Basically, wearing bandages on the face. The whole face, and (generally) nothing but the face. Usually they're worn because the character's undergone some sort of facial surgery or they are very badly disfigured, though occasionally there are other reasons, such as the desire to keep one's identity a secret.
Covering one's face in bandages serves two purposes: 1) For better suspense when they are unwrapped during a Dramatic Unmask
, or 2) As a creepy (and kinda cool
) way of disguising yourself.
Compare Bandage Mummy
, for when the complete body is wrapped for comedic (or dramatic) purposes, and Bandage Babe
, where bandages are Fetish Fuel, and Sarashi
. Contrast Pointless Band-Aid
, where only one bandage is worn on the face.
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Anime and Manga
- Unit 01 from Neon Genesis Evangelion after losing the head armor disguising her organic nature.
- Schwarzwald from The Big O, though the reason is unclear. It's suggested that he burnt himself by tripping off security features while attempting to activate Big Duo, but it's never outright stated.
- Onigumo(?) from InuYasha after an accident is seen with his face bandaged this way as he's cared for in a cave by Kikyou.
- Habashira Rui from Eyeshield21 wraps his entire body in bandages so he wouldn't be noticed when he tries out for Team Japan to go to the World Cup. Dramatic Reveal comes several chapters later.
- Detective Conan: A murder happens aboard a boat with a costume/masquerade party, where some characters are dressed as mummies. Also, the detective who solves the murder, thought to be Shinichi but actually Heiji in disguise, is dressed up as The Invisible Man.
- Another Detective Conan example - the fact that a man wore a full face bandage due to having a hideously disfigured face was used to create alibis for the real murders—they disguised themselves as him after he committed suicide. It's even lampshaded in-story: to prove said alibis, Heiji put on bandages around his face too and then he and Conan (through Kogoro) explain the trick.
- The first book of The Kindaichi Case Files featured a girl in flashbacks who had to do this due to severe burn scars she suffered when acid was spilled on her face. Later, the killer of the book does the same thing to hide his identity while getting himself set up to commit his murders.
- Shishio 'Mummy' Makoto of Rurouni Kenshin has the burns-all-over kind. Doesn't generally bother wearing any clothes, he's so thoroughly bandaged. There are just eyes staring out. He even has a nice little...bandage-hat...thing...with bandages that hang down kind of like hair. Which should probably have been a clue that he had a metal helmet so he couldn't be shot in the head again, rather than just being bandaged on the skull.
- Mukuro from YuYu Hakusho is an immensely powerful, short, rough-spoken demon lord swathed entirely in bandages who recruits Hiei after the Chapter Black arc is over. Turns out they're covering two things: she's female, and half of her is an acid-burned hideous wreck.
- Genkai is an interesting example, because we've seen her face before she appareled with the bandages. When it finally comes off, it's revealed she was covering up because she was using an ability that restored her to her athletic peak, and thus made her much younger. When it comes off again, it's revealed she has since lost the ability (and is now old again) after transferring it to Yusuke.
- From Soul Eater: Crosses over with Scarf of Asskicking for Kishin Asura as his deranged method of protecting himself from others. These 'bandages' are made of his own skin.
- There's also Sid's partner, Nygus.
- Black Butler: In the manga Baron Kelvin has this once he gets surgery to make himself look more beautiful.
- This is one of the depictions of Lucy from Elfen Lied.
- Naze Youka from Medaka Box covers her face in bandages not only to hide her good looks, but to keep her true identity under wraps, as it were.
- Heinkel ends up with one at the end of Hellsing. They're mostly for rule of cool, considering they billow around her head, and aren't remotely wrapped around her Glasgow Smile.
- Eureka has bandages over a portion of her face for a brief moment in Eureka Seven movie due to the sun's effects.
- Lupin in The Castle of Cagliostro wears a face bandage as he was severely battered during his failed attempt to free Clarisse.
- Played for laughs in Ranma 1/2 when Ranma bandages his entire face in order to hide his expression and to also hide cards that he can cheat with in poker.
- In Mirai Nikki, Fourth ends up like this after Yuno shoots his ear off.
- At one point in Berserk, Casca has her face bandaged up in order to hide her face from men who want to have their way with her. Another So Beautiful, It's a Curse scenario.
- Happens to Sadaharu Inui in The Prince of Tennis, after a rather... bloody doubles match. Caused lots of immature giggling in the fandom, specially because he sticks around like it's nothing.
- Kokuto from Bleach: Hell Verse. His bandages cover a huge scar on the right side of his face.
- Kei from AKIRA did this to hide her gender from possible rapists after Akira loses control of his powers and obliterates Neo-Tokyo.
- Dosu Kinuta from Naruto has bandages covering up his entire head except for his right eye.
- Wye from I Wish has bandages over his face, as well as his hands and arms, for plot purposes. He's hiding himself this way to prevent the Sun, who is in love with him, from finding him and getting closer to him, burning the entire world.
- In Tokyo Ghoul, the mysterious Aogiri executive Eto is covered from head to toe in bandages, as well as a knee-length robe. This helps to conceal pretty much all information about them other than their small size, making it difficult to judge gender or age. One reason for this elaborate cover is that she's Sen Takatsuki, a famous novelist.
- Pictured, the second incarnation of The Unknown Soldier from DC Comics; in this case, he was bandaged to heal a disfigured face and never removed them. The original Unknown Soldier just wore them as a mask.
- Hush also covers his face in bandages.
- Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, has this happen in his first appearance after he is scarred by acid— complete with dramatic unwrapping to reveal the scar tissue. This happens subsequently every time he goes in for facial reconstruction surgery (like in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns).
- The Negative Man and Negative Woman of the Doom Patrol in the DC Universe. Both have to wear those special bandages to contain the intense radiation their bodies emit that is part of their energy being powers.
- The Red Skull had a Bandaged Man around him for a while, who was told to be Doctor Doom, then deciding that having Doom be in World War II was silly so it was Retconned into him timetravelling. He also didn't kill Adolf Hitler because his original death at the hands of the original Human Torch was "fitting" but that's neither here or there.
- One Punisher arc featured Spacker Dave, a "friend" of Frank's who had a lot of piercings on his face. Gangsters tore the piercings out with pliers when they interrogated him about Frank's whereabouts. Naturally, he had to wear bandages around his head while his face healed, but he decided he liked the look and made a trend of it, "spacking".
- Early in GI Joe A Real American Hero Marvel, The Baroness has her head completely swathed in bandages when she checks into a private Swiss clinic after her face was badly damaged in a tank explosion.
- Judge Dredd: The main character in "The Dead Man" has his face bandaged after being burnt to a crisp. In a shocking turn of events, he turns out to be Dredd himself.
- Two men in Force 10 From Navarrone, allegedly due to flamethrower burns. They actually had never been injured at all.
- In Mr Stitch, the patchwork man Lazarus spends the first part of the movie with a bandaged face - and everything else - as his many, many, many sutures heal.
- Michael Myers is bandaged up at the beginning of Halloween 4 when he escapes from an ambulance. It is the result of catching on fire at the end of Halloween II.
- The killer in the Hong Kong slasher The Deadly Camp.
- Keller from Freak.
- Nick Halloway sports a bandaged face in one scene of Memoirs of an Invisible Man, in a Shout-Out to The Invisible Man, complete with the reveal.
- The killer in Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming, as can be seen on the cover◊.
- The Invisible Man is the Ur Example of a specific type of this: wearing bandages on the face not because of an injury or due to being a mummy, but as a way of hiding one's self.
- Vaguely-remembered example, possibly an abridged version of a longer story: A wealthy Southern man is traveling north with his slave. The rich guy is sickly and always has to wear bandages on his face, possibly because of burns. In the end, when the pair arrive at their destination, the slave owner takes off his bandages and reveals "he" is actually a woman, and also a slave, and both were escaping slavery in the South.
- Gilver in the Devil May Cry novel.
- Mark Twain wrote a short story called Lucretia Smith's Soldier where a woman waits by the bedside of her critically injured fiancÚ, waiting for the bandages that cover his head to come off. When they do, she realizes that he's not her fiancÚ and she pitches a fit because she wasted two weeks waiting hand and foot on the wrong person.
- Truth in Television: Tragically, a similar incident to this recently occurred in real life. A hospital erred in identifying the victims of a car crash, leading to the family of a victim who did not survive the crash keeping a bedside vigil over someone completely unrelated to them, without knowing until much later.
- This was also recycled into an episode of House.
- After the events of the first book, in Moon Over Soho former WPC Lesley May has to wear a surgical mask (a modern update of this trope) as a facial support and to cover the horrible facial scarring gained at the end of the previous book, the removal of the mask forms a similar dramatic reveal.
- Galaxy of Fear: City of the Dead has a Pseudo Crisis where the protagonists are confronted by mummies - who them take off their bandaged masks to reveal that they're perfectly healty humans. It's local tradition to greet visitors while disguised as the undead, with the idea that doing so scares off evil spirits.
Live Action TV
- Blackadder II: as Lord High Executioner Blackadder has beheaded a man who wasn't scheduled until later in the week; when the executed man's wife comes to visit her condemned husband Edmund pretends to be him by putting a bag over his head.
- In Ugly Betty, the boss' sister Alexis has this.
- Spoofed on Arrested Development with Lucille Bluth after plastic surgery in one episode; a photo of her "unwrapped" early becomes the model for a successful horror movie's villain.
- An episode of Pushing Daisies has this, complete with a drawn-on face.
- In an episode of The Incredible Hulk David Banner had amnesia and bandages covering his face due to severe burns - which was quite convenienet since Intrepid Reporter Jack McGee was paling around with him the entire episode. This was the ep where McGee discovered that the Hulk was a normal person who turned into the Hulk.
- In The Twilight Zone episode "The Eye of the Beholder," a woman has her face wrapped in bandages as she undergoes treatment for the horrible ugliness that prevents her from living in the dystopian society. When the bandages come off, she's gorgeous... except that a Reveal Shot reveals that all the doctors have pig faces—the treatment has failed and she's still "ugly".
- Get Smart: Max impersonates a safecracker by having his head swathed in bandages so the bad guys can't tell he isn't that guy he's pretending to be.
- In an episode of Gary Moore's To Tell the Truth, Prankster Alan Abel appeared with his head wrapped in bandages, as it turned out not so much that he wouldn't be recognized, but so the panel wouldn't identify his two impostors — Larry Blyden and Tom Poston
- David Robert Jones, the Big Bad of the first season of Fringe, wears bandages on his face after he gets a terrible skin disease from teleporting from the prison in Germany to Little Hill
- One episode of Downton Abbey is about a WWI veteran with a Bandaged Face who claims to be a long-lost relative (and heir to the family fortune). It's left ambiguous whether he was sincere or not, but most of the characters believe he was faking it for monetary gain, since it's impossible to tell who he really is with his disfigurement.
- Nash the Slash, best known as the mandolin player from Canadian progressive rock band FM, has performed like this since the late 70s, not due to any injury or illness, but as a way to maintain his privacy.
- In Memphis wrestling in the early 1980's, Jerry Lawler threw a fireball that hit manager Jimmy Hart in the face. For weeks afterwards, Hart appeared on TV with his face bandaged, with his trademark sunglasses over the bandages.
- The angle concluded one night where an imposter came out bandaged up as Hart for a match. Later, the real Jimmy Hart came out and the two attacked Lawler. The imposter then removed the bandages and revealed himself to be Andy Kaufman.
- Twelve Thirteen wears a mask on his face to help heal the sores caused by the plague that broke out among the clones.
- DiZ from Kingdom Hearts covers his face in red bandages, and two belts for good measure, to conceal his identity as Ansem the Wise.
- The main character in Sanitarium sports this look throughout the game, due to injuries caused by a car crash.
- Joshua Graham, AKA The Burned Man is portrayed as this in Fallout: New Vegas.
- Hush/Thomas Elliot in Batman: Arkham City takes this to a whole new level. He wrapped his head in bandages because he cut off his own face. His victims also have their faces wrapped in bandages; he removed their faces before killing them. He eventually unravels his own bandages to reveal that he's stitched together all of the faces he cut off of other people in order to make himself look like Bruce Wayne.
- Poison Ivy's plant-thug in Batman: Vengeance wears bandages, complete with a trenchcoat and hat, as a disguise.
- Takuma does this in Swan Song to hide the burns he obtained from being lit on fire by a molotov.
- In Fallen London, this is the signature characteristic of tomb-colonists, quasi-undead citizens of the Neath who were killed messily enough to cause permanent disfigurement but not permanent death.
- The Cursery version of Humpty Dumpty has his face covered in bandages because his skin started to blister and crack due to his curse forcing him to neglect his own hygiene.
- An episode of Batman: The Animated Series had one for a former supermodel who had undergone plastic surgery to make her look younger. The doctors unwrapped the bandages, and when she demanded a mirror (which goes hand-in-hand with the trope), she was horrified by how hideous she looked. She was actually as beautiful as ever, but as a narcissist she could only see her flaws.
- A more prominent example of this: Two-Face, after his disfigurement, has his face wrapped and demands a mirror from his doctor as they're unwrapping it, flinging him across the room when he doesn't immediately comply. We don't see his reflection, but we hear his anguished scream.
- There was an episode of Futurama where Leela had plastic surgery to give her a second eye. The entire top half of her head was wrapped. Played with in that the doctor slowly took the bandages off, characters holding their breath in anticipation... only to find out that the first time, they had the wrong woman.
- Courtney Gripling's mother on As Told by Ginger is given this treatment after a hasty facelift sent her to the hospital.
- The villainous Master of Disguise No Face from the Action Man toyline and CGI movies.
- Git Hoskins in Spiderman Unlimited of course the twist is the bandages don't cover his body, they ARE his body and he can unravel himself and use the bandages like combat tentacles
- Mummies, and as a consequence, all mummies ever depicted in fiction. Probably the Trope Maker.