5 seconds later, she's eating something.
A character whose mouth is not depicted because they lack one or it is otherwise obscured. When used in the same vein as obscured eyes, it can create an expressionless and enigmatic character. This can be compensated by fleshing out other aspects of the character, such as giving the character unique vocal inflections (i.e., a really good voice actor) or subtle physical animations other characters would not get. Sometimes this is done for artistic reasons to call attention to something in the background that would otherwise not pull attention.
More economically, it makes animation (and especially dubbing) much easier. Lately seen as a cheap and dated trick.
This is even occasionally a role with animal mascots where the more 'realistic' pet doesn't move their mouth when speaking; dialogue is hard to sync when your talker can't actually make proper faces
If the character doesn't have any
facial features, they're The Blank
Does not always count in Super Hero
shows, as obscuring masks are canonically common accessories from comic books. Not to be confused with Wipe That Smile Off Your Face
, which is much more horrific, nor with Harlan Ellison
's story I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
. Contrast Too Many Mouths
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Anime & Manga
- Hotaru from Gakuen Alice tends to lose her mouth whenever she does her half lidded eyes stare at Mikan.
- Samurai Deeper Kyo has the anime-only Migeira, who wears a no-mouth mask all the time. Nobody knows why.
- Elza from Pigeon Blood. There is a good reason on why she wears the mask its because she has a vagina for a mouth
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha's character Arf, (a slightly goofy dog girl familiar), talked in dog form without moving her lips. When a similar but more serious familiar was introduced in the second season, they stopped doing this.
- Kakashi keeps his mouth concealed behind a mask at all times, although being a ninja it isn't too odd. Or at least it wouldn't be if he weren't one of the few character in a series about ninjas who does this, and to the point where he wears another mask underneath it. Even his official Hokage Monument face sculpture in the epilogue depicts him with a mask.
- A lighter version of this is Shino, whose mouth is generally hidden behind the upturned collar of his jacket, with the viewer/reader getting only a few short glimpses of it from time to time, with the exception of the filler episode "Shino Laughs". Only in the last few arcs does he finally switch to a uniform which doesn't cover his mouth.
- Dororo in Sgt. Frog is similar, which unfortunately gives him very little facial expression, given the simplistic look of the alien frogs. Maybe that's why he's not popular… This is lampshaded in the dub, where the Interactive Narrator directly comments on how that makes dubbing into English much easier.
- Nova does this with a zippable mask which allows him to also conceal his eyes if he gets shy enough.
- There's also Tsubaki. He always wears a little Kakashiesque mask over the bottom half of his face, which makes him look very badass despite being six inches tall and having wings coming out of his butt.
- Sun-sun, one of Harribel's Fraccion, always hides her mouth behind one of her arms.
- There's one instance where her arm isn't covering her mouth, though, when she and her allies watch the Ichigo/Grimmjow battle from afar.
- There's also Ulquiorra◊ before he became an Espada.
- Gendo Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion seems bound and determined to keep as much of his face obscured as possible — not only does he wear Scary Shiny Glasses, he's in the habit of folding his hands in front of his face whenever he sits at a table. Other characters have a strange compulsion to put clipboards or pieces of paper in front of their mouths whenever they speak or have unnaturally long sips from beer cans.
- Noir usually obscures characters with whatever firearms they were using. Perhaps because they let their guns do the talking. Or they were cheap.
- Gali from Monster Rancher has a mouth, but is a part of the mask that represents the face and does not actually move when he talks.
- Satotsu, a minor character in Hunter × Hunter, has no mouth, even in the manga. He does, however, have a very nice mustache.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist Major Alex Louis Armstrong's mustache is so big that it covers his mouth. Except in the flashback to the Ishval massacre.
- Renamon's mouth was rarely visible, due to the angle of her head.
- In Digimon Adventure, Wizardmon's face is always covered except for about a second in a flash back and the film X-Evolution.
- Almost everyone in Desert Punk who fights has No Mouth because they're always wearing helmets. Lampshaded once when Kosuna told Rain Spider to watch his mouth and he replies "... my mouth's not shown."
- Haruhi Suzumiya: Nagato Yuki has a very small mouth. It's often invisible except when she's talking (which is very rare indeed). Makes it easier to show how she's an emotionally-repressed Artificial Human.
- Pictured above, Many characters from Requiem from the Darkness.
- Ranma ˝. In his cursed P-Chan form (a little black pig), Ry#333;ga's mouth isn't visible, except when he bites, eats, yawns, and sometimes when he screams.
- The title character of Beelzebub almost always has his mouth obscured by his big, yellow pacifier.
- Many Duel Avatars from Accel World. Silver Crow has a mouth concealed behind a faceplate and this may be the case from others with similar designs such as Cyan Pile and Black Lotus but others like Sky Raker, Lime Bell and Scarlet Rain just have blank lower faces with no indication of a mask or helmet structure that might be concealing a mouth. Not too big an issue since these are digital avatars in a virtual world and talking without a mouth appears to be one of their Acceptable Breaks from Reality.
- Hiiragi◊ from Hanamaru Kindergarten.
- Kirby: Right Back at Ya!: The Waddle-Dees and Waddle Doo all have no mouths. Dedede puzzles over why they cost so much to feed, and he and Escargoon approach a guard, and put a cookie to where it's mouth should be. The Cookie goes through the skin, and the face moves and makes noises as if something is being chewed. They're weirded out by this revelation.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL this is true of most natives of the Barian World in their true forms.
- Miime of Captain Harlock is an alien woman who has no mouth, yet somehow drinks staggering amounts of alcohol (it's the primary nutrient for her species).
- The cat Sakamoto from Nichijou has no mouth, even after he is given the ability to speak.
- For the most part, Russia's cat from Axis Powers Hetalia looks like he has no mouth. It appears very briefly, and only once.
- Okorinbou and Nikorinbou from Ojarumaru don't have a mouth. However, there are very few moments throughout the series where Okorinbou shows teeth, one example being the episode "Kazuma, Afraid of Rocks" (where he and Nikorinbou make their first appearance).
- DC Comics' The Question deliberately invokes this, going so far as to wear a mask so that he doesn't even have a face.
- Rorschach, from Alan Moore's Watchmen, has his entire face obscured when in costume, under normal circumstances. However, he considers the Rorschach test mask to be his face.
- Generation X: The mutant Jonothon Starsmore/Chamber communicates telepathically and has the lower part of his face covered because his mutant power, on manifestation, obliterated his body from below the nose to about the ribcage.
- In some of his earlier appearances, Tintin was often drawn without a mouth. Even in later comics, his mouth is often no more than a small dot.
- In Rise Of The Third Army, those assimilated by the Third Army have their mouths sealed shut so they won't talk back to the Guardians.
- Bécassine: The earliest example in comic strips. This character was always drawn without a visible mouth.
- In some comic strips, artists will usually only draw the mouth when a character is speaking or making a funny expression, such as Dilbert (who until very recently never had a mouth) and Peanuts.
- Likewise, Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes does lose his mouth, but only when lost in thought or confused.
- The eponymous star of the old comic strip Henry. That he didn't talk implied he couldn't. He was featured in a National Lampoon gallery of realistically rendered comic strip characters. "Henry Kellog would be glad to eat his beets!" Brrr...
- Liō, of the newspaper comic of the same name. It does appear, but only when it's open. Fitting, as the strip is pantomime.
- Most animals in Pearls Before Swine appear without mouths, except when they're yelling or screaming.
- Slylock Fox and his sidekick Max are usually mouthless, unless speaking or emoting.
- R.J. in Over the Hedge, aside from a few shouting occasions in the comic's first year.
- Agnes and her aunt. Other characters' mouths are just barely visible.
- Garfield's teddy bear Pooky originally had a mouth, but lost it due to Art Evolution. (The last strips to depict him with a mouth were in 1981 and 1982. Since then, at least two◊ strips◊ relied on the fact that Pooky had no mouth.
Films — Animation
- Gromit from Wallace & Gromit is the mouthless and voiceless hero. Gromit was originally designed with a mouth, but the first scene in which he was animated just showed him reacting mouthlessly to a situation and the animators realized he worked better that way.
- The Thief and the Cobbler: Tack, the title cobbler, has no actual drawn mouth, but it's represented by two nails he constantly holds in his mouth. The animators position them to use simple expressions like :>, :< and (using Forced Perspective) :o.
- Some of the background monsters from Monsters, Inc. don't have mouths.
Films — Live-Action
- Twilight Zone: The Movie: "It's a Good Life", the third segment, features a girl with no mouth who stares blankly at a TV screen.
- This is a distinguishing feature of Ax and the other Andalites from Animorphs. Also a major source of comic relief, given their natural inability to taste. Technically they have four mouths; they eat by absorbing sustenance through their hooves as they walk around (it's never clear whether their legs are hollow and they have an actual orifice there, or if they just sort of osmose nutrients out of whatever they're walking in). So you could say they're anti-this trope.
- Nom in the Second The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant has no mouth. Which is hilarious, given the name.
- Salamanders on the Discworld, which are small amphibians which don't actually need mouths because they feed on the octarine wavelengths in light; the other wavelengths are akin to poop and are stored away so as to blind attackers and make a getaway. In The Truth, Otto Chriek also experiments with some cave eels which feed on and excrete the light you get when you go out the other side of dark.
- Lampshaded in The Horrible Histories book Woeful WW2. In one caricature, a crowd stands listening to Stalin making an epic speech. Then one of the listeners comments on how he lies every time he opens his mouth. Another one asks back, "How do you know?"
- I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. To be more specific, in order to prevent Ted from completing his murder-suicide and depriving AM of humans he could torture, AM transforms him into an semi-amorphous blob incapable of hurting itself, which includes no mouth (and he must scream).
- The first Remade character in Perdido Street Station is a failed burglar who refused to name his accomplices, and had his mouth sealed shut as a punishment. Subverted when he cut his face open to create a new mouth, although the result was sloppy, crooked and lipless.
- In The Mortal Instruments, the Silent Brothers have their mouths sewn shut. They give up their speech for telepathy.
- In the Paradox Trilogy, symbionts have no mouths in their armored form, as their entire faces are covered with scales save for their eyes.
- If not for this, Power Rangers would have been nearly impossible to
make use stock footage..
- The neighbor, Wilson, from Home Improvement almost always had the lower half of his face hidden behind the fence. When, on rare occasions, his mouth was visible, the upper half of his face was always obscured. Should be noted that his mouth is obscured when not at the fence, best example is by examining a saw (when he appeared in the hardware store). This is a good example of a Running Gag taken to its limit. In one Halloween episode Wilson's face was "obscured" by the fake beard and mustache he was wearing as part of a Captain Hook costume. The worst one was when he was wearing a skeleton costume, and his face was only obscured by black and white paint. He came out at a curtain call for the cast carrying a fence-on-a-stick.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer had two examples. In "The Witch", one of the cheerleaders hit by Amy's spell has her mouth disappear. And then there are the telepathic, mouthless demons in "Earshot".
- In a Billy Talent music video Devil In A Midnight Mass, a boy runs away from the two black smokes chasing him. In the basement, he finds a man with no mouth sitting on a chair. After trying to defend himself against the black smokes with an axe, he then runs to the altar (where the band has been playing) to find the mouthless altar boys, and he eventually becomes one of them.
- Lights' The Listening album cover.
- The Mind Flayers in Dungeons & Dragons appear to lack a mouth, instead absorbing living brains through their acid-secreting tentacles. Illithids are actually said to have lamprey-like mouths (like this◊). Which are nonetheless hidden by the four tentacles on their octopus-like head. They could have a cephalopod-style beak (example from a squid◊) which would be hidden in a 'mouth', in turn hidden by the tentacles. That Lamprey Mouth picture is much more appropriate as Nightmare Fuel though.
- In the Yu-Gi-Oh! game, there's Sasuke Samurai, all four of them.
- Hello Kitty has no mouth, and a bizarre memetic website has been dedicated to this fact for 10 years now.
- All characters wear masks — with some exceptions like the Piraka, known for their Slasher Smiles. The figures do have mouths under their masks, but having the masks attach by plugging into their mouths meant that talking would always be a problem with them...
- Averted in the movies, where masks don't cover mouths, except in some cases (mostly female characters and the Turaga) where a sort of "ventilation grill" is where the mouth should be.
- Problem solved by introducing a new kind of beings that wear helmets, not masks, that plug into the top of their head. Hero Factory made this a standard design aspect, and the characters can now retract their faceplates to show their mouths.
- Bomberman. Really, most of the characters' faces show no features besides eyes.
- Final Fantasy:
- All the character models outside of battles and cut scenes in Final Fantasy VII don't have their mouths drawn, which compliments the anime style that the game is going for. However, the PC version gives all the character models mouths, which is nothing but a round black circle (except for your party, which has just a flat line for everyone). This makes the characters fall into Uncanny Valley status since the crudely drawn mouths make them look like they are in permanent shock.
- Much of the time in Final Fantasy X, Auron's mouth is hidden behind his collar. It does, however, appear on occasion. Arguably for the better, as it gave Auron's voice actor free range to do what he wanted and not be limited by lip-synching.
- Medabots didn't have mouths for the titular machines either.
- The Pyro class in Team Fortress 2 is the only class whose mouth is not visible, obscured as it is by his(?) full-body flamesuit. This also muffles all of his speech beyond recognition.
- The Protoss of StarCraft have no mouth, speaking by telepathy instead. It makes it somewhat weird as their back story mentions that they evolved from a hunter-gatherer culture who was already telepathic - meaning they lost the mouth pretty damn fast, probably due to Xel'Naga intervention. The prequel novels say that they eat sunlight and water vapor through their skin, and were only hunter-gatherers for building materials and defense.
- Sonic the Hedgehog:
- For some reason, at the end of Sonic Adventure 2, everyone starts obscuring their mouths (it's pretty clear that they no longer have any).
- Mephiles from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) has no mouth. He also loses his nose in his crystalline form. Also in this form, his muzzle will 'flex' when he is talking. This gets absolutely ridiculous considering one of his cutscenes is titled "Mephiles' Smile". All he really does is leer at the camera.
- Raziel of the Legacy of Kain series wears what's left of his cape over the lower half of his face, mostly because his jaw burned off when he was tossed into the Abyss. When asked how he manages to talk despite this, Amy Hennig variously joked, "It's all in the uvula," and "Supple throat muscles."
- Kirby has the Waddle Dees. They'd look almost like a repainted Kirby otherwise. The mouthlessness is also lampshaded in the anime, when Dedede and Escargoon offer one food to see how it eats, and it proceeds to absorb the morsel through the spot in its face where the mouth would normally be.
- Most characters in Ōkami have no mouths, due to the distinctive art style. Everyone else's mouths seem to disappear until they actually need them.
- While several of the more humanoid characters in Yume Nikki lack mouths due to the simple sprite style, there is some debate as to whether or not Seccom Masada is actually supposed to have a mouth. Some of the fanart which depicts the human characters (such as Madotsuki or Poniko) more realistically still portrays Masada as having no mouth or nose.
- Due to graphical limitations, the Goombas from the original Super Mario Bros. are literally drawn without mouths, despite the fact that in the game's official artwork (and in all their game sprites from Super Mario Bros. 3 onwards), they are all drawn with frowns on their faces. Lumas also lack mouths as well, with the only exceptions being the Hungry Luma, Lumalee Lumabop, and Lubba.
- There are several Pokémon that lack a mouth or seem to lack one: Hitmonlee, Dratini, Dragonair, Beldum, Unown, Sigilyph, and Deoxys (who lacks facial features in general except for eyes). Pokemon Amie's Pokepuff-feeding feature in X and Y reveals that some of them do have mouths as they can be fed, even if their mouths aren't visible at all. Sigilyph's mouth, for instance, is actually on its stomach, while the Unowns' mouths seem to be somewhere on the lower edge of their 'eye'.
- Ashtar in Ninja Gaiden 2 (NES).
- Sectoids in X Com Enemy Unknown, unlike the original, have no mouths to speak of. This is likely the result of heavy genetic modifications they went through.
- Most of the humanoid characters designs in Brave Frontier lack a mouth.
- Coach Z and Pom Pom (as well as their 1936 and "20X6" counterparts) from Homestar Runner literally don't have mouths (they don't have noses or ears either). However, they wouldn't raise eyebrows in their universe, as the title character (and several others) don't even have arms.
- All the squirrels in Neurotically Yours.
- Hell On Kitty is a dark deconstruction of the trope. At first, Hello Kitty was not too worried with not being able to talk or brush her teeth until she realizes that she needs to eat. Lacking a mouth also hinders her chance to get the help when the phone rings. Then there is the knife on the floor...
- RWBY: Professor Port has his mouth covered by a thick curly mustache. It's the mustache that moves when he talks.
- Reynardine from Gunnerkrigg Court loses his mouth in his full-sized wolf form. This contributes to him being far more majestic and dignified in this form. Except when he's angry, or trying to be threatening.
- For a good portion of El Goonish Shive, Tedd was drawn without a mouth unless yelling or grinning or something, only gaining a mouth shortly before the second major Story Arc. This was lampshaded in this comic.
- A lot of the characters from 1/0 do not have mouths, such as Manny/Ghanny, Max, Marcus. They comment on this (as is their nature to)
- Several of the characters in General Protection Fault, including protagonist Nick. When Dwayne buys everyone pupils (another feature some of them lack) for an April Fools strip, Nick points out that he has them underneath his glasses, and requests a mouth instead.
- None of the main characters in Rice Boy have mouths, although they can eat, drink, talk, and smoke cigarettes as if they did. This makes it slightly disturbing when the Tree Keeper has full, red lips and the White Formless have tiny human faces.
- For nearly twelve years, readers of Sluggy Freelance only saw Bun-Bun's a couple of times and to no major effect. Then a certain Wham Episode came along....
- In early Living with Insanity strips, the main character didn't have a mouth.
- In Homestuck, a recurring trait of the kids' guardians is that they only have one facial feature, and it's never the same — Dad has a nose, Mom has a mouth, Bro has eyes (under the shades) and Bec has a snout. Dad also sports a traditional pipe hovering where a mouth would be. (It is hypothesised that they have normal appearances but their kids envision them like this.)
- The number of times WV's mouth has been seen can be counted on one hand. Likewise, the rest of the Exiles.
- Andrew Hussie is also drawn without a mouth save for a brief sequence where he's eating, which is strange given how well-known he is for his Gag Lips.
- For the longest time, the titular character was depicted without a mouth, even though she had one. This was because her long snout kind of obscured it. The comic often joked about her lack of mouth. Later she was given a mouth to help convey her emotions better.
- Her androids, Dyonus and Dyona, do not have mouths at all. Mostly because the speech comes from speakers built into their heads and because they do not consume.
- Other of her species (Ambis) were drawn without mouths, except for her brother Romulos, but when she got a mouth, so did everyone else.
- Liz from The Dreadful. We can assume she has one, because she constantly has a cigarette drooping from it, but given the Fantasy Kitchen Sink setting, it's possible the cigarette is actually part of her face.
- Thanatos of Bigger Than Cheeses apparently used to have a mouth, but lost it in a tragic milkshake accident, or something like that. As far as speaking, breathing, and not dying of starvation go, it doesn't seem to have slowed him down.
- Jack Delitt from Newheimburg has no mouth to be seen, his design being heavily based on a Moomin.
- In the animated version of Dilbert he disconcertingly acquires a mouth whenever he needs to speak.
- The Ruff & Reddy Show: In case of Professor Gizmo, his thick white mustache moving sideways and up is used to indicate him speaking.
- Many of the original Transformers lacked mouths, but as robots this doesn't seem to pose a problem. All those that don't have mouths would have some substitute speech animation, like a moving faceplate, or flashing lights. Spoofed in, of all places, Takara's Masterpiece Convoy (aka 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime) while the face plate isn't meant to be removed (and doing so may damage the toy) removing it will reveal WHY Optimus keeps his mouth covered. In the Henkei! Henkei! comics, Optimus loses his mouthplate and he turns out to be rather Bishonen-ish. Subverted in Transformers Prime where Optimus has a mouth. He also has a mouth in Transformers Animated. Really, it's more common for Optimus to have a retractable faceplate with a mouth beneath. The evolution of it is simple enough: G1 Optimus didn't have a mouth but his lower faceplate moved as if a mouth were under it. Then came Optimus Primal from Beast Wars: the original Optimus Primal toy had a faceplate, but his animation model didn't; making the faceplate an accessory to activate was a Hand Wave. The dramatic visual of the faceplate coming in as a Harbinger of Asskicking (with a metal-against-metal sound as it comes down and a dramatic clank once in place) has stuck ever since; it's his Game Face. By now he's not the only one who can do it.
- The Looney Tunes character Marvin the Martian basically has a black ball with eyes for a head. Duck Dodgers reveals that while all the males of his species look like that, the females (such as the Queen) are somewhat more anthropomorphic, possessing noses, chins, eyebrows... but still no mouths.
- One episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show featured an Indiana Jones parody named Indiana Joe, who had no face at all, though his head did move when he talked.
- With precious few exceptions, Kenny from South Park has his entire face obscured by his parka at all times.
- In a Peanuts Mayflower story William Bradford was drawn with a huge handlebar mustache that covered his mouth and it moved when he talked.
- Ferb from Phineas and Ferb is often mouthless. But then, he doesn't talk much. When he does talk, sometimes his mouth will be obscured, sometimes not. We could see his upper lip, though.
- The title character of Johnny Bravo is often drawn without a mouth when he doesn't talk. Carl too.
- Invader Zim:
- Zim will often lose his mouth when he's thinking.
- Professor Membrane has a high collar that obstructs his mouth from view.
- In Sam & Max: Freelance Police Max's mouth will disappear when he doesn't talk or thinking.
- Tube worms that live around hydrothermal vents have no mouths, subsisting on nutrients generated by the symbiotic bacteria in their gills.
- Male rotifers lack mouths and digestive systems, as they spend their few hours of life seeking females at breakneck speeds, leaving them no opportunity to eat. Certain insects also lack mouths in their adult stage.
- Behold, the Jawless Meth Salesman.
- Tapeworms have no mouth, absorbing nutrients from the pre-digested food in their host's intestines directly through their surface.