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Cool Mask

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"Cool" in more ways than one.
Fezzik: 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. Often worn by The Faceless.

Almost prototypical for Super Hero characters. In anime, these are standard issue for Char Clones.

Humongous Mecha 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 (horror Shout-Out combining Chainsaw Good), Mask of Power.

Compare Superheroes Wear Tights.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Friend of 20th Century Boys gets two cool masks. He starts off the series with a Ninja Hattori-Kun mask, then later swaps that one out for a full head hood with the symbol of his cult on it.
  • Even in his non-Gundam works, Tomino still can't resist a Char Clone combined with this trope. The wandering mercenary in Aura Battler Dunbine known only as "The Black Knight" wears a modified knight's helmet with a mask on the front which obscures both his voice and his Aura so that the hero won't recognise him as his former mentor.
  • Arshes Nei in Bastard!! (1988), though it quickly comes off.
  • Suiren from Battle Spirits Shonen Toppa Bashin has a Cool Mask of her own.
  • Black Clover: William Vangeance's mask obscures the upper half of his face and is one of his defining features. Used as an insult against him when Asta is arguing with Klaus. Vangeance himself thought it looked lame when he got it, but he was so happy when Julius gave it to him that he wore it anyway. The mask is given justification in Chapter 79. Captain Vangeance wears the mask in order to hide what appears to be a port-wine stain birthmark that completely covers the upper part of his face. After the six month time skip he stops wearing it.
  • Ichigo and the Vizards from Bleach are able to release their Hollow abilities by materializing Hollow masks.
  • Papillion Mask from Buso Renkin may be the only homunculus to wear a large face mask, depending on whether or not Moon Face's actual head is shaped like the moon. And Papillion Mask is probably the strongest, smartest, and most ambitious 'normal' human homunculus in the series.
  • Lelouch Lamperouge, as Zero, in Code Geass. Wears an "undermask" under the mask: The latter is the iconic helmet with chess-styled horns, and underneath is what appears to be part of his undershirt covering just his lower face - think Kakashi. However, despite multiple masks and an impressive list of accomplishments, he's less likely to beat you up himself than to have his minions do it for him.
  • The legendary Bully Hunter "Rubber Shooter" in Daily Lives of High School Boys wears a Kamen Rider mask.
  • Hei from Darker than Black. His mask looks like a cross between V's mask and Billy the Puppet's face and is kind of freaky.
  • Near in Death Note. Very briefly, but the mask is completely awesome.
  • D.Gray-Man:
    • General Cross Marian is never seen without his opera style half-mask. But when he mysteriously disappears after sustaining a supposedly fatal head wound, his mask had been shot off and is left behind.
    • Also General Winters Socalo. And once he gets better-attuned to his Innocence, Allen.
  • In Digimon, any 'mon who has a sufficiently humanoid appearance (i.e., could be confused for an actual human if not for a few tells) wears some sort of mask that obscures the top half of their face - for example, Angemon, Piedmon, Devimon, Myotismon, etc.
    • Or the bottom half in the case of Wizardmon.
    • Agunimon has a mask over his entire face.
  • Everyone in Dorohedoro, justified since mages get masks as part of their contract with demons, and Caiman presumably does not want to scare off little children looking at his face. En is a particular bad case of this, even among a city of powermasked people. Those magic-users too weak to make a contract still wear masks in imitation of the strong, although theirs are a tad less impressive.
  • The title character of Ergo Proxy.
  • In Fairy Tail, Mystogan is one of the strongest active members of the guild and wears a mask that hides his face.
  • Fist of the North Star gives us three villains in cool masks: Jagi, Souther, and Kaioh. The first & third villains have clear reasons for wearing masks (Jagi to hide his disfigured face, and Kaioh as part of his Battle Aura-containing armor), while Souther just wears one to look intimidating.
  • Kurei from Flame of Recca. In nearly all of his appearances he is wearing his mask, or renditions of it. Which is a very badass mask too.
  • Lan Fan and Fuu from Fullmetal Alchemist wear masks, and they're elite ninja bodyguards of a prince. Lan Fan in particular seems to feel insecure without her mask on.
  • Chichiri from Fushigi Yuugi is an interesting example. His mask happens to be a perfect replica of his face, sans the scar.
  • Pizza the Zonderian from GaoGaiGar.
    • By extension, Sixth Ranger Soldat J. When he gets purified and makes his Heel–Face Turn, his mecha ends up being at least three times the size of the biggest Yuusha Robos.
  • Persona from Gakuen Alice. The mask is what keeps his Alice in control. Otherwise it would eat his own skin off.
  • Before the director of GEAR Fighter Dendoh went on to direct Gundam SEED, he was already referencing that franchise's masked characters with a masked mentor (Vega) and masked rival (Altair).
  • Paul Wan from Get Backers, though only in the manga. While he wears sunglasses in both the anime and manga without ever taking them off and giving people the image of a cafe owner, in the manga, it is discovered that the sunglasses are not opaque at all, and that he relies on his sixth sense instead of actually seeing. When he decides to take off the sunglasses in the last arc of the Get Backers manga, he is revealed to be VERY high on the power scale, capable of generating razor-sharp winds and cutting through his opponents just by MOVING.
  • The Jester from Grenadier.
  • Char Aznable and his imitators from the various Gundams. Char wore his Cool Mask so he could infiltrate the Zeon Military (The explanation he gave to the Zeon Military was that he needed to keep his eyes covered for some medical reason), and exact revenge upon the Zabis. Kycilia Zabi often wears a mask for reasons that go completely unexplained.
    • Schwartz Bruder, a helpful "Big Brother" character from G Gundam, and the Gundam Fighter from Neo Germany who always follows the protagonist, Domon Kasshu, around like a "Chief Rival." However (as the name implies) well into the series, Schwarz Bruder is revealed to be none other than the protagonist's own actual brother (or at least a nanomachine copy of his conscience) meant to toughen Domon up to take down the Big Bad. "Racer X" anyone?
    • Gundam Wing features a masked character similar to Char in backstory. The son of royalty who were killed by the Earth Sphere Alliance, Milliardo Peacecraft, adopted the name Zechs Marquise (Gundam Wing has a naming trope all to itself), donned a mask, joined a military contractor so he could infiltrate the Alliance, and then bring them down. After finally bringing down his family's murderers, he removes the mask. For the next season, he leaves the mask, but remains badass.
      • To a lesser extent, Trowa Barton puts on a half-mask when performing as a clown for the circus he uses as cover. Thing is, Trowa is a Stoic, even in the circus, so the half-mask combined with his constant poker face only enhance his mystique. In addition, he also piloted the mostly-red (until Endless Waltz at least) Gundam Heavyarms. On the subject of Endless Waltz, the clown-painted half-mask reappears for the film... but as a Gundam-scaled version on Heavyarms itself.
    • In ∀ Gundam, Harry Ord, the Char Clone is a bodyguard for the Princess of the Moon, Diana Soriel. The trope (large red sunglasses) in this case is lampshaded by his confession that he is "keeping his eyes on the Queen's back." While being a semi-rival for the protagonist, he mostly kicks ass.
    • As well as that Darth Vader wannabe, Iron Mask Carozzo, from the Gundam F91 movie. The mask in this case grants him the ability to interface with his Attack Drones. The mask also allows him to shrug off headshots.
    • Bask Om from Zeta Gundam (and a minor role in Gundam 0083) is the "tiny little glasses" version of this. Well, goggles, really. He happens to be one of the highest ranked officers in the Federation/Titan force, and one mean bastard in general.
      • Also Quattro Bajeena, a Zeta Gundam expy of Char who just happens to be... Char himself, sans mask, but with sunglasses that cover just as much. The sunglasses do jack since everyone already knows that he's Char. He finally outs himself publicly in his speech to the Earth Federation parliament at Dakar denouncing the Titans.
    • Graham Aker in Gundam 00 fulfills the nominal Char Clone role. Subverting the trope, Aker does not come into his mask until the second season, by which time most Gundam tropes have been creatively subverted or lampshaded. The mask is explained as covering a disfiguring set of scars left on Graham after his GN Flag was irreparably damaged in battle against the Gundam Exia. The general assumption is that he was burned from the heat of Exia's GN Blade.
    • Rau Le Creuset and Neo Roanoke in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny respectively. Neo's hiding scars (and his identity from the audience), Rau's hiding from the sight of his own face and attempting to create an independent identity for himself. Both are extremely dangerous, with Neo serving as a Badass Normal Dragon to Destiny's secondary Big Bad, and Le Creuset functioning, in no particular order, as Big Bad, Omnicidal Maniac (Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds version), and one of the best pilots in all of SEED.
    • In classic Char Clone fashion, Zeheart Galette from Gundam AGE dons one from Episode 20 onwards. Unlike the other "Char-style" masks, however, Zeheart's mask is actually a device that helps him concentrate his X-Rounder abilities.
    • And in Gundam Unicorn, we have Full Frontal who also wears a mask, and looks and sounds a lot like Char. In a brilliant bit of lampshading, its revealed that he's a Cyber-Newtype who was surgically modified to look and sound like Char, complete with the mask, all in order to keep the morale of the Neo Zeon remnants up, making him a literal Char clone in universe.
  • Subverted in Ultimate!! Hentai Kamen, where the main character's true fighting potential is unlocked by wearing a pair of panties over his face. It doesn't help that he takes to fighting crime in only his underwear... and somebody else's.
    • Hentai Kamen gains new powers based on whose panties he is wearing: he gained amazing speed and agility when he put on a ballerina's panties... Not even going to say it... dammit.
    • In Hentai Kamen Reborn, his stuttering powers burst back to life when a pair of the near-extinct female-wear species of bloomers hits him. And in the first chapter, Kyosuke's mom (who works part time as an....S&M MISTRESS?) is wearing a large opera mask while whipping a salary man. She's 18 at this point.
  • Turkey in Hetalia: Axis Powers, though he loses his mask during/before the Christmas Episode.
  • The fox masks the players of Otokoyo in Kakurenbo have to wear.
  • Kogarashi from Kamen no Maid Guy. He's got super strength, super smarts, is a master of disguise - and wears a mask at all times.
  • The title heroine of Kekko Kamen wears a red mask to conceal her face when she's out protecting her innocent classmates from evil. And that's about all she's concealing, seeing as the rest of the costume consists of gloves and boots... and nothing more.
    Kekko Kamen: Nobody knows my face, but everyone knows my body...
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple has "Laughing Fist" Diego, the Yami Luchadore master, who wears a Mexican Wrestling mask. He actually wears 3 masks, when the first comes off, it means he's serious. The second comes off after he's defeated, and the mask he wears under that one is just a joke.
  • Kinnikuman:
    • Every member of Planet Kinniku has to wear a full-face wrestling mask with a mohawk-fin on top from birth. If their faces are ever seen, they have to commit suicide. The masks are pretty damn lifelike.
    • After he suffered brain damage due to being stabbed in the head by Warsman, Ramenman was taken to a hidden valley were the trees breathed a healing mist that allowed him to regain control of his body. In order to leave the valley and rejoin the Choujin's battles, Ramenman had a mask carved from the bark of the trees, which he used as the basis of his Mongolman identity.
    • During the Dream Tag Arc, Perfect Choujin Neptuneman's Neptuneman has a few unique properties. First, if it is struck, the blows recharge Neptuneman Magnet Power, and second, the mask can't be forced off!
  • Otohime Mutsumi from Love Hina appears to become a lot less ditzy, although she still affects a facade of ditziness, after she acquires a pair of these glasses (and a wardrobe change). This happens approximately in volume 12.
  • The mysterious masked man in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. He could take the full brunt of Nanoha's attack without being fazed and routinely made short work of anyone he attacked.
  • Sara Gallagher, one of the Five Pillars from My-Otome, sports a Meister Robe that gives her a decidedly Zorro-like appearance, complete with a black mask, black cape, and black form-fitting tights.
  • Several of the cast of Naruto (like Kakashi)
    • He gets bonus points. What's under his mask? Another mask!
    • Tobi, one of the Akatsuki members, initially wears an orange spiral mask with only one eye visible. He is the leader of Akatsuki and appears to be Uchiha Madara. In flashbacks he had a different mask with a flame-like pattern, and later he got a new mask patterned after the Sharingan and Rinnegan.
      • The reason for Tobi's mask has become apparent in recent chapters - He's not the real Uchiha Madara. Naruto has decided that knocking the mask off is a short-term goal of his - he finally succeeds in chapter 598 by shattering it, and 599 reveals Tobi's face and true identity.
  • Dynamis and Kagetarou in Negima! Magister Negi Magi. It seems to be common among shadow mages, and Takane's puppets also have similar-looking masks.
  • Neo Human Casshern wears a lower face mask for combat. In Casshern Sins, it resembles a motorcycle helmet. The movie version resembles an oversized jaw.
  • Noein, the titular Big Bad of Noein, appears as a floating mask for most of the series. It makes it harder to tell that he's an alternate-reality version of both of the male leads, who themselves are the same person.
  • In One Piece, after Usopp leaves the crew, he comes back under the alias 'Sogeking', with a mask and cape, and a metric tonne more badassery than he had before. In the arc after that, he puts on the mask again during a battle and suddenly becomes much more competent.
  • In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Mask of Ice's takeover of Team Rocket in Gold/Silver/Crystal leads to all the grunts wearing masks and making them naturally more badass. Plus the Mask of Ice himself, who is the primary driver for bad stuff happening in about half of the arc.
  • Kedamono in Popee the Performer exaggerates this trope beyond repair: He has a mask for ''every'' possible situation.
  • San from Princess Mononoke. Her mask is so badass that it let her shrug off a nearly point-blank gunshot to the face. (Okay, so it shatters at that point, but it gets fixed.)
  • Juliet of Romeo × Juliet, as part of her awesome, cross-dressing vigilante alter ego, The Red Whirlwind.
  • Sailor Moon:
  • Samurai 7:
    • Top villain Ukyou seems to be this, although it's possible that what looks like a variation of the same full-face makeup the city guards wear is actually his face. His brothers?/fellow clones? have the same look when they turn up, but they were disguised as him to serve as body doubles at the time. Their father?/original version? The Emperor has a face that resembles this and is much more mask-like; if it didn't have expressions and he weren't restricted for unexplained reasons to a life-support tank all his life you could presume it was a mask. All in all, very bizarre, but ups the badass considerably.
    • The Shikimoribito all wear full-body suits and bizarre masks through which they eat with straws, and who have the government and everyone else terrified of trespassing on their underground territory, where they dangle by their ankles on ropes from the ceiling in a disquieting way. The main characters can beat them up if they have to, though.
  • All the bookstore staff in Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san aside from Honda (who appears to be an actual skeleton). They include a kitsune, bōgu, bunny, robot, doll, knight, gas mask, welding helmet, plague doctor mask, Halloween pumpkin, mummy bandages, and a simple paper bag.
  • Zelgadis from Slayers.
    • In the first Slayers anime season, a Mazoku named "Tiiba" looks like a cute humanoid rooster in a waistcoat at first. Then he manages to slip away and find a mask into which most of his power was sealed, transforming him into a giant humanoid hawk-thing when he melds it into his face.
  • Racer X from Speed Racer.
  • The Glittering Crux Brigade from Star Driver is practically built around this trope. Their masks even let them pilot Humongous Mecha.
  • Cain from Tenchi Muyo! In Love, and Katsuhito Masaki/Youshou in Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki.
  • In Today's Cerberus, one of Cerberus' personalities, Roze, wears a muzzle that has a sharp teeth decal. It only appears when she's the one in control of Cerberus' body in part as an act of atonement for biting out a piece of Chiaki's soul when he was younger because she was frightened.
  • Masks are very important in Tokyo Ghoul, with most Ghouls having a personal one worn when hunting or fighting. Since their very existences are banned by law, protecting their identities is very important. While Gangs may wear the same mask as part of their group identity, most Ghouls favor a completely original design — with Uta running a successful art studio entirely based on providing masks to other Ghouls.
  • Hakuoro of Utawarerumono. Not even he knows what he looks like without the mask, so you know he means business. In fact, the scientists who originally recovered and studied him even found a way to improve their health and longevity by donning duplicates of his mask... until he smote them.
  • Vampire Hunter D. No mask, but the shadow of his hat sometimes produces the same effect.
  • Larva from Vampire Princess Miyu always wears a mask. In the OAV it was forced on him as a part of his punishment for losing to Miyu, and he couldn't take it off no matter what. In the TV series, he can take it off at will.
  • Despariah, the Big Bad of Yes! Pretty Cure 5, wears full kabuki makeup to the point that her expressions are completely unreadable. Later revealed to be an actual mask that shatters to reveal her true face when it's time for her to play Final Boss.
  • When Fubuki in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, suffering from Jekyll-and-Hyde Syndrome, succumbs to his Superpowered Evil Side, it is symbolized by such a mask appearing on his face from nowhere except a cloud of black smoke.
  • The Zeiram's (from the Zeiram films and IRIA: Zeiram the Animation) only visible face is a three-inch thing on a long prehensile neck, but it resembles a Kabuki mask, so it might count.

    Comic Books 
  • For The DCU and the Marvel Universe, it would be easier to list the heroes that don't have a cool mask or cowl, 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.
  • 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 popularized as a symbol of mass protest. (Anonymous, Occupy, some Arab Spring demonstrations, etc.)
  • The Corinthian from The Sandman (1989) 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...)
  • 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.
  • The Scorpion has both this and Faceless Goons, handily coded by different levels of mask coverage: the Big Bad's warrior monk mooks, who wear half-mask helmets, aren't a very big deal; but their leader captain Rochnan, who is distinguished by his ornate mask that covers his entire face except for the eyes, is one of the most dangerous characters in the series.
  • Pack: Patience, who is The Leader of a group of dogs, wears a dog face mask.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Up until her drastic revamp in Wonder Woman (Rebirth) all versions of Doctor Cyber starting from her disfigurement in Wonder Woman (1942) wore a gilded cybernetic mask/helm with a triangular bit at about mouth height and a recessed black strip beneath her brows in which two pricks of red light indicated her eyes.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): Genocide wears a black mask featureless save for the spiked green strip covering where a human's eyes would be located.
    • Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons: The Hecate Tribe of Amazons all wear masks that obscure their entire face.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW): Whisper the Wolf possesses a hi-tech, cat-shaped mask that increase her aiming with her Variable Wispon. It's also connected to it, as the left eye changes color depending on what Wisp is currently in use. It's revealed later that it also allows the wearer to understand the language of Wisps. When the mask is not on her face, she wears it on the side of her head, Japanese-style.
  • Society as a whole wear them in The Private Eye as part of society's obsession with personal privacy. Notably the titualar P.I. elects instead for a sort of mascara stain across his eyes resembling a domino mask, while the hood of his coat has a face on it, and he uses more common masks when going undercover in society.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • In the The Legend of Korra fanfic Book Five: Legends Korra and Asami don a pair during the New Arts Showcase. Fittingly, they’re from the Ember Island Players “Love Amongst the Dragons” performance. Asami is the Dragon Emperor while Korra is the Dragon Empress. In addition, their villain begins wearing the mask of a Plague Doctor to conceal their face, deliberately invoking the fear surrounding such an appearance.
  • In Between My Brother and Me: Mors Omnibus, various students of the You Show Duel School of Carroll City wear them for 1) keeping their identities secret when they venture to the other dimensions and 2) because they're also dressed up for their school festival. Some of the adults also join in on the fun.
  • Child of the Storm has the various derivations of the Iron Man armour as this as a matter of course, though Harry's 'Galahad' suits are worth mentioning, because they make him The Faceless - they're all-white, even smoother and blanker than ordinary armour, and frequently described as resembling "the skull of an angel." When it makes an appearance, serious violence is usually about to ensue.
  • Fate of the Clans: Cú Chulainn Alter wears a black one with red veins over his eyes. The mask is outlined with what are shaped like claws. It breaks off after he uses the third version of his Noble Phantasm.
  • Infinity Train: Knight of the Orange Lily, Tokio Chisou has a white bunny mask that comes with a pocketwatch and a ruby for eyes. Turns out that it's because he's the "current" leader of the 400 Rabbits Car, the White Rabbit, and simply wearing it is enough for denizens to know who he is and that he means business.

    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.
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader's face is fully masked and if he's not the most powerful villain in the universe, he's amongst the scariest.
  • 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 the Transformers Film Series, Optimus Prime has a metal plate that 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. Also, it has to be reforged periodically, and the most important step is tempering it with the life's blood of a hundred virgin girls.
  • 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 criminals/antagonists in The Purge will wear a mask that's not only intimidating, but sometimes badass and cool in design as well.
  • Every version of The Lone Ranger. See comment beside Zorro. "Who was that masked man?"
  • One of the few positively-received moments in The Lone Ranger (2013): the Ranger's mask is cut from his dead brother's leather vest, with the eyeholes formed by the bullet holes that killed him.
  • 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. In Retaliation, Zartan actually says "cool mask" with regards to the black mask Cobra Commander wears after breaking out of Einsargen.
  • 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.
  • Peter Quill, also known as "Star-Lord", has a pretty neat looking one in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
  • In Flash Gordon, Klytus wears a shiny, golden Doctor Doom-ish mask that completely covers his face.
  • In Circus of Fear, the mysterious lion-tamer Gregor wears a full face mask to conceal the scars he received from a lion attack years before. It serves to heighten the air of mystery that surrounds the character.
  • In Welp, the Wild Child Kai wears an absurdly large mask that has a horn sticking out of one side and fully covers every part of his face except his mouth. Given that it's a horror film, it certainly works as a creative and creepy way of establishing him as a villain.
  • Audrey Hepburn wears a very lovely black lace half mask to a restaurant rendezvous in How to Steal a Million.
  • Maximum Overdrive: The Green Goblin mask on the Happy Toyz truck.
  • The Guy Fawkes mask V wears in V for Vendetta, depicting a stylized, smirking Fawkes with red cheeks and an upturned mustache. So cool, it became the icon of anti-establishment political movements throughout the world.
  • Masquerade (2021): The art thieves are dressed all in black (naturally) and wear fencing masks. After she's driven the brokers home, Rose masks up for action too.
  • Michael Myers' iconic mask in the Halloween series. (It is actually a replica of a Captain Kirk mask, that was sprayed white and the eye holes were punctured.)

  • A Court of Thorns and Roses: Part of the curse on Tamlin makes him and his entire court unable to remove the masks they wore at a masquerade fifty years before. His is gold with emeralds embedded into it.
  • Zorro, naturally.
  • Naturally, since it takes place during Day of the Dead in 1870's Mexico, there are cool masks everywhere in These Savage Bones, but the murderer's trademark Calavera mask - a skull with blue poppy petals around the eyes to look like tears - deserves a special mention.
  • In Masques, Aralorn's friend Wolf wears a silver mask when in human form. It's a drama mask with a permanent frown, and makes him look pretty intimidating. But then, Aralorn is not easily intimidated. (His actual face is worse, it's disfigured.) The ragtag group of refugees he's helping are impressed, though.
  • The Stranger in Pallid Mask from the The King in Yellow, whose face is covered by a strange white mask. Actually subverted, as like the Red Death, he wears no mask.
  • Some H. P. Lovecraft examples:
  • In Terry Pratchett's Maskerade, a takeoff of The Phantom of the Opera, the Opera Ghost is actually a dorky, pitifully clumsy, shy, and just plain weird janitor who becomes ultra-coordinated and suave when he wears a mask, through the magic of Magic Feather.
  • Ember in The Legendsong Saga frequently uses masks (or veils) to hide her silverblind eye, as it both shows that she is a stranger and fulfils one of the signs of the Unraveller.
    • Masks are required by law to be worn at the Iridomi Aiden festival and can get quite elaborate.
  • Zorro, who seems to have been one of the earliest practitioners, if not the Trope Maker himself.
  • In Vampirates, the captain of the title creatures' ship wears a mask, as the Expository Theme Tune says, "to curtail your fright".
  • In Starfighters of Adumar, Wedge Antilles disguises his identity with a mask - but because it's lavender, and he doesn't like lavender, he doesn't think of it as cool.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Black Colossus", the prophet among the nomads always goes masked.
    "whom men called Natohk, the Veiled One; for his features were always masked."
  • Legendary seducer Don Juan. Different writers have portrayed him in various ways over the centuries—a high-spirited rascal, a heartless destroyer, even a semi-innocent victim of his own good looks—but all the better-known accounts agree he had a penchant for wearing a mask.
  • The Piper in Keys to the Kingdom wears a mask that hides most of his face. In truth, he has no face; most of his body has been dissolved by Nothing and only force of will keeps him alive.
  • From the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, Faction Paradox members wear masks of bone. Along with awesome headdresses and gorgets.
  • In the Spiral Arm series, the Secret Name hides his identity by wearing a large golden mask in the semblance of the sun.
  • Somewhither: Abby's monkey-mask, which is a thaumaturgical device which makes it possible for her to breathe in the upper reaches of the Tower.
  • Heralds of Valdemar series: The great mage Firesong horribly burns his face while helping to prevent The End of the World as We Know It at the end of Storm Breaking. When he reappears in Owlsight, he's taken to wearing elaborate masks to hide his burn scars—not out of shame, but to spare others the pain of looking at his rather scary face. Being an Agent Peacock, he makes the masks into fashion statements, designing them himself and coordinating them with his outfits.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen:
    • All Seguleh go masked and the markings on their masks indicate their rank in their island society. Mok is the third-ranked Seguleh, so his mask has two slashes on it.
    • Redmask's red-scaled mask is made of the hide of a K'Chain Che'Malle Matron's throat, implicitly indicating that he killed her to gain her scaled hide.
  • In Summer in Orcus, the villain Zultan Houndbreaker wears a helm shaped like the head of a snarling dog that covers his entire face and hides his species, which would give away a great deal because he's the Last of His Kind and everyone thinks his kind is extinct.
  • In Pale Avery, Lucy, and Verona wear deer, fox and cat masks respectively. Though the masks are simple painted wood, to True Sight they appear to be melded with the animals.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Love and Redemption: Si Feng is forced to wear one because it's against Li Ze Palace's rules for students to go out without masks.
  • The Journey of Flower: The master of the Pavilion of Strange Decay (otherwise known as Dongfang Yu Qing) wears a full-face mask decorated with peacock feathers.
  • The Glamorous Imperial Concubine: Fu Ya wears an ornate golden mask when she goes to see Lian Cheng.
  • Moon Lovers: Wang So wears one to hide the scars Queen Yoo gave him.
  • Princess Silver:
    • Empress Dowager Fu Yuan wears a golden mask over part of her face.
    • Rong Le wears a more elaborate mask over the upper half of her face when she goes to meet Wu You.
  • Game of Thrones: Quaithe, the mysterious woman in Qarth who wears an elaborate mask that covers everything but her eyes.
  • 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.
  • Bibleman as befits his status as a Christian superhero.
  • All the contestants on King of Mask Singer wear paper masks that covers the entire face. The masks are designed to portray either a cartoon human face, an animal, or are they are based on a more abstract design.
  • Farscape: Stark wears a metal half-mask that covers most of the right side of his face and is held in place with a set of leather straps that wrap around the other side of his head. That side of his face is pure energy which the mask keeps contained. He occasionally removes it to use a Care-Bear Stare to help people who are suffering.

  • 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.
  • All five members of Hollywood Undead wear unique masks whenever they perform.
  • 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 can 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.
  • Poets of the Fall:
    • In "Carnival of Rust," the Carnival customer conceals her face behind an impressive gas-mask, while its workers are all bare-faced, implying that the environment is toxic.
    • In "Daze," all the Masquerade Ball attendees wear ornamented Venetian half-masks, but Villain Protagonist Evil Clown Hamartia has an exceptionally elaborate full-face Venetian Jester mask that he drops on beginning to sing, and toys with throughout.
  • The a number of the background dancers in Xia's "Flower" music video wear neat worn looking masks.

    Music Videos 
  • 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.

  • Vivaldi from Sequinox wears a Venetian mask with a large plume of read feathers coming out of it.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • El Santo is perhaps the ultimate and coolest example. His popularity was such that, in addition to his legendary career in Mexican wrestling, he made over 50 movies while still masked (!). There is only one known occasion where he was publicly seen without the mask, in his last TV appearance shortly before his passing. When he died, they buried him in it. And, if Coco is accurate, he continues to wear it in the afterlife as well.
    • He may be the Trope Codifier for the tradition that nearly all masked wrestlers, in any country or promotion, have an overriding goal of keeping their masks on, even to the point of losing championship matches rather than reveal their identities. 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.
    • Specifically, in Mexican lucha libre major feuds can culminate in a "mask vs mask" match, where the loser is required to publicly unmask themselves and have their real name revealed. 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!
  • 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, at least in WWE.
    • 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 in American wrestling 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. Mr. America wasn't particularly mysterious either.
  • 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.
  • 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. Since then, he's gone back and forth between the mask and the suit depending on the primary function the Authority needed him to focus on at any extended period in time.
  • 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 SHIMMER's spinoff Shine Las Sicarias Ivelisse Vélez and Mercedes Martinez are hooded and masked when they come to the ring.
  • InstaGraham, SnapChad and their Distaff Counterpart FaceBrooke of SMS wrestled in masks, which was kind of at odds with their social media gimmicks but anonymous chat rooms weren't hot at the time and the former two were able to each win the PWA Tag Team titles in Austraila with Unsocial Jordan(you actually shows his face on his youtube channel), so the masks clearly didn't hurt.
  • Dalton Castle's attendants who remove his peacock cape after his entrance wear masks. They weren't particularly "cool" at first(the attendants that is) despite Silas Young's best efforts. But after Castle got The Boys back he whipped them into enough shape to help him win Ring of Honor's six man tag belts, making them worthy of their masks.
  • Dramatic Dream Team: Subverted by Kazushi Sakuraba's, as he can't see through it and risks running into things or falling off the stage during his entrance.
  • Paul London and Brian Kendrick started wearing these when they teamed up (again) in their 2005 tag team run in WWE, switching from Guy Fawkes masks, Phantom of the Opera-esque masks, purple fencing hoods, gold face masks, etc. Michael Cole and JBL even lampshade this on one occassion.



    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Ethergaunts are a race of (evil) alien supergeniuses dwelling on the ethereal plane whose faces are entirely covered by blank, bisected masks, with the color of the 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. Definitely in the "tropical mysticism" tiki-mask style, as the franchise had a number of Polynesian influences in its earliest days, though they were never without a certain sci-fi twist, with the characters being robotic and all. Being worn by our main heroes and gifted with all sorts of strange powers, they are very cool.

    Video Games 
  • 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 embarrassment. 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).
  • Ash from Dawn wears a mask with one horn longer than the other.
  • EXTRAPOWER has many cool masks among its cast of heroes.
    • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce is the most densely packed with masks, being the Crisis Crossover drawing from all over EXTRAPOWER. It gives us Sharkungo, the Masked Luchador prince of the Shakun Star in his trademark red mask with yellow star over his face. Toyama, a human wrestler out of Iwate prefecture, also wears a mask to go with his hat, but in the Zorro style. His wife and tag team partner Hamayo wears a domino mask. Galaxystar wears one that gives him a sharp, angular appearance out of American comics, and leaves room for his fabulously coiffed hair. Kurogane's comes up to cover the lower half of her face in combat, but usually brings it down for casual wear. Shimoun, the Purple Hikari Warrior, also favours a mask that covers the lower half of his face. Mashura and Bashura wear masks to go with their ninja outfits, with Mashura's resembles a bird's beak. And that's just among the main hero characters. Certain major villains wear masks befitting their Toku or manga influences, on top of the many masked Faceless Goons.
    • EXTRAPOWER: Star Resistance: Sharkungo and Galaxystar return and bring their masks with them and introduced Monokage, the Noble Demon aiding Nemuri in her story, combining it with a hat and Badass Cape for the full combo. Other Star Lore Superstars make background appearances in full costume, such as Mr Green in his mantis-headed mask.
  • 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, known as Masked Dedede. This alter-ego continues to appear throughout the series, either by cameo or alternate variants.
    • 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".
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind:
      • Big Bad Physical God Dagoth Ur wears a full-faced golden mask with a third eye slot.
      • In the Tribunal expansion, Tribunal deity Almalexia dawns one when she confronts the Nerevarine in the final confrontation in the Clockwork City. It's known as her "war mask" and is made of the same greenish-bronze material as her Cool Crown. It has two long tusks attached and the face is scowling like a Rage Helm. Most depictions of her, such as the frescoes throughout Tribunal Temple sites, show her wearing it.
    • The Grey Fox's mask in Oblivion is cursed to magically induce amnesia in anyone who meets the wearer. The previous Grey Fox claims to have met the Player Character on several occasions, but the mask's magic erased the memory each time. When the player lifts the curse and acquires the mask, it allows them to commit crimes with impunity.
    • The Dragon Priest Masks from Skyrim. Each is fully face concealing and imbues the wearer with multiple skill-boosting powers.
    • In Online, Vaermina, the Daedric Prince of Nightmares, gets one. Indeed, her emblem consists of her mask, and a snake.
  • 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.
  • Proto Man from both Mega Man (Classic) and Mega Man Battle Network. In his case, they are more like Cool Shades, but still.
  • 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.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Helmasaur King covers its weak point with a ceratopsian, three-pronged, bony blue mask that must be broken with Bombs or the Magic Hammer.
    • 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.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • 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.
    • "Marth" and Gerome in Awakening. "Marth" (Lucina) has her mask destroyed early, however, and from then on she goes without it. Gerome (the one who made the mask) keeps his own save for counted exceptions, though.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, Saizo hides his face behind a black and blue mask.
    • In Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Princess Celica is aided by a mysterious knight who has a quite nice mask. He wears it for three reasons: to deliberately cultivate a "cool" persona, to hide his identity from anyone, and especially because he is Celica's lost half-brother Prince Conrad, and has been forbidden to tell her who he is. He ends up taking it off anyway, though.
  • 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 grenades.
  • Tekken:
    • King wears a leopard mask, making him look like a man with a leopard face. And he always straps a tail on his pants for good measure. And his dialogue is always snarls. Same thing applies to his mentor, Armor King, whose mask also has different colored eyes, one of which is red.
    • 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.
    • Kunimitsu and her daughter wear kitsune masks to conceal their identities.
  • 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).
  • Shadow Hearts:
    • Joachim Valentine from Covenant uses a mask as a 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.
    • Joachim's sister, Hilda, in From the New World also uses a mask for her powered-up forms, when her Calorie meter reaches +/-100. Like Joachim, she also gets a Question mask in a sidequest, which makes these forms even stronger.
  • 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.
  • E.Y.E: 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.
    • PAYDAY 2 ups the ante by adding a ton of new masks. You can also customize them if you don't think they're cool enough on their own.
  • 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-effect 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 3 (Tri) and 3 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.
  • The animal masks worn by the main character and various other characters in Hotline Miami, which look creepy, hide their wearer's identity, and (somehow) grant abilities when the main character wears them.
  • HUNK in Resident Evil 2 wears a gas mask. It is probably 25% of the reason for his Ensemble Dark Horse status - the rest being memetic badassery.
  • Ninja from the Richman series wears one that cover the lower half of his face as his standarad ninja outfit. Zig-zagged in 11 as some of his alternative skins has no mask.
  • Big "L" Lincoln in Lisa - The Joyful wears a wolf mask, and he spends the entire game staying in his fortress and murdering anyone who challenges him for the title of the strongest human in Olathe. He's pretty good at it.
  • Persona features the god Philemon, who is always seen with a mask that sports a butterfly-like design on one side.
  • Persona 5: All the main characters have Fighting Spirit representations of their own psyches (the eponymous Personas) that turn into personalized thief masks when not in use. Most of these Personas also sport masks of their own.
    • Arsène becomes a black and white bird mask, and his own "face" is a semi-transparent horned mask.
    • Carmen becomes a red panther mask that she herself also wears.
    • Captain Kidd becomes a skull mask, matching the skull that serves as his head.
    • Zorro becomes the black bandana he wears on his own face.
    • Goemon becomes a traditional Japanese fox mask, and wears an armored facemask of his own that leaves his mouth and hair exposed.
    • Necronomicon becomes a pair of Night-Vision Goggles that look like giant alien eyes.
    • Johanna becomes a metal mask, and Johanna's own face is a feminine mask on the front of the bike that serves as her body.
    • Milady becomes a black domino mask, and uses a ball gown mask for her "head".
    • Robin Hood turns into a red mask with a bird beak. Loki, however, turns into a crimson hellish crow mask complete with black helmet and neck brace.
  • Darkest Dungeon: The Leper wears a metal mask over most of his face to cover the Facial Horror beneath. Only times it's removed are when he loses his mind, and when he purposefully lets it down to feel the air against his skin as a way to de-stress (while everyone else catches an eyeful and gets stressed out). It looks unusually solemn for the trope, yet doesn't detract from his intimidating look, fitting him quite well.
  • Lost Soul Aside: A shiny black one covers the bottom half of Ventas' face, in contrast with his blonde hair.
  • Inscryption: Your host has a collection of them and will put one on during a boss fight. Which one he uses depends on the boss you are facing. He makes sure to "roleplay" as the character the mask represents too. All of which represents his old allies back when he shared his position with the other Scrybes.
  • Uncle Albert from Uncle Albert's Adventures has a collection of cool-looking masks from various countries in the world, which he got during his travels.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Adam Taurus wears a distinctive white mask with red accents, which resembles the faces of the Grimm. The distinct design marks him as more important than the normal White Fang members, who wear plain white masks. After the battle for Haven, he abandons the mask in favour of a black blindfold. This occurs after he slaughters the remaining White Fang for turning against him and hunts down his ex-girlfriend, to kill her for "causing" his self-inflicted misfortune. Removing the blindfold reveals terrible scars from having been branded like cattle by the abusive SDC.
    • Raven Branwen wears a mask that covers her entire face and is designed to mimic a Giant Nevermore, being the head of a raven, and containing four eyeholes and red patterns like a Grimm face. She wears it into battle, and when confronting potentially hostile people. It is heavily implied that she wears it to hide the eye fire that reveals when a Maiden is using true magic. Vernal is her decoy Maiden to keep the true Spring Maiden's identity secret.
    • The Grimm Reaper was a legendary Huntress, known only for her unmatched skill, iconic twin kama, and the painted skull mask that hid her identity. She inspired Qrow's own scythe weapon, and her abrupt disappearance is one of the Huntsman world's greatest mysteries. Maria Calavera hid her identity because her father believed that Silver-Eyed Warriors were being hunted to extinction. Tock successfully tracked her down on behalf of Salem, but could only blind her instead of kill her. Maria then went into hiding, terrified that further assassins would come.

  • Dave of Narbonic fame begins with apparently opaque round glasses. But, as he realizes his mad science abilities, his glasses turn transparent.
  • 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.
  • Juathuur: 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.
  • Muko from Furry Fight Chronicles wears a black mask as part of her Masked Luchador attire in the comic. She sees the mask for the first time in Chapter 30.
  • The Rogue class God Tier outfit in Homestuck has one of these. In the form of a Domino Mask.
  • 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.
  • Most of the characters in Be Calm wear masks, the most notable being protagonist Red's full-face plague doctor mask. It becomes apparent later on that this is because the air in the underground facility is poisonous and will mutate humans unless filtered through a mask.
  • In Kidd Commander, Ulrich magically puts on and takes off his mask. It's an important part of his attire.
  • Champions of Far'aus:
    • Karla, and other Sarbling trolls wear "Dark masks" which cover their entire face, and are enchanted to limit the amount of light that gets to their light-sensitive eyes.
    • The goddess Sharlise wears one because she doesn't have a face, and doesn't want to disturb people.
  • Anna's father from Ashface's Daughter wears one of these and has never been seen so far without it.
  • Demon Hunter Kain: The Demon Hunter body armor's one feature.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • During certain scenes in episode 32 of Vaguely Recalling JoJo, Joseph wore Neptuneman's mask. When he does a cool combination attack with Avdol when they fight Mariah, Avdol dons Big Budo's mask.
  • 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. Ark'hen, the Source of death has an impressive animalistic one.
  • The Call of Warr has "Prisoner Sarah", who wears a face-concealing mask made of metal bars. It cannot be taken off.
  • Percy De Rolo in the first campaign of Critical Role had a bird-style mask that he wore during his time as "No Mercy Percy".

    Western Animation 
  • Robin in Teen Titans (2003). Even if this is potentially an artifact of the comics, it was acknowledged in-show as looking cool. (Beast Boy's Doom Patrol mask, sadly, was not.) Similarly, archnemesis Slade wears a mask, and for most of the first season concealed even that in shadow. Slade's mask is also an Eyepatch of Power.
    • As seen in season 4's episode "The Quest", Robin's mask looks cool on everyone.
    Raven: You know Robins, I have to admit, the mask makes me feel... cool.
    • Red X wears a full-face mask, and he can fight Robin blow-for-blow.
    • Cheshire wears a cat mask with a permanent scary grin during her brief but memorable appearance in the series. She made enough of an impression that the Young Justice (2010) version of the character retains it.
  • 80's cartoon M.A.S.K. also had (almost) everyone in masks, which produced a variety of powers and effects, including Gliding, Holograms and Flamethrowers. And throwing daggers.
  • The Blue Spirit in Avatar: The Last Airbender, even without being able to bend the elements. When Zuko takes the mask off, his fighting changes in terms of technique. In his defense with his mask off, he's only firebending, something he knows, but never came easy to him. However, in the fight against Jet in Ba Sing Se, he's still being a badass swordsman, and did anyone else see his little bit of firebending WITH the swordfight? Also, Zuko's firebending skills are much greater after his visit with the dragons. He's a Master after that.
    • Also it was probably psychological. The Blue Spirit didn't have Zuko's emotional baggage.
    • The Kyoshi Warriors. While their facepaint doesn't give them any special powers (Suki and the others are as deadly without it), they use it to remind themselves of their connection to Avatar Kyoshi, and it is definitely a symbol of being at the top end of their power scale.
    • Avatar Kyoshi herself, as detailed in her two prequel novels. Her parents' gang of bandits tell her that "putting on her face" will make her feel more confident, and she comes to agree, relying on the makeup to both hide her identity before she's ready to reveal herself and to help disguise her facial expressions when she's attempting to project a certain mood or air of authority. She and Rangi go so far as to attribute their losing in the final battle to forgetting to put their faces on before fighting someone who knew them before they became daofei bandits.
    • From The Legend of Korra, they don't get much cooler (or creepier) than Amon's mask.
  • Optimus Prime's mouthplate in Transformers. In Beast Wars, the toy had it, making him look like his mouthless G1 counterpart, but his CGI character model didn't. The showrunners dealt with the accuracy problem by making the mask his Game Face; when he activates his jets, the mask appears. Apparently it caught on, because very nearly every Optimus Prime since, including the live-action movies, has a normal face only for the mask to appear at times as a Harbinger of Asskicking.
  • How about Dirge from The Clone Wars?
  • Cobra Commander wears a featureless, mirror-polished mask. Or occasionally, a KKK-like dark blue hood.
  • The real Noodle in Gorillaz Phase 3 now has a cat mask. It's hinted that it's hiding some form of facial injury. 2D wears a clown mask for as-yet-unexplained reasons in the "Stylo" and "On Melancholy Hill" videos. In the iTunes interviews, 2D explains he had the mask to cover up a massive hangover.
  • In Winx Club, all three evil witches, Icy, Darcy, and Stormy (The Trix) wear eye makeup that goes down to their cheekbones on the bottom and to their eyebrows on the top. When they achieve Disenchantix, their eye makeup goes from the top of their face to their chins on either side. Darcy in civilian form also wears a tiny pair of spectacles on her nose and when she was a child wore a large, round pair.
  • In Rollbots, Vett's mask makes him look even more badass than he is.
  • Dutch in Motorcity wears one of these when graffiti painting in Motorcity or working on a car (he's an engineer).
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic the Wonderbolts, made up of the best fliers in Equestria, wear blue masks as part of their uniform.
  • In VeggieTales : "I! Am! That! Hero!" They call him... LARRY-BOY!
  • In The Owl House Hunter wears a golden mask that marks him as the Golden Guard, one of Emperor Belos' most trusted servants. It conceals his true appearance as an unintimidating teenager, as well as obscuring that there have been many similar looking Golden Guards. Later after losing it he wears another mask in an attempt to reclaim the confidence he felt with it.


    Anime & Manga 
  • Jeremy of Petopeto-san also wears one, with a heart on it, and is fairly pathetic.
  • Done in Hayate the Combat Butler (in a Shout-Out to Sailor Moon), where Nagi dons a small face-mask and takes on the name "Mask the Money" when she rescues Hayate from the Yakuza looking to collect on his debt. She takes Crimefighting with Cash very literally.
  • Overlord (2012): The first few times he goes out and about, Ainz (a lich) wears a mask to conceal the fact that he's a skeleton. The mask itself is strictly cosmetic, and was a promotional item called the Mask of Envy, given to those players who logged in at nighttime on Christmas Eve (as opposed to normal people with social lives or relationships). Ainz claims it's used to control summoned undead as an excuse for not removing it.
  • 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.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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. The best explanation is simply that it's a tradition.

    Video Games 
  • 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 badass 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.
  • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • 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.
  • Dreamscape: The Master of the Dammed's mask is golden, creepy, and seems to be his actual head.

  • Subverted with Phillip Kim from Weak Hero. Though he's rarely seen without a face mask, usually black and sometimes with nice decals, most of the characters are aware that he just wears one to seem tough, and see him as a tryhard rather than a cool guy.

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's 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.
  • 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.* 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.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mask Power


Father Baldur

He certainly acts the part with his soft, preening voice, and his fashion sense is atrociously flamboyant (a dead albino peacock as a stole, a gold half-mask, and a monocle earring, among other things). Underneath it all, though, he's also a nigh godlike Lumen Sage.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / SissyVillain

Media sources: