Sometimes a short title you have little faith will be any good just slaps you upside the head and makes you realize why you spend all your money on a hobby very few people will ever understand anyway. For me, Plastic Little turned out to be one of those shows. Sure, it's a notorious show (for reasons we'll get into later), but that's gone to hurt this title, which is actually one of the best pieces of fluff I've seen in a long time. It may be a bit lecherous for fluff, but fluff it is, and floof away!
The plot of Plastic Little is very simple. Professor Nalerof winds up on the wrong end of a gun whilst trying to escape from Guizel, a twisted military mastermind who wants to use the Professor's creation, which is a massive weapon of destruction he intended to design to help society. Nalerof is able to help his daughter Elysse escape before his untimely demise, and she is the only one who knows his secrets. As she tries to escape from Guizel's cronies, she literally runs into Tita, a Pet Shop Hunter who has her own vessel and crew, despite the fact that she is only 17. They become fast friends, and Tita rescues Elysse from certain doom. The crew of the Cha Cha Maru, Tita's ship, get involved as it becomes clear that it's going to take everything they've got to protect not only Elysse but the entire planet from Guizel's evil plans...but how will a bunch of exotic animal capturers fight off a military force?
I'd always heard reference to shows that had lots of fan service to contain "a Plastic Little moment." I never truly understood that comment until now! It's a disservice to anyone planning to see this film to not mention what has made it so famous: gratuitous nudity. There is no sexuality to it, really, but there are plenty of shots of beautiful women running around without clothes on. It's gratuitous in the sense that the nudity really doesn't need to be there, but the sequences themselves are integral to the storyline. There's one huge scene where a whole bunch of the backstory is discussed whilst Tita and Elysse are bathing nude in a waterpark contained within the Cha Cha Maru. You skip the scene, you miss a good section of the plot. Thus, anyone who really hates fan service should probably skip this title. This does not, however, make this a bad 45 minutes of entertainment. Anyone who has read many of my reviews knows that I tend to dislike shows that have lots of fan service--and Plastic Little has loads--but this is a rare exception where the storyline continues even through the gratuitous shots. Perhaps it's also because it is rather innocent in a way, in that the show doesn't contain the overt sexuality that ruins a lot of anime.
Meanwhile, the animation itself is really great. I liked Plastic Little's character designs by Urushihara Satoshi a great deal, personally. The design work in this title is much superior to his work in Legend of Lemnear, another anime I've reviewed that he contributed to. The action moves quickly, the plot is straightforward but not plain, and the look itself is very catchy. What's also important is that the supporting cast is fantastic--for a short show, we get to know several of the other members of the Cha Cha Maru, and each one has a distinct personality. We even see a small romantic element develop in the midst of it all. If there is a disappointing element to the show, it is that this is all that exists, which is very sad indeed. The characters are most enjoyable, and cruising around with the crew of the Cha Cha Maru for a few more voyages would be most fun indeed. That right there is the kicker...this show is just plain fun. It is exciting, adventuresome, with a decent sense of humor and an innocent outlook even if it has too much skin. Younger viewers would probably enjoy this, but I'm of the opinion that there is a little too much fan service for that.
Is it high art? No. Is it over the top at times? Yes. But who cares? This is just a show to sit back and enjoy. After plumbing the depths of Odin recently, my brain needed something simply enjoyable, and this was the perfect cure to that numbingly bad show. It's one of the first short one-shot OVAs that I've found to be worth the time. It isn't going to save the world of anime, but it's a romp.
Plastic Little -- violence, excessive nudity, lechery, mild profanity -- A-