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Anime and Manga
- 008 from Cyborg 009 has this as one of his cybernetic enhancements, as well as other modifications that allow him to survive deep sea pressures, even having most of his skin replaced with metal scales as a Midseason Upgrade after being blown up. The other cyborgs have built-in oxygen tanks that let them hold their breath longer than a normal person, but 008 is the only one who can actually breathe water.
- Professor Fumble in Marine Boy invented "Oxy-Gum," which lets Marine Boy get all the oxygen he needs for hours from simply chewing the gum.
- Batman carries a rebreather in his utility belt.
Film - Live Action
- Bond has made use of this device.
- He uses a mini-breather in Thunderball when escaping the shark pool and later when fighting mooks underwater. After the movie came out, a naval engineer spoke to the producers, inquiring how they managed to make the mini-breather, since he was trying to develop one himself. He was devastated by their answer: Sean Connery was actually holding his breath.
- In Die Another Day he uses a rebreather when scuba-diving his way into the villain's lair.
- Star Wars has Rebreathers, used for breathing in hazardous environments, including underwater. A notable example is from The Phantom Menace, where Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan use them to swim down to the Gungan city.
- On Admiral Ackbar's planet Mon Calamari (seen in Dark Apprentice), they have flexible, jelly-like breathers you slap over your nose and mouth and it filters the water into oxygen. The Yuuzhan Vong in the New Jedi Order series have a similar creature called a gnullith that covers the nose and mouth, and extends down the windpipe to interface with the lungs directly. It's incredibly useful, even because it doesn't need recharging of any kind, and unlike their other biots, gnulliths cause no pain or discomfort.
- The Abyss had a gooey gel that was hyperoxygenated for super deep sea diving. This is a real thing. The scene with the rat was a real rat really being held under the surface of the liquid and freaking out because it had no idea what was going on. Animal welfare groups were annoyed about it because they thought it was being put in unnecessary distress.
- At the end of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Watson receives Mycroft's oxygen inhaler in a parcel sent by Holmes, who stole the inhaler from his brother and used it to survive when he pulled Moriarty down the Reichenbach falls with him.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire introduces gillyweed, a plant that when consumed causes the eater to temporarily grow gills. Another option is the Bubble-Head Charm, which surrounds the subject's head in a bubble of air to let them breathe normally.
- Doc Savage not only had diving suits more advanced than anything available in Real Life at the time, but also 'oxygen tablets' that supplied oxygen directly to the blood and allowed the users to survive underwater for about two hours.
- In Dark Life, there is liquid oxygen that allows people to live underwater.
- Poul Anderson's fantasy novel Three Hearts and Three Lions sees the hero, Holger Carlsen, abducted by a nixie (a freshwater mermaid - think Rheinmaidens in Wagner opera). She confers on him the gift of being able to live and breathe underwater, but capriciously cancels his artificial gill when he declines her kind offer to live with her underwater forever.
Live Action TV
- Babylon 5. Several races need to use breathers when going into the alien sector and several alien races need to use breathers to travel the rest of the station. Also, G'Kar has gills surgically added that allow him to breathe in alien atmospheres without a device. Lyta gets a set after being Touched by Vorlons.
- Early editions of Dungeons & Dragons
- A number of magical items had this ability, such as the Helm of Underwater Action, the Cloak of the Manta Ray, Potions of Water Breathing, the Necklace of Adaptation and the Ring of Water Adaptation.
- Spells: the Airy Water and Water Breathing spells.
- "Natural" magic items: module EX1 Dungeonland had seaweed that allowed breathing underwater. There were similar items in other adventures.
- The artificial gill and the gill suit from GURPS: Ultra-Tech allow people to spend hours or even days underwater. In High-Tech SCUBA and rebreather gear is available. Even as far back in time as Low-Tech it's possible to get waterproofed animal skins that give a few extra breaths if used correctly.
- Implied to be how the human characters in the Pokémon games breathe while exploring underwater areas with Dive.
- Mario gets one for the Bottle levels in Super Mario Sunshine. It extends the time he can breathe underwater without grabbing coins.
- The Legend of Zelda series has many items that serve this function:
- Zora's Flippers appear in many of the 2D games, and sometimes allow Link to breathe underwater. Other times, they only allow him to swim in deep water and still require him to come up for air periodically.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has the Zora Tunic that lets Link breathe underwater.
- Oracle Of Ages has the Mermaid suit.
- Both Ages and Seasons also have the Zora Ring, which allows you to stay submerged in shallow water for as long as you want.
- Twilight Princess has the Zora Armor. When Link is underwater, a small mask covers his nose and mouth, letting him breathe underwater.
- Commander Keen 4 has a set of scuba gear, but it has an unlimited air supply.
- Oxyale in Final Fantasy I
- The Aqualung item in Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis. You actually can't go underwater at all until you get it. Also lampshaded when it's obtained, as the character that normally explains these kinds of things says she has no idea how it works.
- Variation; it's a spell in MARDEK that can only be cast by a specific party member. A straighter example would be the Oxyale, a consumable potion that bestows the same effect.
- Sonic 3 & Knuckles featured the bubble shield, which bestowed Super Not-Drowning Skills.
- Knuckles picks up the Air Necklace as one of his power-ups in Sonic Adventure 2, allowing him to stay under indefinitely.
- In Cave Story, Curly Brace has an air tank... which makes the player character's susceptibility to drowning all the more frustrating. She eventually gives you the air tank.
- Duke Nukem 3D has a scuba gear pickup which lets the player spend several minutes underwater, as opposed to maybe 30 seconds without it.
- A signature item in the Build engine games. Duke Nukem 3D, Redneck Rampage, and Blood all have it.
- World of Warcraft makes extensive use of this trope:
- Class-specific spells; druid Aquatic Form, warlock Unending Breath, and shaman Water Breathing.
- Crafting provide water breathing potions and the Deepdive Helmet created by engineering.
- A weapon from Gnomeregan also functions as an Artificial Gill.
- As a whole, Blizzard learned during Wrath of the Lich King that underwater quests were a pain in the ass and most such quests now provide a renewable Artificial Gill buff. Cataclysm adds the game's first underwater zone, Vashj'ir, and the first couple of quests are to gain a permanent, zone-only Artificial Gill that also provides substantially faster swim speed, without which Vashj'ir would be all but unplayable.
- In Mana-Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy, the access to Deep Sea Ruins is opened after you synthesize Air Drop. Said item also returns in Atelier Rorona
- Later games in The Elder Scrolls series have spells and enchantments for this available to players.
- On the Online Games by Artix Entertainment, it was finally explained why you can breathe underwater in all 5 games: In Dragon Fable, you sink a ship full of water breathing potions that contaminates and enchants the ocean so that you can breathe underwater.
- Breath of Fire:
- Fallout: New Vegas gives you a rebreather if you help the Boomers, but other than a related mission and two caves there is absolutely nothing to see in the depths of Lake Mead. However there are certain areas of Vaults that happen to be submerged.
- It also comes in useful in searching a few submerged areas in the Honest Hearts and Old World Blues DLCs.
- In the King's Quest II fan remake, a mermaid gives King Graham a kiss that somehow lets him breathe underwater.
- In the Metroid games, Samus Aran's Powered Armor has a self-contained life-support system that can function as this - no Gravity Suit required. It even works in space!
- Unreal has SCUBA gears available whenever the player must proceed a long way underwater. They have a limited air supply that runs out pretty quickly, and for some reason you can't just take a whiff from it and hold your breath to make it last longer – if you deactivate it manually, you'll immediately start drowning. The expansion pack features a rare recharging example that also holds more air.
- The SCUBA Gear reappears in the Oceanfloor assault map in Unreal Tournament, and nowhere else.
- Terraria has an accessory that allows for underwater breathing.
- There's also a Gills potion, which makes you grow gills. Also lacks the Required Secondary Power of your lungs working normally alongside it, making you suffocate outside of water unless you wear a water-filled Fish Bowl on your head which normally suffocates you since there's water inside it.
- Wizard 101 has underwater breathing potions early in the game to allow access to a street that is completely underwater. However, due to the game mechanics, players can teleport to this area without adverse effects.
- Deus Ex has rebreathers that allow you to breathe underwater for a limited time. The prequel features an Implanted Rebreather that does the same for poisonous gases but not water (or at least we don't see it do so, because you never go underwater).
- In Guild Wars 2 every character has one standard, because the dev team did not want to limit the underwater areas' size to how long you could hold your breath.
- The leaves of the Maurera Tree in Phantasy Star II can be refined into special chewing gum to provide oxygen while travelling underwater; this is used to reach Climatrol.
- The Survival System backpack in Starbound allows one to breathe indefinitely underwater, as well as in space.
- Enchanted items of Waterbreathing in the various The Elder Scrolls games basically pass on the effect of the Waterbreathing spell or potion. Rings, necklaces, or helmets of Waterbreathing allow the wearer to spend as much time as they like underwater with no ill effect, as long as the item is worn while the Dragonborn is underwater.
- In The Simpsons Bart once used Milhouse's inhaler as a breathing device.
- Samurai Jack: Jack is given a device to help him breathe underwater while swimming to the submerged Humongous Mecha.
- The animated Flash Gordon had an episode with featuring a literal Artificial Gill: It was a metal collar with gills, that also prevented the wearer from breathing outside of water.
- Kim Possible uses a rebreather provided by Wade in an episode where Drakken seals her in a filled-with-water bottomless pit.
- Futurama: The crew is given rebreathers when they find the lost city of Atlanta.
- The Gills of Hamachi from Xiaolin Showdown, although it achieves this by turning the user into a literal fish person.
- In Young Justice, Robin I/ Nightwing carries these as part of his standard equipment. After three missions in a row nearly lead Artemis to drowning, she starts to carry them, too.
- At some point between seasons 1 and 2, they were regularly stocked on board the bio-ship. Lagoon Boy seriously messes up when he forgets to replenish them for a mission.
- True artificial gills are highly impractical because humans require far more oxygen to sustain life than typical sea creatures. In order to get enough oxygen to sustain a human, several gallons of water must be processed per minute, and a device capable of doing this would end up being massive. Carrying such a heavy device would increase our oxygen demands further, compounding the problem. It's simply much more efficient to use compressed air for our underwater needs.
- Underwater gear generally falls into two categories, tanks of compressed air, and rebreathers. The former exhales directly into the water (leading to the characteristic bubbles), while the latter simply filters out the CO2 and adds oxygen so the nitrogen can be re-used. It still has some gas, so it's only a partial example.
- Mosquito larvae have a biological snorkel that they use to breathe from just below the surface of the water. All aquatic snails also have snorkels.