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 is perfect for cosplay).
Regardless of design or usage, here are our picks for the coolest anime characters with masks and the coolest anime mask designs we've come across in our anime viewing!
16. Hatake Kakashi (Naruto)
Let's start with the most mysterious masked character: Hatake Kakashi 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.
15. Tomura Shigaraki (My Hero Academia)
Tenko Shimura—or Tomura Shigaraki—is the archvillain of My Hero Academia. He's known to wear his family's hands, which makes him a creepy character. (The hand masking his face was his father's left hand.)
The idea of the hands he wears was from All for One, to keep Tenko be the Tomura Shigaraki he is now. A mask inspired by this design would be both cool and creepy for sure.
14. 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.
13. 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.
12. 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.
11. 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).
10. 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.
9. 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.
8. 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.
7. 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 upon wearing it.
6. 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.
5. Tobi (Naruto)
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.
4. 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.
3. 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.
2. Zero (Code Geass)
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.
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.