Posted by psgels on 15 January 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



It was really hard for me to start watching this series. The 1984 version of the series was really bad, and I wasn’t looking forward to the same bad execution for 51 more episodes. Still, I’m glad that eventually I did give this series a chance. This isn’t simply a case where the new creators improved the show at certain areas. What we have here is two versions of the same story, where one of them is utter crap, while the other is downright awesome. This really shows what good execution can mean for the overall quality of a story.

Especially when you’re making an anime about a talented actress, you need to be extra careful to fully understand what you’re adopting. The creators of the 1984-series clearly didn’t, and turned the lead character (Maya) into some sort of hopelessly over-acting Mary Sue, and they failed to emphasize that Maya was just a frail little girl, and that her talents came not from being incredibly talented, but rather her one-mindedness and ability to completely shut herself off from the outside, which was perfectly portrayed in the 2005 version.

The new voice actress also really helped: Masako Katsuki as Maya was one of the biggest miscasts you could imagine (think in the order of magnitude of putting Norio Wakamoto in the role of a young school-boy). Sanae Kobayashi however, does a much better job at portraying Maya, and that’s an understatement. Both when she’s on stage and when she’s herself, her voice captures the right nuances and makes for a believable and captivating actress.

The biggest strength of this series is its cast of characters, and then especially Maya and Ayumi full well-rounded characters at the end of the series. The rivalry that develops between the two of them is definitely memorable, and a unique take on the “hard work versus talent” theme: for once, it’s the lead character who is the talented one and the main rival who achieved her successes by working very hard. This series has 51 episodes, and they make optimal use of this long length to fully develop the bond that develops between the two of them.

But also the rest of the cast is great to watch. With perhaps the exception of some of the very minor side characters who are jealous of Maya’s successes in the beginning perhaps, every character has a clear purpose, and evolves along with this series. My only complaint here is Tsukikage, and especially her heart problems, which feels like a simple plot device. This is up to the point where you find yourself able to predict exactly when her next heart attack (or whatever it was that attacked her) is going to happen.

For a 2005-series, the animation of this series isn’t anything special, though I do want to applaud the creators for going with down-to-earth character designs, rather than the overblown shoujo-ones of the 1984 series. Especially Ayumi’s character-designs changed from the look of a stuck up princess to someone with simply good looks, nothing more and nothing less. And while most of the animation of this series isn’t that much to write about, the show does have a number of very artistic and good-looking shots of the different characters. The soundtrack for this series is also awesome, but this is where I’m really biased, since the composer also created the soundtrack of Mahou Shoujotai. ^^;

Overall, I’m glad that I listened to Hashihime and the other fans of this series, because the 2005-version really makes up everything where the 1984 version went wrong. After watching this series, I’m definitely going to look at acting in a different way, and that’s something that should be the case with every anime that’s about such a focused subject as this one.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 9/10

14 Responses

  1. Sasa says:

    Wow, that sounds surprisingly good. As a rabid fan of the manga, I wonder if I should give this anime version a try – I too was pushed off by the 1984 version quite a bit.

  2. Sapphire says:

    I already had the 2005 version on my plan-to-watch list, but now I want to watch it even more ^^

  3. whitehorse says:

    I love this version of the anime too!
    But unfortunatelly it’s only been subbed ’till epsode 16 or so….

  4. maglor says:

    How much of the ‘magic’ of the original manga does 2005 version manages to catch?

  5. senerikfred says:

    Oh wow, big change in quality there.
    As a shoujo with good characters and a focused artistic topic, this sounds like it’s in the same lane as Nodame Cantabile and Kaleido Star. Got to put this on my ‘to do’ list.

  6. hashihime says:

    I’m so glad I was able to help bring you to this great series. You identify what I see as two of the main strength of the show: the great acting. Besides Kobayashi Sanae, I found Yajima Akiko as Ayumi just outstanding. You could really believe these were two of the best actors in Japan. Yajima-san is most famous in the comic role of Crayon Shin-chan, but her role as Mari in Blue Drop gave us more of her great dramatic acting.

    To answer maglor, I found it just about as magical as the manga. Hatsuyuki has started subbing more episodes, and they are now up to 26, as far as I know. There are complete Chinese subs around.

  7. saris says:

    I love this one too. It is such a wonderful series, I’m glad I didn’t watch the old version first so I didn’t get turned down by it. The rivalry between actresses is entertaining and the relationship between Masami and Maya attracts me, feels like Daddy long legs…something like that

  8. BBOvenGuy says:

    Actually, it’s subbed up to Episode 41 now, if you know where to look. They’ve had to replace their translators (one got tied up with school and the other had a baby), but they’re still determined to get the series done.

  9. windy says:

    Yes, it is indeed one of the best anime I ever watched!!! The story was very entertaining and to see how a simple girl like Maya becomes one of the most talented actresses (with Ayumi), how she strives for it, and leaves her home and all to make her dream come true, to see her acting , and also Ayumi’s acting and to compare them was interesting! The subject interested me because it’s quite the world I like ( theatre , actors performing on stage …). And to see Ayumi as another protagonist, it does’t happen often, most of the time we have another girl who would be plotting against the lead character to get the role or to gain fame, here we don’t have one of those egoistic , selfish and snobbish upper- class girls , but a true impressive character who’s going to work just as hard to play one day the lead role of the legendary stage play “The Crimson Goddess”.

  10. Anu says:

    where can i watch this??
    i am at episode 26! i cant find the other one!! :(
    does anybody knows where?????

  11. petunia says:

    ei,where did you watch this subbed??did you download it??i’m watching in anilinkz and from eps 46-51 they’re all raw.where did you watch this subbed??thank you!

  12. headachebaby says:

    I fell in love with this anime after the 1st episode. On 12/23/09, PSGELS’ blog for Kimi ni Todoke recommended that Glass Mask have good romance. So after starting the 1st episode, I couldn’t help but watch as many episodes as possible. I’ve finished watching the whole series in 4 days and I want more!!!

    The characters are awesome…you don’t have any annoying characters. I was always amazed at Maya’s character development as she played new roles. The story also progress very well and there are no episodes I found boring. The story flow so well that I couldn’t stop watching and I only stopped when I got too sleepy.

    The music is also awesome and for some reason, it sound almost like the music from Skip Beat! However, there are different people who composed the music for Skip Beat! and Glass Mask.

    This is a great anime and I need to buy it when I find the complete DVD set.

    So, I found out that this anime first started in the 70s and it continues to be a popular shojo anime…now, I understand why.

  13. Stars says:

    It’s amazing when after 51 episodes, just as the anime ends it feels as if the story is just starting.

    The numerous plays in particular were fascinating to watch, especially some which spanned across several episodes. The changing settings, different plays and the ever growing characters do a great job of keeping the story feeling fresh. It’s great to see an anime where when something happens, (mostly tragic) it’s permanant. No gimmicks! Just one heartfelt romance about pursuing dreams.

  14. Shou says:

    every episode left me wanting more, this is one show that moves your soul!

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 04:07 PM)
    I might as well finish it out then at least…or should I, now I know I’m going to be disappointed and the ending can’t possibly work obviously.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 03:52 PM)
    @Aidan: I just post about getting caught up with it there earlier and now you tell me this…
    When I read your comment it took me by surprise and disappointment.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 02:46 PM)
    …..goddamnit.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 02:45 PM)
    I just heard that shinigami and the 4 girlfriends has been axed and will end at chapter 18…axed…axed…JAPAN YOU F*CKING PIECE OF F*CKING GODDAMN F*CK F*CKY SERIOUSLY NISEKOI SELLS LIKE F*CKING HOTCAKES BUT THE FIRST HAREM IN A LONG GODDAMN TIME TO DO SOMETHING WITH THE GENRE GETS F*CKING AXED! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:43 AM)
    @Friend: perfect, I on the other hand am not as fast lol
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:19 AM)
    I should have the rough draft ready by the next 24 hours, so I’ll show it to you then.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:16 AM)
    @Bam :-) “Rome wasn’t built in a single day”
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:14 AM)
    @Friend: very pragmatic- I like your style ;)
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:09 AM)
    @Bam Heres what I’m planning to do: I’ll draw the city as it might have looked like pre-industrial revolution and post-columbian. So, maybe the late 17th century. Then, I’ll add in the changes brought in by industry. Afterall, every building isn’t built at the same time, so it’ll give that contrast of old/new, making the city much more authentic.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:07 AM)
    @Friend: hard question … needs some serious thought if we’re trying to feel authentic.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Akatsuki no Yona – 03

Hak and Yona flee Soo-Won’s men, but Yona’s mental and physical condition continue to deteriorate. Yona and Hak are both haunted by memories from the past. This was easily the best episode in the series so far. Whereas the first two episodes primarily took place in the present or the future, this episode is mostly spent in […]

Grisaia no Kajitsu – 03

This isn’t looking good. Let me explain, Grisaia has a somewhat nakige visual novel approach. Meaning that it has a comedic relatively plotless first half, followed by a tragic heroine backstory related story arc. Notable examples of this is any Key visual novel anime adaption you can think of. So for the first half we […]

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis- 03

Okay, so this episode didn’t focus on Leone and Amira’s adventure. Instead, it focuses on building Kaisar’s character and it does so a bit awkwardly. This episode takes Kaisar and puts him into an overly bombastic situation in order to tell us about Kaisar’s past family problems, but it was so out of tone from […]

Gugure! Kokkuri-San- 03

This show has a great cast, but some chinks in the armor are starting to appear in the comedy. So far, this anime seems to lack a consistent tone, which shows through just how hit-and-miss the comedy is. It attempts to mix elements of light and dark comedy along with slice-of-life and tries to excel in all three […]

Psycho Pass 2 – 02

Episode two continues right where episode one left off and progresses about how you might have guessed. Akane chases the mysterious villain pulling the strings, getting only cryptic responses from Kitazawa. Shimotsuki confronts Akane with her misgivings about Akane’s handling of the arrest. And we finally get some subtle hints towards Kougami’s existence and how his disappearance might […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 02

The stage is set, the actors are in place and the curtain is rising. So I can say this episode’s title was certainly apt. Unfortunately this week we have no bombastic fight scene to ogle and instead we get a heavy dose of info dumping. This is not the most exciting of episodes but the […]

Grisaia no Kajitsu – 02

The grisaia visual novel was by no means perfect. In fact if I was to summarize it as concisely as possible I would deem it a mixed bag. Some great moments but quite a number of bad storytelling decisions. Still there was hope for this anime adaption. After all the Steins Gate adaption managed to […]

Parasyte-the Maxim- 02

Before I continue reviewing this anime, let me put up a disclaimer: I will be discussing the anime of Parasyte, not the manga. If you want to talk about spoilers, I recommend you go to a site that will talk about those things. Don’t be an ass and discuss spoilers down in the comments, because […]

Some Quick First Impressions: Grisaia no Kajitsu, Trinity Seven and Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de

Grisaia no Kajitsu Short Synopsis: Our protagonist joins a school that has five troubled girls in attendance. AidanAK47’s impression: Grisaia has all the elements to cause many to write it off as a typical harem anime. Protagonist who only wants a ordinary life? Check. Joins school with several female beauties? Check. Panty shots? Sigh…check. The […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]