OS 2

Turns out a lot of those sexy bath time scenes in anime aren’t realistic, and not just because of the censor steam.

Along with running to school after oversleeping and falling into a stranger’s ample bosoms, the bath scene is one of the proudest visual traditions in anime. It actually serves a dual purpose, as the private nature of bath scenes makes for an easy excuse to slip in some pensive self-reflection in the form of the featured character’s inner monologue, or a heart-to-heart conversation if it’s a communal hot spring bath. And, of course, Blu-ray sales always get a boost from some well-placed of 2-D nudity, whether partial or full.

However, as we’ve discussed before, there’s a lot of artistic license in the anime art form, and the way it depicts women bathing is no exception.

Japanese Twitter user @relaxmakoto points out:

“I don’t remember who it was, but someone tweeted before, and I think it’s true, that when female artists draw women soaking in the bathtub, they always draw them with their hair done up. In contrast, male artists draw them with their hair falling into the water. Even in 2-D, having their hair in the water like that looks unclean and uncomfortable, and I definitely wouldn’t draw it that way.”

The claim that all artists of the same gender draw their characters the same way is a bit of an exaggeration. What’s more, in the case of anime production, which is a collaborative process involving multiple directors and animators, it’s hard to pin down exactly who would make the hair up/hair down decision for a particular scene. Still, @relaxmakoto brings up a valid point: in a lot of anime, especially ones tailored to male fans, you’ll see female characters who let their hair down while relaxing in the tub.

▼ A bath scene from anthropomorphic battleship series Kantai Collection

Other female Twitter users were quick to chime in with how unnatural such artwork feels to them.

▼ “The worst part is how nasty having that wet hair sticking to your back feels when you get out of the bath.”

▼ “After I wash my hair, I put it up. It’s hard to wash your body when it’s down, and it’s dirty to have loose hair floating around the tub. And the biggest problem is that it keeps your hair sopping wet, which makes it harder to dry when you get out. Well, I guess manga doesn’t have to worry about details like that.”

So why do many anime, at least those being pushed to a male audience, choose to turn a blind eye to these real-life concerns during these voyeuristic moments? Simple.

▼ “Personally, I like the way it looks when a character gets out of the tub and her long hair is clinging to her back and hips. It looks sexy.”

Given that anime is a fantasy-heavy product, you can’t really blame animators for giving their target audience what it wants. Just be aware that the next time you see an anime heroine with her long locks lolling luxuriously in the bath, between that and her next appearance the director has essentially cut out a 20-minute sequence of her blow-drying her hair.

Editor’s note: To settle the debate in the comment section, yes, that is indeed Dirty Pair’s Yuri letting her hair hang into the tub at the top of this article. Congratulations, Will RuuRuu Martin-Foster — you win the RocketNews24 Classic Anime Fan of the Day Award!

Source: Hachima Kiko
Top image: Wikia