Created By: MrUnderhill on May 26, 2011 Last Edited By: StrixObscuro on July 18, 2014
Nuked

Mask Within A Mask

A character removes their mask to reveal... another mask.

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Trope
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A visual trick used most often (but not always) in video games to hide a masked or helmeted character's face in situations where their face would otherwise be visible. The basic idea is hide the subject's face behind convenient camera angles just before they "remove" their helmet, mask, or faceplate, without actually removing it. For extra convincing, a copy of the concealing item is put in the subject's hands to show that they really are showing their face to whoever is in the room with them, just not to the audience.

When you think about it, this trope makes a lot of sense from a design point of view. It saves the art team from having to create a new design for the unmasked version of a character, and for video games, it can keep nosy fans from spoiling the character's appearance by hacking the camera so that the subject's face becomes visible, which can be very important if said character's appearance is a plot point.

Examples: Anime
  • In Naruto, Team 7 tries to find out what Kakashi looks like under his mask, when he finally shows them—it's another mask.

Live-Action TV
  • In the Grand Finale of The Prisoner, Number Six takes off Number One's mask, revealing a gorilla mask. Six takes that off to reveal...himself?

Video Games
  • Perhaps the most notorious example of this trope is Master Chief from the Halo series. Fans who hacked the camera so that it could be manually controlled during the end cutscene were not amused to find this trope in play.
  • Vanitas from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep has this in effect for a couple of early cutscenes. Attempting to scroll the camera upwards via hacking only shows a helmeted Vanitas with a copy of his helmet in his hands. At the end of Ventus' subplot, we do get to see Vanitas without his mask, and lo and behold, he looks like Sora with black hair.

Community Feedback Replies: 36
  • May 26, 2011
    GiantSpaceChinchilla
    • JusticeFriends: Major Glory's helmet did this in one gag.
      When I say "secret identity", I mean "secret identity"!
  • May 26, 2011
    Aspie
    One episode of Naruto made a big deal out of what was behind Kakashi's mask, only to reveal at the end that it was another mask.
  • May 27, 2011
    32_Footsteps
    An example featuring Cool Shades - one piece of concept art for Proto Man from Mega Man has Proto Man holding his helmet, which has shades attached as a visor... and he's wearing another pair of shades. So either this trope is in effect, or he wears shades under his shades.
  • May 27, 2011
    kuyanJ
    If I understand this correctly, the description should mention that the character still appears to be wearing a helmet.
  • May 27, 2011
    Cidolfas
    One episode of Batman The Animated Series involved a villain forcing Batman to take off his cowl. Underneath was... another cowl.
  • May 27, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In the Grand Finale of The Prisoner Number Six takes off Number One's mask, revealing a gorilla mask. Six takes that off to reveal...himself?
  • May 27, 2011
    Deboss
    I suggest Mask Within A Mask for a name.
  • May 27, 2011
    jaytee
    Yeah, it should just be helmets, masks too.

    I swear there was a scooby doo (or maybe more than one) where this happened at the end.
  • May 27, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    • In Naruto, Team 7 tries to find out what Kakashi looks like under his mask, when he finally shows them--it's another mask.
  • September 8, 2011
    SkyStrike
    Half Life: Full Life Consequences ("Free Man") has Gordan Freeman wearing 2 combine masks.
  • September 8, 2011
    Damr1990
    • On Medabots, Underneath Space Medafighter X(Japan's 1 medafighter)'s mask is... another mask. The Phantom Renegade's mask (a famous Gentleman Theif), to be exact.
  • September 8, 2011
    thewriter
    • Jeff and Abed once got drunk in an episode of Community as part of some Zany Scheme. Jeff wakes up the next morning an pulls off one mask (I forget what mask) just to reveal that he's wearing a Phantom Of The Opera mask underneath it.
  • September 9, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    There was another YKTTW a week or two ago, Secret Secrecy Of Secrets, or something similar. It included the mask under mask concept as one of it's types.

    So, some level of coordination needs to happen between this YKTTW and that one.
  • September 9, 2011
    Otakukun
    The Batman TAS one might make a good page image
  • September 9, 2011
    randomsurfer
    This might be covered by Multilayer Facade (which didn't exist when this ykktw started). If not it's certainly related.
  • September 10, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    The Pale Night, an Eldritch Abomination from D&D moves around covered in shrouds. When angered, she unfurls them and if you are tough enough, there will be another shroud underneath - a hallucination conjured by your brain to cope with seeing what shouldn't exist. If not, your brain will melt from the shock.
  • September 10, 2011
    Darthcaliber
    GIJOE: During the second Cobra civil war, having apparently defeated him, Serpentor forced Cobra Commander to remove his helmet, only to discover he was wearing a ski-mask underneath. Cobra Commander then detonated the explosives in the helmet so it exploded in Serpentor's hands.
  • May 6, 2012
    Aurelita
    In the Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles series, members of the Yuke race open their helmets once or twice, but the player never gets to actually see their faces, since they're always facing away... but they're implied to be rather unnerving...
  • May 6, 2012
    nman
    The Unreveal covers a lot of these. But would this be a subtrope? I think there are enough variants that aren't Unreveals, so who knows.
  • May 6, 2012
    electronshock
    Medabots: happens at 4:15 here.
  • May 6, 2012
    electronshock
    here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_jCGvHIQC4

    space medafigher X is actually the phantom renagade!
  • May 7, 2012
    KZN02
    Not sure if this applies somehow.

    BIONICLE: in Legends of Metru Nui, Makuta Teridax, who mainly wears the Kraahlix, mask of shadows, wears Dume's Kiril upon his mask while disguising as the Turaga.
  • May 7, 2012
    Omeganian
    In the episode "Exclusive" in the Ultimate Spider-Man series, MJ asks Spider-Man during the interview "Any chance you give me the ultimate scoop and unmask"? Well, he does...
  • May 7, 2012
    TBTabby
    Kinnikuman takes this Up To Eleven in his match against Warsman: Warsman keeps trying to unmask him, but he has a mask under a mask under a mask ad nauseam.
  • May 7, 2012
    Duncan
    In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Lock, Shock, and Barrel wear masks that look just like their actual faces.
  • May 7, 2012
    AmazingLagann
    In halo, someone hacked the game on PC to see what really happened in a cut-scene where the camera pans away just as master chief takes off his helmet. When master chief pulls off his helmet... he reveals another helmet.
  • May 7, 2012
    Astaroth
    Webcomics: In Order Of The Stick #852, Tarquin attempts to impersonate Thog, but Roy suspects something is amiss since his fighting style is so radically different. He attempts to remove Tarquin's helmet, but Tarquin is wearing a balaclava underneath.
  • May 8, 2012
    Omeganian
    A similar case to Halo occurs in Mass Effect 2. When Shepard removes Tali's helmet, a hack reveals it's actually another helmet spawning in his hands.
  • July 18, 2014
    Trig
    [1] wresling example
  • July 18, 2014
    Illemar
    • Happens in Young Justice. The group is playing Truth Or Dare, and Robin is dared to remove his mask (particularly significant because out of the group, his was the only secret identity not known to them). In fact, knowing the popularity of the game and the high chance of it being played combined with their curiosity, he'd prepared for that dare.
    • Also Sandman. During a nightmare, one character is confronted with Dorothy from the Wizard Of Oz movie, who pulls her mask off to reveal the Wicked Witch, then that mask off to reveal another mask...
      • You'll have to help me. I'm running out of hands.
  • July 18, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    A Johnny Bravo / Scooby Doo crossover had the gang pull off a mask, to reveal someone...and then another mask, and another, and another, until finally the perpetrator (Johnny's aunt) yells, "All right, all right, enough with the silly masks!" and yanks them off.
  • July 18, 2014
    DaibhidC
    I'm a bit confused by this; the description appears to be referring to a specific video game trope where a character removes a mask and within the story everyone sees their face, but the actual character model (with its back to the player) is still wearing the mask. The examples don't all follow that, mostly being about characters who are Crazy Prepared enough to actually wear two masks in-universe.

    I think the examples may have a better trope, but the description needs rewritten to fit them.
  • July 18, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ that video game approach is People Sit On Chairs anyway.
  • July 18, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Comic Books
    • In one issue of Young Justice, the kids were playing truth or dare, and Robin was dared to take his mask off. He did... and under it was another mask.
  • July 18, 2014
    randomsurfer
    I think this is Multilayer Facade.
  • July 18, 2014
    DAN004
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ssmui0wj2p9nqzxnqy8nps75&trope=DiscardedYKTTW