This is when two characters (most of the time Heterosexual Life-Partners
; rarely are they ever Platonic Life Partners
, though this can be used if the Platonic Life Partners
in question have enough Unresolved Sexual Tension
between them to make them popular targets for shipping and the writer wants to do a scene where said Unresolved Sexual Tension
comes to a head) take a bath together
and usually converse. This causes them to really get to know each other better or become better friends. Usually either really significant moments of the plot are discussed or one character's past is revealed in a Bathtub Bonding scene.
At least two characters have to share a bathtub in order to qualify for this trope.
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Anime & Manga
Relatively common in anime due to the Japanese concept of "skinship".
- Pictured above: In the 28th episode of Nana, Hachi jumps into Nana's bath, which at first becomes uncomfortable for Nana, but then not so much.
- In episode 24 of Neon Genesis Evangelion, the newly appointed 5th child Kaworu Nagisa gets into the bath with Shinji. What follows is the most important step in their relationship development.
- Kagome and Sango have done this in episode 29 of InuYasha and in the second movie. Neither instance was actually in a bathtub, but rather in a hot spring.
- It is done in Butt-Attack Punisher Girl Gautaman R but to an uncomfortable extent.
- Rushuna and Mikan bathtub bond in the ninth episode of Grenadier.
- Miina and Karen do this in pretty much every episode of Please Twins!
- Uruka and Saki bond in a bubble bath in episodes 5 and 6 of Steel Angel Kurumi 2.
- There is a bathtub bonding scene in Street Fighter Alpha Generations. The local Genki Girl Sakura Kasugano bathes with Fuuka, the cute granddaughter of an Old Master that she and Ryu are staying with, as Ryu trains for a crucial duel with Akuma who, in this continuity, is all but stated to be Ryu's birth father.
- Hime-chan and Pokota, her magical talking stuff toy, do this in the seventh episode when talking about how to deal with Himeko's current problem.
- Nadia from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water bathtub bonds with Electra in episode 20. She also bonds with Grandis in a bubble bath in episode 33.
- In the eighth episode of Zero no Tsukaima, it is done with Saito and Siesta, who are opposite genders. Saito had just built a hot tub, and Siesta has a crush on him. He was planning on being there alone, and is punished by his master (and local Tsundere) Louise when he shows interest in other women. He has feelings for Siesta, but is in a Harem Series, so it's awkward for him.
- This happens a lot in Mahou Sensei Negima!, although there usually aren't any romantic undertones due to the fact that Negi is ten, and Oblivious to Love... and then there came Eva. Being The Vamp that she is, she wanted it to be sexual but failed miserably because, as stated above, Negi hasn't reached puberty yet. (Technically, neither has Eva.)
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has three of these scenes:
- Male example: A chapter of the Keroro Gunsou manga had Fuyuki and Keroro doing this. Then members of the supporting cast show up and try to join in... meanwhile, Natsumi is feeling left out but refuses to admit it.
- The 10th episode of Omamori Himari does this.
- In Hidamari Sketch, Miyako practically forces her way into Yuno's bath, on account of her having no running water in her own apartment (as she keeps forgetting to pay the water bills. Poor, shy Yuno doesn't know what hits her. Still, it pays off, since both girls are the best of friends ever after.
- Goku and Gohan do this while training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber in Dragon Ball Z.
- Lucy and Kana share a bath in Fairy Tail. Lampshaded when Kana asks if Lucy usually fits two to a bath, and Lucy counters by asking if Kana usually breaks into other people's houses, since characters breaking into Lucy's house is something of a running gag.
- Akane and Mikoto in Kämpfer. Bonus points for Mikoto's blatantly sensual poses and Akane's shyness about looking at her.
- In A Little Snow Fairy Sugar, Sugar and Saga often share a bath to discuss the day's events, with pint-sized Sugar sitting on Saga's knees to keep from drowning. Saga also uses the bath to bond with Kanon.
- Nanako and Mariko share one of these scenes in Oniisama e..., complete with Nanako being embarrassed as she compares her body with Mariko's.
- In the first episode of Zetman, after taking the homeless ten-year-old Jin into her home, Akemi climbs into the bath with him to comfort him in his grief over the death of his adopted grandfather.
- In the original Birdy the Mighty, one episode has Tsutomu's father head to the bath to join him in some "father-son naked bonding time", as he puts it. Tsutomu's mother naturally has a WTF reaction. However, Tsutomu's father ended up seeing a naked Birdy instead.
- Nisemonogatari dedicated a whole episode to a scene regarding Koyomi and Shinobu having a discussion in the bathtub together.
- Played for Laughs in School Rumble when Eri tries to do this with Motoko, but ends up with Harima. Harima ends having to pretend to be Motoko so he doesn't get caught.
- Hilariously subverted in Hetalia, where Italy and Japan bathe together in a hot spring... but what could have been this trope is ruined when Italy implies that Japan is a lightweight in his pants.
- In the Sensual Phrase manga, Aine and Sakuya try to enact the trope — but they fail since Sakuya is much taller than the average Japanese dude and thus they simply don't fit in the deep yet also very short furo tub they tried to use.
Comics — Books
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Jaime and Brienne share a bath during which he explains why he killed the mad king Aerys to her, his reason being something that he hasn't really told others before.
- The bathtub in question is really more like a hot tub — big enough for five or six people. It still counts, though.
- The plot of the Maisy picture book Maisy Takes a Bath, later adapted for the animated series, was that Maisy Mouse wanted to take a bath, but her friend Tallulah the chicken kept knocking on her door, wanting her to come out and play. At the end of the story, Tallulah hopped in the bath with Maisy and they had fun together.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Genevieve with Faith in Season 8.
- Happens once or twice in Kyle XY between Kyle and other characters (usually Amanda or Jessie). Notably there isn't ever water in the tub. He sleeps in it.
- Several episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess have Xena and Gabrielle sharing a bath. Slash fans rejoiced.
- An episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys had Autolycus and Salmoneus sharing a bath. Slash fans did not rejoice.
- Clips from Season 4 of Top Chef Reunions showed Richard Blais and Dale Talde in the bathtub together.
- Wataru from Kamen Rider Kiva has taken at least one bath with almost every single character of importance in the series. His Dad Otoya did the same thing 22 years earlier.
- Monica and Chandler in Friends.
- Accidentally happens after Fran looses her memory and thinks she's married to Max on an episode of 'The Nanny.''
- Jack and Karen have done this in 'Will and Grace''.
- In Saturday Night Live, recurring character Simon (Mike Myers) was a small English child who hosted his show in the bathtub. One installment had him sharing the tub with an American kid (Danny De Vito).
- Another had him sharing the tub with a character played by Sara Gilbert.
- Sam & Max: Freelance Police: Sam and Max apparently took baths together when they were kids, according to photos in their office.
- In Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, Neptune, Plutia and Noire wash each other off after the climax of the first chapter. The scene is actually the punchline to a very elaborate Exact Words joke.Explanation
- Shared baths are the level-up mechanic for Reyvetails in Ar tonelico 2, and include conversations between the girls.
- Can be invoked throughout the Suikoden series with the different bath houses, and works as a clever way to develop characters that otherwise wouldn't get a lot of spotlight shined on them.
- In Kanon, Yuuichi can try to get in the bath with Makoto. Twice.
- In the Strong Bad email "concert", Strong Bad and Strong Sad talk for a while about a band they both like in various locales, one of which is sharing a mudnote bath together.
- The Simpsons: The season six episode "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" has Homer and Marge trying to pump some new blood into their tired love life by having a candlelit bath for two. This doesn't work as the tub is too small, Homer is too fat, and it ends with the two of them stuck in the tub in complete darkness, yelling for the kids to help them out.
- Family Guy
- Similarly, on the movie "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story", Peter and Lois get in the tub together. Peter has to move his big, fat stomach out of the way so that she can get into the tub. He holds his stomach out of the way until she's comfortable, and then he lets go of his stomach and it smacks Lois in the face and her head rebounds off the faucet. The kids interrupt the bath with their inane arguing, so Peter and Lois decide to teach the kids how to date so they can get some alone time. The scene ends with Lois trying to lean in to kiss Peter, only to slip out of the tub, and Peter to notice that she's bleeding from a possible head injury.
- Subverted with Stewie and Meg. Stewie farts in the tub. They laugh. Meg farts in the tub. They laugh. Meg accidentally queefs. Stewie screams and hightails it out of the tub.
- American Dad! had a particularly Squicky one on the episode, "Oedipal Panties". After Roger tells Francine that there are no signs of disturbing togetherness between Stan and his mother, Francine asks Roger to go in the bathroom and get her some aspirin, which Roger accepts since he's going through a "white month" (read: he's exercising and cleansing his body of all the drugs, alcohol, and junk food he regularly consumes) and needs an excuse to work his leg muscles. When Roger opens the door, he sees Stan and his mother in the bath, with Stan singing a variant of "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor?" and washing his mom. A commercial break later, Roger can be seen traumatized and holding a cup of (what can only assumed to be) booze.
- The animated sketch "Die Herren im Bad" ("The Gentlemen in the Bathtub") by the German humorist Loriot shows two gentlemen in the bathtub of a hotel room. Their conversation, while relatively well-mannered, is more bickering rather than bonding, though.
- In Finland, getting invited to sauna together with the host is a sign of really deep friendship.
- In Japan, it's common for older and younger family members to bathe together and it's seen as a bonding experience