WITH YOUR GUIDE: KELL OGGS!
At this point I’m pretty much out of patience for Glasslip. The show is doing little more than flail about at this point as it tries to put its plot threads together but it’s readily apparent that the writers don’t actually know how to bring any of these ideas across the finish line. We’ve had ideas like Kakeru’s multiple personalities and Hiro’s crying sister that were introduced and then promptly forgotten for multiple episodes. We’ve had other plot points like Touko’s sister’s involvement with Yukinari and Yanagi come seemingly out of nowhere. The whole exercise reminds me a lot of watching Golden Time where I thought the author had a logical plan of where to go with the set up and it turned out the seemingly crazy things the characters did ended up being played straight. Watching this also reminded me of something else, which brings us to the odd title of this week’s post.
To explain myself we need to go back to mid-1990s Nickelodeon and the show “Legends of the Hidden Temple.” Those of you who, like me, grew up with this show should already know what I’m talking about and can skip the rest of this paragraph. For the rest of you I’ll give a quick explanation so you can understand what I’m talking about later. LotHT was a game show that put its young contestants through a competition of trivia and physical challenges culminating in a “temple run” game where the contestants would race through a huge structure whose rooms were filled with puzzles to solve in order to enter the next room. One room in particular was the bane of many contestants’ existence: the Shrine of the Silver Monkey. You can see a compilation of kids failing at the room here.
The reason I bring this up is because watching Glasslip flail about reminds me a ton of watching kids who were unable to put together the Shrine of the Silver Monkey. All the parts were there, and I as the viewer could see how they were supposed to go together but I’m unable to do anything but helplessly watch as all of these parts end up improperly used and never come together into the whole I want them to be in my mind. The combination of anger and disappointment I feel is remarkably similar in both cases. Let’s break it down piece by piece:
The base of the monkey is represented here by the fragments of the future possessed by Touko and Kakeru. It should have been the basis on which the entire show is built. It is the one thing that would set this apart from other high school romances as well as PA Works’ other remarkably similar shows. Unfortunately you get the feeling that the base is put in backwards. The fragments subplot never seemed to fit in right with the rest of the story and other than driving Touko crazy it didn’t seem to really have much of an influence on anybody but her. As far as foundations go, it feels out of place, rather than being something that the show can actually take advantage of. Even the twist of Kakeru apparently losing his ability to hear fragments this week didn’t have much impact because he barely acted on those fragments anyway. As long as Touko is still seeing nightmarish visions it doesn’t much matter what little bits of Touko’s voice Kakeru does or does not hear.
The Hina subplot is like the middle piece of the puzzle. Unfortunately, instead of being introduced right on top of the “base” after the fragments were introduced, the story came in too late and doesn’t really fit with the rest of the show. Hina feels instead like an extra part that was thrown in late as more of an afterthought than anything. We see her interact with nobody but Touko for the first six episodes then suddenly she becomes friends with Yanagi and Yukinari with almost no build up. It’s like if you put the head into the base and then tried to insert the middle part of the monkey afterward. It just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the show and leaves the viewer scratching their head wondering where this came from and why we didn’t use it earlier. I do like parts of the Yanagi/Yukinari subplot though. Their phone conversation was a nice example of them slowly reconciling after Yanagi’s confession created awkwardness between them. The conversation felt genuine and you could really feel the two of them slowly overcoming the tension that they previously experienced. How Hina is supposed to figure into this remains a mystery though.
Moving up again, we reach the head, which I see as analogous to the Sachi/Hiro/Touko love triangle. Without any base to stand on, I have a hard time reconciling Sachi’s seemingly cruel and manipulative actions with her otherwise calm demeanor. I have a hard time seeing her actions as anything other than incredibly selfish. Her chosen method of confession would have allowed her to crush Hiro emotionally without forcing her to deal with the fallout of actually confessing to Touko. If Sachi had felt any nervousness about being around Touko or confessing to her she didn’t really show it. She made little to no effort to prevent Hiro and Yanagi from deducing where her affections lie which, if nothing else, shows she doesn’t feel a need to keep her orientation secret. On the Hiro side of things, if she wanted to let Hiro down softly she utterly failed the moment she went to the movies with him. I don’t’ see how her actions can be construed as anything but leading Hiro on. If she actually had any intention of making him her boyfriend, the writers did a terrible job of establishing that and if she simply wanted to reject him from the start then why did she drag things out so much? Sachi seems to take random actions without any effort made to establish the motives behind her actions. Like the monkey head without a base, her story falls over without any base to stand on.
The point of this incredibly tortured metaphor is that I see plenty of good pieces in Glasslip still. I love the idea of Sachi being attracted to Touko and afraid to reveal her feelings just as I like the idea of Yanagi being attracted to her step brother but forced to watch him pine for Touko and the idea of two fated lovers brought together by a shared mysterious power. All of these concepts are great in theory but PA Works has failed utterly to put them together into a whole that looks anything what it was meant to look like. Like the timer ticking down on the contestants in the temple, time is running out for Glasslip and I don’t see much hope for these pieces actually coming together.