Why are you wearing a mask? Were you burned by acid or something like that? Man in Black:
No, it's just that they are terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.
Anyone who routinely covers at least half of their face is likely to be at the top end of the personal power scale. Habitual illusions and kabuki-style makeup also count.
Almost prototypical for Super Hero
characters. In anime, these are standard issue for Char Clones
frequently gain a mask (over their mouth at the least) when combining
or entering a Super Mode
Note that this only applies to major characters. Mooks
in masks are in a special subcategory
, but are still Mooks underneath.
A Super Trope
to Coat, Hat, Mask
(combining this with a hat and Badass Longcoat
), Malevolent Masked Men
, Hockey Mask and Chainsaw
combining Chainsaw Good
), Mask of Power
A Sister Trope
to Nice Hat
Compare Superheroes Wear Tights
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Anime & Manga
- Bah! Doom's mask is the greatest of all time!
- Madame Masque wears a mask of solid gold.
- Boy Blue from Fables when he's infiltrating the Homelands, in a clear The Princess Bride homage down to the near-identical bandana-mask. Admittedly, he doesn't wear it for most of the series, but the magical artifacts he carries at the time and from that point onward make him pretty damn powerful.
- The Anti-Hero in V for Vendetta wears a Guy Fawkes mask. In the movie, the mask is such a powerful symbol, it overshadows the hero himself up to a point where it's hard to tell who's wearing whom.
- The Guy Fawkes mask has enough cool cred to be defictionalized as a symbol of mass protest (Anonymous, Occupy, some Arab Spring demonstrations, etc.)
- Most (if not all) superheroes, but the second Batgirl took this to the logical extreme; her mask was skin-tight, designed to cover her entire skull, and really about the last thing you'd want to meet in a dark alley◊. (Let's not even get into the pointy ears.) On the other hand, it's exactly the kind of thing you'd want to see in certain nightclubs.
- The Corinthian from Sandman has these as well, although it's justified in that he needs to hide his eyes because he has little mouths instead, complete with terrifying teeth. (Although he still manages to see...)
- Judge Dredd (and the other judges).
- The graphic novel Fall of Cthulhu features a being called the Masked Mute, who is somehow related to Nyarlathotep (often referred as the god with a thousand masks) and takes the form of a little girl wearing a mask. You don't want to know what's behind that mask...
- Rorschach from Watchmen only feels like himself when he's wearing his mask, even referring to it as his face. This sort of overlaps with Becoming the Mask, though.
- In Kabuki, all eight Noh agents wear painted porcelain masks when "in character".
- In Jon Sable, Freelance, Sable wears a black makeup design on his face because "it scares the hell out of the bad guys".
- The Mask. Not like the title gives it away at all.
- Resident badass Noburo from Okko always wears a red oni mask to conceal his features.
- The Green Hornet and his faithful sidekick Kato. They began on radio, expanded their territory into comics, TV and film... and kept their verdant masks on the whole while.
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all wear masks; uniformly red in the original comic book, color-coded on the TV shows and movies (red = Raphael, blue = Leonardo, purple = Donatello, orange = Michaelangelo.) In the TMNT's case, these accessories do not serve as identity concealers (it's rather hard to disguise a giant humanoid turtle as anything else) so much as badges of their Shadow Warrior vocation.
- The turtles' vigilante ally Casey Jones wears a hockey mask. This is more about looking scary than hiding his identity; Casey frequently yells out his name just so people know who's delivering the beatdown.
- The Shredder's helmet and the Foot Clan's ninja masks could count as well.
- Lightstorm from Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm wears a set of ultra-black body armor that makes him look like a ninja. His armored form-fitting mask covers his entire face, leaving only the smallest slits for his eyes.
Films — Animation
- 7 in 9 wears a combo Cool Mask / Nice Hat dubbed the 'Skullmet'. Is she badass? Well, considering that her entrance involves her decapitating the Cat Beast in one swing...
Films — Live-Action
- The Man in Black from The Princess Bride (see page quote). He manages to kill the Rodent of Unusual Size and bluff Prince Humperdinck without the mask, but his coolest moments come while wearing his mask.
- So, Fezzik was wrong when he told Inigo, "People in masks cannot be trusted."
- Star Wars: Darth Vader's face is fully masked and if he's not the most powerful villains in the universe, he's amongst the scariest. He may have been more powerful before he needed a life support mask, but we don't recommend telling him if you appreciate being able to breathe.
- The mask of the Predator features (at least) IR vision, EM vision, "preda-tech" vision, optic zoom, breathing apparatus and a targeting module for the Plasma Caster.
- In Transformers, Optimus Prime has a metal plate folds out over his mouth when he preps for combat.
- Bumblebee also puts on a mask for combat.
- As a part of his Historical Hero Upgrade, King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem (Edward Norton) got a spiffy metal mask in Kingdom of Heaven, covering his leprosy-stricken face.
- RoboCop. He's the future of law enforcement!
- The Mask. It's about a mask that turns whoever wears it into the physical avatar of the Trickster God Loki.
- Jason Voorhees of the Friday the 13th series made the hockey mask a universal symbol of horror.
- He also inspired the song "The Man Behind The Mask" by Alice Cooper.
- The Alchemist from Vidocq wears a mask made out of mirror that he uses to eat the souls of his victims. For extra creepiness, it also makes the victim see their own dying face while looking at him.
- The title character in Don Juan DeMarco related that he started wearing a mask in response to his father's untimely death. It didn't exactly ruin his looks.◊
- Every film version of Zorro (see page photo.) One of the fictional characters most closely associated with this trope.
- Every film version of The Lone Ranger. See comment beside Zorro. "Who was that masked man?"
- Lon Chaney, in The Phantom of the Opera (1925), may not have worn the coolest face-cover around... but the scene where it's snatched off remains one of the most memorable Unmaskings in the history of cinema.
- In Onibaba, a mysterious samurai wears a frightful demonic Noh mask which was later the inspiration for the demon in The Exorcist.
- Snake-Eyes from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has one that one that covers both his face and head completely. The Doctor also has one to assist with his breathing.
- As noted in Western Animation, Cobra Commander usually wears one. Cobra Commander's mask in Retaliation? Elicits this in-universe reaction from Zartan: "Cool mask."
- The masks that La Résistance wear in Oblivion (2013) . Made of Stealth Bomber material (as well as the rest of their armor), with voice distortion, and very intimidating. It's no wonder they look like rampaging aliens during the first act.
- Rorschach's moving inkblot mask in Watchmen.
- In The Lone Ranger, the Ranger's mask is cut from his dead brother's leather vest, with the eyeholes formed by the bullet holes that killed him.
- Peter Quill, also known as "Star-Lord", has a pretty neat looking one◊ in Guardians of the Galaxy.
- In Queen of Swords, Tessa wears a very elegant black lace mask made from her mother's favourite shawl.
- Liz 10, from the Doctor Who episode "The Beast Below", wears a porcelain mask.
- There's a reason why they are called Kamen Riders. Kamen being Japanese for mask, and up until recently they were known as "Masked Riders" in official translated material, including the series logos.
- Played with with Richard Harrow of Boardwalk Empire—it hides his badly mangled face and most people seem to prefer that he wears it at all times, although it's rather unsettling in and of itself. However, he is most definitely a Badass, and the mask helps with the mystique.
- The Lone Ranger! (Who was that masked man?)
- Used in the music video for My Chemical Romance's single "Na Na Na". All of the main protagonists in the story have some sort of headgear, the most notable being Party Poison's own masquerade-style mask.
- The Aquabats!, seeing as they're actual superheroes and all, wear domino masks as part of their costumes.
- Daft Punk wear robot masks when in public that light up.
- Deadmau5 and his signature mouse mask.
- Mf Doom wears a custom Doctor Doom mask as part of his "supervillain" persona. He even has a song about it.
- Italian electro-house duo The Bloody Beetroots wear Venom masks.
- Dubstep artist Funtcase wears a gray robot mask when performing.
- The members of Japanese rock band Beat Crusaders always wore masks featuring dot-matrix print-outs of their faces, never showing their actual faces in public.
- The '80s Prog-Power Metal band Crimson Glory deliberately distinguished itself by all wearing silver full-face masks, except for the singer, whose mouth was uncovered. So he could, you know, sing.
- The members of Japanese rock band Man With A Mission constantly wear wolf masks. Their actual faces are a mystery.
- Twenty One Pilots often wear ski masks as part of their image.
- Comes up on occasion, especially Mexican lucha libre - major lucha libre feuds can culminate in a "mask vs mask" match, where the loser is required to publicly unmask themselves and have their real name revealed.
- El Santo is perhaps the ultimate example. There is only one known occasion where he was publically seen without the mask. When he died, they buried him in it.
- The local sports commissions actually enforce these "matches of bets" — luchas de apuestas — in that the wrestler can no longer don the mask, at least in the locality involved!
- Subverted/Played Straight with Kane. In a 2003 angle, Kane was forced to unmask. When he first unmasked, he went back to being the Monster Heel he was at his debut; however, after a sucktacular match with The Undertaker, he quickly became involved in some pretty idiotic storylines.
- The unmasking was actually Kane's idea; wearing it was growing increasingly uncomfortable and making it increasingly difficult to perform, and he felt that his inability to display facial expressions was limiting what they could do with the character. He would later start wearing one again, albiet with enough missing that you could clearly see his mouth still allowing for better facial expression, regaining a Few Levels In Badass in doing so, and eventually lead into the popular Team Hell No with Daniel Bryan. He has since ditched it agian after taking an official position in Triple H's cabal.
- The mask is back. After a lackluster run without it as a lackey of the management, his return to wearing the mask signalled a return to the violent, destructive Big Red Machine of old, with him being used to menace the hell out of anyone who disrespects the Authority.
- Played Straight with "The Hurricane" Gregory Helms, who underwent a Face-Heel Turn upon (voluntarily) unmasking. He developed actual depth during his time afterward, but suffered from severe under-pushing, though he underwent a Heel-Face Turn much later. He recently returned from injury on ECW, redebuting with a slightly Darker and Edgier Anti-Hero version of The Hurricane, as Hurricane Helms. It seems to be rather successful, though time will tell whether it results in a title push or Kane-like decay.
- SHIMMER features Allison Danger and Cat Power, both of whom incorporate cool masks into their entrances. Later, Japanese wrestler Leon and Chinese wrestler Ray would compete in masks. They've also had the legacy masked wrestler The Spider Lady.
- In possibly a luchador tradition, nearly all masked wrestlers have a secondary goal of keeping their masks on. If unmasked, they will immediately try to flee the ring or cover their faces with their hands. Thus, being unmasked generally robs a masked wrestler of their ability.
- However, in cases where a known wrestler is using a mask to hide their identity to get a match with a cowed rival, when they unmask, they become more powerful. One example would be Dean Malenko wearing a mask as Ciclope to get to his then-rival, Chris Jericho. However, this had been done before in the Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling promotion in the Maritimes in 1980, when Leo Burke used this approach to get a title shot against "Dr. D" David Schultz.
- In American promotions, masked wrestlers have cycled in and out of popularity.
- In the 50s and earlier, masked wrestlers were considered one of the worst things in wrestling. Only pathetic undercarders wore masks, so that people wouldn't see who it was getting their asses kicked. (This often occurred, even later, with "Parts Unknown" wrestlers like "Mr. X"; in other words, known performers who are put out there to fill a slot on the card and do the job.)
- The pendulum swung the other way in the 60s and 70s; The Destroyer, Mr. Wrestling I & II, The Masked Superstar, The Assassins, The Spoiler/Super Destroyer were all major stars in America and Japan.
- In the 80s and 90s, Big Van Vader, Mankind, and The Warlord were further unusual examples in that their masks did not conceal their identities; the masks were props reinforcing the wrestler's Too Kinky to Torture images. American wrestlers with more traditional mask styles, such as The Patriot and The Killer Bees, never rose above mid-carder status.
- Ron Simmons and Butch Reed began their time as Doom in traditional masks, but in a complete inversion of the trope only won the WCW World Tag belts after they were forced to unmask by the Steiner Brothers.
- The real life tragedy of The Blue Blazer seems to have, among other things, ended use of the traditional mask by non-luchadores.
- On the other hand, from the 90s to the present, Rey Mysterio Jr is the most famous of the masked luchadores to become superstars north of the border as well.
- The mask is also closely related to the Charlie Brown from Outta Town angles, where a banished/disgraced wrestler returns with a not-very-disguising mask under a different name to try to "clear" the banned wrestler (ie himself)'s name. Longtime fans still debate the least effective masked identity ever: The Midnight Rider or Giant Machine.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Ethergaunts re a race of (evil) alien supergeniuses dwelling on the ethereal plane whose faces are entirely covered by blank, bisected masks, with the color of said masks indicating their rank. Especially the black ethergaunts, which are some of the most intelligent monsters out there, and cast spells as a 17th-level wizard. And you do NOT want to see what's underneath the mask.
- While masks have been included in the Magic Items section of the rules for years, 3.5's Complete Psionics introduced Crystal Masks. Almost all of them are overpriced and very weak (despite most of them being constantly active), and were reprinted in the Magic Item Compendium (and given a price retuning). Most of these are trash, but certain Fighter builds can make use of the Crystal Mask of Dread.
- Mask, the Forgotten Realms god of thieves.
- Exalted: Princess Magnificent with Lips of Coral and Robes of Black Feathers.◊
- Likewise, her fellow Deathlord, Mask of Winters◊. So cool that it covers both sides of his head, and if he ever wants to show what he's feeling, he just reverses his entire body so that either the "happy" side or the "pissed off" side is facing you.
- Warhammer has Balthasar Gelt, the current Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic and head of the Gold College, who wears a golden Greek-style face mask at all times. He only took to doing this after a mysterious alchemical lab accident many years ago, but nobody is quite sure what the mask (and his full body robes and gloves) covers. Some speculate his skin has turned to gold, others that he is horribly burned and disfigured, others that there's actually nothing wrong with him at all and it's merely an affectation. Balthasar isn't the sort of person one generally feels comfortable asking these things, and he probably wouldn't tell you even if you did.
- Legion of Everblight Nephilim warbeasts and the warcaster Lylyth wear masks covering the top half of their faces. Legion beasts don't need eyes to see, but the Nephilim and Lylyth actually have eyes that they need to cover so normal vision doesn't distract their super senses.
- Dark Heresy has a temple of the Scholastica Psykana called the Temple Calix. Its members and students, collectively known as the Templar Calix, are trained as much in controlling their psychic powers as they are in swordsmanship, leading to an order of warrior-mystics. What makes them fit this trope is that they all wear tarnished silver masks. They aren't psychoreactive, they're just a badge of office for an order of badass psychic-swordsmen, and in some circles of the Calixis Sector that reputation precedes them.
- At least half of the appeal in BIONICLE. Despite years of similar builds in the toys, there is always a new set of masks with each set of toys. In-Universe they grant a ton of powers, to name a few: shielding, flight, x-ray vision, accuracy, invisibility, teleportation, even altering probablity. (But the series has been ReTooled a bit away from this, now including other headgear without powers.)
- A full list: Shielding, Underwater Breathing, Levitation, Strength, Speed, X-Ray Vision, Time, Life, Light, Shadows, Concealment, Translation, Illusions, Night Vision, Mind Control, Telekinesis, Fate, Spirit, Detection, Telepathy, Flight, Accuracy, Radar, Kindred, Summoning, Stealth, Gravity, Reanimation, Corruption, Hunger, Silence, Repulsion, Disruption, Time Duplication, Diminishment, Clairvoyance, Quick Travel (Teleportation), Emulation, Growth, Rahi Control (Animal Control), Regeneration, Truth, Dimensional Travel, Charisma, Alternate Futures, Psychometry, Intangibility, Possibilities, Elemental Energy, Mutation, Creation, Scavenging, Incomprehension, Adaptation, Sensory Aptitude, Aging, Undeath, Conjuring, Rebounding, Biomechanics, and Fusion.
- The abstractness of the powers grew as the series aged. One of the very cool features early on was how much the Toa mixed and matched elemental powers and mask powers, a lot like LEGO. Stop a lava flow from damaging an island? Mask of strength and earth elemental powers on the first Toa to dig a trench, mask of speed on the toa behind to push the digger around so that the channel was dug in time.
- Some masks are more powerful than others, and only some actually grant powers at all. Only Toa and Turaga can use them either way. Matoran can sense if a mask has power, but can't use it. So multiple levels of this trope.
- Also, it's a breathing apparatus. Since the Matoran were designed to live inside the giant robot body of Mata Nui, leaving Metru Nui to go to Mata Nui essentially put them in a toxic atmosphere.
- Takuma Sakazaki a.k.a. Mr. Karate from Art of Fighting. He acts goofy and jovial and frequently plugs his dojo when talking to others, and his kids treat him as something of an embarassment. He still is quite dangerous in a fight despite his age and mannerisms (he is a master of Kyokugen-ryu, after all).
- Then sometimes he'll get "Serious", which is your cue to run. When his son Ryo inherits the title of "Mr. Karate", he does not wear the mask (in most continuities - he does wear a different mask in The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact 2 though).
- El Blaze from Virtua Fighter.
- King Dedede in the Kirby Super Star Ultra game "Revenge of the King". Fed up with being defeated by Kirby so many times, he comes back wearing a steel mask and a badass new hammer three times the size and weight of his old one.
- Meta Knight wears a mask almost all the time. The only times his face is revealed is when he's defeated and his mask breaks.
- Wodan Ymir of Super Robot Wars, what with his "BFS" which can become a giant "Laser Blade".
- While not really a cool mask, the Grey Fox's mask in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion magically induces amnesia in anyone who meets the wearer. The original Grey Fox claims to have met the player on several occasions, but the mask's magic erased the memory each time. When the player acquires the mask, it allows them to commit crimes with impunity.
- Mass Effect gives us the quarians, a race of cool mask wearers. Most characters put on their own cool masks to walk around in hostile environments too. Special mention needs to go to Zaeed's and Thane's.
- Also the Recon Hood from the third game.
- Godot from the Ace Attorney games. He wears the mask because he's completely blind without it due to the damage done to his nervous system by the poison.
- Also Mask☆DeMasque, who is a charismatic Gentleman Thief compared to his alter ego, the nervous Ron DeLite.
- Proto Man from both Mega Man Classic and Mega Man Battle Network. In his case, they are more like Cool Shades, but still.
- All four of the Testaments from Xenosaga.
- Sturm from the Advance Wars series.
- Several games in the Battlefield series have these as available clothing customization options for the player-character; ranging from a simple bandanna, to ski masks, to gas masks.
- Prinny Mask and the whole Masked Hero class in general from Disgaea 3.
- Salem and Rios of Army of Two both wear metal metal painted facemasks, which actually have some practical applications in the game; one of their melee attacks is a simple, brutally effective headbutt, and if an opponent punches one of them in the face, he recoils, shaking his hand in agony, letting them set up to finish them off.
- Labtech X has always been one of The Faceless, but when he traded in his old Scarf Of Ass Kicking to one with a full mask... well there's a reason his scarf is one of the most valuable prizes you can win from playing zOMG. (By the way, X actually has a reason for hiding his face, since he's a clone, and hates the man who created him.
- Psycho Mantis, from Metal Gear Solid. Even if he's a villain, you can't top that gas mask.
- Aoi "Zaki" Himezaki of Project Justice is almost always seen wearing a mask covering the lower half of her face. The supplemental board game reveals that she even refuses to eat in the presence of others since it'd require taking off her mask. A number of members in the Ladies Team, the delinquent gang she leads, also wear similar◊ masks◊, though whether they're following Zaki's example or just doing it for some other reason isn't clear.
- Arakune, Hakumen, and Relius from BlazBlue.
- The entire premise of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is that Link obtains lots of masks with unique powers. There are 28 obtainable masks in total: Four transformation masks, twenty regular masks that have different effects or uses, and the four masks from bosses that allow Link to refight them without having to go through their dungeons again.
- The Garif from Final Fantasy XII, a race of shamanistic mask wearers who put on their first mask when they are born and are NEVER WITHOUT ONE AFTER THAT.
- Sirius, who's actually Camus Back from the Dead and thus using the mask to hide his identity, in Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem.
- Mask de Smith from Killer7 is a luchadore who has the most powerful weapon (dual grenade launchers) and largest health bar of any playable character in the game. He's physically strong enough to lift a semi-trailer truck. Near the end of the game, he receives an upgrade in the form of a new mask and costume that lets him fire infinite grenades without ever having to reload. Also, his ultimate upgrade not only makes him damn near invincible, but almost as terrifying as the monsters he's slaughtering with said infinite grenades.
- King from Tekken. He wears a mother-flipping LEOPARD MASK, and not just leopard print, no, he looks like a man with a LEOPARD FOR A FACE. And he always straps a tail on his pants for good measure. And his dialogue is always snarls. Sadly, Kunimitsu isn't quite as powerful in the games despite her own mask habits.
- Yoshimitsu also dons a mask throughout the series, and is every bit as badass for it. Same goes to his predecessor from the Soul Series.
- The Pyro and the Spy from Team Fortress 2 wear masks all the time. In fact, the Spy disguises himself by putting a second mask on over the first mask.
- The Children of the Earth in Baten Kaitos all have them, which are used to filter the miasma out of the air so they can breathe. Mizuti, who joins your party in Eternal Wings, has a particularly cool one, which only comes off once (not counting the epilogue).
- Joachim Valentine from Shadow Hearts: Covenant uses a mask as part of his ultimate power-up when he appears as Grand Papillon, and later as the Great Question after he defeats his mentor during the Man Festival.
- Mortal Kombat deserves at least a few mentions given the preponderance of ninjas. Notables include Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Smoke, Jade, Kitana, Mileena, the cyber-ninjas Smoke, Sektor, and Cyrax, the shadowy Noob Saibot, Shao Kahn (who has an intimidating skull mask-helmet), Khameleon, Chameleon, Rain, and Skarlet.
- Darth Revan of Knights of the Old Republic, who is stated to be one of the most powerful Force users in history, masterminds The Plan for dealing with events centuries if not millennia in advance, and who also happens to be you.
- Proving his mask power even further, Revan fought and killed Mandalore the Ultimate, the other Cool Mask user of his time in hand to hand single combat.
- And then there's Darth Nihilus from the sequel, whose mask can be obtained to get you more Force Points, and who is coincidentally extremely close to being an Eldritch Abomination. Quite a few Sith from those games have part or all of their faces obscured, actually.
- In Nihilus's case, while the mask itself still technically has no powers, his body has actually been destroyed and corrupted by the force. His mask IS his face.
- Death's Hand in Jade Empire has a pretty nasty-looking red mask on the front of his helmet.
- There is also the Watcher, a minor villain whose blank-featured red mask made him one of the creepiest-looking villains ever.
- In Lightning Legend: Daigo no Daibouken, the mysterious Hero of Justice Adolf Rätsel wears one to conceal his real identity. It has a Mohawk design, and sports a "A" letter (standing for "Adolf") on its forehead.
- A wearable disguise in the Heaven and Hell Party mission for 47 in Hitman: Blood Money is a white suit with a cool, white mask with a black scar-type thingy over his right eye. It's probably only made of flimsy plastic, though.
- Modern Warfare 2 gives us Simon Riley, better known as "Ghost", for the very cool skull mask that he wears. We never see his face, leading to fan speculation (until the comics came out) that he is actually Gaz from the first game.
- Sima Shi starts wearing one in Dynasty Warriors after surviving a sword blow to the face.
- The eponymous item in the Mask of the Betrayer expansion to Neverwinter Nights 2.
- Kelemvor, god of the dead, is depicted wearing a full-face gold mask.
- Belueth the Calm, an aasimar rogue you can hire in Storm of Zehir, wears a jet-black domino as a symbol of her devotion to the thief-god Mask.
- In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, the armour of Ishak Pasha has one.
- All Janissaries wear intimidating face masks. They also happen to be the resident Elite Mooks.
- In Dishonored, Corvo wears one that was constructed specifically to look as freaky as possible; it looks like a crudely-made metal skull with asymmetrical lens-eyes and wire strung jagged over the jaw-area. It's also lined with cloth to protect him against the deadly plague spreading through the city, and can be upgraded to add a miniature spyglass that allows him to zoom in on distant objects.
- EYE Divine Cybermancy has the intricate horned/halo designs of commander Rimanah and your mentor.
- PAYDAY: The Heist has your crew wear creepy clown masks during a heist in order to conceal their identity. You can also use masks based on U.S. Presidents, zombies from Left 4 Dead, and troll masks.
- In Odin Sphere, the Demon Lord Odin wears an intimidating helmet whenever he goes to war. When Mercedes breaks it along with his Psypher the Balor, she notes how the once fearsome Demon Lord looks like a helpless old man without his helmet.
- Mr Foster from Killing Floor is practically the poster boy for the game. He not only wears a Russian surplus gasmask but also a (rather battered) suit and tie. And he manages to avoid collapsing from heat exhaustion, AND also be heard clearly yelling insults.
- The Masqueraider class in Dofus gets different powers from wearing different masks. They wear their default "Classic" mask all the time, even outside of combat, which gives them health-stealing attacks and an area-of-affect shielding spell. Their other masks give them powerful close-range attacks (Psychopath Mask) and long-range attacks and escape abilities (Cowardly Mask).
- Sora of the Kingdom Hearts series wears one of these in Halloween Town, though he wears it as an eyepatch rather than over his face. In Kingdom Hearts II, it is the only part of his outfit in that world that changes whenever Sora enters a Drive Form. A Cool Mask, indeed.
- The Forest Dwellers from A Hat In Time all wear animal masks (possibly because they have no faces otherwise). Eventually, Hat Kid can wear some of these masks herself.
- Several masks can be obtained, or even crafted, in Monster Hunter Tri and Ultimate for ChaCha and Kayamba to use. Each mask provides different, unique abilities.
- Judas's mask in Tales of Destiny 2, made out of a dragon skull. It may not be a good disguise, but it's hard to deny it's cool.
- Baron Munchhausen in Shikkoku No Sharnoth always wears a strange, inhuman mask. Underneath it is a strange, inhuman face. Sometimes.
- Dave of Narbonic fame, begins with apparently opaque round glasses. But, as he realizes his mad science abilities, his glasses turn transparent.
- Eternion and the rest of the Eternals in Adventurers!
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: The whole McNinja family.
- In Blip, The Adversary wears a blank white mask. Apparently this is for everyone else's protection; even Lucifer would cease to exist if he were to see the Adversary's real face.
- Shows up a lot in Digger. "I keep meeting people wearing strange masks, you see."
- Guy, from Mushroom Go, is a Shyguy with a scarred mask.
- Weijuaru wears a mask whenever he goes out in public. This is half because it provides his political persona with a level of mystique that helps things work out better in his favor, and half because it hides the fact that he hasn't aged a day during his reign thanks to his Shift magic.
- In Sunstone Harper and other performers at his fetish club have notably cool masks.
- The Placidus masks that switch dreamers between placid and lucid dreams in End of Infinity.
- The Rogue class God Tier outfit in Homestuck has one of these.
- The mysterious Velvare Bamidele of The Silver Eye wears a fancy mask constantly, and only a handful of people in Gallitan have seen him without it. Initially it was to protect his identity, but eventually he wore them mostly because people expected it of him.
- A few characters in Noob wear masks: Justice Guild leader Heimdäl, Player Killer guild leader Roxana, Précieux, Ystos while in battle and in-game Big Bad Tabris.
- In real life, trained gold eagles wear masks when they aren't being used. Their wing span can easily reach 8 to 9 feet at age and their claws can rip through falconers' gloves and keep going to crush bones.
- Shamans of various traditions and cultures the world over wear masks of animals or spirits in ceremonies in order to assume the aspects, powers and identities associated with the animal or spirit.
- Hip hop dance crew Jabbawockeez wear creepy, blank masks to give the illusion that they are a bunch of puppets moving to the music.
- Before the Jabbawockeez there was guitarist Brian "Buckethead" Carroll, who still wears that same type of mask to this day.
- Since Jacques Plante made the mask a regular part of an ice hockey goalie's gear, wearers of such equipment have taken to personalizing their masks, giving each goaltender in the National Hockey League their own Cool Mask (it became such an institution that goaltenders are the only North American athletes permitted to personalize their headwear). Starting with Gerry Cheever's scars◊ for every time he was hit in the mask with a puck, art has evolved with motifs such as Evgeni Nabokov's◊ skeletons, Curtis Joseph's◊ painting of Cujo from the novel of the same name, and Kari Lehtonen's paintings of Yuna and Rikku from Final Fantasy X-2.
- Can we count astronaut's helmets, with monolayers of gold to block the sun?
- The standard issue Soviet gas mask looks like a skull with glass eyes.
- The famous Guy Fawkes mask, worn by dissenters the world over
Anime & Manga
- WWE wrestler Charlie Haas tries to invoke this through wearing a luchadore mask during his matches. Most of the time it doesn't work.
- During the mid 80's-early 90's there were several masked jobber tag teams including but not limited to The Conquistadors, The Cruel Connection, The Shadows, The Galaxians, The Thunderfoots, The Executioners, The Head Hunters, and various assorted Demons.
- For some reason practically every two-bit independent wrestling promotion has to have a Doink the Clown rip off. The role is usually given to the worst wrestler on the roster, a fat, charisma deficient load. The worst part of an already awful idea is that they are given a Doink mask of horrible quality instead of simply painting their face like the original did. In every instance the matches are awful, the fans hate it, and yet the promoters will keep doing it.
- Inversion: In the Legend of the Five Rings universe, the whole of the Scorpion Clan (one of the 7 major factions) wear masks of one sort of the other. It doesn't give them any kind of power whatsoever, though. In fact, all it does is make them look shifty. Which is the whole point, as the basis for the Clan is that they are good guys pretending to be bad guys to ferret out the bad guys within the ranks of the other good guys. Or are they? Only they know that, all the other Clans think they're just Manipulative Bastards being really obvious about it. Obviously, it's all Gambit Roulettes from that point on.
- Before the director of GEAR Fighter Dendoh went on to direct Gundam SEED, he was already referencing that franchises masked characters with a masked mentor (Vega) and masked rival (Altair).
- Johnny Sasaki (who wears a mask) spends most of the Metal Gear Solid series as a diarrhea-plagued Butt Monkey who can't go 5 seconds without making a fool of himself. Once that mask comes off in the later part of the 4th game, however, he evolves into a Bad Ass of such magnitude that one can't help but wonder if that mask was some kind of Power Limiter.
- Raiden in MGS4 has 2 retractable Solid Eyes that come into his face together with his helmet. Doesn't seem to have any major effect since he uses to fight lots of weak (weak for him) Gekkos, and after revealing his face, he fights Vamp (which he would need better reflexes to fight) without activating them.
- In Metal Gear Rising, he uses a simple mask that retracts when he enters a major fight/event. Then he is ready to fight Sam and they pose as they were doing a wild west duel, and seconds after their fight, both masks retracts on their faces as they rush into each other.
- Street Fighter
- The narcissistic Vega wears a mask to protect his face. Considering how easily it's broken in his loss images, his face must be made of solid steel to hold up that well.
- The coolness value of El Fuerte's mask is often undone by his goofy expressions and hamminess. The coolness of it can really only be appreciated in his Ass Kicking Pose at the start of the fight.
- Strong Bad, of the website Homestar Runner, has a luchadore mask for a face. He's more a wannabe supervillain than anything. It also averts the "mask" part by being his actual face: when he finally caves and removes it, there's audible tearing and he screams in agony.
- Joachim in Shadow Hearts: Covenant actually actively parodies this with his Grand Papillion identity—in which he wears a large butterfly mask, but rather than magnifying his powers, it magnifies his tendency towards over-the-top posing and silly heroic pronouncements.
- Every member of the Chess Pieces in MÄR wears a unique mask. In fact, masks are quite telling of a Chess Piece's power, as the lowest ranked Mooks, "pawns" are only allowed identical masks, the same as every other pawn. If a Chess Piece has a unique mask, you're dealing with something a bit more worrisome.
- Their rank is also identified by their earrings, which ARE chess pieces.
- Once they get to the earring stage it doesn't have to be an earring though (at least one has it as a tongue stud). They still have the masks of pawns, they can just choose how to wear it or customize it.
- Blood Boy from Survival of the Fittest both uses and subverts the trope. Due to hideous facial disfigurations (and REMOVING the skin of his face in one of the game's first posts) he almost always wears a smiley face mask, and was until recently the biggest killer on the island, and is still the most psychotic and sadistic. While lacking physical strength, his surprising agility and knowledge of the body's weak points make him a very capable hand to hand combatant, and his sharp mind makes him even more dangerous. However, this ability doesn't actually come from the mask itself, and he can't see nearly as well with it on. This hinders his combat abilities and actually makes him a worse shot than normal, which inspires his normal gunfighting style of just trying to put as much lead in the air as possible because it means he can really only hope to hit someone at greater than point blank range by firing an insane number of bullets.
- Subverted in Adventurers!.
- Shows up many, many times in The Fall (and on the cover of the DVD!).
- In The Gamers Alliance, General Leopold covers half of his face with a cool mask. The Totenkopfs are fond of masks that look like skulls.
- In Masquerade Halls Trilogy, everyone who enters the Masquerade Halls has to have one of these or they're thrown out.
- ReBoot: While she is still at the higher end of the power scale, Hexadecimal's mask is actually a Power Limiter. When it comes off, she overloads and nearly explodes before Bob puts it back on.