When I first started watching Plastic Memories back in April I was immediately very impressed by it because the first episode was simply amazing. It forecasted an original anime with beautiful artwork, an ambient atmosphere, likeable characters and a lot of tragic drama. At the time, I really thought that it would become the next hidden gem, and the biggest surprise of the season.
As it turned out however, Plastic Memories instead ended up being one of the most misleading anime I've seen in quite some time. Unlike what the opening seemed to imply, in reality the show is mostly a cute and light-hearted slice of
life comedy with quite a lot of romance in it. Now this doesn't mean the anime turned out poorly in the end, quite the opposite in fact, but it never reached the level that I thought it would have reached in the beginning.
The story takes place in a future world where humanoid androids are a common part of human society. The androids, named "Giftias", are fully equipped with human emotions, and help their respective human owners however possible. But the Giftias have very limited lifespans, and thus they need to be taken out of commission before too long. Enter Tsukasa, an 18-year-old boy whom is offered a position at the SAI Corporation; a group responsible for retrieving Giftias who are approaching the ends of their lifespans, and eventually scrap them. Right next to him, we have his fellow co-worker: the incredibly cute and loveable Isla, who is actually a Giftia herself despite her position. The two of them form a team by order of their boss, and they consequently start working together, socializing together, and of course fall in love with each other.
This is how Plastic Memories suddenly becomes something totally different from what it originally promised to be. Despite the premise, the anime is in fact not about the retrieval of various Giftias, nor is it about the SAI Corporation itself or any of the other people working there. Plastic Memories is about Tsukasa, and it is about Isla. That is all. And honestly, that's totally fine in and of itself because they make up one of the cutest couples I've seen in ages, and watching their awkward romance is surprisingly enjoyable no matter how much you see of it. But for a lot of people, this was nothing more than wasted potential because the cool and interesting premise of the story itself is heavily neglected in the process. For everyone who wanted to see a melancholic story about the tragedy of having to say goodbye to your loved ones and how they deal with it... you're probably going to be left disappointed, because Plastic Memories doesn't actually focus very much on that at all other than right at the very beginning. The only character the show ever really emphasizes this point for is Isla herself as her lifespan is of course also very limited due to being a Giftia, but for everyone else... not very much.
However if you can get past the fact that the show is more or less in disguise and try to see it for what it actually is (in other words a romantic slice of life story), then suddenly Plastic Memories is a very enjoyable anime again. Why? Because it actually has *proper romantic development*. Quite a lot of it in fact. This is not the kind of show which ends with a confession in the final episode and nothing more; no, there are actually things happening from very early on in a romantic sense, which is something that is unfortunately very rare in today's anime. Especially seeing Plastic Memories airing in the same season as Nisekoi was pretty amusing to me; they're like night and day in comparison as far romantic progression goes.
Overall, Plastic Memories is an anime which you will probably be given a very different impression of depending on your expectations on it. Is it a good anime? Yes, but it's a completely different anime from what you're most likely anticipating when you start watching it. That doesn't make it a bad show per se, but it feels a bit like false marketing. It's up to each and every viewer to do their best at adapting to what the anime has to offer.
If you're looking for a deeply touching and emotional melodrama like Clannad: After Story or Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, then sorry to say but you're looking in the wrong place. But for a cute yet beautiful story about young love, it's hard to find a better example than Plastic Memories.
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English: Plastic Memories
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 5, 2015 to Jun 28, 2015
Premiered: Spring 2015
Broadcast: Sundays at 00:30 (JST)
Licensors: Aniplex of America
Studios: Doga Kobo
Duration: 24 min. per ep.
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
Score: 7.911 (scored by 433282433,282 users)
1 indicates a weighted score.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.