I have a habit of surfing through Crunchyroll and watching an anime without knowing anything about it. No knowledge of who worked on it, who’s in it, no summary, nothing. Doing this is actually how I came across my favorite anime, but also some pretty mediocre anime, and every once in a while, just something I don’t like very much at all. While doing this one day, I came across Glasslip, and it became the series I’d watch for the next six hours. However, six hours later, when it was all over, I didn’t feel like I really watched anything happen. I could recall some pretty pictures, maybe a name or two, but nothing that mattered. And being somebody who tends to soak everything in, this was weird. So I knew I had to look into it and see what I missed.
Surprisingly, I didn’t miss much. I just wasn’t provided with a whole lot. However, I was provided with some good examples of what not to do when creating a work of entertainment. This is important, of course, but no anime wants to be a perfect example of this. Unfortunately for Glasslip, it fit perfectly.
To start, I just want to acknowledge the fact that this anime was brought to us from P.A. Works, a brilliant studio who brought us such wonderful productions as Shirobako, Angel Beats!, Tari Tari, and Another. P.A. Works knows how to make a stellar anime (we were shown this with Angel Beats!), so receiving such a surprisingly poor anime from them was a bit odd. Fortunately for us, however, one of P.A. Works’ talents did shine through in Glasslip; they really know how to make a pretty picture. Throughout, we are treated to some really impressive shots of the ocean, reflections in glass, the small beach town where the story takes place, and wooded areas. They’re all feasts for the eyes, seeming welcome as a desktop background, so at least sitting through the entire thing isn’t a complete waste.
Speaking of wastes, let’s jump right into the story. A girl named Touko is a glassblower’s daughter, so naturally, she blows glass as well. The reflections sometimes give her what she soon discovers to be glimpses of the future. Unfortunately, none of these glimpses are all that important. The boy who helps her realize what her visions are, Kakeru, transferred schools and develops a romantic relationship with Touko (even though it is possibly the most stiff romance I’ve seen in a while). They’re magical future-seeing abilities never reach a climax and don’t do anything, ending up being nothing but lost potential. We also have other characters, other romances and even some love triangles, but none of these go anywhere or mean anything, and this is basically how the show sits through thirteen episodes.
Back to what I was saying about Glasslip being a good example of what not to do; This is a good example of how not to write a story. Events are crucial to progressing stories, and developed and involved characters are important for pulling the viewer into the show. The story doesn’t progress through events at all really, but rather through ideas and realizations. This isn’t a bad way to tell a story, as it’s been done well in other stories such as 5 Centimeters Per Second, but the ideas and realizations we are presented aren’t exactly revelations. They don’t really do anything, really.
It’s also interesting that P.A. Works managed to stretch it out to thirteen episodes (although it is an anime’s minimum a lot of the time, it still manages to feel like an accomplishment). While they managed to cram everything Angel Beats! had into the same number of episodes, it felt too short while Glasslip felt too long, regardless of being the same length. This is because Angel Beats! gave a lot to work with while we didn’t really get anything like that from Glasslip. We got teens sort of doing stuff during the summer. It isn’t all too thrilling. It makes Glasslip a show about nothing, but not nearly as enjoyable as Seinfeld.
The characters aren’t really good characters. They’re either blank slates or cartoon personalities. The voice work for these characters isn’t bad, but the voice actors had nothing to work with besides some weird dialogue. The things the characters said and did didn’t seem like things people would logically do, giving a weird disconnect between the viewer and the show. This is very unfortunate, because if we’re not being given much to watch, we could at least do with some good characters, but alas, Glasslip doesn’t manage to pull through.
In conclusion, Glasslip isn’t very well made, isn’t very good, and isn’t really worth your time. But it is important for writers. Sometimes, looking at something that was well done can be overwhelming when trying to create your own story, so maybe it is best to start off on the opposite side of the spectrum. Take a look at what Glasslip does wrong and use it’s mistakes to your benefit for creating your own story, events and characters. Maybe then you’ll get a good show about nothing. You know, like Seinfeld.