By Antonin Kořenek / August 20th, 2014
WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Glasslip episode 7. If you don’t want to be spoiled, please stop reading. You have been warned.
The thing that tends to make writing reviews and commentaries difficult is that when shows are good, the reviews and commentaries get harder to write. You’d think that wouldn’t be the case. You’d think that when you like something you can talk about it for ages.
Oh, you can, but it’s harder to make it good and (more importantly) interesting.
Which is why I’m glad I didn’t offer to write up HaNaYaMaTa or Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. The articles I would be writing would be nothing but incoherent sentences of pure gushing joy, squees, Japanese emoticons, and gifs of Kermit the Frog flailing.
But yeah, you should totally check those shows out.
What does any of this have to do with Glasslip? Well, like I hinted last time, the show is now interesting. It’s now pretty good. Or, in other words, all that build-up I was griping about is now paying off. The friend group is in pure chaos, Sachi admitted that Hiro is her boyfriend, Yanagi is taking her frustrations out on Kakeru, we find out Kakeru is so lonely that he imagines two different versions of himself to talk to, Yukinari has a fan club, and Touko’s visions of the future are getting straight up weird.
We are finally seeing how complex these characters are. It is revealed that Yanagi wants to be a model and is strong willed enough of a character that she focuses her anger on one person rather than attacking anyone related. That takes some serious willpower.
Yukinari is talked about quite a bit in this episode. Specifically his “attractiveness” is talked about “decreasing.” The girls on the swim team appear to be disappointed when Yukinari passes by them and becomes exhausted. This, I believe, is meant to be seen as a physical manifestation of the hurt feelings from that rejection from Touko. The way Touko’s sister frantically bikes up to him and asks that he “stay attractive” made me realize something: Yukinari isn’t acting like himself.
It’s an easy point to miss. Consider the openings and how they show the life of the circle of friends pre-Kakeru/David. Does Yukinari ever appear sullen? No, he doesn’t. He’s smiling, laughing, and being an all-around pleasure to be with. He feels like a different person from the one in the show. Yanagi beams at him in a way we haven’t seen in the actual episodes. Looking at this we end up asking ourselves, what happened? The characters blame Kakeru, you might want to blame Touko, but the only person who changed Yukinari was himself.
Yes, he was crushing on Touko for awhile. Yes, he got rejected. Yes, Touko picked the new guy who just showed up and “ruined everything.” But Yukinari has chosen to dwell on it. I’m not saying it’s easy to get over a broken heart–it’s not. Yet there comes a point where you have to pick yourself up and try to move on. What evidence do we have of Yukinari doing this? None. And I’m not saying he should have jumped on Yanagi’s confession and make her a rebound. He just needs to accept that Touko just doesn’t see him as a romantic option.
Going back to the idea of the show having some meta-symbolism with the filters and the motif of seeing through glass, the scene that struck me most out of the entire show happened in this episode. Hiro realizes that Sachi tried to ruin Touko’s date and we get that still image of the two of them. Hiro looks on with an epiphany on his face. The filters flood the image with light. Sachi stares at the ground, caught in the act. This filter, or whatever the proper term may be, stays there for quite some time. I’m willing to bet it’s the longest still in the show thus far.
But most importantly, it is the moment Hiro sees Sachi in a different light. He sees how petty and awful she can be. Everything about her is thrown into question. Is he even her boyfriend? This scene is a perfect example of that whole meta-symbolism being used correctly. I wonder how this is going to play out. He appears to bounce from the situation rather quickly when his sister calls out to him outside the hospital. Is Hiro the antithesis of Yukinari?
I’m now starting to wonder if the title of this show is one of those times where the Japanese play with English words in the same way they do kanji. The title of the show Glasslip written in romanji is spelled out Gu-ra-su-ri-ppu. Looking at the title I want to call Glasslip “Glass lip,” but perhaps it’s meant to be taken as “Glass slip.” After all, these characters keep seeing each other differently and it’s slipping them up more or less.
Just a thought.
Now, some of the coolest stuff has happened in the show regarding Touko. We think she is seeing the future. Maybe she is. Maybe she’s not. Kakeru even admits to this uncertainty late in the episode. But consider that falling vision. It was quick, and it doesn’t seem like Touko noticed it but, how could Kakeru be falling into a painting?
And what was up with that final vision in the episode? Touko freaks out something fierce. There’s a flock of birds (that no one sees), the sound of fireworks (that made me think of the first episode), and Yanagi’s voice saying “You’re a cute couple.” The visions or future fragments are becoming stronger it seems.
Or, as some have theorized, maybe they’re not the future but some sort of manifestation of the hearts and minds of people. Kakeru admitted to his imaginary friends that he’s falling for Touko, and Touko has a vision of him falling. She looks at Yanagi, who doesn’t care about the Kakeru-Touko pairing but doesn’t like Kakeru, and hears Yanagi say they make a cute couple and sees a flock of very aggressive birds attacking her.
Also, a few episodes ago, Touko looked at herself and saw a vision of her kissing Kakeru. Sure she freaked out, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t secretly yearn for the kiss. After all, Japanese culture is known for its idolization of the pure maiden archetype. (Well, I could say that all male-dominated cultures tend to glorify the archetype to some degree, but you get the idea. Also, the Japanese did give us moe.) Media does affect us. And people living in a culture where certain traits are idolized tend to try to conform to those traits. Sometimes unconsciously. Could Glasslip partly be a deconstruction of the moe character? Or showing how a moe character can’t work in real life? Or that the archetype isn’t concrete but actually made of glass? It is strange that in a cast of complex characters, Touko is quite simple.
Like I said, the show is giving me something to think about and I like that. I’m looking forward to the next episode.
I hope you’ll join me.
What did you think of this episode? Think the Glasslip word play idea was legit or absolute nonsense? Still think Yanagi’s bow is the best? (The correct answer is “yes, of course”). Will they ever use proper safety equipment? Let us know in the comments.