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.
First of all, I'd recommend you to read another review if u want to get an overview about this series.
Since most of this is somewhat my biased opinion about my anger and how the story felt. Its not to see as a recommendation for anyone, more like some ideas to think of. If u are still interested, u can keep on reading.
Before reading this you should be prepared for spoilers and bad mouthing, since thats the only way i can describe a few things.
The series first episodes remind me of cowboy bebops style of showing episodes. It describes a few things beforehand. After
a few episodes the anime changes its style, from daily tasks for the police to a longer task. The "main" antagonist is getting to the center of the show, Makishima. Ill describe him a bit later.
The series Main Character (MC) Tsunemori is a girl working for the Police in a time where a so called Computer System called Sibyl is ruling over the people.
Fine, but there is something wrong about Tsunemori. She can unconsciously control her Criminal Coefficient -->
The Criminal Coefficient, A Parameter on whom people get judged by with the Sibyl system. It doesnt matter if u did a crime or think about a crime, it represents your state of mind and your feelings, the Sibyl system measures that and gives out the Criminal Coefficient. UHHH, Minority Report, anyone???
This control of the Criminal coefficient reminds of the main antagonists characteristics, which became more and more clear ongoing in the series.
After all, those people are special.
The main thing that pissed me off about the show was the main characters bahaviour. She keeps following the Sibyl system, that betrayed all of her ideals towards the end, protects it and keeps dreaming of ideals like the System will vanish if something changes humanity.
Awwwwh come on, please, this is bullshit. Following the System, that is meant to judge all humans is build on murderes and criminals with this special power to ignore the criminal coefficient. Tsunemori gets to know this and is "of course shocked on that episode with an extremely shocking reaction"... nothing. she just accepts it towards the end. Yeah why not?
Let the system be built on around 250 mass murderes and criminals minds because they are "Special". Just ignore it tsunemori "GOOD JOB,GOOD GIRL"...
The reason why? Because the system is protecting humanity and delivers them happines.
Yeah my ass. Half of the people are in a cage, a few are living life like rats running away and the last few are people, ignoring everything like a murder in this one episode where the girl gets Hammered in her HEAD. Easyyyy
Also those special people robbed her of her best friend, lets ignore that the Justice System is build on people like that. What ever, want to hear my advice?
Go down there with the EMP Grenade and shut down the cage, melt the brains, free the Human birds since living in that cage will mean hell for most of them without themselves knowing it. Killing all their emotions and living a meaningless life, decided by the System.
The only points the series managed to grab from me came from the Antagonist Makishima. His appearences in the series gave this anime a future. Unluckily , he was robbed of his "Zero Requiem".
What could have been done?
After the failure from the hacker guy, just end the series with a cliffhanger season. Go on with season 2 and build up an insane comeback, what else? Or you could have done it in this season with more episodes, not a weak ending with a pathetic lead to the 2nd season.
My final thoughts:
Of course this series is not bad, its the opposite but it does not deserve his position in the 8.5~ rating. its rather Fine(6) to Good (7) after destroying the deepness in the characters and the epicness in the makishima scenes.
Like wtf? The hacker guy and his 3 other morons could have easily dealt with that idiot and revealed this bullshit... The old lady would have killed the other ones after the vidoe was uploaded but What ever.
I watched it, i liked the first few episoed, i had high hopes and they got crushed by the computability of the story.
On normal terms id go with an 8 since compared to other animes this has just more quality but nah im sticking to my biased selfish opinion and going with 5!
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.
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