The Summer 2014 Anime Preview Guide Glasslip
by The Anime News Network Editorial Team,
Review: If you're looking for an anime that features a philosophical discussion about the potential autonomy of free-range chickens, look no further than Glasslip! (Or as it perhaps should have been titled, Chickenlip, considering we spend the bulk of the episode with the feathery and flightless rather than the glassblowers the show is supposedly about.) So if you're looking for chicken philosophy or some very pretty PA Works visuals, this is your stop for the summer. For everyone else, it's hard to say what other selling points Glasslip possesses, or even what it's really about.
There's a gaggle of good-natured high school students facing the ennui of their senior year on the horizon before hesitantly moving onto their adult lives. They live in a tiny seaside town in the middle of nowhere where there seem to be even more buildings than people (and certainly more chickens.) Our heroine Toko loves to sketch the silly birds and while she sketches, she has an odd first meeting with transfer student Kakeru, who has his head in the clouds and some strange words about the unknown thoughts of poultry and the universal pull of destiny. That's about all we're given, just a few substantive scenes amidst long scenes of pretty scenery and passing glimpses into the family lives of Toko and her various friends. To what end is anybody's guess: will there be a supernatural twist? Is this simply a pastoral slice-of-life? Is there a romance budding between Toko and Kakeru? Or is it something deeper, related to that pull of destiny Kakeru's so obsessed with?
Well, whatever else Glasslip is, it's not a mystery series, and it doesn't set up any of these questions as conundrums to be solved, they're just “things we don't know yet” in a show that doesn't seem to care about much of anything apart from lovely scenery and some nice character animation. (And chickens.) It's just going to take a few more episodes before the raison d'etre of the show makes itself clear, or if it even turns out to be about glassblowers. Try it out for a relaxing watch or skip it until more about the show's direction becomes clear. Either way, there's not much here yet.
Glasslip is available streaming at Crunchyroll.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)
Review: Five longtime friends – Touko, Yukimari, Hiro, Yanagi, and Sachi – all hang out together in a small seaside town during the summer break of their final year of high school, commonly inhabiting a café called Kazemichi. Touko's family owns and operates a glass-blowing business (which doubtlessly has something to do with the title of the series), and Touko is herself a rather flighty individual who likes to try to draw chickens and apparently unwittingly has runner Yukimari wrapped around her little finger. A seemingly fateful encounter with a new transfer student, Okimura, encourages her into a disastrous attempt to safeguard her school's free range chickens in she and her friend's houses, but even beyond that there seems to be some kind of odd connection between her and Okimura – and the fact that he immediately addresses her by her first name is rather startling, too.
Glasslip is a product of P.A. Works, so you can certainly expect it to be animated well and look at least relatively pretty (although this is not quite on a level with, say, Hanasaku Iroha). It is a low-key tale which spends almost the entirety of its first episode just establishing its core cast, with only the vaguest hints that there might be some kind of actual plot to this. Those hints are tantalizing, though, and provide just enough promise of mystery going forward to give the story some impetus. The antics concerning the chickens also offer some nice low-key humor as well, and Touka's reactions to things can be fun to watch without her seeming like an exaggerated character.
The first episode here is far from a home run and definitely not a huge source of excitement, but the characters and reactions are natural enough and comfortable enough so far, and the content is executed well enough, that the series shows some promise. Having both a solid opener and a good closer certainly doesn't hurt, either.
Glasslip is currently streaming on Crunchyroll..
Review: A group of friends spends a summer doing friend things in a lovely small town, passing a gentle season as they grow up and grow together… Familiar? The resemblance to the minor 2012 gem Tari Tari is not accidental. Both were produced by Infinite which, with the addition of 2013's Nagi no Asukara, seems to be making a career of creating series that are half gentle drama and half advertisement for their idyllic real-life settings. The shows also share a screenwriter—Rika Sato, who was an episode writer on Tari and is co-writer here—and their studio (PA Works), as well as a suspiciously large slice of their cast. Someone somewhere is trying to bottle a bit of lightning, and like so many attempts, some of the lightning ends up in the bottle, but a lot of it escapes.
The show's touch is just a little too heavy for the kind of sweet, simple drama it aspires to. It pushes its characters' buttons just a hair too hard, setting up a fateful café rendezvous in which transfer student Kakeru brings the romantic tensions of the show's central group of friends to the surface far too quickly. Relationships are too love-polygonish in the first place—heroine Touko is clearly attracted to Kakeru, while Touko's friend Yanagi is attracted to male tsundere Yukinari who has a badly-disguised crush on clueless Touko and so forth—and there's a whiff of magical star-crossed lovers garbage that stinks up the whole project. That said, the show is gorgeous, and quieter and more reserved than your average teen romance, with a winningly light sense of humor. Token meganekko Sachi's reaction during the café confrontation is also quite intriguing. Still, these kinds of things need to build slowly and gracefully to their emotional payoffs, and unfortunately Glasslip seems all too eager to take shortcuts.
Glasslip is currently streaming on Crunchyroll..
Review: In a beautiful pastoral sea-side town in rural Japan, lovingly animated by PA Works, lives a group of charming friends with their own special personality quirks. They mostly attend the local high school, enjoy the local festival, and hang out at the local cafe. Then one day while the adorably clumsy Touko is sketching the local free-range chickens, a new boy approaches her. To her eyes he inexplicably looks like a penis-free David statue, but unfortunately he's also kind of a jerk. His name is Okikumura (although he won't tell her that until the episode's final minutes) and he cryptically tells her that he saw what she saw. He also tells her that free-range chickens will die via cat, so the (adorably) impressionable Touko gets her friends to each take a chicken home to keep inside their houses. Obviously the writers of this show have zero experience with chicken droppings.
As a first episode, GLASSLIP is cute to the point where it kind of feels like it's trying too hard and so sweetly pastoral, in content if not in setting, that it could be on the Hallmark Channel. There's one scene of glass-blowing, though we don't actually see the blowing part (just the heating of the glass), lots of chickens and fireworks, and really it feels like more style than substance. At this point “overplayed” is the word that comes to mind – the cute and sweet, the classical background music, the cicadas, the scene – all of them are just a little too much. It may pick up from here, but as of this episode, this is one strictly for the fans of the anime pastoral and all its attendant soothing (and at times unrealistic) qualities.
GLASSLIP is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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