Plastic Memories takes the cake for the weirdest and yet most interesting anime I’ve seen this season thus far. There’s really only a handful of shows left to premiere that I’m aware of so I think it’s probably safe to give them the belt. The opening serves only one purpose and it’s to have our main characters meet each other, before they officially meet each other. It’s rather pointless in terms of story, but they flash back to it several times. After that we follow Tsukasa Mizugaki as he starts his new job for SAI Corp in the “Terminal Service Department.” It takes a while for his co-workers to explain what exactly it is he’ll be doing especially when they mostly say things like, “nothing” or “watching.”
He and subsequently the audience learns about Giftia’s which are androids that have a nine year, four month shelf life. After that they start to break down and their memories corrupt. The Terminal Service’s job is to collect the androids before they get to this point, but of course there’s paperwork and rules to follow. Each human is also paired with a Giftia so half of the characters we meet are androids.
This was actually the only part of the story I had a problem with. Why the fuck would anyone buy an android that they couldn’t keep, knowing they could only keep it for less than a decade? I mean they instantly show us the type of situations; one is a couple that obviously didn’t have kids and had an android son, another is an old lady with a “granddaughter” that is her only family.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the collecting of these soon to be defunct androids is a painful process and Tsukasa learns that first hand. I get that part, it’s just the catalyst to put the characters in this state that is kind of weak. I mean I guess when you pick out the android you don’t think about the ending, but still it’s a weird business model and an even stranger purchase.
What our main character doesn’t get that we as the audience instantly figure out (or at least you should) is that his Giftia partner who was previously taken off of field work (and who Tsukasa bumps into during the opening), Isla, is approaching her nine years. It’s pretty damn obvious to everyone except the main character, but I won’t spoil it for you in case you’d like to piece it together yourself.
The supporting characters are archetype characters that you’d find in any anime so no real surprise there. I mean, absolutely none. What makes them interesting is just how they’re used in this scenario and I have to admit that I became choked up by the end of the episode… until they ruined it with comedy.
This show lays on the drama pretty thick, but it also presents humor and there was only one time that it didn’t work and that was the ending. I get that they probably wanted to bring the audience back up and not leave you sad and depressed, but the attempt here really damaged everything that we had just seen.
The animation has a nice style. The coloring is warm and matches the near future world that the story takes place in. Studio Doga Kobo doesn’t break the model with the character designs and really the designs are as archetype as the personalities, but it works. The focus isn’t the designs, but rather dealing with loss.
And that’s really what this show is about, dealing with the loss of someone close to you. It’s a strange way to approach the subject, but then that’s also why I liked it. And there’s the question of what happens when they don’t get to the android soon enough? I don’t know, but I’ll be following it.
Plastic Memories 1.1 - "The First Partner" Official Website