Do Not “Pass” Go

November 15th, 2013 in Anime, General Reviews by


Now, I haven’t been actively watching anime for too long (at a mere 10 years, I am a youngling compared to others), but I have to say that 2013 has been a very exciting year. Sure, there have been a few duds, but the standout shows really stand out, like this one, “Psycho-Pass”.

It is the real future, as it is now 2116 (most ‘future’ shows are like 2040 or 2051, years that I have an outside chance of getting to see, only to discover there are STILL no flying cars). Don’t let the open throw you. Aside from it trying to look like “Blade Runner”, the opening fight is something that will occur about two-thirds into the series run, so just let it wash over you until you get into the actual story.

Tokyo is a utopia of harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding; the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Crime is almost non-existent, owing to this Sibyl System. You can kind of think of this world as ‘Minority Report’, but without Tom Cruise. People’s emotional state is measured by their Hue. Stress certainly plays into this assessment, done by the multiplicity of tracking cameras and Drones that patrol the streets.

If you Hue gets over a certain level (that would be 100, as that is a good number, but as to why it is Forest Green is anyone’s guess), you are ‘asked’ to come in to get yourself ‘unclouded’. If it goes too high (I assume anything over 300), you are deemed a latent criminal, not worthy of rehabilitation and are immediately eliminated (or exterminated or splattered, whichever term you prefer). Even the Soup Nazi wasn’t this harsh.

Into this seething cauldron of human miasma, we fling in Akane Tsunemori (the short girl up there). She has scored well on ALL of her aptitude tests and could be anything she wants, but chooses to work for the MWPSB (Ministry of Welfare Public Service Bureau) in the CID Division, as no one scored as high as she did and, presumably no one has EVER scored that high. Also, her Hue is very tiny (she sports about a 40) and it is felt she can handle the pressures. Here’s the thing: nearly every one of those other people are latent criminals and two of them normally would be killed on sight as their Assessment Level is close to 400, but, it takes a thief to catch a thief, so they are Enforcers, the ones who are designated to sniff out those hopeless criminals. I also assume they have no qualms about pulling the trigger on their guns (more on those later).

Yup, even that luscious red dress at the end can’t be trusted. Aside from being a big-time hacker, she’s a bit of a sex fiend, although that got played down immensely as the series went on, despite a lascivious first meeting with her. Let’s meet our cast-off characters, eh?

From left to right:

Shion Karanomori, who works in logistics and back-up for the Enforcers and is a shameless flirt, but prefers the ladies over the guys.
Shūsei Kagari, an Enforcer and hopeless joker, he was assessed a latent criminal at the age of five.
Yayoi Kunizuka, the only female Enforcer on this squad, she used to be a member in a rock band.
Shinya Kōgami, who used to be an Inspector, but when his partner was killed, he slid over the mark and was made an Enforcer.
Nobuchika Ginoza, head of Division 1, he stews endlessly about everything and detests Enforcers, as he could become one.
Tomomi Masaoka, the elder statesman of the group, his distaste of the Sybil System caused him to be labeled ‘latent’.

We also have the Chief, some hard-as-nails woman, but she is rather phantom-like, making her appearance in the latter part of the series.

The show goes through the tales of them trying to catch a big-time criminal, but it’s not merely cops-and-robbers kind of stuff. There is some heavy-duty work apace and, with the exception of the initial stories, which I assume were there to try and help you understand this Brave New World you’ve been plunked into, all the events are interconnected, although we, like them, do not initially see it.

As with any crime drama there is blood and death and beatings, so be prepared for it. Also, the guns that they use, Dominators, have a mode on it called Destroy-Decompose, so people are effectively obliterated with nary a trace. The Dominator basically talks to you and tells you what is going to happen; you merely pull the trigger, not pull the trigger or even decide not to take the suggestion of the gun to kill and prefer to stun them instead.

Now, I have to assume that there is some caliber of real-life paranoia going around, as though some folks view this as some kind of hard-hitting documentary, owing to the blurb at the end:

“A world where human’s state of mind and the tendency of their personalities can be quantified. While all sorts of inclinations are recorded and policed, these measured numbers used to judge people’s souls are commonly called ‘Psycho-Pass’. The story is fiction. The names of the individuals and/or [locations] that appear in this story are fictitious and have no relation to those in existence in the real world.” So, don’t worry, folks, as the Thought Police are not coming.

I wasn’t certain where to put this comment, but Akane’s eyes get a bit annoying. I assume we want that wide-eyed innocence as she tries to take in this violent vicious world, but both the design and placement on her face got irksome for me especially when we did close-ups. You will notice that everyone else’s eyes are more or less ‘normal’, so she really comes off as an odd fish.

This was a good show, although I felt that we just didn’t go far enough into their past. I would have liked to know more, but that was a director’s decision. Also, you need to go through the closing credits, as crucial information is imparted in most of them, but not all of them. And the ending was a bit strung out (conclude it, already), so at 22 episodes, it can be deemed a bit light. However, the story has concluded but not ended, as quite a lot was set up for the last four or five episodes but not completely closed out. Fan Service is kind of dumped on us at the end, as throughout the show, only Shion provides a bit of it, with that flirty red dress, but not too much.

But this is a show where fan service would detract from the tales and certainly the second half really ups the ante. It sometimes gets too physically dark to see things properly, but the implication is there. For crime drama, this one works well and the gore is supplanted by terror (we don’t show it, as you can imagine things far more horrific). The actually ending is a bit too pat, but it really is the only ending you could have. I would put this on your ‘must see’ list, as it is compelling and involving, as we learn all kinds of secrets from everyone.
On a scale of 1 to 10:

Artwork 8 (Solid artwork design)
Plot 9 (A strong plot)
Pacing 8 (Much like cop work)
Effectiveness 7 (A bit predictable)
Conclusion 7 (We have a coupler point)
Fan Service 4 (A similar show would be “Gurren Lagann”)

Overall 8 (A smudge too neatly tied up)

And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Hunt the prey.

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