By Antonin Kořenek / September 26th, 2014
Glasslip has done a few things that most anime do not do: include parents and have relationships fluctuate. With the parents thing, many anime simply have them being nonexistent. This is due to a number of things from an actual issue with absent parents in real life to simply removing them to make a story “work.”
Glasslip has always kept parents in the lens as a way adding some depth to the characters. P.A. Works as a whole is very good at this. Kakeru has always seemed to have some sort of issue with his mom and the first bit of interaction we see with her is short, stifling, and awkward. That was definitely the focus of the 10th episode with the families meeting and all.
The eleventh episode… oh screw it, the eleventh episode pissed me off. We’re eleven episodes in and now you’re going to give us an episode that shows more of these fractured dimensions (oh, sorry, been playing too much of Tales of Xillia 2) not-future-fragments? Go to hell, P.A. Works. Just go to hell.
That episode, while cool, would have been far more appropriate as a second or third episode. At this point, I don’t care. I don’t care enough to figure out what the hell Touko and real-but-not-real Kakeru were talking about. And I love weird stuff like that. I eat that up. I spend a good chunk of time reading weird twitter stuff that makes Welcome to Nightvale look like… well, not quite normal, but more normal.
No, that’s a lie. They just tend to be darker and more abstract. Nightvale is definitely my favorite though. It’s got a great balance.
ANYWAY, Glasslip has basically dragged me to a party that’s a bit boring, promised me a good time, asked me what I wanted to drink, disappeared for awhile, and then proceeded to bring me the wrong drink that’s some funky red color and spill it all over my swanky new suit and/or fabulous dress (whichever you’d find more aggravating). But instead of running off to get a napkin or something, Glasslip just stares at me for awhile saying nothing. Later, the stain is now dry, my outfit is ruined, and now Glasslip comes back with the drink I actually wanted and a napkin.
And I’m no longer thirsty.
So to hell with Glasslip and it’s aberrant pacing. Let’s talk about something else.
Lets talk about HaNaYaMaTa instead. Because, why not?
The show is adorable and like a shot of goddamn sunshine right into the brain. It’s about a group of girls creating a yosakoi group (a kind of dance) and their journeys to overcome various emotional hang-ups. Naru has a hard time believing in herself, Tami is too obsessed with impressing her father (who doesn’t really care all that much), Yaya is tough but has a hard time admitting defeat, Machi has anger issues with her older sister who left one day, and Hana wants her family to be whole again while battling loneliness.
And the show is wonderfully conscious of itself. When the girls get really excited about yosakoi and go on these little rants about how wonderful friendship is, the rest of them turn away, blush, and more or less point out “yo, that was so damn heartfelt I’m embarrassed to be around you right now. So much feels.”
Hana can’t get anyone to join the club at first because she’s so over-the-top with her love of it. There’s not really anyone critizing her so much as pointing out that she needs to tone it down a notch. Which, ya know, is fair.
By the later part of the show, when all the girls are in the club, all of them are able to bring something to the table, even if it’s just Machi’s badass work ethic. Seriously, she makes everyone practice in scorching heat. Together, they create a brand new song to use for their yosakoi dance. It’s also the opening song too and I’m a sucker for that kinda stuff in anime.
And yet the show really plays with your heart strings. Sure, 90% of the episodes are happy or end with a happy tone, but by the eleventh episode, things shift. Hana has learned of something upsetting and doesn’t have the heart/guts to tell her friends two weeks before the contest they’ve worked so hard for that she’s moving back to America. Yet it comes off as natural. Hana’s body language suddenly goes from this ball of energy and sunshine to a deflated thing trying to look happy.
Of course, she can’t break the news to her friends in person. You just have to look at her to know that.
That sudden shift of tone hits you in a visceral kind of way. When a friend of yours is suddenly sad, you suddenly feel it too. Not only that, but you have watched the girls work so long and so hard on this song and dance that when they stand around and Yaya plays the song, you focus on the fact that the first voice you hear on it is Hana’s.
It’s almost as if Hana’s dead. I mean, being halfway around the world she might as well be. But that’s not what’s scary. What’s scary for the girls is the idea that their yosakoi club was suddenly dealt a massive blow, a mortal wound they’re not sure if they can recover from. Yaya turns the song off after a few lines of Hana’s singing. It hurts to hear it just like it hurts to hear the voicemail of a friend that just passed.
HaNaYaMaTa goes right for the feels, basically.
And as a sidenote: HaNaYaMaTa almost appears to say something about cultural appropriation, but that’s another article for another time.
Now that HaNaYaMaTa is wrapped up, I feel great. It ended wonderfully with tons of feels and closure that basically made me look like this at the end,
And now Glasslip is done and I won’t have to write about it anymore. So that’s awesome.
Wait, it’s not over?
Join me next week as I see if the editors will let me get away with not-actually-talking-about-Glasslip again.