No mature woman’s ensemble would be complete without their own Imperial Guard mask.

Those who come to Japan for the first time might be startled by the many Oba-chan Street Judges. These visored vanguards patrol the streets pedaling their rusty chariots and staring into the very souls of those they encounter.

If you are found to be pure of heart, they will likely offer you a hard candy and invite you to dinner. On the other hand, if they find your spirit to be corrupt, they will still give you candy but forego the invitation. The following is a video demonstration.

An essential part of the Obachan Street Judge uniform is their full face visor which serves the dual purpose of protecting them from harmful UV rays and intimidating those who dare get in their way of a bargain.

**DISCLAIMER: The existence of Obachan Street Judges is a joke, lest anyone think old ladies in Japan are really assuming the roles of characters from the Judge Dredd comic book series, and add it to the Japanese Culture section of Wikipedia. We don’t want to get into that kind of trouble again.**

But what makes a good face visor? To find out, we sent our most old-lady-like reporter, Go Hattori, to sample a range and find the best Bobba-Fett-looking bang for the buck.

Normally, these face masks are only worn by older ladies. Sometimes younger women keen on protecting their skin will don them as well. However, men are never seen with them probably because they don’t care as much about their complexion and would probably be questioned by police on every block while wearing one.

So, Go took three samples, ranging from a 100-yen-shop offering to a more luxurious mask valued at over 1000 yen, and tried them on at home, free of people thinking he was a threat to society.

First up was the Shikkari UV Cut Sun Visor (seen on the left in the photo directly above) that Go had bought on Amazon two years ago when it was selling for 1,377 yen (US$12). Although he has no recollection of what compelled him to buy this, he’s glad he could finally put it to use.

The size was great for his large head and the wide visor offered full coverage. It also could be worn in two modes “Margaret Atwood Dystopian Handmaid” or “Full Cobra Commander.” Go said the visor moved into each position smoothly, with a soothing “kakokakokako” rumbling sound.

A nice added feature is the chin strap to keep the visor stable for those high-speed bike rides, delivering packages for the Mayday Resistance.

All in all, it was pretty sweet and Go definitely got a warlord vibe from wearing it. However, there were still two more to try out.

Next was a 100 yen ($0.90) mask bought from a branch of discount chain Can Do. It was immediately clear that the savings came at the expense of material, because Go simply could not cover his entire face with this.

In his first attempt his forehead was sticking out.

Then after adjusting his chin stuck out.

The exposed forehead was especially bad as it highlighted Go’s extremely high hairline which he assures us isn’t male pattern baldness and swears had always been like that since he was a kid.

“Eh?! Wow! Huge!”

This left Go with having to make the choice between sacrificing either his giant forehead or jaw to the harmful effects of the sun. In the end, he went with his forehead, because he sort of resented it and wanted to punish it.

Finally, there was the Mirror Type Sun Visor from Daiso. Although Daiso is normally known as a 100-yen shop, some items are priced higher, such as this which goes for 200 yen ($1.78). The advantage this visor had over the others was easy to see…or not see.

“Eh?! You can’t see me!”

In addition to being the largest visor of the group, it was completely mirrored.

This had the effect of cutting UV rays by 98%, but Go didn’t care about that. The reflective cover only heightened the sci-fi trooper aesthetic.

▼ “Prepare to have your neck barcode scanned…bleep bloop.”

The mask’s greatest asset was also its biggest weakness, though. The visually impenetrable front also hindered visibility from behind, making everything look like a J.J. Abrams movie.

▼ Left: Without visor, Right: With visor

But that wasn’t an issue for Go, who was already busy using the mask to reveal his celebrity impressions, like comedian-singer Eiko Kano.

We wanted to ask him his final thoughts, but Go was quickly losing his grip on reality and only said, “Surprise, it’s-a-me, baseball great Hideki Matsui! Actually, in trying to look like Matsui I think I somehow ended up looking more like Ichiro. HAhAhahA!”

Leaving his apartment as fast as possible, we assumed he liked the 200-yen Daiso mask the best, and in the process also learned why men don’t and probably shouldn’t use these things.

However, considering the visibility issues, if you are planning to get one for an elderly friend or relative, it may be best to splurge on the more expensive model, or maybe even try a fashionable  bandit mask instead. After all you can’t put a price on safety while startling people in public. Isn’t that right Mr. Matsui?

Yes, of course that’s right.

Related: Shikkari UV Cut Sun Visor on Amazon Japan
Photos ©SoraNews24
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