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.