Hello everybody! On this week’s anime club, we have the Blade Runner/Minority Report esque anime Psycho Pass.
DIRECTOR: Katsuyuki Motohiro, Naoyoshi Shiotani
EPISODES: 22 Episodes
GENRE: Cyberpunk, dystopian fiction,crime fiction
YEAR: October 12, 2012 –March 22, 2013
The series takes place in the near future, when it is possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person’s state of mind and personality. This information is recorded and processed, and the term “Psycho-Pass” refers to a standard used to measure an individual’s being. The story centers around Inspector Akane Tsunemori who is a newcomer to the Public Safety Bureau.
The strongest selling point of Psycho Pass is its cast of well developed and intricate characters. We have Tsunemori Akane, a new Investigator of the Criminal Investigation Division, and her beliefs are what is most commonly defined as “righteous”. She is the representation of the ideal yet naive mindset that justice is absolute and criminals must be punished. She holds the law close to her heart, and while very young and inexperienced, she is an intelligent person and attempts to see the good in people. Through her exposure to the more sinister side of society, we observe if she is able to withstand the challenges to her beliefs and how she changes as an individual.
Helping her solve crimes and doing most of the “dirty work” is one of the Enforcers under her, Kogami Shinya. As one that is familiar with the darker side of society and has accumulated a plethora of experience in dealing with criminal minds, he is calculating, intelligent, and physically adept. His outlook on justice and the nature of other people differs from Akane’s, and this difference serves as a driving force for the show. While he is normally collected and logical, his emotions do cause him to act irrationally and puts him in precarious situations. His resolve and detective skills are put to the test and we are shown the lengths in which he will go through to reinforce his beliefs.
In addition to these two, we have Ginoza, a veteran Inspector with some very firm and rigid beliefs on criminals and potential and Masaoka, an experienced Enforcer who was a detective but was deemed a latent criminal and is a bit old fashioned. We also are introduced to Kagari, a easygoing Enforcer who was marked as a criminal at the age of five and has been an Enforcer ever since and doesn’t think too highly of the Sibyl System and Yayoi, a former guitarist turned Enforcer trying to prevent others from ending up as criminals similar to how someone dear to her did. Rounding out our Unit One, we have Shion, the Bureau’s analyst that aids the unit in solving crimes, and Joshu, the enigmatic Chief of the Bureau. The fact that none of these characters are insignificant or unimpactful enough to dismiss is quite a feat, but Psycho Pass gives each and every character depth and relevance to the main plot.
The only really bad thing in the series so far is the plot twist/revelation at the series’ midway point. Throughout the series, the main villain has been set up as a genius who outsmarts the police—as well as the brain scanning system—at every turn. Yet, when face to face with the villain, we learn his secret: He hasn’t outsmarted the system or otherwise tricked it when it comes to himself. It’s not that he works behind the scenes in such a way that he never technically commits a crime, nor is it that he has somehow convinced himself that he is not committing crimes and is therefore innocent—thus fooling the scanners. Rather, the scanners just read him wrong, no matter what he thinks or does. He doesn’t know why himself. He just says that it has always been this way for him.
It’s just a straight up Deus Ex Machina: He is immune because the creators say so.
And sadly, this makes the villain seem much less threatening. Sure he’s smart, but not nearly as much as we had previously thought. Rather, he is just some guy with an arbitrary special power that lets him literally get away with murder.
- Strong characters.
- Interesting plot.
- Western influences,
- Ideas about good/evil, conformity, etc.
- Deus Ex Machina.
- Semi-less compelling villain.
SCORE: 8.4 / 10
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