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It's just an ordinary, if large, paper fan — accordion-pleated white paper, taped at one end to form a handle. But some characters wield them the way others do the dreaded Hyperspace Mallet, and get much the same results — the unfortunate target usually goes rolling down the street from the force of the blow.
Sometimes used as a symbol of dubious authority, the paper fan (or harisen in Japanese) has roots in the Japanese equivalent of vaudeville comedy, particularly of the slapstick variety — and like a slapstick it makes a lot of noise with little real hurt. It is the tool of a tsukkomi, or "Straight Man", of a standard two-man comedy team in a kind of routine common to the Kansai region called manzai; it's used to upbraid the other member of the team (the buffoonish boke) when he says or does something foolish. Naturally, this has been carried right over into anime and, being a tradition stemming from the Kansai region, it should be noted that, usually, either the wielder or the target are The Idiot From Osaka.
This may go back even further though, since fans with sharpened metal ribs were allegedly used as weapons of war and assassination, being particularly suited to the latter due to ease of disguise. (In fact; there are arts about using fans, as well as fans made for weapons.)
A similar Western version is the archetypal rolled up newspaper. Compare Dope Slap.
Anime & Manga
- Pictured is Senoo Aiko from Ojamajo Doremi.
- Hidaka Azumi from Mirmo De pon also use one to beat up her fairy Yatch.
- In Full Metal Panic!, Kaname acquires a paper fan from episode 8 and onward, and relentlessly whacks Sousuke with it in order to teach him how to be a civilized civilian.
- Her use of said paper fan becomes much more frequent in Fumoffu. And boy does Sousuke start to fear it; on one occasion, the mere sight of it was enough to shut him up.
- The priest Genjou Sanzo in Saiyuki exercises his moral and scholastic authority over Son Goku by hitting him with a fan. Gojyo's not exactly exempt, either.
- Lampshaded in the sixth episode when Gojyo, faced with the wrath of the fan, exclaims "where did that paper fan come from, anyway"?
- Tasuki in Fushigi Yuugi carries an enchanted harisen which can blast fire when the right incantation is said("Rekka Shi-nen!").
- Hoshina Tomoko from To Heart carries a paper fan.
- Inagawa Yuu from Comic Party is also a fan-wielder.
- Arumi from Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai beats Sasshi mercilessly with her paper fan, but then, Sasshi's a moron.
- Asuna from Mahou Sensei Negima has a ridiculously enormous harisen as her magical weapon, which dispels summoned enemies in addition to packing a comedic wallop. It can turn into a BFS when things get serious.
- In a lighter vein, Chao and Setsuna evoke the manzai routine twice (complete with harisen) during the Mahora Festival arc, when Chao tries to explain that she's a Martian.
- In one episode of Pokémon ("The Purr-fect Hero"), Misty convinces the boys to do what she wants by beating them with a fan. Jessie has also been known to use a fan on her Team Rocket partners.
- In episode 18 of Excel Saga, Sumiyoshi's secret weapon as part of the Municipal Force Daitenzin is a harisen, called the "Giga Paper Fan" in the dub by ADV Films.
- In perhaps the deadliest example of the harisen, Anita King from ROD the TV (the TV sequel to Read or Die) uses one much of the time. This coupled with Anita being a Paper User and her own not-inconsiderable strength means each hit with the fan can carry the force of a sledgehammer.
- Kosuzu Sakurazaki/Tanpopo of Dokkoida is a cute little schoolgirl/alien mission controller who wields a mean paper fan.
- The paper fan is the usual weapon of the Karasu-tengu who guard the Zashiki Warashi in both the manga and anime XxxHolic.
- Haruko in AIR uses one to reinforce that she likes to be called by her first name.
- Uraha also uses one in the feudal arc.
- Mei Mer's mother in Ko Beast uses a Paper Fan of Doom as a greeting.
- In Inuyasha, Kagura the Wind Sorceress uses a fan to assist her in summoning her various wind magics.
- Sakuya Aizawa from Hayate the Combat Butler doesn't just wield an ordinary paper fan — it's a telescoping one that can be reduced to the size of a golf ball and stowed in her pocket.
- Nodame Cantabile has Etou Kouzou, one of the teachers, carry one of these around at all times to the point where he is referred to as Harisen-sensei by the students. He later gives up his harisen in order to get Nodame to come to her lessons, however.
- In Slam Dunk, Ayako the manager girl usually smacks Sakuragi, his friends and/or Miyagi with her paper fan.
- Suzuna from Eyeshield 21 used a fan twice in one episode on her brother. Well, he's an idiot, why shouldn't she?
- Daitarn 3 carries two of these. Note that Daitarn 3 is actually a Humongous Mecha.
- And Daitarn uses them for defense. Which may or may not be more outlandish.
- In Super Robot Wars, Daitarn 3 can use said paper fan to either block attacks in defense by opening the fan, or use it like a sword to block sword attacks and missiles. Note that Daitain already has a pair of swords and it still uses the paper fan like this.
- And Daitarn uses them for defense. Which may or may not be more outlandish.
- In Jungle wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu, Guu produces a fan and pummels Wadi for his incessant laughing, then swings it threateningly like a baseball bat.
- Mai Otsuka from School Rumble.
- The women of the Rainsworth House in Pandora Hearts are fond of this. Break frequently makes himself available for Sharon to practice on.
- The anime only character Mimi from D.Gray-man uses her fans to try to kill the main characters multiple times, though she never succeeds.
- Eva from Umineko no Naku Koro ni puts the "doom" in Paper Fan of Doom. Especially in the manga.
- Played with a bit in Princess Tutu: Ahiru (or Duck, whatever) blocks a sword with a fan.
- Temari's attacks are all centered around the giant fan she carries.
- And now there's a slightly more literal version called Bashosen. Powerful, but it takes a heavy toll on whoever uses it, I.E. Chakra Drain.
- Tenten is the last one seen holding it. Make of that what you will
- Ranma from Ranma ½ countered a punch from Happosai with a paper fan and used a fan to blow powder/incense back into peoples faces.
- As it's a common tool in rakugo already, Rakugo Tennyo Oyui has Enchou and Yui using a precise, strong paper fan that, if given significant height, can let Yui slice through a black dragon.
- Kanou uses this to reign in Kaoruko when the otaku gets a little too flamboyant in Okane ga Nai.
- The primary weapon of Sanada Yukimura in Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls. In her Master Samurai form, it even has wind powers.
- In the first episode of Ichigo Mashimaro when the girls are making a birthday present for Nobue the one who falls asleep gets hit with a paper fan (they even keep a tally of paper fan hits). Also, in the Encore OVA Miu's Ironic Hell involves making a fool of herself and not getting hit by a paper fan for it.
- Rahzel uses one against the other Alzeid when he comes to her school and gets in a fight with Fay in Hatenkou Yuugi.
- Rika uses one sometimes in Kuroko no Basuke.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- At the beginning of the movie Battle Royale, the psycho killer character, Kazuo Kiriyama, receives a paper fan as his weapon. While a group of kids who received guns are teasing him about it, he uses their own guns to kill them all and takes the guns, leaving the fan behind.
- Jackie Chan uses a fan as his preferred weapon in Drunken Master 2, released in America as Legend of Drunken Master. His character had been made to decorate such fans as punishment by his father, but when he battles some thugs, his step-mother throws him the fan to use in self-defence.
- Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince. Hermione uses a parchment for this purpose when informing Harry that Romilda Vane has taken an interest in him.
Hermione: She's only interested in you because she thinks you're the Chosen One.
- An incredibly rare non-anime example: In Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe, the Yamani women of the warrior class use shukusen, the delicate, deadly Japanese "war fans". Said women carry these fans when they feel endangered but can't carry a weapon openly. They are silk with razor-sharp steel ribs, are much heavier than they look, and can slice fingers like sausage.
- Which means that when one of the characters just jumps in and joins a fan-tossing game, the women proceed to freak out (in a surprisingly well controlled fashion) because while they know what they're doing, he doesn't even know how close he came to losing all the fingers on the hand he caught it with until after the game is ended. To quote Keladry's reaction:
Kel: Didn't your mother teach you not to grab things? You could have lost all your fingers. I doubt your father, good as he is, could have put them back on.
- Kel also mentions that her mother, who raised her in the Yamani Isles, used to whack her children with fans if they didn't cooperate with healers.
- And once Queen Thayet learns about the purpose of the shukusen, she becomes intent on asking the Yamani princess for one of her very own.
- That same character who tried to join the game later falls in love with one of the women playing it, and once they're engaged starts to carry her fan at his belt. (She gave it to him after his Ordeal, and special mention is made of the fact that he carried it at his knighting ceremony. Aww.)
- In Eric van Lustbader's Sunset Warrior Series, Ronin's mentor and ultimately Big Bad the Salamander is a master of using the fan as a weapon. Though the fans he uses are more like the War Fans in the real life section than simple origami.
- "Sailor Luna" from Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (the live-action version of Sailor Moon) used a harisen as her primary weapon.
- Actually, it was a wand identical to Sailor Moon's transformed into a fan. She also turns it into a golden fan and once, a butterfly net. She uses it as a wand more often as that's the only she can use her only magical attack, Luna Sucre Candy.
- Retsu from Juken Sentai Gekiranger uses a bat-themed fan that can inflict pain and deflect energy beams. He can also fly with it. Considering he got this by dancing with a giant bat, it's not entirely surprising.
- Another Super Sentai example is Mako/ShinkenPink from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, whose weapon is the Heaven Fan. It may be a fan, but it's no less effective than any other weaponry on the team.
- Same as her counterpart Mia from Power Rangers Samurai.
- Even better is Kaoru Shiba's fan; she's never seen actually using it as a fan. Instead, she only uses it to emphasize when her personal aide needs to shut up.
- Natsumi produces one of these against Tsukasa in the File 17 of the Net Movie Spinoff of Kamen Rider Decade's movie. (It helps that the Net Movies in general are purely for comedic purpose to begin with.) Daiki then somehow gets a hand on it a few seconds later to whack Yuusuke with it.
- Gotou uses one on a completely lovestruck Eiji in #24 of Kamen Rider OOO, although the attempt of knocking sense back into Eiji doesn't work.
- LeBlanc, the semi-comic-relief villain from Final Fantasy X 2 uses a metallic version of the fan for both tsukkomi and as a weapon.
- The Super Smash Bros games feature the paper fan as a weapon. It doesn't do much damage, but it destroys shields with one Smash hit.
- Never mind the fact that it can knock people around almost as well as a hammer if thrown, slamming them skyward if they're on the ground and downward if they're in the air (regardless of throwing angle).
- It's also the fastest weapon in the game, making it difficult for the victim to counter.
- Both Ice Climbers with fans + Tapping A = double speed infinite combo of death.
- And in Brawl at least you can 'fantrap' people, getting them stuck and dealing massive damage... if you have the patience.
- Jigglypuff+Fantrap+Rest (in itself a Lethal Joke Attack) = EPIC WIN!
- Mai Shiranui from Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters uses paper fans as both melee and ranged weapons.
- Twin paper fans are the preferred weapon of Anji Mito from Guilty Gear. These aren't just fans, however; they're actually from the same set of quasi-magical weaponry as Sol and Ky's swords. Thus their ability to grow to immense sizes, conjure up Ki Attacks, and many other things that normal fans can't do.
- One of Zero's weapons in Mega Man X 8 is the B Fan, a pair of harisen which can deflect enemy attacks.
- Auto, one of Dr. Light's helper robots in the classic series, holds out a paper fan when doing his "battle pose". If he actually uses the fan in combat, we never see it.
- In the Mega Man Battle Network series, the Wind Rack chip makes Mega Man attack with a Paper Fan. Its hits a whole column and knocks enemies back.
- In Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi the two Qiao sisters, Da and Xiao, take out entire armies with their twin paper fans. Strategists Sima Yi and Zhuge Liang use big feathered fans that shoot Frickin' Laser Beams. Sima Yi trades his in for Razor Floss and claws in DW6 but gets it back in 7, also where Zhuge Dan takes up the family tradition with a feathered fan of his own. Of course, they are actually incredibly weak weapons though by 7 the feathered fan users can summon lightning as part of their repertoire and attack more by blowing gusts of wind at their opponents than simply whacking them.
- In Samurai Warriors and Warriors Orochi the Bishonen Mitsunari Ishida, who wields a paper fan, happens to be a rather snarky and sarcastic fellow. Also, Takeda Shingen uses gunbai fans.
- Hilariously enough, Oda Nobunaga from Sengoku Basara, one of the baddest and most feared badasses has a paper fan (like the one in the image) as his Joke Weapon.
- In Mortal Kombat, Kitana uses fans as her weapons. They appeared to just be paper fans in MKII, but in more recent versions they strongly resemble Japanese war fans, most likely tessen. She can decapitate people with them.
- In the Last Blade videogames, Lee Rekka uses a folding fan as his weapon, though he uses it very rarely, preferring fiery kicks.
- Also, in a couple of the Samurai Shodown games, Kyoshiro Senryou uses a fan either to directly hit his opponent or as a flaming projectile.
- In Mother 3, a whack to the head with the Paper Fan item can cure a party member's Confusion status effect.
- Princess Peach uses a fan in Super Mario RPG.
- The Paper Fan is one of Lloyd Irving's most powerful weapons in Tales of Symphonia and is only attainable after an extremely expensive sidequest that spans half the game.
- Each of the Elemental Lords in Super Robot Wars (the best known of which is Masaki Andoh's Cybuster) has a familiar, and with that familiar comes the ability to release it in battle (called "High Familiar"). The familiars of the Elemental Lord of Earth Zamzeed are three... platypus things... and when released for High Familiar, two of them smash the enemy as normal, and the third finishes by clobbering the target with a metal harisen.
- A few characters from the Touhou series use fans as their weapons, but primarily Yukari Yakumo and Yuyuko Saigyouji. The latter goes so far as to have a BFF behind her when she uses her strongest spellcards in Perfect Cherry Blossom.
- It's not just PCB. She busts that fan out on one spellcard on Hard or Lunatic in Ten Desires, as the stage 1 boss.
- Yukari just slaps people with it in the fighting games.
- Papillon of La Pucelle wields a paper fan as her main weapon and can do pretty good damage with it. This being Nippon Ichi, 'pretty good damage' means 'nearly unlimited with enough grinding.'
- In the original Paper Mario, Lady Bow uses a pink fan to slap her opponents. Her attacks include the normal "Smack" and the powerful "Fan Smack."
- Yukiko Amagi makes use of these. Oddly, she throws them at enemies rather than the typical smacking.
- Fan Geisha from Battle Realms use these, obviously.
- Kururu from Rhapsody a Musical Adventure uses a paper fan as a weapon.
- God Hand has these as weapons Gene can pick up, but they aren't that strong compared to, say, a hammer or big club.
- Suki and the Kyoshi warriors (as well as Avatar Kyoshi herself) use the metal variant in Avatar: The Last Airbender, to very good effect most of the time until they run into Elite Mooks.
- Mondine, the matriarch of the Glady family in La Famille Glady, has a magic fan that can actually teleport you through the world when she smacks her terraquean globe with it.
- In the series Code Lyoko one of the main characters(Yumi) uses a fan as her weapon when she enters Lyoko.
- Yori in Kim Possible takes this Beyond the Impossible, she slices into the side of a volcano and unleashes the lava flow within.
- Similar to the rolled-up-newspaper, people probably have done this.
- Tessenjutsu was actually an art around war fans. However; there was a difference between a paper fan and an actual fan meant to be concealed and used as a makeshift weapon.
- Especially when such fans were made using several plates of solid wood or iron, and were essentially as deadly as any regular club.
- Another variety (aptly known as the 'Fighting Fan') looks like your average folding fan, and can even be folded up for better concealment, but the spines are made out of steel that has been sharppend to a knife like edge.