Anime series are filled with all kinds of cool elements like swords and weaponry, magical abilities, and even hairstyles. But one of the coolest elements is the mask—something that adds a lot of mystique when worn by a character.
While the main purpose of a mask is to hide the user's identity, some anime series go a step further and give masks an even greater role in the character's prowess and capabilities. Other anime series just have masks that look cool (which are perfect for cosplay).
Here are our picks for the coolest anime characters with masks and their awesome anime mask designs!
25. Hotaru Haganezuka (Demon Slayer)
Hotaru Haganezuka, like other swordsmiths from the Swordsmith Village, hides his identity using a "Hyottoko" mask.
In Japanese culture, the Hyottoko mask is based on a comical character often known as the god of fire, a perfect mask befitting the swordsmiths who craft Nichirin swords from fire.
The main feature of this mask is a face with a puckered mouth to one side—so, even if they're being dead serious about a chipped or snapped blade, they always look funny no matter what they say.
24. Sogeking/Usopp (One Piece)
Sogeking (also known as Sniper King in some translations) is the alter ego that emerges from Usopp.
Some think it's just another one of Usopp's lies or delusions, but it was explored and explained during the Thriller Bark Arc when Sogeking takes over and defeats Perona and her ghosts.
When Usopp wears the sun-shaped mask, his entire personality changes: while normally a negative and cowardly guy, he turns into a pretty confident and brave fighter.
23. Sakonji Urokodaki (Demon Slayer)
Sakonji Urokodaki is a former Hashira of the Demon Slayer Corps and is the master of Giyu Tomioka and Tanjiro Kamado. He's often seen wearing a Tengu Mask (a tengu is a Japanese yokai often described as an old man with a red face and long nose).
22. Killer (One Piece)
Killer is known as one of the supernovas along with Luffy, Zoro, Law, and his captain Eustass Kid. He wears a solid full-faced mask with rows of holes for the eyes, nose, and mouth.
His signature mask was not present during the Wano Arc and was instead replaced by bandages running around his face and head.
21. Haku (Naruto)
Haku is a deadly mercenary ninja who hides his face behind a white mask touched with red, with two eye slits as the only openings. The mask has a spiraling wave pattern that starts from the bottom right to the center, and the Hidden Mist Village symbol at the top.
Under the mask was a beautiful face that tricked most of us into believing he was a girl—and more than that, it hid the true power that he held in his devastating ice-based abilities.
20. Anbu Black Ops (Naruto)
Anbu members are mysterious characters in the Naruto world. They are elite assassins who work directly for the Kage of their respective village, and they're trained in infiltration and intelligence gathering.
Because of their nature of work, Anbu members wear masks to hide their identities, which also protects them when not on a mission.
The masks of the Leaf's Anbu all look similar, with just the animal feature distinguishing them from one another. The Sand Village's Anbu features demonic faces in their masks, while the Mist's only have a single design.
19. Kakashi Hatake (Naruto)
Here's one of the most iconic mysterious masked anime characters: Kakashi Hatake in both Naruto and Naruto Shippuden. He wears a half-faced mask that covers his neck and nose, and his forehead protector covers his Sharingan eyes when not in use.
With the simple design of just a black tight-fitting fabric, what's beneath it was a mystery starting all the way back when Naruto was just a kid—and lasted all the way until Naruto became Hokage.
18. Tomura Shigaraki (My Hero Academia)
Tomura Shigaraki—or Tenko Shimura—is the archvillain of My Hero Academia. He wears his family's hands, which makes him rather creepy. (The hand masking his face was his father's left hand.)
The idea of wearing hands came from All for One, who wanted to mold Tenko into the mentally unstable Tomura Shigaraki. Any mask inspired by this design would be both cool and creepy for sure.
17. Laplace (That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime)
The Moderate Harlequin Alliance is a group of clown-themed villains, which includes Laplace. Like the rest of the group, he's a Deathman born from a thousand corpses using forbidden magic.
He hides his face in an ominous-looking clown mask with only his right eye visible. While his mask sports a wide and cheerful smile, it masks a sinister persona underneath.
16. Shizue Izawa (That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime)
Shizue Izawa is an Otherworlder summoned just like Rimuru Tempest. She is the vessel of Charys (Ifrit), a Greater Spirit who controls flames. She wears an Anti-Magic mask that controls and limits the powers of Ifrit, to avoid bursting flames that can burn a whole village.
She later gives the mask to Rimuru, which also hinders a huge amount of magic from escaping his body. Later on, the mask is passed on to Chloe Aubert to work the same way as it did with Shizue.
The mask is a round white piece with elegant curves on both sides and a small crystal in the middle. Rimuru looks cool when appearing in the scene wearing the mask (a working copy he created with his ability).
15. Mr. Compress (My Hero Academia)
Mr. Compress is a masked member of the notorious League of Villains. He has the Quirk called Compress, which allows him to literally compress objects and people and trap them into marbles.
He was once a performer and entertainer before he became a criminal and started using his abilities for villainy. However, even as a villain, Mr. Compress can't help but show off his entertainer side as he performs monologues as if he were in the spotlight.
14. Kurei (Flame of Recca)
Kurei is the half-brother of Recca, who owns a couple of masks that are seen in the anime series. He looks more badass and evil in the mask that covers most of his face while leaving the eyes and mouth open; the other has only one eyehole with three printed eyes.
13. Licht Bach (Plunderer)
Licht Bach (or the Ace of the Flashing Strike) is a cool character who hides his face under comical mask designs.
But aside from his funny masks, he also owns a badass one with thick red lips and black details on the side. Under the right eye hole is a red streak resembling tears of blood flowing down the cheeks.
It just feels so awesome watching him wear the mask as he strikes his enemies down.
12. Orochimaru (Naruto)
Orochimaru was seen wearing a devil-faced Shinigami mask upon performing the unsealing of the Reaper Death Seal, bringing forth the souls of the four Hokages for the Reanimation Jutsu.
The design is quite creepy, based on a typical Japanese mask with a sinister facial gesture, which makes Orochimaru creepier for wearing it.
11. Shie Hassaikai (My Hero Academia)
The Shie Hassaikai gang and its leader Overhaul wear masks that look like bird beaks, which closely resemble the headgear of the Plague Doctor. While Overhaul only wears a half-faced mask consisting of the beak, other members are seen wearing full-faced masks.
The mask design features an elongated beak as the mouthpart with different color schemes—like red and black with delicate gold details—but Shin's mask design is closely identical to the Plague Doctor's.
Karasu of the Revolutionary Army in One Piece is another character who wears the same design mask, which resembles his ability.
10. Hei (Darker Than Black)
Hei is a Contractor in the series Darker Than Black, who worked with the Syndicate and CIA along with other clandestine organizations. He's a slender-built man with black hair, wearing his badass outfit of a bulletproof coat and a white mask to hide his identity.
His mask is a white pierrot-like mask with a lightning symbol running from the forehead to the right eye hole and a slim slit in the mouth area.
9. Kagetane Hiruko (Black Bullet)
Another character who wears an almost identical pierrot mask as Hei is Kagetane Hiruko of Black Bullet, but his has a longer and more sinister smile that looks as if he's ready to trick and kill victims. His mask definitely mirrors his role as the villain of the series.
8. Zero (Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion)
Zero is a character in Code Geass played by many people. He hides beneath a mask and cape to fulfill his role as the savior of Japan. The mask is a helmet-like headgear that covers the face entirely, making it impossible to see who's under the disguise.
The mask has a complicated design with a crystal-ball-like face part and the Geass mark stretched over the face. It has spiked edges on the upper part of the head, adding a more badass look.
7. William Vangeance (Black Clover)
In the early parts of Black Clover, no one knows what the real face of Golden Dawn's William Vangeance looks like. He hides the top part of his face with an elegantly crafted golden headgear.
It's later revealed to Yami (who suspects that he's a traitor) that William doesn't conceal his face because he wants to hide his identity, but to cover the scars from the curse that has disfigured his face.
Despite his fear of being rejected and discriminated against due to his outward appearance, he remains a loyal and kind-hearted individual who uses his powerful magic for good and not for destruction.
6. Sniper Mask (High-Rise Invasion)
Sniper Mask is just one of the many characters who wear code-encrypted masks that input various commands directly into their brains, thus influencing and controlling them.
Like most of the other killer characters, he dons a smiling face mask. Sniper Mask, however, has a close relationship with other characters in High-Rise Invasion, and he's one of the masked men who are actually explored in depth by the series.
5. Inosuke Hashibara (Demon Slayer)
Inosuke Hashibara was raised in the wild, so his fighting style incorporates animalistic behavior. He even created a unique Breathing Technique called Beast Breathing, which combines his keen senses and his ferocious combat style that's akin to wild beasts.
To perfectly match his beast side, he wears a boar hide mask that covers the entirety of his face and head. It's later revealed that it was his adoptive boar mother's head that he's wearing.
At first, his mask is just an accessory for him, but during the Mugen Train Arc, it served a practical purpose in preventing him from falling victim to Enmu's sleep-inducing ability.
4. Tobi (Naruto Shippuden)
Tobi is best known for his orange-colored mask with a swirling design that centers on his Sharingan eye.
The design was first seen when he used White Zetsu's body to cover his whole head and face, closing in like a petal but leaving the eye open.
When this mask was broken during his fight with Konan, he replaced it with a white mask with a Rinnegan pattern and three tomoe.
3. Ken Kaneki (Tokyo Ghoul)
Ghouls in the series Tokyo Ghoul are said to be required to have a mask to hide their identity from the CCG, thus making them known to the Doves by what their masks represent: Rabbit, Raven, Jason, etc.
The most iconic mask featured in the series is Ken Kaneki's Eyepatch. Unlike other masks, it's a wearable leather/fabric mask that covers the whole face except the Ghoul eye. The mouth part also has a zipper, which keeps Ken's identity if he would ever eat a human.
2. Satoru Gojo (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Satoru Gojo only wears a blindfold—which technically isn't a mask, I know—but it's hard not to include him in this list of the best masked anime characters. He's just so cool!
Just as he claims, Satoru Gojo really is the strongest among the Jujutsu Sorcerers, forcing the Curses to create a veil (barrier) that prevents him from entering and helping those caught inside.
While he exhibits a goofy attitude, he can be serious and deadly when he needs to be. And when he removes his blindfold? Well, that's when you know the fight is going to be all in his favor.
1. Ichigo Kurosaki (Bleach)
Ichigo Kurosaki is a Soul Reaper that can perform Hollowfication, manifesting a mask that resembles his inner monster. When the mask appears, he grows more powerful and more bloodthirsty.
The mask is like a skull covering Ichigo's face with red markings. The eye holes are large enough to see the whole eyes, with the black sclera surrounding a yellow iris and black pupil.
An upgraded and more badass Hollow mask appeared in his battle with Ulquiorra, with horns that can shoot Cero. Aside from the horns, Ichigo loses total control over his body and a hole appears in his chest.