Psycho-Pass – 03

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 03 [CFEDD526].mkv_snapshot_10.20_[2012.10.26_22.26.59] [Commie] Psycho-Pass - 03 [CFEDD526].mkv_snapshot_12.28_[2012.10.26_22.29.24] [Commie] Psycho-Pass - 03 [CFEDD526].mkv_snapshot_20.08_[2012.10.26_22.37.28]

I was pretty worried after the first episode, but talent seems to be winning the day with Psycho-Pass.

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 03 [CFEDD526].mkv_snapshot_01.00_[2012.10.26_22.17.57]I’m not sure Urobuchi Gen is capable of writing a series that’s less than interesting, but as the disjointed first episode showed, it takes more than interesting ideas to make an anime work.  Fortunately each successive episode has proved better than the last (if he can keep that up for 22 weeks we’d certainly be in for an epic) to the point where I’m pretty firmly hooked now.  The series has settled into a nice groove, with the noir vibe clicking and the big ideas beneath the story really beginning to germinate.

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 03 [CFEDD526].mkv_snapshot_03.59_[2012.10.26_22.20.07]I said last week that I found the hunting dogs more interesting than the masters – and that I was pretty confident I was supposed to – and after this weeks ep I’m firmly convinced on both counts.  What I think we’re seeing here is Gen espousing theories on several fronts, one of which is the matter of what makes a detective.  I think his case – which I agree with – is that you can’t be a good detective if you don’t have a healthy dose of latent criminal intent buried inside you.  That a detective needs to understand the criminal mind in order to defeat it is hardly a new idea (that’s a trend so far in P-P, but more on that later) but the Sybil scenario is a clever way of illustrating it. 

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 03 [CFEDD526].mkv_snapshot_03.59_[2012.10.26_22.20.09]What Sybil has produced (seemingly) is a generation of law enforcement that’s incapable of enforcing the law because they’re unable to think outside the narrow boxes Sybil has assigned them to.  That the enforcers can do so is hardly surprising given their backgrounds, but the detectives like Ginoza need to maintain the façade that they’re the ones pulling the strings, when in fact they’re simply the ones holding the leash.  In the case of Akane perhaps she’s the rare exception, because her Sybil scores didn’t pigeon-hole her into being a detective – in fact, they said she was basically suited to anything she wanted to do.  Or perhaps suited to nothing – which in Sybil’s eyes makes her a bad detective, but in practical terms possibly a very good one.  Time will tell.

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 03 [CFEDD526].mkv_snapshot_04.51_[2012.10.26_22.21.00]As for the drone factory where this week’s episode played out, it was yet another example of a nightmarishly awful application of the technology at the heart of the series.  The rare facility that’s “offline” – blocked from access to the ‘net as a security measure – there are no obvious outlets for the stress of the employees, three of whom have died in “accidents” in the last year.  So a kind of whipping boy is chosen – a sacrificial lamb among the staff for the others to abuse until their aura gets cloudy enough to get them transferred out before they snap.  It’s a stupid and inhumane idea on the face of it, and the criminal at the heart of this ep points out one very obvious flaw – he simply lets off steam by killing someone before his hue gets too cloudy, and appears normal enough to go back to his role as the designated victim.

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 03 [CFEDD526].mkv_snapshot_05.53_[2012.10.26_22.22.01]That this case should have been solved by the enforcers and not the detectives is hardly surprising – they were unanimous in their intuition that murder was occurring, with Masaoka (there are strong hints of a past confrontation with Gino) again the most interesting in explaining it.  But it’s Kougami who takes the lead in exposing the crime using a very risky method.    It’s tempting to see this a a good cop/bad cop scenario, but it’s really good cop/no cop – whether through lack of imagination or unwillingness to take on the Ministry of Economy, Gizo offers no help whatsoever.  What’s interesting to me about this is Ginoza’s speech to Akane – “Wise men learn from history and fools from their mistakes” – and the seemingly obvious implication that Akane’s right in siding with the enforcers, and he’s the stock villain of the piece.  But this being Urobuchi Gen, I suspect he’s going to end up showing us that Ginoza is actually in the right about the enforcers, at least in part – and that (as usual) no one is to be trusted.

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 03 [CFEDD526].mkv_snapshot_06.20_[2012.10.26_22.22.28]If I still have a major problem with the piece, it’s that the Sybil scenario is so obviously and deeply flawed that it’s hard to believe it could have become as institutionalized as it has.  If Gen is making an effort to show a morally ambiguous situation in this respect it’s not working for me, because it’s very obvious that Sybil doesn’t work and we’re effectively looking at a dystopian system balanced on the head of a pin.  That and the fact that this remains very, very familiar material leaves me concerned still about whether even Gen can find enough that’s new to keep the series fresh for two cours.  He certainly succeeded this week, and this is a writer who has deep reserves to draw on so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt until he gives me a reason not to.

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  1. I

    I was on the fence on both Noitamina shows, but for R;N's latest offering put me firmly with the pack of fans but Pyscho-Pass has put me on the verge of tipping over.

    Somehow it didn't come off as very subtle. Interesting yes, enjoyable no. Maybe I went in with different expectations and every time there not satisfied I feel disappointed.

    While the Enforcers are very interesting and their pasts will surely be looked into deeply, I find the Inspectors rather bland. The crimes and Sibyll system also are quite boring and one-trickish.

    I'm sure something great will appear soon and unlike Btoom I have no intention of dropping Psycho-pass but I wonder how long it will take for the real plot that of taking down the Sibyll system to start.

  2. A

    It's intersting that people keep thinking that eventually they're gonna "take down" the Sibyll system, like it's somehow inherantly evil. You really have to think to yourself and ask "what system [i]isn't[/i] flawed?" I think that it will be Gen's style to illustrate characters that actually like the system. For example, the police under the Sibyll system are unable to excercise excessive force, but rather only the necessary amount to enforce justice (when the railgun activated, you knew that was badass).

  3. Enforce justice as Sybil defines it. If you happen to think Sybil is capable of being wrong, "excessive force" is par for the course.

  4. A

    Quite, Enzo. But it's kind of boring to think that way. Rather, it's no fun comparing social justice of a sci-fi piece to current standards and categorically dub the work of fiction as wrong. It's naturally bound to happen, of course, but I don't think it should take away from the enjoyment of the series. I mean, when your watching Dredd, are you sitting in the theater the entire time complaining how wrong the justice system is and wondering when they are going to overthrow it, or would you rather sit back and enjoy Dredd shoot bad guys?

    In conclusion (lol i like to summarize my point), it is a sci-fi genre, so your enjoyment depends on whether or not you can accept this world. If you can't accept the fact that jedi have the power to control the mind, then quite frankly maybe Star Wars isn't the movie for you, etc.

    Personally, I believe the Sybil system is flawed, but I don't consider it wrong, simply because Sybil CAN'T be wrong. It's a computer, and if you know anything about sci-fi, then you know computers don't give a hoot and a half about right and wrong, merely the survival of humanity (unless of course, they're Terminators)

  5. e

    So much Shinya manservice in the beginning. Wet ripped bishonen ahoy. This lady is thankful for the display, if a tad amused by the bottle bit: sure, be all calm and stoic while you pour all over you a bottle of water straight from the fridge… Cigarettes are bad for the health too, but I guess he needs all the legit outlets he can get.
    Anyway Masaoka is the sexiest, Lt. Columbo getup and all ( ah, mature men <3 ).
    I think one of the photographs on the walls Kogami was staring at features the white haired 1984 guy from episode #1. That detail is coveniently blurred but it looks like a whitish blob (the head+hair of said guy?) in a darker crowd.

    I was quite please with the tone here… episode #1 was trying sooooo hard to impress and went for shock value, episode #2 was a bit uneven although I definitely enjoyed it much better than the former. This week instead the mood was consistent, the tension was good, there were some juicy bits of dialogue, they toned down the gore and the vision flew by pretty quickly.
    So far so improving.

  6. B

    guess i'm the odd one out? i actually liked this episode the least. then again i may have been a tad disappointed but it's still clear enough to me that this show is pretty promising. unlike 'anime k' which i have officially given up on, i have high hopes for this!

  7. B

    I'm still not convinced yet about this show, but knowing gen we are about to get trolled soon, hard.

  8. G

    Loved the episode, I was waiting for the dangerous side of the enforcers to come out, since it's been in the subtext since day one. I do believe people are born with psychopathic tendencies, some more than others, but the environment serves as a switch that determines whether those tendencies will be realized. Though it's clear the Sybil system is at the extreme end of that belief, which makes it seem rigid and inhuman. Just how malleable is the criminal mind? That's the big question and one that I believe will remain the center of debate. The moral struggle explored here is not breaking new grounds, but if executed well, I think it may still offer us a great watch experience.

  9. J

    Hey, no mention of this episode animation-wise? I thought this was hands-down P-P's best at animation thus far. Plus, I felt the music really shone in giving atmosphere and mood; it felt in sync for the first time to my ears.

    The best scenes were when characters cracked a facey, like Akane's smirk or Masaoka's suspision, and, well – it's a classic in UroGen works – that despair madness-wide eyes, here shown through the killer's psycho rage. All of which you captured in the featured screencaps, actually.

    It felt like a treat, I liked it. Doubt all episodes will be as smooth as this one, but that didn't take away from it being entertaining!

  10. Yeah, of course the animation was terrific. I.G. can do great work when they want to.

  11. H

    I really like the world as it's constructed (and I could probably talk for days about the social implications of the Sibyl system), but the couple things I really had a problem with in this episode were the ham-handed handling of the attitude of the manager and the absolutely pathetic effort put in by Ginoza. "Hey, it doesn't matter what happened if we keep churning out robots." Maybe there's no such thing as detective shows in that world, but wouldn't anyone, even the entire audience, think "Hey, why don't you compare everyone's hue checks and correlate them with when the deaths happened." And that Ginoza dismissed Shinya's idea about who did it, when I'm sure everyone watching (and in the room besides Ginoza) was nodding their heads going "Yeah, that makes sense" was just pathetic. It was a bit convenient of the whole setup for action, but it's a TV show.

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