Anime Review: Psycho-Pass
Psycho-Pass is a futuristic, crime drama that takes place in a Japan that has almost completely rid itself of crime. The country is run by the Sibyl System, which can monitor the populace’s probability of committing crimes. This system does so by reading each individual’s Psycho-Pass. The aggregate score of a person’s Psycho-Pass, known as the Crime Coefficient, takes into account a person’s mental state, personality and likeliness of committing crimes. The majority of the country’s populated areas are rigged with scanners that alert the system of any individual whose Crime Coefficient exceeds the “normal” level.
The Public Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation Division the branch of the government tasked with tracking down the individuals whose Crime Coefficients have risen to dangerous levels. People with high Crime Coefficients are then either taken into custody for mental rehabilitation or killed on the spot. The judgment is dealt to the latent criminals Public Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation Division and their Dominators. The Dominator’s are shape-shifting handguns that can read Crime Coefficients and dish out the appropriate punishment to the would-be criminals.
The field employees of the Public Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation Division are divided into two groups: Inspectors and Enforcers. Enforcers are latent criminals with unique skillsets, who have been given a chance at freedom by working for the government. Inspectors are at first referred to as handlers for the Enforcers. After all, somebody has to keep the potential-criminals-turned-Enforcers in check. However, with the arrival of the Inspector Akane Tsunemori, the relationship between Inspectors and Enforces evolves into more of a partnership.
Psycho-Pass starts out a bit slow, as the show introduces the viewer to the story’s setting and characters. The story becomes quite interesting once the main plot takes center stage. The meat of the story deals with an individual who has been giving people with high Crime Coefficients the means to live out their psychotic fantasies. But the villain is not interested in just increasing crime in the country. As the story progresses, the story’s antagonist peels at the layers of Sibyl System.
However, the story is far from perfect. The ending felt like it was stretched out for the sake of having a longer run. Also, there are several things that happen in the show, especially in the final episodes, that go against the story and/or the personality of the characters. For example, the main antagonist has a special quality about him that is mentioned plenty in the show. Then in one of the later episodes, Kogami, who is the only character that has been smart enough to keep up with the antagonist’s evil plans, happens to conveniently forget the quality that makes the antagonist special.
The story and setting are what carries the show. Most of the characters, on the other hand, felt quite two-dimensional. With the exception of Akane, Kogami and the story’s antagonist, the cast felt very forgettable.
Akane is a character that the viewer can connect with because she, like the viewer, is being introduced to how the Public Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation enforces the law, and also to the seedy underbelly of this world.
Kogami and the antagonist are interesting characters because they have a fated rivalry that spans the show’s run. They are also both characters that must deal with the cold hand that the Sybil System has dealt them.
The animation quality is what you would expect from Production I.G, which is good. The world of Psycho-Pass is brought to life well by using a dark color palette and some oftentimes very violent and/or gruesome visuals. That being said, if you are squeamish, this may not be the show for you. There are several graphically violent deaths in this show.
The show’s outro and intros are pretty catchy. Past that, I cannot recall much about the soundtrack, but it was serviceable for the show’s atmosphere. The Japanese and English dubs are pretty good. However, the English voice of Akane is bit off-putting because the voice actor does not match the stoic demeanor of the character.
Overall, Psycho-Pass is an interesting show that delves into topics such as government involvement in people’s lives, freedom, safety, social contracts, and human existence. It is also an intriguing crime drama, which draws inspiration on existing literary works and films. While I caught a reference or two, I am not going to pretend that I knew everything the show drew inspiration from.
Ultimately, Psycho-Pass feels like Production I.G’s attempt at making their own homegrown show that captures a compelling dystopic world liket that of Ghost in the Shell. While Production I.G doesn’t succeed at making something quite as deep as Masamune Shirow’s iconic series, it is different enough from Ghost in the Shell that Psycho-Pass can to stand on its own merits. Just be prepared to suspend your disbelief a couple of times.
|Posted 20 July, 2014 - 15:56 by SentaiSeiya|