The feels are strong with this one! After finding out about Isla’s minimal remaining lifespan, Tsukasa finally works up the nerve to ask her out on a date. If the question of whether or not he was romantically interested in Isla was at all ambiguous up until this point, it no longer is. Once again, Tsukasa approaches his male co-workers for advice, which works out much better than it did the last time, but his attempts still aren’t without difficulty, partially because Isla is herself trying to do nice things for Tsukasa, which ultimately tend to lead to more problems. Ultimately he succeeds, and it is nice to see an anime where the romance execution is done without a lot of foot-dragging tediousness. By the end of the episode’s first half, Tsukasa has successfully asked Isla out.
There is, of course, more to this episode than just Tsukasa trying to ask Isla out; in fact, they’re date doesn’t even compromise the majority of the episode’s run time. Granted, the bulk of the content is motivated by Tsukasa’s feelings; we see him apply himself diligently to his job—and even going so far as to barely eat—in anticipation of his upcoming date. Isla gets comparatively less screen time, but there is still effort given to show her complete ineptitude towards romantic matters along with her feelings towards how she has previously treated Tsukasa. Add into this a bit more of Michiru’s tsundere personality coming out (which pretty much seals the idea that she has a thing for Tsukasa), and you have an episode that is funny and sweet at the same time.
What really brings it all home, though, is the fact that the viewer is fully aware that Isla’s time is limited. This isn’t an anime where we get to watch everything go well, only to have a bombshell dropped on us later. The bombshell has already been dropped, and despite the warm and sappy feelings that this episode brings, we cannot escape the knowledge that has already been given to us. Isla’s time is ticking away, and no amount of fluffy romantic scenes can change that. As such, all of the happy moments inevitably carry with them a bittersweet taste. Still, this is much like real life—we may know that a loved one is dying, which may put a damper on the time we spend with them, but we still make the most of that time and enjoy it as much as possible, knowing that our time is limited. Plastic Memories may not be masterful enough to fully draw the viewer into an experience of that particular emotion, but it does enough to make us keep the facts in the back of our minds.
How will Isla and Tsukasa’s relationship play out (limited lifespan notwithstanding)? Only time will tell. What the show’s balance of romance, comedy, drama, and whatever else will be can only be learned as time goes by, but it is almost guaranteed to be an emotional rollercoaster as character bonds continue to deepen along with the viewers’ relation to the characters. Until then, let’s enjoy the fact that Tsukasa has finally gotten somewhere with Isla, and that Isla is starting to open herself up to pleasant memories.
A Christian Perspective:
So this is something I think I have only done once before, but I’m going to throw out more of a discussion question as opposed to a teaching moment here.
As we know from the series, Giftias are not humans. While they bear a resemblance to human beings—and may ultimately be all but human—they are still ultimately machines, and this is certainly exemplified by Isla’s low batteries in the post-credits scene. Despite that, it does look as though people fall in love with Giftias—the first episode seemed to show a man fleeing with his lover Giftia, and we are currently exploring Tsukasa’s love for Isla. The question here is whether such a thing would be an abomination to God. If someone did succeed in making a real-life equivalent to Giftias, would it be a form of sexual immorality (or just a sin in general) to fall in love with what amounts to a machine?
So, that’s the thought for the day. Feel free to sound off with your responses in the comments below.
Spiritual Content: None
Language: 2 “g**z”, 2 “d*mn”
Alcohol/Drug Use: Yasutaka shows up with a bottle of wine
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Eru cleavage
Violence: Kazuki slams Tsukasa against a wall; Michiru pushes Eru and holds her down