“Glass Mask” Manga Re-Launch Delights Female Fans

December 30, 2008 at 10:16 am

Japanese pop culture has never been hotter than it is right now. With manga sales in the U.S. at $210 million and growing, the title that intrigues me at the moment is the long-running shōjo (girl) manga Garasu no Kamen or “Glass Mask.”


“Glass Mask” has been going continuously since the ’70s, but stopped publishing in 2004. This summer, original author Suzue Miuchi re-launched her extremely popular series in Bessatsu Hana to Yume magazine, a monthly supplement to the high-selling “Flowers and Dreams” bi-monthly Hana to Yume .

The plot is catnip to young girls: passionate, determined and talented teenage actress Maya and her rival Ayumi compete for the coveted lead role in Kurenai Tennyo (“The Crimson Goddess”), a legendary play. Maya, who was born poor and ran away from home to follow her theater dreams, acts from the heart, while Ayumi, who comes from a privileged family, is perfect technically; both have something the other lacks.

Backstage intrigue and love triangles abound as well. Maya’s secret admirer Masumi sends her encouraging notes and purple roses but treats her with disdain whenever they meet — probably because of their age difference (the less said about this the better, as he’s 24 and she’s 13 when the series starts) and the fact that he’s engaged to someone else. But fans hold out hope that his relationship with Maya will end in marriage someday, and since she’s about 20 now it’s not so scandalous.

Hilariously, the French translation of “Glass Mask” changes Masumi’s name to “Darcy,” which should delight any fans of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

Personally, I think the series would be a huge hit in the U.S. with the “Twilight” crowd.

Sarah S.

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