Anime Thing: Plastic Memories
By Matthew Maravilla
In stories, sometimes, the ending can be transparent. We can tell what two characters end up together, who lives and who dies, and most importantly, we get to see the driving motivation for our heroes to end up meeting up. However, in these stories, the beauty comes from the journey leading to that ultimate ending, something that Plastic Memories definitely takes in strides.
Plastic Memories is a Spring 2015 anime made by studio Doga Kuro, a new-kid on the block responsible for other hit shows like Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. It takes place in a future where humanity became able to create humanoid androids, where said androids have certain lifespans before they forget everything about themselves and must be retrieved by the company who created them to prevent possible danger to the populous. Thus, this show spares no expense to give the feels to the audience, albeit predictable sometimes.
When you give androids their own conciousness lives for only ten years, people are going to become sad when that android they’ve been calling their brother, sister, mother, father, or lover passes on. Yet, the inevitability of death is something the show doesn’t stop to tell the audience. Every glimmer of hope that our characters have of possibly being able to live the rest of their days out gets shot because, this show, while fiction, was created to bring the future into more realistic terms.
Each character carefully crafted with a clear understanding of their reality, yet, in all of this, our main male character, Tsukasa Mizugaki, is learning about this world, since he is assigned to work as a retriever for the company responsible for creating these androids, called Giftia. Giftia retrieval requires an employee at the company and a Giftia partner; in this case, Tsukasa is the employee, and Isla is his Giftia partner. Isla is a veteran Giftia of the Terminal Service, who is reaching the end of her lifespan as a Giftia.
Personally, this show had a lasting effect on me. From the first episode on, you know how the show ends. However, with every episode, the show keeps developing each of its characters, including those who we will only see for an episode. On top of that, the show has no problems throwing reality right back at the characters sparing no expense and closing every avenue possible. By the end, it becomes so painful that all you can do is see the show through to the end.
Plastic Memories is the perfect example of an anime that you look to not for quality animation (not every frame goes smoothly), but for quality writing and characters. Even though Tsukasa is our “fish-out-of-water”, he was teleported to some far off planet. Even though Isla is a veteran, she’s pretty clumsy and very shy, even if she comes off as robotic. Even the show’s tsundere is more someone with insecurities. The base archetypes we’re all used to, while there, are more to create familiarity with every character and open them up for real character development, as we learn how Giftias have changed them.
Plastic Memories is not a show for someone who doesn’t want to see drama-filled shows trifled with sadness. In other words, it is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of tragedy in this show, despite its cutesy exterior and oftentimes bubbly characters. Every character has their baggage and it can hurt just getting to know these characters because the knowledge that their happiness is short-lived.
I also want to address the people who look at shows for quality animation over good writing because if that’s what you want out of a show, animation over story, this show isn’t too bad. There are a lot of parts where scenes have choppy character models and weird in-betweens, but it’s palatable. When the show hits its high points, it clearly gets the animation right as it brings out all the other parts highlighting the scene along with the animation itself.
Plastic Memories was my pick for anime of Spring 2015. Of course, I whole-heartedly recommend you to go watch it. However, the show isn’t as cute as it looks and is full of tragedy, so you have been warned. If you are looking for other shows like this one, I suggest checking out “Your Lie In April”.
Should you watch Plastic Memories? If you want the tears rolling down your face.