Plastic Memories is nowhere near my favorite anime of 2015, but it deserves recognition and praise for having one of the best anime endings of 2015… or rather, having an ending at all. Though, I never found myself genuinely invested in the characters, the story, or the setting (though I will make fun of the berserk zombie-bots at ultra-specific times whenever I have the chance), I want to highlight Plastic Memories in my 12 Days of Anime series because it had something I wish every anime had: a conclusion. Plastic Memories actually had an end to its story and its series… and not one of those bullshit anime endings where everything resets at the end. No, Plastic Memories had the courage to have a genuine finish, a final episode that left me feeling fulfilled and absolute, and above all, satisfied.
I know, I understand that not all anime are equal, and not all anime are expected to have endings. Probably 90% of anime these days are adaptations of manga, light novels, or video games, and many of these media don’t fit with the pattern of storytelling necessary for 12-13 TV episodes of 24 minutes each. I get that most anime are 300-minute long commercials for comic books, and leave with open-ended finales as a means for people to buy the manga, but I digress. Plastic Memories had a vision and direction for its story, and knew to have a beginning, middle, and an end. And while I wish Plastic Memories was just the beginning and the end, it know when to start and when to stop. More importantly, it’s an anime that did start and actually did stop.
That’s the other thing about Plastic Memories… it didn’t pull any bullshit at the end. There was no bullshit miracle that saved Isla at the end. There was no spirit or script that lived on. There was potential for Isla to come back after having her data and memory copied into a databank. No, Plastic Memories actually did what it set out to do with Isla as a character. And because of that, it blew me away. I know something as simple and mundane as Plastic Memories shouldn’t impress me like this, but that’s what I expect from anime now: some anime-original ending where everything is reset back to the beginning, where everything is nice and happy, and the groundwork is laid out for a sequel in a year or so. In fact, I’ve been conditioned so much to not expect a conclusion in anime that I make a mediocre anime from 2015 as one of my highlights of the year because it actually delivered a genuinely good finale.
That’s the state of the anime industry now. This post is equally as much praise for Plastic Memories is it is distain and disappointed with everything else I’m watching. I want these stories to have concrete and definite ends. I don’t want all these anime I watch and love to end up with open-ended finales that leave you empty, waiting, lingering, hoping for another season but only to fade away in my memories after several seasons with no response. It sucks, but that’s reality. Well, reality for virtually everything but Plastic Memories. So, for Day 5 of my 12 Days of Anime, I want to thank Plastic Memories for doing something that every anime should do: have an actual ending. And taking that lesson to heart, it’s about time this post had an ending, too.