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Water Is Dry

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Though they look dry, they're actually wet.

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 labor-intensive. So, to get around something most won't notice, the solution is to remove any direct signs of wetness. The context provides the viewer with enough cues to know that characters are 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 short-lived.

Compare with Water Is Air.


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    Anime & 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.
  • 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 (though we do see water dripping off her). Likewise, a late Johto episode has 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.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • This occurs during an infamous blooper in Jaws: The Revenge. In the climax, when Hoagie gets out of the water, his clothes are completely dry. (Michael Caine has said that he noticed he had dried out in the sun while he (and everyone else) was waiting for the shot, and decided he'd stay comfortable rather than point it out.)
  • 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.
  • Teen Beach Movie:
    • This is true for the Wet Side Story characters, 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.
    • In the sequel, Lela and Tanner run through a shower early on. The water just sort of avoids them.

  • 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.
  • Possibly a reference, or just a coincidence, to the poem 'Praise of a collie', where a shepherd says of his favourite swift-footed dog: "It would take a very accurate drop to hit Lassie."
  • 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.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Being the son of a sea god, Percy Jackson only gets wet when he wants to, even when completely submerged.
  • Justified in The Crocodile God—though the Filipino sea-god Haik always SMELLS like the sea, he rarely gets wet.

  • 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?

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • 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. 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, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. 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. Breath of the Wild in particular even has this as a minor gameplay mechanic, as Link won't overheat in the Gerudo Desert or Death Mountain until he dries off.
  • Averted in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. 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.
  • Tomb Raider:
    • 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. 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.
  • Jurassic Park: The Game:
    • While waiting at the docks, Nima and Miles are standing in heavy tropical rainfall, and given the events of the film it's likely that Gerry Harding was still outside when treating the Triceratops. Yet once the rain stops, it's impossible to tell it ever happened.
    • Although their normal clothes were worn underneath — thereby justifying this trope to a degree — the survivors who swim through the Mosasaur lagoon still look dry even when they've just emerged while wearing their diving gear. Not that the water effects were exactly stellar to begin with.
  • Fatal Frame 5: Averted. Whenever the characters get wet, their clothes and hair are affected quite noticeably. They also do not dry off within a few seconds: it takes using an item to restore dryness. Furthermore, being wet increases the character's vulnerability to ghost attacks, so the player is cautioned to remain dry whenever possible.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • In "Daniel's Nature Walk" from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Daniel, O and Uncle X go out for a nature walk. Although there's by no means a downpour, there's a continuous light rain, yet there's no sign of wetness at any time on them, on any of the plants or animals they see, nor on the book of O's which is briefly exposed to the rain before Uncle X tucks into a backpack which also stays 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.
  • 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. In fact, when Franklin suggests that maybe he should go home because his mom will be worrying about him, Mrs. Goose says that she'll call everyone's parents to let them know that they're "safe and dry." And, indeed, the next shot shows that they certainly are, and so is the library's floor.
  • Llama Llama: In "Llama Llama and the Babysitter", Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu and the babysitter Molly Badger play with the hose, spraying it over-top of themselves while watering the garden and a bit later they lose control of the hose. None of them appears to get the slightest bit wet. On the flip-side, the characters are regularly shown to have water splashing off of them both in the pool and in the beach in "Beach Day".
  • 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.
  • PAW Patrol either plays this trop straight or averts it. This trope is played straight with most of the pups. With Rocky, this trope is either averted or played straight. Sometimes when he gets wet, he looks like he's been soaked, as his ears become floppy, and his fur and tuft of hair droop. At other times, he doesn't appear to get wet at all. The other pups' ears will droop or go back to show sadness, shock, or fear, but they don't droop when wet.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! special One Small Step, when the kids land in the lake, they don't seem to be wet at all.
  • Zig-Zagged in Sofia the First whenever Sofia uses the Amulet of Avalor to turn into a mermaid. Whether she dries off or remains wet when returning to human form depends on how she uses the power. If activated by will, she's instantly dry when reverting. If she reverts back to human form after activating the power by getting her feet wet, she stays wet as a human.
  • 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.
  • As seen in the page image, on ToddWorld, when the characters are wet, their hair does not stick down, nor do their clothes show any sign of wetness.
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • 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.
  • "Magic Sand", available from toy shops: If you treat sand correctly with Scotchguard (other liquid-repelling fabric treatments are available) you can pour it into water, then scoop it out again and reveal to your audience that it is dry. Make-your-own video here. If you use pure-white sand, you can scoop dry "sugar" or "salt" out of someone's cup of tea, or coffee, or any other liquid that doesn't give the game away by being transparent. Don't let the person drink it afterwards, though...