Plastic Memories – 13 [END]


One final moment

Well, I was totally wrong in the last post. There was no Hail Mary miracle, but that doesn’t mean amazing, touching things didn’t happen. Let’s turn the last page on the story….

We start the last day with our couple enjoying the sunrise together. It’s a perfect opening, and one, indeed, for the storybooks, as the final moments these to will spend become as golden as the sun itself. In a manner that has become so typical, and so signature, of the two, it doesn’t matter what they do, as long as they do it with each other. So this includes cleaning their shared apartment, and spending some quality time in the bath after putting the house in order.

This Is Our Last Day Isn’t It?

Queen of the bath!

But there are more houses, as surly there is more business to attend to. Their first stop of the day is going into the office early, and surprising everyone. But in a long tradition of office busybodies, their team shows up even earlier to get the drop on them. It’s a farewell for us to them in as much as anything, as they couldn’t be left out of the last episode.

Kazuki, the battleship of the group, will hear nothing of Isla and Tsukasa’s “typical day plans”, as she gives them a not-so-hard, but not-so-gentle boot. Kazuki is at some strong odds as well. Not only sparing Isla a long, and tearful goodbye with her work comrades, but fully admitting she couldn’t do this final piece of work. Instead, Tsukasa is her surrogate. Interesting in that she will help him pick up his pieces later in the program. She was a compelling character used in all the right ways.

What follows is somewhat formulaic, but they fill in all the pieces of that equation in all the right ways. The perfect day is hard process to come up with, but why not spend it somewhere having fun with the person you love? The amusement park, that place that is obviously filled with so many of Isla’s favorite things, is part of that. And it was lovely seeing them spend time with each other so well. From that odd elevator ride full of planets and faeries, to the curious water features, and park mascots. But, all parks close, as all stories come to an end

Isla knows this better than her partner, and chooses the right time; and much like Menma from Ano Hana she is able to fulfill a final wish. To get her man to open up, and face the regrets coming his way. To let the smile fall away for a few brief moments, and let the tears flow. I think she needs to see them as much as he needs to express them.

She’s a powerhouse in her final moments. It must be hurting her inside as well, but she presses on, reminding Tsukasa of his future without her. A new job? A new girlfriend? She’s seen all of this before on her own side of the retrieval team. But she wants the “dream to end” before the Ferris wheel comes back to Earth. She’s a dreamer and a realist. She’s the sum total of her emotions, her memories, and her choices. No more and no less. A theme the show has raised time and time again. She’s much more than just a Giftia…I’m leaving a bit out, but I think the meaning is there…

In the end she expresses everything she wishes to, to everyone that matters to her. Her mission in the retrieval field is no more or no less a reflection of all the kindness they bore towards her from the very beginning. She left an impact, the same impace they left on her, and that is what a life well lead looks like. It’s tears in the end, but as she points out so gracefully, those are necessary as well….as necessary as being loved by someone for being just a little bit clumsy.

Final Thoughts and Series Review

Plastic Memories started off as an odd quirky little anime original story, and didn’t stray far from that path. Despite some of it’s science fiction tags and wags, it stubbornly told it’s own story in it’s own time. If anything I admire that type of attitude. I was on the fence around halfway into the program, divided between it’s rom-com needs and the demand that it be “real science fiction”, but that attitude kept me coming back. It’s proof, to me, that a show doesn’t have to be beholden completely to a genre convention, and that a soft sell on science-fiction can work despite the complaints. It was unrepentant about it’s love story, no matter how much of it’s perceived convention fell away as it progressed.

Tsukasa was able to come to grips after some time to heal

Yes, Isla was an android as far as the planning goes. But that’s the thing. We accept her as human. To not do so loses the impact of everything the show was trying to say. As she was as much a reflection of us. Take a look at someone different than you. You don’t have much time to appreciate everything about that other crazy miracle called a person is. What difference does difference really make? Narrative fiction is our time for magic. And this story did that magic without even being that preachy. I condemned this show as one of my seasonal “dark clouds”; one of my picks to cover in these posts that I perceived as “if only hindsight were foresight”. Well, I’m happy to say I was wrong. I had one of those in all my previous seasons here, so yeah, string broken. I was kinda in love with the show since the early CMs and PVs. Glad to see it all worked out in such a wonderful and magical fashion. Even the tears…

A Gift from the OST

Again and Again

Thanks for watching!


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 – 13 [END]”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    So in the end, there was absolutely no alternative for Isla’s deadline. It’s not often a lighthearted show like this stays true to its saddening parts till the finale. Tsukasa did well holding himself back. For something I went into without any sort of expectation, Plastic Memories turned out to be an averagely nice series. It had some good, likable characters that helped the story along and had some fun, comedic moments. One thing I couldn’t get over was the Giftia aspect. They all acted so human it’s hard to believe they’re actually machines. I mean, like this final episode, Isla was eating food from the amusement park.

    • skylion says:

      Well, what I hope not to oversell is “they acted so human it’s hard to believe they’re actually insert the classic OTHER here“. So I guess robot’s munching ice cream does kinda unseal the deal? Or it can bring her to the human side of the balance…

      • Highway says:

        I thought the entire point was that whether Giftia are humans or machines doesn’t matter. They’re just people. This wasn’t a Blade Runner-esque “Is this a person or a replicant?” question. And it wasn’t a ST:TNG Data “Ain’t he realistic? Look at him playing a human!” As far as I could tell, everyone in the show could always tell who was human and who was a Giftia. They just didn’t treat them any differently. And I liked that aspect of it.

        So anyone playing “Let’s spot the differences!” isn’t really seeing the thrust of the show, and is probably inventing reasons that they’re different. I can’t recall anything bar the lifespan issue that was different between Giftia and humans.

        • skylion says:

          You know, it’s a good aspect of the show that I started with a Blade Runner reference in the FI, and didn’t even think of that movie here at the end.

          Well, Giftia, at least Isla, can take a leap from three stories of a building, and the worse that happened was a banana peel stuck to her head. They only did that the once though, and never referenced it since.

          ..and could people tell if other’s are Giftia or not. I’m willing to give that an “as shown” but wouldn’t call it definative.

  2. Highway says:

    I don’t know how much there is for me to say about the show. It was an ending we usually don’t get in anime: sweet, full of love, yet sad and final. Tsukasa tried to hold it together for Isla, but he just couldn’t, and in that failure gave her one of the things she wanted most, to see how he really felt. It’s certainly one measure of a good life if people will cry for you when you’re gone.

    And sure, Kazuki wimped out and pushed it on Tsukasa, but I think that’s also what Tsukasa and Isla both wanted. They talk about memories, but Kazuki was the memory, and Tsukasa was now.

    But a lovely show. A well-done exploration of people at the end of a life.

    • skylion says:

      Kazuki had an interesting character that belied her gruff appearance. She changed the way the office worked, making it last beyond some of Isla’s inability to push forward. It was very telling that she couldn’t carry the last measure for her, and was a great exploration of that limitation.

  3. Samsura says:

    I say this show was 30% sci-fi, 60% dying girl romance, 10% cliche comedy. Take out that ten percent and put it in the other categories and this would be a great show.
    Looking back on how I was sold on this as being a sci fi show, I feel a bit let down. Looking at the romance arc, I do feel satisfied. I won’t gripe about the lack of adult romance in a romance between adults, that would just be too much. If Plastic memories could be just a little bit different, just a little bit better, I would totally champion this show. In the end it goes in my “watched and forgotten pile”

    • Highway says:

      I don’t know if it should be described as a romance between adults. Tsukasa is 18 and Isla is really not more mature than that. It was far more of a first love to me, and it felt pretty authentic to me. And I don’t think it was missing much with just having them snuggle under a blanket and hold hands. At most their love was for a month, and as teenagers. That would have been rushing for most teen couples, in the experience I’ve had and seen.

      • skylion says:

        It’s right there on the border, isn’t it? Sometimes they never really nail down exactly how mature they should act for that age in anime, because the relative levels are just that. So if they never would have given Tsukasa’s age, other than out of high school, he might have been a bit older; but then, relative levels.

    • skylion says:

      You know I have to be honest, I wanted the science fiction lever pushed up a few notches. But the romance, which asserted itself as the arc, left me more than satisfied.

      I will be remembering this one for quite some time.

    • BlackBriar says:

      10% cliche comedy.

      I think that was intended to be added so as to lighten the mood a bit. It didn’t seem like the storyboard wanted everything to be too depressing what with the idea of ripping memories apart already present.

      • skylion says:

        …at points I would have said “clumsy” comedy. On at least two occasions I can recall it felt out of place. Or to put it one way, Zack could have diminished Michiru’s “tsun” pre-emptive…

  4. JPNIgor says:

    Man, watching this last episode was just awful, in the good sense of the word… If there is one.

    I mean, I knew, everybody knew that it was coming, but as Ilya was retrieved on the ferris wheel and Tsukasa came out crying, I couldn’t hold it and for the first time ever, I cried watching something.

    Oh, man. That was a good ride. I can’t thank this show enough.

    • skylion says:

      Yep, the show knew how to get you right in the feels.

      It had me once the park closing announcement started…

      • Highway says:

        That was really when an ‘ordinary day’ changed into something that wasn’t ordinary, wasn’t it? Even though Tsukasa had desperately forestalled it earlier at sunset.

        For me, the thing that made it special was that they were allowed that last ride on the ferris wheel. Just imagining what Isla said to the worker there, and his easy acceptance of what was going on put the final period on the idea that Giftia are just people. Because I’m sure Isla just told him the truth (and the fact that she turned around and smiled so genuinely really showed her acceptance of it). I have to be honest, I’d love to see a future like that where it’s just #lovewins for everyone.

        • skylion says:

          There was that bit where you could see a family portrait, or what I assume was a family portrait, on the Ferris wheel attendants controls. There is a connection there, but’s it’s ephemeral, and just adds a small touch to the scene.

          Yeah, I’m sure Isla just leveled with him. Credit to the guy for being a gentleman.

          • JPNIgor says:

            Yep, I kept thinking that not all workers on an amusement park are as nice as that guy. Not saying it’s BS, but you don’t meet people like that every day. Usually they would be so worn out that they wouldn’t be willing to stay 30 minutes more for a random couple.

            • skylion says:

              People in any service capacity, that enjoy being there in that capacity, will often go the extra mile. If that guy had been some dissected “here til I’m gone” jerk-wad, or had Isla told him an obvious sob-lie-story, it might have turned out different. She didn’t even have to be totally honest, “This is the last special moment I have with this person, can you do me a favor?” is all it probably took.

    • Highway says:

      I was pretty much crying and sniffling from when they were standing together as the park closed, and was pretty much hopeless from there on out, but really, that image of him carrying Isla out to Kazuki was so wonderful.

      (Now I need to wipe the tears away from thinking about it and get back to work:”Hey, are you crying?”)

      • JPNIgor says:

        Man, I was watching reaction videos on youtube and suddenly I was all teary-eyed again. What is this? MAKE IT STOP!

  5. Yogicat says:

    Episodes 12 and 13 are the cream of the entire show., at least those two episodes are so interrupted by odd, cliche comedy. Isla’s departure is rather sweet to watch. It somehow makes me to think about mortality. Unfortunately, the good things of the series came a little too late, to the point when some viewers got a little disappointed already.

    • skylion says:

      Yeah, the middle of the show felt a touch unhinged, but for me, at least, it swung back on got on both feet.

  6. akagami says:

    Hmm… I’m unsatisfied.

    11 was making me cringe left, right, and center (what, are we back in grade 5/6?)
    12 was a little cute
    13 was just… lacking for me.

    Tsukasa is just a wimp with little-to-no redeeming features, even at the end. His whole take on everything (and his relationship) was just lacking. And their relationship was so elementary school. For the romance elements, it felt severely lacking to me. Although I’m only speaking from Western experience, maybe it’s different in Asia, but getting embarrassed talking to each other, holding hands, and only kissing once? Maybe in the 80s, or 90s, but today when you’re a young adult (I don’t know how old Isla was supposed to be)?

    Episode 10 had all the feels, 11-13 didn’t do anything for me. It didn’t even really feel that tragic or moving, to me at least. It looks like the majority had a different opinion. Maybe it’s because they spent most of their remaining time in the office (I agree with Michiru, wtf are you doing in the office?)

    If the series had ended at 10, I would have said it was around a 7.5 – the last three made me revise my overall opinion down 1 notch. All in all, not a bad ride, just not great.

    • skylion says:

      Ah well, it takes all kinds, I guess.

      I would argue that the relationship they shared had to be as basic as possible to fit as much audience expectations as possible. We only saw them hold hands, and get all doey eyed with each other and yeah, the one kiss. But…they shared a home, and neither of them are made of stone, so it’s not a stretch to imply they enjoyed much more than just hand holding…it just wasn’t shown, cause it’s not that type of story.

      As for Tsukasa, well, I got nothing to counter that except keeping him as basic a character as possible. Plus, put yourself in his shoes, he is young and went into what was a hard relationship. Cut him some slack.

      As for spending time in the office? They said, repeatedly, they wanted a normal life, and I side with them given Isla’s circumstances. Going all out would only have served to put more pins and needles into the situation. They found out exactly what they wanted, and needed. Each other…they didn’t need anything else.

      But, I guess one person’s tragedy is another’s comedy not tragedy…

      • akagami says:

        Well, I’m fine with how what happened in the relationship, but the extreme awkwardness was what made me cringe. Maybe that’s just me, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen that beyond elementary school.

        I felt that Isla didn’t know what she wanted, and the cast had to prod her (and Tsukasa) to realize it. I would say that would be the same for the end. Although I felt Tsukasa wanted to do something different, but in the end he just wanted to do what Isla thought she wanted to do.

        But, I guess one person’s tragedy is another’s comedy not tragedy…

        Well, I wasn’t laughing, but it sort of lacked the emotional impact for me. Half-moon had much more of an impact for me.

        • skylion says:

          Couples grow together for their own reasons. For these two it was letting down their respective guards enough to let the other in. I don’t think it was supposed to be a “full and adult” relationship. It was getting closer that mattered.

          …as for the second paragraph. I agree with what you’re saying. I just disagree that it was a bad thing.

  7. akagami says:

    I think one of the reasons I’m so critical is because they abandoned all the other elements part way and pivoted to a romance show. And as a pure romance series, I felt it was incomplete.

    For example, I couldn’t say why they were THE couple, besides being together by circumstance. Tsukasa didn’t do anything extraordinary to break Isla out of her self-imposed shell, she lived together in close proximity and acted friendly to her. And I can’t say what about Isla made Tsukasa fall in love, besides being there for him.

    To be honest, I felt Michiru and Tsukasa had more an emotional connection. At the end it just felt the whole relationship was sort of rushed because of the lifespan.

    • Highway says:

      Personally, I thought they did enough of the groundwork to make that be believable. I think that a huge key to Tsukasa and Isla’s relationship is the ‘manual’. Giving him her diary as a reference opened her heart to him in a way that Isla probably didn’t understand it would, and let him see more about her than he normally would have in that amount of time. I think there was plenty about Isla there that would make Tsukasa fall for her – her openness, her heartbreak, her clumsiness, her earnestness. And I would imagine that the fact that he fell for her, knowing so much about her, is what pulled Isla in.

      And the relationship being sort of rushed was again the point. But also that Tuskasa and Isla wouldn’t let it be rushed or compressed. They still enjoyed things slowly. And I thought that was very nice, resisting everyone else’s pushing to manufacture memories, and instead make the ones that they wanted to make.

      As a romance series, you always knew that it would be incomplete, because this relationship would fail due to Isla’s death. I also thought that Michiru would be a good person to try to being with Tsukasa as well, and think that in the future, she’ll probably take a shot at him, which might be good for both of them, especially since they’re at least a year older than they were when they first met. And speaking of Michiru, it was probably good for her to see a relationship like that, where two people just nicely fall in love, from the outside.

      • akagami says:

        That’s fair, I can’t argue with that. I had forgotten about the diary and her previous experiences with Kazuki.

        I meant incomplete in that it didn’t feel like it had proper closure to me. But that’s just my personal take on it.

        • Highway says:

          Hmm, that’s interesting. One of the things I really liked about it was that it didn’t try to shoehorn ‘closure’ into it. And that’s what felt very authentic about it, because someone who loses someone like that frequently carries them in their heart for the rest of their life. There’s moving on, but it’s not like it ‘closes’ part of their life. I don’t know if you read the other posts that skylion wrote, or the comments to them, but I had linked this on the episode 11-12 post, because I felt like the themes were very similar.

          • akagami says:

            Hmm, no, I only read the comments in 10 and 13.

            I don’t know anyone who’s ever been through that experience, but I assumed it would be akin to putting their memories of them on a shelf – not forgotten, just not in daily thought. So you’ve sort of let them go.

            I felt that Tsukasa is still hoping that she’ll be an exception and her memories will resurface. Like when he meets his new marksman, you don’t see who he/she is, just the hand, which is slender.

            • Highway says:

              I thought that the show was trying to tell us that Tsukasa was accepting his new marksman for who she was, and I thought it wasn’t anyone who looked like Isla. I mean, there’s no way that Kazuki would do that to Tsukasa if it wasn’t actually Isla. That’s just completely out of character. And if it was actually Isla with her memories, then he would have been much more surprised. Instead, the person he met was entirely within his expectations: Someone new.

              (Plus, it’s certain to be a girl: all of the working teams are mixed gender)

            • akagami says:

              I don’t know, he had 9 months working elsewhere and enough time to prepare himself. They could have easily shown more when he met his new marksman, but they chose to just focus on the hands, which I felt they were intentionally leaving it open to interpretation.

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