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Swordfish Sabre

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Fish rostrums used as weapons (be it by the fish itself or a third party)

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Jubileus57 on Sep 30th 2017 at 2:16:40 PM
Last Edited By:
Jubileus57 on Oct 4th 2017 at 7:58:42 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/swordfishsabre.jpg
That's what you get when you combine Shamu Fu with swordfighting.
Swordfishes and marlins are formidable undersea predators that are well-known for their impressive rostrums that look like a threatening Spike Of Doom. They usually use them to knock out preys and slash them, though contrary to popular belief they do not spear them.

Therefore, when swordfishes appear in fiction, expect somebody or something getting hurt by these dreadful rostrums. Either the fishes themselves will attack with theirs, or they will be weaponized by someone that will use them as impromptu swords.

Note that there are some other, lesser-known fishes and sea animals that also have rostrums (or similar pointy appendages) were given a similar treatment in some works. Those include sawfishes, which are closely related to sharks and whose rostrums are Serrated Blades Of Pain, and narwhals, a species of cetaceans whose long, menacing horns are actually a specialized tooth.

Related to Spikes of Doom. When weaponized by other characters, it is a Sub-Trope of Shamu Fu, Edible Bludgeon and Improvised Weapon.


Examples

Anime and Manga

  • The Giant Marlin in Naruto has a litteral double-edged sword as his bill, and has the fighting abilities needed to use it as such.

Films - Animated

  • In Finding Nemo, a pair of swordfishes were fencing each other while gossiping about Marlin's exploits.

Films - Live-Action

  • During the bar brawl in Bimini in Licence to Kill, one of the mooks attempts to skewer Bond with a stuffed marlin head he grabs off the wall.

Live-Action TV

  • In the CSI: New York episode "Dancing with the Fishes", one of the cases is a fish merchant who was stabbed with his very own swordfish catch.
  • One episode of Weird Science had the heroes trapped in a slasher movie. They managed to kill the murderer by running him through with a stuffed swordfish - or so they thought; after all, a slasher movie murderer never dies on the first try...

Tabletop Games

  • Swordfishes can be used as swords in Dungeons & Dragons. While they do have an irritating smell on land, they can be used with no penalty underwater.

Video Games

  • In the Breaking Out game Bricks of Atlantis, one of the fish species that can be summoned is swordfishes, which break blocks by ramming bill-first into them.
  • Donkey Kong:
    • Enguarde the Swordfish is an Animal Friend that occasionally helps the Kongs in some Under the Sea levels. He first appears in Donkey Kong Country, where he drastically improves their underwater speed and can use its bill to attack enemies. He reappears in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, where he gains a Superstab move that can even break through walls and defeat entire lines of enemies with his rostrum.
    • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has yellow sawfish enemies known as Mama Saws. Even with a screw attack, DK will take damage from their spiky snouts should he come in contact with them.
  • In Insaniquarium, Itchy the Swordfish is a pet that can damage aliens with his bill.
  • Kirby's Epic Yarn introduced the Sawgill enemies, which are little more than blue sawfishes that can damage Kirby with their pronged snouts. They reappear in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, in which their bills have been redesigned to look like giant yet fortunately static chainsaws.
  • Terraria
    • One can catch a swordfish by fishing. It turns out the fish makes an perfectly fine spear. And by fishing in laval, one can catch an Obsidian Swordfish, which makes an even better spear.
    • Similarly, the guy that catches a Sawtooth Shark can enjoy a nice chainsaw.
  • Sawfish enemies appear in Wario Land 2. They ram into Wario at high speeds and can damage him with their serrated bills.

Web Animation

  • During the Food Fight in the season 2 premier of RWBY, Weiss uses a swordfish to mimic her rapier.
  • The Weebl song "Narwhals" refers to the eponymous aquatic mammals as "the Jedi of the Sea", accompanied by the image of narwhals with lightsaber-tusks.

Western Animation

  • In Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, the villain Captain Gutt uses the skull of a sawfish as a sword.
  • In the Mickey Mouse cartoon "Shanghaied", Mickey fights Peg Leg Pete with a mounted swordfish.
  • In The Octonauts the episode "The Swashbuckling Swordfish" has Kwazii speaking of the legend of the "Flying Swords", which turns out to be a trio of swordfish. Kwazii encounters them while hunting for treasure and actually engages them in swordplay for a while, but ultimately ends up helping them and they all part on good terms.
  • In the Spongebob Squarepants episode One Krab's Trash, Mr. Krabs fights a horde of undead fishes with the skull of a swordfish that was among his assailants, which he uses as a typical saber.
  • In Total Drama World Tour, the episode "Planes, Trains, and Hot Air Mobiles" has Alejandro and Cody duelling each other with swordfish as weapons.
  • In one episode of Vicky the Viking's cartoon adaptation, a local finds the severed saw from a small pink sawfish and decides to use it as a saw despite the sawfish's protests. In revenge, it, along with a school of other sawfishes, saws holes in a drakkar and sink it.

Feedback: 31 replies

Sep 30th 2017 at 3:54:17 PM

During the Food Fight in the season 2 premier of RWBY, Weiss uses a swordfish to mimic her rapier.

Sep 30th 2017 at 6:34:17 PM

  • In Total Drama World Tour, the episode "Planes, Trains, and Hot Air Mobiles" has Alejandro and Cody duelling each other with swordfish as weapons.

Sep 30th 2017 at 8:52:23 PM

  • In Finding Nemo, a pair of swordfishs were fencing each other while gossiping about Marlin's exploits.

Sep 30th 2017 at 11:23:36 PM

  • De-capitalized (Fiction, Aliens).
  • Examples section
    • Corrected spelling (one of the fish species...are -> is, andcan use it's bill -> and can use its bill, entires lines -> entire, a horse of undead fishes -> host, assaillants).

Oct 1st 2017 at 2:12:51 AM

During the Bar Room Brawl in Bimini in Licence To Kill, one of the mooks attempts to skewer Bond with a stuffed marlin head he grabs of the wall.

Oct 1st 2017 at 3:20:00 AM

  • In the CSI New York episode "Dancing with the Fishes", one of the cases is a fish merchant who was stabbed with one of his own catch. It turns out that he was stabbed by a client who runs an upscale restaurant, who was bitter that the middle class fishermonger's son got into an exclusive pre-school (after he wrote a letter of introduction, assuming that the fisherman's son had no chance, but it would leave him indebted to him), while his own didn't.

Oct 1st 2017 at 3:44:46 AM

Sawfishes, another type of fish (closely related to sharks) with equally elongated, spiky snout, can be similarly weaponized in fiction.

Oct 1st 2017 at 9:04:38 AM

  • For another similar animal, in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, the damage from Nautilus' ram was initially mistaken for one by a giant narwhal .
  • One episode of Weird Science had the heroes trapped in a slasher movie. They managed to kill the murderer by running him through with a stuffed swordfish - or so they thought; after all, a slasher movie murderer never dies on the first try.

Oct 1st 2017 at 5:30:02 PM

  • In The Octonauts the episode "The Swashbuckling Swordfish" has Kwazii speaking of the legend of the "Flying Swords", which turns out to be a trio of swordfish. Kwazii encounters them while hunting for treasure and actually engages them in swordplay for a while, but ultimately ends up helping them and they all part on good terms.

Oct 2nd 2017 at 12:08:37 AM

Do sawfish and narwhal examples fit due to Tropes Are Flexible? They are still aquatic animals with dangerous weapons on their nose.

Oct 2nd 2017 at 12:22:57 AM

^ I second this addition, provided some examples can be found to justify it.

Oct 2nd 2017 at 1:01:26 AM

^ There are already the Ice Age 4 Continental Drift and the Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea examples suggested above, plus there's this one:

Web Original:

  • The Weebl song "Narwhals" refers to the eponymous aquatic mammals as "the Jedi of the Sea", accompanied by the image of narwhals with lightsaber-tusks.

Oct 2nd 2017 at 9:32:27 AM

^ Added. The trope might deserve an alternate title "Sawfish Stiletto" to list it in the pages from works with a sawfish-example. Does someone know how to add one?

Oct 2nd 2017 at 6:42:39 AM

  • Get Smart no one uses it, but when Max and the Chief crash into a hut while driving, we get this gem.
    Chief: I don't know. Are you thinking 'Holy shit! Holy shit! A swordfish almost went through my head!'? If so, yes!

Oct 2nd 2017 at 1:25:59 PM

According to the Other Wiki, Vicky The Viking features a sawfish getting used as a tool. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out the context.

Oct 2nd 2017 at 1:44:58 PM

^Found it. Although now that the trope features both Sawfish and Swordfishes are featured, it may need a rename since stiletto doesn't apply too much with sawfishes... Swordfish Slaughter with Sawfish Slaughter as an alternate perhaps?

Oct 2nd 2017 at 11:35:58 PM

I don't know... the seafood part is less indicative since it cancels the "fish" idea...

Oct 2nd 2017 at 11:37:10 PM

Besides not every use or them is swordfighting

Oct 3rd 2017 at 5:40:14 AM

That could work. But doesn't slaughter resume the essence of the trope better? Or is it only used when living creatures are hurt (which is often but not always the case of the trope)

I am not a native speaker (my first language would be French) therefore some English subtilities are unknown to me

Oct 3rd 2017 at 6:33:43 AM

I'm not a native speaker either. Maybe create a Crowner for the name?

Oct 3rd 2017 at 8:35:11 AM

^^ "Slaughter" does very much imply a lot of people or creatures getting killed at once. At least to me, "Swordfish Slaughter" implies a lot of swordfish being killed (or at least swordfish killing a lot of things) more than sea life with pointed extremities being used as improvised weapons.

Perhaps a crowner would be a good idea.

Oct 3rd 2017 at 9:14:41 AM

I tried to open one there:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/AlternativeTitles/SwordfishStiletto?open=all#nfgb679w

Since I have no experience I'm not sure I did everything right though

Oct 3rd 2017 at 9:27:44 AM

Expanding on the Terraria since the trope is being broadened, not sure how much of this fits:

There are several catchable fishes: -Swordfish: obviously based on a swordfish, it works like a spear. -Sawtooth shark: based on a sawfish, it works like a chainsaw. -Reaver shark: based on a hammerhead shark, it works like a pickaxe. -Rockfish: based on a rockfish, it works like a hammer. -Purple clubberfish: it doesn't seem to be based on a specific fish (as far as I know). and although it seems to be a mace, the game handles all maces like swords. -Obsidian swordfish: like the normal swordfish, only it's much more powerful and it's caught in lava instead of the ocean.

Oct 3rd 2017 at 11:20:53 AM

^^ Looks right to me.

Oct 4th 2017 at 3:02:27 AM

I'm trying to find how to add alternate titles to a trope on the Administrivia but can't seem to find anything... Does anyone know how to do that?

Oct 4th 2017 at 3:34:44 AM

^ Alternate titles are called "Redirects". Here is how you make them: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Administrivia/CreatingNewRedirects

Oct 4th 2017 at 7:42:43 AM

In the Mickey Mouse cartoon "Shanghaied", Mickey fights Peg Leg Pete with a mounted swordfish.

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