「同棲はじめました」 (Dōsei Hajimemashita)
“We’ve Just Started Living Together”
So apparently Plastic Memories is a rom-com now. All the usual is there: a flimsy excuse for our male and female leads to live together, some fanservice, some sexual tension, and general hijinks all around. Impressively, a good half of the episode was basically just one long running gag, and while I was amused for the most part, the other part of me was left wondering whether, in this future, Tsukasa was genetically engineered to be the thickest man on the planet. Sure, some of it was not exactly his fault (though, trying flambe the first time cooking, no matter how good you think you are with following manuals? Totally your fault), and you have to give him points for persistence, but at some point you’d think the poor sap would get the hint. The advice of his colleagues are variably useless or misogynistic. There is no version of reality where horrible chuunibyou crossdressing is going to charm the girl. At least, save it until after the first date. You have time to be kinky later.
There would be those who, after the previews and the pilot episode, would have expected Plastic Memories to be a more serious show, all the time. I was certainly one of them. But perhaps some lighthearted comedy is good for the soul, once in a while. After covering a rather heavy episode of Unlimited Blade Works, I certainly felt like I needed it. For others, I suppose the romantic comedy is going to be hit or miss, though I think I can objectively see the purpose of it. For a story about relationships breaking down along with memory, it would be important for them to actually build up that relationship piece by piece before, I suspect, they tear it down in the same fashion. Get us invested with fun and laughter (and, equally importantly, time), then get capitalise on returns later by making sad things happen to people we care about. It may sound trite when I put it that way, but it’s effective. So don’t try to think about it too much. Just let the show carry you along. Nothing worthwhile comes from this kind of deconstruction anyway.
The other purpose of the fun and games is to soften some of the more serious issues discussed in this episode. I won’t go into the wider philosophical quandaries in this post, but it’s an opportunity to consider: why AI (and for that matter, why glasses?)?. For what are essentially robotic servants, is it wise to actually give them intelligence? We’ve seen the Giftia being used as not just mechanical helpers, but as actual emotional supports for human beings, so they need to emulate humanity to a large degree. But perhaps SAI hasn’t fully thought through exactly what they are doing. Is creating these sophisticated intelligences that can hardly live longer than a pet rabbit an irresponsible thing to do? It’s not surprising that Isla resents it and prefers isolation. Her job is to put down Giftia, and she has witnessed firsthand the relationships painfully terminating far before their time. There’s plenty of reason she would want to avoid leaving any of those behind herself.
1832 hours ~ looking ahead
I think it would be unreasonable to expect the same level of emotional intensity as the pilot every single episode; Plastic Memories would burn itself out far too quickly. Rather than a ‘Giftia retrieval of the week’ format, it seems that Plastic Memories is going to spend more time developing its central pairing, Tsukasa and Isla, and creating conflict mainly around those two. We’ll probably see other Giftia now and again, but the story has a clear focus. That’s a good thing, in my opinion, because strong central narratives really hold things together, especially for an original series. It’s too easy to meander without them.
After three episodes, I’m still feeling good about this show. Sure, nothing particularly brilliant has emerged yet (episode 01 remains the highest point, probably), but everything is done solidly enough to ward off complaints for now. At the very least, Plastic Memories seems to have a clear sense of what it’s doing, which is always a good sign, and that confidence allows me to rest easy waiting for it to show its hand. If we consider the high drama of episode 01 to be just a taste of Plastic Memories‘ potential, then we can expect the main course to have an even stronger kick. Of course, the key to enjoying original shows like this is to have no expectations, so I’m going to try to temper my own and give Plastic Memories the benefit of tabula rasa.
On a purely positive note, I enjoyed the ED that we were finally shown this episode. Music has been consistently one of Plastic Memories‘ strong suits and, together with the watercolour look, made for a fittingly storybook atmosphere that I found effective. Yet another little thing that Plastic Memories does well. With enough of those we’ll be in for an excellent series all-round.
Full-length images: 20, 28, ED 01.
ED: 「朝焼けのスターマイン」 (Asayake no Starmine) by 今井麻美 (Imai Asami)
FIRST!!! I think…
I won’t be surprised if this show alternates between the heavy feels and the light hearted moments
Just to make it clear: there is no prize.
Imai Asami (chihaya kisaragi from idolm@ster) has a great voice. \
I on one hand enjoy the comedy and dont mind it once it a while to ease up the atmosphere, but on the other hand i prefer it go full throttle on the drama and seriousness.
Wait, is Imai Asami in this show? Either I have not recognized her at all, or maybe you are just praising her voice just because 🙂
I rather feel sorry for Michiru:
Since she’s the one being affected – Zack and (especially) Isla doesn’t look bothered at all…
She sings the ED.
The whole “not what it looks like” gag got a little run into the ground here, methinks.
It’s good to build up some moments of happiness/bonding between Tsukasa and Isla, making the inevitable tear-jerker moments that much sadder. Also, that one guy who suggested that Tsukasa “knock Isla over”… Jeez. If this wasn’t a romantic dramedy(?), he’d already be marked as a sexual harasser.
And I know it’s a shout-out to Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai, but…MY EYES!! (Though I won’t need Promethium-infused floor cleaner for my eyes just yet…)
Yeah, we saw that Yasutaka was a womanizer previously, but I didn’t take him to be rapey until this episode. I feel sorry for his partner
You know, I’d actually pay good money to see a crossover between this series and Amagi Brilliant Park..
Sento and Isla might have an awkward time together, while Seiya and Tsukasa would probably annoy the hell out of each other.
I get the feeling that the series is trying to drag something (that they haven’t told us yet)
about what happens if a Giftia is not retrieved / retired in time. Which is interesting since
all Giftias must know this already, and I think Isla knows too; was she crying about it?
So the series can’t blurt it out, it’d kill any storyline.
Also, everyone’s treating Giftia like people, even encouraging a human-like relationship /
romance between Isla and Tsukasa. So, for me at least, there are many confusing messages.
(Or nothing means anything and this is just a comedy with a touch of drama rather than a
drama with a touch of comedy.)
What I did like was the (simple) message of following your own path in breaking the ice in
any relationship rather than the well-meaning advice from friends and family. In the end
he did it his way and I got that. Isla would never accept a gift from anyone, so he placed
it in her hand directly rather than offer it to her such that she would have to take it from him.
I appreciated that subtlety in the story telling.
But now I wonder — is the retrieval for the benefit of the AI or the human companion?
I’m beginning to think it may be for the benefit of the AI.
It’s a tough call.
Indeed, everyone in this world treats Giftia as essentially human, even though Isla doesn’t seem to want to be. It makes one wonder if it’s right to do so.
Maybe Isla distancing herself from everyone is her way of protecting them from being emotionally harmed? Not that Tsukasa’s helping…
They also couldn’t resist the Evangelion style scenes. Just replace Tsukasa with Michiru in the elevator and we’d have the Rei/Asuka elevator scene, and Tsukasa on top of Isla being the Shinji/Rei apartment scene and such, all down to the same shots and angles.
I was actually afraid the elevator scene would go on forever.
The comedy bits felt hit or cringe this week… and I mean cringe and shrink down into my chair as far as it can go (or just skip a bit of it…)
OTOH, we’re learning more about how Isla’s body/mind is deteriorating :
that must be a part of it…
BTW, this would’ve screamed CLANNAD After Story if it wasn’t for this much foreshadowing… (and of course, the “mechanical” giftias)
I liked how they worked that little bit of exposition into a quick gag.
I think I’m in the category of people who was a bit disappointed by the pace of this episode as well as the romantic comedy-esque vibe it had.
Not that I’m hating on it or anything. Just wasn’t what I was hoping for.
I feel like this is all building up to the point where Isla breaks down and is all “I don’t want to make people suffer by them having memories with me and then me dying.” and main guy comforts her by being all “We all die, it’s the memories that give our lives meaning.” type deal.
Tsukasa has a surprisingly fit body; I was expecting him to look skinnier and squishier.
Tsukasa’s denseness this episode actually had me cringing so badly I looked away from the screen a few times this episode. The worst thing is, it felt like he was regressing(that is to say, I know he was clueless in the previous episodes, but I don’t recall it being THAT BAD). The second of the half of the episode was a lot better, and the ending song is lovely.
This was the most rage-inducing anime episode I’ve seen in a long time.
Stupid misunderstandings, tsundere violence, clueless male lead – all the elements of a bad rom-com were there. It’s like after last episode Tsukasa got a lobotomy and started acting like a complete idiot. The rest of the “men” were not any better – the creepy father, the stupid macho-man, the borderline rapist…Seriously, Japan, why do you feel the need to make anime men into submissive idiots and sexual predators.
The girls were not any better, especially tsundere-chan. I have not wanted to smack someone so bad in a long time, with her barging in, being constantly angry and always getting the wrong idea.
This episode pretty much represented everything I have about anime recently. I expected more from this show.
Yeah, I think we’re all hoping the regular staff called out sick
that week and this is all the second-string could come up with
in such short notice. Next episode should tell, though…
Rather than wanting the regular staff gotten sick for the week, it felt more like the second string got the go-ahead to do whatever they want in the first half, so they went in with ALL the cliches in the books…
Yeah I don’t know about the rest of you, but this show just seems to be doing everything wrong. The first episode was fantastic, but then the second and third ones were just so damn off in more ways than one. I’m simply not gonna put up with it. I don’t care what happens later I’m dropping this.
I agree. Lame MC, Lame comedy, bitchy tsundere who just barges in other people’s room, always angry, alwawys misunderstands. It completely ruined the episode for me. I might as well drop this.
The weakest and the lamest episode ever.
I’m pretty sure my neighbors could hear me laughing my ass off through that whole gag, it was comedy gold.