Anime Meta-Review


Glass Mask


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Garasu no Kamen
  • seen: 1-12 of 23
  • type: TV
  • grade: worthy
  • genre: shoujo
  • made: 1984
  • Review created: Fri Oct 27 20:11:33 EST 2000
  • mod: none

An example from the somewhat mysterious world of hard core shoujo. Anyone who can't cope with emotional dramatics should stay well away from this one. Being one of these wimps I must admit I found this tough to watch, which means it automatically gets my respect. The story concerns a young girl, raised solely by her waitress mother, who has always been told she is good at nothing. But deep down she has a burning desire to become an actress, and the series opens with her demonstrating, rather dramatically, the lengths to which she will go. Sadly while she has a burning desire she doesn't have the money acting school requires, however it turns out she has been noticed by a figure who will both use her and allow her to reach her dreams...and even challenge, indeed demand, that she become a star actress. Needless to say the story becomes even more complex that this, and multiple battles of wills and social manipulation become the order of the day even while maya struggles to master the complex and demanding art of acting. Needless to say she will have both allies, enemies and enigma's on the path she has chosen to follow. And in the background is the fact that her teacher owns the rights to one of the most famous and challenging plays in Japan. The leads rivals want this role with an unholy passion, every theatrical company wants to own it, and those who seek to `own' the role must go far beyond the `average' as actors to prove their worth.i

I could greatly extend the above to start sketching in the many other players in this series. But that would spoil some of the fun...and besides those fans of serious shoujo probably have a pretty good idea of the kind of thing to expect. Indeed I must admit that this anime did seem to have some weaknesses compared to some of its brethren. For a start it is, at times, overly dramatic and the characters and events are obviously carefully designed for their `roles'. Moments after meeting a character you quickly begin to suspect the role they will play. In essence it goes all out for emotional impact over true believability and originality. Mind you, it generally works. The very `human' skill of acting, the psychological brutality of some of the training and the harsh competition give this quite a dark feel and provide some fairly intense scenes. As an example of this consider the lead `learning' to walk like a cripple up stairs. Her teacher pushes her, violently, down them and then criticises her because a real cripple would not have been able to stop falling down them. This proves that actors aren't too sensible, but the show proves they certainly are a good basis for stories and scenes. It is difficult to avoid getting dragged into the trials of the lead character, who is an interesting study in strength and weakness. Some hope is given on the basis of the fact that she does appear to be talented, but some of the twists along the way...brrr. Also, given the nature of acting and actors, being so obviously talented is one of the main reasons for half the setbacks she receives. Anyway, if you can't take girly stuff, lots of self doubt (aided by hostile psychology) and a pretty large doses of dramatics (but then they are actors after all) best to move along. But if you want to see a decent example of pure shoujo and the addictive allure of following the development of a young life then this may well interest you.

You certainly don't have to be worried about missing this because of the technical merits of its animation. This is pretty plain and simple stuff. I also suspect it is a bit dated, but in many ways the simple animation protects this from becoming too much of a problem. It has a very open style, relatively low finish and detail and much of the movement is very wooden. Considering the show opens with maya dancing around in a leotard the producers don't seem to be bothered by this. Indeed, being story and event focused, it really doesn't matter too much. And the animations ability to frame a scene and give emotion to the players is skilled and sufficient for the needs of this anime. Voices are subtle but solid (once again you must be able to cope with some dramatics) and I didn't notice much music outside the start and end.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:19 WST 2009