There are some things that take you by surprise, Glass Maiden aka Crystal Blaze in Japan is definitely one of those series that does that. Ordinarily I get annoyed when an anime is so shameless in showing it’s influences, and in copying much from my favourite series City Hunter I’d expect to be scathing but they pulled it off spectacularly. Thanks to the joys of Crunchyroll and the auto next episode I watched all 12 episodes in a row, on a week night and felt the need to blog about it same night! If that isn’t the mark of a good series I don’t know what is.
Shu is a detective who drives a black Trans-am which immediately gets +100 rep for Smokey & the Bandit awesomeness. He tries to make everyone think he’s a badass as he goes around being a big time womaniser and shooting bad guys with a huge Magnum (another +100) of which he is a world class marksman it seems (+100). Of course, he’s really a bit of a softie just like Ryo from City Hunter only without the comical side to him which doesn’t lose him anything but means he loses out by a score of over nine thousand to two hundred. Sorry Shu and I’m being nice not subtracting for the two girls that he takes in and gives jobs in his detective agency (see told you he’s a big softie). While Shu is known as Boss, his younger brother Akira is nicknamed Little Boss which is a fun touch, especially as he hates the name.
The main story is that Shu is sent on a job to deliver cargo, which turns out to be a girl code named HW9 (Human Weapon 9) that is smuggled out of an underground lab. She has a normal temperature of 40 degrees and has been modified to be super human in terms of speed, strength, recovery powers and senses. Everything except stamina… Without medication every 5 hours she develops a huge fever and would have died but for the super awesome crazy doctor they call Doc, who develops a suppressant for her condition. Even with this though, under too much strain, she starts turning to glass. Indeed the 8 HW’s before her all turned to glass and shattered as do the ones after her. An interesting side effect is that whenever a man touches her, they get a shock, only girls can safely touch her. Anyway the bad guy wants his experiment back, the good guys want to protect her. City Hunter did the same story a number of times but this spreads out the body guard episode to 12 enjoyable episodes.
It should be noted that Doc and his assistant Monica are legendary. They are an amazing combination of comic relief while still being incredibly important to the story. Without Doc, the show would have struggled for sure. He is an unashamed perv in a slightly frightening way at the begining but any scene with him and Monica in is good, she is awesome herself as she loves to cosplay but seems remarkably adept at everything she cosplays as. In that she actually has real nursing and real commando skills and quite possibly others. The Doc is nothing short of a genius and his past when revealed actually provides reason for his skills, impressive.
Porilyn is another homage to City Hunter which had parts of Shinjuku under the control of a cross dressing man. Porilyn runs Ragstown and is good friends with Shu and is acting on behalf of a sponsor when he hires Shu to deliver HW9. Much as in CH, he ends up being useful information source although he also has his uses as a sniper and comic relief due to his cross dressing ways.
Sara, aka HW shows she has some fight but is limited by her condition. I like her and with more episodes she could really shine, also the any man that touches her gets a shock is played well throughout.
There are two young girls in the series that it could totally have done without. Manami is the loud obnoxious girl who talks big and fails utterly to back it up and if she wasn’t a girl would be in my top 3 anime characters I want to punch. The other girl Ayaka is quiet and I guess could be useful if the series was longer as she seems ok with a computer and isn’t a female Scrappy Doo like Manami but in this, all she contributes is to get the cops suspicious of them.
The Final Verdict
After all is said and done, I loved watching this show. It is clearly inspired by my favourite series but is done well enough that I don’t mind. I just wish they had learned from CH that you don’t need kids or teenagers to make a series but at least they managed to make sure the lead and a lot of the supporting cast were adults which is under utilized. While I wouldn’t call this a 5* series, it has good pacing, girls aside has an interesting cast (even the gruff old police chief and his rival in the SWAT team are handled really well and don’t seem like simple background characters. Overall a very solid 4* show. If they were to ditch the two girls and do another 100 episodes I’d be very happy indeed. Should it ever get released in the UK I will pick it up right away.
In the meantime, you can check it out at Crunchyroll.