A year and a half after the events of the original sci-fi psychological thriller, Akane Tsunemori continues her work as an inspector—enforcing the Sibyl System's judgments. Joining her are new enforcers and junior inspector Mika Shimotsuki, a young woman blindly and inflexibly loyal to Sibyl. As Akane ponders both the nature of her job and the legitimacy of Sibyl's verdicts, a disturbing new menace emerges.
A mysterious figure has discovered a way to control the Crime Coefficient—a number compiled from mental scans that allows Sibyl to gauge psychological health and identify potential criminals. Through these means, he is able to murder an enforcer, leaving behind a cryptic clue: "WC?" scrawled in blood on a wall.
Akane and the rest of Division 1 soon find themselves playing a deadly game against their new foe, coming face-to-face with a conspiracy threatening not only the authority of the Sibyl System, but the very foundation of Akane's own convictions.
TLDR: Inverted Parabola. Starts out all right, gets better towards the middle, crashes and burns at the end.
Psycho Pass made a huge splash in 2012 as a successful Urobutcher series. Its creativity, style, and execution flowed into an enjoyable and imaginative show - albeit with some missteps. Without Urobuchi at the helm, Psycho Pass 2 tries to take his universe and tell a unique story and, honestly, fails pretty hard.
If you've seen the first season, you probably wonder where the plot for this dystopian thriller could go. After all, much of the original Psycho Pass was an introspective exploration into the world it created. Where,
given all the plot developments of the first seasons, could this new series explore?
Well, as it turns out, nowhere. Striking similarities to the first season become quickly apparent and there's an overlying feeling of deja vu throughout the entire series. The story revolves around the same conflict debated in the first series and doesn't add anything new. As the plot progresses further, it desperately tries to distinguish itself through forced and melodramatic plot twists that ultimately amount to a bizarre and nonsensical finale with a confusing, out-of-left-field take-home message.
Most annoying is the lack of continuity from the initial series in characters. In some ways, Psycho Pass 2 doesn't feel like a sequel so much as a parody of the first series. Development seems to only really carry over for Akane; she is the only one in the cast who feels right. Ginoza, the other main protagonist from the first series, takes a backseat role. No, not like the backseat of a car; if Psycho Pass 2 was a Boeing 747, Ginoza would be sitting in the rear flight attendant's area. His developments from the previous season are ignored and he receives something like...15 lines of dialogue?
Instead, Psycho Pass 2 introduces Shimotsuki, one of the most infuriating characters to watch on screen. Her backstory is left unexplained and viewers are left to decode the infinite mystery that is her decisionmaking logic. Tougane, on the other hand, exhibits the makings of a good character and is certainly the most entertaining aspect of Psycho Pass 2. Unfortunately, the last few episodes don't really capture the potential of his character, instead bogging him down in the far less interesting main story.
Kamui, the main antagonist, is a washed-up recycle of Makishima with essentially the same character traits and demeanor. These similarities make it incredibly difficult to appreciate him as a stand-alone character. While he may have had some distinguishing features, the resemblance to Makishima in both his methods and his goal detract from an otherwise decent antagonist. Psycho Pass 2 tries to throw in some twists to make him more interesting, but the show can't escape the shadow of the first season.
All in all, a much weaker cast than the original Psycho Pass, which wasn't even that great to begin with.
Of course, the animation and sound of Psycho Pass 2 reflect the budget. Animation more or less matches the original show - perhaps slightly better given an 11-episode length compared to 24-episodes. The soundtrack is good, but worse than the first season. Ling Tosite Sigure offers a serviceable opening; however, not nearly as catchy as their work in Psycho Pass's first OP and Tokyo Ghoul. The ending song is my easily favorite song of the show and accents the ending of each episode nicely. The removal of the "Dominator" insert song brings down the score a full point, however.
I really wouldn't recommend watching this show if you've seen the first season. Even if you haven't, just watch the first season instead and leave it at that. Episodes 1-6 build up suspense and anticipation that Psycho Pass 2 fails to deliver on. Everything you'll see about the Psycho Pass universe occurred in the first season; Psycho Pass 2 doesn't offer anything dramatically different. It's simply a less interesting version of the first season that leaves you with questions like:
I suspect that the writer for Psycho Pass 2 created the script after surfing through conspiracy theorist sites written by potheads, followed by using the most hackneyed checklist of what constitutes a ‘dark, edgy thriller’: Somewhat sympathetic villain. Devoted, eye-patch wearing female accomplice in a red cleavage-baring outfit. Innocent puppies being killed mercilessly. Mutilated human faces hanging on walls. People being burned alive while ‘Nessun Dorma’ plays in the background. (No, I am not joking about the last one.)
Psycho Pass 2 is a terrible sequel. By ‘terrible sequel’, I do not mean a mediocre sequel that paled in comparison to the original but served
as a solid continuation of the story otherwise. I mean a sequel that ripped out all the things that made the first season interesting, shoved the pieces up its ass, and proceeded to take a dump on its predecessor’s corpse.
Let’s start with the distinguishing factor of the Psycho Pass universe: the Sibyl System. An utilitarian system that valued the collective happiness of everyone, viewing certain strong emotions as impediments to its ideals. Although it suppressed free will and denied space for self-actualization, it was successful in creating a stable society that escalated levels of happiness. It was not evil, it simply prioritized values differently. However, the Sibyl System in Psycho Pass 2 is clearly evil. Its once cold, calculating nature has been replaced with a comically wicked persona that involves itself in all sorts of conspiracies for selfish reasons. It might as well be a maniacal, moustache-stroking dictator plucking sandwich crumbs from his beard.
The writing decision to make the Sibyl System act too human ruptured the thematic axis built up by Season One. The chaos did not stop there, the show abandoned its allegory on individual-society relationships and delved straight into a conspiracy thriller plot. The result was a mess of nonsensical conspiracies that ignored the rules established in the previous season. The writer seems to think that the more complicated the villain’s scheme, the better the story. The main villain, Kirito Kamui, is an expert programmer, hacking into several security systems, pulling convoluted tricks on the police, brainwashing people into becoming his cult followers, carrying out multiple organ transplants, and God knows what else. The twists and new details created too many logical gaps in the story to keep the viewer’s investment. It only got more pretentious towards the end with all the theories that have no substantial contribution towards the show’s themes.
As for the characters, the main Inspector Akane Tsunemori started off promising and confident. However, she displayed no real growth by the end of the series, even after all the tragedy she witnessed, after how Sybil System was revealed to be a corrupt dipshit. Her pacifist beliefs did not shake one bit, neither did she offer any new insight. The new characters were nothing interesting either, although Sakuya Tougane, the Enforcer with the highest Crime Coefficient ever recorded, had potential. Of course, he eventually descended into self-parody along with the show. There’s also Mika Shimotsuki, the new Inspector whom everyone wanted to electrocute since episode 1. It was obvious that the show was trying to make her a poster child of the Sibyl System, but her character was utilized very poorly. Lacking initiative, useless, with cow manure for brains, it is hard to imagine how she even qualified for the job. Even after witnessing violent accidents that were partially her fault, she did not come to any realizations, her behavior painted her more like a caricature than an actual person. Yet, the show continued to focus on her childishness, which only served to annoy the audience further instead of articulating any interesting points.
In regards to the art and music departments, the animation is passable, although it took a slight dip in quality compared to the first season. I’ll give extra props to the music department though, for giving us the comedic gold that was the ‘Nessun Dorma’ scene.
In conclusion, Psycho Pass 2 had me questioning if the writer paid any attention to the first season at all. In fact, the show seemed to undermine its audience’s intelligence with the sheer stupidity of its plot and made-up fictional details, every episode in the second half did a good job of destroying half of my brain cells. To put it straight: Psycho Pass 2 failed to add anything meaningful to the original. It tried too hard to be ‘deep and edgy’ by throwing in shock and violence, even though it lacked thematic resonance of any sort. It’s like trying to improve the taste of burnt buffalo wings by pouring a bucket of hot sauce on it: not only does it still taste terrible, you are probably going to end up with a bad case of diarrhea, idiot.
"The law doesn't protect the people, it's the people who protect the law."
"It's not society that determines the future of its people, it's the people who determine the future of their society."
Psycho Pass 2 is best described as a political / moral discourse about the right and means of judgement, thrown into a thrilling plot and a cast of underdeveloped characters. Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved season 1 of this series, but I thought that while season 2 was an interesting extension of what happened in S1, it didn't do it enough "justice" (oh the puns).
I have come to
the conclusion that I should judge Psycho-Pass 2 collectively, and not individually as a standalone series (hence, the rating does not go below 5).
+ Strong main character
+ Good moral discourse towards the end
+ Sensible resolution
+ Great animation and art
+ Great background music builds suspense
+ Gripping and exciting plot development
- Mess of underdeveloped supporting characters
- Useless and stupid supporting characters
- Unnecessary and unimportant plot events
- Many, many unexplained plot holes
- Overpowered antagonist character
The plot is split into 3 main plot arcs, excluding the introductory arc, and they are the mental care facility arc, the drone base arc and the final train hostage arc.
The introductory arc starts off very well, cutting right to the chase in the middle of a crime investigation where we begin to see all the new characters being introduced (Shimotsuki, Togane and Hinakawa). While the criminal was apprehended very easily, we begin to see traces of how this crime is not as simple as it initially seems, from the final scene of episode 1 where the main antagonist reveals himself and manages to kidnap an inspector and kill off one of her Enforcers. (+1 for excitement)
Things start to get really interesting from there as Akane, the main protagonist, begins to get clues about this "ghost" known as Kamui, who apparently bypasses all cymatic scans and can live in society without actually existing. One particularly scary / exciting part was when Akane, in the midst of searching for clues, finds the words 'WC?' scratched on the wall of her apartment building - a very shocking revelation. Later on, it is revealed that this does not mean that Kamui cannot find a bathroom, but that Kamui is asking Akane, and subsequently Sibyl, what colour they are, and further on, what colour he himself is (since he can't be scanned by Sibyl). (+1 for development)
The amount of depth that they actually put into the thought process behind Kamui is actually very impressive - from how he was the lone survivor of an airline crash to becoming part of an experiment to join 184 different body parts (aka personalities) together to form a human being that essentially represents a collective group of people, the only other collective group being Sibyl itself. While it would be obvious to point out that joining 184 body parts together to create a live working human is far from possible, at least the anime itself points this out by expressing Saiga's doubt so I'm not deducting any points for that plot flaw. Kamui then proceeds to represent these 184 different people, and begins to start his grand plan of "making everybody clear" which is actually better phrased as "going to judge Sibyl". I found that the amount of moral and political discourse about omnipotent beings, collective judgement and perfection / ideals within the anime is quite substantial so kudos for that. (+1 for depth)
Also, the main idea of the story was quite simple - put a collective entity in the system so that Sibyl must judge itself, so nothing too complex there. A collective Psycho-Pass would mean that groups of people could be judged as dangerous even though each individual was clear, or that people's Psycho-Pass could change when within different groups, or like the twist at the end with Kamui - who claims that the person holding the Dominator becomes collectively part of Sibyl when pointing it at Sibyl itself.
Unfortunately, this twist doesn't make much sense no matter how you look at it. If Kamui points at Sibyl and Kamui is part of Sibyl, and it shows a value of zero, why would Akane, who is much clearer than Kamui, make the result any greater than zero? This would most likely make Sibyl go into the negative, if anything. Nice try, but that twist doesn't work.
Unfortunately, while there is an overarching plot, the 3 main plot arcs within didn't make sense. All Kamui really wanted to do was to point a dominator at Sibyl and to force them to judge themselves. There was honestly really no need for all the subsequent killing after he got a hold of Shisui's Dominator during the first episode, and there was nothing else stopping him from walking right up to Sibyl's front door except explaining to Akane why he needs to do so. And, I believe, Akane would have immediately obliged, seeing as how she did so at the end of the anime anyway. So, everything that Kamui plotted, all the people he killed after the first episode, in my opinion, was grossly unnecessary and only serves to heighten the "suspense" that would end up turning on itself at the end of the anime.
The plot attempts to explain that all of the other crimes were to "test" the functions of the Dominator - whether it could judge inspectors, other enforcers - and then to whether he could use it with the inspector's eyeball, then to just getting more Dominators for accomplices he didn't need, to carry out the train hostage taking plan that he didn't really have to carry out. The mental care facility arc was apparently to see if an inspector could be judged, but with Kamui's intelligence, this could have been done simply by pointing the gun at Shisui. The final train hostage arc was to overload Sibyl system and hence find out where Sibyl actually was - but in the end Akane brought him there so that was plain useless. So basically the plot could have been shortened to just episodes 1 and 12.
Furthermore, we look at Kamui's incredible powers of persuading people through the use of drugs and holos, arguably his two main skills in this anime (aside from teleportation of course, but we'll get to that later). I'm fine with Kamui being an expert in a certain field, but in multiple fields, this becomes less and less likely. So we start with Kamui being an expert at Psycho-Pass-reduction drugs, that make people be able to kill anybody they want after taking some injection or aerosol medication. Sure, but Kamui can also program holograms of himself. Not only that, but it seems like he has 184 different holograms, all of whom are himself, and all of whom are "aged-up" versions of his dead friends. Okay, let's suppose he can do that, what about being able to hack into the Ministry of Defence and MWPSB's systems and to take control of ALL their drones? Okay, what about being able to find escape route for a mental care facility that was supposed to be locked down already? Can he teleport now? Oh wait, I forgot that he is also a bomb expert who can program his bombs to be overridden and controlled only by him. Next, he can also apparently produce synthetic retinal layers so that his accomplices can use Dominators under Shisui's name too, without any background in materials science. He also happens to be a drone expert and can remove the impact absorbers of drones cleanly. Amazing! Really, the amount of things that this guy can do is so over the top, it's a mystery why this man hasn't managed to locate Sibyl yet with all the time he seems to have on his hands, learning about all these things.
Next, one of the key things I really hated about the plot this time around was about the whole Togane Misako and Togane Sakuya plotting to turn Akane black. We already know that this is not possible. While Akane is not criminally asymptomatic, from S1, we know that her Psycho-Pass NEVER gets clouded, not ever. And if anything, Sibyl should already know this. The entire plot twist about Togane being the secret antagonist and trying to cloud Akane's Psycho-Pass was incredibly unnecessary and annoying. While it did add some dimension to the plot, it didn't have any convincing motives whatsoever - all Togane said was "This is my reason for existence" - and neither did it progress the plot in any meaningful way. So Akane's grandmother was killed for no reason whatsoever, that's just sad and cruel and doesn't do justice to one of my favourite characters of this anime.
Other huge plot holes include Inspector Shisui, who changes very suddenly from having her eyeball taken out to becoming super loyal to Kamui, as can be seen clearly in the final two episodes where she fights almost to the brink of death for Kamui's cause. The only possible way to explain how a person who was kidnapped, then strapped to a chair with a gun pointing to herself, then seeing her own eyeball outside of her body, change so suddenly to having so much affection for her kidnapper to the point of saying "You can use my body as well" (during the drone base arc) or to even agreeing to kill / endanger her own former partner, Aoyanagi, is that she was brainwashed with some of Kamui's drugs - but this was not even mentioned, so it's definitely a plot hole. Not to mention that I know Kamui is an expert at drugs but it just because he himself went through 184 body part surgery doesn't mean that he is anywhere near skilled enough to perform eye surgery in the first place (oh wait, I forgot he has an infinite set of skills).
There were also a whole load of other unexplained plot junk like Kamui's killing of a lot of "illegal aliens" during a dinner banquet, Shimotsuki suddenly having the freedom to go and expose Togane's secrets to set the audience off on a red herring that everyone in the audience knows is fake, Akane's grandmother having her ear cut off instead of being killed in the first place (and then getting killed again eventually), Kamui getting help from so many people, Sibyl able to identify inanimate objects like drones based on their threat level and them killing people, but still having immense trouble figuring out whether a person who just killed another person is a "threat" based on cymatic scan. All of this is glossed over in the anime and simply overlooked, as if the writers hoped nobody would ask questions and just accept them as it is.
Next, character behaviour during some plot events were unnatural. Shimotsuki's reaction to learning about the Sibyl system, plus Sibyl choosing to reveal the reality to her in the first place didn't make any sense whatsoever. Togane mentioned that Shimotsuki could be used as a "test subject" to see how citizens would react if faced with the reality of Sibyl, but Shimotsuki's reactions were that of a person in denial and that is by no means a valuable test subject. If I were Togane, I would have simply killed her immediately because she adds no value to the society, and even less to the plot (but more of her uselessness later - see character section).
Still, at the very least the key premise of the plot made sense - that Sibyl needed to change to accommodate the collective identity of Kamui, as well as itself. It prides itself on "evolving" continually to improve but honestly it was all Akane's doing and persuasion that convinced Sibyl that anything needed changing at all. I'm horribly saddened that a collective of 100+ brains could not see this and needed Akane to give it a lecture. Then again, aristocracy is not perfect, so whatever. (+1 for believable assumptions)
I do have on final note on the interesting sniper-dominator weapon that one of the protagonists from Division 3 used during the second arc to "shoot through" the wall and accidentally hit Aoyangi, basically killing her. This calls into question the design and specifications of the Dominator in the first place, as it is a key plot device that is never really touched on or explained. We do know that it does have a fixed number of shots, thanks to Togane's random quibbling about how there are only 3 Destroy-Decomposer shots during the drone base arc, but other than that we still have no idea, after two seasons, of what exactly it fires and where it gets it's power/ rounds from since there obviously isn't any reloading going on. They definitely need to get down to some explaining of how this thing really works, and then on to explaining how it's actually possible for such rounds / pulses of energy to be able "shoot through" walls and if so, what material / how thick and how reliably so? Plus, the cymatic scan is shown many times to be able to "bypass walls", so honestly why can't it bypass humans as well (all the countless of times the psycho-pass clear people block a Dominator by standing in front of an enforcement target) - especially when the human isn't technically completely blocking the person behind.
The plot really suffers this time around, not so much because of the main plot line but because of the general incoherence and unnecessary twists and events that felt very pointless at the end of the entire anime. I did, however, like the conclusion because at least it sensibly resolved the entire conflict in the most reasonable way possible. (+1 for overarching, resolved conflict)
The art design and concept behind this anime is just so good.
OP Sequence: 2/2
ED Sequence: 2/2
OP Theme: 1/2 - this OP really suffered from all the horrible high pitch vocals, though the backing track was very upbeat and exciting
ED Theme: 2/2 - good ED theme in general
Background Music: 4/4 - very good background music that really built up suspense throughout
Additional Themes: 0/2 - There were no additional themes, so no points here.
My favourite character definitely has to be Shinya Kogami. Lol. Even though he wasn't even featured as a main character throughout S2, his cameo appearances were enough to make me love him because his lines are always impactful and game-breaking. And he is so cool! :D
Anyway, we move on to the main protagonist, Akane, who has grown from being just an innocent, fresh police inspector to a mature, sharp, quick-witted and decisive woman who is pretty much the best boss anyone could ask for. She's understanding, calm, efficient and she gets her hands dirty when she needs to. While she doesn't show much growth throughout the anime (she's already grown a lot S1), her character development continues to pull through - from her recent smoking habit to the way she handles her new, annoying colleague Shimotsuki, to her talking with Saiga and her final face-off with Sibyl and Kamui. Akane is a character with such strong presence and courage that it's hard not to like her. She's also the one-of-a-kind natural master of her own psycho-pass. (+1 for bravery, +1 for uniqueness)
Many people didn't like how Akane's only reaction to her grandmother's death was just one scream - but just hold that thought a while. The way Akane recovered from the initial shock and emotion, and finally went to rationalizing the whole thing - realizing that it was not possible that Kamui would target her grandmother - was not simply because of "her nature". The specific cutscene shows Akane remembering Kogami's words, "This is unlike you... didn't you try to stop me (from killing Shogo Makishima) because you believe in (the law)?" Akane was clearly distraught but she managed composed herself by recalling her past experiences in S1. Since I view S2 in light of the events in S1, I know that it's not that Akane is emotionless or lacks any human feeling in her, it's that she bravely makes the decision to suppress them to uphold the law, and to protect all of society, not just the people important to her. (+1 for character depth)
The next pretty damn cool character is Saiga, the one everyone is slightly afraid of because of rumours that anyone he talks to gets a clouded Psycho-Pass. But he's actually a pretty friendly and straightforward guy who's also so sharp that he basically unravels most of Kamui's intentions just by looking at him. He is also one of the best partners to Akane because she is immune to his "clouding Psycho-Pass" effect and becomes a caring mentor to her whenever she turns to him for advice and help on the case. (+1 for intellect) Too bad he's also just supporting cast so he doesn't get much attention.
Of course, at this point we have to mention Kirito Kamui, the main antagonist who is basically going the huge roundabout way of doing things. We get to see a lot of his backstory before the final arc, when his surgeon talks about how he was patched up from 184 different body parts, and his subsequent life and motivations from there, so that was really good and was actually believable - the idea that he could become so invisible that he basically felt non-existent, which drove him to ask the question "WC?" in the first place. I loved how this thoroughly explained his motives behind the overall plot, even though it didn't really justify all that killing. It's also great to see how he actually has good intentions to change Sibyl system as a whole, and was willing to sacrifice himself for his cause. (+1 for depth, +1 for courage)
The other main antagonist of course, Togane, was just a mass of bad intentions and poor plot points. Sure, he had some backstory, but they basically said that he was synthetically created, had a mother complex, and likes to kill people by turning their psycho-pass black. None of this is remotely human enough to make me consider him as a character, he's more like just there for 2 key reasons, a) a deus-ex-machina to make a uselessly complex plot and b) to remind Akane of Kogami. Akane should have just let Kamui killed him when he had the chance - he totally deserved to be disintegrated for beating up a poor old granny like that.
I was very sad that I didn't get to see Ginoza much though, because he definitely grew a lot from S1 too, but the writers didn't let him get enough screentime and demoted him to a supporting character. In fact, it's depressing that so many of the supporting characters just got sidelined and none of them were developed to any considerable degree even though I could tell that they were really interesting characters - people like Yayoi, Hinakawa, Shion and even Aoyanagi (who really didn't deserve to die in such a horrible fashion).
The character that I really, really hated though, definitely had to be Shimotsuki. She has got to be the number one most useless tryhard character ever. From the beginning, she gets on the nerves of everyone in Unit 1, she annoys the audience constantly by trying to get Akane removed as an inspector, her lack of understanding and naivety to every situation leads to most of the time spent "on standby", and her lack of any form of courage continues throughout the anime, even to the end where she continues to remain in denial. She has minimal growth despite having so many chances to change and become more mature, and she has also ZERO backstory (nobody really knows where she comes from) and she also has minimal character development - she exists just to be an obstacle and a hindrance to the overall plot and to Akane.
The anime tries to justify Shimotsuki's necessity within the anime by referring to her as the "ideal citizen" that would accept Sibyl's true reality when the time comes for the secret to be revealed to the rest of society. While that is a good attempt of representing the useless people in society, that's not main character material! If she was just a supporting character, I would be fine with it, but nope, she has more screen time than the other cooler characters like Ginoza and Saiga. She really doesn't deserve the main character status if the reason she's there is to merely represent the unthinking, passive portion of society.
Finally, we have to talk about Sibyl as a character. Sure enough, Sibyl manages to get a bit of growth, essentially killing off it's more "insane" minds such as Togane Misako and keeping only the select few who were less criminally chaotic in nature, which is basically the most sensible thing to do. Sibyl does have so many flaws however, that it is insane to think how it can live with itself knowing that it has this many flaws all this while. (+1 for slight growth) I really loved how Sibyl turned its back against Togane Misako at the end though, that mess of a character totally deserved some punishment.
So, all in all, most of the character really lacked growth and development, though I think Akane as a character really stood out among everyone. Too bad it was only Akane and everyone else kind of just fell short of what it truly means to be a solid character. The entire plot was basically being carried by Akane alone, and that can't ever really be a good thing, can it?
As much as I hated the plot and I despised many of the characters, I have to say that I was excited enough to watch through the entire S2 in one sitting, so that probably means that it did well in the suspense department, especially in the initial few episodes of the anime where they kept with the lingering question on whether it was really a ghost or not. (+2 for suspense) I also felt that the action scenes were fast-paced enough to enjoy amidst all the crime-solving excitement that really kept my blood pumping. (+2 for excitement).
The gore in this anime is also really one of its key characteristics - to be able to show all that blood and chaos, all the face smashing and beating and to treat it as a natural outcome in the eyes of Sibyl. This is really one key feature that keeps you transfixed to the screen and constantly telling yourself "Something is really wrong with this screwed up system." (+1 for thrill)
Overall, there was good pacing and not once did I feel bored. The action scenes were clear, sharp and crisp, while all the slower scenes did not feel too dragged out. I also felt that all the moral discourse with Saiga, Akane with herself and finally with Kamui, all of it actually made a lot of sense. It was especially interesting to think about the idea of Sibyl "judging itself" as an "omnipotent" being that was achieving omnipotence and absorbing anything that it didn't have power over. (+3 for pacing)
This anime receives a bonus 1 point for not having any filler episodes. (+1 bonus point)
This anime really fell short of my expectations for it. My rating for the previous season was a 9, so dropping 2 points really means a major disappointment, but at least it was an enjoyable watch for me nonetheless. At this point though, I'm pretty certain this anime is not complete without Kogami Shinya as a main character.
After reading through many of the Psycho-Pass 2 reviews on this site, I was shocked to see how many people have rated this anime so low just because of the hate and disappointment they felt from having their expectations of this show crushed. I honestly do not think this show deserves any less than a 5 (the bare minimum), despite the sub-par plot and character development. The show was, on the animation and screenplay side, pretty solid and I think we should at least give credit for that. I also believe that the only reason it's getting so much hate is because many people's "Psycho-Pass" is being clouded by their own emotions. I will stick to my score of 7 because just like Akane, if you remove your emotions from the picture and think clearly, rationally, you will no doubt pass fairer judgement.
There’s no easy way to describe the Psycho Pass franchise. To put it together it simply, the story becomes a complex tale to tell in a dystopian world. Just think about it: imagine if you feel like being watched 24/7 in a Big Brother style surveillance society. How would you feel about that? Fearful? That should be a normal feeling considering every person is measured by a state of being known as ‘Psycho Pass’. It tells the limits of a person’s mental state and their probability to commit a crime. This may sound all cool and dandy but in reality is a system with so
many possibilities. Psycho Pass 2 serves as the direct sequel of the first season to bring those possibilities into chaotic levels.
The second season revolves around several changes. Technical wise, Production I.G. is no longer in charge of the project (oddly enough, they are still involved with the movie production). Instead, we get Tatsunoko Production directed by Kiyotaka Suzuki. Secondly, the series only runs approximately half the length of the first season. That’s right. 11 episodes and apparently, the show is confident enough to craft a story based on the setup of the premise and what it has shown us from the first season. Make no mistake though, certain characters do make returns while new ones are added. Finally, there’s an absence of Shinya Kogami. There’s obvious reasons why he doesn’t appear in this sequel especially for fans who have seen the first season. In regards to these changes, this sequel brings a different picture to view.
From the start, the second season offers a story involving a new mysterious case. To end, it also adds a host of new characters as well as returning ones from the first season. Protagonist and inspector Akane Tsunemori returns after learning the truth about the Sybil System. Her choice is to obey the system by following a philosophy of doing the right thing is in her mind. Joining her includes Ginoza, Yayoi, and Shion as part of the new police unit. They also get some new helping hands including six new characters who plays a variety of roles in the second season. While the show still retains their state of duty, the season is left without Kagami, a man who dealt pivotal blows against the system. At the same time, the Sybil System itself reveals startling new revelations that may change the story forever. For Akane, this season is also about her own personal battle and against another mysterious individual. This can easily be seen at the conclusion of the first episode as we meet Kirito Kamui, a mysterious antagonist who tampers with the Sybil System.
Let’s get a few other things out of the way. The absence of certain characters is something that season 2 suffers from when it comes to expansive development. Fans who have become attached to Kogami will surely feel disappointed with his lack of presence. And to make it worse, we no longer have Makishima Shougo (for obvious reasons). He was a complex character with a dark personality and a difficult antagonist to replace. It’ll take time for people to get used to a guy like Kamui despite their similar dark personalities. Still, there’s also a mistake about the second season with the addition with Mika when it comes to her characterization. The first episode leaves no time to depict her character as someone who is literally a complainer desperately trying to defend the Sybil System. Her ignorance and opposition against her own boss Akane is something to that can be on the line of hair pulling annoyance. At some point of the show, it would come as no surprise if most viewers label Mika to be an idiot.
Despite the additions of such a foil character, the new season still has enough to keep fans involved and eagerly await each episode. I can say this with confidence as some episodes leaves off with thrilling cliffhangers after a built-up of events. It’s also easy to interpret the show that is shrouded in mystery with secrets and foreshadowing. There are also parts during the season as we witness Kamui commence with his plans in secret with hidden motives. It’s easy to tell that he is the type of man who is careful with his moves after he kidnaps and seemingly brainwashes Mizue Shisui, an inspector from Division 2. His smooth talking tells us that he is quite a manipulative character who uses words as his primary weapon to get people to join his side. Not only that but he seems to be personally interested in Akane, a contrast to Season 1’s Makishima Shougo where he is disappointed at her actions. Like I mentioned before, Akane fights on personal terms with her internal struggles as his friends, family, and comrades are put in danger. Season 2 exploits many points with twists of fate with a grim sense of purpose.
There are definitely some problems with the direction of the episodes in this season. In particular, one episode introduces a group of new characters from another unit; a direction that I feel as inappropriate with the lack of characterization already on the current roster. But let’s make this worse. This one particular episode turns into a sour blood fest after some choices are made based on the behavior of the Sybil System. And if you want to guess, Mika is as useless as ever while Akane herself does little to secure the problem. What we get in the end is nothing more than more exposition and graphic violence to add to the shock factor. There’s also the situational ‘cat and mouse’ gimmick that returns in this season as the new police unit begins to hunt down Kamui. Guess who is Tom and who is Jerry. Still, the main part of the show’s problem revolves with Kamui’s methods to manipulate people. A part of his past connects with events of the present that deconstructs the way the Sybil System work. Unlike season 1 that is focused on the flaws of the system, it now becomes a shallow writing with terribly mishandled concept. Honestly, if that is the method that Kamui uses to manipulate people, then this season is doomed. You’ll have to watch it yourself to discover the stone cold truth.
Character relationships are of minimal impact and nothing on par with Akane and Kagami’s development from season 1. There are also strange twists thrown in revolving around with Tougane as well as Mika learns of a terrible fact. Otherwise, most of the other new characters lacks any depth with their characterization. Even Ginoza becomes less interesting despite his initial impressive introduction in this season. I say this with a potential romance angle that was doomed from the very start. Finally, don’t forget about Mika. Or perhaps, I think it should be in best of interests to forget her as much as possible since she is so focused on her own ideology. (even after being exposed to the truth) It’s hard for anyone to feel sorry for her to be honest.
I’ll warn you right now. This show can be a bit of a pain to the stomach at times to watch. If you’re not used to gore and blood fests, then some of the episodes will not be suitable enough. For shock value and blatant attempts to illustrate the grim society of this show’s world, we get graphic violence. With total uncensored footage, there’s bodies exploding with blood raining down that makes this Fall Season’s Terra Formars’ violence look like a joke. On top of that, the show’s visuals downgrades a bit on some episodes with character expressions. You won’t notice it much since it’s not as explicit as the actual violence. Nonetheless, the artwork is only decent with the setting and character designs. I do give some praise to the action sequences though except some parts that are lazily coordinated.
Soundtrack is perhaps a stronger aspect of the sequel. While it doesn’t surpass season 1 in any way, there’s a good measure of coordinating the cryptic OP song to illustrate its themes. Not only that but the OST remains top notch during key moments in this season. Unfortunately, character voice mannerisms becomes a concern at times especially with people like Mika and Sho. The season’s soundtrack does rebound this back though with some of the expressive tones during climatic moments, usually thriller endings that makes the audience hunger for more.
By the end of this season, I scratch my head to wonder what went wrong with the second season. It had a good momentum from the beginning with the introduction of new characters and antagonists. We also found out more of the season’s motives especially involving Akane. Then somewhere down that road, the season decided to turn into bloated writing of its former self. It becomes a shameless example of how not to do a sequel. And in this case, the characters too follow down a road of deconstructing formulation. Now, this season isn’t garbage though especially when it comes to some action and technical features. The initial few episodes in the beginning had a solid momentum and almost every episode leaves with a feeling of thrills; to keep the audience in their seats to look forward to more. There are moments that makes me hunger for more but in the end, it still remains meh.
What is it that makes some women better characters than others of their gender? Looking past the highly sexualised culture and industry of fanservice that is anime, this writer examines a sample of female characters who made a lasting impression on them.