Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: Maiden Japan
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 300 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
Something is definitely not right in Rags Town.
Some mysteries unravel slowly as the tension increases just enough to keep you in suspense until the very end. Then there are mysteries like the Complete Collection of Glass Maiden that peels off the layers of its mystery in a high-adrenalin, take-no-prisoners fashion that might not make it a unique or different kind of mystery but this 12-episode series isn’t short on excitement or a good story.
Welcome to Rags Town, a place that isn’t exactly the perfect place to retire or to even call home. It’s a place where runaways litter the alleyways and a muscular tranny watches over the streets like an unusual guardian. Unfortunately, Rags Town will also be known for something a lot more sinister seeing as runaway girls go missing and reappear only to turn into glass and then die. Nobody really has seen these “glass maidens,” that is until tonight.
You see, a homeless man is a witness to a girl being attacked and suddenly go up in flames. Then, just as suddenly, she becomes a living glass statue and finally dies as she crumbles away into dust. Meanwhile, not too far away, the guardian tranny that goes by the name of Poriyln gives the S&A Detective Agency a call. She wants to hire private investigator and ultimate ladies man, Shu, but instead gets his two young receptionists … one of which takes it upon herself to look into the dangerous matter herself. You see, Manami always wanted to be a PI and enjoys working for Shu but she wants a challenge and this assignment looks intriguing.
Manami drags the quiet Ayaka along on an assignment that turns out to be an exchange gone wrong as bullets fly and men start dying. Shu shows up to save the girls and, as it turns out, the exchange was for a beautiful young woman. However, a redheaded woman who with armed female hit squad is also after the mysterious young woman but Shu isn’t about to let his client down and manages to escape with the girl.
Oh, but this is just the beginning of the problems that Shu, his staff that also includes his brother and his friends (a pervy old doctor and his sexy young nurse) will face. The mystery girl has a secret and that is that she can turn to glass like the other “glass maidens” with the only difference being that whatever infected her is killing her slower than the other victims. Who is behind this experimental virus and what is its purpose? This is what makes up the mystery behind the “glass maidens.”
Meanwhile, we learn a little more about the people pursuing the mystery girl that Manami and Ayaka simply call Sara (since the girl doesn‘t even know her own name). You see, the redhead named Kyrie is working for a scientist named Kito who will stop at nothing to get his hands on Sara who holds the key to his research. He commands a little girl who happens to be Kito’s most valuable secret weapon in this secret mystery project. In order to complete his work he needs Sara for reasons I will not get into because half the fun of this mystery is in the why.
As Shu and his friends vow to protect Sara, they must also unravel the mystery of the “glass maidens” and the one who really gets the ball rolling is an attractive journalist named Sophie who Shu is, well, let’s just say their relationship is a very physical one. Sophie manages to dig up enough information that eventually leads her to a seemingly abandoned radioactive waste facility where she finds something that puts her life and that of the young Detective JJ in danger.
Meanwhile, Shu and his friends come face-to-face with Kito and Kyrie as a SWAT team is called in to not only find Sara but also find out what’s going on in the abandoned radioactive waste facility. Things get ugly when Manami and Ayaka are taken prisoner by Kyrie and her henchwomen as Shu stages a rescue that leads to a thrilling and action-packed finale.
There are gunfights aplenty in this series and humorous moments thanks to Manami whose insistence in playing a bigger role around the office and the fact that she drags around poor Ayaka in dangerous situations make up part of the comical moments in the series. The rest of the laughs come from the perverted doctor who enjoys dressing up his nurse in sexy costumes and includes Shu’s younger brother into his pervy photography.
Unfortunately, you will not come to love Shu who – as far as lead characters are concerned – is very unlikable. In fact, I would even go as far as saying I didn’t much care if anything happened to him. I like his mistreatment of Sara even less. Interestingly enough, though, their relationship makes for some interesting scenes. On top of that, the mystery behind the “glass maidens” is a good one that makes the fast-paced story work. Even the side-story where Manami looks into the disappearance of her Senpai is interesting.
While not quite perfect, Glass Maiden does not fail to be entertaining enough to keep you interested in its story and characters. In fact, despite the lack of a likeable male lead, you will find yourself absorbed by the mystery behind the “glass maidens” as well as come to like the fast-paced storytelling style that does a great job making you want to watch it all the way to the finale. The Complete Collection of Glass Maiden is one you will want to check out if you like an exciting mystery.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
A private investigator and his office of young assistants take on a most unusual case as they are hired to protect a beautiful young woman who just so happens to be turning into a woman made of glass. With Rags Town girls disappearing or dying in a strange fashion, the PI and his friends must unlock the mystery behind the girl they call Sara and a group that will stop at nothing to get their hands on her.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The animation in this series is actually quite gorgeous and the action scenes flow perfectly enough to the point that you’ll wish they released it on Blu-ray. Even the character design looks good.
AUDIO QUALITY: A-
You won’t find an English dub in this series but you can’t complain with a great Japanese voice cast like Yu Kobayashi or Shin-ichiro Miki that make Sara and Shu sound good. On top of that, the score by Ryo Sakai is superb. Closing theme song, “Que Sera Sera” is beautiful but we have become fans of the opening theme song, “Never Look Back” by Rie.
There isn’t much in terms of extras but you will find the clean opening and closing animation as well as a few trailers from Maiden Japan.
While the Complete Collection of Glass Maiden might not push the genre to new heights, it still manages to craft a worthwhile story that is certainly not short on surprises or excitement. Sure, the series doesn’t have a very likeable hero but it more than makes up for it with the mystery and action that work well for this series. Glass Maiden is certainly a series you should not miss either way.
Review copy provided by Maiden Japan