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Plastic Memories – 11

「オムライスの日」 (Omuraisu no Hi)
“Rice Omelette Day”

Well, I did ask for a quiet end for Isla last week, and Plastic Memories is definitely delivering on that front. There’s no tearful retrievals, no mention of death anywhere. Nothing but sugary sweetness all around. I suppose it’s not all too different from how it usually is around Terminal Services One, except once in a while two kids get really flustered in each others presence. Ah, self-consciousness. Isla and Tsukasa ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and their eyes were opened.

I suppose every anime couple needs to go through this stage at some point, especially since it seems that Isla and Tsukasa are new to this whole ‘being in love’ thing. Ever had a friend who’s new to both love and heartbreak, blindly and swooningly in love, the kind who’s awkward for colleagues in the present and embarrassing for themselves in hindsight? We’ve got some right here. I don’t think you’ll actually be able to find anybody so pure and innocent where even the most minor physical contact is a terrifying obstacle in our day and age, but it serves to show that these young lovers are utterly hopeless. So hopeless, that they have to consult the mafia for advice. The mafia. They’re all a bunch of misunderstood romantics, I’m sure.

The takeaway, I guess, is that relationships don’t necessarily need to be exciting; sure, you’re bound to surprise each other in the early stages no matter what you do, but at some point perhaps stability is the more desirable quality. Also, one of you are going to need to learn how to cook or else you’d have to eat out all the time and the budget is going to take a lot of hurt. You can’t mooch off la famiglia forever. Though I suppose one can just liberally apply ketchup to make anything palatable; that’s the Australian philosophy regarding meat pies.

336 hours ~ looking ahead

This episode was as feel-good as Plastic Memories had ever been. Completely slice-of-life, with the tragedy turned down to zero, it is easy to forget that Isla is actually a dying robot. No, I didn’t really want to remember it, because watching people just be happy heals the soul, and I didn’t want it ruined with gloom and doom. Isn’t that the message of Plastic Memories, especially in this episode? It was about finding enjoyment in the everday, taking pleasure in the mundane. Yes, nothing much at all happens this episode, but nothing happened in a very significant way, if that makes sense. After all the high drama we’ve had in previous episodes, this is the payoff.

Of course, we’re not at the end yet, so there’s bound to be something to shake things up. I won’t say we’re in the quiet before the storm because no real storm front has really been telegraphed this episode (except for, of course, Isla’s final passing, but even that got no attention this time). But it is the way of storytelling for tension to rise and fall, and since we’re at an all time low this week I would expect an increase again the next. Alternatively, Plastic Memories remains full slice-of-life for the rest of its run, which will be sort of an amusing decision. Usually shows genre switch into drama, not out of it. It’ll probably build on Isla and Tsukasa’s relationship either way, since that’s what we’ve been doing thus far. Will it be gentle development, or a trial by fire? We shall see.

 

Full-length images: 30.

June 15, 2015 at 2:49 am
15 comments »
  • June 15, 2015 at 3:21 ambrajt

    Another great post from one of my favorite RC authors, although this time I’d suggest to reread it once again and fix some problems that happened mainly due to correcting previously written sentences.

    I’m glad too that it was a pure slice of life episode without any drama – adding so much to the emotional baggage the last two episode will hopefully deliver. I’m only afraid if these two left eps will be enough to finish the story in a proper way, without having a feeling of not enough satisfaction.

    • June 15, 2015 at 3:32 amPasserby

      Aw, you’re making me blush—what, errors?! Serves me right for rushing through things and skimping on proofreading.

  • June 15, 2015 at 4:24 amIncognito

    “Ow, ow, ow, my teeth.”

    The sweetness exuded from Isla and Tsukasa’s moments together (especially this one) made my butt itch like Mr. Ral’s. (It also reminded me of Rikka and Yuuta’s relationship hijinks.)

    That being said, Isla and Tsukasa no longer have the luxury of time… They gotta make the remaining 336 hours meaningful.

  • June 15, 2015 at 7:41 amThe Last Idiot

    I have a bugging question in my mind this past few episodes.

    And that question is, HOW ORGANIC ARE THE GIFTIAS? are they part human part robotic? An organic android (human body with no soul)? or totally robotic with robot parts functioning like human organ system and the human like emotion is governed by computer programming?

    And my previous question also still stands… The time setting is of course future but why the F the inventor of gitias doesnt have a way to backup memories? You can install but cannot backup? And why 9 years of usage life? Im pretty sure, there is a way to prolong that.

    • June 15, 2015 at 8:13 amWorldwideDepp

      You know Bishop from Alien? Perhaps we have here the same. But, dunno. Is it really important in how these Giftias are build? They act like real Humans, no one would see the difference (well for me), if it was not for the Maintain routine.

      • June 15, 2015 at 7:05 pmThe Last Idiot

        The reason I asked is to know why giftias have a ridiculous 9 year life and that was so vague… My thoughts here is if we know the body, we would have clues on why giftias have a strict 9 year life.

      • June 15, 2015 at 8:25 pmZen

        The 9-year lifespan is, quite obviously, simply a contrived plot device to create an excuse for drama. With lackadaisical effort put into coming up with an “in-universe” reason as to why it must be so. All we have are vague references to “hardware limitations”- and I doubt we’ll ever receive anything beyond that.

        Although to the credit of Plastic Memories’ writers, I have to admit, coming up with the idea of more or less perfectly human androids with short lifespans as a plot device to facilitate the exploration the many facets of dealing with loss is rather clever. I would have easily forgiven the lack of any concrete explanation as to why Giftias have such a short lifespan had there been a stronger presentation on the dramatic front. Quoting Mockman below, as things stand Plastic Memories is inhibited from realizing the full, abounding potential of its premise by its use of numerous plot/character cliches.

        When what I would have liked to have seen was a mature, exhaustive exploration of the emotional and practical impact of “death” (Proxy: Giftia expiry) on people. Perhaps a story utilizing the same episodic “monster of the week format” with every (roughly) weekly retrieval subject dealing with the loss of their Giftia companions in varying ways, both positive and negative, all drawing parallels and serving as a springboard to develop and explore Tsukasa’s inner demons originating from losing a Giftia who was important to him in the past, how he dealt with the tragedy in a self-destructive manner, and how in spite of being reluctant to form an emotional bond with a Giftia again due to the fear of loss, he inevitably falls in love with Isla- something which changes him for the better- and how he deals with loss more positively the second time round when it comes time to say goodbye to her, in juxtaposition to his first rodeo.

    • June 16, 2015 at 1:50 aminfo600

      Well, after the snippets from the previous weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see giftia revealed to be synthetic humans with limited neural capacity/operation time.

      Why? They mimic quite a number of human-like characteristics (ie. bleeding, eating, etc.), their diagnostic station’s screens were hilariously vague on body details, they still require charging up to function (presumably the reason for the crazy uncontrolled body strength). SAI (kinda hard to check the name again) The company can probably rebuild the synthetic bodies but can never rebuild neural networks with the exact memory paths.

      …and I’m probably wrong anyway. /shrugs

  • June 15, 2015 at 8:24 amClayton Barnett

    Still reading your reviews, but I abandoned this show two eps ago; after Uso from last season, my tolerance for ‘dying girls’ is all full up.

    I have enjoyed much of what PM has done, but I’ve also been disappointed in what they didn’t use and occasionally unpleasantly surprised by what they did. Every now and then, it is nice to be reminded that this is Japanese anime, and that they really don’t think like Westerners at all. Not better; not worse. Just different.

    PM is a great example of what almost can be done with this medium. I wish their writers were just a bit better and I wish that, perhaps, I was just a bit younger. Then, we’d all have a better time.

    Thank you very much for sticking with this series; look forwards to reading your Summer works.

  • June 15, 2015 at 8:54 amJekoJeko

    This episode would have been perfect for me if the anti-tragic slice-of-lifey stuff had developed more strands of Tsukasa’s and Isla’s relationship. It felt like there was only one thing majored on though, and that made the episode feel like a slog to me. They got over their awkwardness, but I couldn’t feel many dimensions to their awkwardness. True, it was meant to resemble the same awkwardness typical couples go through, but that normality could have still been enhanced by exploring more of the beautiful pangs of beginning to go out with someone. Just as Tsukasa and Isla kept seizing up, it felt like the show kept seizing up too, missing out on a lot of quirks of its characters that it could have explored.

    Your impressions of each episode are still the kind level-headed appreciation that I love to come back to though. Maybe my standards are just too high after seeing the amount of romantic subtlety that went down in Hyouka…

  • June 15, 2015 at 11:04 amMockman

    This show, which began with an interesting premise, has regressed into a saccherine-sweet mess (not sugar; that’s natural) over the last few episodes. While I’m not enthused by their relentless awkwardness, to a point I can tolerate it as they are both idiots. However, I do feel that it’s excessive and I find that the execution of the show is shutting my brain down.

    This episode was nothing but a series of uninteresting, clichéd set pieces. Worse, it turned all of the characters into uninteresting, clichéd NPC types with who did nothing but play their one trick. I guess Michiru is still trying a bit, but the other characters have become very narrow in what they bring to the show. Was there was even a single moment with any of the other characters that I would have missed if I had skipped over it. Was there a single line uttered by any of their co-workers that any viewer couldn’t guess the speaker thereof without needing to see them or hear their voices.

    I don’t think that this episode should have taken much more than five minutes to do. I would have rather seen them come up with one representative moment of awkwardness and then deliver it well than get dragged through this dismal, cloying pastiche of scenes.

    I probably lost it entirely around the Am I really? line. Recently I re-watched Infinite Stratos and in the 10th episode, there is a scene in which Ichika is reacting stupidly to everything and Rin tells him to stop getting surprised at everything. While Ichika has his virtues, it should be shameful for Tsukasa to be more dumb than him, and for the show to play this so straight and so humourlessly.

    As an aside, I missed the line early in the episode, just before Isla asked Tsukasa whether, “If I were to do that… would it make you happy?” I did a double take and wondered how would the show even do that, so I went back a few seconds only to learn that they were talking about the weighty matter of eating together. Their eating together at that moment apparently having escaped their notice. Well, enough ranting for one day but this one really drove into the ditch. Worse, there is a story here waiting to be told.

  • June 15, 2015 at 3:39 pmZen

    Remember me and Passerby’s insistence last week that Isla’s survival would be thematically jarring and overall bad for objective narrative coherence/consistency?

    Well, after this week’s episode I think I might smell a rat…masquerading in the seemingly innocuous form of Isla’s diary. The emphasis that the show’s writers gave to it this week as her “memory repository” makes me highly suspicious of what they ultimately intend to do with it.

    Let’s hope that the diary simply ends up becoming a memento of Isla, Tsukasa’s most treasured possession, or something- instead of serving as some kind of Deus Ex Machina device to “revive” her by awakening latent memories in her refurbished body- something the show has previously called “unprecedented” and “mechanically impossible” due to outright part replacement.

    Not saying that’s what they’re going to do with it- but I think my suspicions are warranted considering the lengths they’ve taken to show us that Isla basically records her entire life in the thing, down to subtle emotional details…

    • June 16, 2015 at 3:24 amPasserby

      I agree that the diary is most likely going to play a prominent part in the ending, but I don’t think it necessarily needs to end up as some sort of ‘cure’. ef: a tale of memories worked with similar devices, including an exhaustive diary-keeping process, but that was never about ‘curing’ the memory loss condition.

      • June 16, 2015 at 9:39 amZen

        Yeah, you’re probably right. I’m just wary is all…

  • June 19, 2015 at 12:15 amDjalaal

    ” I don’t think you’ll actually be able to find anybody so pure and innocent where even the most minor physical contact is a terrifying obstacle in our day and age.” is what you said?

    Oh, but you are so wrong about that. There are plenty of these kinds of people where I live. I even used to be one myself. It’s all about the amount of exposure you get during childhood.