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Plastic Memories – 09

「祭りの後」 (Matsuri no Ato)
“After the Festival”

This week, in the rom-com with robots that is Plastic Memories, we see the aftermath of the dramatic confession of last episode. It turns out, we’re sticking with the rejection, and the shock of it has caused Tsukasa’s soul to flee his body. Michiru notes the same thing we did last episode; as far as anime confessions go, Tsukasa’s was about as foolproof as they get. The fact that Plastic Memories seems to be self-aware about it makes me think that the cliché was deliberate. It was a cue to the audience that by average anime standards the confession should have been a solid success, so there must be some special circumstances surrounding the rejection.

Two things at work here. Firstly is that Isla didn’t really understand Tsukasa’s confession. It is common in various sci-fi settings for robots/aliens/whatever being unable to comprehend this mysterious human quality ‘love’, but Plastic Memories has so far been very insistent on Giftia being indistinguishable from humans and is not going to let up now. So instead, Isla is just inexperienced (technically she’s less than nine years old; try not to think about it much) and is unsure about the emotions she feels towards Tsukasa and vice versa. That’s a standard rom-com development as well, and again I think that’s the point. The emphasis is on Isla’s issues as a girl first, and only then can it be muddied by the fact she’s a Giftia. Hence why so much time is devoted to characters sitting around and talking about their feelings. Isla or Tsukasa, Giftia or human, it’s simply about first love and young people muddling through it. It also gives an excuse for Isla to be variously used and abused. Hapless suffering is how you bring out the moé.

On the robot side of things, it turns out that Isla is self-conscious about her remaining lifespan, and even if that wasn’t her first reason for rejecting Tsukasa, it certainly is a reason now. Again, it’s not her Giftia-ness which is the issue here; in a less sci-fi world she could easily just have cancer or some other non-specific terminal illness for the same effect. In the same way, none of her friends and colleagues take issue issue with Tsukasa dating a robot; the focus is firmly on Isla’s expiry date. In that regard, Tsukasa does not seem to have full support from his peers. Michiru, of course, has her bad experience with her foster father, and also seems to be out of the loop, so she gets rather emotional about Isla’s forecasted death. Her approval is won over the course of the episode. Kazuki, on the other hand, already knew of Isla’s lifespan, and may have some more stubborn objections to Tsukasa and Isla’s relationship (and starts off by freaking people out by camping in their house in the dark). But she broke off with Isla long ago; is she going to be critical of Tsukasa for trying when she did not? Hers is a story of letting go too early, to contrast Michiru’s where she hung on too long. Kazuki is their boss, though. What kind of heavy hand will she be applying?

One month ~ looking ahead

Compared to other episodes of Plastic Memories, which would have world building or at least some Giftia being retrieved, this one was quite mundane. It dealt with no issues particularly exclusive to a sci-fi setting, instead focusing on very down-to-earth, human reactions to extremely possible circumstances. We are, perhaps, at our most romantic comedy as we’re ever going to be.

I continue to call Plastic Memories a romantic comedy, but just because it likes to crack Loony Toon jokes doesn’t mean it should necessarily be a comedy, at least in the Classical sense. it telegraphs, fairly blatantly, that Tsukasa and Isla’s is a star-crossed romance, and that it’s very unlikely to end happily. ‘Romantic tragedy’ doesn’t seem to be much of a genre, though. Rather, perhaps it’s neater to simply separate Plastic Memories‘ romance with its comedy. Rarely do we see the pure romance these days outside of the occasional shoujo offering, and while Plastic Memories isn’t really one of those either, it does take its romantic aspect—in this case, a doomed love—rather seriously when they get down to it, as they do this episode mainly through Michiru. Next week, we’ll see Kazuki’s no doubt different take on it. Michiru’s ends up being supportive. I don’t get the feeling Kazuki will be.

May 31, 2015 at 7:13 am
13 comments »
  • May 31, 2015 at 7:25 amCybersteel

    • May 31, 2015 at 6:47 pmcruiser2710

      Ashikoki

    • May 31, 2015 at 11:14 pmYato

      Michiru showed this episode, that shes actually a caring selfless person and that made me like her so much more.

      Also hoping things arent just gonna be awkward facing the end of the show with dissolving their partnership and what not, I kinda cant stand it when the romance genre unnecessarily stretches out things to come to the point.

  • May 31, 2015 at 7:25 amAizen

    I like lolis, I want to smother them.

  • May 31, 2015 at 7:45 amWorldwideDepp

    It’s simple. Kazuki is playing now the bad Woman, to easy his emotions, or prevent them to get deeper, when the times come his heart could be brake apart. You just saw his reaction of this rejection, he is spaced out for that long. How he will survive the “end” of Isla OS Life? others has long ago arranged with this pain. As you saw the old Lady in episode 08. But the Boy is helpless deep in love, and run dangerous near the break line

    so short story, she is the bad Boss, that force their Love to end. to avoid future pain for both sides. Well Isla will lost their memories and will not remember all of that

    • May 31, 2015 at 3:26 pminfo600

      Kazuki is playing now the bad Woman, to easy his emotions, or prevent them to get deeper, when the times come his heart could be brake apart.

      Funny, I find Kazuki to be more of a mother hen to Isla than anything else (the constant angry faces she has towards everyone says otherwise)

  • May 31, 2015 at 8:44 amGouka Ryuu

    One thing Michuru didn’t seem to see the connection to, and this may be her young age more than anything, is that even if Isla was a human you don’t know how much time you have. Tsukasa is right and I think it may be the true theme of the show: You don’t know how much time you have in the world so try to create as many great memories as you can with the special people in your life while you have the chance. Even if Isla were human there would be risks to starting a relationship, not least of which being they are coworkers. Hell, we don’t even need to be talking about romance. Any relationship has a risk of you getting hurt. And now I’m starting to see similarities with Eva so I’m going to stop babbling.

    • May 31, 2015 at 11:19 pmYato

      Second that. Since life is so limited everyone should enjoy it as much as possible. Got a saying for Isla and Tsukasa.
      Dont cry because its over, smile because it happened.

  • May 31, 2015 at 3:35 pminfo600

    Oh Michiru, why are you making everyone here root for you as much as Isla?

    OTOH, it’s going to be one emotional last episode next month…

    PS. My face on Eru’s Isla abuse:

    http://randomc.net/image/Plastic%20Memories/Plastic%20Memories%20-%2009%20-%20Large%2012.jpg

  • May 31, 2015 at 8:43 pmvaans02

    We humans don’t live very long especially giftias. We don’t know when our time is up that’s why we live our lives to the fullest and make memories so that we will be remembered. we only live once so why not make the most out of it. Kazuki taking away that fulfillment from the rest of Isla’s short life is cruel. Because she will never come back, even if she does she’ll be a whole different person.

    Michiru have become less tsun now which is good. Makes want to root for her just a bit.

  • May 31, 2015 at 8:52 pmThe Last Idiot

    Oooh I know this format… Clannad does this with their fuuko arc before… they will make us laugh then bomb us later with tear “nuke bomb”

    On the romance, I believe later episodes will show more michiruXtsukasa flags being raised as isla’s condition worsen and that chances for miracle is slim now because its evident ever since episode 1 that this will have drama as its ending… Probably tragic too. – Isla as wanderer after showing cute scenes with her in earlier episodes? Cant bear to see that happen

  • June 1, 2015 at 2:33 pmZen

    Where I’d like to see this series go: Explore some kind of corporate exploitation plotline where we find out that President what’s his name and his cronies have been secretly keeping the lifespan of Giftias intentionally short to cut costs by using cheap parts and sell more units. Because folks end up getting emotionally attached to their Giftias and when the old one expires, they inevitably spend more money on a new one, preferably the “latest and greatest.” Perverse planned obsolescence.

    But wrong kind of show, I guess. And they only have like 3 episodes left or something. Ah well, it’s plenty fun as it is…

  • June 3, 2015 at 2:52 amSmokex365

    My (hopeful) forecast: Isla’s time expires and she is retrieved. Tsukasa finds his new goal and goes off in hopes of discovering a way to lengthen/remove the memory limit. Wraps up with them meeting together years later to revive Isla. Happy ending!

    It would be nice if it plays out like that but I can’t get a feel for this show. One second they seems to be rushing towards the bad end, next it’s back to being lighthearted and fun.