Plastic Memories

plasticmemories

For lack of a better place to go, Tsukasa ends up working at Sion Artificial Intelligence Corporation. SAI is the only corporation in the world that creates Giftias, androids with artificial souls indistinguishable from normal humans, and hence is incredibly cutting edge and an amazing place to work… for the most part. Tsukasa ends up working for Terminal Service, a much smaller, much more relaxed, and very separated branch from the main company that deals with a certain problem. Giftias all have a common issue that SAI has been unable to solve, in that after 81,920 hours they quickly begin to lose their memories, and eventually end up going berserk. Terminal Service is a division that handles collecting Giftias before their expiration date, and essentially putting them to sleep forever, which is quite a depressing job. This is usually done in pairs, a spotter and a marksman, one human and one Giftia. Tsukasa is immediately paired with a girl named Isla, who is a veteran but somewhat clumsy at her job. However, together they work off each other and make a great team, getting incredibly close to each other in the process. However, Isla is a Giftia, and like every other Giftia, her expiration date too is approaching.

***

What should you do if you have a predetermined life span? Live life to the fullest. That was the point of this anime. It was very clear, and a solid world was created around that point. While there was obviously denial from some of the characters related to this point, it was light, and it was highly emphasized that this point was what truly matters, and hence there wasn’t any major conflict or narrative effort given to going in a different way. And hence it focused solely on honing in on that one point, which was a great decision as it ultimately it did a tremendously good job at it. There is still value to life, even if all that remains at the end is nothing, not even memories. Rather, everything matters more when you know it’s going to end.

These points were thrown out a bit more explicitly than one would expect, arguably too blatantly, but this I think actually helped out, as it gave the viewers a lens to look through focusing in on the key themes immediately, even before the plot really started moving. And in that regard, it starts moving very quickly, not dancing around the key issue of Isla being the obvious main character that this effected. Rather, it foreshadowed her purpose from the beginning and brought it to the forefront relatively quickly, developing the character relationships and plot from there. The relationship between the two was incredibly well done in that both grew tremendously, Isla especially, and in an incredibly way considering her circumstances. It gives the viewer a sense of what should be coming doom, but as it faces it head on with such sincerity, it ends up becoming something more that’s difficult to describe, with the closest explanation I can think of being the theme park metaphor given in the anime.

The anime isn’t completely sad from beginning to end as one would expect of such circumstances, it has a surprisingly large amount of comedy and light hearted moments, and even the ending isn’t purely sad. Despite everything, Isla truly grew to accept things and be happy. It was definitely one of the most emotional endings I’ve ever seen, due to how great the romance between the two key characters was and how solidly it developed them as a normal couple dealing with a difficult situation, and I certainly wouldn’t call it happy enough to considered it bittersweet, but it wasn’t completely sad either, it was something more that I am also having trouble describing.  This concluded with an epilogue that also cements that feeling and the theme of moving on, but refrains from showing key details to also keep the ending featuring Isla as the last keynote viewers remember.

There were some parts that felt out of tone, like the combat, though a bit of variety does help, and there were certainly other interesting characters with their own short plots, but overall it was a very focused plot brought to a priceless conclusion. The OP/ED and OST were great and fitting. Isla’s face varying in the OPs was an incredibly good touch in hindsight. The animation and art were solid.

A sad but beautiful anime about the value of life. 

9/10

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