Plastic Memories Review

Plastic Memories Review

"If my lifespan was predetermined, I wonder how I'd handle that."
What would you do if you faced a situation where you knew when you or your loves one was going to "die"? How would you handle that? We all know that we are going to die someday, but knowing exactly when you're going to die can bring a drastic change in your personality and the way you see the world.

Plastic memories explores this idea by utilizing it's futuristic premise where androids with set expiration dates (called Giftias) exist. These giftias are very close to being human as they look, behave and show emotions exactly like one. So, our main character gets paired along with one such giftia at work and falls in love with her. And this is where things get interesting. As soon as he learns her "expiration date", he has to deal with the fact that she is going to "die" pretty soon and there's nothing he can do about it other than to accept it.

I think many people get confused when they hear about the premise that this is going to be a deep show about the relationship between man and machine, or that it explores if robots can fully understand the concept of love or whatnot. The show merely uses the set premise to achieve its objective of putting the characters in a situation where the couple knows exactly when one of them is going to die, simple as that. It never even tries to go along any other path than that, so saying that it "wasted it's potential" on that basis would be wrong. Now with that out of the way, let's move on to topic of the execution of that premise.

Isla Gif

So, the main attraction of the show is the whole situation with the predetermined death sentence of one of the characters. How do they deal with that? Especially, how does the android deal with that? The homo sapien deals with the situation by going through the usual five phases - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. And this transition has been brought about nicely and in a subtle way as he goes through all those convulsions and finally brings himself to accept the harsh truth and enjoy every moment that they have left. Though I will say that they could have done a better job at that by eliminating the parts where they danced around the misunderstandings and actually devote more time in nurturing the relationship and focusing on the said phases. Still, I was really happy with that.

The real problem comes with the android's case. You see, she just came off as too human for me. The only satisfying reason that I can tell you in her defence would be that the society that she lives in has really accepted (and developed) the giftias and has rewarded them with a status equal to that of human beings. (Now that I mention it, they did talk about Android Protection Laws but sadly never went further) Thing is, Sometimes her decisions were just too inconsistent with her character from the previous episodes. (Something you wouldn't normally except from an android) As for her own death sentence, she was already on the phase of depression right from the beginning of the show but the acceptance part, something I was really looking forward to, comes about in a very awkward way. It really messes with the overall taste of the anime because it makes the anime feel like any other romance anime where the girl just has a terminal disease disregarding the fact that the premise offers much more than that. 

Tsukasa and Isla Gif

Now, it is clear from the premise that the ending to the overall romance routine is going to be a sad one. The anime clearly states in the first half that it is absolutely impossible to prevent the "death" of a giftia, though that seems quite illogical when you think about it. Leaving all those holes in the logic of the anime aside, the ending was executed nicely. Despite my disagreement with Isla's character, it did bring closure. (Though no tears for me) 

As for the characters, the main character is your usual goody two shoes who is always nervous when it comes to girls. He does get developed in the romance but the overall experience with the giftia retrieval didn't seem to have much of an impact on him. (Something I really wanted to see) The romance plays out just like any other romance does in a rom-com anime with the dates to the amusement park, a festival where the girl gets lost and then later the guy founds her alone and they have a moment, etc etc. So, nothing unique there which stood out. What was really interesting was how he went through the five phases mentioned above. That transition does bring a certain amount of depth to his character, though his normal bland stereotypical nature kind of ruins it.

Now, for our main female lead Isla, the android/giftia, I had a lot of expectations from her development as she really did behave like an android at the beginning. (For example, in the first episode, she jumped out of a building without any regard for her life to complete her 'mission') But the thing that I disliked was how little glimpse we get into her psyche regarding her confrontation with the fact that she is going to stop being herself after a certain day. Instead of freaking out or at least thinking about the fact, she seems quite relaxed and chill, sort of like a Zen master. (Just because you brew a lot of herbal tea doesn't make you a Zen Master) Throughout the show, I can't say that I fully understood her intentions behind the actions she took. But yes, her character was nice (not the best but nice).

Isla falling gif

As for the side characters, they were all pretty much your basic slice of life cardboard cut outs. We have the tsundere girl who cares about the main character but never admits it, thus gets ridiculed by her co-worker often for comedy. We have the tough & scary "One-san" character who absolutely loves the female lead and constantly threatens the MC reminding him of what will happen if he ever hurt her. We have the "cool manly guy" who acts cool because he is senior and mainly shows up to give dating advice to the main character or for comedy. All the other androids are just there for show and don't really leave an impression on you. So I guess, character-wise, this was pretty average.
Note : An interesting thing to see here is the few references to Evangelion and the slight resemblance between the characters here and those from Evangelion. (Except that Tsukasa does wannna get into the robot.) 

Now, the one area where the anime did extremely well, is the animation. It is quite well done and gives off a refreshing vibe. The character designs are great and unique, though they're still moe-ish with the whole rainbow hair colour. (This is a sort of a slice of life rom-com anyway) The futuristic designs were nice. The animation really shines when there is a scenery (like the fireworks or the park or even the herb garden); very smooth and fluid and is pleasing to the eye.The soundtrack on the other hand did it's job by being there when it was supposed to. Nothing too great for me to go out of my way to check for.

So, despite all those flaws that I mentioned above, I really did have fun watching this show. This will be quite entertaining if you discard all the expectations of getting something deep to think about. It is a simple love story, nothing more than that and it never tries to be, and I really appreciate it for that. But they certainly could have done much better if they didn't remain so indifferent to the potential that their own premise offered.

Plastic Memories Rating

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