Talk about an impressive anime! It has been quite sometime that I have seen an anime that has blown me away with its artistic style, but tight, and intense storytelling. Not since I saw Full Metal Alchemist have I been blown away by an anime series. I don’t know how else I can put it, this series has won me over in just about every aspect I can think of. I’m not even a fan of Cyberpunk settings and yet this series has sold me on it. Now am I saying it is perfect? Well no, there are still a few problems with it. But they are very few and we will get to those very soon.
Set in the year 2113, society has become dictated by a device known as the Sybil system. It is a way to monitor the brainwaves of every human. When they become mentally unstable and/or likely to commit crimes their number rises and if it reaches a certain level then that person is pursued by the Crime Coefficient and either apprehended or killed. If you are thinking Minority Report then you are on the right track. The story focuses on a new recruit to the unit named Akane Tsunemori (Kana Hanazawa/Kate Oxley) who works along side a group of former criminals named enforcers. Her and her team of enforcers ensures the safety of the city of the town with a unique sort of handgun called a dominator which will only fire when a person’s aura reaches a certain level. Along with her team which includes stereotypical anime guy Shinya Kogami (Tomokazu Seki/Robert McCollum) the group attempts to hunt down a villainous mastermind named Shogo Makishima (Takahiro Sakurai/Alex Organ)
Typically animation for an anime does not jump out at me unless it is horrendously bad. I say this because it would seem with few differences, animation from an anime always seems to fall into the ‘good’ category. It isn’t mind blowing, but it isn’t bad either. Seems to be business as usual type of deal. Go with the go to tropes and call it a day, no big deal. With Psycho-Pass from the first scene I was blown away by the animation and how well it compliments the dark and gritty crime drama. While some of the old anime tropes are present such as character design, the overall look and feel of the city is some of the best that I have seen in a long time and some of the best I have seen in the entire anime genre.
The Story and the Mystery
Psycho-Pass is an excellent story and very detailed when it comes to the mystery that it presents and the story it tells. Even though, we as the audience already know the mystery at hand of who did what and when and how, the protagonists do not know this. Watching the characters work out the problems and deal with the various colorful enemies is certainly a joy to watch.
The Sybil System and Crime Prevention While Cool, Seems Horrendously Flawed
The premise is cool and I do give suspension of disbelief… But man oh man there are a few things that my mind just cannot let go when it comes to this strange legal system that these people come up with. First off let’s look at this Sybil System, that I have no problem with. A device that can determine a person’s mental state… Okay, I can get behind that. Now let’s look at the fact that the legal system seems to be completely dictated by this strange aura and once a number reaches a certain height, cops are able and way more willing than any person should be to use stunning or even lethal force. That is terrifying, especially when it seems throughout the Anime that some people have reached this level without seemingly doing anything. It is preemptive law making if I have ever seen it.
But fine, okay this is the future, they have a different judicial system. Then let’s look at these cops, most of whom are ran by latent criminals… I’m not so sure how I would feel about handing weapons and law enforcement to a group of people who you have had problems with in the past, but they have fail safes I guess. Then you get to the damn guns that albeit really cool are kind of dangerous for the officers. It is cool to see a gun that can only fire if a person’s number gets to be a high enough number. But if a cop cannot use their weapon to defend themselves against, oh say a person who has trained themselves to have a low rating like the main antagonist. Which brings up another good point, is this guy really the only person who has been able to fool this machine? There had to be more people out there. That is when you have a problem. The subject matter is cool, I’m not denying that. But if you have a group of people who can fool this system and your police force relies on this system to function… Then you have a shitty system to begin with.
The Intro Theme Song
“Abnormalize” by Ling Toshite Shigure is easily one of the worst songs I have ever heard which makes this one of the worst Anime openings themes I have ever seen. The opening theme of an anime is one of the cornerstones of the genre. It sets the mood and gives a memorable montage and catchy song to sing that you as a viewer will always relate to the anime. Ling Toshite Shigure’s glass shattering Japanese screeching over some psychedelic visuals is enough to drive any curious fan running for the hills in horror. I can get behind some falsetto singing, but I cannot support a song where the screeching is so high-pitched I have to worry if my ear drums are going to burst. If you are hoping to recruit people to watch your anime, this is not the way you go about doing it!
Psycho Pass is a phenomenal show. The animation is wonderful and the story is one of the best that I have heard from the anime genre that I have seen in the past. It does suffer in some areas such as the reasoning behind this system as well as the absolutely horrendous opening theme that I immediately fast forward through whenever after each episode. But bottom line, check out Psycho-Pass. You won’t be disappointed.
Final Score 4/5
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