So, lately I’ve been having problems liking Plastic Memories, and I really want to like it. The premise is good and somewhat fresh, the stories are not bad, and most of the cast is ok in my opinion, but the biggest hinder to the show’s own success is the directing.
To put it bluntly, the show is not living to it’s own premise. Here I was, two month ago, very excited about this show that was supposed to show us the social and psychological consequences of creating artificial life companions with, what I supposed at the time, “permanent” memories -because that’s the main quality of plastic, and it’s on the freaking title. Yet I was deceived.
Believe me, this is not the post I wanted to write a few weeks ago. I will try to summarise what has happened in the previous 3 episodes that I didn’t cover so you can understand my conflict.
Episode 5 continues with Marcia’s retrieval case, and we find out that she has been abducted by some “black market” baboon that tricked Souta. As the higher suites of the corporation decide to take quick action by calling their own special forces to deal with the situation -Apparently police in anime are as useful as a wet napkin to write a novel. The Terminal Service takes action by gathering everyone from the department and putting them in the field, trying to prevent the trigger happy special forces from destroying Marcia and possibly scaring little Souta for life.
By this point I was very invested with the situation, the rainy environment and gritty atmosphere. It reminded me of Psycho Pass’s first season. But something was off in the characters behaviour, specially Tsukasa.
We then learn what really happens to a Giftia after the expiration date is met, in a very crude way. Basically the Three Laws of Asimov’s do not apply anymore and the system that comprises the moral compass and emotional affections degrades into an uncontrollable obsession and rage. This is very scary stuff when you consider that these androids posses super human strength and speed; Imagine a crazy ex very mad with you and with superpowers.
Kazuki, foreseeing a posible worse case scenario where Isla is incapable of stoping Marcia, gives Tsukasa a special gun that destroys Giftias internal systems and basically kills them -debatable decision.
While everyone is on the run looking for Marcia, Kazuki stays working with the special forces, trying to pull information from them, and here we get to see fragments of her past. In a very similar setup, Kasuki was working with Isla in the case involving Michiru’s foster father, a Giftia that also exceeded the expiration date presumably because of Michiru intervention due to her desire to stay with him. While they try to run away, Kazuki and Isla find them, unfortunately the soldiers enter the scene and shoot the Giftia down. Kazuki’s leg is broken trying to protect Michiru and Isla from the bullets and a very young Michiru is witness of everything. While I wouldn’t completely condone what the special forces did, I understand that there was a threat that needed to be dealt with, and the picture could have been allot worse.
Michiru and Kazuki gets a few more brushes of background that help us understand them better. Kazuki does not work much in the field because of her prostetic leg, Michiru’s scars are more clear now, and Isla “old lady-ish” behaviour make’s a bit more sense as she is uncomfortable when she feels not needed or not helpful.
As accurate as Nostradamus, Kazuki’s fears come true. Tsukasa and Isla find Marcia, who was also found by Souta -worse case scenario right there. Isla is uncapable of stopping her, Marcia starts choking Souta and against Isla’s wishes to let her stop Marcia, Tsukasa shoots Marcia down preventing more casualties. End of episode 5.
I cannot imagine what kind of technology break throw is needed to achieve a sentient, emotional android. We are barely capable of making intelligence that can successfully fool The Imitation Game. What kind of compromise they had to make to achieve this that they just have to deal with the consequences of a super deadly android killing everything near it? Was this really unsolvable? I mean, would you buy a TV that could only be used for 6 months before it turns into a blood thirsty transformer? Even if it is a sweet 4k 90inch 4D screen?… Would you?
Episode 6 is the aftermath. Isla needs some time to recover. Tsukasa is doing the best he can to apologise to Souta and deal with paperwork and stuff. All good. But then we go into another stalling point where the focus shifts to Isla apparently developing interest for Tsukasa, because she now feels stuff for him, because reasons. I was more inclined to focus on Isla inner struggle about her feeling of not being useful that her romantic interest for a guy who has only being truly useful once. And I understand, this is part of the original plot line and it had to be portrayed at some point, but this is not the moment folks. We where going places with the retrieval stories. It was exciting and heart-wrecking, in a good way. We where going light speed, and now suddenly we stop. I think the only good parts where when Souta confronted Tsukasa and when Kazuki finally put Tsukasa up speed with Isla remaining time. Props to him for taking it like a man and standing by her side.
Episode 7 digs deeper into Isla and Tsukasa blooming feelings and the awkwardness of everything. Every man in the department is giving Tsukasa advices and encouraging him to go for Isla. At this point I was expecting a very strong conflict in Tsukasa’s mind, because Isla barely has a month left, but no, everyone is just talking about a relationship. You could argue that they are just trying to give Isla the best memories possible before the deadline, but the casual way that Tsukasa is dealing with everything leaves no indication of such deep intentions.
That’s some really strong neck there.
Isla is acting awkward because she doesn’t understand what she feels. Tsukasa is acting awkward because he has a teenager’s mind. Girls talk, parks, candy, fluff and stuff. At the end of the episode Tsukasa collapses due to overwork and deficient eating, leaving us with a warm bonding moment in bed. Youth!
So then, after these three episodes we are more that half way though the series and we have only seen 2 cases of Giftia retrieval and actual “Meat” of plot. “But Isla’s is also a Giftia and her case is the main plot of the series you know!” Yes, that’s true, but the buildup of these Isla centred episodes where so slow and very little has been touched that either we get a deficient portrayal of the main plot in favour of more retrieval stories or we get 2 or more episodes of this, leaving us with just 2 more episodes for Giftia retrieval cases. Either way the story just end up being a shallow delivery. With the jokes being a hit or miss, and the serious moments just ending up bland and tasteless when mixed up with the inconsistent drama, Plastic Memories is just not being what was promised.
I wanted to end this post apologising for the 3 weeks of delay. Life has been hitting harder than usual lately and I just needed to reorganise my thoughts. I will try to keep my post coming every week as long as I can make the read worth reading. If I’m not happy with what I come up with I’ll just try harder and post later, but I’ll try to keep both quality and time a constant.
I will resume with the new episodes of Shokugeki no Souma, Baby Steps, Ore Monogatari and another series I’ve been trying to write about.
Thanks for reading and please leave a comment bellow.
See you in the next post.