「2人で、おかえり」 (Futari de, Okaeri)
“Welcome Home to Both of Us”
So last week’s cliffhanger was, as they so often are, a fake out. Actually, I didn’t immediately realise that the opener was a flashback, so it felt like I got double bluffed. The bottom line is, Isla is hospitalised but fine, because Tsukasa is the best bad shot in the world. It’s not too surprising an outcome, since killing off the female lead less than halfway through the series would be tricky move to follow up on, unless this was something like Psycho. The Dominator does kill Giftia, right? Makes them blue-screen or something, right? Well, it did something trippy to Marcia, and I’m assuming she is now lost to us. I felt sorry for Souta, even though it was partially his fault. And it must have been hard for Tsukasa to face him again, but he’s a responsible sort of lad. Ultimately, he failed them both despite his efforts, and there is no way to bear that bad news easily. This is basically why Saving Private Ryan happened.
Well, that was depressing. Back to the rom-com!
The good thing to come out of this tragedy is that it allowed Tsukasa to showoff his steadfast sense of commitment to Isla and score some points, and a smile. Woo, progress! I was fairly happy with the antics this episode, as I felt it drew back relatively more smoothly from the drama, and Isla was far too precious to dislike. Aw, she’s in love. Well, not quite love yet, but at least affection, and maybe a dogged sense of attachment. After her past ordeals and, er, domestic breakup it’s evident that Isla is full of insecurities and, perhaps, an abandonment complex. And from what we’ve seen of human-Giftia relationships, attachment seems to be a big part of them.
The series of hijinks also allows some of the secondary cast make another round of appeals so that the audience does not forget who they are. Since there’s actually quite a few of them, this is probably necessary. So the apprentice mechanic is crazy, the Giftia are terrifyingly superhuman even with limiters, and the boss is still drunk and violent. On the more serious side, the tsundere can be dere, the amoral corporation still has a human face, and the boss looks out for her people. It’s mostly all brief asides and mixed together, but I found it a relatively effective balance, overall.
1328 hours ~ looking ahead
So, a mixture of both the light and heavy this week, and considering what we had in the previous episode, this one may seem a bit a defused. While Isla confined to bed gave her a lot of time to reflect (sorry, sorry, I really can’t resist the puns) and contemplate her own mortality as much as any other episode, it all ended rather positively and comically. This is probably a good thing, as I’m not sure I can stomach an entire 20 minutes of Isla moping about her failings. Instead, her internal struggle is presented more constructively, juxtaposed with Tsukasa’s, and having having her be genuinely interested in her foil. It presents her as a more active player, rather than the relatively passive role she’s had so far. It’s both character development and relationship development, which are centrally important elements of Plastic Memories.
Tsukasa also found out about Isla’s lifespan this week, which is sooner than I expected. I thought they would spring it on him when his relationship with Isla was more concrete as some sort of foundation shaking surprise, but considering that the audience already knows it probably wouldn’t have been too effective. He takes it rather well, all things considered, but Tsukasa has seen a fair few Giftia expiring by now and the point is probably not to let the separation overshadow the memories. It certainly not going to be all smooth sailing from here, though, since we’re only half way through the season, and I imagine there will be more trials for Isla and Tsukasa in the future. If the mortality issue is not the final hurdle, I wonder what is.