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In Daredevil S2E8, Daredevil fights

a ninja who is eventually unmasked and revealed to be just a teenager.

In S2E9, he fights

another ninja who, upon unmasking, is revealed to be Nobu, having somehow survived being seemingly burned alive last season.

In both of these cases, why doesn't Daredevil either figure out the surprise realizations before the unmaskings or not figure them out at all? In the first case,

surely the teen must have had some characteristics besides his boyish face to identify his age,

and in the second case,

Daredevil clearly doesn't recognize people by seeing their faces, so I don't know what Nobu taking off his mask revealed that Daredevil couldn't already detect.

The unmaskings make great reveals for the audience, but how do they serve as reveals for the blind guy who's supposed to be making the surprise realizations?

5

Lets start from the second question: Daredevil does "see" faces (sort of):

enter image description here

so indeed he would recognize Nobu (or age of his opponent) by "looking" at his face.

As to why he wouldn't recognize them earlier we can speculate: The whole purpose of Ninja uniform is to hide the identity of the person behind it. Wearing dark clothes that cover most of the features is definitely a first step and even by itself it would make it harder for DD to recognize person he is fighting with, and as @phantom42 pointed out, DD does see the clothes, so mask would conceal him.

But there is something else: please notice that Murdock can't hear his opponents' heartbeats - of course this can be explained by some sort of magic - it is hinted strongly that they are something more (or less) than human, but there might be more prosaic explanation: sound muffling material that would not only make the heartbeat inaudible but would also seriously obscure Daredevil's perception.

  • So are we assuming that Daredevil's ability to "see" faces is blocked by the masks? I'm not sure I buy that, considering he could get some idea about the contents of a closed train car while standing in front of it. – user24601 May 12 '16 at 4:47
  • Well I would assume so - ninja's want to be anonymous and they know that their opponents have senses that can pass through normal materials – Yasskier May 12 '16 at 4:50
  • They didn't know that until they saw him going after their swords instead of them. – user24601 May 12 '16 at 4:51
  • 1) it doesn't meant to make them invisible but harder to sense, 2) Daredevil might have even stronger senses than their average opponents 3) they could be just rookies. – Yasskier May 12 '16 at 4:53
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    Daredevil still "sees" clothes, meaning a mask covering a face would still cover a face even to him. – phantom42 May 12 '16 at 10:58
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Well don't Daredevil's opponents not know he is blind? Could it be simply to maintain his cover that he is reacting to the unamskings? And if that is the case, I don't think it diminishes the other answers either. (Sorry not much of an answer but I'm not allowed to make comments yet)

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