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Also known as Ofuda. These paper tags are used in Shinto and Onmyodo for purification and exorcisms or as wards. They are sometimes used with Shide [1], and most commonly at Shinto Shrines or by Mikos.

Taoists also use a version of the tags called Fu. In Buddhism and Hinduism they are called Sutras

In Anime and Manga they can do anything, even explode.

The western equivalent would be a conspicuously-placed Rosary or Crucifix.

Closely related to Paper Master, and a form of Functional Magic.

Examples of Paper Talisman include:


Anime and Manga

  • Ai Yori Aoshi - Taeko the Nightmare Fetishist papers the entire house with both types of wards when rumors of a ghost pop up.
  • Sailor Moon - Rei, a Miko as well as a Magical Girl, uses these to complement her magic.
  • Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei - Kafuka overdoes it (in above picture) when she doesn't want the Hikikomori to leave her house.
  • Negima - Setsuna is known to use Ofuda, once used them protect the hotel from Onmyodo Shikigami [2] during the Kyoto arc.
    • Mana also uses a Teleportation Sutra vs Kaede during the Festival Arc, apparently they cost 800,000 yen each (Single Use).
      • Kaede herself uses these in one of her stronger attacks. She throws Fuuma Shuriken (smaller than that one, though) to wrap chains around her opponent. Chains with ofuda dangling from the links. If you've seen the series below, you know what comes next...
  • Naruto - Exploding paper tags can be used as mines, time bombs, or even grenades (if tied to a kunai and thrown). One infamous ninja even attaches them to his sword, and the resident Paper Master uses them to great effect. Additionally, binding talismans show up every now and again, such as those worn by Ao and the First Hokage's wife, Mito, as well as the seals used to take control of the people summoned with Impure World Resurrection (Edo Tensei in the Japanese).
  • In the Pokémon anime, some characters use these to repel ghost Pokemon.
    • Ironically, in the games, the Spell Tag item strengthens the power of Ghost-type moves.
      • However, there is another item, the Cleanse Tag, that decreases the wild Pokemon encounter rate if the lead Pokemon in the party is holding it.
    • The Pokémon Jirachi (who is said to have the power to fulfill wishes) has three paper tags attached to it.
  • Darkstalkers - Lei-Lei uses the Taoist variant since she's a jiangshi.
  • Marron in Sorcerer Hunters uses these to case his spells.
  • Several mages/priest in CLAMP's X 1999, most notably Subaru and Seishiro.
  • Dennou Coil uses these as "metatags", to modify virtual objects.
  • Inuyasha. Buddhist monk Miroku often uses sutras as weapons against demons.
  • They pop up from time to time in Ghost Hunt - both the Miko and the Buddhist Monk of the team can make them. They're usually used to create barriers against evil spirits, or contain and redirect same.
  • These have a particularly funny use in the first Chinese Ghost Story movie. The unlucky protagonist, having gotten his clothes soaked, accidentally backs into a stall selling these, ending up with six of them stuck to his back (and the inscriptions remaining after the angry shopkeeper peels them off, resulting in another dunking later).
  • Jun Tao uses Chinese jufu talismans to control her guardian zombie, Lee Bailong, in Shaman King.
  • In Rental Magica, meets Death Dealer. Because Onmyodo adepts can be that Badass too.
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de's onmyoji Abe no Yasuaki and Abe no Yasutsugu use these; the effect varies from creating energy shields to exorcism to just plain stopping some annoying Sleep Mode Size'd Youkai from following them around.
  • In Black Cat, Shiki (ambiguously an AU Onmyoji) uses these with his/her Tao.
  • The medicine peddler in Ayakashi Samurai Horror Tales and Mononoke throws out an absurd amount from his defensive arsenal against demons.
  • In Digimon Tamers, Taomon has a (once-used) attack that fires a thousand of the things (the explody variety) at her opponent.
  • These are used occasionally in Ranma ½ most noticeably in the story arc with the Oni.
  • Yamigumo Nami, the resident Miko of Silent Möbius uses ofuda along with holy water to do magic, ranging from barriers to putting down lesser monsters.
  • Syaoran uses these in Cardcaptor Sakura...both to defeat Clow Cards and (once) to set Touya's jacket on fire.
  • In Bloody Cross, Hinata uses paper talismans in most of his spells.
  • Yui Lee from Vampire Princess Miyu
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, the bandages that cover Mukuro's face have ofudas all over them.
  • These keep vampires away in Shiki. At one point they're all over Natsuno's room.
  • in Kamisama Kiss, Nanami uses paper talismans for things such as purification.

Comics

  • Deadpool's enemy T-Ray used pieces of paper with Japanese-looking writing on them to achieve various magical effects. They may have been Ofuda.

Film

  • The heroine of Dragon Wars covers the inside of her house with these after she discovers that her birthmark cum tattoo is glowing. It doesn't actually make that much more sense in context.
  • The morticians in the Chinese Vampire movie Mr Vampire can paralyze the jiangshi when they attach these to the creatures' foreheads.

Live Action TV

Tabletop RPG

  • Dungeons and Dragons 1st Edition supplement Oriental Adventures.
    • Oriental magic items included four Charms of Protection (from disease, fire, spirits and theft). They were made of yellow or red paper with inked inscriptions involving supplications or threats toward various deities. They protected any building they were attached to.
  • Several Charms of the Sidereal Exalted require the preparation of Prayer Strips, which are then used up by the activation of the Charm.
    • Venus, the Maiden of Serenity, is also often accompanied by floating wisps of paper. When she cares to fight, she typically uses them as weapons.

Video Games

Notes

  1. the Zigzag Paper Tassel you see people hanging in Anime or carrying around
  2. paper demons
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