(Weekly Crunch) Episode 001 – Plastic Memories

Plastic Memories

Plastic Memories

Title: Plastic Memories
Japanese Title: プラスティック・メモリーズ
Requested By: Megabilliam
Genre: Sci-Fi

Synopsis:

This story takes place in a future not too far away when androids that look exactly like humans begin to spread across the world. The android production company, SA Corp., produced Giftia, a new kind of  android that has the most amount of emotion and human-like qualities out of any other model ever seen.

However, due to problems in technology, the androids have a service life, and once they pass that, they… Well, it gets pretty bad. For this sake, SA Corp. creates a terminal service in order to retrieve Giftia that have gone past their service life. A new employee at the terminal service named Tsukasa Mizugaki forms a team with the Gifitia Isla to retrieve the other androids but…

For an anime about the often debated question,  “How human is too human?”, it’s extremely cute and its colors are extremely soft with a jokes about an android being a little awkward. Not only that, the characters, especially the main Giftia, Isla, are extremely cute and young looking.

Throughout the episode, we’re thrown in this world where androids are almost as emotional as humans can be, as much as they look like humans, and may be as equal to humans. Just as humans fear death, the androids, or Giftia, are extremely apprehensive about their deaths – especially their owners who has not only named them but included them in their families.

Each Giftia’s life are calculated to 81,920 hours, or 9 years and 4 months. It seems that the humans who work in this department (who are field agents) partnered up with an assigned Giftia that the humans essentially watch them to make sure their jobs are being done properly and to handle the paperwork (and possibly sell more items to them even while they’re grieving) with the owners.

It’s a bit of a cruel irony that the Giftia’s in this Terminal Service are the ones who have to essentially “kill” them before they deteriorate further.

Though, here’s a question I have for this anime: Why almost ten years? Why not five, or even, less than that? After all, technology can advance in just a few short years after all and it could even up the emotional stakes further in the owners not signing the terminal forms. On that same wavelength, there could be a subplot of an illegal program, virus, or some such, to grant longer life for these Giftias whose personalities and/or memories could be shaky enough as it is.

One of the problems with this anime could have is forced drama and an exaggeration of emotion, an example made by especially the grandmother and Nina’s emotional goodbye. The last thing that writers want to do is to force an audience for feel something for the characters and have the audience lose interest in the scene because of their apathy. Already, we care about the androids with the fact they have such a short lifespan. Already, we’re aware of the level of attachment we as humans could have to creatures such as this.

In fact, we already do – our pets. Dogs and cats have notoriously shorter lives than humans but that doesn’t stop us from loving them, including them in our homes, and consider them our “furry children”. These are emotions that we’re already aware of in our real life.

The beauty of the human experience is that while human nature will never change, the experiences and stories does and will constantly always will.

This episode seemed to be more light-hearted than it originally intended to be, especially in contrast to the tearful goodbye the grandmother had with her artificial granddaughter. Not to say it was way too melodramatic, but a little subtlety wouldn’t hurt.

Honestly, this anime does have a lot of potential to be extremely cliche and shallow, but deep enough for an android to dream of electric sheep. It’s worrisome that it could fall into a pattern of cliche vignettes and not enough oomph for the viewer to consider the subject matter past what’s being shown. When you have soft colors, simplistic designs, and even simpler archetypes masquerading as characters, it’s more likely going to be the latter but it’s way too early to tell. We’ll just have to see what the next few episodes will bring.

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