Title: Glass Mask
Original Japanese Title: ガラスの仮面 (Garasu no Kamen)
Alternative Titles: Glass Mask, Mask of Glass, Garasu no Kamen, Glass no Kamen, 千面女郎, 玻璃面具, La Máscara de Hielo, Il Grande Sogno di Maya, 유리가면, Topeng Kaca
Author: Suzue Miuchi (美内すずえ, MIUCHI Suzue)
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School Life, Shoujo, Slice of Life
Glass Mask (ガラスの仮面, Garasu no Kamen) is a very old shoujo manga series (later anime version has also been created) that is still ongoing even in Japan, which is truly worth to read. It has been serialized in Hana to Yume from January 1976, and collected in 43 tankoubon volumes as of January 26, 2009, and the manga still continues, leading the curiosity of the readers.
Basically this manga is a saga about the main character (KITAJIMA Maya) journey of life and her devotion to performing arts as a professional stage artist, competing her rival (HIMEKAWA Ayumi) in pursuing the acting proficiency degree to play the lead role of the legendary stage play "Kurenai Tennyo" or "The Crimson Goddess". Compared to Ayumi who is talented, from high class background, beautiful, well educated, Maya is absolutely underestimated by most people in the entertainment world. However, Maya's acting talent is outstanding, she can become a totally different person on the stage, that's why even Ayumi considers her as a threat and a strong rival. The most proving event is when both of them finally become candidates for the next Crimson Goddess role, selected by the former Crimson Goddess' artist herself, TSUKIKAGE Chigusa.
The legendary "Kurenai Tennyo" itself has never been played for many years after the legendary artist TSUKIKAGE Chigusa got an accident on the stage that ruined her beautiful face. TSUKIKAGE Chigusa disappeared from public's attention, seeking for a successor to play the Goddess' role behind the scene, after so many years, she discovered KITAJIMA Maya's talents in acting, adopted Maya into her own acting school.
However, there have been many people aiming to get the role and the right to hold the legendary stage performance, including Daito company, that have always done everything to get what they want, including playing dirty politic to destroy whoever that hinders their way. The plot grows more interesting as Daito's young president himself (HAYAMI Masumi) later fell in love with Maya secretly after watching her stage performance, finding out how she has needed support, he later becomes her daddy-long-legs, supporting her behind the scene. This grows into an ironic love story, as Maya hates him especially after she found out that Masumi was the one who indirectly caused her mother's death. Ironically interesting for readers too, as Daito company themselves have been seeking to promote Ayumi as the next Crimson Goddess.
So how the complicated plots of the story will grow? Who will become the next Crimson Goddess then? For the most people, Ayumi is outstanding, she will overcome Maya easily, especially with her charm, her skills and experience in acting, and her beauty that is widely acknowledged. Maya has incredible surprising acting talents, however she is just a so-so common girl for most people, from her appearance.
Who will later win the audience's hearts? Who will become the next Crimson Goddess?
Who will later get the right to hold the performance?
And ... how about the secret daddy-long-legs, HAYAMI Masumi? Most readers are looking forward to see how the relationship between Masumi and Maya will become too.
So, from the saga, romance, plots, everything within this Glass Mask (ガラスの仮面, Garasu no Kamen) manga is worth to read and to follow. No wonder, since the year 1976 until this year (2009), from grandmother generation until current teenagers, this manga still has a special place in the readers' hearts. Every fan of this manga has been eager to know how the story will end, plus if their wish for the certain main characters will be fulfilled.