Home > Check-in Station, Episode by Episode > Check-in Station: Plastic Memories ep1 (a series of unfortunate goodbyes)

Check-in Station: Plastic Memories ep1 (a series of unfortunate goodbyes)

Well, this show can just f*ck right off.

While I am, and will likely continue to remain in the process of trying to figure out if this show is made just to make people cry, I will also have to admit this first episode’s effectiveness.  The point has been made.  But I still wonder how much steam this show will actually have going deeper and deeper into the season.

I’ll skip the synopsis for this post.  I just don’t have the energy to explain such a slow episode bit by bit.  Instead, I’ll just get into the main points.  First off, the main character is little more than a template right now.  You could shove Tsukasa into an harem anime, a magical show or a show purely about the service industry.  He so far just appears to be there to interact with the cast, with not much of a personality coming from him so far.  It makes it undeniably ironic that half his coworkers are androids with very distinct personalities and emotional spectrums.  I’m simply hoping that some positive quirks come out of him before he becomes to boring of a character to stand.  For now, he does a decent job in his bland role as a stand-in point of focus.  He’s the ignorant milquetoast entrant to a world of weirdos.  You could tell from the very first moments of his introduction to his coworkers.  In short, I grow tired of Tsukasa and his ilk.

The character I’m begrudgingly enjoying is Isla, his Giftia (the name given to these specific androids in the show) who accompanies him on his jobs.  Oh yeah, better explain the jobs before I get too much further.  Tsukasa has joined a group of reapers for androids.  The androids are incredibly advanced and realistic, being almost impossible to tell from regular humans at a glance.  The problem with this advancement seems to be that they have a very fixed life cycle, about nine years and four months.  And once they get close to the end of that life cycle, they begin to deteriorate rapidly, and will even outright break.  Needless to say, this is one hell of a problem for everyone involved.  The Giftia not only perform important jobs in the home, most importantly they form emotional bonds with their owners.  And those owners can often have a very hard time letting go of such lifelike artificial creatures.  The job of Tsukasa and his Giftia are to politely, but firmly sever those bonds and retrieve the rampant Giftia before it becomes a real problem.

That brings us to Isla, the character that I find myself adoring so much in this show.  She’s the Giftia partner for Tsukasa, a veteran – as we’re told by the other workers  in the department.  But there are some very “off” things about her.  To start, even before Tsukasa ever got to his job, it seems earlier that week he ran into her in public and she was crying.  When he gets to work, his boss laments how there is no one here for him to partner with when Tsukasa walks in to serve tea.  This whole episode, she’s totally adorable and incredibly clumsy.  What really drives her character seems to be the fear of her own demise.  And there is nothing hidden about this.  While she doesn’t come out and say it to much of the cast.  It’s written all over her by her actions.  And at the end of the episode, she even gives a little speech and directly confronts her target Giftia about the very same situation.  For a character that had beaten around the bush for so much of the episode, she’s strangely focused and crestfallen about the ordeal.  She seems to have a godless wonder and resentment for her own life and predetermined death.  And while I generally appreciate more nuance from my characterization and storytelling, I can also appreciate this show not beating around the bush.  Isla is an excellent example of how this show seems to want to directly confront the questions it brings up.  And that’s great, because this first very slow and introductory episode has already brought a basket of questions to mind for me.

How much time does Isla have left?  Do these retrievals ever get violent?  The retrievals so far mainly focused on older adults having Giftia with them.  Do these owners ever use the Giftia as replacements for dead or living relatives?  If the relatives are alive, how do they feel about this?  Are these instances of Giftia being abused, or people just obsessing over the Giftia to an unhealthy degree?  Are the Giftia ever outright dangerous/hostile?  Is the sex trade involved in some way?  Are marriage or adoption ever attempted (this is Japan)?  And so on, and so on, and so on.

In the end, my decision to stick with this show for the immediate future was determined not solely on this episode, but the concept and the questions it brings up.  My mind wants to believe that in some way this is our future, and my mind wants to address the issues such a future would entail.  My expectations may already be too high, and the show may be a purposeful tear jerker, but I’ll put up with the pain for a little wisdom and insight.

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