Kitajima Maya, a 13-year old girl with a talent for acting, was discovered by the reclusive actress Tsukikage. The story follows Maya's growing up, intense training, overcoming challenges, and evolving into the foremost actress of her generation (she is about 20 so far). Maya's greatest rival is Himekawa Ayumi, the beautiful daughter of a famous movie couple. They ultimately vied for the most sought-after role - the "Crimson Goddess". An equally important subplot Maya's relationship with the handsome and ruthless entertainment mogul Hayami Masumi, who secretly became her number one fan, but misunderstandings and bad-timing obstructed their romance...
Glass Mask is an interesting piece of animation. It all begins with Mayas will to fulfill her dreams but quickly turns so a story filled with angst and hurt feelings. This is the kind of series you watch when you are tired of the old "everything will turn out ok"-stereotype.
The story is quite good and the pacing is excellent. It is basically about Maya who would like to be an actor someday. One day she is promised to get a chance to se a play if she delivers all the orders for a resturant she works at before midnight. Her entusiasm is discovered by the
former queen of the theater Tsukikage and she becomes a student at her acting school. After this her life could seemingly only become better, it doesn't go so smooth as she expected. Mayas will to succed and her constant struggle agains the odds is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. The only (and major) weak-point is that the story is left unconclusive and the endig that the whole series build up for never became realized.
The art looks very dated but it remains true to the original manga (which I unfortunately haven't read) and the classic shoujo-style gives away a quite nostalgic feel. The animation is nothing amazing either but it is on par to other mid 80s tv-shows. Meaning that the framecount are low (you can count the frames as you watch) and the backgrounds are a bit generic and "normal". Overall the art and animation is nothing spectacular but it doesn't take away from the feeling of the show either.
When it comes to sound the voice actors does a good job in capturing the feeling of the characters and Mayas VA really does a good job in changing her voice to fit the role that Maya is playing (which is different for each different play). The music, however, never goes beyond ok.
With an ok soundtrack and story it may not sound that interesting but the characters and their depth makes it all worth it. Mayas struggle is interesting and the choices she makes are quite interesting. Whe supporting characters are quite good also, they are all two-faced and Maya has a really hard time to know who she should trust.
To summarise, Glass Mask is interesting but filled with angst, betrayal and unhappy moments. It is not something you should watch if you are already feeling down but if you are looking for a serious shoujo-drama Glass Mask may be just the show for you.
now moving on to the story itself. I'm a Glass Mask fanatic. I've watched both this and the 2005 version, plus the tv drama and ova, and I've read the manga, which is still continuing for those who don't know.
You have to watch the story, especially this older version, with an open heart, not as a critic prepared to voice your opinions.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story. In fact, there isn't another story that I enjoyed as much as this one. Skip Beat comes next.
I'm not someone who's into showbiz, so the showbiz factor is
not the reason why I enjoyed the story.
The story is centered around Maya. Maya is the soul of the story.
There is a great amount of character development throughout the story, not just in Maya, but in other characters as well. There aren't really any weak characters in the story. In the showbiz world, it's all about putting darwinism to the test.
Maya is one of the strongest yet kindest female lead I've ever stumbled upon. A character as beautiful as Maya is really a rare find.
I don't recommend watching this version first though if you are used to modern drawings and animations. I watched the 2005 version first then this one. Honestly, I love them both so I can't say which is better.
I've heard of Glass Mask being one of the more popular long-running titles of the shoujo demographic thanks to its focus on Maya's budding acting career, thus had interest in wanting to see how this adaptation fares and must say this got rather frustrating to watch.
A major barrier to this adaptation of Glass Mask for me was the heavy dependence on melodrama to add conflict into the series. There were a few ways that this 1984 adaptation of the series does this. One way consists of Maya being encouraged by her mentor, Chigusa Tsukikage, to adhere to understanding her role to a rather extreme degree.
In acting, emotionally identifying completely to a role is called method acting. I've heard of behind-the-scenes stories where actors like Leonardo Dicaprio, Christian Bale, and Jared Leto did quite a bit of method acting to get into many of the major roles they would become famous for. However in the world of Glass Mask, method acting is milked to a rather ridiculous degree for Maya to get immersed into any roles she takes on for theatrical performances, enough as such where it usually causes physical and psychological abuse to her. In one particular case where she is learning to take on the role of Helen Keller for The Miracle Worker, Maya resorts to sensory deprivation by blindfolding herself and stuffing her ears with cotton balls to simulate living life being blind and deaf while tripping and falling into things.
The second way was that many of the plays that Maya participated in faced some sort of sabotage through different events or jealous rivals. This is a recurring plot device that Glass Mask milks in a forced attempt to create drama and test Maya's abilities to improvise over the sabotage and win over the crowd during her performances. I didn't feel these did anything to aid in developing Maya's character growth as an actress, as they felt tacked on in a lazy attempt to add forced drama to the plays that Maya participated in.
The third and worst way that melodrama gets milked is the heavy amounts of angst that Glass Mask likes to milk. Any negative situation, regardless if it's minor or major, leads Maya to get way too overemotional in response to it. Rather than this angsting having me sympathize with her, it made me want to slap Maya since she takes every little thing happening to her way too personally thanks to the anime's rather questionable choices in story direction.
But perhaps the biggest problem I had with this adaptation of Glass Mask as a whole is that it doesn't do a good job of having me convinced that Maya grew as a character in her experiences as an actress. The series gets too immersed into the emotional extremes that she goes through to overcome any major hurdles as such that it doesn't devote enough focus to lighter moments that explore the motives of other characters supporting Maya's growth or Maya reflecting on the events within her present crisis to learn how to overcome it, thus allowing audiences to connect with her as a character. A rather noticeable flaw with Maya's acting throughout Glass Mask is that she gets too immersed in her role as such where she isn't conscious of the nuances and actions of the other performers she is supporting in the advancement of a play's plot. This does get addressed at a few points in Glass Mask, but the series never devotes time to having Maya learn how to overcome this flaw and still unconvincingly tries having you believe she was a budding actress with strong potential.
The series also tries to play up a romance angle for Maya with a couple different male characters within Glass Mask. One character gets too limited development and screen time to make that potential relationship mean anything. While the potential with the mysterious "Mr. Purple Rose" is a little more convincing and nuanced in its developments, the series regrettably ends inconclusively before it can get into this relationship any further.
If there is one plus I can give for Glass Mask, it would have to be Ayumi Himekawa. Her character as a friendly rival of sorts to Maya is a deconstruction of the "rich girl" character type seen in many anime titles. Ayumi isn't portrayed as a haughty character with bitter jealousy for Maya's increased fame nor does she exploit her wealth for personal gain or to get an edge over Maya in any way. She sees Maya as an equal to her and a source of motivation to improve on her own abilities as an actress, and there are a few points where she reprimands a few jealous crew members who attempt to sabotage Maya's performances in any capacity. Ayumi's character had quite a bit of dimension compared to Maya and it's a shame that Maya's character is rather flawed in this adaptation of Glass Mask, as the chemistry between the two could have made for interesting developments if Glass Mask wasn't too focused on the emotional extremes of Maya's developments.
Overall, I find this adaptation of Glass Mask to be quite flawed. The series dabbles too heavily into melodrama at the expense of Maya's development to have me convinced of her character's growth and development as an actress, and could have been a far better series if not for this. I've heard that there's a 2005 remake of Glass Mask that is a superior adaptation of the shoujo manga compared to this adaptation. I might be tempted to see that one down the line to see what it's like. But as for this 1984 adaptation? I wouldn't bother watching it again due to the many issues it has with its storytelling.
More than the story of a young woman seeking revenge on the jerk who dumped her, Skip Beat! is a series about a teenage girl's journey of self discovery in the Japanese Entertainment Industry. Want to know more about this romantic comedy? Read on!