- "Do not presume to know me until you have held your dying child in your arms. Until you've told him everything would be okay, so that the last words he ever hears are a lie. You know nothing."
- —Maseo Yamashiro to John Diggle[src]
Maseo Yamashiro (Japanese: 山城ませお) (died May 2015) was one of the former mentors, former handlers, and an old friend of Oliver Queen. Maseo was also the husband of Tatsu Yamashiro and the father of the late Akio Yamashiro. Sometime after Hong Kong, Maseo joined the League of Assassins, around the same time Sara Lance did. From then on, he came to be known as merely Sarab (Arabic: سراب; for Phantom), refusing to use his former name entirely. He was killed by Tatsu in Nanda Parbat.
Oliver Queen's handler
After Oliver Queen made an attempt to contact his family, Maseo Yamashiro stopped Oliver and brought him back to Amanda Waller. To prevent Oliver from escaping yet again, Amanda threatened to make sure Oliver never leaves or she would kill Maseo's family. A few days later, Maseo ordered Oliver to kill Tommy Merlyn, as Waller couldn't risk Tommy finding out Oliver was still alive. Maseo told Oliver it's his own fault that he had to kill his best friend as when he logged onto his email account, it set off an account alert. He and Oliver devised a plan by kidnapping Tommy and claiming to Tommy that Oliver was dead and they hacked Oliver's account in hoping a family member would come. Maseo then "rescued" Tommy from Oliver who asked Tommy to get his father to pay a ransom.
Maseo later tasked Oliver to kill a terrorist, who was actually Edward Fyers' handler who had the intel on shooting down the Ferris air jet. After Oliver had the intel, Maseo told his son not to let Oliver use his laptop though Oliver eventually persuaded his son. Maseo at first yelled at his son but Oliver would quickly take the blame. Maseo then was asked to meet with Amanda.
After gaining intel on Li Khaun Hui, he told Oliver and Tatsu that he'd drop by the docks for an hour to meet a contact. After several hours, Tatsu and Oliver searched for him where they believed he was killed. Maseo later revealed that the agents were in lockdown after the triad killed three agents.
Sometime later, he and Oliver kidnapped Triad members and tortured them for information. They learnt that the Triad wanted to steal the Omega virus. They infiltrated the facility at which it was kept, taking out the guards. They soon realized that the virus had been stolen, learning via security footage that an employee had done so. He kidnapped the employee, who begged for his life and offered his limited money. As Oliver began to torture him, Maseo realized that he perhaps could have been drugged and made to steal the virus, shocking Oliver that he had tortured all for nothing. Fearing for his family, Maseo returned home to find blood over a photo and Akio, who claimed that a white-haired woman took his mother.
Maseo, Tatsu, Akio, and Oliver find refuge with an old friend. There, they determined that Oliver would kill Amanda Waller, and that she would enter the agency headquarters using a Yamashiro pass. After the man's return, it turned out that Amanda was imprisoned by a general who intended to use dangerous gases. Together, they break into a laboratory from which they steal several vaccines. Tatsu doesn't let Oliver sacrifice himself for them, so they decide to help him defeat the enemy.
The trio watched as the military armed Alpha and Omega with a dangerous biological weapon. They chased the truck and noticed after a long fight that the suitcase was empty. Tatsu forced one of the soldiers to reveal the location where the biological weapon was hidden. The man said where she was hidden, however, shooting began on the spot. In the fight, the vial with Alpha and Omega crashed, releasing the virus into the air.
The disaster that happened forced Maseo and Tatsu to return to their son. On the way, they notice a military truck from which soldiers give vaccines to the injured. The trio quickly guess it is a virus, as General Shrieve doesn't want anyone to escape him. They defeat the enemies and burn all the samples, after which they go to their son. When they got home, a frightened Akio ran up to his parents looking at the dead carer. In an effort to take advantage of the confusion and flee the city, the team stole a car. In it, Tatsu noticed how the young boy began to feel the effects of infection with the virus.
They traveled to a dilapidated pharmacy nearby to save Akio. Maseo had the idea to take the vaccine from the general. The determined man persuaded Oliver to go with him and leave Tatsu with his son. When they got to the enemy base, Maseo forced Oliver to release what Amanda Waller saw in him - the inner killer. When the two found Shrieve after a long fight, she tortured him to reveal where the vaccine was. After he did, Oliver decided to take him with him. On the spot, it turned out that Akio had died, and the vaccine was actually insulin because the general was diabetic. By taking him to their hideout, they were tracked down by the army, which forced them to surrender.
Weeping over his son's body, Maseo weighed Oliver's attack on the general. After a short fight and defeating several soldiers, the three went to a nearby trusted man and asked him to cremate the young boy's body. The man placed the ashes in three urns, giving two of them to his parents. She gave the third Tatsu to Queen, to whom she stated that she was a friend to Akio. The devastated man, realizing that when he was looking at his wife he could see the eyes of his son, whom he could not save, he decided to retire.
With the League of Assassins
Not long after Akio dying in Hong Kong, Maseo, overwhelmed with guilt and grief, found his way to Nanda Parbat, after hearing the stories it could help him forge his guilt into something else, around the same time as Sara Lance, commenting that she was a strong warrior, he demanded an audience with Ra's al Ghul and unlike most who deem an audience with him, offered Ra's the Alpha-Omega virus which he acquired during the attack in Hong Kong. From then, he was known only by the name Sarab (a translation of "Phantom", or "mirage"). This name was seemingly a reflection of feeling that he was dead and a ghost.
In 2014, he was present when Nyssa al Ghul had Oliver brought to her, telling him that he had extinguished her father's patience and that he had forty eight hours to find Sara's killer. He disregarded Oliver's "confession" to killing Sara because she begged for death to get away from the League. He explained to Oliver that he had time to say goodbyes and gave him the location of where the trial by combat that Oliver had challenged Ra's to was going to take place. Forty eight hours later, Sarab watched as Oliver and Ra's fought. While initially being a relatively fair fight, if slightly leaning towards Ra's, Ra's soon beat down Oliver, stabbing him through the middle and kicking him off the mountain. After the battle between Ra's and Oliver, Maseo took Oliver's corpse to Tatsu, who revives him under unknown circumstances.
After bringing Oliver to Tatsu, Maseo prepares to return to Nanda Parbat. It is revealed he ended all contact with Tatsu several years ago, and he refuses Oliver's offer to come with him to Starling City. When Assassins from the League come to Tatsu's house, Maseo first attempts to conceal Tatsu and Oliver from them, then kills them when his ruse fails. He buries them, then cuts his own neck in order to provide an alibi, saying that he will tell Ra's that Oliver wounded him and escaped after killing the other Assassins. Despite a final plea from Tatsu, he departs for Nanda Parbat. He is later revealed to be Chase's contact with the League, receiving his report about Thea and Malcolm Merlyn.
Maseo leads Oliver to Ra's al Ghul, which describes the vigilante's deeds. Oliver is not afraid of death, but he wants the Demon Head to spare John Diggle's life. Much to the millionaire's surprise, Ra's al Ghul has no intention of killing the man. He reveals that he is impressed by his courage and wants him to take his place - to become the next leader of the League of Assassins. Despite his many beliefs, Oliver disagrees, but she and her friends are released. One night in Starlig City, Sarab meets an old friend and thanks him for everything he has done for his family. He explains that he cannot refuse to succeed Ra's because he has already chosen him and there is no turning back. Oliver does not take the news to himself, says goodbye to Maseo and leaves.
After hearing that Oliver has refused the offer to become the leader of the Assassins, Maseo confronted him to make him embrace it. However, Oliver told him that killing people will not change anything.
Ray saved Felicity from being shot by Maseo's arrow, but is shot and critically wounded while doing so. Later, the Arrow, Black Canary, and Arsenal showed up to confront Maseo. Maseo and the League members fought the three vigilantes, but the three managed to defeat them. Oliver brings Maseo to the ground and aim an arrow, but is interrupted by Ra's al Ghul. The three vigilantes are forced to flee due to the arrival of the police while the assassins sneak away. Maseo later fought and captured Quentin outside the police station and brought him to Ra's. Ra's told Quentin that Oliver is the Arrow.
Maseo summoned Oliver and told him that Thea could still be saved. He was then seen alongside Ra's al Ghul in Nanda Parbat. He led John to his room where the men began chatting. Diggle found out why Maseo joined the league, but tried to convince him that his son would not be proud of his father's actions. After Team Arrow stunned Queen and kidnapped him, Sarab killed several league members, saying he didn't want to be just an empty shell. As Ra's spoke to Oliver, Maseo confessed to his treason and offered his life to the league. The Demon Head spared the killer's life, recognizing that his humanity had briefly taken control of his body and soul.
Maseo helped the Demon Head train Al Sah-him before becoming the next Ra's al Ghul. He delivered a prisoner that the man had to kill. He assisted an old friend in kidnapping Lyla Diggle and exchanging her for Nyssa to give Oliver a son. He was present when Ra's gave the man his last assignment to release Alpha and Omega to Starling City.
After Malcolm Merlyn commenced the raid on the plane carrying the bio-weapon to Starling City, along with his team of Diggle, Black Canary, Felicity and Tatsu Yamashiro, they were ambushed by members from the league of assassins including Maseo. Maseo and his wife engaged in battle and he was prepared to take her life before she countered and killed him instead, he died in her arms after thanking her for freeing him from his prison.
- "You told me once a man cannot live by two names."
- "And I don't. Maseo is dead. I am all that's left—Sarab. A phantom."
- —Oliver Queen and Maseo Yamashiro[src]
Maseo was a calm, level-headed and composed individual, he was a ruthless operative who was willing to do whatever Amanda Waller ordered him, although he feels guilt and remorse for his actions, but he was also under the pressure of Amanda threatening to murder his family if he did not comply. Despite that he and Oliver, kill and torture individuals he believed it was for the greater good. After first seeing Oliver as a target, the two became partners and later friends. He was a loving, caring husband and father to his wife, Tatsu Yamashiro and his son, Akio Yamashiro.
After Akio's death in Hong Kong, Maseo's adoption of his Sarab persona has made him (apparently) completely abandon his former-self, shutting out all communications with his wife, Tatsu, the only remnants of his former-self only surfaces when the people important to him in his old life are in danger or when he was reminded of his past. He was then shown to be highly loyal to the League of Assassins and was willing to follow every order, even if it meant killing innocent civilians.
However, despite his loyalty to the League, Maseo still had strong friendship feelings towards Oliver, as he tried to inform Oliver as much as he could about his incoming battle with Ra's and tried to get him to tell the truth about Sara's death, openly professing that he had no desire to watch Oliver die. Indeed, Maseo's loyalty to Oliver was beyond his loyalty to even the League of Assassins and Ra's al Ghul, as a result of Oliver playing a vital part in saving Tatsu during his third year of going missing, and he would save Oliver after he was critically injured by Ra's and was willing to kill his fellow assassins and injure himself to allow Oliver to escape but remaining at the League.
Maseo tried to get Oliver to accept the mantle of Ra's al Ghul willingly, knowing fully well his path of resistance will only lead to Ra's retaliating. He showed reluctance and regret in personally causing emotional torment to his friend, hesitating at having to shoot Felicity Smoak due to knowing how much she meant to Oliver despite ultimately doing it, and being sympathetic to Oliver's rage after Thea was nearly killed by Ra's; allowing Oliver to knock him down before appealing to him by revealing he could still save Thea if he became Ra's. His compassion towards Oliver even allowed Maseo to once again turn against the League and give his friends a chance to save him.
When Oliver became Heir to The Demon, Maseo positioned himself as Oliver's closest confidante, the two of them often standing side-by-side as they went to capture Nyssa, with Maseo expressing concern when Oliver went to face Nyssa alone and being worried over Oliver having to face his former friends. Maseo also worried for Oliver when he did not return after a while to Nanda Parbat and in their last conversation, Maseo didn't hesitate to open up emotionally to Oliver and was open to Oliver's concerns about him, remaining somber the entire time.
Maseo seemed to constantly waver between his former life and being Sarab. When Oliver offered to release him from the League Maseo told him that he could never leave the prison he was stuck in, the torment of being unable to save his son. He seems to have completely abandoned Maseo, going as far as fighting and attempting to kill his wife, Tatsu.
As Maseo died, he thanked Tatsu for freeing him out of his prison. Unlike Oliver; Maseo was incapable of facing or accepting reality, as he was unable to accept the fact that Akio was gone and was never coming back, and that his son's death wasn't his fault; as he became Sarab to run away from his past, instead of accepting the fact that there was nothing he could do to change the past.
- Peak of human physical condition: As a former A.R.G.U.S. operative and a member of the League of Assassins, Maseo was in top physical condition. His reflexes allowed him to catch an arrow shot at him by Oliver Queen, and his strength was such that Oliver needed to put in considerable effort to overwhelm him in one-on-one combat despite the latter's strength.
- Master hand-to-hand combatant/Martial artist: Even before joining the League of Assassins, Maseo was proven to be a highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant and martial artist, enough to beat Oliver. Maseo had also gone through the training all League members do. His training from the League appears to have improved his abilities, able to swiftly defeat Quentin Lance and managed to pressure and contend with Oliver now as the Arrow, with Oliver defeating Maseo with considerable difficulty. Maseo also fought almost on par against Nyssa al Ghul, but only defeated her when she was distracted.
- Master swordsman: Due to his training with the League of Assassins, Maseo was an exceptional swordsman. He was able to kill three of his fellow assassins with his sword with ease and was able to go up against Nyssa in a sword fight. In his confrontation with Tatsu, Maseo was proven to be the superior swordsman.
- Expert marksman: Maseo was proven to be highly skilled in the use of firearms; being able to shoot a cell phone out of Oliver's hand. He also executed Matthew Shrieve with his pistol.
- Expert archer: Due to his training with the League of Assassins, Maseo was proven to be an accomplished archer. As he shot an arrow with great accuracy through a window to assassinate mayor Celia Castle.
- Master tactician/Leader: Maseo was highly skilled at designing plans to break into secured buildings and abduct people from public spaces in broad daylight. He had a leading role in the League, as Nyssa mentioned he would lead the executions in Starling City if the deadline had passed and Chase reported to him while on the hunt for Malcolm Merlyn.
- High tolerance for pain: Due to his League of Assassins' training, Maseo had a high tolerance for pain, as seen he was able to cut his own neck in order to provide an alibi for Oliver without flinching.
- League of Assassins suit: Maseo wore a protective suit, used by the members of the League of Assassins, as his villain alter-ego, Sarab, to hide his identity from his victims. It is unknown what materials it is made out of, with the exception of Kevlar.
- Customized PSE Chaos AD Compound Bow: Maseo wield a personal compound bow, similar to that of Malcolm Merlyn's. It was possible that this bow was the signature bow to the League of Assassins.
- Customized Hunting Arrows: Maseo carried a number of black arrows with him at all times. These arrows feature a black fletching and tip.
- Quiver: Maseo wore a black quiver to keep arrows on his back at all times.
- Katana: Maseo could proficiently wield a katana.
- Maseo Yamashiro was Oliver Queen's fourth mentor, after Shado.
- In the DC Comics, Maseo is the late husband of Tatsu Yamashiro who is killed by his brother Takeo and his soul becomes trapped in the Soultaker Sword. He is a father of two children, Yuki and Reiko.
- Arrow - Oliver Queen's Dossier