Here there be monsters.
Since ancient times
, some cultures have had a superstitious fear of the ocean. It was vast and almost completely unknown. It could smash any ship man dared float on it, or sweep it away, never to be heard of again. Oh, and there may have been gigantic monsters in it
. Until recent centuries many sea charts were illustrated with mythical and fearsome sea-creatures in unexplored regions, and even today the weirdest creatures on Earth are to be found beneath the waves, and we're still finding more. Some of them are pretty enormous, too
(though they're not the most dangerous things down there
There are many flavours of Sea Monster
(well, yes, most taste a lot like squid
, unsurprisingly). These subtropes include:
- Giant Enemy Crab
Really big crabs. Well, other crustaceans, too. They all taste a lot like crab, though.
- Giant Squid
Really big squid. Older Than Feudalism, they have the benefit of actually existing. Makes great calamari.note
- Kraken and Leviathan
The epically scaled, humongous world-ending dwellers of the deepest trenches, often with lots of references to Lovecraftian or Biblical beasts. Tastes like whale meat.
This prehistoric beast is great for those who like to buy their Shark Fin soup in economy scale.
- Stock Ness Monster
Those that ape (or more like serpent) the queen of cryptozoology, her royal slitherness the Loch Ness Monster. Said to taste rather exotic, like crocodile meat.
- Turtle Island
Those whose large size combined with a sedentary life in shallower conditions make them liable to be confused for islands. Apparently the taste of giant turtle is meant to be greater than any chicken, beef, mutton or butter and a favourite for long sea voyages.
Please place examples belonging to those subtropes only in the specific page, not here.
See also Fish People
, Our Mermaids Are Different
, Space Whale
, Giant Flyer
, Threatening Shark
, Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods
and Kraken and Leviathan
, Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- The Dragonosaurus from a Crossover movie featuring characters and Humongous Mecha from Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, UFO Robo Grendizer and Getter Robo was a real weird, gigangic sea monster. Its body was a gelatinous, amorphous blob with a face on it, and several snake-like heads sprouted from it. It was told it was a -formerly believed extinct- Prehistoric monster had mutated cause oil spills polluting the ocean.
- The Three-Tails and Eight-Tails from Naruto.
- There's also a giant squid that was the guardian of an island where Killer B and A trained.
- One of the magical creatures in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha from which the Wolkenritter took Mana was a many-eyed giant sea monster that emerged from a whirlpool.
- One Piece, being a pirate-themed adventure, has lots of sea monsters — the sea kings being a pretty prevalent example. They, along with a lack of winds, make it nearly impossible to enter the Grand Line from anywhere but the entrance.
- And to put an image in mind, Sea Kings can rival the size of islands in size and usually attack whatever they see.
- Digimon has an entire group of digimon devoted to this. Of particular note are the Seadramon family, which includes the season one baddie Metal Seadramon, and the enormous Demon Lord, Leviamon.
- Water Pokémon. Let us see, we have giant crabs (Kingler), giant lobsters (Crawdaunt), giant jellyfish (Tentacruel, Jellicent), a mini Loch-Ness monster thing (Lapras), a large sea-horse that whips up whirlpools by snoring (Kingdra), giant clams (Clamperl and Cloyster), a torpedo shark (Sharpedo. Yeah.), a blimp-like whale (Wailord), ancient water animal and plant things (Lileep, Anorith, Relicanth)... and the waters hide many, many more.
- Other notable examples include killer crocodilians (Feraligatr), artillery wielding cephalopods (Octilliry), various kinds of sea dragons (Gyrados, Milotic), various denizens of the deep (Lanturn, Huntail, Gorebyss), and the creator and master of the seas of the Pokemon world (Kyorgre)!
- Also, in one episode Team Rocket accidentally created a giant Tentacruel, with what they believed was a poison. Misty had to convince it not to destroy a city.
- Giganto/Monstro, the Sub-Mariner's giant whale with arms and legs in Fantastic Four.
- A sea serpent appears in The Sandman story "Hob's Leviathan", part of the "World's End" arc.
- So are the oceans and rivers of Elekton in The Trigan Empire
- The oceans of Skataris are filled with monsters in The Warlord.
- A series of Jameson Irish whiskey commercials feature John Jameson jumping overboard to retrieve a barrel of booze. A giant octopus is seen reaching towards him underwater in some versions. Viewable here.
- The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.
- Jaws and its host of imitators.
- The bluntly titled Godzilla Vs. the Sea Monster.
- There's Always a Bigger Fish on Naboo. First, there's the Opee Seakiller, a bizarre fish-crab hybrid that eats with a long, sticky tongue. Then, there's the larger Colo Clawfish, a giant sea serpent with clawlike appendages used to capture smaller creatues (especially baby Seakillers, which can even chew out of a Clawfish's stomach to escape). And finally, there's the Sando aqua monster, the biggest predator in Naboo, who can and will eat almost anything (including the aforementioned Clawfish and Seakiller) that stands in its way.
- The Kaiju in Pacific Rim. The last batch that guard the Rift in particular seem specifically designed for underwater combat.
- The Avanc (from the afanc of Welsh mythology) from China Miéville's The Scar.
- Lord of the Flies also has the whole "beast from sea" speculation affair.
- The Watcher in the Water from Lord of the Rings appears to be something like a giant octopus.
- The sea serpent from Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
- The creature in Ray Bradbury's short story The Fog Horn, which was the inspiration behind The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.
- In Orlando Furioso, two different women, Angelica and Olympia, were offered to placate two different sea monsters — at least one of which was called an orc. Also, the enchantress Alcina uses a whale as transport.
- Discworld - The illustrated novel The Last Hero features a map of the disk with all sorts of monstrous sea creatures popping up here and there. Then a later illustration shows Mustrum Ridcully fishing... with all those creatures lying in a pile at his feet. Turns out the creatures on the map weren't quite on scale.
- The sentient sea serpents in Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders trilogy.
- In the massive live-action RPG tournament from The California Voodoo Game, the aliens responsible for all the weird events were stranded on Earth because they'd grown into adulthood since their ship crashed. Their mature forms were those of massive flatfishes more than 50' long, so they could no longer fit into their spaceship. Too bad the players never made it back up to the roof, to sneak a peek at the swimming pool....
- Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters lives on this trope.
- Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen takes this trope to an insane level. In this alternate world, the great white shark is a small predator with loch ness style creatures being average size and everything being dwarfed by the monster fish, a sea creature so ridiculously enormous that it could swallow an aircraft carrier in one bite.
- Percy Jackson encounters the legendary Charybdis and Scylla in The Sea of Monsters, a random sea serpent in the short story Percy Jackson and the Stolen Chariot from The Demigods Files, and sees a whole army of them attack Poisden's forces in The Last Olympian.
- During Galaxy of Fear the heroes visit Hologram Fun World and interact with a simulation of a whaladon, which is friendly then but later tries to get them.
- In HP Lovecraft's short story Dagon, the protagonist is traumatized by the sighting of a large, unidentified sea creature. In this case the creature itself never actually does anything particularly hostile, it's just the complete unfamiliarity with this being that freaks him out. Lovecraft also wrote the better-known Cthulhu, who would also qualify although he isn't necessarily confined to the sea.
Live Action TV
- Primeval has featured a few prehistoric sea monsters. Episode 1.3 gave us a Mosasaur, Episode 2.4 gave us a future shark and the Mer, walrus-like sea monsters that appeared to have evolved from primates, and Episode 5.2 gave us a whole pack of Pliosaurs.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Dragonzord is this in robotic form, rising dramatically from the ocean to wreak destruction upon either the city of Angel Grove, or the forces of evil, depending on who possesses the Dragon Dagger, and whether the rightful owner of the dagger is in control of himself. It is a Godzilla-esque metal beast, and of endurance as yet unmatched.
Myth And Legend
- Older Than Feudalism: Charybdis, from The Odyssey, an unseen monster that swallows and spits out the entire ocean on a regular basis in the form of a giant whirlpool. Related is Scylla, who lives near the ocean rather than in it and has lots of heads note
- Another even older Older Than Dirt example: Tiamat, the primordial sea serpent from the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish.
- Many a woman Chained to a Rock was to appease a Sea Monster. From Greek legends, Hesione and Andromeda's monsters. Andromeda's was named Cetus, which of course means "whale" now.
- To add insult to Cetus' mortal injury, after Perseus slashed her throat, he delivered the deathblow by showing him the petrifying head of his own sister, Medusa, transforming Cetus into a coral reef.
- The Con Rit, or Tarrasque, a sea serpent claimed to be found in the South China Sea. Some theories say that the possible sea serpent is inspiration to both the Oriental Dragon, and the South African Snake God. note
- The Kalevala has a giant pike and Iku-Turso, a malevolent sea monster.
- Norse Mythology has the Kraken of course. And then there's Jormungandr, the Midgard (World) Serpent, the sea monster to end all sea monsters. An immense sea snake, he wraps all the way around Midgard, holding his tail in his own jaws. He has a major rivalry with Thor, and plays a key role in Ragnarok.
- Seawitch depict two monstrous sea creatures as war mounts — one is a giant fish with fangs and ragged wings, while the other is a barracuda-like serpent.
- Magic: The Gathering has tons of Sea Monsters. Leviathans, Krakens, Sea Serpents etc... Notably enough, they're often both blue and absurdly huge, despite blue colour being anything but based on brute force.
- Rifts has boatloads of sea, lake, and even river monsters.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Sea Monsters by the truckload: scyllans, krakens, leviathans, ramfish, dragon turtles, sea drakes.
- And then there's Dagon, a lesser-known demon prince who is an eel with the head of a freaky fish, six tentacles ending in clawed hands, and more eyes than I really want to count. Other demon princes are afraid of him.
- The ocean-oriented Stormwrack book includes many Sea Monsters.
- Older editions had the Behemoth (giant hippo), aquatic "dinosaurs" (Elasmosaurus, Mosasaurus, Nothosaurus, Plesiosaur), dragons (Lung Wang and Yu Lung), Froghemoth, Giant (Crayfish, Crocodile, Eel, Octopus, Sea Snake, Squid, Turtle), giant fish (Afanc, Gar, Pike, Verme), Merrow (aquatic ogre), Mottled Worm (aquatic Purple Worm), Sea Serpent, Seawolf (lycanthrope), and Vodyanoi (aquatic Umber Hulk).
- The Warhammer world has buckets of these, as detailed in the Seas of Blood supplement to the early 90s naval warfare spin-off Man'O'War and the 2011 Pirate-themed spin-off Dreadfleet. Warhammer's giant sea monsters include the classic giant squid Kraken and the horrific Black Leviathan (a humongous deep-sea angler fish that could swallow small ships whole), as well as the Narwhal-like Behemoth, the giant crab Promethean the Sea Dragon, the giant merman Triton, the Sea Elemental and the giant shark Megalodon. Dreadfleet has its own zombie sea monsters - the Sea Giant, Bone Hydra and Leechwyrm - and even a ship made from the rotting undead carcass of an Orb Leviathan (possibly the same species as Man'O'War's Black Leviathan, maybe not). Finally smaller, but still huge, sea monsters are available from Forge World to use in land-based Warhammer armies in the shape of the Merwyrm and its variants, and the Dark Elf army has access to aquatic Hydras and the abyssal tentacled fiend Kharybdis.
- Warhammer 40,000 has a few, though they're rather obscure. The Space Wolf homeworld has a massive kraken (said to be a Tyranid offshoot) and sea serpents straight out of Norse myth, appropriate given the Space Wolves' Viking theme, and a sea monster is said to live on the planet Armageddon, where it attacked Ork ships. Given the nature of the setting, it's a safe bet that most world with any oceans have at least one.
The "Iron Snakes" chapter has a mostly ocean-bound home world (their fortress-monastery is on one of the moons), and one of the challenges which aspirants wishing to join the chapter have to face is single combat with a sea serpent using only a harpoon and a canoe.
Chepito shines his lamp at the ocean, revealing wall to wall, creepy looking sea monsters just behind the darkness. The darkness you are walking through. Try not to think about that during your remaining time under the ocean.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- There is a reason that the Serpent's Pass was called such, which the characters find out first hand when the giant sea serpent came out when they tried to cross.
- The giant lion-turtle with an island on its back.
- And the Unagi that lives near Kyoshi Island.
- During the Season 1 finale, the ocean spirit assumes the form of a huge, humanoid, Godzilla-esque monstrosity.
- Cecil the Sea-Sick Sea Serpent from Beany And Cecil
- Bad guy Dishonest John had an undersea craft disguised as a giant cephalopod, known and feared far and wide as Billy the Squid.
- Care Bears had a sea serpent named "Shaky" who needed work on his confidence.
- Catscratch features a Kraken, which Gordon must fight in order to wish for a longer tail.
- The giant Nautilus of Cybersix. She beats it by dropping a bridge on it, literally.
- The pilot of The Drinky Crow Show involves whales, which is appropriate because it's set on a whaling ship. The whales are drawn in the style of those really old maps with "Here be dragons" written in the corners.
- DuckTales: The sea monster that ate Scrooge McDuck's ice cream is actually a submarine colored to resemble an orca.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic features an Ambiguously Gay river serpent whose hysterics over having his "look" ruined by the lost of half his mustache cause our heroes a problem in the second episode.
- SpongeBob SquarePants - When bob yells that there are sea monsters on the beach to keep people out of the water, an erudite serpent reminds him that "we sea monsters have made great strides in the fields of science and literature."
- In other Star Wars: Clone Wars the Mon Calamari fought the separatist forces with knights riding on giant eels.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Jar-Jar summons a bigger fish.
- Yellow Submarine had an entire Sea of Monsters.
- Unsurprisingly, the world of Mer featured in The Pirates Of Darkwater is full of Sea Monsters, including Darkwater itself, and the huge, serpentine Leviathans.
- And including extinct animals, we have plesiosaurs and similar creatures like the ichthyosaur and mosasaur, and Megalodon, a prehistoric shark the size of a whale. Its modern counterpart may be the Whale Shark, which is thankfully nonaggressive and feeds on plankton. Indeed, so many different creatures like this existed in the past that one can argue that plesiosaurs can't have survived to the present, because the mosasaurs would've eaten them, long before the K-T extinction took down subsequent forms of reptilian Sea Monster. The modern equivalent of Carcharocles megalodon might be the Whale Shark from a size perspective, but in every other respect it's basically a Great White that is... bigger.
- Check out the miniseries Sea Monsters (from the creators of Walking with Dinosaurs) for some of the nastiest aquatic predators ever.
- Pliosaurus. Its teeth are each a foot long.
- The Oarfish: an eel-like fish that can exceed fifty feet long. Harmless, but quite impressive.
- The African country of Burundi is home to Gustave, a well-known man eating crocodile. Gustave weighs in at approximately one ton, is approximately twenty feet in length, and has been known to eat adult hippopotami. Given the number and variety of bullet-shaped scars which cover his body, it's quite possible that he's Immune to Bullets.
- Saltwater crocodiles can be even larger than Gustave. Large adult male saltwater crocodiles can be more than six meters long and weigh more than 2,600 lbs.
- Prehistoric crocodiles were even larger than saltwater crocodiles. Sarcosuchus imperator was around forty feet long.
- Many of them were also fully marine. Plesiosuchus was basically an orca sized marine crocodile that looked like shark.
- The Bloop, or rather, whatever made the Bloop, an ultra-low frequency underwater sound that matched the profile of a living creature, but not any specific living creature we know. If it did come from a living creature, scientists agree that it would have to be several times larger than the Blue Whale, the largest known animal on earth. Interestingly enough, the signal originated from a point in the South Pacific roughly 950 nautical miles from the sunken home of another large monster.
- Sadly, the Bloop is now thought to be the sound of an iceberg breaking up, rather than a living thing.
- Tullimonstrum, a bizarre fossil invertebrate, bears a striking external resemblence to the Loch Ness Monster, except it's barely a foot long and found in North America.
- The Coelacanth is a person-sized carnivorous fish that has been swimming around virtually unchanged for millions and millions of years. It was thought to have been extinct until live specimens were caught in the 20th century.
- The whole point of fishing shows like River Monsters, Hooked, and Monster Fish. Their catches range from the modest (Taimen), to the bizzare (catfishes of the Amazon), to the truly gargantuan in scale (marlins, giant catfishes, and the Mekong Giant Stingray).
- The basking shark, second-largest living fish, can grow up to thirty-plus feet. They also look rather monstrous, cruising through the water with their three-foot mouths. Fortunately for all mankind, they and whale sharks eat only plankton. They are also the source of a few sea monster myths, where the decomposing bodies of these sharks after having beached or caught as by-catch have been mistaken for plesiosaurs.
- Several deep-sea species of shark are also quite large. The megamouth shark grows to eighteen feet in length, and the Pacific sleeper shark can grow to fourteen, though ichthyologists theorize they may grow as long as twenty-three feet. Related to the Pacific sleeper is the Greenland shark. It lives in Greenland and closer to the surface, routinely grows to seventeen feet in length and has been found with parts of polar bears in their stomachs.
- Lion's mane and Nomura's jellyfish can grow to gigantic sizes. The lion's mane can grow nearly forty feet long and the Nomura can weigh over four hundred pounds. Nomura's jellyfish have also marked off an important check on the "to-do list" of most sea monsters; sinking ships, albeit in a passive manner. "Blooms" of these jellyfish have numbered in the thousands and at least one fishing vessel has been capsized after trying to haul up a net full of these jellyfish.
- The largest lion's mane to wash up had tentacles in excess of 120 feet. That's longer than a blue whale, usually considered the largest organism. Now imagine encountering that while deep-sea diving...
- Syringammina fragilissima. It's a deep-water denizen eight inches across. It's not very impressive-sounding, but suddenly becomes more so when you find out it's a single-celled organism.
- Livyatan melvillei is named after both the leviathan and Moby Dick via Melville. It earns the name by having the largest teeth of any known organism.
- Several species of pliosaur, including the so-called Predator X, were roughly whale-sized, but with jaws more resembling those of an alligator.
- Several deep sea fish are very bizarre and monstrous in appearance, with huge jaws filled with hundreds of needle-like teeth. Fortunately they tend to be very small compared to humans.