Psycho-Pass Weekly Update – Episode 2

I hope there’s not much rape this week…

I guess the first episode was just for the shock factor. This episode is tame by the standards set by the debut. There’s hardly a spec of blood to be shed. Instead, this outing focuses on developing the world and the characters. I think it’s an important step considering how alienating the last week was. Once the characters are more personable, identifying with them would make identifying with this alien dystopia so much more easier.

Akane Tsunemori is a prodigy by this world’s standards. She actually had a choice in picking her career. In this version of earth, a system called Sibyl decides what professions a person can excel at. For Akane, she would be able to succeed at any job she was given. She chooses to be an Inspector because she believes it was her purpose in life as she was the only one in her class that was compatible for it. After the events that transpire in the debut, she begins questioning her decision to enter the Bureau and if she should have settled for another path.

It’s interesting how many layers are collaged over one another when considering this singular problem. First is the question of whether or not considering your purpose in life is actually necessary. In world where most of your choices are made for you, isn’t pondering questions like these inefficient? Especially when the system states that the path illuminated by it will make you the happiest you can possibly be. This seems a bit incongruous with what is seen on the screen. Akane is rattled by what unfolded before her. It’s difficult for her to come to terms with shooting Shinya. She’s not used to violence, but she is thrown into a world defined by brute force and bloodshed.

Second is the idea of excelling at the occupation you are selected for. As an Inspector she feels like all she can do is stand in the sidelines. Instead of being a vehicle of justice, she feels like a glorified dog walker. Is there any fulfillment in that? How can she prove her aptitude when the task at hand seems so trivial.

Last is the entire idea of the Psycho-Pass itself and what the hues represent. As your own personal color gets cloudy, it represents a greater probability of you committing a crime. After witnessing the shocking scenes of her first day, Akane’s psyche stays perfectly crystal clear. Even though it kept her up all night, it apparently didn’t create any chinks in her armor. Her explanation is that she is thick skinned. This doesn’t seem like a plausible explanation from her reactions in her first case where she’s pushed to shoot another man. Isn’t that worthy of dimming her color slightly?

Gen Urobochi is trying to make a statement. The more you push society towards order, the more illogical it gets. If a system decides where you turn at every fork in the road, there is no chance of discovering something unknown. All of this is unveiled in the rare chance someone does get a choice. We find out that human decision making trumps a program’s cold calculations. Tsunemori’s choices save a woman’s life, where she would have instead been executed, a human triumph.

Nothing really bad about this episode except the only chase sequence was a bit underwhelming. I just wish the criminal put a bit more of a fight.

The only thing I really disliked about this episode was the intensely melodramatic scene between Shinya and Akane. He was spitting one liners like it was job and she cried like a girl that finally got a pony for Christmas. Maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but the rest of the outing was written with such finesse, this one scene stuck out like a sore thumb. I understand it was a humanizing moment for Shinya, but it could have been done in a more subtle fashion.

3 thoughts on “Psycho-Pass Weekly Update – Episode 2

  1. The big problem I continue to see here is that it’s just all so dry and obvious. Akane feels to me like Madoka 2.0 except I don’t really have a reason to care what her wish is this time around. The Sibyl system’s inability to chose a future for Urobuchi’s idealistically innocent leading woman just makes me groan at what this anime is asking me to accept at face value.

    • I find Madoka to be a interesting comparison in terms of leading characters. I think this time around, we have an acceptance for the world much earlier for the character than in Madoka. I hope going forward there is some sort of mystery to sink my teeth into. For now I think Urobochi is content with world building, which I think is OK for now, but not much longer.

  2. I’m finding that I am really enjoying the construction of this world, and I think it’s about time that we actually have a hero / heroine that is not cast as ‘naive’ and has her idealism immediately beaten out of her. So far, what we’ve seen instead is reinforcement of her worldview, one which I almost wholeheartedly agree with. She knows there are problems, that’s why she wanted to take that job, and she thinks there’s something there for her to do. I think it’s important to remember that even with her worldview, supposed naivety, and inexposure to those ‘realities’, the Sibyl system still found her very qualified to take that job, and it didn’t find anyone else who was.

    I had expected to not like this series coming into it, and have found that I like it very much so far. I do fear that it will, like Madoka Magica, turn into a ‘Break The Cutie’ effort, but hopefully, like Madoka, Tsunemori will be able to withstand that and effect change to a system that is extremely dehumanizing, as we hear Kougami and Masaoka both refer to it, and get those hints from her friends that they feel a bit railroaded.

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