Stay Out of the Deep End

I’m going to guess you want more fish-people, but I’ll admit I’m very bad at predicting what other people want. So let’s just say I want to write more about fish-people. I often go to TV Tropes to see examples of a general idea like this as portrayed in media. In this case, it says some stuff about how H.P. Lovecraft also wrote about humans mating with fish-people, which, as we’ve established, is an idea that goes back to the ancient Babylonians.

As far as video games go, I’ve already written about the Zoras in the Zelda games. And in that case, it’s one of them, Princess Ruto, who has a crush on a human.

Another sort of fish creature appears in the Final Fantasy series, starting with the first game, with enemies called Sahags.

I thought maybe it was a mistranslation of “sea hag,” but apparently, as with a lot of monsters in that game, it comes pretty much directly from Dungeons & Dragons. From early on in D&D, there were creatures called Sahuagin, green, scaly, fish-like, aquatic humanoids.

It looks like they’ve changed over various editions to be less human in shape, however. They’re beings who live in underwater cities, and survive by hunting and raiding. They speak a language with a lot of clicks and whistles, although they’re highly intelligent and understand other forms of speech, and possess limited telepathic abilities. Sahuagin also have metal-working skills, and fight with weapons. And they’re considered purely evil, enemies of every other living thing except sharks. Could totally evil beings really form societies at all? They worship the shark god Sekolah.

Their creator, Steve Marsh, says he got the idea from an episode of the Justice League cartoon, maybe this one, although I didn’t search that thoroughly.

Marsh also compared them to the Ponaturi from Maori mythology, malicious sea goblins who are destroyed by sunlight. I’d be interested in knowing if there are any traditional depictions of Ponaturi, but I suspect that the Sahuagin’s green, scaly, semi-humanoid form comes from twentieth-century science fiction and horror rather than older mythology.

Anyway, the FF series has gone with the spelling “Sahagin,” following in D&D’s own tradition of spelling things slightly differently to avoid copyright issues.

They’re usually the standard upright fish-people, although FF7 and 9 give them shells like turtles, and they’re more like crocodiles in 15.

There are also varieties that live in deserts instead of under the sea. In Mystic Quest, they’re called Water and Desert Hags in English, so maybe I wasn’t the only one who thought of the “sea hag” interpretation.

Interestingly, while the desert variety is a Sahagin in Japanese, the water one is called Oannes, so we’re back to Babylon. And in Final Fantasy Adventure, also known as Sword of Mana, the Sahagin looks kind of like Bub from Bubble Bobble.

The Dragon Quest series has fairly standard mermaids, but also mermen who are hardly human at all, introduced in DQ3.

Gracos, a variation on this sort of monster, is a boss in both DQ6 and 7.

As I’ve said before, I suspect the name comes from the Greek god Glaucus. In EarthBound, I recently came across an enemy called a Manly Fish in the Deep Darkness.

I’m not sure how you judge the manliness of a fish, but there’s also the Manly Fish’s Brother. The Breath of Fire series, which is full of anthropomorphic animal tribes, has fish-people called the Manillo. They’re mostly, if not all, merchants; and while they live in an underwater city, they can function on land as well. They also have orbs that will let them turn into giant fish for faster travel under the sea.

In BoF1, one named Gobi joins your party.

And in BoF2, you can catch one using gold for bait.

Another kind of fish-people referenced on the TV Tropes page are the Lochladies from Super Mario Odyssey, who inhabit Lake Lamode.

The name implies that they’re all female, which leaves open the question of if and how they reproduce. Their society is based around fashion, and their scales are arranged like dresses. Bowser steals their treasure, the Lochlady Dress. Scenery in the lake resembles lace, sequins, and zippers. The Ladies seem to be able to survive just fine in either water or air, although their bodies are obviously better suited for swimming.

While the lake has Greek architecture, the English name for the inhabitants includes a bit of Scottish, perhaps because Dorrie can be found there.

They’re said to be partially based on the Japanese Amabie, a kind of yokai with beaks like birds, human-like hair, and fins where a person’s legs would be.

The Amabi are known to predict plagues, so they experienced somewhat of a resurgence in popularity during the Coronavirus pandemic. They’re also sometimes said to have voices like apes. I also feel I should mention the episode of the Super Mario Bros. 3 cartoon where Mario and company visit Mertropolis, an underwater city inhabited by reverse mermaids who are portrayed in an intentionally silly way. The city is under an airtight dome, but since they can only breathe in water, they have to wear fishbowls on their heads in their own home.

Getting back to the pandemic, though, that probably does help stop the spread of disease. Anyway, their princess wants to marry Mario, so we’re back to possible bestiality. Granted, she thinks she’s a frog, but that’s still not the same species.

This entry was posted in Animals, Art, Australian, Babylonian, Breath of Fire, Cartoons, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Games, Greek Mythology, Health, Humor, Japanese, Language, Magic, Mana/Seiken Densetsu, Mario, Monsters, Mythology, Pacific, Relationships, Sexuality, Television, Video Games, Zelda and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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