Review: Glass Mask Episode 1 ‘The Girl with a Tousand Masks – A Promising Start

And so we begin our 51 episode journey through my favorite show of all time. The show, titled Glass Mask, is about Maya Kitajima’s journey to stardom by means of plays, movies, and television. I hope you all have seen the first episode, if you haven’t the link to the show will be at the bottom of this article, and every Glass Mask article to follow. I strongly urge you to watch the show along with me, I’m super excited at the idea of re-watching the show I fell in love with so many years ago, and hope you can join me.

But now, to the actual show, the first episode was pretty… normal. There wasn’t anything super unique or fascinating about the premise. The first episode didn’t deconstruct any conventions of anime, nor did it provide a super interesting setting, neither did it leave us on a major cliffhanger of sorts. In fact, the entire show doesn’t seem to have anything special going for it, it’s practically a by-the-numbers shoujo. But it has something few shows can lay claim to, especially the amount Glass Mask has. This is Magic.

Now I believe that there are a few things needed for a story to cross over from ‘good’ to ‘great.’ The major components would be characters and plot. It’s nigh impossible for a ‘great’ show to lack in either characters or plot. But it is possible, there are ‘great’ shows that may lack in plot, but more than make up for it in characters (Shirobako, Time of Eve), and the reverse is true as well (Death Note, Ghost in the Shell). But for any ‘great’ story, another component is needed. It isn’t anything quantifiable, nothing that can be measured through normal means. This is Magic, the Magic of a story. When a story feels Magical, that’s how you know you’ve stumbled upon a ‘great’ story.

Glass Mask Body 1

I think the best example of this are the classic Disney movies like Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and Fantasia. These movies don’t have fleshed out characters or an amazing plot, but they have Magic. The best stories have Magic along with characters and plot, other examples from Disney would be Beauty and the Beast, The Incredibles, and The Lion King. This is a bit of a tangent, but I do believe it’s relevant to Glass Mask. Why? Because Glass Mask is the most Magical story I’ve seen so far.

Due to how much affection Glass Mask has forced me to give, it was impossible to watch the first episode with fresh eyes, but I wanted to see what the perspective of someone new to the show. So I watched the first episode with two others, Jordan, a friend of mine, and my nine-year-old sister. I wanted to confirm that I wasn’t alone in loving this show.

Jordan started off a little skeptical, he knew I loved this show so I’m sure he pulled his punches at first. During the first five or so minutes he would say things like, “This is poorly directed, I mean it’s good, but poorly directed.” About halfway through he revised his previous statement, “This show is really good, the music, the characters, the directing.” At this point, I knew he was getting sucked in. By the time the ending began to play all Jordan did was rant about how good it was. He couldn’t elaborate on why is was good, it just was. Jordan had seen the Magic.

My sister, being nine and all, didn’t comment on the quality of the directing, but just watched. I could tell she was a little bored at first, the beginning is slow after all. But as the episode went on she began asking questions, she was curious about the story, she was invested in it. At cue of credits rolling her first question was, “Can we watch another episode?” My sister had seen the Magic.

Magic isn’t the only thing Glass Mask has, as the show progresses the characters will continue to develop. The characters are one of my favorite aspects of the show. They’re just great, but I’ll save that for when they begin to grow.

Another amazing component of Glass Mask is the music, many shows have great music, but few have a soundtrack that so perfectly fits the tone, feel, and Magic of the show. I cannot tell you just how much I love the OST and opening (something I’ll analysis in detail later on). In fact, while you continue reading this rant about the first episode disguised as an article, please play to video below, it’ll enhance the experience.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8Xr3B1fbI4[/embedyt]

(I want you to think this article is “Impressive”)

But enough about the various aspects of the show… what about the episode itself? It starts off with Maya working with her mother at the Chinese restaurant. It’s quickly established that Maya is pretty useless at this place, always taking too long or messing things up. This is contrasted by the end of the episode where she is the only productive one, doing everything because of her theater related goal. In the first episode Sugiko is a jerk and bully to Maya, constantly belittling her and making false promises (you let go of that ticket on purpose!!!). This is contrasted by… actually, nothing. Sugiko just is a jerk and we pretty much never see her again (good riddance).

This episode also reveals a lot about Maya and her soon-to-come acting skills. We’ve seen her ability to ‘slip’ into character, this is shown primarily in the park scene, though it is also referenced when Maya tells a coworker why she loves movies. We also see just how in-depth her characters get, the moment Tsukikage (the creepy lady in the park) really noticed Maya was when she laughed. Laughing as your character is a pretty hard task, especially while constantly switching characters (trust me, I know first hand). We also see how she captivates the audience, this is also from the park scene, you can tell just how invested the kids are in the story Maya was telling. She doesn’t become “The Stage Storm” for nothing (Minor spoiler… sorry). Additionally we see her memorization, the park scene, and her passion for anything acting related, shown throughout the entire second half of the first episode.

Finally, this episode sets up the three major characters of the show, Maya, Hayami, and Ayumi, while also showing us how their relationship will play out (anyone who’s seen the entire show will know what I’m talking about).

Glass Mask Body 1

And that’s it! What did you think about the first episode of Glass Mask, will you continue watching (you better say yes), and isn’t Maya just adorable? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below!

You can watch Glass Mask for yourself legally for free at Crunchyroll.

GJ Corban
GJ Corban
Hi there, I'm GJ Corban, that stands for Gregory Jr., but I've been accidentally called CJ, DJ, JJ, and even Jesus... thrice. Other than that I'm just a guy obsessed with storytelling and the culture and news that surround it.

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