Glass Mask Episode 1 Recap
Because I decided to recap a few older dramas. I really am enjoying this one. I do plan on doing both seasons and the SP [which was filmed after the end of the 2nd season, but is really the true ending to season 1]. Not that I need to add more recaps to my plate…but this is a project I want to undertake and will be very sporadic. Really when I decide I want a break from the other series I am recapping.
Romanized title: Garasu no Kamen
English titles: Glass Mask / Mask of Glass
Broadcast station: TV Asahi
Broadcast dates: 7 July – 15 September 1997
Cast: Adachi Yumi, Tanabe Seiichi, Nogiwa Yoko, Matsumoto Megumi, Kohashi Kenji
Based on the manga Glass Mask [(ガラスの仮面 Garasu no Kamen] by Miuchi Suzue
Theme song: “Calling” by B’z, “Polar Star Kimi Dake Shinjite” by Harubara Yuuki
Synopsis: This drama follows the life of a young girl named Maya whose dream is to be an actress. She is discovered by a famed former actress who notices Maya’s potential – Maya has possession of a thousand masks. This means that Maya has the talent to slip into a mask [figuratively speaking] and completely become the character. The woman takes her in and begins her training in hopes that Maya can inherit her famed role as the Crimson Goddess.
This series opens with a young student [Adachi Yumi as Maya] running along the streets. Her attention is caught by a drama airing on a TV outside a television shop. She is caught up in the drama, but when the show cuts to commercial, the girl remembers that she is running late. For what? She is late in getting to the restaurant to help out her mother. Note that her mother does not own the restaurant, she just works there and Maya does, too. Mrs. Kitajima scolds Maya for being late. The young girl apologizes and then rushes to change into her uniform.
At this time the boss’s daughter comes back from a delivery and complains to Maya that she actually had to work because the young girl was late. Maya apologizes once more and the girl asks if Maya lost track of time hanging out in front of a movie theater again. Maya smiles brightly and excitedly replies that it wasn’t a theater, but an electronics store. After that slips out, Maya knows she shouldn’t have said anything. Mainly because I don’t think her mother approves of Maya’s obsession. Maya is then told by the boss to go make a delivery. Maya quickly gets the food and sets off at once.
On her way to make the delivery, the neighborhood children stop and ask Maya to perform for them. Maya states that she has no time, but is soon easily coerced. She then acts out the drama that she had just seen on television – very convincingly. This catches the attention of a woman dressed all in black with hair covering one eye [Nogiwa Yoko as Tsukikage Chigusa]. The girl gets applause from the children who beg her to do one more scene. Maya readily agrees, but as she gets ready, she accidentally tips over the carrier, spilling the food (and it sounds like she might have broke the plates as well). Oops.
Maya’s mother is not happy at all and slaps her daughter for the mistake. It’s a bad mistake. The owners complain about having to make the ramen all over again. Mrs. Kitajima grabs Maya’s head and makes her apologizes as well as bowing herself and apologizing. Later, Mrs. Kitajima complains that she wishes to join her husband in death. Maya fails at everything she does – why can’t her daughter make her proud? However, Maya has heard nothing of this as she is too intent on watching the television. Mrs. Kitajima gets up and shuts it off asking why her daughter is like that. Maya tells her mom that she somehow becomes the heroine on screen instead of her normal shameful self. Mrs. Kitajima says that isn’t what she means at all.
Mrs. Kitajima wonders why she worked so hard to get Maya into a good school when Maya only does poorly in everything. Mrs. Kitajima then explains that she wants her daughter to be happy. Maya apologizes to which her mother complains about Maya always apologizing. She doesn’t want her daughter always having to bow her head and live a miserable life like she does. She wants Maya to go to school, get a good education and work for a small company. Not to mention find a good man. Mrs. Kitajima then goes into the kitchen to hide her emotions. She then apologizes to Maya for turning off the TV. What an awkward relationship the two have.
The next day at school Maya is daydreaming and looking out the window while the class is trying to make a decision regarding a role. Someone nominates Maya and the teacher tries to get her attention, but Maya is completely out of it. Only when the mean daughter of her boss calls her name, does Maya come back to reality. She jumps up and immediately goes to read from the book, thinking she missed what was going on in class, but it is only homeroom. This earns laughter from the other students. The teacher then explains that Maya has been nominated for a role in the play the class will be performing for the school festival. The teacher asks if Maya will do it. The other classmates encourage Maya to do the role, but there is no sincerity behind their asking. Maya doesn’t notice this and just stands up, gladly accepting the role.
After class, the homeroom teacher pulls Maya aside and tells her she still hasn’t turned in the field trip money. Maya apologizes and the teacher reveals that no one wanted that role that Maya received. This surprises Maya…so it wasn’t because they believed in Maya’s ability. Maya tells her teacher that she isn’t good at sports or anything, but she really wants to try acting, so please let her do the role. The teacher says she understands and walks away. Maya thanks her teacher and then takes a look at the script. She hugs it to her chest and smiles brightly.
Maya busily practices lines for the play before bed. Her mother comments on her being in a play and Maya immediately pops up, excited. She tells her mother that everyone recommended her saying that she will do great. Mrs. Kitahima doesn’t seem to really believe this, but Maya doesn’t notice and asks if her mom will please come see the performance. Mrs. Kitajima says it sounds childish plus she doesn’t have anything to wear. Maya tells her that is okay, she just really wants her mother to come watch her. Mrs. Kitajima happily says that she shall and then recalls something she has kept safe for a special occasion. She then digs out a pretty dress for Maya to wear in the play.
Maya practices lines and reads through the script whenever she can. The kids at the park all surround her and beg for her usual performance. Maya actually turns them down. She apologizes since she is busy practicing. Tsukikage then comes up and says that the ramen will get soggy if Maya doesn’t move. Maya grabs up the food carrier and goes to run off. She turns back and thanks the “oba-san” before rushing off to make her delivery. Being called an oba-san makes Tsukikage smile, but the smile soon fades when a young man [Tanabe Seiichi as Hayami Masumi] approaches her saying that he has looked everywhere for her.
Tsukikage and Hayami return to Tsukikage’s house which is a mansion. He says that he heard she fell on misfortune, but it seems she has been doing well. Tsukikage replies that she is doing well and Hayami asks if she has been resting. Ignoring the question, Tsukikage says that she will be moving soon as she is selling the house to get more money. Hayami then tells Tsukikage that he will give her as much money as she wants – his offer still stands. Hayami believes that he can do many things for Tsukikage – such as making a special stage for her comeback. Surely Tsukikage can’t hide from acting forever? Tsukikage then reveals her face to Hayami. How can an actress have a scarred face – it’s a really pretty nasty burn. It’s from an accident 20 years ago when a stage light fell on her and burned her face. No plastic surgery can help her.
Tsukikage then insists that Hayami get to the point. Hayami tells her the going rate for a Van Gogh piece and then offers her up a large some of money for her Crimson Goddess piece. Tsukikage picks up the check and rips it up. She calls for Genzou, her butler, to escort Hayami out. He leaves saying that no matter what he will get the Crimson Goddess. Tsukikage goes to the window and vows to never relinquish the role as no one but her can be the Crimson Goddess. She will raise the play once more herself. Since she can’t act, it means she will put on the play with her own company with an actress chose and molded by Tsukikage expressly for playing the Crimson Goddess.
At school, Maya learns that she is not playing the lead role of Marianna as she had originally thought, but rather the character of Bibi who is a slow, dirty dunce. Considering everyone rejected the role and encouraged Maya, shouldn’t she have been aware that she was not getting the leading actress’s role? This depresses Maya and dampens her her excitement for the play. The boss’s daughter makes things worse by telling Maya it is a great role since it means Maya only needs to wear hand-me-downs.
After school, Maya sits depressed by the river thinking about her mother’s excitement and the pretty cress. She is then approached by Tsukikage who comments on Maya’s unusual depression. Tsukikage takes the script and asks if that is why she is depressed. Which role did Maya get? Maya replies Bibi and then complains about the role of a girl who can’t do anything and is always mocked. She then talks about how she she can never do anything right and always troubles her mother. Tsukikage then tells Maya that Bibi is actually an interesting role. She hands the script back and the wind blows her hair off her face offering Maya a look at her scar. Tsukikage then goes off and acts out the role of Bibi. Maya watches enraptured at the performance. Maya praises Tsukikage’s acting and Tsukikage says that even a boring role can become interesting if played right. She asks for Maya’s name and the two introduce themselves.
Tsukikage then instructs Maya that she needs to come to understand Bibi. Once Maya can understand Bibi and her actions, then Maya can put on a mask and become Bibi. Tsukikage covers Maya’s face with her hands as if putting on a mask and then pulls away. Maya doesn’t truly understand. She says that she will try her hardest, but it sounds difficult. Besides, Maya always fails at everything she does. Tsukikage turns sterner and lectures Maya. Part of talent comes from having confidence in yourself.
Talent means believing in yourself! Believing in yourself! If you can do that, I know you will shine. Everyone, no matter who they are, has that one moment where they shine!
This speech really touches Maya. She smiles and thanks Tsukikage saying that she will try her best. Tsukikage walks away and Maya immediately starts practicing once more.
That night, Maya is practicing at home and her mom is very cortical of her. She complains about Maya getting tricked into such a role. Mrs. Kitajima says that Maya will fail and make a laughing stock out of herself. She then starts coughing. Maya rushes to get her a glass of water and notices her mother’s gaze on the pretty dress. Maya brings her the water and tells her mother that she may be a disappointment and in a bad role, but Maya will work hard to do it properly. Her mother ignores this and announces dinner. Later that night, Mrs. Kitajima gets up and notices Maya is gone. She is outside practicing her lines over and over again. I am not sure how her mother really feels about her daughter’s determination and hard work.
The day of the play dawns! Mrs. Kitajima goes to Maya’s school, but doesn’t end up going inside. Looks like she just can’t do it. This depresses Maya. Soon the call to get ready comes and Maya picks up a mirror, staring at herself intently. The curtain rises and the play starts. All the while, Maya stares in the mirror and recalls Tsukikage’s words to believe in herself. She then puts down the mirror and readies to go onstage. She tells herself that she is no longer Maya, but Bibi. She is then called onstage and her mask slips into place. Maya then gives a great performance of the bumbling Bibi. Her acting surprises the audience and her fellow cast members with her great acting.
After the curtain falls to enormous applause, the audience leaves complimenting the girl who played Bibi. Tsukikage is there and hears all this praise and smiles. Maya goes back on the empty stage and bows. Tsukikage then claps for Maya and joins her. Tsukikage praises Maya’s portrayal of Bibi. Maya asked if Tsukikage came to see her performance and Tsukikage replies that she did. Maya tells her that she had so much fun. At first she didn’t like the fact that it was a small part with few lines, but it turned out to be so much more fun than Maya thought. Maya has never felt such things before. She wants to stand on stage again and perform even more roles. She then lays down on the stage and closes her eyes. Tsukikage then bursts into Maya’s fantasy and says that she doesn’t even know what a real play is. Has Maya ever seen a professional one before? Maya shakes her head and Tsukikage encourages her to see a real one.
On her way home, Maya sees a play advertisement and recalls Tsukikage’s words. Maya’s mother goes to school to drop off the money owed and her homeroom teacher asks why Mrs. Kitajima didn’t attend the play. Mrs. Kitajima said it was too much of a bother, plus Maya was bound to screw up anyways. Maya’s teacher tells Mrs. Kitajima that it was the exact opposite. Maya did a wonderful job in the play. In fact, her teacher had never seen Maya like that before. This surprises Mrs. Kitajima who notices the festival board with images of Maya playing Bibi. Meanwhile. the boss’s daughter approaches Maya who is staring at the theater flier still. Sugiko asks if Maya really wants to see it. She then shows Maya the ticket to the performance. She then promises to give Maya the ticket if Maya will do all of her work for her.
Of course, in true drama fashion, that night there are a lot of delivery orders and Maya must fulfill them all herself without anyone’s help in order to get the ticket from Sugiko. Maya has never been so determined. When the boss and his wife demand that Sugiko help out, Maya quickly jumps in and states she will do it all herself. She runs all over town making deliveries and wearing herself out. She trips, cuts her leg, but sees the poster and keeps on going. Seeing her daughter working so hard worries Mrs. Kitajima. When she hears a crash she rushes out and sees her fallen daughter. She tells Maya that it is enough, to stop already. Maya doesn’t listen and picks herself up. Maya looks up at Sugiko and says that she has done everything herself, so Sugiko will give her the ticket, right? This surprises the parents. Sugiko’s mother tells her that she has to give the ticket to Maya, but Sugiko refuses because she wants to see the play, too. Witch.
Another delivery call comes in and the tired Maya insists on finishing in order to get the ticket. Her mother demands that she stop already because Maya is already worn out, but Maya refuses. It’s not just a play, she really wants to see a proper one. At Maya’s last delivery, she collapses and her mother comes to get her. On their way home Maya and her mother run into Sugiko. Maya demands to have the ticket since she did as she promised. Sugiko gives it to her, but before Maya can grab it, it flies into the water. Sugiko immediately says it isn’t her fault and Mrs. Kitajima tells her daughter enough, but Maya doesn’t listen and jumps in after the ticket. Just a little crazy there, but you’ll get to see some crazier stuff than this from Maya for her acting. Tsukikage passes by after Maya climbs out of the water and watches the scene while Sugiko and Mrs. Kitajima stare in amazement.
The day of the play arrives and Maya is excitedly heading towards the theater when she runs into Hayami who treats her like a little girl – like an elementary student. Maya apologizes and he asks if “chibi-chan” is okay. Hearing this annoys Maya and she goes to move past him, but he blocks her. She gets angry and says she already apologized, so can he please move. Hayami then points out that she is stepping on his foot. Maya apologizes again and goes to go on her way, but Hayami grabs her notebook and sees she is going to Daitou Theater. Maya tries to get away from him and ignore him, but for some reason Hayami won’t leave her alone. He then tells her that she is going in the wrong direction as the theater is right there. Maya smiles happily at finally finding it. The smile soon fades and she gives Hayami a glare saying she knew that already. LMAO. Cute. These two are really cute together in this series.
Maya enters the theater and is in awe. She is quite like a fish out of water. She is surprised when people bow and seemingly greet her, but it isn’t her, but rather Hayami who came in behind her. He asks how the turnout is. It’s a full house. Hayami asks if Maya has her ticket. Maya says she does and pulls it out. Hayami comments on the poor state of the ticket and then tells the man to see Maya to her seat before going off. Maya asks what his problem is and the worker says that Hayami is the leader of the company. This surprises Maya, but that leaves her as she soon sees popular TV actress Himekawa Ayumi [Matsumoto Megumi] who is there to watch the play as her mother is the lead role.
Maya takes out her notebook and approaches Ayumi who is surrounded by a small crowd that keeps growing. In trying to get the girl’s autograph, Maya ends up getting pushed to the side where she falls into Sakurakouji Yuu [Kohashi Kenji – loved him in Azumi by the way] who is with Ayumi. He asks if she is all right. Maya says that she is. Yuu gives her a big smile and Maya seems very uncomfortable. She goes to pick up her pen, but Ayumi grabs it first and hands it back to her. At this time, Tsukikage shows up and calls out to Maya who runs right on over. This garners a lot of attention and the three wonder just who Maya is to the great actress Tsukikage.
Maya thoroughly enjoyed the performance. Afterwards, Maya goes into the empty auditorium with Tsukikage. She tells Tsukikage how much she loved the play and how she wishes she could act on such a great stage. Tsukikage then pulls out a flier saying that she is starting her own acting troupe. Life is like acting for Tsukikage – it can’t be done half-heartedly. Hearing this, Maya runs up on the empty stage and begins performing Tsubaki-hime. At this time Hayami comes in and asks Tsukikage what her interest in Maya is. Tsukikage replies that Maya has only seen the play once and already has it mesmerized. Hayami turns in shock towards the stage.
Maya goes home and begs her mother to go and join Tsukikage’s acting troupe. Maya begs saying it won’t cost a thing since Maya can get a scholarship, plus they don’t have to worry about getting Maya a place to live as boarding is included. Mrs. Kitajima tells Maya that she can’t do anything so she should just forget it. What loving encouragement, ne? Maya retorts that she can do something – she can act! Her mother asks about school and Maya says she will quit. Not the right thing to say. Mrs. Kitajima tears up the flier in anger and tells her daughter to stop kidding around. Maya picks up the pieces, depressed. She then asks her mother why she didn’t go to the school play. Maya was so happy to hear the people clapping for her. Her smile fades and the tears threaten to fall. Maya promises to try as hard as she can because she became a new person on that stage, plus she can’t forget the sound of applause. She wants to stand on stage once again. Mrs. Kitajima instructs her to throw such an impossible dream away. Maya’s tears finally fall.
If you never love anyone, if you never do anything, you’ll never get hurt.
What crappy advice. Well, it’s true advice, but very sad and no way to go through life.
After her mother falls asleep, Maya puts on the pretty dress and takes off to…Tokyo…I am assuming. She leaves her mom a letter saying that she wishes to try acting. If she doesn’t get hurt, then she can’t realize her dream. End episode with her mom finally becoming aware that Maya is gone.