Plastic Memories ep3: how to romance your robutt!
I was a little puzzled watching most of this episode. And for a moment I lost some faith in the show’s direction. But there’s something to be said for patience, and that it’s one of the major unspoken themes of this show. To witness these goofy scenes is to also witness someone trying to make memories, and someone refuses to accept them. Even as the goofy comedy and sexual innuendo is splashed all over this episode, it still shows focus in delivering and embelishing on its points. If you knew you were going to die at a set, relatively soon point (1-3 months per se), what would you do with that time? Both Isla and Tsukasa’s answers to that question are equally valid. The real question and challenge will be to see who comes over to the other’s side by the end.
By the end.
The main set-up for this episode is highly domestic, and can be very formulaic in the world of anime. Tsukasa is informed that now that he and Isla are partners, they can live together in a dorm. This is the standard set-up for all teams in the department. Why it took three episodes and a couple of weeks in the show to tell him this is beyond me. But nevertheless we see the cute couple start to live together, and we also see a few coworkers take their concerns with the set-up far too seriously. Though I want to say it’s silly to worry so much about a robot’s pride and virginity, we’ve seen one example at least of someone using a Giftia as a potential sexual partner. So I’m gonna forego the talk about android genetalia (we already know that they have to pee), and move on to a better subject.
To be honest, it’s mainly Michiru who has an issue with Tsukasa entering Isla’s home. Kazuki has a threat or two, but it’s Michiru who is used to surprising comedic effect. The comedic skits that ran through this episode were made that much funnier by Michiru’s sheer presence and judgemental attitude. There’s no denying for me that Michiru’s faces throughout the episode were my favorite moments. So while I wanted to complain about how this episode had turned into a series of Looney Toons skits, I can’t say that I didn’t laugh pretty hard at a few.
The reason I put up with what initially appeared to be screwing around to fill time, was that it eventually revealed itself to be character development. While most of the episode was silly slapstick comedy, the last third involved Tsukasa’s last desperate attempt to form a bond with Isla outside work. He takes her shopping, under the pretext that she’s doing this to help him shop for a similar person. And while the clothes shopping was a miserable disaster, we get to see her participate a bit more strongly as she helps him shop for herbs. The real hang up comes at the end of the trip, where Tsukasa reveals that he’s been doing all this for her all along. She balks pretty hard at the idea of spending time with him at a carnival a just walks away. At the end, we see Tsukasa arrive back to an awaiting and apologetic Isla. He takes the opportunity to shove a gift he got from the carnival into her hands, telling her that she can just throw it away later. They send the episode as it ended, sharing a cup of tea. The lone thing she can still do flawlessly.
This felt surprisingly satisfying to watch. I felt a good job was done showing how harshly Isla is rejecting the world, as we see how desperately Tsukasa is trying to just forge a relationship. And I prefer it this way, too. Could you imagine how depressing it would be if Tsukasa found out about Isla, and just said, “f*ck it, she’ll be dead soon anyway”? First of all, there wouldn’t be much of a show. Secondly, this would just be terribly depressing.
It’s clear that Isla is actively rejecting the opportunity to make any more connections or memories with anyone. I’m guessing this is the reason that Kazuki and her aren’t partners anymore. It’s also likely the reason why she actively refuses to engage Tsukasa in anyway outside of work. I really did think that she was malfunctioning for a moment, but it’s really just the simple “cold shoulder” treatment.
Not spectacular, but this episode was funny and effective. While the past two episodes haven’t had the sould crushing impact of the first; I like how the show has paced itself and not just relentlessly tried to suck the tears out of our eyes.