Glasslip – 13 (Fin)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Glasslip – 12

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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).

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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?

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Glasslip – 11

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—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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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Glasslip – 10

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Glasslip – 09

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Glasslip – 08

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This episode could best be summed up thus:

Touka be Glasstrippin’.

[drops mic]

sesameacrylic OUT. Have a good night! Drive safe!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Glasslip – 07

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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