By day nine year old Akira Ijuyin is a normal student at Clamp School, but at night he becomes the mysterious thief 20 Masks. His thefts are usually subject to the whims of his two stepmothers, which Akira pulls off without any true objections or interactions. One night Akira ducks into the room of five year old Utako Ōkawa in an attempt to hide from the police.
Although the pair shares a four year age difference, they find themselves quickly falling for each other even as Akira finds himself being increasingly more involved with thefts, some of which include Utako’s family. This as well as several other obstacles give the young couple’s budding relationship a fair amount of difficulty.
It’s cute and funny; the kawaii factor is brought up from the main couple and the comedic relief comes mainly from the interaction between Akira’s uncle and Kobayashi, who wants to catch the 9-year-old Tuxedo Kamen, who fights to … please his two mothers. Yes, two and identical. And although they are adults, they rarely behave like ones. It’s their whims that put Akira in difficult position and instead of taking care of their son, it’s their son who takes care of them. But they sure add a pleasant, crazy flavor in the series.
You must have understood till this point that the strong card of Man of Many Faces is the characters- the story isn’t anything extraordinary. And one more thing that kept me reading were the ‘love lectures’, which despite the fact that they appear too serious and mature to come out of a kid’s mouth and especially a kindergarten pupil, they sure stayed with me. In particular the ‘love doesn’t stay the same’ speech. It had surprised me how true that is and how romantic the next line was: ‘it will grow deeper’. I couldn’t stop smiling. It may seem utopic, yet it’s an admiring goal and there are couples that have achieved that goal.
What annoyed me was the marriage of Utako and Akira at the age of 22… Ok, at least they finished high school first. I am not sure if what freaks me out more is that they hadn’t had another relationship in their lives, they married their firsts after over 10 years of relationship that began in primary or Utako’s dream of becoming the perfect wife… I know that in Japan women still have that dream and manga are simply fantasy, but that doesn’t make me cringe less. What has female emancipation done for women in Japan??? Nothing has been learned? Western ideas haven’t changed the way people think?
The mystery: We never get any explanation on why their father left (but he gets one appearance and so we know he’s alive) or on the nature of their family, hence if Akira’s parents were married or simply lived together, or if between the ‘moms’ there are more things going on and Akira’s father was a donator.