Glass Mask

Glass Mask

Cover of the first tankōbon of the series.
(Garasu no Kamen)
Genre Romance, Drama
Written by Suzue Miuchi
Published by Hakusensha
Demographic Shōjo
Magazine Hana to Yume
Bessatsu Hana to Yume
Original run January 1976 – present
Volumes 49
Anime television series
Directed by Gisaburō Sugii
Studio Eiken
Network NTV, Animax
Original run April 9, 1984 September 27, 1984
Episodes 23
Television drama
Original run 1997 1999
Episodes 23 + 1 special
Original video animation
Glass no Kamen: Sen no Kamen wo Motsu Shoujo
Directed by Tsuneo Kobayashi
Studio TMS Entertainment
Released December 16, 1998 April 21, 1999
Runtime 45 minutes
Episodes 3
Anime television series
Directed by Mamoru Hamatsu
Studio TMS Entertainment
Licensed by
Sentai Filmworks
Network Animax, AT-X, TV Aichi, TV Osaka, TV Tokyo
Original run April 5, 2005 March 28, 2006
Episodes 51

Glass Mask (ガラスの仮面 Garasu no Kamen) is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Suzue Miuchi, serialized in Hana to Yume from January 1976, and collected in 49 tankōbon volumes as of October 2012. The story has also been adapted into anime and a live-action television series. As of 2006, the collected volumes had 50 million copies in Japan, making it the second best-selling shōjo manga ever.[1] The title refers poetically to the mask of faces that actors wear - while expressing emotions that are not their own, the mask they wear (their acting) is as fragile as glass. If the actors are distracted, their mask will "break" and show on stage the actors' true feelings.

After not publishing a new chapter in the story for more than two years, Miuchi re-launched the series in Hakusensha's Bessatsu Hana to Yume (別冊花とゆめ) magazine in July 2008. The story continues from where it left off in volume 42.[2] Miuchi has announced that she intends to end the series soon.[3]


Glass Mask is a saga depicting the devotion of Maya Kitajima to the performing arts as a professional stage actress, and her competition with her skilled rival, Ayumi Himekawa. They are both pursuing the degree of acting proficiency and career success required to play the lead role of the legendary stage play "The Crimson Goddess" ("Kurenai Tennyo"). Maya is not particularly beautiful or smart in school, but her passion for acting is all-consuming, to the point where she literally puts her own life on the line several times for the sake of a role. Always told by her mother that she was good for nothing, Maya wants to prove to the world and to herself that she has worth. On the other hand, everyone expects the gifted and multi-talented Ayumi to succeed, so she is determined to reach the top on her own without the help of her prestigious parents.

As the story unfolds it encompasses the tangled human relationships of many characters, including Maya's mentor, Chigusa Tsukikage, who discovered Maya's tremendous talent for acting during her search for a successor capable of performing the role of "The Crimson Goddess", and Masumi Hayami, the young president of Daito, who often interacts with Maya as a crafty and cold-hearted entrepreneur, while giving her faithful support and warm encouragement in the disguise of an anonymous fan ("The Purple Rose Person", or "murasaki no bara no hito" as Maya calls him for his trademark gift of purple roses). Hajime Onodera, a director for Daito, wants the rights to "Kurenai Tennyo," which were given to Tsukikage by the playwright; since Tsukikage refuses to sell him the rights, Onodera tries to drive Tsukikage's acting school out of business through a series of nefarious schemes. Since Onodera is working for Hayami, Maya (unaware that Hayami is "The Purple Rose", her Daddy Long Legs) hates him. Though there is an age difference of eleven years, Masumi falls in love with Maya and gives her encouragement in subtle ways.


Maya's talent for acting comes from both her natural skill and emotional personality, unlike Ayumi whose skills are more technically driven; in fact, Maya practically 'becomes' her characters when she plays, so brutal her training methods are and so intensely she performs. During the beginning of her training sessions, Maya has always displayed unconventional performances of the assigned tasks, such as laying on the floor to "sit on" a toppled chair. People often note how unremarkable Maya is until she takes the stage. In fact, the prodigy actress Ayumi comments that Maya knows how to captivate the audience, even though she isn't aware of doing so. Despite having enormous potential and raw talent, Maya often doesn't recognize her abilities. She thinks of herself as unremarkable and "useless", as her mother constantly referred to her as, though she is compelled to pursue a career in acting because "acting is all she has". She also harbors moments of inferiority in comparison to Ayumi, who is beautiful, talented, and rich. Despite all this, Maya doesn't harbor any malice or ill will toward Ayumi, though Ayumi is secretly competitive toward Maya. Maya has three nicknames. One is "The Stage Storm," referring to her innate ability to drown out other actors' importance in a play even while in a bit part. Tsukikage refers to Maya as "the girl with a thousand masks" in tribute to her versatility whenever taking on character roles. And she is addressed as "little child" (ちびちゃん Chibi-chan) by Masumi Hayami, a diminutive nickname he's given to her due to their broad disparity in age and height, to satirize her naivete, and eventually out of true affection.


There have been several anime adaptions since the manga began its serialization. The first adaptation was a 23-episode TV series produced by Eiken in 1984 which was directed by Gisaburō Sugii with animation contributions from Shingo Araki and character designs by Atsuko Nakajima.[4] The main voice cast featured Masako Katsuki as Maya Kitajima, Taeko Nakanishi as Chigusa Tsukikage, Minori Matsushima as Ayumi Himekawa and Nachi Nozawa as Masumi Hayami.[4] The opening and ending theme, Garasu no Kamen (ガラスの仮面, Glass Mask) and Pāpuru Raito (パープル・ライト, Purple Light) was performed by Mariko Ashibe.[4] This adaptation was broadcast by Nippon TV.[4]

A three episode OVA, titled as Garasu no Kamen: Sen no Kamen wo Motsu Shōjo (ガラスの仮面 千の仮面を持つ少女, Glass Mask: The Girl Who Wears A Thousand Masks), was the remake of the first 3 arcs of the manga series. The OVA was released by TMS Entertainment in 1998. The voice cast from the 1984 series was not used and instead featured Megumi Ogata as Maya Kitajima, Keiko Toda as Chigusa Tsukikage, Naoko Matsui as Ayumi Himekawa and Jūrōta Kosugi as Masumi Hayami.[5] The OVA was directed by Tsuneo Kobayashi with scripts written by Nobuaki Kishima, Tomoko Konparu and Yoshiyuki Suga as well as animation character designs by Akira Hirayama and Masako Gouto.[5]

In 2005, TMS Entertainment, the company who produced the OVA began a TV series which was directed by Mamoru Hamatsu with series composition done by Toshimichi Saekie and animation character designs by Akira Hirayama as well as music composed by Terashima Tamiya.[6] This adaptation was broadcast by TV Tokyo[6] and there were 2 opening themes, Promise which was performed by Candy for episodes 1-26 and zero by Aiko Ikuta for episodes 27-51. [7] There were 4 ending themes which were Yasashii Sayonara (やさしいさよなら, A Kind Farewell) for episodes 1-13 by Aina, Step One by Sister Q for episodes 14-24, Sunao ni Narenakute (素直になれなくて, I Couldn't Be Honest With You) by Splash Candy for episodes 27-39 and Hello Hello by Core of Soul for episodes 40-51.[7] Like the other adaptations, the voice cast was not reused and Maya Kitajima was voiced by Sanae Kobayashi, Chigusa Tsukikage by Toshiko Fujita, Akiko Yajima as Ayumi Himekawa and Masumi Hayami was voiced by Toshiyuki Morikawa.[6] The original voice actor for Maya Kitajima in the 1984 adaptation returned to voice Ayumi's mother, Utako Himekawa.[6]

The 2005 adaptation was licensed in North America by Sentai Filmworks, and distributed by Section23 Films. The first half of the season was released on DVD, on January 19, 2010; however, the second half of the season has been cancelled reportedly due to low sales.[8]

In 2013, a 17-episode short flash series was launched by DLE. The series reimagined Maya and Ayumi as a pair of rival delinquent girls vying to become the new leader of the Crimson Goddess gang.


In 2013, an animated film dubbed It’s Glass Mask But... the Movie: Female Spy’s Love! The Purple Rose Has a Dangerous Scent!? was released. Like the flash series, the film was a parody which reimagined Maya and Ayumi as a pair of students who become junior spies after their mentor, Chigusa, is kidnapped.


A live-action version adapted the first 38 volumes of the series in 1997, and continued in 1998 as "Garasu no Kamen 2." Both productions starred Yumi Adachi as Maya Kitajima.



  1. "Historic Shōjo Manga Circulation Numbers". ComiPress. 2006-05-24. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
  2. "Glass Mask Manga Classic to Relaunch in BetsuHana Mag". 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  3. "Glass Mask Manga's Miuchi Acknowledges End is Near". Anime News Network. September 8, 2009. Retrieved September 8, 2009.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "エイケンWorks ガラスの仮面" (in Japanese). Eiken. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
  5. 1 2 キャスト・スタッフ (in Japanese). TMS Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
  6. 1 2 3 4 ガラスの仮面 - キャスト・スタッフ (in Japanese). TV Tokyo. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
  7. 1 2 ガラスの仮面/東京ムービー(アニメ作品を調べる)|トムス・エンタテインメント (in Japanese). TMS Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
  8. "Sentai Adds Hidamari Sketch, Glass Mask, Neo Angelique Abyss". Anime News Network. 2009-10-29.
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