Glasslip – 13 [END]


Reverse Ryuusei

spring14-highwThe end of Glasslip brings the end of the Summer 2014 shows that I’ve been blogging (maybe a couple special extras to come), and with it one of the most polarizing, among those who watched it. So how did this show by PA Works end up?


Opening Up the Future


Touko wants him to stay, at least a little while longer


And then they seem to have understanding

It might have been a little dramatic for Touko to collapse after her long vision from last episode, but I think coming to the realization of what Kakeru had felt all his life was probably a bit draining. Unfortunately, in my view, that gives Kakeru an excuse to believe that he has caused much trouble for Touko. I think it’s an open question about whether he deserves any ‘blame’ for what happened, and Touko certainly doesn’t hold anything against him. But I think that her experience has given her enough insight into Kakeru that afterward she is no longer afraid of him going away. In fact, she hardly brings it up again. It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion after that that he’ll be going with his mother on the trip around the world. Things happen, and I think it’s interesting that the two of them are close enough to make it a decision, but not close enough to make it particularly difficult.

Glasslip-Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad, it’s obvious who’s in charge

Touko’s mom is an interesting character to me throughout the show. It’s like she knows what Touko’s going through, and is willing to let her experience it, without trying to guide her too much, but then reassuring her after the fact. I think that’s a very important thing for Touko, to keep her centered without too much going out of equilibrium. Mom is also important for giving Touko space: from Hina, from her father. She’s glad to see her daughters growing up. And even though she kinda squashes their father, there’s an interesting dynamic between the two. I’m not a huge fan of the “Clueless father / Smart Mother” trope, but this was pulled off with the obvious caring that she has for him.

Glasslip-Sachi and Hiro

I think it’s safe to say that Hiro and Sachi are together for good

Among the other characters, life continues. I hadn’t realized that Yanagi goes to a different school from the rest of them, but that makes some sense. Seeing Hiro and Sachi talk about names she likes is maybe a bit forward-thinking, but it seems like they’re the most ‘sure thing’ couple from the show. And we never do see Momo’s boyfriend but it’s funny how worked up she is at him visiting the cafe. Kakeru’s father ends up back by himself at his house (which looks really cool, but is really small), and everyone else is headed back to school.

Glasslip-Small house no tent

Conspicuous dead grass patch, and a cool, but small, house

Series Wrap-Up

Glasslip-Kakeru and Yana

Yana and Kakeru finally becoming friends

First of all, I think Glasslip was wonderful. A wonderful series from start to finish, although it was certainly not in the same vein of storytelling that most (or any) anime usually is. And that difference seemed to really set some people against it. A return to PA Works for Director Junji Nishimura, who also directed True Tears, Glasslip explored the idea of story without ‘telling’. I feel the show was much more about atmosphere and presence than making things happen. This rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, and we could spend a lot of time exploring just how they’re wrong, but I think it’s sufficient to say that the story was there, waiting for you to follow it. The characters were there, waiting for you to understand them. And the experience was there, waiting for you to embrace it.

Glasslip-Momo's Nervous

We never saw Momo’s boyfriend, but she was worried about her grandfather meeting him.

Like most PA Works shows, Glasslip was a glimpse into the lives of people. Their shows rarely start at an opening and end at closure (interestingly, True Tears may be one of the only ones that I’ve seen that does). Instead, we come into people’s lives as they’re living them, observe for a while, and then leave. People usually don’t have big events in their lives. Instead, there’s continuation. Summer slowly becomes fall. Childhood transitions to teen ages to adulthood. That Glasslip doesn’t anchor itself to any particular events isn’t a problem, in my view. We have the feeling that these characters lived before the show started, and that their lives will continue after the show ends. The show ends, not their lives, not their experiences, not their adventures. And I think that that’s a perfectly valid way to frame a series. Sure people want closure on things, but ginning up some big event usually isn’t realistic. This series was just “the last summer of these characters before they are finished with high school.” Two (Hiro and Sachi) found love that was somewhat unexpected. Two others (Touko and Kakeru) found an interesting connection that was deep and meaningful, but neither really understood it. And two others (Yukinari and Yanagi) found that by destroying the image of the other they had, perhaps the reality is more interesting and long-lasting.


The worn edge of the table, and I love that it’s not square

Visually, the show is beautiful. Almost peerless, in the way that PA Works shows are. They make things that are like reality, beautiful in their imperfection. The rust on the painted metal, the details of real life. This show also incorporated the emphasizing features of color shifts and those still-frame transitions. All in all, a beautiful show to watch. And to listen to, with one of the best soundtracks of classical style music that I’ve heard in anime. From the inclusion of some of my favorite piano pieces, to the original incidental music, everything felt completely in place and set a mood that went along with the visuals and the restraint in voices.

Glasslip-PA Works Sky

The other signature of PA Works: The skies


I really do love this series. I love the restraint it showed. I love the beauty it wrought. I love the story it told. And I love the style it brought. Only time will tell if it is my favorite PA Works series, as I’m learning to allow some time to pass before declaring things as favorites (proximity bias is definitely a thing). But it is certainly a show that was a success in at least one way: it has people who definitely love what was done in this series.


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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15 Responses to “Glasslip – 13 [END]”

  1. Irenesharda says:

    Once again, another example of our disagreement. I thought this series was a colossal waste of time and energy and was as boring as watching grass grow, the characters change and so does the grass, but that doesn’t make watching the process any more interesting.

    However, I came to the conclusion that perhaps this series was just too artsy for me. There is something about this series that you and a few others saw in it, that simply just went right over my head. I’m really not that into SoL and I only went into Nagi no Asukara because I loved the underwater fantasy aspect. From what others are saying of PA Works, Nagi isn’t the norm, and that they are often pretty artsy. So, I’m guessing they aren’t really my thing, and while I’m glad you and others liked it. I just really couldn’t get much enjoyment out of it.

    I have to give it a 5/10.

    • skylion says:

      Oh my goodness, you just hit upon the thing that I cannot resist. Watching grass grow.

      Photosynthesis is an amazing thing! Then you add the nitrogen fixing in soil…then you add the very complex microcosm of insect life. A single cubic meter of soil with grass is….a feat to observe. Then you add a tree!

      …such is this show…you get what you are willing to invest…

      • Irenesharda says:

        Sorry, was never into botany. Photosynthesis is interesting, but it was never my thing. 😛

    • Highway says:

      I hesitate to reply, since you’re so adamant in your opinion that it is unlikely to do any good in bringing you around to liking this show. But I will say that there is far less difference between Nagi no Asukara and other PA Works shows, not even this one, than perhaps you think. Nagi no Asukara was very similar to Tari Tari, which was very similar to Hanasaku Iroha. There is a style to PA Works, even when they go outside that style for something like Uchouten Kazoku.

      What is ‘artsy’? In this context it sounds like an epithet to blithely dismiss something. It’s not like there were a ton of metaphors in this series that needed to be understood to make connections to what was happening. We discussed such dissection of a work in the comments for last week’s episode, and I continue to think that this show didn’t really demand a lot of interpretation, just watching and listening. For me, the main key to this show is slowing down and accepting the show for what it is, rather than cursing it for what it is not.

      I don’t think this was “slice of life” in the same vein that YuruYuri, or Yuyushiki, or Hidamari Sketch, or other shows like that are. Yes, this was a segment of people’s lives, but so is any drama show. It was a summer of transition, as Kakeru’s father said, from children to adults. That’s what the series was showing us – all the uncertainty, worry, excitement, and even normalcy – and I thought it did a beautiful job of it.

      • Irenesharda says:

        I watched every single episode but I just couldn’t find the same things that you saw. I saw the everyday summer adventures of a group of friends that are growing up and changing and maturing. However I don’t find that topic particularly engaging. It would have been different if I could connect to the characters, and while I liked some of them, their interactions weren’t enough to keep me entertained.

        Maybe it’s that we were looking for and expecting different things from out of this show and one of us had his expectations met, while the other didn’t. I was looking for more romance and fantasy in an every

        • Highway says:

          I do have to wonder why, if you disliked the show so much, you continued to watch it and not enjoy it. I fear that there is some resentment towards the show for, as you said in your first comment, ‘wasting your time’.

          My advice for anyone is to not do something they’re not enjoying. It doesn’t matter how far along you are, if you’re not enjoying watching a show, stop watching it. Other people will tell you if it changed in a way that makes it more enjoyable for you.

      • Irenesharda says:

        Ugh, stupid phone!

        Anyway, I meant to finish by saying:

        In an everyday setting. However I really didn’t get that and I might just have had the wrong expectations going in which was why I was so disappointed.

  2. skylion says:

    Thank you so much for bringing this wonderful series to a close, I was happy to be with it from the FI.

    If I took one thing away from this show, it is that there is such value in what a story can imply. We talked about this earlier in the season, but this show only wants to give you about 30%. Most shows, especially in the Rom slice, strain to meet you more than half-way. Glasslip was comfortable in it’s style.

    There is so much more to say, but I will leave off by saying that this one really gave great definition to my Summer of 2014…as it should, as it deserves.

    Kudos, HWY!

  3. Di Gi Kazune says:

    Prince Rupert drops. All I have to say apart from the fireworks is secretly a Divine Buster gone wrong. 😛

  4. Sumairii says:

    It’s really very simple why opinions are so divided on this show: it is a slice of life in the truest sense of the genre. And the one thing to note about SoL is that it is very hit-or-miss.

    As has been mentioned, you get what you put into a show like Glasslip. Some people enjoy the glimpse into the characters’ lives for what it is. Others expect something more from a show. The latter mindset likely stems from a desire for some spice that the viewer might not get from the mundane reality of everyday life. If this is not satisfied, the viewer will of course find the work pointless as it has “failed” at the task of entertaining him.

    Often times it is because of the latter group of viewers that many so-called “SoL” shows arise with additional elements to give the illusion of substance. For instance, comedy is a popular additive as it is an arguably simple and foolproof way to engage the audience. In any case, it is not technically wrong to classify these shows as slice of life. However, they play it safe and insert bells and whistles to appeal to a wider audience.

    Then along comes a show like Glasslip, which is the closest thing we’ve had to a “pure” slice of life this year. And therein lies the problem. There is no hook for the viewers who simply do not enjoy slice of life for what it is.

    This might be the reason why “pure” SoL is so rare. The last show I might categorize this way is Aria. And that one was definitely better received overall than Glasslip even though they are very much the same at their core, further reinforcing the hit-or-miss nature of SoL.

    • Sumairii says:

      It nearly slipped my mind, but Barakamon is also pretty “pure” as slice of life goes. That one I believe is also generally better received than Glasslip, although it also has its detractors. At the end of the day, it’s almost a tossup as to whether people will latch onto a SoL or not.

      • Highway says:

        Barakamon has a lot more hooks for people than Glasslip: comedy and a cute kid and obviously supposed to be heartwarming being the big three I’d say. That’s why that poll that BB posted the results to in the Barakamon thread had Barakamon #1 and Glasslip second-last.

  5. Clementiv says:

    I’m glad that I’m not the only one that enjoyed watching this. I liked every episode and I’m glad I waited until the last 5 episodes ended before I started watching again. I could have not waited week after week to see what happened next.

    Although I have to disagree that Kakeru left with his mom. To me, the last few scenes implied that he was there. But in a way it is open to interpretation. Anyway, I hope we get a similar show like this one in the future.

    • Highway says:

      Thanks for watching and reading my post! I also enjoyed every episode and the whole experience.

      I think that Kakeru left because the tent was gone, but I can see why the idea that he was there is valid. Why could Touko hear the voice in the fragment if he wasn’t there? But I still think that was just wishful on her part. Kakeru will likely be back sometime in the future, but for now he’s gone.

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