Plastic Memories

January 2, 2016

The ultimate future of human companionship with robots as your partner. So life-like that they look, sound and act like the real thing. How about that for androids taking over that important role? Well, it might be still a distant dream in reality but in Plastic Memories, it is already here. Science and technology has advanced so much that you have very life-like automatons in replace of human beings. Always wanted a little sister? You got it. Grandpa died but you still long to have one and spend time with the old guy? As you wish. How about that hot wife that only existed in your dreams? No problem. Yeah. Androids have pretty much shaped the lives of the people of the future here. But this anime isn’t generally about that. It’s about a human boy just fresh out from college who just got into the corporation of managing such androids. His co-worker is an android. He falls in love with her. See where this is going?

Episode 1
Tsukasa Mizugaki is on his way to his first day on the job at Terminal Services Department when he bumps into this beautiful Isla. Love at first sight. At the office, he meets section chief, Takao Yamanobe and supervisor, Kazuki Kuwanomi. We are introduced to the Giftias (life-like androids) working for the company too. Constance, Zack and Sherry. Because a Giftia’s lifespan is only 81,920 hours (that’s about 9 years), once their service life expires, their personalities and memories break down. It is their job to retrieve them. Yamanobe suggests pairing up Tsukasa as a Spotter with Isla who is a Giftia. A Spotter is one who supervises the Giftia. Kazuki doesn’t seem too happy about it and is quite overprotective of her. But Isla agrees to partner with him. Tsukasa and Isla are taken out to the field by Michiru Kinushima and Zack. Tsukasa sees the process of retrieving a Giftia from a family. Because a Giftia has been part of the family for so long, when their time is up, there are lots of emotions in saying goodbye. Part of the law states that since a Giftia’s memory is full of its owner’s personal information, it is a reason why the owners must be present till the end in order to prevent leaks. Well, seems like an easy job but Tsukasa would be dead wrong if he thinks every retrieval would be this easy. Not every owner will easily sign and release their Giftia. Take for instance this old lady, Chizu Shirohana who is never letting her Nina go. They’ve been here the umpteenth time and she’s not changing her mind. Of course they can’t give up and need to try again. They’ll go retrieve others first before coming back for this one. Isla who claims she is a veteran in handling this starts freezing up when it’s her turn. This causes the owner and Giftia to flee. Isla tries to chase but crashes into the dumpster. They get complaints and Kazuki warns Tsukasa not to push Isla this far again.

Tsukasa and Isla are given another shot to convince Chizu. Isla thought having tea would let her in. Nope. After sinking into depression that Nina’s time limit is till tomorrow, Isla can’t give up now. Next day, she returns with… Tea and snacks? Nope. Desperate, Isla climbs into the house! Is this legal? This is where she meets Nina for the first time and hopes she would have tea. Chizu wanted to send her away but Nina says she’s dirty from climbing in and should at least let her take a shower. Tsukasa tries to offer Chizu discounts and other goodies as per company policy if she hands Nina over but gets lectured about viewing Nina as an object. To her, Nina is her only family. She’d rather die than live without her. Nina talks to Isla and she knows her time is up. Of course she is scared but if she goes back that way, she’ll cause trouble for others and she wouldn’t want grandma to be sad. The truth is, she wants to say goodbye to her with a smile. Chizu heard these heartbreaking words and finally agrees to let them take Nina. After they had a little tea party of course. Nina left lots of reminders for grandma to do after she is gone. Don’t worry Nina, grandma will be fine. Another mission complete but the mood ruined when Isla mentions she needs to go to the toilet and can’t hold in much longer anymore. Drank too much tea?

Episode 2
Yasutaka Hanada is one of the veteran Spotters of the company. Despite so, he has this very casual attitude. Yasutaka is interested to know how he landed this job. Does his have good connections? Seems his father was an old friend with the company president, Shinya Godou. He did Tsukasa a special favour to work in his company but if he finds he is a poor fit, he will not hesitate to fire him. In another retrieval job, Isla sounded like a thug trying to retrieve a Giftia. No wonder they ran for their lives! She even tripped while chasing them! How did this even happen? So leave it to Michiru to clean up his mess (and a whole bunch of lecture). Later Kazuki talks to Tsukasa to find out how things are going on between them. Kazuki was once Isla’s Spotter. When Tsukasa returns to the office (Kazuki getting drunk and all), he sees Isla practising in the testing room. He meets in-house engineers, Mikijirou Testuguro and Eru Miru. They are testing her efficiency since she is back out in the field and needs regular maintenance. Tsukasa goes talk to her about this and it seems Isla is feeling bad for holding him back. She feels her body isn’t moving the way she wants to. If she becomes a liability, she fears they might have to break up as a team. Tsukasa remains positive and to handle things resourcefully. He assures to rely on him till she gets her rhythm back. Michiru talks to Isla. Something tells me she is waiting for the moment to hear something is wrong and use it as an excuse to yell at Tsukasa. Maybe she just jumped the gun about him faking reports or something? And so she goes to lecture Tsukasa about Giftias having souls too and that retrieving them isn’t just enough. Otherwise their job would just end up creating sadness. He must understand the owner and Giftia. Tsukasa thought Isla had been training herself to get back up to speed and make up for lost time. Till Yasutaka explains that her chart has a steady decline. Although Giftias learn like humans, there is no such thing for them to get back up to speed. They are not programmed to forget in the first place. Therefore it is useless for Isla to train as she will always remain as who she is. And he is sure Isla is aware of that herself. In the next retrieval, Tsukasa handles the negotiation to prevent the owner and Giftia from running away. The retrieval ends successfully. Kazuki talks to Yasutaka about Tsukasa’s latest report. She knows he hasn’t told Tsukasa about Isla’s condition. Her terminus is in 2,000 hours.

Episode 3
Tsukasa is now required to live with Isla since Spotters and their Giftia are partners. He will move in to live with Isla who is currently living in the company’s dorm. How come Michiru is the one who is most ‘concerned’ about them living together? Like when Tsukasa accidentally read Isla’s diary (she sounded like a different person in it), she starts berating this unethical thing till Zack reminds her that she is the one to talk. On the opposite, Eru is rooting for Tsukasa to have a rosy life with Isla. Anything you don’t know, just ask her. And she doesn’t mind teaching him a few stuffs… However in the room, Isla mostly ignores Tsukasa and just sits in her corner dejectedly. This also causes him to become dejected. Don’t worry. The other guys are here to help him out with their manly advice. Oh no. Am I seeing some sort of trend here? Each time Tsukasa tries to impress Isla, no reaction from her but the commotion causes Michiru from next door to barge in and tell them to pipe down. Then she gets pissed in seeing a very ambiguous situation. From her view it usually looks like Tsukasa is assaulting Isla! Whether he is trying to work out to show his muscles, cooking, a bouquet of roses (bee attack!), wearing a goth loli dress from Eru (must be that desperate, huh?) and even advice from the master himself Yasutaka about doing things by force but make it look like an accident. When everything fails, Kazuki suggests taking her out somewhere. So this guy is trying to read from a manual how to score with girls? Just be natural. If he can. So on a pretence that they’re going out on a job, he takes her shopping to buy clothes. I don’t even know how Isla can even get tangled up in trying out a dress! After buying herbs, Tsukasa thought riding the Ferris Wheel would be perfect but Isla tells him that she was not built to have fun at the amusement park. End of story. Sad girl. Sad boy. He later returns home and as usual, sees her spacing out in the darkness. He gives her a keychain he bought from the amusement park as a gift. For the first time they had a decent tea together. But after Tsukasa goes to bed, it is back to that same dejected spot for Isla.

Episode 4
You can’t blame Tsukasa for being so happy in the morning since Isla greeted him. But he gets thrown out by Michiru since Isla is changing. So why is Michiru getting vocal about the life of Tsukasa and Isla when Isla clearly says she doesn’t mind about it? Before they start work, they are being reminded by their company memo to be cautious about a scumbag who is trying to con people using their name to steal Giftias to be sold on the black market. Tsukasa and Isla are to meet Souta Wakanae and retrieve his Giftia, Marcia (MAMIKO NOTOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) but they are met by Marcia instead. She is quite a happy person as she summarizes about Souta’s life. Including the passing of his parents 3 years ago. When Souta returns from school, he is rushing to get rid of Marcia and being pushy to sign the papers. How can such a lovable kid hate her? She views Marcia as a liar. He has been this way ever since Marcia told him about her lifespan. He thought everything in his life was a lie, including his memories of his parents. Meanwhile Yamanobe is being chewed out about the high operating expenses of his division. If he cannot solve this by the next meeting, Godou has his own idea on how to solve it. Marcia tells Tsukasa that Souta’s birthday is today and they agree to help plan a surprise party. So while he is out at school, they start the preparations. Had not Michiru offered her help, it could have been a real disaster in the kitchen with Tsukasa and Isla being more amateurs then helpful. Michiru could understand Souta although their case is very opposite. Unlike Souta, Michiru was raised by her father who is a Giftia. When his time came, she wanted to keep him as long as she could. Because of that, he became a Wanderer. A Giftia who surpassed the limited hours will start losing their personality and memories. As they can only function on instinct, they may even be a danger to society. Tsukasa is so touched by her story that his tears are just annoying her. Regret telling him this much? Once Souta comes home, they pop the surprise. Still not happy he never asked any of this? What’s the point of this when they’ll all be going away? But he remembers what Michiru earlier said about the recent memories he had. Were they not true? Then he thinks back of all the good times he had with his family. He is overcome with emotion and apologizes to Marcia for calling her a liar. Marcia says everyone will always be in his heart forever and watching over him. A day before Marcia’s retrieval, a strange man claiming to be retrieving Marcia on behalf of Tsukasa and Isla knocks on Souta’s door.

Episode 5
The suspicious guy tasers Marcia returning from shopping. When she doesn’t return, Souta calls Tsukasa and tells him what happened. They fear the worst that the guy is from the black market. So it becomes top priority to look for and retrieve Marcia since she has around 24 hours left. Yamanobe reports to Godou who initiates R. Security for this emergency. No luck in finding Marcia and it is already breaking dawn. When the gang runs into a roadblock by R. Security, Kazuki tries to haggle to talk to their superior. She is not pleased it is Shinonome. Seems there is bad blood between them and because she has some dirt on him (his guilty body actions make it obvious), she gets him to disclose some information and map of the area they believe the black market guys are hiding out. Yasutaka gives Tsukasa a gun that only Spotters can use. It is only as last resort because the beam although it doesn’t hurt humans, it sends a virus into the Giftia’s programme and forces it to crash. No prizes to guess what happens to the memories. That kid is now more worried than ever. Kazuki has her team get ready to work with R. Security. Something Michiru is not happy with because we see snippets of her flashback how her dad was mercilessly shot by them. Then Tsukasa has to be insensitive to ask her past and so she’s ‘obliged’ to tell us. When her father is in Wanderer state, Kazuki is about to retrieve him but those R. Security guys led by Shinonome wanted to take it out. Because Michiru was manhandled, her dad turned violent and in the process broke Kazuki’s leg. He was then shot down like target practice. And now Tsukasa is determined to do what he can so that history won’t repeat itself? Well, let’s hope he won’t be a dead weight. Yasutaka has found the hideout but it looks like the black market guy is knocked out and totally bruised. Marcia is nowhere to be seen. You do the math. Not good. Kazuki assumes the worst and for her team to at least retrieve Marcia before R. Security. Call it luck or not, Marcia bumps into Kazuki and Isla. You starting to freeze, Tsukasa? Making it worse, Souta is here too. The moment he calls her, Marcia turns violent and hurts Isla before kidnapping Souta. Isla believes she can still continue to look for Marcia. In that condition? Well, let’s just hope. Kazuki blackmails Shinonome about her prosthetic leg to make him give them more time to retrieve Marcia before his team takes her out. Now that Tsukasa has found Marcia, I suppose a little diplomacy wouldn’t hurt. Yeah. Talk about those good memories. It always seems to work at first before it turns bad for dramatic effect. Because now Marcia turns violent and is strangling Souta. Will Tsukasa resort in using the gun? He pulls the trigger.

Episode 6
Flashback shows Isla and Kazuki’s partnership. It ended after Kazuki’s leg was amputated. Although Marcia’s case has been solved (as briefly told by Yamanobe), Tsukasa will be grounded to desk jobs till Isla can be up and running for field work again. The scene of him shooting Marcia, reverting her back to normal before collapsing shortly haunts him. There are lots of gloom and doom and everybody trying to cheery everybody up. The girls go talk to Tsukasa and Eru thinks she is in love with him. I think it is just Eru who is obsessed with the idea of knowing more about Tsukasa and thus going to great lengths to stalk this guy at work and after work. Even crossing the line by peeping at him in the shower! There’s Sherry to put a stop to this farce… Isla wonders if Tsukasa is working real hard to help her. Has he already forgotten about Souta and Marcia. Michiru explains they went to see Souta the last time while he was moving. The kid wondered where Marcia went and needed to see her as he had not said his goodbyes yet. All Tsukasa could do was to apologize and this broke the kid’s heart. Poor kid. After Isla is given the green light to return to field work, she returns to her dorm but Tsukasa is not there. She waits but he never came back. So she goes look for him and finds him talking to Kazuki. She tells him the whole truth. Isla has only about 1000 hours left. That is around a month. Tsukasa is in shock. Kazuki gives him a choice to cut ties with her and get a new replacement but of course he wants to be with Isla till the very end. That make you happy, Isla? So when he returns to the dorm, there Isla is, greeting him with the nicest smile ever. Ah, girls. They act all so nice either they want something from you or they heard those magical words. And now she’s playing his wife. Isn’t this what you wanted, Tsukasa? So why freak out?

Episode 7
Tsukasa is thinking of asking Isla out on a date on their next day off. I guess with him being nervous, he easily gets distracted. He must be desperate enough to get the guys’ advice. Still not successful thanks to Isla’s klutz. Eventually Tsukasa himself is surprised that Isla agrees when he pops the question. Eventually Kazuki finds out and gives him an earful. Not that she opposes but he better carry his weight. And then eventually Michiru learns about it. So really she’s not bothered by it? But your tsundere-ness is showing so obvious… Now it’s Isla’s turn to talk to the girls on what to do on the date. She is going to need all the advice she’s going to get since she has no clue to even where they should go. Finally Isla decides she wants to go to the amusement park. Hmm… Wasn’t that the place where she rejected him? I guess she wants to make up. I guess he’s just happy. At the park, there is a bench spot she loves to sit. It brings back lots of memories. This is where she could see everyone’s smile. This is where Kazuki told her they can’t be partners 3 years ago. So as not to spoil the mood, they have fun the usual around the park. Things are looking romantic in the Ferris Wheel and you thought Tsukasa suddenly turned into a leecher when he drops his face on her boobs! Actually he collapsed! What a way to ruin the mood? I guess it must be a long tiring day. Next time he wakes up, Isla already brought him back to his bed. (Meanwhile a certain tsundere is outside the room giving all sorts of excuses not to intrude on them – okay, so go home). Isla tells him she has not much time left. He knows. This still doesn’t change the fact he wants to be her partner till the end.

Episode 8
After Tsukasa makes another retrieval, this prompts him to wonder why Giftias do not retain their memories after getting a new OS. For every staff he asks, the same answer it is not possible. Even Michiru gives him the low down about the cost saving of using the same Giftia instead of a new one. Tsukasa and Isla will temporarily have another helper because the owner and the Giftia target have run away so she’s here in their area to search for them. They meet Andie and the moment Eru sees her, she is so happy that she starts harassing her boobs. Andie didn’t like her especially she doesn’t remember who she is. Eru thinks she’s got the wrong person and leaves. But she notes that she has totally lost her memories. Andie and the duo go chase down the runaway owner. The girlfriend is crying and pleading for her Giftia boyfriend to stay with her till the end. Looks like it’s not happening. End of the world. For her. Tsukasa learns from Yasutaka what Andie did wasn’t wrong and is in fact standard procedure. It is only their branch that goes the extra mile (started by Kazuki) and this incurs extra costs and Yamanobe always get an earful from the boss. Eru talks to Tsukasa and Isla about Andie. She was once known as Olivia and was her neighbour. There are picture proofs of their time together. No prizes to guess what happened to her when her time was up. Therefore it was more cost effective just to replace her OS than dispose of her. Shortly, Eru comes seeking Tsukasa’s help. She sounds like she is in big trouble. Eru talked to Andie about a festival tonight and she is excited to go. Thing is, that festival holds lots of memories for Eru and Olivia. So… Why ask his help to accompany her there? Because so, a certain tsundere is really bothered and she might start thinking too much. Anyway, kind Tsukasa agrees and Isla also wants to tag along. After having their fun night, Eru tells Tsukasa that she’ll bring Andie somewhere next year and doesn’t want to mix up her memories with Olivia. Tsukasa realizes Isla is missing (because he was paying more attention to Andie than her so she ‘ran off’). He finds her sitting on a bench alone but she is happy he came for her. She asks if she is hurting him (because in Andie’s case her memories didn’t come back and it hurt Eru). If so, she doesn’t want to be his partner. His answer: A big hug. You silly girl. He admits it hurts so much that his heart is about to explode. Still, he wants to be her partner till the end. But why? Isn’t it obvious? Because he loves you! It took a while for Isla to digest that before she realizes how embarrassing it is and rejects him! Bummer.

Episode 9
Tsukasa is so dead at work. Yasutaka messes with his hair and shows him porn. No reaction. This is serious. Isla continue to work like normal. No reaction. This is serious. Michiru talks to Isla and after being surprised by the confession and rejection, Isla finally puts up that panicky mode. Is this some sort of delayed reaction? Isla describes in detail what happened and the tsundere is just being tsundere with her comments. So why is her face red if she says she doesn’t care? As part of the plan to cheer them up, Zack is forced to accompany Tsukasa but that kid isn’t obviously interested with a gloomy guy around. Michiru is supposed to join Eru with Isla but she is busy playing tsundere with Tsukasa and relates her experience when she lost her dad and Kazuki gave her the motivation to work for this company in which she takes pride. Speaking of Isla, Eru has put on bunny pyjamas on her. I think this trauma is going to shorten her lifespan. More animal pyjamas… It’s getting shorter… When Isla sees Tsukasa and Michiru talking together, she gets the wrong idea and ends up in running away in her typical panic mode. After catching up to her and Isla has calmed down, she hopes Tsukasa can give her more time to think about his confession. Of course. Later Michiru talks to Isla again and the former is very surprised when the latter has come to a decision about her head going dizzy and heart pounding like crazy whenever she is near Tsukasa. She is going to stay away from him. WTF?! But it hits Michiru when Isla reveals she only has about a month left. So the tsundere calls out Tsukasa to talk to him about this. Why does a tsundere need consoling? She feels bad for saying bad things to them without knowing this. Would she have said it differently had she knew? As for why Tsukasa still confessed to her and knew what will happen, it is because he wants to make memories with her and do something for her. Since when did the tsundere care about him hurting himself. Oh, she always did, right? With him deciding to be Isla’s partner till the very end, Michiru decides to support them all the way. I mean, he is an amateur in love, right? What better way to get a tsundere’s help. When he returns to his room, Kazuki is waiting. She announces as of today their partnership is dissolved.

Episode 10
Citing office romance is prohibited, Kazuki tells Tsukasa that they will swap partners. Kazuki will get back Isla and Tsukasa will work with Constance. Now that she’s got Isla back, she doesn’t know what to do! I guess she’ll do it the way she knows best: Get drunk. And doodle all over Isla’s face. Tsukasa tells what happened and of course they confirm there is no such rule prohibiting office romance. Heck, Kazuki was the one who had office romance years ago. Sherry knows something about it but won’t say. After Kazuki officially announces the partnership switch (I guess she doesn’t need Yamanobe’s approval whatsoever), Tsukasa talks to Kazuki again to request their partnership be reinstated. She will not do so and claims the damage will be irreparable had Isla been left in his care. Heading out to the field job with Constance, Tsukasa learns about their costly and timely retrieval process was suggested by Isla. Such method would never have been approved by the board. After Kazuki-Isla partnership was dissolved, Kazuki went about to talk to other people about it. This shows how much Kazuki loves Isla. Speaking of them, they are in the process of retrieving a Giftia whose owner is a mafia head! Kazuki has to hold back herself while Isla does the negotiating. She’ll not forgive those mafia crooks if they lay a finger on her. Surprisingly, Isla’s negotiation got through. The mafia boss allows his Giftia bodyguard to go but with a condition that Isla spends time with her. Isla agrees but also with a condition that he joins them. After the job is done, Isla confronts Kazuki about the unfairness of it all. Believing that their line of work is never rewarded, she needs things with Tsukasa to stay the same way. Then Kazuki drills it into her that she thinks she might be doing it for Tsukasa’s sake but acting like that won’t do them any good. As humans, they’ll eventually have regrets and start blaming themselves forever. This makes Isla think that despite the happy times with Kazuki, regret was all she had. So next day in office, after summoning every inch of her courage, Isla confronts Tsukasa. Prepare for some live office drama. She admits she was wrong in thinking they shouldn’t make more memories but staying apart just made it more painful. All she could see him in the future is lonely and sad. There would be nothing good to remember of her. That is why she wants to continue making memories with him till the very end. And finally, the words that seal it, “I love you”. Office people rejoice? Tissues please.

Episode 11
Isla writes in her diary that Tsukasa has become her boyfriend. Their first day as an official couple is a clumsy one. Not used to it, huh? What’s the difference? Hadn’t they been together since? Of course this means teasing by their colleagues like Eru and Zack and since Michiru continues being a tsundere, Eru teases her that she wants to be confessed too. And Yasutaka becomes the relationship advisor. He tells them the secret to a relationship is always surprising the partner. Well, he is the master slacker and womanizer after all. Isla thinks of cooking for Tsukasa so as Kazuki suggests, go look for Michiru to help. At first the tsundere jumps the gun thinking they’ve gone too far and done a lot of things in their relationship. Then she realizes she wants to cook for him so that they can go back and do things normally. Ever since being a couple, talking and facing him seems harder to do. And since they don’t know what Tsukasa likes, the best way is to go ask him straight in the face. Tsukasa is surprised by this and thinks Isla beat him to it. But he doesn’t feel right Isla only doing something special. With Constance suggesting they cook together, I guess it’s a cue for all the third wheels to leave the lovebirds to their own device. So we see them doing their day job, going shopping, some romantic moments and finally cooking together omelette rice. Isla is embarrassed drawing a heart shape with the tomato sauce so Tsukasa shows it how it’s done. Personally, I thought it looked like a butt shape from upside down! Isla adds more entries to her diary and shows it to Tsukasa. Although embarrassed, she finds it enjoyable and happy.

Episode 12
Isla wakes up in the night crying that she doesn’t want to be alone. Don’t worry. Tsukasa is here for you. At work, Michiru gives them a surprise movie ticket. Yeah, I know. She has no use for them. Don’t put it to waste. Go watch them. Then the rest of the staffs start giving freebies to them like a vacation to some resort and fine dining. Yasutaka even gives permission to drive his car! It would be a waste not to honour their kindness, right? Enjoy the nice romantic moments while you can. When Kazuki calls Tsukasa, she hands him a retrieval agreement on Isla. She wants him to sign it. I guess it’s already that time. Don’t falter now. When Tsukasa pours tea for Michiru, she is bloody shocked to see him here instead of spending time with Isla as what the office wants. Yeah well, they’re so free that he got Isla to teach him to make them tea. Michiru is going crazy… But as Isla explains, they want to carry on what they normally do together as usual. They want to treasure the time spent here as much as they spent with each other. Oh Michiru, you were being concerned, weren’t you? That night, Tsukasa with a heavy heart shows the agreement. He has this crazy thought to elope together. But Isla would have no other people than him sign the agreement. And reluctantly he does so. After the duo do their final job of receiving the mafia boss’ Giftia, they return for an office party. Kazuki gives the permission to drink and be merry during office hours. Entertainment includes magic show and karaoke session. Michiru becomes embarrassed when Zack tells on her that she was the one who planned this party. Good thing everybody had fun. Tsukasa carries Isla back once it’s over. Isla feels very happy. She did so many things that it’s hard to fit them all in her diary. She whispers to him that she hopes he’ll reunite with the person he cherishes.

Episode 13
Last day is here. Watch the sunrise together. Oh, so romantic. Take a bath together. Nothing steamy, mind you. Visit the workplace but Kazuki takes away Isla’s staff badge to ‘free’ her. This means they’ve got lots of time on their hands. Amusement park. Lots of fun. Time flies when you’re having fun. End of day. Park is closed. Isla managed to convince the Ferris Wheel operator to ride (because you would be branded a cold hearted ass if you don’t grant a dying person’s last wish). Isla talks about his possible future. He might get a new girlfriend. Is she being rude? More talking. Then it’s time to retrieve her. Can Tsukasa do it? He is shaking. His tears are flowing. She thanks him. Gives him courage. Hugs him. The final kiss. Heck, we didn’t even get to see it properly. Mission accomplished. Tsukasa carries Isla’s lifeless body down to Kazuki who is waiting. More tears. Breakdown harder than ever. Tsukasa reads a note left behind by Isla intended to be read after she is ‘dead’. Thanks everybody for a wonderful time. You know the drill. Everybody also gets to read it. Can’t hide emotions. It’s tearing up our eyes. Now it’s Tsukasa’s turn for his monologue. He is wondering how he would tackle life if it was predetermined. Easy. Living it to the fullest. Tsukasa returns 9 months later after some training stint. His colleagues welcome him back as Kazuki presents to him his new Giftia partner.

Plastic Romance, Plastic Life
Maybe I am not in my form for this season or at this very stretch of time. Because personally I find the romance drama between our main characters to be draggy and boring. Don’t get me wrong. The idea of having a human and an android living out the best of their remaining time together and knowing the fact that the final day will ultimate be here is a nice and tragic setting for romance and drama lovers. Then they try to up the emotional rate with ‘quality time’ Tsukasa x Isla moments in hopes of pulling some heartstrings but at this point I’m feeling so disconnected already. Not to say that I’m a big fan of such genres but I wouldn’t brush it off and still love watching it from time to time. So forgive me for being bias if I am calling the Tsukasa x Isla romance to be uninteresting. Yeah, maybe I’m not in my season.

Unfortunately, the plot itself is already as boring as one could predict from the first episode. Maybe it was too much to expect something like a twist and just wishful thinking. Because for the main characters to be spending a hell lot of time together, at work and even living together, there are so many uneventful events happening between them. We can blame the nervousness of being virgins at love and trying to learn more about each other without crossing the line and hurt the other. But that is given in any kind of relationship. So it gets somewhat boring after a while trying to figure out if Tsukasa and Isla will ever make it. Even more so with the ‘threat’ of Isla’s limited time left on the line so we are already being told that this is going to be a limited time love affair. Literally. So they’re trying to cram in a lot of memories with the limited time Isla has and ironically it is those memories that Isla is at risk to lose at the end of her lifespan. Tragic love story, literally.

So as not to end it in a total tragedy and loss for everybody, they leave you with an open ending that has you wonder if Tsukasa’s new partner is again Isla. It could be. It could be not. Because if he had seen that familiar face again, Tsukasa would have shown us that flabbergasted surprised mug instead of that nice-to-meet-this-new-person look. After all, we never got to look at the Giftia’s face despite her hand is suspiciously similar to Isla’s. Even if she was Isla, 9 months away at training is a long time for a human and you know humans being famous for having short memory. So the shock of losing Isla the first time made him numb and thus the reunion didn’t make him the least surprise. Whatever you choose to believe in, looks like Tsukasa has chosen to move on instead of being held back by the past which is now relegated to just memories.

I can’t help feel the characters are weak and shallow overall. They don’t really grow on you despite the big romance drama between Tsukasa and Isla. Maybe it is the overall sentiment that this show is going down the boring gutter so my mind has switched off in trying to see the characters they aren’t that all bad. Maybe with some ‘jokers’ around they make you laugh but once that is over, it is back to the mundane Tsukasa x Isla drama and at this point it might become unbearable so you just hope that some sort of virus would just crash the system and end it all. Hah. Okay, so it wasn’t that bad but I just wished the characters especially the side ones would help in making the series slightly interesting.

Tsukasa is already starting off as a typical male protagonist with a good heart. Everybody loves a character like that but with so many other characters in other series, this one makes him just look boring. Maybe he is still a young kid. Remember, he is out fresh from college. And perhaps he has never fallen in love before during his studying years (human girls don’t interest him, perhaps? Gay?) and ironically seeing this frail Giftia girl, his love hormones start raging. Maybe it is in guys’ genes that they want to love and protect weak girls? Despite assurance after assurance that he will be with Isla till the very end, I wonder if he can move on once the inevitable happens. Can he find a new love after that? Or will he be ‘stuck’ forever with Isla clouding his mind? Usually guys like him as the main character harbour some kind of dark past. Heck, you don’t even know anything about Tsukasa prior to working here. So we assume that he has quite a cosy and rosy life before coming out to the work force, eh?

Isla is a mixed baggage. She started off as having no emotions but slowly develops them the more time she spends with Tsukasa. Sometimes she is a funny girl because of the lack of her understanding of social situations and this is compounded further as she is clumsy. In a way it makes her cute and adorable. Really. You’ll see her spouting her trademark error lines when she doesn’t understand something or purposely refuses to acknowledge something. Those errors seem to be non-existent towards the end of the series. Did being with Tsukasa fix it all?

The rest of the other characters in the series also seem to be one dimensional. Like Michiru who is playing the tsundere role so hard, it is as though she jumped out from some manga or she might be a Giftia implanted with tsundere qualities. Maybe there isn’t any decent guy her age before Tsukasa arrived so you kinda noticed her always trying to admonish him for whatever and especially her trademark line of why she hates amateurs. I don’t know. Sometimes it makes me think that she’s saying something about herself. So will she try if Tsukasa is ready to get a real human girlfriend? Don’t know. Don’t care anymore.

Zack’s only purpose I see is to tease Michiru because he looks like a bored kid who only gets his kicks when Michiru goes into tsundere mode. Then there is the big sister Kazuki who acts like the big mother for Tsukasa, giving him warnings if he does something wrong to Isla. If she cared so much about Isla, why not just reinstate their partnership? I just don’t get it. Then there’s the rest of the colleagues like the lazy worker but hardworking lady killer Yasutaka, Sherry who could only put him in line, the under fire section chief Yamanobe, his manly assistant what’s-his-name-already, Eru the lively mechanic and finally Constance whom I feel is the closest of what is like being a robot. I thought Godou would turn into the ‘antagonist’ seeing his scary and intimidating authority. I don’t know. Maybe they found out some company dark secrets and scandal and now this terminal section is going to be targeted and eliminated? Heck. I thought this would be far more interesting than the forced melodrama romance tragedy that we get.

There is one thing that really bugs me. Considering that with the high technology of making Giftias so life-like having emotions (dude, they can even cry real tears!) and artificial intelligence that you couldn’t even tell them apart as a human being, it still makes me wonder why the heck they could never improve on a Giftia’s lifespan of around 9 years. With such a long time, people would have already settled down, get used to the Giftia who is always and usually by that time treated as part of the family. And then blam! Bad news. Time’s up. Got to retrieve the Giftia and put the family through the anguish of separation. WTF.

That’s why I never get it. Why the heck nobody ever tried to experiment and research on how to prolong a Giftia’s lifespan. Lots of heartbreaking troubles could be saved. Unless of course the bottom line is money. Where would the business be if things last forever? How would a business make profit if say, your car lasts forever, right? I mean, things do not naturally last forever but in the Giftia’s case, at least for a lifetime. Maybe there is something that I don’t understand, including when the memories of them being retrieved or why not just put the memories in another new body. That is why I think that this Giftia business is lucrative enough that it has got a black market for it.

This comes to the question of if Giftias do actually think and feel the same emotions as human beings. Remember, they are still robots who are programmed to possess all those. Even the act of them feeling empathy and reacting so could be all boil down to the way they are programmed. And because we humans see it as so close to the real thing, sometimes we get confused and accept that they are all real. As seen several times in this anime, sometimes Isla needs to be explained what a certain feeling is all about despite going through them a few times. So could it be that those feelings are also ‘manufactured’?

But I think given that even without this thought, overall the Giftias in this series lack the impact that would make viewers want to care about them. If minor Giftias being retrieved do not even make us shed tears (those in-anime family members crying over their departing Giftia might add to the effect but seriously that didn’t affect a thing), what more Isla as the main character Giftia? It only stems to make us not giving a sh*t about Giftias in the end. And if Giftias are recycled with new personalities to save cost (refer to Andie’s case), then could it be that all Giftias are family members of past families? Could Isla have been somebody’s little sister 10 years ago? Where is her body now? How would she be reused in the future? I know it is more shocking the more you think about it so I’m just going to stop here…

Art and drawing are nothing to shout about but they’re okay and better compared to the plot and characters. Yeah… Nice bright colours and cute looking girls, oh yeah. I’m sure that it lessens the pain on what we’ve just seen. Despite a handful of the futuristic stuffs we’ve seen, it still pretty much feels like living in the current age. I don’t know, I thought Giftias should be equipped with certain tools like knives or guns where they can just switch their normal hands into. You know, like a robot. But I guess for ‘realism’ and to be close to humans, I suppose we don’t get to see Giftias pulling off such cool manoeuvres because it might just freak out the family who wants a pretty normal life. That itself is an irony already. Seriously, Giftias replacing your missing family members or as companion? Maybe they’re more like humanoid versions of pets, don’t you think? Uhm… Better stop thinking…

Voice acting wise, apart from my numero uno seiyuu’s cameo, I wasn’t really bothered by the rest although they’re not too shabby. But I’ll list them down for routine. The casts include Yasuaki Takumi as Tsukasa (Shouta in Mujaki No Rakuen), Sora Amamiya as Isla (Asseylum in Aldnoah.Zero), Megumi Toyoguchi as Kazuki (Chifuyu in Infinite Stratos), Chinatsu Akasaki as Michiru (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby), Sayurai Yahagi as Zack (Haruna in To Love-Ru), Sumire Uesaka as Eru (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Kenjiro Tsuda as Yasutaka (Inui in Prince Of Tennis), Aimi Terakawa as Sherry (Kazumi in Futari Wa Milky Holmes) and Satoshi Hino as Constance (Saito in Zero No Tsukaima). The opening theme is Ring of Fortune by Eri Sasaki while the ending theme as Asayake No Starmine by Asami Imai. Both are lovely and add some emotional effect to the overall drama of the series.

It is sad to say that my sentiments for this anime are like the many other viewer comments that I have read. And I have to agree with one that even mentioned how this series was already like in its title name itself. Plastic as in fake and artificial. Just about everything feels like it. Watch this show only if you feel that it will make you appreciate other slightly better tragic romance dramas out there. This show is the reason why I will never get a life-like Giftia even if tomorrow the great scientist minds of the world announce of this possibility. Ever the more reason to stick to my traditional 2D anime girls and fantasize all the crazy delusions and times we spend together in my head. It’s so much cheaper and satisfying that way without the heartbreaking moment of separation. Paper and polygons beat plastic anytime!

%d bloggers like this: