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Plastic Memories
Episode 11

by Gabriella Ekens,

Plastic Memories is now a full-blown domesticity fantasy. While these stories may work for some people, they sure don't for me, so I'll be hard-pressed to muster up much enthusiasm for the shift. At the same time, this isn't egregiously terrible all on its own. Plastic Memories' greatest sin is that it wasn't a more interesting show, and I can't hold that over its head forever. It has faults and virtues independent of its wasted science-fiction premise. That doesn't necessarily make it good at what it did end up focusing on, though.

After Isla's workplace confession, Tsukasa and Isla have resolved to enjoy their remaining time together. Still, they're nervous, so they concoct ways to spice up their home life. At their coworkers' behest, Tsukasa and Isla decide to surprise each other by cooking a special meal. They make omelets together and draw hearts on them in ketchup. Finally comfortable in their feelings for each other, they have a great evening. It's cute, and the two come across as genuinely in love. Isla has even begun keeping a diary again, which indicates that she's no longer just waiting to die, but savoring the time she has left instead. Death hangs over this episode without being mentioned – Tsukasa and Isla are willfully ignoring it in order to soak in their happiness. However, it's only a matter of time before it becomes unavoidable.

At this point, my main issue is that this romance is so tame. It's like the tone of My Love Story!! – the tittering early stages of a relationship – but more hyperbolic and never-ending. My Love Story!! is about fifteen-year-olds, while Plastic Memories is ostensibly about adults (if nine-year-old robots with Alzheimer's can be considered adults.) Tsukasa and Isla are in a relationship, she only has one month left to live, but they're still terrified by the prospect of physical intimacy with each other. At one point Isla accidentally shows some side boob and they both duck down screaming. I don't get it. There's most likely an audience out there for sexless, anxious barely-adults awkwardly cohabitating for the first time. That's just not me, so I have no idea whether Plastic Memories is doing this well or not. The two leads are both still vaguely likable, and their antics are mildly cute. Mild is a good word for this show in general.

The coworkers are still the worst part of the show. They're inordinately scandalized that Tsukasa and Isla, two people in a relationship, might have a sex life. They don't, but seeing that fear stretched out to parts of the world besides the main characters is strange. Plastic Memories is so bizarrely skittish.

(The office lecher is also 100% based on Kaji from Neon Genesis Evangelion. He has the stubble and the attitude. Plastic Memories references Evangelion a lot, actually. Earlier on, they recreated Shinji and Rei's boob grope scene shot-for-shot with Tsukasa and Isla. Kazuki is often framed in ways that resemble Misato. MICHIRU looks and acts like Asuka. This raises the question: was Plastic Memories NGE Shinji/Rei alternate universe fanfiction where all of the names were changed?)

Grade: B-

Plastic Memories is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Gabriella Ekens studies film and literature at a US university. Follow her on twitter.

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