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: Psycho-Pass 2

Hello everybody! For this week’s anime club, we watch the second series for Psycho-Pass, Psycho-Pass 2. You can check out our review of the first series here Psycho-Pass.

PSYCHO-PASS 2

psycho-pass-2

CREATED BY: Naoyoshi Shiotani, Kiyotaka Suzuki

GENRE: Crime, Cyberpunk, Dystopian

NO. OF EPISODES: 11

YEAR: 2014

COUNTRY: Japan

In season two, Akane, now the leader of a restored Unit One including rookie inspector Mika Shimotsuki, Ginoza, who is demoted to an enforcer, Yayoi and two new enforcers, Sakuya Togane and Sho Hinakawa, face a new threat in the form of Kirito Kamui, another criminal mastermind who, just like Shogo, intends to bring down the Sybil System by exploiting its flaws instead of just wreaking havoc. Skilled in avoiding all forms of detection and capable of helping his supporters to keep their Crime Coefficients low, only a very few believe that he actually exists, including Akane.

psycho-pass-21-b2-crime-coefficient

First off, I have to say that as one of Funimation first attempts at simulcast in English and Japanese, they did one hell of a job. The voice acting cast was superb just like in the first series, as well as crisp animation. Nothing too derivative other than that from the original series, as the creators obviously wanted to make it clear this was a second series. The majority of the characters were still phenomenal, with Ginoza being moved to an enforcer. This gives an interesting character who has been on both sides of the law.psycho-pass-enforcers

Believe it or not, I actually didn’t think that Psycho-Pass was going to receive a second series. It was definitely not what I expected. I felt that this go around was way too similar to the latter half of the first series, as the last four episodes lost the mysterious aspect that the entire first season of Psycho-Pass 1 had. While I liked the main antagonist Kirito Kumei, I thought they could have done so much better with him. Especially since the antagonist behind the strings is even worse.

PROS:

  • English simulcast.
  • Crisp animation.
  • Superb voice acting.
  • Enforcer Ginoza.

CONS:

  • Way too similar to second half of first series.
  • Villain behind the scenes.
  • New characters are boring.

SCORE: 7.8 / 10

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Anime Club: Psycho Pass

Hello everybody! On this week’s anime club, we have the Blade Runner/Minority Report esque anime Psycho Pass.

PSYCHO PASS

DIRECTOR: Katsuyuki Motohiro, Naoyoshi Shiotani

EPISODES: 22 Episodes

GENRE: Cyberpunk, dystopian fiction,crime fiction

YEAR: October 12, 2012March 22, 2013

COUNTRY: Japan

The series takes place in the near future, when it is possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person’s state of mind and personality. This information is recorded and processed, and the term “Psycho-Pass” refers to a standard used to measure an individual’s being. The story centers around Inspector Akane Tsunemori who is a newcomer to the Public Safety Bureau.

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.

The only really bad thing in the series so far is the plot twist/revelation at the series’ midway point. Throughout the series, the main villain has been set up as a genius who outsmarts the police—as well as the brain scanning system—at every turn. Yet, when face to face with the villain, we learn his secret: He hasn’t outsmarted the system or otherwise tricked it when it comes to himself. It’s not that he works behind the scenes in such a way that he never technically commits a crime, nor is it that he has somehow convinced himself that he is not committing crimes and is therefore innocent—thus fooling the scanners. Rather, the scanners just read him wrong, no matter what he thinks or does. He doesn’t know why himself. He just says that it has always been this way for him.

It’s just a straight up Deus Ex Machina: He is immune because the creators say so.

And sadly, this makes the villain seem much less threatening. Sure he’s smart, but not nearly as much as we had previously thought. Rather, he is just some guy with an arbitrary special power that lets him literally get away with murder.

PROS:

  •  Strong characters.
  • Interesting plot.
  • Western influences,
  • Ideas about good/evil, conformity, etc.

CONS:

  •  Deus Ex Machina.
  • Semi-less compelling villain.

SCORE: 8.4 / 10

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