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Plastic Memories – 03 »« Plastic Memories – 01

Plastic Memories – 02

OP Sequence

OP: 「Ring of Fortune」 by 佐々木恵梨 (Sasaki Eri)

「足を引っ張りたくないので」 (Ashi o Hipparitakunai node)
“Don’t Wanna Cause Trouble”

To think that the second episode of Plastic Memories wouldn’t be about artificial intelligence, or corporate conspiracies, or ethical quandaries, but about, of all things, workplace relations.

It’s certainly not an irrelevant topic, considering our protagonist’s situation, and it seems like even in the year 20xx humans still face much of the same mundane troubles as we do now. That’s one way to keep your science fiction from being pie in the sky stuff: make the technology shinier, but keep social interactions at about the same place (as opposed to the retrofitted, used future settings where everything looks even older). For those of you who have never worked in an office or anything resembling a corporate setting before, I envy you. For those of you who have, you’ll probably empathise with Tsukasa’s position. Being the newbie is tough, and if you’re a newbie with no credentials and no real protections from your patron like Tsukasa, you’re basically shark food. You have nothing to fight with, always having to watch for toes to avoid treading on, and if you rock the boat you’ll be the first one overboard. In a collectivist society like Japan, it must be even more suffocating.

Also, going drinking with that one boss is the worst.

So I understood where Tsukasa was standing in this episode, needing to juggle delicacies with his partner, whom he needs to work with on a continual basis, and with his various seniors and managers, those who sign off on his paycheques. It’s not just about looking cool; it’s about not offending, and taking the fall to preserve harmony is often expected of underlings. These are real issues! It’s not what I was looking for from Plastic Memories, but it seems they want to be meticulous about fleshing out their character dynamics, even for a featureless corporate drone like Tsukasa.

Stop moaning about office politics, Passerby

Besides workplace relations, we also see more of the workplace itself, and even more characters are introduced to work at SAI’s retrieval unit. They’re mostly introduced to deliver information to the viewer, though, especially in the case of Hanada Yasutaka (Tsuda Kenjirou) and Miru Eru (Uesaka Sumire), who really like to blab. I am slightly concerned about how Plastic Memories intends to juggle its increasingly large cast, but I’ll choose to believe that they know what they’re doing.

(I must say though, Japan has a much different idea of the Engineering alumnus than I do. If I knew that buxom beauties with liberal dress codes liked robots so commonly, I should really have changed faculties. Where did my life go wrong?)

The information the new characters actually give us is not exactly anything we couldn’t have guessed at before. For example, one red flag that pops up in this very episode is that they have a ‘Unit Testing Room’, not a ‘Unit Training Room’. Perhaps one could get so used to Giftia mimicking humans to such perfection that they forget the fact that they are androids, and who has ever heard of androids needing to ‘retrain’? But it’s not even an android issue. It’s an issue about aging and about death. It’s about losing your grip on the person you thought you essentially were as you grow old. With that in mind, Isla’s klutzy antics can only be so funny. The last bombshell is dropped, to the surprise of nobody. Isla is dying.

2000 hours ~ looking ahead

2000 hours is less than three months. That’s not a lot of time, but from her diminishing dexterity and confused speech, we already know that without a hard number. None of the other Giftia that have been retrieved have displayed these symptoms outwardly, though, even though we’ve been told it happens. Why Isla, specifically? Is it just because we’ve known her more personally, that we’re allowed to notice these signs?

I had an elderly grandmother who suffered severely from dementia. I think Plastic Memories is going to hurt me before we’re through.

Well, for now we can distract ourselves from the inevitable with other little mysteries that Plastic Memories has laid out for us. I’m still wondering what it is Isla whispers at every retrieval, and grow ever intrigued about the task of ‘ripping apart memories’, on learning that Tsukasa’s office, with their soft approach, is considered maverick. And, of course, with the OP finally playing, there’s even more speculation fuel. For example: there seems to be two contrasting Isla’s in it. Ponder its meaning with me until next week.

April 12, 2015 at 11:58 am
  • April 12, 2015 at 12:10 pmJudge Holden

    2000 hours = 83 days = number of days between the second episode and the end of the Spring season

    • April 12, 2015 at 12:34 pmFlameStrike

      Damn looks like the anime staff did their homework.

  • April 12, 2015 at 12:35 pmAbikill

    bracing for the impact already
    i can see a lot of feels crashing into me already

  • April 12, 2015 at 12:46 pmWorldwideDepp

    i think Isla is very aware in how she is. An Android or Cyborg, that see many of her Brothers and Sisters ending their Life. She is a Wandering Soul, trapped between the acceptance in the Human and Android world. “Can Androids dream like Humans?” (Bladerunner)

    i think this internal Conflict is the real culprit that she is dying slowly, beside her end of running time.

    Empathy with their “blood relatives”

    • April 12, 2015 at 12:57 pmMistic

      I agree. Since chapter 1 already told us that Giftia bodies can be reused, the cause of their decay must be in their “synthetic souls”.

      Which begs the question: is it an unavoidable fate caused by the current technology or is it another case of planned obsolescence? Do newer Giftias get longer lifespans?

  • April 12, 2015 at 2:05 pmmac65

    Okay, pretty much everybody’s figured out that 2.000 hours === length of spring season –
    and we’re told early on in the series. So, how’s it going to play out? Chobits? Dunno.

    Also, I kinda getting the feeling that Isla isn’t loosing her abilities. I think she was always
    like that. There are a couple of interesting (contradictory) statements:

    Giftias learn, just like humans


    Isla will always remain the way she is now

    I don’t think I have enough info about Giftias to be able to reconcile those statements — good
    writing ’cause it’d be a boring series otherwise.

    We still don’t know their purpose – are they a replacement for a wrongful death; loss of a
    loved one through an accident? Can you just order one? It seems pretty common knowledge,
    but hasn’t been revealed to the audience just yet.

    So, who is Isla — can’t wait to see how the writing will continue to develop the story…

  • April 12, 2015 at 2:53 pminfo600

    In a sense, Isla is trying to adapt to her diminishing capabilities, ie. :

    Giftias learn, just like humans … Isla will always remain the way she is now…

    …with not so great results:

    BTW, most of the Giftias we’ve seen being retrieved have similar declining capabilities to what Isla has right now (though having Isla throwing out verbal ‘error’ messages might be more of a running gag and lampshade hanging).
    For sure Isla is going to be on my mind throughout this series as we see more of her past.

    ps. Didn’t realize that giftias can bleed…

  • April 12, 2015 at 3:06 pmTechim

    I’ve seen a number of American ideas on human-AI interaction, and with this being an original anime, I am curious as to which direction it’ll take..First two episodes strongly paints it as a story full of feels, but does anyone think it has the possibility to head in a different direction?

    *The spoiler tag is just to make the post look neat, it lists what human/AI stories I’ve seen before.
    Show Spoiler ▼

  • April 12, 2015 at 4:00 pmichigo

    • April 13, 2015 at 4:33 amReikakou

      She went from Tsun to dere-dere really fast.

  • April 13, 2015 at 12:14 ambrajt

    Watching Isla working on her bondage skills all day with such a passion, I can see why they turn the giftias off after 9 years.

  • April 13, 2015 at 3:15 amThe Last Idiot

    why? why would isla “die” if her cuteness power is simply overwhelming?

    damn… looks like dogakobo, is preparing a 100MT of tear nuke… BETTER PREPARE FOR IT so that i can save my manliness. :D

  • April 13, 2015 at 5:53 amOwaranai

    Plastic Memories isn’t half bad. Perhaps a lesser version of the greater tearjerker works, but nonetheless a show with great potential.

    Watching all the day-to-day interactions with Tsukasa and Isla works to connect us viewers with the characters as you watch them work diligently on their own to get better at the job or simply because you don’t want to let your partner down, seeing them go through difficult times together and pulling through, then getting the bombshell dropped on us.

    Passerby’s right – None of us didn’t expect that Isla has some tragic circumstances, but what surprised me was how quickly that came out, because while the “feels” generation seems to be it’s most effective when the characters are in their most joyous time or moment of triumph, this works quite well too. It makes me question how the story will go from here, having confirmed knowledge of the tragedy in the works, and how the characters (especially Tsukasa, who is still in the dark) react and behave as well as the changes in Isla.

    It also helps that most of the characters here are likable and leave a good impression. Klutzy Isla continues to be cute, while the standard tsundere Michiru still manages to charm in her own way. Tsukasa as the hard-working newbie and the interactions with his wackier colleagues are interesting to watch.

    Let’s see how this turns out. For now I’m pretty hopeful the show will turn out great.

  • April 13, 2015 at 6:44 amRed HeartGold ZX

    “Are you a lolicon…?”

    Yep. Seems like lolicon to me.

    (Damn these 2 remind me so much of Myuseru and Shinichi from Outbreak Company)

  • April 15, 2015 at 10:38 amsavofenno

    I wonder from where that name spelling “Isla” comes from? You can hear the cast say “Aira” or “Aila”, which is also her name in romanji.

    I have a cousin with that name, Aila.

    • April 17, 2015 at 1:28 amKiseki

      Think “isle” or “island”.

    • April 19, 2015 at 1:07 pmLeire

      Isla is Spanish for island, the cast are pronouncing it the way I imagine an English person would though.

  • April 17, 2015 at 9:12 amSolaris

    I just hope this not ends like Air. Looking Misuzu slowly loosing her life like that without the tiniest hope was suicide inducing. I can’t take another anime like that.