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The Unreveal / Anime & Manga

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Unreveals in anime and manga.


General Examples

  • Every chapter of 20th Century Boys. There are about 15 different Unreveals in the manga (one for each volume). Sometimes the villain has a mask (three of them). He's "seen" in flashback as one of two identically masked children, or again as a child in a different mask. He's seen again in a virtual reality program, but since there are no photos of him as a child, his face is a blank sphere. Later he is unmasked and killed, but because he has always appeared as a masked man, an imitator (or is it the genuine article?) appears. Cue the rest of the manga. His actual identity is only implied in the very last page of the manga's epilogue, 21st Century Boys. He had only been mentioned twice before, and on both occasions the person speaking said they thought he was dead.
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  • In the Alice Academy anime, when Mikan finally gets a letter from her grandfather, we don't get to find out what it says - we only see her tearful reaction.
  • Attack on Titan: The identity of the "true enemy". Later, Ymir almost reveals a possible answer before being stopped, and refuses to answer when asked a second time.
  • Subverted in Axis Powers Hetalia: it looks like this has happened when Turkey appears without his mask, as his face is constantly blocked by the crowds. In the very last panel of the strip, however, we get a completely clear view of him.
  • In Black Butler hardly anything about Sebastian is ever revealed. When Grell views his cinematic record all he allows her to see is his daily life of the past couple years, when Ciel orders his other servants to take a photo of him using a camera that shows an image of whoever the subject of the photograph loves most he has the family Hellhound burn the pic while it's being developed, and when he assumes his true form all that's seen of him is scattered black feathers and black stiletto heels.
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  • If you're looking for some answers regarding Saya's origin in Blood-C: The Last Dark, well, you'll be very disappointed because it was never shown. And you'll never find out what is her price for the sword which she got from Watanuki.
  • Bokurano, with its premise of killing all of the "chosen" pilots as part of a gigantic, winner-takes-all tournament that would determine the last universe remaining, seemed to have been heading towards an ending finally explaining how and why all the events in the manga happened with its last chapter, titled Dung Beetle. Instead, said character offers one theory for why everything has happened, before proceeding with its No Ending.
  • The ending to Cage of Eden was really rushed (because the manga was cancelled) and several mysteries remain unresolved. For example, the manga never explains if they're actually clones, used technology to bring them into the future, or them ending in that future was just a mere coincidence. Even Hades's identity remain unknown.
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  • A facepalmingly obnoxious scene in Code Geass has C.C. reveal her name to Lelouch TWICE, only to be drowned out by the sound of water dripping from the ceiling. The lip-flaps are actually well-animated enough to attempt to guess what vowels are in it. That's good, right? After going out of their way to conceal C.C.'s real name from the viewers, implying that it has some larger significance to be revealed later...it never is. Supposedly C.C.'s and Lelouch's seiyuu both actually spoke the name during the scene in question, so the writers really did come up with a name that they're withholding for no apparent reason.
  • A Cowboy Bebop episode features a mad bomber who is continuously thwarted in his attempts to get the word out on why he is setting off teddy bear bombs to blow up public buildings. His motives were (mostly) revealed at the end. He was blowing up tall buildings in protest of humanity's excesses.
  • Cromartie High School gives us Hokuto's Lackey, a character who is Exactly What It Says on the Tin — and every time he attempts to say his name, he's interrupted by increasingly absurd circumstances, from Freddie spilling juice, to a meteor hitting the school, to aliens landing on Earth and accidentally leaving with Freddie on board.
  • Cross Game ends with all the relationships resolved but Wakaba's dream still unfulfilled — in particular, we never learn how it is that Aoba plays center field at Koushien, as promised in the opening of the anime.
  • Happens twice in Danganronpa 3, when, in Side:Future Episode 5 Tengan tells Munakata who the attacker is, only the audio is muted so that we only see the latter's reaction. The scene is then shown unmuted in Episode 10 to be a purposely vague answer, with the end of the episode of having the characters learning the truth for real...only the episode cuts out before we get anything more than the characters reactions.
  • Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z:
    • Buttercup's civilian identity is a 13-year-old tomboy named Kaoru Matsubura, whose father is a masked wrestler who never removes his mask, even when at home with his family. In the 44th episode, Kaoru's father finally allows his daughter to see his face, but the audience doesn't get to see it because it happens off-screen behind a door and Kaoru refuses to tell her friends Momoko/Blossom and Miyako/Bubbles what her father's face looks like.
    • A play on this trope happens when they first bring Him into the anime. Him's true name is spoken, but is so horrible and twisted that the Universe itself censors it, which is outright stated. Not necessarily an Un-Reveal, since you really didn't think there was any "reveal" at all. Him was simply Him.
  • Dennou Coil wraps up most of the series' mysteries to satisfaction, but a few things are left vague.
    • The biggest one is the nature of Yuco Yasako and Yuco Amasawa's relationship. The series ends with Amasawa admitting with the complicated history they have, she can't say if she thinks of her as a friend, a partner, a sister, or something else. Given the lengths Yasako went to get her digital body back, it's possible it might even be romantic in nature, as her friend Ken has definite subtext and shares a similarly aloof personality hiding emotional vulnerability after losing a loved one in an accident.
    • The nature of the Illegals ultimately goes unanswered as well. Ken theorizes they're strong emotions left by the collective unconscious, a few seem to be digital pets that have been left behind, or possibly the minds of users that have drifted too far with Imago, or a combination of all of these.
    • For that matter, what is Densuke? He's not a normal digital pet, he's survived data wipes, Cryptography attacks, and guided both Amasawa and Kyoko back from the Other Side when this should have been impossible. And each time it looks like he's gone for good, he keeps coming back okay.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • We never find out what Scar's real name is! He seems to have come to see Scar as being the only identity he has, his previous self having died a long time ago.
    • Edward always covers the text balloon whenever someone mentions his exact height.
  • Goblin Slayer never reveals the titular character's face. He takes off his helmet to show other characters his face at the end of the first light novel/final episode of the anime, but it's still concealed from the audience. The other characters' reactions do imply that he's handsome, though.
  • Goodnight Punpun never reveals Punpun's face. He's represented on default as a cartoony bird, but he's supposed to be a normal human. The closest we get is a character drawing a portrait of him, however they blanked out his eyes.
  • Halo Legends:
    • In The Package, we see the faces of all other Spartans before (and sometimes after) they don their helmets, but Master Chief puts on (and later takes off) his helmet just off-screen.
    • Origins does this on several levels with the Forerunners. We finally get to see what a Forerunner looks like after nearly 10 years of waiting... but all the ones we see are wearing Power Armor so we don't know what they look like underneath. Then Word of God announced that the short was only a possibly-rampant Cortana's interpretation of the data she had collected, so the Forerunners weren't necessarily bipedal horned humanoids with five fingers; fans would have to wait until the appearance of the Ur-Didact and the Librarian in Halo 4 to see what they actually looked like.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • After Kyon refuses Koizumi's suggestion that he confess his love to Haruhi as a way to escape the Endless Eight "Groundhog Day" Loop ("There is no one more suited for this than yourself, right?"), Koizumi offers up the possibility of doing so himself. The resulting expression on Kyon's face is pointedly kept out of sight in every iteration of the loop, but it's enough to make Koizumi laugh and quickly wave off his remark as a joke.
    • Other unreveals include the name of the computer club president (replaced by a scene of a cat meowing) and Haruhi's expressions at the end of the first season both when Kyon kisses Haruhi and when Kyon tells her her ponytail looks good.
    • A Fan Sub for some of the "Endless Eight" episodes uses <classified information> when Mikuru and Itsuki talk about the details of time travel and the endless recursion of time. As it turns out, they actually say something along the lines of "classified information" in Japanese. Kyon, being the Deadpan Snarker he is, wonders out loud if it is some kind of censor.
    • An instance where this is played lightheartedly for humor: when Kyon is about to introduce himself by his real name to Koizumi, Haruhi interrupts him and says "That's Kyon!"
  • Early in The Legend of Koizumi, Prime Minister Koizumi, already dying from multiple gunshot wounds, flies a fighter jet into a nuclear missile in order to save Japan, resulting in the obliteration of both the plane and the missile. The only explanation given is that it happened, so it can't have actually been impossible. Yukari tries to ask for more information, but is cut off by a pressing mahjong battle against Vladimir Putin.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • In one of the last chapters Negi whispers to Asuna the name of the girl he likes. The reader doesn't get to know who it is... at first. Sequel series UQ Holder! revealed that the girl was Chisame.
    • Hell, the finale is full of these, from the whereabouts of Negi's mother to how the Big Bad of the series was defeated offpanel. Fans weren't pleased.
  • Through the whole run of Maison Ikkoku, Soichiro had been depicted as The Faceless. Finally at the end, Godai gets a clear look at his picture. Too bad that for the reader his face is covered by a panel.
  • The anime of Medabots uses this in Season 2 when mysterious Space-Medafighter X's golden mask is split to reveal... the equally-mysterious Phantom Renegade's white mask. (And then Phantom Renegade's tuxedeo-and-tophat costume suddenly appears over Space-Medafighter X's.)
  • Monster never reveals to us the true names of twins Johan and Anna, even though it was revealed to Tenma by their mother, who was still alive by the end of the story.
  • Naruto:
    • There's the infamous Episode 101, the "Unmask Kakashi" episode. At the end, he takes off his mask to reveal... another lighter-colored mask. However, the one-off manga special this episode was based off didn't even reveal that to the main characters (and audience). Apparently, the ramen store-owner and waitress did see Kakashi's real face, and the reaction (all starry-eyed with the Luminescent Blush) seems to suggest that Kakashi is at least a borderline Bishōnen.
    • A later manga special had Naruto asking Kakashi's ninja dogs what his face looked like. They all give different descriptions, but after Pakkun criticizes them they agree on his account. Naruto then runs off to tell Sakura, right before Kakashi comes by the dogs while eating and the dogs all notice that wasn't what he looked like either.
    • And then the true reason to why Kakashi wears his mask is revealed in the spin-off manga Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth: it's to hide his nosebleeds whenever he reads porn. Although he later says its a joke, so its back to square one.
    • Even at the end of the series, when Kakashi becomes Hokage, the carving of his face on the Hokage Monument still depicts him with his mask on.
    • The manga-omake "The Real True Face…!!", released after the end of the series, is about another past attempt by Team 7 to unmask Kakashi. Once again, they completely fail. However, the audience finally gets to see Kakashi unmasked once he's by himself, and the ramen store people's reactions from the previous one-off seem to have been pretty warranted.
    • More dramatically this has happened at least three times with another masked character, Tobi. It's because of this that some people referred to him as the Mask before his face and true identity were finally revealed:
      • He tried to let Sasuke see his face, but after he'd only shown one corner he was interrupted by the Amaterasu ability Itachi put in Sasuke's eye activating, setting Madara on fire. After that he stumbles back out of view and when he comes back the mask is on and he keeps it on.
      • Aoba started reading Kisame's mind and recovers a memory of him without his mask, but he's in the shade with only his eye visible and Kisame manages to kick Aoba out right as he's coming into view, then frees and kills himself before they have a change to try again. Turns out this one was particularly important in retrospect, because Aoba had known the man who would become Tobi before he started wearing the mask, and thus would've been able to tell the good guys exactly who they were up against if not for Kisame's actions.
      • When fighting Konan, part of his mask is destroyed revealing exactly the same part of his face we'd already seen. Another attack destroys even more of his mask, but almost everything besides his other eye is hidden in shadow.
    • Tsunade uses a transformation technique to maintain her young image. The only times she returns to her true elderly form is when she is low on chakra. But both times that this happened we only saw part of her face. What we see of the rest of her body implies that while her jutsu makes her appear younger than she actually is, her true form looks older than she actually is (probably because her rapid-regeneration jutsu cuts into her lifespan).
    • In Boruto, Orochimaru gets ready to tell his son if he's his mother or father, but Mitsuki replies that he's fine not knowing.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion plays with this trope. When Ritsuko's plan to blow up NERV is thwarted by the MAGI, Gendo delivers an intentionally muted line.
    Gendo: Ritsuko Akagi, the truth is... (mimes something)
    Ritsuko: You liar... (Gendo shoots her)
    • In the Spanish dub, he said "I always loved you". But you know... EVERYBODY knows that he would destroy humanity and bring the end of the world as we know it to be with his wife, Yui. The fans weren't pleased. He also says it (or rather, "I did love you") in the manga adaptation by character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, so that might actually be the line.
    • There's some evidence the line was "I need you".
  • Happens in One Piece whenever information about One Piece or the Will of D is about to be revealed. When Usopp asks Silvers Rayleigh what's on Raftel, Luffy basically says NO SPOILERS. Later, Whitebeard flashes back to a conversation he had with Roger concerning the true nature of the Will of D, but the flashback is cut off and Whitebeard dies a few pages later.
    • In Robin's Origin Story flashback, her mentor Professor Clover is shot right before he can give the name of the ancient kingdom from the Void Century. Despite surviving the gunshot wound, he never finishes his previous sentence (and then dies in the bombardment of the Buster Call, meaning nobody can go back and ask him later).
  • Outlaw Star:
    • During the second to last episode, Gene finally asks why someone who's so obviously not much of a team player like Suzuka works with them. She gives a true enough answer: Tracking down Kei Pirates and killing one of them in particular. They separate and said pirate asks her why she works with them. Does she love Gene or something? Suzuka claims that she will tell his dead body after the fight, but if she does, we never find out for sure.
    • Several unrelated characters, upon meeting Gene, comment that he's a red-haired man with a Caster as if this is something of significance. However, neither Gene nor the audience is ever told anything about it.
  • Prunus Girl:
    • Aikawa gets hounded by girls for a whole chapter about the secret behind his unwanted body hair and ends up whispering the answer in Maki's ear.
    "That night, Maki had a nightmare."
    • It's left vague if Aikawa is crossdressing or if he's a girl pretending to be a crossdresser. The manga leans towards the former however it is never 100% confirmed.
  • In Ranma ½, Principal Kuno; threatens to reveal everyone's English test scores for all to find out. Ranma initially doesn't care, but when the principal implies his score is so bad he couldn't reveal it, Ranma gives chase and the principal later changes his mind about revealing his score. Even Ranma's English teacher forgot what she actually gave him. When he finally caught him, it turns out that what the principal had was actually a cheesy prank of a poster with his face with the words "Kiss me!" and he accidentally left everyone's test scores in a hot-air balloon (which is initially how he was going to let everyone know). The scores reach the international news somehow; Akane's score turns out to be very good, and while Ranma's isn't revealed, it's implied he actually did not too bad.
  • School Rumble. When Eri & Yakumo were fighting in the school play, Eri asks Yakumo about her relationship with Harima. Her answer is never revealed but it is enough to make Eri yield.
  • In Super Gals, Towa reveals Ran's secret to Kasumi. But whatever it was, it isn't actually interesting.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • This is played with in the infamous Hot Springs Episode where Kamina and the rest of the guys are waiting with bated breath to see what the girls look like under their towels. Turns out they're wearing bathing suits underneath.
    • Played straight with the alien Spiral races. We never see what any of them aside from the Anti-Spirals (post-transformation) look like, only their mechas.
  • Duero's hair is flipped in the last episode of Van Dread, revealing his supposedly handsome face. We still don't see it, though.
  • Due to X1999's hiatus since 2003, we may never know what Kamui's true wish is and according to Fuuma, it's not returning him back to his original self, which Kamui intended to be.

Sound-Effect Bleep

  • Code Geass: Lelouch learns C.C.'s real name by accidentally seeing some of her memories, but an obtrusive sound effect (water dripping) keeps the audience from hearing it (and then he goes back to calling her C.C. later on). This also ends up becoming a more standard form of The Unreveal, since her real name is never revealed within the series despite ample opportunities.
  • The End of Evangelion was originally going to play this type of Unreveal straight, as Gendo's final words to Ritsuko before killing her were supposed to be drowned out by an explosion. The sound effect ended up not being used, but Anno still wanted the line to not be heard, so Gendo moves his mouth but has no dialogue. Anno apparently did tell Yuriko Yamaguchi, Ritsuko's seiyuu, what Gendo said, but no one else knows.
  • Sgt. Frog: The most noteworthy is the season 6 episode explaining Giroro's scar. It turns out the explanation given was a fake one devised for an infomercial.
    • And a season 7 episode about Dororo's mask in the end we don't see his mouth but the characters do, from their reaction it can't be that strange looking.
      • Actually, they're distracted by Keroro spilling some water or something and don't get to see it before Dororo puts his mask back on. It's probably nothing unusual though, since Dororo agrees to show them in the first place. (He does blush and... giggle... afterwards, but wearing a mask all the time probably makes taking it off feel like getting naked.)
  • In episode 52 of Sonic X, Sonic kneels down before Amy, offering her a flower. In the original version, his mouth moves but no sound comes out, but whatever he says makes Amy happy enough to hug him. Unfortunately in the dubbed version, they actually gave him voiced words ("I'll always be around," or something like that) which didn't quite carry the same emotion.
    • To be more specific, Amy is tearfully pleading, "Say to me...just tell me that you love me," which results in the aforementioned scene. Like the English dub, it's averted in the French version, where Sonic does actually say that he loves her.
    • Frustratingly, this happens again in episode 69 when Amy is recalling the event. Cosmo and Cream interrupt her before she can finish, so the only thing we know for sure is that Sonic said, "Oh Amy..."


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