"Is it okay if I claim this case as mine, Senpai?"
In the winter of 2117, a runaway vehicle crashes into the Public Safety Bureau Building. The driver is identified as Izumi Yasaka, a psychological counselor at the Sanctuary, a Latent Criminal Isolation Facility in Aomori Prefecture. But right before her interrogation, Enforcer Mika Shimotsuki and Inspector Nobuchika Ginoza are tasked with promptly escorting Yasaka back to Aomori. What awaits them there is a False Paradise.
TL;DR: Basically a bonus case that explores the Sibyl system and supporting characters (namely Ginoza and Mika) a bit more, but breaks little new ground for world-building or the plot overall. 6.5/10
At 60 minutes, "Psycho-Pass Sinners of the System Case 1: Crime and Punishment" is less of a movie and more of a 3-episode bonus arc to Season 2 of Psycho-Pass. Our main focuses are Mika and Ginoza this time around, and fans of Ginoza/Mika can rejoice - they both get plenty of badass scenes, and Gino especially gets a beautiful fight scene towards the end.
Make no mistake, however - this is Season 2-level writing,
not Season 1-level. In other words, serviceable but nothing groundbreaking. Villains are pretty bland (though decently designed visual-wise), serving just as plot devices so the writers can make a point about society under the Sibyl System. The case is solved rather conveniently and neatly, and kind of predictably in all honesty.
The high points are definitely the characters and the fight scene at the end. Mika finally feels like an actual Inspector with enough redeeming qualities to stand on her own. Ginoza's screen-time allows him to showcase further growth in his character since Season 1, and reveal his thoughts on the other characters. The fight scene at the conclusion of the climax gets deserved full praise from me.
I was massively disappointed, however, that instead of getting new opening and closing songs after all these years, they simply remixed the OPs/EDs from Season 1/2. Remixes that somehow sound worse than the originals. So, a complete let-down on the music side of things.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie and was glad to be back with the characters I fell in love with in Season 1, and kind of liked in Season 2. Definitely don't hype yourself up for the story though. And if you have to pay to see it (like I did in theaters), it may not be worth the price of admission unless you're a die-hard Psycho-Pass fan.
Can dead franchises tell new tales? That is the question I sought to answer, or if you prefer my perspective, when coming back to Psycho Pass, after many years. Do we have a team ready to bring some new life to this world, or are we looking for the second coming of Psycho Pass 2, the one that killed the series for several years?
First, it is important to establish why the series was so relevant in the first place, the place where people’s fond memories of the series always came from. The quality of its first season was on its boldness, in presenting tough
questionings of reality, in this dystopia where crime was gone, but the system took most of our freedom alongside it. The setting committed and thrived on the idea of how far we are willing to go in the quest for safety, to control risks, and eliminate negative consequences, having on the other side the meaning of that search, in regards to the end in freedom of choice.
What particularly fascinated me on the Psycho Pass world was how it puts mental health as one of its primary issues. Now the aspect is the new defining element of status, worth in society, your chances of finding relations, having a job, future and perspectives all hinged on this. Bringing alongside a new kind of anxiety, need for control, and many issues about mind-altering drugs. Those never-ending conversations on Hue, and psychopass, referencing the same idea.
Sure, the series is hardly innovative, or has something new to say on any given topic, you can find similar, but more though provoking content in works like Clockwork Orange, or Minority Report.
Nevertheless, the way Psycho Pass mixed the theme exploration with pulpy bloody action was really fun. The show never seemed sure, if it wanted to be a noir series, filled with style, gunfights, explosions, and epic action set pieces every episode, or to more directly portray ideas, and the subject matter. While those conflicted ambitions never truly worked well together, they made for a complex surface, which is cool enough regardless.
So if you miss the old mixture of sci-fi exploration, with the fun bullshit of a thriller detective story, you better forget about it, because the writers clearly did the same. This movie is extremely straightforward on its choices and topics, and on how it tries (and fails) to only be a fun crime story. Please do not think of only this observation as a death sentence (even though, yeah the lack of ambition is part of what kills the movie).
This is the textbook example, of a narrative that goes through the basic motions, while barely trying something new. If you have seen a movie before you know what to expect, you have tired twists, a couple of cliffhangers, the constant whodunit moments, and the well know questions on what is really happening. Coupled together with the generic sadistic villains, the strong cool dude, accompanied by the women preaching her ideals in long monologues.
You could make an argument the standard story is intentional, the movie is trying to carve a new status quo, dynamics and characters for the upcoming series, after a long hiatus. Even on this regard, how little is achieved is hard to forgive. Our main characters, which are supposedly the thing the movie means to establish, come off as simples as they could. Ginoza is now your tough noir detective dude, and Mika is the irritable brat, trying to prove her worth, and showing real competence when the time calls for. Basically those typical stereotypes are our “new” mains, the movie never allowing much interpersonal conflict, to emphasize their conflicting worldviews and ideologies.
So what is left is a movie treading no new ground, giving us only a new institution, which is meant to exemplify another contradiction in the system (like we do not have enough of those already). Not even its few actions scenes are memorable, leave much impact, or thrill. Ginoza fighting a mech, might come off as cool when watching, but is no Motoko Kusanagi taking out a tank with her bare hands.
The movie is not a complete waste of time, however. The aesthetics are beautiful, placing the story and events in a scenario of dreamy snowy mountains, and mines. So, not much of the flavor of now tiresome oppressive dystopian cities (The blade runner standard aesthetic for the genre). Again we are introduced to the ludicrous never working Sybil system, that appears to malfunction in every episode. Psycho Pass always presented a fun world, with the crazy talking gun, whose job consists of judging people and turning them to bloody pulp, the weird new technologies. In addition, it brings back the old all-seeing lady, which is the personification of the totalitarian system, while always being clueless to everything happening.
In conclusion, the anime never managed to answer my desires, or gave me anything to hope in regards to the series to come. Perhaps there is still a narrative to be told in the Psycho Pass universe, one which progress its concepts, world and characters, but this was certainly not it.
Also, the guy who though this new OP, and ED were a good idea, has no notion, of what he is doing. He managed to both remind me about the better older show, I preferred to be watching, while managing to make the original songs way worse, with the remixing, so fuck you.
As a stand-alone (what this should be regarded as - theoretically), it gets a 7.5/10.
As a movie within a more complex anime, it gets an 8/10. Why?
The animations are on point, pretty much on the same par with anime itself. Although colors shouldn't matter as much as in S2, you can observe a darker tone in most scenes. I can't address the CGI part itself, since I'm not knowledgeable, but it doesn't seem overused, unlike for example: the movie adaptation of the original Berserk anime, or any modern mech-anime.
Most characters returning from S2 live up to their expectations. What probably annoys most people, including
myself, is the new palette of characters which seem to simply cover the holes of some stereotypes: masked villain, torturer, badass veteran, etc. We are used with thought-provoking and remarkable villains such as Makishima and Kamui and as such, the choice for this role, for example, is indeed quite boring by comparison. I understand that this movie might have the purpose of developing Mika and Ginoza for S3, but they could have chosen a different approach for the new characters. Overall, it reminds me of the ending scene in Rogue One: every new character dies and thus their whole purpose too.
Soundtrack is very good, though this expectable since most of it comes from S1 and S2. It complements the dialogue, fighting and even intermediate scenes such as the pursuit of Ginoza and Mika launched by the Sanctuary.
The plot simply attempts, in a panting manner, to cover too many concepts in a short amount of time (1h) and as such, it fails to exceed in reflecting anything else than what has already been told throughout S1 and S2. I can understand that the scope of this movie was to develop some characters, but the narrative background of choice matters too. It doesn't particulary mean that I didn't enjoy most of it. I really enjoyed both of Mika's speeches (Sanctuary chief and vs Karasuma), the whole concept of Sanctuary (which reminded me of what really happens in the prisons from northern european countries at some degree) and the empathic approach for the intrigue of the movie (the parental love). And maybe there were more, but I may have failed to absolutely understand the whole plot.
So: Why it gets an 8 and not a 7.5? Simply because I had to mention S1 and S2. Without such a complex background, the movie would feel a bit worse, since it struggles to explain in detail the interactions with the PP universe because of its low time limit of 1h.
P.S.: To be honest, I don't think I have understood all the ideas and the judgement behind them that the whole PP tries to convey. It is often good to remind that "the most dangerous prison is the one you don't see".
Psycho-Pass s2 is often regarded as a massive downgrade from s1, a criticism that is sometimes undeserved, but still definitely holds merit. The (original) movie was a return to near-s1 quality in some aspects but cut down the mystery and tone of the TV seasons.
Psycho Pass SS Case 1 is a 1hr movie continuing the series from where it left off, and brings back Mika, Akane, and Ginoza investigating a mysterious site where latent criminals are kept as workers.
Although there is a mystery present in the first half of the film most of the loose ends are uneventfully closed, probably to keep the runtime down,
but still keeping enough to make the movie satisfying with a main mystery developing in the middle of the movie.
Art looks fairly standard for the series, a bit more noticeable cgi than before - likely to continue in the other SS entries and the soon-to-release S3.
Music consists of a remixed s1 OP and ED combination that doesn't sound as good as the excellent originals, but has some nice visuals, and some familiar sounding bgm tracks that are still pleasant to hear.
Overall, the series is worth watching for anyone that enjoys the series and has already seen all prior entries. It doesn't break any new ground but has a satisfying conclusion and story, especially for it's short length compared to other arcs. With 2 more SS entries, and 8 confirmed long episodes for s3 starting in late october, there is about to be an abundance of content for fans of the series. For those expecting a return to s1 quality, wait for S3 and hope it's good.