Follow TV Tropes


Censor Steam

Go To
Steaming hot action, behind steaming hot... steam.

"If those wisps of smoke are meant to hide Omega Red's 'carbonadium tentacle' in order to make sure this thing could still be approved by the Comics Code, then Arkady's genitals are positioned in a weirdly high spot on his crotch. Congratulations: You now know more about Omega Red's ding-dang than you did five minutes ago."
Chris Sims on Jim Lee's X-Men

The use of strategically placed steam or smoke to censor the "naughty bits". Used most often in Anime, but also in Western Animation. Its use in Live Action is rarer, as real smoke is hard to control, and is often transparent unless extremely thick (at which point it tends to cover up everything, eliminating the titillation factor), though it can be done via CGI. Most recently, Censor Steam can also be seen in the form of glimmering rays of light, or black shadows.

In recent years, many shows are marketed with explicit intent to be released on DVD, and for anime one of the best incentives to encourage people to buy is, literally, Fanservice. However, many broadcast networks have particular policies against sexually explicit content (as opposed to direct sale via DVDs, which has none).

Thus the cheapest way to fulfill both needs is not to redo animation just to include Fanservice, but broadcast it initially censored. For many series, fans became suspicious that this was done intentionally merely to get them to pay up.

A Bonus Episode meets the two ideas in the middle.

Coined from the preferred censorship tactic of the fanservice anime Girls Bravo, which often obscured entire scenes until the second season premiered on another network.

The comedic version is usually Relax-o-Vision.

A similar phenomenon is noted in more recent U.S. superhero comics, and is most strongly associated with the X-Men character Storm.

A related trope, in which strategic placement of props is used to obscure nudity, is Scenery Censor. In outdoor bath scenes, it's often replaced with Lens Flare Censor, while indoor scenes opt for Censor Suds, or a Modesty Towel. In the bedroom, it's often replaced with a Modesty Bedsheet.

Not to be confused with Excessive Steam Syndrome, nor should it be confused with censoring Steam.

Another related trope, in which the naughty bits simply aren't drawn at all, is Barbie Doll Anatomy.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Lampshaded in episode 3 of My Mental Choices Are... when censoring efforts prevent Kanade from fulfilling his mission of seeing panties.
  • Bleach:
    • Occurs when Yoruichi changes from a cat to a (naked) woman, complete with conveniently-placed smoke.
    • Also occurs when Nel becomes Neliel, although this is a little strange, since her clothing does cover her naughty bits (barely).
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto has a special ninja technique he created known as the "Sexy Jutsu", wherein he changes into a beautiful, naked woman to throw opponents off-guard. Every time he does this, clouds of smoke cover the naughty bits. This can be partly written off, however, as just about every jutsu that ninja perform creates smoke. However, in the Disney XD version of Shippuden, it's expanded so much that it covers pretty much everything but the head.
    • Related to Jiraiya, a more explicit panel in the manga shows his view while peeping on women in the hot springs. In this case, censor steam is present but apparently in short supply, as virtually nothing is left to the imagination.
    • When the Harem Jutsu is first used, it's shown as basically the same thing, only that multiple clones of the naked girl they have transformed into have appeared. Of course, smoke that slowly moves out of the way covers their chest and groin.
  • A male example occurs in Wave!! Let's Go Surfing!!, in the shower room of a surfing club.
  • Pick any anime based on manga by Ken Akamatsu; Negima! Magister Negi Magi has this in spades. In his mangas there is often no steam, and the outlines of breasts and buttocks will be plainly displayed, but the characters will be drawn without "naughty" details.
  • In Fruits Basket, when the Juuninshi turn back from animals into (completely naked) humans, the transformation is accompanied by clouds of magical glittery stuff that handily obscures almost everything but the character's face.
  • The Air Gear anime parodies this by using doofy-looking crows that appear out of nowhere, sometimes even when the original manga panel had already used Censor Steam. On occasion, the crows start cawing, or fly away when they're done covering people up.
  • Girls Bravo has this a lot, especially since the bath is very important to the plot.
  • In the Blue Drop anime, the scene between Mari and Hagino in the pool gets obscured by immense air bubbles right at the moment when the girls declare their love and kiss, in a degree of prudishness that is quite removed from the straightforward nature of the original manga.
  • Used fairly often in To Love Ru whenever any of the cast are naked. Lala also uses her tail for this purpose if no steam is convenient.
  • Digimon Data Squad: When Kurata is upgrading the Quirky Miniboss Squad, they're in tubes half-full of Censor Steam. The two males are sufficiently covered, while the lone female is sitting down for some reason.
  • In The Prince of Tennis, while fan-favorite Atobe Keigo takes a shower.
  • Oddly present during Subaru and Teana's Shower Scene in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS supplementary manga. Oddly, because the manga isn't shy about displaying the characters in all their undetailed glory. It's also used during Rinne's Shower Scene in the third episode of ViVid Strike!.
  • Used every now and then in One Piece, especially when Nami gets naked (which is quite a few times). The author even lampshaded this in his question-and-answer corner:
    Eiichiro Oda: If it didn't just so happen to obscure the view, you'd see his weenie.
  • While both the Black Lagoon manga and anime show Revy's nipples during a Shower Scene, steam conveniently covers her crotch.
  • Present whenever the characters of Saki are bathing in the TV version. Naturally, these were removed in the DVD version.
  • Xxx HO Li C: A Midsummer Night's Dream plays this trope perfectly. In an opening scene, Yuuko is naked and half turned away from the screen, covered by transparent spirits.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya's anime adaptation uses this in-universe for the movie the characters make for the School Festival, which doubles as the anime's Non-Indicative First Episode.
  • Haruka Nogizaka's Secret's anime adaptation is infamous for the nearly comic overuse of this, including multiple frames where the screen essentially goes totally white. Odder still, unedited shots reveal that the characters are quite covered.
  • It shows up in the onsen episode of Princess Lover!, even to the extent that the girls comment on it.
  • Kaito from Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch.
  • Strike Witches takes liberal use of this in the bath scenes, and the steam is then removed for the DVD releases. Becomes a bit too obvious as the steam follows the more naked characters around while ignoring others.
  • In Cherry Juice, a combination of literal steam and Barbie Doll Anatomy are used to cover the naughty bits of the protagonists in their bath scenes.
  • Fairy Tail regularly uses steam when the female characters are bathing. How much it covers actually varies much.
  • Lampshaded in Ujiie Tozen's Petit Petit Tantan Petit Tantan manga in chapter 13. Steam censors appear over the girls' genitals, with the words "Steam Guard" appearing on the steam itself.
  • Persona 4: The Animation uses this in episode 20 to cover the girls up.
  • In episode 33 of Saint Seiya Omega, after being briefly defeated by Gemini Paradox, Ryuhou is shown floating in some kind of limbo, naked, while some kind of black mist covers his naughty parts. Another shot during the same scene, showing him from the back, averts this.
  • In one chapter of the manga version of Neptunia, in which Nepgear, Uni, Rom and Ram were turned into babies, their private parts are convieniently censored by this and Godiva Hair when they return to their normal ages.
  • The first episode of One-Punch Man has a censorship cloud.
  • In Brave10, even Yukimura complains in-universe about the obscuring steam in the Hot Springs Episode.
  • In Maria the Virgin Witch, Maria's incubus Priapus has a cloud covering his crotch. Maria justifies creating him this way because she's never so much as looked as another man's privates before.
  • The anime featured in the page photo, Nisekoi, actually got more steam added to its bath scenes in the ninth episode on DVD release, which some have called trolling by Studio Shaft.
  • Used frequently in Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs, especially given most of the anime takes place in a former hot springs inn.
  • Played for Laughs in Oddman 11 (which normally averts this trope completely). During the Public Bathhouse Scene, Setsu is convinced to show off her breasts to Nuida, Inuta and Chouko, only for them to be covered up in a combination of steam and a Lens Flare Censor that not even the characters themselves can see through.
  • Invoked in My Hero Academia: Vigilantes. Oboro Shirakumo shows up to class sopping wet while trying to get a kitten out of the rain. Rather than stay in wet underwear, he strips down in the middle of class while using his own cloud-producing Quirk to censor himself "just enough" to remain decent.
  • In the original My Hero Academia anime version, the class works together to bathe Midoriya after his spending several days as a muck covered vigilante. He gets plopped in the bath and Bakugo, who’s apparently still at one of the wash stands, stands up to yell at them for not washing Midoriya first, traditional Japanese-style, and getting dirt in the tub. The only reason we don’t see indecent parts of Bakugo is the steam cloud in front of his crotch.
  • Cross Ange's streaming version uses extra patches of steam to cover up any female nudity, though the characters have Barbie Doll Anatomy in the uncensored version anyway.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men is quite fond of this. The aforementioned Storm (whose culture doesn't have much of a nudity taboo) is the queen of Innocent Fanservice, and then there are the numerous occasions on which someone proves to be Made of Iron and their outfits don't. This happens to men and women alike. Equal opportunity Fanservice!
  • The Censor Steam looks good on Peter Parker, too.
    • Gwen Stacy's "return" in the Smoke and Mirrors arc has an overt case of this.
    • Mary-Jane Watson and Felicia Black Cat hardy also get this from time to time.
    • Ultimate Spider-Man is fond of this trope. It seems like Spidey can't beat the bad guys for good unless one of them (and often both) is naked and only censored by steam or light. Electro is probably the worst offender.
  • Cloud from The Defenders had a 'costume' that consisted of swirls of cloud covering her privates.
  • A variant involving speed lines is used when Samaritan has his dreams of flying naked in Astro City.
  • Mighty Avengers: zigzagged to the point of parody when the Avengers face off with a new version of Ultron, that takes the form of a nude metal-and-flesh copy of Wasp. While Ultron's new body is VERY curvaceous, long views of her and one closeup show she has Barbie Doll Anatomy, lacking nipples or genitals. This may not have been enough to placate the Moral Guardians, so in most closeups she has the same three patches of steam covering her naughty bits (even after the steam should have dissipated). In one very tongue-in-cheek panel, the steam over her cleavage looks like a hand giving her a squeezer.
  • Red Sonja takes a Waterfall Shower surrounded by strategic Censor Steam just before she is captured by an Evil Sorcerer at the start of Red Sonja Annual #4.
  • Censor bubbles obscure the 13 year old Rowan's form when she is submerged in the pool during the flashback in Black Magick #6.
  • In the 1990s Superboy comic book, Roxy Leech is covered in censor steam when Superboy pulls her out of the chamber used to graft her DNA onto Superboy's to prevent him from total degeneration.
  • In All-Star Superman, the smoke version is used on Doomsday (a transformed Jimmy Olsen) during his battle with Superman.
  • Calico (2020): When Hector is having a shower after some speed bag training, there's enough steam to keep the reader from seeing anything explicit.
  • The shower scene in Harley & Ivy uses conveniently located steam and Censor Suds to obscure Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy's private parts.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The title character of Beowulf fights the monster Grendel unarmed and completely naked (in order to fight on equal ground). When unexplained smoke isn't around, most of the battle consists of Beowulf jumping around like a circus monkey playing "Hide the Wiener."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dr. Jekyll & Ms. Hyde: Helen Hyde is introduced showering in a glass cabinet, but the glass is steamed over to prevent showing too much detail. When she steps out a moment later, a whole cloud of (added in post-production) steam obscures her even further, probably to hide the use of a body double for the actress.
  • The Shower Scene in the movie I, Robot.
  • The "Arnie" cameo in Terminator Salvation, as spoofed in this Sev Trek cartoon.
  • Done to great comedic effect in My Fair Lady, when Professor Higgins's servants give Eliza Doolittle her first bath. The entire frame fills with steam as they close in on her, so that all we see are billows of white and an occasional towel (all while she loudly protests, "I'm a good girl, I am!").
  • The Oracle in 300. Not entirely, but for the most part.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1: Ron's vision of Locket! Harry and Hermione making out while naked Definitely helped it get a PG-13 rating.
  • An (interrupted) almost-sex scene in the B-Movie Hell Comes to Frogtown uses the shadow of the female character's own leg as her Censor Steam.
  • Measure of a Man uses this to adapt One Fat Summer's Bobby Marks's internal musings. While looking in a mirror after a hot bath, Bobby wipes away just enough steam to uncover his face, leaving the rest of his overweight body obscured as he contemplates having a skinnier body.
  • Copious amounts get used on Selene in Underworld: Awakening. She breaks out of her cryogenic chamber and is lying on the floor naked for at least a minute before she gets up to retrieve her gear. All the while, not a single "naughty bit" was seen.
  • TV airings of Carrie (1976) use lots of CGI steam to censor the nudity that the original scene has.

  • Happens in the Disgaea novels when Flonne and Etna are bathing in a hot spring.
  • Used in one illustration in Girls Kingdom, to block sight of Misaki's chest while she's bathing with Himeko, keeping things safe for work. Himeko, meanwhile, has Godiva Hair covering her nipples.
  • Lady of the Bees by Thomas Burnett Swan has censor steam on its cover
  • The Paper Bag Princess: The aftermath of the dragon's attack is shown as Princess Elizabeth standing in the smoldering ruins of her castle, a cloud of smoke the only thing keeping her decent as she realizes her clothes have been burned to cinders.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The end of the first season of the 2000s Battlestar Galactica has a mob of identical Cylon women nude save for unexplained black shadow-like censor steam.
  • Highlander: The Series' first episode, Tessa's shower scene. Interestingly, the amount of censor steam had to be upped for the US version-the amount in the original wasn't enough to get past US censors.
  • On The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, when Hilary poses for Playboy. She's clearly nude in the picture we see, but clouds are covering her breasts and pelvic region.

  • In the Genesis song "The Fountain of Salmacis", when Hermaphroditus first meets the title character: "He turned and saw her, in a cloak of mist alone".

    Music Videos 
  • Used in the sauna scenes in the video for the Britney Spears song Womanizer.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy
    • Used in Final Fantasy VI with the "Goddess" (a naked lady) side of Chadarnook, a boss which is a haunted painting.
    • And in the PlayStation port of Final Fantasy V for Magissa; in the original, her "armour" covers her belly and nothing else.
  • When Bayonetta summons a demon, it is formed from her clothes, but a trail of Censor Steam still remains to preserve her modesty.
  • Used to obscure some showering co-eds in the second installment of The Spellcasting Series.
  • The Shower Scene from Cosmic Fantasy 2 has this in all versions except the Cosmic Fantasy Visual Collection.
  • In Turgor when interacting with the Sisters to give them Color, they're completely naked save for binding chains that, for the most part, obscure all of their "fiddly bits".
  • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty In the ending video, this happens to Kerrigan.
  • Yandere Simulator deliberately invokes this trope in a Take That! to YouTube's takedown of the uncensored Panty Shot video. When characters are getting changed or are in the buff, they're surrounded by a white haze that blocks the view of certain restricted areas of their bodies... and only those parts of their bodies. However, more recent updates of the game have the characters wear towels instead.
  • The Like a Dragon series spinoff Like a Dragon: Ishin! has a boss fight inside a bathhouse, where both combatants are nude and shielded by conveniently-placed steam clouds. Gets a Call-Back and Lampshade Hanging in Yakuza Kiwami when Kiryu and Majima get into an argument over a movie called Passionate Manly Bathhouse Battle: Majima is convinced it's porn but Kiryu insists that it's a perfectly innocent martial arts piece, and that it's not "indecent" thanks to all the steam.
  • Bullet Girls Phantasia features three different variations: beams of light, white steam, or black scribbles.
  • In Persona 4 Golden, after saving Marie from the Hollow Forest, the female members of the Investigation Team are bathing in the Amagi Inn's hot springs, all of whom are very obviously naked save for the steam. Taken to literal extremes with Marie, who is very barely covered by any steam.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: One of the earliest scenes is everyone taking a bath after a long battle, then getting into an argument. Heavy amounts of steam are provided for the audience, but it's clear that the characters can see everything—and that they don't care, which is another early sign that something strange is going on with the soldiers.

    Visual Novels 


    Western Animation 
  • A Monty Python's Flying Circus featured an Animated Segment called "Full Frontal Nudity", in which a man trying to watch a naughty film is prevented from seeing any "naughty bits" by increasingly bizarre Censor Steam and Scenery Censor, someone casting a shadow on the screen and, in the end, a traffic pileup in the middle of the theater.
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: The space pod that opened up to reveal a naked Eunice also billowed out light green smoke to hide most of her body from the audience.
  • In Danny Phantom, along with using his hands to cover his you-know-what, steam covers Danny's naughty zone when he's taking a shower (and exposed to the public).
  • In the Fairly OddParents special episode, "Fairly Odd Baby," there's one scene where Timmy steps out of the shower, obviously naked, and sees that all of Fairy World has shown up in his bathroom to celebrate Cosmo and Wanda's baby shower. Luckily, the steam from the hot shower covered up his private parts until he wished for a towel.
  • The heroine "Fire" in Justice League Unlimited, while using her power, is essentially naked, except for strategically placed wisps of green flame. The artists had to go through several different designs to get it past the censors.
  • Code Lyoko is famous for it. During Fanservice bits (Yumi taking a bath or Aelita in the shower, just to name a few), MoonScoop made sure to have the water steam up or to cut the frame so that viewers didn't see their naughty bits.
  • Censor Steam is used in Wakfu episode 22, when Sadlygrove (suffering from a sun fever) is hallucinating of Evangelyne showering.
  • I.N.K. Invisible Network of Kids: One episode featured a shot of three boys showering naked; conveniently placed steam was the only thing covering their crotches.
  • The Adventure Time episode "Memories of Boom Boom Mountain" plays with this trope. One of the multitude of problems listed for Finn to solve is a wizard proclaiming that he's naked. (Though, he certainly sounds happy about it) After getting a dragon to breathe fire into a pond, the wizard grabs some of the steam and wears it as a hat saying, "not naked".


Video Example(s):


Maki's Romantic Brain

Maki is naive and idealistic when it comes to romance, so when Shinra rescues Iris she is quick to call it "romantic", which annoys Iris, who is a devoted nun who isn't interested in romance.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThinksLikeARomanceNovel

Media sources: