A variant of He Who Must Not Be Seen: The audience never gets a good look at this character's face. Specific variants include characters which are (almost) always...
- shot or drawn using an Unreveal Angle
- shown from behind
- shown behind something else
- shown with the frame cropping out their face
- shot or drawn with P.O.V. Cam, where we can only see what they see
- standing in shadow, have their Face Framed in Shadow, or are silhouetted
- wearing a mask, One-Way Visor, hood, or otherwise Never Bareheaded
Closely related are:
- those with Eyes Always Shut or always Hidden Eyes
- those who always wear Scary Shiny Glasses or Sunglasses at Night
- The Ghost, who is never seen at all
- The Blank, who literally doesn't have a face
- The Voice, who is not seen but only heard
There are several reasons for writing a faceless character, depending on their role in the plot. For a recurring character, hiding their face lends an air of ambiguity to the character and their motives. If said character is a villain, this additionally serves to make them seem more threatening. Often the villainous Faceless are a Diabolical Mastermind, The Man Behind the Man, or even an Ultimate Evil.
Non-recurring faceless characters tend to be Cannon Fodder Faceless Goons, whose facelessness removes their individuality, their humanity, and — hopefully — the audience's squeamishness about their deaths. Real-world famous people/roles may not be shown, to prevent the work from becoming dated.
Occasionally, a faceless character will be dramatically revealed. This generally happens at the end of the story, or at least the character's tenure in it. The reveal may try to surprise the audience by showing a Nerd in Evil's Helmet, The Mole, or even no face at all. Perhaps we will see a Nightmare Face — common for villains — or perhaps they were Beautiful All Along.
The Faceless exist to increase drama or impress people. Contrast this with the Faceless Masses, which is done for the artist's convenience, while the Scenery Censor hides other body parts, to please Moral Guardians.
- Anime and Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Works
- Live-Action TV
- Newspaper Comics
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Web Comics
- Web Original
- Western Animation
- Real Life
- Madame Boss, Giovanni's mother and the previous leader of Team Rocket, is depicted this way in Pokémon: The Birth of Mewtwo. The artwork shows her body but shades out t her face.