For those of you who watched our podcast last night, this is probably not a surprise TBT article. Otherwise, you were aware that we discussed a number of shows last night, one of the last being Psycho-Pass. Season 1 consisted of a 2-cour season starting in Fall 2012 into Winter 2013 and was a great 22 episodes of plot twists, betrayals, and sci-fi cyberpunk dystopia that you would be hard up to try and top. This show kicks into some great twists so if you are looking for a dark world setting with a few lights of hope and justice fighting against being extinguished, take a peek at the show and come back afterwards.
We start out following the first day of Inspector Akane Tsunemori as she handles a hostage situation alongside her senior, Nobuchika Ginoza. Unlike today’s world, the crime coefficient of individuals is calculated out in a precognitive metric, akin to the Tom Cruise movie, Minority Report. This crime coefficient alerts law enforcement individuals of those at risk of being a criminal (latent criminals) and enables them to be handled either with therapy, incarceration, or execution depending on the severity. The system that allows individuals to do this is called the Sibyl System, which ranks and rates people’s crime coefficients in real time. As this metric can be driven up by the very task of investigating, Investigators are given access to latent criminals known as Enforcers, who do the actual violent acts and are treated like garbage by Ginoza. We see the strange dynamic of checks and balances in action, leading to the Enforcer Shinya Kogami preparing to execute the hostage after her crime coefficient rises to lethal force authorization. Akane stuns him and calms down the hostage to the point she can be stunned as well opposed to killed.
Throughout the next few episodes we actually have the cast begin to be fleshed out, with Ginoza’s hatred of Enforcers and poor treatment of them both become more pronounced and more explained. Shinya turns out to have been Ginoza’s former partner who took the job too much to heart and becomes obsessed with series bad guy Shogo Makishima, eventually clouding his “hue” to the point that he became a latent criminal and was subsequently imprisoned and turned into an Enforcer. This in turns causes Ginoza to become more clouded and its later revealed his father too became an Enforcer. This dynamic with the Enforcers and Inspectors is further compounded and elaborated upon to great effect that I can’t do justice in this article. Even the dynamic of this objective measure defining us as people and how well and where we’ll go in society is a unique enough concept that I can’t help but love it. Beyond that there’s a large amount of subterfuge and of course a deep dark secret surrounding the Sibyl System.
This is further complicated by Shogo Makishima and his strange ability to be undefined and unable to be labeled by the Sibyl System. Beyond that he even is able to cloud individual’s hues simply by talking and interacting with them. Other times he takes a more direct approach to affect such a change upon an individual. This instance I have in mind is where he proceeds to beat a woman in plain sight on a crowded street. The dystopic scene here is set perfectly with a number of factors. First are the on-lookers who are so desensitized they don’t even realize what they are seeing. Many dismiss the violence as a scene not unlike us watching a violent movie in today’s day and age. The next is Shogo’s inability to be marked by the system as a latent criminal. The final is the fact that the drones that are designed to address and psychoanalyze individuals with rising criminal coefficients begin to move to the victim, and address her rising criminal coefficient and clouding hue. All these combined paint a picture that almost makes you sick to see how horrid such a world would be if we put our faith into a flawed system. And this is the onus of the second half of the season. Again, it’s simply an amazing show and I wouldn’t dare spoil things for you if you haven’t watched it.
The ending of season one is great and really brings full circle while setting up for movies and the second season. Admittedly, these weren’t quite as amazing as the first season, but still worth the watch in my humble opinion. Other than that I can’t speak the praises of this show enough. It’s a unique story and setting with a fun feel balanced with a grimdark overtone. The interactions with individuals and the plot twists will have you cheering and gut wrenched at the same time. It does an amazing job of defining grey areas and making you think about the concept of weighing personal freedoms and liberties with personal safety and security. Also, on a fun note, a three part movie was scheduled and announced for next year back in March, so if you get into the wonderful world of Psycho-Pass, you won’t have to wait too long before getting your next fix!