Jimon Asuta’s adventures with the secret society of Zvezda begin with a mask. The mask is not to hide his identity, but to welcome the individual, Jimon Asuta, into the Zvezda fold. As a member of Zvezda, Asuta will wear a mask to show allegiance to the group as a whole, making his existence synonymous with Zvezda. When Kate Hoshimiya offers Asuta a place within her organization, it comes with the erasure of his current social position of transient high school student.
However, Jimon Asuta is not simply a teenage runaway. He is the son of the governor of Tokyo, and someone who would presumably have a great deal of social weight, were he to accept that position.
Masks are used in two ways throughout World Conquest Zvezda Plot. The more well-known role of the mask is to hide one’s identity from others, or the general populace. This is most often seen in the White Light organization, as the publicly-funded White Egret and White Robin must hide their everyday identities, per the general superhero standard. In the fifth episode, Renge Komadori, also known as White Robin, is shown to wear two masks, one mimicking a human face in case her White Robin mask is forcibly taken from her. Distinguishing the ally of justice, White Robin, from the ordinary student, Renge Komadori, is something that is important to her. That being said, her values remain the same, regardless of whether she is Renge or White Robin.
Renge, and the aforementioned Asuta, additionally use their masks to define which group they belong to within the series. The mask becomes shorthand for identifying who belongs to what group, be it Zvezda or White Light. With the two groups wearing neutral masks in episode nine, they cavort with each other at the masked hot springs until the time comes for them to fight each other. Then, the lower-level lackeys on both sides of the argument transform into their respective masks and uniforms: the dark gas mask and skin-tight suit for Zvezda, and white costume masks with riot uniforms for White Light. This allows us to easily translate who is on which side.
However, the mask as a means of identification and belonging to the ideals of a particular group begins to break down in the ninth episode with Yasu’s presumed defection to White Light, and Miki Shirasagi revealing herself as White Egret to Asuta. Knowing that, as Miki, she can overpower him much more easily than as White Egret, she chooses to remove her mask en route to removing Asuta. Asuta does not threaten Miki as a member of Zvezda, but his existence as Asuta/Dva along with his developing relationship with Renge/White Robin, is the threat that Miki perceives. Therefore, she takes off her mask to become more intimidating, as Miki Shirasagi, one who has already proven her superiority over the wishy-washy likes of Asuta.
“I believe it’s the good in every person’s heart!”
-Renge Komadori, when asked for her definition of “justice,” World Conquest Zvezda Plot, Episode 10
In comparison, Renge reveals herself willingly in episode 10 to show solidarity not with Zvezda per se, but her own ideals of justice. Shedding the persona of White Robin does not change her outlook or her attitude of goodwill towards others. In that moment, Renge forgoes the unifying power of the mask, refusing to identify with the current actions of White Light and her once personal heroine in Miki Shirasagi/White Egret. She stands her ground against what she feels are improper actions, in spite of the fact that they are technically coming from her superiors. There is a sense that White Light had wanted to take Renge’s optimistic outlook and turn her into a figurehead of sorts. In contrast, Zvezda offers us the leadership of Kate Hoshimiya, one who constantly inspires those around her even if her ultimate goal of world conquest is considered morally wrong. As Kate is carried off by Plamya, she tells Renge not to succumb to despair. The world, Kate says, is still shining.
Returning to Asuta, it remains abundantly clear that he has no idea who he is or what he wants from life. That being said, he makes the choice to stay with Zvezda, finally having found a place where he believes that he belongs, in spite of his self-proclaimed uselessness. When he tries to leverage his position as the governor’s son – a position that he has eschewed for the entirety of the series – he finds that the option is no longer open to him. That piece of his identity is now wholly controlled by others. In his failed attempt to surrender, Asuta removes his mask to reveal his face, but keeps the Zvezda mask close at hand. In the face of danger he remains a Zvezda member, and only reveals that he is Jimon Asuta, the son of the governor of Tokyo, in order to protect Kate and Zvezda.