Anime Club: Psycho-Pass: The Movie

Hello everybody! With the recent release of the movie upon American soil, it’s time to review Psycho-Pass: The Movie.

PSYCHO-PASS: THE MOVIE

Movieposter_2

DIRECTED BY: Katsuyuki Motohiro, Naoyoshi Shiotani 

STARRING: Kana Hanazawa, Hiroshi Kamiya, Tomokazu Seki, Ayane Sakura, Kenji Nojima, Shizuka Itō

GENRE: Science fiction, crime

YEAR: 2016

COUNTRY: Japan

tumblr_ngu7gs8sEM1rc0lzwo1_1280Four years (2116AD) after the events of season one of the series, the Japanese government has begun to export the Sibyl System technology to other countries, with plans to ultimately spread it throughout the world. A state in the midst of a civil war, SEAUn (the South East Asia Union, pronounced “shian”), brings in the Sibyl System as an experiment, and the coastal town of Shambala Float achieves temporary peace and safety. But then terrorists from SEAUn appear in Japan, slipping through the Sibyl System and attacking from within, drawing Akane Tsunemori and her team to Shambala Float (based in what was once Cambodia) to investigate, drawn by evidence linking Kōgami with them.

In any case, this movie wastes no time jumping to both the heady and gory extremes that have always made the series stand out. Its opening moments are underscored by Kogami reading passages from the work of Frantz Fanon, while the ten minutes to follow are an exercise in exploding-guts excess. Psycho-Pass‘s strength has never been in subtlety, (there’s no going back after the insane reveal of Sibyl’s true nature), but it’s also never held back in addressing all types of corruption in societal structures. Since Fanon and Sartre are the philosophers of choice for this movie, and Sibyl is headed overseas in an experimental expansion, that means we’re in for a message about how colonialism is bad.

i0r8xevzojxthzhvbndpOkay, you might get bored sometimes. Between all the terrific action setpieces and shocking climaxes, the Psycho-Pass movie has about fifty minutes of story, no more or less elaborate than the many two-part episodes that defined the first season, lavish and theatrical setting aside. Its mission statement is powerful, but it’s also incredibly simple, so the movie spends its extra hour and change of runtime reiterating basic ideas and status quos from the TV series in its first act, marinating in violence and melodrama in its second, and invoking the ghost of Makishima once again in its third. The movie only gets better as it goes along.

Of course, that fearless eccentricity can also be a double-edged sword, and the movie often becomes sodetermined to hammer home its message than it can border on absurdity. Nowhere is this more clear than in the movie’s badass gang of post-colonial radical mercenaries, whose leader quotes philosophy while pouring liquor over the muzzle of a phallic-ly positioned gun onto his victim’s face. Okay, believing that it’s better to live as an animal than a slave is also bad, I think we got the point. Interactions between the main cast are likewise enriching at heart, but sometimes embarrassingly direct in execution.

PROS:

  • Plenty of gore and blood.
  • Hammers home philosophical ideals.
  • Stays close to the original narrative.
  • Kougami is back!

CONS:

  • Weak beginning.
  • Ignores second season events.

SCORE: 9.0 / 10

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Anime Club: Expelled From Paradise

Hello everybody! Glad to back to the weekly grind after a short absence. It’s time for us to bounce right back with an interesting sci-fi feature, Expelled From Paradise.

EXPELLED FROM PARADISE

Expelled_From_Paradise_Promotional_Poster

DIRECTED BY: Seiji Mizushima

STARRING: Rie Kugimiya, Shin-ichiro Miki, Hiroshi Kamiya, Megumi Hayashibara, Kotono Mitsuishi, Tōru Furuya, Kenta Miyake, Daichi Otomo, Hisao Egawa, Noriko Uemura

GENRE: Science Fiction

YEAR: 2014

COUNTRY: Japan

expelled-from-paradise-2With Earth now left in ruins following the “Nano Hazard,” most of humanity has abandoned the planet they once called home along with their physical bodies and rebuilt their digitalized minds into a society within the cyber universe of “DEVA.” A.D. 2400, DEVA’s central council detects an incident of unauthorized access into their mainframe. Someone on Earth was trying to hack into the system. The only information DEVA was able to retrieve was that the hacker referred to themselves as “Frontier Setter.” To investigate the mysterious hacker’s motives, the high officials of DEVA dispatch System Security Third Officer Angela Balzac to the Earth’s surface. Equipped with a prosthetic “material body,” Angela attempts to make contact with a local agent Dingo, but what awaited her instead was a swarm of Sandworms now infesting the Earth’s surface. Angela intercepts the gruesome pests with her exoskeletal powered suit Arhan. Will Angela and Dingo be able to find Frontier Setter on this devastated planet? Their journey to explore the secrets of the world will begin now…!

Expelled’s concept probably won’t win any originality awards, yet it executes its established conventions extremely well. If you look past the sci-fi premises, there’s a wealth of genres you can see influences of. When you break it down, the story is so extremely simple and straightforward that I didn’t even realize the movie was a whole 90-minutes long. Where plenty of sci-fis let its world do a lot of the talking, it’s really the characters of Expelled that connect to you. At times the dialogue deviates off into what often transpires in a buddy cop films.

bccafpowhxhradmzlk7mThe movie falls a bit short of being serious though. There aren’t huge points of moral conflict at the limit of where a principle runs out of gas and crashes into nuance. Instead we fly between different perspectives, moving from deeply flawed premises to obviously “good” ones. It makes this movie feel a bit candy-coated, especially when you add in the robot battles and gratuitous objectification of the female body.

PROS:

  • Established conventions.
  • Influence by a variety of genres.
  • Well-written dialogue.

CONS:

  • Rarely serious plot.
  • Objectification.
  • Lack of moral conflict.

SCORE: 7.0 / 10

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music/Anime for me to review, drop me a comment!

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All check out my lengthier video game reviews over at Nerd Bacon Games.