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Electric Jellyfish

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Rusty: Yeah, you're an Electric-type! That's why you got all those wires!
Tentacool's ghost: Wh--I clearly am not! I've got a whole jellyfish thing going on!
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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.

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Sub-Trope of Artistic License – Marine Biology. Compare to The Coconut Effect and Thunder Beetle (particularly fireflies).


Examples

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    Advertising 
  • Froot Loops: In Froot Loops: Adventures with the Toucans, Toucan Sam and his nephews discovered several bowls full of the titular cereal until a giant electric jellyfish with a surfer accent appeared and chased them out. One of the nephews lured him with the net full of cereal and trapped him in a submerged car.

    Anime & Manga 
  • 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 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.

    Fan Works 
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    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. 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.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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 Doctor Who episode "Let's Kill Hitler" had robotic/cybernetic jellyfish as part of the Tesselecta's defenses. And yes, they were electric.
  • 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 discharges in the coated person's sweat.

    Podcasts 
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • Age of Mythology: One of the mythological units 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.
  • Prevalent enemies in the underwater levels of Alundra 2.
  • Aquaria has at least one species of electric jellyfish enemy.
  • The Cnidaria in ARK: Survival Evolved have electric attacks on close range.
  • Beyond Good & Evil: The Jellies shock Pey'j the first time you encounter them. It's unclear if they actually use electrical attacks outside the one cutscene.
  • The seventh boss of Blaster Master: Enemy Below is an electric jellyfish. He only moves around and shoots an easily dodged lightning bolt.
  • Brave Hero Yuusha: Electroozies, which are floating Oozies that resemble jellyfish.
  • Chantelise: One of the bosses that can shoot a line of electricity out of its Combat Tentacles.
  • 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.
  • Stingers in Darkest Dungeon are eldritch jellyfish with the Shocker ability, which only deals minor damage but also stuns the target.
  • 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.
  • Donkey Kong Jungle Beat has regular jellyfish, which can easily be destroyed, and electric Jellyfish, which can only be destroyed by an Orca whale.
  • Don't Starve: The Shipwrecked expansion adds electric jellyfish.
  • The Jitterjellies in Drakensang Online which fire ranged lightning bolts that cause stun on impact as well as explode into lightning upon death.
  • 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.
  • 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 Flintstones for the Sega Genesis has jellyfish that project electric fields all around them in the Under the Sea stage.
  • The Freddi Fish series has some in Freddi Fish and Luther's Water Worries and in Freddi Fish 4.
  • 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.
  • In Hollow Knight, Uoma and Ooma, which hover in the air of Fog Canyon, look like jellyfish crackling with electric charges. They don't seem to have any electric attacks, however, though Ooma has a nasty tendency to explode if you attack it. The boss version, Uumuu, does send electric attacks after you.
  • Kirby's Dream Land 2: Master Green is a jellyfish miniboss that, when swallowed, gives the Spark ability.
  • The Ice Mountain Zone in Sonic Advance has these. Justified because they're robots.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Mega Man X
    • In Mega Man X8 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.
    • Mega Man X2 has the Jelly Seekers in Bubble Crab's stage.
  • 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.
  • Metroid: Metroids 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.
  • Octogeddon: Several electric jellyfishes can appear in various levels. They are invincible and slowly approach Octogeddon. Unless blown away with the Elephant tentacle, they will zap and paralyse the octopus for a few seconds.
  • Outer Wilds: One of the game's planets, an ocean world, features several large glowing jellyfish whose tentacles emit a zap powerful enough to shut down your ship's electronics.
  • Pokémon: Downplayed. Most jellyfish Pokémon focus on poison-based attacks, but a few learn a handful of Electric-type moves — the Frillish line can learn Shock Wave, through tutoring, while Nihilego, a jellyfish Ultra Beast, can learn a few Electric moves naturally. Notably, as most jellyfish Pokémon are Water-types, they're actually weak to electricity.
  • 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.
  • Ristar.: Electric jellyfish inhabit the water levels.
  • 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.
  • Snailiad has these as an Invincible Minor Minion, at least until you get the Devastator.
  • Something Else: One of the obstacles in Electricave. Since they are sprite swaps of the Boo Ceiling, they are annoying to deal with.
  • Stirring Abyss: Lampshaded. They're basic enemies but the autopsy points out that jellyfish don't actually do this, which should be your first clue that something else is going on.
  • Sub Culture had electric jellyfish, too, justified as mutations resulting from pollution.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. 3: Jelectros are jellyfish-like enemies that are depicted with pulsing electrical effects, although in practice they simply deal typical collision damage.
    • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars has Leukos, which can actually fire thunderbolts.
    • Super Mario Galaxy: Aquatic areas often contain enormous nondescript jellies that visibly surge with electricity.
    • Super Mario Maker: In the underwater Super Mario Bros. 3 theme, Spike Traps turn into the aforementioned Jelectros, though they're still referred to as Spike Traps by the game itself. They appear in the exact same fashion in Super Mario Maker 2, though there they have their proper name.
  • Tak and the Power of Juju: These act as Border Patrol in the water on Chicken Island.
  • Wii Party: Some electrified jellyfishes act as hazards during the minigame "Pearl Plunder".
  • The World Ends with You: Several kinds of Noise are this type. And they drop the "Jelly" pin, which has you scratch a space to release an electric charge.

    Webcomics 
  • Surprising Octeal references this trope with Kimiko, a girl who loves jellyfish and developed a power to generate electricity due to her misconception of jellyfish.

    Web Animation 
  • In the AstroLOLogy short "Like Me, Please!", Cancer takes a selfie underwater with a school of jellyfish, one of which latches onto her face and zaps her as surging noises can be heard.

    Web Original 
  • Hector's World: When Tama the jellyfish stings things, there's a white light and a zapping noise.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: One of Ben's new transformations, AmpFibian, is an anthropomorphic jellyfish with electrical powers. This comes with the ability to float, become intangible, and telepathy, all with an electrokinetic basis.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: The jellyfishes' attacks are always shown as bolts of electricity, even though they're described as "stings". They've even burned a few characters.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Water War", the hydroid medusas are colossal jellyfish whose tentacles constantly crackle with electricity and can induce fatal electrocution with a touch. In this case, this is justified due to them not being natural animals, but partly mechanical cyborgs created for war.
  • Total Drama: One challenge in "Who Can You Trust?" is for one camper to jump blindfolded from a platform towards a pool filled with literal electric jellyfish. A teammate is to play acrobat and catch them mid-fall, which scores their team a point. The Killer Bass get through it fine with Harold catching Bridgette, but Lindsay's poor timing means Heather falls right in. She clambers out of the pool with a jellyfish stuck to her that continues to periodically shock her.

 
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Video Example(s):

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Pinky-powered generator

Squidward exploits this trope by tricking a Pinky into shocking a chargeless generator in order to activate it.

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