Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 12, 2012 to Mar 22, 2013
Duration: 23 min. per episode
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)L represents licensing company
Score: 8.511 (scored by 33239 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
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Mar 24, 2013
The series is set in the near future in which it is possible to instantaneously quantify a person’s state of mind, personality, and probability of committing a crime, all recorded on an individual’s “Psycho-Pass”. When their “Crime Coefficient” index becomes too high, they are pursued and apprehended by police officers known as Inspectors, and their ‘hunting dogs’ the Enforcers; in this way, order is maintained. Unit One of the Public Safety Bureau’s division of criminal investigation, navigate the system to uphold justice in their seemingly Utopian society.
Before anything else, let’s address some reasons the show received heavy criticism early on, and was subsequently written off because of it.
Inspector Tsunemori Akane: As a frequenter of tumblr, I saw so many people dismiss the protagonist of the series immediately after episode 1, and to that I say shame on you. She got a lot of flack for being naive and idealistic, but that was the whole point of her character development. Even more egregious was how much hate she got because of her design, and again, shame on you. Both the director and the writer explicitly stated that “moe” would be completely omitted from Psycho-Pass; there’s a lot of back and forth between whether Akane is or isn’t moe (though the pink jellyfish comes close), but you don’t hate on a character because of their haircut. And personally, I think she’s cute.
Too slow: I understand, the series does take it’s time in the beginning. Psycho-Pass doesn’t really reach the heart of its story until about episode 10. However, everything before this is time spent establishing the cyberpunk setting, the relationships between the characters, and setting up for an unbelievable payoff later. Every reveal in the series speaks to something that was established earlier (yes, even the HyperOats) because the writer is a master at foreshadowing and bringing his stories full circle. It is well worth wading through the cases in the beginning to reach the core of the story later.
Psycho-Pass is a ripoff of Minority Report: a 2002 film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise based off a short story of the same name written by legendary science fiction author, Philip K. Dick. And honestly, to this I have to say… so what? Having only seen the trailer, I could just as easily say that Pacific Rim is a rip off of Evangelion, but that doesn’t say anything about its merit on any level. So even if the series is derivative (and what material isn’t these days?), the two focus on different themes and tell totally separate stories; Minority Report is a commentary on human free will and choice where Psycho-Pass is a revenge story at its core and an examination of justice, taking place in the same kind of setting.
And the joke is on you, because Philip K. Dick’s work is actually mentioned in the series. It’s obvious, to the point of near literary pretentiousness, how the series pays homage to the themes and philosophies found in great written works. I can see how consistently name dropping George Orwell or Jonathan Swift might be annoying, but as a total classic literature nerd, it made me excited to pick up what they were alluding to in the books I have read, and inspired to hunt down the rest so I could understand the series even better (hard copies— because e-books lack character). Besides, an image of Heart of Darkness conveys just as much as a long-winded discourse about the descent into darkness and the true nature of humanity would. It isn’t always subtle, but it is challenging and elevates the show to more than just another crime thriller anime.
Before I continue lauding it, let me clarify: Psycho-Pass is bloody, violent, and disturbing, and not for the weak-hearted. This anime has cruel scenes, both physically and mentally, and the director joked that he wanted the kids in the audience to sustain trauma for life after watching. O_O But that is not why your heart will be ripped out.
Your heart will be ripped out because Urobuchi Gen helmed this.
Urobuchi-san (Fate/Zero & Puella Magi Madoka Magica) is known for writing dark, nihilistic themes and tragic plot twists into his stories, earning him the affectionate nickname “The Uro-BUTCHER”. Back when I wrote my original Madoka review, I had no idea who this man was or what he would do to my emotions. Lobotomizing yourself with a spoon would be less painful. If only I had known then…
The reason Urobuchi-san is capable of writing compelling stories is not because he’s heavy handed with the nihilism or because he shies away from current trends in the anime industry. There are two very good reasons.
1. He knows how to write people— realistic, human characters with attributes and flaws and personal motivations and incredible development (see: Ginoza Nobuchika). The audience doesn’t suffer because tragic events happen, but because they happen to these characters, whom you have grown to know and love and sympathize with (see: Ginoza Nobuchika).
2. He never writes standard black and white conflicts. The system in place which monitors people’s mental states for the sake of safety arguably takes way their free will, but without it the society plunges into chaos. The Enforcer seeks to bring down the main antagonist for personal revenge, not for the sake of justice; and yet if the anarchist wins, in theory, people’s wills are restored as long as they survive the crumbling of the system. As you watch his series, you might not know who you want to win, or whether they should, and it makes for deeply thought provoking entertainment. (The “Psycho-Scan” aspect of the series alone is provocative when you put it into the context of how mental health is approached in Japan.)
There’s a lot of commentary on human nature, the natures of societies, law and governance, good and evil. There’s tons of brain-candy to chew on here; Psycho-Pass is not a series to watch if you travel into anime to escape or like to keep your mind turned off. Although it shares similar themes and story telling elements as something like Madoka Magica, the complexity, the science fiction crime mystery genre, and integration of philosophy and literature makes it less universal in appeal, but all the more appealing for someone like me.
Knowing Urobuchi’s previous work had me worried. Hearing that the entire staff cried over the final episode had me very worried. But even with his bloody reputation preceding him, Psycho-Pass has proved that Urobuchi-san is master storyteller capable of being twisted and incredibly emotional, as well as demonstrating diversity and restraint. His name is one I’m sure to be following from now on.
Oh, and it also looked great. And sounded great. Production I.G.’s work here is wonderful, and they’re generally a top notch studio. Production knew when to hold back, so they could really deliver where it mattered later (the dog hunting scene was very dark and difficult to see, but “The Gates of Judgement”? that three something minute fight scene was unbelievable). The backgrounds were incredibly detailed and the series has a great look, managing to be extremely colorful and yet very dark. The integration of CG was also very impressive, and I’m glad to see they pulled it off so successfully since technology is a major motif in this 22nd century world. I might just be drawn to the style, but all of Amano Akira’s character designs look great (yes, even Akane-chan’s).
*jumps onto the soapbox* Episode 18, “Promises Written in Water”, came out totally derpy-looking because of scheduling issues. Even the director apologized, saying that in order to get the episode out on time, it would air incomplete. This is not just an acceptable drop in animation quality like we typically see from Gainax or Gonzo, just an honest to goodness time issue. Production on the episode will be finished in time for the home media releases and it will be just as quality as the rest of the series. *hops off the soapbox*
The score was varied, very synthy and they played around with different types of sounds to add in, but fitting with the futuristic setting and dark tone of the anime. There are some standout pieces on the OST, I’m rather fond of the main theme and a very pretty and somber piano piece reserved for the quieter moments. Psycho-Pass is guilty of playing Bach, stealing a leaf out of Evangelion’s book, but at least the high-brow pretentiousness makes more sense here. All the OPs and EDs were similarly successful, sporting beautiful animation (and a bit of foreshadowing), not to mention that many of the songs were written for the specific characters. “abnormalize” speaks to Kogami’s character, where “Namae no nai Kaibutsu” should be listened to with Makishima in mind. Also, I don’t think the fanbase will ever get tired of “cause I feeeeeeeellll” or “your never walk alonee” and neither will I.
In general, I struggle watching shows week to week because I prefer marathoning my anime and when I really get into it, I am incapable of doing anything else while waiting in between episodes (should have seen me after Ep. 19, it was baad). And I haven’t done this with any other anime of 2012, so it speaks to how stellar Psycho-Pass really was when I say it was the highlight of my week, every week, until the end. I’m going to go out and buy Proust right now. What an incredible ride.
Apr 29, 2013
By now I have watched many anime shows that covered almost every theme you could possibly think of, almost. Yeah, I say almost because once in a while an anime show in particular rises above them all. A show that introduces an idea in a new way. A show that diverges from the other dozens of shows that air along side it. But what makes an anime stand head and shoulder above the others? Could it be the story, characters, or (if you are like me) even the soundtrack that makes an anime outstanding? What if there was an anime that incorporates all of the above? Now that is an anime worth anybody's time.
And that anime would be Psycho-Pass.
Set in a futuristic Cyberpunk setting we dive into a high-tech and self-sustaining Japan where law and order are maintained by an all-powerful supercomputer dubbed "The Sibyl System." By this system all people of Japan must obey and follow its every command and judgement, whether you consider it fair or not. However, all governing bodies aren't perfect. Everything has its flaws and imperfections, but when the very people who uphold this system's "justice" start to find out about these imperfections what would happen?
Psycho-Pass starts off by introducing Tsunemorie Akane, a new Inspector for the Public Safety Bureau which upholds the laws set by the Sibyl System. The system that runs the country by judging every human mind individually, evaluating its talents, weaknesses, and even its potential to commit crimes. Through this system life is practically dictated to the civilians of Japan creating a Utopian society devoid of criminals and even potential criminals. But when Tsunemorie and Unit 1 stumble across a case that blatantly defies that very system they swore to protect all hell breaks loose as the very foundation of society is shaken by one man.
The story of Psycho-Pass is the meat of the entire show. The common theme of what's right and wrong is tossed around quite a bit. Even with that common theme being the backbone of Psycho-Pass it still found an entirely new way to present this overused theme. If society accepts or allows certain things does it make that certain thing right? Good? The Sibyl System just sounds too perfect...
If we all followed something unquestionably than wouldn't that make you no better than a pet? An animal that simply listens to what it is told? When man loses his will and ability to decide for himself can he truly be called a human? All these themes and questions ring loud and clear in Psycho-Pass. It was a true joy to see these old themes dressed and presented in new and compelling ways . Ways that would make me bite my nails and rock my chair back and forth until the next episode.
Being a show with such a deep, dark, an mature story we are given a cast that really showcased just how much potential the show really had. Shinya Kougami was that classic old-school protagonist that you just couldn't help but admire. He just screamed Spike Spiegel to me (which is a really good thing). An old-school classic character is always welcomed, but I always wanted to watch a show that had an antagonist that was cool, level-headed, dark, sinister, but yet a man an audience can sympathize with.
Enter Shougo Makishima.
Now I know plenty of you guys went through that, "Hey! They totally stole my idea!" Moment at least once when you watched a movie or show, well when I saw Shougo in his full glory in episode 11 I couldn't help but scream that out at the end of the episode. I finally found another show that diverged from those cookie-cutter antagonists that were always evil and had no sense or reason. Shougo had his reasons, and they were pretty damn good reasons too.
But we can't forget the mighty Akane Tsunemori. Though she played a small role for the first half of the show she finally had her due spotlight at the closing of the show which I greatly appreciated. She was a good breath of fresh air from all those other female protagonists out there (Yes! I am looking at you Inori). But I know half of my love for Akane comes through her God-like seiyuu, Hanazawa-chan.......I am a softy for cute and soothing voices, which are very much welcome in such a show as dark and gloomy as Psycho-Pass.
Along with the other inspectors and enforcers the cast was a big reason for this shows incredible story. (Give a shout out to that Yuri love with Shion and Yayoi!.....Sorry, I just couldn't let that go unsaid)
Music and Animation
If you haven't guessed already I tend to put a lot of value into animation and soundtracks. What makes those climax scenes, transitions, fight scenes, and even scenes with characters randomly staring up in the sky even more epic? Get Yoshikazu-sama to be your Sound Director! Come on people, this is the guy who had his hand in Baccano! The Main theme for Psycho-Pass is played through out the show on a piano, violin, and synthesizer. Each version played with their respective scenes flawlessly. The soundtrack gave so much life and definition to the anime that it just couldn't be ignored. Animation goes hand in hand with the music and Psycho-Pass hit it right on the nail. Though the art got choppy in later episodes (for understandable reasons), both were produced to masterful levels of brilliance. When the I saw the Dominator in action I couldn't help but desire one for my own personal use. Along with those artful explosions of blood and guts, we tend to see the insides of many people. This is rated R for a reason people, so try not to watch Psycho-Pass during your lunch break because you just might get Dominated! AHAHAHA, classic...Ahem, in any case, Bravo Production I.G.
When an anime presents us a strong and emotional story line complimented by intricate and complex characters backed up by an art and music style that resounds with epic simplicity but yet amazing profoundness we find ourselves with a jaw-dropping anime: Psycho-Pass. The story and characters flesh out what makes a man a man. Conforming or reforming, mature themes that are tough to swallow. With a story that has so many things going on we can't really see the line of good and evil. That's were the beauty of Psycho-Pass lays hidden. This isn't a show that tells you what is right and wrong, this is a show that makes you decide. Decide for your own life, don't blindly follow things or people without reason. It is a good reminder to not get lost in today's world with so many conflicting views and accepted norms. What makes you human? Your Psycho-Pass? Or what YOU make of YOURSELF? But then again
"The SIByL Still Continues..."
A sequel that has the possibility of retaining or even surpassing it's predecessor? Sure as hell hope so.
*This being my first review I thank you for reading it. Feedback and friendly criticism is welcomed! Once again, thank you.*
May 23, 2013
Obviously, the justice system today, has it's flaws. It's not uncommon to see innocent men and women being framed for crimes they commit - our judgment is not perfect.
But what if we could determine instantly, the criminals of the future, predetermining criminals before they commit their crime? Would such a system be deemed as "perfect"?
Such a question is something that I absolutely love when posed by an anime - a question or idea that challenges the foundations of our society itself, and challenges it's viewers to ponder upon the question it beholds before them.
Psycho-Pass, essentially bestows such a question upon it's viewers - it poses them with an impossible society - one that possesses instant judgement of criminals prior to their crime, and then explores that system's flaws, asking the viewer to think for themselves what is best. The system itself, is referred to as the Sibyl System, a judgement system capable of placing a number on an individual's criminality, or as the anime calls it, their "crime coefficient". People are then punished not based on their crime, or their motifs, but rather, on their crime coefficient. Such a system is quite efficient - "judgment" comes in the form of a gun aptly named the "Dominator", and based on their coefficient, an individual can be instantly eliminated, or alternatively, paralyzed and dealt with later. This, is the center of Psycho-Pass's setting - a futuristic, dystopian cyberpunk Japan, where everything, including job aptitude, is determined through the Sibyl System.
This, is the setting for the anime - a dystopian Japan in which criminals are instantly judged and prosecuted, and from this, comes the amazing storyline that I found myself so indulged in. I absolutely love the idea of a non-white and black storyline - it makes for such a more interesting story, and allows for viewers to be varied in their position regarding the storyline. At an extreme extent, Psycho-Pass really doesn't have protagonists, nor does it really have antagonists, at least in the general sense. Rather, it has what I'd call "perspectives", different views upon a centralized topic, with both sides possessing conflicting views. Like I said, this is really what makes the story shine - a story that is in fact, not black and white.
Personally, however, what made the storyline so stunning for me was it's implementation of sociology. Like I said, it doesn't just place a black and white situation and portray it through multiple battle scenes, or random storyline elements that don't really make sense, it really asks the viewer a question, one that they can not only apply to the series itself, but to their own lives, and our own so treasured society. Like Serial Experiments Lain, it really challenges our beliefs in our society, and for me, strengthens my ideas of the flaws in our current general justice system. Ironically enough, Psycho-Pass's implementation is done mostly by what could be seen as the antagonist, further adding to my point that Psycho-Pass is not white and black at all. A lot of Psycho-Pass's references to sociology also recognize various authors who have written about society - George Orwell and his 1984, a novel which contained a society with many parallels with the society represented in Psycho-Pass, is referenced a few times, as are the works of Marcel Proust, Phillip K Dick (I'm sure the entire series was based on his short story The Minority Report, actually), and Jonathan Swift and his Gulliver's Travels. This, like Serial Experiments Lain, is a series in which it is possible to write an academic paper on. Psycho-Pass itself is almost like an academic paper, it poses a question, a thesis, and arguments to support it.
Of course, a storyline is nothing without it's characters, and this is another place where Psycho-Pass does relatively well. At first, it seemed like Akane wasn't quite fit to be a protagonist of the story, but I know that for myself, I was very satisfied with the role that she played and the development that went into her character. She was very well realized. Actually, come to think of it, every single character was very well realized, there wasn't a useless half-assed character in sight. Naturally, Psycho-Pass does have characters that play a minor role, but come on, which anime doesn't? Obviously, the minor characters are not really the ones I'm trying to praise here, it's the main roles that really shine in Psycho-Pass. There is a cohesiveness in the relationships between characters in Psycho-Pass that simply gives value and meaning to every single character - the storyline benefits from this, as the majority of characters not only add depth to the storyline, but also meaning, and gives the viewers something to attach and relate themselves to. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that Psycho-Pass makes really good use of it's cast, and proves to be able to utilize them to develop it's already-excellent plot. One thing that struck out to me was that it wasn't only the protagonists that I agonized over. I agonized over every single character, they were all so well played out that I didn't find myself disliking any of the characters.
As with any anime, Psycho-Pass suffers from at least some form of minimal flaw, and in this case, it's the animation. It was good, yes, but this is one area where Psycho-Pass could be much better. I know that to some people, this would seem really picky of me to dissect and criticize Psycho-Pass to such an extent, however, I'm sure that I'm not alone. What I'm speaking of here is quite literally the animation. There were some instances where the animation was slightly choppy, and not quite as fluid as I would have liked. Granted, such a flaw is definitely acceptable, because right now, we've only got the aired TV release, I'm sure the animation will improve greatly once the Blu-Ray release comes out. Even if a BD release doesn't come out, the occasionally choppy and slightly derpy animation doesn't really deduct from the anime at all. The characters are still pretty well drawn, and stylistically, the animation gives a nice feel to the anime that really matches both it's setting and plot.
One thing that I truly found enjoyable for myself, was the opening and ending themes. Not only were the songs chosen very fitting stylistically, they were also very fitting in meaning. If you read the lyrics to the first opening, I'm sure you'll see some parallels between the meaning of the song, and the anime itself. Personally, if I were to dissect any aspect of Psycho-Pass's choice of music, it would have to be the final ending. I know I found myself enjoying the final ending theme, however, I also know that it's a fact that the song is definitely a "love it or hate it" kind of thing. Some would argue that it's not very fitting for the anime, and I'd agree with them, stylistically, it doesn't really fit. It's not like it's a bad song, it just doesn't fit like the rest of the OST does. On the other hand, it's a pretty good song, and even if it doesn't fit, I don't think I ever found myself skipping the ending theme.
The actual sound, as in background noises, I suppose, was also pretty good. All the background sounds felt in place, and had a sense of realism to it. Never once during the anime did I find myself noticing either a serious lacking in the background sound's realism and presence. It seemed to be pretty well thought out. The BGM at some points also proved to be very fitting to the scene itself - a lot of the more epic scenes are augmented by their respective BGM's. It gives a bigger feel of suspense.
I know for a fact that this anime was well-received. I also know that sometimes, animes that bask in the light of critical acclaim, aren't really deserving of such acclaim. Psycho-Pass, is not one of these animes. I for one, truly believe that Psycho-Pass has earned it's right to it's critical acclaim - it really was a great anime. And I'm sure I'm not alone in believing so.
~ Note ~
If you, the reader, ever find anything in my review that you would like to revoke, or anything that you either just don't agree with, or maybe just have another opinion on something I said, please, by all means, drop me a comment or a message, criticism is definitely welcome, and if you just want to have a chat, by all means, that's very welcome too. If you're going to deem this review "Not helpful", it would be really helpful, for me, if you told me why, so that I may be more helpful the next time around. Otherwise you're basically thumbing down my review just 'cause. read more
May 7, 2013
If it wasn't for the fact that there is genuinely no such thing as a meritocratic society.
Psycho Pass is an anime that lacks a lot in terms of effective characterisation and storytelling, but it is interesting from a purely sociological perspective. And don't I just sound disgustingly pretentious. Bare with me. There is meaning in my ramblings.
I'm going to assume that you aren't all completely brain-dead and have actually taken the initiative to read the sypnosis, as it means I don't have to write it down. It's incredibly evident right from the start that Psycho Pass has some pretty strong concepts, and it is undeniably a very dramatic and well-paced story. The framework exists for a fantastic series. And I do love it. But I hesitate to call it God's gift to Japanese animation. It's lacking a lot.
Particularly in the first half, the characterisation and story are brilliant, with a likeable, intriguing cast that is nevertheless fairly cliché (there's Akane, the naive newbie with a strong sense of justice, the gritty cop Kogami, the strict, humourless supervisor Ginoza and the ageing veteran Masaoka, who dreams of past days). They've all been done before, but it's impossible not to like them all. To a certain degree, it's the villains that are particularly intriguing at first, with the story's primary antagonist Makishima and the collection of secondary villains that really capture the limelight in the first half.
As it progresses, Psycho Pass starts to feel a bit lacklustre. Although the show's overarching themes are only really introduced in the second half, and it continues to remain effective, it's the characterisation that ultimately suffers. Though Akane's development was really the only way to write her, it wasn't executed as well as it could've been, and an extra episode that exposes a stronger internal conflict would've served to increase the impact of the moments when she eventually found her conviction. Other characters (most notably Yayoi and Shion) are left largely untouched by the claws of effective character development (which is a shame, 'cos Shion could easily have become my favourite character). It's really Ginoza that I ended up liking the most. He's a character in a supervisor role, but he ultimately discovers that he is better off in the position of the very people he commands. It's probably the most intriguing element of the characterisation.
It goes without saying that the animation does begin to suffer a bit as the series progresses. Urubochi confessed as much, stating that there were issues with production, and so while it starts off with absolutely fantastic art, consistent character models and fluid movements, this does start to degrade towards the last third of the show. It's still not bad though.
While I'm not a fan of either of the opening tracks, the ending tracks by Egoist are great, and the battle music will probably go down as one of my favourite background tracks in any anime ever. Listen to it on Youtube. Absolutely fantastic bit of music.
Everything succeeding this paragraph ventures into spoiler territory, so this is basically the end of the review. For those of you who haven't seen it, don't continue. Just watch the show. For those of you who have and want to see my interpretation of the show's themes and the central idea, read on.
Earlier on, I described the nature of a meritocratic society. What Urubochi has produced is a show that depicts the advantages of a meritocracy next to the potential disadvantages. The Sybil System is essentially a system that imposes an enforced meritocracy. Everyone is assigned the role in which they can provide the most significant benefit to society. The Crime Coefficient is essentially a method of enforcing this. Those with lower Crime Coefficient (such as Akane and Makishima) are the ones who's existence provides the greatest benefits. Those with Crime Coefficients that go beyond the recommended level stop being immediately beneficial, or are more suited to the role of Enforcer. However, because there is potential to aid them, they are not eliminated. Over the level of 300, it is no longer cost effective to keep them alive, as their existence will have more negative effects than positive ones. That is the goal of the Sybil System: to establish a society that benefits the greatest number of individuals without discriminating, and this inevitably means that sacrifices must be made when necessary. It's a computer. It can only think logically. It's interesting to note that it doesn't protest when Akane says that its "days are numbered," implying that it's ultimate goal is to make itself redundant.
Makishima is very much a tragic character. He is a character whose own personal desires do not coincide with the most widely beneficial path, and so he grows frustrated. He feels that his own opinion is not valued, and this leads him to hate the system because while it is helping others, it is not helping him. He's an unfortunate, but necessary, victim, driven mad by his fear of being unable to make his own choices. He's a pitiable villain, rather than a purely evil character. read more
Yesterday, 2:15 PM
Sadly, Psycho Pass falls short of greatness due to uneven pacing, some pretty poor character development for certain characters and what I find to be a lackluster conclusion.
Story(7/10)- Psycho Pass is set in the future, where it is possible to measure the "soul" of a person using a device installed on each citizen called the 'Psycho Pass'. Using an advanced A.I. system called the ' Sybil System,' the police are now able to measure a person's mental state and the chance that they will commit a crime.
The first episode starts off very strong where we see the female protagonist, Akane Tsunemori, tackle her very first case and particularly gruesome one. The viewers are introduced to the obvious flaw of the Sybil System, that people under significant psychological stress are criminals. The episodes after that are very slow moving. Most of these story arcs are dreadfully boring and seem to drag on forever. It isn't until episode 8 where things really start to pick up when we are introduced to the antagonist, Makishima Shogo. It is only when he appears do the themes of Psycho Pass solidify and we see the potential this show truly has. Sadly, the poor ending ruins what could have been a great series. The producers of the show obviously wanted to leave room for a second season if the show did well enough, and that was to the show's detriment.
Now, I must give psycho pass credit, because all the themes were implemented flawlessly. For example, a big theme in Psycho Pass is emotional repression. The people in that society view expressing an type of emotion as negative out of fear that they will be punished by the Sybil System. As a result, the society is in a vegetative state, and act almost like zombies. They feel no empathy towards each other, they do nothing to help one another, all they are concern is about the state of their Psycho Pass. The world in Psycho-Pass is fleshed out to the point of believability.
Art(6/10)- The most obvious flaw has to be the animation. In this day and age, there is no excuse for the animation to be like this. It is often very choppy, and there are some poorly drawn characters. This does not make the show unwatchable by any means, heck sometimes the show looks great like in the first episode, but those moments are few and in between.
Sound(7/10)- The BGM wasn't very noticeable, and when it was, it didn't really add or take anything away from the scenes. The Opening and ending songs are very catchy though.
Character(7/10)- In a show like Psycho-Pass, characters are essential to moving the plot forward. If the characters are bad, then the show will fall flat on its face. Luckily, the cast of characters aren't bad but they are not as developed as I would have liked them to be. First we have Akane Tsunemori, a new and heavily idealistic detective to the police force. In early episodes, she comes off as a ditz, and relatively boring. It isn't until the midway through the series she starts to develop. Her confidence emerges as she becomes a more experienced and competent detective. Sadly, in the last few episodes, her personality does a complete 180 and she regresses to an even worse state than she was at the beginning of the show. The other protagonist, Shinya Kougami is literally nothing more than a foil character. He does cool things from time to time, and can spew George Orwell quotes like no tomorrow , but he is a relatively shallow character. He seems stuck in the past, but it is debatable whether the writers did that purposefully. The rest of the cast aside from the villains, add little to nothing to the show.
The crown jewel of this series has to be Makishima Shogo, the "villain," of the series. I put villain in quotes because it is up to the perspective of the viewer to decide if he is truly evil or not. His motives are always shrouded in mystery, making it hard to know what he will do next. He is calm, focused but never carries an air of malevolence like most of anime villains. Shogo vaguely reminds me of Johann Liebert from Naoki Urasawa's famed manga series, Monster. And that is no little accomplishment. It is a shame that his character was dragged down by the end of the show.
Is Psycho Pass a masterpiece? Not by any stretch of imagination. Is it a bad show? Absolutely not. Psycho Pass, if anything, is a sign of things to come. It is a sign that, hopefully, that there will be more anime with a message rather than generic harem or romcom shows. I give Psycho Pass a 7/10. read more
Feb 16, 2013
Psycho-Pass is an action, sci-fi anime that takes place in the near future where every living individual’s value and potential contribution to society is already predetermined and watched over by an entity known as the Sibyl System. With the presence of the system throughout society, everyone out in public is constantly monitored and has their emotions, personality, and mental capacity (all those qualities representing the term “Psycho-Pass”) measured daily in order to discover and prevent harmful people from causing trouble. With this system, it is assumed to be the blueprint of the start to creating a perfect society.
The story is mainly centered on two main characters, Akane Tsunemori and Shinya Kougami, who work for an investigation unit known as the Public Safety Bureau, which is under the jurisdiction of the Sibyl System. The unit is composed of Investigators (working detectives) and Enforcers (latent criminals, who are chosen to work as detectives because they have the unique skill set of identifying and apprehending other criminals themselves). Here, the Investigators and Enforcers work alongside with each other to capture or execute criminals that are judged solely by the system.
From the beginning of the series, we are introduced to a rookie investigator, Akane Tsunemori. She is sufficiently portrayed as an intelligent character with a confident personality and an excellent mental stability that seems suited for her career. Though, when she is tasked into solving criminal cases and working with Enforcers, she realizes that her skill set as a detective is nowhere close to fully handling actual cases. However, her quick adaptability to situations and mental strength make her a strong, unique, and capable main female lead of the series. Also, we are introduced to Shinya Kougami, a somewhat dark character with a shady past who serves as the main Enforcer. Due to the way he is portrayed with great detective skills, combat, and smarts, his actions throughout the anime and capability of piecing together clues make him an entertaining and valuable character deserving of the male lead role. Also, his serious demeanor serves as a good check to teaching and making sure Tsunemori does not try to get herself into cases that she cannot handle as a rookie. As the series progresses, both characters start to solve many different cases together and the way Tsunemori begins to figure out what her true capabilities and mental capabilities are of being a detective is well constructed. However, they then start to realize that the different crime scenes they work on are more related to each other and suspicious than it may seem.
Also, very early on in the series, we are also introduced to a great supporting cast of other investigators and enforcers who regularly work with the two main characters on a frequent basis. These other members of the Bureau mesh well within the story with each having their own niche within the group and are not annoying characters to the viewer as well. What’s intriguing about these other characters is that as they continue to appear on screen on a regular basis, there are many interesting developments of who those characters “really are” and the past that is connected with each individual.
In addition, another aspect what makes Psycho-Pass a great anime is the philosophical themes and action sequences throughout the storyline. Is being placed and judged by an all-knowing system really the best thing for society? Can something really measure who does or does not have criminal motives and choose to confine them from ever seeing the light of day again? With these interesting themes combined with many mysterious dark sequences and scenes, this is one aspect where Psycho-Pass excels in its storytelling and in constructing the criminals’ true motives. Also, the many action combat and shooting sequences throughout the anime are entertaining as well and its depiction of scenes regarding blood combined with a few amount of horror elements and gore make it so the anime is not too disturbing for overly squeamish people who dislike those kinds of stuff.
Overall, Psycho-Pass is a great action, sci-fi, crime thriller with many twists, interesting developments and great themes throughout the series. Even though the soundtracks, voice-overs, and art is not the best thing that I’ve heard or seen, it’s also extremely well done for the most part and should not be a deciding factor on passing up on whether to watch this anime. Lastly, if you’re a fan of action, sci-fi, or crime shows, Psycho-Pass is surely not going to disappoint and is entertaining right from the get go until the end.
Apr 1, 2013
Some have dubbed Psycho-Pass as the 'Minority Report' of anime, a very justifiable accusation. The basic premise of a system that can judge if someone might commit a crime before they commit it is something that Psycho-Pass shares with that Tom Cruz Sci-Fi flick (which itself is based off a short story by Philip K. Dick), but the systems in the two are quite different. Minority Report has psychic 'Precogs' that have prophesies of the future. Psycho-Pass has the Sibyl System, a grand sprawling technological network that monitors everything in Psycho-Pass's futuristic Japan through scanners and patrol drones. The Sibyl System scans and determines what are the 'best' courses for the lives of the citizens that live under it. In addition to that, the Sibyl System also scans peoples' mental health, tendencies, etc. to measure their probability of committing crimes; called their "Psycho-Pass". This is a complex, well detailed set-up that harkens back to classic dystopian sci-fi. At the same time, given how much control the Sibyl System has over this futuristic society, it could be argued that it is also too self-aware of a set-up. Despite so many of the characters saying how the current peace would be impossible without the system, it reeks of oppressiveness from the first episode.
The MWPSB is the law enforcement in this futuristic version of Japan; composed of latent criminals called 'Enforcers' and high ranking Inspectors that keep the Enforcers in check. The story centers around a new Inspector, Akane Tsunemori, and one of the Enforcers under her command, Shinya Kougami. While at first Akane seems rather uninteresting as the milquetoast rookie, she develops greatly as the show progresses. She starts off as wide-eyed, naive, idealistic but unsure of herself; surrounded by characters that look like they will outshine her throughout the show. However, as she becomes more acquainted with the uglier side of humanity through her work in the MWPSB, she begins to see that the system of justice she serves under is far from flawless, yet sees its necessity and can't find it in herself to outright betray it. She also struggles with the relationship between Inspector and Enforcer, as she learns from and values Kougami's input even as those around her advise her against it. Kougami's development is less remarkable. While he is certainly one of the more interesting characters in the show, being a resourceful and very capable former detective with a dangerous mystery to him, his development is limited to his growing obsession with the show's antagonist, Shougo Makishima.
Majority of the characters suffer from the same lack of complex development. Not to say they don't get any development, in fact many of the Inspectors and Enforcers of the MWPSB get plenty of scenes and in some cases complete episodes dedicated to developing them. However, just as with Kougami, most of their development is too narrow in scope. To be honest, many of the characters are given too little to do, making any development they do get feel kind of extraneous or irrelevant. The silver tongued antagonist Shougo Makishima is an exception. He is well read, charismatic, and completely ruthless; in love with the ugliest facets of human nature. Makishima justifies his actions with a twisted rhetoric that the Sibyl System forces people to deny their inner desires and so those who live under it are not truly living; a somewhat convincing argument given how much control Sibyl has over society. Even still, he brings out the worst in people, convincing them to do the most horrifying of crimes.
Writer Gen Urobuchi pens the series with the sadistic shocks and twists he has become known for. With an intricate dystopian setting to serve as his playground, 'Urobucher' concocts many twisted scenarios; from a case that involves a disturbed 'artist' who makes her works from the bodies of her victims, to a demented game of survival in a subterranean maze. He then goes to grander mayhem of civil unrest and armed uprising, while simultaneously delving into sinister coverups involving the Sibyl System's true nature. It's unpleasant and discomforting in the best way; it is hard to turn away from the violent atrocities taking place before your eyes. However, Urobuchi's treatment of the show's themes is very heavy-handed. As mentioned earlier, the premise itself already makes the Sibyl System an oppressive force; Urobuchi pounds this in unnecessarily. When people are so brainwashed that they wouldn't recognize an act of violence before their eyes without help from the Sibyl System stretches believability of the situation. It doesn't help when the show (mostly Makishima) starts quoting classic books and poetry without giving a clear context to them. Some of the conversations between characters can at times also be a little convoluted, sounding less like natural dialogue and more like the writer trying to make a point of the conversation. This isn't to say the show's ideas are poorly handled, Akane's predicament and actions after she finds out the truth of the Sybil system proves the contrary, however it could have been handled with far more nuance.
Psycho-Pass is solid on the technical side of things. Production I.G. is known for well produced shows, particularly well produced sci-fi shows, and Psycho-Pass follows in that tradition for the most part. The character designs by Hitman Reborn mangaka Akira Amano are attractive, though heavy on the bishounen look. The high tech metropolis looks impressive as one might expect, filled with technological marvels and innumerable people. An early scene of Akane getting ready to start the day in her apartment showcases how advanced and integral technology has become in this future society, as well as being a pretty flashy scene on its own right. The visuals also often feel fittingly oppressive, with mechanical observers keeping an eye on the subservient populous. When the story calls for it, the visuals can be shockingly violent, depicting beatings and murders with visceral detail. There are a few production hiccups, most notably an episode which the show's production staff actually apologized for, but overall it is a really good effort visually. The music is mostly intense orchestrations with a few classical pieces (notably Beethoven's Ode to Joy), which serves the show's atmosphere very well. Though, there are times the music becomes overenthusiastic, blaring out and over-dramatizing a few scenes. The ending themes by Egotist are nice on the ears and are usually transitioned well at the end of an episode, but the two openings are more notable for their visuals than the songs they feature.
Psycho-Pass is a fine example of high concept sci-fi. While the futuristic setting has a decidedly dystopian feel, it is still very interesting and provides some nice food for thought. The show's attempt to explore the concepts of crime and justice through the overlord like Sibyl System is an admirable one, and through its central character Akane it draws some fascinating conclusions. Which makes it a shame the show can too often be needlessly heavy-handed, leaving the feeling that the show could have handled its themes with more grace and would have been better for it. The underwhelming development for characters other than Akane is also a bit of a detriment, especially since some of these characters get a good amount of screen time. Even still, Psycho-Pass is certainly worth the watch as a bleak, visceral, wickedly entertaining thriller. read more
Apr 14, 2013
A world that keeps people under control breeds monsters, in order to keep an equilibrium. Psycho-Pass could have been just another action anime with a cute main girl and attractive bishonen cast, fortunately, that wasn't the case. I would describe this anime as having an unique approach on a detective/ futuristic setting, borrowing a variety of concepts from various medias and forming its own world.
In a world dependent on technology, which seems so guarded and secure, the human psyche has never been more endangered. This world is marked by the existence of the “Sybil System” (that is unquestioned by the avearge citizen, thus making you doubt the fairness of the system) which was a system created to improve the human society, by sorting out those who have a "clouded Psycho-Pass", (which means they have criminal tendecies) from the "good sheep". “Mental contamination” is presenting itself as a big issue, coordinating the future of its inhabitants. The degree of how "contaminted" is your psychic health, is being measured by the "Psycho-Pass" device, hence the name of the show. This is a world where humans chose comodity over personal freedom, which is only a very well camouflaged illusion.
The screen play was written by Gen Urobuchi (Nitroplus), the one and only creator of the thought-provoking Madoka Magica, he's the reason for the popular themes that attracts the masses while still delivering intriguing and imaginative themes. The first episode opens with the newly appointed young inspector Akane Tsunemori that has as her first case the dangerous mission of catching a criminal. As her "assistants" she receives in her care a few "enforcers" who are described as latent criminals who are allowed into the outside world with the sole purpose of flushing out criminals just like themselves : "They are hunting dogs. They're beasts used to hunt other beasts." At first, Akane is intimidated by them, but soon finds out they are victims of the society they live in. They are seen using cool-looking weapons, called “Dominator" that adapt to the owner's psychological data, which in my opinion is an ingenious concept.
I should add that action-driven, detective-oriented animes aren't my cup of tea, but in Psycho-Pass' case it is more than that, I was compelled by the waving of the plot and the philosophical aspects. They are smartly integrated in the plot, such as the existence of a dystopian future, how far can we grasp the mysteries of the human psyche, the thin line between right or wrong, the purpose of justice and law, the human need for comodity, which empties the human potential etc. Another strong point of the series is its social commentaries, using themes such as inequality in the society, fear of confronting reality by immersing yourself in the internet world, the existence of numbness and insensitivity of humans to stimulations since their reason of living had died out, as well as the opposite, people who want to outlive others by resolving to turn into androids. There are concepts borrowed from all over the place, from the science fiction novel " Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick (which is also mentioned by Makishima Shougo,the literature-loving killer), to George Orwell's famous "Nineteen Eighty-Four" to William Gibson's cyber-punk universe.
There is a particular scene that I think is very relevant to understanding the degree of how the existence of the Sibyl System and Psycho-Pass affected the society: A man walks in a crowded street and randomly chooses to attack a woman, cowering in fear of the consequence of having their psycho-pass be clouded, the audience watches apathetically as the woman is being hit numerous times with a hammer/ gavel while being undressed. As if it weren't enough, the spectators even film the scene, seeming to enjoy it tremendously. Approaching her, comes a robot that advises her to go see a doctor, since her psycho-pass is clouded (due to the beating). This scene shows the irony of the society they live in, on the surface the government pretends that they guard the citizens, but when something like this occurs, no one interferes A character commented:“They said they couldn't understand what was going on. Someone being killed right in front of you,the idea wouldn't even occur to you. All these people lived up until today without even considering that something like this could happen”.
There are flaws with the plot which is pretentious and it does have an intellectual approach, however, it does not always succeed. The anime has good flow until episode 11, after that it begins to be unfocused and starts prolonging unnecessarry story lines (however in the final episodes it returns to the original formula). It is ironic that the best part of the story was the beginning which didn't had so much plot, but managed to maintain its good points, the episodic villains not slowing the plot but preparing it for the climax.
If you watched series such as Ergo Proxy and Ghost in the shell you may not find the story so innovative. However, if you haven't watched these great show you'll be able to enjoy the story more than I did.
I have to say, the first thing I noticed looking on this anime's Mal page, was the design of the characters, I was like :"Are you sure Amano Akira-sensei that did Katekyo Hitman Reborn didn't drew the characters?" And I was right, you can't believe how happy I was since her drawing style is one of my favorites in manga. The art is very good, the designs for the characters are appealing and eye-pleasing, the scenaries are beautifully drawn and give the feeling the staff put a lot of effort and care into them, as well as in the technological devices. The animation is smooth and it flows naturally, giving a feeling of realism, while still keeping an anime feel to it.
The sound is great, it has catchy rhythms and lyrics as well as atmospheric backgroud music.I remember a certain lyric from the ending song "God....Where did you go?", which I think suits this society.
The characters are likeable, even the main antagonist. At first, I thought Shinya Kougami was a suicidal maniac, that seeked redemption by being killed. However, that's far from the truth, the audience discovering that he actually wants to live in order to avenge his murdered colleague. I find Shinya's character easy to empathise with (which is always a good thing), he is also interesting as a character, possesing superior observational skills which remind me of Will Graham from Red Dragon, who tries to enter the minds of criminals (at one point we see him reading a book called "Heart of Darkness", which presents the exact same situation he finds himself in, a conflict between the "lower", un-advanced humans and superior, technology-users ones).
Akane's physical appearance makes her seem younger than she is, but her personality is far more reserved and mature. She is at one time regarded as “mental beauty” because of the degree of her self-control. One character stated about her that: “She accepts things as they are. She forgives society, acknowledges it, and accepts it. On top of that, she doesn't mind taking risks, so it's not like she's just going with the flow”. However, her relationship with Shinya is almost non-existent even after 20 episodes, which really annoys the hell out of me.
Now, time for the most interesting character in this series, and the reason why this anime is so higly regarded, Makishima Shougo. In a world that humans aren't actually “alive”, as their lives are dictated by the Sybil System, Shougo wants to live life to the fullest. When people are given free hand to commit atrocious murders, they don't hesitate and grasp the chance. This is what Makishima really is in my opinion, a trigger that determines other people to go against the norms of society, fulfilling their destructive desires. He uses his natural leader skills to manipulate other criminals, being like a flame that attracts moths, ending up burning them, him being the only one left standing. His superior talents make him search for his equal, someone he can measure up against without ever getting bored. He represents the ultimate contradiction, his consciousness being crystal-clear and pure while committing heinous acts. He thinks of himself more of an artist than anything, a conductor that orchestrates the destruction of the world he lives in. There is beauty where there is suffering and chaos, only that way humans realise the importance of being alive. The exchange of words he has with Shinya adds to my enjoyment, as I can clearly see the chemistry between the two characters, each being the reflection of the other, the only thing that separtes them is the side of the coin they are on.
Nobuchika Ginoza is one of these characters you either love or hate. It is interesting to see his inner conflicts, having to choose between obeying the system or aiding his friends. I find intriguing the fact that he strives to be the perfect inspector, since his own father failed as an inspector and became a latent criminal, disgracing his family. His fear of not wanting to became a latent criminal like his father is smartly crafted, though I would have enjoyed to see more of their relationship. There is also the tensionate realationship with Shinya, his former collegue and friend, who betrayed him like his father did, becoming a latent criminal, and for that, Ginoza never forgives him.
However there are flaws with the characters as well. Even if Akane is the main character I would have liked to see more of her, the amount of information we receive about her is unsatisfactory. That doesn't only happen with her, but with Shinya as well, since we don't know anything about his background other than that he was an inspector.
This anime is worth watching, it does deserve some of the praise it gets, even if it had its flaws. It is however one of the most well-made anime in the winter-spring season of 2013. I will end quoting Makishima, 'cause I liked it a lot: " Just like God? That might be pleasurable in its own way, but unfortunately I'm not into umpire or referee, as I can't genuinely enjoy the game if I were one”.
Overall: 8.6 read more
Mar 27, 2013
And I can say that, Psycho-Pass is the most humane story of Urobuchi Gen.
Taking place in a not far future, a dystopian place, Psycho-Pass is a great criticism to human nature itself, both as individuals and community. It is interesting to see that these matters were not put in a subtle way, but a more direct way. It's so unlike Urobuchi Gen, but that is one of the few reasons to make it his most humane story.
Solitude... Being part of a community... Allegedly given freedom... A future that is sealed even before the act takes place. Everything is decided for you and yet you still live a life that is yours. However, what will happen when the walls that are protecting you fall part? And maybe worst? It makes you to question. Were they made to keep the danger outside, or were they made to keep you inside? What will be the side you'll be taking when those walls fade?
Characters of Psycho-Pass touches almost everyone's life. Almost everyone can find something related to themselves in them. Obsession, parenthood, patriotism, humanism, idealism, solitude, search, a lesser evil, a greater good, an impossible choice, incomprehensible and unacceptable yet still undeniable facts... Nothing is up to you to decide, yet you have to make a choice. It is the very essence of Psycho-pass, desperation.
Every single character in this story suffers from it, and takes shape with it. It will be up to you to decide the good and evil... again.
Science fiction, action, detective... These may be the genres to describe Psycho-Pass, and it may look like it only speaks for a very specific part of viewers, but not only it fills those genres quite well, but also it speaks for other viewers too. If you are looking for something that makes sense, that you'll both enjoy and question paradigms while watching, Psycho-Pass is something you should never miss. read more
Jan 26, 2013
In a world where a persons mental state means everything, every action you make could mean a life in prison, or life as a slave to the new systems police force, If, you have talent for thinking like a criminal and solving murders.
This anime is fantastic, and for the first time in a long while the main threat is a perfect character. I am 15 episodes in and somehow this anime is still getting better and better.
Crime, action, intelligence and mental stability are all equally important in this story, and the plot is continuous and really showing a lot of growth in the main characters and direction of the story.
All ready there have been back stories and even episodes solely dedicated to showing us how the characters are were they are.
Kougami is going to be a favourite of mine, and I am sure there will be others who will think the same,
Do you want to be emerged in a great plot with great characters in a world that is on the brink of falling into anarchy?
Where only a few can stop it?
Add in horror, action , mystery and crime and you have Psycho pass.
Must watch IMO. read more
May 8, 2013
I loved this story line because it has twists. The story has elements of doing what you are told and not asking any questions. The world they live in has a questionable system to tell if you are a criminal or not by looking out your psycho pass. It if exceeds the crime coefficient limit than the Dominator(their gun) states whether they die or become stunned.
The art was not impressive but I like the way it represented the whole futuristic type of genre. I personally liked the soundtrack.
They character development in this anime was phenomenal. Each character has their own reason for where they are in the show. It is later the characteristics that define each character that come into play later on that makes the story an "eye opener".
Personally, i enjoyed this anime more than others because I like the whole detective and mystery type of anime. The thing I liked most was the fact that they used references or quotes that were themed with the situation at hand.
****The only reason this anime didn't get on favorites list for me was because there weren't more episodes***** read more
May 5, 2013
At first, I was going to drop the show because of how stupid Akane looks (I'm pretty sure most of you thought of this too) and how slow the story is progressing. I decided not to because of how good I heard this anime is. I stuck with it for awhile and then when I reached episode 10 and onwards, I fucking LOVE it! I love Kogami, he is fucking BADASS! I love the music in this anime, it's epic, especially "Abnormalize" by Ling Toshite Sigure, "Out of Control" by Nothing's Carved in Stone, and "All Alone With You" by EGOIST. My favorite part of the anime is how fantastic the artwork is, it's just done beautifully! Overall, once you reached about episode 10 or so, the anime turns completely BADASS, so yeah, watch it if you haven't watched it before.
THIS SHOW IS FUCKING EPIC!
Mar 31, 2013
The sci-fi genre doesn't always agree with me. Half are repetitive, executed poorly, confusing, or a combination of the three. Then there are some that have this beautifully unique plot that keep me on edge throughout the entire series. Psycho-Pass was one of these. The story centers around a society that has attempted to reach utopia by handing the law to machines rather than human emotion to judge people's minds based on their psycho pass. But little do they know that their system isn't as perfect as it seems. I, personally, have never watched an anime with an idea like this. The story shows both the side of the Sybil system and the criminal- Makishima. The main character is stuck with a choice between order/stability of the society they already have, or freedom of choice and getting rid of the somewhat corrupt Sybil system. It's controversial. Though the latter is more preferable in theory, getting rid of the present system throws society into chaos. True utopia is never achievable. Both sides are good and bad in their own way, and we get to see Akane struggle through these notions. I enjoyed the psychology behind the anime as well as the great action throughout it. I also liked how even though it's set in the future, certain aspects still remain with certain improvements such as cars, police, and communication. All in all, the story is pretty solid.
The art is what initially put me off. It looked strange and a bit off from my normal, newer anime art. But as soon as I started watching it, I found that the art was really nice and suited the anime very well. Interesting angles are used as well as beautiful scenery shots, especially in the first episode at the end where you get to see a view of the city. The fighting scenes are well animated, the dominators are well animated, most everything is well animated. My only complaint is the animation quality drop towards the middle end of the series. You can definitely tell there was a budget cut or someone was getting lazy in that 1 or 2 episodes. If you need proof, just look at Ginoza's face when he's taking off his glasses. Other than that, the art is nice.
I have no complaints about sound what-so-ever. I instantly fell in love with the first OP, Abnormalize, and the amazing opening credits it came with. That OP has to be one of my top favorites of all time especially because it suits the anime and the credits so well. All of the music does. All of the OP's and ED's are memorable. The action music, psychological music, the creepy sounds of bodies or flesh, even the un-suiting classical music in the last ep with Makishima suited and enhanced the anime so much. I liked all the voice actors, found that their voices suited the characters, and was surprised to find just how amazing seiyuu's can be to be able to change their voices to the extent they can. (seriously, just look at other roles Kougami's and Makashima's voice actors have done!) Job well done.
I thought about giving character a 9, but realized that some of the characters lacked a little in character development. All of the characters have distinctive personalities. I was annoyed with Akane in the first ep but grew to love her as I watched her grow into a full-fledged bad-ass Inspector. I fell in love with Ginoza too because of his character development and his past. With characters like Akane and Kougami, we see a lot of character development and insight into their minds because they're the main characters. Even though Makishima is the main villain, we aren't given much insight into his past or what makes him him besides some of Kougami's speculations. With a unique personality like Makishima's, I would have felt more comfortable if we were given a flashback into his childhood or something like with Yayoi. Fortunately, we were presented with various thoughts of his and got to see through his mind in some aspects, making his lack of background nearly unnoticeable. Other minor characters such as Kagari and Shion hinted on pivotal moments in their life that made them enforcers, but didn't give more than a sentence or two to speculate on. Maybe it was on purpose to leave it open to the viewers, but I would've liked at least a good 5 minutes or episode (like Yayoi's) on them to really grip why they are who they are.
I really loved this whole series, especially the end. It made me cry, it made me think, it made me squeal in excitement. I was on edge the entire time and awaited each new episode eagerly.
Even though I fully enjoyed and personally ranked Psycho-Pass as a 10, as a review I have to overall rank it as a very high 9 because of the issue with art in the middle and lack of stories for Makishima and some minor characters. It's not perfect, but it's a damn good anime and I highly suggest it to anyone who enjoys a little serious thinking with their anime. read more
Mar 21, 2013
What might be the first thing you see? It might be something like, “today in this peaceful community....police are looking for your help in identitying this suspect wanted for […]. If you have any other information, please contact your local authorities”.
Seriously, how often do you hear that? Most people who tune in the news daily probably would be half a dozen times a day. In the world of Psycho-Pass, the series takes crime to a whole new level with its advanced technology. Yet at the same time, hope and justice exists as the Enforcement Division uses technology of their own to apprehend criminals and eliminate them as a threat to society.
Psycho-Pass is an original series that debuted on the noitamina network featuring a setting of a dystopian future. The series may be synonymous to the term, “psychopath” that reflects on a twisted individual's state of being. But any rate, the series takes place in a future where it has become possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person's state of mind and personality. For that purpose, the term “Psycho-Pass” is used to refer the measure of an individual's being. In such a world, those with high Psycho-Pass levels are considered a threat to society and it is up to the Enforcement Division to eradicate them.
We need to think about this though:
Humans aren't perfect and we are all capable of making mistakes. The degree of these mistakes varies but all have consequences. However, should we really be punished before the action is committed? Should we be judged based on a system rather than morality? What if there is a flaw in the system and something goes wrong? It seems that some of these questions/ideas becomes a conflict for those who follows the system.
Essentially, the series makes an excellent pilot episode as well as the main themes of the series. The way Gen Uroboichi (PMMM, Fate/Zero S2, Phantom Requiem) handles this series traces down some of his other ways of dealing with his previous works. The themes of dealing with the future and thriller like moods are both present and beautifully executed. In fact, the series follows what police and the government can do in the future with technology like we have never seen before. It is quite an enthralling idea. Just think about it: reducing crime or rather, eradicating it before it even happens and prevent the damage. Maintaining public order in a dystopian world is never easy but the Enforcement Division is there to tackle the job.
Unfortunately, the series' themes tries a bit too hard occasionally with its philosophical and confusing speeches. In particular, the seemingly antagonist of the series stays in the background most of the time. More precisely, he is shown to be a humanist who embraces the idea of cruelty and the dark side of the human mind. It is possible that he even views himself as an immortal with the way he handles torture of his victims, either physically or mentally. He even makes twisted dialogues portraying a lot of old culture and seemingly becomes a distraction in occasional episodes with his Shakespearen-like monotones.
The themes of the series are also not new or too original as some people may think. The idea of a dystopian setting and working for a government in a futuristic setting can be traced in other anime series such as Ghost in the Shell and Ergo Proxy. In fact, viewers might even find some of its similarities so similar that it's almost like a season 3 of GiS. As such, police drama with cyberpunk and mysteries are involved. Even in live action movies, themes similar to Psycho-Pass exists such as those in The Minority Report, a film loosely based on Philip K. Dick. The point is that the although promising, it may or may not be new for veteran anime fans into the franchise. Regardless though, the series' idea is still interesting with its dark backgrounds and writing courtesy of Urobutcher.
As mentioned before, the series takes off with an explosive start and shows that such a dystopian world is truly dangerous. It does drag off balance a little though in the beginning episodes that seemingly may distract the viewers a bit. Examples of this includes the seemingly virtual world, stage attacks, and those fan service bits of Akane. However, it still maintains a high level of interest for viewers especially later on when new characters are introduced and some intertwined plots become connected through the criminal activities and mysteries. Some of the thriller endings are also capable of keeping a viewer at the edge of their seats as they make a viewer wonder “what will happen next?...”
Psycho-Pass continues to maintain its balance of character casts. They work together as a team with the unit because in the end, it takes teamwork and skills to finish the task. (and with a little help with the Dominator of course)
The main male protagonist in the series is a young man named Shinya Kougami who is tough, independent, and skilled in what he does. Ironically, he has a high criminal mentality himself but circumstances has allowed him to become part of the solution. Working with him on various assigned tasks is the female protagonist of the series, Akane Tsunemori. She joined the department for a different reason than Shinya but otherwise becomes part of the solution as well. Unlike Shinya however, she is more delicate who makes up the team with her intelligence rather than brawn. She seems to serve as the foil of Shinya and possibly even become a future love interest of his. The two shares an awkward relationship but it is clear that they care for one another, especially Shinya who seems to go his ways to help and protect her. The other characters of the team and cast also plays various roles although their spotlights are lessened in the series. Yet, they do balance out the team. We have the enthuastic and outgoing Shuusei Kagari who often makes jokes during the job that brightens the mood of the story. On the other hand, Yayoi Kunizuka maintains her calm composure during any situation and shrives to get the job done right. Then, there's Nobuchika Ginoza who has the most experience on the team and thus serves a sort of mentor for the others in order to ensure the success of a mission. Others such as Tomomi Masaoka and Shion Karanomori also play their roles. Ultimately, it's up to the entire team and their skills collectively as well working together to make the city a better place to live in.
The series is quite violent both physically and psychologically. Even in the very first episode, the criminals are shown to be merciless and violent. In fact, the very first criminal in the series that we see is a kidnapper, potential rapist, and possible murderer. It is no wonder his criminal mentality level is so high. The psychological part of Psycho Pass exists as well especially involving the main antagonist with his way of speeches. The way he talks through metaphors and expressing his ideas while having an English song being played can be a bit disturbing. It's not exactly something a viewer should watch before they go to sleep at night.
The way the series handles the fates of criminals with high level of Psycho-Pass is also brutal. Every time the Dominator claims a new life breeds a new scene of gruesome death, where the body splatters upon impact. The blood fills the screen and employs those shock values of violence and gore. Even when the target evades the move, it makes it seem it's just a matter of time they meet their ultimate fate. It doesn't stop there either. Fan service are also present especially with Akane and later on at school where artwork is seemingly portrayed as a way of sexualizing dead bodies where even cases of necrophilia is present. At some point, viewers will realize the various shock shown and what Psycho-Pass is as a series: a dark and gruesome presentation in the dystopian world.
The point? DO NOT WATCH if you can't take this. Trust me, you won't make it.
The artwork of the series is quite dark and I mean it literally. Even in the beginning episodes, it's hard to make out what exactly is happening until you take a closer examination. This shouldn't be a surprise though as in most dystopia series, such visuals are used to convey the serious mood and dark backgrounds. Koji Eto (Fate/Zero, Garden of Sinners, Steins;Gate) serves as the art director and the man gets the job done with his talents. With his already talented skills in crafting and directing darker themed series, Psycho-Pass brings those backgrounds of violence, cruelty, and darkness into the series quite well. The CGI usage of those dominator also shows the technology side of the P-P world. It's quite enthralling to look at and see how far everything has come through in such a futuristic dystopian setting.
Likewise, the soundtrack makes an impression. Yoshikazu Iwanami (Another, Koi Kaze, Deadman Wonderland) orchestrates the score and makes his skills known throughout the eerie sound rythyms in later episodes. In some of the scenes, English folktale music is used to reflect some of the moods of dark violence that expresses itself metaphorically. An example would be in one of the arcs where “Rule Britannia” is seemingly played during a rather disturbing scene. Employment of this is rare in anime series these days and makes some of the arcs that much more darker.
The opening song is performed quite well in general. Abnormalize by Ling Tosite Sigure plays a montage of the gruesome backgrounds of the series with some montages of the main characters. The lyrics “secret kills for you” is occasionally heard that brings the haunting words to life in the anime series. Likewise, Egoist makes their name known for their talent in both of their ED songs. Although not too realistic, it is catchy and fits within that P-P way, just the way it ought to be.
Ultimately, Psycho-Pass is a blockbuster series that can be quite a blast especially those into a futuristic setting involving police detective fiction. It's hard to say that the series is really for everyone especially those who have problems with the violence, gore, and psychological thriller themes expressed. It looks like P-P does try quite hard occasionally, but in such a world, there needs to be order. The series makes a great usage of its dystopia future while staying to the point without going off track too much. Science fiction often incorporates the package of alien invasion, going into a virtual world for conquest/domination, or time travel. Psycho Pass takes that genre and transforms it into a product that is appealing with its dynamics beyond those typical themes. However at many instances, I do feel that the series falls apart with its plot. Still though, it was a nice watch for me.
Now, what that's being said and done, season 2 may be on the horizon. Crime coefficient levels? Hell, if I'd know. read more
Oct 29, 2012
The story of Psycho-pass takes place in the far future, in which society has become what today might consider a utopia. People no longer need to lock their doors or fear walking the streets at night, because anyone with the mental capacity to commit a crime has been locked away. Nearly every inch of public area is constantly screened and scanned by a system called "Sibyl" that judges and tests peoples' personality, skills, emotions, desires, etc, to get an overall analysis of who is mentally unhealthy. (Terms: Taking a mental screening is called a "Psycho-pass," the show's namesake. Inspectors and Enforcers - essentially police - have the power to take one at will with their guns called 'Dominators').
People with high "Crime Coefficients" are deemed as mentally unhealthy and are called "latent criminals" (as in, they have the possibility of becoming a criminal) and are taken in for treatment. If possibilities of rehabilitation are deemed zero, they can either be taken to an isolation complex, or take up the role of an Enforcer (nicknamed "hunting dogs") - which are basically latent criminals who hunt down other latent criminals.
Overall as a theme, the anime questions what happens in a society ruled by a supercomputer that isolates potential criminals from the normal. The show begins with some common criminal cases, revealing the extent of Sibyl's power and rule. However, as the storyline continues, cracks begin to appear in the Sibyl system. It is then revealed that Sibyl is not, as originally thought, perfect, but only works because people place their trust in it.
The interesting thing about this anime is that the main characters are enforcers of the Sibyl system - they are defending it. The antagonists have been primarily people who oppose the system, ranging from your normal criminals, to a rebel in Yayoi's past who opposed it, to finally Makishima, who wishes to show that their current society has made people into thoughtless sheep. This is exemplified in episode 14, in which a helmet that has the capability of deceiving the Sibyl system makes possible a public crime - right in the middle of a busy street. Horrifyingly, none of the bystanders makes any move to help the victim - they are mentally incapable of understanding that the Sibyl system has failed, and that what is going on before their very eyes is a crime.
It only remains to be seen what will happen in future episodes, but the premise is certainly very promising.
The artwork is excellent and well-thought out, with a variety of intriguing and subtle array of angles. Action and violent scenes are well done; nothing is overtly shown, but the artwork does a good job of subtly getting the horror across.
One of my favorite parts of this anime is the sound; the background tracks do a great job of bringing out the theme and mood of the anime. The first OP is also amazing, and EGOIST from Guilty Crown fame (infamy?) makes a return with the first and second ending themes.
Next, the characters (character designs were done by the author of Katekyo Hitman Reborn): you have the moe female lead, Tsunemori Akane, and the enigmatic dark male lead, Kougami Shinya. Then there is a rather large assortment of supporting characters who nevertheless do get their fair amount of screentime. Ginoza is a very well characterized character, as well as his (spoiler!) father, Masaoka. Karanomori is your generic (and necessary) sexy support scientist, and Yayoi (no, you are not mistaken about that other Japanese word her name looks like) got almost an entire episode devoted to her backstory. Then there is Makishima, the main villain. Voiced by Sakurai Takahiro, and with his physical appearance a white-haired bishonen, he is not-so-subtly marketed towards the fangirls. His philosophical tangents tend to get irritating (we get it Psycho-pass, you are an extremely profound show) but particularly in the most recent episodes, as his intentions become clear, he is becoming fairly intriguing.
As a whole, the cast is filled with a bunch of misfits...who are surprisingly easy to empathize with.
The show is full of some truly excellent dark and gritty scenes - counting necroism, full body explosions, dissembling of bodies, strangling, grinding up bodies, sticking all sorts of objects (scissors and bats) into the mouth and then proceeding to smash it in...basically, lots of bodies. Psycho-pass is definitely not for the faint-hearted. While none of the scenes are ever overly gory or explicit, the sheer horror of knowing what is going on is sometimes enough to cause some flinching or cringing (depending on how manly you are).
As a plus, none of the main characters ever really lose their heads (no pun intended), but usually manage to maintain their cool, which allows room for the viewer to have their own reactions. This, added to the scattered moments of sheer imagination and humor (which, however, is becoming more scarce as the show picks up the pace) add just the right balance to the darker themes, making Psycho-pass a very personal, mental, and engaging watch.
Now, I am not usually into detective-type stories, but Psycho-pass is engaging enough that it doesn't even matter what genre it is. There is no romance (although Makishima should be enough for even the most rabid of fangirls), but there are enough moments of family/friendship to anchor the otherwise science-fiction and action elements into something a bit more familiar and substantial.
I personally found episode 14 amazing, and if the show can maintain this level of momentum, I will raise the rating to a 9. For now - a solid 8. read more
Mar 25, 2013
Set in the kindling years of the 22nd century, Psycho is a show that keeps up with a small specialist team of detectives and officers as they go about righting the wrongs of the futuristic society in which Psycho is based. As mentioned, one might immediately begin to draw parallels between it and Stand Alone Complex, but outside of setting and character professions, any major similarities end there. Where the latter focuses more on a world with prosthetics and the subsequent array of problems that might occur from such products, Psycho focuses on an idea that feel’s much more foreign to what we know. Less an array of problems, and more one of colours.
In this future we, or at least Japan, have developed the technology to be able to categorise one’s metal state and place it under a colour. From this technology it is possible to work out how an individual is best suited to live their life to their fullest potential but more importantly, it’s possible to work out how likely it is that one will divulge in criminal activities, embodied in a number called a “Criminal Coefficient”. This is all possible with the aid of the Sibyl System. Despite such a thing being created with the pure intentions of making society a happier and less dangerous place, it’s pretty clear by the end of the first episode that the way things are, are impossibly flawed.
Our main female character of Akane Tsunemori is a new detective on the beat working at the Public Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation Division, an organisation in which there are two tiers, the Inspectors and the Enforcers, with the former being people who have a clean criminal record and the later being those who have been designated by Sibyl as criminals, but have been given a second chance in which they can help society rather then hinder it.
This presence of a hierarchy immediately set’s up an interesting dynamic between the seven characters that form the team which the show keeps up with. Akane is a very strong character, she’s intelligent, strong minded and well spoken and as a result, doesn’t really like the way things are with the system opting more to trust her own co-workers based on her own judgements rather then that of Sibyl. A controversial ploy considering that Sibyl’s judgement is supposed to be final, any dispute of that system is to dispute the entire grounds on which Psycho’s society is based. But as the viewer you will notice these problems to, you end up sympathising with Akane since she’s a small voice of logic in a world where self judgement of a situation isn’t valued.
As a result of all this, Akane is a pretty likeable character; she’s feminine enough to seem believable yet not enough to consider her a sexualised character in the slightest. I.G struck a nice balance with her and they deserve credit for rendering such a convincing lead.
Thankfully, the same can be said for most of the other six characters that populate the team at the CID. They way they interact with one another really hint’s at quite a lot of history between them and really strengthens the feel that they have been working together for quite some time and have seen their fair share of shit in that time. Over the course of the show we are slowly but surely given reasons as to why certain characters interact with one another in certain ways and it really strengthens some of them as being much more then another set of 2D cardboard cut-out clichéd characters.
With that said, I do unfortunately have to use the word “some” when referring to those other six characters because while most of them are likeable, only around three of them actually receive the aforementioned development, with the rest being more their for convenience and structure rather then really adding anything to the show. For instance, one episode takes place in the middle of the series focusing on events taking place years before the series begins concerning the addition of the Enforcer Yayoi to the team. While it is an entertaining episode, it’s really only there for pacing purposes and doesn’t really add a huge amount to Yayoi’s character who up to and past that point, has very little screen time, let alone development.
Playing second fiddle to the characters is an entirely different aspect of Psycho that is superbly well done, its setting. Production I.G has this knack for creating worlds in the mind that both feel entirely fantasy yet firmly rooted in reality. There’s a strong attention to detail that remains consistently intriguing from start to finish, if you’re anything like me then you will just get a kick out of seeing how all these various elements pair together, seeing how people live in this future and how it differs from our own. It’s a really solid use of the medium and it’s supported by a strong sense of life and clutter amongst the various backgrounds that will caress your retina which is further made all the more awesome by this lovely mechanical tech that I.G like to do with all that fancy 2D/ 3D malarkey.
A great example of this can be found in the guns that the Enforcers use, the “Dominators” that you have probably seen in the promotional art for this show. Their design is more akin to that of an accessory or an item to serve as a fashion statement rather then that of a law enforcement weapon. It really is quite a striking design so it’s no surprise to see I.G use it in quite a lot throughout the show.
But what use would a weapon be if Psycho didn’t show it of? While the gun looks really cool and all, sequences that actually involve it being used along with some actual action are few and far between with most of them being over pretty quickly. That’s not to say their bad, their enjoyable alright, the fighting is well choreographed and the limitations of the Dominator as a weapon only capable of being used when the targets Criminal Coefficient is over a certain mark adds a layer of complexity that is referenced throughout. But these moments really aren’t the focus of the show so don’t go in expecting an action extravaganza, you won’t get it here.
Music also play’s a key part in these sequences to, with more upbeat tracks getting me pumped for what ever is about to play out with more serine tracks playing more at times of discussion then danger. The music doesn’t just consistently complement what ever is on screen but it enhances it. The same can be said for the voice acting to which is all way’s delivered convincingly and consistently and I never found my immersion being broken from the show as a result of poor line delivery.
The real kicker to Psycho however is in its story. Initially, Psycho might appear to be an episodic show which, given the setting and the premise, could easily work. But after a few episodes Psycho really step’s a few things up and begins to have a more continuous structure. These bunch of episodes were easily the highlight of Psycho for me, as the world and its various aspects are introduced, were let into a string of gruesome murders that are intertwined with previous events in the world that we are not initially made aware of, but slowly let into what happened and what bearing it has on the characters at play.
The pacing throughout these episodes is immaculate and I really had a “Just one more episode” feel while watching them that made me want to find out how things divulged deeper and how circumstances developed. There’s a pyramid scheme of lunatics at play here and seeing how they try their best to screw things over hold’s its own charm. The final two episodes of the opening half play out like an engrossing game of cat and mouse that had me glued to my screen the whole time and they, as well as the episodes in the run up to this part, were by far the most engrossing and well executed part of the whole show, and the most fun I’ve had watching something in quite some time.
Unfortunately though, after the mid way point things take… a dip shall we say? After being given a selection of wacko’s up to this point were left with just one main antagonist, a white haired bloke who everyone call’s Makishima. And while it was pretty obvious that the show really wanted us to resent this guy for all the horrible things that he does. Generally he’s just an intelligent chav, and the re-occurring rivalry between him and our male lead Shinya Kougami feel’s overly exploited and generally not all that interesting when going into detail.
This isn’t helped either by the fact that the pacing of the show takes a dip as well. While the first half builds up to what I could immaturely describe as a premature climax, in which Makishima tries to fuck over society, the second stumbles trying to get back into the flow of things. In the second half of the show we see Makishima execute two more schemes to try to ruin everyone else’s fun but in both cases they just feel poorly thought out. The first one focuses a lot of pretty much just screwing over the Sibyl System and during these segments there is *a lot* of exposition about the Sibyl System and it’s various flaws and shortcomings. And while there are quite a few relatable themes at play such as questioning how free an individual is and pondering just hopeless shoving someone in a prison in the plan that their mental state will improve despite being surrounded by people in a similar state, generally I just found what they talked about when discussing it rather meh.
To use the aforementioned show of Stand Alone Complex as an example, the Sibyl System isn’t really something we can relate to in the slightest. SAC focused on the topic of prosthetics and while the current technology is still in its infancy, it’s not hard to bend your mind and see how things would play out in the world of SAC. As it currently stands we don’t really have anything to parallel Psycho’s Sibyl to in real life and to have such a foreign concept receive so much attention throughout the course of the show really doesn’t help much.
This is further accentuated in one particular scene in which a man beat’s a woman to death in the middle of a street. On one hand it’s an interesting thing to see how confusing a concept aggression is in this peaceful utopia, but on the other hand it’s the same peaceful utopia that spawned our very much aware of violence team of hero’s. It’s not a huge issue, but there’s no denying a feeling of disconnect between our main characters and the world that they inhabit beyond the fact that most of them are latent criminals.
Finally in the last attempt that we see playing out from Makishima, there’s a distinct lack of logic in the proceedings. Without trying to give too much away, the final scheme could be described as the lowest risk, highest reward plan out of the bunch and it really makes the question of, “Why he didn’t just do it all sooner before he had the cops tailing him?” linger in your mind.
In the end, Psycho-Pass isn’t a perfect show, in fact there’s a pretty big “to do” list of improvements if a season two was to ever happen. But the opening half of the show is so superbly well done and so engrossing that’s I feel like I can let slide most of the dip in quality that the second half experiences. And even then I still found the second half pretty enjoyable simply down to the setting and aesthetics on display. In case I haven’t made it clear enough, if you liked Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex then you should probably give Psycho-Pass a punt, just be warned to expect similar flaws. But over all, it’s really not a bad show. read more
Mar 22, 2013
Psycho-Pass starts out nicely, introducing us to rookie Inspector Tsunemori Akane venturing into world of Public Safety Bureau, unit specialized for apprehending criminals and suspects judged by all seeing eye that is called Sibyl System. Under supervision of very same system, Bureau works to discover potential threats to society and solve various cases where rules of System have been broken. Hierarchy in Bureau is very clear; Inspectors, such as Akane supervise Enforcers such as Kougami Shinya, former convicts or outcasts of society that Sibyl System decided to recruit as manpower in upholding order.
Series continues in episodic way introducing us to world and some specifics in line of work of Bureau such as reliance on Enforcers' ways of solving cases; it takes a dog to hunt a dog. Another nice catch in dog-master relationship between Enforcers and Inspectors are Dominator guns, designed to target only people with high crime coefficient judged by Sibyl. That way it is ensured that dogs remain dogs and cannot rebel against System or endanger innocent people, while Inspector can always point gun towards Enforcer and pacify him due to his high crime coefficient. Psycho-Pass does a great job of introducing us to dystopian, or even utopian world, depending on interpretation, as well as people's concerns over it, both inside of Bureau and in outer world, such as when Akane's friends discuss about their concern with career that is predetermined by System.
Unfortunately, as series progresses it becomes clear that only way Psycho-Pass will hold viewer entertained is by adding body count. People we know nothing about, we care nothing about are killed by the same people we don't know/care, whose motives are vague and deluded, in horrible ways, kinda Urobuchi's trademark, but relevance of these events is practically nonexistent except perhaps explaining motives of Psycho-Pass main antagonist, Makishima Shogo and his views on current state of society. Show keeps on using shock elements, such as brutal murders, public chaos, blood and gore to keep up entertainment value. And it does its job well. On the flip side, it adds no intellectual or emotional value to story, but only pictures Sibyl System and Bureau as incompetent bunch, not being able to handle even minor riot started by bunch of renegades immune to Sibyl's judgment. Dominators, their first line of defense against chaos are worthless. Such system maintains lives of countless people across whole country and yet as very smallest problem and it becomes unsolvable until fatal damage has been dealt. But I'll get to juicy details of Sibyl being fundamentally flawed later. For now let's talk characters.
Series and Bureau have rather wealthy cast, and as such, it's not possible to fully develop every single one of them. There is more focus on our love triangle of Makishima, Akane and Kougami while rest of the cast are there merely to present view on Sibyl, or sometimes they even receive some development, but it's nothing to write home about, except Ginoza that receives some good development by the end of the series. Akane is easily best character in show and her development is well done. Transformation from rookie with shaking knees into full fledged Inspector with strength to stand for herself, being a guide to future generations of Inspectors to come is really impressive. Makishima would be so proud of how much she changed since their first meeting. Speaking of Makishima, I'm kinda iffy on him. He does represent man with strong sense of individuality, wanting to liberate people from System's *evil* control. If that's the case then what is point of enjoying watching people suffer and messing with others' lives? And on occasions he transforms from *poet* into mindless shounen antagonist wanting to kill everyone in his path. Inconsistent characterization much? What could have been great character was reduced to your random unmemorable guy. Kougami also received great deal of exposure throughout the series and his character is well built. As he degraded into state of mere hound he relies a lot on his instinct when solving cases giving series a lot of dynamics. Coupled with aggressive, if I may say rash approach in solving cases and strong believes towards his own justice rather than relying on Sibyl's judgment, he is definitively entertaining character to watch and works well as main male character overall. One character that I found to my liking despite having lack of screen time is Tomomi Masaoka. He represents the old way of thinking about detective business and due to him being unable to adapt to Sibyl he became Enforcer. High crime coefficient or not, he still remained good person despite Sibyl's tag on him and a good father. This is way to off character and have impact on viewer, (as well as Ginoza) not some nameless, faceless dolls that served no purpose in the first place.
That being said, there is one hidden gem in characters, one that deserves special mention for breaking the show. Yes, it's everyone's favorite Sibyl System itself. We can tag it as character, no? It is understandable that Sibyl wants to recruit people that they cannot judge as it would add another dimension to understanding similar type of people as well as lengthen duration of System itself. Brains don't last forever after all. But how in the world would such system came into existence in the first place? From what I see recruits and members of Sibyl are people with strong individuality, different view on world or in another words, social outcasts, people that must not exists in world by Sibyl standards. Such people, treated as junk, criminals and defects would then form a cornerstone of what is meant to watch over country and ensure that everyone is judged by same standards with fairness? Really? After all, same society treated them like trash, and now they are here to ensure those very same people live happily ever after? Did Urobuchi become too soft or what? If I were one of them I sure as hell know where I would send them to. And even if what I said is hypothetically not true, we have living recruit of the System. What did Makishima do when he was invited to join? Yeah, exactly that. Smacked Kasei, broke few bones or circuits and gtfo'd away. At this point in series I was actually hoping Makishima would join into Sibyl and work against it from the inside rather than trying one man army entire System himself. It would make sense seeing how much freedom is actually granted in system just by talking with Chief Kasei, who was his old apprentice. He could have noticed that man behind mask isn't collective mind of Sibyl but rather an individual that he actually knows and can recognize his personal traits. He could have easily seen that individuality still exists inside Sibyl and work from there, especially considering how much authority is given to you, going as far as to change Dominator readings, as seen when Ginoza was meant to shoot Kougami. Easy way to mess up entire system in eyes of common people, working from inside. But no, he decided to solo the world, and that task was pretty easy actually, considering 99% of food for country is produced on one field and he only needs to mess food production. What was purpose of this again? To make one mutation or one disease (or one Makishima) to wipe out entire food supply of a whole country? I call that sloppy writing. And how did Sibyl ever come into existence? Following the same trend – sloppy writing.
Sloppy writing aside, technical parts of the show are ok for the most part. Animation, albeit inconsistent at times does its job well by showing Psycho-Pass world as it is. Action sequences are well done, not much complains. Character designs are fitting to dark mood of series and technology is designed pretty well, especially Dominator guns. Sound is another strong point of series as all openings/endings are catchy themes with fitting lyrics to set mood of show and are also choreographed well. Sound throughout the series is good, from sound of bones breaking to musical background fitting to scenes and it's used well to improve overall atmosphere. Special award for best voice acting goes to Hanazawa Kana for voicing Akane. From her shaky starting lines all the way up to her confident self, voice acting remains great and always fitting Akane's character.
Ending of series was done very well with some things left open to interpret as seeing fit, but after dust settles all we have is another sci-fi anime that didn't use its premise well, but rather used fanservice named gorefest and Urobuchi's name to sell. If you like to see body count rising and people suffering, chances are you will end up loving Psycho-Pass a lot. Police business and individual cases are interesting, and it's fun to see how characters have to actually use brains here and there to solve cases. Action is decent throughout the whole show, and overall experience of show is pretty positive, but if you actually wanted something that can use full potential of given setting, you might be a bit disappointed in presentation. I only hope that Urobuchi becoming too mainstream won't affect his writing too much in his future works, but seeing trending of mainstream things, inside or outside anime industry, it feels like rather ominous sign. Then again, it might just be me reading into it too much...
Mar 4, 2013
[No Spoilers – tiny bit in the character section]
“2 ideals of justice, 1 throne for the winner. Psycho-pass puts ideals, justice and power on the table. The show can question you numerous times through out the series and gets you thinking. At the end of every episode, it will leave you saying “Wow, What a ride.”
The choking sensation of not knowing what’s going to happen next and the excitement you get when you are looking forward to the next episode could also be a way to describe the show”
This review will be touching on, Visuals (Art, Animation and Atmosphere), Sound (Effects, Soundtracks and opening/ending), Characters (Depth, Complexity and Impression) and Entertainment (Plot, Dialogue and Enjoyment)
1. [Visuals] (Total: 8/10)
2. [Sound] (Total: 8/10)
3. [Characters] (Total: 9/10)
4. [Entertainment] (Total: 10/10)
[Visuals | Art – 8/10, Animation – 8/10, Atmosphere – 8/10]– 8/10
“Good art, animation and atmosphere. But expected much better”
The show itself is based on quite a far ahead future, in the 2100’s. It creates a dark sci-fi atmosphere the moment the episode starts. We are shown 2 characters straight away; we have no idea who is the “good guy” or the “bad guy”.
If White represented good, and Black represented bad – one is “black with shades of white”, and the other is “white with shades of black”. Both representing their own side of ideal and power.
Not so much I can say in this section, the fight scenes were smooth, while the characters were fairly balanced with suitable body proportions. But I have to say the skin was a bit too “pale” for my liking, they looked like they had no blood circulating their body or they just haven’t been “bathing” in the sun enough. The scenes had beautiful texture, and the gadgets were nicely designed giving the “Future” look. The computer screen (or the “operating system”) had smooth animations and despite being in the back of the scene they were animated which added to the “detail” factor.
Psycho-Pass is a show with the right people for the job, the right director, designers, music composer and the perfect script. But I can’t help but keep wishing that Production I.G should’ve went with Psycho-Pass instead of Guilty Crown. Although the animation in Psycho-Pass isn’t bad; it could’ve been better if the construction of the series was more organized. The show did have some problems as the series progressed. The quality was dropped; the characters faces didn’t look right, etc. But this may be corrected by the time the show has ended. (They apologized for the quality, and said they were going to fix them for the second airing)
[Sound | Effects – 6/10, Soundtracks – 6/10, Opening/Ending – 9/10] – 8/10
“Meh. sound effects, Meh. soundtracks, but amazing OP and ED”
The sound effects were fairly minimal, used mostly for the dominator, gory scenes (gotta love those!) gadgets and vehicles. Liked the dominator one, especially the Lethal Decomposer effect, apparently it’s voiced by “Noriko Hidaka”
The soundtracks are barely recognisable and felt almost non-existent. But there were some very good tracks that were played during a chase scenes which I though was pretty good. I can say its NOT the best OST's you will ever hear.
All right, the songs. They were great. I’ve already brought all of the songs, just because they were so good. Although in the first OP [abnormalize by凛として時雨 (Rin Toshite Shigure)] vocal guy sounded like he lost his balls, but it was funky and had a cool upbeat sensation. The second OP [Out of Control by Nothing Carved in Stone] was pretty rocky and sounded pretty nice.
Now the ending songs, which was both made by EGOIST. They are amazing, EGOIST produces songs with an original style and lyrics, and they are my current favorite band. First one called “名前のない怪物” (Namae no nai kaibutsu) and the second one “All alone with you” were amazing. As expected from EGOIST who also made awesome songs for Guilty Crown.
All of the OP and ED visualizations were awesome and had its own theme incorporated to suit the song.
[Characters | Depth – 9/10, Complexity – 8/10, Impression – 8/10] – 9/10
“Good complexity and depth of every character, leaves a nice impression for the audience. But lack detail.”
In the first couple of episodes; we are introduced to the characters and some of their pasts. (And it does so in a great way). Most of them are very complex, exactly the way a character needs to be created. They had “reason” for their actions, the character designers were very creative in terms of their personality and design. They built based on depth and precision, but it lacked a bit of impression and detail in terms of some of the important characters. There are a lot of times you see a character question the structure of the current society. (as if those questions are also for our current world) Is freedom worth sacrificing for justice? Do human being need to be controlled by a computer? Are we right now relying too much on Information Technology?
...CAN LAW REALLY PROTECT PEOPLE ??? - These questions sound like they are unsure about their current position they are in, and the characters themselves are confused in terms of what they are supposed to be doing.
It is as if the show focused on Makishima, Kougami, Akane and the Sybil system. Don't get me wrong, the characters were good, but they failed to explain some of the details to the investigation team members. Such as "Kagari Shuusei", "Karanomori, Shion" and "Kunizuka Yayoi". These people are in the same team (Unit one) as Kougami, as well as Akane and Ginoza Nobuchika. But we barely get any insight on their pasts/story and why they joined the police force and reasons for their current position (in life), their goals. In short, Psycho-Pass has some great characters, but it fails to meet the "perfection" and forgets to add the tiny bit of detail that could've made the show much better.
In terms of side characters, they should be memorable and not steal the show, but appear frequently and say that they "exist" for the least. Although they don't have to appear every episode, please don't kill them off when they get useless or forget about them. Side characters in Psycho pass are well introduced and forgotten for almost the rest of the show. EG. We get a nice good episode of why one of the members of unit one joined the force and becomes a "support role" for unit one to complete missions. Although the character plays a important role, we barely see them for the rest of the series. And this can be seen in some of other important characters as well.
Instead of explaining each character, I will do a simple break down of 2 main characters.
It is hinted from the start that there is a big force moving behind the scenes, and that is “Makishima Shougo”. The main antagonist of the series. A character that has everything to make him “the best antagonist ever created”. Intelligence, wealth, success and charisma. Leaving him with the power to control and destroy.
But he is “Lonely Existence”, being isolated by others because he was different from a young age, a man who has everything others could wish for, but has nothing of what he wants. He simply wants a friend, someone who will understand him, trusts him and believes him. His loneliness has created a hole in his heart. And to “fill” it he seeks “entertainment” by spectating others doing “interesting” things or playing a game. By no means a simple game of tic-tac-toe, but likes to watch games that has people killing and destroying. His mentality is calm and soothing.
One of those men who “simply want to watch the world burn”. He is being chased by a “hunter”. No, he doesn’t want to run from it, because he is obsessed with it. He simple teases it till the point it is close enough to bite him on the neck, and he will simply disappear with out a trace. He dreams of an ideal world. A world with freedom, a world with choices, a world where everyone is given a chance, a world without the existence of the “Sibyl System”. But to build a ideal world, there needs to be rubble first.
The main protagonist “Kougami Shinya”. He is a simple masterpiece. He is a smart, strong and doesn’t let anything get in his way. He is the “Hunter”. His builds up hate for his one and only enemy, “Makishima Shougo”, and yet still holds a connection of “interest” towards him. He is the only person who will understand him. Both of them know what it means to be “free”. Kougami is treated like a dog that hunts criminals, he is an “enforcer” a police officer whose Psycho-pass is “unstable”. He hopes for a time when he will be recognized a “Police” or a “Detective” that protects the lives of other people, not as a dog that hunts criminals, he wants to be freed from that chain. He feels he will achieve it if he works under Tsunemori Akane, the new Police officer who has entered his team.
Although he is aggressive, he is a nice person.
But the moment these two meet, you will realize their fate is to kill the other till their last breath.
[Entertainment | Plot – 9/10, Dialogue – 9/10, Enjoyment 10/10]
I have never seen such action packed, emotional and intense show. There definitely needs to be more shows like this, not only will it provide the profits, it will create a new market for anime, western adults who love action-crime. It will show them that cartoon is not only for kids but also for people who have interest in creative and inspiring shows like Psycho-Pass. It keeps the plot going in every episode and does not bore the audience. I can barely see any clichés in the plot, as it is an original concept.
From episode 1, we are introduced to a world where every person is scanned everyday for their “Crime-Coefficiency” AKA “Psycho-Pass” by the “Sybil” system. Gun’s as we know today is not provided to the police, but instead a “Dominator” which instantaneously calculates a person’s psycho-pass and gives them an appropriate punishment depending on their number. (The higher it is, the more chance of them committing a crime or have already committed one)
In terms of the actual plot, it is simply the good guy chasing the bad guy type story, but it creates challenges and plot twists along the way. Although the plot is kept simple and its not one of those sci-fi shows where a young boy has to "SAVE THE WORLD!" kind of a show, we receive a good amount of enjoyment by watching the show.
The dialogues in this anime provide a sense of satisfaction for every viewer; it contains thoughts, emotions and complex information. Although this can be more toward matured audience, it treats them as if you are intelligent enough (just as equal to the characters) to understand the concept. In scenes where there is explanation, you will be spoon-fed information that is complex, but it will give you a sense of satisfaction, as you are not being treated like a bunch of idiots, but smart human being individuals.
[Conclusion] – 10/10
“Psycho Pass - 2 Ideals, 1 Throne. Masterpiece sci-fi mystery with originality and complexity”
So that was my first review… hopefully I did it right? Haha. Apparently the director (I think?) tried to wipe out “moe” from this anime and have none in it, which they did, except for Tsunemori Akane.
Also, please vote the crap out of this review whether it was helpful or not (tell me if there are any mistakes). I mainly did it because there was an English assessment where you had to analyze “Hero” concepts so I chose an image of Makishima and Kougami facing their backs at each other. In fact I still haven’t even started it…
Shit. read more
Feb 7, 2013
To fully understand the story, you need a bit of context with this world. Decades before, the Sybil system was implemented, a system that could accurately quantify the psychological state of an individual and determine if they were a risk to society - this value is their Psycho-Pass. People whose Psycho-Pass went too high are given mandatory counseling, and if it rises too much, are arrested and placed in facilities for the protection of themselves and others. These people are 'latent criminals'.
Our protagonist, Tsunemori, is a rookie detective tasked with investigating crimes and tracking down these latent criminals. To do this, she acts as a handler for 'Enforcers', latent criminals who work for the police; their altered perception of the world allows them to more easily get into the heads of the criminals, and they serve as a psychological buffer for the detectives. The main enforcer is Kougami, and he and Tsunemori quickly make a great team, along with the other Enforcers.
Of course, no good show is without its conflict, and as Tsunemori and Kougami unravel a few cases, a disturbing pattern begins to emerge, linking them into a plot far more sinister than the sum of its parts. It's smart, it'll keep you guessing, and it never lets up. It's nearly perfect, besides a few slow sections, the motivations of some of the antagonists, and one or two very minor plot holes. 9/10
The Art style looks great, focusing mainly on dark colors in sharp contrast, and patterns are used often to help distinguish between them. I found small shifts in posture and stance to be quite effective and kept the show from feeling too static at times. It's got a very Noir feel to it, the closest I can get is Cowboy Bebop, but with fewer bright colors, aside from billboards and holographic projections that keep the theme of a gilded age. It's very Blade Runner, and that's a serious compliment. Everything looks fantastic, and it fits the feel of the show like a glove. 9/10
The sound design is good, keeping the tension up and offering a mixture of electronic and classical styles. It does what it has to, and serves to compliment the visuals rather than overpower them. It knows when to die down and when to soar. It's nor memorable, but it's very effective. 8/10
Characterization is very important with a psychological show, and Psycho-Pass does an excellent job. In particular, they go into great detail showing the psychological state, delusions, and motivations behind the villains. They range from tormented people driven out of desperation to the truly psychopathic and bloodthirsty, and they're both intriguing and terrifying. The Enforcers are equally disturbing at times, ranging from apathetic to sociopathic to deranged obsessiveness. They're all simultaneously human, though, and as much as you might want to demonize them, you can't help but feel that they're human - reflections of the darkest aspects of humanity. It's very effective and it keeps you thinking about the show well after the episode is over. 9/10
Psycho-Pass is an excellent show, the kind of thing you discuss with your friends after watching it and you swap conspiracy theories and wild speculation. The show presents the world through the eyes of detective Tsunemori, and as we see more of the world and grow more disillusioned and even terrified of it, so does Tsunemori evolve from a naive novice to a skilled and determined detective. 9/10
The show is absolutely stunning, and aside from its propensity to quote Shakespeare and Heart of Darkness at inappropriate times, it's an incredibly intelligent and thought provoking science-fiction thriller. Other shows might draw from esteemed writers to seem intelligent, but Psycho-Pass pulls it off with flying colors. If you haven't seen it and you like your anime smart, watch Psycho-Pass. read more
Mar 22, 2013
'Utopia' and 'dystopia' are disturbingly interchangeable terms that require a lot of scrutinization to comprehend even slightly. When is a civilisation considered civilised? Who makes this judgment? When does modern invention become sociological necessity? How can technology affect us so that its existence is considered the ethical, sociocultural standard? When the phrase 'modern dystopia' is heard by the average citizen, they may picture a deserted, dark city with crumbling edifices and a handful of those that society wants not; hearing 'modern utopia', perhaps what they conceptualise is in fact the very world in which they live, exist, grow.
It is a hereditary misfortune that the verb 'function' is not included in that list of things that an ordinary person considers when describing their current society.
Psycho-Pass, a twenty-two episode length anime produced by studio Production I.G, attempts to convey these concepts to its viewers through both a brilliant storyline and great characterisation. Filed under the Action, Sci-Fi and Police genres of this website, it easily satisfies all requirements for these categories and then some, but why it isn't at least somewhat considered to be a Psychological anime, I will never know. Psycho-Pass features main character Detective Akane Tsunemori, Enforcer Shinya Kougami and antagonist Shougo Makishima, and, as mentioned, tackles a heavily philosophical subject with both barrels.
Set some time in the future, when a system called the Sibyl system fundamentally governs every citizens' lives, the MWPSB police department recruits young Akane, and her subordinates, the Enforcers, of which include male main character Shinya Kougami, comprise the main supporting cast in this anime. Their firearm weapons, the Dominators, are programmed using the Sibyl system, and are automatically set to a varying level of force when shot based on a person's Psycho-Pass. A Psycho-Pass is, in its most basic form, a record of a person's mental stability, and determines the possibility of criminal intent in a person. Later on in the series, the main antagonist Shougo Makishima is introduced as an individual who can control his Psycho-Pass at will, and as such bypasses all analysis of the Sibyl system; utilising this, he aims to create anarchy to bring life back to a blind, dead society. Now that the formalities are complete, for convenience sake, I will skip retelling the plot and start giving my opinion on it and the characters.
I will state this clearly, ladies and gentlemen: I have never disliked an old fashioned conspiracy story, and Psycho-Pass's is no exception. A character such as Shougo Makishima rarely appears in a Action/Sci-Fi anime; in Psycho-Pass, he embodies what others would call a disturbed mind, and what he would call justice. This is an absolutely classic plot device for such a 'utopian dystopia' theme, and he fulfills the role adequately.
I feel that if I were to analyse this anime further, I would like it even more because there is so much about the plot that is centered around the theoretical government of perception and sociology, which can be so intriguing. Later, the Sibyl system's 'true identity' is revealed to be a collection of neural networks that collectively exist to improve the Sibyl system's government of society through developing technology and understanding psychology. How interesting it was to watch as a technology aiming to be perfect was actually perpetrated by the personalities of those from the society they went on to govern. Shinya Kougami, wanting to rid the world of Makishima, later kills him with a normal handgun, drawing full circle the theme of will in an automatically structured society. I love theories and thinking theoretically, so I concede that perhaps I am biased towards Psycho-Pass's plot. However, I will say that, much like Steins;Gate, it didn't really quite become interesting until a little before halfway through. This is understandable, though: no anime gets anywhere positive without some context and a preliminary snapshot of what it has to offer.
The characters, like I've been trying to draw attention to, are really quite integral in Psycho-Pass as well. The aforementioned excellent characterization is shown not only through the antagonist, but also heavily in Akane Tsunemori. Her progress of evolving from a timid rookie to a hardened detective was both constant and brilliant to watch every week - the scene in the final episode of her as the senior employee of the MWPSB informing a later rookie was applaudably nostalgic and felt very well rounded. Shinya Kougami is not to be overlooked. Kougami's misifit persona, solitary personality makes for a very good link between Akane and Makishima, and basically every other character - the simple, circular metal of a diamond studded ring. Various deaths - executions, rather - amongst those of the supporting cast make for elementary examples of this anime's theme of societal government, which can be somewhat of a dictatorship to those who can't - or won't - see beyond the reality they were initially provided with. In short, Psycho-Pass does a very credible job of exaggerating its dark themes using primarily a fitting storyline and necessary characters roles.
To make an obligatory mention: the soundtrack was intense, and as such really very fitting of Psycho-Pass. Even the lyrics, produced by the excellent ryo, are suitable:
"God, where did you go?
But there's no answer; it's always like this,
Are you still here?"
Quite a beautiful sequence of existential poetry that, like everything else does in this anime, ties in with the themes. And as for the artwork, it was great at best, average at worst. Literally quite dark in some scenes, but thus, again, befitting. The only negative thing I have to comment on about this anime is that I gathered traces of Neon Genesis Evangelion's psychological theme (specifically, you know, Episodes 25 and 26) that frankly did not suit this series in the slightest. I tend to worry about this occurring in the anime that I watched, but Psycho-Pass didn't exhibit it nearly enough to make me disappointed.
If you've watched anime such as Mirai Nikki and Death Note, then it's almost guaranteed that you will find Psycho-Pass at least appealing to you in some aspect. Give it some time to become the excellent story that it truly is, and enjoy the great characters. It's another great anime that I personally can say I'm glad I invested time in watching. read more