Sharpedo is a torpedo-shaped shark Pokémon covered with tiny, sharp denticles. It has a large mouth filled with triangular, sharp teeth. Its eyes are a deep red color and glow in the dark. It has two gill slits situated directly behind each eye. It is mostly dark blue with a white underbelly. There is a yellow star-shaped marking on its snout, and another star marking on its rear. It has a tall dorsal fin with two notches cut into it, with a pelvic fin directly opposite it. Its two pectoral fins are arranged so that they resemble the fins on the back of a torpedo.
Sharpedo swallows and shoots out jets of seawater from its rear, which allows it to swim 75 to 80 miles per hour. However, it is unable to swim long distances. It is feared and known by many names as Bully of the Sea, Ruffian of the Seas, Bandit of the Sea, or Gangster of the Sea as a group, due to its sharp teeth. Sharpedo uses the teeth to finish off its opponent. It was once prized for its dorsal fin as a food item and has been a victim of overfishing. Its fangs can rip through iron and steel, being able to tear apart a supertanker into pieces. Sharpedo's fangs can instantly grow back the moment it comes off. Discarded Sharpedo fangs are made into accessories due to the belief they can prevent ship mishaps. It also attacks any ships that enter the waters it lives in with no exceptions. When its fangs fall out, they grow back immediately. It is very sensitive to the scent of blood. It lives in the sea. Sharpedo is known to prey on Wailmer, particularly small ones. It also preys on other Water-type Pokémon such as Finneon, Lumineon, Lanturn, and Squirtle.
As Mega Sharpedo the fangs in its mouth have transformed, and the horns that have sprouted from its nose are fangs that are retractable and can be regrown countless times. The yellow patterns on its body are old resurfaced scars that were carved in battle, causing it sharp pain and suffering. With explosive propulsion, it can exceed 125 mph in an instant. Its combat instincts were increased due to Mega Evolution. Mega Sharpedo's sharp spikes can cause deep wounds to its opponents after charging at them.
In Sharpedo Attack!, multiple Sharpedo attacked Ash and his friends, plus Mr. Briney, while they were at an uncharted, crescent-shaped island. They eventually gained the pod's trust when Brock healed their leader's injury, which had been inflicted when it came across Team Rocket.
In PK13, multiple Sharpedo were attacking Pikachu and the others across the deserted island, where an Aggron tied up an Azumarill.
In Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, if a playersurfs on a Sharpedo, it will have its own model, and it can surf twice as fast as other Pokémon. However, it is impossible to fish while surfing on a Sharpedo, with the game stating, "It's too risky to let go now!" An NPC on Route 124 refers to this as "speed surfing" if the player admits ignorance to their question.
Sharpedo shares its category name with Hydreigon. They are both known as the Brutal Pokémon.
In a demo version of Ruby and Sapphire shown at Pokémon Festa 2002 in Japan, players started with a level 12 Sharpedo with no Ability. This was most likely done for the purpose of the demo only.
Sharpedo's evolutionary line may be considered a counterpart of Camerupt's evolutionary line. Both of them are dual-type Pokémon, both lines have identical base stat totals per evolutionary stage, both of their final evolutions are used by Team Aqua Leader Archie and Team Magma Leader Maxie, respectively, and both of their final evolutions can Mega Evolve.
Sharpedo's Pokédex entry for Moon states "It has a sad history. In the past, its dorsal fin was a treasured foodstuff, so this Pokémon became a victim of overfishing." This is likely a reference to shark finning in the real world, where wild sharks are caught, have their fins cut off, and the still alive shark is thrown back in the water to die. Because of the practice, many species of sharks around the world are listed as threatened or endangered by the IUCN.
Sharpedo appears to be based on a shark, but without the rear half of its body. This body shape makes it similar to an ocean sunfish; both sharks and sunfish are known for their sandpaper-like skin. Sharpedo's body shape also resembles a torpedo. The star on its head may allude to sharks like starspotted smooth-hound or starry smooth-hound.