Swimwear

Swimwear is a anime/manga thing
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Swimwear is clothing designed for participating in different manners of water based events and/or to be worn as light clothing in hot conditions, such as those at a beach.

Styles

Women's Swimsuits

One-Piece

Skin-tight costumes generally designed to be practical and often fashionable. They are usually less revealing than bikinis while still offering maximum manoeuvrability as the wearer's arms and legs are completely free.

School Swimsuit

A swimsuit worn by female students during swimming classes in Japan.

Bikini

Bikinis are two-piece swimsuits for women. The top piece covers and supports the breasts while the bottom piece covers the crotch area and some portion of the buttocks, depending on the style. This leaves the arms, legs, stomach and back exposed, comparable to women's underwear.

Two-piece swimsuits are nothing new, but the modern bikini wasn't invented until 1946 by French engineer Louis Réard. He named the bikini after Bikini Atoll, a nuclear weapons test site. There are many different variants of the bikini, listed below are some of the major ones.

  • Sports bikini - the swimsuit equivalent of the sports bra, made to hold the breasts down to make participation in sports easier.
  • String bikini - one of the most popular bikini variants. Triangular shaped pieces covering the breasts and crotch with thin string-like straps.
  • Monokini - the term monokini generally refers to a bikini with the two parts connected in the middle. Sometimes monokini simply refers to bikini bottoms worn without a top.
  • Microkini - the microkini (micro bikini) takes the bikini to it's logical extreme, offering about as little coverage as possible. Basically the bikini's answer to thongs and g-strings.
  • Tankini - the tankini combines bikini bottoms and the tanktop in water-resistant form.
  • Skirtini - a skirtini is a bikini with lacy frills to imitate a skirt or enough fabric over the bottom piece to resemble a mini skirt.
  • Sling bikini - though arguably more of a one-piece swimsuit, sling bikinis are basically long bikini bottoms that go up over the breasts instead of around the hips.
  • Trikini - drifting even further from traditional design is the trikini, made up of three pieces consisting of bikini bottoms and two small stick-on pieces covering the nipples.

Tankini

The tankini combines bikini bottoms with a tanktop in water-resistant form.

Monokini

The term monokini generally refers to a bikini with the two parts connected in the middle on the front, but not the back. This gives it the appearance of a bikini from behind but from the front it looks more like a one-piece swimsuit. Sometimes monokini simply refers to bikini bottoms worn without a top.

Anime & Manga

Bikini-clad Erza Scarlet, unfazed by the rain.
Bikini-clad Erza Scarlet, unfazed by the rain.

Swimsuits have become very common in modern anime and manga. They are usually worn by characters when they are at the beach, are swimming, or when the weather simply allows for it.

Some characters like Yoko Littner wear a bikini casually, though often only as part of an outfit, accompanied by shorts, a jacket, or other items of clothing.

Occasionally bikinis and other swimsuits are used as a form of censorship. Characters wear them during bathing/shower scenes to avoid showing their lady-parts, these bikinis are sometimes called "digital bikinis" because they were edited over the top of the original scene featuring nudity. More often though, a towel is used for this purpose.

It's inadvisable (if not downright stupid) to wear a bikini during cold weather, particularly when it's raining or snowing, yet some characters completely disregard this. Luckily however, scantily-clad women in anime and manga are often inexplicably unaffected by the cold.

Notable Examples

A bikini top is part of Yoko's everyday wear.
A bikini top is part of Yoko's everyday wear.
  • In Gurren Lagann, Yoko Littner wears a bikini top as part of her main outfit. It's also noted that the bikini she chooses to wear for swimming is actually less revealing than her regular one.
  • In Blue Exorcist, Shura Kirigakure also wears a bikini top like Yoko, coincidentally, she too has long red hair in a ponytail.
  • In Fairy Tail, characters including Lucy Heartfilia and Erza Scarlet often change into bikinis when the weather is appropriate. This usually backfires on them though, as enemies have a habit of appearing at the worst times, leaving characters stuck in their swimwear during a fight. While Erza can magically change her outfit at will, it's become something of a running gag for Lucy, happening on several different occasions.
  • In Squid Girl, Cyndi Campbell is almost always seen wearing a bikini in the anime, so much so that when she visits Eiko's home, they are actually surprised to see her in regular clothes, but quickly realize how impractical it would be to wear a bikini everywhere.
  • In Pokémon, Ash and Brock stare at Misty when they see her in a bikini for the first time. After asking them why they're looking at her, Ash tells her "It's unusual to see you looking like a girl!" which he finds is a quick way to get a beach ball thrown hard at his face.

For a more detailed list of characters who have appeared in bikinis in anime and manga, check the characters section of this page.

Fan Service

Take one character, add a swimsuit and a dash of fan service.
Take one character, add a swimsuit and a dash of fan service.

The sight of swimwear (particularly bikinis) in anime and manga often indicates an oncoming onslaught of fan service.

Bikinis and other swimmsuits are usually featured in "beach episodes" which more often than not offer very little in terms of meaningful plot progression or character development, instead focusing mostly on the fact that anime women are running around with extra skin on show. Adversely, some anime and manga series like Squid Girl take place almost entirely at the beach. In these cases bikinis are generally given less focus.

Regarding female characters, bikinis typically expose more of the body than one-piece swimsuits, thus allowing for a fuller tan and providing more eye-candy for onlookers. However, bikinis are far more prone to slipping or being pulled off, which is often used in anime and manga both for fan service and comic relief. Provided the wearer has big boobs, bikinis also provide excellent opportunities for the Gainax Bounce or "Gainaxing" to occur.

Cosplay

Miku Hatsune, striped bikini (by Mashiro Yuki)
Miku Hatsune, striped bikini (by Mashiro Yuki)

Swimsuit cosplay isn't seen very often, mostly because of the simple fact that excluding characters like Yoko Littner and characters from anime or manga that focus on swimming, swimsuits aren't part of a character's usual outfit. Those who do choose to wear swimsuits have to be considerably bold and more dedicated than the average cosplayer. Generally you will find more professional cosplay "idols" posing in swimsuits than regular anime fanatics and convention attendees.

Popular examples of cosplay involving swimwear are listed below:

  • Miku Hatsune from Vocaloid, usually in a striped white/blue bikini.
  • Mio Akiyama from K-ON!, usually in a black bikini.
  • Outside of anime, Princess Leia from Star Wars is very popular, probably in fact the most popular cosplay choice involving a bikini.

Figures

Kirino Kousaka - 1/8 - Swimsuit ver. (Ques Q)
Kirino Kousaka - 1/8 - Swimsuit ver. (Ques Q)

Swimsuit figures are among the most popular kinds of anime figures. Many female characters who appeared in swimwear at some point or another receive a detailed rendition in plastic. An example of such a figure is the Kirino Kousaka 1/8th Scale Figure produced by Ques Q. Usually these figures are based on appearances in anime or manga, but sometimes they're based on promotional artwork.

Wave's line of Beach Queens figures are particularly popular, featuring characters from various franchises.

Some figures come with interchangeable outfits that may include swimwear, "ero" figures sometimes features removable swimwear.

General Information Edit
Thing Name Swimwear
Japanese Name: 水着
Romaji Name: Mizugi
Aliases Swimsuit
Bathing Suit
Swimming Costume
Bikini
Trikini
Skirtini
Tankini
Monokini
Microkini
Sling bikini
String bikini
1st manga book:
1st anime episode:
1st anime movie:
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