Follow TV Tropes


Webcomic / Castle Swimmer

Go To
Pictured (from Left to Right): Siren and The Beacon/Kappa

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be the Chosen One? Kappa, or "The Beacon" as most refer to him, does; and it's nowhere near as fun as it sounds. Unfortunately for him, he's compelled to fulfill the ancient prophecies of every mer kingdom in the sea by the enigmatic God of the Surface. He goes about this routine until one day he comes across the castle of the sharks. Unlike every other castle, rather than helping them fulfill some task, their prophecy involves killing Kappa to break the curse that is slowly wiping them out. However, this is also where he meets Siren, prince of the sharks and the very person destined to end his life. Despite this, the two of them quickly form a friendship which causes them to question their respective roles and possibly escape the shackles of fate.

The comic is a fantasy webtoon created by Wendy Lian Martin and can be read here.

Castle Swimmer contains the following tropes:

  • All-Loving Hero: Subverted and deconstructed with Kappa. Despite being a genuinely Nice Guy and Friend to All Living Things, Kappa deeply resents his utter lack of personal agency and how his entire existence revolves around helping people. He eventually admits that, deep down, he doesn't actually care about helping others at all - not for any Lack of Empathy but because a. he physically compelled to fulfill any nearby Prophecy and b. because most Prophecies range from useless to utterly horrifying, for which people usually blame Kappa. Including Kappa himself.
  • Ambiguous Situation: There's a lot about the various castles' prophecies that is unclear; who made them, what the role of the God of the Surface is in their creation, and whether the inevitable Prophecy Twist comes from the age of the prophecies and wishful thinking of the castles' inhabitants or because the prophecies themselves were deliberately misleading. And now there's evidence that the prophecies themselves are undoing successful attempts to Screw Destiny, they may more accurately resemble Curses...
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: The Sea Bunny mermaid, Galoo admits that when ever she reads the memories of people she not only feels guilty for invading their privacy, but also says that their memories then become her memories which includes all of their painful memories. As Mono puts it: "You (Galoo) take on a lifetime of pain and complicated feelings all at once..."
  • Artistic License – Politics: Every mer kingdom seems to be ruled by a monarchy, but many of them act more or less like big families; the sharks are notable in that when Susca is taken down from the throne, Siren is considered for being next in line but ultimately gives the role to his friend Skiff, who he believes is more qualified. Siren is also revered more for being Susca's son rather than specifically of royal blood, and even when it's proven that he can't fulfill the prophecy, the other sharks remain loyal to him. This basically demonstrates that royal blood isn't inherently a factor in being chosen to lead (although it isn't clarified whether sharks are the norm or an exception). This is justified in that mer kingdoms seem to function more for immediate survival and familiarity, not unlike a school of fish.
  • Based on a True Story: Kappa's backstory involves a kingdom of dolphin that are being killed off by an affliction that causes net-like markings to appear of their bodies. This is based off the plight of the Vaquita Porpoise, a critically endangered species being wiped out from being caught in gill nets.
  • Body Horror: Mono is revealed to have several bone-like growths erupting out of her throat which is why she is incapable of speech.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Witches boast about being evil and claim to have done many vile deeds but come off as goofy and harmless to the point that they are mistaken for performers...
  • Covered in Scars: Every denizen of the shark kingdom has scars on their bodies, thanks to the curse that is killing them. The only exception is the prince himself, at least until he gets a massive scar on his back after pushing Kappa out of the way of a spear.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When Nee and Krilli failed to bring back Kappa, the other colony members destroyed all their castles (and their own) and left the inhabitants of both kingdoms' refugees.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": The Beacon dislikes his name and he prefers to be called Kappa.
  • Dying Race: The sharks are slowly dwindling away thanks to a Dying Curse from a minigod that was slain by a shark hero centuries ago, they are plagued by accidents that leaves them with scars until they finally die. They were forced to hide in a cavern system to minimize the danger to themselves and the prophecy is currently the only way to save them.
    • The Octalia were also wiped out by the abyssal god Labbu, save for Mono, Queen Nethimir and Mucku.
    • In his youth, Kappa encountered a kingdom of porpoise merfolk who needed his scales in order to stop a curse that's wiping them out. However, his scales weren't a permanent solution and they've completely died out by the present day.
  • Exposition Beam: Galoo uses her memory reading powers to shares her memories of Soal (Siren's father) with Siren.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Kappa has a connection to all living things in the ocean and as such, they will assist or protect him when he's in trouble.
  • Have You Seen My God?: An unusual example in that the God of the Surface does appear as The Voice during the first episode, erasing ambiguity as to His existence. However, after informing the newly-hatched Kappa that he is The Chosen One, He mysteriously cuts off all contact, leaving the newborn infant to wander the dangerous oceans alone and figure out the prophecies through guesswork. So far, there is no indication as to whether his absence is due to indifference, inability, a larger plan or simple ignorance.
  • The Hecate Sisters: The witches are these; Mucku is The Maid (eccentric, somewhat goofy, and naive), Mono is The Matron (eccentric but sensible), and Queen Nethimir is The Crone (jaded, impatient and worldly).
    • Ironically Mucku seems to actually be the eldest of the three but is more immature due to her memory loss.
  • Horrifying the Horror: The monsters of the trench are terrifying flesh-eating beasts but after Siren kills one of them with his fangs, the rest of them slowly back away from him.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: Siren rips out the throat of one of the angler monsters with his teeth after it nearly crushes Arp and is later seen doing the same to a sea monster that he, Pagoon and Pim were fighting. He also threatens to do this to the pair of Jerkass remoras if they don't the manta family alone.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: One of the main elements of the story, Kappa hates being The Beacon both because the prophecies often end up being different than expected and because he has no life outside of it which leaves him with no agency of his own.
    • Siren falls into this category as well; from a young age, he also had the weight of knowing he would eventually kill the Beacon and free his people from the curse, and later episodes demonstrate just how much of a mental toll this has had on him. When the truth of the prophecy is revealed, it's not much better, since Siren can only lift the curse if he dies.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Susca altered the mural of their prophecy by switching the places of her son and The Beacon to spare him and when the citizens start becoming impatient she has a silent breakdown and out of desperation, tries to kill Kappa herself in order to satisfy them and even locks up Siren to prevent him from interfering. She also insists on doing it even after Elder Selkie points out that killing The Beacon could potentially cause the other kingdoms to declare war on them, which they will not survive.
  • Lima Syndrome: Siren falls for Kappa after getting to know him during his time in the dungeon. However, this is a downplayed example as Siren didn't imprison Kappa directly and tries to help him escape.
  • Luring in Prey: The creatures that dwell within the trench are blind monsters that look like four-armed mermaids that are twisted upside-down and use a light at the end of a staff to make illusions to lure merfolk out into the open.
  • Mama Bear: When the sailfish leaders began grooming Pagoon to be a warrior and subjected him to grueling training, his mother Pim threatened them directly and afterwards left the kingdom with her son altogether.
  • Man Bites Man: The sharks are shown to sometimes bite their opponents during combat and Pim notes that Siren seems to have an instinctive need to use his teeth when training but he doesn't like it because he finds the idea of biting people to be "improper". Later when one of the angler-creatures grabs Arp, he gets angry enough to tear its throat out.
  • Non-Heteronormative Society: Same sex relationships seem to be completelly normalized in Mer society. Siren is openly gay and neither his mother nor anyone has a issue with it despite the fact that he is a prince in a hereditery monarchy. Several minor characters are shown to be in open same sex relationships which go completelly unmentioned.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Witches are extremely hammy and silly to the point of ineffectiveness but when faced with a large sea serpent, they show that they are quite skilled at using their powers in combat and nearly kill it until Kappa sends it away.
  • One-Gender Race: The Octalia were apparently all female and used magic to get pregnant.
  • Our Gods Are Different: Minigods appear to be this story's equivalent to demigods, they have many of the hallmarks such as being The Ageless and having powers like teleportation and curses. They start off as normal animals until they are exposed to strange gears that cause them to grow into what they are now. It's later revealed that the gears are pieces of the dark god of the abyss, Labbu and all minigods are extensions of it.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The mers of this setting range from various kinds of sea life like fish, mollusks and crustaceans. They also each live in their own kingdoms, each with their own customs and their own prophecies. According to Word of God, they cannot breathe air.
  • Power at a Price:
    • The witches magic usually doesn't have negative repercussions but if they use too much at once then it cause them to lose something of theirs: for Mucku it was her memories, for Mono it was her voice and for Nethimir it was her arm.
    • Lord Ogo consumed the dark gear to merge it to his body to gain the power to defend his fellow crabs from predators. It worked but at the cost causing him to go on mindless rampages that will increase until he completely degenerates into a mindless monster.
    • Due to A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Galoo admits that when ever she reads the memories of people she feels guilty for invading their privacy, but also says that their memories then become her memories which includes all of their painful memories. As Mono puts it: "You take on a lifetime of pain and complicated feelings all at once..."
  • Proud Warrior Race: The sailfish/swordfish are all master sword fighters as a result of living in a particularly dangerous part of the ocean and refusing to leave out of pride.
  • Psychometry: The Sea Bunny mermaid, Galoo has the magical ability to see all the memories of any individual upon physical contact. In addition she also has the ability to share her memories with other if she want to via Exposition Beam.
  • Seers: The Sea Bunny mermaid, Galoo is literally labeled as the Seer of the Nudibranch mer-tribe. she has the psychic power to see all the memories of an individual with physical contact with said individual. She uses her power to security check newcomers to the tribe to make sure that they don't threaten the Whales.
  • Shout-Out: The witches are a group of "evil" octopus sea witches who practice dark magic.
  • Species Equals Gender: The Word of God has stated via her Tumblr that in regards to the mer-species of Pim and Pagoon's tribe; all the mermen are swordfish and all the mermaids are sailfish.
  • Universally Beloved Leader: Prince Siren is beloved by the entirety of the shark kingdom and when the truth of the prophecy is revealed, they decided to let The Beacon go rather than have him killed.