Psycho-Pass – 10

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I think that was an episode that pretty much speaks for itself.

Psycho-Pass mostly set aside the philosophy and social satire this week and stayed solidly in action-thriller territory, in the process delivering a tense and exciting episode that connected on pretty much every swing.  This was the product of a confident, assured series that’s become very comfortable both with premise and characters – continuing a positive trend, as it was certainly trying too hard in the beginning.  The first episode of the series was definitely the weakest, but that’s not a bad thing when the current product is one of the best shows of the season.

The vibe has been growing ever since Senguji showed up in episode seven, but more than ever you can definitely add “The Most Dangerous Game” to the list of influences here that already includes Minority Report, Dark City et al.  That was a short story (written by Richard Connell and published way back in 1924) that was one of my favorites as a kid (I was a weird kid) and seeing that vibe show up always gives me a little thrill, remembering what it felt like to read that story.  Again we see Urobuchi Gen borrowing pretty liberally from established themes, but the execution is so good that so far it hasn’t become an issue – though I still think it raised the bar a bit for Gen to come up with something new to say in the end. 

It’s in the role of Makashima and the dissection of the morality of this society from which something fresh is most likely to emerge, and we saw some movement on both fronts this week.  The relationship between Makashima and Senguji is an interesting one.  It’s pretty clear who the really dangerous one here is, and I think it’s even clear to Senguji himself – based on his reactions in this episode – that he’s Makashima’s toy almost as much as the prey Makashima delivers up is his.  But Senguji doesn’t seem to mind so much, and my theory is that being inside an android body isn’t so straightforward as he makes it out to be.  It’s likely driven him a bit mad, and he’s no doubt tormented by boredom – living in an unchanging body with one day seeming pretty much like the next.  Makashima is taunting Senguji a little when he says it, but he’s right – it’s the thrill of real danger than Senguji has been craving all along.  And in Kougami, he’s certainly got it.

The more we learn of Kougami the more interesting he becomes.  At this point he and Akane seem largely in synch on their relaxed attitude towards Bureau policy, and after Akane receives a strange text from her pal Funahara Yuki (Koiwai Kotori) they chase down the lead although he suspects it to be a trap. It’s more clear what Akane gets from this relationship than what Kougami does, but he makes an interesting comment about Akane to Yuki later in the episode: “She intuitively understands what it means to be a detective.  I think society needs more people like her.”  That last comment especially plays into the notion that Akane represents a challenge to the Sibyl system, but of a different sort than Makashima.  She’s a wild-card that Sibyl doesn’t know what to do with, and speaking of intuition Kougami (who has it in droves himself) senses this.  In much more immediate terms she also represents a link to a style of police work he clearly loves, and one which Sibyl has largely laid waste to.

Most of the episode is taken up with what happens after Kougami is lured into the abandoned Ginza subway line beneath Tokyo, where he finds the bound and gagged Funahara on a Ginza Line train that’s mysteriously running 60 years after decommissioning.  It’s great stuff from start to finish – tense and tight as a drum, as Kougami shows he’s an incredibly resourceful man both mentally and physically.  The old subway tunnels are fabulously atmospheric, and once the hunt begins in earnest, it’s a high-tension thrill ride where you fear for Kougami at every moment.  What becomes clear almost immediately is that Makashima has rigged the hunt to give the fox a chance this time, and this fox has teeth – Kougami doesn’t miss any opportunity afforded him, and he manages to get the useless transponder Makashima plants for him working again with the help of a dead robot dog and Funahara’s bra (more precisely, what Makashima has planted there for Kougami to retrieve).  I can very easily see this arc ending with Kougami taking out Senguji (though that’s only one possibility) – Makashima is clearly the top boss here.  The interesting question would be whether Makashima feels Senguji’s resources are important enough to prompt him to save Senguji, if it comes to that.

There’s one other big moment at the end of the episode, and it’s a doozy, one that comes as quite a surprise.  Gino continues to fill the designated dumbass role (I’m really hoping we see more from him) and he seems to be slipping deeper and deeper into pure by-the-books rigidity.  Here he presumes Kougami has perpetrated the entire scenario to escape, seems quite content to shoot him first and ask questions later, and lays a huge plate of guilt on Akane for being the one at fault if Kougami dies.  It’s here that Masaoka – still my favorite character in this strong cast – steps in with shocking ferocity, his voice calm and face in a smile as he rebukes Gino even as he lifts him like a rag doll in his robotic arm and hurls him across the room.  That’s surely insubordination and grounds for serious reprisal just for starters, but given the psychology of the situation it’s much deeper than that.  Why did Masaoka do what he did, the way he did it?  Merely defending Akane from what he saw as an unjust attack, or trying to send a deeper message to Gino that he’s losing himself and becoming something terrible?  It makes the question of just how Masaoka and Gino are connected an even more fascinating one – the situation was defused when Kougami managed to get his distress call through, but I’d have been very interested to see what would have happened had that tense drama had the chance to play itself out.

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  1. J

    Next episode should be very interesting, with the Bureau chasing Kogami's location, I wonder how Senguji's reaction will be played out. Also, what will happen to him? So far Makishima has already let the Bureau deal with a criminal he enabled (the other being killed by another one of his puppets). My guess is that perhaps the game will be turned on Senguji, who is forced to run and hide from the Bureau. Then maybe he'll truly know what fear is.

    So far, my opinion of Makishima is that he is much like Akane or Kogami minus the sense of justice. He's pretty much an antihero, even though he's let innocents die

  2. E

    It's not insubordination, it's a father calming and punishing his useless son. 🙂 Gino is silent because he realized that too. It's the only reason he didn't went even madder, being treated by lower ranking person. Orubutcher has left too many clues at this.
    Anyway. This episode is exciting, even though we know for sure that Kougami can't possible be taken down by an old fart. I can't wait for next week! The question is, will this old fart die next episode? Has Makishima prepared an escape route for him? To what extent does he know about Makishima? Oh, it's not there's any room for interrogation. Our policemen shoot down criminals without a second thought, lol. Against such law enforcer, becoming a criminal that uses other people is really comfortable.

  3. J

    OH, I just realized that Senguji is a cyborg, does even HAVE psycho pass levels?

  4. A

    Well you would think so, he still has a human brain and what else would a psycho-pass scanner scan.

  5. H

    I was wondering that as well, I remember in the flash-forward in the first episode Ko tries to use the gun on someone with a big, computer-looking helmet and that blocked it so I wonder if having a cyborg body can also mess with the readings.

  6. J

    @anon: What constitutes a "human brain" in the eyes of the sibyl system? I say this because they portray Senguji as emotionless. His whole obsession with hunting (I think) is to acquire some sort of emotion that he is missing living life as a cyborg. If anything, I predict the dominator having slight problems detecting senguji's psycho pass levels.

  7. A

    Well I was actually just referring to the physical aspect, his brain being the only remaining original organism in his cyborg body. And since the brain is the center of well EVERYTHING emotions,cognition,motivation etc. I assume that is what psycho-pass scanners scan and sibyl in turn make judgements on.So I defiantly think Senguji's physical brain could be scanned and that he has a psycho-pass. Initially I just figured he could avoid having his psycho-pass registered/noticed because he's filthy rich (avoid street scanners,no employment scanners) or possibly due to interference tech or hacking (like when evidence of Makashima's presence was wiped from the girls school). However your idea about the fked up way his brain works fooling Sybil is interesting. But I totally agree with why you think Senguji is obsessed with the hunt, I think he said at much during his interview. Plus I totally agree with why you think Senguji is obsessed with the hunt, pretty sure he said at much to Makashima.

  8. C

    Sure Ginoza is a useless detective but I just feel sorry for the guy at this point. Betrayal he's experienced aside, it's pretty clear he was really worried about his old partner Kougami shown by how he randomly sent out drones at the end 'MAKE SURE AT LEAST ONE REACHES HIM.' And I think he unfairly dumped the blame on Akane because he wasn't thinking straight from that worry but also because it would justify in his head his beliefs in strictly following the rules. The thing with Ginoza though is I can't hate him because I think he just CAN'T understand what's so obvious to the audience and other characters. Although lol i was really pissed at him until that last redeeming moment where you saw his relief and sent out those drones 😛

    Also i'm hell looking forward to getting a back-story on Masaoka's robotic arm since I bet it's tied into the story of how he became a hunting dog in the first place.

    I've actually fallen in love with this show Oh Madoka help me

  9. K

    It sounded to me like he was actually just projecting his own feelings about his failures in the past with Kougami on Akane. Like you said, his eyes lit up and he jumped into action the moment he knew for certain that Kougami was truly in trouble and wasn't running away. It certainly looked like someone who cares to me. Seems to me like Gino is stuck between a rock and a hard place: caring for his good friend, and keeping up appearances for the system.

  10. T

    This is probably my favorite episode of Psycho-Pass so far. It was pure, refined awesomeness.

    What I think I find very interesting about this show is that it has a very movie like feel to it. For some reason this (an similarly ZnT) both feel less like TV shows and more like I am just watching each movie 30 minutes at a time.

  11. B

    eeeek! What a fantastic episode. For sure the best one to date. I need the next episode NOW!

  12. A

    Okay, please allow me to say it…Kougami is hot…hot and hot… Okay, it's out there…lol.

    Enzo, you said it right — this is a very tense, tight and exciting episode. I was like, what…that's it? That 20+ minutes sure went by fast. This is the setting up of the last arc when Kougami finally faces Makashima in the very first scene that we saw in episode one…and I really can't wait for the next episode to come.


    p.s. and I think you may be right, Enzo — Masaoka could be Gino's father…and I just loved his smiling face when he hurled Gino across the room.

  13. K

    Episodes like this are why I love and watch anime.

  14. P

    Well perhaps U.S.A. indeed needs to have this psycho pass level detector goody. Face it, we will NEVER ban guns in U.S.A. Heck, I seriously doubt that we will even ban an assault weapons that shoots out 50 bullets in a second. There are too many gun nuts in the country and majority rules in democratic society, good or bad. In theory, I can see some benefits of dictatorship, but in real life, it never bloody works as the dictator is always, always, some greedy bastard surrounding himself with vile cronies. That's what humans are in the basic terms. So the next best thing is to find these troublemakers with the psycho pass level detector goody before they wear a bullet vest, arm 4 guns with 100+ bullets, going into some random elementary school and start shooting folks like it's just some video games. Freedom? Forget it, it's an illusion to be begin with and we only ever had limited freedom to begin with.

  15. P

    Enzo, you're welcome in advance. Or maybe not since it's not like you get paid for more comments. Nonetheless, inject some politically charged topic, bada-bam. Now watch and behold while the post's message board balloons up into 50s in mere hours!!

  16. P

    I meant bullet"proof" vest.

  17. e

    Ooooh, gotta love weird kids: The Most Dangerous Game is a good one. And I can see why you brought it up. I'm missing me some Marcus Aurelius in my P-P though.

    This episode was good. Oh yes. And it even managed a bit of humour among the tension.
    Akane's friend didn't fare badly at all all things considered. And she also delivered to both Ko and the audience some tasty bits of info. I'm rooting for her survival. Go busty chick go!
    Also… bra cups sized DD and above make for excellent silly hats *ahem* but who would have thought that Kougami would look so funny while still cool with a bra landing on top of his head? LOL.
    And now my favourite weekly question: is Masaoka Gino's father? Ha. They sure are teasing us with it.

  18. Knowing Gen's tendencies, I wouldn't buy any green bananas if I were Yuki.

  19. A

    Oh dear Enzo…thanks for giving me a good laugh…


  20. J

    I do think Yuki's watch is stopping soon. Thanks show us not afraid to kill off side characters

  21. J

    This show is not*

    Stupid auto correct

  22. e

    @GE: I always eat my bananas green… chomping on a firm young head has its perks*.
    Anyway, Yuki dying could oh-so-conveniently trigger some psycho-pass hue troubles even for the resident mental beauty , but given how competent Kougami has been in this present hunting game I'm quite optimistic Miss Buxom will survive. Not necessarily unscathed, but alive. Famous last words?
    I've replenished my green banana stash just in case. I'll be chewing them either in mourning or in celebration of my kin :,).

    *note: if you're thinking sexually you're missing the point :p.

  23. A

    Just chiming in to say that I really enjoy reading your posts. Keep up the good work!

    Loved this episode of PP btw; I really hope it can keep getting better and better every week.

  24. Thank you – I appreciate that. I hope so too!

  25. T

    This episode is probably my favorite, just the right tone that dosn't feel forced, enjoyable thrill and even nicely played psychology. It starts to feel like more genuine fun by the episode!

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