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