Tag Archives: Plastic Memories

Review: Plastic Memories, Episode 13: I Hope One Day You’ll Be Reunited

Review:

The sun rises on Isla’s last day of life, and it is revealed that Isla and Tsukasa had seemingly spent the night going through Isla’s journal and discussing all of her memories. Despite the imminence of her demise, the pair moves on to cleaning their apartment, which then leads to a playful bath time (don’t worry—there is nothing worse that Tsukasa’s chest shown) before the two head off to work. Presumably, Isla wanted to spend her last day as normally as possible, given that she said something similar in the previous episode. Kazuki won’t have it, though, and she revokes Isla’s work badge, forcing her and Tsukasa to leave work for the day. Instead of working, they end up spending their last day together at the amusement park, and as time begins to wear on, the reality of the situation takes its full grasp on Tsukasa. The episode finally breaks the emotional dam as our doomed couple sits in the ferris wheel where their first date ended. Although the inevitable conclusion does come about, the writers were at least gracious enough to not leave us there—be sure to watch after the credits for a happier (and somewhat mysterious) conclusion.

One thing Plastic Memories has managed to do well is to keep the viewer aware of Isla’s impending doom while also keeping so much cute, feel good content around that it becomes easy to forget what is coming… or at least to deny it for the duration of the episode. That doesn’t particularly change here, as the early part of the episode shows Isla and Tsukasa enjoying their time together while cleaning, bathing, going to work, deciding what to do once they’re kicked out of work, and playing at the amusement park. It’s not until the sun begins to set and Tsukasa notices the growing length of his shadow that the tone of the episode really begins to shift. Let’s be honest, somewhere in the backs of our minds we were all hoping for a magical solution to Isla’s fate. Plastic Memories does not concede.

To be honest, I did not catch the fact that Isla’s last day meant that this was the day she would die. I suppose her leaving the letters one everyone’s desk (and, more telling, on Tsukasa’s counter) should have been a dead giveaway, but my initial thought was that this would be her last full day alive. The ending coming up this way was a bit more surprising. The show also deserves credit for not shying away from the pain of these events. While Tsukasa has kept a pretty brave face up until this point, he begins to lose it at the aforementioned shadow scene, and eventually fully loses it in the ferriswheel. Isla had realized what he was doing, and she made it possible for him to finally let go, which also gave her a chance to see his crying face.

I realize that much of this review has focused on the latter part of the episode, but that really is where it has its impact. While the first half is certainly enjoyable—providing us with one last hurrah in our favorite couple’s lives—the second half finally stops playing games and deals with what we have all been expecting. In short, it’s where the meat of the episode lies, and watching Isla and Tsukasa’s final moments together will likely draw tears from all but the most hardened viewers. The impact of Isla’s death isn’t wasted, either. It gives Tsukasa a new perspective on life, and his changed character can be seen in the epilogue. The only part of the final episode that may leave viewers frustrated is the mystery character introduced in the last few seconds, whose face we are never shown…

Plastic Memories may not have been the perfect show. What started as a sci-fi show complete with antagonists and all quickly turned into a tragic romantic comedy, with the former elements almost completely dropped in the process. The transition could have been done more smoothly, and other elements could have been left out (or the show could have been given 25-26 episodes to more fully flesh out the world while pursuing the romantic relationship), but the things the show does well far outweigh the things it doesn’t. The show made good use of its supporting cast and, once it started on its intended path, it stayed there until completion. Although not the best anime to ever be made, it is certainly worth your time to check out.

A Christian Perspective:

Ecclesiastes 3:4 – a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

Tsukasa exhibits similar behaviors to these throughout this episode. During his fun times with Isla he is clearly enjoying himself. He may not actually be laughing, but the spirit of laughter (happiness) is certainly there. At the appropriate time, he begins to weep, and of course once Isla is gone, he mourns. But he doesn’t stay there. As the verse above says, there is a time for these things, and eventually those times pass, and we must move on. Tsukasa learns from Isla. He learns to make the most of his time, and he becomes stronger for it. If the Giftia at the end of the epilogue is indeed a reformatted Isla, then Tsukasa’s composed reception really does show that he has had his time to mourn and has moved past it.

I’ll be honest, I am not good with death. This episode left a heavy weight on my mind once it was over, even though I knew Isla’s death was coming, and had known for some time. Ironically, I think I’ve handled real life deaths better than I handled this fictitious death. My grandfather is a good example. I watched him ebb and flow for two weeks before he finally passed away, with the hope of him living being held over my head for that period of time. Yet, despite that, I was not the emotional wreck I expected to be when he did die. I will say that I held back my tears when I wanted to shed them most, because I wanted to give my dad the room he needed to cry. While I did cry a bit in my room (this was before I was married and living on my own) while praying, I don’t think I ever fully mourned. Whether this story adds anything to the point or not, I don’t know. I really wasn’t sure what to say, and having such a skimpy perspective on the final episode seems weak. If nothing else, let it serve as a story of what not to do when you lose someone (and as a contrast to how Tsukasa handled his situation).

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: 1 “j**z”, 1 “h*ll”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Isla and Tsukasa are shown in the bath together; however, the most you see is Tsukasa’s bare chest, as he and Isla are wearing towels; Eru cleavage

Violence: Kazuki puts Tsukasa in a headlock

Blood/Gore: None

Review: Plastic Memories, Episode 12: Filling Up with Memories

Review:

After a particularly bad (though unshown) dream, Isla makes her way to Tsukasa’s bed and asks him to never go away. Despite this bleak and ominous opening scene, things quickly get back to normal as the two sit down to breakfast together before heading into the office, where their co-workers rain gift after gift upon them so that they can go out on dates and such. While the couple take a day off together, they ultimately decide to continue going about life as usual, despite Isla’s limited time. During this period, Isla keeps up her usual routine—including training—and begins to teach Tsukasa about the various herbs she grows. She even seems to teach Tsukasa how to brew tea. In the midst of all of this, Tsukasa is also hit with the reality that he has to be the one to sign the retrieval agreement for Isla, something that appears to be harder for him than he had anticipated. Isla and Tsukasa also complete their last official assignment together, which is the retrieval of Sarah, before joining the rest of the team to celebrate Isla’s time as part of Terminal Service 1. On the way home, Tsukasa questions Isla about what she always says to the retrieval targets. After her reply, the two walk on in silence. Cue the credits.

Despite the predictions of some fans, this episode’s overall tone was still fairly light. There was the seemingly ominous dream that Isla has at the beginning, but that ultimately came to naught (for now; there’s still one episode to go). To an extent, the episode continues the theme of Isla and Tsukasa building memories from last week’s episode, as we are treated to a series of scenes where they go to the movies together (which, unsurprisingly, is another first for Isla). While the movie scene itself is nothing special, the following scenes are ridiculously cute. Yet again, we get to see Isla be more expressive in one scene than she has been in most of the series, and some of the facial expressions she makes are simply priceless.

Of course, the good times don’t just roll this time around. Once Isla expresses her desire to continue going about their day-to-day life rather than take a bunch of time off, things get a bit weightier. A good example is when Isla is teaching Tsukasa about her herbs. While the two seem to be enjoying their time together—and while Tsukasa seems to be enjoying what he’s learning—the underlying meaning behind this is clear as can be. Add to that the dilemma Tsukasa faces with signing Isla’s retrieval order, and the monster lurking below the surface does not remain well hidden. It really is a well done episode, as it captures the desire to enjoy the moments you have with someone that you know is going to die while also balancing the pain from the realization that no matter how much you enjoy the time, it’s still going to end. Anyone who has ever experienced the gradual loss of a loved one should be able to relate.

The episode also does a good job of trolling the viewers, as well. As Isla and Tukasa set out to retrieve Sarah, their boss is shown having a seemingly unpleasant conversation with his superior on the phone. The nature of what is being said puts all sorts of ideas into one’s mind, even if it doesn’t actually turn out to be anything bad. Also, near the end of the episode, it almost seems that Isla is about to become jealous of Tsukasa speaking to Michiru (who still hasn’t gotten over her case of tsundere). While this would have made an interesting plot point, it is probably for the best of the fans’ emotions that her concerned look quickly turns into a smile. From here, the episode begins to wind down, and while the ending isn’t particularly sad, it is sobering, especially once Isla reveals what she always says to her retrieval targets. Tsukasa’s lack of a response and the relative silence of the last few seconds strikes a dissonant chord with the happy ending music that follows.

A Christian Perspective:

1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18 – Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

“I hope one day, you’ll be reunited with the person you cherish.” – Isla

As soon as Isla spoke these words at the episode’s closing, I knew that they had to be the focus of this Christian Perspective. Isla’s words express one of the deepest desires that we have when losing someone: the hope that we may someday see them again. While there are certainly those who believe that there is nothing after death, there seem to be more who believe in some concept of an after-life, although some people certainly have some crazy ideas.

Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians express the answer to Isla’s statement. As Paul states, those who died in Christ will also live with Christ, and so long as those loved ones who have passed before us were saved, born-again believers, then we have the hope of seeing them again (if we, too, are saved, born-again believers, of course). The pain of separation and the longing to see these people again are both resolved in this promise. But doesn’t it seem selfish—or perhaps misguided—to place so much focus on seeing deceased loved ones again? After all, isn’t our ultimate goal and joy to be with Jesus forever, rather than to again see those we love again? Well, yes, that is the ultimate goal. Whether it is wrong to also hope for the second thing I cannot say, and so will not give an opinion on. I do think we will ultimately be much more excited to see Jesus than our loved ones, no matter what we may think in our moments of grief.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: 2 “j**z”

Alcohol/Drug Use: Several characters are shown drinking alcohol, and Yasutaka is drunk

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Eru cleavage; two male characters are shown topless

Violence: None

Blood/Gore: None

Review: Plastic Memories, Episode 11: Rice Omelette Day

Review:

In the previous episode, we finally got the love confession from Isla that we (and Tsukasa) had been waiting for. This episode allows us to follow them around the following day, which is their first as boyfriend and girlfriend. In reality, there is very little plot to this episode, other than Isla and Tsukasa both wanting to something special for the other. Isla quickly decides that she wants to cook for Tsukasa while Tsukasa finds it considerably harder to determine what he should do for Isla. All of that is to say that there is very little to appraise in terms of “story” this time around, so if you like the idea of seeing a day in the new couple’s life, then you’ll enjoy the episode from a story/progression standpoint.

Christian viewers should be aware of a few instances in this episode that may be a bit uncomfortable, all of which are near the beginning of the episode. First is when Isla goes to wake Tsukasa up. As she leans over, the front of her shirt comes down, and a small portion of her breasts is shown (nothing more than if you saw cleavage), with a brief zoom-in. Second is when Isla falls down the steps a few moments later, with her panties exposed after her fall. Third is when Yasutaka makes some suggestive comments about what the new couple spent the night doing (in reality, they haven’t even kissed yet).

Beyond that, the episode is just a giant ball of saccharin sweetness. Of course the other members of Terminal Service 1 stick their noses in (both invited and uninvited) to offer advice, and Tsukasa and Isla are shown to have a lovey-dovey moment that drives their co-workers away. Anyone who can remember the thrill of their first love should understand where these two are coming from. Quite possibly the sweetest thing about the episode is how they both focus on doing something nice for the other. Isla is inspired to cook for Tsukasa after seeing another worker’s lunch, and ends up seeking out Michiru’s help with cooking. Tsukasa doesn’t fair as well at finding answers, but that’s not for lack of trying. He truly does try hard, even going so far as to talk to the mafia boss’ Gifita about the situation. By the end they do find a result that works for them, which leads to an even greater overload of cuteness. On top of this, seeing Isla happier and more expressive than she has been for most of the series is really enjoyable. Let’s not forget in the midst of all of this, though, that Isla’s time is ticking down. While that fact is ignored by this episode, the viewer can’t shake the reality, and watching all of this will undoubtedly set us up for a harder fall when the hammer comes down in the end.

Before this review wraps up, it is worth noting that Zack is particularly bratty in this episode, much to the amusement of the viewer. From exposing Michiru’s curiosity to suggesting surprises that would get Tsukasa slapped before anything else, he provides a certain level of comedy to the episode’s early moments. In general, the entire cast is in high spirits this time around which, again, will only serve to build us up before likely tearing us down in the final two episodes. We’ve made it this far, viewers, so lets not back down now. Let’s ride this feels train until it reaches its destination.

A Christian Perspective:

Acts 20:35 – In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

Much of this episode focuses on both Isla and Tsukasa wanting to do something to “surprise” each other due to a statement from Yasutaka. While there are certainly other things going on, the underlying theme is still there. While Isla quickly figures out what she wants to do and sets about planning how to do it, Tsukasa finds it harder to come up with an answer, and finds himself seeking advice from others in order to come up with an idea. In both cases, though, we have individuals who are focusing their attention on what they can do for the other, instead of what the other can do for them. Perhaps the scripture from Acts isn’t the most compatible verse for this situation, but I think it gets the point across, as both parties are focused on giving something to the other.

The challenge, especially in relationships, becomes keeping up with this attitude. A new relationship—especially a romantic relationship—can drive people to do crazy things, whether in an attempt to impress the other or simply because the parties are completely infatuated with one another. As time goes on, that “new relationship” smell washes off, and the real nature of what a relationship is rears its head. The challenge here, especially for Christians, is to be just as generous and giving whether we have some strong feeling or not, and this in all of our relationships, not just out romantic ones (of course, the Bible does have some very specific instructions for husbands and wives).

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: 2 “j**z”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: At roughly 3:14 – 3:17 Isla bends over and you can basically see cleavage—the camera also zooms in on this; shortly after the cleavage scene, Isla falls down the stairs, and you can see her panties for a few seconds

Violence: Kazuki squeezes Tsukasa’s shoulder; Michiru gently flicks Isla’s forehead

Blood/Gore: None

Other: Yasutaka makes some suggestive comments about Tsukasa and Isla’s relationship

Review: Plastic Memories, Episode 10: No Longer Partners

Review:

Last week’s episode ended with Kazuki announcing the dissolution of Tsukasa and Isla’s partnership. This episode picks up right where its predecessor left off, though one can’t help but think that the ultimate reaction on Tsukasa’s part was a bit lackluster. He doesn’t really fight the decision, although his displeasure is well known. Of course, some may have expected that Kazuki possessed ulterior motives in making her decision, and if you did then you will be pleased with this week’s episode. If you’re wondering why, then you’ll just have to watch!

This episode is a bit hard to summarize, because everything ultimately leads up to the episode’s conclusion, which is something that I’m seeking to not spoil for you fine readers. While it does contain a bit of its own plot, it really serves as an opportunity to look at some of our principle characters and fill in some of their remaining blanks. A good example of this is how Constance (who is now Tsukasa’s partner) informs Tsukasa of how Terminal Service 1 operates differently than all of the other Terminal Service offices, and that this difference was ultimately Isla’s doing. Effort is also taken to explore Kazuki and Isla’s relationship a little more, and to show how fiercely protective the former can be towards the latter. Their bickering near the end of the episode is a testament to their relationship, and it has Isla showing more emotion than we’ve seen from her throughout the series thus far.

The show’s producers also prove that they know how to handle the mood properly. While not overly dramatic, this episode definitely shifts away from the comedic spectrum and focuses more on the serious and sentimental tones that are brought about. Of course, that doesn’t mean the episode is comedy free. Scenes such as Isla having her face drawn on by Kazuki and the chief of TS1 being completely ignored serve to bring a dose of lighthearted comedy to the table, but the majority of the episode keeps itself grounded in a serious exploration of character motivations and relationships. The end result is a better understanding of the characters we’ve come to know and love, along with an ending that should leave any fan of the show pleased.

A Christian Perspective:

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

So this verse is at least partially applicable to this episode. Let me start by saying that the Christian Perspectives assume that the viewer has already seen the episode, unlike the review which assumes that the reader has not seen the episode. Simply put, the Perspectives typically look deeper into an aspect of the episode, which would not make much sense to someone who has not seen the episode. All of that is basically a long way of saying, “Spoiler warning”.

Kazuki ultimately confronts Isla about her feelings for Tsukasa in this episode. Earlier on, Isla had stated that it was better for both of them if things stayed the way they were. What it ultimately comes down to is that Isla doesn’t want Tsukasa to build a bunch of memories with her because she feels it will then be even harder for him when she is retrieved. Isla’s thinking is finally challenged by Kazuki, who states that if Isla does things her way, then it will ultimately hurt Tsukasa more than if the two of them were together, because it would only leave him with bad/negative memories. It’s not until Kazuki says this that Isla’s eyes are opened and she is freed to see the situation from a different perspective than she had adopted throughout the series.

We can be like Isla at times. We think we have the right solution to a problem—it makes sense to us, and we cannot see a better outcome to our problems. The trouble comes in when we’re confronted with a better way—maybe in the Bible, through prayer, or by some other means—that conflicts with what we thought was best. As the Scripture from Proverbs states, we are to not lean upon our own understanding but rather to trust in God. It’s easy for us to say that God is all wise and powerful, of course, but sometimes putting that into practice is another story, whether it be due to weak faith or a limited scope. Of course, when we try to simply do things our own way we tend to end up like Isla: only seeing what we want to see, while failing to truly understand what our actions have the potential to do.

The only reason this scenario doesn’t line up perfectly with the Scripture is that Kazuki is not God. While God’s knowledge is perfect and complete, Kazuki’s is not, hence why I said the verse was at least partially applicable. In this case, though, Kazuki ended up being able to point Isla in the right direction, much like God is able to point us in the right direction if we will turn to Him and trust Him.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: Kazuki sits down with several cans of beer and a bottle of liquor—it is later shown that she drank a lot; Kazuki is shown drinking alone in her room; Kazuki asks Constance to drink with her

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Kazuki’s tanktop shows cleavage

Violence: Kazuki puts Tsukasa in a headlock

Blood/Gore: None

Review: Plastic Memories, Episode 9: After the Festival

Review:

Well, you saw it last week (and if you haven’t, then why are you reading this review?): Tsukasa confessed and was denied. Enter this episode, where he is little more than a disconnected zombie thanks to his rejection. Of course, that just means that the staff members of Terminal Service 1 are going to stick their noses right into this situation! From trying to cheer Tsukasa up to attempting to get Isla to admit how she really feels about Tsukasa, you can bet that this group of busybodies will stop at nothing to bring this couple together! But can everyone accept what is going on as feelings are bared and facts unearthed?

Okay, let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way right off the bat. Within the first minute of the episode, Yasutaka tries to get Tsukasa’s attention with a dirty magazine. Yes, this is mentioned in the content guide, but it also bears mentioning here, because it was a point of considerable frustration. Firstly, because it puts something completely debauched in the middle of a story that is dealing with emotions, relationships, and other serious topics (even if does so comically at times), and secondly because it really isn’t necessary in the first place. It’s the same effect that Eru’s perversity has on the narrative. Sure, what they showed wasn’t the worst they could have made the content, but that doesn’t mean what was shown was acceptable by proxy.

Thankfully the above mentioned scene does occur in the beginning of the episode, which allows the rest of the episode to get better. Not that this makes up for the fact that the dirty magazine is shown in the first place, but at least we didn’t sit through a good narrative only to have it ruined by this terrible content. Instead, the episode gets to redeem itself and build a quite enjoyable narrative with only a slight disturbance by Eru’s presence in a couple sections. Other than that, we actually get quite a bit of Tsukasa/Michiru interaction in this episode, which just goes to further cement Michiru’s position as the resident tsundere, although her concern for Tsukasa and Isla really does shine through this time around. Ultimately, she steps in to help the situation, even though she knows how badly things could turn out and in spite of her own feelings for Tsukasa. It is also interesting to see the contrast between how she handled her dad’s “death” and how Tsukasa is handling Isla’s imminent “death”.

Tsukasa’s characterization is also commendable in this episode. While he ultimately does not give up his pursuit of Isla, nor his desire to be with her until the end, he doesn’t simply bounce back from his rejection as if nothing happened. His shock is certainly played up for comedic effect, but I imagine this is a little more realistic than the characters who tend to get rejected and jump right back to trying as if nothing ever happened. While he may not necessarily grow in this episode, his steadfast resoluteness is cemented even further, which is good, because the ending of this episode will undoubtedly put that resolution to the test in the next.

One thing that does seem out of place is the lack of any mention of the black market retrievers that were introduced near the beginning of the series. While the show has definitely shifted its focus more towards Tsukasa and Isla, it seems like a waste to have a perfectly legitimate point of conflict in this world and not use it to further the story. Of course, there are still several episodes left until the end, so this may resurface before then, but as of now no further mention of it has been made. Only time will tell how this narrative will play out, and black market retrievers or not there will probably be plenty of tears shed by the end of the series.

A Christian Perspective:

So I don’t have one definitive point to make with this episode. There were a few little things that popped out to me, though, so I will just discuss those.

At first, the way that Tsukasa’s co-workers tried to cheer him up reminded me of Job’s friends. While Job’s friends may have meant well, they ended up being a terrible source of console, serving to only further exasperate Job. While Tsukasa’s co-workers may not go that far, they certainly don’t help much. Yasutaka’s solution is to first simply mess with Tsukasa by fooling with his face and hair before moving on to flipping through a dirty magazine in front of him. Of course, none of this works, and how is any of that supposed to help Tsukasa’s situation, anyway? Then there is Zack, whose attitude has never trended towards the sympathetic in the first place. It’s not much different this time around.

Of course, the comparison to Job’s friends falls part when Michiru actually reaches out to Tsukasa in order to understand him and offer some genuine help. She even goes so far as to meet with Isla and try to get her to admit her love for Tsukasa. It’s pretty evident that she likes Tsukasa, yet she puts her own interests to the back burner for the sake of helping others, which sort of reminds me of Paul’s words in Philippians 2:4.

Finally, I can’t forget to discuss Tsukasa’s steadfast resolve. Although he has been rejected, and although he knows that his best case scenario is about a month of time with Isla before she is ultimately retrieved and her memories destroyed. Nevertheless, he presses on towards his goal. This is a good allegory for how we should be in the Christian life. Sometimes it’s not convenient, sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes there is no end to the struggles in sight, yet we know we have to press on, because the goal (being with Christ) is worth more than the struggles or bad things that may come with continuing our pursuit.

So, there you have it, a few “mini-lessons” from this episode. Did you pull anything else out of it?

Content Guide:

Spiritual Cotent: None

Language: 1 “d***it”, 1 “cr*p”, 2 “d*mn”, 1 “j**z”

Alcohol/Drug Use: Kazuki is shown sitting at a bar with both a glass and bottle of alcohol in front of her
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: From 00:52 – 00:59 Yasutaka opens a dirty magazine in front of a dazed Tsukasa and flips through it—women are shown in their underwear and mostly (if not all) topless, with at least one showing her buttcrack and pretty much all of them showing their breasts just slightly covered by things that aren’t clothing; around 1:20 you can see the magazine lying open on Tsukasa’s desk from a distance; Eru is shown in cleavage-revealing bunny girl outfit, and she is also drooling and acting creepy over the thought of Isla in pajamas; Isla is shown walking out of the bath with a towel wrapped around her—you can also see her underwear in a basket next to the door

Violence: A flashback shows Michiru’s father getting shot

Blood/Gore: None

Review: Plastic Memories, Episode 8: The Fireworks I’ve Never Seen

Review:

After dealing with a client who not only agrees to have a new OS installed in her Giftia but also reveals that she has done this before, Tsukasa begins to wonder if there is anyway to recover a Giftia’s memories after it has been retrieved or reformatted. The answer, of course, is a resounding “no”, and as if to hammer the point home Tsukasa and Isla are teamed up with a Giftia from another Terminal Service group who turns out to be a reformatted unit. It is revealed that this Giftia and Eru had been friends, and while Eru is initially excited to see her old friend again, that excitement quickly turns to disappointment once she realizes that none of the memories of this Giftia’s previous personality remain. Thankfully, the episode isn’t all doom-and-gloom, as Eru and Andie (the Giftia that was formerly Eru’s friend) begin to build a new relationship, culminating in a trip to a carnival which Tsukasa and Isla also attend. By the end of the episode, fans should be cheering, as we finally get something for which we’ve been waiting.

As usual, this episode manages to build on what is already established while still making it difficult to predict where the events will lead. While Tsukasa’s situation may be hopeless, he has shown that he is not willing to simply sit by and watch the situation turn out for the worst, so it is completely feasible that the plot may move in the direction of him trying to find a way to preserve Isla’s memory. On the other hand, the story may continue to move in the direction of an ultimate separation. The writers do a wonderful job of providing us with enough information to keep us guessing, but not enough to accurately predict the outcome of the events. Tsukasa’s hopeful and persistent personality is also a light in the dark undertone of the series, and is something that Christian viewers should admire. Despite the circumstances, he continues to move forward (just see the end of this episode) and seek a solution. His love for Isla is real, and it is evidenced again and again.

Plastic Memories also does a good job of maintaining its overall point and tension without feeling the need to beat the viewer over the head with it. We’re not allowed to forget the fact that Isla’s days are drawing to a close while she and Tsukasa are developing feelings for one another, yet we’re also not driven to the point of depression over the subject. This storyline, despite its sad beginnings, ends up with some and, frankly, humorous events, even while still exploring the more serious issues that have been raised. It is remarkable how the dramatic and comedic tones of the show blend together so well, instead of feeling awkward.

If there is one downside to this episode, it is Eru. Now, granted, she becomes a legitimate part of the plot as the episode progresses, and is shown to be more than just a perverse source of comedy, but her initial encounter with Andie involves Eru very enthusiastically groping Andie. It is also revealed that this was par for the course when Andie was Olivia (Andie’s personality before she was retrieved and recycled into Andie). There is also some confusion as to what, exactly, Eru and Andie’s relationship is supposed to be. For the most part it seems to be presented as friendship, but some moments could suggest something more. It is easy enough to ignore these types of things, but the girl-on-girl groping may be a turnoff for some viewers. Thankfully, it doesn’t last long, and is not a major part of the episode’s content.

Groping aside, “The Fireworks I’ve Never Seen” is another strong entry in Plastic Memories’ story that presents more questions for its viewers to ponder while also progressing the themes and plot elements previously established. How everything will ultimately resolve is undoubtedly a thought in every viewer’s mind, which simply means we need to keep coming back for the next several weeks.

A Christian Perspective:

2 Corinthians 6:2 – For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

Hebrews 3:13 – But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

“Hey, Tsukasacchi. Right now’s all the time we have for making memories. Now… This very moment.” – Eru

What do the two verses of Scripture and Eru’s quote have in common? That’s right, they all speak to the importance of time. In her conversation with Tsukasa, Eru expresses the fact that we only have the present moment in which to make memories. The underlying idea, in this writer’s opinion, is that we aren’t guaranteed anything else. Anyone who has ever suffered the sudden loss of a loved one should be able to understand this aspect. Perhaps you had just finished spending time together, and then half an hour later they were gone. The point is, we need to make the most of the moments that we are alive, because we never know if they will be our last. I doubt most people ever expect their last day on Earth to actually be their last. Sure, the elderly and the terminally ill may have a better idea of how much time they have left, but even they can’t predict it exactly, and young, relatively healthy people like myself truly have no idea when our last day will be. As such, we must make the effort to make our moments count.

So, how does this tie into the two verses of Scripture? Well, it’s probably pretty obvious. The 2 Corinthians verse states that “now is the day of salvation”. Another translation states that “today is the day of salvation”. Much like Eru’s quote above, it carries the idea that we don’t know how much time we have left, and so putting off the decision to follow Christ until “tomorrow” or “later” is foolish, because we aren’t guaranteed either of those things. If we receive the call to follow Christ and decide to put it off, only to die moments after leaving church (or wherever the call was received) then it is too late. What we know as “now” is the only existence we are guaranteed, because we are currently living in “now”. The verse from Hebrews seems to also emphasis this verse, as it says to encourage each other daily, as long as it is called “Today”. It doesn’t say to encourage each other “tomorrow”, but “today”, which, to me, seems to emphasize the immediacy of the command. Again, we must encourage each other as we have the opportunity, because we may not get another.

All of this is to drive home the point that we should be aware of our own mortality and the value of our interactions. We may never get the chance to mend a broken relationship once we part ways with that person, so we should mend it right then and there. We may never get another chance to tell the person we’re speaking with about Christ, so we should do it right there (I say this as a hypocrite, because though I recognize it in this moment it certainly is not something I have regularly practiced). We may never get another chance to place our faith in Christ, so we should do so when the opportunity is presented. In all things, we should make the most of the opportunities given us.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: 1 “cr*p”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Eru shows cleavage, and she also grabs another woman’s breasts

Violence: Andie knocks Eru to the ground

Blood/Gore: None

Review: Plastic Memories, Episode 7: How to Properly Ask Her Out

Review:

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.

Content Guide:

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

Blood/Gore: None

Review: Plastic Memories, Episode 6: Welcome Home the Both of Us

Review:

Despite last week’s attempt to create something of a nail-biter ending, most viewers probably figured out that Isla wasn’t going to die. This fact is confirmed pretty much right off the bat this time around (thus, not really much of a spoiler). More insight into Isla’s past relationship with Kazuki is given, with a very brief look at its happy beginning all the way to its sad end, which seems to be at least somewhat related to Kazuki’s injury from Michiru’s father. Surprisingly, despite some tender moments in the beginning, a good portion of this episode is devoted to comedy. Thanks to a misinterpretation of Isla’s comments, Eru goes on a quest to stalk Tsukasa and find out as much about him as possible. This ultimately leads to some truly hilarious moments, before things settle down again.

Once Eru’s antics are over, the tone of the episode switches to something a little more serious, with Isla taking some time out to meet with only Michiru. It is here that we find out what ultimately happened with Souta after Marcia’s “death”, and it is quite possibly the saddest part of the episode. It really sheds some light onto Tsukasa’s character (especially when coupled with the statement that he’ll probably never forget, and he probably doesn’t want to). All of this helps to show that Plastic Memories can weave comedy and drama together fairly well, without one seeming to overpower or cheapen the other. Even a more comedic episode like this one manages to have its sweet and endearing moments (Isla patting Tsukasa’s head, Tsukasa crying with Souta, Isla waiting eagerly for Tsukasa to come home, and especially Isla’s smile near the end.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable episode. It managed to bring a mostly lighthearted serving to the table without cheapening what happened to Marcia in the last episode. It deals with some of the ongoing concepts without seeking to completely depress the viewer. And it offers glimmers of hope and love that this sappy reviewer is hoping to see come to fruition. Whether Plastic Memories will ultimately be a tearjerker or a weird romantic comedy in the end is yet to be seen, but one would probably make for a better story while another would be more personally pleasing. Only time will tell. For now, we get to count down the days along with Tsukasa….

A Christian Perspective:

1 Corinthians 13:8 – Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Okay, so only the first sentence of this verse actually applies to this week’s perspective. Basically, it’s a simple application. Throughout this episode, we see how a certain degree of love is working in Isla and Tsukasa’s relationship. From small hints like Isla rubbing Tsukasa’s head to Tsukasa declaring that he wants to be with Isla to the end, despite finding out about her small remainder of time, there are examples that some kind of love exists between the two. Whether this is (or will become) romantic love is yet to be seen, but to be honest I kind of hope it is. I can’t help it, I like seeing romances.

Now, this does bring up an interesting question: did Kazuki not love Isla? I think she genuinely did, but we don’t know the full story as to why she broke off her partnership with Isla. Whether it was from concern for Isla (not wanting her to get hurt) or from selfishness (Kazuki herself not wanting to be hurt by something happening to Isla) is not clear to me yet. Regardless of Kazuki’s reasoning, though, we are seeing Paul’s statement come true in Isla’s relationship with Tsukasa. As we are shown at the end of the episode, she is starting to become happy again, and is bearing more resemblance to the happy girl shown in some of today’s flashbacks.

Let’s be honest: what Tsukasa is doing isn’t easy. He’s allowing himself to go deeper into something that will only end in despair, yet his love for Isla is too strong to do anything else. Let us keep that in mind, as well, when we are faced with tough situations where the loving option may be the costly option.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: None

Alcohol/Drug Use: Kazuki is shown drinking and getting drunk; Isla and another girl are shown with men and alcohol; two men are shown at a bar, drinking alcohol

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Eru shows cleavage throughout the episode; Tsukasa’s bare chest is shown in the shower, and Eru and Isla are also shown in the shower (but the most you see is the top of one of Eru’s breasts)

Violence: Flashbacks shows a Giftia choking a child; Marcia is hit with the blast from Tsukasa’s gun; Sherry throws a pen through a pair of binoculars; Kazuki puts Tsukasa in a body hold

Blood/Gore: None

Other: Isla pulls the old, “Do you want dinner, a bath, or me” joke

Review: Plastic Memories, Episode 5: The Promise I Wanted To Keep

Review:

For the first time in the show’s history, we actually have something akin to a two-part storyline. If your memory needs a bit of refreshing, the previous episode ended with one of those black market retrievers showing up at Souta’s door and inquiring about Marcia. Rather than just have this as an unfortunate ending to her story, or as some kind of background plot, this actually carries into the main plot of this episode, with Marcia ultimately being abducted (this really isn’t a spoiler… it happens roughly in the first minute of the show). As a result, Terminal Service 1’s crew mobilizes in an effort to find the lost Giftia. Along the way back stories are revealed, old acquaintances are introduced, and hearts are broken.

This is the first episode of Plastic Memories to get really dark and violent. Granted, its violence is still quite tame in comparison to many other shows, but there are a few scenes that definitely shake things up. For the first time, we actually get to see what Wanderers are capable of, rather than just hearing about it, and we see why they are such a concern for the Terminal Service crew. The episode also takes time to delve into the story of Michiru and her father a little more, with a little bit of Kazuki’s story thrown into the mix. That is probably one of Plastic Memories’ strongest attributes: the secondary characters actually feel like fleshed out personalities, and not just creations meant to fill out the roster. The events of this episode impact many characters, not just the designated “main” characters.

The only flaw in this episode is the unexplained appearance of Souta in the midst of a blockaded area. Despite the fact that he is absent for basically the entire search prior to entering the blockaded area, Souta somehow knew where to go or presumably followed the Terminal Service car to the location. We’re never told how. He just randomly appears. Okay, sure, this is a dramatic point, not to mention a shocking one, as no one expected him to show up, but the problem is in reconciling it with the logistics of the episode, and as of now it doesn’t make sense. Perhaps the next episode will shed some light on this.

At the end of the day, this was a satisfying episode of Plastic Memories, barring Souta’s mysterious appearance (and the cliffhanger ending… but no one likes cliffhanger endings). Character stories and character relationships were explored, story elements introduced in the previous episode were expanded upon, and there was just enough drama and action present to keep things tense. Plastic Memories has a lot going for it, and has gotten off to a pretty decent start, so hopefully it can maintain this steam for the duration of the season.

A Christian Perspective:

Honestly, I had a really hard time thinking of anything for this episode. Usually I can come up with something after thinking about the episode for a few minutes, and on a good day something will pop out at me while watching the episode. Even after a few days, nothing particularly profound jumped out at me, so all I have is this: the problem with humans playing God.

Now, it could be said that the whole series encapsulates this idea, and that would probably be right, but while the series up until this point has shown more of an emotional issue (people having to part with their beloved androids who might as well be humans), this episode presents the idea of real, physical harm: namely, what happens when a Giftia becomes a Wanderer. The show makes sure to clarify that Wanderers are rare cases, but that doesn’t change the fact that they can come about, and from the two cases shown we see that they have ridiculous strength. Man tried to play God by creating a form of artificial life that very closely resembles man. Man’s creation could, if left unchecked, wipe man off the face of the Earth. While the idea of androids is certainly cool (what sci-fi geek doesn’t entertain the idea from time to time?), we have to ask ourselves if, as Christians, it is really an idea we should support. I suppose it comes down to how “real” the end goal would be, but I think we can agree that the result presented in Plastic Memories is humans fiddling too much with something they know too little about.

Let me just say that this isn’t necessarily to take a stance against the idea of artificial limbs. Some might say that if these people lose a body part (or were born without it), then that’s God’s will and man shouldn’t interfere. Others might say that perhaps it was God’s will that these things be invented so that these people could have what they otherwise wouldn’t. I do not know who is right in this argument, but I want to make it clear that this was not the particular discussion in question for this Perspective.

Content Guide:

Spiritual Content: None

Language: 1 “j**z”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: None

Violence: A Giftia is tazed off-screen; a Giftia is shown being shot multiple times in a flashback—another flashback shows this same Giftia attack a man and a woman, and then shows him again being shot; a Giftia attacks Isla

Blood/Gore: The above-mentioned flashback seems to show a woman with blood on the ground near her leg; a man is shown with a bruised eye and blood on his face

Review: Plastic Memories, Episode 4: I Just Don’t Know How To Smile

Review:

This week’s episode brings us back into the swing of Graftia retrievals after last week’s detour into buddy bonding territory. Tsukasa and Isla are required to take on the retrieval of a Graftia who has become her owner’s caretaker since the death of the owner’s parents. While the expectation is that this job will be difficult, the reality of the situation is that the boy (Souta) is quite ready to be rid of his Graftia… for all the wrong reasons. He is convinced that everything she has ever told him was a lie, since she said she would never leave him, but now she is. This sets Tsukasa and Isla on a quest to convince Souta to believe in his memories.

While the focus of the episode is largely on the Souta/Marcia (Souta’s graftia) issue, there are moments that shed light into other character relationships; or, rather, that open the door for those issues to be exposed. For example, we find out a little about Michiru’s upbringing as it relates to the current situation, and we also see the dissolution of Isla’s former work partnership. We are also introduced to the concept of a criminal entity early on in the episode (something for a potential antagonist role, no doubt) along with some internal problems that are hanging over Terminal Service 1.

With all of that said, the episode is still pretty straightforward: Tsukasa and Isla encounter a problem, formulate a plan to tackle said problem, and find unexpected help along the way. At the end, everyone is happy… except, this is where things deviate, because after the problem seems to be wrapped up, we are introduced with a potential problem, and what’s worse is that it is a cliffhanger. What makes this episode so good isn’t just the fact that it has the right balance of comedy, emotional content, and backstory, but also the fact that it sets the stage for future content—whether an episode’s worth or a season’s—and then integrates that content in a way that fits into the story without completely overriding everything else right away.

Plastic Memories may be taking its time to really get rolling, but something tells me that when it takes off, it’s going to hit hard. This remains one of my top shows for this season, and I highly recommend that you check it out, especially with the plot elements that were introduced in this episode.

A Christian Perspective:

John 8:44 – You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Unlike most of my perspectives, which apply the Scriptures directly to something that happened in the show, this one actually contrasts what happened in the episode. You see, Marcia was clearly telling Souta the truth about his parents, yet Souta refused to believe her because Marcia herself is being taken away since her lifespan is about to end. This speaks to the necessity of discernment, as Souta was allowing his emotions to cloud his judgment, and could not see the truth in front of his face (there is also something to be said about lying and the way the episode ends, but I don’t want to spoil that).

Contrarily, many people will also believe lies because those lies are what they want to hear. Regardless of whether we are believing lies or refusing to believe the truth, we need to practice discernment so that we accept the truth (no matter how hurtful) and refuse the lies (no matter how tempting) so that we can lead wise lives.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “g**z”, 1 “cr*p”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Isla is hugged by a woman, and her face goes right into the woman’s chest—the woman’s top also shows cleavage in this scene

Violence: Michiru throws Tsukasa into a wall

Blood/Gore: None