Glasslip – 13 (Fin)

glas131

MAL has been decidedly hard on Glasslip, with its score plummeting to 6 as I write this, and now that the show is over, I’m starting to finally understand why: Glasslip is stingy. It shows you an awful lot of stuff, but most of it could be seen as idle, even lazy slice-of-life. What it doesn’t do is clearly lay out to you what’s going on beneath or parallel to these goings-on. To a casual viewer; especially one who is watching a lot of other, more direct stuff, seeking Glasslip’s subtle deeper meaning can feel like …work.

glas132

Further occluding that meaning is the fact we have three couplles of nearly equal stature, but for the fact the main one, that of Kakeru and Touka, includes all this “future fragments” business. At a crucial point in this finale, Touka’s mom confesses to seeing such fragments after flashes of light, when she was younger, and thought they were the future. This is actually a case of Glasslip being generous in its hintage as to what’s going on with Touka, and it’s surprisingly simple: her mom was merely growing up, just as Touka is.

glas133

Glasslip isn’t just about a “slice-of-life”, although it excels at that admirably. It’s about the transition from childhood (middle school) to adulthood (high school and beyond). Kakeru’s dad makes the point to Kakeru that it’s his life to live and his shots to call. Touka was seeing possible futures in her head out of weariness of the future and all the change it entailed that would disrupt the nice thing she’s had going thus far.

glas134

Shiny stuff just happened to stimulate the flashes, and during the fireworks at the beginning of the show when she and Kakeru share that moment wasn’t just pure chance, it was their wills at work: he wanted to see her and she him. Kakeru’s fears about hurting Touka with the fragments were just his fears about being with her hurting her in another form, and by the end it seems both of them are on the same page, not only about what the fragments could have meant and, obviously, how they feel about each other.

glas135

The fruits of the summer were as follows: Yuki and Yana started to run together, suggesting they may have become a couple in the background. Hiro and Sachi are still the cutest item in the world, with Hiro so excited to see her he gets up early for school. Touka walks to school alone, and Kakeru isn’t there when she turns her back, but she doesn’t seem troubled. The tent in his yard is gone, but he’ll be back to see those winter fireworks with her.

7_ses

 

Advertisements

Glasslip – 12

glas121

The snowy world where the combination of Kakeru’s mom playing the piano and the way the light passes through the glass vase isn’t the future, nor the past, but an entirely different world altogether; one in which Touko, not Kakeru, is new to the town and thus the odd one out as the fireworks near.

glas123

I must confess, I’m still not sure exactly what’s going on, but it has a nice dreamy “off-ness” to it, with Touko acting as if everything is perfectly normal, right up until it isn’t, at the Fireworks. There she’s aware that things are different; that she’s alone in this world. How and why are anyone’s guess. College professors will be talking about this episode for some time to come (no they won’t).

glas125

My intermittent confusion aside, I simply enjoyed the weird, alternate universe ride, with everyone pretty much acting the way they do in the world we’re familiar with—including the pairings of Yuki/Yana and Hiro/Sachi—and only Kakeru and Touko’s relationships swapped with the seasons, but both they and their families remain drawn together by fate.

glas1251

At one point before Kakeru told her it was all in her head, I entertained the possibility this alternate world was just as real and legitimate as the “normal” one, and that perhaps circumstances had fully unlocked Touka ‘s “ability”, to the point she could travel between different realities at will (or by accident).

glas126

Even if that’s not the case, this was quite a leap in prominence for what started out as a very modest supernatural element. We’ll see if it can be satisfactorily resolved in the finale. One thing’s for sure, the music was particularly powerful this week in establishing a very dreamlike, melancholy atmosphere. Will Glasslip take the rare step of ending unhappily?

8_ses

Glasslip – 11

gla111

—She’s kind and indecisive. She gets pushed around. She has trouble with it. And I’m making her even more confused. She made me realize I don’t know anything.
—I see. You like her.

gla113

That’s one hell of a great line by Kakeru, followed by a great response by his mom. The description of one’s love for someone can and has filled great libraries throughout the ages, but at the end of the day, love is just love. As the Oracle said, you just know when you’re in love, through and through. Kakeru’s heart knows, even if his busy brain hasn’t caught up.

gla112
Hina’s such a good sister. Lucky for her, Touka isn’t up to anything THAT bad.

First of all, this was a great episode for people who don’t like everyone being miserable and mad at each other for extended periods of time in these kind of shows, for every couple is where they should be: together, and more to the point enjoying being together, whether it’s Yuki going to see Yana dance, then running together, Sachi and Hiro going on a hike together, or Kakeru and Touka for nearly the whole episode.

gla114

After their kiss, which neither regrets, Kakeru wonders if he’s just trying to make himself think he likes Touka. All due respect, Dr. Kakeru, Ph.D., but you’re still in friggin’ high school. I think you’re overthinking things. But then again, when you’re seeing what may be flashes of possible futures, perhaps you can’t afford not to be serious.

gla115

When the two decide to watch his mom play piano with her family present, like when they spend the night in the art room, Kakeru and Touka are experimenting; attempting to experience conditions that might stimulate Touka’s ability. But when Touka’s parents (and Hina, who really went to bat for Touka the previous night) actually come, and mingle pleasantly with Kakeru’s, he also wonders that maybe that’s enough.

gla116

All these supernatural flashes and visions are really a more direct manifestation of the fear of loneliness Kakeru would have anyway. Life has given him a choice: his mom is willing to take him abroad with her, or he can go to school and get closer to Touka. But that choice is set aside for now, and they hold hands listening to his mom play, and a vision of snow falling on the town takes over. Is winter coming?

gla117

I don’t want to discount the awesomeness of the other two couples; while they got less time, they made the most of it. During a blissful mountaintop picnic, Sachi apologizes to Hiro, while Yuki and Yana are now much better, to the point Yana isn’t even upset when Yuki says he has to talk with Touko one more time. The couples are all together now, but whether they stay that way depends both on circumstances and the choices they’ll have to make once they run out of summer.

9_ses

Glasslip – 10

gs101

Last week started out with everyone separated; isolated in their own worlds, but Sachi’s gambit began the work of repairing the bonds that had been strained. She confesses not just to Hiro, but Touka as well. It’s very cute, and the good vibes carry over into this week, as Hina certainly notices a more cheerful Touka as she shows off the dress Yana gave her.

gs102

Like Sachi, Yana-chan also fixed things her way, with the intricate texts of the running route. Yuki returns this week, and this will be the first time they meet since realizing there might be something there between them. Their long-awaited reunion is strategically deferred for dramatic effect, as Yuki traces her steps a bit and even hides when she runs by.

gs103

Instead of interrupt her run, he decides to meet her at home with towel and water bottle in hand, just as she’s met him countless times before. It’s a beautifully understated reconciliation, but true to these two’s personalities, very little is said aside from salutations. He welcomes her back, she welcomes him back…and they mean it. They missed each other.

gs104

Kakeru misses Touka, who’s stayed away ever since her disturbing mind-trip. With all the making up going on (including that Hiro and Sachi), Kakeru and Touka, the central romantic pair, begin the episode far apart. Touka decides to end the Kakeru embargo, but he’s out hiking. His mom invites her to tea in Kakeru’s tent, and his dad joins them too.

gs105

In addition to showing her how he turned up so weird, Touka’s tea time with his folks also rekindles her desire to learn more about him, especially now that she knows how nomadic a life he’s led due to his mom’s profession. She also learns how his childhood was marked by bouts of “sudden, unexpected loneliness” as well-established circles of friends he entered into late got into “festival mode” and forgot about him.

gs106

The rift that had grown between Touka and Kakeru closes considerably, and like Hiro and Machi or Yuki and Yana, the two independently realize how fond they are of the other, and how much they miss each other. The one to finally reunite them is none other than Touka’s favorite schoolyard chicken, Jonathan, who leads Touka to outside the art room where Kakeru is waiting.

gs107

While she cant be blamed for being very freaked out by her visions of snow, Touka has found her courage, and the desire to learn more about them and Kakeru overrides her fear. She also confides in Kakeru that they kissed in in that snowy vision, which leads to them kissing in real life. While old bonds had frayed among the circle, new, deeper bonds have been forged in these last two episodes. And maybe, hopefully sometime soon, more answers will come.

8_ses

Glasslip – 09

glas91

This week starts out with everyone, either by choice or circumstance, isolated from the one they love. Yana from Yuki; Sachi from Hiro (and Hiro from Sachi); Kakeru from Touka. For a good chunk of the episode, everyone is alone, and they don’t seem too happy about it, whatever side of the relationships they happen to be on. Last week we tripped. This week we come down.

It’s the most extreme example yet of how all the events and emotions of the summer so far have conspired to pull the circle of friends apart. The episode had a monastic, cleansing feel to it, as if this was a time for solitude and reflection. During this time, many characters devise ways of reconnecting through various barriers or filters, meeting varying degrees of success.

glas93
Well THIS is a setback…

First up is Kakeru, who is stuck at home listening to his mom play that same damn song we’ve heard a million times. Enough already, play something else! Not that his folks are any more human when they’re trying to talk with him about his future, making sure to get in a dig about how they both knew exactly what they were going to do at his age.

Kakeru can’t hear the fragments anymore. Apparently unable to contact her in any other way, he comes by Touka’s house, and they talk between glass. What a difference a day makes…when the girl you like has a traumatic vision of you being a bit too forward for her taste. Not that it’s Kakeru’s fault that she saw that, but it clearly shook her, and she refuses to return the art room with him. She’s not ready.

glas94

Yuki escaped for track camp not just to get back into some kind of routine, but to get away from Touka, who he liked far too much for someone who didn’t like him back, and away from the awkwardness with Yana, as well. Yana treats his unannounced absence as a challenge, and runs his route everyday, sending him rather poetic texts about the weather and other observations.

At camp, Yuki is not necessarily improving, his knees hurt, and he’s still full of doubt. But as desperate and melancholy as these texts first seemed as Yana sent them, not expecting a reply and not getting one, Yuki breaks radio silence when Yana reports clear skies, while it’s dreary and raining where he is.

Yana isn’t even sure what she’s doing or why, and yet they make Yuki happy and relaxed. The juxtapositions during their beautiful phone conversation are very apropos: Yuki may be under the clouds, but Yana is a ray of sunshine peeking through via cell phone. Yuki says he’ll be home soon; possibly tomorrow. It would seem Yana got what she wanted…but what’s next for them?

glas92
She’s a girl with a plan.

Then, finally, there’s Sachi. I tend to save Sachi for last in my reviews…and that’s because she’s the best. Kakeru tried to connect with Touka through glass; Yana with Yuki through texts, and Sachi tries to connect with Hiro through literature. Specifically, she recommends to him a book on the shelf in his family’s cafe, and his disappointment gives way to a bemused curiosity.

Sachi asks not just Hiro, but also Touka, to join her at a Kirinkan, where they wait until after closing time for a hauntingly beautiful crescent moon under earthshine. Like Hiro, I don’t quite get it at first, but then Touka says “the moon is pretty” in a way that sounds like a confession of love, according to Soseki Natsume, the author Sachi had Hiro read.

glas95

Inviting them to this special place of hers, at this special time, when the moon was just so, having prepared Hiro literarily…Sachi’s was certainly the most impressively complex method of re-connecting with the ones she loved—lots of moving parts—but as Hiro puts it, “as long as there’s love”, her feelings were going to come through…and they did. They end up saying the very things she wanted to say to them. This is what happens when Sachi uses her extraordinary planning skills for good instead of evil.

8_ses

Glasslip – 08

glas81

This episode could best be summed up thus:

Touka be Glasstrippin’.

[drops mic]

sesameacrylic OUT. Have a good night! Drive safe!

glas82

Huh? Oh…alright, I’ll say a bit more. Here’s what we know: Touka’s hallucinations are getting longer and more intense, now replacing whole chunks of the real world with…something else entirely, including this week’s titular “snow.” They seem to get stronger when she’s around Kakeru—not exclusively so (she has a pretty strong one alone at the glass studio), but enough to make her afraid to get too close to her. Kakeru is also afraid, and with good cause: he likes Touka; I’m sure he doesn’t want to accidentally “break” her!

glas84

That’s about all we know. This episode doesn’t give us any answers, but only deepens and intensifies the mystery. It also has Touka and Kakeru’s “connection” arriving at the point where they can’t hide it from the others anymore, even if they’re worried they won’t be believed (and who can blame them? no one else can see or hear what they do). It’s notable that the episode closes with Kakeru placing his hands on a panicking Touka’s trembling shoulders (right after she envisioned him grabbing and kissing her). Despite the distinct possibility he’s causing this, Kakeru can’t leave her side; not while she’s like this.

glas85

That’s a tricky situation no matter how you slice it; one that either of them would probably happily trade for the more conventional relationship troubles their friends are presently embroiled in. Weakest of these is the Yana/Yuki/Hina triad, in which Touka’s sister continues to observe the other two in a way that borders on the voyeuristic. Back in the pool, poppet! We’re also treated to Yana walking around her house buck naked…for some reason, then she decides to run when and where Yuki ran. Alright, then!

glas83

Yuki, meanwhile, blew town for a late summer track camp, where he fits back in with his old teammates right up until the point they all breeze past him. It could be the case that even taking things nice and slow won’t give Yuki back what he lost, athletically speaking. Or is his heartache causing him to unconsciously loaf? I don’t know, but he’s technically the first member of the circle of friends to have left town (though he’ll probably return) and he didn’t tell anyone (not even Yana) that he was going. Yeesh.

glas86

Touka and Kakeru are getting more interesting as a couple thanks to all the mysterious doins-a-transpirin’, but on the other side of town, our favorite couple doesn’t need any fancypants supernatural whatsit to be compelling. Sachi who is imperfect and wonderful, feels bad about using Hiro, and lonely that he doesn’t show on her last day at the hospital. Momo says Hi, ignorant as she is of their spat (her poor sad car’s deterioration proceeds apace). I love how devastated both Sachi and Hiro are; this is their first time, after all, and it shows. I hope they can make up, or else we’re through, Glasslip.

glas87

Still, while what Sachi did was wrong, and she knows it, I’m not sure she wouldn’t do it all over again if given the chance. Even if she regrets it (and I’m sure she does, considering her reaction to Hiro’s reaction), a part of her also must regret not being able to follow through on her plan to break up Kakeru’s date. Touka’s hallucinations are strange, but they’re also dark. Perhaps Sachi somehow senses that darkness in Kakeru, and her happiness with Hiro took a backseat to her desire to protect Touka. Judging from what I’ve seen, I can’t rule out her being in the right: maybe Kakeru is dangerous.

8_ses

 

Glasslip – 07

glas71

This week Glasslip really showed us something. It showed it could capitalize on built-up inertia to progress relationships along without making too big a deal about it. It showed it was just as ready and able to jeopardize those same budding relationships at the turn of a hat.

glas72

It also notably delved further into the mixed-up, supernatural phenomena Kakeru and Touko are experiencing, as well as showing us Kakeru has two other Kakerus talking to him inside his head. Hell, it wouldn’t be the first time a couple met through mutual psychoses.

glas73

The episode picks up right where it left off, with Touko and Kakeru having a moment, and the camera nicely reveals they’re holding hands. Touko wants to let it ride, and comes up with the idea to go to the beach with him as soon as possible. She’s also calling him by his first name without hesitation, another subtle but effective sign this is going somewhere.

glas74

Speaking of not hesitating, Sachi is similarly forthright when her mom asks who Hiro is. Duh, he’s her boyfriend…just like that. My tear ducts activated at that. No beating around the bush…likely because there isn’t time. Watching their tender romance bloom in what is increasingly looking like the twilight of her life is a beautiful as it is heartbreaking.

glas75

Even worse is how it all comes crashing to earth when Hiro discovers Sachi used him to try to undermine Kakeru, motivated purely by hate. Sachi isn’t wrong that Kakeru showing up has left the group scattered, but I think that was bound to happen anyway, seeing as how Yuki would still like Touko even if Kakeru weren’t around.

glas76

Sachi looked ashamed as she confessed this to Hiro, but she also looked desperate; the opportunity presented itself, and she really didn’t know what else to do. Again, time seems to be a factor for her, which is what makes a disappointed Hiro abruptly leaving her hospital room all the more heartrending.

glas77

Ah, but I haven’t even gotten to Yana and Yuki yet! This episode was packed with developments. Yana seems relatively happy that Touko and Kakeru are getting on so well, but the fact remains that Yuki is an emotional mess. He (probably wisely) puts his energy into rehabilitation, and that’s when we get an unexpected taste of Hina’s world.

glas78

“Attractive” and “unattractive” are used in several different ways. Hina’s peers just think Yuki is the dreamiest. Touko concurs. But the part of him that’s become “unattractive” is the think both Yana and Sachi blame Kakeru for. Hina chases down Yuki on her bike, pleading with him to stay “attractive.” At first I thought that meant “wait for me to get older ‘cuz I like you”, but that might not be it.

glas79

The fact she also roots for Yana complicates matters. On that storyline we’re eager for more info. Ditto Touko’s ability, which is showing her such strange things it may not be mere future flashes after all. She sees Kakeru fall…could that be one of the three of him? When Yana gives a back-handed compliment, crows pour out of her shadow. Crows! This is strange but very intriguing stuff.

9_ses

Glasslip – 06

glas61

The teen drama is kicking into overdrive on Glasslip, with hardly a moment of interaction between two of the friends that isn’t awkward or discordant. Only Hiro and Machi are above the fray, but they seem to be unwittingly isolating themselves from it. While the methods vary from person to person, the fact remains: the circle is tearing itself apart.

glas62

Of course, making omelettes requires the breakage of some eggs, and if these six people are to enter adulthood as “complete selves”, perhaps drifting apart either peacefully or fitfully, is simply a part of that process. In their first confrontation that ends in the punch that gives this ep its title, Yuki and Kakeru both say they can’t help how they’re acting, it’s just the way they are.

glas63

Of course, because of who’s fallen for whom, some omelettes will land back in the pan when flipped, and others will land to the floor. Kakeru and Yuki both like Touko, but Touko can only choose one of them, while Yana loses either way because she likes Yuki. It’s the kind of predicament that can lead young people to make rash choices.

glas64

At points in the episode both Touko and Kakeru remark on how they basically may be awful people, but I don’t think they’re being fair to themselves. They are who they are, and they like each other; one has to assign an order of precedence, and in the case of finding someone who makes you feel complete and with whom you share future flashes, well…in my book that’s pretty important.

glas65

As I said, the drama and intrigue was laid on thick this week, with heated phone calls and even a duel challenge. But as intense as all this feels to its participants, the episode keeps everything in perspective by making the indifferent surroundings of the town as conspicuous as ever; essentially showing life going on as it always has and always will. No amount of omelette-making can mar its serene constancy.

8_ses

Glasslip – 05

glas401

When Touko just happened to be passing by right as Kakeru caught Yanagi from falling, it had the potential to balloon into a long-standing, unpleasant misunderstanding; in other words, like pissing in my Cheerios. Reassuringly, Glasslip quickly and decisively cleared up that misunderstanding and moved on.

glas402

It did that through several means: Kakeru inviting Touko for dinner (sure, it’s his dad’s invitation, but something tells me it was for the couple’s benefit); Kakeru explaining exactly what happened with Yanagi (which makes perfect sense); and Yana telling him to tell Touko she’s going to confess to Yuki (something she couldn’t tell Touka herself).

glas403

There’s also the little matter of Kakeru showing Touko a special sun-dappled sylvan glade where they both lie in the grass on their backs. If a girl doesn’t interest you, you wouldn’t bring them to such a place. Touka, now very self-conscious about her feelings about him, resists the temptation to hold his hand, even though he’d most likely let her.

glas404

The sudden intimacy spooks Touko, who doesn’t even get to tell him about her latest “glasslip,” which again happens while she’s doing delicate glasswork (Be careful, girl!). Still, it’s good to see the right pairs of people together in this episode, like Hiro and Sachi, who continue their nice reading sessions.

glas405

Most impressive this week, though, was Yanagi’s courageous and straightforward confession to Yuki, which happens when he runs across the bridge where she’s waiting for him. Not only does Yanagi deliver the confession fully expecting him to reject her, but she even says she’d lose some respect for him if he gave up on Touko so quickly…even though that’s what she wants!

glas406

Rough roads still lie ahead, but if Yana indeed plans on moving forward from this point on, this is good progress, and she can now say she gave it a try. Yana and Yuki are now fully aware that both of them like someone who likes someone else, and whom they may have no shot at. But at present, Yana’s chances with Yuki are better than Yuki’s chances with Touko.

7_ses

Glasslip – 04

glas301

I was taken by how much sheer, serene naturalism lived this episode, one somewhat silly coincidence aside (though even nature can be full of surprises. We’re treated to shot after leisurely, painterly shot of this lazy, ordinary, yet gorgeous summer day, suffused with both idle and serious chatter, and with both orchestral music and pure silence.

glas302

Last week’s premonition of potential doom had us in a hurry to see them come to fruition, and the flashes Kakeru and Touko have early in the episode only reinforced that sense of anticipation. But this episode wasn’t going to play it that way. For now those flashes of the future remain there; not even the ones who sensed them knowing when they’ll come.

glas303

The episode is a patchwork of vignettes, where everyone is in their little world within the day (fittingly, Sachi is reading Saint-Exupéry, who knows a thing or two about little worlds). Touka starts out in her element, in the glass studio with her dad, but he warns her almost knowingly, to focus; glass-blowing can be hazardous work. But how can she focus when she just heard words from the future?

glas304

It’s not Sachi but Yana at the hospital, being treated for an ankle sprain that limits her normally excellent mobility. Yuki is there for her to literally lean on, but only in his capacity as step-brother (his piggyback fake-out is pretty epic). Later, in one of my many favorite little scenes this week, Yana grabs an ice cream out of the freezer, takes a load off, and simply enjoys.

glas305

The Summer heat and light outside do not penetrate the cool dark room, but she’s cozy and at peace. When Touko invites her out, she’s hobbling, both physically and emotionally. The two old friends reassure one another and laugh together, but those motions are punctuated by small, slightly pained looks from Yana. It may not be Touko’s fault, but she remains an obstacle to Yana’s happiness, at least where Yuki’s concerned.

glas306

Yuki for his part, shows no signs of getting over Touko. It’s not as if a switch went off after she rejected him that made him stop liking her. He follows her to the schoolyard where she’s back to drawing her chickens (again, in her element), where she betrays her feelings when she mistakes him for Kakeru behind her. During the palpable awkwardness that ensues, Touka assures him he’s not a stranger, something he’d just said to Yana after helping her walk.

glas307

While walking behind her in the school, his eyes wander to various parts of Touka; her hair clip, her arm, the bottom of her flowing hair…it’s all too much for Yuki, who “can’t be in a room with her alone,” then vents his frustration at her “waiting” for Kakeru before running off, knowing full well he’s said too much. He may not be a stranger, but he’s perilously close to becoming someone who can’t be just friends with Touka anymore.

glas308

The only somewhat problematic vignette we have this week is when the summer afternoon storm brews. Yana is stranded outside going nowhere fast with her ankle, and it’s Kakeru—not Yuki who just ran away—who happens to emerge from his own little world (alone in the woods)—and “rescues” her with his jacket and some shelter. They introduce one another, and Kakeru can’t help but analyze the symbols in her name in a complimentary fashion.

glas309

Then that stumble happens and he catches her right as Touka rounds the corner to see it, just minutes after realizing she likes Kakeru. After an episode that felt so hands-off to that point, this feels jarringly calculated; both Yana and Kakeru bumping into each other and Touka seeing them in that position. At least the rains that came and went were beautifully depicted.

glas310

That brings us to the best part of the episode: some sweet, demure Hiro+Sacchan action! Hiro stops by to return a book she lent him, she invites him in, and they simply hang out together in her room, reading quietly and drinking tea. It’s heaven. Like Yuki, Hiro is finding it increasingly hard to control his feelings for the girl he likes, but Hiro’s able to settle down after some initial nervousness.

glas311

He even musters the courage asks her out to the movies, and she agrees, but of course he falls asleep in the theater, likely due to sleeplessness in anticipation of the date. I was particularly invested in/moved by all their scenes together possibly because I’m aware of the cloud that still hangs over Sachi. But if there’s one thing I learned from Golden Time, it’s to savor the good times while they last. Carpe æstas.

8_ses

Glasslip – 03

glas31

Despite the tumult teeming just below the surface of Touko, Yana and Yuki’s feelings, they can still go out and have fun on a summer hiking trip and cookout, owing in part to the fact they’re very much still treasured friends to one another, but also to the “anchors” of their group not involved in the triangle: Hiro and Sachi.

glas32

While the trip has Yana confronting Touko about the confession she witnessed, and Touko formally rejecting Yuki, Hiro and Sachi are the small warm fire in the middle, drawing everyone back together. Of course, Hiro is also trying to eventually confess to Sachi—and comes tantalizingly close. But even if he comes up a bit short, their interactions throughout the episode were very soothing.

glas33

Unfortunately for Hiro, Sachi and his entire day with her was also replete with death flags, things you don’t usually pay that much attention to in breezy slice-of-lifes, but this is a slice-of-life with a clairvoyant. Earlier in the episode Touko lamented to Okikura that she saw a vision of Yana crying in the future, and assumed it was because of her.

glas34

It could be that Yana was crying for a different reason altogether. Even if Sachi gets down the hill in Momo’s banged-up car perfectly safely, her unspecified health condition still looms over her head, and a new vision from Touko suggests that condition could worsen, making Sachi’s gifting of a book to Hiro and her text to Touko that much more ominous.

glas35

Touko tells Yana she’s committed to supporting her, and Yana vows not to give up on Yuki. Yuki also takes the rejection well, considering. Things aren’t exactly peachy for all, but it could be worse. Losing the group’s anchor in Sachi (if that’s where the show decides to go), would be far worse than any love triangle fallout.

8_ses

Stray Observations:

  • After telling her parents not to go in the studio for some made-up reason, we half-expected them to mutter “She brought a boy over” in unison a beat after she left.
  • Okikura visiting Touko’s glass studio and watching her work reminded me of the scene in Whisper of the Heart where Shizuku watches Seiji working on a violin. Nothing like sitting back and admiring the girl or guy you like working hard at his or her craft!
  • Bringing a hair dryer to a hiking trip? Yikes.
  • Momo’s car is getting more and more beat-up, but I hope the the show will turn what’s been played up for comedy into a serious accident. I’ll admit, it put out some weird vibes.
  • Yuki just HAD to stumble upon the two girls in his triangle chillin’ in their skivvies, didn’t he? And yea, the anime gods were propitiated.

Glasslip – 02

glas21

We can understand Okikura Kakeru being drawn to Fukami Touko and vice versa. They share the ability to glimpse “fragments of the future”, and their proximity intensifies that ability. The episode also neatly folds in Touko’s glass-blowing background, as bits of glass help her see those fragments more clearly. But they’ve never been as vivid as they’ve been when around Kakeru, and now they can hear voices from the future too.

glas22

But while Kakeru and Touko makes sense so far as a potential romantic pair, none of the others do, or rather, none of the others really interest us. Yukinari’s one-sided love of Touko seems like nothing more than a calculated complication. We don’t know Yuki well enough to know or care what she truly sees in her, beyond the fact she’s cute and they’ve been friends a long time in a group with an unwritten “no dating” rule.

glas23

Touko lifts that role on a spur of the moment beause she knows nothing of Yuki’s feelings for her, but she does know about Yana’s feelings for him. And Yana’s one-sided feelings for Yuki feel like a calculation too, a conflict that hasn’t earned our interest. Rushed into a decision by the sudden appearance of Kakeru, Yuki has no choice but to confess to Touko, which happens right when Yana was going to confess to him.

glas24

It’s all too…deliberate. I don’t really mind Hiro planning to court Sachi, but I can hardly say I’m emotionally invested. At least they have a clear route to each other, unless Sachi likes Yuki or grows to like Kakeru. But this early in the show, the only two people who make sense as a couple so far are Kakeru and Touko. I thought we saw too little of them together, and hope to see them exploring their weird ability and less love polygon drama moving forward.

7_ses

Glasslip – 01

glas11

Welcome to the Summer 2014 season! I’m starting things off by plunging right into the vat of glowing hot molten glass that is P.A. Works’ Glasslip. As the “slice-of-life” genre label indicates, this opening episode is basically a bunch of stuff that happens, specifically what would happen any given summer day in a quiet, peaceful port town. It starts with a festival and fireworks, and ends in a cafe with…different fireworks. And it’s all sumptuously presented.

With slice-of-life there’ usually going to be some stuff that happens that’s more important than other stuff, and Glasslip is no exception. One notable event that breaks up the otherwise ordinary existence of our female include the female lead Fukami Touko (newcomer Fukagawa Seria) meeting a new transfer student Okikura Kakeru (Ohsaka Ryouta) who looks and acts a lot like Tsumugu in Nagi no Asukara (a show I watched along with Preston and also enjoyed quite a bit).

glas12

Touko and Kakeru notice each other at the festival during the actual fireworks, but don’t actually meet until Kakeru encounters Touko drawing chickens (her family runs a glass-blowing studio, and she likens his pose to that of David, so she’s artistically inclined), and they get into a mild philosophical debate about what’s best for said chickens. Free range is well and good, until predators arrive; his comments are enough to spook her into rounding up the birds and distributing them among the houses of her friends.

This action is as good a way as any to map out the ensemble and give us a glimpse of their personalities. After all, you never truly know someone unless they’ve taken care of a chicken, right? The rest of the ensemble consists of Imi Yukinari (who likes Touko); the pretty somewhat uptight Takayama Yanagi (who is annoyed that Yuki likes Touko); Nagamiya Sachi (frail but serene), and Shirosaki Hiro (who likes Sachi and has an older sister Momo who is a newly-licensed but not altogether good driver). Touko also has a little sister, Hina.

glas13

That’s a lot of cast right out of the gate, but their introduction was organic and by the end we generally knew who everyone was; hardly a certainty with some anime! The core five of Touko, Yuki, Sachi, Hiro, and Yanagi are all longtime friends, but seniors in high school who are become very aware of the very real possibility this could be their last year together as a group. In particular, some members of the group who’ve sat on their hands for too long may be thinking about making their move.

The element that threatens to upset the delicate balance of the quintet before it even has a chance to self-destruct is Kakeru, who has a knack for showing up around the places Touko and her friends are (though it’s a small town). When Touko introduces him, their collective reaction edges on hostility. Like Nagi’s Tsumugu, he’s the catalyst that will have a crucial role in shaping the final months the friends have with one another.

glas14

Interestingly, a show with “glass” in the name and glass-blowing integral to a main character’s life, there was precious little glass-blowing, but that’s really okay. What we did see was nicely-animated, and it looked to me that Touko knew what she was doing, even if she didn’t seem overtly passionate about it. I found that refreshing too, actually: while more enthusiastic than the others, Touko wasn’t going off about glass every waking second. But like Kakeru, we’ve only scratched the surface of who she is.

As is expected of P.A. Works, Glasslip is a gorgeously wrought, and the orchestral score combined with the lushly-detailed town buzzing with activity gave the first episode a very classy, Ghibli-like sheen. Not quite sure what was going on with the visual and audio distortions during some of those fireworks…but I’m sure we’ll find out soon! Overall, I like what I see, and will definitely keep watching.

7_ses

Car Cameos: