First Impression – Plastic Memories


“…like tears….in the rain…”

Hey everyone. Welcome to the Spring ’15 First Impressions. This has been the show that’s topped my Spring’s most anticipated list ever since it’s announcement. I’m pleased to say that it didn’t fail to deliver upon and exceed my expectations with it’s premiere episode.

The First Partner

PlaMemo 01-1

The Fateful First Meeting

So, how did the show meet my expectations. First I have Doga Kobo to thank. This is, in making an early call, the latest in a string of hits for me. With Love Lab, Mikakunin de Shinkoukeki, Gekken Shoujo Nozaki-kun, and my personal favorite, GJ-Bu! to their credit, this studio has been doing some fantastic work. Great eye to animation detail, wonderfully realized characters, and spot on comedy pacing is very much in this studio’s printing press. This looks to be Hayashi Noataka’s (Stein’s;Gate, Robotics;Notes) first original work, and it’s under the direction of Fujiwara Yoshiyuki (GJ-Bu!, MikaShin), so there is some quality storytelling forthcoming. The icing on the cake is the delicate, simple, yet elegant character design by Nakajima Chiaki (Yuru Yuri, Love Lab). I have seen great creators turn in some less than exceptional work before, but there’s just too much revving under this hood to stall out at any given time.

From the very first scene the show grabbed me and held on. I wanted to know why this chance meeting lead to love at first sight. I wanted to know what emotions the girl was going through. I even wanted to know if the Ferris Wheel in the deep background would play a vital part sometime down the road. I could feel a first layer settling in, and was anxious for the next. The layering did continue with several clues given about the larger aspects of this new world.

PlaMemo 01-6

Oh, a Kowarekake no Orgel reference….

With the SAI Corporation and the Giftia we come to some mysteries that the show has promised to offer. So far the story is playing the exposition cards close to the vest. We know the Giftia are very advanced androids, and we see that they serve in some capacity as family members; and valued ones at that, for quite a few reasons. But we don’t know why the Giftia’s memories are an issue, at least not exactly. We can suss out that the technology is not quite as perfect as SAI would like it to be, so perhaps this is the limit of what they can achieve now. Human memory is selective, and sometimes, and we don’t like to admit this, our’s are less than perfect. The Giftia’s might be closer to perfect and then, after the 81920 hours (nearly 9 years and 4 months) the capacity for them to imitate humans begins to break. Like I said, our memories can be less than perfect. Confronted with a machine that isn’t like that can be more than problematic. Plus there is the subject of privacy, and perhaps even other matters yet explored (why did that couple run?)

Love that transition

I love how they introduce the characters in the SAI Retrieval center. We get just the bare touch of trope laying, and they don’t waste much time during the rest of the episode to build up from there. Now, it’s early days yet, so hints are the name of the game. With Tsukasa (Yasuaki Takumi) we get our eyes and ears into the proceedings, so yeah he’s a bit clumsy and clueless as to what is expected of him (which makes me wonder exactly what this General Manager is up too), or even what his new job is supposed to entail. The standouts of the rest of the cast are both Zack, Michiru, Kazuki, and of course Isla. The standard operating procedure for Retrieval is to have a human and a Giftia on the job; a spotter and a marksman…nice nomenclature, and interesting way to describe the work.

The charmer works his trade….and you can just hear Fake Mori Summer can’t you?

Zack (Yahagi Sayuri) is the smooth operator with a bit of a naughty streak. He’s very charming at his job, and has the knack for putting what could be troubled customers at ease. His human partner is the tsun-tusn Michiru (Akasaki Chinatsu). She might have some -dere in there somewhere, but for now she’s the cranky trainer to Tsukasa’s trainee. Kazuki (Toyoguchi Megumiis the Boss Lady, no matter what Takao, the office leader, has to say. And of our stand out character’s that leaves us with Isla (Amamiya Sora). If Tsukasa is our human eyes and ears, then she serves the same role on the Giftia side. For me the dandere is her most prominent feature, but she really does exceed that several times. And I don’t think I have to tell you twice that she is my favorite so far. She can work scenes from heart-breaking to side-splitting.

PlaMemo 01-BOSsLOLi

Don’t Worry! I Got This!

So far we’ve seen three Retrievals, and all of them played out some great character detail. From Zack’s charm, to Isla’s deeper character traits. Tsukasa is able to try and relate to Isla, and that looks to spurn her on. As I said, there are some issues with her past that aren’t being told upfront. Of course every Retrieval told it’s own story as well; from Eddie’s brave face, to the dashing couple, and lastly to the heart-stringy moments with Nina and her grandmother. Isla gave away something to the little android at the end there, what could it be. A promise?

Extra Memories

Show ▼

So how does the show stack up beyond my expectations? Well, pretty darn good. There is quite a lot happening in the background that a first episode, if it wants to play it’s cards right, has no business giving away right out of the gate. But it provides more than the basic ground work as far as these characters are concerned. If we look at Isla’s quite deliberate Error Messages (she didn’t fool you did she?), to Tsukasa’s concern for her, and even with Kazuki’s bossy overprotective streak that hides a past with Isla, we have a great deal of ground to cover over the next three months. If we add SAI’s mechanization’s to the works, many more layers are forthcoming. I, for one, cannot wait.

Oh, and one more thing before I go. I made a passing reference to the following OVA in a caption above. Enjoy. Bring tissues.


All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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49 Responses to “First Impression – Plastic Memories”

  1. Moni Chan says:

    I haven’t watched it yet but it seems promising

  2. Highway says:

    Geez, you’re gonna make me cry just putting Half-Broken Music Box in the post like that. That show and Voices From a Distant Star made me swear off one-shot OVA’s, at least if they’re supposed to be sad like that.

    And sad like that is what I’m afraid this series is going to be like. There are ways to handle an impending death so that they aren’t so crushing (I think the way Yuuki’s death in SAO was anticipated was well done, for instance). But I almost want to know how it’s going to be before I watch it. So, like Death Parade last season, I’m gonna have to see how this one goes.

    This show also gave me a really strong Mikakunin de Shinkoukei feeling with the character designs. They have the same Chief Animation Director (who also did the Character Designs for Mikakunin) so I guess that’s where they come from, but sometimes they just don’t really fit in with the backgrounds, almost like they’re cardboard cutouts laid on top.

    • skylion says:

      Well you were the one that reminded me of it. I would have blissfully forgotten about that OVA….and VFaDS is a masterpiece….

      Or like the tenth episode of Maria? I don’t know how they will pace this show, so you’re guess is as good as mine.

      I feel both characters and backgrounds work very well with each other. I agree with your view, however. Just doesn’t bug me I guess.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    And so skylion signals the start of the First Impressions. The flood is here!!

    A nice opening. Slow but subtle. I can see this getting better as time progresses.

    The feels definitely comes from the retrievals and the people that are assigned must really resent themselves from time to time. I didn’t feel much of anything when the guy Giftia got picked up but it was the little girl and her elderly owner that did a number. Whoever created the Giftia in the first place, you have to ask if they consider the reactions that would produce over time. Personal attachment being the biggest factor. So having a presence around just to drive a wedge between them later on is unsettling.

    Another thing: Is Plastic Memories from the same author behind Outbreak Company? For some reason, Tsukasa’s appearance looks similar to Shinichi from my point of view.

    • skylion says:


      I can see this as well.

      For profit companies answer needs, so there must be a need that wants to be fulfilled. In this case, buying off loneliness, even if it comes with the price of separation later. Many probably felt that day would not come, and some run from it. Notice that they were willing to give up their Gifta rather than renew….that’s going to be vital to the future of the show.

      I didn’t notice the similar appearance until you pointed it out. But it’s not to similar to my eyes. As far as I know the author supervised the stories for S;G and R;N, that’s the only credits I found.

      • Highway says:

        I would bet that Granny thought she’d be dead before that time limit came up. And who knows, possibly without Nina, she would have been.

        I do kind of think that the time limit is rather contrived, either for plot purposes or for sales purposes (although one would think a rental model of revenue would get around that issue).

  4. Cytrus says:

    Memory issues. Lol, yeah.

    There’s human convenience at play here, no doubt. Too perfect a robot, and it can’t help upturning the principles of human society.

    And Isla doesn’t seem that competent at her job. Maybe she’s too old for it? Like, uh, ten years old? *nudge nudge* They are the ones doing the erasing – nobody needs to find out if they “fail” once.

    Anyway, another great show from Douga Koubou. The staff say this will be “love-comedy first of all”, but we’ll see where all of this goes.

  5. Di Gi Kazune says:

    Why memories break after 9 years? To answer to a Prachett-esque way:


    • skylion says:

      There are plenty of dried frog pills.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Or upgrade the space. Nine years is a lot of time, unless it’s detrimental to a Giftia that’s already online.

  6. bobob101 says:

    This was a show that completely blew away my expectations. Way to go plastic, you got the feels down! Though I’ll point out this is by the director of Engaged to the Unidentified, which is possibly the best 4 Koma adaptation I have ever watched.

    • skylion says:

      4koma is hard to pull off. This seasons Re-Kan is squeegeeing by.

    • Highway says:

      Mikakunin is definitely one of the better ones. I thought Kotoura-san was pretty good for a 4-koma adaptation as well. The first episode wrote some checks the rest of the series had a hard time covering, but overall it had a well-thought-out story.

      • skylion says:

        Oh, indeed, I thought Kotoura-san suffered from trying to make those payments as well. It took a few episodes after the premier for me to finds it’s track.

        But GJ-Bu is higher on my list. At first blush it had no business being that good; and it did it better.

  7. Sumairii says:

    Plastic Memories plays it fast and loose on the feels here to me. It’s almost a bit too in-your-face that it loses some of its edge.

    Balancing feels and comedy is also extremely difficult to pull off properly. So I will remain concerned for the show until it has demonstrated it can do this successfully and consistently farther into the season.

    • skylion says:

      I was a bit of a mess watching the end that first time. That was good pacing to make me cry tears and laugh tears.

      • Highway says:

        Personally, I didn’t care for the ending mood whiplash that much. Lighten it up a little, sure, but toilet humor always goes over like, well, toilet humor. I thought it went too far for a joke, but I’ll also say that I found the whole thing with Isla to be a little too much gap between her supposed competence and her actions.

        • skylion says:

          Potty humor is as does. I think it’s important to underline “supposed” in this context. I, personally, find it intriguing…

        • akagami says:

          I actually had to re-watch the ending to figure out what you meant. The scene didn’t register as potty humor to me, because I’ve (or other people I’ve been with) have gone through that situation one too many times where someone gets the bright idea to drink loads before getting in a car.

          Seems legit. For a show that is playing the comedy card much more than the drama card, seems fair to me.

          • skylion says:


            • akagami says:

              Reminds me of one time I was coming back from camping, or something similar. I tried to hold it in till the next pitstop… all those bumps and hills, oh gawd, it was the most painful experience ever. Holding it in is not fun at all.

  8. akagami says:

    Well, that was surprising. I went in expecting something serious/sombre/slice-of-lifish like Mushishi, and instead got some mix of comedy and… something else, not sure what it is yet.

    Which isn’t to say that it’s bad, as I’ve enjoyed the first episode. It just wasn’t what I was expecting going in. They’re really going more the comedy route, which is something I also wasn’t anticipating. I semi-teared (no actual tears flowed!) at the ending, with them playing the cheater card of having the little girl about to ride into the sunset. (′︿‵。)

    So Giftia are like the new dog pets now, hmm? Except this version can cook and do other stuff for you! Wan~

    I’ll have to check Kowarekake no Orgel, it looks to be pretty short with good reviews. Thanks for the rec~

    • skylion says:

      Oh, they played that card well…

      I think they might be playing the on the Giftia as the next next next next generation of PCs. Even a smartphone is a PC under the right perspective. So is a video game console. So Giftia are even more personal.

      Yes, the OVA is well worth the time…

      • akagami says:

        Mm, but do you get emotionally attached to your computer (or phone)? Ok, so some people do, but I still see the Giftia as humanoid pets. You view PCs/smartphones as tools, not as emotional support.

        • skylion says:

          That is the conceit I think they are going on, that personal attachment. Or it’s “You never have to worry about losing a Giftia, they just follow you around”…

        • Di Gi Kazune says:

          Yes we do. Especially when you have a harem of PCs/notebooks/hybrids at home. 0:3

          • akagami says:

            Have you named your harem members?

            • Di Gi Kazune says:

              The desktops have generic names although their wallpapers have themes: Touhou vampires on one, Di Gi Charat on the other. Shana/Seira are the mobiles. Shino the old one is in storage.

          • skylion says:

            …I still can’t get rid of my six year old netbook…and she is slow as molasses…

          • BlackBriar says:

            *facepalms* You’re kidding me, right? A harem?

        • BlackBriar says:

          The idea of making Giftia seem human, to me, is the more successful outcome of what was tried in I, Robot.

          • skylion says:

            Kubrick had something good in mind when he drafted the first script, and he even told Spielberg. I don’t think Spielberg listened…

          • Di Gi Kazune says:

            Soon… they will take over the world! We are the Borg, resistance is futile.

      • Highway says:

        I think that’s going to be some of the tension in this show. To SAI, the Giftia are things, more towards walking computers. But to the customers / users, they are family members, they are confidants, they are lovers, they are friends. There is an almost unavoidable attachment that will happen, especially as it seems the Giftia are designed specifically to make that attachment happen.

        That tension is partly why I think there are some shenanigans with the arbitrary time limit.

        • skylion says:

          I was thinking about this earlier, when I read another opinion of the arbitrary nature of the time limit. It is to darn set in stone. Can it shift? Has it already? I only hope the writing doesn’t make it seem like they’re gonna just up and move the goal posts when they hit a potential end-game.

      • akagami says:

        Well, that was a little disappointing. I was expecting Kowarekake no Orgel to be this really emotional and sad tearjerker, but it failed on all counts for me.

        There was the weird naming sense (Parents, Flower), and the odd designs of the androids (why the headphones design? And why are they kid versions only?).

        I think the biggest problem for me was that it didn’t do a good job in getting me invested in any of the characters (neither Keiichirou nor Flower), so I really didn’t care either way, and their backstory was largely undeveloped.

        The diary narration didn’t work for me either. It felt like I was just speed-reading a book, and just reading the highlights of each chapter. Overall it felt like a waste of 40 minutes for me (oh well, you win some, you lose some).

        I usually get moved really easily, so based on all the reviews on AniDB I was expecting something totally heart-breaking. I wonder what caught people that somehow failed to catch me…

        • skylion says:

          As you say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. A few year ago it took me a few times to get past the first few minutes. But I gradually got into it, and, as they say, “It’s feelings were conveyed”.

        • Highway says:

          For me, it was the whole show knowing that Show ▼

          I started crying about 3 minutes into that story, and didn’t stop until well after it was done.

          • akagami says:

            I think if they fleshed out the relationship between the two, I might have felt a twinge. As it stands, I only saw them as a caretaker and an android who is automatically programmed to follow and please her master.

            • skylion says:

              Well, the dude was walking dead until the android showed up. And, it’s also about making a promise, having an excuse not to fulfill it, and doing it anyway. IMO not bad for a short presentation.

            • akagami says:

              Hmm, maybe I’m unfairly comparing against one-shot mangas. I’ve read many that made me tear up easily.

              Clearly I’m in the minority, but somehow it didn’t click for me.

            • akagami says:

              Like I teared up at the oba-san and little girl android parting. Even though they didn’t get much screen-time, you could feel it be really authentic. Although the context of the situation helps build the backstory, without having seen it.

  9. Ansatsushi says:

    I just cannot shake off the fact that the face Nina makes during her farewells remind me of Soul Eater’s “I just met Excalibur” expression…
    But yes… the moment was very touching.

    • skylion says:

      I understand. That Face is burned into memory. I didn’t even see it till you pointed it out. Thanks. ::sarcasm:: 😉

      Lots of folks felt it was, if not overdone, a game-breaker….which I can also see. But I’m glad there are others than can settle back and let a story tell itself.

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