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Sweet Seal

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A TV Tropes seal of adorableness!

Seals are almost universally beloved for their chunkiness and playful behavior. Their face looks similar to a dog or catnote , making them the aquatic version of a Precious Puppy or Cute Kitten. This often carries over into fiction, when seals are portrayed as adorable and benevolent characters. One common kind of seal that is depicted are baby harp seals, which have plump bodies in snow white coats, big dark eyes and are entirely helpless on the ice. To make them even cuter, they may be depicted balancing a ball on their head or nose.

Although sea lions are much rarer in fiction than seals are, they can be included here too. Sea lions as well as their close cousins, the fur seals, are different from true seals — they have ear flaps, flippers that allow them to "walk" on land, and more — but the pinnipeds are similar enough that a separate trope for sea lions isn't necessary.

Selkies and Wereseals can also be included.

Compare Warm-Hearted Walrus, Playful Otter, Friendly, Playful Dolphin, and Heroic Dolphin. Contrast Monstrous Seal. Has nothing to do with a certain British R&B singer.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Jonathan from Kaleido Star is a cute little baby seal that Sora adopts as a pet.
  • The San-X Mamegoma characters are a species of cute small seals who resemble harp seals. They eventually got their own anime series called Kupū~!! Mamegoma! in 2009.
  • Selkie from My Hero Academia is a superhero who looks like a humanoid seal and has the abilities of one (like breathing underwater and using echolocation), and he often tries to invoke this trope by acting cute because he thinks children will love it. Unfortunately, his appearance is a bit too intimidating for it to work, though Tsuyu secretly thinks it's cute.
  • A Polar Bear in Love: Seal may be a timid baby harp seal (especially around Polar Bear), but he's ultimately good-hearted.
  • Sanrio gives us Badtz-Maru's friend Hana-Maru. Hana-Maru is a good natured seal compared to Badtz-Maru who is always causing trouble and mischief. This is more notable in the anime Hello Kitty's Animation Theater which places Sanrio characters in roles as fairy tales characters.
  • Kururun from Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cure is the fairy mascot of the team, appearing like a small plush-like seal that talks in Pokémon Speak.

    Comic Strips 
  • Sherman's Lagoon:
    • Played with in one storyline where Fillmore meets a pair of sea lions named Barry and Larry. They act friendly towards Fillmore and Hawthorne, but act hostile towards Sherman and Megan.
    • Again played with in a storyline where a group of seals hold a convention in the lagoon. They're genuinely friendly, but a rowdy bunch of party animals.

    Films — Animation 
  • Fluke and Rudder from Finding Dory. Though both, especially Fluke, have deep voice, they are benevolent sea lions who help Marlin and Nemo in the search for Dory as the title of the film suggests.
  • Happy Feet Two has the adorable elephant seal pup brothers Shane and Darren, the sons of The Beachmaster.
  • Stefano the Sea Lion from Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is a goofy, adorkable circus animal who becomes a friend of the four protagonists, especially Marty the Zebra.
  • Subverted in Penguins of Madagascar with Short Fuse, a tiny, fluffy seal with a high-pitched voice who is also the demolition expert for the North Wind, a secret animal agency.
  • Saoirse from Song of the Sea is an adorable little girl who is a selkie, and thus can shapeshift into an equally adorable little seal. She becomes friends with a group of normal, non-shapeshifting seals who are almost as cute as her.
  • The Direct to Video Animated Adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet story, Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss. It's a retelling of the story but with most of the main cast (except for a sea otter, a guppy and various sea creatures) being seals, especially sea lions and elephant seals. Romeo and Juliet are portrayed as adorable young sea lions.
  • Seal Team (2021) is an animated movie featuring a heroic team of seals battling it out against sharks.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The 1994 film Andre focuses on a girl who befriends a marine sea lion named Andre. The film is based on a true story of a similar encounter from 1962.
  • Nim's Island has a sea lion who serves as a pet and companion to a young girl who lives on an island with her father. When her father leaves the island for a while, it's up to the girl and the sea lion to protect the island from any trespassers.
  • In the live-action Disney film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Captain Nemo (and later, Ned Land) gets a Nonhuman Sidekick in the form of Esmeralda the Sea Lion, in true Disney tradition.

  • In the story "The White Seal" from The Jungle Book, the protagonist is Kotick, an albino fur seal. At the beginning of the story, he is a cute and naive pup. However, he grows up over the course of the story and by the finale he is a huge, badass fighter capable of frightening off ''every other seal on the beach.''
  • Redwall: A few seals and sea lions appear in the series, and they're Always Lawful Good.
  • Robby the Seal (Robbe), from the Dutch-German children's book series The Little Polar Bear (known as "Lars der kleine eisbär" in Germany, and "Lars de kleine ijsbeer" in The Netherlands). The protagonist named Lars first befriends him after exploring the Arctic by himself but later stumbles upon a young seal. Robby and Lars decide to play together and even head back to Lars' home where he asks his father if he can go play with his new friends. However, after Lars learns that he can't become friends with Robby, he decides to walk back to him and tell him that they can't be friends. Robby is already aware of the situation and can be seen crying quietly by himself. Eventually Lars' father and the other seals come to terms and agree that Lars and Robby are now best friends.
  • Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis: The Hrossa (singular: Hross) are 7 foot tall seal-like aliens that befriend the protagonist. Like the other two sapient races on Mars, they're uncorrupted by Original Sin.

  • The song "Lazy Harp Seal Has No Job" by Parry Gripp is about a harp seal who is extremely popular with the ladies despite not doing anything but lying around and being cute, which makes a photographer with an expensive camera and jacket jealous of him.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Igloo-Gloo: Snowflake and Snowball are adorable, curious, sweet, and playful baby harp seals.
  • Sesame Street:
    • Wolfgang is an excitable seal who communicates through a series of barks. If he so much as hears the word "fish", he is apt to go into a frenzy, so other characters have to avoid saying the word in his presence.
    • There is one song called "Swim Like Sea Lions" that features footage of children swimming along with sea lions.note 

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon:
    • Seel and Dewgong resemble harp seals with little tusks!
    • Spheal is a little ball-like seal with little tusks like Dewgong, and is cute to the point of being a Memetic Mutation on its own.
    • Popplio is a plucky little Non-Ironic Clown sea lion. Its evolution, Brionne, is just as energetic and sweet, while Primarina, its final evolution, is a beautiful opera singer resembling a mermaid.
  • In Spyro: Year of the Dragon, Spyro meets some friendly seals on the Sapphire Shores level.
  • Clapper the Seal is a friendly character who helps the Kongs in the Donkey Kong Country games in some manner. He shows up in a few levels of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and may be the pirate-dressed seal you find in Donkey Kong 64.
  • Rhythm Heaven Fever has a game called "Flipper Flop", where four baby harp seals dance by rolling around.
  • A Hat in Time's DLC "Seal the Deal" have the crewmen of the S.S. LITERALLY Can't Sink, a group of childlike seals with a speech impediment emphasizing their cuteness. Their cuteness is pretty much the only thing they have going on, as through their sheer incompetence, the Arctic Cruise is extremely hazardous.
  • The Team Fortress 2 map "Selbyen" is set in a Norwegian fishing village that releases seals back to the ocean. The gameplay objective is to kill the other team and feed the fish they drop to the seals as they flop their way towards the water.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • In Sister Claire, Gabby the Selkie is an adorable seal pup or a cute, chubby human girl when she's on land.
  • In Shallowskin, Merril is a laid-back Selkie in a guise of a seal who was patient and nice enough to listen to Browne's problems and thoughts.
  • Subverted in Wondermark in a famous strip where an annoying sea lion constantly pesters a woman to give him sources to back up her negative opinion. "Sea Lion" has hence passed into internet slang to mean a certain type of The Gadfly who harasses people with unwanted requests for debate.

    Web Original 
  • Awkward Moment Seal is a little elephant seal who seemingly has a horrified expression on his big-eyed face. The memes he's used in are about him getting into awkward situations and reacting with embarrassment.
  • Seal of Approval is a Weddell seal with a blissful look on his face. The memes he's used in describe feelings that the creators find pleasant.

    Western Animation 
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • Salty the Seal is a cute little nonanthropomorphic seal who often annoys Pluto, but eventually becomes friends with him. In Mickey and the Seal Salty hops into Mickey's picnic basket and goes home with him.
    • The short Mickey's Circus features four sea lions, three adults and a pup who can be considered an early version of Salty the Seal. The mischievous sea lions cause much annoyance to their trainer, Donald Duck.
  • The French animated series Seabert stars a white seal pup befriending two human children and rescuing other animals from Evil Poacher villains.
  • One Tom and Jerry cartoon is "Little Runaway" that features a young seal that escapes from a circus and hides out in a backyard pool. Jerry Mouse discovers him there, and the two hit it off immediately. Tom Cat, however, hears news that this seal has a reward on its head, and tries to lure the runaway into his clutches.
  • The Swiss stop-motion series Pingu gives us Robby The Seal, who is Pingu's best friend. Robby first meets Pingu when he decides to go ice fishing and Robby decides to play tricks on him and steal some of his fish. After Pingu gets annoyed with Robby's tricks he decides to chase him back onto thin ice. Robby attempts to escape by trying to slip through the crack. When Pingu yells at him it causes him to lose his grip and sprain his flipper, causing him to cry after he injures his hand. Pingu comforts him and gives him some food before returning home.
  • Rocket Power has an episode titled "The Good Housekeeping Seal" where Twister encounters and befriends a very friendly and playful seal. He names him Bruce, even though, according to Lt. Tice, he "looks like a Walter".
  • We Bare Bears has an episode where Ice Bear befriended and took care of a baby harp seal.
  • The Irish series Puffin Rock has a female seal pup named Silky who is friends with Oona and Baba.
  • Molly of Denali: Subverted in Seal Meal." A seal initially makes itself a nuisance by occupying the Mabrays' boat and eating all of Walter's salmon. But it motivates Molly to figure out how to tie a new fly to catch a fish to lure the seal away, and she thanks it for the lesson and for sharing its river.

    Real Life 
  • Reddit has a subreddit, r/Seals, for those who prefer the sweeter side of their pinnipeds.
  • Real seals and sea lions zigzag this trope depending on the species and individual. While some larger species like elephant seals, leopard seals, and the larger sea lions are certainly large enough and sport lethal dentition to be dangerous; attacks on humans are extremely rare. Still, any animal is dangerous if it feels threatened, and all seals are large and toothy enough to defend themselves effectively, so it's wise to give any wild pinniped, especially the multi-ton species, their space.
    • Leopard seals are especially subject to this based off individual basis. Several recorded attacks and at least one fatality have been attributed to the species, but others are completely docile towards humans to the point of offering humans food (in the form of a mauled penguin) thinking they might be hungry.
    • Elephant seals are typically gentle giants around humans despite their enormous size and the males' tendency to fight each other. Still, again, give them their space as a 4,000-kilogram elephant seal might throw its weight around without meaning to.
  • In September 2022, a Gray Seal found his way into Shoe Pond in the town of Beverly, Massachusetts. The seal was promptly dubbed "Shoebert" and became a local celebrity, as he showed little fear of humans and didn't mind being watched and photographed at all. After a week in Shoe Pond, Shoebert turned himself in at the local police station, and was promptly taken to Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut for rehabilitation and release back into the ocean.
  • This trope is invoked and exploited with Paro, a therapeutic robot in the form of a baby harp seal that responds positively to being petted, and is intended to calm people with anxiety and other emotional problems.

Alternative Title(s): Sweet Sea Lion