Adulthood is a very difficult transition. You’re expected to be independent and more willing to make your own choices, and the world around you can become different and scary. If this was any other show, that would definitely be the case for the theme.
Side Note: For frame of reference, all images in this review are still images the show stopped on at various points in the series. These are the only ones I could find without going back to watch the series again.
The story of glasslip follows the lives of 5 youths: Touko, Yukinari, Hiro, Sachi, and Yanagi. Being childhood friends in the port town they live in, the five have grown up together and have spent a great deal of time being great friends without a single hitch in their relationship. One day, on a fireworks festival, a strange boy by the name of Kakeru appears and starts to mix himself in the strong bonds of the five friends, and everything starts to change. For worse.
The setting of a port town, the close knit friends being disrupted by a new addition to the group, and the romantic feelings with one another between the various members of the group, all of these factors made me think that this was a rip-off of the studio’s previous project, Nagi no Asukara. The two shows bear a lot of similarity in that regard and I felt that P.A. works was being a bit cheeky by creating something that was essentially the same as what their previous success was. But over time, Glasslip started to give a different impression that really made it its own. That impression was confusion.
Just…god, what a shit plot. What Glasslip accomplishes in its runtime is beyond what it could’ve even tried to be in the grand scheme of things. The perceived philosophical transition of growing up and how things in life change was just something the show couldn’t deliver. The show is structured in such an odd way where we see the six main characters just split off into three separate groups of two to deal with their own problems while not even speaking a word to any of the other groups. From the get-go, the show splits its main cast to the point that it’s basically several stories running alongside one another, a fact that doesn’t really work well cause at this point, we’re getting three incomplete stories instead of a singular one with a streamlined plot.
Because of this, there’s not really much explanation as to why any one character does a certain action or say a specific line. (I quote “You’re the reason why Yuki isn’t attractive anymore!” How? Fucking how?!) In one scene, you will get the perspective from one duo of characters, transition to the second group for a different scene, then transition to the third group for a literal 10 seconds before going back to the first group to continue their thread. It’s this form of trying to tell three separate stories that really leads to its downfall. (Aside for some dumb dialogue and lack of explanation for a core aspect of the show) In the end, it just didn’t work and was overall, just really confusing to watch.
The ending of Glasslip basically does nothing, since it feels like for the viewer, there was almost no point in watching the show given how hardly anything really remarkable changes from start to finish. The whole ending really just makes you ask ‘That’s it?’ and doesn’t do anything beyond that to help its case, making it feel like you’re really just wasting your time trying to make heads or tails of what you’ve watched.
+ Fantastic themes
– Cutaways for three separate stories
– What ending?
– Awful pacing
– Massive amounts of plot holes
Up first is our main female lead, Touko Fukami. As the lead female, well…I really don’t know what to say honestly. She’s an upbeat and cheery girl that wants to stay friends with the people that she’s known all her life, which is quite commendable seeing as how they are all third years and approaching adult life. Oh yeah, and she has the ability to see random “fragments of the future” through glass. What the fuck does that mean? Well, this aspect of her in addition to having met Kakeru are the defining moments of her character, which honestly doesn’t say very much. The whole “fragments of the future ” thing is a load of bull that not only gets shelved away for about half the series, but is never really explained in any entirety despite being brought up as a vital point of the plot. This aspect of seeing the future is what makes the show unique, but is handled so poorly that it actually serves as the series’s detriment because seriously, what the fuck does it mean? This leads to Touko’s character not really being defined, and makes her relationship with Kakeru feel forced without any actual reasons why these two fall in love in the first place.
Kakeru faces a similar problem to his main female counterpart as he himself is not explored…at all really. Over the course of the series, you do get to understand some aspects of him that I suppose counts as character development, but once again, it’s not really explained very deeply. In addition to that, Kakeru has the ability to “hear the fragments of the future”, which combined with Touko’s ability to “See” the fragments, leaves them being able to completely see and hear what these fragments are. This aspect of him really doesn’t add a whole lot because again, there really isn’t much explanation as to what these fragments really are. In addition to that, Kakeru seems to be proficient in golluming, where there are some scenes that he “talks to himself” with two other Kakerus, which leads me to believe that he’s actually clinically insane, and should really get some help.
The other four characters in the show, Yanagi, Yuki, Hiro, and Sachi are slightly minor in the grand scheme of things. They don’t get as much screentime as Kakeru and Touko get, and are really there just to serve as “other stories” with Yanagi and Yuki trying to chase their dreams and Hiro and Sachi delving into a developing romance. For some reason. They don’t get a whole lot of development with parts of their characters remain undefined since the show is adamant at not directly telling you why, making you have to infer and assume what is what. (For example, Yanagi and Yuki live in the same house, but aren’t siblings. I assume they’re stepsiblings, but…I’m really not sure.)
Overall, the cast of Glasslip wasn’t really anything to hit home about. They serve little purpose than to just go along for the ride and do the best they can since even the story doesn’t give enough of a damn to make them memorable. Because of this, in addition to the gaping plot holes, the characters just feel hollow begging for some form of development to make them actually halfway decent.
+/- “OK” main cast
– cardboard cutout characters
– Lack of use for supporting cast
Art and Sound:
Ok, let’s stop for a moment on why the show’s bad, and focus on what makes the show good: the art.
P.A. works has always done fantastic work when it comes to artwork, and this show is no pushover. The backgrounds are amazing, the lighting mood with the sun look absolutely gorgeous, and the characters themselves look very nice. Most of what P.A. works has done has shown itself to be well crafted in the art department, and an absolutely stunning visual experience to watch. Regardless though, there were a few quite noticeable flaws for this show.
The first of the two problems are the stills. Holy shit, why are there so many? In every episode, in various scenic (or not scenic) points in the show, the show will stop and show you a picture of a certain frame with a frosted border. Now, the stills themselves still look amazing. The only problem is how frequent they are and how often it disrupts the show. They inject these stills at random points in time and really just cuts into it and distorts the flow of the story by giving you a still frame for a good five to ten seconds of sitting on it. As a viewer, I didn’t like having these things pop up because they didn’t add anything more to the show, and they take away a surprisingly large amount of screentime.
The other problem is chibi art. While this happens uncommonly, the show does sport some chibi art by injecting a circle in any part of the screen and having a little chibi face of a certain character talk. Ordinarily, this would be fine in any comedy show, but since this wasn’t a comedy show, it really just didn’t fit, leading to an art clash.
Personally, I love the opening. Choucho’s voice is very recognizable, and it’s a song that I wholeheartedly would continue listening to on its own as it has a very memorable tune and it does leave a good impact. As for the ending, well, it’s ok, but I don’t like how it’s played. The singer for the ending is a bit too high for what I feel like the vocals should’ve been, and it just didn’t work in my opinion. The tone of it is also a major clash, so that’s a personal gripe of mine.
The show uses piano a lot, which I quite like for a mood aspect. Both the opening and ending for this anime are used as piano tracks for various points in the show, which actually, aesthetically, improves the overall feel of the show. In addition, (since Kakeru’s mom is a professional pianist), the show gives us some classical pieces that you can really just sit back and listen to because well, it’s classical music.
+ FANTASTIC VISUALS
+ Good opening
+/- Meh ending
– Clashing artsyles and stills
Personal Enjoyment: (Rewritten as of January 2019)
Man, fuck this show. I’m serious. This is by far one of the worst things I have ever watched, and that is saying a lot considering shit like ‘Helter Skelter’ and some of the worst animated pieces in recent years exist on my watched list. I watched this during a time where I was so enthralled by P.A. Works and still coming off the high of how good I thought Nagi no Asukara was back in 2014. And even then I knew that this was quite possibly one of the absolute worst things that I could’ve chosen to watch.
Nothing happens in this show. Fuckin’ NOTHING. For thirteen episodes, the plot meanders back and forth between three completely separate parties that don’t interact for 95% of the runtime, and nothing is explained. People have come up with theories and explanations saying “Actually, the plot is quite simple”. I call complete bullshit because if I have to read a goddamn third party as a sort of tutorial to understand and infer what the show was about in the first place through another person’s perspective, than the show failed at telling anything resembling a story. The shit about ‘sudden unexpected loneliness’ and ‘future fragments’ is all nonsense to make it seem like it has any semblance of philosophical worth, prancing around these meaningless terms only to drop them off at the last second because it was ‘all in their head’, or whatever.
Nothing in this show is genuinely interesting, and all conflict is either cliched or falls apart soon after trying to be established. I’m most definitely negatively biased against this show, but given the objective negative backlash that Glasslip has accrued, this is most definitely not worth the time to watch. Cute and beautiful aesthetics do not make the cut for the absolute abhorrent mess of a narrative this show attempts to convey, and anyone who tries to defend or pick apart pieces of its background or individual scenes is someone I find laughable at wasting their time trying to pick apart a piece of work that doesn’t deserve the spotlight it’s been given. My only recommendation is to look at a few of the show’s stills and listen to the OP. Beyond that, this is most definitely one of P.A. Works’s projects that’s worth staying away from.
Also I’m not kidding about the ‘stills’ thing and how often they do it. All of the images for this review are just stills the show had.