Swordsmith Tony Swatton has crafted one of Final Fantasy VII's iconic weapons, noting how it would fare against Cloud Strife's Buster Sword.
If you're a Final Fantasy fan, you've probably already heard some jokes about how unrealistic its weapons are. Everybody knows Cloud's Buster Sword is too heavy to swing, and nobody's needed a blade that's also a gun for about a century. But as a Final Fantasy fan, you also probably don't care because those designs look freaking amazing. Tony Swatton, the swordsmith behind Man At Arms, agrees with you, except he constructed a 7' long sword to prove it. No, not Cloud's Buster Sword (he already made one of those); Swatton has added Sephiroth's Masamune to his impressive collection, partly just to see how the iconic Final Fantasy VII swords compare to each other.
The Masamune started out as a 7'2" slab of steel that Swatton wrestled into an 84" long and 1.2" blade. The process apparently isn't that different from crafting a traditional katana blade, although Swatton notes the length makes things more challenging. "It's been kinda fun," Swatton says, "with a red hot piece of metal flopping around underneath the power hammer, trying to keep everything true."
For the handle, Swatton simply repurposed an old chair leg, creating an interior for the sword to fit into, and forging an ingot of bronze for the guard located above the handle. The handle was then covered in Same (stingray skin), wrapped with nylon cording in a criss-cross design, and finally pinned together with chopsticks. "The handle will be pinned together traditionally with [bamboo pins] holding it in a couple of places," Swatton admitted. "We have to go to a sushi restaurant and keep on dropping chopsticks so we can pick them off the floor to take it in to use for fitting the handle together."
After a few more adjustments, the Masamune was ready for testing on several unassuming inert objects. Sadly, holding a battle between the Masamune and Buster Sword would probably destroy both objects, but Swatton noted which he thought was superior. "Sephiroth would definitely win a battle against Buster's Sword," he explained. "Once you get [the Buster Sword] picked up in the air and dropped it on the person, that's your one shot. Sephiroth you can swing it around a few times and actually use it ... to make something that long and still keep it functional is difficult."