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.
- 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!
- 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. This is probably for Rule of Perception; the dialogue is specific about the stings delivering venom, but we the audience can't actually see that, or tell that the fish are getting stung without sound effects. The anemone in Finding Dory similarly has an electric sound effect when touched.
- Interestingly, the burnlike scars are Truth in Television—real life jellyfish stings can leave nasty scarring that can (though not always) make one look as though they've been burned severely.
- The Jellyfish in Shark Tale also have paralyzing zaps.
- The film adaptation of Stormbreaker includes a Portuguese Man-O'War. Not only does it look completely inaccurate (the Man-O'War isn't even a jellyfish) but it sting/shocks a fish at one point and reduces it to a skeleton.
- The Man-O'War is also in the book, but it is portrayed realistically.
- Surprisingly averted in the "Giant Jumbo Jellyfish" scene from Birdemic 2: The Resurrection, probably because they didn't have a graphic for that. However, the extent of the stings is ridiculous, given that the victim has stings all over her arm (which the jellyfish never touched).
- A later episode of The X-Files featured microscopic jellyfish that accumulated on the skins of people in a subway network's tunnels, eventually causing crackling, coruscating electrical burns that melt tissue. Justified (clumsily) with the Techno Babble claim that the jellyfish weren't the source of the electricity; rather, they caused massive static discarges in the coated person's sweat.
- The Doctor Who episode "Let's Kill Hitler" had robotic/cybernetic jellyfish as part of the Tesselecta's defenses. And yes, they were electric.
- Played with in The Almighty Johnsons. When Axl (who is Odin) goes into the water and gets some bad electric burns, his date assumes it was jellyfish, which Axl clearly doesn't quite believe. A few episodes later, we find out that it was actually Ægir (personification of the sea) expressing his disapproval at the situation with Jörmungandr, which he blames on Odin.
Ægir: Next time you throw a metaphorical sea serpent into the ocean, maybe look a thousand years into the future to when it's a grown metaphorical sea serpent!
- The Adventure Zone: Balance: the Voidfish is capable of discharging a shock so powerful that when it electrocuted Mannequin!Magnus, his backup body felt it.
- 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.
- Mega Man X
- 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.
- Kirby's Dream Land 2 gives us Master Green, a jellyfish miniboss that when swallowed gives the Spark ability.
- There's also the Jellies from Kirby's Epic Yarn.
- 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 them in the Under the Sea stage.
- Stingers in Darkest Dungeon are eldritch jellyfish with the Shocker ability, which only deals minor damage but also stuns the target.
- One naval unit in Age of Mythology, the Man O' War, resembles a giant jellyfish. It attacks by firing lightning bolts from one of its tentacles.
- Downplayed in Pokémon. Of the two families based on jellyfish, only the Frillish line can learn an electric attacknote , and the very common Tentacool line have a more realistic poison typing. Being water types, both of them are actually WEAK to electricity.
- Nihilego, a non-Water-type jellyfish Ultra Beast, is also able to learn Electric-type moves, despite not being an Electric-type either.
- Chantelise: One of the bosses that can shoot a line of electricity out of its Combat Tentacles.
- Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale: A game in the same universe has the same boss, but also a harder one that is in red.
- Brave Hero Yuusha: Electroozies, which are floating Oozies that resemble jellyfish.
- Some electrified jellyfishes act as hazard during the Wii Party minigame Pearl Plunder.
- Total Drama features a pool of jellyfish that has electricity visibly surging through the water.
- In SpongeBob SquarePants, the jellyfish's attacks are always shown as bolts of electricity, even though they're described as "stings". They've even burned a few characters.
- One of the newest aliens in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, called AmpFibian, seems to be this.
- The alien that impregnates Carl in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.
- The Hidroidmedusas from the first episode of Season 4 Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Justified because they're "half machine".
- According to some accounts, jellyfish stings can certainly feel like an electric shock or a severe burn, and can even leave scars that reinforce this idea. Obviously, this isn't the result of an actual electric shock, though, but the venom in the jelly's tentacles that attacks the nervous system to paralyze potential prey.