Tentacruel is probably a portmanteau of "tentacle", the reason for which is obvious, and the adjective "cruel", referring to its personality. The name may have something to do with the deep-sea jellyfish called Tentaculata. Its name was originally going to be Man-O-War, which refers to the Portuguese man o' war. The Japanese name, "Dokukurage," is a portmanteau, of 毒 doku (poison) and 水母 kurage (jellyfish).
Tentacruel has the shape of a jellyfish, with many gray tentacles as well as two blue poisonous claws which somewhat resemble a beak. One of the very distinctive features of Tentacruel are the three red spheres on its head, which it can use to launch ultrasonic attacks. This Pokémon is infamously known as "The Gangster of the Seas".
Its tentacles can stretch and contract freely. The tentacles are normally kept short. On hunts, they are extended to ensnare and immobilize prey with poison. It can capture over 80 prey at once - several in each tentacle. The tentacles can absorb water to increase elasticity.
It has large red orbs on its head. The orbs glow before lashing the vicinity with a harsh ultrasonic blast. Its outbursts create rough waves around it. It has also been known to blast a narrow "laser beam" from its red orbs.
Tentacruel, and Tentacool, is a common Pokémon in the franchise video games, as they appear in very large numbers whenever the player surfs on lakes or seas in every Pokémon RPG on Nintendo's handheld systems.
Wild Tentacruel can be captured in virtually any sea area, and it can also be obtained by evolving Tentacool at Level 30.
Tentacruel's strengths lie mainly in its great Speed and Special Defense, as well as in the variety of powerful attacks, both offensive and defensive, that it can execute. Tentacruel is very good as a special wall because of its special defense stat, but it is not used very often in competitive play.
Tentacruel appear in several anime episodes, including episode 115, Viva Las Lapras, and, most notably, episode 19, Tentacool and Tentacruel.
In Tentacool and Tentacruel, Ash, Brock, and Misty arrive in a town called Porta Vista where the mayor has offered a reward to whoever can exterminate the population of Tentacool which are hindering the construction of a special holiday resort in the sea. When Team Rocket arrive as well, they are tempted by the prize and prepare a plan to destroy the Tentacool using chemicals. However, there are too many jellyfish Pokémon for them to cope with, and when the radioactive matter they were carrying falls onto a Tentacool, it evolves into a gigantic Tentacruel. The Tentacool, under the leadership of the Kaiju-sized Tentacruel, then proceed to destroy the coastal town, menacing the lives of its inhabitants. After destroying most of the buildings, the Tentacruel takes Team Rocket's Meowth and uses him to communicate with humans. It says that Tentacool have lost their homes in the past due to man's destructive expansion, and that it is now the turn of humans to lose their homes. However, in the end Pikachu, Misty, and a Horsea manage to convince the Tentacool and Tentacruel, which forgive the people, but warn them that they don't disturb them again, or they won't be forgiven.
This is the first episode in the anime showing that wild Pokémon are capable and willing of opposing humans who threaten their environments.
This episode was banned for some time in the USA after the September 11, 2001 attacks because there appeared some scenes in which towers were destroyed by the attacking Pokémon. (One of these scenes was actually part of the opening montage during the first arc of the Pokémon anime, but this opening sequence had already been replaced by fall of 2001).
In Viva Vas Lapras, Captain Crook, a pirate that was known to poach Pokémon, used multiple Tentacruel to poach a school of Lapras, until they were set free after Captain Crook was arrested by Officer Jenny.
Trading Card game
There are a total of five versions of Tentacruel in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, all as Stage-1 Water-type Pokémon:
- Gym Heroes (as Misty's Tentacruel)
- Aquapolis (Holo and non-holo versions)
- EX Hidden Legends
- EX Legend Maker
All cards carry attacks that can afflict the opponent with poison or confusion, aside from the EX Legend Maker copy. However, it has the highest damage count of the copies.
- The following games and their instruction manuals: Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue; Pokémon Yellow; Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Stadium 2; Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal; Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald; Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen; Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness
- Barbo, Maria. The Official Pokémon Handbook. Scholastic Publishing, 1999. ISBN 0-439-15404-9.
- Loe, Casey, ed. Pokémon Special Pikachu Edition Official Perfect Guide. Sunnydale, CA: Empire 21 Publishing, 1999. ISBN 1-930206-15-1.
- Nintendo Power. Official Nintendo Pokémon FireRed & Pokémon LeafGreen Player’s Guide. Nintendo of America Inc., August 2004. ISBN 1-930206-50-X
- Mylonas, Eric. Pokémon Pokédex Collector’s Edition: Prima’s Official Pokémon Guide. Prima Games, September 21 2004. ISBN 0-7615-4761-4
- Nintendo Power. Official Nintendo Pokémon Emerald Version Player’s Guide. Nintendo of America Inc., April 2005. ISBN 1-930206-58-5