While many characters were altered or changed when the Walking Dead series moved from page to the TV screen, the character of Michonne remained almost identical – and for good reason.
Robert Kirkman created a character that is unique and (oddly) relatable for many people. In short, Michonne is near perfect – and her Katana is a major part of who she is, and what she is about.
Many zombies have been decapitated and de-limbed thanks to Michonne and her brutal Katana. Along with Darryl’s crossbow, Michonne’s Katana is an item that comes to mind when you think of The Walking Dead. If you want Michonne’s Katana for yourself you can get it here on Amazon.
What does Michonne’s Katana look like?
A katana is a long, single-edged sword used by Japanese samurai – or by a badass, zombie killing chick with dreadlocks named Michonne. She’s been cutting off heads and limbs in the Walking Dead graphic novel series and the very popular and successful AMC TV show since the mid-2000s.
The Katana is Michonne’s signature weapon and is one of the most compelling items that has come from the Walking Dead series. The Katana.
When not being used, Michonne’s Katana is strapped to her back so the sword is constantly seen throughout the Walking Dead series, whether it’s on TV or on a page.
The Graphic Novels
Michonne’s Katana debuted in issue 19 alongside Michonne. In her first several frames, Michonne is seen amputating two walkers, Mike (her boyfriend before becoming infected) and Terry (a good friend of Mike and Michonne).
She continues to decapitate several walkers before it shows her with her Katana raised close to her face. Throughout the rest of the series, Michonne can often be seen in graphic frames as she decapitates or cuts off a walker’s limb(s).
Another distinctive image of Michonne, is her towing two armless and jawless walkers with chains around their necks. She uses them to mask her scent and keep other walkers away. This immediately showed the intelligence of Michonne and her uniqueness as she saved Otis in her first scenes and joins the rest of the group at an abandoned prison.
Michonne immediately strikes up a relationship with a character named Tyreese and they start dating. From this point on, Michonne is a part of the group and is a mainstay in the Walking Dead graphic novel series, debuting in 2005.
In 2018, Michonne, Rick and others arrive at a community known as the Commonwealth. Michonne is reunited with her daughter, Elodie, who she thought was dead and joins the community. Michonne gives her sword to another member of her group and instructs him to give it to Rick in a ‘passing of the torch’ kind of action.
The TV Show
Michonne debuts near the end of the 2nd season in the AMC Walking Dead TV series. In the 13th and final episode of the season, Michonne shows up as a hooded figure and saves Andrea (a main character at the time) from a walker.
In that scene to end the 2nd season, it was not filmed using the actress that would eventually become the Michonne character, Danai Gurira. They used a stand-in for her debut scene before casting Danai to really become Michonne.
The third season picks up with Michonne and Andrea are taken by a group that they find out eventually is run by the Governor.
As season 10 approaches, it is rumored that it will be Michonne’s last season on the show.
Who made Michonne’s Katana?
When creating Michonne’s Katana for the TV show, Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead creator) and John Sanders (property master and weapons expert for the show) had to get a little creative.
Kirkman wanted it to be white, so they used an eel skin so it would not absorb blood or dirt; the eel skin actually repels liquid. This allows them to easily clean it and get it ready for the next scene quickly, and have it appear as it should.
The team built it at the highest quality, knowing it would be used often. And the blade has never been replaced.
They actually created 4 versions of the Katana:
- The ‘real one’ that Michonne carries in the show.
- A plastic version.
- A rubber version.
- A digital version so the Visual Effects team can edit in post-production.
Michonne’s Katana might be a ‘TV prop’, but this sword is the real thing, and the original is still the one you see on the show. Obviously, the team The Walking Dead used to create this sword did an excellent job.
How big is Michonne’s Katana?
Michonne’s Katana is around 40” long in total, with a blade length of almost 28”. This is a large sword that is used differently than other swords because of the long, curved blade, and the unique handle.
Who else used Michonne’s Katana?
Believe it or not, Michonne’s Katana has done some killing while not being used by Michonne. The Governor (a well known Walking Dead villain) decapitated a character named Herschel, and Pete Anderson sliced Reg Monroe’s throat with Michonne’s Katana.
Here are the remaining characters who have held the Katana:
- Brian Blake (Graphic Novel)
- Eugene Porter (Graphic Novel)
- Carl Grimes (Graphic Novel)
- Merle Dixon (TV Series)
- Judith Grimes (TV Series)
How did Michonne get her sword?
Michonne came across the Katana sword when the outbreak began. While it didn’t belong to her and she had no experience with the Katana, she quickly learned to use it through pure survival. By killing walkers everyday, and carrying it with her constantly, Michonne’s living soon became about using the katana as often as she needed.
In the graphic novels, Michonne found the katana in a neighbor’s house as she was searching for supplies. It explains that she trained by doing fencing.
In the show, during several flashbacks of Michonne’s life before the outbreak, you see the Katana sitting on a stand in her home. When the outbreak began, she obviously took them as a survival instinct.
Michonne’s most popular scenes
Michonne is in several popular scenes in the Walking Dead TV series after being introduced in the second season.
- One of the most known scenes involving Michonne and her katana, was when she waited in the Governor’s office in the safe town of Woodbury. When the Governor arrived, Michonne held his daughter, Penny (now a walker), at sword-point before putting the katana through the back of her throat right in front of the Governor.
- Michonne’s debut at the end of season 2 was thrilling. As Andrea was alone and running from walkers, a hooded figure appeared and used a sword to slice through the walker that was trailing her. In that opening scene, you didn’t see Michonne’s face, but you saw a character accompanied by two armless & jawless walkers, attached to her by chains. This scene left you impatiently waiting for season 3!
- Everybody hated the Governor. But nobody hated him more than Michonne. So, in season 4, when Michonne put her sword through his chest as he was about to potentially kill Rick, it was a moment of celebration for viewers. It was a long time coming!
Has Michonne ever lost her sword?
Yes, in season 5 of the TV show, when the group arrives at Terminus, Michonne’s Katana is taken from her. Later in the series, Michonne is reunited with it in a church after she kills a hunter who was holding it.
Is the Katana realistic?
Katana swords are made of extremely high quality steel. The result means that these swords can cut through practically anything (within reason).
So, would someone actually be able to cut through human limbs so easily by using a katana? Yes.
Katanas have been used to cut down bamboo trees with ease in a practice called “Tameshigiri,” which is the practice of cutting a target similar in substance to a human.
Zombie’s bodies are seemingly softer than normal humans so it is within reason that a katana could so easily slice off limbs and through bodies.
The love for Michonne
From her initial scenes, where she was a mistrusted and misunderstood quiet character, to the later seasons where she is a leader, Michonne’s character has come a long way.
IGN recently named Michonne #86 in their list of the Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of all time.
In a Rolling Stone list of the 30 best Walking Dead characters, Noel Murray named Michonne #1, saying: “She survived on her own for months, figuring out how to thrive in the wilderness under the harshest of circumstances. Yet she’s also adapted well to living in a group, and has even started to draw on her pre-apocalypse past as a mother and an academic to start thinking about how best to rebuild society. Savage when she has to be, tender and affectionate with her friends and lovers, both nurturing and deadly as they come, this character (courtesy of Danai Gurira’s continually extraordinary performance) represents this series at its best. Michonne hasn’t lost touch with her humanity. And she’s a thrill to watch on a killing spree.”
In The Walking Dead Monopoly, you can use Michonne’s Katana as a token.
More About a Katana
A Katana is a traditional Japanese sword that was worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. It is also commonly referred to as a “samurai sword”.
The Katana sword is characterized by its unique appearance: a curved, slender, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip so it can be held by two hands. A Katana is also known for its sharpness and strength.