Many anime that I’ve reviewed on this blog are old. Most date back to around 2013 or so; some, such as Sword Art Online and Kaichou wa Maid-Sama date back farther. However, I have found a recent show. today, we’re looking at the first I’ve completed from 2015: Plastic Memories.
The Story: In the near future, humanity will have found a way to create artificial souls and house them in artificial bodies. These beings, called giftia, are loaned to customers to be companions, surrogate grandchildren, even foster parents. However, these giftia are not permanent, with a lifespan of about 10 years. When their time is almost up, giftias must be reclaimed and reprogrammed with a new soul and personality. That is where the Terminal Service division of giftia companies come in; their job is to recollect the giftias that are almost out of time. It’s here that Tsukasa Mizugaki finds himself, working alongside a female giftia named Isla.
Plastic Memories is designed to be touching. The whole premise of giftias having lifespans alongside the main character paired with a giftia should be a clear indication that something depressing will happen. Sadly, Plastic Memories‘s biggest problem is that its story is shallow. Outside of Tsukasa’s office, there’s not much else we know about its world. Even then, the office’s story is limited to the romance. The worst part, however, is that the show hints at a larger world, then never gets on with it. In one episode, they feature an employee of another terminal service office and never elaborate on how other terminal service offices work. Part of this issue stems from how the show treats time. It’s never clear over how long Plastic Memories is. While it felt like a week or so, the show actually lasted months, if not years, and I had no idea. This ruined the show’s pacing, seeing as they only showed a few events over years.
Instead, Plastic Memories prioritizes the relationship between humans and giftia, and that works, to an extent. Early on, the show does a good job showing just how difficult it can be to let go of these giftia. However, that is replaced by a romance halfway through. That said, the “giftia-human relationship” plot device was the most developed and worked well, relatively speaking.
The Characters: I’d like to say the characters of Plastic Memories were well developed. After all, this is a touching show, so hopefully the characters and their relationships would be good selling points. Sadly, that’s not the case. The main characters are confusing and the supports barely do anything. But the mains at least have some selling points.
Tsukasa Mizugaki: For a main character, Tsukasa is decent. He’s supposed to be a blank slate to flesh out the other characters and it works reasonably well, though there’s not much to develop. They tried to give him some semblance of a personality, but due to the show’s pacing, it’s never shown. A shame, considering the development the writers tried to give him potentially would’ve made him a better character.
Isla (pronounced Aila): Isla seemed much more important than Tsukasa. Most of the supporting characters are tied to her in some way, so you would think Isla would be more developed. That’s partly true, but she was still dangerously lacking. I think Isla tried to hard to be important. The audience is constantly told Isla’s important, but then they never see how. By the second half, she becomes Tsukasa’s love interest and nothing else. I’d say that shift was the best thing that happened to her, but it still didn’t make her better than before.
Final Verdict: Plastic Memories tried to be cute and compelling at the same time in 12 episodes. It partly succeeded. While the romance is adorable, there’s not much else Plastic Memories has to boast about. Sub-par story and sub-par characters cripple Plastic Memories and turn into a less-desirable show.
Final Grade: C