Psycho-Pass – 02

[HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.01_[2012.10.19_22.14.27] [HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.14_[2012.10.19_22.18.59] [HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.47_[2012.10.19_22.23.32]

I’m not sure that Urubochi-san and I.G. could have made a second episode that was more different in every way from the first, for better and for worse.  Only time will tell whether that was a good strategy for the first two eps of the series.

[HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.44_[2012.10.19_22.12.24]Make no mistake, I found the second episode of Psycho-Pass to be clearly superior to the premiere in most respects, and if my confidence that this could be one of the best series of the Fall was a little shaken, it’s been somewhat restored.  So far I see a series with many very distinct strengths and a couple of troubling weak spots, which is certainly better than one that’s mediocre in most respects.  I confess, though, that I found the choice to start the series by leaping onto a runaway train and then following with a reflective, nearly sedate reversal an odd one.  I’m not saying it’s unheard of or that the two episodes should have been switched – that clearly wouldn’t have worked – but there are things in the second episode that in hindsight would have made the premiere more impactful, and perhaps lessened the need for so much rushed and stilted exposition.

[HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.47_[2012.10.19_22.12.28]Any anime series that has pretensions to be great (or at the very least meaningful) must sooner or later stand or fall on its characters, and that’s certainly no less true in the detective/noir genre.  The first ep was pretty much a disaster on that front, tossing introduction and realistic development aside for shock value, but this one was much, much better.  What I feel now that I didn’t before is that I have some grounding in what this Sibyl-dominated world is, and some reason why I should be interested in what happens to the people there.  Any world that has Clara from Kuragehime as a personal software agent can’t be all bad, and I think more of Akane knowing her taste in such things – though I still find her to be the most routine element of the series thus far.  That said, taking the time to show her go through her daily routine and to give us the much-needed back story on how she got where she did turned her from a caricature into a character, and that’s a lot of progress for one week. 

[HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.56_[2012.10.19_22.12.36]I’m still finding myself most drawn to Masaoka-san as a character, perhaps because he’s been living the contradictory hunting dog life longer than anyone else.  But I find the dogs generally more interesting than the masters, and I suspect that’s as intended.  They’re the ones straddling both sides of this sharply-divided dystopian paradise, one foot in the world of the privileged and one in that of the damned.  As Kougami lies recovering from the wound Akane inflicted on him, she has what’s surely the most interesting conversation of the episode, with Kagari as she ignores her ramen and he his sandwich (but plays with his coffee).  What’s interesting here is the matter of choice – something she has, by virtue of her peerless test scores, and he lacks, because of his psycho-pass scores.  Labeled as a latent criminal since five years old, the life of an enforcer is the only alternative to what effectively amounts to torture and imprisonment – and he’s incensed to hear her mooning about what she should be doing with her life.  In this world, even those who aren’t latents generally have no free will to speak of – Sibyl tests them and tells them what job they’ll be happy in, and they do it. 

[HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.06_[2012.10.19_22.15.32]Without any question, there’s a commentary here on the curse that intelligence can be – those who think too much aren’t generally as happy as those who think too little.  Akane’s intelligence has given her the rarest of all things in this future, a choice (Grade A in 13 different fields of endeavor) – but that only makes her miserable, and that it does makes Kagari furious.  But the funny thing is, Akane’s friends are doing the jobs they were told to do, but they don’t seem happy either – complaining about the physical strain of blue-collar work in one case, and the neck strain from sitting in a desk chair all day in the other.  Perhaps it’s in our nature always to complain, but it seems that those who have their choices made for them crave more free will, while the one who makes her own choices stresses about it constantly.  Happiness can’t be enforced, and certainly not by a half-assed behavioral monitoring Big Brother.

[HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.16_[2012.10.19_22.17.01]Without a question Psycho-Pass has its own sense of style, and it really shines through better here than in the already stylish premiere.  It’s become old hat to show off what you think tech might look like a few years or decades down the line, but this depiction of the day-to-day conveniences available (starting with that Clara lookalike) is one of the more interesting I’ve seen.  I also love the futuristic noir look that the production design is achieving splendidly.  What’s curious about Psycho-Pass, though, is that unlike most anime which are too derivative of other anime, apart from a bit of GitS this isn’t especially anime-like – but so far, it’s still quite derivative.  The echoes of Blade Runner and Minority Report (among others) are all over it, and as sharp as it is even the future-noir look has been nailed by Dark CityPsycho-Pass doesn’t owe it to us to say anything new or to do so in a new way, only to be entertaining – but given the pedigree involved the standards it will be held to are high.  It’s going to be a challenge to find something really original to say while sailing these very well-trafficked waters, and if it’s to be the meaningful series one hopes any Urobuchi Gen and NoitaminA show will be and not just a pretty bauble, that’s the challenge it must overcome.

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[HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.23_[2012.10.19_22.23.08] [HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.41_[2012.10.19_22.23.26] [HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.22_[2012.10.19_22.24.06]
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[HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.23_[2012.10.19_22.29.49] [HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.59_[2012.10.19_22.31.26] [HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.06_[2012.10.19_22.32.33]


  1. L

    Have to say I've so far enjoyed this series more than I expected to, both the eps, btw. Sure, it's got it's flaws, but it's been pretty decent presentation wise.

    Only aspect (at the moment) that I'm not too fond off is the female lead. She's not terrible, but it kinda feels like she's an amalgamation of all the other stereotypical female leads from lesser shows. Then again, I've got this bad habit of comparing almost every female lead to Motoko Kusanagi, so maybe it's just me being picky.

    Not genre-busting by any means, but decent enough to allocate 30 minutes for, I suppose. Oh, and I got the same Kuragehime flashbacks you did, LOL.

  2. J

    Perhaps the best part of this episode was the opening. Not because it was wicked stylish or had an unforgettable song – I didn't think any of that when I watched it, unfortunately. But the thing that really got me excited, is what it hinted at – the female lead succumbing to the dark and cold path, with a gun in hand and a look that tells she doesn't care about anything else anymore. Very Urobuchi Gen if you ask me, turning an idealist into a corrupt person.

    Or at least that's what it made me think about.

  3. S

    Hmmm despite being in seemingly mental confusion/ existential crisis mode Akane manages to remain in a powder blue state a real 'mental beauty' according to her friends. Is she maybe happy having a lot of choices from all those A-grades? Or a very very stable personality and complete repulsion to crime or something? Hard to tell at this point without knowing more about how Sibyl works. I just think it would be really cool if Akane somehow manages to commit 'crimes' without her psycho pass changing. Anyways I'm really enjoying this show without the forced exposition and as it goes further into fleshing out the characters. It helps that I'm not very spoiled seeing on this genre & story though ahha. Thanks for covering this btw 😛

  4. A

    God I hope not.

    If the creators go down that route, find crimes that escape the Psycho Pass, then they've gone for a less challenging scenario, than the ambitious attempt at a morality play of a civilization determined by computers.

  5. K

    I agree this was much better than the first ep, mainly because we got to know a little bit about the characters.

    The first episode kind of just thrust us into the world, maybe we were supposed to feel like Akane a bit there. But it had a bit too much of "look how dark I am"

    It's only the first two eps but I think we have already seen some of Urobuchi's strengths & weaknesses present here.

  6. P

    Artistically, the characters designs felt a little more in-sync this ep.

  7. K

    With the mention of medication in this episode, I'm reminded of Equilibrium. The idea of taking medication to suppress emotions in Equilibrium seem to have some relation to this series, where your psycho-pass is somewhat influenced by your emotions (ie stress from ep 1).

    The focus of Akane's extremely clear pyscho pass leads me to wonder whether her pass has been artificially modified or not (without her knowledge). The notion of hackers being able to modify psycho passes doesn't seem too far fetched, especially in such a technologically advanced world.

  8. L

    So far this series is enjoyable for me, although I'm not too keen on that new blonde lady just yet (she reminds me of Rakshata Chawla from Code Geass).

    Anyway, it's nice to have a promising series that's set outside a school setting for once.

  9. D

    Longer running series of of this year tend not to be set at high school I've notice. You should check some of those out (assuming you haven't). Hunter X Hunter, Shirokuma Cafe, Kingdom and Space brothers come to mind.

  10. L

    Already collecting Space Brothers (to watch at a later date). Keen on Hunter X Hunter, although I prefer the art direction of the 1999 series. Shirokuma Cafe isn't really my cup of tea.

  11. S

    Being two cour, it seems like Psycho Pass has taken a fair amount of liberties by assuming the viewers will be patient with the exposition and rightfully so, the second episode doesn’t miss a beat as the build up continues. While some may question the effectiveness of having a premiere that jumped right into a highly suspenseful mouse hunt, I wouldn't have it any other way and certainly, it made Akane's character development as a lead in this episode much more impactful. Like many who are new to the job, she was clearly caught off guard and her subsequent psychological struggles are surely understandable. In fact, it's debatable if she even received formal training as a detective as it sounds like Sibyl has absolute control over their career options after what seems like a pretty standardized screening process. Interestingly, Akane didn’t let her internal conflicts paralyze her and was quick to come to terms with the rationality of her actions which makes me wonder if I’ve misjudged her character. The end result is a protagonist that’s more agreeable yet not completely, making Akane a character that is a lot more interesting to watch.

    UroGen's trademarked exquisite dialogues continue to impress and more specifically, Kagari made a convincing argument about how trivial Akane's concerns seem to those who are not as privileged and it speaks volumes about the world we currently live in. As you highlighted, a choice is one the rarest things in Psycho-Pass and similarly, life is certainly not fair in our world where people are born with different capabilities and characteristics. A choice is certainly not a luxury that many of us around the world have and this is probably exacerbated by the uneven distribution of wealth with half of global GDP concentrated in just five countries. That's certainly a theme that Urobuchi sensei wants to explore and I get the feeling that Psycho Pass will continue to alter my understanding of your typical dystopian sci-fi series.

  12. H

    I really like the world that Psycho-Pass is constructing, and I really like Akane's view of it so far. And I also like that the show, at least to this point, is supporting and reinforcing her viewpoint and outlook, rather than trying to break it. I hope that continues, because honestly, we need a show that moves in that direction, rather than "The world always get crappier, and if you don't get crappier with it, then you're just a naive loser." If you want that, go watch Btooom! (or any other of a myriad of shows).

    I also hope there is more questioning of the Sibyl system, or at least discussion of it, including its good and bad points and how it would likely be implemented in our world. I have an extremely pessimistic view of any such system, because there is such an easy path to more oppression there. I can see where there could be beneficial usage, but I also see it leading to much reduced freedom.

  13. G

    Excellent series so far, I'm enjoying every moment of it. Sure there are a ton of questions need to be addressed, but I really prefer when they take things slowly.
    "Without any question, there’s a commentary here on the curse that intelligence can be – those who think too much aren’t generally as happy as those who think too little."
    Indeed, that pretty much sums up the core of story so far.

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