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Clingy Aquatic Life

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Hey, I think you've got something on your... never mind...

"I'm wet, I'm cold, there's a fish on my head, and clearly I'm not gonna be able to do this on my own."
Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

A character that ends up in a body of water may not emerge alone. Often, they'll come out with animals or plants attached to them. It may be grabbing on to them, draped over them, or even in their mouth! The types of creatures vary too — they can be anything from starfish to octopuses to crabs, and even seaweed or other plants!

It's more often than not Played for Laughs, and just how the creatures got there are left to the viewer's imagination. Some instances however do play this for horror or at least ickiness (some animals like leeches or candiru fish simply invoke too much nausea in audiences) and in general this trope is rooted on how sea life is "disgusting" to most people's sensibilities, implying at least some Cringe Comedy by default.

May overlap with Clam Trap and Piranha Problem. Supertrope to Instant Leech: Just Fall in Water!. Compare Sea Hurtchin.


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  • At one point in this animated ad for Duolingo, a woman is sitting on a floatie when a giant wave crashes over her. When the wave is gone, she has her entire head stuck in the mouth of a giant fish. The fish stays on her head for the rest of the ad.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt has its protagonists fall into the ocean naked and emerge covered with starfish and molluscs. It is implied that Panty finds the sensation arousing.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In Flying Island: The Sky Adventure episode 33, General Balloon describes the goats as having "fire-like passion". His soldiers take his words literally, saying they'll put the fire out after soaking the General with water, leaving some sea plants, an octopus, and a starfish clinging to him.

    Comic Books 
  • Tintin:
    • In "The Red Sea Sharks", Captain Haddock falls off the raft and comes up spitting out a fish. He falls off again later, coming up wearing a jellyfish as a hat, allowing Tintin to make a pun on the raft of the medusa.
    • In "Red Rackham's Treasure", the Thompsons are pinched by crabs when they make landfall at an unknown island.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Emperor's New Groove: When Kronk accidentally pulls the trapdoor lever, Yzma falls through and lands with a splash offscreen. She then reenters the room with an alligator biting her dress. She smacks it, and it scrambles away and whimpers like a dog. The same thing happens to Kuzco when he and Pacha try to enter Yzma's lab later in the movie.
  • Lilo & Stitch: Pleakley comes crawling out of the Pacific Ocean complaining about the wildlife, and also covered in it.
  • Madagascar: When the animals wash up on the shores of Madagascar, Gloria comes out of the water with seaweed on her head to look like long hair, as well as two starfish and a crab stuck to her body, positioned to look like she's wearing a bikini.
    Gloria: All righty, boys, fun's over.
    (the starfish and crab jump off and leave)
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Forgotten Friendship, Fluttershy comes out of the sea under a beach blanket covered in algae, leading Pinkie Pie and Spike to confuse her for a sea monster.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Fantastic Voyage, when miniaturized Raquel Welch goes swimming in a vein, intruder-destroying Seeker White Blood Cells attack and plaster themselves all over her. When she makes it back to the ship, the other crew members frantically pull the sticky BlobMonsters off her before they can kill her.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), after being told to head west to get to San Francisco, Sonic returns to Tom's car with a fish, a starfish and some seaweed stuck to his head, having hit the Pacific Ocean.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Jonathan Birds Blue World: Invoked in the episode on Sea Stars. At the beginning, Jonathan rises up out of the water with a starfish on his head, with the implication that he put it there for a laugh.

    Video Games 
  • The Overwatch supplemental web comic Binary starts with Bastion rising out of the sea with a starfish stuck to the side of its head, another starfish attached to its chest, and a large octopus sitting on its shoulder.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: The zombies that arise from the bottom of the pool are covered in some sort of seaweed.
    • And in the sequel, the Octo Zombie is covered in many octopides (or however you're supposed to pluralize it).
  • MouseHunt's 2017 Halloween theme has Sickly Green Glowing Ghost Ships featuring Calamity Carl the sailor as a green-glowing-eyed ghost with a starfish stuck to his face.

    Web Comics 
  • This xkcd strip features Napoléon Bonaparte escaping from St. Helena and swimming back to Europe with an octopus clinging to his hat.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In "Return to Omashu", the purple pentapus was seen in a bucket filled with water and inside a sewer when the gang used it to enter Omashu. They are known to be clingy unless it was stroked in the head and leaves behind spots which they used to explain a fake disease, pentapox.
    • In "The Swamp", when the gang fell into the Foggy Swamp, Sokka emerged with an elbow leech on his... elbow. It got a Call-Back in The Legend of Korra when Toph (ironically, "The Swamp" was Toph's first early appearance prior to her actual introduction) pulls off an elbow leech that Korra failed to notice.
  • Cat Burglar: In the scene where Rowdy makes Peanut fall asleep by playing a violin, Rowdy puts Peanut in a box that goes on a delivery truck, then a plane, then a boat that hits an iceberg and sinks into the ocean. Peanut walks back to the security office wrapped in seaweed, and with a starfish on his face.
  • On Futurama, Leela falls into a mutagenic lake. At first it appears that she has an octopus for a head, but it turns out to be a real octopus atop her head. An octopus that used to be a little girl named Virginia.
  • Steven Universe: In one episode, the Crystal Gems just barely get away from a flooding underwater temple. When they get out, we see a fish in Amethyst's mouth, an octopus on Garnet's head, and seaweed on Pearl's face. A couple seconds later, Garnet points out that Pearl also has a lobster on her butt.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: In "PPOV (Pony Point of View)", the boat capsizes off-screen and Rarity, Applejack, and Pinkie all come out of the ocean covered in seaweed. When Rarity cleans up later, she even finds a crab hiding in her mane. Making it especially silly, it's eventually revealed the water where they sank was only a few feet deep.
  • DuckTales (2017): In "The Depths of Cousin Fethry", when Launchpad comes back from his adventure with Oceanika, he is covered in seaweed and has an octopus and a starfish latched onto his back and a moray wrapped around his arm.