When I think of Glasslip, the show reminds me of a candle melting. At first, the fire shines strong and bright. Then, as time goes on, it slowly burns itself out and eventually into ashes. Honestly, Glasslip isn’t too different. It’s a show that started off with a decent premise but slowly burn itself out. Glasslip doesn’t induce creative drama, laudable realism, or a genuine slice of life. Rather, it’s an empty series that is misguided by its story and characters that almost makes us feel sorry for what it created. Well, almost.
Produced by P.A Works with director Junji Nishimura involved, it’s no surprise that the show share some similar gimmicks with True Tears. The series is a standalone running 1-cour (13 episodes) that isn’t based off of any source material. Yet, this show exists as a confusion. And by that, I mean the show doesn’t really know what to do with itself. For a show that starts off with an intriguing premise, it quickly loses its way by turning it into some teenage abominable drama that is unable to capitalize on any of its composed ideas.
The show starts off simple at first with a small cast of main characters - Touko, Hiro, Sachi, Yanagi, Yukinari, and Kakeru. Five of them are already friends who have known each other for some time. The one oddball out would be Kakeru, a transfer student. The catch is that he didn’t come to town to study or follow a dream. Rather, he came with the reasoning that something in the future ties him together with Touko. As strange as it sounds, Glasslip essentially tries to adapt with an idea relating to the of future. The early episodes heavily implies that Touko is actually able to see into the future through pieces of glass. I suppose this is where the title of the show comes from as Touko has this supernatural-like ability. However, the show neglects most of this concept. Instead, Touko focuses more on her own interpersonal relationship with others. Sure, there are times when Touko is concerned about possible events of the future through these supposed premonitions. However, most of that is discarded instead for cliché-riddled teenage drama where romance takes over and story sinks down the drain.
A question that popped into my mind is ‘why would this series beget into such a weak story with a cyclone of generic clichés?” The answer is simple as the show focuses more on relationships rather than story. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what kind of romance the show is trying to accomplish though. It seems almost everyone has a crush on someone but nothing is reciprocated. One particular confession actually implies semi-yuri undertones or if it can be called that relating to Sachi. Nonetheless, the relationship is unworthy with so much drama going on. Actually, I wouldn’t of mind it if the show has realism but the supernatural element relating to future premonition derives from that. No, rather than realism, Glassip’s relationship dynamics focuses on formulaic and flawed logic that makes little sense at times. Love confessions are delivered with little development. Even if there was, I would call it as sappy because it lacks compatibility. There’s little relevance to some of the relationships. For instance, Touko and Kakeru seems to have some connections not based on similarities but more on fate. The breakdown is that there’s little foreshadowing while others seems to also get involved whilst making their relationship lacking. In the end, there really are concerns about what this show is trying to accomplish.
The story itself isn’t any better when it tries to explain the premise. Apparently, the tagline reads as “"On the other side of the glass, you can see tomorrow.” But really, what I can see is more like days by days going by with horrid development. The show fails to keep up what it tries to do with poor momentum. There’s also a sense of false advertisement when initial viewers may lead to believe on character building. If the series decided to focus on establishing a future of their characters (such as say, a career as an artisan), then I’d be content. But what it offers is nothing of such sort as the realization about this show is focused on love drama. And even when it comes down to that, the drama lacks convincing themes. There’s little focus on the motivations of the characters either. It shifts from character to character that with little credibility on back stories. In fact, back stories are hardly dealt with. In essence, it leaves most viewers in the dark on what we may really know about the characters. It creates that illusionary image that the show depicts slice of life but in reality is more like a generic teenage drama without fluency. There’s just too much going on without proper explanation that creates a stab in the heart. Even True Tears had some parts that people can relate and knew what it was doing at times. However, this show disconnects from reality by relying on its fantasy tropes in inadequate balancing between fiction and reality. To be honest, that’s almost laughable. I only give credit for a few moments when emotional drama induces real dilemma. But even then, its forced dialogues can be an annoyance. By the time the show tries to wrap up everything together, it feels like a point where there’s no redemption as result of weak buildup.
It’s no Nagi no Asukara but this show nailed its technical artwork when it comes to artwork. P.A. Works creates visual porn with the backgrounds including its countryside atmosphere, the sea coastlines, and natural mountains. It feels like nostalgic and brings a melody that makes you feel like a kid all over again. Character designs are generic but maintains balance especially with accessories that some of the girls are wearing. Nonetheless though, artwork is a strong point of Glasslip for its ability to convey communication through gestures. There are also minimal fan service as most of the show relies on more innocence and youth. More importantly, seasonal changes adaptation such as Spring and Winter depicts sincerity with what it’s trying to do.
Although not as strong as the artwork, the soundtrack of the show definitely stands above the shallow relationships that the series tried to craft. Melancholy is a main theme played throughout the show with quiet moments when characters convey their thoughts or feelings. More emotional scenarios has piano-like tunes playing in the backgrounds to show what characters are going through. Occasional comical comments are less noticeable but still makes sense more than the main story. I give some praise to both the OP and ED songs for keeping with its melancholic style. Finally, we have the character voice mannerisms of the main cast. I find little to talk about for this section since none of them really stand out at all. The girls often has that dramatic voice that is pushy with valley girl-like tones. The guys aren’t worth praise either as most of them hardly has a voice that are worth remembering. Kakeru’s voice easily wants me to forget what he says because of his personality while Touko’s expressive voice sounds like an emotional teen who is worried about almost everything. Oh wait, she is.
So in the end, what exactly is Glasslip? Surely, it at least has the word ‘glass’ as part of the show so naturally, we see its usage. The problem is the pacing and balance between what it’s trying to accomplish. For a slice of life show, the fantasy trope doesn’t fit in. If they wanted to focus on relationship building, then at least keep the momentum going. No, instead the show decides to jump around everywhere between characters. In retrospect, the show digs itself further and further into oblivion. Its lackluster comedy and love dramas are questionably unfavorable that can leave a bad taste in a viewers’ mouth. I’m not questioning the drama as some parts of it does command attention. But ultimately, this show is a stinker to what slice of life is. Besides visual porn quality and a tolerable soundtrack, Glasslip is a depressing show to watch.
And no, I’m not even talking about sadness as an emotion. It’s more like how sad this show has fallen apart while burning away like a candle….