FEATURE: Unmasked! Rating the Best and Worst Masks in Anime
Don't take this at face value
Masks! These days, they're on the tips of everyone's tongues (or covering them). It’s not just in the real world, though. Masks are a fairly common occurrence in anime, too. But in a sea of anime masks, which one is best for your looks and your safety? That’s where I come in. Using a totally objective system called the Absolute Numerical Index of Mask Efficacy (abbreviated to A.N.I.M.E.), I have developed a comprehensive rating of various masks from the anime world. To be as objective as possible, I shall assume no prior knowledge of the anime while rating it (I may or may not repeatedly violate this rule). The criteria used for scoring include the degree of protection offered by the mask, how comfortable the mask is to wear, how stylish it looks, the diameter of the sun, and other factors. The higher the score, the better the mask. Simple as that.
The gold standard for anime masks. The wearer is serious about his safety; while the extension of the mask to the neck might seem like overkill, it does prevent the unwanted entry of air and dust from below the mask (useful when Gaara's whipping up his sandstorms). From a fashion standpoint, the simple navy blue contrasts well with the white hair and will go with most outfits. Not the most creative design, but you can't fault a mask for being a little on the nose. All in all, a classy bit of cloth.
Overhaul (My Hero Academia)
Fun Fact: It is now believed that plague doctors during the Black Death did not wear the plague masks we now associate them with. Rather, that is thought to be a later innovation by one Charles de Lorme in 1619. In any case, this mask is far too unwieldy to be practical. I assume the wearer would be tired of bashing their beak into walls. Plus, red and gold is a bit garish. Would be nice at a masquerade ball, though.
Hei (Darker Than Black)
The lack of expression is menacing, and the material looks hard enough to resist impact. But this looks like it’d be rather heavy to wear. And what about the nose? How do you wear this without squashing your nose? Lots of questions here.
Lelouch a.k.a. Zero (Code Geass)
Image via Netflix
Full protection. Regal appearance. Doubles as a helmet when you ride a bike. What’s not to love?
Ken Kaneki (Tokyo Ghoul)
The zipper is thought to have been invented in 1891 by Whitcomb Judson, whose designs were later improved upon by Gideon Sundback in the early 1900s. Today, zippers are everywhere. Most everyday garments can be improved by the addition of a zipper. Is that true of this mask? I'm not sure. On one hand, unzipping can allow you to make use of your teeth in battle; on the other hand, you're exposing your soft bits to your opponent.
Char Aznable (MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM THE ORIGIN)
Let's be honest, this mask is largely ornamental and would offer little protection in direct physical combat. But when your name is Char Aznable, direct physical combat is a bit of a joke. Wear this mask to successfully conceal your identity across different generations and timelines. Leaves your mouth exposed so you can spout iconic lines, as is expected of one so Char-ismatic.
Is that ... permanently affixed to the face? Looks like someone took the words "skull cap" a bit too literally. All in all, this looks really uncomfortable. Guess that’s why his expression's like that.
Tuxedo Mask (Sailor Moon)
Image via Viz
Is that even a mask? Who named this guy?
Inosuke (Demon Slayer)
Image via Netflix
Full fursuits can be expensive, so you can be fur-given for this incomplete cosplay. Now, I do not intend to boar you with my puns. This mask is fine, if a little warm. I’d imagine one would be bacon inside during hot weather. The built-in tusks are a great bit of added weaponry should you lose your sword.
Shin and Noi (Dorohedoro)
Image via Netflix
Matching masks are too tacky and lovey-dovey. This set of couples' masks has a little more individuality to it. The red one has a bunch of thoughtful air outlets at the top, to help you let off some heat. It may look a little silly, but the maker clearly put a lot of heart into it. The blue one is an all-round great design, complete with built-in grimace to let people know you’re not interested in talking to them. Always useful.
RATING: 8/10 (red), 9/10 (blue), 8.5/10 (overall)
Suika (Dr. STONE)
What a fantastic mask. Really captures the DIY Dr. STONE spirit. Melons are a great way to keep cool during summer, and what could be cooler than being inside of one? The leaf at the top is a nice way of showing off to everyone that your mask is biodegradable. I’m a fan of this design. And I don’t even like melons.
No-Face (Spirited Away)
Image via Netflix
This is an interesting case. Normally, I’d be very critical of the eye and mouth slits, because they leave your vulnerable regions undefended and defeat the purpose of wearing a mask. But this particular individual seems to lack a face, thereby rendering themselves immune to most attacks. So in this case it’s not a real problem. Right?
Bruce Wayne (Batman Ninja)
Image via Warner Bros
Yes, the Caped Crusader himself is secretly an anime character too! What this mask lacks in facial protection, it makes up for by being iconic and doing a great job of covering the nose.
Which anime mask is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
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