「上手なデートの誘い方」 (Jōzuna Dēto no Sasoi-kata)
“How to Ask Her Out”
Episode 07 was perhaps the tamest episode of Plastic Memories to date. No wrenching tearjerkers, no Dominators. Instead, it’s all rom-com, all the time. And much more rom than com, for sure; though Plastic Memories still threw out the oddball comedy that it enjoys now and then, the emphasis was more on Isla and Tsukasa continuing to build their relationship, shifting the mood of the show towards slice-of-life. To that end, the episode starts off with laundry. Fascinating.
I suppose now that most of the important mechanics of the Plastic Memories world has been introduced—in particular, the important point about what happens to Giftia who go over their best-before date—and so we’re allowed to pull away from the workings of Terminal Services One (it’s not like they do any work anyway) and turn to softer, personal issues. That is, fluff, but fluff is not to be derided. Too often do sci-fi stories spend too much time obsessed with its mechanics and explaining technology. Even in the future, though, people are people, and its their struggles that make the story relevant to the common anime viewer. That said, Plastic Memories is set in a very near future, in which cars can still get lost and roller-coasters are still stuck on rails, so there’s not much need for extensive exposition. Even the Giftia are so close to human that one doesn’t need to turn one’s mind to their robotness very much (do they need to breathe, though? I still don’t know).
So almost all of the episode can be devoted to letting Isla and Tsukasa have a quiet moment. The time spent in setting up just one date emphasises how important this one event is. Last week, with Tsukasa finding out about Isla’s remaining life and still be accepting of it was a big turning point in their relationship (notice Isla smiling in the OP from that episode) and this episode is his opportunity to capitalise. And it goes well—almost too well. One would usually expect more obstacles in our protagonist’s romantic life, or at least more hijinks. There was a hiccup near the end, but the sickness was fairly telegraphed so it certainly wasn’t much of a speed bump, and indeed allows for another bonding moment between the two. No, it was too smooth, especially for a story with so many airs of tragedy as Plastic Memories. What sufferings are being reserved for our main couple?
1160 hours ~ looking ahead
This episode, was as a whole, much like Isla herself: comfortably quiet. As I may have mentioned before, Isla acts very much like an elderly. Not only is she near the end of her days, she has the same fears of obsolescence and hates to be a burden, has the same old memories that both drive and pains her, and likes to just sit around and take it easy. That would probably be my hobby of choice too, in my dotage. Alternatively I’d sit around and yell at kids to get off my lawn.
Tsukasa being revealed as a sickly kid is actually rather interesting, since I have mulled over the juicy possibility of Isla outliving Tsukasa, and have read some discussion in the comments to that effect. I wonder if that detail will come into play later (good money on ‘yes’), or whether it’s a red herring. On the subjects of plans for the future, I wonder why the tsundere is still being teased, considering how One True Pairing Isla and Tsukasa are, no matter how short lived that may be. I am reminded of Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai (I typed out the entire name! Give me a reward!), and while I doubt there will be the same complex love polygons in Plastic Memories, I think there may be some similar dynamics. As is the way of original series, though, we can only wait and see if that is true.