Fans of the Japanese anime TV series Naruto will instantly recognize the Kusanagi or grass cutter sword with which Sasuke Uchiha acquired his legendary Chidori Nagashi technique. Those who don’t know the show will still find this a good basic katana even though it’s inspired by a cartoon story. The good and evil symbolism in the black and white design of this sword illustrates the moral concept of Masashi Kishimoto’s tale. The Grass Cutter sword also illustrates how Kishimoto chose visually simple objects to populate the Japanese fantasy world he created. Kishimoto intentionally shifted the manga style from fantastic towards realistic.
The 40-inch straight katana of high carbon 440 stainless steel and hardwood features a 27-inch cutting edge ground from the blackened steel blade. The simple decoration repeats in the black pinstriping of the white hardwood handle and sheath. Without the color theme, this sword would match weapons actually used by Japan’s ninja warriors, who often preferred simple blades hidden within bamboo or plain walking stick sheaths.
Sword enthusiasts will enjoy this anime sword’s real weapon character. Many anime replica weapons disappoint, since in the hand it’s obvious they don’t actually function well as weapons. The Grass Cutter has the real weapon feel — it’s a simple blade that works. The 440 stainless alloy used here is the same type often used in good knives and martial arts weapons — not a combat level sword steel but a good weight for training. The Grass Cutter is not a toy and should be treated with respect. Practice movements with this blade, but not target cutting.
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