Plastic Memories: Sadly and Ironically Unmemorable

A review of the 2015 spring anime “Plastic Memories”

In the near future, androids that possess human emotions called “Giftia” can be seen all over the place. Produced and managed by the SAI Corporation, these Giftia practically blend in with society, the only catch being that they cannot live to be older than nine years, after which their memory needs to be wiped clean to prevent further contamination.

Upon bombing college entrance exams, Tsukasa Mizugaki is offered a position (through his father’s unknown relations) at one of SAI’s Terminal Service Department. Their job –  to retrieve nearly-expired Giftia and delete their memories.

Tsukasa descends into madness as he begins to take away the precious memories of his friends one by one, discovering that they are Giftia. Teaming up with a rebellious organization to stop SAI from creating more false hopes and plastic memories, Tsukasa and his sexy female companion Isla arm themselves to spill blood and delete data in hopes of a brighter future. But can a future be salvaged from these lost, crushed dreams?

Naw, I’m just kidding. It deceptively feels this way at first, though we could only wish it continued. Plastic Memories is actually a love story. Yep, one unmemorable love story at that.

Tsukasa is partnered up with Isla, a petit Giftia whose only practice and profession is serving tea to her co-workers. She’s a bit of a klutz and quite shy around him, but after a few retrieval cases, the two fall for each other and become more than office co-workers. Little does Tsukasa know, Isla only has a few months remaining before she herself is to be turned in.

Built in a sci-fi setting centered on a broken concept, this anime could have gone in several more interesting directions. Had I known that it was a love story from the beginning, then maybe I could have appreciated it more. Thing is, the anime also tried to be more than romantic. Slice-of-life, comedy, and sexual teasing are all tossed in to hinder the true development of the couple. You’d have a truly touching scene at the apartment, then someone waltzes in naked, Tsukasa freaks, and the whole moment is lost; “Plastic Memories,” more like plastic emotions –  Quit toying with my feelings and cue the tender skits, please!

Also, for sacrificing the whole potential plot towards this absentminded relationship, the romance isn’t even that great! I didn’t feel any pull between Tsukasa and Isla until the end, which is obviously too late. Plastic Memories was ultimately too distracted with other elements, and thus couldn’t keep my absolute focus – But right as I decide to close out of another wasted episode, the show manages to hook me back on with a heartwarming event.

When it comes to romance, or whatever this anime decides to sport, it’s up to the characters to convey the feelings out of my heart, and very few times do they actually achieve this goal. Determined Tsukasa and shaky Isla kindly function as one and manage to keep things as genuine as possible, but the supporting cast really likes to bump heads with our leads. They’re the typical office cast: the sideline tsundere drama, the loud spoken honest boy, the soft spoken kind boy, the grungy pervert man, the boss too kind for anyone to handle, the supervisor with a stick up their ass, so on and so forth. Had the directors not spent so many episodes of Isla and Tsukasa bumbling around in stupid antics with said cast, then they could have received actual depth rather than cheap one-liners. I really wanted to like this cast, but I couldn’t get into them because anytime deep fondness was expressed, someone had to jiggle their boobs or put another in a headlock. So frustrating!

The only character I’d like to highlight is Michiru (Eva’s Asuka lookalike), a well-developed tsundere who, like the series, could have taken a very different route. It’s obvious that she harbors feelings for Tsukasa, which could have made Plamemo a stereotypical love triangle, but Michiru is not there to makes things worse. She sticks up for Isla and even tutors the two, guiding them down the love path she wishes she could walk. Thanks Michiru for not fitting the mold and being delightful all by yourself! 🙂

Previously I had not seen any anime by studio Doga Kobo, so this was joyfully new for me. Characters and their expressions are cutely designed. Architecture of this futuristic setting was handled well, too, and the colors are always bright. There are a few awkward inconsistencies when it comes to facial details, and sometimes the action transitions choppy, but none of it was particularly bad; nothing spectacular, either.

Going back and listening to it now, the OST contains several upbeat string and vocal songs, usually featuring a guitar as well. For the softer scenes, tracks like “again & again” in the first half set the mood with beautiful piano. The opening “Ring of Fortune” by Eri Sasaki also accents this beauty. Overall the OST is not standout, but sweet and supportive.

Plamemo‘s biggest problem is the fact that it starts out with several heartbreaking retrieval cases that are honestly so depressing you can’t help but shed a little water from your eyes. This exposition starts you off thinking, “Oh god, I’m going to have my heart torn to pieces by the end.” But then when the show shifts to the romance, it distracts itself with dumb antics that don’t feel they should belong in this kind of show. It was only by the final Ferris wheel scene where I could actually feel the connection.

But I couldn’t feel sad either, for after all of this nonsense in the office and quiet days at home, it was time for the show to end, which it did so happily and without regret. It’s sad and ironic to say that I won’t remember Plastic Memories all because of its misplaced foolery and nonsensical direction, but it was the one that decided to poke fun at itself, not me.

“Having happy and beautiful memories won’t always bring you salvation. The more beautiful a memory is, the more painful it can become. Both for the one who’s leaving . . . and for the one left behind.” – Isla

+ Heartbreaking first four episodes are so powerful; compelling end on par with beginning

+ Michiru’s character added depth where there was none

– Continuous, overused antics stop this anime from being memorable

– Interesting premise with varying direction, route chosen was somewhat disappointing

– Side characters lack dimension

And that concludes my thoughts on an anime that tried to juggle it all, but dropped the pins. For cafe awarding, it can be found under the “Coffee” menu. Did you have other thoughts on Plastic Memories? Leave your comments below, “like” if you enjoyed this review and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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15 thoughts on “Plastic Memories: Sadly and Ironically Unmemorable

  1. Your little alternative reality was hilarious! I’ve even got one of my own; PlaMemo might be the first anime that makes me write fanfiction purely because I couldn’t stand the direction of the plot. Those last few episodes were just an epilogue to the story that had already ended – the struggle for Isla to return back to the person she had been long ago – so they really should have strung together a plot that could last the whole cour.

    My alternative take on the story involves a similar development, but having the romance underneath a whole series of retrievals, allowing for a greater focus on the speculative things that fans of the series loved. Tsukasa only asks Isla out on the day she’s due for retrieval (because reasons), but she declines, demonstrating to him the meaning behind their partnership and the love he gave her throughout it, without being her boyfriend, until the end as she’s retrieved. Cue mixed emotions because Tsukasa is happy that she’s fulfilled but sad that she could never have a proper love life but happy that she’d already accepted that but sad that he hasn’t yet but happy that all his awkward bumbling was what gave her happiness but sad that he didn’t realise he was making her happy until now… et cetera. Lots of other stuff could be crammed in there too.

    The ending of the real show was simply too simple for me to care about the feels after they’d passed.

    Great review, your style always refreshes my day! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG, that fan fiction sounds ten times better than the original! I like the deeper romance, and the idea of the intense heartbreaking cases with the romance underlying it. Gosh, we should have written the story for this anime XD!!

      And thank you so much! I’m thrilled you enjoy my writing 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your idea would have had more Anime-of-the-Season potential; mine would have been panned by critics for having too much ‘forced drama’ and being too engineered to make the viewer cry, etc. xD

        Liked by 1 person

      • But that’s a good thing – I haven’t cried in anime since Angel Beats! which was a while ago. It was just sad, not necessarily the best anime, though.

        And yes, Anime of the Season – the one that everyone loves to hate (SAO, AoT, etc.) haha, float or sink, makes or breaks the entire season! XDD

        Like

  2. Plastic Memories was just too deceptive.
    Like you, I was expecting something very different than what we got. From the synopysis, I assumed it would be similar to Blade Runner, but, boy, was I wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG yes anime in real life!!

      But sadly, nope, I meant dimension as in multi-layered personality. Tsukasa, Isla, Michiru, and even Kazuki felt tangible in the sense that they acted realistically yet kept some aspects and traits in reserve. With the other office side characters, all we know about them are the few lines that they speak and what they look like.

      Hope that clears some hints up XD

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like your tag ‘stupid antics’ :> I clicked on it and was a little forlorn to see that its only tagged in Plastic Memories … perhaps there are more anime around that deserve that tag? :p

    Plastic Memories in my view is a very fickle-minded and perhaps overly ambitious show; in aiming at many goalposts at one time it ends up having no successful shot. Perhaps a longer run would have benefited it; but if poor direction and a lack of self-awareness still prevails, we would still end up with the same quality of content even if it has two cours. :/ I can’t even express how disappointed I was at this, I had so many expectations for it! 😦

    On a sidenote, I noticed that you have stopped following me 😥 *goes to a corner to grow mushrooms*

    (I realised that just made me sound stalkerish oops. xD)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, “stupid antics” applies to so many anime, it was only yesterday when I came up with the idea 😛

      And I think you’re right. As much as I would want Plamemo to have a second cour to fix direction and development, I don’t think they would use it to benefit the show, but rather continue this disappointing charade of “stupid antics.” :/

      Whoops! How long ago did you notice the drop in my following?? A while back, I went on a following spree and added a ton of new bloggers to read from 🙂 but then I always manage the blogs to avoid text alerts, as I have the app downloaded to function as a reader. Lady Misfortune must have guided my tired 2 a.m. fingers and I accidentally clicked the sensitive unfollow button. That’s my mistake! Please accept my most humble apology. (hands Shiroyuni a small stack of random ass Japanese corner store snacks with a full bow, it’s a Negima!? Motsu reference XDD)

      I’ll get right back to following your amazing blog, and thank you so much for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Plastic Memories could really have benefited from better writing, I suppose. Also, I forgot to mention that I agree with you on the development of the relationship between the two mains. I thought that it could have been more developed and explored in greater depth, but what we got was really a halfhearted attempt at crafting a romance that didn’t manage to really engage anybody’s sympathies, unfortunately. I think we all just went ‘oh no, that’s sad’ but we really don’t think too much about it, which is why your title is appropriate :>

        Haha, I did notice the lack of your activity on my site for a while, but I put it up at first to you just happening to miss my posts on Reader, which happens especially when we follow so many blogs xD I see, I actually have the app downloaded on my phone as well! I always keep notifications on though for any sort of blog activity xD
        Yay food thank you 😀 *accepts snacks and relishes them* I’ll be waiting for the ‘new follower’ notification from you! xP And you’re welcome, always good to comment/talk to you 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, that half-hearted relationship description is pretty accurate. I’m glad you thought the title fit 🙂 And I have followed you once again – I can’t wait to speak with you more, too! It’s always a pleasure ~

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: TCTX Aniblogger Club: Spring 2015 Anime Picks | Takuto's Anime Cafe

  5. How about this:

    “In attempt to stop the rebellious organisation. In a panic, SAI pulled the plug. All the giftias went sentinal and declared world domination”. Or something like that xDD.

    Good review Takuto!!. I really enjoyed reading it. Plamemo really was a dissappointing show. Had potential, but it just dropped it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment, Rocco!! It did drop most everything it had going for it, and that is disappointing.

      Another alternate scenario that sounds a ton better than what we got! Sounds so cool! Robot uprisings ~

      Like

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