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Film Friday- Love Me, Love Me Not

Film Friday- Love Me, Love Me Not

Love Me, Love Me Not is a Japanese shōjo manga written and illustrated by Io Sakisaka and serialized in Bessatsu Margaret starting in June 2015. A live-action film adaptation is scheduled to premiere on August 14, 2020, while an anime film adaptation produced by A-1 Pictures is scheduled to premiere on September 18, 2020. Viz Media licensed the manga in English under their Shojo Beat imprint. The first volume was released in March 2020.

Anime film

On April 22, 2019, it was announced by Shueisha that the series will receive an anime film adaptation by A-1 Pictures. It was originally scheduled to premiere on May 29, 2020, but has been delayed to September 18, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film is directed by Toshimasa Kuroyanagi, with Erika Yoshida handling the film’s scripts, Yuu Yamashita designing the characters, and Yuuji Nomi composing the film’s music.

Live-action film

A live-action film directed by Takahiro Miki was released on August 14, 2020. It stars Eiji Akaso as Kazuomi Inui and Minami Hamabe as Akari Yamamoto. Riko Fukumoto plays Yuna Ichihara and Takumi Kitamura plays Rio Yamamoto.

Characters

Yuna Ichihara
A shy girl who loves to read romance shōjo manga, but has never experienced love herself. Her best friend, Sacchan, moves away after they graduate middle school, and Yuna worries that she will be alone in high school. However, when she unexpectedly meets Akari at the train station and befriends her. Due to Yuna’s wary and shy personality, she is initially suspicious of Akari following her home, when they are actually just neighbors in the same apartment building. She is in love with Rio, Akari’s step-brother.
Akari Yamamoto
Yuna’s apartment neighbor who is also a first year in high school. She initially has a boyfriend at the beginning of the series, but he later breaks up with her. Her step-brother is Rio, whom Yuna is in love with. She thinks that Yuna’s childhood friend, Inui, is a good guy and initially tries to push the two together but stops when she finds out that Yuna is in love with Rio. She eventually grows closer to Inui and falls in love with him. Akari’s mother married Rio’s father recent to the series beginning, and hates that her mother doesn’t trust her and Rio alone together. She does not know that Rio loves her.
Rio Yamamoto
Akari’s step-brother and the boy of Yuna’s affection. He is asked out by many girls but claims he only likes pretty faces, and rejects the girls. He knew Akari before his father married her mother and was in love with her. Akari’s mother knows this and is suspicious of Rio spending time alone with Akari. Rio develops a close friendship with Yuna early on in the series, often confiding in her when he found himself frustrated over Akari. He eventually falls for Yuna, but is hesitant to confess.
Kazuomi Inui
Yuna’s childhood friend. Akari describes him as a “good guy” and wishes that Yuna and him would get together. Inui has often been referred to as an “airhead” by Akari due to his carefree and sincere nature. He and Akari both develop feelings for each other, but he rejects her confession out of consideration for Rio’s feelings.

 

Manga Monday- Love Me, Love Me Not

Manga Monday- Love Me, Love Me Not

Love Me, Love Me Not is a Japanese shōjo manga written and illustrated by Io Sakisaka and serialized in Bessatsu Margaret starting in June 2015. A live-action film adaptation is scheduled to premiere on August 14, 2020, while an anime film adaptation produced by A-1 Pictures is scheduled to premiere on September 18, 2020. Viz Media licensed the manga in English under their Shojo Beat imprint. The first volume was released in March 2020.

Reception

Volume 3 debuted at #4 on Oricon’s Japanese Comic Ranking and peaked at #2 and sold an estimated 325,010 copies in Japan. Volume 4 debuted at #1 and sold an estimated 168,863 copies in its first week alone. It sold an estimated 293,419 copies in a month and consistently ranked from October to November. Volume 4 debuted with 168,863 copies. Volume 5 debuted at #6, selling 110,175 copies in its first week and peaking at #1 in its second week with 121,903 additional copies sold.

The manga won the 2017 Shogakukan Manga Award in the shojo manga category.

Plot

Yuna Ichihara is in the spring before her first year of high school and is pained to be separated from her best friend Sacchan who is moving away. On her way to the train station, she is stopped by a random girl who asks her for money for her train fare. Although Yuna is somewhat afraid and reluctant, she gives the girl money, who in turns give Yuna her bracelet as a promise she will meet her tomorrow to pay her back. On the same day, Yuna runs twice into a boy who looks like the idolized prince of her childhood. After the girl, named Akari, returns Yuna’s money, they head home together only to find out that they live in the same apartment building. The girls instantly become friends. However, they find that they explore love in completely different ways, and Yuna may be in love with Akari’s brother and Akari in love with Yuna’s childhood friend.

 

Film Friday- Basara

Film Friday- Basara

Basara is a Japanese fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Yumi Tamura. The story takes place in a future Japan, reduced to a barren desert by a catastrophe at the end of the 21st century. The main character is Sarasa, a girl whose twin brother, Tatara, is prophesied to be the “child of destiny” who will bring back the country’s independence and stop the tyrannical rule of the Empire, namely the Red King. When Tatara is killed, Sarasa pretends to be him in order to keep the downtrodden from losing hope.

The manga was serialized in Shogakukan’s Bessatsu Shōjo Comic magazine from September 1990 to June 1998. Shogakukan collected the individual chapters into 27 bound volumes under the Flower Comics imprint from March 1991 to March 2000. The manga won the 38th Shogakukan Manga Award in the shōjo category in 1993. Viz Media licensed the manga for an English-language release in North America; they published 27 volumes from August 2003 to May 2008.

Basara was adapted into a 13-episode anime television series titled Legend of Basara, which aired in Japan from April to June 1998. It was produced by KSS and directed by Noburu Takamoto.

The manga was also adapted into several stage plays in Japan, the first of which premiered in 2012. A filmed performance was released on DVD in July 2013. The second stage play was performed at Theater 1010 in Tokyo from January 9 to January 14, 2014. The third stage play was performed at Kinokuniya Hall in Tokyo from January 25 to January 28, 2019.

Main characters

Sarasa

The protagonist, a 15-year-old girl who takes the name of her murdered twin brother Tatara, who was known as the child of fate. As Tatara, she wields the sword of Byakko and leads the survivors of Byakko Village. Even among her allies few people know she is a girl.
Sarasa hopes to create a land that is fertile, full of flora, and free of strife. Though she is quick to cry and psychologically weak in some respects, over the course of the story she develops undeniable skills in leadership and swordplay, and becomes the central figure of the Tatara Army.
Byakko sword: One of the four swords descended from the Basarano rebels. It was Genshou, Tatara’s and Sarasa’s great-grandfather’s, weapon.
The name Sarasa refers to calico cloth.
Shinbashi
Sarasa’s pet owl, the runt of his hatching. Sarasa is unwilling to let the other chicks crowd him out, and decides to take care of him.
The Red King, Shuri
The 17-year-old youngest son of the Emperor, he rules over Saikoku (western Japan) which includes Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyūshū. In the early parts of the story Shuri stands out as brutally cruel to those who do not obey him, because he is responsible for the destruction of Byakko Village and the murder of Tatara. Later he meets Sarasa, unaware that they are enemies, and falls in love with her.
Though he is merciless to his enemies, Shuri is a capable ruler and very proud of his realm. He is big-hearted, with a free-spirited personality and is generally quite personable, though he tends to be overly competitive. Shuri is an expert swordsman.

Anime

A 13-episode anime adaptation, titled Legend of Basara, aired in Japan from April 2 to June 8, 1998. It was produced by KSS and directed by Norihiro Takamoto. While generally very faithful to the manga, some material from further into the story was cut, such as Senju’s assassination attempt and the Suzuno Murder Race episode. The anime roughly covers volumes 1–5 of the manga. The anime was released on home video in Japan, first on VHS and later on DVD. The opening theme is “Endless Loop” by Rouage.

 

Manga Monday- Basara

Manga Monday- Basara

Basara is a Japanese fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Yumi Tamura. The story takes place in a future Japan, reduced to a barren desert by a catastrophe at the end of the 21st century. The main character is Sarasa, a girl whose twin brother, Tatara, is prophesied to be the “child of destiny” who will bring back the country’s independence and stop the tyrannical rule of the Empire, namely the Red King. When Tatara is killed, Sarasa pretends to be him in order to keep the downtrodden from losing hope.

The manga was serialized in Shogakukan’s Bessatsu Shōjo Comic magazine from September 1990 to June 1998. Shogakukan collected the individual chapters into 27 bound volumes under the Flower Comics imprint from March 1991 to March 2000. The manga won the 38th Shogakukan Manga Award in the shōjo category in 1993. Viz Media licensed the manga for an English-language release in North America; they published 27 volumes from August 2003 to May 2008.

Basara was adapted into a 13-episode anime television series titled Legend of Basara, which aired in Japan from April to June 1998. It was produced by KSS and directed by Noburu Takamoto.

The manga was also adapted into several stage plays in Japan, the first of which premiered in 2012. A filmed performance was released on DVD in July 2013. The second stage play was performed at Theater 1010 in Tokyo from January 9 to January 14, 2014. The third stage play was performed at Kinokuniya Hall in Tokyo from January 25 to January 28, 2019.

Overview

In Basara’s post-apocalyptic setting, Japan has been controlled by a succession of corrupt and oppressive rulers of Saffron Clan. The current one is the Golden Emperor, a sovereign so obsessed with maintaining his power that he has had most of his children killed. He later appointed territories to the remaining children, allowing them to rule as subordinate kings and expend their energies in rivalries among each other, instead of trying to dethrone him. As a result, most of the Kings neglect the people they rule.

Though the peasants have been downtrodden for decades, they have not completely lost their rebellious spirit. Four swords named for the Ssu Ling gods—Byakko, Suzaku, Seiryū and Genbu—forged for fallen rebel leaders two generations past, are the symbols of underground resistance groups across Japan. The sword of Byakko is kept in Byakko Village, and according to a prophet, a child of fate who will lead a revolution will be born there. When twins are born—a girl and a boy—the prophet says that one of them is the child of destiny. Villagers believe the boy, Tatara, is the child of destiny, but ultimately the girl, Sarasa, is the leader. When the local ruler, the Red King, destroys her village and has her brother beheaded, she assumes his name and duty to lead her people in rebellion.

Sarasa undergoes psychological strain over having to pretend to be a boy. As such, she often visits hot springs to “let her hair down.” During these visits, she runs into a mysterious young man named Shuri, and they fall in love with each other.

Unknown to Sarasa, Shuri is really the Red King, upon whom she has sworn revenge for destroying her village and killing her family. The Red King is likewise unaware that Sarasa, in her alter ego, is the rebel leader he is trying to kill. As the story progresses, the pair’s relationship deepens even as their struggle becomes more bloody.

 

Film Friday- My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

Film Friday- My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, also known as HameFura, is a Japanese light novel series written by Satoru Yamaguchi and illustrated by Nami Hidaka. It began serialization online in July 2014 on the user-generated novel publishing website Shōsetsuka ni Narō. It was acquired by Ichijinsha, who published the first light novel volume in August 2015 under their Ichijinsha Bunko Iris imprint. Nine volumes have been released as of April 2020. The light novel has been licensed in North America by J-Novel Club.

A manga adaptation with art by Hidaka has been serialized in Ichijinsha’s shōjo manga magazine Monthly Comic Zero Sum since August 2017. It has been collected in four tankōbon volumes and licensed in English by Seven Seas Entertainment. A spin-off manga began releasing during November 2019. An anime television series adaptation by Silver Link began airing in April 2020.

Anime

An anime adaptation of the light novel series was announced by Ichijinsha on October 19, 2018. The anime was later announced to be a television series on July 18, 2019. The series is animated by Silver Link and directed by Keisuke Inoue, with Megumi Shimizu handling series composition, and Miwa Oshima designing the characters. Natsumi Tabuchi, Hanae Nakamura, Tatsuhiko Saiki, Miki Sakurai, and Shu Kanematsu composed the music. It premiered on April 4, 2020 on MBS, Tokyo MX, BS11, J Tele, and other channels. angela performs the series’ opening theme song “Shōjo no Route wa Hitotsu Janai!”, while Shouta Aoi peforms the series’ ending theme song “Bad End.” Crunchyroll is streaming the series.

Characters

Catarina Claes

The main character, a 17-year-old otaku who has been reincarnated as the villain character of the game Fortune Lover. Having extensive knowledge of Fortune Lover, including the fact that all the routes in the game lead to either her death or exile, she takes drastic measures to avoid such outcomes, such as trying to establish good relationships with her peers and take up gardening as a profession should her exile come to pass.

Geordo Stuart

A prince who is Catarina’s fiancé during her childhood. In the game, he was blamed for Catarina getting the scar on her forehead and she locks him away. The good ending shows he exiles Catarina and marries the heroine, the bad ending has him kill Catarina and abandoning the heroine due to guilt of killing his fiancée. He is afraid of snakes, something Catarina capitalizes on in order to both protect herself and to boost Alan’s self-esteem.

Keith Claes

Catarina’s adoptive brother. A powerful magic user of earth magic. In the game, Catarina torments and ignores him which makes him a womanizer. In the good path, he has Catarina exiled and abandons his womanizing ways to be with the Heroine, the bad has him killing her in a fit of rage before disappearing forever. To avoid those endings, Catarina goes out of her way to be a good sister to him, which does improve their relationships but also saddles Keith with the thankless task of having to keep Catarina out of trouble, mostly to no avail.

Alan Stuart

Geordo’s brother and Mary’s fiancé. He was a sickly child and jealous of his twin brother which made him become an introvert. However, he is a very skilled musician on the piano and loves flowers. His path in the game is actually the only one that Catarina has no doom flag as Mary is the rival for the Heroine and both paths have happier endings. Catarina uses her knowledge of Fortune Lover to become friends with Mary, something that infuriates Alan, as he thinks Mary is ignoring him in favor of Catarina, and challenges Catarina to a series of competitions, which Catarina wins handily. As time passes, however, Catarina earns Alan’s respect and they become friends.

Nicol Ascart

Georgo and Alan’s childhood friend and Sophia’s brother. He is considered handsome by all who see him, with a smile that can charm both males and females. In his path in the game, Sophia is the rival for his affection, hinting a possible illicit romance path.

 

Mary Hunt

Alan’s fiancée who is skilled with gardening. However, when Catarina says a line in the game before Alan praising her garden, it appears to have a consequence that appears to have Mary falling for Catarina, giving the otome game a Yuri path.

 

Sophia Ascart

Nicol’s sister, who loves reading romance novels. She is considered cursed and unnatural due to her silver hair which Catarina comments flows and shines like silk in the light. It appears Sophia also develops an interest in Catarina as well.

Maria Campbell

A girl who, in Fortune Lover, was the main heroine and original bullying target for Catarina. Due to Catarina becoming much nicer and charismatic, Maria ironically ends up falling in love with her, which in turn gives Maria a route of her own.

 

Manga Monday- My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

Manga Monday- My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, also known as HameFura, is a Japanese light novel series written by Satoru Yamaguchi and illustrated by Nami Hidaka. It began serialization online in July 2014 on the user-generated novel publishing website Shōsetsuka ni Narō. It was acquired by Ichijinsha, who published the first light novel volume in August 2015 under their Ichijinsha Bunko Iris imprint. Nine volumes have been released as of April 2020. The light novel has been licensed in North America by J-Novel Club.

A manga adaptation with art by Hidaka has been serialized in Ichijinsha’s shōjo manga magazine Monthly Comic Zero Sum since August 2017. It has been collected in four tankōbon volumes and licensed in English by Seven Seas Entertainment. A spin-off manga began releasing during November 2019. An anime television series adaptation by Silver Link began airing in April 2020.

Manga

There have been two manga series associated with the light novel. The first, My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom, was first published in Japan during August 2017 and adapts the light novel series into manga format. The second, Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shite shimatta… Zettai Zetsumei! Hametsu Sunzen Hen, released its first issue in November 2019. This manga focuses on the question of what would happen if Katarina were to recover her memories when she was fifteen as opposed to during her childhood, leaving her without the friends and relationships that she garnered as a result of early planning against her bad ends.

Light novels

The first light novel volume was published by Ichijinsha under their Ichijinsha Bunko Iris imprint on August 20, 2015. As of April 2020, nine volumes have been published.

Reception

The light novel and manga have over 600,000 copies in print.

Plot

Catarina Claes, the young daughter of a noble family, one day bumps her head and regains memories of her past life as an otaku. It is then that she realizes she has been reborn into the world of the otome game Fortune Lover, reincarnated as the game’s villainess who, regardless of what route the player took in the original game, is doomed to be either killed or exiled. In order to avoid these routes that lead to doom, Catarina begins taking countermeasures to try and avoid things going the same way as the game. This, however, ends up having unexpected consequences on her relations with the other characters of the game’s world.

Manga Monday- The Rose of Versailles

Manga Monday- The Rose of Versailles

The Rose of Versailles, also known as Lady Oscar or La Rose de Versailles, is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Riyoko Ikeda. It has been adapted into several Takarazuka Revue musicals, as well an anime television series, produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha and broadcast by the anime television network Nippon TV. The series remains incredibly popular in Italy.

The Rose of Versailles focuses on Oscar François de Jarjayes, a girl raised as a man to become her father’s successor as leader of the Palace Guards. A brilliant combatant with a strong sense of justice, Oscar is proud of the life she leads, but becomes torn between class loyalty and her desire to help the impoverished as revolution brews among the oppressed lower class. Also important to the story are her conflicting desires to live life as both a militant and a regular woman as well as her relationships with Marie Antoinette, Count Axel von Fersen, and servant and best friend André Grandier.

It features elements of the yuri genre embodied in the relationship between Oscar and her protégée Rosalie Lamorlière, the secret daughter of the scheming Madame de Polignac. Rosalie refers to Oscar as her first love. Many of the court ladies also greatly adore Oscar, openly admiring her at parties and become very jealous when she brings female companions to them.

Manga

The Rose of Versailles is one of the most influential manga ever written. The manga was serialized in Shueisha’s Margaret in 1973, and became an instant success. It was published on 24 May 1982 and contains 10 volumes.

A lesser-known “sequel”, or spiritual successor, to this manga is Eikou no Napoleon or “The Glory of Napoleon”. Published in 1986, the manga has a few of the original characters but mainly focuses on the rise of Napoleon I of France and the First French Empire.

A short sequel ran in Margaret from April 2013 to February 2018.

In 1983, the first two volumes of The Rose of Versailles were translated into English by Frederik L. Schodt for the purpose of teaching English to Japanese speakers and released in North America by the North American branch of Sanyusha. The Rose of Versailles was the first commercially translated manga to be available in North America. A snippet of the translated manga was also included in Schodt’s Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics book. Udon Entertainment has officially announced the publication rights, with a scheduled release for 2016. As of January 2018, Udon reported that most of the translation was complete and the series was going through editing. It will be published in early 2020 in hardcover.

Gaiden

The Versailles no Bara Gaiden series is a collections of short stories written by Riyoko Ikeda. These stories were published in two separate magazines in 1974 (first publication) after the serialization of the manga The Rose of Versailles, and 1984–1985 (second publication).

The gaiden stories were adapted into musicals in 2008–2009.

Reception

The Rose of Versailles is currently 14th on the list of all-time best-selling shōjo manga, having sold a grand total of 15 million volumes worldwide and 12 million in Japan only, a “nation-wide best seller”. In terms of circulation per volume, it is in fourth place with an average of 1,500,000 sales per volume. It is not well known in North America (except in Quebec) due to its age and lack of publicity, but remains a treasured classic in Japanese manga. The anime was ranked in the top 50 of a list of favourite anime series in 2005. So far, the manga and anime have been translated into Arabic, Turkish, Korean, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Indonesian and Chinese. The “immense popularity” of the 1974 Takarazuka musical gained widespread attention, including academic attention, for not only Rose of Versailles, but for the field of shōjo manga. The research that went into the setting of Rose of Versailles led some teachers to use it in their classrooms and purchase it for their school libraries, which was a “Japanese educational first”. The popularity of the manga also created a boom in the study of the French language and made France, particularly Versailles a popular tourist destination for Japanese travellers.

Moto Hagio believes the popularity of The Rose of Versailles influenced publishers to routinely collect serialized manga in paperback format.

Susan J. Napier has described the court of The Rose of Versailles as being “a particularly good example of idealized Western Otherness”. Tierney says that the aesthetics of The Rose of Versailles cannot be described as purely Japanese or Western. Deborah Shamoon says that Rose of Versailles can be used to track the development of shōjo manga from being “a genre for children to being one for older readers”. The bloody end of the main characters, while shocking, also whet the audience’s appetite for more serious stories. Shamoon sees the Oscar-André relationship as very different from the Cinderella-Prince Charming stories which “dominated” shōjo manga in the 1960s, where the female protagonist would lose her identity to her boyfriend. Shamoon considers that the Oscar-André relationship follows the pattern of pre-war dōseiai shōjo novels, which featured same-sex love between girls. Kazuko Suzuki says that after RoV, “several works” were created with “nonsexual” female protagonists like Oscar, who realize their “womanness” upon falling in love.

The Rose of Versailles is famous for having the first “bed scene” in manga that was depicted by a woman, which has had a “profound impact” on female readers, including fan criticism of the adaptation of this scene to the anime. Yukari Fujimoto has said that “for us junior and senior high school girls at that time, our concept of sex was fixed by that manga”.

Development

Ikeda’s editors were opposed to her idea of a biography of Marie Antoinette, and only its popularity among readers kept The Rose of Versailles in publication. Ikeda had read Stefan Zweig’s biography of Marie Antoinette in high school, and the first chapters focus on the queen, casting her as a shōjo heroine, and Du Barry as a rival. Oscar was created as a supporting character. Oscar eclipsed Marie Antoinette in popularity and due to reader feedback became the main character until her death. Ikeda was influenced by second-wave feminist ideas when creating The Rose of Versailles, using the French Revolution to depict the “inner revolution of the Japanese women” at that time.

Plot

The setting is in France, before and during the French Revolution. In the early part of the series, the main character is the young, flighty Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, however later the focus of the story shifts to a woman named Oscar François de Jarjayes. Oscar’s father, General Jarjayes, despaired over never getting a son (he had six daughters), and decided to raise his youngest daughter as a man. He trained her well in the arts of fencing, horsemanship and medieval combat. Oscar often practiced her skills with her best friend, companion and (technically) servant, André Grandier, whom she almost always defeated. André is the grandson of her nanny and thus they spent most of their time together in harmonic friendship; near the end of the story, this friendship blossoms into mutual love.

Oscar is the commander of the Royal Guard and responsible for the safety of Marie Antoinette, as well as the rest of the royal family. The story revolves around Oscar’s growing realization of how France is governed, and the plight of the poor. Another important storyline is the love story between Marie Antoinette and the Swedish Count Axel von Fersen. The affair between the two is the subject of rumours through all of France, endangering the Queen’s reputation and driving Oscar to request the Count to leave the country.

After the Count decides to leave and sign up for the American war of independence, Marie Antoinette becomes lovesick. She spends money in excess – expensive jewellery and clothes, attending balls every other night – to distract herself from pining for the only man she loved. This, in turn, weighs on the taxpayers of France, and poverty spreads throughout the country due to Marie Antoinette’s squandering of money. Both the Affair of the Diamond Necklace and the appearance of the infamous Gabrielle de Polastron, comtesse de Polignac are central plot events taken from history, as well as the French Revolution and the fall of the Bastille – all given interesting interpretations through the fictional character Oscar and her companions.

On July 14, 1789, the Taking of the Bastille, the crowds rebel but lack strategy, giving the military the advantage and making themselves easy target for cannon fire. However, Oscar and the regiment B then arrive to help organize the insurgents. During the following fierce battle, Oscar is shot and killed, but the Bastille eventually falls, symbolically striking down the French monarchy. After the Bastille is taken, the revolutionaries burst into the Palace searching for Marie Antoinette and her family. Many guards are killed and the royal family taken prisoner. Big trials are started for Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, but finally, both are declared guilty and guillotined.

Film Friday – Glass Mask

Film Friday – Glass Mask

Glass Mask is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Suzue Miuchi, serialized in Hana to Yume from January 1976, and collected in 49 tankōbon volumes as of October 2012. The story has also been adapted into anime and a live-action television series. As of 2006, the collected volumes had 50 million copies in Japan, making it the second best-selling shōjo manga ever. The title refers poetically to the mask of faces that actors wear – while expressing emotions that are not their own, the mask they wear (their acting) is as fragile as glass. If the actors are distracted, their mask will “break” and show on stage the actors’ true feelings.

Anime

There have been several anime adaptions since the manga began its serialization. The first adaptation was a 23-episode TV series produced by Eiken in 1984 which was directed by Gisaburō Sugii with animation contributions from Shingo Araki and character designs by Atsuko Nakajima. The main voice cast featured Masako Katsuki as Maya Kitajima, Taeko Nakanishi as Chigusa Tsukikage, Minori Matsushima as Ayumi Himekawa and Nachi Nozawa as Masumi Hayami. The opening and ending theme, Garasu no Kamenand Pāpuru Raito was performed by Mariko Ashibe. This adaptation was broadcast by Nippon TV.

A three episode OVA, titled as Garasu no Kamen: Sen no Kamen wo Motsu Shōjo, was the remake of the first 3 arcs of the manga series. The OVA was released by TMS Entertainment in 1998. The voice cast from the 1984 series was not used and instead featured Megumi Ogata as Maya Kitajima, Keiko Toda as Chigusa Tsukikage, Naoko Matsui as Ayumi Himekawa and Jūrōta Kosugi as Masumi Hayami. The OVA was directed by Tsuneo Kobayashi with scripts written by Nobuaki Kishima, Tomoko Konparu and Yoshiyuki Suga as well as animation character designs by Satoshi Hirayama and Masako Gouto.

In 2005, TMS Entertainment, the company who produced the OVA began a TV series which was directed by Mamoru Hamatsu with series composition done by Toshimichi Saeki, animation character designs by Satoshi Hirayama and music composed by Tamiya Terashima. This adaptation was broadcast by TV Tokyo and there were 2 opening themes, Promise which was performed by Candy for episodes 1-26 and zero by Aiko Ikuta for episodes 27-51. There were 4 ending themes which were Yasashii Sayonara for episodes 1-13 by Aina, Step One by Sister Q for episodes 14-24, Sunao ni Narenakute by Splash Candy for episodes 27-39 and Hello Hello by Core of Soul for episodes 40-51. Like the other adaptations, the voice cast was not reused and Maya Kitajima was voiced by Sanae Kobayashi, Chigusa Tsukikage by Toshiko Fujita, Akiko Yajima as Ayumi Himekawa and Masumi Hayami was voiced by Toshiyuki Morikawa. The original voice actor for Maya Kitajima in the 1984 adaptation returned to voice Ayumi’s mother, Utako Himekawa.
The 2005 adaptation was licensed in North America by Sentai Filmworks, and distributed by Section23 Films. The first half of the season was released on DVD, on January 19, 2010; however, the second half of the season has been cancelled reportedly due to low sales.
In 2013, a 17-episode short flash series was launched by DLE. The series reimagined Maya and Ayumi as a pair of rival delinquent girls vying to become the new leader of the Crimson Goddess gang.
In 2016, a 13-episode parody version, which “re-imagines the manga and its characters in a school gag comedy focused on satirizing modern society”, and with the title 3-Nen D-Gumi Glass no Kamen, was broadcast on Tokyo MX starting on October 3.

Film

In 2013, an animated film dubbed It’s Glass Mask But… the Movie: Female Spy’s Love! The Purple Rose Has a Dangerous Scent!? was released. Like the flash series, the film was a parody which reimagined Maya and Ayumi as a pair of students who become junior spies after their mentor, Chigusa, is kidnapped.

Live-action

A live-action version adapted the first 38 volumes of the series in 1997, and continued in 1998 as “Garasu no Kamen 2.” Both productions starred Yumi Adachi as Maya Kitajima.

Characters

  • Maya Kitajima
    A talented young actress (a 13-year-old at the beginning of the story) who originally worked as a waitress in a Chinese restaurant alongside her mother. Her father died when she was a little girl and her mother, Haru (Louise in the French anime), who is mentally unstable, considers Maya useless due to Maya’s tendency to be sidetracked by anything to do with acting while in the middle of working). She is discovered by the former diva Chigusa Tsukikage and starts a promising, yet thorny acting career under the older woman’s wing. Her mother discourages her daughter from an acting career, believing that her daughter would be a laughingstock. She even refused to attend a school play Maya was in because Maya’s role was that of a pitiful and wretched minor character. So Maya gave the role more depth and sadness to a character who was originally meant to be portrayed as laughable and pathetic. Later on, Maya is given the opportunity to make a living as an actress. Tsukikage cuts off Maya’s ties with her mother, making the decision of becoming an actress. However, Maya is consistently given encouragement through an anonymous fan who sends her a bouquet of purple roses which is none other than Hayami Masumi, whom Maya shows an immense hatred towards, especially since he took malicious enjoyment in bringing down Tsukikage’s acting school. A few years later, Haru dies of Tubercolis and blindness, trautimizing Maya for many weeks. Maya’s talent for acting comes from both her natural skill and emotional personality, unlike Ayumi whose skills are more technically driven; in fact, Maya practically ‘becomes’ her characters when she plays, so brutal her training methods are and so intensely she performs. During the beginning of her training sessions, Maya has always displayed unconventional performances of the assigned tasks, such as laying on the floor to “sit on” a toppled chair. People often note how unremarkable Maya is until she takes the stage. In fact, the prodigy actress Ayumi comments that Maya knows how to captivate the audience, even though she isn’t aware of doing so. Despite having enormous potential and raw talent, Maya often doesn’t recognize her abilities. She thinks of herself as unremarkable and “useless”, as her mother constantly referred to her as, though she is compelled to pursue a career in acting because “acting is all she has”. She also harbors moments of inferiority in comparison to Ayumi, who is beautiful, talented, and rich. Despite all this, Maya doesn’t harbor any malice or ill will toward Ayumi, though Ayumi is secretly competitive toward Maya. Maya has three nicknames. One is “The Stage Storm,” referring to her innate ability to drown out other actors’ importance in a play even while in a bit part. Tsukikage refers to Maya as “the girl with a thousand masks” in tribute to her versatility whenever taking on character roles. And she is addressed as “little child” by Masumi Hayami, a diminutive nickname he’s given to her due to their broad disparity in age and height, to satirize her naivete, and eventually out of true affection.
  • Ayumi Himekawa
    Maya’s biggest rival, the honor-bound and noble Ayumi was born as the daughter of a very famous actress, Utako Himekawa (once the student of Tsukikage) and a successful director and producer, Mitsugu Himekawa, and has been touted as a prodigy from an early age. Ever since learning she got her first acting role just because of her family links, Ayumi has striven to shine on her own and never falls into arrogance. Ayumi becomes aware of Maya’s prodigious gift for acting when they first meet in a practice session; from then on she views the younger girl as a life-rival. She is ambitious enough to try to surpass her own mother, who is a widely recognized actress. People have jokingly told Utako that her daughter will steal the role of the Crimson Goddess from her. Even though Ayumi is young, she believes that she will re-vitalize the renowned role. Thus, she takes it upon herself to get as much experience as she can by trying out for any roles, including minor ones. At first, when Ayumi took on the role of Tom in The Prince and the Pauper, the children in attendance didn’t like the performance because they were used to seeing Ayumi as a beautiful young woman rather than a dirty and homely boy. Yet Ayumi soon draws the children’s favor by begging for “money” in a hat, to which the children offer her their candy. The people behind the stage were surprised that Ayumi would do such a thing, particularly since Ayumi generally would have thought such things beneath her. Her passion to become the Crimson Goddess is undeniable, however, as she continually strives for perfection to attain the role. Even though critics generally favour her over Maya, Ayumi is upset at being unable to reach the sort of emotional peaks Maya does when she performs.
  • Chigusa Tsukikage
    Maya’s mentor and a former street urchin. She once was a very talented and beloved actress, most notable for her role at the legendary play “Crimson Goddess” whose performance was so acclaimed that its author left the rights over it solely to her in his will, but she got horribly scarred in an onstage accident (a lamp lighter hit her and burned half her face off) and had to leave the acting scene, opening an acting school instead. She has very weak health and is hospitalized several times during the story. Yet she is a woman of unstoppable will, refusing to give the rights of “The Crimson Goddess” to Masumi Hayami and his father, as according to her, currently there is not an actress suitable for the main role. After finding potential in Maya, she takes her under her wing despite her mother’s objections and strives to shape her into the best actress ever, so she can contest with Ayumi for the leading role in “The Crimson Goddess”. Tsukikage understands that an actress’s face is her most important feature, and she covers Maya when Maya’s incensed mother tries to throw a kettle in her daughter’s face.
  • Masumi Hayami
    A abused stepson of the president of the Daito Entertainments, His real father died by accidentally falling off a building when he was 2 years old. He is brutally attempting to obtain the performance rights for “The Crimson Goddess” from Chigusa, efforts which ultimately lead to her acting school burned. When he sees Maya act as Beth in “Little Women” despite a high fever, he is impressed with her strong will and devotion to her acting dreams. He secretly sends her purple roses and financial support as encouragement (thus Maya refers to her anonymous fan as “The Purple Roses Man”; her friends call him Daddy Long-Legs), but acts mocking, cynical and even cruel in front of her to conceal his anonymous identity. Originally a normal, happy child, his cold exterior grew from the death of his mother, Aya, when he was a child, and his bad relationship with his stepfather Eisuke, who is responsible for the Crimson Goddess author’s death. As the manga proceeds, he becomes more and more infatuated with Maya and finally falls deeply in love with her. He doesn’t reveal either his alternate identity or his true feelings for many reasons, one of which is the belief that Maya hates him since he indirectly caused her mother’s death.

 

Manga Monday- Glass Mask

Manga Monday- Glass Mask

Glass Mask is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Suzue Miuchi, serialized in Hana to Yume from January 1976, and collected in 49 tankōbon volumes as of October 2012. The story has also been adapted into anime and a live-action television series. As of 2006, the collected volumes had 50 million copies in Japan, making it the second best-selling shōjo manga ever. The title refers poetically to the mask of faces that actors wear – while expressing emotions that are not their own, the mask they wear (their acting) is as fragile as glass. If the actors are distracted, their mask will “break” and show on stage the actors’ true feelings.

After not publishing a new chapter of the story for more than two years, Miuchi re-launched Glass Mask in Hakusensha’s Bessatsu Hana to Yume magazine in July 2008. Miuchi has announced that she intends to end the series soon.

Plot

Glass Mask is a saga depicting the devotion of Maya Kitajima to the performing arts as a professional stage actress, and her competition with her skilled rival, Ayumi Himekawa. They are both pursuing the degree of acting proficiency and career success required to play the lead role of the legendary stage play “The Crimson Goddess” (“Kurenai Tennyo”). Maya is not particularly beautiful or smart in school, but her passion for acting is all-consuming, to the point where she literally puts her own life on the line several times for the sake of a role. Always told by her mother that she was good for nothing, Maya wants to prove to the world and to herself that she has worth. On the other hand, everyone expects the gifted and multi-talented Ayumi to succeed, so she is determined to reach the top on her own without the help of her prestigious parents.

As the story unfolds it encompasses the tangled human relationships of many characters, including Maya’s mentor, Chigusa Tsukikage, who discovered Maya’s tremendous talent for acting during her search for a successor capable of performing the role of “The Crimson Goddess”, and 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 (“The Purple Rose Person”, or “murasaki no bara no hito” as Maya calls him for his trademark gift of purple roses). Hajime Onodera, a director for Daito, wants the rights to “Kurenai Tennyo,” which were given to Tsukikage by the playwright; since Tsukikage refuses to sell him the rights, Onodera tries to drive Tsukikage’s acting school out of business through a series of nefarious schemes. Since Onodera is working for Hayami, Maya (unaware that Hayami is “The Purple Rose”) hates him. Though there is an age difference of eleven years, Masumi falls in love with Maya and gives her encouragement in subtle ways.

Spinoff – The Crimson Goddess

The play within Glass Mask, the Crimson Goddess, will be adapted in 2020 as a “creative opera”.

 

Film Friday- Ai Shite Knight

Film Friday- Ai Shite Knight

Ai Shite Knight is a shōjo manga created in the early 1980s by Kaoru Tada. An anime version of the story in 42 episodes was also produced in 1983-1984 by Toei Animation. A live action adaptation was also produced.

Anime

The anime version of “Ai Shite Knight” was produced by Toei Animation in 1983-1984, for a total of 42 episodes directed by Osamu Kasai, a veteran Toei director. The “Ai Shite Knight” anime presents some significant changes in the storyline and modifications in the characters’ stories, and covers only one part of the story narrated by Tada in the manga. It was developed to target a younger audience than that of the manga with some aspects toned down and simplified.

Famous voice actress and pop idol Mitsuko Horie provided the voice of Yakko in the anime. Isao Sasaki was the voice of Go, Katsuji Mori of Satomi, Takeshi Aono of Shige-San, and Yūko Mita of Hashizo. Masa Amamori provided the voice of Juliano. Mitsuko Horie also sang “Koi wa Totsuzen”, the song featured in the opening credits of each episode.

Characters

  • Yaeko (Yakko) Mitamura
Yaeko (Yakko) (born September 15) is 18 years old at the beginning of the story. Yakko works at her father’s okonomiyaki restaurant “Mambo” in Osaka as well as attending evening classes at the university. Yakko is a romantic and a little naive, and she is flattered by the attention paid to her by one of the regular customers of her father’s restaurant, handsome and long-haired Satomi Okawa. One day she casually meets two people that will change her life: Go Kato and his little brother Hashizo. Yakko soon discovers that Go and Satomi are friends and both members of an emerging rock band, “Bee Hive”. She is attracted to them both but soon realizes she will have to make a choice between them. She becomes Go’s girlfriend, although his career as a musician causes more than one problem for their relationship.
  • Go Kato
is the lead singer of “Bee Hive” and a student at the university. He lives with his little brother Hashizo in a small apartment and is trying to become a professional and successful musician. He is cocky but charming and has a reputation of being a playboy. However, when he falls in love with Yakko, he becomes totally devoted to her, although he has to struggle with juggling his musical career and romantic relationship.
Even though Isao Sasaki is a singer, Go’s songs are actually sung by Ai Takano in the anime.
  • Hashizo Kato
Hashizo’s real name is Hideki, but he was given the name “Hashizo” by his brother Go when he went to live with him after the death of his parents. Hashizo is Go’s half-brother, being the son of Go’s father and his mistress. After their death in car crash, Go decided to look after his baby brother although still very young himself, and they have been living together ever since. Hashizo is a very responsible little boy and, because of Go’s career as a musician, he spends a lot of time alone with his best friend, the cat Juliano. When he meets Yakko, he becomes very attached to her, and the “Mambo” becomes his second home.
  • Satomi Okawa
Satomi is Go’s best friend and the keyboard player for “Bee Hive”; he comes from a wealthy family and is an incredibly talented musician. Opposite to Go, he is calm and more introverted. He is also a university student and gives private keyboard lessons in his spare time. He falls in love with Yakko even before Go does, and when he finds out that Go is also after Yakko, he leaves the band for some time. He finally realizes that Yakko has chosen Go, and returns to the band. He helps Yakko and Go through difficult times as a good and faithful friend.