nojay (nojay) wrote,

Bladrerunner: This Time It's Japanese!

Anime can make pretty much anything cute, so when it deals with the futuristic subject of "retiring" replicants a la Bladerunner the moe is dialled up to kyu-ichi (11).

"Plastic Memories" is an anime series currently showing on Japanese TV, set in a future world where Giftias (artificial humans) coexist with people, often acting as substitute family members. The Giftias are time-limited though and after a set period of just under a decade they are repossessed by the manufacturers, sometimes against the owner's will. Exactly why this time limit is so rigidly enforced has yet to be explained properly though. The artificiality of the Giftas is somewhat in doubt since they can eat, drink, bleed and they even need to use the toilet so they seem to be biological rather than mechanical in nature.

Our hero, Tsukasa is a ronin (someone who failed to get into University) who gets a job with the Terminal Services division of SAI Corporation, a major Giftia manufacturer, acting as "spotter" (support person) to the Giftia "marksman" whose job it is to actually recover the Giftia being targetted. He is teamed with Isla, a Giftia who has only a few weeks to go before she herself will be retired, something Tsukasa is kept blissfully unaware of by his officemates who are very protective of her.

Isla is no Deckard, to put it mildly. The only thing hard-boiled about her is the determined expressions she displays just before doing something outrageously klutzy.

This is an odd mix of comedy and tragedy, the sort of thing anime can pull off well sometimes. We see several Giftia recovery operations where the humans are obviously distraught at losing the Giftias they have been attached to for years, mixed in with pratfalls and odd moments of slapstick humour and of course over all of that hangs the time-limitation of Isla's own existence.

Anime and manga have played a lot with the disposable android theme, of course -- there was "Chobits" (loser picks up trashy girl, turns her on) and the similarly time-limited android heroine Mahoro in "Mahoromatic". I'll be interested to see where this goes, the usual pattern is for such a storyline to take a dark and dramatic turn around episode 6 or so. Nojay-Bob he say, check this one out.
Tags: anime

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