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And it came to pass at eventide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house; and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
—The Bible, "2 Samuel 11:2"
Inevitably, a man is going to stumble on her while she is naked. If not spotted, even the most chivalrous men will have a hard time looking away. Truth in Television. If spotted, expect lots of yelling, Armor-Piercing Slap or Megaton Punch. Or maybe not, if the story is on the naughty side... then the guy might actually get lucky.
More often than not, this is entirely accidental from the male, who didn't plan any peeping. Sometimes they'd be attracted by the woman yelling and be rushing to the rescue. If the reason of the yelling is serious, like a water monster attacking, the man can eventually be forgiven his indiscretion. Or maybe they wanted a bath too and what an amazing coincidence that their hot female companion is ass-naked in the very pool they were headed for...
It stands to reason that outdoor bathing runs more risk of being peeped upon than in the safety of a bathroom; however, with this trope in action, it's like the mere act of disrobing in the wild for washing up acts like a magnet to most males in a thirty mile radius.
If it's the first time they met, may result in Naked First Impression, and eventually Naked on Arrival. Mostly done for Fan Service and ship teasing. As shown by the mythological examples below, this is Older Than Feudalism.
Generally distinct from whatever is going on in an Onsen Episode, since there the hot pools are known to be popular bathing spots, and thus any peeping is generally quite intentional.
Characters who intentionally try to peep in this fashion may be The Peeping Tom.
Anime & Manga
- This happens at the beginning. Kagome, bathing nude in a cold stream to get rid of the grim and blood of her first fights in the past, spots Inu-Yasha spying on her. "SIT!" Kagome thinks he is peeping on her, while old Kaede guesses correctly that the hanyo aims rather at stealing a fragment of Shikon no Tama.
- Happens repeatedly to Inu-Yasha and Kagome, even more so after Miroku and Sango show up. Actually, poor Kagome meets Miroku like this, when he's peeping at her while she's at an outdoor bath. She guesses someone's watching her, tries to use a rock to hit him... and mistakenly hits Inu-Yasha instead.
- The first scene above is very similar to one in the OVA short Fire Tripper, also by Rumiko Takahashi, which is considered the inspiration for Inuyasha. In there, male protagonist Shukumaru doesn't exactly hide that he's ogling, and almost gets nailed by female lead Suzuko with a boulder as a result.
- Staying with Rumiko Takahashi, Ranma One Half examples:
- Ranma, Genma, and Sōun are determined to find the scroll with Old Master Happōsai's Dangerous Forbidden Technique before he does. They find the location (a rock in the middle of a hot spring), leap down with a battle cry... and are immediately pelted with dozens upon dozens of buckets, since the hot spring is a women-only outdoor bath. Did anyone expect less from the Dirty Old Man? Now they must find a way through this impenetrable defense before Happōsai (disguised as a monkey) retrieves the scroll.
- This is how Rouge and Pantyhose Tarō met. Rouge is taking a bath in a hot spring in China, and Tarō bursts through the bushes. She thinks he's trying to assault her... he thinks she is attacking him (with her source of power... long story). Cue buckets and rocks thrown in his face.
- Mahou Sensei Negima
- During the exploration of the Mahora Library (which is more like a huge underground "dungeon", complete with a subterranean river), Negi first walks in on Makie, Kaede and Ku-Fei showering under a waterfall (but they don't mind much and tease him), and then on Asuna swimming, whom he can't help but ogle shortly.
- Much later, Chisame is bathing in a lake when she wanders around a stone outcropping... to find Jack Rakan showering under a waterfall. This bothers her much more than it bothers him.
- Long before that, Akamatsu gave us the Pararakelse arc of Love Hina and two examples at the oasis. The first is immediately after they arrive there and jump into the water without even bothering to undress — not that it matters. Later, Naru starts getting all mushy and forcefully tells Keitarō to go over and tell Nyamo that he's going to help her with the excavation, right away. Nyamo is bathing at the time. Keitarō acts about as embarrassed as you'd expect. Naru also acts exactly as you'd expect. Poor Keitarô...
- It seems to happen a few times to Lina Inverse of Slayers. It's usually a bad idea for any male to walk in on her while she's bathing, because Lina tends to overreact. "FIREBALL!"
- Happens in the manga Vaelber Saga. Note that the bodyguard watching the Princess bath in the sea is female, but no less affected. And also, there is a huge mutant monster in the water....
- Afro spots Okiku under a waterfall in Afro Samurai.
- Neo-Chinese Fighter Sai Saici spots the VERY HOT Neo-Russian Natasha Skinny Dipping in the Guyanas arc of Mobile Fighter G Gundam. At first it's a genuine accident, but then he's mesmerized by how beautiful she is. She realizes it... and immediately gets her gun and shoots at him.
- Different characters, but more or less repeated verbatim in episode 2 of Mobile Suit Gundam The 08th MS Team. Shiro Amada catches Kiki Rosita bathing in a river and she shoots at him.
- In the 7th episode of Shinzo, Yakumo is looked at while bathing in a lake by monster warriors who try to attack her. But Mushra shows up and fights them — and gives Yakumo a towel.
- This is done to the point of exhaustion in Naruto with Jiraiya. In fact, during the Third Hokage's funeral, it is revealed that he did this while he was in training.
- Subverted twice in Shinkon Gattai Godannar. This happens to Anna, but it turns out to be a nightmare. Later, Kukarachov apparently sneaks up on Luna bathing, before revealing that he is not watching her, nor is he interested in her.
- Yahiko and Sanosuke attempt to peep on Kaoru and Megumi in the Rurouni Kenshin's Hot Springs Episode. It backfires since the girls are actually wearing robes because they guessed that the guys would try that on them, and they end up drenched instead.
- In Zenki, Soma Miki spots Anju taking a bath during a break in their training. She's not amused.
- In the second episode of Soul Eater, Tsubaki throws a shuriken at Black Star for peeping at her while she is bathing in a lake. Strangely, she seems angrier at the fact that he was caught than the fact that he was peeping. It becomes Fridge Brilliance when you realize that Tsubaki is the most perverted member of Spartoi.
- Cage of Eden: Akira gets a glimpse of Sexy Stewardess Oomori while she's bathing in a lake.
- In a filler episode of Dragon Ball, a bunch of pigs from Oolong's village attempt to peep on ChiChi while bathing in a spring.
- Happens in episode 19 of Code Geass between Kallen and Suzaku. This actually was an accident, but it's more important because it marks the point where Suzaku learns about Kallen's Secret Identity and her being a Black Knight.
- In Tenchi Muyo, Noboyuki attempts this. Too bad Ryoko decided at that moment to go grab Tenchi.
- Kurz Weber of Full Metal Panic Fumoffu goes to great lengths with some of Sōsuke's classmates to peek at the girls. And Sōsuke, being Crazy Prepared, is more than willing to make sure they don't. Shinji Kazama does manage to get to the women's side of the bath... only to fly face-first into Sōsuke's crotch, who calmly informs him that after midnight, the men and women swap sides.
- In Tantei Gakuen Q, a peeping attempt on a Sexy Secretary committed by Kyu and Kinta not only finishes with them seeing Megu naked (and understandably, Megu does NOT take it well)... but actually provides a clue to the mystery they're working on: the Sympathetic Murderer of the case is the Sexy Secretary.
- Inspired from mythology, William Bouguereau's Nymphs and Satyr demonstrates a different possibility if you get caught.
- In the French graphic novel series Black Moon Chronicles, this is how the hero Wismerhill met his first paramour, an elven female warrior, bathing in a river. At first she's mad at the peeper, throwing her bastard sword in a tree next to him (she may bathe nude, but she never parts with her weapon). However the virgin hero reacts quite innocently, having never seen a naked woman before, and she quickly warms up to him.
- In issue 2 of Bone, Fone Bone gets scorched by a dragon before he hears something and goes to investigate... and he finds the beautiful Thorn dropping her pants for a soak. Love At First Sight for Fone, followed by his blush re-igniting his hat...
- Odd though it may seem, Batman has done this to Wonder Woman once.
- In the furry comic Katmandu, the two disparate male/female pair take turns washing up in a pond at an oasis. Each can't resist taking a secret peek at other in turn and don't get caught while thoroughly enjoying the view.
- In The Lord of the Rings fanfiction Okay, NOW Panic!, the sequel to Don't Panic!, Penny, having gotten used to the relative reliability of hot baths in Imladris (compared to the wilds of Middle Earth, and certainly better than the ones at The Prancing Pony) and even to the work involved in preparing one, then found, upon traveling again, that she had to bathe in a rather cold mountain stream. Her reaction to the temperature was loud enough to bring one of the elf men posted to guard them looking to see what was the matter. A brief explanation sent him away, amused.
Films — Animation
- In Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor stumbles upon some bathing Amazons. The other Amazons are not pleased.
- Inverted and Gender Inverted in Mulan. Sweet Polly Oliver Mulan, (posing as young soldier Ping) is mid-bath when her fellow soldiers Ling, Yao and Chien-Po decide they want to wash up. The sequence is marked by Mulan sinking as low in the water as possible, desperately trying to make a hasty exit, maintain her male disguise and avoid getting an eyeful of her nude comrades, who are guilelessly trying to befriend "Ping" with a little good-natured water fight.
Films — Live-Action
- A rather frequent occurrence in softcore pornography. One example is Six Swedes on a Campus.
- Gender-reversed in The Big Parade when Jim's girlfriend catches his buddies under a homemade shower.
- Manon des Sources (Manon of the Springs): Ugolin develops an interest in Manon after seeing her bathe naked in the mountains.
- Seen in House of Flying Daggers. It turns out that the bathing damsel was quite aware of being ogled, and didn't seem to mind.
- Forbidden Planet: Commander Adams walks in on Altaira bathing nude in a pond. He then asks her to put some clothes on, to which she responds with puzzlement.
- Gender reversed in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Maid Marian catches Robin bathing in a pool under a waterfall.
- Sheena: Vic Casey finds Sheena showering under a waterfall after she rescues him. He's embarassed, but she doesn't understand the problem.
- In Dragonslayer, this is how the protagonist discovers that the "boy" he is accompanying is Not as Advertised.
- The escaping German soldiers in Cross of Iron encounter a squad of female Russian soldiers in this way. The first one they see is bathing outside in a large wooden barrel.
- Done in Swamp Thing when we're shown Alice bathing and Swamp Thing watching it.
- In Almost Heroes, Leslie Edwards (Matthew Perry) is looking through his telescope and happens upon the bathing beauty Shaquinna. When Bartholomew Hunt (Chris Farley) intrudes, he takes a peek, but at first sees her (male) owner.
- In Date with an Angel, Jim sees the eponymous angel bathing in a pool. He stares for a few seconds, then gets embarrassed and leaves.
- The miniseries Magical Legend of the Leprechauns uses this as a Meet Cute. Jack is exploring the area around his vacation cabin and stumbles upon the lovely Kathleen bathing in the river. He tries to flee, but his foot is caught in a tree root. He gets pummeled by pebbles for his troubles.
- Gender-reversed in Yentl where the title character is passing as male to go to university, and her compatriots — and the man she is in love with — all go swimming nude.
- Rowen saw Tanalasta in Beyond the High Road, but it wasn't a problem... until Royal Magician sneaked up on him:
Vangerdahast: And you may consider yourself lucky to escape with a dunking. Spying on a royal princess's bath could be deemed a crime against the crown.
- John Grisham's The Painted House.
- In Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry, Dave sees the goddess of hunting bathing. No man of Fionavar may see her in her bath and live. Luckily, Dave is not a man of Fionavar.
- In the Belgariad, Ce'Nedra goes bathing and Garion is sent to keep an eye on her. Averted, because she's quite happy for him to see her, but he's too embarassed to look.
- Gilthanas came upon his Nubile Savage/shapeshifted dragon Love Interest bathing in the second book of the Dragonlance Chronicles.
- In Protector of the Small, several boys try to catch Kel peeing, but get driven away by sparrows first. She gets a separate bathing spot with the Shang Wildcat (the only other woman on the expedition), so nobody tries to catch her bathing.
- In Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, a woman taking a bath unguarded is just asking for trouble, since the ambient magic in the land tends to make stories come true — even the bawdy songs and barroom tales.
- Played with in Red Storm Rising. Weatherman turned hero is actually guarding the young Icelandic lady they had rescued earlier. He tries to be a gentleman, but movement catches the eye... She pokes gentle fun at him over it, and promises, when they switch roles, not too look too much.
- In Tamora Pierce's Alanna series, the girl disguised as a boy has this problem when her male friends go swimming — and want her to swim as well.
- In Planet of the Apes, Nova was bathing in a pool by a waterfall until she hears noises. Briefly hiding at the top of waterfall she reveals herself to the explorers from Earth.
- Robin Hood: Sweet Polly Oliver Djaq gets caught washing herself.
- Seven Days: Parker catches Olga, when Olga is on a wilderness retreat and Parker follows her.
- Legend of the Seeker: Richard does this to Kahlan in episode 1.06. It's played for just about everything, but especially for laughs and fanservice.
Richard: Kahlan, about what happened back, (points at river) I didn't see anything.
- Happens a few times in Xena: Warrior Princess. A notable one is when hapless comic sidekick Joxer stumbles upon a group of Amazons bathing... the penalty for which is death (apparently by pro wrestling).
- Primeval: Nick Cutter catches Helen bathing in the first season. In the Late Cretaceous. Fortunately she doesn't mind, either because she's technically his wife or because she's, well, a bit loose.
- In Power Rangers Wild Force, of all things, Cole spots Merrick bathing and sees that the wolf pup with him is the same one that was tagging along with Enigmatic Minion Zen-Aku in an earlier episode. The fact that he apparently spent a good little while watching didn't go unnoticed by viewers.
Myths & Religion
- King David did this with Bathsheba, sparkling his interest in her. This led to The Uriah Gambit in The Bible. It gets messier after that....
- Mentioned in Leonard Cohen's immortal song "Hallelujah": "Your faith was strong, but you needed proof/You saw her bathing on the roof/Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you..."
- Also in Biblical Apocrypha, the story of Susanna and the Elders. A very popular subject for paintings.
- Seeing goddesses or nymphs bathing was a dangerous hazard in Greek Mythology:
- Blind Seer Tiresias (in Callimachus' version of the legend, at least) lost his sight in punishment from stumbling upon the Goddess Athena bathing. When she realized it was completely unintentional, Athena gave him the ability to tell the future as an apology.
- Acteon the hunter was changed into a stag (and killed by his own hounds) by the goddess Artemis for having seen her naked while bathing in the woods.
- This happened to Artemis a lot. The only one she didn't turn into an animal was Siproites. She turned him into a woman. Which is still pretty harsh, considering how sexist the ancient Greeks were.
- This is how many Shapeshifting Lover tales begin. Well, the ones that use magical cloaks or skins, like selkies (although in that case it's when they get out of the water) and swan maidens.
- Hindu goddess Parvati created Ganesha to guard her while bathing. The reason he has an elephant head is because Shiva (Parvati's husband) wanted to watch his wife in the bath; Ganesha refused to step out of the way, so Shiva lost his temper and ripped Ganesha's head off. After he calmed down, he took the head off the first thing that he saw (an elephant) and put it on Ganesha's shoulders. No harm done.
- In Armenian mythology, the goddess Astghik habitually took a bath in a certain stream every night; some romantic young men eager to see the goddess' exquisite beauty lit a big fire on a nearby hill, but Astghik, in order to foil their scheme, caused the entire area, the plain of Mush, to be covered by a thick fog. Hence the name of Mush, which means mist in Armenian.
- Breath of Fire
- In the first game, the whole party has to peek on the ruler of Tunlan, to get the code to open the castle vault, which is tattooed on her back.
- Breath of Fire IV is one of the most infamous case of Bowdlerization. While patrolling for the girls, Ryu gets a case of Accidental Pervert when he attempts to peep in on the girls while bathing after hearing them comparing their sizes.
- Tales of Symphonia
- Similar scenario, except Zelos is actually trying to peep on the girls, whilst Lloyd chastizes him, gets overheard, and while Zelos bolts, Lloyd gets caught.
- Happens in the sequel too: when you revisit the same hot spring, the new main character Emile finds Zelos peeping, when Lloyd also shows up, Zelos bolts, both of them end up getting caught and berated by everyone else, Lloyd, having (canonically, even) been through this before, tells a flustered Emile, "Welcome to the club."
- Optionally happens twice in Riviera the Promised Land. Not only does Ein gets away with them, all the girls but a guard fairy will act like nothing happened.
- Yggdra Union has one scene involve Yggdra taking a bath, and the fairy who invited her accidentally take a peek at her.
- Arguably happens twice in Lunar Eternal Blue. The first time Lucia fails to understand the point of separate bathing areas and walks into the male half of the hot springs while Hiro is bathing stark naked. The second time Hiro accidentally ends up walking in on Lucia as she bathes in a lake, only to discover that she had since developed the concept of modesty.
- Agarest Senki has five of this. All are in a similar format with Vincent going high while he's watching the girls taking an outdoor bath. He then gets beaten up by Borgnine.
- Sluggy Freelance. Oasis is introduced exactly this way during a fight between Bun-Bun and Torg: "Game called on account of naked chick."
- Played with in Errant Story. Meji wants Ian to see her bathing, since she likes him and wants him to make a move (he's too much of a gentleman, though).
- Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic pretty much starts this way (even though inside a cavern) between Bob and Gren.
- In Devil Bear, while the Daivas are sharing the Hot Springs.
- This strip from Flaws, a fan webcomic in the style of The Order of the Stick.
"I took compulsive skinny dipper. Seemed like an OK idea back home... no river for miles."
- Another Order of the Stick-inspired comic: Murphy's Law has two simultaneous peeping scenes with this strip, each one gender-reversed.
- The Simpsons
- Homer takes in a biker gang and the family is forced to live in the backyard. Lisa complains about bathing with the hose, saying "Rod and Todd are watching." They are.
- In "Homerazzi", someone catches Homer showering in the street with a fire hydrant.
- Hercules (1998 TV series) Hercules and the Caledonian Boar, has Phil stumbling on Artemis bathing in a waterfall thinking she is a nymph.