Plastic Memories takes place in a city (modeled after Singapore) in the near future, in which humans live alongside androids that look exactly like humans and have human emotion and memory. SAI Corp, the leading android production company, has introduced the Giftia, an advanced android model with the most human-like qualities of any model. However, there is a catch. The lifespan of a Giftia is determined beforehand, and a Giftia can only live for a maximum of 81,920 hours (roughly nine years and four months). If they pass their expiration date, it causes personality disintegration, memory loss, and outbreaks of violence; those who experience this are known as wanderers. Wanderers only act on instinct and can no longer recognize their owners. As a result, the Terminal Services are established with the duty of retrieving Giftias who are close to the end of their lifespans from their owners, and erasing the Giftias' memories. To perform this job, the Terminal Service employees work in teams consisting of a human (called a "spotter") and a Giftia (called a "marksman"). The story follows the work and life of such a team in SAI Corp's Terminal Service One office, the human protagonist Tsukasa Mizugaki and a Giftia named Isla. Their relationship progresses, and as they both slowly fall in love, Isla is revealed to be nearing the end of her own lifespan.
It is the last day of Isla's lifespan and she and Tsukasa decide to first spend it by reading entries in her diary. They then spend the morning cleaning up their dormitory room and then taking a bath. They then head over to the office, where they take care of Isla's herbs and she leaves notes for the other employees. They are approached by an early Kazuki, who teases Isla for one last time. The two then decide to spend the day's remaining hours at the amusement park, which they enjoy to their hearts' content. Eventually, they stand at Isla's favorite bench, where she describes how she always observed the emotions of the park's many visitors and how contented they would be at the end of the day in bringing their happy memories home with them. Then, as the park closes, Tsukasa and Isla convince the operator to let them ride the Ferris wheel one last time after closing hours. There, they take turns describing what they love about each other, and Isla finally admits she loved the way Tsukasa held back his sadness and smiled, despite her worry over that characteristic. She then hands him her deactivation ring, saying that she wanted him to be the one to do it. Tsukasa begins crying, and Isla notes that it was the first time she ever saw him cry. He then puts the ring on, expresses his hope that she would be reunited with the person they cherished, and kisses Isla as her time expires. As he carries her to the vehicle, he is met by Kazuki, who thanks him for being there for her, which causes him to break down in tears. The other Terminal Service employees read Isla's letters, in which she thanks them for all the memories she had of them.
While Plastic Memories contains sci-fi elements to create a future with human-like AI called Giftias, the science aspect ends there. Despite a seemingly fascinating AI spin, these Giftias have no special powers, abilities, or superior intellect. Since humans and Giftias are seen as equals, viewers have questioned the reason behind them in the first place. The only thing that separates Giftias from humans is that they need to be retrieved and have their memories erased every nine years at the end of their lifecycle, or they'll become dangerous "wanderers" who forget who they are.
However, the episode continues after the end credits to show an older Tsukasa continuing his work at the agency when his new teammate arrives. Tsukasa smiles and shakes the teammate's hand as the scene slowly fades out. While it's heavily implied that the new teammate is Isla reborn without her memories, this was never confirmed and left Plastic Memories hanging with an open-ended and unsatisfying ending.
Hey, do you know whereI go when I'm alone?Hey, do ya wannaSee where the lights go off?It's just the two of usI know how you feelVirtual realityLet's make plastic memoriesNo no, life isn't fairYou are my last wishWe don't deserve thisLove is a lonely gameIt's just the two of usI know how you feelVirtual realityLet's make plastic memories
Isla is a giftia that already has her own philosophy about the Giftia's lifespan. While she does plant hope within other giftias by wishing them luck, she also is aware of all giftia's dark end. When retrieving all giftias, she tells them "I hope that someday, you'll be reunited with the one you cherish". Her words symbolize that while memories can be lost, it can never disappear. This means that the precious memories of life is both remembered by the giftia and its owner. While giftias can have their memories lost, its owner will always have a memory. Thus, giftias can still be reunited with its owner. Therefore, Isla always wishes them luck for giftias to be reunited.
In their quest for alternatives to silicon, chip manufacturers are increasingly turning their attention to plastic. Low-cost, easily manufactured polymers that conduct electricity could revolutionize electronics, they say. Now, researchers at Princeton University and Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in Palo Alto, Calif., have fabricated a polymer-based memory device for permanent data storage.
To read each cell, the researchers apply a smaller voltage. With the help of a silicon diode that electrically isolates the cell from nearby ones, they then measure the current flowing through the cell. The scientists describe their new plastic memory in the Nov. 13 Nature.
Forrest anticipates that an array of polymer memory cells on a 1-millimeter-square chip could store 1 megabit of information. Because the data are permanently inscribed, such polymer memory devices would be well-suited for storing archival materials, digital photos, and video. Although other media, such as the magnetic material in a hard drive, can store more data (SN: 9/13/03, p. 171: Available to subscribers at Memory Enhancers), plastic devices are less expensive and require less energy to operate, says Forrest.
"Having happy and beautiful memories won't always bring you salvation. The more beautiful a memory is, the more painful it can become. It can even become terrifying. Both for the one who's leaving... and for the one left behind." 041b061a72