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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, poisonous 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, that's just a visual effect, perhaps done only to show the viewer that the stinging is actually occurring and that said stinging feels the same as 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.
Anime & Manga
- 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!
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. The burns could be excused as wounds by the jellyfish venom. The zapping, not so much. The dialogue is specific about the stings delivering venom, though.
- The Jellyfish in Shark Tale also have paralyzing zaps.
Films — Live-Action
- 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.
- 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.
- Averted: the jellyfish Pokémon, Tentacool and Tentacruel, are Water/Poison-type and cannot learn any Electric moves besides possibly Hidden Power (which all TM-learning Pokémon get anyway, and whose type can be ANY type besides Normal.)
- Averted again in Pokémon Black and White with Frillish and Jellicent, who are Water/Ghost and also get no Electric-type moves besides possibly Hidden Power.
- Two of the mooks you can turn in to in Graffiti Kingdom are electric jellyfish, though one of them comes from a set of themed elemental jellyfish.
- Super Mario Bros.
- The Legend of Zelda
- The games have the Biri and Bari enemies (and the massive boss Barinade, an electric anemone), who are indeed electric jellyfish. Direct contact with them will result in poor Link getting the bejeezus shocked out of him. Also, using your sword, which conducts the juice. And this is child Link at the time, screaming in agony whenever one touches him. Poor thing.
- Those jellyfish things in The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, that you can only kill with the Clawshot, are still Baris. Evolution was very kind to them in the timeskip.
- Two-D Zelda games actually show the screen vibrating, with inverted colors and all.
- Just about anytime you see a jellyfish in Final Fantasy, it will have an electric attack.
- The Jellies from Beyond Good and Evil shock Pey'j the first time you encounter them. Of course, it's unclear if they actually use electrical attacks outside the one cutscene.
- Subculture 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.
- In Mega Man X 8 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.
- X2 has the Jelly Seekers in Bubble Crab's stage.
- Metal Slug 3 features a lot of nasty, mutant jellyfishes during the third Mission.
- The jellyfish boss in EVO 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 basically 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.
- The Kirby series gives us Master Green, a jellyfish miniboss that when swallowed gives the Spark ability.
- 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 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 encountering 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 in 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.
- Total Drama Island 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.
- In the comic "Best Fiend", where Plankton disguises himself as Patrick, Spongebob does mention seeing a venom sack on the Jellyfish
- One of the newest aliens in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, called AmpFibian, seems to be this.
- The alien that impregnates Carl in Jimmy Neutron.
- The Hidroidmedusas from the first episode of Season4 Star Wars the Clone Wars. Justified because they're "half machine".