Justice, and the enforcement of it, has changed. In the 22nd century, Japan enforces the Sibyl System, an objective means of determining the threat level of each citizen by examining their mental state for signs of criminal intent, known as their Psycho-Pass. Inspectors uphold the law by subjugating, often with lethal force, anyone harboring the slightest ill-will; alongside them are Enforcers, jaded Inspectors that have become latent criminals, granted relative freedom in exchange for carrying out the Inspectors' dirty work.
Into this world steps Akane Tsunemori, a young woman with an honest desire to uphold justice. However, as she works alongside veteran Enforcer Shinya Kougami, she soon learns that the Sibyl System's judgments are not as perfect as her fellow Inspectors assume. With everything she has known turned on its head, Akane wrestles with the question of what justice truly is, and whether it can be upheld through the use of a system that may already be corrupt.
An edited version of the series received a rebroadcast starting July 10, 2014. 22 episodes of the original series were combined into eleven 46-minute long episodes with some scenes being slightly extended.
Psycho-Pass aired on Fuji Television's noitaminA block. In the 2013 Newtype Anime Awards it was voted as fourth best title of the year. It's 11th episode was awarded "Best Episode" in the Noitamina 10th anniversary fan vote. It has spawned several video-game spin-offs, a novel series and a manga series as well.
I feel so sorry for anybody who missed out on this anime this year because it was absolutely brilliant. Likewise, I also feel sorry for anybody who didn’t, because Urobuchi Gen ripped their hearts out.
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.
I heard great things about Psycho Pass and it being compared to Death Note, I thought it would be great. But I didn't find the anime to be anything more than your run of the mill dark themed series. Before throwing off my review as a hated one, I would appreciate it if you guys just took a couple of minutes to read what I thought of Psycho Pass
Story - 7/10
The setting of Psycho Pass is a futuristic one in modern Japan, where people who have a high and cloudy Psycho Pass are either adjudged criminals or potent criminals. The ones who have a Psycho
Pass of above a certain rating are criminals who're judged dangerous and have no hope but the potent criminals can work as Enforcers with the police in order to catch the other criminals.
The reason I gave a 6 in story is because the first few episodes were pretty blatant with no real relevance to the plot. The episodes in itself aren't irrelevant, its rather the amount of episodes they wasted in doing so. But the story starts getting good around the 8 episode in the show and continues to be a good one till the 16 episode or so. Around that time, we have a confrontation between the protagonist and the antagonist. The show should have ended there with a few prior things explained before that 16-17 episode mark. The next 6-7 episodes are just stretched out and completely based on plot devices. I think I have spoiled enough for you.
Art - 6/10
The art of Psycho Pass is okay; it's nothing special really. It isn't overly good for an anime released in 2012. Compared to some of the other anime of that time, the art is not up to the mark by a long way. It gets really choppy at times and makes you wonder if this is an anime released after 2010.
Sound - 5/10
There isn't really any memorable soundtrack in this anime. I've watched the anime just a few days ago and I can't remember even one theme of the series. At best, there may have been a couple of decent soundtrack, but that was it. If there was one thing good about the sound of Psycho Pass, it would be the voice acting which was pretty good.
Characters - 5/10
The characters except for the villain, Makishima Shougo were shallow and the character that I hated most, the female MC, Akane Sunamori was just a jackass who got a sudden personality change in the last few episodes. She got a perfect opportunity to overthrow the Sibyl System but she doesnt do anything. She gets the chance to kill the antagonist 3 times and she's just too weak to do it. It was just plot manipulation to me. People say that she got a lot of development but she didn't She had a stale, weak personality throughout the entire series and suddenly becomes all brave and decisive in the last few episodes.
The male lead, Shinya Kougami is a smart guy who does what he wants for most of the series except some occasions where Akane tells her not to. At all such instances, he sighs and does what she says even though he knows that the opposite should be done. He doesnt listen to anyone and somehow listens to Akane from the beginning. (He doesnt have feeling for the girl either so that's not why he listens to her).
The antagonist is a good character but he is a Gary Stu. He is intelligent, thin but yet somehow manages to overpower Shinya multiple times even though Shinya works out and has a really good build. He also has surprisingly great endurance, healing really quickly without any supernatural powers. But compared to others, he's the best character and you're questioned whether his actions are good or evil.
Enjoyment - 6/10
Overall, I enjoyed the middle episodes of Psycho Pass the most. The start was okay but the ending was just ridiculous. The middle episodes were really good though, with some exciting scenes. The first few episodes were slow, boring, mostly irrelevant to the plot and completely illogical. The same with the ending. As I mentioned a few times earlier, this show should've been around a 14 episode show. It never really needed 20+ episodes because it was dragged on too much in the end, leading to a nonsensical ending and the episodes which preceded the conclusion to the show didn't have anything to write home about either.
Overall - 6/10
The show could have been really a lot better if there weren't so many plot devices involved and if they would've finished the anime around that episode 16-18 mark where both the males were brought to near death. Also, Akane really started to annoy me when her personality suddenly changed. I like character development and she didn't get any. Her character just took a huge jump in one episode from being a weak, scared officer who can't even use a real gun to shoot the enemy to a brave girl who's strong enough to make her own grave decisions.
There is nothing more undefined, blurry, and vague than the line that separates "good" from "bad". What complicates the matter further is the question of "is said action more bad/good than another?" Why do we consider the murder of an innocent person a worse offense compared to something like a bank robbery? Is a doctor who saves hundreds of lives more "good" than a simple volunteer at a homeless shelter? While Psycho Pass may not be a realistic representation of today's societal state, the observation of human morals, psychological concepts, and fluctuation of emotions can all be applied to our methodology of thinking and our
outlook on life itself.
The premise of the show poses an interesting scenario: what if we lived in a world where it was possible to determine the potential of a person through a simple cymatic scan, and judge/assign that person accordingly? You would be told your aptitude for certain jobs, the extent of your latent abilities, and the likelihood of mental instability and the capacity to commit crimes. This is the world that Psycho Pass is set in. The show follows the Public Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation Division and the various cases that are assigned to them. Through their work solving crimes, we delve into conflicts of morality, the battle between the righteous and injustice, and the clash between different ideologies about the Sibyl System that made this whole lifestyle possible.
The strongest selling point of Psycho Pass is its cast of well developed and intricate characters. We have Tsunemori Akane, a new Investigator of the Criminal Investigation Division, and her beliefs are what is most commonly defined as "righteous". She is the representation of the ideal yet naive mindset that justice is absolute and criminals must be punished. She holds the law close to her heart, and while very young and inexperienced, she is an intelligent person and attempts to see the good in people. Through her exposure to the more sinister side of society, we observe if she is able to withstand the challenges to her beliefs and how she changes as an individual.
Helping her solve crimes and doing most of the "dirty work" is one of the Enforcers under her, Kogami Shinya. As one that is familiar with the darker side of society and has accumulated a plethora of experience in dealing with criminal minds, he is calculating, intelligent, and physically adept. His outlook on justice and the nature of other people differs from Akane's, and this difference serves as a driving force for the show. While he is normally collected and logical, his emotions do cause him to act irrationally and puts him in precarious situations. His resolve and detective skills are put to the test and we are shown the lengths in which he will go through to reinforce his beliefs.
In addition to these two, we have Ginoza, a veteran Inspector with some very firm and rigid beliefs on criminals and potential and Masaoka, an experienced Enforcer who was a detective but was deemed a latent criminal and is a bit old fashioned. We also are introduced to Kagari, a easygoing Enforcer who was marked as a criminal at the age of five and has been an Enforcer ever since and doesn't think too highly of the Sibyl System and Yayoi, a former guitarist turned Enforcer trying to prevent others from ending up as criminals similar to how someone dear to her did. Rounding out our Unit One, we have Shion, the Bureau's analyst that aids the unit in solving crimes, and Joshu, the enigmatic Chief of the Bureau. The fact that none of these characters are insignificant or unimpactful enough to dismiss is quite a feat, but Psycho Pass gives each and every character depth and relevance to the main plot.
A debate that has stood the test of time is the question: are humans innately good or evil? Do we strive to side by justice because it is in our nature, our personalities, our entire being, or do we do so in order to simply create the facade of appearing as a righteous person? Are our actions a culmination of self interest, in that we do everything for personal gain? Forging relationships, creating bonds; are they simply methods to reach the end goal of personal satisfaction and happiness? Psycho Pass portrays and addresses this issue through excellent storytelling, proficient pacing, and a cast of realistic characters. From watching Akane attempting to defend latent criminals and trying to give them a chance to prove their innocence, to Shinya's drive based on personal revenge and his definition of justice, Psycho Pass keeps its audience consistently alert and interested, with plot twists and shifts that are unpredictable and wholeheartedly intriguing.
The art is bold and catches the eye's attention. From the casual conversation scenes to the dynamic and high tension fight scenes, everything is animated with a finesse that is incredible. While some may dislike some of the characters design, that is ultimately personal preference. The sound is appropriate for a sci-fi show. The OP and EDs are upbeat and catchy and will stick with you even after the conclusion of the show. They serve to build suspense and set the mood, and everything fits into the whole picture to deliver a well coordinated show.
Psycho Pass, I believe, can be considered a masterpiece. With thought-provoking dialogue and plot, an amount of drama and tension that is neither excessive nor underwhelming, and a group of characters that are just as complex as many of us, Psycho Pass delivers an action sci-fi show unlike one we've seen before.
After watching this series twice within a short amount of time (a month or so) and still enjoying it to the fullest, I felt compelled to finally write my first MAL review.
I will not bother writing a plot summary, you can read the essentials a little further above. I will, however, try to rate the plot. Psycho Pass will sometimes be referred to as PP.
The series is most of all a police-sci-fi set in near future. This sounds rather cliché put Psycho Pass manages to mix in a variety of genres in a non-confusing way. The near-future/sci-fi is at all time present, whereas
the police-element is sometimes very prominent, making the series almost a crimi/detectives series, and at other times more in the background, the series then focusing on either characters or the way the PP world functions. Likewise is it with the action, coming more in small bumps rather than being all-time present. The series offer only a limited amount of humour as well as a discreet hint of romance, but you can find these things in the series. However, if you're searching for romantic comedy PP is not it. Drama is often quite intense, sometimes even heartbreaking, this making it easier to both relate to the characters and understand the more complicated parts of the story.
The plot of PP consists of smaller arcs focused around the same villain. All of these arcs are quite flawlessly done and come together in the end in an almost perfect way. PP is a series with a masterful plot (imo nearly as good and well-written as Death Note). In PP things seem to happen for a reason, not just randomly. A few times it might get boring, but generally PP has a good mixture of genres in the right amount. PP is also a series where you, when watching, will have to focus. The story is definitely complicated and does, as every other really good series, leave you thinking. I sat all the time thinking 'would I want society to be like this?'. Your definition of justice is also something you might reconsider after watching PP.
All in all amazing plot, one boring ep. draws down, making it 9.5/10 for me.
Art is something I have a really hard time rating. For the character design itself is a matter of opinion, not fact. Therefore an anime's art must mainly be rated on scenery and the flow of the animation.
The scenery in PP is very beautiful. Buildings, parks, light, everything is done really great. The visuals will often leave you stunned. But even if it's very good, I have seen better (but not often in a series with such a good plot as well), therefore the scenery can only get somewhere between 8 and 9 from me.
The animation flow, on the other hand, is quite simply outstanding. Maybe I've not seen the right animes but never before have I seen as good 3D-look-a-like animation as in PP. Square objects are animated in a way that almost make them look 3D, coming out of the screen. Also the way it's sometimes insignificant everyday objects that are animated flawlessly, is both peculiar and perfect. Honestly, I found the animation breathtaking.
Another thing I noted, watching PP a second time, was the light reflection. Oh, it was beautiful. Often in the ending we see light hitting water, looking almost like a blazing sea. But it was not this that had me spellbound. It was the way the light reflected in the Characters' eyes. The light sometimes even changed he eye colour, giving the animation a very realistic touch.
Really, PP has some dazzling art if you look at the details.
Now on to the sound (what a huge review I'm making xD): 9.5/10
With openings and endings can be said the same as with character design, value is based on personal opinion, and therefore OP/END cannot be rated. I can, however, rate the lyrics and fitingness of the music, which I'll try to do.
Whether you like the songs or not, the openings and endings can objectively be said as to fitting perfectly with the series. Especially the first OP and END which I think is the most well-fitting pair of songs I've ever seen/heard in an anime. The lyrics were probably made for this series. I mean, seriously, they're just too well-fitting. In the first op the question of society, which is also asked throughout the whole series, is brought up. In the ending we get a song most well fitting for one of the characters.The fast pace these two songs also fits the action of the series, building up even more tension.
The next set of songs are good as well, but take on a more quiet, romantic turn, which I do not find fitting for the series.
Next up is the background-music. Generally the tracks are both good and well-fitting. There's one which is a bit out of place, and this definitely draws down on my sound-score.
Last is the voice-actor cast. Actually I don't really feel skilled enough to rate this, so I'll just say, that I was generally satisfied. I think most voice-actors delivered a great performance and the voices fit the characters. I will say, with my limited skill, that Makshimas' actor did a greeeat job. His voice was a perfect fit.
A last remark on sound is another bonus: something rarely seen, the ending-video not being the same each time, but not only that - different parts of the song were chosen to make the most perfect fit - and also - talking in-between two parts of the ending song. What I'm trying to say; the video and song was each time composed to fit the plot flawlessly. That also means: Watch the ending EVERY time, there might be important plot in the middle of it.
Last up is characters: 9/10:
The protagonist of this series is the young female inspector, Akane Tsunemori. Akane seems to be the standard cry-baby, full-of-justice, irrational, emotional, very annoying character. But I can tell you, she's not. Akane is a human, who acts very human. Who, for instance, is affected by stressed situations, and, who sometimes lets emotion cloud her judgement. Akane is bright, and has a strong believe of what is justice. She's a genuinely good person, who believes in this world, and for that, I don't think she should be punished. She is a newbie, who has to learn, and she does. The development of her character is different from what I usually see - and different from what I'd expected. She is not flawless, and yes, she's (as a character) a little cliché, but she's not stupid and her development is rather original.
The male hero of the story is probably Shinya Kougami, a subordinate of Akane and a latent criminal. Even if the story focuses on Akane, the real plot unfolds around Kougami; thus making him almost more of a main character than Akane. Kougami is on first sight, our typical strong, badass, grumpy male-hero. But like Akane, Kougami surprises. I will not say there's much development to his character, it's just us getting to know him. Kougami quickly turns out to be quite the genius, who is certainly skilled at his work but his life is solely focused on his own agenda. Kougami is hard to understand, and even harder to declare as good or bad. His decisions will leave you wondering about the very nature of his character. Even after watching PP twice, I'm still not sure whether I should call him villain or hero. But certainly, for most people, he is a very likeable character.
And then to the villain, Makishima:
I cannot say much about him without spoiling all of the plot. What I can and will say is that he fights for his own sense of justice, and therefore - as with Kougami - it becomes hard to declare him good or bad. He and Kougami are in some ways very a like. Makishima is a bright, interesting and also annoyingly likeable villain - he can maybe be compared a bit to Light ( of Death Note).
The rest of the characters are supports, and I will not write about them individually. As a whole the supports are, as usually, very different of personality. Therefore there is a character for almost anyone to like - and also the characters supplement each other nicely. Kagari, for instance, creates the bit of humour PP has got. I also think there is an appropriate amount of supports, enough to make the story coherent and few enough to not make the story confusing.
The characters have a few seen-before elements, but are all in all both likeable, sensible and make the story move forward = 9/10.
I will not put enjoyment as part of my rating, but I will say that I enjoyed the series a lot. Psycho Pass has become one of my fave series and is definitely worth a watch.
Thank you if you took the time to read this abnormally large review :), I apologize for any clerical/grammatical errors, I am not english XDD.
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