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“Psycho-Pass” full season 1 review

Director: Naoyoshi Shitani

Studio: Production I.G.

Episodes: 22

Transmission: from 11 October 2012 to 21 March 2013

Language: Japanese, english (dubbed or subtitled)

Rights: Dynit broadcast through the VVVID channel, Netflix

Genre: action, science fiction, thriller, psychological

In the near future, technological advances have made it possible to accurately measure and monitor people’s mental state, personality and inclinations: the so-called “Psycho-Pass”. Thanks to this it is possible to evaluate the probability that a person commits a crime or not; when this “Coefficient of Crime” exceeds a certain limit, the anti-crime section of the Public Security intervenes, made up of the Executors, latent criminals whose task is to catch other criminals and by the Inspectors, police officers who monitor and direct their actions. Inspectors and Executors can intervene using Dominators, particular guns that can vary the type of shot based on the type of target (they deactivate in front of people with low coefficients, stun in the case of medium coefficients, they are lethal weapons for criminals with high coefficients). The story is set in the Tokyo of 2112 and revolves around Shinya Kōgami, an Executor who uses the Psycho-Pass to fight against crime, and Akane Tsunemori, Police Inspector who has just joined the team to which Kogami belongs.

Main characters presentation:

Akane Tsunemori

Born on April 1, 2092. Female protagonist and Inspector, who has just joined Unit 1. She decided to join the police despite her very high grades allowing her to enter other public and private companies as well. It has a particular Psycho Pass, whose tonality does not dull at the expense of the events and decisions it has to face. At the end of the first season she will become the leader of Unit 1 in place of Ginoza, and will welcome the new Inspector Mika Shimotsuki.

Shinya Kogami

Born on August 16, 2084, blood type B, over 280 crime rate.

Male protagonist and Executor of Unit 1 of the Anti-Crime Section of Public Security. He was once an Inspector until Sasayama, an Executor under his control, was killed by the criminal in the case they were investigating. Kogami became so obsessed with chance that his coefficient went beyond the limits. The Sybil System has therefore dismissed him as Executor. Since then, the investigation of the case has continued, in search of the culprit of the incident.

Nobuchika Ginoza

Inspector of Unit 1, Akane’s superior. Reserved and zealous in his work. He detests criminals with high coefficients and considers Executors “beasts” to be used to catch other “beasts”, maintaining a strict hierarchy at work.

Following a particularly complicated case, his Psycho Pass begins to go numb, he will cross the line of no return following the death of his father, becoming an Executor.

Tomomi Masaoka

Executor of Unit 1 and veteran of the group, father of Ginoza. Help Akane settle in. His left arm is artificial.

Before the Sibyl Sistem was released he was part of the police investigation division as a Detective, his Psycho Pass went numb because he did not accept the change in the method of judgment created with this technology.

Shusei Kagari

Executor of Unit 1. Compared to his colleagues, he has a more lively and cheerful personality, making Akane a victim of his jokes. He is considered a latent criminal from the age of 5.

Yayoi Kunuzuka

Executor of Unit 1, the only woman. Calm and thoughtful, even in the face of the most heinous crimes.

Before her crime coefficient went numb she was a singer and guitarist in a band, she took part in a recovery program to make her color clear, but it didn’t work, so she decided to join the anti-crime unit.

Shion Karanomori

Medical examiner and Public Safety analyst. She is also a latent criminal.

Shogo Makishima

Antagonist, with great charisma and intellect. Interested in the worst and darkest sides of human nature, he has an interest in the most promising people he claims. He seems to be the real culprit behind the various cases faced by Unit 1, including the one that once made Kogami a criminal.

Peculiarity: it is not detected by the Sibyl Sistem. He is considered a person with a submissive personality, a rarity in the population.

Dominator

It is the weapon used by the Executors and Inspectors, connected directly to the Sibyl Sistem if pointed at people, it assesses their crime coefficient. If the d.c. is less than 100 the gun does not activate as the person is not dangerous, if it exceeds 100 the Paralizer mode is activated which through an electric shock stuns the person, if exceeded 300 enters Eliminator mode and the affected person explodes.

Sibyl Sistem

Citywide crime ratio control system, created using system anomalies, i.e. people who were not detected due to their particular way of thinking, and who therefore were clean even though they committed crimes. Each time a new person with such characteristics is discovered, he is integrated into the system, with or without his authorization, in order to make it evolve.

“We live our life. We decide our life. Ours is “free will”, freedom of choice. But what if one day free will is controlled? What if everything we do is monitored? If we no longer had a choice, could we still really call ourselves “alive”? Can we live by accepting this “system” or can we deny it in the name of our choices? “

This is the basic concept of the whole work. Should a person’s decision-making spirit really be judged without first trying to understand the motivations behind the person’s attitudes? I do not think it is possible. Hate, fear, anger, sadness, but also joy, happiness and enthusiasm are all emotions that people express as a result of actions and small gestures made by other people. Judging without first knowing the basics shouldn’t happen.

The anime is very much based on the philosophical principle, it is a struggle of our protagonist (Akane) towards a mentality of thought that has now become standardized. People, now accustomed to controlling the aura, are more worried about keeping their “color” unaltered to ask themselves what triggered the criminal instinct of those around them; they are more concerned about the negative influence the episode will have on them, instead of trying to help the person or seek a constructive confrontation with him, unlike Akane who instead is always looking for a trigger and a confrontation. She is not interested in the risk she runs, the important thing is the person in front of her, she sees the individual, and not the coefficient that has been attributed to him.

“Our work is full of things that defy all logic, people’s thoughts, desires, hopes and wills. We live in an era where technology can read what passes through your mind, yet people continue to lie, steal, hurt others … if this is not irrational! “

In this sense, our protagonist is the typical white fly of society, strongly criticized by colleagues for this attitude. In particular by Ginoza who warns her several times that her normal interaction with the Executors will eventually numb her aura, as well as wanting to persist in talking about why they have made certain choices and continue to make them. However, Akane does not need to know anything else, she goes her own way without altering her principles, slowly managing to make her thoughts understood.

Unlike our protagonist, Ginoza has a much more limited vision, criminals are criminals because Sibyl says so, they don’t care how they came to be such or why, it would be a waste of time and would risk numbing her aura; this also prevents him from having a peaceful relationship with his father, considers him like all the other criminals and cannot forgive him for having decided to raise his coefficient even if it meant abandoning him and his mother.

Here we see a clash of thoughts, on the one hand Ginoza who is the typical representative of the company and Akane who goes against the trend; it’s a fight that doesn’t last long and we can see how little by little, Ginoza starts to think with his head influenced by Akane, although this will bring him to a breaking point and will eventually demote him to Executor (but he will have no regrets) .

“You don’t see many Inspectors apologizing to an Executor … I have been for a long time now, and the absolutely obedient behavior of hunting dogs has by now taken root in my hands … I never tried to think about what I was doing . Being a detective does not mean killing people, but protecting them … you have put justice before your duty, with a boss like you, I can stop being a simple dog. “

The one who won’t go against Akane is Kogami. Unlike all the others, he asks her questions aimed at making her think better and change her thinking pattern more, as if they were on the same wavelength. He will also help her to better integrate into the Unity, so much so that it becomes almost an obsession for Akane to discover why he has let himself go to the dark nature of her soul. The relationship that arises between these two characters is a bit ambiguous, our protagonist questions herself more and more about her colleague, she wants to get to the bottom of all the questions that come up in her head, she trusts him blindly; on Kogami’s part, on the other hand, nothing, absolute frost, she is only his superior, who must not hesitate to shoot him if he becomes dangerous or tries to escape. I was a little sorry, I would have preferred a nice interaction between the two of them, personally I saw them really well together, although there probably would have been many obstacles.

“A book is not only used to read the words it contains, but is a tool to calibrate one’s sensitivity. When you feel bad there is no way to assimilate the content, you stand there wondering what hinders your reading, yet there are books that you can understand perfectly even when you feel unwell … it seems absurd, doesn’t it? I think it depends on a sort of mental tuning, the sensation of the sheets under your fingers and the impulse that reaches the brain when you turn the page … “

The most emblematic character of the whole work is Makishima, our antagonist, who wants to bring man back to the old values, those before the system, where man was free in his choices and there was more interaction between people. He is a very strong character, who manages to oppose the system with a lot of tenacity, intelligence and innovation. Not being detected by Sibyl, because he is submissive, he can act undisturbed, committing various crimes and leading various characters to the dark side, who not only give him reason, but who mislead his initial objective. For most of these antagonists, drawing attention to the murderous work they are doing is for personal ends or is a mere pleasure game, and Makishima is just one person who has given him the power to do so. They do not realize that they are being used for a greater purpose, which is to make people understand the flaws of the Sibyl Sistem in order to rebel against it.

The game that Makishima sets up is noteworthy and exceptional in many ways, he tends to never get his hands dirty, he stays in the shadows, so that only his minions are accused, and he can continue undisturbed, finding other people who support him. Not even being recognized by the system, it is as if he did not exist, there are no photos or information of him, he is a ghost to chase.

Thus began a chase with the intent of the department to capture him, starting a series of events that will question the existence of the Sibyl Sistem, but also the work of the protagonists and their role within the company.

The psychology of the characters is analyzed throughout the work with great attention and depth, all through dialogues that capture the viewer’s attention, they are often very long and philosophical dialogues, but which stand out for their fluidity and the ability not to weigh down. the vision as a whole, even if often too long and such as to make the events a bit slow as a whole. What is very interesting and innovative is that these reflections manage to move you deeply and when the episode ends, it may happen that you are still there wondering why about the vicissitudes that have occurred. In fact, the anime poses very interesting questions and reflections and does not fail to make you waver about who might be right; very often listening to the antagonists talk you find yourself thinking “yes, I agree” or while listening to the opinions of the various parties you agree with both. In my opinion this generates a problem, because at the end of the episode you stay there a good 10/15 minutes just to reflect on the concept that the anime has highlighted, perhaps returning to review those 4/5 sentences to better internalize the choice. You must be ready to reflect on what is being said. It is by no means a light anime from an emotional and intellectual point of view, if you don’t pay attention you completely lose the thread of the speech and of the events.

The series is well structured in its realization, especially from the point of view of the script, the settings are concentrated on the protagonists, however the background is not left to chance, even during very fast actions they take into account the details. From an aesthetic and technical point of view, the protagonists are illustrated in great detail and their psychology is highly developed, each has its own identity and are distinguished by their choices and actions. The environment represented sufficiently gives the idea of ​​the context in which the events take place, however some sequences have a very close and adaptable morality to the present day, often leaving the viewer with a sense of disturbance and many ideas to reflect on advanced technological development and its effect on society, which if we look at it is one of the most discussed topics in recent years. We can say that from this point of view, the work is almost a caricature of the man / technology relationship and takes what could be its development to the worst extremes.

Conclusion:

As far as I’m concerned this anime is one of the best I’ve seen in recent years; on a whole level, it is a beautifully executed work. I highly recommend it to everyone.

Even if it may not be your thing, give it a chance, in my opinion you will not regret it.

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