A Bewitching Blade!

Today we get to talk about yet another unique blade, wielded by an equally deadly siren of comic and film. Here is the gauntlet blade from the live action TV series Witchblade:

The Witchblade

Now having actually read a few of the comics that the Sara Pezzini character (played by Yancey Butler) was based on, I have to say that the live action TV series sucked all of the freakin’ “witch” out of the “WitchBlade“. The comic book Witchblade was awesome purely because of the sheer versatility and resulting coolness of the Witchblades armor.

In the comic, when activated, the WitchBlade protected it’s wearer with a kind of H. R. Gigeresque organic armor, which could make scorpion fish-like spines, blades and whatnot emanate from the arms, hands back, legs, shoulders, etc. Much like the comic book Spawn armor, except the Spawn movie got the armor right (with the help of a lot of CGI effects). The Witchblade armor could be mentally willed to form bladed appendages and weapons of various forms, as well as fire energy blasts, darts, etc. Just episode after sweet episode of sheer, unadulterated wearable wickedness.

Witchblade Full

So, given a chance to make a live action version of this marvel of comic book weaponry, what do they do? Bollox it up. As you can see from the pic above, in their infinite wisdom, they turned the glorious Witchblade into little more than a medieval suit of armour, with what can only be described as a rather simple gauntlet sword as it’s primary weapon. Pointless. Silly. Bah! What a waste. Yeah, yeah, the blade gauntlet could retract into a small unobtrusive bracelet. Big Whup. For all it’s usefulness as a sword, they might just as well have given her a rapier and said “have at it!” against the baddies. Compared to the immense flexibility, power and, more importantly, the unique aesthetic presence of the comic book Witchblade armor, this was a point of great disappointment for me.

But considering the amount of CGI it would have required to make comic book accurate, Spawn-like WitchBlade transition sequences every episode, coupled with the fact that, in order to be comic book accurate, Ms. Butler may have been required to run around half nekkid with naught but some very cool (albeit sparse) prosthetic biomechanical armor to keep her warm on many a cold NY night, I can see why they chose to take the brain-dead route. However, as irksome as this all is, there is a silver lining, in that it makes an excellent segue into a look at a very similar traditional blade, called the Pata:

Pata Gauntlet Sword
[view full size]

The Pata is a sword gauntlet from northern India which, As you can see, bears an uncanny resemblance to the live action WitchBlade sword. However, unlike the WitchBlade weapon, the Pata is not a full hand gauntlet. It simply covers the top of the hand and forearm. As you can see, the handle is set in the middle of the semi-spherical hand guard, and a brace at the top of the forearm guard helps gives the wielder better control of the weapon.

Pata handle and GuardPata In Use
[view full size] – [view full size]

Perhaps not as convenient as a blade gauntlet that retracts into a small bracelet, (a-la-the movie WitchBlade), but it would probably a safe assumption that it’s fairly lethal in it’s own right. And did I mention that this particular Pata had a blade of damascus steel? A dark, stylish and sinister blade. What more could one ask for? Well, actually a proper, well made, CGI enhanced live-action Witchblade movie, for one thing. But I’d settle for a Pata. Heh. I’m easy like that.

8 Responses to “A Bewitching Blade!”

  1. July 31, 2007 at 1:57 am

    I really want to see a movie where all the swords are Katars or Patas. It would just be badass to see how different the sword fighting would be.

  2. August 1, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    Indeed… I have never seen these in action, though I get the feeling that the basic design would tend to predispose a Pata wielder towards rapier style combat.

    It would be interesting to see someone wielding a Pata and a Katar do battle against a Rapier w Main-Gauche. Just to see how much the styles differ.

    Another battle I’d like to see? Manrikigusari vs. Urumi vs. Bladewhip… 0.o

  3. 3 rajendra
    September 14, 2007 at 2:31 am

    hello, i have large pata app. 63″ long including blade. comments. regards rajendra

  4. September 14, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    Pretty cool. I’ve never seen one in real life, just read a lot about them, and I’ve always wondered how solid the attachment between the blade and the gauntlet is. There appears to be very little tang to speak of. How does it feel? Is there any play or flex where the tang is attached to the gauntlet?

  5. 5 Niccolo
    April 26, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Well… from what I’ve seen, blade and gauntlet are essentially the same piece of metal, just beaten into the shape of a blade-gauntlet. Or the original ones were, anyhoo.

    Mind you, Rajendra’s 63″ long blade… seems quite excessive. Over five feet of steel, sticking out from your fist? Even with around a foot dedicated to a gauntlet, it still seems like it would be quite hard to wield.
    Raj, did you perhaps mean 63 centimetres? That would put the blade at just over two feet, which seems more likely.

    Katars, on the other hand, almost have to be small and light. Given how they are constructed, they are really hard to use.

  6. April 29, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    TBH, while I love the overall idea of the Pata, the designs i’ve seen have all lacked in one area that i consider crucial. The tang. While I can see that designing a tang into a traditional Pata is near impossible, perhaps one could make a hybrid foil Pata, where the old school Italian, or even Spanish/pistol grip could be designed into the Pata.

    Basically, designing a cross guard grip into the Pata would not only provide more control of the weapon, but also increase it’s strength, as it would also now have a tang to provide extra strength than is traditionally seen at the guard/blade transition area…

    I may have to design and build something like this one of these days…

  7. 7 ChroniclerLoki
    October 12, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    Indeed, they did take a good concept from the comics and shoot it all to hell, that gets placed in the category of what were they thinking

  8. October 14, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Well, I think the Witchblade thing was a budget miniseries, The comic book Witchblade was very, very aesthetically complex, they may not have had the budget for it… But I wish they would have just made a movie of it and gone all out with full CG effects and everything like they did Spawn…

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