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The Perpetual Aquarium is a Sprite Comic from the Neopets website. It has run from 2007 to the present, keeping up with an almost daily schedule. It chronicles the life of Arryion, a Fire Jetsam who decides, after the opening of the site's Underwater Fishing feature, to bring the fish home and take care of them as opposed to making dinner out of 'em. Subplots range from site-specific to pop culture to everyday life. The cast consists of every single fish species from Underwater Fishing, plus the pets and petpets that interact with them.
The main characters are:
Ari the Jetsam - A Team Dad who didn't quite know what he was getting into when he started bringing fish home, but usually does a pretty good job of parenting. Cloudie the Kadoatie - A mixture of Cats Are Mean and the beleaguered older sibling.
And many fish whose names and personalities match their appearances, with the most notable being:
Chaos - A small, active "chaosfish", who acts about like a four-year-old boy; Boomer - A literal swimming bomb with an explosive temper; Cibatta and Cholesterol - They go together like bread and butter, perhaps because they ARE bread and butter; Radar - The resident nerd; Landy - The jock.
In 2008, Xassil the Koi joined as Ari's assistant and now provides the more humorous side of parenting. Xassil came with Snowie the Kadoatie, who is both a younger version of Cloudie and Cloudie's worst nightmare.
This comic can be viewed here.
This Webcomic contains examples of:
- Adults Are Useless: Xassil the Koi, although it may be more a case of a kadoatie-sized blind spot.
- Audience Participation: To a high degree. Not only are many of the characters pets belonging to regular readers, but in the past readers have contributed plot ideas, characterizations, and even art to the comic.
- Affectionate Parody Not only has this comic regularly parodied the Neopets site itself, but it regularly parodies music theatre, movies, books, and television shows.
- Berserk Button: Well, Boomer IS a bombfish. It's not a good idea to make him angry.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Not only are the characters very aware that they're on an internet website, often addressing changes in the site design or programming glitches directly, the characters also have directly talked to the creator and sometimes to specific audience members.
- Cats Are Mean: Cloudie and to a lesser extent Snowie, as well as other feline visitors. Although, given that the rest of the regular characters are fish, it makes sense.
- Child Prodigy: Chaos, especially during the Dr. Sloth plot.
- Cut and Paste Comic: The art is all copied from the website.
- Deliberately Cute Child: Snowie, and to some degree Chaos.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The whole PREMISE of this comic is based around the different, very literal fish that the site designers and artists drew for the underwater fishing fish, and their personalities were largely established then, with a few quirks. You can assume that a fish that looks like a bomb is likely to explode, one who looks like a loaf of bread is going to be interested in food, and one who has a radar dish attached to his head is probably going to have more information than the rest of the bunch.
- Happily Adopted: The fish seem pretty happy to not be on someone's dinner plate.
- I'm Going to Disney World: Or, in this case, Fishy World, which is much more accurate to the current Magic Kingdom (and the joys/sorrows of traveling with children) than most Souvenir Land portrayals.
- Our Sharks Are Different: Ari is a fire painted Jetsam, which in the Neopets view of pets is about the toughest of the tough. However his regular role is more like a beleaguered housewife than a killing machine.
- Parody: The characters regularly put on their own versions of television shows, movies or musicals, including "Aquarium Idol", "Dancing with the Fish", "Fish School Musical", and "AC Mania" (Mamma Mia).
- Shout-Out: Many, one of the most common being Chomp, the Neopet-eating Carp, donning a set of Cybunny ears with a later reference to a "rabbit with enormous teeth".
- Talking Animal: It's a comic about fish, for crying out loud!