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Psycho-Pass: The Men and Women of Division 1 (Season Two)

After the events of the previous season, Division 1 finds itself needing to recruit new blood to the team. Let's have a look at what these new characters offer and see how our old favourites have grown!

by melodius
Sep 8, 2015 6:38 AM | 1,279 views


Akane Tsunemori

Psycho-Pass 2 - Akane Tsunemori grim
No longer a naive newbie, Akane is now in charge of Division 1 and trying to steer the Bureau towards a more sympathetic view on law and crime. It has been over a year since the events of the first season, and she has been forging a distinct path as an Inspector using what she's learned from then.

Unlike before, when Akane came across as an unsure young woman filled with self-doubt about her place in society, she now looks at the world with harder, though not unkind, eyes. Kougami's betrayal has forced her to realise that she needs to better understand her co-workers. Then she can step in and utilise their strengths without falling into the trap of chasing after them, or allowing them to use her rather than the other way around.

As is pointed out frequently by her co-Inspector, her in-depth understanding of her subordinates backgrounds and skills can lead to unusual decision-making. Akane designates the task of analysing a hologram to an Enforcer who turns out to have a background in Holo design (unknown to everyone else); she allows another Enforcer to accompany her while she interrogates a culprit responsible for multiple bombings because one of the bomber's targets was a company run by that Enforcer's relatives. While the first decision only comes as mild surprise to the others, the second involves taking a risk because of its personal nature.

But it's not only the Enforcers she works with that she tries to understand: Akane is more willing than other Inspectors to take a chance and save criminals from execution, rather than shoot on the instruction of Sibyl's Dominators. This leads to the very controversial act of her withholding judgement if a criminal is only slightly above the execution threshold (a Psycho-Pass reading of just over 300) while she attempts to talk them down to a point where Sibyl reverses its decision to execute them (a reading of 299).

Psycho-Pass 2 - Akane Tsunemori lit up Bomber: "What are you doing?! Just shoot me already! Isn't that what's right?!"
Akane: "I'm not going to shoot. If I shoot now, this gun will kill you."

Akane: "You are needed - you, as well as the bombs you made. (...) Your desire to right a wrong, as well as your expertise, are both needed in this society."
-- (episode 1, season 2)

If the first season served as a means to help her mature as a character, the second challenges the lessons Akane has taken away from it. Apart from the disapproval or outright opposition of her peers, she also has to contend with someone deliberately trying to break the justice system that she has chosen to work with. But her initial opposition to their actions is less about what they're trying to achieve and more about the needless murder and chaos that results from what they do. There is no way that she can condone the actions of someone who kills in order to make a point.

"I'm not like you. I don't live to satisfy anyone's expectations. If only you had found a way to do this without getting anyone hurt!"
-- Akane Tsunemori (episode 11, season 2)

Before, she said, 'The law does not protect people; people protect the law', acknowledging the need to keep Sibyl in place while promising to find a way for society to one day move beyond the system. To her, it has never been the system who determined people's actions - it is the people themselves who decide how they want to act. The choice lies, and always has lain, with the individual.

It is with this mindset that she continues to administer justice as an officer of the law.

Mika Shimotsuki

Psycho-Pass 2 - Mika Shimotsuki
Mika is the new Inspector for season two, serving as a stark contrast and challenge to Akane much like Akane did to Ginoza in season one. She is extremely headstrong and keen to see Sibyl's law upheld. This poses recurrent problems for Akane, as her wish to see society eventually discard Sibyl's influence is held back by Mika's absolute adherence to its current laws.

Her first appearance is during season one, during the plastination crimes committed by Rikako Oryo. Mika is the classmate of Rikako's final two victims. Presumably, this event is what spurs her to become an Inspector at the Public Safety Bureau, although she of course must have displayed the necessary aptitude to qualify. It is likely that the murders have driven her to take a black-and-white view about latent criminals and the law, believing that the MWPSB's duty is to obey Sibyl's judgement without question and rid the streets of dangerous people.

Thin comparison can be made, at first, to Ginoza. However, while they resemble each other on the surface, their reasons for their treatment of other criminals is fundamentally different. Ginoza wished to distance himself from the Enforcers specifically in order to keep his Psycho-Pass clear; Mika scorns all criminals, latent or otherwise, because she believes Sibyl's judgement of their guilt. She does not care to seek the reasons behind criminal acts nor does she seem to care. To her, Sibyl's word is law.

"Even though it's irregular for an enforcement target's Crime Coefficient to go down, you based your strategy upon it... Sibyl had decided he wasn't worthy of living!"
-- Mika Shimotsuki, to Akane (episode 1, season 2)

Psycho-Pass 2 - Mika Shimotsuki frown There is something to be said about her adherence to hierarchy and procedure. While it's an admirable trait that speaks of her suitability as an Inspector, her refusal to work outside of the established structure often leads to self-imposed restrictions about what she believes she's able to do. Her fear of being reprimanded by a superior for disobeying instructions also factors into her inaction. In one early instance, her hesitance led to a worsening of a hostage situation and resulted in all those involved needing to be eliminated by Dominators on the spot.

Mika: "Excuse me, what are you doing?"
Hinakawa: "I-I got an order from Inspector Tsunemori..."
Mika: "Don't act on your own. I'm the commanding officer here."

-- (episode 4, season 2)

The zeal with which she approaches her work is her most positive aspect. She has no trouble pursuing issues she finds concerning as long as it's within her authority as an Inspector to do so. Nor is she afraid to bring up these issues to her superiors - in fact, she sees it as her duty to. Mika's sense of obligation to the law (i.e. Sibyl), for the most part, aligns with her own strict set of morals. But this obligation actually surpasses whatever she personally thinks or feels, and has horrific consequences later in the season.

While it's infuriating at times to watch her, Mika does serve her function as both an example of a model citizen in her society as well as Akane's antithesis in terms of approach to law and justice. From watching the two interact, we're able to see the effects of two different methods of handling crime as well as the consequences of both. Although this isn't the focus of the second season of Psycho-Pass, it's an interesting comparison nevertheless.


Sakuya Tougane

Psycho-Pass 2 - Sakuya Tougane
One of two new Enforcers brought into replace Kougami and Kagari. Instant parallels are drawn between Tougane and Kougami visually, although they couldn't be any more different in their actions. Tougane appears to fulfil a supportive role at first, backing up Akane's theories and providing cover for her when out on the job. It's not until later that his true motivations are made clear.

It's impossible to explain his role in season two without revealing his background (heavy spoiler alert!). Sakuya Tougane is the son of Misako Tougane, late director of the Tougane Foundation, and is the product of a series of experiments to create a criminally asymptomatic being. Despite being dubbed a 'success', his obsession with his mother leads him to murder her on the eve that she is due to become a part of the Sibyl System. That incident causes his Psycho-Pass number to soar incredibly high - the highest of any Enforcer currently alive.

Now the complete opposite of what he was created to be, Tougane's main goal in life is to corrupt the Psycho-Passes of those he works with.

Kasei: "Whether they're latent criminals, Enforcers, or even the Inspectors you work with, you purposefully cloud others' Hues and administer justice on them. Why do you do that?"
Tougane: "Because that's why I exist. My role is to dark souls, even pure ones, until they're pitch black. That way you can keep shining brightly and beautifully, Mother. I do it all out of love for you."

-- (episode 11, season 2)

Tougane does very little that is not out of a direct desire to maintain Sibyl's perfection. As a self-proclaimed 'child of Sibyl', he refuses to see any fault with the entity whom his mother is now part of. That self-blindness also drives him to dedicate all his efforts towards corrupting Akane's Psycho-Pass, out of a misguided belief that her low, clear Hue somehow dilutes the clarity of Sibyl's. But in the end, her firm stance on what it means to be an enforcer of the law resists his attempts to colour her black.

Sho Hinakawa

Psycho-Pass 2 - Sho Hinakawa
Hinakawa is the second new Enforcer assigned to Division 1: a shy, nervous man whose most notable skill is Holo design and analysis. He plays a very small role compared to the others, however he is instrumental in breaking the holograms used by the season's antagonist. It's Hinakawa's breakthrough which leads the team to investigate and take a step closer to identifying the main culprit.

Due to how quiet he is, it is easy to pass him over. He seems to harbour anxiety when tasked with a responsibility but he works hard to fulfil it. While he's not someone whom one might send out on the front lines, he does exhibit enthusiasm when poring over a topic that he's knowledgeable about. The only fault one could find with him is that, because of his lack of self-confidence, he backs down quickly in the presence of someone with more self-assurance.

Nobuchika Ginoza

Psycho-Pass 2 - Nobuchika Ginoza
Having been demoted from Inspector to Enforcer at the end of season one, Ginoza has stepped into the role of 'fatherly overseer' previously occupied by his own father. His manner has mellowed considerably and he is visibly more relaxed in his current role - more so than when he had been an Inspector.

It's not only his words of caution and advice that echo his father's: he has left behind his glasses (he didn't need them to begin with), had the arm he lost replaced with a robotic one (the left arm rather than the right), and has even adopted similar speech patterns.

"If you just avert your eyes and forsake those you don't understand, you'll come to regret it one day. Recognise what's happening before your eyes as fact. That's the shortest path to becoming an adult, miss."
-- Nobuchika Ginoza, to Mika (episode 1, season 2)

Ginoza watches over Akane closely in season two, making sure that she doesn't go down the same path he and Kougami did. When the show's new antagonist makes his opening move in episode one and a lack of evidence to prove his existence makes Akane appear to be obsessing over a ghost, Ginoza cautiously continues to support Akane while warning her to be careful. Kougami had, after all, done the same to begin with and ended up demoted.

His belief in Akane goes beyond verbal support however. He is shown to be willing to point a Dominator at another Enforcer in order to stop them interrupting Akane's attempt to calm down a culprit. Such an action is unheard of behaviour, given that the default response to a criminal judged for execution is to shoot them without question. Halting that judgement borders on Sibyl disobedience but that just shows the strength of his belief in Akane.

Yayoi Kunizuka

Psycho-Pass 2 - Yayoi Kunizuka
Kunizuka plays a slightly more prominent role in season two. She serves as the figurative brake for Mika, playing mediator when Mika's bluntness threatens to cause friction in the office. She is the only Enforcer to whom Mika is willing to listen and it is implied that the two frequently meet in private for a drink and conversation.

While the attachment between the two is understandable given how they first met, it's a curious point of contradiction for Mika. The kindness Kunizuka showed her after Mika's friends' plastinated corpses were found led to a friendship that isn't replicated at all with the other Enforcers. Given Mika's belief that all latent criminals are dangerous and should be treated with caution, it's curious that she lets down her guard around Kunizuka.

Mika: "I'm scared. I saw something terrible happen right before my eyes. I want to tell myself that this won't change me, but... Kunizuka--"
Kunizuka: "...It's okay. Even Inspectors have the right to cry."

-- (episode 5, season 2)

Kunizuka's business-like personality carries through to season two, but we also see more of her sensitive and sympathetic side in interactions between Akane and Mika. Compared to her general lack of expression in the previous season, she now openly smiles or displays shock. The relaxation of her attitude can probably be attributed to the shared trials she and Akane faced prior to the beginning of season two.

Jouji Saiga - consultant

Psycho-Pass 2 - Jouji Saiga
"You can't solve every problem by following the manual."
-- Jouji Saiga (episode 6, season 2)

Saiga made his debut in season one as something of a consultant to Kougami, and in season two he serves in that position actively. After guilt brings him to turn himself in and confess his part in Kougami's escape towards the end of the first season, he is confined to an isolation centre. He remains there until Akane arrives, seeking his help and advice on how to prove the ghost in her case exists.

As a person, Saiga possesses a keen mind and a wealth of knowledge about texts that have likely been banned since Sibyl's implementation. Before his voluntary isolation, he tried to live a natural life: he grew and ate his own food, and his house also lacked the holographic projections that city-dwellers use in place of actual, fancy furniture. While at home, he spent a lot of time in research and kept in contact with other professors who had been driven out of the country or into hiding because of Sibyl. As one might expect, he isn't very enamoured with the idea of Sibyl, but he takes a neutral stance with regards to its existence and place in current society.

In addition to his former job as a lecturer in psychology for criminology students, his previous work as a psychiatric examiner for the police means he's able to take small observations about a person and extrapolate them.

Psycho-Pass 2 - Jouji Saiga smile
"People manifest all sorts of signs unconsciously. Once you get used to it, you can read those signs very easily."
-- Jouji Saiga (episode 9, season 1)

However, it was quickly discovered that students who attended his classes invariably experienced higher Psycho-Pass readings and this forced him to retire to his home. His idiosyncrasy puts him on a similar level to Tougane, although Saiga lacks the other man's drive to use his 'talent' to deliberately corrupt others.

For all that he appears to act like a neutral party, Saiga does seem to disapprove of actions which actively destabilise society. He assisted Kougami in his pursuit of Makishima in season one, and in season two he takes on the position of consultant upon Akane's request in order to apprehend the new antagonist. His disapproval of Sibyl is mediated by a recognition that Sibyl is what society has chosen to follow. He does not see it as his purpose in life to go against society's wishes, but rather to try and do what's best for the people who live in it.

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