The series is set in the near future in which it is possible to instantaneously quantify a person’s state of mind, personality, and probability of committing a crime, all recorded on an individual’s “Psycho-Pass”. When their “Crime Coefficient” index becomes too high, they are pursued and apprehended by police officers known as Inspectors, and their ‘hunting dogs’ the Enforcers; in this way, order is maintained. Unit One of the Public Safety Bureau’s division of criminal investigation, navigate the system to uphold justice in their seemingly Utopian society.
There is nothing more undefined, blurry, and vague than the line that separates “good” from “bad”. What complicates the matter further is the question of “is said action more bad/good than another?” Why do we consider the murder of an innocent person a worse offense compared to something like a bank robbery? Is a doctor who saves hundreds of lives more “good” than a simple volunteer at a homeless shelter? While Psycho Pass may not be a realistic representation of today’s societal state, the observation of human morals, psychological concepts, and fluctuation of emotions can all be applied to our methodology of thinking and our outlook on life itself.
The premise of the show poses an interesting scenario: what if we lived in a world where it was possible to determine the potential of a person through a simple cymatic scan, and judge/assign that person accordingly? You would be told your aptitude for certain jobs, the extent of your latent abilities, and the likelihood of mental instability and the capacity to commit crimes. This is the world that Psycho Pass is set in. The show follows the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division and the various cases that are assigned to them. Through their work solving crimes, we delve into conflicts of morality, the battle between the righteous and injustice, and the clash between different ideologies about the Sibyl System that made this whole lifestyle possible.
The strongest selling point of Psycho Pass is its cast of well developed and intricate characters. We have Tsunemori Akane, a new Investigator of the Criminal Investigation Division, and her beliefs are what is most commonly defined as “righteous”. She is the representation of the ideal yet naive mindset that justice is absolute and criminals must be punished. She holds the law close to her heart, and while very young and inexperienced, she is an intelligent person and attempts to see the good in people. Through her exposure to the more sinister side of society, we observe if she is able to withstand the challenges to her beliefs and how she changes as an individual.
Helping her solve crimes and doing most of the “dirty work” is one of the Enforcers under her, Kogami Shinya. As one that is familiar with the darker side of society and has accumulated a plethora of experience in dealing with criminal minds, he is calculating, intelligent, and physically adept. His outlook on justice and the nature of other people differs from Akane’s, and this difference serves as a driving force for the show. While he is normally collected and logical, his emotions do cause him to act irrationally and puts him in precarious situations. His resolve and detective skills are put to the test and we are shown the lengths in which he will go through to reinforce his beliefs.
In addition to these two, we have Ginoza, a veteran Inspector with some very firm and rigid beliefs on criminals and potential and Masaoka, an experienced Enforcer who was a detective but was deemed a latent criminal and is a bit old fashioned. We also are introduced to Kagari, a easygoing Enforcer who was marked as a criminal at the age of five and has been an Enforcer ever since and doesn’t think too highly of the Sibyl System and Yayoi, a former guitarist turned Enforcer trying to prevent others from ending up as criminals similar to how someone dear to her did. Rounding out our Unit One, we have Shion, the Bureau’s analyst that aids the unit in solving crimes, and Joshu, the enigmatic Chief of the Bureau. The fact that none of these characters are insignificant or unimpactful enough to dismiss is quite a feat, but Psycho Pass gives each and every character depth and relevance to the main plot.
A debate that has stood the test of time is the question: are humans innately good or evil? Do we strive to side by justice because it is in our nature, our personalities, our entire being, or do we do so in order to simply create the facade of appearing as a righteous person? Are our actions a culmination of self interest, in that we do everything for personal gain? Forging relationships, creating bonds; are they simply methods to reach the end goal of personal satisfaction and happiness? Psycho Pass portrays and addresses this issue through excellent storytelling, proficient pacing, and a cast of realistic characters. From watching Akane attempting to defend latent criminals and trying to give them a chance to prove their innocence, to Shinya’s drive based on personal revenge and his definition of justice, Psycho Pass keeps its audience consistently alert and interested, with plot twists and shifts that are unpredictable and wholeheartedly intriguing.
The art is bold and catches the eye’s attention. From the casual conversation scenes to the dynamic and high tension fight scenes, everything is animated with a finesse that is incredible. While some may dislike some of the characters design, that is ultimately personal preference. The sound is appropriate for a sci-fi show. The OP and EDs are upbeat and catchy and will stick with you even after the conclusion of the show. They serve to build suspense and set the mood, and everything fits into the whole picture to deliver a well coordinated show.
Psycho Pass, I believe, can be considered a masterpiece. With thought-provoking dialogue and plot, an amount of drama and tension that is neither excessive nor underwhelming, and a group of characters that are just as complex as many of us, Psycho Pass delivers an action sci-fi show unlike one we’ve seen before.
Also Check Out
- Castlevania Anime | Review |Lock-down Edition
- Hunter X Hunter | Review | Lock-down Edition
- Fire Force | Enen no Shouboutai | Anime Review |My Current Favorite
- Top 7 Signs You Are Hardcore Anime Fan