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Old 2012-10-09, 21:36   Link #61
4Tran
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It shouldn't be surprising that swords are celebrated in anime because swords are sort of celebrated in Japan itself. All the way from katana being the symbol of samurai, to them being banned during the Meiji Restoration, to being made general issue for NCOs and officers during the Showa era, to being banned and destroyed after World War II. I don't think that any other weapon in Japan has such a storied record. The more surprising thing is that the sword is as celebrated in Western literature even though it had nowhere near the impact outside the Roman legions.

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Originally Posted by risingstar3110 View Post
And yeah let's talk about sword, or try to put them in context. I thought with only swords, without shield and over-belief on bushido, Japanese medieval army will be steamrolled by pretty much any other countries? Especially with Sun Tzu's Art of War, emphasize on high ground for superior range combat?
Well, the "over-belief on bushido" bit is most true of Showa Japan, and they were using aircraft carriers by then.

Outside of that, medieval/feudal Japan is probably most associated with the Sengoku era. And the armies of the daimyo by the end are known for fielding more firearms than any of their European counterparts.

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Originally Posted by aohige View Post
I don't know why you think swords were the main weapon, because all the Western lolhistory shows that says so are wrong.

Spears were.

And in range, bows/tanegashima rifles.
Like everyone else.

Oh, and btw, we had the some of the biggest longbows in the world.
Yes, bigger than the English longbows. Thankfully we had bamboos, which are light, sturdy, and very flexible.

Don't believe everything you learn from videogames and ninja movies.
Exactly. The Sengoku era samurai were known for being both pragmatic and innovative. They would use whatever worked, and the katanas were more of symbols than they were battlefield weapons.

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Originally Posted by Sumeragi View Post
You mean the useless Japanese longbows?
While the Japanese bows don't have the range or power of Welsh longbows, I'm not sure why you'd think they were useless. They were the primary weapons of samurai for several centuries for a reason.
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Old 2012-10-09, 21:50   Link #62
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Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
While the Japanese bows don't have the range or power of Welsh longbows, I'm not sure why you'd think they were useless. They were the primary weapons of samurai for several centuries for a reason.
Longbows period are significantly outperformed by the composite bows used in Turkey, Korea and Mongolia.

The more efficient design of the compound bow greatly increases its lethal range and ease of use when compared with a longbow of similar draw strength.
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Old 2012-10-09, 23:05   Link #63
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Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
While the Japanese bows don't have the range or power of Welsh longbows, I'm not sure why you'd think they were useless. They were the primary weapons of samurai for several centuries for a reason.
Within a region that did not have enough iron or leather for armor and thus had to resort to making wooden armor that did not even reach the protection of leather armor. Basically, the reason why the Japanese bows worked was because it was useful against what they were supposed to be used against. Weak wooden armor.

An example of just how weak the Japanese bows were: During the First Mongol Invasion of Japan, the Japanese were basically pushed around the Korean troops whose battle suits could not be penetrated by Japanese bows. That was a major factor in why Kyushu was almost completely conquered before the grave mistake made by the Mongol commanders in retreating to ships with the typhoon coming.


The lack of iron is also a reason why katanas were held in high esteem: In order to refine the low quality iron and thus not waste the valuable resource, swordsmiths had to work for a long time, which contributed to the "katana art" legend. Because good quality iron was scarce and thus required much time and costs to manufacture, swords became a status symbol.
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Old 2012-10-10, 11:40   Link #64
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I'm not sure how any of that makes much difference since Japanese armies almost never used them against foreign enemies. Maybe if the Mongols actually managed to launch a sustained campaign in Japan things would have been different, but that didn't exactly happen.

Interestingly, the one time that katanas would see use in the battlefield would be with yumi-armed samurai. Katanas would be a good backup weapon when the enemy is too close to employ bows. Otherwise, naginatas and yaris would be a lot more effective.
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Old 2012-10-12, 14:25   Link #65
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Now here is a new thought: How come very few heroes wear heavy armors? (Unless it is a High-Tech Gundam-esque environment)?

In RPG speak, it seem most fantasy anime hero has wear leather or less, the women even less XD, even going into battles.
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Old 2012-10-12, 15:27   Link #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchmageXin View Post
Now here is a new thought: How come very few heroes wear heavy armors? (Unless it is a High-Tech Gundam-esque environment)?

In RPG speak, it seem most fantasy anime hero has wear leather or less, the women even less XD, even going into battles.
my guess

1. Asia don't have a history of using Metal Armors like Europeans. Closest would be the metal stubs woven into leather armor.

2. The elaborate armor seen in Japan are ceremonial. Practical uses are limited.

3. it is easier to draw regular clothes/leather armor then heavy metal armor.
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Old 2012-10-12, 16:37   Link #67
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Originally Posted by ArchmageXin View Post
Now here is a new thought: How come very few heroes wear heavy armors? (Unless it is a High-Tech Gundam-esque environment)?
.
Well, leather armor and such can be worn all of the time. Heavy armor tires you out quickly so it's not like you can go gallavanting around town in full Panoply, especially on foot.

I also blame the fact that most artist, indeed most people, have the misconception that people wearing armor move around like they're carrying bags of cement on their shoulders. So maybe they don't have their characters wear armor because they think a master swordsman would fight more effectively without armor and so they depict their opponents without armor.

Of course the reality is that a highly trained warrior can move almost as well in full armor as most people can move without it. Therefore, in a duel between trained warriors armor is a HUGE advantage. For example, if you read about the Battle of Stamford bridge, this conflict was mostly won because the Anglo-Saxons caught the vikings when they were raiding and wearing only light leather armor.

So to answer your question, armor is more deeply misunderstood than weapons. This is what happens when people who have never actually cut something with a sword right about knights and armor.
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Old 2012-10-12, 17:01   Link #68
4Tran
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchmageXin View Post
Now here is a new thought: How come very few heroes wear heavy armors? (Unless it is a High-Tech Gundam-esque environment)?

In RPG speak, it seem most fantasy anime hero has wear leather or less, the women even less XD, even going into battles.
I'm not sure if I entirely agree with you about heroes rarely wearing armor in anime as there are lots of shows where a decent number of characters doing so. However, I can see how you can get that perception. I think there are a few different reasons for this:

1. Japan isn't Europe, and it had poor quality iron, so there wasn't very much metal armor. Without that cultural background, there isn't much call for metallic armor unless the idea is to mirror European aesthetics.

2. Face-enveloping helmets on important characters are rare in just about any medium because it dehumanizes them, and it detracts from one of the main draws - attractive character designs.

3. It's hard to depict how much of an advantage armor conveys to the wearer. One rarely ever sees armor giving protection because it's so much easier to either show flashy sword moves or magic. RE: the Imperial stormtrooper effect. It does happen from time to time, and sometimes it's even done so correctly. Keep your eyes out for those!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
1. Asia don't have a history of using Metal Armors like Europeans. Closest would be the metal stubs woven into leather armor.
It's just not common in Japan. China and Korea and even the Mongols were known for using lots of lamellar and scale armor.

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Originally Posted by Xellos-_^ View Post
2. The elaborate armor seen in Japan are ceremonial. Practical uses are limited.
Samurai armor was commonly used in the battlefield. Really rich samurai who could obtain plate or other metal armor would wear that instead, but this tends to be very uncommon.
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Old 2012-10-12, 18:08   Link #69
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Originally Posted by GenjiChan View Post
War is sweet to those who have never experienced it - Pindar
Yep, the rulers reap the rewards while they convince the peasants to die for a noble cause. Thus the romanticism. It reached its disgusting heights during World War I and then everyone got a wakeup call that no, there is no honor in war. There are only losers; just depends on who loses less.

For every hero there are at least 20 equally as heroic ones that got thrown in the meat grinder like trash. Occasionaly we have a necessary evil like World War II, but it's just that. It's not glorious. Honor those that fought, not the war itself.

But fiction is fiction, I guess.
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Old 2012-10-12, 19:40   Link #70
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Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
Occasionaly we have a necessary evil like World War II, but it's just that.
WTF. That is the only thing that I can think about this statement...

How exactly was Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan's actions in any way justified as "neccessary"? I might be able to see the "We have to become an Imperial power else we get colonized by Europe" for Japan, but even that is stretching it A LOT.

Quote:
How come very few heroes wear heavy armors?
Because lots of armor tends to make people look like monsters. It dehumanizes them since their appearance isn't anymore turning on the "human detector" in our brains. Villain mooks are most likely to use armor, so the hero and slaughter hundreds of them without us registering that he is a mass murderer.

Also, with sufficient armor, girls tend to lose their sex appeal, and you can't have that happening.
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Old 2012-10-12, 19:51   Link #71
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Originally Posted by Random32 View Post
WTF. That is the only thing that I can think about this statement...

How exactly was Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan's actions in any way justified as "neccessary"? I might be able to see the "We have to become an Imperial power else we get colonized by Europe" for Japan, but even that is stretching it A LOT.
You're looking at it the wrong way.

Hitler was trying to take over the world eventually by committing genocide. He needed to be stopped; you can not have someone trying to take over the world, especially in that manner, and have no one step in to handle it. It wouldn't be a war, if no one was there to combat Hitler, it would have just been a massacre. In that aspect, it was a necessary evil.
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Old 2012-10-12, 20:51   Link #72
ArchmageXin
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Now here is another interesting question. In anime (NOTE: Non Magic setting), Katana often is draw from the scabbard for a 1 hit instant kill.

Did that actually happen in Japan? In my prospective practicing with swords, I discover a quick draw is actually fairly difficult, and a draw + swing would be even tougher.

Wouldn't it be more effective to draw a sword before the duel? Or did the ancient Japanese really did iaj-strikes ?

Also, the whole Katana slicing through people....would that actually work during those eras? I remember reading about Western sword fighting one had to to be careful not to jam one's sword into the enemy's bones, cause you might have a hard time pulling your weapon out when the other guy's buddies come for you.

So could Japanese blades do those "Clean chops" that cut people in 1/2?
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Old 2012-10-12, 22:13   Link #73
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What is wrong with other weapons? Spears? Bows (Even Archer for Fate/Night need to fight with a sword 80% of the time.), axes (seem to be completely reserved for villains).
Fandom answer: Because swords are just more badass!

Serious answer: Because swords are just more badass!



While I like swords....a LOT, I'm actually a tiny bit more partial to SCYTHES.


So BADASS, you could cry.

........yes, anime needs moar scythes.
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Old 2012-10-13, 14:48   Link #74
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Originally Posted by Random32 View Post
WTF. That is the only thing that I can think about this statement...

How exactly was Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan's actions in any way justified as "neccessary"? I might be able to see the "We have to become an Imperial power else we get colonized by Europe" for Japan, but even that is stretching it A LOT.
What? That's the only thing? Turn the chessboard around, please.

World War 2 didn't just involve Hitler and Imperial Japan. the war was because the other nations of the world opposed their aggression. It had to be fought because well, millions more would die. Fighting is bad, but they had no choice but to do so.

Some wars are ambiguous on which side was the wrongdoer, but the fascist aggressors are the closest to being objectively evil.

There was no diplomacy that could be used against Hitler. Appeasing him merely made the problem worse, though some may argue that bought some time. This is why I contrasted World War 2 with World War 1. World War 1 was a multinational pissing context, made worse with leaders using outdated tactics thanks to them embracing the romanticism of war in an extremely reactionary fashion that led to the kind of ultranationalism that sent millions in the meat grinder to furfill the imperialistic needs of the rulers. They could have paid attention to the brutality of the American Civil War that happened half a century ago, but alas...

"Charge! Charge! For glory! For the country!"
/gets wiped out by artillery and machine fire


Once they saw the death and suffering, they realized that war being glorious was just merely a fantasy, and everyone wanted to avoid war at all costs for quite a while. As of recent times, this romanticism is becoming dangerous again. Why was the United States so reluctant to enter World War II? They didn't want to be involved in the imperialistic bloodfests of Europe and the world. I'll just say that it's something to think about today, too, given the US government's actions in the past few decades. It's quite the irony that WW2 lies in the American fantasy as World Police. But people fought the war so that future generations could avoid war. And now certain chickenhawks want war?

And ultimately, even a war like World War 2 simply ended with losers with the tens of millions dead and empires bankrupt. The ones that lost the least could be considered the victors. This is what I mean by there being only losers in war. This is why I think romantic fantasies of war are dangerous.
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Last edited by Archon_Wing; 2012-10-13 at 15:00.
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Old 2012-10-13, 15:30   Link #75
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Originally Posted by Demi. View Post
You're looking at it the wrong way.

Hitler was trying to take over the world eventually by committing genocide. He needed to be stopped; you can not have someone trying to take over the world, especially in that manner, and have no one step in to handle it. It wouldn't be a war, if no one was there to combat Hitler, it would have just been a massacre. In that aspect, it was a necessary evil.
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Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
What? That's the only thing? Turn the chessboard around, please.

World War 2 didn't just involve Hitler and Imperial Japan. the war was because the other nations of the world opposed their aggression. It had to be fought because well, millions more would die. Fighting is bad, but they had no choice but to do so.
I mostly agree with you guys, but lets be real, Stalin, Mao, and Chiang-Kai Shek were not much better than Hitler. And the Western Powers were, are, and have been guilty of enormous cimes against humanity

It was a necessary war in the sense that the surrender terms of WW1 made it unavoidable.

But like any war, it could have been avoided if someone did something differently somewhere along the way.
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Old 2012-10-13, 16:50   Link #76
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If you put it that way, that opens up a huge list of "necessary" wars that really aren't.

Also, I refuse to believe that there is a clear aggressor to most wars, despite what people want you to believe, its multiple responses building up until something breaks. By the time it started, WW2 was inevitable, there had to be a response to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan's latest, disturbing, responses, but not in any way necessary as if decisions had been made different earlier on, it could be avoided.
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Old 2012-10-13, 17:37   Link #77
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Originally Posted by NinjaRealist View Post
I mostly agree with you guys, but lets be real, Stalin, Mao, and Chiang-Kai Shek were not much better than Hitler. And the Western Powers were, are, and have been guilty of enormous cimes against humanity

It was a necessary war in the sense that the surrender terms of WW1 made it unavoidable.

But like any war, it could have been avoided if someone did something differently somewhere along the way.
Never claimed Stalin or Mao was any better. They are arguably worse but that goes beyond the context of World War 2. But that's an issue for another day. I will say that it's much easier to argue that defending one's homeland as a noble cause as opposed to coming in and rounding an entire race of people up for extermination. Sure, Stalin was probaly planning to attack first anyways and the Russian retaliation on Germany at the end was arguably just as brutal. But still, that's how it turned out.

Of course, many things could have been prevented, but you can't really alter history and must act accordingly in the present.

We could blame the French for over-penalizing Germany and sending their economy into the gutter which resulted in nationalist movements leading to Naziism of which Hitler took advantage of. But one can't predict the future, nor have the power to change it at times.

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If you put it that way, that opens up a huge list of "necessary" wars that really aren't.

Also, I refuse to believe that there is a clear aggressor to most wars, despite what people want you to believe, its multiple responses building up until something breaks. By the time it started, WW2 was inevitable, there had to be a response to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan's latest, disturbing, responses, but not in any way necessary as if decisions had been made different earlier on, it could be avoided.
I've already noted that it's much more ambiguous in most wars. But there were clear aggressors in World War 2. It was necessary to stop them. Yes, prevention is better than the cure, but once one side started firing, certain actions had to be taken.
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Old 2012-10-13, 20:47   Link #78
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Originally Posted by ArchmageXin View Post
Now here is another interesting question. In anime (NOTE: Non Magic setting), Katana often is draw from the scabbard for a 1 hit instant kill.

Did that actually happen in Japan? In my prospective practicing with swords, I discover a quick draw is actually fairly difficult, and a draw + swing would be even tougher.

Wouldn't it be more effective to draw a sword before the duel? Or did the ancient Japanese really did iaj-strikes?
You're the one taking up the martial art, so shouldn't you be telling us if it's possible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchmageXin View Post
Also, the whole Katana slicing through people....would that actually work during those eras? I remember reading about Western sword fighting one had to to be careful not to jam one's sword into the enemy's bones, cause you might have a hard time pulling your weapon out when the other guy's buddies come for you.

So could Japanese blades do those "Clean chops" that cut people in 1/2?
Firstly, note that swords used on the battlefield were supposedly heavier and more robust than the katana we see today. With the greater heft, I could imagine a battlefield katana being capable of cleaving through flesh and bone, though I should add that the way a katana is wielded, you don't just hack but also slice into a target, making it an even more efficient and deadly weapon.

There are a number of video clips online showing skilled swordsmen cutting through layers of tatami mats or straw-and-wood dummies. Both material are supposed to be rough equivalents of human flesh and bone. But, yes, you're right in that swords that have been put through such heavy use wouldn't last long. That's one aspect of fiction involving swords that we tend to overlook — just like any other tool or machine, a sword will eventually break after heavy use. That's also why swordsmen were very wary of parrying incoming blows with their weapons (shields were preferred for blocking; you'd otherwise try to dodge rather than parry). Their swords could very well break on impact, leaving them completely defenceless.
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Old 2012-10-13, 22:29   Link #79
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
You're the one taking up the martial art, so shouldn't you be telling us if it's possible?


Firstly, note that swords used on the battlefield were supposedly heavier and more robust than the katana we see today. With the greater heft, I could imagine a battlefield katana being capable of cleaving through flesh and bone, though I should add that the way a katana is wielded, you don't just hack but also slice into a target, making it an even more efficient and deadly weapon.

There are a number of video clips online showing skilled swordsmen cutting through layers of tatami mats or straw-and-wood dummies. Both material are supposed to be rough equivalents of human flesh and bone. But, yes, you're right in that swords that have been put through such heavy use wouldn't last long. That's one aspect of fiction involving swords that we tend to overlook just like any other tool or machine, a sword will eventually break after heavy use. That's also why swordsmen were very wary of parrying incoming blows with their weapons (shields were preferred for blocking; you'd otherwise try to dodge rather than parry). Their swords could very well break on impact, leaving them completely defenceless.
I studied fencing a bit, we don't exactly draw swords like that

My experience with Japanese related blades was a Ninja-to type blade a friend of mine had at the time. With the scabbard to the hip, it was very hard to draw it at a fast manner. From the back would be down right impossible.

A draw-strike on the battle field would be a bit fatal show off, for me, anyway.
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Old 2012-10-14, 00:03   Link #80
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Originally Posted by ArchmageXin View Post
I studied fencing a bit, we don't exactly draw swords like that

My experience with Japanese related blades was a Ninja-to type blade a friend of mine had at the time. With the scabbard to the hip, it was very hard to draw it at a fast manner. From the back would be down right impossible.

A draw-strike on the battle field would be a bit fatal show off, for me, anyway.
I'm no martial artist. What I know about katana-drawing techniques can be easily found on Wikipedia and related sites. Basically, it appears possible to draw and strike with katana in a single motion because of the way it is worn on the hip, with the edge facing up and the blunt, curved edge down.

It actually isn't hard to simulate. Just grab a straight wooden stick and try to draw it completely from an imaginary sheath. You'll notice that you can't possibly strike with it while a part of the sword is still stuck in its scabbard. The curved katana, on the other hand, will be slightly easier to pull out. It is simply less cumbersome than a straight blade.

Now, with cutting edge facing up, I can also imagine how a kenshi would draw and cut at the same time. It's simply a matter of twisting the blade slightly downwards, so that the edge faces the opponent as you draw. Hence, iaido.

As for the usefulness of such a technique, I think you've raised a very interesting question. On the battlefield, when all weapons are already bared, I don't see how iaido would help grant you initiative in melee. I suspect that the usefulness of iaido is limited to formal duels, which became common only long after civil wars have become a thing of the past. Combat became more ritualised, and more divorced from practical battlefield tactics.
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