What a coincidence. Last time I reviewed a movie featuring lifeguards who have plastic mammaries. Today I find myself writing about an anime called Plastic Memories. In the near future SAI Corp has developed androids that are indistinguishable from humans. These automatons, dubbed Giftias, are employed by companies and also purchased by civilians who desire companionship. Like an Xbox 360, these machines don’t last long before breaking down. Nine years is the life expectancy of a Giftia. After that the bot’s memory degrades, turning them into superhuman zombies. To prevent the hazard of artificial humanoids running amok, the Terminal Services department are hired to repossess Giftias whose warranty is on the cusp of elapsing.
Tsukasa Mizugaki’s college dreams were shattered when appendicitis prevented him from sitting his exams. Luckily for him, Tsukasa’s dad managed to procure a job at Terminal Services for his under qualified son. On his first day Tsukasa is paired up with a Giftia named Isla. Normally in these two man teams the Giftia does all the work and the human merely supervises. Despite her experience however Isla is a bit of a klutz, so it falls upon Tsukasa to do much of the heavy lifting during assignments. Tsukasa soon learns that his profession isn’t for the faint of heart. Giftia owners are usually resistant to losing custody of their mechanical chums… and who can blame them? Imagine buying a puppy, bonding with it and nine years later the pet shop demands that you return said pooch.
Isla’s co-workers are a colourful bunch. The section manager can’t stay within budget and has a strained relationship with his daughter. As a result veteran Kazuki Kuwanomi runs the operation. She reminds me of Evangelion’s Misato. Depending on the situation Kazuki can be a stern or compassionate mentor, and like Misato she is a bit of a drunkard when off the clock. Michiru Kinushima is the teenage rookie who is assigned to show Tsukasa the ropes. She berates Tsukasa when things go awry, but deep down cares for his wellbeing. Her partner Zack loves to expose Michiru’s tsundere tendencies. Yasutaka Hanada on the other hand is a flirt who often ditches work to go on dates. The only time he gets stuff done is when his teammate Sherry literally drags him into the office.
My rating for Plastic Memories is a four out of five. Whether viewers will enjoy or loathe the series will depend on their sense of humour. Some people will feel that the quirky jokes don’t mesh with Plastic Memories’ more dramatic moments. For me however it worked. It’s a bit like Clannad. Make me laugh along with the cast and I will get attached to the characters, which in turn makes the instances when tragedy strikes all the more impactful. Besides, without a little levity the show would be downright depressing. As an example episode one features an elderly lady who doesn’t want to be separated from her Giftia, which she treats like a granddaughter. Without the occasional gag, story lines like that one would leave me longing for amnesia to erase those heart wrenching plastic memories.
Don’t expect the comedy to shield you completely from feels though. After a few successful missions, romance begins to blossom between Tsukasa and Isla. Given that Isla’s existence is finite, you don’t have to be a soothsayer to predict how said love story pans out. First Planetarian and now Plastic Memories. Android waifus have a knack for making audiences weep. The narrative will make you value the importance of making every day count. It also taught me that distancing yourself from others, to avoid pain, is futile. Like they say, it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved. Rest in peace cherished Xbox 360. Our time was cut short by the dreaded red ring of death, but I will forever remember the fun times we had ogling Cortana’s cleavage.