Last month I did a review on the first season of Glass Mask, the anime about a young girl named Maya Kitajima, and her crazy passion (and unknown talent) for acting. Season 1 left off at a kind of cliffhanger, with everything going well for Maya. But there were hints of a plot to oust her out of her acting career, and season 2 starts off with that plotline. Without spoiling too much, I can say that the plot succeeds. Maya is once again thrust back down to the bottom of the acting world. Now shunned by her peers, and expelled by her teacher, Maya must find a way to climb back up to the top and win the “best actress” award. Otherwise, her rival Ayumi Himekawa will be chosen as the actress for the coveted “Scarlet Angel” role.
Season 2 starts off a bit slow after all the hype at the end of season one; however after the first few episodes it picks up again and becomes enthralling. Maya works her way back into the limelight by playing a peasant girl in “The Tale of Princess Yasha,” and she performs “Pirate Queen Bianca” as a one-woman show in her senior year of high school. Then she stars in some of her best roles yet, such as Puck from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the wolf girl in “The Forgotten Wilderness,” and a princess in “The Two Princesses.” Maya makes some new friends along the way, and meets up with some old ones. But their relationships all take backstage as the second season focuses more on Maya’s relationship with 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, “Mr. Purple Roses.”
In Season 2 you learn more of the backstory regarding Maya’s mentor Chigusa Tsukikage as well as about Hayami and his father, which helps you to better understand some things. I must say though, that when nearing the end of the series, I felt the story was losing its direction. To top it off, just when Maya and Ayumi are so close to their goal of becoming the Scarlet Angel, nothing comes of it. Talk about anticlimactic! That was what the entire storyline was building up to! Maya and Ayumi were training for the play’s last audition, and the supporting actors had already been cast, but then it’s like the writer (either of the anime or the manga it was based on, I’m not sure which) dropped the ball and got all philosophical instead. Honestly, I’ve never felt so let down from a fantastic anime since the conclusion of Clannad.
In spite of the ending, this anime is one of my favorites of all time, which is saying a lot since I’ve seen other great animes like Cowboy Bebop, Clannad, Kanon, etc. So I highly recommend that you watch Glass Mask, especially if you’re interested in acting or the theater, because it will inspire you and you can learn about different techniques. Plus each episode leaves you on the edge of your seat, wanting to find out what happens next. While I watched season 1 of Glass Mask on Amazon Prime, unfortunately season 2 is not available there. So I watched season 2 on a website called CrunchyRoll. It has ads during the videos, but with adblock they’re not an interruption. So in closing, it’s well worth watching this anime (until the very last episode).