An Animated Glaive!

Ok, So while I was doing posts on movie glaives, I happened to run across a folding throwing weapon from one of my oft watched animes. I thought to myself “Why not do an anime weapon?” Now this may sound crazy, but I heard myself answer: “Because that would show you up for the nerd that you really are.”

Of course, I had to I answer right back: “Hah! It’s too late for that suckah!! Not to mention it isn’t that far of a leap from the fictional hollywood action movie weapons you’ve been pimpin’ so far.” I couldn’t very well argue with this logic. Though I suspect that any logic that is a product of inane psychobabble may not be particularly reliable. Dunno whether y’all will be more disturbed by the fact that I am blogging about an animated weapon or that I talk to myself. Either way, it doesn’t matter. ‘Cause, like I’ve said many times before, I’ve never professed sanity to begin with.

But anyway, here I am, getting ready to talk about an interesting kind of throwing blade that makes an appearance in the anime Naruto and also in the video games Final Fantasy and Ninja Gaiden. We will be focusing primarily on the only folding version of this blade, which was used by Sasuke in the Naruto anime series. We are, of course, talking about the Fuuma Shuriken, AKA the Fūma or “Wind Demom” shuriken, more commonly known as the Shadow Windmill Shuriken.

Shadow Windmill Shuriken

Shadow Windmill Shuriken
[view full size]

Now, in spite of being an anime weapon, it actually fulfills all of the criteria for the hollyood glaive. It is a multi-bladed throwing weapon. It folds up. And it has boomerang-like qualities to boot. Lucky for you, I just so happen to have an (all too brief) clip of one in action:

Fuuma Shuriken Deployment

Sasuke Hurling his Fuuma Shuriken
[click to view]

Sweet eh? Now I will mention that the game and anime versions of these types of weapon have one major difference to their live action movie counterparts. They are huge! They are not normal hira shuriken sized by any stretch of the imagination, being quite a few orders of maginitude larger than any of the others I have mentioned so far. In fact, a single blade of this particular monstrosity is about the size of a full-sized machete. When it’s closed it’s the equivalent of holding 4 large cutlasses side by side. Heh.

Closed Fuuma Shuriken
Fuuma Shuriken (Closed)

Now of course I do have a couple of reservations about it. Like the fact that I don’t see a way to lock it in the open position. Not particularly confidence inspiring. Not to mention that, given it’s size and potential weight, it would almost have to be your primary (if not only) weapon. Let’s face it. If you carried one, you might be hard pressed to carry much else. I mean look at it. It’s almost as big as Sasuke. Granted he’s just a kid, (a highly trained, very skilled killer ninja kid) but still. Any weapon that is almost as large as a teen-aged boy has some serious size issues… But then again we are talking about a fictional animated weapon that routinely defies the laws of physics, so what do I know.

The Monster Shuriken

Sasuke's Big old Fuuma Shuriken
[view full size]

But given what it could do, (if it were real) the simple but robust construction, and it’s intimidating appearance, (Did I mention that it is usually portrayed as a black weapon… Yes! Bonus Points!!) it would most certainly be quite an effective, durable and lethal weapon to wield. Assuming, of course, that you are A) a highly trained animated ninja, or B) carry steel I-beam girders around for a living…

But strength requirements aside, it seems that this weapon could actually be combat worthy. Unlike most of the other glaives I’ve blogged, this weapon has ample space on each blade for a handle grip throw to be used, though it would require some serious training to get good rotation and a clean release using it.

But the truth is, this is such a beautiful and intimidating (albeit impractical) weapon, I really don’t care bout it’s shortcomings. I’d buy one in a heartbeat. I have actually been toying with the idea of designing a working one, just to see if I can overcome the challenge of inventing a strong, reliable blade locking mechanism for such a weapon. Would be pretty awesome… But that’s probably just my inner nerd talking…


8 Responses to “An Animated Glaive!”

  1. June 19, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    Getting it to lock would be easy. Each blade has a circular groove with a pin into the next blade groove. From the blade you are holding, call this blade 1, blade 2 would have a 1/4 circular groove, blade 3 would have a 1/2 circular groove, and blade 4 would have a 3/4 circular groove. The pins would hit the end of the groove and stop the blades at 9, 12, and 3 o’clock positions. A button lock like your common coil spring switchblades would work well for this weapon I think. Simple and strong. You could do it with or without springs to open the blade with the push of the button. You would only really need to lock blade #4 as the other blades would be held locked in the grooves. And as for weight, I’ll say it again…Titanium. Most people don’t know that the highest quality Titanium you can buy is called ‘Blade Quality Titainium’. It’s not used by most makers because it’s expensive and very hard to work. Only thing I can cut it with is a Dremil too w/ reinforced cutting wheels…and even that’s a bitch!!! But it makes KILLER blades!! Strong sharp and light. I know, I’ve made a few. I’m venturing into having my stuff cut by water jet, so cutting Ti really isn’t that big a deal. The two most useful properties of the metal form are corrosion resistance, and the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal.Titanium is as strong as steel, but 45% lighter. So it really wouldn’t be that heavy. Make the blades machete thin and I don’t think it would be that heavy for one hand use.

    Where area do you live? I’m in the Seattle area myself.

  2. June 19, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Well, the pin lock idea would certainly make it lock, the only question in my mind is whether they would be able to take the abuse. This would be a particularly high stress implementation because of the severe shock that such a weapon would take each time it was thrown. Most button pin designs I know of work well for switchblades and such, but even when thrown, the hinge absorbs most of the shock, not the lock. Would a button pin hold up to the direct stresses of throwing knife duty?

    You do certainly make a convincing argument for the use of titanium. My question though, is how blade quality titanium would compare to, let’s say, sword steel in terms of hardness and resilience. Doesn’t Ti tend to be softer/more brittle than steel? And I guess this wouldn’t really matter since I could design around it, but isn’t it a lot harder to form/weld?

  3. June 19, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Again, it’s the trade off for weight. But, yes, Steel is better, just heavier. The pivot pin (hinge as you call it) can be mad strong very easy and I do think that with a strong enough spring the lock would be strong. But as I’ve said before, ANY folder will break.

    Another thought on weight….I see knives and swords being made that have a strip of Titanium (could also be steel) and the rest of the blade being carbon fiber bonded to the strip. The strip of metal makes the cutting edge. Wouldnt work for a throwing weapon I don’t think, but for a big ass buster sword it would almost weigh nothing and still be somewhat strong.

  4. June 19, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    Yeah, I’ve heard of the composite sword idea. I know that a few sword makers have tried to do the same with a titanium core and a steel edge, and I’m sure the same could be done with a composite material, but from what I’ve heard, this method isn’t practical for large knives, throwers or swords, since the bond between materials of different hardness and flexibility just don’t hold up too well under conditions of high stress, shock or flexion…

    But for a display-only weapon however it would be a different story… But for that you might as well just go all aluminum, or better yet, titanium…

  5. June 19, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    That’s my point about Titanium. If it’s a ‘diplay only’ weapon that might see a little use in play AND could also be deadly, Ti would be great. But for a real weapon taken into combat to fight with other weapons, I’d go with steel. And for those who say that people don’t fight with blades anymoe, well, just look at how popular the common machete is used as a main weapon in some other countries still today.

  6. 6 MoZZA
    September 7, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    amen tot hat! i love a good machete

  7. September 8, 2008 at 2:09 am

    Oh, yeah… Very useful tools, Machetes. And people still fight with them… I can tell you that from personal experience… :\

  8. 8 MoZZA
    September 8, 2008 at 11:09 am

    also speaking from expierience lol

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