By Myanimethoughts | Otaku Boy

Hatake Kakashi is famous for keeping his face covered, but just why does Konoha’s elite Copy Ninja stay hidden behind a mask? | Naruto

Besides, Kakashi’s popularity is well deserved. Aside from his appealing design to the public and in keeping with his character traits, he also possesses exceptional intelligence and fighting abilities, including the Eye of the Sharingan, which has allowed him to copy over 1000(!) different Ninjitsu. In short, Kakashi is cool and his design proves it.

Why Does Kakashi Always Wear a Mask?

Why Does Kakashi Always Wear a Mask?

Perhaps the most unique aspect of his design is Kakashi’s ubiquitous face mask. Unlike all other Naruto main characters, Hatake Kakashi’s face is covered from nose to chin with a tight-fitting cloth that he rarely removes. In fact, Kakashi is so rarely unmasked that his own followers – Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke – have never seen his face. As such, entire (fill-in) episodes of Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden is devoted to the trio attempting to glimpse Kakashi’s face through covert means.

Surely such an important detail must play a key role in the development of Kakashi’s character or the narrative structure of Naruto as a series. Could Kakashi be hiding a horrific deformity, or perhaps an unfortunate and overwhelming resemblance to the villain? Based on Ayame’s reaction in episode 101: “I have to see it! I have to know it! Kakashi-sensei’s real face!” That doesn’t seem to be the case.

Naruto’s Creator Related the Mask to Kakashi’s Role as a Shinobi

Naruto’s Creator Related the Mask to Kakashi’s Role as a Shinobi

In an interview, series creator Kishimoto Masashi said that he originally designed Kakashi Hatake to wear a face mask as it seemed to fit the mystery and mystery inherent in an accomplished shinobi. Also, Kishimoto hoped to introduce more masked characters. Unfortunately, conveying Kakashi’s feelings proved difficult, to the point where Kishimoto eventually chose to largely forego face masks for the main characters.

There’s no denying that it would be interesting to see some early concept art of the masked versions of the main characters. However, the emotional depth and complexity of Naruto’s main characters are part of what sets this title apart from its big three contemporaries. Hiding that complexity behind the masks would soften – maybe even negate – the emotional aspect of the overarching narrative and ultimately harm the series as a whole.

Additionally, it seems unlikely that Kakashi would experience the same meteoric rise in international popularity if more characters were masked. While its origins may stem from creative flaws, Kakashi’s face mask is proof that a certain vanity – when used with care and precision – can benefit a certain character and draw in an audience. 

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  • 26 February 2023

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