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Glass Mask
by Alissa on June 21st, 2006, 10:00am

Rating - 9.6 / 10.0

User rating of this review - 4.8 out of 5
Story/Plot - 5 out of 5
Characters - 5 out of 5
Drawing Style - 4 out of 5
Enjoyment - 5 out of 5
Overall - 5 out of 5

Click here for series information


Maya Kitajima was a poor, generally incompetent girl with amazing talent and passion for acting. Her talent caught the attention of former actress Tsukikage Chigusa, the holder of the rights to the highly acclaimed play "Crimson Goddess" (in this story, qualifying for this play is regarded as the ultimate achievement for an actress). She then trained Maya and made her compete against Ayumi Himekawa, a young actress with equally astounding talent and determination, yet in contrast to Maya was beautiful, rich and popular. The story unfolds entangled human relations of many characters, including Maya's mentor, Tsukikage, who discovered Maya's tremendous talent for stage performance in search of her successor as the performer of the Crimson Goddess, and Hayami Masumi, the young president of a large production company, Daito, who often confronts Maya as a crafty and cold-hearted entrepreneur, while giving her faithful support and warm encouragement in the disguise of an anonymous fan ('The Donor of Purple Roses', as Maya calls him). But Maya's path to stardom is full of obstacles and unknown people....


Truly the best part. The plot is very interesting but it's all due to the great characters Miuchi sensei managed to create. They feel real, with their complexity, achievements and failures. Maya, Ayumi, Masumi and Chigusa's stories are deeply rooted in the plot, with their evolving relationships with all the other charas as well. Even a comprimary like Aoki Rei is remarkably depicted, and all Maya's friends and coworkers, as well as the people around cold-blooded Hayami Masumi and the tragic past of Tsukikage Chigusa. Himekawa Ayumi and her struggle for her own life is also enchanting. She's Maya's rival, very different from her but lovable her own way. She grows in the manga like Maya does both as an actress and as a woman. At the beginning they're both 13, towards the end they are women in their twenties moving towards their goal: to be the Crimsom Goddess. After a while, you feel for those characters. Something that only a great mankaga like Miuchi sensei could manage to achieve. They are characters from the '70s and '80s, and yet readers from all over the world and from three generations follow them and their lives. Truly enchanting.

Drawing Style

Mostly simple with pretty close-ups. Very '70s at the beginning, with big starry eyes, roses around, skinny bodies and long legs. But it soon becomes very detailed and nice, emphatising the emotional state of characters. i think the art itself is not gorgeous, but it fits, it fits so terribly well to the story that I find it fascinating. Not that it's bad to begin with, because I like many classic shoujos but the only art I can stand besides Glass no Kamen's is Higarashi's (of Candy Candy's fame). Miuchi's style is complete, not innovative (even if in latest volumes you see evolved drawings, modernished) but captivating and never redundant --> one of the typical faults of classic shoujo art. A modern reader can easily approach this kind of art without consering it outdated after a couple of volumes.


I read 42 volumes pulling an all-nighter at the end. I was basically glued to my pile of GNK volumes wondering what was going to happen next. I even got goosebumps around volume 36-37. This is pure enjoyment, you feel like you're watching the characters moving around you, and even the skillfully rendered play parts are stunning, you find yourself reading Shakespeare on a manga, and enjoy it. Simply brilliant. And the growing process of Maya and Ayumi is so lovely, from little girls who act amazingly but behave childishly to mature women struggling for love. At least Maya, her love fills the story and her acting. After all, the Crimsom Goddess is also a methaphor of life and love. Brilliant. At a certain point, life and stage interwines strictly. The character of Masumi emerges brutally during the reading, and it's tragic but also hopeful. I'm burning to read what happens next and I will faithfully wait for Miuchi sensei's new volumes. I'm sure she will draw the word end soon.


The series starts with fast-paced story development, in a fashion characterized by typical shoujo manga of the 70s. However, the readers will soon discover the skillful combination of dramatic, romantic and comical elements with profound themes, as well as increasingly sophisticated subjects as the series progresses. In course of story development, classical dramas and creator's original stories are ingeniously woven into the main plot in the form of stage plays. This technique also adds an unparaleled appeal to this series.
Garasu no kamen (the glass mask) is a phrase mentioned by the characters of the series, used as a metaphor for the fragile and delicate nature of the stage acting by the performers.
Many elements are depicted in this tale of acting, love, frienship and despair, you can also meet many characters with their own stories and worries, you won't fail to fall for them. Don't mind the leght or Miuchi's pace. Grab it, read it. You'll love it.
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No Subject by Thrudgelmir on July 10th, 2009, 8:47pm Rating: 5

A detailed and very satisfaction review you wrote. It truly the closest convey the awesome-ness of this series
Alissa by Alissa on July 2nd, 2009, 9:48am Rating: 4

Thanks a lot smile I'm not a native English speaker but I really wanted to convey all my love for this neverending (I've heard "vol 43" just now) love and life story. Stage storm is devotedly releasing both the manga and the 2005 anime. Visit their forum smile
Glass Mask by Lacus_Fan on March 25th, 2009, 6:50am Rating: 5

To be honest, I wasn't so sure about reading this but in my heart something told me to go on and I loved it. The drawing, honestly, I don't like it and if was my work, I would have thrown it away, but what do you expect? this was made in the 70's and I have to say it's spectacular. The story is magnificent, though I haven't finished it yet. I plan to find a way to read this amazing manga. Well, actually to me I see it as a novel. I imagine it to be that, it's absolutely wonderful. I would never understand the people that criticize it so much. It's the best one that I ever read. . .
No Subject by Amber3 on September 27th, 2008, 3:31am Rating: 5

Great review, it makes me want to read the manga all over again! But I'm having trouble finding any thing past volume 26 on the web... Hope you write more reviews in the future. ^_^
Very detailed by phanzanu on July 30th, 2007, 4:16am Rating: 5

great review that gives the readers and in-depth view of the reviewer's thoughts on the manga
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