Two Girls. One Dream. And the entire world for a stage.
At 13 years old, Maya Kitajima seems destined to spend the rest of her life toiling in a crowded restaurant alongside her bitter and unstable mother. But when her incredible acting talent is discovered by the legendary diva Chigusa Tsukikage, Maya finds a new future filled with both golden opportunities and terrifying risks.
For Ayumi Himekawa, success has always been assured, yet she longs to be recognized for her own talents and skills, not her famous parents' connections.
For both, the ultimate prize is the role of The Crimson Goddess in the play of the same name, a part created by Chigusa. To achieve this goal, both Maya and Ayumi must seek out and conquer every acting challenge, pushing the limits of their talent and endurance to the utmost, until they are worthy of the part…
#1: "Yasashii Sayonara" by Aina (eps 1-13) #2: "Step One" by Sister Q (eps 14-26) #3: "Sunao ni Narenakute (I Couldn't Become True)" by Splash Candy (eps 27-39) #4: "Hello Hello ～another star～" by CORE OF SOUL (eps 40-51)
Glass Mask doesn't have the following it deserves (which is a shame, it's practically an icon in Japan, older than Sailor Moon and even references to "Mr. Purple Rose" or characters can be found in newer material such as Skip Beat). Started in the 70s or 80s, the manga after a hiatus is only just nearing completion at over 40 volumes. It's an epic romance with the drive of a young girl, starting at the age of 12 as she embarks on the journey to become an actress and grows up over the y...ears. If you like characters who follow after a dream at all costs, than you will find this series empowering and crave more of seeing Maya overcome all sorts of trials. If not, you may simply enjoy it for the romance aspect which is at first subtle and grows more over time.
Even without those, I'm always fascinated by the stage plays throughout the stories.... some very well known such as Little Woman, Hellen Keller in the Miracle Worker, the Prince and the Pauper, Midsummer's Night Dream, or ones I've never heard of that make me very interested in... almost as if I'm sitting in the audience and watching Maya act this plays for real. It always feels new and fresh and I love seeing Maya when she finally discovers her role, or her perspectives of the role. It truly is like putting on a mask, she lives that character's life.
The 2005 anime has taken liberties with the art style and characters, and though I'm sad (I fell in love with the mangaka's style even though it initially turned me off in the beginning), I think it was a good call. The characters look more familiar to modern-day anime watchers and their updated looks still pleasing. There's nothing fancy or awe-inspiring about the artwork of the anime, but then it's not that kind of anime and doesn't need to be. It's the story and characters that drive the story.
We're all familiar with the clumsy girl character who isn't good at anything, but I find something especially endearing about Maya's character. From a poor background, she's been brought up being called useless even by her own mother. The dramas on TV and a glimpses at the theatre wipes everything else from her mind and she becomes quite oblivious to all else. A natural genius for acting, she can recite a 2 hour play she watched once but can't recall one rule in math. I think it's very easy to get attached to her character. She's childish but you see her mature too and her devotion to acting is wonderful if sometimes heart-breaking.
Ayumi is the princess of the story, the complete opposite of Maya and good at whatever she does... prestigious background, actress since she was five, top of school, singing, dancing... a born prodigy and utter beauty. Perhaps you want or expect to hate her at first but I grew to love her just as much as Maya. Her love of acting and recognition of Maya's talents drives her to mprove herself, no matter the hell she puts her body through. And no matter how high in the limelight she gets, or how derisive the media or people are towards Maya, she cherishes Maya as her only Rival. The bond these two form through their acting careers... not even spending all that much time together, is especially amazing to me. I love the idea of rivals that pushes each other up instead of down, who hold each other in such high regard. I love the times when Maya and Ayumi actually meet or even get to act together.
This is a story that can hook you into it. No matter how long this series is, I'm never bored. No number of episodes is ever enough. I got two friends to watch and love it with a marathon sleepover (one who didn't expect much at all and ended up squealing throughout it), and I hope others will similarly give this anime a try. It doesn't deserve being forgotten or bypassed. I've made two recommendations for other animes, and in the reverse, if you liked anime such as Hikaru no Go and Kaleido Star you will definitely like this one. read more
I know this is grave digging, but After having discovered the Glass Mask manga, and then this anime, I was suprised how superb they were. The newest version updates the style of the characters, but it still follows the manga fairley closely.
THIS is the kind of shoujo I want to watch, much, much better than the typical shoujo we get these days. The characters are all engrossing and interesting, even all the supporting characters are well fleshed out and with an interesting and realistic story. If anyone hasn't seen this I strongly reccomend watching the manga, and then watching the anime.
Glass no Kamen is a shoujo manga written by Miuchi Suzue starting in the mid 70s and still going. The series has had two anime adaptations. The first was done by Eiken in 1984 the second was done by TMS Entertainment and ran from April of 2005 to March of 2006. We're going to be looking at the TMS Entertainment version because I was specifically asked to look at that one. The Gent in question provided a link and everything.
Kitajima Maya has always been a normal girl. She works after school to help pay for her and her mother's room and board. She also happens to have a bad habit of getting distracted by dramas. While re-enacting a scene for some children she comes to the attention of Tsukikage Chigusa, a former actress who had to retire when an accident left her scarred. Tsukikage sees a vast potential for acting in Maya and becomes determined to help her develop those talents so that Maya can eventually take the coveted Crimson Goddess role. A role that hasn't been seen on stage since Tukikage's retirement. This gets the attention of Hayami Masumi, the young heir to the expansive Daito entertainment. Maya's skills also quickly draw the attention of the young genius actress, Himekawa Ayumi. A girl who desires the Crimson Goddess role.
Let's begin by looking at the negatives of the series. The biggest one is the romance. Fortunately, it's a somewhat downplayed element since the main focus is on Maya's journey to be an actress and on her rivalry with Ayumi, but it still bears talking about. Glass no Kamen has a creepy obsession with young girls getting involved with creepily older men who possess quite a bit of power over them. To the point where Miuchi would fit in with Clamp. In all fairness, Maya does get a couple of disposable love interests who are her own age and peers of hers. I'll just call them Something and Whatever. You might wonder why I'm not taking ten seconds to look up their actual names and that's because her relationships with them are dull and largely pointless. First you have Something, a young actor who appears early on and has a crush on Maya only to disappear for most of the middle and reappear at the end to take a role in a play and basically just exist. Then we have Whatever. A bloke who appears for a few episodes in the middle and go on a date with Maya before being banished from the series. The only other real issue is the ending. Again, to be fair there are some good aspects to the ending but there's also a lot of stupidity in it and the whole thing feels pretty rushed. Like they only learned it was going to be the last episode after finishing the episode before it and they scrambled like mad to try and resolve things.
Let's move to the positive aspects. Final episode aside, the pacing is really excellent. The series is really good at building up tension and giving resolutions that really work. The narrative flows really naturally and seeing Maya's ups and downs is really compelling. I also like that she experiences legitimate setbacks instead of ultimately overcoming every obstacle that comes up. It really makes the drama stronger when you aren't sure whether this is going to be a case where everything turns out all right or if it's going to be a situation that ends badly, forcing her to pick herself up.
Most of the characters in this are well fleshed out, have realistic flaws and verisimilitude. The big differences are Something & Whatever, who both have a generic nice guy schtick and a girl who comes across as kind of cartoonishly evil in the way she tries to destroy Maya's career. I do really love the rivalry between Maya and Ayumi. It's all too common for series like this to have rival characters who are obscenely petty but Glass no Kamen plays up their mutual respect and even has Ayumi stand up for Maya, in one case in a really badass moment. It portrays their rivalry as being based more on envy than anything else but the two still manage to get along pretty well. Which isn't just refreshing, but leads to a more interesting dynamic.
The artwork is really well done. The theatrical stage designs and costumes look like the types you'd actually get in a real theatre. The whole series is really well detailed and has an authentic feel to it. The animation is always nice and fluid and gets really interesting during the scenes where they're actually putting on some kind of production.
In terms of acting, Kobayashi Sanae and Yajima Akiko are absolutely brilliant in this. Not only do they play our main heroines, Maya and Ayumi, but they have to convincingly portray the various roles that both girls get, or convincingly fail to give a good performance in some cases. They both rise to the challenge and are just spectacular. The other various actors all do well in their roles too. Even the people voicing the weaker characters manage to give passable performances. The music is pretty good as well.
There's not much. There's a girl named Rei who attracts some fangirls but they're shown as thinking she's a guy and she doesn't get romantically involved with any of them. There are also some moments between Maya and Ayumi that give you pause to question whether they're using Greta's definition of “rival” but there aren't many. Actually, this is strangely lacking ho-yay given that it takes place in the world of theatre. Although I suppose it's just as well considering what passes for romance in the series.
Glass no Kamen suffers a bit from the romance, the ending and from some generic characters. However, it is a really strong series overall replete with tension, drama, a lot of strong characters, excellent voice work and epic artwork. My final rating is a solid 8/10. Next week I'll look at Kigurumikku V3. read more
Anway, I was expecting this anime to be really rubbish at first and I was pleasantly surprised at how addicting it was.
To be honest, I thought this was a good exmaple of your run-of-the-mill reaching for your dream scenarios. I thought that watching Maya start off from the very beginning give you this warm fuzzy feeling when you watch her do so well. You follow her journey from the complete beginning and so you gradually begin to know her character a lot better as you progress through the story. the story starts when she's roughly 13 and spans across a 5 year span (I think). taking into fact that this manga was actually written roughly 3 decades ago does prove that it is one of your classic plots. It's quite a romantic plot as well, which is quite a bonus for a someone like me.
being quite a modern perosn now, I'm always expecting the kind of anime art you see in some of CLAMP's work or looking a lot more modern than the large, starry eyed characters in the past. Again, I was pleased that the anime wasn't too old fashioned in their art approach to the anime and it was actually quite pleasing to look at. It wasn't the 'in-your-face' kinda of art, but more soft and pleasant (which I liked)
Well, the opening and ending themes were pretty cool and the pieces of music throughout the anime was pretty good. I did think that some of the music was a little but...over-the-top? I'm not sure why...but it was good all the same :)
Again, I thought this aspect was well brought out through the anime and there were times when you could really feel what the characters were going through. I found myself on serveral occassions crying along with the characters and yelling at the screen at the character's stupidity and naivety. I suppose, it's great in the sense that it can play with your emotions. However, I did think that some of the charactersation was a little cliched for example, cold and evil looking persona on the outside with a squishy kind loving heart inside. Doesn't that remind you of Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice (for you Austen fans!) or Ituko from Shugo Chara!
I really enjoyed it and although it ended on a major cliffhanger (very annoyed) I thought it was a wonderful anime with emphasis on that you can do anything as long as you have passion for it and are willing to do anything to get where you want to be.
I thought that it lacked something... I'm not sure what it is. Maybe I was just a little disappointed at the end or a little disappointed at how they changed the manga a little bit more than I had anticipated. They cut out some major important bits (like a few kisses here and there, which is really annoying). But apart from that, enjoyable and well worth watching!