off. Jerry throws his sword at Tom but misses. But since the sword is now bent into a boomerang, it comes around and hits Tom in the rear.
- Agent Six from Generator Rex uses this trope a lot. One of the best examples is in the very first episode during his fight with Breach, who can open portals through space. She surrounds him with portals and proceeds to punch and kick him from every direction, until he finally throws his fold-out katanas through two of them. A few seconds later, Breach and both swords fall through another portal several yards away.
- The most famous Japanese Swordsman of all times, Miyamoto Musashi was an expert at throwing his sword, making this Truth in Television. Of course, he also won over sixty duels in his life, and tended to win using things like wooden sticks and metal fans, so he may have been a special case.
- Some African groups use a Hungamunga, an awesomely named and bizarre-looking sword that can be thrown effectively. Though it's really more of an axe than a sword.
- Zweihanders/dopplehanders could be thrown like a spear due to their large, strong ricasso.
- One fencing manual advises to start a fight by unscrewing your sword's pommel and throwing it at the enemy.
- I can't imagine how your foil would even stay together after doing this though... and it's just not feasible with many grip styles such as German or Russian grip as they lack a pommel.
- The Fiore delli Liberi (An Italian fighting manual) contains a plate wherein the stance in which a longsword may be thrown is detailed. This being real life, the stance is a modified javelin throw stance, not the two-handed overhead swing commonly used in fiction.
- The spetsnaz: Shooting Your Knife Always Works
Anime & Manga
- Subverted in the second episode of Weiss Kreuz when Aya throws his katana at an escaping helicopter: not only does it accomplish absolutely nothing, he doesn't even hit the chopper in the first place. The whole incident just illustrates the state of completely berserk rage he's in at the time.
- Subverted in the opening to World Destruction (though the weapon is a large blade rather then a sword) where Morte throws her weapon at Lia and misses. Lia then shoots her.
- In the American Yu-Gi-Oh! movie, Yugi, in desperation, throws a dagger at a jewel that's the Big Bad's weakness. Realistically, he hits the very corner of the jewel with the wrong end of the dagger, which only slightly weakens the Big Bad... though this slight weakness was enough for Yami to triumph using the same tactic that had failed before.
"Damn, I suck."
- Subverted in Gundam: 08th MS Team. Norris throws his Gouf's sword. However, the intent was not to hit Shiro but to distract him, giving Norris time to shoot Shiro with his heat-wire and disable his Gundam. And he retrieves it with his Electric Grappling Cable of Death.
- Amusingly averted in an explanation of how magical power works in MAR: they show a sword thrown at a Giant Mook, and it bounces off to no effect.
- In the OEL Manga Amazing Agent Luna's opening chapter, The Count throws his sword at Luna and misses. Played for laughs as he has trouble getting back out of the portrait of his grandfather.
- In Fist of the North Star, Amiba tried to kill Kenshiro by throwing a sword at him before he entered his room. He ended up killing one of his own minions that Kenshiro dragged along.
Films -- Animation
- Snotlout tries this is in How to Train Your Dragon... and misses completely. Apparently the sun was in his eyes.
Films -- Live-Action
- Averted in the climactic duel scene from Rob Roy: "You shall not throw your blades."
- Big Trouble in Little China
- Played straight when Wang Chi throws his sword at Rain and impales him in the chest.
- Subverted and lampshaded at the end. Jack Burton throws his knife at Big Bad Lo Pan and totally misses. Jack knows he just blew it big time, as Gracie glares at him. Lo Pan picks it up, comments, "Good knife. ... Goodbye, Mr. Burton." and throws it back at Jack, who catches it and tosses it right between Lo Pan's eyes, making it a Double Subversion. Like Jack said, it's all in the reflexes.
- Oliver Stone's Alexander:
- At the Battle of the Hydaspes, Alexander throws his sword at King Poros in a futile attempt to kill him, only to miss. Also in the Final Cut, during the Battle of Gaugamela, Antigonus (the one-eyed general) barely manages to protect himself with his shield from an arrow, and then conterattacks by tossing his sword at the Persian archer.
- Another funny subversion from the same film: in both Alexander and 300, there's a climactic scene of the Greek Hero-King charging the Persian Emperor while screaming in slow motion before dramatically hurling his spear at him. In 300, the spear cuts Xerxes' cheek, humiliating him. In Alexander, Darius casually leans out of the way of the thrown spear with a puzzled expression on his face as if to wonder what the hell this Greek loony was thinking.
- In Seven Samurai, Kyuzo does this, though it is something of an exception as he doesn't appear to be trying to kill the remaining bandits, who are hiding behind cover, but rather desperately trying to show the others where the hidden bandits are before he dies.
- Averted in The Prisoner of Zenda (1937); Rupert of Hentzau hurls his sword at Rudolph Rassendyl, who easily parries it despite being already wounded.
- Double-subverted in a battle during R.A. Salvatore's Road of the Patriarch, when Artemis Entreri throws his sword at his fleeing opponents. It just embeds itself in a doorframe, but still kills the guy who tries to pick it up. Artemis' sword likes him.
- Subverted in one of the books, which notes that a throwing knife is carefully balanced to fly true, and it takes practice to throw one right... which is why the cleaver that Sam Vimes throws at a guard misses completely, and doesn't even have the good grace to get stuck in the wall.
- He did, however, manage to stick a sword in a wall by throwing it in Night Watch, but it's explicitly a result of pure dumb luck.
- Rincewind does the same in The Colour of Magic, but then his literally supernatural luck comes into play, and it bounces off a rock and lands in the back of the bad guy's (bad troll anyway) neck.
- Inverted in one of the Samurai Cat stories by Mark E. Rogers. Shiro, nephew to the titular Samurai Cat, throws a sword at a fleeing bad guy, and strikes the man firmly in the head with the pommel of the sword, knocking him out cold. He had been aiming for decapitation.
- In the climactic fight at the end of David Eddings' The Sapphire Rose, one of the Church Knights tries this with an axe. As the axe is mundane, and his opponent is a giant stone statue, it's utterly ineffective at doing any damage. It does make the bad guy flinch, though, allowing the hero to get in the killing blow.
- Subverted in one of the Artemis Fowl books. Secondary antagonist Billy Kong attempts to kill a man with a thrown knife, but hits him with the handle, knocking him out. It's interesting that he threw the knife and hit his target exactly so said man would get knocked out, when you consider Foaly's earlier joke about Kong working at a circus in the past....
- Averted in Nine Princes in Amber when Eric attempts it on Corwin. Corwin notes explicitly that it's a stupid move that shows his opponent's desperation, only made remotely possible by the family's super-strength and the fact that Corwin is retreating at the time in the face of approaching reinforcements, so Eric's being unarmed won't matter. It still doesn't work.
- Averted in the Borderland novel Elsewhere. The main character, when facing a gang, throws his knife at a bar's door, seeking to get the attention of everyone inside instead of hurting anyone. More to the point, the knife, which is not balanced for throwing, strikes the door hilt first. It has the desired effect (indeed, it probably made more noise than if it had stuck in, blade first), but the character laments that this never happens in the movies.
- The Dresden Files book White Night at least lampshades it, as Harry says throwing knives aren't efficient due to the easy chance of hitting pommel first. That is, unless you happen to be a vampire with heightened dexterity and centuries to practice.
- Subverted in A Storm of Swords, where Arya throws her knife to the tickler. It bounces off his armor, and he doesn't even feel it
- Lampshading subversion in The Court of a Thousand Suns (one of the Sten books) by Alan Cole and Chris Bunch: the hero, Sten, desperately throws a kukri, the Gurkha knife, at an adversary. The narrative spells out in no uncertain terms that a kukri can't be used effectively as a throwing blade, and Sten only threw it because he needed to distract the enemy somehow. "At best the blade should have clubbed Ledoh down." And then the kukri unexpectedly hits point-first and severs the guy's spine.
- Spartacus: Blood and Sand
- Spartacus tries this during gladiator training. Not only does his opponent easily deflect it, the stray weapon kills a fellow gladiator recruit by slicing open his throat. Spartacus immediately gets chewed out by the trainer for this stupidity.
- It does work pretty much every other time it's employed, though. First episode Spartacus uses it to great effect during pitched battle, last episode has the aforementioned trainer using it, again during a pitched battle.
- It happened one other time during a fantasy/plan laid out by Spartacus, though he was immediately reminded why it wouldn't work. The trainer noted that should one "throw your sword in the arena, you are dead again!", pointing out that it doesn't work in a one on one fight against an enemy focused on you and skilled enough to block it.
- Edmund tried this in Blackadder 2... it didn't work.
- Oz tries this with a stake in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 premiere, only for it to fall far short of its target and bounce comically off a tombstone instead. He mutters "That never really works" afterwards.
- In Bushido Blade 2, any character that can wield two swords as their speciality can throw said sword. If the opponent is struck by said sword, they are immediately killed. However, it is very hard to pull this off as the sword has a pretty pathetic range and is easily avoided.
- The Fire Emblem games generally subvert this by having the sword being the only unthrowable member of the weapon triangle; however, there is usually a sword capable of a non-physical ranged attack via magic.
- The Genesis Super Mario World pirate game (which plays more like the NES Rescue Rangers games than any Mario game) features enemy rats who not only throw swords, but throw them hilt-first thanks to the sword sprite being flipped.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the miniboss Darknut throws his sword (or mace) at Link after losing his armor, then subverts it by drawing a rapier that is more fitting for the more agile fighting style he adapts afterwards. It's also subverted by the throw not being a particularly effective attack, as Link can easily jump out of the way or even just block it with his shield. Although if you allow it to make contact (or just fumble your evasion), it still fucking hurts.
- Near the end of the Prologue of The Witcher, Geralt throws the rusty training sword he's been using at the Professor as the latter escapes through a portal after killing Leo and stealing the secrets of witcher mutations. This trope is averted as the portal closes before Geralt's sword reaches it, letting the Professor escape alive.
- In Baldur's Gate 2, a Large Ham will show up fairly early, spout something about his unbeatable technique, then lob a scimitar at you. When it fails to do any significant damage, he reacts with incredulity at the failure and escapes. The whole thing is just completely out of left field.
- To be precise, it deals no damage as your character catches it and it temporarily replaces your weapon for several rounds before dropping off. That character also appears later in a certain priest's house and throws money at you (which does do damage, if very little). The priest even lampshades that the fellow is quite odd.
- In Peasentquest the only way to get 100% completion is to throw your sword at Trogdor the Burninator while he's sleeping (approaching him simply wakes him up). It connects, but he's invincible and simply kills you anyway.
- The Blade monster type in various Castlevania games throws one of it's swords forward during it's death animation. It doesn't actually do anything though, as even if you jump into it, you take no damage.
- In the prologue of Nostalgia for the Nintendo DS, bad guy Carmine throws his sword at Gilbert to stop him from rescuing Fiona. All this does is give him a sword to use for the rest of the prologue. However, when you fight him at the end, we find out that that wasn't Carmine's actual battle weapon.
- Postal 2 subverts this trope with armed enemies, who will block your thrown melee weapons if they see them coming with their own weapons.
- This was not effective in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots where Raiden tries this on Vamp, but Vamp dodges the sword by simply bending his neck to the side, almost to mock this trope.
- In "Dragon's Lair 2: Time Warp", Dirk the Daring throws his sword at Mordroc, impaling him in the arm, which doesn't seem to bother Mordroc after a second. For some reason, later in the battle, Mordroc throws it back at him in a manner that easily allows Dirk to just grab the handle.
- A number of Mobile Suits can throw their melee weapons in the Dynasty Warriors: Gundam games, including two Qubeleyvariants and one Gelgoog.
- A few characters in some Dynasty Warriors games can throw their weapons, including Yue Ying and Sun Shang Xiang in DW 5.
- Zangurak tries this out on your party during the final battle with him in The Last Story. All it accomplishes for the most part is allowing Zael to use it to break his barrier.
- Subverted at the end of the prologue to The Witcher. Geralt throws his sword at the Professor two-handed, only to have it get stuck in the wall. It probably would have worked had the target not teleported away in time.
- Subverted in Red vs. Blue Revelation. Oh, sure, the knife lands pointy-end in, and it was a desperation attack, but all it did was break the invisibility unit.
- Epically subverted in the webcomic Bizarre Uprising here.
- At one point in Exterminatus Now, Jamilla is taken hostage by a ninja/assassin raven to secure his escape. Rogue responds with a "BEAM SWORD HURL ATTACK!" which not only misses completely, but also leaves him without his Energy Weapon. Lothar immediately lampshades both tropes.
- Averted in Tales of the Questor when the duke misses. To be fair, a magical bird from among The Fair Folk makes a tricky target.
- In Endstone, Kyri thinks of this but doesn't get close enough.
- Item #197 of the Evil Overlord List is a vow to explain to his Mooks the difference between ranged and unranged weapons. The sentence for any Mook found mixing them up is death.
- In Stupid Mario Brothers, during Wario's battle with the Darkness in The Movie, after fooling the Darkness into thinking that he was dead, Wario hurls his Beam Saber through the Darkness' gut, which seemingly kills him. However, as Waluigi failed to bestow a counter-curse upon Wario before his prolonged absence, which would ultimately turn the Darkness mortal and killable, the Darkness ends up getting back up later on.
Darkness: Gee, that stung!
- In the original video/pilot for Hearts of Dorkness, Kyle attempts to toss his prop sword at the Director after going on strike. It just pathetically lands off to the side.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- Jet gets killed when he tries this.
- However, Sokka succeeded, but lost his sword.