Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Scanlation Get: Glass Mask

Once again it is back to the 70's with my next pick Glass Mask by Suzue Miuchi. I kind of have a love hate relationship with shoujo. I want to love it, but I find much of the shoujo titles from today boring with flat uninteresting main characters. Honestly if the character's personality is picked from the stock of “I want a boyfriend” or “I want to be a bride” I don't want to read it. In fact it makes me want to punch it in the jeans. (Now, American romcoms I'd punch right in the kidneys.) I do love a lot of shoujo from the 70s or even the 80s, where female characters have big dreams and big goals. In Glass Mask our heroine Maya ends up with big dream of being the actress who plays the role of the goddess in the famous play the Crimson Goddess but before she can ever do so she must master thousands of roles.

I am recently re-reading this. I had read quite a few volumes but I can't remember where I left off. (I only stopped reading being the scanlator at the time got a C&D letter and took everything down. I was rather sad this was my first long term scanlation I had gotten into and I really loved it.) One of things I am enjoying is just how much I remember things. Like when Maya sat out in the rain purposely to get sick to play Beth better in Little Women. There have been titles I have read and really liked them at the time but when I go back to think about them I can't remember anything. Considering, I last read Glass Mask six years ago my memory for this is surprisingly good, which I think says something for the title. I am looking forward to rereading certain parts that I enjoyed the first time.

The main character Maya is played off as average and kind of dumb. Even her mother tells her she is useless. All Maya wants to do is watch dramas and plays. She will even go to some extreme measures to get tickets to see a play. She jumps into the Yokohama bay early on for one. It takes former Crimson Goddess actress Chigusa Tsukikage to see that even Maya has talent and with training she could aspire to be the Crimson Goddess herself. Maya then goes for a ride of a life as she trains but many things go awry often no fault of her own. Her rival wants the role of Crimson Goddess herself; the rival acting school with stop at nothing to close Tsukikage's school; and the chairman at Daito Entertainment will do anything to the rights to the Crimson Goddess play.

There is romance involved in the story but there is a lot of development even before it is seen and Maya always takes acting before she does boys. She is determined to see her dream and won't stop until she gets there.

The art is very 70s but well drawn. It relies more on strong line work then screen tone which is something I really like. (I feel to many shoujo titles insert random screen tone to fill up space.) The panel layouts are nothing amazing, but are clear and strong in conveying the story. Where it suffers the most is the clothes. They were fashionable for the time now they are really out dated. Apparently, as some point the mangaka went back and re-drew the older volumes but that seems like and exercise in futility to me. Clothes almost end up out dated (though I got to say Paradise Kiss holds up surprisingly well) unless they are the most generic clothes ever. I hate when manga and anime take the generic clothes route though, it has no personality. I'd rather watch or something out dated looking and feels like it has life rather then some lifeless and generic.

Rereading this title reminded me how much I love this title. If it ever came out in English I'd buy every volume. I like reading stories about girls and women who aspire to great heights and Glass Mask certainly fills that role.

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