First Impressions: Glass Maiden

An action anime with a heart of glass.

Welcome to S&A.

This one just began on Anime Network On Demand last week, so I figured, what the hey, let’s check it out.

Glass maiden gives a whole new meaning to the term "skyclad."

Glass Maiden, otherwise known as Crystal Blaze (which is a totally awesome stripper name) opens with a hobo witnessing a young girl go up in a ball of flames in the middle of a field. Once the fire dies out all that remains is a glass statue of the girl, frozen in terror (and totally nude; yup, get ready for some Barbie-style fan service). The cops investigate the next day and take the hobo’s statement, but as they examine the glass gal she suddenly shatters into a billion microscopic pieces, at which point all I could think was, “Holy crap, watch out for your eyeballs! That s*** can hurt!!!” Flash forward to a couple of older guys sitting on a park bench and leering at a young-ish girl who is digging around in a public fountain. She fishes out a turtle and triumphantly puts it in her purse, then calls to check in with the S&A Detective Agency. In doing so we discover that she apparently works there and that her name is Manami. Another young-ish (like late teens, early twenties, perhaps?) girl, this one a brunette named Ayaka, takes the call while on her computer at their headquarters. After yelling to the “mini-boss” in the kitchen (a young-ish boy named Akira) that he needs to make enough dinner to feed Manami as well, Ayaka then fields a call from a male transvestite (instant upgrade! What have I always said? That the best anime has cross-dressing!) named Porilyn who requests a special job for which they will get paid quadruple.

Naked puppies lounging in the S&A office! Does this anime have no shame?

Akira emerges from the kitchen long enough to garner the details, then proceeds to call a long, long list of his brother’s “lady friends” in the hopes of finding him for the big-money job. Meanwhile Manami, who is bored with pet detective work, convinces Ayaka that they can handle this new bigger assignment, so they take off on Manami’s scooter in order to get the job done. Akira finally tracks down his older brother Shu via phone, who is lying naked in the bed of an equally naked lady. Akira tells Shu what’s happened and instructs him to “put on some pants.” Manami and Ayaka show up at what appears to be a desolate and ill-lit parking garage and request to pick up the “package” from the guys waiting there. As one of the guys begins to complain about the young kids sent to do this job, gunfire opens up on the scene. The two young S&A detectives cower in fear near a truck which soon has its rear doors shot open. Inside Ayaka spies a glass maiden similar to the statue seen at the opening of the episode.

Manami: "We've so got this!" Ayaka: "We so don't. Now tell me how microwave popcorn works again? Stupid bag won't open."

Before Manami can look up as well, the glass girl becomes a real (naked) girl before Ayaka’s eyes. Some sort of collar falls off of the now-real (and don’t forget naked!) girl’s neck. A bitchy looking redhead emerges with a gun and a cavalcade of other serious-looking females with guns, saying that she’s there to bring the girl back unharmed. Suddenly naked girl does some ninja-like moves and commandeers one of the guns while incapacitating some of the women holding her hostage. Just as bitchy redhead gets the drop on naked girl, Shu arrives in a car, tires squealing. Naked girl jumps in and takes the wheel while Shu yells at Ayaka and Manami to get the heck out of there. Cue car chase, then our heroes triumphantly shaking off the gals with guns and ending up in an alley. Naked girl is tired and quite possibly hurt from the excursion, but before Shu can get any information out of her Akira shows up with Porilyn in tow. When Shu tries to hand off the “package” to Porilyn, he’s informed that taking care of the “package” is now his responsibility until Porilyn can figure out what the next move should be. Manami and Ayaka then show up. Manami insists on giving Porilyn’s coat to naked girl, and Ayaka talks about how naked girl was initially made of glass. Porilyn smiles and says that they may have stumbled into something rather fortunate here. The end.

Shu & Akira: Brotherly love is always better when the brothers in question are cute.

Y’know, I rather liked this episode. The art was nice and detailed, and the music helped give the show a “gritty gangster spy story” vibe. Yup, there’s a whole heaping lot of fan service, but it was oddly tasteful. Naked girl never had any important bits showing thanks to careful arm placement (hence the Barbie-body fan service mentioned earlier: nudity but no genitalia) and you get to see Shu mostly naked as well as his female companion. Yay for equality! Even the old men leering at Manami’s butt were painted as gross perverts, which was refreshing after so many, “Oops, my panties are showing, tee-hee!” types of fan service in anime. I can already tell that Shu is the tsundere and Ayaka and Manami are the tsukkomi and boke, but despite the emergence of these anime stereotypes so soon into the series, I’m okay with it. I want to know what the deal is with the glass maidens, especially with our main gal, and I’m looking forward to the further adventures of the S&A Detective Agency.

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