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Plastic Memories ep10: the most important things

I’ve waited quite a while for some of the moments in this episode.  Characters needed to hash things out and confess their true feelings.  But while it’s clear things are winding down towards the end, it doesn’t feel like a mad dash to make the most of the limited time Isla has left.  This has been a rich, emotional experience that wasted little in effort to make this episode work.

Painting Kazuki as the bad guy in this situation is easy.  She just walks back into Tsukasa and Isla’s lives and just tells them to split up.  There’s no real explanation.  She just forces the issue.  I was slightly miffed and annoyed by this at first.  How hard is it to actually explain why you’re making things moves?  Instead she conjures up some bullsh*t excuse that no one but her has cared about until now.  The rule of not dating coworkers is something no one else seem to know or care about.  So it goes to show that she throws some heavy weight around the office.

What got me to change my opinion about her was her sly and light-handed approach to the situation afterwards.  We learn that she doesn’t really have an issue with Tsukasa.  Her issue is with Isla and how she’s handling the situation.  And she confronts Isla on this in a couple of ways.  First she has Isla tackle the task of retrieving a Giftia that has long served as the body guard for a mafia boss in town.  The Giftia and the mafia boss had a long standing professional relationship that clearly had some personal touches to it.  The Giftia was far more devoted to the mafia boss than a normal plutonic guard would be.  Before retrieving her, Isla was tasked with spending the remaining time for the Giftia at the mansion.  Isla trumps this by telling the mafia boss to hang with them as well.

Through this, Kazuki shows her how precious the time ppl who love each other share is.  This leads to a confrontation after the mission that was a long time coming!  We learn that it wasn’t Kazuki who actually started their department’s controversial techniques of retrieval, it was Isla.  Isla was the one who pushed to consider the feelings of those involved in the retrieval.  No one else went along with it.  But it was only after Kazuki and Isla’s break up that the policy was pushed through everyone through Kazuki.

More importantly though, Kazuki breaks through Isla’s stubborn wall.  She calls Isla out for making the same mistake Kazuki made years ago when she dissolved their partnership.  Isla’s been clearly trying to distance herself from Tsukasa to keep from hurting his feelings.  And Kazuki doesn’t want her to make that same mistake and leave him with nothing but bad feelings and memories.  That is what this harsh treatment is doing to him.  It’s ruining the gift of her time and attention that she once lovingly gave to him.

In the end, this is what broke Isla down and made her give in to her feelings.  The scene where she confronts him and returns his feelings is just a beautiful, awkward scene.  It kinda gave me a similar feeling that I got from Angel Beats.

What a great and emotional episode.  I loved seeing Kazuki and Isla finally have at it after all these years.  It seemed so weird that they never really addressed that situation after all this time.  But it makes more sense now that Tsukasa has changed Isla for the better.  It opened their eyes to what was right and what was wrong.  You shouldn’t shy away from the truth, or the opportunity to spend quality time with the one you love.  It’s such a bittersweet situation that I’m glad I got to see such a sweet moment.  It’s still sad, but there are still happy times to remember.  And that’s the whole point of this show.

My hope continues to be that this show stays true to its core message of making peace with your end and goodbyes, and finding joy instead in the great memories of those people you’ve lost.  That of course means the harshest truth.  Isla still has to “die”.  And by that, I mean she doesn’t magically come back in another body.  If her body is reused for a new Giftia, that Giftia doesn’t magically get her memories back.  And Tsukasa doesn’t run off with her and end up getting Isla completely wiped.  That would be a true disaster.

It’s all set in stone.  I want them to have their remaining happy moments.  I want that moment like from Chrono Crusade where a happy and sad contentment falls on the death of characters.  Good lord….  I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about that ending.  I don’t know how I’m gonna handle the last episode of this show.

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Plastic Memories ep9: when sparing feelings is the same as hurting them

This show sure likes its cliffhangers.  Almost as much as it likes to waste my time.  Though the show is attempting to address some immediate questions.  I just wish this show could juggle more than one topic at a time.  I only care to watch two young adults mope about for so long.

This episode certainly felt like a let down compared to the one before.  Episode 8 did so much to address my concerns with the show.  It felt like a solid step forward.  This episode felt much more like a circular path, where by the end you are essentially left back at square one.  All episode, we see Tsukasa and Isla moping about, and the office talking amongst each other over the hop topic of the moment.  And to make matters especially awkward, we get to see Michiru f*ck up the vibe for everyone for most of the episode.

Michiru’s always been blunt, tackless and a busybody know-it-all despite her age, barely superior level of experience and penchant for being wrong.  So I found myself not caring for her at all throughout most of the episode.  She just assumes Tsukasa f*cked up royally when it came to him proposing to Isla at the carnival.  But he couldn’t have done things more appropriately.  And yet she still forces herself to believe and say that he was deficient in some way.  And she spends an extraordinary amount of effort trying to patch things up between them.  And in the end, it didn’t really matter.  The only thing that truly changed is that she found out that Isla has only a month left to exist.  And she would have found out that fact eventually anyway!

The only thing that “moved the needle” was seeing Kazuki dissolve their professional partnership.  I assume this is another attempt of her’s to rectify a situation through detachment.  And I’m afraid she’s repeating the step she made with Isla when they were partners to spare Tsukasa.

I really want this show to dig deeper into Kazuki”s character.  She’s been the core factor in so many parts of this show.  She was Isla’s ex-partner whose own dissolving of the relationship and detachment gave Isla the personality and world outlook she has now.  That disolvement was spurred on by her being forced to track down and “kill” Michiru’s “father” alone.  The way their Terminal Services branch works is completely different because of her and her alone.  She’s far too important a character right now for us to know so little about her.  If this show addresses that, I believe we’ll get the whole picture and a satisfying conclusion.  After that, it should just be about Tsukasa and Isla being honest and courageous in her final hours.  I won’t go into how I think the show will end, but I do fear that’ll give in near the end and try to “save” her.  And though that would be dramatic, I think it would be a poor way for this show to finish.

Overall, not in love with this episode at all.  I felt I would have been more satisfied if this series of events had occurred in half the time, with less of the poor comedy that this show generally has.

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Plastic Memories ep8: come to terms, with the moment

Another slightly rough watch.

I just recently got done watching a show where people were fighting for the rights to keep their homes from being demolished.  Every last one of those people fought with passion to the thing they worked so hard to gain.  And most lost, and some lost more than their homes.  All consumed with the goal of keeping the supplemental thing they had rightfully worked so hard to maintain, they lost their primary goals and dreams.  Their wives & families left, their money for retirement shrank away.  Others lost their homes and cling to the only thing they had left, their partners.  In the end, Tsukasa is going to have to come to terms with his eventual loss and cherish what he has while he still has it.

This episode did exactly what I wanted the next episode to do, which was move forward.  We’re introduced to a new character, Andie.  She’s an employee of an adjacent Terminal Services department that has come to find another owner who has gone rogue with their Giftia.  Tsukasa and Isla are assigned to her, and while she mentioned that their a bit weird as far as partners go, it’s not nearly as weird as her encounter with Eru, who mistakes her for a former partner/friend.  Eru is so weird and lecherous that I’m usually confused about her relationships with females, even if they rebuff her.  The real kicker here is that Andie is a Giftia who shares the body of a long passed Giftia named Olivia, one Eru used to be very close to.  All this happens at the perfect time, as Tsukasa is beginning to feel desperate about Tsukasa’s situation, asking others if Giftia can ever regain memories from their past life.  What Tsukasa (and I to a certain extent) did not realize is that their personalities aren’t just wiped.  They are totally replaced.  A completely different OS is put into a body.  In essence, a soul is removed from a body and replaced with another.  It’s a different person entirely.  Tsukasa is just failing or refusing to grasp this.

Andie and Eru coincidentally striking up a relationship is the perfect way to show Tsukasa how flawed his hopes and ideas about Giftia are.  Through Eru, he learns about his possible future.  And through Eru, he learns that he should be focusing less on how to “save” or “resurrect” Isla.  Now this is still anime, so almost anything goes.  There may still be a chance that Tsukasa is a special princess and can get the impossible thing that he badly wants.  But for now, I anticipate him being a man at the end and accepting what’s been predetermined since long before he showed up.

I was pleasantly surprised by Eru this episode.  For the most part, she’s just been a pair of boobs grabbing other boobs.  It’s the kinda character I get very annoyed by; incredibly unrealistic, one dimensional and loud.  But in this episode, we do get to see her connection to the Giftia.  It’s not just about being a great engineer.  She has attached feeling for these machines, as well.  It was a little rough watching her struggle to differentiate her experiences and memories with the Giftia she once loved, with this totally different Giftia she’s learning now.  It really does strike home that there is a different “person” in the same body.  It is an incredibly harsh reality, especially if you wish to view Giftia like humans.  Could you imagine closely, evenly intimately knowing someone for years, then suddenly they are a completely different person who has never met you before?

The big payoff (and let down) for this episode is when at the carnival, Tsukasa finally confesses his love for Isla.  It was a great moment, a moment completely destroyed when she turns him down!  I’m not taking this too seriously, as Isla likely cares for Tsukasa the same way.  But she likely doesn’t want to hurt him with their quickly oncoming departure.  So I’m sure this will be properly addressed in the next episode.

Overall, it was a good heart-wrenching episode of Plastic Memories.  Not too much time was wasted on any one thing.  The world gets fleshed out a little bit more, along with some of its characters.  The show even took time to show how the Terminal Services world really works, as everyone else in the company in that department is far more ruthless and pragmatic.  Ripping apart memories seems to be what they do, and they don’t shy away from it.  Whatever happens in the future, Tsukasa should count himself as lucky to have loved and known Isla, as well as to be working with such a nice group of people.

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Plastic Memories ep7: waste not, what little time you have

I can imagine this episode didn’t meet with a ton of favorable reviews. I’ve already heard quite a few complaints about how weak and flawed this show’s narrative has been. And all the fluff in this episode doesn’t help my defense of it any.

Much of this episode somewhat bored me, while I generally appreciate character development, sometimes a simple situation can be stretched out.  The whole situation with Tsukasa attempting to ask out Isla, and then Isla and girls talking over how the date should go felt elongated to me.  Everything was done to keep this a self contained episode, not showing much in the way of a reaction to Tsukasa knowing of Isla’s soon coming demise.

I do find a couple of this to be intriguing, the first being Isla’s surprisingly neutral yet strong emotional response to the amusement park.  On one hand, it was home to a singular traumatic event, which was the dissolving of her partnership with Kazuki by Kazuki’s will.  On the other hand, she seems to genuinely enjoy seeing groups of happy people just being around each other.  It seemed like a decent pay off to see the couple actually spend time together on a date.  I was for sure that some terrible event would come and ruin the whole thing.  And that brings me to the second intriguing event.

Tsukasa is a surprisingly frail dude.  I thought his appendicitis was just a case of extremely unfortunate luck.  Put aside the absurdity of there being no excuses for someone to retake a test, even in the event of hospitalization, and you begin to see a faintly painted picture of sickly and unlucky soul.  Unfortunately, two events do not make for a pattern.  We can’t divulge anything from this aside from his potential exhaustion due to working too hard with too little calories to support him.

Other than that, not really much happened, and there was no progression in the plot – only time.  And while time is of the essence in this story, it still doesn’t count as plot.

I feel that I may be making the same mistake I’ve made with other shows with interesting concepts.  This show may not get anywhere close to the hard sci-fi that I wish to see from it.  The show may be taking advantage of the proven desire of anime fans to fall in love with a soulless red-eyed, blue-haired doll.  And if that were the case, I would find it quite hard to not be bitter.  The mere concept is too good and has too much potential to just be a mere romcom with a penchant for yanking tears out of your eyes.

In the future, I will continue to hope that this show attempts to sure up its world building, its sci-fi and answer some hard questions.  We’re far past the point of understanding between these main characters.  The show has to go deeper.  If not, the little time this show has left will be wasted.

Note:  good lord, the animation seemed really uneven and terrible in parts of this episode.  It’s one thing when it’s Michiru’s crazy faces.  I continue to be entertained by those.  But some characters, especially Isla, just looked grossly off-model.

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Plastic Memories ep6: an earnest heart

I could sh*t on Tsukasa’s character if I wanted to for being another bland male lead protagonist design.  But I think I’d like this cliche kinda character in a similar circumstance.  When you’re facing a tough situation, you need someone earnest, naive and brave.  In hard times, you need a hero and you need someone to be as human possible.  After all, it takes courage face hard choices and situations.  I can’t imagine much that would be harder than facing and accepting imminent death.

I found it a bit silly that things turned out as well as they did after the last episode.  A child was choked out by his Giftia on a rooftop on the seedy side of town!  It’s preposterous to me that they could even say things about “no civilians being involved”, or about things turning out for the best.  That poor kid has to face his best friend dying in the worst way.  But that’s just another one of the weird dissonances that plague this show.  I’ll continue to persevere through them.

What we get to open the show is another flashback, this time giving us a better understanding of how the past events of of Isla and Kazuki’s partnership fit in with this incident and the disaster that happened a few years back with Marcia and her “father”.  The incident with Marcia’s father was partially caused by Marcia’s stubborn, childish stupidity, but Isla’s absence at the time due to “reasons” also affected the outcome.  Kazuki ended up having her lower leg smashed so completely that it had to be amputated.  And after that, Kazuki chose to forego the partnership.  The bad part is that despite that, they still work rather closely together.  And you see how it’s had a very rough effect on Isla, while I suspect that Kazuki may be trying to cope through her terrible drinking habits.  Though those sh*tty drinking habits may be due to just her rough personality.

Things slowly turn back to normal as Isla receives routine maintenance until she can fully return to work.  Meanwhile, Tsukasa has been bravely facing up to his failure.  While Isla attempts to understand how Tsukasa and other humans can forget about terrible things happening, she learns through watching him and some of Marcia’s words that he’s not forgetting, but coping.  Tears were still shed, and what happens won’t fade from his mind, but life goes on.

In the end, there’s still one more thing for Tsukasa to grasp.  Kazuki sits him down for a private meeting at the end of the work day.  Outside, Isla waits because she’s wondering why he hasn’t come back home, yet.  Kazuki breaks it down to Tsukasa that Isla essentially has 41 days left to live.  At that time, she’ll be retrieved like any other Giftia.  With that knowledge, she gives him the option to break off the partnership and wait for a new Giftia to be assigned.  Tsukasa bravely stands by Isla, saying he’ll be with her to the end.  I think the best part was seeing Isla’s stunned and happy face outside the building.  Afterwards, it was clear that she’d do her best to give Tsukasa the world.

I was really worried early in this episode that this episode would be all fluff after the heavy emotional disaster of the previous week.  Just seeing that ridiculous series of scenes where Eru was dragging Isla around to stalk Tsukasa made me think this would be garbage, but it did lead somewhere.  And it turned out to be a good source of comedic brevity and fresh air for the rougher parts.  The flashbacks strung together to see how and why Kazuki broke up with Isla was rough.  The scene where Tsukasa had to apologize to the young boy and tell him that he wouldn’t get a chance to say goodbye to Marcia was very rough.  And the scene where Kazuki had to break down the extremely short amount of time he had left with Isla was just hard to watch.  Tsukasa took it pretty hard for a moment.  But seeing him face that situation head on, despite the terrible heartbreak that was to come was great.  Seeing Isla’s reaction was great.  And seeing the adorable scene of Isla just begging Tsukasa to let her do whatever she could for him was the best.

The world building in this show is good.  The emotional moments of this show are very well done.  The only glaring weakness for me continues to be some immersion breaking screw ups in logic and set up in this show.  Some situations and rules are really too idealized for their own good.  I can’t imagine how they’ve managed to avoid lawyers and police so far through this entire show.  And I’m left again wondering if this will be something addressed before it ends.  Other than that, I’m just left hoping Tsukasa and Isla find happiness before this all ends.

Note:  I do wonder if the reason Yasutaka was badgering Tsukasa to come to the bar so badly with him was to get him talking with their boss or their bosses boss anyway, Godou?  I imagine that this isn’t the end of their troubles.  I’m curious about that, and the relationship that those two old friends have.

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Plastic Memories ep5: who defines life? And does that definition matter?

Man, oh man.  Plastic Memories is showing a dark side.  This isn’t about making you accept death do to old age or disease anymore.  This is the real reaping side.  It’s about the sad reality that you may have to put someone important to someone else down like a dog in the street.  And while I have some issues with the execution for the sake of drama in this episode, this was as emotional as any of the episodes that came before.

I have a very clear cut view of androids and their place in the world.  And it comes with some irony because I do love the idea of them being our “equals”.  I love the idea of seeing a robot/android/automaton walking and living among us, contributing to society and forging memories.  Just today I watched the second Avengers movie, and the sight of Vision filled me with excitement and wonder.  How could you not marvel (no pun intended) at the spectacle of man achieving such a feat? Read more…

Plastic Memories ep4: blissful, ignorant indulgence

There is a whole new world opening up to us in this show. And while information is good, there’s a reason ignorance is bliss. Perhaps some of us can’t handle the ideas of the near and far future. Perhaps you don’t want to think that your parents or love ones will die, often before you. You don’t want to think about things like being old and alone, or dying and finding oblivion on the other side. And maybe even more cruely, you don’t want to think about how the person who has been taking care of you for as long as you can remember doesn’t have a soul, or will be leaving you forever in a week. Yeah, thanks a lot Plastic Memories. Thanks for making me think about the harshest of realities.

This is far from Read more…

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