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Seahorses Are Dragons

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Seahorses are one of nature's Mix-and-Match Critters. Essentially, it is a fish, but with the tail of a monkey, the pouch (in males) of a kangaroo, swiveling eyes like a chameleon, encased in bony armor plating, swimming upright using its dorsal fin, and with a snout more like a snorkel than anything else nature has come up with. These odd features have led it to be associated with Eastern Dragons. According to some legends a seahorse is a baby dragon, and thus seahorses are often tied to dragons. Like Dinosaurs Are Dragons, this is largely an Eastern culture trope: most notably, the Japanese word for seahorse, tatsu-no-otoshigo, literally means "dragon's bastard child."

See Legendary Carp for another animal that turns into a dragon in Japanese Mythology. Also connected to Seahorse Steed, which are often large and rather like sea dragons.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Digimon
    • The seahorse-like Babydmon evolves into Dracomon and successive dragon-themed mons.
    • Seahomon has an attack called (depending on the translation) Dragon Noise or Dragon Drop.
  • In Fruits Basket Hatori Sohma is one of several Sohmas who are under the family's Hereditary Curse of turning into one of the animals of the Eastern Zodiac when embraced by someone of the opposite sex who isn't cursed; in his case, he's the Dragon. However, he transforms into a seahorse instead, something that is embarrassing and quite dangerous to him if he's not near a body of water. According to Shigure, the fact that he turns into a seahorse instead of a dragon is a sign that the Sohma family curse is weakening.
  • In In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki, Team Dragon note  is one of the twelve teams based on the Eastern Zodiac. In the anime, their team dormitory is represented by a picture of a sea horse.
  • Naruto the Movie: Road to Ninja has Seiryu of the Nine Masked Beasts, who is described as seahorse-looking and translates to "Azure Dragon".
  • An Anime Only arc of One Piece features the character, Tatsu, who is a memory stealing seahorse who dreams of becoming a Sennenryu, a dragon that lives for 1000 years before giving birth and dying.

    Card Games 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The Kaiser Seahorse can be used as an easier way to summon a Blue Eyes White Dragon in addition to the name "Kaiba" literally meaning "Seahorse" or by extension "Young Dragon".
    • There is also a card called Thunder Seahorse which is very similar to an older card called Thunder Dragon.
    • Tatsunoko (whose name translates to “Dragon’s Child) is a more straight example than the aforementioned two in that it is a Wyrm-type (Genryū or Phantom Dragon in the OCG), bears a strong resemblance to a seahorse, and becomes an actual Dragon-type called Coral Dragon.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Aquaman (2018): The Atlantans' Beasts of Battle include giant seahorses with the heads of Western dragons and fins resembling batlike wings. Concept art even refers to them as "Sea Dragons".

  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The sigil of House Velaryon is a seahorse. Among Westerosi nobility, they are the closest in terms of genetics and culture to House Targaryen, whose sigil is a three-headed dragon and who once rode dragons before they went extinct. Like the Targaryens, they are a house of Old Valyrian origin, although they moved to Westeros centuries before the Targaryens did. Despite being non-dragonlords, they are the only other Westerosi house whose members could ride dragons, thanks to extensive Targaryen-Velaryon intermarriage.

    Live-Action Television 
  • Symbolically with House of the Dragon: The Velaryons are a family of Wooden Ships and Iron Men with a hippocampus (stylized seahorse) as sigil. Through Corlys Velaryon marrying Rhaenys Targaryen, a whole brood of Velaryon Dragon Riders was born, since Targaryens are seemingly the only humans gifted enough to ride dragons.

    Video Games 
  • Adventure: Dragons are depicted as looking like seahorses.
  • Aquaria plays with this just a bit. Seahorses are friendly, can be ridden around for a speed boost, and whinny when interacted with. Seadragons (see below, under Real Life), on the other hand, are hostile, breathe fire, and roar very loudly when they spot you.
  • Dragon City has the Seahorse Dragon, which looks entirely like a normal, albeit colorful, seahorse with dragon wings.
  • Dragon Quest has the Quayhorse and Wharfhorse, which are both based on seahorses. They are anthropomorphic seahorse warriors about the size of grown men and often have the same Breath Weapon abilities as other dragons in the series. In the Monsters games and other spinoffs, they are counted as part of the Dragon family.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Giant Fist: Live in the lava of Magarda Volcano? Breathe fire? That's a seahorse alright.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening: The redesign for Manaketes is based on the real-life leafy seadragon, a type of seahorse relative.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] has the Tatsu Steed and the Tatsu Blaze, both look like winged seahorses. Additionally, Tatsu is an old Japanese word for dragon.
  • In The Legend of Dragoon there's a monster which looks like a winged seahorse with fire on his tail and referred to as "Dragon".
  • Metroid had "Dragons" which resemble red seahorses. Dragons are an interesting case because their fire breathing powers are more reminiscent of western dragons, which are unconnected to seahorses.
  • In Ōkamiden the new brush gods are the children of the previous brush gods; the children of Yomigami, the dragon god of rejuvenation, are a pair of seahorses.
  • Pokémon:
    • The Horsea line are all classified as "Dragon Pokémon" in the Pokédex. Horsea and Seadra are not Dragon-type Pokémon, but their evolution Kingdra (based on the weedy sea dragon) is.
    • Pokémon X and Y introduce Skrelp, a Poison/Water type leafy sea dragon who evolves into Dragalge, a Poison/Dragon leafy sea dragon.
  • Skylanders: Echo is a water dragon who resembles a seahorse.
  • Super Mario Land:
    • The boss Dragon Zamasu resembles a large, spiny seahorse and can spit fireballs.
    • The Yurarin and weaker Yurarin Boo are seahorse-like mooks that spit fire at Mario.
  • Ultima: Don't underestimate seahorses. They might look like they're a normal everyday seahorse, but they're on par with the local sea-serpents. They are not only capable of speech, but magic as well, and if provoked they will spit fireballs at you until you flee or are vaporized. You can fight them and even defeat them, but it's honestly not worth it — their HP and strength are ridiculously high, their experience and treasure values stink, and they're natural creatures, meaning that killing them reduces your Compassion and Justice scores. You'd make more profit and be at much less risk of humiliating death just by punching a couple of slimes instead.
    Spoony: The instructions book certainly tells you that these sadistic fishfuckers will pump 1.21 gigawatts right up your ass.
  • In Virtual Boy Wario Land, Sea Dragon Wario can breathe fire out of his seahorse snout.

    Real Life 
  • Weedy seadragons, ruby seadragons and leafy seadragons, are aquatic seahorse relatives that have plant-like growths on them for camouflage in their seaweed habitat. While not dragons themselves (obviously), they are named after them and resemble small sea dragons.
  • The U.S. Navy operates the MH-53 Sea Dragon special-ops helicopter. What makes it an example of this trope is the fact that it's a variant of the CH-53 Sea Stallion, a helicopter whose name makes it a literal "sea horse".