...Have you ever wanted to watch something as unbearable as Lances n' Masques, that could also get really bizarre/absurd like Ranpo Kitan, but is as entertaining as watching literal paint drying? Glasslip is the show for you, then! Thank you, Junji Nishimira (the director
to blame for this show)!
I wonder what he's been doing since Glasslip--oh...
Glasslip is an original show brought to us by the studio P.A. Works whom also made Another's anime, another one I'm absolutely not that fond of. But they also did Uchouten Kazoku and Shirobako so... I guess the (incredibly) bad shows balance out with the really good ones they did.
This is about when I'd try to describe Glasslip, but I don't think I really have anything to add beyond what I started with. It's only after I've finished watching it that I actually wondered what genre Glasslip would even be considered.
Slice of life? Technically true, I suppose. But I love slice of life, and there are plenty of slice of life series where stuff does happen and there are actual characters that are either entertaining or neat to watch as they undergo their everyday lives. In Glasslip, there's none of that. No interesting or entertaining characters (chickens don't count) and nothing happens. Absolutely. Nothing. Happens.
"I'm sure people would want to watch unlikeable characters go on a hiking trip for an entire episode. I'm sure that's something they want. It's a sure thing."
I'd describe it more as a faux supernatural drama about teenage romance triangles (far worse than a mere triangle). Here's a group of unlikeable teenage characters with a deep and complicated web of romance (he likes her, she likes him, she likes him AND her and so forth) between them and also oh hey the main girl can see the future when she looks through glass MAYBE.
Anyways... I'll... I'll try to cover at the very least the main points before my brain erases all lasting traces of this show.
Okay, what do we even have to work with here?
The main character, Touko Fukami, is I guess the main character as out of this group of "friends", she gets the show's spotlight most of the time. She helps with her family in making glass and whenever the show isn't focusing on episode long hiking trips, teenage romance/drama, or Touko's "ability" to see into the future, it's her usually making glass. It's never really brought up in any major way or relevant to the actual story of the show beyond the fact she usually sees the "future" whenever she looks through glass.
Although, it also happens when she's not even looking at glass so... why even try to establish that it's related to the glass in the first place? I mean I know glass is in the title but I don't really understand why it has to be glass.
Kakeru Okikura otherwise known as "David" (Touko refers to him as this once in like the first episode and the others keep calling him this later on despite after having learned his actual name), is unfortunately the main male character. He moves to the town and then for some reason strikes up a conversation about how Touko can see the future and if she leaves her chickens outside, roaming packs of wild feral cats will murder them. As an outsider to Touko's group, he mostly makes zero attempts or efforts to try and befriend the others. Actually, he seemingly purposely antagonize everyone other than Touko (whom he seriously believes can see the future for some reason). He speaks in cryptic nonsense, sleeps outside in the woods or sometimes in a tent (for some reason), and apparently sees copies of himself and holds actual conversations with them (FOR SOME REASON).
WHILE ALSO HANGING OUT IN THE WOODS. No, it's fine. Touko's friends are the ones who overreacted, Kakeru is perfectly fine and well adjusted. IT'S FINE (especially since it's an actually recurring thing). Right in front of Touko, he at one point tries to have a running contest with the other guy who likes Touko, and whomever won would "win Touko"...? But he was actually not even going to run? I was kind of confused when the other characters actually treated him like he was insane after suggesting this and slapped him. I honestly thought they were going to go along with it.
Because after all, WHY DO THESE CHARACTERS DO ANY OF THESE THINGS THEY DO? IT'S INCOMPREHENSIBLE.
Sachi is absolutely the most infuriating of Touko's friends. She wears glasses, she reads books, and she's sickly. You could remove her entirely from the show and almost nothing would change. She's always either in the hospital or there are lines of dialogue being spoken about how she has to or should go to the hospital soon. She also confesses to her already current boyfriend and also Touko for some reason. I still don't really know what was up with that. It just happened so suddenly and then one minute later, we were back to future fragments, chickens, and David's mom playing the piano. Why have a character confess to two characters at once especially when there are NO memorable interactions between that character and the second character she's confessing to prior to this (or future interactions for that matter).
I honestly can't be asked to go in-depth about Sachi's boyfriend (that's his entire character) Hiro Shirosaki, or the step siblings Yukinari Imi and Yanagi Takayama. I just don't have the energy. Plus they were completely overshadowed by the other three, whom I hated or was constantly questioning their reasons for their actions.
Everything is pain.
Character stuff aside (there's certainly more I could have brought up), there's a lot more things in Glasslip that just... bothered me. Yes, the most obvious complaint, the show is slow and never isn't slow because nothing worthwhile of any note happens. Even now really, one of the only things that immediately comes to mind is when Kakeru ended up getting assaulted by both of the step siblings duo. Partially because I had to stifle a cheer because not only did something happen, but Kakeru is infuriating every moment he is on the screen or talking.
Still, despite how easy of a complaint it is, it definitely is worth noting that I don't think I've seen a show where even less happens than in Glasslip. But you also have to figure in Glasslip, they actually make an effort almost at the very end of the show to render all of the stuff they were establishing completely meaningless/pointless. Touko's mom outright says to her in the final episode something along the lines of: "Oh by the way, do you happen to see weird things when you look at bright lights and stuff? I sort of thought those were visions of the future when I saw them when I was younger, but the truth is it was all bullshit and in my mind."
I wish I was joking. They actually did that. I can't even imagine the audacity you'd have to have to pull that on the 13th and final episode of a show.
The fact that the future fragments were in fact literally nothing wasn't a surprise at all. But my prediction was that both Kakeru as well as Touko in fact had some sort of mental disease or disorder. It's weird to just be talking with your friend one moment and then the next, you see a random swarm of mind birds just suddenly fly and swarm at you.
It's not something that should have just been explained away in one line of dialogue by the mom. They... the whole seeing the future/supernatural stuff started in the very first episode!
"The show's over, and we didn't explain any of this. Oh well."
As frustrating as a show or a series just suddenly retcons or explains away a whole earlier portion (or in this case, the entire thing), there's still actually more that needs to be mentioned.
The dialogue, holy hell. Most of it is just a lot of yawn-inducing nothing, but some of it is just... really awful. Unsurprisingly, a decent amount of it is sprouted right from Kakeru's mouth. The whole future fragments thing is just a whole bunch of nonsense in the end yet he speaks as if he's so assured that Touko can really see the future. But it is certainly not limited to only Kakeru. There is one specific moment in Glasslip that's burned into my brain because it caught me so off guard it caused me to react physically.
Agonizingly Long and Insufferable Context Describing Actual Glasslip Scenes: So, in one episode following Kakeru goofing on the male of the step siblings duo, Yukinari is depressed. For even while he confessed to Touko, Touko continues to spend time with Kakeru who seems to do nothing but ramble cryptic nonsense and sleep outside in a tent. Therefore, Yukinari begins to start running every day to take his mind of it. The route he takes just happens to be along the window of the pool where Touko's sister and her friends swim at, and they ogle at Yukinari whenever he comes running by the building. But eventually, Yukinari just keeps on getting more and more depressed causing the girls concern for this COMPLETE STRANGER they're staring at. The way Yukinari looks prompts Touko's sister to run out of the building get on her bike, catch up to Yukinari, and then spout perhaps the most ridiculous line of Glasslip that's also come the closest to causing me to physically cringe at something out of an anime.
She yells at him, a probably genuinely depressed person (his knee was messed up due to an accident previously in his life or something yet he was still running every day), to "stay attractive."
...Please don't try and treat this as some sort of deep and emotional moment. Of all of the possible ways you could came up with to basically get across "please cheer up", they ended up going with "stay attractive." Then, later Yukinari's step-sister Yanagi approaches Kakeru and hits him with "IT'S YOUR FAULT MY STEP-BROTHER ISN'T ATTRACTIVE ANYMORE." Both of these happen in the same exact episode, and it's just too much. Please stop.
Oh yeah, and episode twelve very hurriedly introduces a parallel world/alternate universe/imaginary world that is summoned/Touko is sent to because she listens to Kakeru's mother play the piano? Like basically everybody was opposite to what they were really like, and Touko and Kakeru's positions were flipped. Touko was the outsider who moved to the town, and Kakeru was in the group instead of her. Pretty weird, and I don't really see why they felt the need to introduce such a major thing so close to the end. Especially when it didn't add anything, and also in the immediate next episode Touko's mom would literally debunk all of the stuff Touko was seeing in her mind as... well, nothing.
Saving the best for last, let's finally talk about the chickens and chicken metaphors. The chickens appear from the very first episode of Glasslip and throughout almost every single episode following. The chickens are in the op and the ed, Touko and her friends adopt the chickens in episode 1 only for them to later end up back at the school where they used to be, during more than a few conversations (especially between Touko and Kakeru), the camera will just switch to the chickens as they're talking repeatedly.
Of the group of chickens, there is a chicken named Jonathan and in one episode, he is shown distancing himself/moving away from the other chickens. Is Jonathan the Chicken supposed to represent Kakeru, who is this loner sort of guy who keeps his distance from Touko's group of friends? Mind you, all except one and Touko herself basically overly hate. Hell, by the end of the show, he is physically struck by at least two of them.
What if... what if in truth, they were chickens all along? Look at the first pictures again. There are five chickens, and there are five members of Touko's group including Touko herself. But there is also a hawk or an eagle in the sky. Is that Kakeru? After all, Touko's group only becomes unstable after Kakeru arrives, and the chickens are in fact running away.
She asks the chicken if he's Kakeru for some reason, and then exclaims the same chicken isn't Jonathan. What???
What about the clouds? What are the clouds supposed to represent?
This may all sound like extensive hyperbole, but with a show of so much "nothing", it seems this made people more actively search for some sort of meaning. Chicken metaphors. Perhaps while born out of a desire to try and justify having watched the entire thing, it doesn't entirely sound too implausible. Especially if Junji Nishimira truly does have a history of... using chickens. But I haven't watched True Tears so I can't verify that either way.
Yet as far as Glasslip goes, there's no way there isn't something going on with the chickens. I refuse to believe they would purposely include them as much as they did if their only purpose behind it was "okay, there's chickens." It was pretty funny at the beginning but by the end, it was baffling that it was still happening/happening even more.
I think Touko was sitting on those stairs drawing the chickens at least two or three times. Does she just really like drawing chickens or does she want to ditch the glass making and try to be an ornithologist?
Point is, even though that explanation made me go "oh, okay, I can kind of sort of see that", it does not excuse this show for anything at all. If you want to try and make like this complex and deep plot with metaphors while also including all of this supernatural stuff about seeing the future... I don't know, maybe chicken metaphors isn't the best route.
I'm just saying. I've never made a show, I've never animated, I've never written a script, I've never directed anything but... it feels like, I don't know, that they could have done better than this.
A straight up and unhesitating 1 out of 10.
P.A. Works doesn't make bad looking shows (I mean come on, did you see those chickens? BEST CHICKEN ANIMATION HAND DOWN). If they had focused on one thing, Glasslip could have maybe turned out better. Make an actual teenage drama/romance series, a supernatural series where a glassmaker sees the future through the glass she makes, or just an outright calm and slow moving slice of life show that's actually about making glass. Don't shove all three together and then just slam chicken metaphors on top of it as hard as you possibly can.
"WE NEED TEN MORE SHOTS OF THE CHICKENS. MORE OF THE CHICKENS, WE HAVE TO HAMMER THIS HOME. OUR ANIME HAS TO BECOME KNOWN AS THE ONE WITH THE CHICKENS."
While my attention did sort of perk up every single time the chickens came back, or like when they did the episode where it was just a hiking trip and then immediately with the next episode, it was back to the chickens, it's still not enough. Glasslip is very much a bad anime, and even worse than that, it falls far onto the worse side of "bad anime." It's not hilariously absurd like Ranpo Kitan, it's not a ridiculously over the top and gory horror like Another... and even in something like Wizard Barristers or Lances n' Masques, at least things happened in those shows.
In Glasslip, nothing happens. What little that does happen, they make a point to essentially undo or deem pointless/meaningless. Therefore, really the only ways I could see recommending Glasslip is morbid curiosity, severe masochism, or if you actually like P.A. Works' other shows and have decided you're going to watch even the... less than stellar ones they did.
For the record, out of the three, I'd argue Glasslip's Jonathan the Chicken would beat Wizard Barristers' perverted frog sidekick and Lance n' Masques' cute horse girl as far as "bad anime" mascots go. Everybody loves chickens.