THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY: Psycho-Pass Season 1

“In order to measure a person’s worth, you must do more than push them. The real way to test their worth is to give them power. When they gain the freedom to act outside the boundaries of law and ethics, you can sometimes see their souls.” – Shogo Makishima

For fans of The Blade Runner and the Minority Report, this is an anime that you will surely fall head-over-heels for.

Going in, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was just checking around Netflix, trying to find a new show to binge-watch, when I came across Psycho-Pass. Based on the synopsis on Netflix, you don’t get a lot of what it was about – Boy, was I surprised to see that this was more than just your regular anime.

WHAT IS PSYCHO-PASS ABOUT?

Psycho-Pass is set in a dystopian version of Japan where everything is controlled by a system called the Sybil System. This system guarantees that the crime rate of the society is zero by making predicting which people will be capable of committing crimes based on their Crime Coefficient or Psycho-Pass hue. A person’s Psycho-Pass will determine whether you will be able to live a normal life, still controlled by the system, or whether you will end up locked away from a society to preserve the crime-free society that the Sybil system is advocating.

THE CHARACTERS:

AKANE TSUNOMORI – a newbie Inspector who had to learn the hard way that the Sybil system is not all that she thought it would be.
SHOGO MAKISHIMA – probably my favorite antagonist ever. I don’t want to talk about him too much. You’ll see why I’m so fascinated by him as you watch the show.
SHINYA KOGAMI – an Enforcer (latent criminals who are used by the government to apprehend latent criminals like themselves) who made it a goal to catch Makishima.


the good

I have plenty to say about the strength of this series, but I wasn’t able to take notes as I was watching which was unfortunate. I have a terrible memory that I could not enumerate everything that made this anime so great.

• Psycho-Pass is a very cerebral kind of show. While it does keep you at the edge of your seat during the action scenes, but for the most part, the show’s main goal is to stimulate its audience mind. Can someone’s capability to be a criminal be predicted by a system? Is it worth it to give up your own free will at the expense of the safety of the society as a whole? If you are not allowed to make decisions for yourself, will that still be considered as living?

• Sometimes, in shows or even books, the purpose of an antagonist is to provoke the protagonist no matter what the reason is. Sometimes, it’s for very self-serving purposes, but on very rare moments, you’d get an antagonist that you get to relate to – whose purpose is something that you understand and sympathize with. Shogo Makishima is one of those antagonist. He is brilliant. I love how his mind works. He quotes works from famous thinkers from the past (because they now live in a distant future) and uses them to encourage people to understand his cause for causing chaos. The methods he used to achieve his goals were terrible, and I do not condone them, but his reasons for doing them is another story. He is such a compelling character that I would have wanted more from him.

• The animation is superb. I love the art.

• The OST is also something that I truly enjoy.

• This anime does not sensor graphic violence which I applaud them for doing. I don’t think Psycho-Pass will be as effective as it would have been if the violence has been cut off completely. It was a necessary think for the audience to understand the cause and effect of what was happening.

• I love how it quotes people and how they use it within the story. The quotes they used, in itself, is like telling a story. While we don’t get a lot of backstory from the characters, you get the quotes they use to tell you what kind of people they are.

“An unforeseen situation… An unexpected turn of events… In the face of those, you too will face your true self.” – Shogo Makishima

 

“The law doesn’t protect people. People protect the law. People have always detested evil and sought out a righteous way of living. Their feelings, the accumulation of those people’s feelings are the law. They’re neither the provisions, nor the system. They’re the fragile and irreplaceable feelings that everyone carries in their hearts.” – Akane Tsunemori

• The reveal of the Sybil system is disturbing as hell. I was surprised that that was the secret the government was trying to keep. I was not expecting it to be like that, at all.

• I know I mentioned Makishima separately because I was not expecting to be this attached to an antagonist who was a complete psychopath – I thought that was something that deserved an exclusive bullet point in itself. However, all the characters in this were pretty effective in making their own separate points in the conversation about whether the Sybil system made the world a better or completely the opposite of that.

• While I expected this to be brutal, I did not expect it to pull on my heartstrings. I guess it’s because of how attached i became to the characters. I became deeply affected by the outcome of what each of their actions make.

the bad

To be honest, there isn’t really much about this I didn’t like. These are more of nitpicks more than anything.

• While I am wholly attached to these characters, I feel that we could have gotten more from them, especially their back stories. There were inkling of what their past lives were like, but we never really got to know who they were prior to who they currently were in the series. I would have wanted to know more about what happened to Ginoza and his father, is one example. NOTE: upon writing this review, I saw that there is a trilogy of films, separate from the series, that actually deals with this issue. Still, I prefer it to be within the series itself rather than watching it separately.

• There is that comparison between Psycho-Pass and a movie released by Steven Spielberg called Minority Report, loosely based off of Philip K. Dick’s short story of the same name. Some would say Psycho-Pass is a rip-off of Minority Report, while I would completely disagree of it being a copied version of that, I could not deny the fact that it did take some inspirations from it. In fact, Philip K. Dick’s work has been quoted multiple times throughout the series, specifically his novel, Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep, most commonly known as The Blade Runner, for those of you film buffs out there. Psycho-Pass and Minority report are both set in a society that will do everything to make sure that the government is protecting its citizens by limiting their free-will. While both deals with the same theme, they are pretty much executed differently.

theugly

There is nothing about this that I completely hated.

final thoughts

5 stars.

I binge-watched the 22 episodes of this series in a few days – shocking really. I have been terrible in keeping up with series, so I was kind of surprised myself when I found myself wanting more from Psycho-Pass. It’s disappointing to know that there are only 3 seasons so far, each season had fewer episodes than the season before it. There are tie-in moves but then again, but I want more.

What can I say, this series is damn near perfect to me. I have nothing more to say rather than watch it, experience the thrill of the chase, have your brain stimulated by the various questions to be thrown at you involving free-will, society and its laws, what is fair and what is not, equality, and judgement.


things to note

Psycho Pass

TITLE: Psycho-Pass
SEASON: 1
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 22
WRITTEN BY: Gen Urobuchi
STUDIO: Production I.G
GENRE: Crime, Cyberpunk, Dystopia, Science-Fiction, Psychological

SYNOPSIS:
The series takes place in the near future, when it is possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person’s state of mind and personality. This information is recorded and processed, and the term “Psycho-Pass” in the anime’s title refers to a standard used to measure an individual’s being. The story centers around the “enforcement officer” Shinya Kōgami, who is tasked with managing crime in such a world.


Are you guys interested in these types of storylines?

If you have other recommendations, please let me know. I want to see more anime of similar nature.

love always

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