Whenever a cartoon character falls, jumps or is pushed into water, they get right back out without any visible signs of wetness. Often the character will be fully immersed underwater — and their clothes will remain pristine and flowing. They don't need to change their clothes, nor dry themselves with a towel, nor do they seem the least bit uncomfortable in what should be sopping wet clothing. In Real Life, clothing generally tends to be very heavy, cumbersome and uncomfortable when it's wet. Most times if they do show off these signs, they're most likely to be plot related.
The character's hair will usually also be completely, unrealistically dry. Many readers will be quite familiar with the fact that even the lightest rain can completely ruin a style and turn it into a frizzy mess. The fact is drawing things when wet is incredibly labour intensive so to get around something most won't notice is to remove any direct signs of wetness because the context provides the viewer with enough cues to know that character is wet even if they don't look it. With furred characters or certain hairstyles, it's impossible to not indicate wetness through the fur or hair without breaking suspension of disbelief for the audience but expect it to be shortlived.
Compare with Water Is Air
Anime and Manga
- Bakugan: In the episode Dan and Drago, Dan runs through the river to retrieve Drago. He's not wet when he's back on shore frolicking with Drago, and then loses his footing and falls back in the river.
- In Ponyo it's explained that the title character can't get wet because she's a fish.
- Lampshaded in the Divine Design arc of the Get Backers manga: One of the things the characters learn is how to stay dry when jumping into water. Ban fails, of course, and gets soaked.
- Gad Guard had a weird moment where Hajiki escaped pursuers by jumping in a sewer. He gets home in the exact same outfit he was wearing when he made the escape, perfectly dry, without so much as a lingering smell.
- Pokémon seems to change the effect of water depending on episode. In the tropical Hoenn, Ash is shivering, sneezing and wrapped up in a towel after taking his clothes off after being hit by a wave on the beach, while in Pokémon 2000 Misty goes swimming fully clothed in freezing water and doesn't seem cold in the slightest. Likewise, a late Johto episode had the characters battle underwater in a pool, where they go in fully clothed, and don't appear wet in the slightest neither after getting out OR while in the pool.
- In the 1958 film version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Maggie goes out to the pouring rain and gets her hair soaking wet, but the next time we see her, it's perfectly dry and styled.
- One of the (many) complaints about The Last Airbender was that in the opening scene when Katara accidentally drops water on Sokka's head, he looks almost totally dry even as he's angrily advancing on her seconds later.
- In Triangle, while the other passengers on the wrecked yacht are anywhere from damp to soaked, Jess is totally dry.
- Parodied in Top Secret!!; after Nick Rivers wins the underwater Bar Brawl, he goes back to the surface and hails his friends. He's still standing in the river, and all his body from the belt up is completely dry.
- Lampshaded by Clumsy in The Smurfs 2 in the dream where Smurfette dives into a pond and comes out with her hair dry.
- This is true for the Wet Side Story characters in Teen Beach Movie, and the fact that it applies to Mack and Brady after a while is one of the first signs that the movie is a Fisher Kingdom.
- Lampshaded and Justified in Discworld: Granny Weatherwax, after falling into a river, is dry despite standing in the middle of a downpour. Archchancellor Ridcully asks how she's doing that, and the closest thing to an answer he or the reader gets is that she's walking between the raindrops.
- In The Magician's Nephew, people travel to and from the Wood Between the Worlds through pools, but they always emerge dry. However, when they try jumping into the pools without wearing the correct magic rings (the ones that transport people out of the Wood), they just get their feet wet.
- Being the son of a sea god, Percy Jackson only gets wet when he wants to, even when completely submerged.
- Touched on in the They Might Be Giants song "Particle Man": When he falls in the water, does he get wet, or does the water get him?
- Averted in Resident Evil 6. The first example is a rainy environment which actually has an effect on Leon and Helena's clothes. Later, Leon can fall into a big pool of water and become a walking reflector after climbing out.
- Nearly every video game in which the player can swim. Making the characters look wet would require additional graphics, so the developers rarely bother unless swimming is a central element in the game.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, Riku and Sora come out of the ocean just as dry as they went in. Sora's hair also is still as spiky as it was when it went in.
- Actually, this is quite common throughout the series. Each character who falls into water comes out dry. Even in Atlantica and Prankster's Paradise, does Sora go into water and appear dry on the surface, despite being a merman in the former. And at one point in Port Royal, we get to see him unconscious with half of his body in water... and he is STILL dry.
- Averted in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Whenever Link gets wet, his hair and outfit will get a bit darker and he'll be dripping for a few seconds before fading to normal.
- Averted in Metal Gear Solid 2. Apart from swimming, walking on a wet floor makes your character leave footprints, and walking through rain makes him leave drops of water with a little bit of animation to show it's wet.
- Averted in Assassin's Creed II. While it disappears quickly, there's a small water-droplet animation whenever Ezio gets out of the water, and his clothing is visibly wet and soggy.
- Averted greatly in Tomb Raider Anniversary. The developers not only made sure Lara got wet from falling in the water but gave her realistic wet T-shirts to boot. Of course, there was a particular reason for the designers to pay attention to this.
- Not to mention she could also get dirt on her (which washed off).
- In the original series, Lara looked completely dry in the first three games when emerging from water. However, starting with Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, she would drip when emerging from water due to the improved graphics engine.
- Played straight in the first four Dead or Alive games, but averted in Dead or Alive 5, where the characters can get wet and dirty.
Truth in Television
- South Park: In "Free Willzyx", the boys sit in the Splash Zone at a Sea World-like Killer Whale show and get splashed multiple times. Once the show is over, they're completely dry.
- Danny Phantom managed to avert this. Danny and Tucker were hit by Milk before the opening sequence. They were soaking wet after that as well. However, Danny managed to phase himself and his clothes (Along with Tucker) in order to get the milk off quickly.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic zig-zags this. More often than not, the ponies end up drying a few shots after they get soaked, while other times they have to shake themselves dry or otherwise remain wet until the end of a scene. In at least one episode, however, the Mane cast completely submerge themselves in a tub of water and resurface totally dry. Another episode inverts this; while sitting in a bath with her head above the water, Twilight Sparkle's mane is dry in one shot and suddenly becomes wet in the next, without any visible or audible signs of her going underwater, getting splashed, etc.
- In "Franklin and the Thunderstorm" on Franklin, Franklin and his friends get caught out in a pouring rainstorm, but when they seek refuge in the library, none of them show even the slightest signs of being wet.
- Total Drama does this a lot. While usually when the characters are wet their hair at least looks different, their clothing looks the same and they're rarely seen dripping. There have also been several occasions when a character is seen wet in one shot, then seconds later they're completely dry.
- A company called Liquipel has developed a technology with the same name to protect smartphones from water. When applied to a piece of tissue paper, the tissue can be dunked in water and removed COMPLETELY DRY.