(This has been adapted from my reddit thread)
Teenage romance is a hot topic in the anime world. Some shows are able to capture this phenomenon quite well (White Album 2, Clannad, etc.) while others miss the mark. But even those shows that don't hit that bulls-eye at least land somewhere on the board. Glasslip is a show that not only misses the board but also hits some stranger passing by, causing a huge debacle that mirrors the contents of this anime. This is quite arguably one of the worst ones I have ever seen.
Glasslip begins in much the same way that Nagi no Asukara does. New transfer student David becomes friends with Touko. Touko then proceeds to introduce him to her main group of friends consisting of Yuki, Sacchi, Hiro, and Yanagi. Afterwards, the story begins.
And by begins, I mean begins and doesn't move from that position. It's best to compare this to Nisekoi. Nisekoi is infamous for its absolutely abysmal plot progression. But the difference here is that in Nisekoi, that is the whole point of the show. Glasslip tries to have things move forward, tries to instill drama or emotion. Yet when it does, nothing ever comes of it. It is not a stretch to say that literally nothing happens over the course of the entire season. Every episode is a chore and doesn't have anything interesting attached to it aside from what the show calls "future fragments."
What are "future fragments?" To be quite honest, I can't explain that to you. The show sets them up to be these premonitions that a couple of the characters have, but the problem is two-fold. One, it is never properly explained. As an audience member, I obtained some information about what could cause them but they never really made any sense as to why they occur or what purpose they serve. Two, they aren't even "future fragments." As is learned later, the name it was given isn't even appropriate. Meaning for the majority of the show, I am left to believe that this "power" is somehow special or at the minimum has some focus to it. In reality, it doesn't.
On top of all this, Glasslip also contains some of the worst dialogue I have ever seen from a show. A lot of what the characters say is either nonsensical or just plain weird. When watching them, it is rather awkward because everything they say just doesn't feel like they should be saying it to one another. This is kind of hard to describe. It's as if the characters were holding conversations with themselves even though they were talking to someone right in front of them.
By this point, it's important to know that the studio behind Glasslip is none other than P.A. Works. Recently, they have gained fame for their crisp animation and art style and interesting plots. Not only is the latter gone this time, but I argue so is the former.
I give Glasslip one thing, that is that the art itself is gorgeous. The lighting is nice, the environments are pretty, and the character designs are modern.
However, there is little to zero actual animation present. Credit to /u/tundranocaps (a reddit user) for pointing this out. When you actually sit down and watch the show, it becomes apparent that what goes on is just talking. This causes the characters to be rather stiff. They don't have to be, but the show chooses to usually only move their mouths during the majority of the scenes. So while the coffee shop might be very detailed, the characters' movements are definitely not.
Beyond this, Glasslip employs this rather strange technique I call "still frames." They started occurring more frequently as the show went on, but basically the entire frame/scene would freeze in an artistic fashion. Sometimes this would occur randomly when looking at a tree. But the worst offenders were when it would happen while the characters were interacting with one another. I don't know what compelled the studio to use this "trick," but I found it to be rather lame and most of the time unnecessary.
As a final note, and something a bit more personal, but I hate their mouths as well. Each mouth has a slight slant to it that makes each of the characters look as if they have some sort of facial defect. Not sure why they chose this, but just another thing to add to the hate pile.
Glasslip's characters, like its story, are rather atrocious.
The main group of friends constitutes the main cast. Starting with Touko, her character development does not go beyond the word, "Ehhhhhh!?!" I understand that she is confused by a lot of the things that are going on, such as "future fragments" or confessions towards her. However, if the only thing notable about your growth as a character is you repeating the same, grating line multiple times an episode, you are just a really bad character.
Moving on, the worst character in the show is David (Kakeru). Seemingly Tsumugu's brother from Nagi no Asukara, David is extremely abstract and philosophical. He acts like a modern-day Plato, and for this reason, I completely hate not only his character but also this character type. I don't understand why P.A. Works enjoys it, but I cannot get behind someone who always has to spout something intellectual or only asks questions as opposed to giving answers.
Next up is Yuki, who early on actually seems to be one of the more sane ones. But in Glasslip-like fashion, he becomes a rather annoying character. After being rejected, he recedes into himself and for the rest of the show just runs. Literally the only thing you see him do is run from one point to another. Is this his way of dealing with things? Perhaps, but even if that is the case, I would much rather have that explained to me, rather than me having to make a guess as to how he is dealing with the situation. This is vital because the show doesn't have a plot, so it relies more heavily on its characters (meaning character interactions).
Sachi is an interesting girl. She is shown to have some type of illness, but like the "future fragments," it serves zero purpose within the narrative. She can actually be quite manipulative despite her appearance, but she too fails to communicate properly with the other characters. So much so that she relies on roundabout ways in order to convey her feelings. Much like Yuki, this is fine, but rather strange for a girl seemingly in her teenage years.
Yanagi is Yuki's step-sister. And that should set a flag off almost immediately. Because, true to Japanese anime stereotypes, she falls for him. I do not like this type of development whatsoever, and I will never understand why it is so prevalent in Japanese culture. This is me being somewhat ignorant, I get that, but it just does not sit right with me. Besides her feelings, she is generally the most mature among the group, but even she has her strange moments too, such as walking around her house naked because she can.
The last character to go in-depth with is Hiro, the boy who has feelings for Sachi. Among everyone in the show, he is the most level-headed/makes the most sense. His actions are believable given what happens to him, and he never does anything extremely strange. Besides pining after the girl who doesn't necessarily see him the same way he does with her, he is actually realistic. That is pretty sad, all things considered.
Much like the mouths, my final point I want to say is that the rest of the cast is pretty bad except for Touko's dad and sister Hina. They were the only ones to make me smile during the show. Whether it was from their terrible dialogue or their actual funny moments, I appreciated having them there to keep me sane.
Arguably the strongest part of Glasslip, its music is at least okay. The OP is somewhat nice due to its relaxing melodies and nice use of the guitar. The ED is okay. It reminds me of Hanasaku Iroha with its singing, and while the show tries to be dramatic, the ED instead is rather upbeat.
The soundtrack is fine for what it is. Nothing stands out predominately but the tracks themselves are nice to listen to while watching the show.
As for voice acting, no outstanding performances are to be had.
Many people started watching this show because it was tagged with the P.A Works label. And that's fine, because they have done a splendid job recently with all of their works. But something happened along the way with this one that just makes it hard to believe that it was made by the same studio that did NagiAsu, Hanasaku Iroha, and Angel Beats.
The show is never funny, its not dramatic as much as it tries to make itself seem, the characters are boring and unrealistic, and the story (for what is even present) makes no sense. While romance is abound in the show, I never cared for any of it. I love romance to death in anime, but the way everything was handled between the characters was so unbelievable that I didn't care if Touko ended up with David or Sachi with Hiro.
I really hope P.A. Works reflects on this project. Glasslip was an attempt at something original. They certainly obtained this goal but it is definitely not the outcome that was desired.
Story: Terrible, completely nonsensical
Animation: Bad, pretty yet mired with "still frames" and zero actual animation
Characters: Terrible, characterization is non-present or extremely shallow
Sound: Fine, okay OP, ED, soundtrack, and VAs
Enjoyment: Bad, melodramatic and rather boring
Final Score: 2/10