Glasslip is not bad; it’s just highly misunderstood. Now here’s 1300 words to prove that fact.
So what is Glasslip about?
It’s about the growth of a group of friends entering their third year of high school, who learn more about themselves and each other through love and relationships. Put simply, this is all that Glasslip is about.
What makes things apparently confusing for many people is that this isn’t something that we are exactly told. From the beginning, we are only shown the lives of 6 high school students during the summer of their third year living their own sweet romances while the love triangles multiply into quadrangles and I-Don’t-even-know-anymore.
Thankfully though, we have symbolism and strong characters to tell us what is actually going on in the story. Using foreshadowing techniques, as well as strong symbolic features and a few comments here and there, Glasslip gives us all the information we need to make out the plot, and all we have to do is to find it. The more clues we find over the course of the show, the higher the reward is at the end of the anime, and the better the final episode becomes. This turns Glasslip into a fun, intellectual puzzle full of character development, giving us more clues as we move along each episode.
The main flaw in Glasslip’s storyline revolves around its pacing. Unfortunately, it seems as though this anime remains a slow slice of life; it may not be slower than Nagi no Asukara which took 5 episodes to go through a single ceremony, but it remains slow none the less, leaving those people who don’t like slow pacing to just hate their own lives while watching it. Had this show been a 2-hour long movie, its format probably would have been more favourable to its plot, giving the show many more fans in the end. The 13-episode format worked great in the sense that every episode gave us little extra bits of information for us to work out the plot, but overall most episodes consisted in only giving hints as to the final episode and didn’t amount to much except for those clues. That leaves liking this show a lot more on the subjective side of things, and continues to move my point along that this show is clearly not for everyone.
Glasslip is blamed for a lot of things; being confusing, not making any sense… On those two particular points, I facepalm for Nishimura Junji’s sake. Does Glasslip really make no sense? If you look just a bit closer and know just a bit more about life, you’ll be able to see that Glasslip actually does make sense. A lot. The character development proves it without any troubles.
Over the course of the show, characters change, grow and develop in ways that tend to change everyone in real life. Through love and relationships, many people discover themselves and grow, usually becoming much stronger after break-ups and fights with friends. Imagine if the world was one where everyone takes things in a very mature manner and learns from past mistakes… And you’ve got the ending of Glasslip. The anime features a very specific part of character development for all characters in the story.
*Spoilers to come*
The one best example I can make features Touko, the main character in this story. Recall the first episode where she believed that everyone could be happy and that they would stay friends forever; where she believed that all happy things for her meant that everyone would also be happy… In the first episode, Touko was a naive idealist wishing for everyone’s happiness without realizing that she caused a lot of ripples around her. Kakeru’s arrival and Yuki’s confession however destroyed much of her vision of the world, leaving her indecisive, unsure of what she should do as she began to realize that she was hurting everyone around her. By the end, she eventually comes to the agreement that Kakeru must leave because she has finally learned to be aware of her surroundings; she cannot go out with Kakeru if she wants everyone to be happy, and since Touko favours the happiness of others over her own, they both agree that they cannot be together and separate.
This kind of growth is actually much more likely to happen in real life than other kinds featuring big events such as in NagiAsu when everyone got separated. For many people, something as simple as a confession can change the way to view life. This anime uses friendship relations as a way to get Touko to grow, since her character cherishes deeply those bonds, but this kind of epiphany could happen to anyone. What is fun about Glasslip however is that not only Touko, but all other characters grow and mature as well in their own ways. We notice this at the end through the relationships they decide to form with the person they like, and how differently everyone has dealt with the situation at hand.
So how was the animation? Uhhh, flawless? What else can I say?
The show’s visuals were probably among the prettiest out there, and portrayed just the right amount of feels when necessary.
I did find a few weird things in the show though, notably the failure at cutting corners properly (but I’ve found that in NagiAsu as well, it seems that it’s a flaw shared by many P.A. Works productions) and the weird glossing over of certain important scenes, as though the show wanted to highlight the fact that they were important scenes. Maybe I’m just not good enough at animation features, but it seemed pretty useless in my head to have those random still shots here and there. Other than that, good techniques were used pretty much all the time, and I was left almost entirely satisfied of the animation.
The soundtrack can be given pretty much the same review, with the only change being that I didn’t find any weird things in it. The classical tracks gave many, many hints to the ongoing plot and character development, helped give the show a certain feeling, and truly got me immersed into the story completely. I probably wouldn’t listen to it in my free time, but for a show like Glasslip it served its purpose wonderfully.
‘Nuff said; the technicalities in this show were just plain good.
So far, Glasslip is one of the most thorough anime I’ve watched. It seems as though every single scene, every single animation sequence was planned carefully in order to give the show a certain feeling. The anime contained many different levels of depth, the characters were extremely well-crafted and the relationship between each of them was carefully considered. I feel as though countless hours were put into making this show what it is, making it highly different from, let’s say, a regular school life series in which “fluff” needs to be added everywhere. Unfortunately, I am sad to say that this show will probably be misunderstood by most as “confusing, slow and boring,” as it has already been by pretty much everyone except me. This show is too well-done and intellectual; people who can’t read in-between the lines will never be able to enjoy this show, and the small flaws in pacing that Glasslip showed so far will prevent many from being able to withstand watching the whole series. In a world where people tend to enjoy action-packed comedy with half-assed stories, there is little room for a Slice of Life which has been so carefully crafted, simply because most people won’t notice the craft and will expect cool things to happen (Yes, I’m talking about most fans of other P.A. Works productions as well.)
Despite this, I will still try to get everyone to watch this show – hopefully someone will enjoy it. Glasslip is certainly an extremely intellectual and high-quality anime, probably the best of the season in those terms; now, is it entertaining? If you like the genre, certainly. But it is a lot less “rated E for everyone” than any other P.A. Works show so far, which is probably the reason why everyone bashes it so hard. Despite this, I still wish for everyone who likes character development to give the show a try; because if you like it, you will like it a lot.