Plastic Memories – 05

PlaMemo 05-13

“I’ve seen things, you humans wouldn’t believe”

I’ve gone back and forth on how I feel about this show the past few weeks, this one in particular. I think I’ve forgotten one of my own rules, and that is to allow a story to tell itself.

I’ve been very hard on it’s supposed lack of science fiction depth. To reiterate: we’ve gotten precious little about how SAI really operates, nothing on why the Giftia have limited life spans, and why they are replacing humans in the hearts and minds of other humans. I’ve felt these points to be a great weakness. But this time around, I’ll just be ignoring that and looking at the show as it presents itself and how I greet it. It feels just a touch more evocative that way…

I don’t show much emotion…

We pick up from last week as we discover that our black market retriever has abducted Marcia. This was pretty much a no-brainer given the cliffhanger, and things quickly escalate from there. Souta makes the call, and the real Retrieval team is on the case. This shoots through the nerves of just about everyone in the office; typically leaving Tsukasa out and in need of explanation of just how serious things can get, and as such, the audience.

I’ll break away from the plot for a moment. It’s in these situations that we really see what the Giftia are. For all intents they are human. Sure, human with special circumstances, and humans with a load of precautions built into the frame. But human none the less. Besides, don’t all of us have special circumstances and precautions built in? So, this is never once treated as a case of stolen property, but as a kidnapping. It may have special units attached to the crime, but then to state again…

So the Wanderers are indeed a special case, as it happens so rarely. The Retrieval teams, worldwide I guess, are just that good; doing the job before things can turn sour. Of course a big company like SAI is going to have a field unit to rapidly respond to these cases, and so our team meets the new forces rather quick. They’ve got less than twenty four hours to find Marcia before she turns, and time is so rarely on anyone’s side in cases like this. R. Security is there as back up for Team One, and that is only because Kazuki was able to effectively negotiate with the past…

Because Three Years Ago, suddenly comes into sharp focus. Michuru’s story is tragic right down to the bone. The situation involving her father was avoidable, but for her youth and selfishness. That flaw lead to a storm that engulfed more than her and her father. His rage was palatable, as he very much went on defense mode, probably fueled by his better memories turning bitter, enough to surpass his Limiters. He lashed out at everyone else, and payed the price for that. It also left one hell of a legacy that Michuru must feel the need to repay.

If anything this adds much more fuel to the fire for finding Marica before things can escalate out of control. I can understand how they were hoping for the best outcome, but the way the story was set up, going Wanderer was the only option. In many instances it was similar to the earlier case, an android parent, and the child becoming involved in the action in way to close a manner. That felt a bit to written in in Souta’s case, but you can hardly blame a little boy for getting anxious.

But things still manage to escalate much quicker as a result. With the time limit surpasses, and Souta in play, Marcia quickly turns. It got a big King Kongy there, but in the rush a old bit was dropped back into the story. Isla reminds Tsukasa of what she said about Souta’s party. Does this memory turn sour, can it be terrifying? I was on that question last episode. It doesn’t look like it is totally answered here, but indications are strong that this the answer is yes those memories very much can be.

But in the case of Michuru’s father, was she ever in danger? He could have lashed out at her, but he went on the attack against those he reprieved to threaten her. In Marcia’s case that it totally against Souta. Her situation was avoidable until he showed up, and it was almost recoverable until he regained his senses, knocked out after she ran with him in the ensuing scrape. I’m sure Isla would have been happy, such as she is, not to have taken this many knocks, as she still doesn’t belong in the field.

So what sort of memories are turning sour in Marcia, and why are they directed towards Souta? We know Tsukasa’s dedication to this, but why did Isla jump into the fray? Does she see this as still recoverable without the use of what really is deadly force in this situation?

…and just one more cliffhanger…

So I feel the edge of this show is running a bit more evocative than informative. If we accept that Giftia are human, then we can keep in our imagination why they are needed to be considered that. It’s obviously a place in our far flung future, but commerce still answers need. Sure, it can overproduce to fill niches it’s capable of exploiting, but that can only be part of the story. The question, what is the point of you, is still in the air. Why are they sons, and grand-daughters, and lovers, and parents? Even if manufactured they have just as many complex emotions with us as if they were human all along. This is a haunting second act…

PlaMemo 05-12


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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13 Responses to “Plastic Memories – 05”

  1. Highway says:

    I’m really finding that the “Design issues of plot convenience” are really interfering with my ability to take this show seriously, or to even bother considering what I think should be the central conundrum, which is the nature of humanity. Things like “If you know that Giftia have a memory span of 81,920 hours, why do you not have them shut down at 81,919.5 hours?” or “Why is it a hard cutoff of 81,920 hours?” This episode brought in another one: What was the black market retrieval guy even going to do? Nab a Giftia, and then let it go berserk on him? What do they do with them? Keep them locked up and then go on a rampage? It makes no sense except in a “let’s contrive a plot situation” sense.

    I would like them to explore more of the issues that Isla brought up: Are memories going bad what triggers the violence of a wanderer? Is it the loss of good memories? Is it the remembrance of bad memories? Is it really better to have loved and lost than never to have loved? I’d even go more for issues like Zack mentioned: “Do you think that if you act clueless enough, we’ll answer any offensive question you have?”

  2. Samsura says:

    What I love the most about this show is how thematically similar it is to the Time of Eve. In Time of Eve, the central conflict is that there are forces in the world that want there to be a clear divide between the androids (or in Plastic Memories Giftias) and humans. Now in this show the line is much more vague, but that thinning line is causing issues too. You can’t treat the Giftias like human beings, but have them shut down when there 80,000 hours ends. You can’t just have them stop working at the end of their time, because that denies all the efforts to have them act like humans. We see characters like Souta or Michiru, humans who have been raised by these Giftias that are almost human. While the worst possible situation has occurred for them, would it be better if their parents just broke in front of them because their time was almost up. That would be the same as a human parent getting run over by a truck because they were going to develop Alzheimer’s.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    I can firmly see why Wanderers are such a cause for concern. Without memories, they’re utterly unpredictable. Well, the Black Market Retriever that looks like someone out of a Ghibli film got his just desserts from the rogue Marcia.

    What rubbed me the wrong way was the sheer convenience of how Souta just happened to enter the scene when things are about to be at its hottest. Moreover, that it’s the area that’s supposed to be on lockdown by the authorities and civilians shouldn’t be able to enter. That I simply can’t overlook or ignore.

    • skylion says:

      But, as Highway addresses above, the black market’s main source of income is getting punched….apparently…

      • Samsura says:

        If we needed to know what the black marketer’s game was, they would have told us. Hopefully. But lets just assume that fully function androids with almost human souls are worth a lot of money.

        • skylion says:

          Yes, they need it to replace the teeth, obviously!

        • BlackBriar says:

          But he obviously knew Marcia was near her deadline. So there was explanation for what he planned in case things went south. What happened, though, was the immediate consequence.

      • Highway says:

        I don’t recall them saying anything about what he planned to do. In fact, that seemed to be the assumption on the part of both the SAI retrieval team and the R. Security guys. It wasn’t “We need to find Marcia and the Black Market guy before he does whatever black market guys do to her!” It was “We need to find her before she goes bad.” So why are the black market guys nabbing androids right before their end date? Seems like a really bad business proposition. Kind of like “I’m gonna kidnap Bruce Banner and poke him with a stick.” It’s a bad plan.

        And if that’s what they’re doing, then it feels like they’re just jamming in a bad guy so that the good guys have something to do.

        • skylion says:

          Yeah, the black market involvement is an intangible. But as they stated, it’s rare for the Giftia to go Wanderer, so that dink had and idea what could hit him, so he was hedging bets she wouldn’t.

  4. Fortis says:

    I don’t understand if Giftas have human right how can SAI sale them in the first place ? It’s like slave trade. And slave weren’t considered human at that time in our history.

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