You don't want to mess with jellyfish. Not that they're easy to annoy — they don't even have brains — but if you get in the way of one of their tentacles, you can expect a nasty, venomous sting.
That's true in media too, but with one little difference. When a fictional character has a run-in with a jelly it often sets their hair standing on end, with sparks flying or some other electric effect surrounding the victim — as if they'd just gotten a dose of Harmless Electrocution
In many cases, it's just a visual or audio effect used to show the viewer
that the stinging is actually occurring and that said stinging feels like getting shocked. Other times the jellyfish is actually shown to have a literal electric discharge, as if it were an electric eel — perhaps even a psychotic one.
Complicating matters are the jellyfish relatives known as comb jellies
, some species of which look like they are wired up with LED light bulbs as a result of light diffraction in their tissues.
Compare to the Coconut Effect
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Anime & Manga
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yugi's duel with Mako Tsunami featured a jellyfish that not only was electrified, but also absorbed the electrical attack of one of Yugi's monsters.
- In one episode of Di Gi Charat Nyo, Gema falls in love with a jellyfish, and when he grabs one of her tentacles, it's clear that he's being shocked.
- In Kaiketsu Zorori, Zorori tries to trap a cat prince by passing some jellyfishes as ramen noodle bowls. The jellyfishes hold him in place and shock him continuously, as Zorori wants him to sign some paper. Later, the cat prince uses the jellyfishes as a power source for a hair dryer so he can defeat a giant kappa.
- Gekka, the flying psychic electric jellyfish from Kyouran Kazoku Nikki. Gotta catch 'em all!
Films — Animation
- In Finding Nemo, all of the "stings" from the jellyfish have a "zap" sound effect, and they appear as burns on Dory's fins after they shock her. The burns could be excused as wounds by the jellyfish venom. The zapping, not so much. The dialogue is specific about the stings delivering venom, though.
- The Jellyfish in Shark Tale also have paralyzing zaps.
Films — Live-Action
- In Graffiti Kingdom, two of the mooks into which you can transform are electric jellyfish, though one of them comes from a set of themed elemental jellyfish.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- The Legend of Zelda games have the Biri and Bari enemies. Direct contact with them, whether by just touching them or striking them with the sword, will result in Link getting electrocuted. In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, you can kill them only with the Clawshot.
- Anytime you see a jellyfish in Final Fantasy, it will have an electric attack.
- The Jellies from Beyond Good & Evil shock Pey'j the first time you encounter them. It's unclear if they actually use electrical attacks outside the one cutscene.
- Sub Culture had electric jellyfish, too, justified as mutations resulting from pollution.
- One of the Mythological Units in Age of Mythology is a giant Man-O-War that shoots chain lightning. As the civilisation that has access to these units also has access to animated clay creatures, mechanical knights, nymphs that ride sharks into battle, and acid-spurting blobs covered in eyes, this is at least more reasonable than other examples.
- Several kinds of Noise in The World Ends with You are this type. And they drop the "Jelly" pin, whic has you scratch a space to release an electric charge.
- Electric jellyfish inhabit the water levels in Ristar. But were you really expecting scientific accuracy from a video game with an anthropomorphic star as the main character?
- Aquaria has at least one species of electric jellyfish enemy.
- In Mega Man X 8 one of the bosses is an electric jellyfish-like robot that bears the name Gigabolt Man-O-War. Emphasis on the "-like" part as a Man-O-War is not actually a jellyfish.
- X2 has the Jelly Seekers in Bubble Crab's stage.
- Averted in the Mega Man Battle Network series, where electricity is the one element not used by the Jelly viruses, whereas fire is.
- Metal Slug 3 features a lot of nasty, mutant jellyfishes during the Slug Mariner route in stage 1. Metal Slug 5 also features electric jellyfish too.
- The jellyfish boss in E.V.O.: Search for Eden attacks this way, complete with an electric crack sound effect. Regular jellies just whip you with their tentacles.
- Metroids from the Metroid series subvert, invert, and play this trope straight. They're space jellyfish with claws instead of tentacles, and seem to drain life force, energy, or electricity from their prey. When they grow into Gamma Metroids, which look more like bugs than jellyfish, they gain the ability to electrocute enemies. Read about them for yourself. They're quite the original species.
- Prevalent enemies in the underwater levels of Alundra 2.
- The Kirby series gives us Master Green, a jellyfish miniboss that when swallowed gives the Spark ability.
- The Ice Mountain Zone in Sonic Advance has these. Justified because they're robots.
- One of the monsters (Crown Lance or something) in Final Fantasy VII is a jellyfish that uses electric spells and absorbs electricity. The more dangerous aspect, however, is its ability to petrify your characters.
- The Freddi Fish series has some in Freddi Fish and Luther's Water Worries and in Freddi Fish 4.
- Donkey Kong Jungle Beat has regular jellyfish, which can easily be destroyed, and electric Jellyfish, which can only be destroyed by an Orca whale.
- Donkey Kong Country Returns has Jellybobs in the Beach Levels. Not only do they deliver electric shocks, but they float in the air as well.
- The Simpsons Game plays with this trope when the family encounters King Snorky, a dolphin, at the Springfield aquarium. You have to drop jellyfish into his tank to electrocute him; however, the jellyfish themselves aren't electrified and must be dropped into the electric eel tank first.
- The seventh boss of Blaster Master: Enemy Below is an electric jellyfish. He only moves around and shoots an easily dodged lightning bolt.
- Snailiad has these as an Invincible Minor Minion, at least until you get the Devastator.
- Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun has the Tiberian Floater, a jellyfish that floats through the air and can immobilize vehicles with electric shocks. Could be justified in that it's a mutant that was genetically engineered by CABAL.
- In Risk of Rain, the flying jellyfish enemy will shock you if you touch them, it deals little damage by itself but can be hazardous due to their tendency to attack in swarms. Oddly, their huge boss cousin "Wandering Vagrant" has no such Collision Damage but makes up for it with its size and the ability to shoot energy orbs.
- Something Else: One of the obstacles in Electricave. Since they are sprite swaps of the Boo Ceiling, they are annoying to deal with.
- The Flintstones for the Sega Genesis has jellyfish that project electric fields all around thme in the Under the Sea stage.