Follow TV Tropes


Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal

Go To

"You know what's weird? Donald Duck never wore pants. But whenever he's getting out of the shower, he always puts a towel around his waist. I mean, what is that about?"
Chandler, Friends

While characters having inexplicable collars is an animation cheat, one might think a character who wears a full outfit might be easier to draw.

But if your characters are Funny Animals, you are bound to run the gamut of animals until you hit unfamiliar ones. A full outfit has a high chance of obscuring what species a character is, so you're bound to find just enough clothing to make it quirky to that character without covering up the most basic cues, with the major exception of White Gloves. Characters with distinctive tails might not get pants, and ducks are rarely given shoes. Some half-dressed cartoon animals wear shoes, but others do not. Also, shirtless ones are more likely to wear shoes than pantless ones.

Half-dressed cartoon animals often, but not exclusively, come in two variants,

  • Pantless or Bare-bottomed: wears a shirt, coat, vest, or some other kind of top, but no pants, shorts, or overalls, or a skirt and very rarely with any underwear on.note  This also refers to characters wearing dresses or skirts (even long ones) with shirts but without underwear. This variant is more common in male animals than in female animals.
  • Shirtless or Bare-chested: wears pants, shorts, overalls (which often border on fully dressed), or a skirt, but without a shirt or any other kind of top. Some characters wearing skirts without shirts are not wearing any underwear. Some characters of this type wear vests in such a way that the chest isn't covered, which can border on fully dressed. This variant is a lot more common for female characters than the pantless variant. Overlaps with Walking Shirtless Scene.

Very importantly, this does not mean a character without an outfit is automatically regarded as "naked". Most animal characters from The Golden Age of Animation wore no clothes whatsoever, but acted denuded only when random comic violence rendered them featherless or furless, with their underlying bare skin (and occasional Goofy Print Underwear) revealed. Hence, feathers and fur have long been grandfathered in as an acceptable animal analogue for clothing. Strangely, if a half-dressed character loses their shirt they will suddenly realize their crotch is exposed.

In general, they won't wear any footwear as it has the issue of not communicating the "animal" part of their name/species. Female characters are likely to be depicted wearing a skirt, but that's mostly a gender clue. So it's a good thing that most of them lack primary and secondary sexual characteristics anyway.

A form of Lampshade Hanging involves having the character wrap a towel around themselves (which kinda makes sense, as wet fur/hair is as form-fitting as a wet T-shirt). Sometimes further Lampshaded by having the towel fall off.

The majority of half-dressed cartoon animals are on the Civilized Animal and Funny Animal tier, but half-dressed cartoon animals can range from Nearly Normal Animal and even Beast Man on the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism. However, as Beast Man are more humanoid than they are animal, they can look very unnerving to some (Especially if they are nearing Little Bit Beastly tier). As a result, pantsless and shirtless Beast Men aren't very common.

See also Pantsless Males, Fully-Dressed Females. Related to Barefoot Cartoon Animal. Subtrope of Appropriate Animal Attire.

Oddly enough, this is something of a Truth in Television: people who dress their pets in costumes, or just to protect them from extreme cold, tend to leave off pants so the animal can relieve itself without making a mess.

Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

  • As with the Trope page quote, Dutch comedian Harry Jekkers mentioned the fact that Donald Duck wears no trousers during one of his shows in the early nineties. In fact, he points out that a Duck, while walking as a normal human being, wears no pants. What follows is his outrage when he points out that when this same Duck is in his natural element — swimming in water — he suddenly starts wearing swimming trunks. Cue laughter from audience.

    Fan Works 
  • Zany To The Max:
    • Zak (when separated from Ko), Pakko, and Makko all wear shirts but no pants.
    • Takko and Jakko Zarner also wear shirts but no pants.
    • Averted with Jot, Zot, Sikko, Coach Nurse, Sekoila, and the Yarner twins. They are all Barefoot Cartoon Animals.
    • Subverted with Dot, who is revealed to wear a black shirt in the first episode ("The Blue Dot" segment), making her a Barefoot Cartoon Animal as well.
  • Averted in Family where the Warners actually wear clothes, only taking them off when they’re filming Animaniacs.
  • In Hail to the King (Qwapdo), the unnamed protagonist is a human who wakes up in Equestria in King Sombra's body. He comments on how he has an awesome armor and cape, but no pants.
  • In A Sly Encounter, a Sly Cooper and Sonic the Hedgehog crossover comic plays with it, when Sally is confused why people would need privacy when dressing, with Sly insisting on her wearing pants and a shirt. He squicks himself out when thinking about Murray without pants, and (as he is a hippo) without fur.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney Animated Canon
    • Abu the monkey from Aladdin only wears an open vest and a hat. Unlike most examples, he is a pet and a 'real' animal, so it's particularly bizarre.
    • Roquefort the mouse from The Aristocats is usually naked, but is occasionally seen wearing a hat and coat at times.
    • The Beast from Beauty and the Beast actually starts out as one, wearing only a tattered set of pants and a long, dark red cape. When he starts to become more polite, he becomes a Barefoot Cartoon Animal.
    • Abby Mallard from Chicken Little, which was somewhat strange considering that the majority of the rest of the cast either wore full costumes or nothing at all (with the possible exception of Fish Out Of Water, but his helmet was for breathing, not really for fashion).
    • Timothy Q. Mouse and the crows from Dumbo are pantless, but the stork is more or less fully dressed.
    • Hyacinth Hippo from the "Dance Of The Hours" segment of Fantasia.
    • Agent Wendy Pleakley from Lilo & Stitch.
    • Many of the Donkey Boys from Pinocchio.
    • Bernard the mouse from The Rescuers. Miss Bianca is either an example of this trope or an Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal. Jake in the sequel wears a slouch hat and a shirt, but no pants or shoes (possibly justified as being a kangaroo mouse, he has big feet).
    • The anthropomorphic cast of Robin Hood (1973) follows the bottomless male/fully-clothed female rule. Possibly because a medieval tunic/jerkin with no trousers looks a lot less risque than a medieval peasant blouse/corset with no skirt.
    • Winnie the Pooh wears a shirt with no bottoms. It should be noted that in the original book illustrations, Pooh only wore the shirt during winter, going au naturel otherwise.
  • Mr. Snake and Ms. Tarantula from The Bad Guys (2022), they are only wearing a shirt, since they can't fit into normal pants.
  • Bee Movie lampshades this trope.
    Reporter: Who are you wearing?
    Barry: Calvin Klein, and I'm not wearing pants.
    • Not only are the male bees pantsless, but the female bees are that way as well. Apparently they don't make pants with sting holes.
  • Fritz and other characters in Fritz the Cat and its sequel, The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat.
  • Various animal characters from Hoodwinked! including the Big Bad Wolf, Boingo the bunny and Twitchy the squirrel. The Wolf initially wore a blue hoodie in the first movie, and later added pants to his wardrobe for the sequel.
  • Po, Tai Lung, Master Monkey, and Master Crane from Kung Fu Panda all wear shorts, but no shirt.
  • Both Waternoose and Roz from Monsters, Inc.. Besides those two, Celia, maybe a couple other females, Sulley when wearing a tie at the end, and the grocer and octopus (both in aprons), everyone else runs around stark naked—-fur and general reptile/amphibian/fish/insect anatomy rules acting as modesty.
    • In Monsters University, most members of a fraternity (e.g. Oozma Kappa, Roar Omega Roar, Jaws Theta Chi) wear a themed varsity jacket, but are always without pants or shoes.
  • In Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Mr. Peabody is usually an Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal, but his period costumes when he's Time Traveling fall into either this category or Barefoot Cartoon Animal.
  • The Mouse King from The Nutcracker Prince movie is considered this trope as he wears a cape, a crown and an armor plate.
  • The aliens from Planet 51. While the male aliens all wore only shirts (and no pants), the female aliens all wore shirts in addition to dresses and skirts. However, they still went barefoot. While this was supposed to indicate their society and thus their mode of dress was similar to America during the 1950s, it really just raised unpleasant speculation on the anatomical differences between the males and females.
  • In Rango, the main character's regular duds consist of a red tropical shirt. There are a few supporting characters including Wounded Bird and Waffles the horned toad that apply to this trope as well.
    • Most of the other (anthropomorphic) animals are either fully clothed or Accessory Wearing Cartoon Animals. Rango gets a new outfit that includes pants before too long and remains fully clothed for the rest of the movie.
  • Edmund from Rock-A-Doodle, upon being transformed into a cat by the evil Grand Duke of Owls, starts out naked when he is rescued by the other animals, but he immediately had to put on a shirt and a hat because everyone else was wearing clothing, and only he isn't.
  • The Secret of NIMH - The film that launched a thousand furries. Pretty much every character. There is even a scene in the third act where Justin suggests to Mrs. Brisby that she remove her cape (the only thing she wears) so that it won't 'get caught on something.' The scene unintentionally turns Justin into a pervert in the eyes of some fans.
    • The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue depicts Mrs. Brisby's sons Timothy and Martin wearing a shirt but no pants and running around barefoot. Later on, Timothy meets a girl mouse named Jenny who also wears a shirt but no pants and also runs around barefoot.
  • Tiger from An American Tail only wore a purple short-sleeved shirt.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Halfway through Alvin and the Chipmunks, the chipmunks start to wear just sweaters/sweatshirts, though Simon wears glasses.
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks: In this Disney live action animated movie. Miss Price, Professor Emilius Browne, and the 3 children accidentally go visit, underwater in the ocean by the isle of Naboombu. There they see half-dressed fish underwater, when their bed gets pulled up by a fishing hook, they arrive on the Isle of Naboombu and they meet a sailor bear who wears a shirt but no pants or shoes on. They go visit the Lion King Leonidas who has a soccer match. Most of the animals at the game wears both a shirt and shorts but only one doesn't wear shorts such as the alligator. Also the Cheetahs shorts fall down before he pulls them right back up. Some of the Animals sitting in the Bleachers only wears a shirt but no pants.
  • Referenced a couple of times in Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers.
    • At the beginning of the film, a young pantsless goat is told by a teacher that he is “not Donald Duck”, so should put some pants on.
    • Later, when Sweet Pete is holding Chip hostage:
      Chip: Where’s Dale?
      Sweet Pete: He’ll be here. Keep your pants on.
      Chip: I don’t wear pants.
      Sweet Pete: Yeah, I noticed. It’s not something to brag about.
    • A CGI snake named DJ Herzogenaurach, wears only a black gangster beanie and a white shirt with a blue mark on it, but no pants, but considering that he is a snake and snakes don't have limbs. So a hat and a shirt was the only thing DJ Herzogenaurach could wear.
  • Early cinema's Le Cochon Danseur, a 1907 short film based on a popular French vaudeville act. The pig even uses a Modesty Towel when his waist coat is pulled off.
  • Kangaroo Jack Charlie and Louis run into a kangaroo with their truck. Louis then puts his red lucky jacket with the $50,000 in the jacket on the kangaroo and take their pictures. The Kangaroo then wakes up and takes off with Louis red jacket and they go on a wild chase after the Kangaroo wearing only the red jacket with money in it.
  • The 2018 film adaptation of Peter Rabbit features the main character in his iconic blue jacket. Contrary to the books, this trope is also applied to most of the supporting talking animal characters, wearing only a shirt, blouse and/or jacket.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) Longclaw, despite being wise, she is half-naked and the only thing she wears is a gold chest plate.
  • Space Jam: A New Legacy: White Mamba only wears a The Goon Squad team shirt and no pants. That is justified though, since her serpentine lower half is a tail, so she didn't have much to wear.
  • Star Wars: In a variant, The Phantom Menace suggests droids view their outer coverings as clothing with C-3PO embarrassed about being "naked".
  • Roger Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit wears red overalls, and a blue and yellow bowtie. Only one of the weasels wears pants, and for some reason he hikes them right up to his chest. (Possibly because weasels have low waistlines and short limbs, so this is the only way he can reach the pockets.)

  • Goleo, the mascot of the World Cup 2006 doesn't wear pants.


    Puppet Shows 
  • Between the Lions:
    • The son Lionel wears a shirt and a hat, but no pants.
    • Some of the other characters on the show are also half-dressed animals, including Walter Pigeon who wears a cap and an open vest, and Clay Pigeon who wears a sunhat, a beaded necklace, and a skirt.
  • Most of the characters in Dinosaurs wear anything but pants, and it's not just the male ones. Fran and Charlene might wear a nightdress if they were going to sleep, otherwise the female characters all are pantsless too. Lampshaded in "Baby Talk", when censorship goes amuck, Earl shows that, as part of the push for censorship, the pants that he suddenly is forced to wear, to Fran's horror. The two characters who avert this trope are B.P. Richfieldnote  and Baby Sinclairnote .
  • Referenced in The Funday Pawpet Show Theme Song - "Pawpets, Pawpets/We will sing and dance/Pawpets, Pawpets/We're not wearing pants"
  • Lamb Chop's Play-Along: Hush Puppy only wears a shirt.
  • While Herry Monster from Sesame Street is usually only seen from the waist up on the show, various merchandise of him, as well as his illustrated appearances depict him wearing only a pair of red and white striped pants.

    Theme Parks 
  • Zigzagged in the first and third versions of Journey into Imagination at Epcot in Walt Disney World: Figment is sometimes seen nude but other times has just his top half covered (usually with a yellow and red shirt).

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner:
    • Homestar does not seem to wear any pants, but he does wear a shirt, shoes (that look exactly like his feet, but with blue soles stuck to them)Proof  and a propellor cap (he calls it his "buzzer"). Also, Marzipan's ancestor, Old-Timey Marzipan, seems to wear a skirt... but it's actually her body. Strong Bad lampshaded this on one occasion.
      Strong Bad: You've gotta be kiddin' me! I'm the only one that wears any pants!?
    • In one Strong Bad E-Mail, Homestar claims that he always wears long white pants. Strong Bad also lampshades the apparent "soles stuck to the bottom of his feet". Whenever Homestar is shown shirtless, his entire torso is censored via pixellation, with two exceptions: In Strong Bad's fan fiction in the Strong Bad Email "fan club", Homestar is just wearing a fig leaf, and in the 2014 Halloween cartoon "I Killed Pom Pom!" Homestar dresses up as Tobias Funkë, wearing nothing but cut-off shorts and blue skin paint.
    • It gets even weirder when Strong Sad, who doesn't seem to wear any pants (or anything for that matter), is rather concerned about buying his favorite underwear back from an online auction in "Bug and Mouth Disease".
    • Coach Z seems to be naked, but on a few occasions it's implied that he's actually wearing a green jumpsuit. That he never removes or washes.
      Strong Bad: Hey, I always wondered, is your skin green or are you wearing a green body suit? Y'know with footies and sockies.
      Coach Z: Oh, I got footies alright... athletes' footies.
  • The Annoying Thing/Crazy Frog is often depicted with only a leather jacket, helmet, and goggles. This is a bit of a subversion in that unlike almost all others the Crazy Frog has visible naughty bits.note 
  • In Minilife TV, Vince and Zach's boss, Keegan Kubrick, is a faun who wears a tuxedo without pants, which is lampshaded by Chris and Ian.
  • Happy Tree Friends: The fashion choices of the titular critters are varied, with some of them preferring just a top, with no pants, or vice versa. These examples include Pop's robe and hat, Cub's diaper and beanie, the Mole's turtleneck sweater, Mime's shirt, Cro-Marmot's loincloth, Flippy's army jacket and hat, and Lammy's sweater.
  • Played With by Eric Schwartz in his "Amy The Squirrel" Amiga-made animation. Amy goes out for a walk to work wearing only a skirt, prominent breasts covered only in fur, and no underwear either. Unlike most cases of a Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal, Amy's walk instead causes a large number of accidents as every guy on the way turns to gawk at her, then runs into something, implied to be because she's half-naked.

Alternative Title(s): Half Dressed Funny Animal