2005’s Forgotten Anime: Glass Mask

Glass Mask, based on a long, long-running manga series, is one of my favorite anime from 2005 and 2006, and that’s no easy task with Eureka Seven in that running. It’s the tale of a plain girl named Kitajima Maya who is discovered to have an incrediblly innate ability for acting. At first, Maya is seemingly oblivious to everything except acting. She can recite a 3-hour play perfectly after having only watched it once. She can bring an uncanny realism to any role she plays, being naturally adept at pantomime. However, her greatest talent is her ability to fully take on any character, to literally become the role that she’s playing. Under the guidance of renowned former actress Tsukikage Chigusa, Maya engages in a friendly yet fierce rivalry with the prodigy Himekawa Ayumi while being watched over by the mysterious “Man of the Purple Roses. It’s old-fashioned shoujo at its finest, and I would implore everyone to watch it, except for one problem.

The subtitles never got past episode 5 or so, and this is a roughly 50 episode series.

I can only imagine that all of the acting terms and the settings of the plays in Glass Mask present a daunting task for any translator, as it requires not just knowledge of Japanese but also some French, Russian, and other languages. I’m certainly not confident enough in my translation abilities to start tackling other languages beyond Japanese, but if anyone is willing to heed the call, you will have done the anime community a good favor.

If you really want to see what Glass Mask is about, though, you can also check out the manga, which is available in all the places you expect (besides an actual bookstore). Watch out, it’s been around since the 70s and still has not finished.

By the way, my favorite scene in the show is during a play where Maya is playing the role of a queen. Another girl, jealous of Maya, tries to sabotage Maya by stepping on her dress as she walks outside so that Maya will trip. Maya is normally a very clumsy girl so this isn’t an unreasonable plan, but Maya senses the tug of her dress immediately, stops, and tells the girl to get off of her dress.

Standing there wasn’t Kitajima Maya, but the queen.

20 thoughts on “2005’s Forgotten Anime: Glass Mask

  1. Thank you so much for talking about this excellent show, which I found spellbinding, watching a combination of raws and Chinese subs. Kobayashi Sanae is beyond wonderful as Maya. And Yajima Akiko is just as good as her rival, Ayumi.

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  2. I watched the much shorter Glass Mask anime series from 1984, and enjoyed it immensely! I was enjoying the 2005 one before it stopped… I’d assumed it got licensed. But I guess not…?

    Someone sent me a live action Glass Mask series and movie fansubbed on DVDs and god help me none of the DVDs worked… at all.

    I had no idea the manga was still running!

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  3. Excellent idea you had… It’s been quite a while I’ve been trying to remember the name of this anime, watching it on Italian TV in ’94 or something… I loved it so much it got stuck to my brain… the graphic may be poor compared to modern standards but the plot is excellent…I don’t remember seeing the last episode and how it ends but I guess it was great… thanks again.

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  5. Hi, would just like to point out that your favourite scene with the girl stepping on Maya’s dress – it wasn’t a sabotage. it was an accident and she didn’t mean it.

    But there are plenty of other scenes where jealous actresses wanted to ruin Maya’s career. But the only who succeeded (only for a while though) is
    *Spoiler”

    Otobe Norie who sabotage Maya after Maya found out about her mother’s death. Later however, Ayumi took revenge on Norie in the play Carmilla’s Potrait.

    *end spoiler*

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  6. Ah… I’m reading this manga, but there’s so much that hasn’t been translated! I’m looking for chapter 143, but so far, no luck. It really is incredible!
    It’s such a big shame I might as well just lay in my bed being depressed about it.

    Come on people! Translate it! Even if it’s just the japanese, it doesn’t matter! It’s not like people reading it in the raw know russian and french anyway! That’s just trivia they could google for themselves! :P

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  8. After a lot of searching through random episodes I found it lol.

    The episode where Maya plays a queen in a school production is EP 14-Destined Rivals

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  9. I was wondering where can i buy “glass mask” anime DVD (episodes 27-51 end) or older version from 1980’s (episodes 1-23 end) on DVD with english subtitles?

    Thank you!

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    • I’ve removed your e-mail address from the comment because you probably don’t want spammers finding it. If you want me to put it back in though, I can do so.

      I’m sad, truly sad to inform you that the second Glass Mask 2005 DVD set was never released, I imagine due to poor sales of the first set. It upsets me probably as much as it does you, as I really think it’s a fantastic series. The only available option is on Crunchyroll itself at this point.

      I really hope that it might get a complete release someday.

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