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In a show (One Piece), the character uses the following kitchen knife. I've never seen anything like it before; what is it?

One Piece Knife

Here it is in action:

In Action

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    It looks like a variation of a one-handled mezzaluna ... but I want to say that I've seen something similar to it being used for asian cut noodles. (I just can't recall if it was Japanese, Chinese, Korean or something else)
    – Joe
    Jan 11 '19 at 0:39
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    I'm not convinced that knife is a traditional knife of any kind. I suspect that the artist made it up to look wierd & cool.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 11 '19 at 0:43
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    Joe: it looks kind of like someone combined a Thai cleaver with a Korean noodle cutter. But, like I said, I've never seen such a knife (and I've been in cookware stores in several Asian countries) and I can't find images of any matching knife on the internet. Given that it's animation, the most likely conclusion is that the artist made up the knife to look exotic and/or old-fashioned.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 11 '19 at 6:30
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    Are you sure it is a knife? Could it be a dough scraper instead? This shape is not very functional for cutting. Because of the super straight edge for most of the length, it is unsuited for the rocking style of cutting, which is usually the reason for placing the handle there. The slicing style should work, but after mimicking the motion with a piece of cardboard I cut out, I can say it is awkward, and seems that even after getting accustomed, it will still be less precise than a standard chef knife.
    – rumtscho
    Jan 11 '19 at 8:13
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    Somewhat related: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/73443/… Jan 11 '19 at 19:15
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An ulu knife

That looks like a variant on an ulu knife, a knife whose blade is below the handle. enter image description here

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    I've always seen ulu with a curved blade. (much like a mezzaluna) Even the asymetrical ones that I managed to find tended to be more rounded than the "kitchen axe" type blade in the image
    – Joe
    Jan 11 '19 at 1:53
  • This seems to be used very similar to the animation in the question: youtu.be/8dF5pz43dGE?t=34 (34 seconds into the video) Jan 13 '19 at 1:14
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After seeing that GIF, I am 99% sure the animator thought up the design by themselves, probably to add some element of interest to the show, but without thinking about the practical side at all.

The animation shows the knife being used in a chopping motion, like a cleaver. But here is what a cleaver looks like

enter image description here

And this video can be used as a reference for proper use of a cleaver. We see slicing, chopping and rocking motions:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wvt5-iC3xos

The knife in the anime is inferior to the cleaver shown above.

  1. It is more difficult to produce. Instead of producing a single continuous piece of steel, you have to punch a hole in it, without cutting through the side.
  2. A cleaver needs some weight. And much of its weight comes not from the thin blade, but from the back, which is thicker than on a Western knife. Making a cutout in that place is counterproductive.
  3. A cleaver profits from the lever effect. This is especially noticeable in other tools which are used with the same motion, such as axes. But it plays some role in knife cleavers, too. This effect is completely lost in the design shown here.
  4. A cleaver is held with the ulna and radius at relatively small angle to the handle, upper arm hanging in its natural position, the lower arm almost parallel to the table. This allows for smooth, precise movement. The design of this knife means that the upper arm is held parallel to the table, and the lower arm goes orthogonal to the table's plane, creating a very awkward position, which is probably also very tiring if you do lots of cutting. You can even see this terrible position in the GIF. This doesn't matter much in mezzalunas and other similar tools which are used with a rocking motion from the wrist, but this kind of chopping looks like a repetetive strain injury waiting to happen.

Considering these design problems, I hope nobody has had the idea of actually produce such a knife and use it in a real kitchen.

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    Also, what the heck is the point on the knife supposed to be for? Try to imagine any motion you could conceivably make that would bring that point to bear. You can't do it, not with a human arm.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 12 '19 at 22:29
  • Great explanation! The motion did seem awkward to me, but I didn't realize just how impractical such a knife would be. However, the Ulu knife that @greenstone-walker mentioned seems to be used very similar to the animation: youtu.be/8dF5pz43dGE?t=34 (see 34 seconds into the video). Jan 13 '19 at 1:10
  • @fuzzychef I guess I didn't think of that because I don't use the point of a chef's knife either, but you are right that if somebody wants to use it - and apparently it is used in a cleaver - it is difficult to impossible.
    – rumtscho
    Jan 13 '19 at 3:01
  • @languagesnamedaftercoffee interesting, I had never seen an ulu knife before. I imagined it to be intended for rocking due to the shape. But it is smaller than I thought, and your video shows clearly that it can be gripped conveniently.
    – rumtscho
    Jan 13 '19 at 3:05
  • I agree, this knife in it's present shape looks like a cross between a ulu and cleaver. The only way to use this particular knife would be as an ulu, which is meant to have the object being cut much lower than you. In most cases it would be meat, and it would be on the ground and the user would be kneeling over the meat. This would give the user the proper mechanical advantage and maximize hand positioning on the knife.
    – JG sd
    Jan 14 '19 at 7:07
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It looks a bit like a stylized menkiri knife, used for cutting udon noodles. Here is a picture:

picture of menkiri knife

Jeffrey Thompson's blog has a picture of the knife in action. Thompson explains:

The menkiri bocho, also known as the udon kiri, is a knife for slicing handmade noodles – note the inset and the sharpened front edge. Simply squishing the blade down will not make proper noodles, so the very sharp knife is drawn across to ensure a clean cut.

A Google Images for "menkiri knife" brings up several photographs that look similar to the knife in the clip. None look exactly like that knife, though.

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This is way too long for a comment, but not exactly an answer as I don't know the name for the knife.

...

Unlike what rumtscho has suggested, the general shape of the knife is well known. It's goes by a few names, but you can find pictures looking for a "Chinese pork knife" or "Chinese slaughter knife" on english language search engines. It's rather reminiscent of a "straight back" hunting/skinning knife, but deeper.

It's basically a meat cleaver with a front tip that's more like a skinning knife. Foodal describes the shape of the Dalstrong Ravager as:

The Ravager’s 9-inch blade is engineered with a pointed tip, designed to assist with skin removal and to access tight, deep spots that a square tip can’t.

Although the proportions are different, the combination of a long straight section and an upswept tip aren't all that different from some western butcher's knives, particularly the "scimitar" style ones. The asian knives depth would make them more "cleaver" than "knife" by western standards.

But none of those knives have the handle placement of the knife in the image. That would be more similar to a Japanese noodle knife (sobakiri, udonkiri, menkiri) in which the blade extends back under the handle, possibly even past the end of the handle. But those want a long cutting edge, and so aren't curved at the front.

And none of those connect back to the handle at the end. That would be more like an Inuit ulu, but those don't have the flattened section for slicing on a board. (although you can get them in a set with a board that's dished out) But it's often sold on hunting sites as a 'skinning' knife, which is a similar function to what the front of the pork knife is for.

And there's a now-deleted answer from Nova_Super that showed a picture of a knife being used to cut ice cream on an anti-griddle that has that connected handle, but doesn't have the rounded tip like a knife for skinning / butchering:

Chinese ice cream vendor's knife

From my experience from trying to recreate costumes and props from animated shows for cosplay -- I suspect that although I can't find the exact same blade, that it is not an invention of the animator. Modern animators often get real people to dress up and perform actions that are filmed so they have reference material. The coloration and shape of the blade looks similar to the Chan Chi Kee butcher's knife and 'scraping' knives (dark on the flat / above the grind line, light on bevil), and it's possible that someone used a similar shape blade and modified it to move the handle ... but it's more likely that a prop buyer went looking for the most unusual knife they could find, and found what looks to be a blend of a pork knife and the ice cream knife.

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