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Bathtub Bonding

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"If you're gonna do shit in the bath, how about some fucking spelling?!"
Geoff Ramsey, The Off Topic Podcast

This is when two characters 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.

Most of the time they are 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. In Japanese, the phrase "hadaka no tsukiai" (裸の付き合い) is used to describe this, and despite literally meaning "a nude outing", one of the definitions listed is "an honest relationship."


At least two characters have to share a bathtub (be it at home, at a hotel, during a Public Bathhouse Scene, or during a Hot Springs Episode) in order to qualify for this trope.


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  • The iconic bathtubs in commercials for Cialis, a drug that helps with erectile dysfunction. The couples are not in the same tub, but they're in two old-fashioned bathtubs next to each other on the beach, holding hands.

    Anime & Manga 
Relatively common in anime due to the Japanese concept of "skinship".
  • Hilariously subverted in Axis Powers 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 original manga, OVA, and remake manga version of 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.
  • It is done in Butt-Attack Punisher Girl Gautaman R but to an uncomfortable extent.
  • Son Goku and Son Gohan do this while training in the Room of Spirit and Time 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.
  • In the eighth episode of The Familiar of Zero, 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.
  • Rushuna and Mikan bathtub bond in the ninth episode of Grenadier.
  • 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.
  • In High School DXD, Asia (a European) tries to invoke this when Issei accidentally walks in on her in the bath, saying that she's heard of the Japanese practice of communal bathing and would be okay doing that with him to strengthen their relationship. Issei tells her she's misunderstood the idea.note  The trope is expanded upon in the anime, where the girls often have their bonding conversations in hot springs and the like, and Rias and Souna conduct important devil business meeting while naked in the latter's steam room.
  • Himechan No Ribon: 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.
  • The first ending of I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying has Kaoru and Hajime relaxing in the bath together (ending with Kaoru doing a Bath Kick). Later episodes would add them washing each other's backs.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lyrical Nanoha has three of these scenes:
    • Attempted by Fate in the first Sound Stage of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, though Amy interrupted her before she could gather up her courage to ask Nanoha to go to the bath tub with her.
    • On the other hand, her adopted daughter Caro was a lot less nervous about this in the first Sound Stage of StrikerS. She just jumped right into Erio's side of the Hot Springs (kids under 11 are allowed to go anywhere they want) to do some serious bonding with him, much to Erio's horror and embarassment.
    • Fate also likes bathing with her children, and in one of the one-shots, gets quite disappointed when Vivio expresses a desire to take a bath by herself in order to appear grown-up.
  • 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.)
  • Episode 23 of Mai-Otome has Mai sharing a hot tub in the middle of a thick forest with Natsuki, it being the first time they've met face-to-face since they both left school. Natsuki spent the last several years since then wondering why Mai suddenly disappeared, and asks for her help in her fight against Nagi and the Schwarz army.
  • Lucoa and Ilulu from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid have attempted to take baths with Shouta and Taketo respectively (multiple times in the case of the former), but both boys understandably freak out and don't go through with it.
  • Yuki from Mononoke Sharing tries to do this with Yata in chapter 8, but her ice abilities causes the bath to freeze the second she puts her foot in.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Nisemonogatari dedicated a whole episode to a scene regarding Koyomi and Shinobu having a discussion in the bathtub together.
  • The 10th episode of Omamori Himari does this.
  • Nanako and Mariko share one of these scenes in Oniisama e..., complete with Nanako being embarrassed as she compares her body with Mariko's.
  • Miina and Karen do this in pretty much every episode of Please Twins!.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Male example: A chapter of the Sgt. Frog 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.
  • Invoked in Slave Harem in the Labyrinth of the Other World. The protagonist Michio, upon buying his first slave, takes her with him to an inn, and wipes her down. As his harem (and income) grows, he commissions a large wooden bathtub, which he fills, by hand, that he then uses so his all female slave companions will bathe with him. They all happily agree because this is a level of luxury most of them could only dream of.
  • Snow White with the Red Hair:
    • After getting caught in the rain while traveling Mitsuhide stays as a guard while Zen and Obi take a bath in the large bathroom at an inn. Shirayuki and Kiki also bathe together at the inn and while both pairs get a bit of time to just chat between the two of them Obi uses the time to mostly tease and fluster Zen, joking about peaking in on the girls and saying that now he'll be forced to picture Zen naked if Zen ever again says something about wanting his aides (including Obi) to be happy in life again now that he's done so while they were bathing.
    • In Lyrias Shirayuki and Izuru are invited to a public bathhouse by Yuzuri to celebrate the success of the Olin Maris experiments, when Suzu hears about this he decides to bring the guys to the bathhouse as well in order to relax a bit and Obi, Ryuu and Kirito come along with him and the guys end up talking about their relationship prospects.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Played for laughs in Reincarnated As The Strongest Wand. Walpurga drags Reiji, stuck as a wand, and thus unable to refuse, into a bath with her. They spend quite a bit of the scene getting to know and understand each other, until Walpurga realizes Reiji tends to be a bit uncomfortable seeing her naked body. Hilarity Ensues

    Comics — Books 
  • Used at least once in X-Force between Cable and Domino. Or rather, between Cable and a shape-shifter who was impersonating Domino.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: Sam and Max apparently took baths together when they were kids, according to photos in their office.
  • Faith and Gigi, the slayer planning to kill Buffy, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 8.

    Fan Works 

  • Done a couple times in the movie Heavenly Creatures.
  • Used in the movie Tart.
  • Done in the movie Ballet Shoes.
  • Andrew and Sam in Garden State, albeit without water in the tub.
  • In the movie version of Quadrophenia, Jimmy meets up with an old friend in a bathhouse (they're in separate tubs). Subverted later when they get dressed and they realize Jimmy is a Mod while his friend is a Rocker, the two groups being sworn enemies.
  • In the film Shanghai Noon, Roy and Chon spend some time bonding in the bath. Technically most of this happens while they are in separate tubs, but the scene is shot to give the impression of shared space, and then they end up in the same tub until they're interrupted.
  • Narrowly averted in The Talented Mr. Ripley when Tom Ripley and Dickie Greenleaf play chess together while Dickie is in the bath. Dickie expresses his dissatisfaction with being an only child, while Tom's lingering stares again alert the viewer to Tom's growing fascination with Dickie.
    Tom: I'm cold, can I get in?
    Dickie: ... No.
    Tom: (embarrassed) I didn't mean with you in it.
  • Harry and Lloyd did it in Dumb and Dumber, and it was a heart-shaped bathtub to boot!
  • That's how Michael and Hanna in the film version of The Reader kick off their sexual journey.
  • In Big Fish old Edward shares a bathtub with his wife Sandra. Both of them are still clothed, though (yes, while it's full of water). But it's still very sweet.
  • This happens in Buffalo 66 between the main characters, a man and a young woman where they bond silently. In this situation, the girl does have a thing for the man, he doesn't make a move and eventually tells her to get out.
  • In the prologue of the Lifetime movie Due East, the teenage protagonist Mary Faith and her new neighbour Michael Yeager are seen taking a romantic bath together and begin to kiss, Michael suggests that they should lose their virginities to each other, resulting in their baby's conception.
  • In Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks, Maria and Krista bathe together in the mineral springs in the caves. As they rub therapeutic mud into each others skins, they discuss Krista's possible romance with Maria's father.
  • Act of Vengeance: After their first martial arts lesson with Tiny, the women relax in the club's whirlpool bath. It is here that that they cement their plans for the Rape Squad, and take on Kathleen's case.

  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: While at first it might look like a simple Bathtub Scene in a series notorious for its Fanservice, the scene between Jaime and Brienne in "Kissed By Fire" quickly becomes a pivotal moment in their Character Development.
  • 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 do this several times. Early in their secret relationship they're having a romantic bath together and almost get caught when Joey comes home early and barges in to ask Chandler if he wants some of the take-out Joey's ordering.
  • Accidentally happens after Fran loses her memory and thinks she's married to Max on an episode of 'The Nanny.''
  • Jack and Karen have done this in Will & 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.
  • Tamsin and Bo have one of these near the end of season 3 in Lost Girl
  • When Eric and Hyde of That '70s Show first met they were kids and to spite him not liking Eric that much Kitty got them to have a bath together which as teenagers Eric seem's less embarrassed about than Hyde.
  • Million Yen Women: Nanaka at some point imposes this upon Shin by undressing and coming into a tub in which he was already bathing. It turns out to be so she can tell Shin what she figured out about the invitation sender without any of their housemates hearing her.
  • "Wet", an episode of a German TV series Erotic Tales, had a bathtub salesman being seduced by a beautiful customer who insists on trying out his product after closing hours, with him joining her in the tub.

    Video Games 
  • 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 II: Melody of Metafalica, 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 Warriors All-Stars, there's a hot springs in the game's central hub. Encountering other characters in the springs will raise your Regard Levels with them, and unlock specific event scenes as well.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam: Elpeo Ple, who was known in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ to love taking baths, likes to suggest doing this with anyone she makes friends with in the game. Including Judau, whom she has declared her "big brother". The only one who actually agrees to the idea is her clone, Ple-2.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Comics 

    Web Animation 
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • 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.
  • 24-hour saunas are common in Korea and used for bonding, business meetings, or even a place to sleep.


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