License request day: Glass Mask

Looking back on my most recent license requests, I notice an unfortunate trend: none of them run to the outlandish end of the spectrum. It’s all well and good to ask for things that you may actually receive, but it’s also important to pull out the stops from time to time… to ask for something massive, something commercially suspect, something old… something like Suzue Miuchi’s Glass Mask.

This is the sprawling tale of an ambitious, would-be stage actress named Maya Kitajima who responds to her mother’s dismissal and criticism with a burning desire for fame. (As Roxie Hart sagely noted in Chicago, “And that’s because none of us got enough love in our childhood. And that’s showbiz, folks.” Okay, Renée Zellweger’s Roxie may not have said that, but Gwen Verdon’s did, and Verdon’s is the one that matters.) Maya apparently endorses the Method, throwing herself into rehearsals and performances with reckless disregard for her own health.

And she has a rival, Ayumi Himekawa, who takes a more learned approach to acting and thinks she’d be much better in Maya’s dream role, the lead in The Crimson Goddess. And she has a mentor, Chigusa Tsukikage, whose own very promising acting career was prematurely ended by a disfiguring accident. And she has at least one love interest, entertainment entrepreneur Masumi Hayami, who can only reveal his feelings for Maya through gestures as an anonymous fan.

It sounds like the acting version of Kyoko Ariyoshi’s Swan (CMX), and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Both series launched in 1976, with Swan in Shueisha’s Margaret and Glass Mask in Hakusensha’s twice-monthly Hana to Yume. Swan concluded in 1981 with its 21st volume. Glass Mask is still running, though it did move to Hakusensha’s monthly Bessatsu Hana to Yume. The 46th volume of Glass Mask came out in October of 2010. The series has enjoyed to anime adaptations, one of which has been released in North America.

Dauntingly long? Check! (Miuchi indicated in 2009 that the end of the series was near, though.) Vintage, difficult-to-market shôjo style? Double check! (Hakusensha is somewhat skimpy with preview pages, but if you click on the red button with the open-book icon on the third entry down in the right-hand column, you can see a bit of Glass Mask and gape.) Do I want to read it like Maya wants to play the lead in The Crimson Goddess? Triple check!

What ridiculously long, commercially questionable series would you like to see licensed? Or do you just want the chance to read the rest of Swan, From Eroica with Love, and Oishinbo?