Cancer Deathmask (蟹 座 の デ ス マ ス ク, Kyansā no Desumasuku )is one of the Golden Saints of the 20th century. He is the cruelest Golden Saint among the Zodiac Gold Saints. His constellation is Cancer, and he was originally the keeper of the Temple of the same name, protecting the way to the Pontifical Chamber and the Statue of Athena along with the other eleven Golden Saints.
Personality and backgroundDeathmask was one of the first Gold Saints to be shown in both manga and the anime adaptation. Since his first appearance, he was depicted as a very sadistic and malevolent man who used his power as he wanted without bending to Athena's will. Deathmask covers his temple with the faces of his fallen victims - warriors and civilians alike. According to him, the innocent faces belong to those caught up in the crossfire of his battles. Deathmask is one of the few Saints who knows the truth about the Pope Ares as the Gemini Saint, along with Pisces Aphrodite, but continues obeying his orders. When questioned about his reasoning behind this, he explains that justice is not a real concept -- instead, he believes it is the name given to the will of those with enough power to conquer the weak. This is ideology is also brought up by Gemini Saga, possibly suggesting influence or shared beliefs between the two at that point in time. During his later return during the Hades arc when he and other revived gold saints are believed to have sided with Hades in exchange for life, Deathmask does not seem to carry the same overt villainous tropes as before, though he retains his usual arrogant and proud characteristics.
In the US version his name was changed to Mephisto. It is unknown if Deathmask is his real name or a title since he collects the faces of his victims.
Deathmask first appears in the Khrysos Synagein with the other Gold Saints, where he starts a fight with Leo Aiolia, but they are stopped by the High Priest.
Later, when two of the Giants attack the Sanctuary, he fights the Giant Blue Flame and easily defeats him.
Soon after, Saga reveals his true identity and Deathmask decides to be loyal to him.
Saint Seiya (1986): The Sanctuary
Deathmask first appeared in Rozan. He was there to reclaim the Libra Gold cloth from Dohko and to kill him under the order of Pope Ares (or Gemini Saga). Shiryu stepped in and challenged him. Although Shiryu was a strong Saint, he was no match to a Gold Saint. The battle between Deathmask and Shiryu came to a halt when Mu, the Gold Saint of Aries, stepped in. Deathmask decided to retreat.Shiryu faced Deathmask for the second time when he and Seiya reached his temple in the Sanctuary. When the two Bronze Saints arrived, they were surprised to see so many masks on the walls of the temple, even those of children. Suddenly, Deathmask appeared, and explained that these masks are the faces of the "enemies of justice" he has defeated as well as the innocent victims that were caught in the fire while he was "dealing justice". Shiryu told Seiya to go ahead to the Temple of Leo while he finishes the business between him and Deathmask. Using his technique, he sent Shiryu to the gate of hell. There, he tried to throw Shiryu into the death hole, a pit of hell. However, he was interrupted by the prayers of Shiryu's sworn friend, Shunrei. Annoyed, he used his telekinesis to throw Shunrei off the cliff in the Five Old Peaks. Angered for his friend's apparent death, Shiryu started to fight back. Then, piece by piece, Deathmask's entire cloth left his body. Obviously, the Gold Cloth of Cancer abandoned him due to his evil deeds and more importantly, because he completely forgot what true meaning of justice was. Shiryu took off his Bronze cloth. Using his seventh sense, he defeated the evil Gold Saint by throwing him into the pit of hell.
- The events depicted in the movie are not canonical to Kurumada's original manga storyline.
In the 3rd Saint Seiya movie Deathmask returned from death to duel with Shiryu once more. Deathmask seemed to have the upper hand. However, Shiryu was only pretending in order to lure Deathmask into telling him the whereabouts of Athena. After he realises there's still a chance to save her life, Shiryu turns the tables on Deathmask and defeats him.
Saint Seiya (1989): Hades
Later in the Hades arc (both in the manga and the anime), Deathmask returned with Pisces Aphrodite and Aries Shion with one apparent intention: to kill Athena. In the showdown against Aries Mu and Pegasus Seiya, he was banished into Hades' Castle by Starlight Extinction. Then, he was thrown into Yomotsu due to his own Mekai Ha attack which was reflected during a fight with Wyvern Rhadamanthys.
Later on, Shion revealed his plan of awakening Athena's Cloth even at the cost of being called traitors by history, thereby revealing that Deathmask and the others were not truly siding with Hades after all.
Near the end, Deathmask arrived with the Cancer Gold Cloth to break the Wailing Wall. Surprisingly, he showed that even in death he remained loyal to Athena. After this last action, Deathmask's soul leaves even the afterlife and apparently gets to the Nirvana.
In the official sequel Saint Seiya Next Dimension, Deathmask appears (together with the other Gold Saints) in the form of spirit to help of Athena.
List of opponents
|As the Saint of Cancer|
|As the Dryades of Cancer|
|As the Specter of Ghost-Cancer|
|As the God Saint of Cancer|
Techniques and abilities
As a Gold Saint, Deathmask mastered the 7th sense, hence he can move at the speed of the light. He has shown strong psychic powers, using his telekinetic abilities over a target in China while he was in the Yomotsu Hirasaka. He often uses this power to levitate in the air as well, as shown in his first fight against Dragon Shiryu and when he fought the Giant Kyanos Phlox. So far, he only showed a single special technique:
- Praesepe Underworld Wave (積尸気冥界波 Sekishiki Meikai Ha): With this technique, more spiritual than physical nature, Deathmask launches a barrage of white energy that is able to separate the soul from the opponent's body and send it through the Yomotsu Hirasaka (黄泉比良坂) considered in Japanese mythology as the limit of the physical world, the entrance to the world of the dead, the anteroom of the afterlife, while his plunder carnal remains in the world of alive. Deathmask concentrates his cosmo at the tip of the index finger of his right hand which then forms a white aura, and then releases a spiral energy wave or odd-shaped white rings, which then expand and are sent towards his opponent. Upon impact, his opponent's soul is ripped from it's body, and cast into the realm of the dead. Deathmask can also use it for transportation, body and soul to that place, as he pleases. As the opponent stripped of his soul, his body in the physical world is completely incapacitated and become a virtual body in life.
Deathmask himself can freely travel from the living dimension to the Yomotsu Hirasaka without suffering any consequence. However, enemies sent there through Sekishiki Meikai Ha are heavily affected and their bodies lose almost all strength. Normally it is impossible for someone's soul to travel back from the Yomotsu Hirasaka.
It is implied that, like the other Gold Saints, Deathmask reached the 8th sense at the end of the Hades's saga to be able to regain his will on the underworld and help the other Gold Saints.
Cloth, constellation and Temple
Deathmask's guardian constellation is Cancer, and his Gold Cloth represents it and its associated myth : The crab that Hera sent to attack Heracles while he was battling the Lernaean Hydra.
The temple he guarded was known both in manga and the anime adaptation as Kyokai-kyuu (巨蟹宮), the "Temple of the Giant Crab".
Predecessor and successor
- The constellation Cancer contains 'Ghost (demon)' mansion and 'Cumulative Corpses' asterism in Fushigi Yugi and in Chinese constellations plus the illness--cancer made Deathmask play a sadistic and malevolent killer role in the series.
- The name Deathmask is known to be a nickname.
- Deathmask shares the same voice actor as Fudou Akira from the 70's Devilman series. Both characters are incredibly similar in appearance, and an iconic antagonist from the series carries the faces of his victims on his back in the same manner that Deathmask keeps faces on his temple walls.