The Urobutcher and Naoyoshi Siotani were both asked by Katsuyuki Motohiro to work with him and Production I.G to make a gritty, futuristic, police cyber-noir with ideological clashes and allusions to beloved books that help strengthen the clashes amidst bloodshed and badassery.
It had me at hello.
*SPOILERS FOR PSYCHO-PASS. *
If you consider yourself saavy about anime nowadays, then there's no doubt that you've encountered a work by Gen Urobuchi, and probably enjoyed it. It is no secret to any decent anime critic that he has made some rather dark works that have a lot of intrigue and badassery. It's also no secret that this show is very popular, even amongst adult or adolescent newcomers to the medium given its style, subject, and quality. This series is one of the most popular anime of the decade, so it's only fair that its popularity is earned by being good rather than just having a striking premise and then failing to capitalize on it or making good stories out of it (looking at you, SAO and Re:Zero).
We cut to Shinya Kogami and a masked dude fighting, resulting in an explosively gory fatality of the masked dude, allowing Shinya to keep moving until being confronted by a devilish mastermind. We then jump back to the location in which the chronological order of the story can start. This technique is one that I love. I love t when they can set up an important rivalry before showing you the true context about it and how everything leads back up to that moment. As for the rest of the show, it holds up to the same caliber. The sci-fi world has just enough futuristic tech with enough plausibility so that I don't need to question it as it makes perfect sense within its own context and seems like tech they could actually exist later down the line. The story has some episodic cases and some small case arcs that all get progressively more tied to the ultimate plot of the series; that being, the Sibil System vs an un-readable psychopath who had orchestrated those past cases via the producer role rather than the director/maker of the crimes. We get to see believable developments of the characters as they get strung around the mastermind's finger while at the same time, getting a firm grasp on how he ticks. The cases themselves are mostly interesting and all lead up to the grand scheme of the series rather well.
Once that arc kicks in, all hell breaks loose as he unleashes a psycho-virus onto everyone by using masked dudes to push them over the limits of their individual sanities. We then divulge into the shock that this Sybil System which governs Japan is a collection of 247 criminally asymptomatic brains (meaning they have white Psyho Pass hues and crime coefficients (which are what determine if someone should be allowed to live)) and that it has dubious faults and ambitions that go against Akane's while she tried to manipulate it to bend to get will of trying to non-lethally stop Kogami from killing said mastermind while stopping said mastermind from destroying the Sybil System. It all culminates into an impressive finale they rivals the shocking episode 11 (which resulted in the death of Akane's friend) and the badass episode 16 (which resulted in the mastermind's initial capture before breaking out to continue his plan).
Inspector Akane Tsunamori is the franchise protagonist despite not being the defacto main lead in this series. She is rather sweet and diligent, and she has a strong sense of justice and morality. She goes through some nice development. She is also a slow progression protagonist, aka, she pails in comparison to the competence of those she works with, but in seeing how they progress throughout the series in their journeys, she progresses as a character and as an experienced combatant so that it's all the more rewarding seeing her do something cool like blindsiding our resident mastermind which in turn, saves Kogami. Sucks what happened to her friend, Yuki. She did not deserve to die. Next, the season's ultimate main, Shinya Kogami. After a case gone gruesome, Kogami's crime coefficient went up to the point where he could no longer be an inspector and instead had to live as an enforcer, which is basically the attack dog to the master and detective known as the inspector. He is a bit stoic towards Akane and is generally levelheaded, but probably lets emotions overpower him the most out of anyone in the series. He is a badass as well who wants nothing more than to bring this mastermind down.
Speaking of the mastermind, it's about time I reveal his name, that being, Shougo Makishima. A character who is constantly conspired to Griffith from Berserk, right down to the Seyuu and hair color. He is a criminally asymptomatic anarchist who desires true freedom in life instead of living life in accordance to the Sybil System. He quotes famous literature from real life and is a skilled manipulator and killer, who allowed many minor antagonists to commit crimes before he disposes of them.He is very entertaining to watch, and I really liked the moment when Kogami and the series's resident psychoanalyzer, Professor Saiga (albeit he doesn't like being called professor) try to visualize how Makishima would chime in with their conversation.
Then, we have Inspector Ginoza; a no-nonsense inspector who acts very stoic and almost aggressive to Akane at points, which gets more understandable given that his father and friend were both inspectors who's crime coefficients reached criminal levels, and that he doesn't want the same happening to Akane, despite that at the end of the series, he ends up in that situation himself due to the death of his father in the penultimate episode. Speaking of his father, Masaoka acts as a sort of relaxation figure for the group and the one that takes things down a notch when things within the group get too heated. Shion is the researcher that looks up valuable data to help them in their investigations. Yayoi is a more serious enforcer who at one point really liked this band who ended up trying to rebel against the Sybil System. It sucks that they don't really give her much time to shine, but it was inevitable that certain characters would get the shaft. Kagari is the most nonchalant of the group, and is one who has some moments in the spotlight, like when he takes down a bunch of masked dudes employed by Shougo and confronts his ultimate lackey, Choe Guseong, which caused them to find out the true form of the Sybil System and die shortly afterwards. It's safe to say they this was a pretty good cast, no matter how simple they might be, due to how effective they are.
Production I.G did a great job making this gritty, futuristic world feel vibrant, with its lighting and coloring that made even the dimmest of locations come to life vibrantly. The character models are also decent, if prone to occasional hiccups, most notably in the original airing of episodes 17 and 18. The action is well choreographed in the way they that it was generally a rough combat 1 on 1 sequence. The CGI was mostly well done too. It was still noticeable, but they usually managed to find a way to make it fit well with the aesthetic of the series. Also, the OPs have very awesomely stylized looks to them. The EDs do a great job with the more techy side of things. The death scenes were almost always decisive, explosive, and dramatic, which made it all the more epic when one occurs via dominator. Also, the deadly robot attack dogs remind me of Blade Wolf from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. The directing was great, with the dream team mentioned above really making everything flow well and feel lively despite how gritty everything was.
The first OP "Abnormalize" done by Ling Tosite Sigure was awesome, and same applies to OP 2 "Cause I Feel" by Nothing's Carved In Stone. The first one is very dramatic to really make it feel like a noir in which time is everything otherwise something horrible will happen, while OP 2 was just very catchy. Both EDs were done by EGOIST, which should sell you on them right away. The first one was very cool. The second one, while I don't enjoy it as much as most of EGOIST's music, fits very well with many parts of the show's second half. The rest of the OST was ok, with some nice ones here and there. The dub was very good considering how unfamiliar everyone is to me, which only adds to the audio splendor of this work.
Such an interesting and great series this was. I feel as if I've run out of things to really say for this show, which usually happens at around this point anyway. Nonetheless, I look forward to seeing if this team of three will ever work together on another big project (aside from the Psycho-Pass movie which I haven't seen). Well, with all that said, I bid you adieu.