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.
Truth be told, after Season 1, I am highly disappointed as of Episode 5. While I understand the aspect of mystery, most of events that take place in the anime and the story itself don't make a lot of sense.
Not only it goes against the logical nature of the first season of the show, it also overuses previous themes, such as the faults of the Sybil System, at the same time paying no respect to them... Because one of the faults of the system was its over-control of human life... control, that now somehow vanished, apparently for the sake of the plot.
The premise of the
world itself was police investigating incidents in the world in which machines can read a person's mind and judge it. However, none of it is left. Instead, everyone focuses on some kind of "ghost" who uses abilities more akin to magic or at least methods working with magic-like efficiency.
Earlier, it was pure logic and psychology, with some action. MWPSB tried to discover the culprits behind crimes and hunt them down. To do that, they investigated crimes that occurred, looking for leads - something like this barely occurs now that the show focuses on a single mystery of a ghost, and every criminal is suddenly clean.
Changing someone's Crime Coefficient regardless of their thoughts, tendencies and motives is illogical ability - because Crime Coefficient itself was a measurement and judgment of thoughts, tendencies and motives. It's like changing a measurement on thermometer without changing temperature.
It's obvious it will be explained, but the execution of the idea is done rather badly, if instead of interest, it causes aversion to the writing.
The new season also seems to easily disregard some parts of the world we saw in the first season. For example, eye scanning was outdated technology in Season 1, but for some reason, it's used by Dominators to work in Season 2. Similarly, anti-hacking measures in drone factory were particularly tight, while nothing of it was reflected in latest, drone-related episode.
While the first season had criminals trying to work their way around the system, they were still fragile to it once found out. This new season however disregards ordered nature of the world completely, dumbing down its safety and security, while severely overpowering criminals and making them immune to most attempts of enforcement.
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.
I really liked the first season of Psycho Pass. It had everything I wanted in a cyberpunk crime Anime, from the atmosphere to the characters to the setting. So, after the announcement of Season 2, I was really excited. But, after hearing it would be only 11 episodes, I was worried, since I thought it'd be rushed and would be of less quality than the first season. Unfortunately, I was right. I'll move on to my review.
This season takes place a couple of years after the events of Pyscho Pass. We are introduced to Akane's new team in the MWPSB, along with some familiar faces. After a brief introduction, we are thrust right into the action, where we at the end see the main antagonist of this season.
I'll be honest, as far as the story is concerned, it was disappointing. The story's really similar to the first season, but never as interesting. With the introduction of the new antagonist, Kamui Kirito, I expected something different. Story is the same old ''Person wrecks havoc in the city, MWPSB must stop him at all costs''. There are a few twists and turns throughout the series that legitimately surprise me, but those really didn't save the story from being a mess, with plot holes and nonsensical things happening just for the sake of progressing the plot. It's a shame, since it was really good in the beginning, building up the tension with each subsequent episode. The series reached its peak at Episode 6, which was really intense and even had me shaking in my boots. But, the Anime ended in a really bad way, which I didn't enjoy one bit. It left me with more questions than answers.
Art and Sound:-
Definitely the best part of Pyscho Pass 2. It's just as good as the previous season, if not better. Characters are designed brilliantly, though I still can't get used to Akane's odd eyelashes(they creep me out, man!). The detail in the city, lighting and other such intricate little things just make it better to look at. And as usual, the Dominators look badass no matter how many times I see them being used.
The sound department is also great. The Opening ''Enigmatic feeling'' though not as good as the Opening of Psycho Pass 1, is still great to hear. The ending ''Fallen'' is amazing though, best ED I've heard in a long time. It's even on my playlist now. The rest of the sounds for the Anime just get the job done and are nothing special.
Out of the main cast, Akane is the only one who got a decent amount of character development. We see her troubled, on the brink of getting her crystal clear Psycho Pass getting coloured on a few occasions. Rest of the old cast hardly has any development, Ginoza in particular. Really was sad that he barely had anything to do in the Anime, considering he was one of my favourite characters in Psycho Pass 1.
We also have a few new characters. The new officer, Shimotsuki, who works alongside Akane. Bluntly put, she's a flat out bitch. I didn't liker her from the beginning. She thinks highly of herself and believes she is right all the time. She even looks down on Akane's methods to handling various situations, and she doesn't even have much of a backstory. There's also the new enforcer, Togane Sakuya. I liked him a lot. He provided the season's most entertaining aspects. Sadly, he wasn't used the way I would've liked, in the end.
As for the main antagonist Kamui Kirito, there really isn't much to say about him. He doesn't have the charisma or panache that Makishima possessed. He's just a plain old villain trying to destroy the Sibyl System. He had his moments, some of which were actually quite good, but in the end, he hardly left an impression on me, hence was forgettable.
Overall, the set of characters in this season are severely underwhelming and not memorable.
Enjoyment and Overall:-
It was an okay season. It had spectacular highs and excruciating lows. It's not close to as good as the first season of Psycho Pass. But it still warrants a watch, even if it's just for the sake of watching it in order to see the movie. I really hope the movie makes more sense and ties all the loose ends together.
This second season of Psycho-Pass introduces a new villain in the form of Kamui who is trying to shake things up with the current society in place being ran by the Sibyl System much like Makishima did in the prior season. Akane has a mostly new team of Inspectors and Enforcers to assist her in this case as she tries to figure out Kamui's motives and origins as he manipulates others to join in his cause.
Unlike the first season, Psycho Pass 2 is quite a mess in terms of writing and the amount of time it has to explore things. The first season took its
time with exploring the unique problems that plagued Japan with the Sibyl System running society, fleshing out its cast and unveiling the true nature and motives surrounding Makishima and the Sibyl System. The 22-episode count for it was enough time for you to think about and feel for the problems facing the major characters and those living within the so-called utopia that the Sibyl System provided.
For this second season though, the writing for the plot isn't as well thought out as a good number of the plot twists and revelations revealed regarding Kamui's origins and his plans in defying the Sibyl System are rushed through and the series relies on infodump expositions at points to fully reveal its story instead of fully showing you what happens. In addition, the majority of new characters introduced in this series either get little fleshing out or are so incompetent that you have to wonder why they were allowed to fill character space. Having this season at 11 episodes greatly limited the amount of time the series could have to explore its plot and characters. Plus unlike its first season, it didn't seem like this series had a clear focus on what it wanted to explore as subjects such as Akane's mental state and the Sibyl System running into some sort of omnipotence paradox are brought up yet either don't get properly developed or they get poorly elaborated on thanks to the show's rushed pace. It seemed like whomever was responsible for directing this season of Psycho-Pass was more focused on highlighting the spectacle of the series instead of the themes it explored from the first season.
About the only genuine praise I can give this second season to Psycho-Pass is its visual presentation. It isn't much different from the first season meaning the high quality animation is retained here with its highly detailed scenic shots and character designs, fluid and intense action scenes and nicely rendered CG animation used for patrol bots, vehicles and Dominators. For as much of a mess as the story was, Psycho-Pass 2 is still one of the year's best titles in terms of visual quality.
But putting aside its animation, Psycho-Pass 2 is still among one of this year's biggest disappointments as a follow-up to its excellent first season. Its storytelling was a mess and the 11-episode run of it limited how much time the series could get into with fleshing out its plot and characters without having to resort to info dumping. Will have to see if the upcoming movie for this will be any better than this pitiful sequel to it.
Sequels have always been expected to fill the shoes of it's predecessors. And it should go without saying that a great deal of sequels fall short. Either because fans of the 1st season carry high expectations or elements of the 1st season is missing in its follow up.
Unfortunately Psycho-Pass 2 isn't an exception to the rule. It didn't quite live up to the success it garnered back in 2012/2013..
One of the most noticeable flaw starts with unresolved tension build up from season 1. Instead of following up on the friction between the collective entity of the Sibyl
System and Akane, it places in on the back burner. Even going as far as making Sibyl passive as appose to the hands on approach the fans would have been used to. Instead we follow Akane as she investigates the new and rather bland antagonist who stirs up trouble in the system. the 11 episode runtime also further dampers the story, giving it less time to be fully fleshed out.
With a new writer behind the helm, PP2 feels rather alienated from it's predecessor. The absence of Gen Urobuchi's knack for chair gripping thrill rides is ever present. The new writer isn't bad per say, but lacks the flare for the dramatic that the Butcher is known for. This shift in tone makes the story of PP2 feel more like a run of the mill tv cop drama than a dystopian/cyberpunk neo noir experience.
Luckily the art for PP2 doesn't go through studio changes. Making the transition with no noticeable hickups. The color pallet also remains the same, which in turn gives the city and surroundings it's familiar atmosphere. But it isn't all well, as there's a obvious dip in aesthetics and cinematics. Some frame shots felt devoid of any substance. These problems won't be something apparent to the untrained eye and shouldn't ruin your experience.
The soundtrack is very forgettable. With none demanding any attention of the viewer, they simply play in the background for added effect. The voice actors retained their roles, so those familiar with them won't find any complaints. They also introduce 3 new parties to the cast line up but we'll talk about those later. The opening made for an enjoyable listen and keeps the pace set by the other 2 of season 1.
This is where things go to shit. The new characters introduced range from being bland to borderline annoying (I'm looking at you Mika!).
Shou Hinakawa: smart shy guy
Sakuya Tougane: deranged lunatic
antagonist (unnamed for spoilers): no personality to speak of.
and then there's Mika Shimotsuki, ohhh God MIKA... for the sake of not going off on a tangent I'll leave it at that. Akane was also a disappointment, her unchangeable plot device "Psycho-Pass" holds her back from getting any development and because of that she remains stagnant throughout the show's duration.
Other than seeing the continuation of Psycho-Pass, season 2 dropped the ball. It lost all the charm that made the show great to begin with and I was left more disappointed than satisfied.
From being a show I hold in high regards to one I won't bother acknowledging, Psycho-Pass 2 failed on many levels. If you were a fan of the series and have yet to watch this, I suggest you skip it and go on in ignorant bliss. A decision I wish I had follow for myself.
Psycho-Pass was undoubtedly one of the greatest, if not the best, anime of the fall and winter season of 2012. So naturally, when a sequel was announced, people got really excited. They wanted to see more of the mind-games, more of the great characters, and more of the badass detective Kougami. And did this sequel deliver? Not at all.
Before I get into the review, I’d like to give a warning to those who haven’t seen season one of Psycho-Pass since this review will contain a few spoilers of the first season, also, go and watch the first season, like, right now. I’ll also say that,
as much as I don’t want to, I will inevitably draw comparisons between both seasons.
Also, there’s a TL;DR at the end.
Our story continues from about two years after where the last season ended. We see some familiar faces among our main cast, including Akane Tsunemori. We’re also introduced to two new enforcers(Tougane and Hinakawa) and one new inspector who was show at the end of the first season, Mika Shimotsuki(I’ll get into her character later). From there on, the show begins with a new antagonist, (whose name I cannot reveal, so I’ll just call him ‘K’ for the rest of the review.). The story then becomes a detective story of the police force chasing ‘K’.
The story of Psycho-Pass 2 is nowhere near as good as the first season. The reason for this comes from many different factors. The first, and in my opinion, the biggest contributing factor to the story’s lousiness, comes from the fact that this season is only 11 episodes long, half of the first season. That is the fundamental reason of why this story is flawed. 11 episodes is usually not enough time to create any detective story, let alone a complex one. This short length results in massive pacing problems which dampened my personal experience of the show.
The story aims to do too much in such a short span of time. In fact, it houses 4 arcs, in 11 episodes!
First there’s the obligatory introduction that took 2 episodes. Then there’s 3 other arcs, each of approximately 3 episodes(I won’t go into detail since, you know, spoilers)
The second reason as to why this story isn’t good, is the change of writers between both seasons. While I won’t blame the new writer for the bland story, I still think that keeping the same writers in both seasons would’ve been the better choice. For reference the writer for the first season was Gen Urobuchi, the man responsible behind such shows like, Fate/Zero and Madoka Magika, while the new writer (for the script) was Jun Kumagai, who definitely did not have the same acclaim as Urobuchi.
While I will say that the pacing and writing were bad, the story wasn’t terrible, it had a few positives along with the negatives, for example, a both of the arcs in the middle were pretty good, even if they were rushed.
Overall, the story had good promise, and it did fine, but the execution did not reach expectations. With 11 more episodes, and a better writer, this problem could’ve easily been avoided.
Art and Animation:- 9/10
The animation was something that I cannot complain about too much. The art style of the show remains relatively the same, following the saying the “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
The animation feels very fluent in all the scenes, and in scenes that had some blood in them this show went all out, similar to the first season. All the action and gore heavy scenes were the main highlights in the show, and even in scenes where nothing was really happening, the animation was still good. The opening and ending animations are also very well done.
Although, I do have a few nitpicks. Sadly, the show still has the habit of making some human characters look stoned, mainly, Akane. Then there are the new character designs, which frankly, most of them look average to just bad. Even the main antagonist ‘K’ wasn’t very threatening at all, far from the brilliantly designed Makashima from the first season. Even the new enforcers, didn’t have that great of designs.
Another fault I find with the animation, is that the show rarely strays away from its comfort zone, meaning that the show doesn’t take a lot of risks with its animation at all, in fact I’d even go as far as to say that the animation did become a bit bland and tasteless at times.
But still these are mere nitpicks that aren’t too noticeable, so honestly, the animation of the show is great.
The soundtrack of Psycho-Pass 2, while bearable, did not rectify the flaws that the soundtrack of the first season had. While I still like the soundtrack for both seasons, they just don’t do that much for me. The soundtrack still lacks any track that I can listen to outside of the anime, excepting one or two tracks.
Although, while the soundtrack is a bit tasteless; the opening and ending for this season were not. Paired with some great animation, both the opening and ending are really good song that I rarely skipped over.
The voice actors also do their jobs pretty well, both in the dub (which is airing currently) and the sub. The main problem with the sub (or dub) was the distinct lack of any outstanding voice actor, the main reason for this being the absence of Kougami and Makashima in this season.
Overall, while the soundtrack was good, it wasn’t up to par. The opening and ending are both very well done, and the voice actors are good, but sometimes feel a bit bland.
This is the part where Psycho-Pass 2 lacked the most. The characters in the first season were all very well developed, and even the side characters had proper development. This season just threw that out the window and instead gave no development to any of the characters; aside from the one I hated the most.
A big fault I find with the show’s characters is that none of the side characters were given any respect by the writers. One of the main reasons I loved the first season is because of the side characters and their development, but this season just doesn’t do that.
But that’s not the biggest problem, far from it. The biggest problem this show’s characters have is the main characters, including the main antagonist ‘K’. The main characters comprise of ‘K’, Akane, the new enforcer Tougane, and the new inspector Mika. None of these characters are developed well, at all.
1. Akane Tsunemori:- Akane is the main character for both the first and second seasons of Psycho-Pass. Her character was first introduced (in the first season) as a young learning inspector. By the beginning of the second season, her character had matured, and she has learned to handle situations much more efficiently. But this leads to the problem in the second season. Her character had already developed to extreme heights. Thus, her development in the second season is practically non-existent.
2. Sakuya Tougane:- Tougane is the new enforcer in division 1 (Akane’s Division). His character acts as a “replacement” for the absence of Kougami. .. And that’s pretty much all I can reveal about him, mainly because most of the rest of his character is a gigantic spoiler. But even though he has a large role in the story, his character doesn’t change throughout the show. His character seems like more of a plot-device than an actual character.
3. ‘K’:- ‘K’ is the main antagonist that we learn more about as the show progresses. Now, without spoiling anything, the main criticism I have against him is his goal. His goal, to me, seems extremely basic, and at times I feel that it is uninspired.
4. Mika:- Now, for Mika. Mika is the absolute worst character in this show. By far. Her attitude to both enforcers and Akane herself is complete disrespect, and she believes that all that the Sybil decides is correct. Even to the extent that she would disobey her own superiors. But the most annoying thing about her character is that she was the only person who had potential to improve as a character, but she doesn’t. Her character could’ve easily matured in a way similar to how Akane’s character matured in the first season, and unfortunately, she doesn’t.
Overall, by the end of the show, none of the characters really developed well. The side characters weren’t given any development, and the main characters are either developed very little, or they aren’t developed at all. This lack of development could also be blamed on the short length of the show.
While I did rag on the show a lot, I must admit that during my time watching it I really did have a good time. Even when the show ripped itself apart during the final arc, I did enjoy it, albeit, for the wrong reasons. The 2 major flaws that dampened my enjoyment, was the hilariously bad story, and the annoying piece of trash, that was Mika.
-Very good animation
-Enjoyable to a certain degree
-The 2 arcs in the middle were very good
-Good opening and ending
-Good Sub as well as Sub
-Disappointment in comparison to the first season
-Bland and hastily written story
-The lack of Kougami could disappoint some people
-The main villain wasn’t good
-Character development is non-existent
TL;DR Overall, the show was a huge let-down to people who liked the first season. It’s small number of episodes leads to the bad pacing, as well as the lack of character development. The main villain didn’t have a very interesting goal, and the side characters were completely ignored. For people who are expecting Kougami in this season don’t, he doesn’t even physically appear in the show. The animation of the show is great, and the soundtrack is decent. I enjoyed it while I was watching it, and I think most people will too. As long as you don’t think about it, you’ll at least enjoy it. Thus, this leads me to giving this show a rating of:-
As a preface, this "review" focuses a lot more on the differences and relations between the first and second season, and not so much on this season as its own thing. At the same time, these are my thoughts on why I think a follow-up can never be as good as the first season (it's a long read).
I want to start this off by saying that I absolutely love the original Psycho-Pass. The journey into the human psyche, the dark mood looming over the story itself, and the intense development seen in all the characters all contribute to what’s come to be one of my
personal favorites of all time. In the same vein, Makishima is one of my favorite antagonists, because he feels like such a real character, especially when it comes to anime in general. His motivations are far beyond that of “just being evil”, and the sort of intelligent personality he presents is as enjoyable as ever. Then there is the society itself, or rather, Sibyl. As a concept, this is a really awesome sci-fi society, and even in execution, it works surprisingly well. This is, I think, largely because of how Sibyl interacts with Makishima.
If we momentarily remove Makishima (and any others like him) from the equation, what we’re left with would pretty much be an episodic detective-series, focusing on tracking down individual criminals. This is not necessarily bad, but it lacks the same overarching feeling of grandeur and darkness as with a mastermind connecting each case. However, it technically isn’t possible, because of the way Sibyl works. It could be interesting, and definitely gruesome, but ultimately, I feel like it’d severely lack in terms of writing.
Enter Makishima - the criminally asymptomatic. The entire system is now thrown into chaos. How do you deal with a problem like this, when you are so reliant on the system to do things for you? Should you circumvent the system to remove the threat, even if it means you may slip into darkness yourself? These are all questions asked by Psycho-Pass, and they make for very interesting story and characters.
Then comes Psycho-Pass 2, a sequel I think many of us wanted, because who doesn’t want more of their favorite series?, but at the same time something we dreaded, as a sequel would pose quite a few issues in terms of writing. The biggest one, and the one I’m focusing on here, is the fact that they’ve written themselves into a corner, of sorts. It’s not a corner in the sense that they need to do something drastic to get out, but rather that the only way forward is further into the same corner. To clarify, I’m talking about the fact that the original series leaves very little to work with in terms of a sequel.
When you create such a massive world in fiction, you place upon yourself a responsibility to stick to the rules that you have created. In Psycho-Pass, the highest “rule” of all is how Sibyl works, and what it does. If you really think about it, how many (good) scenarios can you come up with, that’s not too similar to that of the original series? Because Sibyl is nearly omnipotent, it creates this setting where only those unable to be judged, in one way or another, are able to act as worthwhile antagonists, which leaves little in terms of variation. What this means, is that we have to ask ourselves “are we okay with such a similar setup, or will it simply be too much of the same?”.
With Kamui being the antagonist in Psycho-Pass 2, they’ve succumbed to the fact that this is the only way, but have tried to change it up by changing the very way Kamui functions, in contrast to Makishima. Instead of being able to remain at a constantly low crime-coefficient, Kamui is outright unable to even be detected by the system itself. While this, together with the way he operates on his “missions”, still provides a good story, we’re once again forced to ask ourselves if continuing this series is truly a good idea.
When it comes to the story itself, I want to quote reddit user /u/Redcrimson who I feel really captured the feeling of this season, to an extent.
“It's grimdark for its own sake, with twists that undermine its own narrative, and exists just to be violent and shocking with no greater resonance with the thematic throughlines or characters established in S1.”
While my opinions on this season may not perfectly align with his, the points he makes are undeniably accurate. When watching this second season, you’ll quickly notice that there are a lot more (gory) deaths spread out everywhere in the show, and as a result, we viewers will (most likely) become sort of desensitized to the deaths of characters, because we simply see it way too much. This, I think, is a huge step back from the first season, where every death got, at least from me, almost the same “oh shit” reaction. The deformation, into the explosion, and the remaining characters taking their time to really take in what had just happened. It all felt really well done, and now that there’s death around every corner, it has simply lost that feeling.
Not only is this a bad thing because we don’t care as much about characters dying in general, but it also affects our view of characters directly. Notable mention of Kamui here. Having a character as calm and collected as Kamui, suddenly killing an entire room full of people (albeit not without reason) does not make me fear him as a character. I’m not on the edge of my seat in every one of his scenes, hoping he doesn’t snap and kill the others with him. I think, when a character makes every kill symbolic - actually meaningful in some way - it gives this almost fearful feeling towards that character. Not because he’s scary, but because it makes you fear for the others, I guess.
However, this season does offer a few new things, even if they don’t drastically impact the general gist of the story. Examples here are Tougane and his backstory, Shimotsuki’s rivalry with Akane going too far, and so on. These all add an extra level of tension to the writing, which I think is pretty needed, what with the aforementioned issues. In the same manner, I think the upcoming movie may end up good, since it supposedly doesn’t involve Sibyl in the same way. Though at the same time, it’s hard not to think that maybe that should’ve just been the second season to begin with.
In the end, I want to say that even with all this, I don’t really think this is a bad season. I definitely think it could’ve been skipped, in favor of the movie, which actually changes things up, and there are a lot of things I think they’ve done much worse (the overly tense writing, too dark for the sake of being dark, and some characters), and it’s not going to be anywhere near as good as the first season was, but if you’re a fan of Psycho-Pass as a whole, I think you’ll still very much enjoy the second season.
The future dark Utopian premise we got introduced to on the hands of Psycho-pass gets one step further ahead and deeper into its incomprehensible beautiful display of human Morales , Psychology and life.
-PP introduced us to a world and the idea of humans getting judged and their fate was decided by a collection of algorithms through a complex competent brain circuit system called Sybil , where the only oddity in the system rises when people find out methods to escape rightful judgement and act freely with will based actions , things get interesting and we figure out sybil isnt as good as we expected it
to be and would undoubtedly cause future dilemmas.
PP2 handles the oddities in the sybil system in a deeper form , it presents to us a new oddity which is '' what if an individual cannot be judged by Sibyl at all '' and not just finding ways to escape rightful judgement from sybil as season 1 presented it , and believe me you will not be disappointed , this is actually Thee shit.
The characters are quite interesting and due to the time gap we were locked in , we observe a completely different:
Akane, while she becomes a more stable ,competent , rational and powerful detective.
And Ginoza is less stressful and more fluent and easy going.
Other characters from the old season might not appear or are just simply the same.
The new crew of characters are what truly raises the bar of the second season , they enter the show with deep pasts and top notch relation to the story is observed.
The only drawback is that we never had the chance to see them develop clearly and elegantly.
The art is the same as season 1 , dark and edgy.
The sounds in Psycho-pass never fail to deliver the viewer eargasms , or at least for my style , The opening an ending song have suspenseful music and meaningful thoughtful lyrics regarding the show and are brilliantly meshed with the episodes , an episode might be ending having the ending song in the background brilliantly sweeping you away nicely from the show's episode.
I personally never thought PP2 would be as good as it actually turned out to be , i had low expectations and low hopes for it to succeed as its predecessor just based on the sole fact of that the quintessence of the show was brilliantly exhibited by the 1st season. But i was blown away by how the show advanced and i have no complaints whatsoever except i felt everything was rushed and contempt which made it more effective and meaningful but short.
*EDIT* I just finished watching so.. I'm here to clarify my final observation of this show. *May contain some spoilers*
I watched Psycho Pass last year and it was damn amusing. It is sure on my list of top anime. Hearing that the second season is airing this year, I was exhilarated. But does the new season offer something of the same value, or even better than the first season?
Short summary: Our main protagonist Akane Tsunemori has learned more about Sibyl System in the first season of what it really is, how it works, what's behind it. With her partner Shinya Kogami going missing,
she worked with new acquaintances in new team formation. As an inspector in the police force, she has to work out solving crimes that causes the Area Stress to increase and threaten people's Hue, but something is off. The culprit, even though they are doing something unethical, are unable to be judged by the Dominator. What is actually happening?
The second season unfortunately doesn't have the luxury of the first season as the duration has been cut in half - they only got 11 episodes to play with.
I would say this season has too much on its plate.
First: there are a lot of new characters, means they need introduction, what is their backstory, motivation, etc. so they will appeal to us.
Second: the problems in the series are rather complicated, layered and linked to one another. There are inconsistencies with season 1 regarding the facts of Dominator, the scans and Sibyl System also unnecessary plot branches that doesn't make sense (read: the Toganes). If anything, they make a lot of plot holes and makes me confused.
As the result, I'd say... the ending is not satisfying for me. The last few episodes did answer my questions that rises as I watch the series, you could say "all is well". But I think they could do this season so much better.
You can expect the same quality of art and animation from the second season. If anything, I find it more colorful. Very rich... compared to the darker palette in first season. I'm not sure whether is it due to the big question "What color?" which is imposed again and again in the series. The animation is smooth, sasuga Production IG doing their best again.
One um.. 3 words: I LOVE IT! The opening Enigmatic Feeling is pumping and catchy, and a revelation: the meaning of the lyrics (the TV size ver.) fits with the theme of the show, mostly about Akane's feeling towards Sibyl System. The ending Fallen is my jam.. It's good to have Ling tosite sigure and EGOIST doing opening and ending for this season as well. It's been a while since I watched the first season, at least they keep the same spirit with the same artists.
Seiyuus are good as well, their voices matches the character they are playing. Still having the same ones for characters from season 1.
Akane has grown. She is cooler, more observant and acting more like a leader now, but she still has heart and cares for the Enforcers. She experienced more emotional roller coaster here, you can see more of her expression.
A lot of events and incidents happened in the first season, eliminating quite a number of the original team formation. Hence, there are a new characters to replace the missing positions. I like some of them (cough Hinakawa~). I'm glad that Saiga-san are still here as well, at least Akane has someone reliable to think and discuss logically. But I really despise the new inspector Shimotsuki. She poses on the different perspective from Akane. Yeah, she's annoying. But she's a realistic character - wants to bring others down but is such a coward. I do know some people who acts like her.
Togane... another character I don't like. He is very gray (not that I don't like people in gray area, but there's this feeling that makes me don't like him when he appears) in most of the show until his true color and who he really is got revealed in the end. This revelation however, makes me despise him even further, like WTF?
Because Makishima in the previous season is such an intriguing antagonist, the crew for season 2 have the burden to show us a better antagonist. Unfortunately I find the main villain Kamui Kirito is not on par with Makishima, although they make him so overpowered with many specialized skills and complicated issues about his existence. After the past he had gone through, I can understand his objectives for his existence and 'color' to be recognized by Sibyl. But it doesn't justify the crimes he did in this show to test how Dominators and Sibyl System works. I just don't get how he thinks.
However the production crew decided to mess things even further, so he's not the only antagonist in the show.
Most, if not all, new characters suffer from lack of development and exploration. Very few (except for Togane and Kamui) has been revealed about their backstory and motivation, making it quite hard to relate and feel for them. Even returning characters Ginoza and Yayoi has very little screen time.
The design are good for some (I like Ginoza without glasses ^^) but erm Shimotsuki's face looks too closely like Akane, just sporting different hairstyle. In the earlier episodes I have difficulty differentiating them if their hairstyles are not seen.
Despite holes here and there, inconsistencies (mostly about facts and Sibyl System itself) with first season and lacking in characterization, well, I admit I still enjoyed this show, with its adrenaline pump with gritting cliffhangers. It is an interesting pick on Sibyl System which is not as perfect as it seems (and assumes), and some parts makes me think along. But it's soooo bloody. A freaking level up from the previous season. I'm not a fan of gore, so it comes off as too disturbing at times.
Overall 7/10 + Personal Comment
The less number of episodes makes the show more straightforward and rushed - cutting down the interaction and time developing on characters, focusing solely on solving the crime and catching the culprit. It feeds us confusion after confusion up to episode 7, but especially in episode 8 explanations and revelations started to be thrown at you. Not the best way to uncover a mystery in my opinion, but rather effective due to their runtime.
It's still acceptable as a series with such quality animation, but... I prefer the first season.
Well, what started as a massive disappointment was able to somewhat redeem itself towards the end, thankfully, only to completely collapse yet again. I think it's hard to debate that at least the first half of the highly anticipated Psycho Pass 2 was a complete and utter failure; I referred to it as criminal, unbelievable, sickening and disgusting. An absolute butchering. Psycho Pass 2 was on pace to be the biggest disappointment I’ve ever had in my entire anime watching career, and still might be. Of course, I expected there to be some serious growing pains with the staff of this anime considering
the mass exodus it had experienced since last time, with a massive number of previous team members leaving after the first season (including lead writer Gen Urobuchi). NOTHING, however, prepared me for THIS. The plot is clumsy and shallow, the characters are shadows of their original selves (or gone entirely), and the animation is laughably directed and significantly downgraded. This is the definition of a bad sequel. Ladies and Gentleman: Psycho Pass 2:
Synopsis: After learning “the truth”, Inspector Akane Tsunemori continues to try to maintain peace in her nameless utopian society, where a new threat has emerged: A man named Kamui threatens to tear down the Sibyl System once and for all and expose it for what it truly is by turning peace and order into complete chaos.
While I normally start a review by discussing the plot, I’m just going to get right to meat of the primary reason why Psycho Pass 2 is had such a different feel to the first which resulted in its inferiority: The characters. The original cast of Psycho Pass was loaded with memorable characters, such as Kougami, Makishima, Ginoza, Akane, and more. This was a legitimately interesting cast because all of them were treated with the time and attention necessary to properly flesh them out. Each had a personality, each had motivations, and each one added a lot the show. However, everything that the original did right, the sequel does very wrong. This anime fails not only to build upon the pieces it had in place, but it supremely fails to show us who any of the new characters are. Until very late. Psycho Pass 2 bombards us with a slew of new faces who we know nothing about, and doesn't cares to let us know who the hell those faces are until it's too late to give the time and attention necessary to make them good characters. This makes the way they think, why they think that way, what their motivations are, their identities, or anything else that we would need to know about a good character all feel half-assed. They feel completely soulless. Hell, the show doesn’t even have the courtesy to give some of them any personalities at all beyond the most basic stereotypes in anime! Now I know what you’re thinking: At least we still have Akane, Ginoza, and Kogami to fall back on, right? Hahaha… Wrong.
Shinya Kougami? Gone. He’s not even in the sequel at all for reasons I can’t even begin to fathom. However, to be honest, I wish Akane and Ginoza weren’t in the show either, because then at least I wouldn’t have to witness them be butchered right before my eyes. Akane Tsunemori, one my favorite female characters in anime, has been reduced to the most boring and uninteresting excuse for a thriller protagonist I’ve seen in my entire life (until very late, I suppose). She has been completely disconnected from the audience. She no longer shows any emotion what so ever and has a personality comparable to a ham sandwich. I know that she was supposed to become a colder character because of her development in the first season, but she has become so distant from the viewers that we simply have no clue what is even going through her head anymore, making it impossible to relate to her. Remember the intriguing inner monologues we got from her in season one that made her really likable and sympathizable? Gone. The only inner monologues she gets this time are plot related and exist only to spew exposition or explain plot events. Not ONCE does the show touch on her inner conflict and how she can’t decide what to make of the Sibbyl System! Let me repeat that using more clear phrasing: THE MOST VITAL ASPECT TO BOTH THE PLOT AND CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT FROM THE FIRST SEASON IS GONE ENTIRELY. But hey, even worse than that is what the show does with Ginoza, or rather, what they fail to do with him. One of the most dynamic characters in the original might as well not be in this one at all; he has done nothing. Said nothing. Contributed nothing. If he didn’t exist at all, nothing about the show would be even remotely different. The character chemistry between all of the characters in season one? Gone as well. Ginoza and Akane both NEVER have a SINGLE conversation that’s not related to the plot or exposition; not a SINGLE one! Coming off the awesome chemistry between Akane and Kougami, as well as others, this is an unfathomable downgrade. How are we suppose to emotionally connect with anything that happens in the show is we know NOTHING about what the characters are thinking or feeling (again, until very late)? If the characters don’t care, neither does the audience. That’s story telling 101, and as far as we are concerned, the characters don’t care.
Oh hoho, but I’m STILL not done ripping this cast of characters new one. That’s right: THREE paragraphs dedicated to characters alone. That’s a new record. The one thing I haven’t talked about yet is the antagonist: Kamui. Stepping in for Shougo Makishima, one of the most compelling antagonists in recent memory, he had big shoes to fill. If you’re picking up on the trend that’s occurring here, you can probably guess that he doesn’t even come close to filling them. For more than half of the show, we don’t have the slightest clue who he is, what his motivations are, or even what his end goal is. This is literally the complete opposite of what we are used to; Makishima had clearly defined motivations and goals, making the show a matter of questioning whether or not he was justified. With Kamui, he's just a mystery box until all of his ideals and goals are spunrg upon like some sort of asspull. I don't think it's debatable that the method they used in season 1 was far, far superior. Kamui comes across for quite awhile as just a bad guy wrecking havoc for reasons that we can only guess, and for a show that is supposed to be about grey morality, that's not okay. Even though his motivations and goals are eventually reveled, nothing can change the fact that he was a blatantly awful antagonist for the majority of the anime. When it comes to characters, Psycho Pass 2 stands firmly as a major fuck up.
The plot has also seen a massive downgrade from what we are used to, as the once heart-throbbing thriller feels like nothing but a collection of random violence for the purposes of shock factor in the form of a perpetual attempt for the show to 1-up itself with each passing episode until the final stretch, all under the narrative of a carbon copy of season 1's exact same plotline. While the original Psycho Pass had a lot of time dedicated to world building and character development, the sequel says fuck all that, let’s blow shit up. We see tons of blood, guts, and gore go flying across the screen, this time in quantities exponentially higher than what we ever saw in season one. The problem? …Nobody cares. I find myself unable to give a damn about anything that’s happening on screen, simply because the people dying are a bunch of nobodies. When someone dies in an anime, it’s supposed to be a big deal! It’s supposed to drive the plot forward and seriously affect the characters! Here? Massive numbers of people dying is an every episode occurrence. It’s not shocking anymore, it’s not entertaining anymore, it’s not moving the plot forward, it’s not developing the characters, so WHY IS IT HAPPENING?! Granted, the show eventually does manage to cut this crap out and actually get to the point, but it just feels like too little too late. Honestly, it's almost so jarring when the show gets to the point that it doesn't even feel natural; it comes completely out of left field. This is especially a problem because season 2 tried to shift from a character driven show to a plot driven one, and when a plot driven show has a terrible plot, it can only devolve into a trainwreck. If you can stick it out, you are rewarded with a very solid series of episodes that actually touches upon character motivations and the morality of Sibbyl, y'know, what the ENTIRE show should have focussed on in the first place.
The last thing I have left to talk about is the animation. The original Psycho Pass had some of the most incredible animation I had seen in my entire life; certainly in my top 3 all time favorite uses of animation. With that in mind, you can imagine my surprise when Psycho Pass 2’s animation looked not better, not the same, but worse. Significantly worse. While it still looks GOOD, I suppose, it’s nowhere near what is used to be, which was GREAT. Whoever the new art director is for this show seriously fucked up. The first thing wrong with the animation is the drastic change in color pallet; it hardly looks like the same show anymore! The original show used a mix of bright blues/whites and blacks for the environments to create a beautiful contrast and really give off the aura of a futuristic, utopian society; it worked beautifully. The second season, on the other hand, is all over the damn place. Sometimes it uses reds and oranges (for some reason), sometimes it uses the old blues, sometimes it uses something completely different. There is no consistency what so ever! The sky will be one color is one shot, and then a completely different color in the next one. There is no attention to detail what so ever! The backgrounds, once bursting at the seams with objects and completely filled out, are now completely barren. It feels rushed, lazy, and passionless. In fact, the shot composition in general is absolutely terrible. So many poor decisions have been made about the angles, lighting, and settings that I couldn’t count them if I tried. Again, the animation is still good compared to other anime, but it is a shadow of its original self.
Well, there's no question that Psycho Pass 2 did not live up to the original. While I may have called this a travesty or a worse-case scenario at some point, it does manage to significantly improve. If you were a fan of season 1, I won't particularly recommend or NOT recommend watch the sequel; it's up to you. Just make sure you go in with low expectations. This anime could have been so much more, but we got we got I suppose. Such is life.
If you saw the first season of Psycho-Pass and hoped for the second season to be just like the first one, you shouldn't bother with this. Not only the Script Writer is not Urobutcher this time, but the entire team has gone through significant changes. A lot of people that worked on the first season left - and you really notice how different this is from the first season.
Whether that's a good thing or not is debatable of course. While the first season has its decent share of action, this season's main focus is investigation. There is barely any action, but this season is
trying something different. It's more complex and more story-focused; at least that's what it's trying.
If you didn't know about it, Urobutcher is confirmed to be the script writer of the Psycho-Pass movie, which takes place after the story of PP2. Kougami is also confirmed to appear in the movie, so let's hope it isn't going to a let-down like this season.
- - - Story (6/10) - - -
Set one and a half year after the first season, a new villain who detests Sibyl appears: That's Kamui Kirito. Makishima was immune towards Sibyl, but they are going one step further this time - Sibyl can't even scan Kamui. He has no Psycho-Pass, nor a Crime Coefficient. How exactly is the government going to deal with someone like that?
Quite frankly, the story probably would have been better if the script writer was Urobuchi again. He still shared his contribution to PP2's story, but the script writer was Kumagai Jun (known for Hamatora's script; also contributed to Persona 3 and 4's script). The reason why Urobutcher didn't do it this time is unknown. Maybe he himself wasn't satisfied with PP2's story?
About the story itself, it really isn't something you'd call original. It's basically a worse version of the first season without action and good characters. The "Kamui-can't-be-scanned" feels just like a desperate try to hide the fact that they ran out of ideas. Not only that, the story was fairly inconsistent sometimes. That especially hurts this series because it does focus on the story mainly, and it does try to make sense, sometimes even too much, but it just failed. This probably wouldn't have happened if they'd simply hired Urobutcher.
- - - Art/Animation (6/10) - - -
A sequel usually has superior art and animation, but another point that's striking in this sequel is: the art and animation is WORSE THAN IN ITS PREQUEL. That's kinda, really primitive. It's still not bad; in fact, it's still good, and you shouldn't notice any difference if you usually don't pay attention to the art and animation. But if you do, you will notice that the visuals of this are weaker than in the first season.
And not to forget, there is like, no animation studio that doesn't have a tendition to use CGI because they are either too lazy to draw it by themselves or actually think it looks better. Production I.G has the same problem. Granted, CGI DOES actually look good if done right, but most of the times it stands out just way too much. It's mainly the drones that stand out in this, which is another aspect the prequel was superior in. While the first season used CGI as well, it was actually rather appealing. You can't say that for this season.
- - - Sound (8/10) - - -
Luckily, the composer of the OST did not change. They aren't using the OST of the first season, but instead they use remixes and some completely new tracks. While the OST of the first season is still superior, this new one is still decent; quite atmospheric, there's nothing really wrong with it. Also, EGOIST is back for PP2! They've composed amazing songs in the past, and once again, they didn't fail to impress. "Fallen" is a pretty damn amazing song. The opening is great, too, probably one of the best openings of this season.
There aren't any noteworthy changes in terms of sound effects or seiyuu acting. The sound effects don't seem to be any different from the first season, which is completely fine. The seiyuu are still pretty good (features great seiyuu like Kana, but you know that from season 1 already), nothing to complain about.
- - - Character (5/10) - - -
Psycho-Pass without Kougami and Makishima is simply not Psycho-Pass. Of course characters like Ginoza still appear, but unfortunately, old characters barely play a role here. In PP2, it's the new characters that matter. But there are old Psycho-Pass characters getting a bigger role in this. One of those is Saiga. That's what PP2 did well. Saiga was a great character in the first season, but now that he gets more screentime in PP2, you realize that he's actually a pretty amazing character.
Shimotsuki is also a character who appeared in the first season, but you likely won't remember her. She's basically another inspector, and thus, Akane's comrade, but her ideals are completely different from Akane's. Shimotsuki is considering Enforcers as dogs, tools for completion of a mission. She also thinks Sibyl's judgement is absolute, and that's why she receives a bunch of hate from the fans. Then there's Togane, a new Enforcer who did seem like a replacement for Kougami at first. There's not much to say about him without spoiling his backgrounds, really. He's just like Kougami, at first, that is. Another new Enforcer is the shy brother of Yayoi, who's a great assistance if it comes to holos.
One problem that both seasons present is character development. In the first season, all the main characters were developed decently, but the side characters barely got any development. Kagari's and Masaoka's deaths probably would have been even sadder if you got to know them a little bit better. Yayoi got pretty much no screentime, one episode for development, but after that, still no screentime. So whyl would they give her development if she still matters just as much? The second season has the same issues. The side characters seem to be there merely to be there. They barely contribute to anything; only when really necessary. That's really not how it should be done.
PP2 is quite a disappointment if you compare it to its prequel. The script is worse, the art is worse, there are barely any likable characters unlike in the first season. But being worse than PP1 doesn't mean it's necessarily bad. It's still fine, but it really wasted its potential it showed in the first episode.
So yeah, unless you lower your expectations in this you probably won't be able to enjoy this.
Personal: English is not my native language, so I apologize for any error you can find. If you find one, you may notify me on my page about it and I'll fix. I'm not picky about stuff like that. But in general, feel free to leave any criticism on my page. I appreciate it.
Oh, and if I gave any false information, please tell me about it immediately. It's important to give correct information in a review, and if I made a mistake I should fix that as soon as possible. I think I might have misinterpreted some information, so it's quite possible I included false facts.
TLDR; Solid show, does not live up to first season.
Psycho Pass 2 has me feeling conflicted. As much as I adored the first season, and still enjoyed this one, I'm feeling quite empty about it afterwards. I'm not left with that same feeling of shock and awe like after season 1, and the biggest issue for me is obvious: characters.
I loved the cast of season 1; Kogami (absent in PP2) and Akane were an excellent dynamic duo of complex characters. Instead, Akane doesn't truly have that same counterpart. The complexity of Shogo Makishima is replaced with a promising-but-falls-short Kirito Kamui, who, although seems to be
an intriguing antagonist, can't find a proper place in the anime. The development of enforcers is completely lackluster as well; there is no new development in characters like Ginoza, and big bad Togane feels awfully tacked on as a surprise antagonist (as well as Misako). Enforcers like Sho Hinakawa show tremendous potential as character, but receive little to no screen time in each episode. They more serve as plot advancement devices instead of characters. Shimotsuki also feels awfully tacked on in the advancement of enforcer Togane. These reasons all tend to leave me feeling disconnected from the characters and therefore the show.
Everything else, in all honesty, is great to perfect. The unravelling of the grand scheme is excellent, although leaves more to be desired, particularly Sibyl's end resolutions feeling very rushed. Art is beautiful and sound is magnificent. "Enigmatic Feeling" is perhaps coming close in my favorite OPs, and the outro is well done as well. Characters and dominators look aesthetically stunning, animation is fluid, and character artwork is unique. The characters themselves, despite my enjoyment of Akane as a protagonist, are the downfall of this season.
Overall: 7. PP2 features beautiful animation and intriguing story which is subsequently thrashed by severe voids in the characters. A fun, but somewhat less memorable installment, especially compared to its predecessor.
The main antagonist Kamui's motives are never very interesting, and seeing as how that's the whole thing moving the story that is a huge problem. Not to mention that the ending makes the whole plot irrelevant. I can't go into more detail without spoiling it, but if Sibyl had just done some upkeep on itself and taken out the trash, Kamui would have never done any of the things he did. Sibyl is horrifically stupid in this series, reduced from a morally ambiguous but effective system in S1 to an evil and dumb-as-shit system
in S2. There is nothing to care about except Akane, but we'll get to that in the Character section.
Passable at best. While it never had the QUALITY art some of the later episodes of S1 had, it just felt uninspired. The cinematography was lacking and there was no decent animation of note whatsoever, save the OP. TatsuPro is clearly an inferior studio to I.G. in this department.
The OP is really great if you can enjoy that style of music. Great visuals and a fitting song to boot. And there's this one scene where opera music is playing and it's ridiculous how seriously the show's taking itself. But that's about it. There aren't any memorable tracks from the OST. At very best they just blend into the background. I guess the ED is okay too.
Ginoza is listed as a "main character" on MAL's database here. What a joke. He has been neutered so much and matters so little to the story at all that they might as well have killed him off in episode 1 for some shock value. So Ginoza's bland, okay, that doesn't ruin the whole series. But when your main antagonist is also bland and boring that is problematic. In fact, there is not a single interesting character in this entire show except Akane. But Akane is not developed or played with in an interesting way, she's just likable because we got to know her in S1 and they didn't screw her up too badly. If the best thing you have to say about any one of a show's characters is "they maintained her status quo", then that's not great.
At least it wasn't boring enough I wanted to turn it off. But I'm biased because I really like futuristic settings.
If the plot's crap and the characters are crap and the art's crap and the sound's crap there's not much left to watch for. If you want to watch the movie when it comes out (which is being done by Production I.G. and written by Urobuchi, unlike this garbage!) then just read a summary of this online to save your time. Not much even happened so you'll be fine.
Somebody needs to tell these producers that it's not okay to replace character development and a real plotline with blood and brains spewing all over the place. Psycho-Pass 2 was literally gore galore, and I can't say I was too happy about it, either. Honestly, I saw more Lethal Dominator (ab)use in one episode than I did for practically the entirety of the first season, and the exploding heads and bodies things just kind of got lame after the first 30 times it happened...
So yeah, flying bloody body parts aside, I have to say that Psycho-Pass season 2 was a really big letdown for
me. Was there a single aspect of the original series that didn't go wrong in this season? As it turns out, the answer is no.
The plot continues along the same vein of the first season, but struggles and ultimately fails to encompass new ideas about the Sibyl System. The way things were set up in the first season, I was actually expecting Akane to do something about Sibyl in this sequel. Instead of that, all we got were a bunch of strange paradoxical theories and conspiracies that really had no bearing on the show's themes anyway. Jouji's speeches were so confusing and so incredibly irrelevant to the point that I wanted to spew blood everywhere whenever he started talking.
Actually, I take that back. The only part of the show that actually got me seriously wanting to vomit blood was the cast. Half the characters were boring as hell, and the other half were just ... there.
Like, come on: Saiga Jouji makes his reappearance for half of the episodes but it's so obvious that he was just stuck into the story so he could make the plot move. You have Hinakawa, Kagari's completely inferior and practically useless replacement, whose only defining moment was the scene where he called Akane 'big sister'. You have Ginoza, who's a complete disconnect from his character in the first season. He lost his personality along with his glasses, and has a grand total of about 20 lines throughout the whole show. And then you have Shimotsuki Mika, the one character that everybody wanted to strangle to death within the first 10 minutes of episode 1, and really didn't do anything except crap her pants in front of Togane a couple of times and cry a lot.
Togane was actually pretty interesting, up until they butchered his backstory and dragged him down with that mockery of a season finale. I have to admit, I already was slightly peeved at him from the beginning because he was obviously Kougami's replacement (and what was with Kougami's smoke-spectre visiting Akane all the time, anyway?) but besides having the highest recorded Crime Coefficient in history, he didn't actually end up doing anything that interesting.
And lastly, let's talk about Akane. Out of all the characters, she was the biggest disappointment for me - her character was stale, predictable, and showed no development throughout the series. Even after seeing her grandmother's ear in a box and discovering just how screwed up Sibyl is, none of her previous beliefs were even slightly shaken. Yeah, I get that she's supposed to be grown-up and badass, but that doesn't mean that she also has to have the emotional range of a rock. I wanted to see her scream, lose her temper, do something besides act like some frigid, stereotypically perfect police officer poster child that is definitely not the Akane that I know and love from season one.
The art, animation and sound were all average. The OP was pretty cool, but all it did was get my hopes up for the season, especially after that one shot with Kougami tied to the chair. Not sure what relevance that had to the show, seeing as we never actually saw him. Hmm.
If you liked the first season of Psycho-Pass, I would not recommend watching the second one. Besides feeling clipped due to its 11 episode length and having the most melodramatic season finale I've ever seen for such a hyped-up sequel, the characters are not up to par and the plot is confusing and over-complicated. Unless watching people burn alive to the tune of opera music is your kind of thing, I would recommend steering clear of Psycho-Pass 2.
The first season of Psycho-Pass was a real treat for the eyes and the mind, as it encouraged its watcher to ponder questions of morality as well as who really was the "good guys". The follow up to the hit series is no longer penned by Urobuchi, but is the sequel still able to stand up on its own two feet? This is a mostly spoiler free review, and I will not talk much about the main antagonist due to the high spoiler content.
The series begins in a similar vein to the original just a year and a half later, it reintroduces the main
characters and the rules of the Sibyl System as well as the Dominator, and shows us the new characters for this season. Right away we are introduced to the integral question of Psycho-Pass 2, "What Color?'. Anyone familiar with the Sibyl System knows that this a particularly intriguing question, as color is everything in this world. Those that lack the proper color are killed or are sent away to facilities to be rehabilitated, where they wish they were dead. This bleak overtone characterizes the Psycho-Pass series as a whole, and continues to the second season. This season also has a significant more amount of bloodshed, as in the first season it was a real treat to get to see someone active lethal eliminator mode, in the the sequel people are firing thar lazer every episode. The antagonist of this season is very similar to Makishima in his behind the scene operations as well as his "transparency". I wish they could have fleshed out another type of problem with the Sibyl system instead of going with a very similar plot. The secondary antagonist is actually much more interesting than the main "bad guy", and the reveal of what he truly is as well as his actions is kind of shocking to see. The second plot has an overarching theme of science and advancements that have gone too far, and that just because it may be possible to do something doesn't always mean it should be done, and the moral and physical consequences could be disastrous. The story was not as strong as the first and relied heavily on similar themes, but it had high notes specifically during the middle arc of the show where the action and the mystery really picked up.
The art of the series once again looks wonderful, but appears slightly more bleak this time, possibly to match the darker tone as well as the accompanying bloodshed. The art of the opening was kind of jarring to watch, and I found myself skipping the opening because its just images repeated over and over. A contrast from the first series, where i thoroughly enjoyed both openings and the endings.
The characters are Psycho Pass are quite good for the most part, with some exceptions. Akane is back as the lead protagonist, and its nice to see her grow without Kogami helping her out. She still clings to her clear hue and strong sense of morality and justice in the first season, still refusing to activate that Dominator when its in Lethal mode. She shows off her skills as a detective and is pushed to the breaking point several times, but always manages to keep her cool and work towards a morally right decision. She seems to be cracking a bit, as she has picked up a smoking habit, but otherwise its the a more mature Akane we saw at the end of the first series.
However her partner Shimotsuki, who fans of the original will recognize from an earlier arc and the final episode, does not fare as well. I'm going to be frank, she is one of the most annoying characters I've seen in a while. All she does is question Akane and whine for the whole series, and treats her enforcers like crap. She does have some great intuition about one of the villains, but in the end just manages getting herself drawn up into something she can't handle until Akane has to rescue her ungrateful ass. One of the new enforcers Togane is introduced as a competent enforcer who performs well in the field, and is trusted by Akane. It pains me to say that Ginoza's presence is greatly diminished, as his fall from grace in the first season made him an interesting character to watch, and I wanted to see more of his adjustment as an Enforcer.
I enjoyed watching the second season of Psycho Pass, but it was a very different mindset from the first, which seemed much more thought out and meticulous. I was put off by the first episode, but found that the season recovered and the middle arc was easily the best part of the show, as the ending was a little lackluster after the big reveal. Psycho Pass 2 is a solid series, but unfortunately does not hold a candle to its first series. Its a fun show to watch that will make you think and try to shock you with excessive imagery, both doesn't really try to break through the bar that was set by the first series
Warning: This has some minor spoilers from the first season and this season. Be careful. You've been warned.
"What colour am I?"
Psycho Pass, One of my faviroute anime's of all time. I loved the first season and as you see on my list I gave the first season a straight 10! Now the show has returned but this time its not gonna be by Production I.G., the makers of the first which sucks. Instead by TOHO animation, the good news is that a movie is coming soon and thats by Production I.G. (Yay) This meant that the script and animation was gonna be different, which was
bad but shockingly this turned out well... The story was as good and more fucked up whereas the animation....well it got dumbed down which was dissapointing. The characters and developements are good but some characters are left out. And the soundtrack is just amazing as usual.
Story and Characters: 8/10
I gotta hand it to TOHO at first this seemed like S1 with a few changes but instead later on the story progesses and gets more fucked up as we find out more. At first this just seemed like some special but as it progesses it just gets better, like trust me don"t drop this on its first episode 9(Not saying it was bad.)
This story takes place a year and a half later after the first one and this time Akane is more calm and has the behaviour like Kougami, it isn't boring in any way but she feels like this MC you can seriously trust. At times we might see glimpses of her either being her old clumsy-self when she started or she gets glimpses of Kougami which help calm her down. This is very intresting and shows that Akane hasn't fully changed.
So we have a new villain called Kirito and is he evil and loved to hate like Mikishama. Abso-fucking-lutely, He's a more screwed up version of Mikishima, he's not in anyway better but a good replacement. Kirito is a mysterious killer who's a master in drugs and knows ways of making people's psycho passes clear by using well drugs. Remember kids, winners don't do drugs *winks*, now back to Kirito, we later find out things about him that just make the story so much more tense, he's a smartass, he knows what he's doing and that is how he is as good as Mikishima.
So the gang has to take down this fool before he does more crazy shiz. This is a very intresting plot, We're also introduced to 3 new characters, I'll give some brief stuff about them, first off we have Sakuya, this guy is pretty much Kougami but the evil version, she wants to turn Akane into an enforcer and finds pretty smart ways of attempts of doing this. Then you have Mika, a bitch, she calls everyone either junior, dumb or just an enforcer whn she dosen't know what everyone has been through, she easily hatable and you want her to die badly. Then you have Hinkawa, shy but smart, he's only in the story to help out with the twists which makes him pretty dissapointing.
I'm dissapointed in the art here, in the first season we had BUUUTIFUL animation with so much detail, and now we have this meh and average animation, It's not a huge dissapointment but it just sucks that this was more bad.
The soundtrack here is so well done and so memroble. The OP is just orgasms to your ears while the ED is this haunting tune. Easily some of the best openings and endings of this season.
The enjoyment here comes from the tense action scenes with a lot of killing, the plotwists here you will not see coming, like seriously, there are a bunch which will make you just drop your jaw.
If you enjoyed the first season of this you'll definitly enjoy this. A movie is coming soon and a 3rd season? We're not really sure. The ending here is pretty good and wraps everything up in a nice little bowtie, it really makes it worth watching the show. This is probably my 3rd faviroute show this season.
Rating: My hue has turned pitch black from how tense this was.
Psycho-Pass 2, like many other sequels, tries to top its predecessor with more blood, more torture and more revelations, only to ultimately forget why the audience enjoyed the original in the first place.
To say that Psycho-Pass 2 didn't have its high point would be false, as the series can still, at the very least, serve as an enjoyable sci-fi action series. However, because the story was constantly trying to shock the audience, many individual episodes didn't contribute much to the story. The early episodes are almost complete copies of those in the first Psycho-Pass, but on a broader scale. Perhaps the series was trying
to re-immerse the audience in this "utopian" society, but as this series came out only a year and a half after the first Psycho-Pass, this seems highly redundant. It tries to make up for the lack of mystery encompassing the setting with new characters and higher stakes, but the gravity of the situation never feels earned.
These new characters are disappointingly hollow, with only Togane (and arguably Shimotsuki, but the less said about her the better) standing out; to make matters worse, old characters like Ginoza and Shion are side-lined. However, there is one major positive- Akane Tsunemori is now a strong, intelligent and believable heroine. Her actions, be they good or bad, normally feel quite natural, based on her past and present situation. She doesn't act pretentious or egotistic, and her likable character makes this lacklustre cast more bearable. Kamui doesn't approach Makishima in terms of presence, memorability or even intrigue. Lacking in charisma and having to rely on tasteless gore to stand-out, he isn't anything that hasn't been seen before.
Speaking of falling short of the original, the animation quality certainly isn't up to par, despite this series being half its length. Generally opting for generic backgrounds and over utilising CGI, this series is quite a disappointment production wise, particularly from the acclaimed Production I.G., though still slightly above average. The colour palette wasn't tasteful either, with an unusual amount of orange (which, as Aldnoah Zero viewers would know, is difficult to like) contrasting the stronger crimsons and blues applied in the first series.
The sound was appropriate, with the score generally suiting the scene. The application of bombastic classical music did unfortunately ruin one scene, though that scene's writing was so shoddy that Yoko Kanno probably couldn't have saved it. The opening wasn't too pleasant, with enough jarring repeat shots to induce an epileptic fit. The singer's voice definitely isn't to my taste, and I would have much preferred if "Nothing Carved in Stone" returned for the opening. The ending, however, was one of my favourites from 2014, though the lack of visually interesting material prevented it from rising to the level of Zankyo no Terror's ending.
Ultimately, this sequel was watchable. It had a couple of interesting characters, above-average animation and a fantastic ending song. Unfortunately, it squandered its potential with the poor utilisation of its cast, shoving unearned tragedy and gore in the audience's faces, and failing to capitalise on its predecessor's success. It isn't particularly memorable, or intelligent, but those looking for some light, R-Rated entertainment should walk away satisfied.