Plastic Memories 11-12

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How much it takes to simply hold hands….

Well, my original plan for the show was to be a two part wrap up. I didn’t count on 13 episodes. I would have gone with a three episode/series review, but, I feel that there is quite a bit going on under the hood going into the finale, so I wanted to touch that base before the show’s conclusive post. Yeah, I’m going to bargain for the happy ending!

Actually doing this as a two-parter feels quite natural as both episode 11 and 12 feel like a 44 minute continuous episode that just so happens to come in two parts. Here we continue from the previous arc of mutual confessions, and problems overcome. They’ve come to the top of that mountain, only to discover that there is more mountain. We’ve confessed, now what do we do?

Enjoyable, Happy, and a bit Embarrassing

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The awkward breakfast

In “Rice Omelette Day” the new couple have to come to grips with the first morning of the rest of their lives together. To say it was awkward is an understatement. Almost as much an understatement as I would have liked for them to play it. But that’s comedy, ain’t it? If this much is funny, then more of the stuff will be more funny, right? But, ::shrugs::, what are you gonna do?

But it still felt rather natural in it’s own regard. These two are growing closer, but there is still that waiting bit of distance to close up. Yeah, you can have the odd fanservice on waking up, but life goes on. So after a terse breakfast our heroes of love go out into the world in search of marjoram tea…only to find the peanut gallery. What follows is a cavalcade of what I say in the header above.

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Just let the moments come naturally Isla…

There exist no new couple that other’s won’t interject themselves into at the slightest of prompts. Of course, the curiosity is barely containable. Of all of them, we have to give a ton of credit to both Michuru and Constance. First our fiery tsundere goes back and forth through jealousy, and mutual admiration for the couple, but does a good service in reassuring Isla that she and her new boyfriend are on the right track.

The payoff is, having found each other, they have to find themselves. Next we have our Constant Constance, just being the soft-spoken dude that he is. Find what makes you happy together. Can’t decide on who cooks for who? Do that with each other….why settle for surprises when you can make some solid easy to do plans? Omelette rice is such an easy dish, after all. And there is joy in learning with someone.

I Hope One Day You’ll Be Reunited With the Person You Cherish

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The not so awkward breakfast

In the days that follow, it’s seems that the inevitable peanuts want them to just pack the days; Movies, dinner, vacation time, fancy dress, and all that. Gotta live! Gotta do it all! There is quite a bit to be said for that, but really, vacation time and fancy dress great moments they are, aren’t what a relationship is strictly built on. Its the times between the excitement that really count. Big moments just make the clock faster. The smaller moments can slow time down. This is important because in this penultimate episode they come closer to reminding us of Isla’s inevitable time limit; so much in fact it’s a ghost of a character hanging around every suggestion made to them.

But the newly in-love couple might know a little better than that. “Filling up with memories” is what they want and feel they need to do.  It can be from the page of a resort catalog, or it can be a typical day with Isla going through her training, pushing as much as she can to live out the last days to the fullest. But more on that tidbit later. As it stand the simple date they do go on is lovely, and uncluttered. Uncluttered is what both of them need.

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Too their credit, they choose to spend the days as normally as possible. They learn more about each other the honest way, and in that they do get much closer as those limited days pass by. A movie is a fine thing; close quarters, in the dark, and learning to breathe in moments of shared silence. Needs icing on that cake? The the super awesome lap pillow (twice!) is like a moment in the sun, enjoyed as the sun sets on a perfect day.

But the normal day to day also includes what has to be a soul-wrenching job of Retrieval. It’s almost more than Tsukasa can bear in one or two key moments, as the next job beyond their current one is Isla herself. As the closest person in her life, he’s responsible for the paperwork, a tedious affair that never lessens the process, and in fact underlines the inevitable. I will tell you I did tear up quite a bit as Isla was the one to comfort him, and help him take that next step. Both of them have learned to be there for each other. Sure, bunjee jumping might do that, but….

A few more choice memories to make the days brighter

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Final Thoughts

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Once all the sci-fi bits and pieces fall away we are left with a ticking time bomb of love story. I feel the writing and direction adds more layers to that. It has charm and grace, intimacy and immediacy. It’s hard to imagine so many days packed with so many good memories will, very soon, come to a end in Isla’s mind. I would have liked for them to have had a good argument in there cause those can be important as well. No one can make you angry like the one you love the most. It’s all part of the process of living memories. Yeah, that’s rough, but it’s real.

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But, we have a foregone conclusion to “look forward to” next episode, don’t we? Well, like I said in the introduction, they may be able to give us a happy ending. The forgone part is that Isla is Retrieved, and comes back different. This is all well and good, but does it really have to be the end product of everything that has passed? It’s been something we’ve been living with for two months of episodes after all. So, some of the evidence I’ve been thinking on…

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First, Isla’s physical regimen. The techs say that is serves no real purpose, and at bare minimum, in the 11th episode it’s stated that it only helps to put her nerves at ease. But there is nothing to say it couldn’t be part of a whole process. Sure Zack does the same thing, but he’s never really shown perusing it doggedly. Is it the basis of an undiscovered conditioning? Second, we have the activities of this particular office. Remember, this new method of retrieval is Isla’s baby, one that has been show in sharp contrast with the normal methods. In the episode with Andie, we are shown that there isn’t any trace of that Giftia’s former personality.

But then, that’s normal isn’t it? Isla is about going in a new, more nuanced direction, one that is devoid of the standard, accepted, operating procedure. Then we have all the documentation. This is a bit of a stretch I have to admit, but no other Giftia does it. Who is to say it won’t ignite her old feelings and memories if she’s exposed to them?We’ve been treated to a sci-fi soft serve, the rules aren’t etched in stone. They’re evocative, yes, but not a solid surety. Had they given me what I initially wanted, I would be singing a different tune. And that too is part of the storytelling process…the unexpected…

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And finally, why not a happy ending? If the theme of the story is to appreciate the time you have, then that lesson is well and truly learned, the time very much appreciated. We’ve been given some hard examples with Marcia, and then with Michuru’s father about how things go wrong. I think it’s time for something to go right. There is nothing at all wrong for a story to make the strides towards giving Isla that hope. I think she’s been working hard on it since the get go. But…that will be for next time; a sure tenterhook of a twenty-two minute show, we know that…

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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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33 Responses to “Plastic Memories 11-12”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    Well, I can’t say much of anything that I haven’t already in the past beyond “It was alright”. Same old, same old with slight progress surrounding the two leads. Enough to pique some interest and get an acceptable pass but that’s about it. I will say, though, that they’re a lot more cheerful than I thought regarding the approaching deadline. One more episode to go. Let’s see how this ends.

    • skylion says:

      I’m sure Dogakobo appreciates all the free passes you’re giving them.

      In so far as love stories go, they aren’t cutting any new ground, but the ground they do cover they have made their own. It doesn’t have to set the world on fire, but really, even the shows that lay a claim to doing just that, rarely if ever do that.

      I find the story they have to tell is quite simple, but that doesn’t mean they can skimp on characterization, which in this series, as far as Isla is concerned, has been a very good undertaking.

      It’s about the choices they make, despite the odds, and despite the pain. You can give in to despair seeing that, or you can about face that and find the cheer. I think they’ve shown a great deal of bravery with the two leads.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I’m sure Dogakobo appreciates all the free passes you’re giving them.

        I guess…

        Call it being in a rut. As I’ve said before, “Plastic Memories” is average at best. It’s not necessarily bad but the show doesn’t do anything that would have me talking and mentioning it to others. By now, you should have a good idea of my likes and dislikes in anime genres so were it not for the Giftia aspect, you’d no doubt realize the consensus I’d give since because romance isn’t within my strike zone. It’s the kind of series that doesn’t take much to put out of your mind because no lasting marks are left behind. In the end, it’s a sufficient enough means of killing time.

        • Di Gi Kazune says:

          Simple translation: Chobits with a different coat of paint.

          Your criteria for picking up a romance show is just like mine: must have another element to keep the interest. Thus why I actually enjoyed Henneko immensely (no, not for the limited edition bedsheets.) Otherwise it just becomes another show just like reallife. As Caster of Red puts it: Life is just one big stageplay!

          Though, I wouldn’t mind Giftia version of this. skyLOLion may not have. >_>

          • skylion says:

            Chobits!? MY entire tiny white butt! Where’s the power switch?! Ger off wit ya….Come back with a better one why don’t ya?

            …and I do wish you would show more of those bed sheets, surely I do!!!

            :-p

            • Di Gi Kazune says:

              I did not bring up the issue of Chii’s ‘off-switch’, you did. I don’t think all chobits have their switches at the same place.

              And I thought 6 Henneko bedsheets were enough…. kono ha sukebe!

          • BlackBriar says:

            Your criteria for picking up a romance show is just like mine: must have another element to keep the interest.

            That’s exactly how it works, otherwise that series doesn’t stand a chance in the slightest. I’m just not the type that’s wired into the whole romance genre. In my eyes, it’s only good enough as a plot device.

        • skylion says:

          …well we all must kill time in our own way I guess. I would much rather enjoy myself and find something positive from the experience. It’s also a pretty good thing to share the positive aspects as well. I realize not all shows can cut the mustard, or fit the exact bill. It’s not an off the rack medium after all. Still it’s good to find a nice fit and let people know about that. That’s a pretty good average, I think.

          • BlackBriar says:

            I have at least one or two series for such a means every season. The Giftia aspect, the handful of characters and comedic moments just managed to be the saving graces for Plastic Memories, otherwise it would’ve been a complete pass on the show.

  2. Highway says:

    This show has really turned into a beautiful story, and I love that the way that Tsukasa and Isla are dealing with their relationship is so accepting. It’s not easy, and there are still those times that Tsukasa wishes things could be different. But together they get through them. I think they have an advantage that the others don’t quite understand with their pushing to have them go on vacations and special events. That’s for people who don’t get to spend the time with each other. But Tsukasa and Isla do, their work is together, their time off is together. They’ll be together no matter what they’re doing, so they don’t need that special event to make it special. And they’re living life, the things that make life worth living.

    I thought the whole event with Kazuki handing Tsukasa the retrieval paperwork, and the two of them talking about it, supporting each other through it, was just wonderful. Hard as all get out for Tsukasa, but he had her support. And then they move on. What will be will be.

    I’m really not expecting a miracle ending. And I kind of don’t want one. What I want is a touching parting, and happy memories forever for Tsukasa. As I said a few episodes ago, they are so lucky that Isla is, essentially, going to drop dead. No long sickness. No loss of vitality. No long breakup. Just she has to leave. They’ll both hurt, and then Tsukasa will hurt, and Michiru, Zack, Kazuki, and everyone else will hurt with him, and then move on with life. I’d really think it would be great not if some ‘new’ Isla came on the scene, but if somehow this was a the transition point for Tsukasa and Michiru to fall in love with each other. Michiru’s already got that crush, and she’s a really good person, and I think they’d be a great couple. I think it could something like this, another nice story about love.

    • skylion says:

      Well, I wouldn’t call it a miracle ending, but one made up of the parts I lay out. Also, I’m not wed to that idea, as I find value in the ending you spell out as well, something I’ll address when the time comes next episode.

  3. Foshizzel says:

    While I roll my eyes at the “romance” this episode was nice even though I know Plastic Memories is going for that whole we want you to like these two for now and THEN YOU ARE GOING TO CRY YOUR EYES OUT after! That is kinda mean to the audiance and totally comes off as forced just for the sake of dramatic ending much like AnoHana and Menma which sets you up for a sad ending after the first damn episode.

    Besides that I can totally buy into the romance even though I cringe because in the end Tsukasa is dating a robot? It’s almost as bad as the Chihiro almost dating Rea from Sankarea, but I get they are going with the whole “give x person great memories before they die.” scenario which works; however at the same time is quite painful to watch.

    • skylion says:

      Since they never really spelled out exactly how different the Giftia are, I think we can just file her under “a love interest with an intense back story”. She’s certainly not a zombie…you goob!

      • Highway says:

        I think that it’s far better to think of the Giftia as “people”. They’ve stated no differences between Giftia and humans except for the plot convenient time limit. And we haven’t really seen that they are treated like property or anything besides just people. They’re sentient, sovereign beings, it seems.

        • skylion says:

          I’m still not sure Isla herself can’t breathe underwater, or she has huge lung capacity….something like that. Plus, three story fall, with a banana peel firmly stuck to her head. You might get away with the first, but not the second…

      • Foshizzel says:

        She’s certainly not a zombie…you goob!

        yes yes I know I just can’t wrap my mind around anyone falling in love with a machine only because they made Isla act more human than robotic…anyway I wouldn’t put it past this show to have Tsukasa kiss Isla and “magical” repair her memories so she can stick around LOLOLOL

        • skylion says:

          I would put that past them, but not very far past. If my theory is to be the least bit believed then it wouldn’t be an instant fix like a kiss, but a process of sorts. Almost like time will pass with her new personality, and gradually over time her old memories will come back.

        • Highway says:

          yes yes I know I just can’t wrap my mind around anyone falling in love with a machine only because they made Isla act more human than robotic

          I think this is a hangup that one shouldn’t have with a story like this. I think you’d be a lot better off thinking of the Giftia as people who come from some other country. Like I said, there’s no indicated difference between humans and Giftia through the entire show besides the time limit. So it’s not like he’s falling in love with a machine. The only ‘robot’ thing is Isla’s quirk of “Error, I didn’t catch that” when she hears something she doesn’t want to hear, no different from your girlfriend or boyfriend ignoring something you say.

          • BlackBriar says:

            Okay, this may sound screwed up. Isla may be a machine but she’s still a physical entity that can think for herself and interact with the guy she cares for. They can keep their game going until the end. Which is more than can be said about someone being in a relationship with a ghost which, to me, sounds even more outlandish than being with a machine. I’m looking at you, Tasogare Otome x Amnesia.

            • Highway says:

              I don’t think there’s much difference between the two. If all the people in a relationship are getting what they want out of the relationship, it doesn’t matter what they are.

            • BlackBriar says:

              Are you telling me you’d ignore the fact that in Tasogare Otome x Amnesia within the pair, one is dead and the other isn’t? That’s something you can’t overlook no matter how hard you try. Not to mention only that one person can see the deceased. That’s going to be hard to explain without sounding like your sanity is completely out the window.

            • Highway says:

              Why couldn’t you ‘overlook’ it? What’s it matter? Every relationship has something that you have to say “It works for us” that other people don’t get. If the people involved are happy and consenting, I don’t see how it could matter.

            • skylion says:

              Hellz Bellz, Do you even Metaphor! It’s not about this or that romance pairing, it’s about what romance or love is or could be. With that in mind the romantic paring can be a freekin’ mollosuc and a damn shade of orange! As long as it’s applicable….So yeah, ghost, robot, ghost-robot, whatever, so long as it’s a stack of human characteristics up against a similar stack…

          • Foshizzel says:

            The only ‘robot’ thing is Isla’s quirk of “Error, I didn’t catch that” when she hears something she doesn’t want to hear, no different from your girlfriend or boyfriend ignoring something you say.

            True I just found it strange that the Giftia can get hurt like spraining their ankle and getting drunk or hell even needing to eat food? What? That is far from robotic! I feel the creators wanted robots and halfway through were like WAIT NO HUMAN and then someone on the side took both and mashed them together…yeah…also I’m not wanting a emotionless piece of metal I like that the Giftia have personalities but yeah I watched this for scifi and got stuck in a romcom sitcom…

            • Highway says:

              Machines break all the time. And Have we seen a Giftia get drunk? And if they’re sentient humanoid people, of course they’d want to eat. Eating is as much a social function as a bodily function, and how much of the experience of being alive would they be missing out on if they didn’t eat anything?

      • Di Gi Kazune says:

        Did they ever address the reset issue? Or is that just a big McGuffin?

        • Foshizzel says:

          Reset? Not really they did mention something like using the same body of the Giftia, but uploading a new “personality” which is basically an entirely new person so I guess more like “refurbished” LOL

        • Highway says:

          No, it’s just a MacGuffin. It was obvious from about halfway through they weren’t going to discuss it any further, so it’s just an artificial limit to the relationship between Isla and Tsukasa.

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