Things are certainly changing on Glasslip, but is it for the better?
It seems like I may be doomed to perpetually be at odds with the popular consensus on Glasslip. Before the season, I was incredibly excited for this show while most people were ignoring it or making it a very speculative pick. Through the first five weeks of the season I found myself slowly losing the will to defend the show against an increasingly indifferent western audience. Something changed this week, and the reactions were suddenly much more positive. People who had been lukewarm about the show at best were effusive in their praise. Based on this I expected to love this episode when I watched it. In the end, my reaction to the episode was mostly mixed. Like most episodes of Glasslip, I liked some things and disliked about as many things. It wasn’t a bad episode by any means, but at the same time I didn’t find it to be a marked improvement over what came before it.
The change in public reaction likely stems from the distinct change in tone in this episode of Glasslip. The episode took on a much more conflict oriented tone than the previous episodes. The first example we see of this is Yanagi and Yukinari’s contentious home life. Compared to the fallout from his confession to Touko, Yukinari seems much more distressed by this development. While he probably expected that he would be rejected by Touko, Yanagi’s confession caught him completely off guard. Case in point: his awkward practice in front of the mirror prior to seeing Yanagi in the morning. It seems like in Glasslip it’s easier to confess than be confessed to. Yanagi’s experience seems to bear this out as she is taking the current situation in stride despite Yukinari’s discomfort. I’ve actually been quite impressed by Yanagi thus far. Things haven’t gone well for her by any means but she’s taken it all in stride and remained strong in the face of adversity. A person in her situation would have every right to become gloomy and sullen in response to this situation but she manages to carry gamely on.
While the Yanagi/Yukinari situation is certainly interesting, the main event with regards to conflict this week centered on Kakeru. I’ve complained quite a bit about Kakeru in the past but the basis for his character is finally coming into focus. His argument with Yukinari is instructive and seems to provide some insight into Kakeru’s perceived history of isolation. He comes off as insightful enough to understand the social situations he finds himself in but he doesn’t manage to avoid saying things that will upset the people around him or get him into trouble. He’s blunt to a fault and it rubs people the wrong way. It’s possible that all of this is an accident and Kakeru actually wants to be liked, but his comments seem to indicate that his comments are intentional and maybe even involuntary. The idea of a person who involuntarily says what other people don’t want to hear seems a bit farfetched but given his ability to hear the future, it makes a bit more sense.
The other, arguably more interesting, development with regards to Kakeru was the appearance of his mother. I had presumed that she was deceased at this point but apparently she just isn’t around much. It’s unclear whether she’s divorced from his father at this point or merely perpetually on the road. She seems to get along with Kakeru’s father well enough. By contrast, Kakeru chooses to avoid his mother. My impression is that this reaction stems from the fact that his mother’s music is the trigger for his fragments of the future.
On the other side, Touko is having her share of trouble dealing with her visions. Despite her Mother encouraging her with the idea that a vision of the future would be a way to enjoy exciting moments in her life, it seems like her most recent vision is too much for her. (Side note: I really like how this show handles blushing effects. Touko’s ears in this scene in particular were really nicely done) I didn’t expect her visions to take a romantic turn this soon, but then again, everything about the romantic progression in Glasslip has surprised me in terms of how quickly things move. Given the content of their respective fragments it looks like Touko and Kakeru are as close to a destined pairing as this show is going to have.
On the negative side of the ledger, I did not like the final confrontation between Kakeru and Yukinari. The whole thing smacked of teenage faux-macho BS which I guess is somewhat understandable given the age of the characters but I hadn’t thought of them as this petty up to this point. It’s frustrating to watch Kakeru declare that they’ll have a race for the right to Touko as if Touko doesn’t get to have a say in all this. These actions really don’t make sense coming from Kakeru. He’s basically already won at this point. Touko has already rejected Yukinari’s confession and she’s growing closer to him so what does he have to gain by challenging Yukinari to a stupid race? It accomplishes nothing other than upsetting Yukinari, which does seem to be one of Kakeru’s goals although to what end is unclear. Fortunately Yanagi steps in to diffuse the situation which means more points for her but I’m not sure why we had to go through this in the first place.
Last, and pretty much least I suppose, is the ongoing Sachi/Hiro situation. I’m still a bit at a loss as to what’s going on here as the two of them continue to spend more time together but they don’t seem to be growing closer through it at all. Sachi isn’t taking any outward romantic interest in Hiro and every time they appear they are shown with a clear distance between the two of them which strikes me as a strong indication that this isn’t going anywhere. The question then becomes: where is this going? Is Hiro eventually going to receive a crushing rejection from Sachi? I have a hard time believing that but I have an even harder time believing she’s about to fall for him. Very strange stuff.
The episode ends on a brutal cliffhanger as Touko’s previous vision looks like it might be about to come true. I’d like to believe they’ll go through with this despite how early in the show it is and if their previous handling of romantic exploits is any indication, they probably will. Despite the indications Glasslip has given to the contrary, I still have a voice inside me telling me that things never move this fast in anime but Glasslip has proven me wrong repeatedly and I hope they prove me wrong again.