Created By: Katsuhagi on May 29, 2011 Last Edited By: Katsuhagi on October 29, 2016
Troped

Mysterious Veil

Someone wears a veil that adds to their mystique

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Trope
A Costume Trope where the face is covered either partially or fully with an opaque or semi-transparent veil. Which just begs the question: What's under it?

This trope is almost omnipresent in works set in the Arabian Nights/Days, where it may be combined with Belly Dancer or Bedlah Babe. Can be part of Hiding in a Hijab when used to hide one's identity, especially if the veiled character is actually a man Disguised in Drag. It's also often used to hide less attractive facial features, in which case The Reveal is often Played for Laughs especially if some hapless suitor had been pursuing her before this, and will often result in him running away as soon as he finds out, doubling with Abhorrent Admirer if she keeps after him. Or, because the audience will often get suspicious when this trope is used and be expecting a gag due to the setup of this trope, it turns out that the face underneath is actually beautiful, making it an example of Playing with a Trope.

If the veil just covers the mouth expect this character to do a lot of Eye Takes to show their expressions. And because the mouth flaps don't have to be animated with an opaque veil it can provide a method of Filming For Easy Dub.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Ishizu Ishtar wears one while on the Battle City blimp up until her first duel. It's not exactly clear why she's wearing it, as the audience is aware of her identity the whole time and she does not interact with the cast in any way until she discards it.

Comic Books
  • In Judge Bao and the Jade Phoenix, there's a prostitute named "Two Moons" because of her most distinctive feature who wears a hat with a veil that hides her rather unattractive face.
  • Way back in the early days of the Justice Society of America, Johnny Thunder was thrown back in time and was betrothed to a princess who always wore a veil. She turned out to be quite ugly under the veil and he promptly fled once he saw this.
  • Sooraya Qadir of the New X-Men, seeing as she's an Afghani Muslim, specifically it's a Niqab. She has appeared without it a few times, including a particular instance where X-23 stole her Niqab in order to impersonate her and Sooraya ran outside in her underwear, shocking another student not because of her attire but because he could see her face.

Film
  • In Aladdin, the three Fanservice Extra harem girls who appear in the "One Jump Ahead" and "Prince Ali" musical numbers wear small, transparent veils colored the same as their clothes over their mouths. They are the only female characters who do so.
  • In the second Deuce Bigalow movie there is a woman from Chernobyl who is wearing a veil to hide that she has a penis on her face as a result of a mutation.
  • Princess Yum-Yum from The Thief and the Cobbler wears a transparent one combined with a bedlah that really does nothing to hide her body or facial features.
  • In Wild Wild West, Jim West is masquerading as a female belly dancer in order to infiltrate Loveless' hideout, and wears a veil as part of his disguise.

Literature
  • The Informant! in the Erast Fandorin novel The State Councillor always appears to her visitors with a veil hiding her face—on the one hand, to protect her identity, but on the other, to hide the fact that she has a hideous facial deformity.
  • Orual of C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces begins wearing one shortly before she becomes queen because her face isn't especially attractive. As a result, she becomes the subject of much rumor among the populace, and she unintentionally highlights just how shapely the rest of her body is.
  • In The Adventure of The Veiled Lodger, Sherlock Holmes deals with a mysterious lady in a veil who's unnerving her landlady. She turns out to be one of those using the veil to cover an unattractive feature, although there's nothing remotely funny about how this came to be.

Tabletop Games
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, the ancient demon lord Pale Night, Mother of Demons, appears as a shapely humanoid whose face and body are veiled in a flowing white shroud. The shroud is reality itself trying to reject something impossibly awful; peeking underneath instantly kills anyone whose brain doesn't just glitch out and suppress the image.

Video Games
  • Agahnim of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past wears a veil over his mouth. It provides emphasis for his scowling eyes.
  • In Mass Effect Tali'zorah's environmental suit, which covers her entire body and only gives us a vague glimpse at her eyes and nose through the mask, effectively serves this purpose. The developers admitted to taking inspiration from this trope, and the actual reveal of her face in the third game was not particularly well received since it amounted to a photoshopped picture of a real-life model in a stock image, demonstrating that sometimes it's best to keep the mystery a mystery.
  • Kitana and and clone Mileena of Mortal Kombat, though in Mileena's case it's to cover up her teeth. It's also used by their Palette Swaps Jade and Khameleon.

Webcomics
  • Thistle of Daughter of the Lilies always appears with some manner of face covering, and has had several variants. Whatever her deal is she does not want anyone seeing her real face, and so far the only facial feature that's been concretely established for her is her Innocent Blue Eyes.
  • Luna of Dominic Deegan first appears with one to cover up her tusks, which she is incredibly sensitive about.
  • This seems to be a part of drow fashion, since Diva'ratrika, Mikilu, and Vidhi'yani of Drowtales have one. In the latter two's cases it's probably because they're Imperial Overseers who are ostensibly extensions of Diva'ratrika's power. Chrys'tel also starts wearing one after the timeskip when she officially becomes an Overseer. Some Jaal'darya are also seen with them when they go out in public, including Wa'fay, and the Kyorl'solenurn Judicators all wear them in public to hide that most of them are actually Light Elves.

Western Animation
  • The Painted Lady, a powerful river spirit, wears one of these in Avatar: The Last Airbender. In addition to adding to her ghostly apparel, it also makes it much easier for Katara to imitate her and give hope to an impoverished town.
  • The assassin Curare from Batman Beyond wears one, and given how Terry reacts when he knocks it off plus concept art of her face it's pretty obvious why she wears it.
  • In one Johnny Bravo episode, Johnny learns his date is a werewolf. So they can eat at the restaurant in peace, the girl puts a veil over her muzzle. "Now no one will ever know!" It works, too, until the veil falls off.
  • There's a sketch in Tiny Toon Adventures where Lucky Duck does a mission to try for the hand of a woman in a veil who dances for him. It's Elmyra.
  • In one Woody Woodpecker cartoon, Socko in Morocco, Woody and Buzz Buzzard fight over a harem girl; in the end Buzz lifts the veil to see a horridly ugly face. Woody then finds out after Buzz gives up that the ugly face was a mask and she's actually beautiful.
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • May 29, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    Unless this is specifically about character who are Badass and wear veils (and it doesn't appear to be), I don't think badass should be in the name. Veil Of Mystery or something seems closer to the trope.
  • May 29, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    Woops, looks like that's already taken by a work. how about Mysterious Veil?
  • May 29, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • Wild Wild West. While Jim West is masquerading as a female belly dancer in order to infiltrate Loveless' hideout, he wears a veil as part of his disguise.
  • May 30, 2011
    Koveras
    You missed a "t" in the title. :)
  • May 30, 2011
    randomsurfer
    There's a Droopy cartoon (I think it was Droopy anyway) set in Saudi Arabia or another Arab country where the bad guy is chasing him, and catches who he thinks is Droopy in female drag including veil but it's really just a short, ugly woman.
  • May 30, 2011
    MiVaTh
    Mileena from Mortal Kombat has a huge gaping teeth filled jaw hidden underneath her veil
  • May 30, 2011
    batgirl1
    Almost Omnipresent in works set in the Arabian Nights Days, particularly regarding harem girls and belly dancers.

  • May 31, 2011
    StarryEyed
    • Yu-Gi-Oh: Ishizu Ishtar wears one while on the Battle City blimp up until her first duel. It's not exactly clear why she's wearing it, as the audience is aware of her identity the whole time and she does not interact with the cast in any way until she discards it. Maybe it's just fashion, but she never wears one again...
  • May 31, 2011
    X2X
    The above Mortal Kombat example is missing Jade and Khameleon (also Palette Swaps of Kitana/Mileena).
  • June 1, 2011
    captainbrass2
    In The Adventure of The Veiled Lodger, Sherlock Holmes deals with a mysterious lady in a veil who's unnerving her landlady. She turns out to be one of those using the veil to cover an unattractive feature, although there's nothing remotely funny about how this came to be.
  • October 23, 2011
    gunpowderwizard
    What about when the veil is not just the lower face? Upper and whole face should be included too.
  • October 23, 2011
    Abodos
    Agahnim of The Legend Of Zelda A Link To The Past wears a veil over his mouth. It provides emphasis for his scowling eyes.
  • October 18, 2016
    DustSnitch
    • The Painted Lady, a powerful river spirit, wears one of these in Avatar The Last Airbender. In addition to adding to her ghostly apparel, it also makes it much easier for Katara to imitate her and give hope to an impoverished town.
  • October 27, 2016
    intastiel
    Not sure if this is quite what you're looking for, but:
    • In Dungeons And Dragons, the ancient demon lord Pale Night, Mother of Demons, appears as a shapely humanoid whose face and body are veiled in a flowing white shroud. The shroud is reality itself trying to reject something impossibly awful; peeking underneath instantly kills anyone whose brain doesn't just glitch out and suppress the image.
  • October 27, 2016
    Snicka
    • In Aladdin, the three Fanservice Extra harem girls who appear in the "One Jump Ahead" and "Prince Ali" musical numbers wear small, transparent veils colored the same as their clothes over their mouths. They are the only female characters who do so.
  • October 28, 2016
    Koveras
    • The Informant in the Erast Fandorin novel The State Councillor always appears to her visitors with a veil hiding her face—on the one hand, to protect her identity, but on the other, to hide the fact that she has a hideous facial deformity.
  • October 29, 2016
    Snicka
    • In the second Deuce Bigalow movie there is a woman from Chernobyl who is wearing a veil to hide that she has a penis on her face as a result of a mutation.
  • October 29, 2016
    intastiel
    Looks ready to launch. Could be indexed under Mysterious Woman as well as Costume Tropes?
  • October 29, 2016
    Katsuhagi
    ^ Those would work. I'll look to launch this sometime tomorrow.
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