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Carp 37

I swear, when I evolve...

"I think I made the fish too hardcore."

Carp have a strange tendency to appear unusually powerful in fiction, often being gigantic. Giant Carp are venerated for being colorful and allegedly wise pond dwellers, especially in Japan. Sort of like swimming parrots. They are known for their ability to jump many feet into the air and their long lifespan, something which is usually forgotten amongst their more domesticated, ill-kept brothers called goldfish and (in Japan) koi. According to legend, a sufficently old and powerful carp that is able to climb a waterfall may even become a dragon.

See also The Catfish, a more elusive kind of fish. If you searched for Legendary Crap, you either want Blatant Lies, a page that shall not be named on the Darth Wiki, or Toilet Humor.

Examples of Legendary Carp include:


  • Magikarp in the Pokémon anime usually appear as extras in underwater scenes and the badly-disguised wares of a Snake Oil Salesman, but occasionally have made a bigger impression:
    • In the episode "The Joy of Pokémon" one Nurse Joy had a giant Magikarp for a friend.
    • The episode "Ya See We Want An Evolution!" had a Magikarp and Feebas (its Expy/Foil) beating the snot out of Piplup and Ash's Pikachu almost effortlessly.



 There's a carp in my bathtub, Father. And for three days it's been swimming. Up. And down. Up. And down. And I hate it. I can't go home until the carp is asleep. You've been standing close to me for some time now, Father. Can you tell? I haven't had a bath for three days.



  • According to Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway, the Reflecting Pool in the Washington Mall is home to a legendary carp which has grown to 1900 pounds on junk food thrown by tourists and once swallowed a passing pedestrian (the Secretary of the Interior) whole. And yes, Dave Barry does mention in a footnote that "'Legendary Carp' would be A Good Name for a Rock Band."
  • In the story "Tunnel of Fish" from Kate Atkinson's short story collection Not the End of the World, on his birthday Eddie is taken to Deep Sea World where, in an undersea tunnel, he receives a message from a giant carp.
  • In Alastair Reynolds' "Chasm City", research involving carp produced the earliest immortality treatments. As a result, the postmortal upper class reveres carp in general, and there is also a specific carp which is also several hundred years old and therefore extra-revered.
  • In Keys to the Kingdom, one of the parts of the Will takes the form of a carp.


  • Kintaro ("Golden Boy"), a character in Japanese folklore, was depicted as fighting a giant carp.
  • In Chinese Folklore, a carp that was able to jump over the Dragon's Gate would then transform into a dragon itself. This myth inspired Magikarp, below.
    • There are even several legends about carp being able to transform into dragons.
  • In Mercer Mayer's illustrated version of "East of the Sun and West of the Moon", a Legendary Carp is one of the beasts that assists the heroine on her journey. He gives her a ride across the sea on his back and a fish scale that proves useful later.


Tabletop RPG

Video Games

  • Double Subverted by Magikarp. It is a horribly underpowered Pokémon (stat-wise, very few are weaker, but those few can all learn better moves) which can do little else but splash around; it's said that it was stronger in the distant past. Also, it can pretty much be found anywhere. Its evolution, however, is the powerful, dragon-like Gyarados.
    • A level 100 Magikarp can be caught in Platinum. It's Awesome but Impractical, since it can't evolve.
    • There is a gamer on YouTube who created a Magikarp build that could sweep Uber-tier Legendaries, mostly by Baton Passing stat boosts onto it.
  • A Bonus Boss in Live a Live, Amulucretia, is a giant carp.
  • In one of the versions of Dwarf Fortress, the game's creator accidentally made carp far too powerful: their default bite attack did as much damage as a wolf's and due to a bug in the skill system, they could increase their stats by swimming, which, being fish, they did all the time. Undead carp were even worse: they can walk on land, so you were either screwed or very brave if you tried building a fortress near them. Later versions (happily or sadly) dialed their power back a great deal. Then aimed attacks were implemented, and fish became dangerous again (sturgeon are the new aquatic dwarf-killers).
  • Carp Armor and Carp Melee are a recurring joke between the fans and developers of City of Heroes.
  • Referenced in Sakura Taisen V with the giant carp missiles controlled by the Statue of Liberty.

Western Animation

Real Life

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