While Psycho-Pass: The Movie is a continuation of the story from Psycho-Pass Seasons 1 and 2, it changes a lot of the things from the show: the setting is different, and while Kogami is brought back again, many of the characters are new. These changes may be fine for some fans, but disappointing for many others. What results is still a great standalone movie, but may alienate many fans because it doesn't entirely "feel" like Psycho-Pass.
Undoubtedly the high point of the movie. The painstakingly-animated cityscapes and landscapes simply made my jaw drop. And the fight scenes - oh my god, the fight scenes. I don't think I've ever seen fight scenes as well animated and choreographed in an anime as in this movie. The animation budget was probably very high for this film, and it shows - the animation is better than it was in the show. It may not be "Spirited Away" or "Ghost in the Shell" awesome, but certainly up there as one of the most well animated movies ever.
One thing to note about the art though: there's a bit more violence in this movie than in the show. When people are shot with guns or Dominators, the blood splatters and body explosions are animated in detail and often focused on, and internal organs and body bits can be seen. If guts and gore turn you off, you may want to avoid the movie.
The music and sounds do their job very well. The soundtrack mostly consists of the traditional orchestra and chorus you've come to expect, and adds tension to the story when needed. The OP and ED are both energetic rock songs, and get you pumped before and after the film. However, there's nothing outstanding about them. The music isn't something I'd listen to over and over again on my iPod, but it definitely contributed to the enjoyment of the film. The sound effects are also very well done. The voice actors do a great job as usual.
One complaint I have about the sound though, is the excessive use of ENGRISH. Some people won't mind the terrible pronunciations, but because entire dialogues in the film are in Engrish, it will be at best a bit distracting, and at worst make some parts hard to get through.
The story is one of the weaker points about the movie, especially since we've all come to expect a strong story from the show. You know those anime films that seem epic at the start, but by the end nothing really changed about the overall plot or characters and you could go right on to the next season without watching the movie and not have missed a single thing? This is one of those movies.
Unlike the previous 2 seasons of the show, this movie does not take place in Japan, but in another Asian country where the military regime is trying to implement a Sibyl-like system in an effort to keep the populace under control. Guerilla rebel forces resist the corrupt government, but thanks to Sibyl's system marking all opposition as criminals, the government is able to firmly control its people with brutal oppression. So where do our heroes fit into all of this? Well, it turns out Kogami is discovered to be aiding the rebels, and Akane is sent to investigate both his actions and the country's use of the Sibyl system.
In essence, the movie is an exploration of what happens when Sibyl falls into the wrong hands. Questions about the political and social implications, such as persecution and segregation, are raised by the movie. The problem though, is that the movie is never given enough time to actually probe into these questions, instead choosing to focus more on the actions scenes than on answering all the thoughtful, philosophical questions it raises.
Furthermore, the movie seems to have switched the genre of the series. Whereas the show was clearly a Sci-Fi Thriller with some action sprinkled in, the movie feels more like an Action Spy flick with some Sci-Fi elements mixed in, a change which may turn some fans off. One final problem with the story was the somewhat unsatisfactory ending. I won't spoil it, but I will say that I was a little disappointed with it.
While fan-favorite character Kogami is back and better than ever, new characters that the audience are never given time to get to know or get invested in are also introduced. There is some character development: it's a joy getting to see the new Akane interact with a somewhat changed Kogami. Ginoza's reunion with Kogami is also interesting.
Unfortunately, the side characters don't get that much screen time, so apologies to fans of any team member other than Akane and Kogami. Anyone hoping for Ginoza or one of the other team members to play a major role will be sorely disappointed. As I said, the film's main focus were definitely Kogami and Akane, at the expense of all the other characters. The film's villains do their job, but none of them is nearly as memorable as Makishima from Season 1 (who makes a short cameo appearance, BTW). So if you're only in it for Kogami and Akane, then you're in luck. Otherwise, the rest of the characters do their job - nothing more, nothing less.
Despite all the flaws in the story and characters that I pointed out, the film was by no means bad. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and wholeheartedly recommend it to both fans and to anyone who is interested in Sci Fi or action. Throughout the movie my attention was held, and the 2 hour running time flew by. The movie didn't feel like a drag at all, which is a testament to its entertainment value. It's not as deep as the show, but sit back, relax, and you'll enjoy it.
- Absolutely breathtaking animation and fight scenes
- Everyone's favorite badass Kogami is back and kicking ass
- Good music
- A story that's not given much time to develop
- Setting change may unsettle some fans
- Mediocre villains
- New and side characters barely get any screen time
- Disappointing ending that didn't seem to impact the bigger general plotline
Don't let the cons I listed stop you from watching the film, however - with absolutely gorgeous animation, a beautiful soundtrack, and the best fight scenes in anime I've seen in recent years, I still wholeheartedly recommend this movie. Just don't go in expecting it to be the "good old Psycho-Pass adventure" with all the characters you love and you'll have a good time with it.